They’re the best Anime that 2004 has to offer! We counts down the best anime to come out this year, including the likes of One Piece: Mezase! Kaizoku Yakyuu Ou, Crayon Shin-chan Movie 12: Arashi wo Yobu! Yuuhi no Kasukabe Boys, One Piece Movie 5: Norowareta Seiken, and more!
5: One Piece: Mezase! Kaizoku Yakyuu Ou
Japanese: ワンピース めざせ！海賊野球王
MAL Score: 7.04
Luffy and crew takes on Arlong’s crew in baseball. Announced by Bon Clay and Buggy.
In this short special. The Strawhat Pirates are on another island this time playing baseball against Arlong and some other Characters from the show Like Hachi.
The game as you can imagine is crazy and to extreme for normal baseball. But its still enjoyable to watch. As the crew uses their special techniques to score homeruns and get strike outs.
During this time Mr 2 Bon Clay and Buggy are commentating. And during this whole time you only hear these two speak. They even read out the dialogue for Luffy as he calls out his special home run Gom Gom attack.
Overall its really enjoyable to watch how the animators and artist got this special to work.
2 teams battle it out for the cup. Team Luffy vs team Fisherman. Both teams battle for the cup using their abilities to get the upper hand and the fisherman using underhanded moves. We have mr 2 and buggy as the announcers who play their part in making you laugh and the special end with biggy nicely.
I would compare this to the foxy arc because of the game theme and what followed. Anyway hope I didn’t discourage you and enjoy the special.
Story (7/10) Good
There’s really nothing to be said he’s it’s just a little what if clip of the Straw Hat Crew if they played Baseball against certain villains of their past. It’s not bad
Art and Animation (8/10) Very Good
For a 5 minute clip the art style and animation was very good and it better be! It’s only 5 minutes! If toei made this look bad then you would have to give up the little little hope you still have left for them.
The Sound was good but the fact that they had none of the voice actors playing their characters just the voice was Buggy and Mr. 1 (I think) commentating in the background AND also doing the voices of the actually other characters felt odd. But since it’s only 5 minutes it’s not to the point where it’s something to complain about because by the time you realized this is happening it’s basically over lol
The only reason I gave this section a 10 is because it’s just show casing all of the straw hat crew’s personality through a baseball game is it did it well. It reminded me of that one Sonic X baseball episode where they did the exacted same thing it was entertaining and short.
Enjoyment (7/10) Good
Like I said entertaining and short the only thing that may bother you is that the voice of Buggy the clown and Mr.1 is voice everything but the fact that it’s only 5 minutes doesn’t make it an issue it took me longer to write the review than to watch it honestly lol
Overall (7/10) Good
More Specifically (7.80/10) Good+
Short and sweet to and extent it’s so short you can’t really hate on it. You have a higher chance of enjoying yourself and wanting more than not liking this. Nothing more to be said you might as well watch it since it’s only 5 minutes like I said you might like what you see.
4: Crayon Shin-chan Movie 12: Arashi wo Yobu! Yuuhi no Kasukabe Boys
Japanese: 映画 クレヨンしんちゃん 嵐を呼ぶ！夕陽のカスカベボーイズ
MAL Score: 7.06
A fantasy action set in a world of Western films. One day the Nohara family, Kasukabe Defense Forces (Shinnosuke Nohara and his mates: Kazama-kun, Nene-chan, Masao-kun and Bo-chan), and other people living in Kasukabe City get lost in a world within a Wild West film, which is a city ruled by an evil governor named Justice. The time progression has been stopped there because the film is unfinished but people are losing their memories about the past little by little. To go back to their former world, the Kasukabe Defense Forces tries to defeat Governor Justice and finish the film before everyone loses their memories.
(Source: Manabu Tsuribe)
3: One Piece Movie 5: Norowareta Seiken
English: One Piece: The Curse of the Sacred Sword
MAL Score: 7.19
Luffy and crew go to an island searching for a legendary sword, said to be the most expensive in the world. Soon attacking marines and beautiful maidens split the crew. Zoro betrays the crew to help an old friend, Luffy and Usopp wander through a cave, and the rest help a village fight marines. When Zoro defeats Sanji he takes the sacred pearls that are the only defense against the evil sword that will plunge the world into darkness.
This movie doesn’t even compare to the awesomeness that One Piece offers. I’m guessing that whoever wrote the script for this didn’t really have “One Piece” in mind. They very well could have just written a script and thrown the cast of One Piece into the roles.
It’s necessary to be harsh with this movie because it is by far one of the worst One Piece movies, and anyone who loves the show shouldn’t waste their time to watch this movie.
Story / Character: 5
Basically, the summary of this movie is that The Straw Hats go to some random island to look for a sword and then Zoro betrays his friends to go meet with his old companion and fights against the crew. Okay, already you know that this is ridiculous.
How many of you have seen One Piece? If you’re willing to watch this movie, I’m guessing you have. And you should then realize that this is crazy because even though Zoro comes across as a scary, mean swordsman most of the time, he does care deeply for his ‘Nakama’ and would never betray them, even if it were to help an old friend.
That’s mainly what made me angry while watching this. Seeing the characters personalities and values changed just for the convenience of the movie was a terrible idea.
Even Luffy seemed a bit off while he was on screen. Luffy may be reckless and doesn’t think things through, but he’s not a complete moron. The writer of this movie didn’t seem to understand that fact.
Of course, in this movie we have a new character. That’s right, Zoro’s friend known as ‘Saga’. Now how can I put this? Well first of all, I hate him. It doesn’t matter how ‘justified’ his actions were; as an audience, I didn’t feel any compassion for him.
Sometimes in shows we end up feeling sad for a bad guy because you realize that he was just trying to do the right thing! It makes us think to ourselves “wow, maybe he is really a nice guy that just went about doing what he thought was right”, or something along those lines. Trust me, you won’t feel any of that while watching this movie. It’s really pretty impossible to be immersed into such a shallow character such as Saga.
Now, even though the story is horrific, the art is actually quite good! The characters have the same general ‘One Piece’ look to them, and then the backgrounds are quite beautifully detailed. It seems as though some computer animation was used throughout the movie as well, there are times when the camera shot moves around and looks almost 3D.
The fighting is also very well done. We see some pretty intense fighting shots, angles and colours during the movie. So in a way, the art reminded me of the original show, which is sad that the story couldn’t be as good as the art was.
If you’ve seen One Piece, you know what the characters sound like. You will also know that the voice actors always give 110% no matter what! Their voices are part of what make the show amazing! The way they can sound so emotional, sarcastic or angry is just incredible.
As mentioned before, we have a new character in this movie. Saga. His voice actor, Nakamura Shidou, is not very well known, the only role he’s done that is worth mentioning is Ryuk from Death Note. I think there may be a reason that he hasn’t gotten a lot of voice acting roles, it’s not that he’s bad, but his voice only works for certain characters. And Saga isn’t one of them. He sounds quite out of place and out of character.
Alright, so I’ll be fair. I didn’t love this movie obviously, but I didn’t feel the need to fall asleep while watching it either. Being a Shounen anime movie, it focuses on fighting a lot, which is something most of us can enjoy even if the story is terrible. And since the fights were good, I was able to keep my eyes on the screen and watch the movie all the way through.
I also love Zoro, he’s a great character, so it was nice to see him get the spotlight for a movie.
I certainly don’t plan on watching it again. I’ve seen fanfics that have better story and character than this movie did (which is really saying something)!
If you like One Piece, feel free to watch this movie. But I’m warning you now that it isn’t the One Piece that we all love dearly. It’s an insult to One Piece and Oda himself to make a movie that messes with the original story and the original characters.
One Piece Norowareta Seiken (The Curse of the Sacred Sword) is definitely my least favorite One Piece movie. I definitely wouldn’t recommend it.
1. the story is cliche – and not just a bit but way way way too lame. the thing about one piece is that it manage to give ordinary cliche settings a big twist, which is why i love the anime – but this totally failed to happen here. most lines are expected; plot extremely predictable. i was hoping they might turn the whole demon-sword concept into something interesting, but that’s so not happening here.
2. characterization was off – personal opinion here, but sanji and zoro’s characters are wrong (what did you do to my favourite character!!!). it doesnt mean if the right line is said the correct feeling for the character can be achieved. this one felt totally off, plus some lines are actually quite awkward. seems more like a doujin work rather than being the original. on closer look, nami’s characterization is not up to standard too. the entire team dynamics seemed to lacking in fact. the only people i felt were satisfactorily portrayed were usopp and luffy.
3. pacing is bad – most of the first parts seemed rushed. like everyone’s trying to speak as fast as they can so that it’s within the timing or sth. then a few scenes at the end were long drawn and a complete waste of time. – there wasnt enough time to create suspense, or feel the story develop.
4. voice acting/ voice actors – which obaaaasan has a voice so obviously young (and speaks so fast no less)??? then there were also part where i dont know if it’s just that the voice acting sucked or that the pace was just too fast such that lines carried no emotions at all.
one piece story aims to tell people to dare to dream and gives people hope – this story has just left me in despair. o.o
Story: Not bad. One piece has had some pretty terrible storylines in the past, and so this movie was easily forgiven by having a passable story, and one that focuses on one of my favorite characters Zoro. I didn’t love it, I didnt hate it, so it gets a 5.
Art: Very One Piece style. I really don’t want to talk about the art because one piece is one piece in its style of art, love it or hate it. It gets and 8 from me.
Sound: Good. Nothing much to say about this. Not as good as the series or Movie 4 or 2, but still good.
Characters: Main Character = Zoro = +. I wish Luffy had a little bit more of a role, because it felt like he wasn’t even needed in the entire movie, yet he was still the “main character”. No one else really seemed to matter in this movie except for Zoro. I felt like they included all the other characters because otherwise it wouldn’t be One Piece. Really disappointing on how they used everyone.
Enjoyment: Made me laugh at times. I watch One Piece to laugh, and get me really excited when someone is pissed off. Surprisingly no one got that pissed off in this movie. I thought I would have enjoyed it more because of this fact, but I didn’t so now I appreciate it more when someone does get really angry. Other than that it had its usual jokes that put a smile on my face.
Overall: I still enjoyed it, would never watch it again, and if I could have gone back in time to tell myself to just go ahead and skip it, I would have. Your not missing much if you decide to skip this movie.
2: InuYasha Movie 4: Guren no Houraijima
English: InuYasha the Movie 4: Fire on the Mystic Island
Japanese: 犬夜叉 紅蓮の蓬莱島
MAL Score: 7.54
The mysterious island of Houraijima has reappeared after 50 years, and with its reappearance has brought the attack of four gods, the Shitoushin, who have their eyes set on the powers that protect and sustain the island. Now it’s up to Inuyasha and his friends, along with Sesshoumaru, to find a way to defeat the powerful Shitoushin.
The scenario is very weak and most unimpressive even for the tv standards. So far they had being fighting top level demons who could take over the world, control time, and even raise hell. Now they deal with… four convicts??? Surely, where is the excitement in that? Four nobody demons that are trapped on an island and just lure other demons in order to eat them and stay alive. Another annoying feature is the little kids in this movie. You would expect token kids begging for the shounen hero to save them in a Naruto or a One Piece film, but in Inu Yasha it just feels stupid. I guess so many years past that by now the franchise had turned to just another silly show about teenagers saving kids.
The plot is not something great either. All they do is fighting one demon at a time before the last one fuses with the rest to form a last moment big boss. That’s it, nothing more. The previous movies had the decency to try to deal with some sort of drama or romance from the various themes of the main story. This one here does absolutely NOTHING! You could replace the characters with those from any other shounen show and you wouldn’t even know the difference.
Not even the action is something good, since by now Inu Yasha had enough firepower to take on the Devil himself and the enemy demons were just generic bad guys without any backdrop or interesting battle strategies. Not even the setting is good either. It is just a sort of tropical island that appeared on the sea; nothing nightmarish or complicating.
In all, this is a completely pointless movie that has no point in existing. I don’t recommend it one bit.
1: Howl no Ugoku Shiro
English: Howl’s Moving Castle
MAL Score: 8.66
That jumbled piece of architecture, that cacophony of hissing steam and creaking joints, with smoke billowing from it as it moves on its own… That castle is home to the magnificent wizard Howl, infamous for both his magical prowess and for being a womanizer—or so the rumor goes in Sophie Hatter’s small town. Sophie, as the plain daughter of a hatmaker, does not expect much from her future and is content with working hard in the shop.
However, Sophie’s simple life takes a turn for the exciting when she is ensnared in a disturbing situation, and the mysterious wizard appears to rescue her. Unfortunately, this encounter, brief as it may be, spurs the vain and vengeful Witch of the Waste—in a fit of jealousy caused by a past discord with Howl—to put a curse on the maiden, turning her into an old woman.
In an endeavor to return to normal, Sophie must accompany Howl and a myriad of eccentric companions—ranging from a powerful fire demon to a hopping scarecrow—in his living castle, on a dangerous adventure as a raging war tears their kingdom apart.
Story: the story is about a girl named Sophie who gets turned into an old woman and ends up living with a wizard named Howl in his moving castle. The story is the only part I felt was lacking in this movie. Though I have to admit I see more flaws with the story after reading the book (even though I find the movie much better). Overall, I felt many of the war scenes were overdramatized and left a lot of questions. There were also a lot of small things throughout that they could have done a better job at explaining. Even after watching the movie so many times I cannot fully explain some scenes and still have questions about the movie.
Animation: The animation is absolutely stunning and many of the backgrounds look realistic. I also have to say that I am impressed with how Sophie is animated, and how it is so easy to tell when she is aging/regressing just simply by looking at the animation (her voice also helps). Overall this is the most impressive Miyazaki art I’ve seen and I really haven’t seen much that can top it.
Sound: I’ll just start off by saying the music in this movie is so beautiful. I love every single background music in this movie, and the only song I don’t like so much is the theme with the words that plays at the end. Aside from the beautiful soundtrack, the sounds in the movie are so dead on. Hearing Sophie’s bones crack as an old woman is really painful, and as much as I don’t like Sophie’s voice, her seiyuu does a great job at portraying the character and how she fluctuates between young and old so frequently throughout the movie. I think all the seiyuu in the movie were good as well.
Character: The characters in this movie make up for all the lack of closure in the plot. Each character has their good points, even the Witch of the Waste. I personally adore almost all the characters, though I actually like Sophie the least of all. Calcifer, Heen, and Turnip head are such adorable and fun characters to watch (and Heen and Turnip have pretty much no lines in the whole movie). Howl is also another loveable character as well. The characters have such different personalities that you will probably like at least one character or more.
Enjoyment: Obviously I enjoy this film a lot. I’ve watched it so many times! Each time I sit there in awe of the animation and empathize with the characters. It’s one of those movies that I love to watch and I have not gotten bored of it yet. I do have to say that towards the end I get slightly bored with the stressed focus on the war, but that only lasts at most 15 minutes.
This movie is defenitely worth watching, and even if you watched it and didn’t like it, you only spent two hours watching it since it’s a movie. I think it’s defenitely one of Miyazaki’s better works. If you have time or interest, I think it’s worth checking out the book, since it’s a completely different take on the story. It’s got a lot less romance between Sophie and Howl in it, but it brings a lot more character development to Markl and Sophie’s sisters (she has more than one in the novel). But if not, just watch the movie!!
STORY – This movie was apparently based off a book, but as I haven’t read the book, I’m judging this movie as a work all on its own, for better or worse. So I suppose this was, in a way, a story about courage and facing one’s fears, but it was approached in such a roundabout way that I’m really not sure, even now. The premise of the movie — Sophie getting bewitched into an old woman — seemed almost completely random, and I was left wondering why? and what was the point of that? Those questions were, for me, repeated a ridiculous number of times throughout the course of the movie. Indeed, most of the scenes seemed haphazardly spliced together with little rhyme or reason connecting them. Eventually, the focus of the movie fell onto Howl and his troubles, which was fine, except that we seemed to forget entirely about Sophie’s initial dilemma because of it.
In some ways, Howl’s reminded me of Spirited Away, what with its eclectic assemblage of characters, all with their own problems and goals. But while Spirited Away maintained and remembered its initial story and theme, Howl’s Moving Castle was seriously all over the place. The further we progressed into the movie, the more it seemed like Sophie’s problems were taking a backseat to Howl’s, and even her position as a member of his castle and one of his helpers didn’t seem very important. One of the things that annoyed me the most was also the fact that the spell placed on Sophie was never explained the depth — all you knew was that she couldn’t tell anyone about it (which was pretty useless since most characters seemed to be able to tell anyway). Nothing was explained as the spell seemed to gradually fade; when Sophie randomly appeared to be her old self, you were never sure whether it was for real or a dream. Eventually, you sort of accepted that she was slowly regaining her old self, but even then, you weren’t sure why.
There’s also the matter of the war. Throughout the entire movie, it seemed like more of a background element more than anything else. We were never told why the war was going on or against whom they were fighting; thus, it didn’t seem like all too important of a thing, even when leaders were requesting the aid of magical folk. In a way, I find this impression interesting as there seems to be a distinct separation between the affairs of our characters and the world around them. Despite the war, they’re in their own little world, even with airships attacking every so often and Howl’s subsequent injuries. I’m not sure why that is or whether it’s a positive or negative element, but it’s there all the same…
CHARACTER – I wasn’t really all that impressed by any of the characters in this movie. Most of them seemed to be typical of Miyazaki both in personality and goals and were consequently predictable. Sophie is an all around "good" character who only wants the best for her family and friends. Howl is the mysterious one with great power and internal insecurities. Calcifer is the sharp-tongued, sarcastic one who just wants to be free, despite a seemingly good relationship with his master. And Markl is just a good kid, more or less in the same vein as Sophie except younger, and the Scarecrow was a similar personality as well. The Witch of the Waste is a completely stereotypical semi-villain, as is Suliman.
Though there are certainly attempts at expanding on some of the characters’ very flat personalities, I don’t really feel as if any of them are successful. Sophie’s fascination and eventual love for Howl was a little interesting, but the feelings could be attributed very easily to the typical goodness of her personality, and it didn’t seem like Howl was very special to have her affections. Similarly, Howl’s feelings for Sophie seemed generic, or perhaps he (and all the other characters) could not help but be attracted to her goodness, as there didn’t seem to be very many flaws in that purity at all.
ARTSTYLE & ANIMATION – This is easily what contributes the most to the entire movie. As we have come to expect from Studio Ghibli, Howl’s Moving Castle was an exceptionally beautiful film. The highly detailed background renders were superb and featured all sorts of fantastical elements, giving the environment a wonderful personality. The streets and storefronts were inviting and cheerful, and the darker alleyways held a mystery of their own. The characters were all wonderfully animated, especially Howl, who transformed slickly between his human and harpy-like form.
The design for the castle was especially fun. As more or less a gigantic heap of metal parts, its lack of uniformity gave the viewer a lot to look at, and all of it was interesting. It was also great to see rooms and halls within the castle shift, contract, and expand as Howl magicked them around.
MUSIC – I don’t remember anything especially extraordinary, but I think it’s safe enough to say that most of the music was satisfying and fitting for their scenes.
VOICE ACTING – I’ve only seen the movie subbed. The voices were about average, but I would say that’s more because of the characters’ flatness more than lack of talent on the part of the actors. Calcifer is the only one that had a particularly memorable voice — it was a little whiny and a little scratchy: absolutely perfect for his grumbling character.
OVERALL – Howl’s Moving Castle was a very fun movie to look at. The visuals were gorgeous and everything smoothly animated. Unfortunately, the story and characters definitely left a lot to be desired; there was so little substance that I might have gotten about the same impression if I’d seen the whole thing on mute (or without subtitles). I’ve been told that the original novel is better, and I wonder if Miyazaki’s downfall is only in that he was trying to adapt someone else’s work, because certainly I know the man’s capable of telling a story better than this.
NOVEL, ANIME: Howl’s Moving Castle was originally a young-adult fantasy novel written by Diana Wynne Jones in 1986. It won a Boston Globe-Horn Book Award in 1987, and was also was designated an ALA Notable Book for children and young adults.
Howl’s Moving Castle was produced by Studio Ghibli (Ponyo on the Cliff, Spirited Away), and directed by Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind). Howl was released in theatres in Japan on November 20th, 2004, and showed dubbed in theatres Stateside starting on June 10th, 2005, courtesy of Disney, and is available both subbed and dubbed on DVD.
STORY: Sophie Hatter is a young, self-conscious young woman who, after a chance encounter with the wizard Howl, is cursed with the body of a ninety-year-old by the spiteful Witch of the Waste, and is unable to tell anyone about the curse. She ends up going into the Waste, and, with the help of an animated turnip-headed scarecrow that she helps, ends up finding Howl’s home; a legged, walking, amalgamation of a castle. In order to break her spell, she makes a deal with the fire demon who powers the castle, Calcifer; if she can break the spell on him and Howl – which he also can’t tell anyone about – he will break hers.
Howl’s Moving Castle isn’t necessarily one of Ghibli’s strongest movies, story-telling wise. There are a lot of disparate plot elements floating about, with not a lot of explanation given, or even development, for that matter; the movie kind of just drifts from scene to scene, as if it can’t decide what plot element it wants to focus on. Probably the biggest example of this is Sophie’s curse. There are times in the movie where she’ll appear younger or older; it’s hinted that this difference in physical appearance is tied to her self-confidence, but it’s never explained, it just happens. The ending is kind of unsatisfying, as everything’s quickly wrapped up in a neat package with even little to no explanation of sudden plot elements that end up popping up.
The characters themselves are all fairly well fleshed out, though, and are at least intriguing to watch; the moments in this movie that center around the characters alone are where it really shines, such as Sophie going through and cleaning the house, Markl going to market with Sophie, or Calcifer and Howl talking by the fire.
Taken in terms of the original novel, Howl is a nice retelling. The basic plot elements from the novel are mostly intact, though a great deal of the actual plot has been changed around. If you don’t mind a looser retelling of the novel, then you should be fine with this; however, if you’re looking for the novel translated exactly onto the screen, then you may not want to see this.
ART: As always with Studio Ghibli, the art for this is beyond beautiful, that goes without saying. There are three big things that stood out for me with the art, though:
-The castle. I can’t say enough about how intricately this was done; just the design itself is amazingly thought out, and the animation of the movement and all the little parts moving and operating on their own and as a part of the larger whole is incredibly steampunk.
-Anything to do with magic being used. Incredibly created, especially in how it manifests from character to character, and with beautifully intricate detail.
-The war sequences. Incredibly realistic and devastating, though it should be noted that production on this was happening while the Iraq War and the bombings were just beginning.
MUSIC: Joe Hisaishi does the composing work on this, as he always does. While his music has most of the normal chords and progressions it normally does, the music here tends to be variations on several instruments of the main theme song, which, while not my favorite ever, is passable. Not the greatest soundtrack he’s ever done, but still fairly solid.
SEIYUU: The cast for this is fairly new to voice work, but it doesn’t show; there are some excellent performances in this, especially the voice actor for Calcifer. I actually like the sub and dub about equally, so I can’t state preference here for any one cast. I do like that there is a single seiyuu for Sophie, whether she’s young or old, as it just shows you the range of the seiyuu.
VOICE ACTORS: The English dub for this has some fairly big names for the performances; Christian Bale does a pretty good job (and even utilizes the Batman!growl) as Howl, Jean Simmons does an amazing job as the older version of Sophie (even though I don’t really understand why there needs to be two separate voice actors here), Billie Crystal does a good job of being the comedic relief in Calcifer, Lauren Bacall is an amazing Witch of the Waste, and Crispin Freeman even shows up for a few lines. Overall, a solid performance.
DUB: I have absolutely no criticism whatsoever for the dubwork on this. Translations are done accurately, there’s no intentional flubbing of the original meaning, and it’s fairly well done.
LENGTH: The movie does tend to drag at times, especially with how the movie tends to float from scene to scene. The whole thing feels kinda dreamy, though, and you tend to not notice where the time’s gone at the end of it.
OVERALL: Not Ghibli’s best story or score, but still has wonderful characters, amazing animation, and a fairly solid dub, and cast in both languages. A dreamy sort of film, good for a rainy afternoon.
VOICE ACTORS: 8/10
OVERALL: 55/70; 79% (C+)
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Howl no Ugoku Shiro
2. InuYasha Movie 4: Guren no Houraijima
3. One Piece Movie 5: Norowareta Seiken
4. Crayon Shin-chan Movie 12: Arashi wo Yobu! Yuuhi no Kasukabe Boys
5. One Piece: Mezase! Kaizoku Yakyuu Ou