They’re the best Anime that 2012 has to offer! We counts down the best anime to come out this year, including the likes of Naruto: Shippuuden Movie 6 – Road to Ninja, Detective Conan Movie 16: The Eleventh Striker, Berserk: Ougon Jidai-hen I – Haou no Tamago, and more!
5: Naruto: Shippuuden Movie 6 – Road to Ninja
English: Road to Ninja: Naruto the Movie
Japanese: ROAD TO NINJA NARUTO THE MOVIE
MAL Score: 7.66
Returning home to Konohagakure, the young ninja celebrate defeating a group of supposed Akatsuki members. Naruto Uzumaki and Sakura Haruno, however, feel differently. Naruto is jealous of his comrades’ congratulatory families, wishing for the presence of his own parents. Sakura, on the other hand, is angry at her embarrassing parents, and wishes for no parents at all. The two clash over their opposing ideals, but are faced with a more pressing matter when the masked Madara Uchiha suddenly appears and transports them to an alternate world.
In this world, Sakura’s parents are considered heroes—for they gave their lives to protect Konohagakure from the Nine-Tailed Fox attack 10 years ago. Consequently, Naruto’s parents, Minato Namikaze and Kushina Uzumaki, are alive and well. Unable to return home or find the masked Madara, Naruto and Sakura stay in this new world and enjoy the changes they have always longed for. All seems well for the two ninja, until an unexpected threat emerges that pushes Naruto and Sakura to not only fight for the Konohagakure of the alternate world, but also to find a way back to their own.
Road to Ninja is a little different from the previous movies. While movies 1 to 5 introduce new characters—protagonists and antagonists—with plots that totally differ from the original story’s, RtN is almost like a possible subplot of the main story.
With the exception of some, we get the same characters we see in the main story, but with a strange twist that would greatly appeal to the audience. It’s like a dream come true to some fans. It also keeps your mind going while you watch it, which personally, is what makes Naruto fun to watch. There’s also a hidden message in it, that is actually quite obvious in the starting of the movie.
There’s a big chunk of flashback in one of the parts though, but it was from my favourite episode, so I’m not complaining.
Same art, new soundtracks, and overall it’s unique, funny and (kind of) tear-shedding, what I find—unbiasedly—worth skipping work for and the S$16.90 (large bottle of Coke with a free refill included) I spent on. I actually managed to get my non-Naruto-loving sister to watch it. And hey, more MinaKushi loving here!
Do you have the intention of watching this movie thinking it’ll be something new? Yes? Alright, I want you to open a new tab and search up in Google, a montage of the “Best scenes” from this movie. Said montage will inevitably contain the much-talked about bath scene involving all the AU characters, a few scenes involving Naruto and his parents (perhaps Sakura if the person is a fan of that pairing), and his fight with the movie’s big baddy (whom I won’t spoil just in case, although if you don’t know by now I doubt you actually cared about this movie much).
Do it, truly, come on. I’ll be waiting.
Done? Congratulations, you do not need to see this movie anymore.
No, I am not kidding. You’ve seen all this movie has to offer; You do not need to bother with it anymore.
I am being as frank as I can be: This is what people for buying into it. No matter what they promise, it’s always the same — Their promise and promotion were bullshit, and ultimately it’s another rasengan/shadow clone wank fest. It happened with the second movie when they promised us that Sasuke would be an integral part of it (He was barely there in the end), when they promised us that Minato would play a big role in the fourth movie (He was pointless to the story), it happened with the fifth movie (Or so I’m told, I was not following this one so I am not completely certain what was the case here), and now it happened with this, and will probably happen to the 2014 movie too.
Literally, the movie has no story; It’s a holding pattern — Naruto gets sad then something happens (he goes into the AU with Sakura), they faff about for like an hour, then the movie’s bad guy pops in out of nowhere and with no explanation, ending with Naruto using a bunch of Rasengan and Shadow Clone and doing the whole “believe in myself” thing (Although, to it’s credit, this one didn’t end up with Naruto rasenganing the bad guy’s ass, but rather with a fist fight, so there’s that), even though said bad guy had previously nuked ENTIRE VILLAGES to ashes with a cough and the only reason he didn’t vanish him out of existence with another nuke is because the movie didn’t wanted him to.
And, the biggest offender is that this wouldn’t even be so bad if the movie wasn’t so fucking AFRAID to go out of its comfort zone despite this being virtually an entire new canvas for work — The much anticipated (and HEAVILY advertised) personality switches mean absolutely NOTHING to the story or plot and the explanations for them are entirely nonexistent, something that also wouldn’t all too bad (it certainly wouldn’t be good, but yeah), if it wasn’t for the fact that they’re literally only there for (Legitimately) FIVE MINUTES (ten, max); Naruto and Sakura get in the AU and immediately find Team 8 (Hinata, who now is mean and bitchy and one of the few characters with clothing switches, and Kiba and Shino who look the same and behave the same except instead being good with dogs and bugs, respectively, they’re now bad with them), they runaway and find team 10 (Ino, who now is shy and soft spoken, and Chouji and Shikamaru who essentially switched personalities, Chouji now being fit and stoic and Shikamaru being hyper active and dumb, although not fat, funnily enough), then Sasuke (Whom, despite now being a “playboy”, is also basically the same outside of that, and this is literally pointed out by Naruto himself, plus a completely clothing switch), then that bath scene (No explanation is given for why they go there) where upon the last team shows up in medias res (Team Guy, compossing of Neji, who now is perverted and lacking in discipline, and Lee and Tenten who are the same except Tenten is now clumsy with weapons and Lee is a, well, I won’t spoil just because the reveal of that makes for one of the better scenes in the movie), some faffing goes on before Hinata spots his cousin spying on the girls, causing her to get angry and attempt to beat him up until Lee shows up out of nowhere by falling through the ceiling (Much the same way he did in the manga preview, since the scene is essentially a reinacting of that with the personality switches), he runs away, they chase him ending in an actually pretty humorous scene, and then… They’re gone. Literally. They just disappear, completely. They’re not mentioned or seen ever again, with two exceptions: Shino, for no reason other than to show off his new found disdain for bugs (Him also being the second character to show no signs of change in the previous scene), and Sasuke who shows up two more times, one to give Sakura a flower (Which was in the trailer) and another where upon he flirts with some more girls causing Sakura to realize she’s not a special case to him and making her sad.
The rest is entirely going through the motions; Sad scenes with Naruto’s parents (some of which are, admittedly, fairly poignant), who are also exactly the same with the exception of one trait that I won’t spoil, a bunch of pretty damn useless fights and missions, and then the ultimate bad guy shows up, destroying the village and ending in a long fight with Naruto, before he goes back to his world because he doesn’t want to be there anymore.
And, I’m saying all of this with a pain, because this movie was one of thing that sparkled back my interest with the Naruto fandom (Where upon I got a lot of friends that I’m quite grateful for, even though I don’t quite follow the series anymore those people keep me tangled back to it), and I really did wanted it to be good; I love its concept, I truly loved AU Hinata and the bad guy especially, and for the most part, while the animation is nothing outstanding, it’s nice and pretty, a good treat for the eyes, ESPECIALLY on high resolution. But concept can never make up for lacking execution, and what the execution gave us was a reskinning of an already done movie with a more than questionable marketing campaign. Also, contrary to popular belief, the creator of the series, Kishimoto, didn’t actually write this whole movie, he just designed the alternative characters and a few touches on the script and plot line, for the most part this was done entirely by the same thing that has brought us the same movies from before and that “Gold mine” of filler which makes the anime such a classic.
Admittedly, this does make it a little less sad considering that if it really was written and done by him and this is all he could do then it would tell you just how much wasted potential this series has had to suffer.
Still, all in all, what we have here is nothing more than a reskinned retread. There’s nothing wrong with retreads, many forms of art have been essentially retreads of old formulas in order to explore new ideas, and, to a small (Literally microscopic) degree, this does explore new ideas. But at the end, we’re still watching the same shit we’ve already seen with some added scenes of silly “what ifs” that amount to little more than “what could’ve been”.
I don’t believe in scores, but I have to rate this, so I’ll just go with 5 because it’s in the middle.
If you could have one wish, any wish, would you give up everything just to see it fulfilled?
Once upon a time, I loved Naruto; I would sit down in front of a TV every week and wait for it to come on just so that I could see what happened next. As time progressed, my love for it whittled down to something that I watched merely to get it out of the way. That was my mindset coming in to watch this movie- it was to just get it out of the way. What I experienced, however, exceeded my expectations to become what I see as the best Naruto movie ever made. Now, enough of this sappy monologue, let’s get into the actual review.
First things first: like most of the Naruto movies, Road to Ninja is, for all intents and purposes, non-canon. So, instead of complaining about how it’s non-canon, I’m actually going to review the story and the themes it tackles. The basic premise revolves around Sakura and Naruto being transported to an alternate world by Madara’s “prototype” Tsukuyomi where most stuff is basically the same but there are slight changes, or “ripples” like Madara calls them. While most of them are just personality and clothing changes, the biggest difference is Sakura’s familial situation is switched with Naruto’s. Yup, you read that right; Minato and Kushina are alive and well in this alternate world but Sakura’s parents no longer exist. One of the biggest themes in Naruto is the loneliness and despair of not having anyone to come home to or care about you, namely parents, and this movie tackles this theme head-on as well as the theme of accepting what is false so long as it brings you happiness successfully; these provided a much-needed emotional factor that I believe really makes the movie shine. However, make no mistake, there are flaws in the story such as characters appearing seemingly just for the sake of appearing, some plot holes, and what I found to be a lackluster “final” battle (I use quotes because it’s not really the real final battle). It is advised that you watch episode 311 of Shippuuden before you watch the movie but it isn’t absolutely necessary because all that you would miss would be certain inside jokes but I found the comedy in Road to Ninja to be pretty good, even without them.
As expected, the art in Road to Ninja is a step above the normal fare found in the TV series but is nothing ground-breaking or spectacular. Everything looks good, some parts more so than others, and the colors are more vibrant but, I did happen to notice the typical derp faces every once in a while or pupils not being perfectly aligned, minor things like that. As far as the animation goes, everything seemed to flow smoothly and very nicely, nothing much to complain about here. The sound design as well is what you would normally expect from the series with an overall great-sounding soundtrack. One aspect I noticed was the voice-acting was handled very well, especially given the fact that personalities were completely different in the alternate world; being able to adapt like that shows a professionalism and talent which even I, as a member of the audience, can appreciate.
Lastly are the characters, and since most of the cast have switched personalities, this is somewhat difficult to accurately grade the cast if you look at every single character. Let’s look at the Ino-Shika-Cho combo as an example, Choji is skinny and hates eating a lot, Ino is mild-tempered and sweet, and Shikamaru is a complete idiot. Explanation as to why any of the characters with changed personalities are the way they are is completely nonexistent but, to me, that makes complete sense in context. Naruto and Sakura were transported to a different world where they are viewed as acting “weird” because they do not conform to how their counterparts within that society would have normally acted. So, instead of focusing on the “new” characters, I’ll focus on Naruto and Sakura because we can accurately judge how they have changed throughout their experience in that world. Both Naruto and Sakura experience development through realizing what life would be like if their familial situations were reversed and ultimately seem to have changed from their experiences by the end of the movie, though I somewhat doubt this will reflected in the actual TV series. While I would have liked to see more of the alternate cast and explored the different alternate world a bit more, it was inevitable that shortcuts be taken due to the limited amount of time they spent in the alternate world. The only other thing I have a gripe with is that Naruto actually seemed a bit underpowered but that is fairly minor.
TL;DR? Well, despite certain plot holes, characters seemingly appearing solely for the sake of appearing, and a somewhat lackluster “final” battle, I particularly enjoyed what the movie had to offer. Road to Ninja’s art, animation, and sound are what you would normally expect from Naruto so, if you don’t like that, you probably won’t like this movie. However, unless you are basically a Naruto scholar and/or expect everything to be perfect and make sense, you will probably enjoy what this movie has to offer as I did.
8 out of 10
4: Detective Conan Movie 16: The Eleventh Striker
Japanese: 劇場版 名探偵コナン 11人目のストライカー
MAL Score: 7.72
In Touto Stadium, a J. League soccer match is taking place. During this, Detective Kogorou Mouri receives a bomb threat from an unknown caller and a mysterious riddle that points to its location. Conan Edogawa must now save the fans of the game before the time runs out.
Fortunately, with Conan’s quick actions and clever thinking, the bomb is discovered and the explosion is evaded. The culprit does not stop there; Detective Kogorou is informed of another hidden bomb set to explode at a large event in the city. Forced into a race against time, with thousands of more lives at stake, Conan must decipher another riddle, discover the place of the bomb, and catch the culprit in order to escape a terrible tragedy.
Story (5/10): When a mysterious bomb threat is issued, it appears to be targeting the J-League, leaving a mystery in the hands of our little Great Detective: why target soccer, who is this bomber, and what does a seemingly unrelated incident have to do with it?
I hope you like soccer and the J-League, cause booooy are they prominent here. My limited knowledge of soccer helped me get most of what was being said, but man there is just too much worshiping of the J-League here. There are a (I’m assuming) slew of actual soccer stars here, and they just completely flew over my head. Like to the point where I said “OK movie I get it, J-League is the bestest, just stop!”.
But honestly? A lot of this movie just seems tacked on. While the mystery itself and the execution of the bomb threats is actually pretty entertaining, the rest of the story just seems rather boring. I really can’t go into more without hitting spoilers, but a lot of the movie feels way too artificially structured and has no real natural flow to it. It’s just average at best.
Art (8/10): Here is where the movie shines, since the soccer matches were really well animated. The whole movie actually looks really good, with action sequences being the highlight. Other than that it just looks good and holds the trend of the movies having better art than the series.
Sound (7/10): It’s a Detective Conan movie. It plays the same music as always. And it’s good. (Help, I’m running out of lines to talk about the music. :V)
Character (5/10): This movie just kind of juggles characters around and doesn’t use them well at all. Conan, Ai, Professor Agasa, and the police characters come out OK, but everyone else is just…there, I guess.
The movie cast is also stupidly huge (seriously). There are a ton of soccer player characters, and I’m not really sure why we needed to spend time with only 2 of them for like 4 minutes at most. I guess it was to help set up the climax, but it’s really a waste. Plus half of the initial suspects just poof away after the midway point, so they were basically just there to be red herrings. (And while that’s normally forgivable and such, the movie tries to hold onto them far longer than needed.)
The final culprit is also supremely whiny and while his motivation would kind of drive a person to the notion of a personal attack, I’m not sure to it makes sense in the scale of the story. Also they start going crazy at the end for…reasons? I dunno, everyone here just felt weak (and funnily enough, sort of mirror the last movies cast. Huh.)
(Also the Detective Boys are at their most annoying, since apparently the story really needed them to throw a soccer ball at Conan in the most contrived way possible, along with not listening to anyone (as usual).)
Enjoyment (5/10): I gotta be honest. This movie was boring. All the random soccer people showing up was almost overwhelming and everything just feeling stilted made this not fun to sit through. I will give the movie credit that beginning at the first bombing action scene and going to prior to the last confrontation, it was fairly fun. But the beginning and final climax were just not as fulfilling.
The end gag about Rans’ story was also just dumb. Come on show, you’ve done better.
In the end, Detective Conan: The Eleventh Striker was a somewhat average movie, though part of that relies on how much you like the movie cast and all the J-League praising. (Oddly enough the soccer explanations are actually pretty interesting.) The action scenes are really fun and the mystery engaging, but the actual cast is fairly boring and the payoff is kind of unsatisfying. I would only recommend it to the DC fans to just watch it to get out of the way if you want to watch all the movies, but otherwise I’m very hesitant to recommend it.
5/10 = average at best, boring as hell at worst; hope you like the J-League, cause it’s just nonstop praise for them, though the soccer aspect is actually pretty interesting; mystery is fun, but the characters are boring; DC faithful might be bored, or at least I was;
In this movie Mouri Kogorou murders a small child in drunken confusion. I shit you not. He stops an ambulance and that may have lead to the death of a small child. Which is kind of important to the plot, but HE certainly doesn’t dwell upon it.
This is also the movie where Conan messes up all over the place and gets sloppy. I don’t know if they were trying to be a little more realistic, but he seems to have trouble making the jumps and perfect landings. As such the ending takes a bit more time to end how you expect it to end… with Conan kicking a soccer ball into something to stop the timer. If you couldn’t guess that’s what was going to happen, you must be new here.
Overall this movie is about soccer. It’s officially sponsored by J-League, whose team members actually show up in the movie. The whole plot is pretty much copy pasted from the previous. We have bombs going to go off and Conan has to stop it. Only this time it’s soccer themed. Really it’s getting boring. I kind of remember Conan movies having a bit more mystery and intrigue. Also it seems some of the hints they give are kind fo disjointed as they don’t give you the other clues and have you put them together.
It’s hinted the next movie has a cruise ship in it. I can only hope it hasn’t been rigged up with bombs that Conan has to stop.
One of the first complaints has to do with soccer being a prominent theme, which people claim comes across as shallow pandering. While it’s true that this movie does heavily feature Japanese Soccer League players, what people forget is that Conan is a big soccer fan. It’d be like bashing Phantom of Baker Street just because it panders too much to Sherlock fans. Even if the movie was J-league fan service, that doesn’t change the fact that the movie still makes use of the soccer themes and characters in the main story.
Another complaint has to do with how this movie copies the story of another movie in the series, specifically the Time-Bombed Skyscraper. While that movie is fun, I did think that there were some places it could improve on. For instance, the lack of mystery surrounding the main culprit. Here, they at least tried to complicate things with extra suspects and other elements to help engage the audience in figuring out whodunit. The soccer references, refined art style and epic cinematography help give it its own unique shine while polishing out the kinks in the original framework.
In terms of legitimate criticism, there are some things I do consider to be slight nitpicks. While the music is serviceable, it can sometimes sound very “Rugrats-like”, with the exception of the song that plays when everything explodes (that song is awesome). The resolution at the end is very cheesy, but it’s still really satisfying (“the eleventh striker was you after all”). While the J-league does have a purpose in the main plot, it would’ve been nice to see them after the criminal was caught. Would’ve given them some nice closure, ya know?
Overall, this movie is too good to be getting all of this undeserved flak. A good Detective Conan movie doesn’t need Kaito Kid or the Black Organization to be good (that in itself is its own form of pandering). As long as the movie stays true to what Detective Conan is, it doesn’t matter how much soccer fan service there is. Of all the movies that I’ve reviewed so far, Detective Conan: The Eleventh Striker is, indeed, faithful to what Detective Conan is.
3: Berserk: Ougon Jidai-hen I – Haou no Tamago
English: Berserk: The Golden Age Arc I – The Egg of the King
Japanese: ベルセルク 黄金時代篇Ⅰ 覇王の卵
MAL Score: 7.73
In the Kingdom of Midland, a mercenary named Guts wanders the land, preferring a life of conflict over a life of peace. Despite the odds never being in his favor, he is an unstoppable force that overcomes every opponent, wielding a massive sword larger than himself.
One day, Griffith, the mysterious leader of the mercenary group Band of the Hawk, witnesses the warrior’s battle prowess and invites the wandering swordsman to join his squadron. Rejecting the offer, Guts challenges Griffith to a duel—and, much to the former’s surprise, is subsequently defeated and forced to join.
Now, Guts must fight alongside Griffith and his crew to help Midland defeat the Empire of Chuder. However, Griffith seems to harbor ulterior motives, desiring something much larger than just settling the war…
Okay, lets begin..
Story: The problem with the story is pacing. The movie leaves off way to many character building moments in favor of action and try to compress all of it in a laughably short time frame(88mins if I remember correctly). There is simply no time to make the connection with the characters and hurts immersion badly in my opinion. Many scenes were cut and not for the better. To be honest not many movies nowadays have such a short run time and it did not do this one any favors either. The movie needed another hour. Also, for those who expected something more “faithful” to the manga, this movie cuts out just as much, if not more, then the anime but keeps just enough to make sure the story can progress.
Art: To be honest the new style did not bother me visually as much as some other reviews I read have mentioned. I believe some said how.. “it made their eyes bleed” along with other colorful self mutilating descriptions of horror. I will say however, that it is hit or miss. Literally. There are some scenes that are beautiful and really well done but there are also a few parts that are awkwardly animated to say the least. For me it was not a deal breaker but something I did notice. The action segments were well done overall along with most of the still 2d scenes.
Sound: This will be quick. The original anime series soundtrack was better at carrying the mood and keeping a good theme. No contest, hands down, the end. I am glad Susumu Hirasawa was able to contribute “Aria” to the production(which is a fantastic track), but only to hear it once at the beginning intro and not as part of an overall theme was unfortunate.
Characters: I have to say, none of the voice acting wow’d me. Don’t get me wrong, it was not awful but the original anime simply had a better voice cast with more versatility. Character design and shading was also funky at times with consistency. I have already mentioned the lack of character development so I won’t rehash all of that again.
Overall: As a Berserk fan, its very much watchable. Sad to say though it was not what I hoped for when I was excited to see my series reborn. It could have been done so much better with all the story and material available to use from years of Miuras work. I’m also not sure their abridged version will attract the new fans they hoped which is a shame for a great series. I will admit one caveat, that as the entire movie series is not yet out my comments about character development may change depending how they handle key character and plot moments over the course of the next film. I do also realize how unfair it is to compare it to an anime which had way more content when this movie series is not yet complete. I am holding my judgement on the entire series until I can watch it fully.
My opinion with this movie: As Berserk fan its something you will want to see…but(and it hurts to say this) don’t expect to much.
As for what it is covered, if you’re already familiar with the source material you of course know what to expect and it’s once again faithfully adapted (spoiler: there is no blackswordsman arc at the beginning). But I feel that for those already familiar with story, you want to see it with whole new animation which the original series was harshly criticized, then new animation is what you get and it’s pretty awesome. But I suppose starting from the Golden Age, it can attract new audiences as well.
The action is very fluid and I feel that the postures and the weight of the armor and swords are properly depicted in the battle scenes. There are no still shots or any corner cutting. It really felt like an animated 300 but without all the trendy slow-mos and bullet time. What I really liked in the opening battle sequence is that the soldiers on both sides show fear in their eyes and that their arms and hands do shake when in battle knowing they could die. I like how more danger is more implemented with the battle scenes. Of course the battle scenes are violent, but I feel there is more psychology behind the battles as well. I like how Guts in his earlier days is portrayed as someone who fights off his experiences and instincts. When he’s on that field, to him, it’s just a day at the office.
I felt that the shaky camera angles you see in the Borne films was utilized too much. The panning both zooming in and out and the circular shots try to give it a live action feel. At this point, the fighting isn’t drastically defying the laws of physics so the action does feel realistic.
What I felt somewhat upset that they changed the voice cast from the original TV series who were also used in the DC and PS2 games. I felt that the new seiyuu for Guts didn’t have the same intimidation and that don”t fuck with me attitude that Nobutoshi Canna had. Sakurai Takahiro did capture some of Griffith’s qualities but strongly lacked his charisma. Casca’s new voice actress is nothing compared to the great Miyamura Yuko. If they could get those voice actors for the games, why not for something as big as this? Was this Miura’s choice like masami’s when they did the new Saint Seiya oavs?
Thankfully the music is once against compared by Hirakawa Susumu. To me, not having him for the music is like not having Kanno Yoko not doing the music for a Cowboy Bebop sequel and it would also be like Initial D without the Eurobeat. The style is still the same but brought to a whole new intensity appropriate for the epicness this project will bring.
For now, this movie does a great job of being just the beginning of what is to come. I understand this is supposed to be released internationally. I hope when it hits theaters or is on DVD wherever you are, you support this movie.
spoiling none of them, so feel free to read it)
Griffith believed that,
regardless of class and status, all men will sooner or later start yearning for their dreams.
The white haired man had concluded that
dreams support men, hurt them, revive them.. and in the end, dreams kill them.
Apropos of this, Guts had no choice but to accept that outlook of his and live by it.
In the world where the aeonian war between Midland and Tudor preserves perpetually for hundreds of years, two extraordinary beingnesses exist. The overpowered mercenary warrior, Guts, whose young years of life render him unaware of towards what direction he should focus his excessive strength to, and the Band of the Hawk. Incidentally, that unawareness of his, has him fighting in the war as an outsider and ensuingly with great skills and a great sword that man marches through death with the sole purpose of feeling alive. A series of coincidences leads Guts to join the infamous mercenary warriors…The Band of the Hawk.. and thus, with the meeting of these two extraordinary beingnesses the story is being set into motion. At the same time, expected aftermath of this union assisting in the war as a Midland force, is the tide of the war to turn in their favor.
The core of the story however lies further, in the individuals leading the band of the Hawk.
Griffith is the definition of nobility, dignity and later on of ambition and obsession.. A role model to his subordinates as well as capable to convince anyone in following him. The white demon with the baronial and angelic form and conduct is the source of inspiration, dreams and desires in the series.. Only, when Griffith comes across Guts, that flawless balance in his predisposition slightly wavers… For the reason that Guts has every potential in becoming Griffith’s equal, to be what they dare not utter-a friend- And when Griffith senses that possibility, perhaps subconsciously, he keeps Guts close to him. Be it out of fear of losing the gem he found within the rocks. Be it out of fear of something equal to him existing, he does, and thus a bond of pure and omnipotent friendship is formed. However, Griffith’s ambition shines too bright, so bright it engulfs Guts whom stands beside him contributing in that very ambition. And after three years of mutual sympathy and respect, three years with the sweetness of the word friend in the tip of his tongue, his belief is shaken. Because equality to Griffith means being made of the same material, and equality is what Guts’ soul desires. Consequently, the only solution in finding a sun of his own is to further away from him, but Griffith’s light is long used to Guts’ shadow it would wither had he left his side..
Because, if Griffith was a river, he was the mountain.. he flowed through him while he owned the conditions to his survival.. If Guts crumbled, he would perish.. And if Griffith evolved, he would thrive.. none of them knew, none of them admitted, that if one was to change shape, both of them would decay…
And then Casca, whom found in Griffith’s face everything she, as an individual, considers to be meritable or deems as wondrous. Because their meeting to Griffith might held the meaning of saving her, but for her it meant reviving her. Casca, who unlike Guts, Griffith’s light enhances hers, not putting shade to it..
Her will is admirable..
The fact that she only wants to fight for the person she looks up to, inspiring..
And her feeling of dispirited melancholy for not being able to stand at the point she desires beside him, sorrowful…
On the whole, all characters in Berserk meet the necessary development.. At a point where you may not even notice, but ultimately you end up with a complete global view of everybody’s personality and stand in the anime. Those three however, remembering their initial attributes
Griffith, intact purity and charisma
Guts, valiance and immeasurable kindness
Casca, a true Artemis and Athena
it becomes enthralling following the course of these attributes alterability.
(always adjusting logic and objectivity in the terms and concept of the
respective story, a human who kills insatiably is by no means immeasurably kind irl 😉 )
Yet another strong asset in Berserk, is the quality of the battle scenes, which even though they do not contain magic, flashy spells, Rasengan and Santoryu in general, they are addicting to the eyes and fit to keep you at the edge of your seat. Furthermore, aside brute strength, those scenes could also be characterized by intelligence, the strategies Griffith is coming up with in particular, to many viewers the capture of the impenetrable fortress of Doldrey might seem similar to the battle for defending the Ring of Isengard in Lord of the Rings, or at least not less riveting. At the largest part, the desire of the characters to conquer the world becomes your instant desire. The strain in Guts’ billion muscles as he faces powerful opponents or intimidating number of enemies becomes fleeting strain in your respective number of muscles. The length of the series do not allow much development in political affairs, however the general vibe of the civilization and culture in Berserk feels like the one in Game of Thrones, multi-dimensional and partly rotten.
When it comes to the direction, it has to be said that it is simply amazing, be it because it’s a movie and they took greater and more careful care of it, be it for the reason that it is a rerun and they know what to improve, the point is that the scenes succeeding each other will never get you bored. One might easily watch all three movies in a row, for the plot is unpredictable the battles enthralling and the characters alluring.
And of course the strategies during the war, as well as the vibe of thousands of fists raised in the air swinging their swords might remind you of Lord of the Rings.
The massive palaces and castles, the mythical atmosphere, the rotten predisposition of the privileged and the overall medieval culture might remind you of Game of Thrones.
However, the red Behelit hanging around Griffith’s neck, extends beyond Macbeth’s tragedy, it’s the monopolistic touch that only a mangaka can add, the mystery and the darkness that gathers all good concepts together to transform them into Berserk…
As far as the artistic part is concerned. For starters, the art in the manga is known for its high level, known for the detail each panel contains as well as the fluid, realistic and clear fighting scenes. Therefore, the movies that are its adaptation and an improved version of the tv anime, bring forth the dynamic attributes of Berserk in all of its glory.. Studio 4°C had Toshiyuki Kubooka take Miura Kentarou’s masterpiece and elaborate it into an action, fantasy and seinen adventure as the perfect prologue to the source. The water feels alive, the color of the trees appealing and the stone and marble all castles and towers are made of, coarse or silky inside your very palm.
On top of that we have Susumu Hirasawa performing-he also composed it-Aria, the insert song in all three movies. Aria, a dynamic, epic opera insinuating everything that will follow in a most effective and dulcet way. And then, Shiro Sagisu composed and arranged the soundtracks for the series.. the piano and violin everytime leaves fly around a serious conversation.. the opera in between the dust caused by the horses galloping and the steel meeting steel… and the heavy organ heightening the tension at crucial moments.. All in all, music in Berserk has a feel of professionalism and it sure is a notable component of the show.
In conclusion, a characteristic that needs to be noted is the broody, hectic and dark part of the anime.. as far as the first half of the third movie, the show is so worthwhile that one who doesn’t enjoy blood in particular might not mind it…The conclusion of the story however takes an incredibly different turn towards dark fantasy that made me rush over to the pc next day to confirm whether what I had watched last night was real.. At first glance, the conclusion of the movies seems unreasonably unjustified, like there is no explaining why the author would create such an appealing, sophisticated story only to give it that kind of ending.. but then I found out that in fact, the movies are a fascinating prologue to the manga.. so for those who can not handle violence, be aware that the third movie contains 18+ material.
Berserk is the story of the venerable Lord Hawk, the woman whose emotions shifted her structure into a warrior’s metal one, and of Guts, the man owning every shred of the word valiance, devotion and integrity all wrapped into the concept of outrageous swordplay and ominous fate… a story bringing its title to life.
2: Berserk: Ougon Jidai-hen II – Doldrey Kouryaku
English: Berserk: The Golden Age Arc II – The Battle for Doldrey
Japanese: ベルセルク 黄金時代篇Ⅱ ドルドレイ攻略
MAL Score: 7.89
The Band of the Hawk and their enigmatic leader Griffith continue winning battle after battle as their prestige throughout the kingdom of Midland grows. But their latest task is one that has seen failure from everyone who has attempted it: the subjugation of the impenetrable fortress of Doldrey.
But with members like Guts—the captain of the Hawks’ raiders who can easily fell 100 men with his gigantic sword—such tasks prove to be trivial. However, in the aftermath of the battle, Guts decides to leave the Hawks in order to pursue his own dream and bids farewell to his companions, despite Griffith’s attempts to make him stay. This single event causes Griffith to lose his composure, and leads him to make a decision that will alter his and the Hawks’ fates forever.
The animation feels more uneven in this than it does in the last movie. This is more prevelant in slow motion. It feels really choppy like a disc in your game system skipping at times. But it runs much more smoothly at faster speeds. The violence and the gore is very well graphically depicted and makes up for some of the flaws this series has. The violence is just manically massive which is of course the nature of the franchise. I really enjoyed the scene where Guts becomes the 100 man slayer. But to me, the series broody effects would be more immersing if it was more grainy like in the 1980s and 1990s animation styles.
The difference in soundtrack compositions is also more notable. It is more orchestrated and has more acoustic sounds as opposed to the grand chorus style of Hirakawa Susumu. I feel for some fans who have had exposure to the previous series and the games, it will feel unnatural. But to newcomers, I suppose it does work. Other than that, the soundtrack reflects the atmosphere pretty good but of course I’d rather have Hirakawa do everything again.
In this movie, I felt that the performance of Guts’ new seiyuu isnt really that great. These are part of the story arcs was where the original seiyuu really captured Guts. Caska’s new seiyuu I just don’t feel. Sakurai is ok as Griffith, but doesnt have the coldness that Morikawa Toshiyuki has. I really don’t feel the voice acting in this one. I thought the last movie was ok, but this movie really made me miss the original voice cast. I suppose newcomers without any exposure to the original series or the games will be fine with the voice acting. Nobutoshi Canna really defined Guts in the original series and in the DC and PS2 games. I feel that this new voice actor just doesn’t capture Guts as intimidating or as a bad ass. To me, he comes across way too much as a sarcastic cynic and tries to bring too much humor to the character.
In the end, I feel the only way we can see the true potential of these new Berserk installments is when this trilogy is over. What the fans want to see is the post golden age arc animated. Quite frankly, I am glad we have these new installments, but I want to see the berserker armor animated and all the other bad ass shit. And get the old seiyuus and Hirakawa to do the series again.
We get to see the epic battle between the Band of the Hawk and the hilariously named Purple Rhino Heavy Cavalry. As you no doubt already surmised…the battle looks like total crap! Then we get tons of scenes with the Hawks celebrating because there is a very limited amount of time and this movie wants to get the important stuff in. Remember the sub-plot revealing how Midland’s politics work? The one with the royal hunt, the attempt to assassinate Griffith, and Guts’ counter assassination that results in him killing a child? They cut that out. The fact that Guts felt great guilt over that act and it played a huge role in the story for both his character development and his decision to ultimately leave the Hawks…who cares about that? Instead of even alluding to that sub-plot, just have Guts leave for no reason. We need to spend 10 minutes of screen time on a wonderfully Narm, shit CGI sex scene with Griffith, featuring questionable quality violin accompaniment. This movie is meant to introduce Berserk to a new generation and of course THAT was the part of the story they really needed to see. Fuck Guts’ character development. Griffith’s throbbing CGI, 240p resolution cock is FAR more important. Important characters like the devious minister Foss, and the Queen were axed, because that screen time obviously needed to go to Corbowitz and the goblin dungeon keeper. Corbowitz and the goblin were such critical parts of the story and atmosphere of Berserk. This technique of shitty adaptation has been passed down through the Corbowitz family for 3,000 years!
The film badly waters down the story and characters of Berserk, constantly making horrendous decisions to cut out important parts and leave in pointless parts. The CGI is very slightly improved over the first film, but still looks like absolute SHIT. If you are looking to get into the Berserk franchise, read the manga or watch the original anime. Don’t waste your time on the first 2 movies. The 3rd movie actually isn’t bad, but that is another review!
Whereas in the anime series we get to see Griffith in one light, in the movies he appears more humane, new layers of him are being exposed, or should I say, emphasized. In the anime series, the emphasized themes were gradual character development, friendship, loyalty, betrayal, points of view on all that. In the movie adaptations, we don’t get to see that much of character development. The movie mainly reveals more layers to the characters.
What is the most striking is the underlined homoerotic inclinations on Griffith’s part towards Guts, I believe. Casca’s character is pretty much unchanged. But, you’ll see for yourselves.
Sometimes I really didn’t like how they packed up the things and events, especially if I find such things crucial for the building of opinions about one character on the part of another (flashbacks instead of storytelling). However, there were really things worth omitting without doing any damage to the storyline. All in all it remains unchanged, and the message is somewhat conveyed. I’m still debating whether the anime series was more profound than this piece.
As for the animation, as one reviewer said, some motions sequences looked like they really needed debugging. Other than that, the new approach to things and new technology used to make this movie and its prequel, still leaves me puzzled. For ones who like battle scenes, I think this will be feast for the eyes. I especially enjoyed them!
Music and sound was okay, I think that the music used in battle scenes added to them being more dramatic and left me really excited. The spirit of the battlefield and the spirit of the Band of the Hawks is very well conveyed!
As for the voice actors, I think Griffith’s voice actor managed to convey his overall character and charisma perfectly, thus made me thoroughly enjoy the battle scenes even more.
Overall impression is that I find this movie to be very good (8), especially for ones who haven’t watched the 25 episodes of the anime series, this will be candy for the senses. The series will later fill up what is missing. And definitely this one will nicely warm you up to the third movie, which will be released February 2013.
To conclude, this movie is a must-watch and I hope it won’t leave you disappointed. Enjoy yourselves!
1: One Piece Film: Z
English: One Piece Film Z
Japanese: ワンピース フィルム Ｚ
MAL Score: 8.17
The Straw Hat Pirates enter the rough seas of the New World in search of the hidden treasures of the Pirate King, Gol D. Roger－One Piece. On their voyage, the pirates come across a terrifying, powerful man, former Marine Admiral Z.
Z is accused of having stolen the “Dyna Stones”, weapons believed to have the power to shake up the New World. The Marine Headquarters believes Z is about to use it to end the pirate era, and with it, the lives of many innocent people. In fear of such a phenomenal event, marines start to take action against the former admiral.
Even if it means stumbling upon marines and the navy, the Straw Hat Pirates decided to chase after Z and stop him from causing havoc. As they continue to embark on their ventures, the pirates bump into new and familiar acquaintances.
For this review it will be broken down into four parts: Music, Animation, Characters and Story.
If you watched the trailers, you know that two tracks of Avril Lavigne would be played in the movie but you won’t hear that until the credit rolls. First half was “How You Remind Me” and then “Bad Reputation” played after that. The original soundtrack was brilliant. It was different while at the same time maintaining that One Piece feel we all love; high tension to melancholy themes that played throughout different scenes.
There was a lot of CGI just like Strong World. The action scenes were animated far better than anything I’ve ever seen in previous One Piece movies or the anime. The angles and camera movements following every scene was done fluidly.
The title of the movie is quite self-explanatory. The movie focused on Z, at times even more than the Straw Hat gang. Character Z, also known as Zephyr had such deep story to him and if you love backstories of various characters in One Piece, you’ll definitely love Z’s. As for our lovable characters, the Straw Hats each got their turns to shine in this movie, however the stronger and prominent fighters such as the Monster Trio(Luffy, Zoro and Sanji) had their own individual opponent to fight. Franky was the next in line after the Monster Trio. Usopp also had good action scenes, but not quite on the same level. Nami and Robin at times were used for fan-service until the climactic battle at the end. Chopper was funnier than ever before, but not entirely important to the story. Brook didn’t do a lot in terms of getting into battles, but he had his comedic moments just like Chopper.
This movie as an entirety was built around the Marine lore and back story. This will have it’s drawbacks for some though. The story had lots of explanation regarding the principle themes of the Marines and some characters were basically used strictly just for the sole purpose of providing exposition. To fit the plot in a movie length time span, it was surprisingly well done. This was one huge gripes that I had with Oda’s previous project, Strong World was a bit of a let down. With Film Z, I feel that he understood what it took to make a movie that retains the breathtaking aura of One Piece series, and he delivered it.
I would love to talk about just about every scenes in the movie but I want to keep it spoiler-free. If this movie doesn’t win major awards in Japan, I will be very surprised. It surely deserves to be nominated in Japanese Academy Awards and win Best Animated Japanese Film Awards or even Best Picture of the Year Awards.
That being said, let’s talk about this movie. I was excited when I first heard of it. They were projecting it to be better than Strong World, and Oda was going to have a hand in it (which meant the possibility of something canon) I couldn’t contain myself the first couple months it was in theaters in Japan.
Then life kind of got in the way, and I forgot about it until it came out on blurray and I was finally able to see it subbed. When it started, I quickly felt the excitement I felt months ago, but that was quickly dashed as the movie progressed.
Now, if you’re a One Piece fan, you have to watch it. Same as with Strong World. Regardless of what I think, of either movie, One Piece fans need to probably judge for themselves. Which probably makes you wonder what the point of this review is.
Well, as much as I wanted it to be true, this film is not better than Strong World. I know many people complain about Strong World basically being Arlong Park arc, but it at least had pacing. This film doesn’t really. It has a lot of nice animation and some humorous moments (along with a few kind of overly suggestive scenes) but not much else.
One minute you’re on one island and the next you’re on another island resolving the main conflict. They try to make you empathize with Z a bit, but because of the vagueness in Garp’s story about Z and the sort of unexplained randomness of Z’s flashbacks, you never really get a chance to know that character. Which is unfortunate, because this is the type of thing One Piece usually excels at
In the end the fight between Z and Luffy isn’t especially memorable. He gets beat in his first fight with Z, and wins by overpowering him in the second (despite nothing really changing in his strategy) Similar thing happens with Z’s henchmen. In Strong World you at least had a pretty epic fight in the air, and there was more tension with whether they would get the antidote for Nami in time. Here the stakes were supposed to be raised, but you never quite felt any of the danger.
This movie on the other had is a sad reminder of what one piece has been reduced to. One pointless and boring arc after the other, introducing character who are never developed enough to be either liked or hated and going on the very same ideas that started with, but after 10years it simply can not shock or cause the same emotions anymore. It got old, outdated and donwrigth dissapointing.
The plot is your typical nowdays onepiece. A “stong guy” (my name is Z…) wants to destroy the world. He encounters the strawhats, he beats them. Many boring scenes later the same happens. Boredom after boredom later they meet again, only this time luffy wins. The end.
I mean,at least try to deliver something original. I know that expect Strong world, one piece movies are ‘nt that great, but at least they try. Some even have some interesting plot and good ideas, which never happens here. This movie could end at 20 minutes, after all its not like the enemies are that strong anyway.
The strawhats are the strawhats,no surpise there. But the villains….
are simply horrible. A weak as hell sword lady who zoro takes pity on, an annoying plant ninja who is one of the worst characters ever conceived, and then Z. A guy so underdeveloped that has to repeat his name so the viewres do not forget him. We get nothing on his story except he was an admiral( a really weak one compared to the three monsters we know as admirals, i mean the guy uses haki, big deal, even coby uses it nowdays), no idea on why he does what he does. Nothing. The guy was so boring that even his death caused no reaction on my part. I even speeded it up so the movie could end sooner.
So, Z is a horrible movie. But it represents perfectly the onepiece of the 2013. An anime that half the people who watch it simply wish it was like the one piece of old,and the other half feel like they have to, as a sad obligation.
Really, shame on us who endulge movies like this
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. One Piece Film: Z
2. Berserk: Ougon Jidai-hen II – Doldrey Kouryaku
3. Berserk: Ougon Jidai-hen I – Haou no Tamago
4. Detective Conan Movie 16: The Eleventh Striker
5. Naruto: Shippuuden Movie 6 – Road to Ninja