They’re the best Anime that 2014 has to offer! We counts down the best anime to come out this year, including the likes of Hakuouki Movie 2: Shikon Soukyuu, Uchuu Senkan Yamato 2199: Hoshimeguru Hakobune, Lupin the IIIrd: Jigen Daisuke no Bohyou, and more!
5: Hakuouki Movie 2: Shikon Soukyuu
English: Hakuoki ~Demon of the Fleeting Blossom~ Warrior Spirit of the Blue Sky
Japanese: 劇場版 薄桜鬼 第二章 士魂蒼穹
MAL Score: 7.74
Second part of two Hakuouki movies.
The movie already starts in the middle of a battle, with a little time-skip from the last scene of the first movie. We started discovering stuff about the furies, and then the focus goes back to the Shinsengumi, which from what we can see from the beginning of the movie, it’s already in crisis, in its declining phase.
Here in this movie we have two main focuses: the conclusion of the war, leaded by the main guys of the Shinsengumi, and the Chizuru’s story, which is a mix of the onis and furies story with her own love story.
As the movie goes, we’re shown lots of battles – epic battles I must say –, all focused on the Shinsengumi guys, they’re a mix of sadness, pride and what I think the movie expressed very well, the way of the samurai. So this movie diverges from the first one in these battles; the first movie was more focused in introducing characters and preparing the story, and the second one finished showing more the feelings of the characters and their personalities, together with the whole plot, which in the beginning seems that would take a tragic ending, but end up taking an interesting romantic way.
As I said above in the brief summary of this review, the story is very much focused in the decline of the Shinsengumi forces in the war. The characters are all already in the limit but they keep fighting for what they believe, and again, it’s shown in many ways during the movie how they respect and follow the way of the samurai – some in pure way of the concept, and others in the way they believe is right –. Chizuru again also have an important role in the story, trying to unite the Shinsengumi somehow, even during the crisis, and it’s by doing this that she’ll discover her true feelings for Shinsengumi and for the one she loved all the way.
After I finished the first movie I was concerned how they were gonna do the second half of the story and the battles, but I was very happy while watching it ’cause the studio did a great job again. They wrote an amazing plot and gave an important mission to each of the remaining characters, none of them were forgotten.
Also in the ending of the movie we get to know the true meaning of the title “Hakuouki”, which is very beautiful considering the whole atmosphere of the final scene.
The characters have much more development than in the first movie, especially in the battles, it’s where we see their true emotions and their pride as samurai.
There are lot of meetings and goodbyes between them and the main character Chizuru, but they all help her somehow. I think different from the TV series, in the movie we get to see – at least if it’s just a foreshadowing –, how the characters loved Chizuru and how they want to protect her.
A character that shined in this movie, for me, was Kazama. As a villain he didn’t get much attention in the TV series, but in the second movie he’s definitely the star. I loved how they portrayed him at the same time being a bad figure and someone who can be lovely and protective.
In general, what I liked the most about the characters in the second movie was how they shown their sentimental side, considering mostly of the characters have become furies at this point, I liked the “I can be a demon but I still have a heart, and this heart will follow the path I believe is right” thing.
Again, I want to applaud Studio Deen for the amazing animation. These movies might be the best of the best the studio have done so far. Like in the first movie, the characters are perfectly animated, as well as the scenery. What called my attention the most in this movie was the animation in the fight scenes, it doesn’t disappoint! If you’re a fan of samurai + fight scenes, this will be your cup of tea.
The OSTs are ok. They aren’t anything special, but they fit with the scenes they’re present. The ending song though is something memorable. The song is very beautiful and the lyrics fit with the whole story of the movie, so after you finished watching you should definitely check them. My only complaint was that the song just played on the credits, and as I watched the last scene I thought it would fit much better if it had started playing in the middle of the last scene, or if at least they had put another song during that scene.
Overall, the second and last movie of the retelling story of Hakuouki was very good. As I mentioned in my review for the first movie, it was more enjoyable than the TV series. It was very nice see two different things happening in an historical anime: the story of the samurais and a love story, and better, the movie portrayed both very well! I would recommend to anyone who likes good fights, good looking guys and a beautiful and romantic ending. If you already watched the TV series, or watched just the first movie, you also should check out this movie as well, it has a different story during the first part and then a very similar ending to the one of the TV series.
Check out to see the conclusion of the Hakuouki story!
bearing that in mind, from what i was able to understand of this film, i would have to say it did not live up to the promise of the first film. whereas in the tv series there was a little too much emphasis on the battles, to the extent that i could not follow who the Shinsengumi was fighting and why, this film went to the other extreme. consequently we don’t see any of the battles that Hijikata underwent. instead we watch Chizuru journey to reconcile with Hijikata, which made much less compelling viewing. another consequence of this change of focus was that the deaths several characters were very rushed, anticlimatic and lacked any emotional impact.
speaking of Chizuru, her character regressed back to helpless damsel who never tries to defend herself, which was very, very disappointing.
kazama was overused, at the expense of the Shinsengumi characters and his devil associates.
the fate of Chizuru and Hijikata made more sense, and was an improvement on the series, given the scene that takes place between them in the forest. and the sword fight between kazama and hijikata was ok, although i have seen better.
the art and sound were good as usual, but ultimately this is a rather disappointing sequel. 5/10
I really liked how the story focused a lot more on Kazuma and Chizuru’s side of things, as well as the little Cameo appearance. The story development is different than TVA version, and you get to hear the truth about Chizuru’s past. Although I disliked how rushed everything was, I feel the story and the ending was much better than TVA’s ending.
Overall I would give this 8/10 because I felt that the character development was a little bit rushed too much, but that was to be expected.
4: Uchuu Senkan Yamato 2199: Hoshimeguru Hakobune
Japanese: 宇宙戦艦ヤマト2199 星巡る方舟
MAL Score: 7.76
2199 AD. Yamato tried to leave behind the Large Magellanic Cloud galaxy, after receiving a “Cosmo Reverse System” at its destination, Iscandar. However, suddenly, it encounters a mysterious group at the edge of the Large Magellanic Cloud. The crew finds out that the group is called the “Gatlantis,” and that its leader is the Gutaba expeditionary force commander who calls himself “Goran Dagaamu of Thunder.” The commander demands that Yamato be handed over to him. Yamato, wanting to hurry to Earth, escapes the fray. However, Yamato is attacked by a devastating beam weapon called the “Flame Direct Attack Cannon” that can transcend space.
Yamato was able to retreat, but ends up getting lost, and finds itself in a strangely colored irregular dimension. The crew decides to turn off the engine on the ship, and explore a mysterious planet. In order to collect information, Kodai, Kiryū, Sawamura, Niimi, and Aihara land on the planet. What they saw when they arrived was a ship that was not supposed to be there.
Dagaamu chases after the traces of Yamato’s warp, and also reaches the strangely colored space. The planet on which Yamato landed was in fact what Dagaamu had been looking for all along.
OST, Plot Development, characters, action, EVERYTHING was meticulously done and awesomemely performed!
Art and Animation…just Top Class!
And one thing mesmerized me, as a viewer of the original series: Comet Empire is BACK! It is clear to anyone that knows this series the gatlantean resemblances to the Old Foes (Ships and characters), and when the Prime Minister appeared, I thought “That is Zordar’s daughter!” and the doubt vanished completely when the old Comet Empire Theme sounded, as the Gatlantean ships were on attack at the end! Of course they kept in suspense but it is sure that, if they want, they already paved the way for a new OVA series, or movies. Whater comes, I will be eagerly awaiting!
3: Lupin the IIIrd: Jigen Daisuke no Bohyou
English: Lupin III: Jigen’s Gravestone
Japanese: LUPIN THE IIIRD 次元大介の墓標
MAL Score: 7.83
The film will be a continuation spinoff of the 2012 “Lupin III: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine” television anime series.
Lupin and Jigen have their sights set on a treasure worth stealing called the Little Comet which is located in the country of East Doroa. The country has fortified its border after a singer named Queen Malta got assassinated in the neighboring country of West Doroa upon visit.
Despite the two countries being enemies, Lupin and Jigen still plan to steal the treasure. During the heist, Jigen almost got killed by a skilled sniper named Yael Okuzaki. His specialty is preparing tombstones for his targets before executing his kills. Its said that no one has survived after Yael makes a grave for that target.
Visually the film looks pretty good with vibrant and colorful animation. My biggest problem is the audio in this film and I don’t mean the music. I prefer to watch my anime dubbed but the dub in this film was pretty atrious to be honest. Tony Oliver, Richard Epcar, Michelle Ruff, Lex Lang , none of these original voice actors are present in this film to reprise their roles. Richard Epcar is in the film but only to voice Zenigata’s 2 lines in the epilogue of this film. What a waste! If you have the original voice actor, why not let him voice Jigen?! The new voice actors they picked to voice the main characters, deliver their lines with no emotion or charisma to the point where I thought about switching the audio to Japanese halfway through the film.
The story of Jigen Daisuke’s Tombstone is definitely weaker than its original counterpart, even compared to individual episodes – which is certainly a shame. Rather than a focus on Lupin III, as you may have guessed the story is focused more on his hat-tilting, gun-toting friend Jigen. Or does it? Jigen is indeed the one in the title, but he seems less interesting than other iterations of himself, and commands less focus (More about that in Characters). Rather the plot revolves around an assassination, the assassin involved and why it happened. But is that even the point?
If you couldn’t tell, the story, while easy to understand, lacks focus. It sets up a story of politics and assassinations, changes to one of ‘who is of greater skill’, gets sidetracked by something almost completely unrelated (Pretty much an excuse to get Mine Fujiko naked again – which isn’t a spoiler), then wraps it all up with brief mention to previous points. While it does hit the regular Lupin III plot point of Lupin being the smartest guy in a room, I can’t help but feel as if it’s setting up for sequels by intentionally leaving things unexplained. I guess I just expected more.
The regular Lupin III cast returns… except my two favourite characters are missing! But oh well, the detective and samurai can be put on hold I suppose. As for the cast that does show up, I have to say I’m a little disappointed. While indeed Lupin, Fujiko and Jigen are all more or less themselves, I can’t help but think that Fujiko and Jigen are less capable than they were in the original ‘Mine Fujiko’ series. To say more is spoilers, but I can’t help but think that their skill is arbitrarily reduced to generate conflict. Despite this, there’s nothing particularly wrong with any of the main characters personalities – if you liked them before, you’ll like them now. The ‘villain’ however is not too exciting, the writers thinking eccentricity is a replacement for actual character. But if you’re into calculated killer type of villain, then I’m sure you’ll enjoy him just fine.
While the art and the character designs is still very nice to look at (almost identical to the ‘Mine Fujiko’ series), I have to say that it looks much cleaner than its original counterpart, lacking the same style. Depending on your personal opinion that’s either better or worse, but personally I missed the thick chalky shadows of the original. Certainly anything but bad, but it doesn’t look quite as impressive as the original.
Pretty standard for a modern Lupin creation – which means it’s quite good. It lacks the breadth of the original ‘Mine Fujiko’ series, but then again 57 minutes compared to a 13 episode series means you can’t have as diverse a soundtrack. Also a little less jazzy, which I missed, but that’s just my personal tastes.
As I said in the opening, while lacking the same quality as the original, Lupin IIIrd: Jigen Daisuke’s Tombstone is still entertaining, as pretty much all Lupin is. It’s a short watch, and worth it just to have a bit more quality Lupin.
Overall, if this is the first spinoff of many, this first one certainly hasn’t reduced my opinion of those to come. I’m excited to see where this is heading, but I hope the story improves.
STORY: As I said, not much focus on Jigen. I mean, I guess it was titled “Tombstone” and not “Jigen Origin Story,” but I expected more from the trailers. I skipped through it before watching it, and found a scene with a woman on stage. I assumed we’d have a detailed backstory about that. Nope. No emotional connection there. And the movie is odd; broken down into two parts. Every single Lupin movie/special has at least one laugh out loud moment, one moment to make you really feel glad you watched it. This movie is so blah it’s ridiculous. It’s an action movie with very little good action and too many over used (and unsuccessful) story props. HOWEVER! The last 10 minutes will pay off. We get a few good cameos, and one that has me going back to watch the certain movie he or she was in.
CHARACTER: As a woman, the only thing I dislike about Monkey Punch’s anime and ESPECIALLY the manga, is how much he seems to hate women. They are there to be, either abused, killed off, or romanced. Every single female character in a special is killed off once we’ve warmed up to the idea of her, or Lupin goes gaga for her, or she’s the betraying vixen. Fujiko covers those last two pretty well. This time around, Lupin isn’t having any of her B.S. But still, she gets groped, of course, and is nude, of course. The movie takes the rapebait Fujiko trope (and I’m ashamed to admit that’s what she is at this point) up a step when Fujiko is set as entertainment for a bunch of pervy old men (picture the club from Speed Grapher) and is almost raped by a giant robot. Really. Horror movie fare, and not something I expected to see in Lupin (despite a good number of his villains being after Fujiko as the norm). All right, enough about Fujiko.
Zenigata and Goemon?? Absent from the movie. Entirely absent. And before you whine: 3 second cameos do not count. They count as fanservice, but do not number towards the character count.
In the movie, Lupin acts as though he practically owns Jigen — he’s clearly the star of the show, there’s no doubt about that. This is a Lupin movie, not a Jigen movie. Even during the end show down, it’s all about Lupin looking cool.
Oh, and we find out Jigen likes couture. Whoo. So glad we got that backstory out of the way. Not like there’s a whole period of his life he spent in America, or his youth, or anything else from his life before Lupin we could have possibly covered in an hour about Jigen, right? Right?
ANIMATION: Good, I guess. Steps it up a bit from the Fujiko series while still maintaining the style. The only thing worth mentioning is Lupin’s new look. Whether a blue or green jacket, that’s debatable as the movie gets a subtle filter that could have shaded the jacket from green to blue (and for the time line laid out, green would make sense). For a few minutes in the movie, Lupin gets a delightful disguise (you know the one — with the eyepatch). Also, Jigen hasn’t looked this good since the Pink Jacket series. As there were only a few characters, they definitely stepped up their allure.
SOUND: Where’s my jazz?? No Yuji Ohno on this one! Other than that, normal voice acting from the Lupin gang. Nothing worth mentioning.
OVERALL: Meh. Watch it because it’s as good as watching one long, unimportant episode of Lupin. Watch it because you like mediocore action. Watch it again for the end scenes ^__^
2: Sekaiichi Hatsukoi Movie: Yokozawa Takafumi no Baai
Japanese: 劇場版 世界一初恋 横澤隆史の場合
MAL Score: 7.90
Movie adaptation of the Sekaiichi Hatsukoi: Yokozawa Takafumi no Baai BL light novel.
Story (70/100) The Case of Yokozawa Takafumi is by all means no masterpiece. In reality, it is far from it. It is filled with cliché moments found scattered all about in the Boys’ Love genre, and Nakamura is no stranger when it comes to said cliché. (-10 points). When you look at it as a whole, if this was any regular story, it would be rated extremely low. But since this is the ever-so popular BL genre, it is safe. You start out with Yokozawa awaking in a stranger’s house. Seems…okay, right? Well, YtnB stays like that throughout the whole movie.
‘Okay’. Nothing too exciting happens. Man meets another by accident (in this case, they sort of knew each other), they hang out for awhile (in actuality, Yokozawa was blackmailed), and love sprouts off-screen, instead of showing them actually falling in love. (-5 points). This is where I thought it might have been better as a 4 episode OVA. I dislike how Yokozawa gained affection for Kirishima off-screen. Over the course of what seemed a few days, or maybe even weeks by the minute. (-5 points).
After falling in love, of course there is a huge conflict that keeps them from confessing. It always happens. Whether it be a past lover/break-up, misinterpreted cheating or anything else in the bag of cliché. (-5 points). In the end, they live happily ever after. (-5 points).
Character (85/100) Despite all its’ cliché story ideas, Yokozawa is by far one of Nakamura’s best characters. He acts like a true person when it comes to breakups and love. No one is able to get over your first love so quickly like most BL show. You can see Yokozawa’s inner dialogue throughout the story, and you understand why he is the way he is. Why he is so rude. Why he is unapproachable. His gentle side, too. Although I dislike how Yokozawa is tsundere, and even Kirishima points that out.(-5 points).
Kirishima is your typical seme (-5 points). but with a twist;He has a daughter. And he loves his daughter. He wants the best for her, like any caring dad. His constant antics toward Yokozawa are quite amusing, as well. But he does them for a reason. That doesn’t take away that he’s a typical topper, though.
You have your other known characters as well, such as Takano and Ritsu. It sort of goes into their relationship as well, but what Ritsu tells Yokozawa is unlike him. (-5 points). I can’t just see Ritsu up and telling Yokozawa what he did.
Visuals (80/100) I’m not really a fan of Nakamura, so for me, that retracts 5 points. (-5 points). But the visuals were done very nicely.
Now the bad things. Typical. BL. Bodies. HUGE hands, tiny heads, and odd proportional bodies. (-10 points). . Some of the movements looked weird because of their distorted bodies. They weren’t fluid because of it. (-5 points).
Audio (95/100) Audio was done very well. I don’t really complain when it comes to audio, though. Everyone’s voices fit perfectly fine. I don’t remember any of the OST’s, if there were any. (-5 points).
Enjoyment and Final Scoring (82/100) 70+85+80+95+80=410/5=82
Overall, it was a nice movie to pass the time, and since I’m a sucker for BL, I had to watch it, seeing as how there are barely any adaptations of BL manga. If you love Nakamura and Sekai-ichi Hatsukoi, I recommend this. If not, and you are just a BL fan, then dive right in.
It still has typical BL problems, such as feeling incredibly rushed — or maybe that was a feature of it being a 50 min movie instead of a, say 4-6 episode OVA; I haven’t read the source manga — I didn’t keep exact track of how much time passed between Takano breaking it to Yokozawa that there was no chance at them ever getting together, but it felt like at most 2 weeks. Hm. I should rewatch to check out the weather, because at the end the cherries bloom; maybe more time passed than I realized. Anyway, it felt much too fast, because it takes time to let go of the old feelings, even though Yokozawa sort of always knew that there was no real hope with Takano, he had just settled into that role. And I don’t believe anyone would introduce their new flame to their kid this fast, and leave them alone together.
I also didn’t like that Yokozawa got ukefied, and into a tsundere to boot; ugh. Why can’t more mangaka let go of the idiotic stereotypes? I am pretty sure at this point Japanese women can handle the occasional BL couple who both act like men, and who switch. But at least they didn’t have him undergo a complete character change, which means he has now replaced Yukina as the most transgressive Nakamura character — an uke who doesn’t at all look like an uke and doesn’t behave like one in public either. Nicely done, Nakamura-sensei. Go on, be more daring!
Since Yokozawa got mildly ukefied, of course we needed an über-seme, henceforth the very forceful Kirishima, who didn’t shy away from a little friendly blackmail because right after my rapist, my blackmailer is who I’m gonna fall in love with; so much for realism. Well, we can’t have it all. At least we were spared a naked apron scene.
But it was still better than any of the silly seme-uke pairings of the main anime with their never-ending push-pull antics. Not a lot of time was wasted on superfluous drama and artificially thrown up barriers like random women standing between the men, or their own weaknesses preventing them from actually grabbing what agency they could get, unlike the other pairings. Kirishima was very straightforward, to the point of hurting Yokosawa’s pride at one point, which was a realistic problem — some things, however true, are very hard to hear from somebody else, especially somebody by whom you want to be respected, but Yokozawa pulled himself together without weeks of moping.
This is now my favourite pairing because they acted the most like adult men, and actually gave the impression that they could have a healthy relationship, not something I feel is a given for any of the other couples. Yokozawa was a bit of a prick to Onodera in the previous installments, but I never saw him as a true villain, and here he completely redeems himself, in more than one circumstance.
The story itself is VERY previsible. You don’t even have to watch the trailer of the anime to know the ending. Also, I felt the plot lacked enough conflict to actually be called a movie. It was like watching a longer episode of a slice of life anime at times because of that.
So, does that mean that “Yokozawa Takafumi no Baai” is bad? The answer is no, because despite of it’s flaws there’s a lot to love in this movie: first, despite my initial fear of making a villain-like character the MC of a romcom, Yokozawa suceeds on having a story centered around him, showing a sweeter side without having his personality changed. Second, I think that even people who hate yaoi will be able to watch this movie, because it doesn’t have many “innapropriated” scenes and shows a healthy homoparental household with the main couple adorably taking care of Zen’s daughter, Hiyroi. This is important considering how many people still oppose the idea of same-sex couples raising children. And don’t forget that Yokozawa, despite officially being an uke, doesn’t look like one, which is refreshing to see.
I recommend it for everyone who wants a light and cute movie to spend a Sunday evening. “Sekai ichi Hatsukoi: Yokozawa Takafumi no Baai” might be a pretty forgettable romance, but is above average to the regular yaoi genre.
1: Omoide no Marnie
English: When Marnie Was There
MAL Score: 8.08
Suffering from frequent asthma attacks, young Anna Sasaki is quiet, unsociable, and isolated from her peers, causing her foster parent endless worry. Upon recommendation by the doctor, Anna is sent to the countryside, in hope that the cleaner air and more relaxing lifestyle will improve her health and help clear her mind. Engaging in her passion for sketching, Anna spends her summer days living with her aunt and uncle in a small town near the sea.
One day while wandering outside, Anna discovers an abandoned mansion known as the Marsh House. However, she soon finds that the residence isn’t as vacant as it appears to be, running into a mysterious girl named Marnie. Marnie’s bubbly demeanor slowly begins to draw Anna out of her shell as she returns night after night to meet with her new friend. But it seems there is more to the strange girl than meets the eye—as her time in the town nears its end, Anna begins to discover the truth behind the walls of the Marsh House.
Omoide no Marnie tells the touching story of a young girl’s journey through self-discovery and friendship, and the summer that she will remember for the rest of her life.
The story for When Marnie Was There is based on the novel of the same name by Joan G. Robinson. Anna, the lead protagonist, has no friends, suffers from asthma attacks, and has a talent for sketching. She is rather closed off, rarely shows emotions, and is suspected to be depressed. After suffering a severe asthma attack, it is concluded that she should go live in the country for a while, away from the pollution. The pacing of these events is quite fast, but the continuation has an excellent pacing. As you’ve probably read from the synopsis, she begins to connect with a mysterious girl, Marnie. As you watch, pay attention to the expressions and interactions between the two girls. The interaction, the subtle changes in expression, and the strange occurrences that don’t quite make sense make the story. Waiting for the story to unfold without paying attention to this, and without thinking about the plot, will make for a much less enjoyable experience. The pacing is excellent, the story telling is great, and the plot is amazing — but don’t expect an action-packed panty-shot fan-service movie. This is a story about adolescence, friendship, connecting, and mystery; and is just that in its purest form.
I could sum this up as “typical Studio Ghibli”. If you don’t know what that means, shame on you. To elaborate, everything from the character expressions, to the environments and the little decorations in the rooms is sublime. The attention for detail is extremely high, you could take a picture of a landscape or indoor room (stuffed with decorations) and get something that looks extremely similar to the environments and art shown in movie. As I mentioned at the story, especially the expressions deserve a lot of praise. A lot of attention and detail went into this, and you can see that the massive amount of experience and hand-drawn scenes delivers.
This should come as no surprise due to my earlier statement of continuously listening to the sound track for almost a month, but the sound is top notch. Like other Ghibli movies, the background music blends perfectly into the atmosphere and complement the mood and environment. At the end of the story, at the credits, once you’ve experienced the mood and growth of the characters, the ending theme “Fine on the Outside” by Priscilla Ahn begins to play. I cannot begin to describe how perfectly attuned it is to the mood you are in at the end of the ride; it compliments the entire story, and even feels like it is part of the story. If you’ve listened to it before, the meaning and feeling will change completely. The sound was excellent, and the album by Priscilla Ahn complimenting the movie is filled with great songs. Don’t listen to it before you’ve seen the movie, though, as many of the songs on that album actually tell parts of the story!
It should come as no surprise, I really, really enjoyed the movie. It is an excellent movie, worthy of being a movie produced by Studio Ghibli, and if the worst thing happens — an excellent final movie to be produced by them. After a month before reviewing the movie I can draw an honest conclusion; When Marnie Was There is now my favorite Ghibli movie. I hope to see the movie again soon, and hope that you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.
Ghibli’s final film is not easy to give a finalized opinion on. After thinking about this matter for a long while, I ultimately decide to award an Average grade to it.
If you want me to give a completely spoiler free verdict on whether or not to give this film a watch, I’d say if you’re into a slow relaxing film, this may satisfy you. Otherwise you can give this one a pass.
It’s funny, the film has a good middle bit and a very strong climax that, regrettably, is weakened by a very weak beginning and a mediocre and redundant ending that overstay their welcome. Although, I’ll go into that in finer detail as we approach the main review proper.
Now before I begin, as is Ghibli standards, the art quality and the animation is superb and very easy on the eyes. The scenic views and backgrounds are relaxing in their own way and each scene is sufficient in its own when conveying the emotions the scene is bringing to the audience. Unlike most Ghibli films, this film has very minimal (if at all) fantastical elements in it, making for a very grounded, yet, relaxing imagery throughout the entire film.
Now for the story itself. Omoide no Marnie is an adaptation of When Marnie Was There, and for the most part, it does follow the book rather closely, though certain aspects of the book are cut for time purposes. However, personally I felt some parts of the film’s beginning should have been shortened in order to speed up the pacing. It takes a good 40 minutes before the Marnie appears onscreen proper, while prior to that, we get a glimpse into Anna’s life that seriously overstays its welcome. It should take no more than 15 minutes to convey her situation and predicament to the viewer but the film moves at such a slow pace that one honest gets bored waiting for something to happen.
Speaking of which, Anna, particularly her earlier characterization, felt weak and unsympathetic. Her character honestly bugged me, I get Ghibli wanted to make us feel bad for her, but I honestly don’t understand this girl at all. She rejects every possible opportunity to make friends with the extras but yet suddenly develops a bond with Marnie out of nowhere. She neglects to ask important questions despite her doubts on the situation. It’s also strange and morbidly amusing that she ends up unconscious in the middle of the night in random places yet nobody raises an alarm or finds anything suspicious with her.
Without spoiling most of it, the middle part of the film is competent and better-paced than the beginning. Hints and foreshadowing on the main plot twist are placed sparingly but are clear enough to spot so that as the climax approaches, the plot twist and change in tone don’t come across as brash or sudden. And the climax is done so strikingly well one can actually sympathize and feel bad for Anna.
The relationship between Anna and Marnie, ie the core to the story, is done quite well (aside from their first meeting). It’s cute and heart-warming and really has a nice warm and fuzzy feel to it. However, (despite Ghibli claiming otherwise), I still can’t see their relationship being anything aside from a (one-sided maybe) romance, particularly after the revelation later in the story.
The ending however is when the whole story goes back to a mess of a slow pace. The story somehow feels the need to explain its plot twist twice to the viewer, that it comes across as unnecessary padding, and the way it explains its plot twist is so unsatisfactory it feels like an exposition dump on the viewer, especially if the viewer previously caught on to the foreshadowing in the previous part. It ends on a fairly mediocre, if predictable manner.
Ultimately the film is very average. It’s very relaxing, don’t get me wrong, but those wanting more plot may end up disappointed.
It’s still better than Kaguya though.
When Marnie Was there (Omoide no Marnie) really blew itself out of the water with its art quality, story line and character development. I created an account on MAL JUST to review this movie. If you’re looking for an emotional treat with that sprinkle of mystery, look no further.
The plot is built so that you’re left feeling satisfied and wanting more. As with many Ghibli animations, it does have a sort of realistic underlining to it. It’s generally a movie about family and the irreplaceable bond we have with them so it really touches home.
Studio Ghibli has really stepped it up in terms of art; the background is a beautiful watercolour style matched up with the classic hand-drawn animation. Towards the end you could tell they were running out of budget, but never-the-less I would watch the movie just to look at the art again.
The music was very well suited with the movie, however, nothing really too notable. The ending song really brings you back to the beginning of the movie though and wrapped it up nicely. A real sense of nostalgia :’)
This is the best character development i’ve seen from Studio Ghibli in a while, it really is nice seeing the MC change and step out of her comfort zone. The back story of Marnie was well summed up at the end if you couldn’t piece together the puzzle. The contrast between these two characters and seeing them come together is really heart warming.
I highly recommend this movie, so grab a box of tissues and go watch it!
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Omoide no Marnie
2. Sekaiichi Hatsukoi Movie: Yokozawa Takafumi no Baai
3. Lupin the IIIrd: Jigen Daisuke no Bohyou
4. Uchuu Senkan Yamato 2199: Hoshimeguru Hakobune
5. Hakuouki Movie 2: Shikon Soukyuu