They’re the best Anime that 2013 has to offer! We counts down the best anime to come out this year, including the likes of Doraemon Movie 33: Nobita no Himitsu Dougu Museum, Detective Conan Movie 17: Private Eye in the Distant Sea, Little Witch Academia, and more!
5: Doraemon Movie 33: Nobita no Himitsu Dougu Museum
Japanese: 映画 ドラえもん のび太のひみつ道具博物館[ミュージアム]
MAL Score: 7.41
On a normal afternoon, Doraemon’s bell was stolen by Kaito Deluxe, a thief from the 22nd Century. Determined to get it back, Nobita and co. decides to pursue him and take back the bell that is hidden inside the 22nd Century’s Secret Gadget Museum.
Well it wasn’t that great at first but it got better and better. I really liked how everything was building till the end. The story still wasn’t that special and some parts were confusing because I haven’t seen the original series. The end was touching though.
I thought that the animation was very good. I mean it looks like some old western cartoon but with an anime vibe. Backgrounds are much more detailed than the actual characters and I really like this style.
I guess it was pretty good. Some voices were just plain average but there were a few voice actors whose voices I really liked. Music was ok but forgettable. Sound works and I have nothing to complain about.
I liked almost all the characters. They were all well written. At first I thought that Doraemon looked pretty stupid but I started to like his design later. Of course there were a few characters that were very flat and boring but most of them very actually good, likeable and funny.
As I said earlier the beginning was pretty boring but from middle to the end it was just so epic and I really enjoyed it. It was funny at times and well there isn’t much that I didn’t enjoy.
Overall I think this is a great movie and worth watching. You will like it for sure. It was much better than I expected. I give it 8/10
4: Detective Conan Movie 17: Private Eye in the Distant Sea
Japanese: 名探偵コナン 絶海の探偵
MAL Score: 7.69
The warship Aegis Destroyer is conducting public exercises in Maizuru Bay where, coincidentally, a suspicious foreign ship was recently spotted. Conan Edogawa, Ran Mouri, Kogorou Mouri, Sonoko Suzuki, and the Detective Boys all receive a ticket to attend this event. However, while the ongoing military operations are underway, one of the crew members comes across a lieutenant’s severed left arm. Conan later discovers that a foreign spy may have infiltrated the warship to obtain classified information by any means necessary. If the information were to leak, Japan’s line of defense would be exposed, leaving the country unprotected from hostile attack.
With the help of the police at sea while other friends and allies investigate on the mainland, Conan must now prevent this national crisis and identify the spy for the sake of Japan.
I love how all the different groups like the beika police, kyoto police, marine force, shonen tantei, agasa and heiji all had their important parts in it. Everyone was working together with Conan as the central point.
The new boy they added was very cute too, I cried in the end.
And I thought it was SO COOL how Ran really fought evenly with the enemy. not just the usually ‘ow no, Ran got caught again’. she was totally kicking ass!
And the way how she disappeared really seemed impossible to find her this time. Everyone’s reaction was so real.
Definitely a great movie if you’re a Conan lover!
The story was good, and I loved how they incorporated real-life details about the Japanese self-defense force and the Aegis system.
Lovely end song. Art is the usual, but I especially liked how accurately the design of the destroyer was depicted. The movie has a nice, smooth development and many thrilling moments. I thought the ending was slightly exaggerated, but I won’t spoil anything. The very last scene was really touching :’)
I surprisingly enjoyed this more than I thought I would. Overall, it was a lovely thing that many Conan fans if not all would enjoy and works as a stand-alone as well for others to enjoy just the same.
Well, this movie has a special story. It touched political aspects of our daily life and touched Japan’s national security. And the risks to security, such as spies, and the danger of these mice to the country, This is interesting isn’t it ?
The story begins in a warship. Everything seems to be fine. It looks like a normal cruise expedition. But wait a moment, unfortunately in Conan, the moments of happiness do not last long. Soon an amputated arm is found. As usual, Conan always cornered himself and interfered. From here begins this bittersweet affair !!
I liked the sequence of events and the multiplicity of characters. Hiji and Kazuha appeared … and they all have the same goal of stopping possible crimes. This film also showed the integrated relationship between the characters of Detective Conan. And it appears that they all cooperate in order to catch the spy
But the story takes another turn. Heiji was hit by a bullet. He was lucky it wasn’t serious. And after the capture of Takekawa. Heiji and Kazuha’s actual role in the film ended. Then Ran stumbled upon the spy, before everyone else. She is trying to save Yuki. She ignored the danger and started fighting the spy with karate. She was about to win, but the spy threw her into the sea in order to silence her and hide the truth. But Conan and the rest find it. After the case is resolved, it appears that everything is fine. But with the criminal admitting that he had thrown a high school girl who practiced karate, Conan was terrified because he realized that Ran was in danger, in these scenes the voices were successful. They conveyed their feelings fabulously and I really liked their work.
When Conan learned that X pushed Ran into the sea, he was seriously calming himself to think a way in finding Ran and starts to recall about the time he went to Tropical Land with Ran. At that time, Ran had said “No matter where I am, you’ll always find me, right? Great Detective”, to which he thinks, “How can I be a great detective if I can’t even find Ran?”
When the pilots couldn’t find Ran even with the radio waves emitting from the ship, Conan thinks her name repeatedly while clenching his fist and shedding his first tear. Later, he breaks down, screaming “RAN!” so loudly that she heard him even from under the Sea. And here the author has demonstrated the strength of the feelings of these two. Ran almost died, but when she heard Conan’s voice, she imagined that Conan was Shinichi. She remembered his promise to her that he would find her, and she felt happy that she was seeing Shinichi in front of her. Moments later, the search crew was able to pick up a tiny signal on the radio waves, and when the helicopter headed to the signal site, they found Ran. And here ended the moments of sadness and tension, Conan felt relieved. When Ran was taken out of the sea, she kept chanting Shinichi
Really an amazing movie. I’ve seen it hundreds of times because I was really touched, So I consider it as the best movie. Because for the first time I was able to see Conan 😂 tears
My final rating 10/10
3: Little Witch Academia
MAL Score: 7.82
For young witches everywhere, the world-renowned witch Shiny Chariot reigns as the most revered and celebrated role model. But as the girls age, so do their opinions of her—now just the mention of Chariot would get a witch labeled a child. However, undeterred in her blind admiration for Chariot, ordinary girl Atsuko Kagari enrolls into Luna Nova Magical Academy, hoping to someday become just as mesmerizing as her idol.
However, the witch academy isn’t all the fun and games Atsuko thought it would be: boring lectures, strict teachers, and students who mock Chariot plague the campus. Coupled with her own ineptness in magic, she’s seen as little more than a rebel student. But when a chance finally presents itself to prove herself to her peers and teachers, she takes it, and now it’s up to her to stop a rampaging dragon before it flattens the entire academy.
Aside from Ryo, which I can’t seem to find anywhere (if you happen to know a site, a link would be very helpful), I’ve seen all of the Anime Mirai 2013 films. All 4 are about half-an-hour long, so they’re pretty concise with their story. Death Billiards is pretty good, but it feels a bit pretentious, shoving a little philosophical question down your throat but not really making you think that much. Arve Rezzle feels like the pilot to a full series, and as such offers very little closure, but it has some nice ideas, even if those are undermined slightly by some rather half-baked characterisation and poorly executed exposition.
I’m giving my little mini reviews to the other episodes simply to give my review of Little Witch Academia some context. As someone with a rather cold demeanour, and who typically enjoys a dark thriller or gore-heavy action series, it may come across as somewhat surprising when I say that LWA is my favourite of the three. It’s almost Disney-esque, with genuinely loveable and quirky characters, a strong and functional, if not particularly complex, story and a completely uplifting tone. The humour is solid and hits you enough to make even the most stoic individual smile a bit. The animation is brilliant, with the art differing just enough from the conventions of the Japanese style to make me completely fall in love with it. Voice-acting is probably my primary gripe, but it’s not so bad that it distracts from the episode. It’s fun, and reminds me of why I need to be less tolerant of those angsty action-thrillers like Arve Rezzle that seem to make up the meat of today’s anime industry.
LWA is like Shrek. Far from being childish, this little gem is fun for everyone (though it doesn’t share Shrek’s gleeful love for sexual innuendo). Even if, like me, you’ve grown into an emotionally-jaded, highly critical badass, you may just find that Little Witch Academia has enough substance and upbeat tone to penetrate your doughy cynicism and really cheer you up.
I would genuinely rather they made a full series of this than Arve Rezzle.
Actually, Little Witch Academia caught me by surprise. I didn’t know Studio Trigger had something like that in stock and after I found out about this little gem I almost instantly decided to download it and oh boy was that a fine decision.
Reminder: This review will be spoiler free and I will refrain from going too deep into happenings and just summarize it really, really quickly. We have the main heroine Akko Kagari. As a child she was attending a magic show featuring the witch Shiny Chariot who has become an idol for Akko. Even though she is not born into a magic family she attends the name giving magic school and is friends with Sucy and Lotte.
Let’s split up this review into the five categories as usual:
There really isn’t much I can say about a one episode anime with 25 minutes without coming up with a summary or spoilers. So let’s just say that Little Witch Academia features a coherent plot. It features a look in the past of the main character and her motivations, parts of the everyday life at the academy and the interactions between multiple different characters. It’s just one episode but felt concluded and not rushed by any means.
Since it has been Studio Trigger working on this it has this certain touch you instantly get out of it if you have watched Kill la Kill before. In general the backgrounds are very nice to look at, the animation is fluid, lightning looks gorgeous and the character models are full of variety in looks and facial animations. There is nothing to complain about here.
As it is a single episode anime yet I would have never thought so much effort has been pumped into the soundtrack. It was outstanding and had a broad variety of different tunes to set the mood. I really loved that it consisted mostly of orchestral music. It just fitted so well.
Another part worth mentioning in the “Sound”-category is the voice acting. Trigger got really, really talented people on board for Little Witch Academia and it was a pure pleasure listening to them.
For a one-piece show they had a pretty adorable and varying cast reaching from the arrogant but talented witch with her two friends and the goofy main character as well as her sidekicks which would be a clumsy glasses girl and the superficially more introverted girl with the not-so-obvious but kickass abilities. All in all a very good cast of likeable characters.
I can’t remember when it was the last time 25 minutes felt that short. It was over in almost an instant and had no dull moments. It was funny, suspenseful and full of quality. Pure entertainment!
A very good anime. It is nice to see that projects like Little Witch Academia are such a success (600.000 clicks on YouTube according to Trigger). Also the second episode has been an insane hit on Kickstarter, fulfilling the 150.000$ mark in just one day. I can’t wait for more.
It was fun all along. You shouldn’t miss out on this enchanting tale! It’s worth your very time and appreciation.
*) Score is not an average
Instead of writing an essay about this i’m going to create a list of Positives and Negatives, I know when you’re just looking to see if an anime is worth watching you usually don’t want to read all that much.
– A short story which leaves room for expansion yet ties up the major loose ends and sticks to a three act structure incredibly well.
– The characters are all very different from each other, none are stereotypical archetypes and each are likeable in their own way.
– The soundtrack is not something I noticed too much, but it was enough to create the correct atmosphere for the scenario’s.
– The animation, I feel like this really needs to be stressed, by god the animation is amazing, everything is so smooth I think this might be the smoothest and most consistent animation i’ve ever seen.
– Hard to think of many.
– The soundtrack wasn’t extremely memorable, hardly much of a negative.
Like I said, it’s very difficult for me personally to find faults in Little Witch Academia, I would recommend this to almost anyone and am certainly looking forward to the future of this project.
2: Sakasama no Patema
English: Patema Inverted
MAL Score: 8.01
Patema is a plucky young girl from an underground civilization boasting an incredible network of tunnels. Inspired by a friend that mysteriously went missing, she is often reprimanded due to her constant excursions of these tunnels due to her royal status. After she enters what is known as the “forbidden zone,” she accidentally falls into a giant bottomless pit after being startled by a strange creature.
Finding herself on the surface, a world literally turned upside down, she begins falling towards the sky only to be saved by Age, a discontented student of the totalitarian nation known as Aiga. The people of Aiga are taught to believe that “Inverts,” like Patema, are sinners that will be “swallowed by the sky,” but Age has resisted this propaganda and decides to protect his new friend. A chance meeting between two curious teenagers leads to an exploration of two unique worlds as they begin working together to unveil the secrets of their origins in Sakasama no Patema, a heart-warming film about overcoming differences in order to coexist.
The film was first premiered at France’s Annecy, the world’s largest animation festival, on June 13, 2013. Screening in Japanese theaters began on November 9, 2013.
No, not really. That plot synopsis is pretty close though.
After falling into a pit that her village declared a danger zone, young Patema is plunged into a bizarre new world where everything is inverted. Suddenly, literally falling into the endless sky becomes a very real possibility. She meets an inhabitant of the land, Age, and they quickly connect with each other. Patema clings to Age very closely, as he is the only thing that stands between her and being “eaten” by the sky. Despite her fear of the sky, Patema discovers the amazing new world that she had been told stories of as a child, living her dreams of seeing the world for what it really is.
The world that Age lives in is classically isolated and under absolute rule, complete with a 1-dimensional dictator that crosses his hands in a way that screams “excellent work, my minions.” Looking into the sky is forbidden, and Age has already suffered for his curiosity. With Patema, however, he learns that there is more to the world than what he has been taught, and seeks to live his own dreams of flying in the sky as well.
The characters are connected in this visually stunning film, literally to stop them from falling but also to emphasize the message that people of different backgrounds can coexist and live peacefully. It’s a time tested story that we are no doubt familiar with, but the way the film uses the inverted gravity to bring the main characters together and to build the legends and myths surrounding the world is remarkable.
The fact that everything in the film is reversed depending on your perspective is a unique aspect that plays with what is real and not. For example, you could turn your screen upside down and still watch essentially the same film, because the film itself frequently turns itself around so that we can see the same thing from either Patema or Age’s perspective. What is normal ground to Age is a ceiling to Patema, with nothing but the vast sky beneath her feet, and vice versa.
The story is thought provoking and with so many inversions of the screen, we begin to feel just like one of the characters, confused at the sudden shift of gravity and afraid of what is beneath us. Through this adventure, Patema and Age encounter new worlds themselves, thinking to themselves “This is what was really out here?” They see beautiful things, like the stars in a swirling galaxy, and they see the abandoned, like the wasteland their ancestors forgot about. Even when everything comes together, there are still mysteries left unanswered. Why not try figuring them out?
The artwork and animation for the film are top notch. Particular detail is made to the sky, because for all the characters, it is such a mysterious place. Clouds swirl in streaks of white and gray, the stars peek out from the night sky, and the sun illuminates in soft streaks of orange and yellow. There is a scene in the middle of the film that is particularly stunning, where Patema and Age finally found out what links their world and the truth of the past. The color palette between Patema and Age’s world is very distinct, and its use of color is no doubt excellent.
Along with the visually pleasant film is a soundtrack that captures the mood perfectly. Sometimes it is like “space” music, and at other times it is a sweeping orchestral piece to go along with the sense of adventure in the film. The ending song is “Patema Inverse” by Estelle Michaeu, which is a nice listen that emphasizes the connection between two different worlds.
It’s been a long time of waiting for this film, but it was well worth it. It was an enjoyable, romantic adventure that took the familiar story of acceptance between 2 different worlds and spun it literally around with gravity inversion, a result of a failed experiment from a long, long time ago. At the heart of the film is a realization that people need each other to survive, and to discover our common features is truly a wonderful thing.
Don’t be afraid to look up at the sky! Likewise, don’t always look down at the ground! There is a much bigger, more fantastical world out there than what school and books tell you. All it takes is a little push.
The brainchild of the movie falls under the hand of Yasuhiro Yoshiura, who also serves as the director. His previous involvement in projects such as Eve of Jikan and Pale Cocoon labels him as a colorful director, one that can turn a sci-fi story inside and out. And indeed, Sakasama no Patema is such a film that is literally turned but this time from up and down.
To get an experience of what the world is like, one should first be familiarized with how flight works. Literally, the movie has the two main characters, Patema and Age (Eiji) hanging on to each other as they see their perspective world from different points of view. You ever heard of the perhaps humorous joke of ‘don’t look down’ on a suspended bridge? Try putting your shoes into their position in this movie and you’ll get a good general idea. Nonetheless, the movie wastes little time by introducing the two main characters and their perspective worlds. In the underground kingdom, the technology is rigid and desolate. People there relies on scavenged food and crude machines to survive. But as a curious girl like Patema, she’d definitely want to explore what the outside world is like. Of course, curiosity almost kills the cat as she ventures into the danger zone and gets herself into some serious trouble, more than what she had imagined.
On other hand, there’s the surface world. Unlike the underground kingdom, the technology there is sufficient and its strength lies with the superiors. Classrooms are in fact held indoors with dictatorship and authority by the higher ups. Taken for granted, Patema falls into the danger zone and is thrown into danger until Age prevents her from “falling down”. From there on, we get whole scenarios where he must hold Patema in order to prevent her from flying away. It brings credibility to the term of ‘inverted’. But for a movie with this sense of adventure, there’s needs to be more to add on. From an experimental perspective, there’s also a sense of prejudice as the antagonists label certain characters as “sinners”. On the other hand, there’s the way how Patema experiments with her life in the surface world. At first, it’s easy to tell that she’s scared as a new kid in the world of the unknown. Oh and don’t forget the fact that she sees the world differently as everyone else through her inverted vision. It’s a unique gimmick despite lacking strength in crafting its concept of gravity. In fact, gravity is defied and the law of the universe is negated.
They’re not star-crossed lovers but Patema and Age shares a rather unique relationship. Combined with the way they discover each other, the pair brings dynamics, humor, and integrity. It takes guts to fight off governmental control or those menacing looking bat humanoids as seen throughout the movie. At the same time, their connection builds off what little time they share with each other. Unfortunately, this doesn’t transit into any sort of significant development as most of their moments in the sky is reflected by struggles. What we have here is something they contrast in terms of dealing with their families, friends, and relatives. Patema has the love of her people in the underground kingdom. On the other hand, Age shares minimal connection with his professors and friends (or at least so evidenced) in his society. To make matters worse, we briefly witness Age’s past which comes out as more of a painful memory rather than as a treasure.
As thought provoking as the film sounds to be, the antagonist can and should be labeled as rather stereotypical. Although not a mad scientist, he still has similar ambitions such as making Patema a guinea pig of sorts through intimidation. And of course, he doesn’t get the answer he wants to hear. At the same time, we learn that the classes taught in Age’s world serves more as a propaganda rather than education. There’s a conspiracy vibe going on as we find out more about the past involving the “sinners” and experiments. Then, there are interesting concepts involving the world referred to by the characters. One could formulate their own theories and come to conclusions as how they function. It creates interesting and methodical ways of seeing the story from another point of view, perhaps not opposite down but more with thought.
Like I mentioned before, this isn’t love story but it does have some flags going up in the sky. Some moments capture fine details involving how Patema and Age are fated to be together while other times creates a feeling of despair. For Patema’s childhood friend though, he becomes more like a scapegoat to the story. Despite his heroic efforts, he seems to be unrewarded towards the end. At the same time, the antagonist’s obsession to discover the people from the underground world leads to a downfall, even to a point where his own subordinates questions his motivations. Still, action speaks louder than words and during climatic moments, we witness it firsthand. While it is dramatic, it’s also cheesy and unrealistic where one could feel less attached to how it’s presented.
Artwork is handled by the relatively unknown studio Purple Cow Studios Japan. Yet, its craftsmanship decorate the backgrounds with great creativity. It sharply details the contrast between Patema and Age’s world. The steampunk style of the underground kingdom shows consistency while the surface world focuses on its more advanced society. Character designs also makes sense with Patema’s designs matching her curiosity and attractive cyan hair. However, Age’s character design shows little distinctiveness but instead comes off as a rather normal human being. For the antagonists though, they share facial features to demonstrate their intimidation. In particular, the bat humanoids have a design that makes them look like malevolent machinations. It creates the feeling of fear and how hunters can become the hunted. Finally, the camera angles is important to really bring the idea of ‘inverted’ to life. And I’d have to say, it did just that. You’ll have to see it to believe it.
Likewise, soundtrack is strong and demonstrates maturity. There’s no stupidity in its OST as comedy isn’t a main focus. During the more dramatic scenes, the soundtrack systemically follows in rhythm with the mood. On the other hand, we also get tense and sorrowful moments when characters are put into more complex situations. Speaking of characters though, Patema and Age has voices that matches their persona. Patema sounds like a normal girl despite her status as a princess in her world. There’s no egoistic or brash attitude coming out of her but rather as a girl who is just curious. Similarly, Age has the voice mannerism of a normal boy and often worries about the well-being of others, in particular Patema.
If you ever wanted to fly, take this movie as a motivation. Of course, you’ll probably need some aerial experience to ensure yourself that you don’t land in the wrong place. For Patema and Age, they land themselves into an adventure that will be unforgettable for the rest of their lives. As a movie crafted by such innovative ideas, I find it to be well done but not ultra-thought provoking. Sure, the idea is great but the time the characters spent together lacks meaningful development. Whatever the goal the movie was trying to accomplish focuses mostly on its premise with less emphasis on characterization but more on concept. Still, this movie should still be on your watch list especially if you’re in a mood for wanderlust.
There wouldn’t be a movie if they didn’t opt for the latter. And they become quite a pair. Age is observant and intelligent, but sullen and despondent; Patema is upbeat and adventurous, but somewhat scatterbrained and clumsy. These are perhaps not the most unique attributes for the protagonists of an animated adventure film to possess, but what distinguishes them as more than lazy cliches is the ease with which we can see how each of them is a natural product of their respective environment. Age, once a dreamer with plans of leaving the ground and flying, has been beaten down in his day-to-day life by a society which believes that the sky is a source of death and destruction. Bereft of anyone to share his thoughts with, he has locked them away and chosen to meet the minimum expectations of his world with begrudging cynicism and indifference. Patema’s world is equal but opposite—its rules discourage exploration as well, but out of a real desire to provide safety rather than to control. The people of the underground try to shelter Patema, and the result is a girl whose curiosity and enthusiasm far exceed her capabilities and knowledge. These two are not merely personalities dropped into a world, but characters built from the ground up to make sense in the world of Patema Inverted.
Moreover, their chemistry works with the simple grace that is characteristic of this film. Patema’s earnest curiosity pulls the old Age back into the light, unearthing his buried interests and passions, restoring some of the childish happiness and optimism which he was forced to outgrow. He, in turn, provides the reason and restraint that she is lacking. Together, they’re a force to be reckoned with, a billiard ball of measured recklessness careening through a world that has never seen their like.
The film follows their lead, rolling along from obstacle to obstacle. It carries the marks of veteran storytellers. It’s paced brilliantly, balancing frantic, high-energy chases and momentous events against careful, deliberate exposition and instances of character introspection, maintaining a brisk speed while occasionally giving the film (and the audience) a chance to breathe and consider the impact of events. Despite the thoughtful and curious nature of its concept and setting, it neatly avoids the tar pit of wordiness and overindulgence into which stories of that nature have the chance of sinking; it is never too slow or too obtuse, instead rationing its heavier sci-fi aspects so as not to become overly ponderous. It foreshadows its twists and turns with admirable finesse and carries itself smartly, eventually leading to a conclusion which, while definitely a shock, ends up providing the satisfaction of a story brought to fruition from start to finish as one realizes that all of the requisite hints were provided, and it suddenly all makes smashing, effortless sense.
Visually, there is much to love. While the production values might not stack up to those associated with many feature films, this is nonetheless a pleasant movie to look at. Key character designs are refreshingly simple, yet distinctive, and backgrounds are filled with bright, glossy detail. However, it is Yasuhiro Yoshiura’s skillful direction and cinematography which steal the show. A pan across a classroom shows, row by row, each student staring blankly ahead, except for Age, who gazes out the window at the forbidden sky. Patema fears the stars in that same sky until she sees their beauty reflected at an angle in Age’s briefcase, truly aligning her perspective with his for the first time. Yoshiura’s compositions and shots not only draw the eye with subtle technique, but reflect the theme of the film, wordlessly expose the thoughts of his characters, and imbue each scene with a sense of purpose.
It’s worth mentioning, though, that the swift, simple and energetic nature of the film is a double-edged sword. When a light, pleasant story is told with such sure-handed competence, it’s not unreasonable to wonder what could have been had the storyteller gone the extra mile in search of more creative ideas, more thematic resonance, more lasting impact. In essence, Patema Inverted is just a little safe. The settings—both Age’s oppressive totalitarian society and Patema’s underground village of peaceful outcasts—tread well-worn territory for sci-fi. The antagonists—the unquestionably evil, short-sighted dictator and his doubting second-in-command—are also old standbys. They serve their roles adequately, but unlike Patema and Age, they lack the foundation of character needed to be true standouts from their respective crowds. And while the film contains many tidbits about what we can understand and accomplish when we merge our perspectives, and the inherent fragility of close-mindedness, it’s lacking the focused thematic punch in the gut needed to make a permanent impression.
That’s not to say that Patema Inverted is a brainless work, that it’s poor, or even that it’s merely forgettable, airy entertainment. The opposite—it’s not only entertaining, but also clever, deftly executed, artfully made, and chock-full of those little touches that make the difference between a tired, mediocre creation and one that is palpably bursting with the life, thoughts, and energy of those who created it. It might not aspire to greatness, but it’s good with such confidence and efficiency that one can’t help but smile.
1: Berserk: Ougon Jidai-hen III – Kourin
English: Berserk: The Golden Age Arc III – The Advent
Japanese: ベルセルク 黄金時代篇Ⅲ 降臨
MAL Score: 8.20
The Band of the Hawk has dwindled in the year since Guts left them on his journey to forge his own destiny. Unaware of their fate, Guts returns to the Hawks—now being led by his former ally Casca—after a rumor about them passes his way. Once the saviors of the kingdom of Midland, the Band of the Hawk are now hunted as they desperately fight for their lives while plotting to free their leader, Griffith, after he was imprisoned for committing treason. But the man they save is far from the Griffith they remember.
Griffith is a shell of his former charismatic self after a year of continuous, horrific torture. No longer able to walk, speak, or even hold a sword, he has nothing but the small, strange trinket, the Crimson Behelit, that will not leave him. The entire Band of the Hawk want to rise to greatness once more, but how much are they willing to sacrifice to return to their past glory? It doesn’t seem possible, but when Griffith’s heart darkens and a solar eclipse blackens the sky, the Behelit offers a choice that will leave the Band of the Hawk with a blood-soaked fate that will haunt them for the rest of their days.
The controversial CG in my humble opinion, has improved but still has its problems. I say the frame rate is more even and the frame size in proportion to the characters and foreground appropriately accommodates it. It still comes across as “gamey,” but it is an improvement, but by no means perfect. The action is very violent and lives up to its bad ass title. There will be plenty of blood and gore. Even though Guts is the main character and a bad ass, I will admit when this guy fights, he scares me and this movie does a good job of making me scared of the main character. There’s nothing to fear, but fear itself, but fear fears Guts. On a list of top anime bad asses, Guts has to be on that list no doubt.
I say what defines the art and animation is how it sets the atmosphere and brings you into the emotions. You feel Griffith’s fragility. Even though you don’t see him unmasked, the detail to the art on whatever you see of his face is enough to give you an idea of what he would look like if unmasked. You see the hesitation of Guts on whether or not he should leave the Hawks again. You feel Casca’s frustrations. I feel that the raw emotions bring a sense of substance in conjunction to its R-15+ (the equivalent to an NC-17 in America) rating.
The voice acting, as I have admitted in previous reviews, has been an issue for me. I will admit that Guts’ new actor has shown improvement and shown instances that he can capture the character. But I will openly admit as a purist and fanboy that Nobutoshi Canna is still Guts to me while Michael Bell will always be his English voice to me. The guy who plays Jedau does an ok imitation of the character’s original voice actor, Ishida Akira. Maybe for people not familiar with the previous anime series and the games will not find this to be an issue and may like the voice actors.
Like the second movie, the soundtrack is more acoustics and orchestrated. My thoughts on that carry onto this movie as well. It suits the time period very well and knows how to suit the atmosphere. The orchestra in the ending credits was very impressive. Susumu Hirakawa still does the opening theme and is my favorite part of the soundtrack. Still, like the newer voice cast, fans new to Berserk who had not seen the previous anime series or played the games will probably not think of this as an issue.
The closest thing to a spoiler I can give is that after the ending credits, there is a post credits scene which isn’t much for some people, but after that is over, there is a message in clear English that says “This is only the beginning” meaning we will get new Berserk movies. I say its only natural with the easter eggs in previous movies, this series deserves its shot where it really shines. For those not familiar with the Berserk manga, this new trilogy is a mere fraction of what Berserk has to offer. So I hope we hear more news soon if a new Berserk movie will come out this year or not.
After that, we get a bonus music video!!! So fans will most likely enjoy this.
After how much I bashed the first 2 Berserk films, you might be surprised to learn that I actually really liked the 3rd one! I try not to be petty and hold grudges, where I will automatically attack every work in a certain franchise or by a certain author, simply because I didn’t like previous entries. In the 3rd film covering the Eclipse portion of the Berserk storyline, they FINALLY get it right.
The first vast improvement is the pacing. The 3rd film covers an appropriate number of episodes, so the much beloved story and characters of Berserk don’t need to be massively watered down in order to fit a 2 hour run time. In fact, the 3rd film is able to give us background about the Berserk world that the original anime wasn’t able to fit in. We also get to actually see the full conclusion of the Eclipse instead of a random fade to black. We know from the first episode of the original Berserk anime that Guts survived the Eclipse, but the first anime doesn’t even hint as to how he could have survived it. The 3rd movie is able to fit in the Skull Knight in all his Deus ex Machina glory! Given the movie did unfortunately cut out the Skull Knight’s fight with Zodd the Immortal, but just showing the escape made it a massive improvement on the original ending. I also appreciated that the movie captured the full brutality and horror of the Eclipse even better than the first anime. There were parts of the original anime that I liked better including Judeau’s final confession of love for Caska. However, Berserk 3 still does a very solid job adapting this portion of the manga…unlike those first 2 movies.
On a technical level, the CGI is vastly improved and actually doesn’t look like complete shit for once. The music was also pretty solid throughout, although the extremely melodramatic piano piece when Griffith rapes Caska was a tad out of place. I wasn’t sure if he was going to rape her or tie her to a railroad track while evilly twisting his handlebar mustache.
Bonus Section: Trivia
The “Eclipse” happens every 216 years because 6 x 6 x 6 = 216.
The Godhand members are all named after obscure books by great fantasy/scifi writers that Miura likes. Each Godhand member is partially inspired by one of these titans of fantasy.
Void = Frank Herbert Conrad = Roger Zalazny Ubik = Philip K Dick Slan = AE van Vogt
Berserk is one of VERY few non-hentai titles to show pubic hair. Although there is no longer a censorship law against this in 2015, most anime don’t do this out of convention to keep the border between hentai and non-hentai echii clear.
Guts was named after the real life historical figure Gottfried “Götz” von Berlichingen, a badass medieval mercenary who fought with a prosthetic iron hand just like Guts.
Often hailed as one of, if not THE best mangas of all time, Berserk has earned itself a spot on many an avid manga reader’s “must read” lists and for good reason as it’s the quintessential dark fantasy manga and the ultimate story of friendship, tragedy, and the pursuit of self-destructive vengeance. This may very well be true in the manga, but Berserk’s animated history isn’t much to speak of. The TV series produced by Oriental Light & Magic in 1997 is hailed as a classic by many but its piss-poor animation along with its mortifying cliffhanger of an ending left a sour taste in the mouths of a lot of people (myself included). Unfortunately, this was the *only* adaptation of Berserk that ever existed… that is until Studio 4C announced that it would be releasing a series of films to adapt the Golden Age Arc of the Berserk manga. Are these movies any good? Personally, I say that they’re great but I’m pretty sure that statement of mine just evoked the wrath of thousands of Berserk fans. Allow me to explain myself:
As fans of a manga, it’s completely understandable that we’d want our adaptations to copy the source material verbatim, but the sad fact of the matter is that it’s just not possible whatsoever. Despite the fact that mangas are basically pre-drawn storyboards for anime studios to work with, anime and manga are two completely different mediums with different demands and nuances to work with. Changes *must* be made for the sake of things like time, narrative consistency, budget, and all that other stuff. If you’re going to get up in arms about how the adaptation lacks every single irrelevant detail from the source material that you adored the shit out of, do yourself a favour and stick with the manga because no matter which way you look at it, the adaptation will *always* be inferior to the source material so there’s no use in complaining about it.
On another note, censorship is generally not an issue when it comes to manga because S&P boards aren’t even a thing when it comes down to print media (well, I think they aren’t anyway). Anime broadcast on television however need to abide by certain standards and given the content that Berserk has, there’s no way it can last as a TV series without either suffering from extensive censorship OR butchering it to the point where it’s a completely different show than what it was intended to be. Cinema on the other hand, doesn’t have to put up with censorship (unless you’re in a country with a turbulent civil rights history like Saudi Arabia, China, or Iran) and it’s more readily accessible to a greater audience than it would’ve been otherwise had it been a TV series. Sure, Studio 4C could’ve easily made an OVA series like Space Battleship Yamato 2199 but ultra-violent GAR OVAs died in the late 80s and early 90s along with parachute pants, grunge music, and The Fat Boys. Also, I don’t think a lot of people would be too eager to buy a full season’s worth of one show on DVD/Blu-ray so there’s that to factor in as well.
Now with all of that stuff out of the way, let’s talk about the movies and how they actually are from a quality standpoint. Well I won’t mince words here: each film in the trilogy is better than the one that preceded it with “Eclipse” being the best and “The Egg of the King” being the worst (by default). Now, that’s not to say that the first movie in the trilogy was terrible because in all honesty, it really wasn’t. It was a fair enough introduction to Berserk, the storytelling was fair enough (albeit rather clunky) and hey! We finally got a chance to see a battle animated properly (and in 1080p) instead of seeing blown-up watercolour stills so that’s also quite lovely. The problem lies in the way the film itself was actually animated. It’s strange to say, but that’s the most succinct way to explain the problem.
Studio 4C is an awesome studio and they’ve got some great stuff on their resume like the short film “Magnetic Rose” from the Memories trilogy by Katsuhiro Otomo, Steamboy, The Animatrix, and Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox (if you wanna include their collaborative projects with Warner Bros). Yeah, these guys aren’t slouches when it comes down to the audiovisual department. The problem is that the Golden Age Arc of Berserk contains no shortage of large-scale battles that are incredibly difficult to animate in two dimensions. To mitigate this issue, Studio 4C opted to integrate varying degrees of CG animation into the mix in order to actually animate all those large-scale battles and it works absolutely beautifully in those situations.
Unfortunately, they decided to maintain the CG even when there weren’t any battles to actually animate in the first movie and it just looks so ridiculously clunky to the point where there’s something eerie about it. That clunky CG animation is basically what caused so many people to not even bother giving these movies a chance despite the fact that it actually does get better as time went on. I’m not going to lie, the CG is an eyesore but there’s no denying that the animation across all three movies is a million leagues better than the barely-animated rubbish the TV series had to offer (do keep in mind I’m talking about the animation of the TV series, the story and characters are quite lovely). Hell, the third movie actually got the CG right and used it to great effect during the Eclipse (which I’ll talk about later).
In regard to the story and characters, I must say that Studio 4C did a pretty good job (especially given that they were trying to cover 11 volumes’ worth of content within the span of 3 films). The Golden Age Arc of Berserk is the ultimate story of hardship and sacrifice fuelled by the pursuit of one man’s dream. We start our journey in the middle of a century-long war between two kingdoms. Midland, our country of origin was forced to enlist the help of countless mercenaries just to supplement their waning military forces. In the process, they enlisted two people: our aimless protagonist with no goals in life, Guts and the charismatic and ambitious Griffith and the rest of his team known as the “Band of the Hawk.” Through circumstance, Guts ends up joining Griffith and his band of mercenaries and I’ll just leave the rest for you to experience.
Yeah, there are a lot of things missing from these movies that the TV series had but Studio 4C managed to retain the “spirit” of Berserk throughout the course of the trilogy. Sure, some events are either implied or omitted entirely but most (if not all) of the important stuff from the Golden Age Arc remain intact and dare I say that these movies managed to portray these events much better than the TV series and even the manga ever could. I’m not even being hyperbolic or anything of the sort. A lot of the highlights of the Golden Age Arc just “take” to being animated and I can safely say that Studio 4C did virtually everything they could to make those highlights from the manga stand out and work much better than they ever could’ve if they were just black-and-white panels upon pages with no sound whatsoever.
On that note, let’s talk about the Eclipse. If you’ve EVER spent any time around the Berserk fandom, chances are that you’ve heard of this event and have a vague idea of what it is. But for those of you who aren’t well-versed in the ways of Berserk, I’ll explain what it is. The Golden Age arc of the manga is first and foremost, a protracted flashback that lasted from Volume 3 of the manga to Volume 14. Berserk initially starts off with Guts in the present time in pursuit of Griffith for reasons that were never revealed until the climax of the GAA. The Eclipse is nothing short of a cataclysmic nightmare that seamlessly merged ghastly and surreal horror with heart-wrenching tragedy. A recurring theme throughout the course of the Golden Age arc is causality and the existence of free will. Throughout the manga and the films, these theme was always working its magic in the background and gave us hints and foreshadowing of the ghastly nightmare that we would later experience.
Unfortunately, the TV series lacked this sort of foreshadowing almost entirely. By the time the Eclipse actually happened, it just came out of nowhere. The impact of the Eclipse was lost completely because the themes of causality and the supernatural were downplayed heavily in lieu of putting more emphasis on camaraderie and friendship. Hypothetically, this could’ve led to a more impactful tragedy but the problem is that there was no foreshadowing whatsoever. Instead of making us crap our pants in pure, unadulterated terror whilst also making us cry like little bitches because of the fact that all of this horrible shit is happening to characters we’ve grown to know and love, it made us scratch our heads in confusion… oh, and that’s not even getting into the appalling animation making the entire ordeal difficult to take seriously and how all of this actually ended in the TV series.
Thankfully, none of that was the case when it came down to the third Berserk movie and its portrayal of the Eclipse. In fact, it managed to perfectly capture the sheer intensity of the Eclipse as a cataclysmic tragedy in ways that both the TV series AND the manga failed to do. A lot of this can be chalked up to the fact that Studio 4C did an outstanding job with the animation. Did I forget to mention that the Eclipse is one of the bloodiest and most gruesome parts of Berserk to ever exist (because that’s kinda important…)? The way Studio 4C went about portraying the Eclipse was so graphic to the point where people who actually saw this movie in theatres ended up having to leave because it was just too much for some people to actually sit through. This is the way that the Eclipse was meant to be portrayed from the very beginning. The third movie succeeded where the source material and its previous adaptation failed. I’d love to keep going, but I think that’ll reach into some seriously spoiler-heavy territory and I think I spoiled more than enough at this point.
On that note, let’s talk about how it ends. The TV series ended on what is undoubtedly the single most depressing point of the entire story, but the actual resolution of the Golden Age arc in the manga wasn’t like that at all. Though the TV series left the overall story of the GAA is left largely intact, many alterations had to be made so that the entire story could fit within the span of 25 episodes. Because of this, the guys at OLM decided that it would be an absolutely fantastic idea to just omit the ACTUAL resolution of the Golden Age arc and just ended it on such a mortifying cliffhanger to the point where anyone who wasn’t familiar with the source material would be shouting at the screen going “What the actual fuck?!” The movies completely and totally avoided this and I’m SO thankful that Studio 4C managed to get it right. All you manga purist Berserk fans can talk shit about the films all you want, but there’s no denying that the way the third movie got right what the TV series got wrong.
Now, you may be wondering whether or not the movies do a good enough job of making us care about the characters. Personally, I think that the movie managed to do a great job but others may beg to differ because of the fact that the Golden Age Arc movies cut out a lot of stuff. While I can’t really say much about the secondary/tertiary characters, I can safely say that the movies hit the nail on the head when it came down to our dynamic duo of Guts and Griffith which is what ultimately matters in the end. It’s the dynamic between these two and the rest of the cast that made this arc of the manga so captivating to read in the first place.
Guts started out as a wandering mercenary with a brutal past, no friends, and nothing to aspire toward. His encounter with Griffith and the Band of the Hawk led to him finally knowing what it was like to have friends. What’s more is that it was revealed that despite all of the horrible things that Guts went through in the past, he’s got such a capacity for things like love, trust, friendship, and all that other stuff. At the same time, the GAA by and large is a tragedy and we all know that shit will end horribly for Guts and that he’ll take up his sword in pursuit of vengeance no matter what the cost. I don’t think it’s any stretch to say that he is without a doubt, one of Berserk’s greatest assets. The movies retain the very essence of this tragic character and makes it so that we’ll always have a reason to root for him in the end.
That’s not to invalidate Griffith, because he’s just as great a character as Guts is. Griffith has evoked the ire of countless Berserk fans for his actions in the manga that I’m not at liberty to discuss, but don’t let that make you think he’s not a great character in the slightest. I viscerally despise everything there is about Griffith, and yet I can still find myself finding some modicum of sympathy for him (Kentaro Miura might be fapping away to Idolmaster these days, but there’s no denying that he’s more than capable of writing amazing characters). Many of us have larger-than-life ambitions, but Griffith is one of the few who actually makes the effort to chase after those foolhardy childhood dreams that we end up letting go of as we get older. Throughout the course of the Golden Age arc, Griffith is depicted as a sort of demigod and it isn’t until he encounters Guts when his cool shell starts to crack as he and Guts end up becoming like brothers. It’s this very bond between these two that provides the catalyst for almost all of Berserk’s highlights and tragedies. If you want to know more, then you know what you need to do: watch the bloody movies and then read the bloody manga for context!
Before I wrap this review up, I want to take the time to talk about one last thing: the audio. The Golden Age Arc trilogy’s OST and dubbing is absolutely spectacular. Say what you will about the animation, but there’s no denying that everyone in the sound department deserves a gold medal for their work. On the OST side of things, every single track is absolutely spectacular and fits the mood perfectly… except one track during the climax of the third movie which makes me wonder if Griffith was wearing a top hat, a monocle, and had a thin moustache he was twirling around in one finger whilst waiting for an oncoming train to run over Casca (but let’s not get into that). Of all the tracks that were played across all three movies, I’d have to say that “Blood and Guts” (the ending theme of the first and third movies) would have to be my favourite because it perfectly captures the tragic nature of Guts as a character (that, and it also sounds REALLY fucking awesome).
As for the dubbing, I really have to give props to Viz because they not only hired the bulk of the original cast of the TV series’ dub, but they gave them better voice direction and also managed to sync up the mouth movements properly! Marc Diraison did a wonderful job in the TV series, but he really gets a chance to shine under Viz’s direction. As for Kevin T. Collins, well his work as Griffith is absolutely spot-on and almost everything I’ve said about Marc Diraison can be applied to him as well. My only complaint however is the fact that there are no outtake reels on the DVD/Blu-ray release of any of the movies (at least from what I can gather). Come on, guys… if the guys at Media Blasters have the dignity to show their bloopers, you guys can do it too.
So, what else is there to say about these movies? Hm… well, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that these movies are definitely worth watching. As an introduction to Berserk, these movies do an excellent job with acquainting any potential newcomers with everything whilst giving long-time fans of the series a properly animated adaptation that while condensed and short, manages to perfectly encapsulate virtually everything there is to love about this series. At present, there is no sequel to this film trilogy, so if you’re new to Berserk and you just finished the third movie, you’ll have to do one of two things:
a) Read the manga from the very beginning so that you can see what you missed out on whilst also learning what became of Guts et al post-Eclipse.
b) Wait for Studio 4C to release the next instalment of their Berserk adaptation. They have stated previously that they have plans to adapt the rest of the manga, but they’ve yet to release anything.
Personally, I’d recommend the first option, but waiting ain’t half bad if you don’t wanna buy volumes or put up with shitty scanlations. Anyway, that’s all for now. Feedback’s always welcome and with that, I’m out. Peace 🙂
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Berserk: Ougon Jidai-hen III – Kourin
2. Sakasama no Patema
3. Little Witch Academia
4. Detective Conan Movie 17: Private Eye in the Distant Sea
5. Doraemon Movie 33: Nobita no Himitsu Dougu Museum