They’re the best Anime that 1999 has to offer! We counts down the best anime to come out this year, including the likes of Doraemon Movie 20: Nobita no Uchuu Hyouryuuki, Pokemon Movie 02: Maboroshi no Pokemon Lugia Bakutan, Digimon Adventure Movie, and more!
5: Doraemon Movie 20: Nobita no Uchuu Hyouryuuki
English: Doraemon the Movie: Nobita Drifts in the Universe
Japanese: 映画 ドラえもん のび太の宇宙漂流記
MAL Score: 7.04
After bragging about receiving a space trip ticket from his father, Suneo concedes they would have to wait quite a while until they can actually go. So, Nobita and co. turns to Doraemon for it, but they were given a space simulation game to play together instead. Unfortunately an accident with another gadget occurred, leaving Suneo and Giant trapped inside the game, only to be picked up by someone from outer space. Nobita, Shizuka and Doraemon then pursued the UFO that has the game inside it which took them all to a real space adventure.
4: Pokemon Movie 02: Maboroshi no Pokemon Lugia Bakutan
English: Pokemon: The Movie 2000
Japanese: ポケットモンスター 幻のポケモンルギア爆誕
MAL Score: 7.34
An ancient prophecy tells of a day when the titans of ice, lightning, and fire are disturbed. When this occurs, Lugia, the guardian of the sea, will rise up and restore harmony. Enchanted by the words of the prophecy, Gelardan, a Pokémon collector, sets out on his airship with a dreadful plan to capture Lugia by going after these three titans.
After Gelardan makes his move, drastic climate change begins to take place, as terrible storms start popping up all over the globe. One such storm causes the ship carrying Pokémon trainers Satoshi, Kasumi, and Kenji to drift off course and land on Earthia Island. Upon arriving, Satoshi is told of the ancient prophecy, and of his destiny as the chosen one who will help Lugia restore balance to the world.
With the fate of the world in his hands, Satoshi must summon the courage to face the chaos that threatens to tear everything apart and stop Gelardan.
The story was gorgeous, and the music was gorgeous!
I’m giving it 10/10 because, well. That’s how I feel about it.
I’m not one to give away spoilers but let’s just say this one has to do with the legendary birds and gets really heated and epic. Plus, who doesn’t love Lugia? AND LUGIA’S VOICE. Might as well have been Morgan Freeman (in the dub, that is. And I’m not one who usually even likes dubs. Of course I was a kid when I first watched this…)
And then there’s the Guardian’s song. It made my neck hairs stand, and all I could do was gaze at the television screen. Absolutely majestic.
Even though they have started changing the way the movies look by adding 3d backgrounds and its getting kind of ridiculous with the number of movies they have come out with. You gotta admit the first couple of movies were the best. I had always supported this series since the day it came out and I know a lot of people hold this series deep in their hearts because they grew up with it and we will probably watch them with out kids. But I just have to say that I love pokemon forever and always.
3: Digimon Adventure Movie
English: Digimon: The Movie
Japanese: デジモンアドベンチャー 劇場版
MAL Score: 7.58
A brother and sister discover the digital world is more than 1s and 0s when a living creature arrives out of the family computer. The adventures of a group of children start with the appearance of a Digital Monster in the real world.
As you first start the movie you are immediately hit with the nostalgic Digimon theme song: “Digimon, Digital monsters, Digimon are the champions!”, a dangerously catchy tune that will have you humming it for ages afterwards. For a twenty-minute movie not much else can be said about sound except if you watch the English dub, they surprise the viewer by using some well known upbeat American songs.
This is supposed to be a prequel to the anime series. Being such a short film you can’t expect to know who all the characters are or what the main bulk of the story is unless you are familiar with the show. Having said that it does deliver the premise quite well at the beginning of this film with the simple sentences: “Did you know that there are two worlds? Our world and the digital world.” From that you immediately thrown into the Digimon world and all its glory. This particular story only follows two of our ‘Digidestined’; Hikari and her elder brother Tai, just normal children in an otherwise normal city. This is where the series actually starts as they encounter their first Digimon and all the things that come with it.
For viewers who are familiar with the Digimon franchise this is a fulfilling re-watch, which questionably enough comes to be heart-warming. For viewers who are yet to discover the Digiworld this is a good introduction to the real show — Digimon: Digital monsters, which is set four years after the events of this film. Digimon Adventure has genuinely been an enjoyable movie; childhood favourite or not – as it delivers reasonable voice acting without sounding childishly lame; sophisticated execution for a show primarily aimed for children and decent animation for an anime from 1999. If you have 20 minutes to spare check it out — either to remember the Digimon days or to embark on Digimon days to come.
As they say in the theme song: “Digimon, Digital monsters, Digimon are the champions!”
And they’re not lying.
(This review will go back and forth between the sub and the dub, and will seem to be slightly biased as I prefer one over the other, and yet for a better reason than “It’s nostalgic”.)
Story (7): A young Tai Kamiya (Taichi Yagami) wakes up in the middle of the night to find his sister, Kari Kamiya (Hikari Yagami) in their father’s office staring at the computer where an egg comes out of it. It hatches the next morning into a cute black creature that doesn’t trust them at first, but warms up to them, getting the strength to grow into a pink creature with long ears named Koromon, and later that night into a large dinosaur-like creature that goes unnamed (although it is Agumon). It escapes with Kari into Odaiba where it causes slight havoc before a larger egg appears in the sky and hatches a large parrot (also unnamed, but is known as Parrotmon). What happens lays the foundation of their fate as DigiDestineds years later.
As it’s a 20-minute-long prologue, not much story can be told, and yet it works well as a prologue. Its job was to introduce the characters to the audience and get them familiar with the little rules laid out from the start—even though, unfortunately, those rules change somewhat in the TV series, but it’s nothing major. It can stand on its own, though it’s hard to tell if it really can stand on its own after having seen the TV series before seeing the prologue.
Art/Animation (9): There’s really not much to say about this part. Directed by Mamoru Hosoda, his touch in the art and animation department is everywhere in this 20-minute film. Colors are muted, the animation is very fluid despite the flat appearance due to lack of shading, and the detail ranges from minimalistic to out-right gorgeous. It’s more realistic-looking and has better care to it than the TV show itself, save for one episode, and it shows in both the character and monster designs, and in the monster behavior.
Sound (6 for sub, 8 for dub): I’m pretty sure Toshiko Fujita and Kae Araki are talented voice actresses and were good choices for Tai and Kari. However, I found them okay in this film, and I don’t know if it’s because of the script or because they’re just voicing young children. Compared to the dub, the script’s fairly simplistic with the characters. Joshua Seth and Lara Jill Miller were more passionate with their characters, even when attempting to sound like young children (with various results). The script in the dub had more dialogue than in the sub as well as more humor due to Saban being known for dubbing Digimon as a gag dub. Even in scenes where the characters aren’t talking dialogue is added, but it’s usually more for a quick joke and gives a more light-hearted feel throughout, even though in tense scenes it remains tense.
The sound-effects were also more emphasized in the dub than in the sub, particularly with Kari’s whistle, which I personally feel was a good decision they made as the whistle in the sub was too quiet for my tastes, personally. (This is probably justified if the whistle’s more of a toy, but some parts of the whistle blowing I didn’t like—but that’s my own personal problem.) The soundtrack is TERRIBLY limited in the sub to one song, “Bolero”, until the credits, and that I feel is the worst part of the movie. The dub may have used rock songs during the movie, and even used the Digimon theme song by the end, but the music was at least more appropriate for the scenes. I personally don’t find Parrotmon descending from the sky ominous when “Bolero” is playing. They tried to do a reprise of “Bolero” when Greymon and Parrotmon were fighting, but because it’s still “Bolero”, it’s distracting. Playing the Digimon theme song in the dub was more effective in giving the impression the fight’s cool and action-packed.
Characters (7 for sub, 8 for dub): The characters in the prologue are young and fairly simple, and thus their personalities somewhat change and further develop by the time they age about four-to-five years. The Tai we all know is not yet a leader, he’s just being a big brother to his baby sister, and Kari has a sense of curiosity. The other characters appear at the end, but they’re more like background characters at this point. The dub takes it slightly further by having the characters act somewhat the same as they did in the TV series, with Tai snarking and cracking jokes throughout.
Koromon is an interesting case. While I can’t speak for the original, the dub implies the Koromon in the TV series is the same as in the prologue, and yet their personalities are entirely different especially when he Digivolves. However, while this Koromon was indeed a different Digimon, it just happens to be the same Digimon Tai wound up with. Considering it was supposed to be a one-shot at first, it shows, and it causes a slight snarl in whether-or-not Koromon had indeed met Tai and Kari prior to them entering the Digital World. Even so in both versions, Koromon is friendly to Tai and Kari after warming up, he’s just happier and more chatty in the dub. The dub goes further with Koromon by having him speaking slightly as Agumon and Greymon, yet gruff and almost primitive even though in the original, he only roars and growls to emphasize how animalistic he is, but still has some intelligence. Even Parrotmon speaks in the dub, yet is silent in the original.
Enjoyment (7 for sub, 10 for dub): I will be honest that while I liked seeing the scenes that the dub had cut out, because of the dialogue, some lack of sound-effects, and the terrible use of soundtrack, I found the sub a bore, if not hard, to watch. The dub may unfortunately be overlooked as a whole because it’s part of the terribly-put together Digimon movie, but as its own separate entry, it is better dubbed and more fun to watch. Kari’s narration may take away from it, but when easily-ignored, the dialogue isn’t bad. It’s your typical Saban’s gag dub script, and I feel the cheesiness works. But it’s all based on personal taste, as some people don’t like the gag dub approach and feel it’s a terrible dub, while others like the gag dub and can go back and forth as to whether it was a good dub or not.
So take your pick as to what you want to watch. It’s good either way, the differences are just vastly noticeable and varies from person to person. I personally will continue to watch the dub even though I won’t easily forget the cut scenes and will quietly muse how the dub would’ve handled those scenes if Saban had been allowed to keep it uncut.
2: Shoujo Kakumei Utena: Adolescence Mokushiroku
English: Revolutionary Girl Utena: The Adolescence of Utena
Japanese: 少女革命ウテナ アドゥレセンス黙示録
MAL Score: 7.61
All eyes are on Utena Tenjou, a mysterious transfer student to Ohtori Academy. But Utena’s eyes seem to be fixed on one familiar face that stands out among the rest—Touga Kiryuu, Utena’s childhood friend. Touga knows of Utena’s past and possesses knowledge of the Mark of the Rose, a set of unique rings worn by those who compete for the hand of the Rose Bride. The Rose Bride, Himemiya Anthy, belongs to whomever wins her in a duel, and the one that wins all the duels is said to be given the power to bring revolution to the world. Utena is drawn into the duels, but Touga and their complicated history together may end up unraveling everything. Nothing is as it seems in this retelling of the original anime series.
So I watched it and wondered what sort of crack I had smoked before popping the DVD in. Apparently, I had not smoked any crack, and it was just Utena that was messing with my head.
The story is…I don’t know. Up to now, I hardly know what happened. It’s long, convoluted, and they don’t ever, EVER explain what the hell happened. Well, they sort of did, with visual symbolism. But I’m sort of dumb in a fabulous way, so I barely understood any of that.
The art and animation was top-notch though. It looked incredible. The sound was great too.
Characters were…interesting, to say the least. I was pretty certain that at least four people in the main cast were homosexual, or maybe it’s just all the flower imagery that threw me off.
I didn’t enjoy this movie because I spent the whole time tugging at my marvellous hair wondering ‘WTF?!’ is going on.
It’s not unfabulous, and it’s worth a watch, I say.
Adolescence of Utena is best described as the TV series retold in two hours or less with different plot elements bought up or discarded, with some characters absent, and lots and lots of symbolism and, some would argue, a heavy dose of crack.
I would highly suggest watching the series going into this. I watched this first, then watched the series, and then watched this, and I found that the series helped me understand it more, which is what the creators intended with this. And then the movie, in turn, helped me understand elements of the series that I didn’t before, which in turn helped me understand the movie more, which helped me understand the series… it’s a cycle of positive feedback. And it’s amazing.
The art for this is a lot smoother than it was in the series, though it is still heavily stylized. A definite improvement.
The music has a lot of the same themes, subtly reworked for the movie, which gives it a whole new feel. There are also some new vocal pieces that don’t have to do with the duelling songs, and they’re quite addictive.
Most of the vocal cast was able to return for this, except for Akio’s seiyuu, which just adds a nice touch to this.
An amazing movie, and one of my favorite anime movies to date.
That’s not to say the symbolism’s the only thing worth watching the movie for. Every moment of screentime is purely entertaining, whether symbolism is the focus or not. The only real complaint I had with the TV series was that some episodes felt repetitive and didn’t seem to contribute much to the main characters’ development or the overall plot. Here, however, every fight scene, every conversation, everything really matters. The movie is not content to simply have a fight: at the same time the fight is going on, there is development for Utena, Anthy, whoever she’s fighting with, and even background characters.
The backgrounds themselves also deserve a mention. The school puts Hogwarts to shame, as it’s constantly in motion, and there’s always something interesting to look at. Everything is constantly in motion, and while this is partially for symbolism, it helps to make the series very pretty. Though some of the reviews complain about the music, I had no problems here. Absolute Destiny Apocalypse is as awesome as ever, and the rest of the music is also great. Perhaps not as wonderful as in the series, but still very fitting.
Other than the symbolism, the main draw of the movie is the characters. Utena herself is even more magnificent than in the series, simultaneously vulnerable and strong. And not vulnerable in the way typical strong anime females are often vulnerable, but in the way you’d expect any middle school girl to be. That vulnerability causes problems for her at times, but she deals with it in an appropriate and realistic way, as it contributes nicely to her development. Utena’s relationships, especially with Touga and Anthy, are all interesting as well, as they help her grow in interesting ways throughout the movie, and their interactions are always clever and witty.
As a final note, I should add that this movie works best when you’ve seen the series first. Almost nothing is the same as it was in the series, but a lot of the minor characters are better understood with the series’ development behind them. If you’ve watched the series, the movie is a splendid treat.
1: Cardcaptor Sakura Movie 1
English: Cardcaptor Sakura The Movie
Japanese: 劇場版 カードキャプターさくら
MAL Score: 7.64
During an after-school shopping trip, Sakura Kinomoto decides to participate in the Tomoeda Shopping District’s year-end lottery, with the grand prize being a round trip to Hong Kong. Surprisingly, she draws the winning ball. Alongside her best friend Tomoyo Daidouji, her older brother Touya, her crush Yukito Tsukishiro, and Keroberos, Sakura heads off to Hong Kong.
However, vacation for the Cardcaptor will get cut short. Little does Sakura know, the trip may be connected to her recent, prophetic dreams featuring a mysterious woman and Clow Reed himself, creator of the Clow Cards.
Set after the first season, Cardcaptor Sakura: The Movie takes Sakura to an entirely new environment: Hong Kong. After winning a five-day trip at a local store, Sakura is given the opportunity to travel to a different country for the first time in her life. Things are not quite so simple, though, and as several foreboding dreams and supernatural phenomenons soon reveal, there is more to her winning the trip than a mere game of luck.
The first twenty minutes are fairly promising, immediately opening with a tense fight for one of the Clow Cards. Hearing a few beloved tracks from the series once again evokes a sense of nostalgia, and the characters quickly show that they are just as endearing as ever. Kero-chan remains his frivolous, gluttonous self, while Touya continues to tease Sakura for amusing results. Some of the best moments are those early on with the characters travelling through Hong Kong and taking in the sights, and the beautiful artwork makes these scenes all the more breathtaking.
Eyecandy is certainly not something that is lacking in this film. Fluid animation, detailed expressions and stunning scenery all set the visuals of Cardcaptor Sakura: The Movie to a much higher standard than most animated films. Hong Kong is presented as far more than a busy metropolis, with a diverse set of authentic locales being used to effectively portray the culture. Unfortunately, the moments highlighting the characters’ experiences with the city are all too fleeting. Instead we are gifted with a trite and highly predictable story for the remainder of the film.
It’s around the point where Sakura finds herself drawn to a shrine that things steadily go downhill. Most notably, Li and Meiling show up from absolutely nowhere. In the exact same area of a massive city, with no prior knowledge that either group would even be there. There’s even the cliche of bumping into each other in Meiling’s case. How is the viewer supposed to take the movie seriously when it relies on absurd plot conveniences so early on? An explanation may have made the scene less silly, but there is not even that. “What are you doing here?”, asks Sakura. A question left unanswered.
The rest of the story focuses on a vengeful spirit who drags Sakura into a conflict that is only tangentially related to her. This represents the main issue with this film– it doesn’t have any relevance to the overarching story. None of the characters are developed aside from a few scenes with Li’s mother and Clow Reed’s past relationship with the spirit. There’s no sense of accomplishment once the conflict is finally resolved, and the only emotional value is during a scene with Sakura relating to the spirit’s unrequited love. Unless you are a particularly patient viewer, there’s a strong chance that you will find yourself bored with anything beyond the first thirty minutes.
Much of the film takes itself far too seriously and as a result, most of the charm from the TV series is absent here. Dramatic moments were common in the main series, but they were always interspersed with comedy and had relevance to the story. Not here. It is ceaseless drama distinguished by superfluous (though pretty) action scenes and vague, cliched lines about destiny. It just doesn’t work.
As for the sound, the voice acting is exceptional and the eclectic soundtrack compliments the setting especially well. Traditional Chinese music is used while the characters traverse through the city, and a palatable mix of jazz and orchestral music plays during the action sequences. The ending song is also quite nice and serves as a satisfying conclusion to a bittersweet story. It’s hard to find much fault with the technical aspects of the film.
Despite a variety of complaints, Cardcaptor Sakura: The Movie is not bad by any means. Compared to most anime movies, and particularly within the mahou shoujo genre, it is still well above average. Fans of the series will most likely find some level of enjoyment here between the disappointment, and at only 80-minutes long it’s hard to go wrong with the prospect of more Cardcaptor Sakura.
Still, considering the quality of the main series, decent just isn’t enough here.
The art, as usual for a CLAMP adaption, is gorgeous. But the dub is AWFUL, and changes the dialogue around completely. Avoid it at all costs.
One of my favorite things about this movie was story expansion into Clow’s life. He’s a very interesting character, and the story from his past in this movie I think would make a great anime series on it’s own.
I wish I had known to watch this chronologically! I watched it after I had watched the entire series. It seems like it’s supposed to take place between season one and season two, even though it came out right after season two had finished airing, based off of her wand as well as a couple of other things I wouldn’t want to risk spoiling about the main series. So if you’re reading this review and haven’t watched CCS yet for some reason, I recommend watching this at the end of season one.
Don’t skip this just because some people didn’t like it as much! It’s eighty minutes of top quality Cardcaptor Sakura!
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Cardcaptor Sakura Movie 1
2. Shoujo Kakumei Utena: Adolescence Mokushiroku
3. Digimon Adventure Movie
4. Pokemon Movie 02: Maboroshi no Pokemon Lugia Bakutan
5. Doraemon Movie 20: Nobita no Uchuu Hyouryuuki