They’re the best Anime that 2005 has to offer! We counts down the best anime to come out this year, including the likes of Fullmetal Alchemist: The Conqueror of Shamballa, Arashi no Yoru ni, One Piece Movie 6: Omatsuri Danshaku to Himitsu no Shima, and more!
5: Fullmetal Alchemist: The Conqueror of Shamballa
English: Fullmetal Alchemist: The Movie – Conqueror of Shamballa
Japanese: 劇場版 鋼の錬金術師 シャンバラを征く者
MAL Score: 7.55
In desperation, Edward Elric sacrificed his body and soul to rescue his brother Alphonse, and is now displaced in the heart of Munich, Germany. He struggles to adapt to a world completely foreign to him in the wake of the economic crisis that followed the end of World War I. Isolated and unable to return home with his alchemy skills, Edward continues to research other methods of escaping the prison alongside colleagues who bear striking resemblances to many of the people he left behind. As dissent brews among the German citizenry, its neighbors also feel the unrest of the humiliated nation.
Meanwhile, Alphonse continues to investigate Edward’s disappearance, delving into the science of alchemy in the hopes of finally reuniting with his older brother.
Want a real conclusion to the events that happened in Fullmetal Alchemist? Then you should watch Fullmetal Alchemist: The Movie – Conqueror of Shamballa. In my opinion, it is impossible to get some real closure from watching the series alone.
If you watched the series and followed it religiously like I did, you probably also marveled at how close Ed and Al are that they are willing to risk their lives for each other. If that’s the case, then you were also probably shocked that the series ended with the two brothers separated, Ed on Earth, specifically in Germany in the year 1923, and Al stuck in Amestris, specifically in Resembool. In the movie, Earth and Resembool are treated as parallel to each other, and you see how they interact with each other while in the process, the two brothers try to reunite themselves. It’s definitely a wonderful storyline that will give viewers the conclusion they’re looking for.
I guess to keep things fresh and exciting, the characters were given new looks to go with new storylines. Ed and Al certainly have matured (and they look cool!), and the same goes for minor characters such as Winry and Roy Mustang. I don’t want to spoil anything, but here’s a hint – dead characters are even brought to life in the movie, however they have different personalities. All the characters still have their respective voice actors from the series, but there are also new additions to the cast such as a gypsy girl named Noa (Miyu Sawai), who I don’t really like because she whines too much, and a new villain, Dietlinde Eckhart (Kazuko Kato).
Even the visuals of the movie were new and improved. The character design became sleeker, the backgrounds are more detailed and attractive, and the color coordination is better than in the series. I especially like how the colors in Earth have a slightly weathered look, while the colors in Amestris are bright and vibrant.
Michiru Oshima, who worked on the music of the series has returned to compose music for the movie as well, but I have to say I like the music of the series better. The music in the series was more striking and memorable compared to the music of the movie. L’Arc~en~ciel also sang the opening and ending themes of the movie, and just like the series, they also came up with catchy tracks for this one too.
As much as I liked the movie, I have to say that I like the series more. It’s not because of the plot per se, but I was disappointed that there was less talk of alchemy in the movie. Alchemy was so important in the series that it made the plot, but that wasn’t the case for the movie. Moreover, Al and Winry, two of my favorite characters, didn’t get enough screen time, so that disappointed me a bit.
However, I still recommend in watching the movie, because like I said earlier, Fullmetal Alchemist: The Movie – Conqueror of Shamballa will provide closure for the series.
This is where things fall apart. The general premise of the story was high quality yet the execution in relation to its source material was poor, largely because the end of the series left so many plot threads to be explained. Unfortunately, the movie spends less time attempting to address these numerous plot threads and more time creating larger questions of its own. This is fine by itself but Shambhala is inherently a continuation of the series rather than a stand-alone piece. It begins with an unanswered series of questions, brings forth a new series of questions, and in the end, doesn’t conclude in answering any of them.
Beautiful and fluid as always: even more so since this is a feature length film.
Far above average. The film is lacking in truly memorable pieces in the vain of its predecessor series (Brothers, Heavenly Spirit) but it manages to capture the viewer into the world it creates. It melds well into the background and there’s little to be said otherwise. A notable exception is the movie opening, Link, which easily ranks among the best of the franchise.
And this is where the story comments arrive into effect. The returning characters are handled well; the newcomers on the other hand fall victim to the films limited length. So much time is spent on the original characters that Noah and Dietlinde appear as cardboard cutouts. The villain becomes prominent towards the second half, acts in the stereotypically evil manner, espouses a tacked on, clichéd motivation for its actions, and proceeds to be literally dehumanized thereafter. Other new characters are treated in a similar manner with two sentence reasons for what motivates them.
Interesting enough. If you take it as a continuation of the series, it often fails to reach a conclusion for plot threads espoused within it, while if you view it as a stand-alone work it still has some glaring problems in the character department. Still, its imaginations should manage to capture any viewer’s attention and many of its other qualities are top notch.
The overall presentation was gorgeous but the story and character flaws were often to glaring to ignore. An above average score but not that of a masterpiece.
This is a brilliantly written film that works in the tension of post WWI Germany to the plot exceedingly well. The people who wrote this film know their history and their folk lore, using aspects of the Nazi society (including Hitler’s supposed obsession with the occult) to pen an enthralling experience. I went and looked up a number of the references made in the film to find out most of them were real. The setting also leads to lots of character conflict. For instance, Hughs (the Maeyz of our world) is a soldier in Post WWI Germany suckered into joining the Nazi party out of desperation. He genuinely thinks the Nazis are doing the right thing (remember, none of these characters have the luxury of knowing where all this will lead) which puts him at odds with Ed. It’s very moving.
The characters from the TV series are all there. Ed takes center stage, with the majority of the film taking place in our world. Al and his alternate version feature prominently, though. Al’s bit in the underground city with Wrath and Gluttony is amazing. Some of the other characters, like Winry and Hawkeye, are somewhat cheated of screentime, but practically every character from the show gets to make an appearance, even if it’s just their alternate version (there’s one cameo at the very end of the movie that’s absolutely hilarious).
The animation in this movie is non-stop eye candy. The fight scenes and action sequences are all fluid and choreographed to perfection, but that’s only the half of it. The backgrounds and environments are lush and detailed and are just dripping with beauty, even when the setting is the dank bowels of a castle. I’m so thankful I got to see this film on the big screen.
It’s hard to rank Conqueror of Shambala. If you’ve seen the TV series you will adore this film. If you haven’t seen the show, you’ll like all the pretty animation, but the story will go completely over your head. Still, if viewed in the proper context, this film is worthy of a 9 to 10 rating. And if you haven’t seen the TV series, do yourself a favor and go check it out. You’ll be glad you did. Full Metal Alchemist is one of the best things to come out of Japan in a long time.
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4: Arashi no Yoru ni
MAL Score: 7.68
A story about a goat and a wolf who become friends on a stormy night, and how they overcome differences and hardships.
Truly, for something that is clearly a children’s film, it is quite capable of drawing a heartthrob from basically anyone watching it. While not exactly action oriented, you’d be surprised at the scenes the movie dares to throw at its young viewers.
Well-done mix of a traditional and CGI animation.
Another strong point would be its characters, since we can find a surprisingly sad backstory or two. The relationship between Mei and Gabu is amazing for the reason it has good firm grounds to turn into the most valuable friendship, even with their differences as species.
An adventure with strong slice of life tone, which is for obvious reasons hard as fuck to pull off properly. It may not be action packed, a comedy gold, a fanservice mine, or an epic fantasy and thank Lord it isn’t trying to be, because that made it just right.
Regardless of whether or not you believe what I believe, One Stormy Night is an incredibly heartfelt narrative that takes the viewer on an amazing journey through the relationship of two animals who cannot be together by their societal standards and even biological standards. (hey does that sound familiar to you too? allegory?)
Art and sound wise, One Stormy Night is very hit or miss. The art is very moody with dark and warm colours using thick strokes. I personally find this style breathtakingly beautiful but that’s just my opinion. If you like this style i would suggest watching Kagewani or Hakaba Kitarou. Maybe you should also play Okami.. The animation itself is very clunky and at times mimics luny tunes-esque wonkiness with fast paced bouncy movements. This completely destroys the atmosphere and breaks any semblance of immersion once had within the story. No audio tracks stood out to me but none grated on my nerves either.
As for the characters.. well they don’t really shine on their own too much. What really matters is the relationship they share. Mei is naive and hopeful and Gabu is rigid and experienced. Gabu wants to show that he can protect Mei because he’d been belittled before and wants to feel like he can be strong for someone. Mei cherishes that side of Gabu and in turn is willing to protect him through sacrifices. Without getting too in depth, their relationship is one of the sweetest I have seen in anime. What they will do for each other is astounding.
Despite a few minor holes in plot that I feel are too outrageous and were put there for convenience, the narrative is solid. I see nothing too inventive or unique going on here though.
This may be an anime for families and lovers of anime for children, but most of all I think that this anime should be recommended for fans of romance that are looking for a heartfelt relationship in their viewing material.
Story: the moral of this story is "don’t judge a book by it’s cover" or something to that effect. Learning how to get along, no matter who you are is deeply conveyed in this. It’s nicely done. The goat and wolf meet each other at night, they can’t see each other but they end up having a really nice talk and agree to meet the next day. When they meet the next day the one thing that was going through my head was "HE’S GOING TO EAT THE SHEEP!" but that didn’t happen. Their freindship ends up deepening quite a bit and the rest of the anime follows their experiences. Prepare yourself to see all the morals that Disney movies have in them. It’s done…subtly…but not as well as I’ve seen in other films. But it is a kid’s movie so that’s really to be expected.
Art: There were times that I really liked the art, and there were times I was going "meh" But overall it had a really nice feel. But again I was really, really getting the Disney vibe from it, which threw me off a lot because I was hoping for anime…not a cartoon. But Disney has always had very….colourful pictures and Arashi is like that too.
Sound: It’s a kids movie….so the score wasn’t epic or depressing. It was sort of generic to enhance the feeling of the movie. Sad music played when something was sad, exciting music was played when something was exciting. Whatever the filmmakers wanted you to feel was the music they chose to play.
Character: The characters are predictable, stereotypical, but nonetheless they are quite cute. Don’t except to be floored by any of them, because you won’t be. Again, it’s a kid’s movie so they don’t throw in anyone who doesn’t fit the mold of the kid’s movie characters.
Enjoyment: Honestly I outgrew this movie 8-9 years ago. Mind you I wouldn’t know what anime was, i thought that Pokemon was a cartoon. The fact that I outgrew this really did affect how much I enjoyed it, which is…unfortunate. But like, I don’t go out to see stuff like Chicken Little or Veggie Tales (which….I did see) when I want to see a movie. So it’s a little unfortunate that I’ve outgrown this.
If you have a kid and you want to introduce anime to them, then this movie is totally for you. There are some big kids out there too, and this will be fine for them. Just because I’ve outgrown this and think that it’s a Disney movie masquerading as an anime doesn’t mean that people won’t enjoy it, it just means that I didn’t like it as much as I could have.
3: One Piece Movie 6: Omatsuri Danshaku to Himitsu no Shima
English: One Piece: Baron Omatsuri and the Secret Island
Japanese: ワンピース オマツリ男爵と秘密の島
MAL Score: 7.71
“If you are a pirate among pirates among pirates among pirates, then gather your steadfast crew of friends and set sail for our island.” Upon finding an advertisement with these words on it for Omatsuri Island, the only recreational resort on the Grand Line, Monkey D. Luffy and his Straw Hat Crew set out for it immediately.
Enticed by the island’s casinos, spas, beautiful women, and exquisite cuisine, the crew are eager to relax and enjoy themselves. Much to their disappointment though, they are told upon arrival that they will first have to pass Baron Omatsuri’s “Ordeals of Hell.” Once they complete this series of challenges, they will be able to enjoy the resort.
However, problems begin to surface the longer they stay on the island. As strange events continue to unfold, the Straw Hat Crew find themselves at odds with one another, disagreeing at every turn. Will the Straw Hat Crew be able to figure out the truth behind Omatsuri Island, or will they fall apart from infighting first?
Whilst sailing the Grand Line the Mugiwara pirates come upon a message in a bottle, advertising Omatsuri Island (Festival Island), a pirate paradise. But when the crew reach the island eager to kick back and relax, they are propositioned to go through ‘Ordeals’ (much like the Skypiea arc) that are all based on Japanese festival games (goldfish catching etc). Luffy, forever positive, is happy to participate in the ‘games’ while the rest of the crew slowly start to fall apart. Compared to the series, this movie is much more mysterious and, at times, even unsettling, especially towards the end when everything becomes desperate. I’ll leave the Story at that, not wanting to spoil anything.
I noticed the art straight away and it first I thought it was just for the opening, but it stays throughout the whole anime and fits perfectly for the more serious tone. The characters are still drawn the same way, but there isn’t any cell-shading (y’know that band of light anime characters get across their hair? Yeah, there’s none of that), it gives a more ‘flat’ and simple look.
Computer animation is also used quite a lot (backgrounds, weapons, plants, goldfish..), especially when they first arrive in the island and are moving through the jungle. It jarred me at first, but eventually I started to like the 2-D characters against a computer animated 3-D background, it some ways it made up for the lack of colour the characters had.
There are also other things in this movie which you wouldn’t find in the series: a First Person Perspective – there are a lot of times where you hear dialogue but you don’t see our characters. Sanji also breaks the fourth wall a few times (turning to the viewer and speaking to them) early on.
Where do I begin? I think after the art, the sound is something easily noticed. I cannot express how much I adored how the sound was used in this film, rather the background music or lack thereof. During the opening, there’s some steel drums and very ‘Caribbean’ music – highlighting the fact that the Mugiwaras are heading to a paradisiacal island (this actually reminded me of a certain Disney movie ¬_¬).
I can’t really remember any distinct scores of music in the film, but that’s probably because there are massive gaps of silence in the music. I loved it. It’s common that during a film we’re subconsciously affected by the soundtrack, it’s even more common that we can’t remember things like background music unless it’s highlighted. In this film, the lack of music really works; it makes us focus our attention on the characters and their expressions, their emotions and conversations. Often, the camera would be fixed on a character for a number of seconds with no dialogue or music, and even no real animation. It can feel a bit strange at times because you end up thinking to yourself “It would be more interesting if they were actually doing something” but looking back it enhances the overall style and feel of the movie.
As usual, the seiyuus of One Piece are brilliant.
This is probably the most important aspect of the movie, as in most movies that are based off a series; you need to be able to introduce your characters effectively for the familiar and unfamiliar audience. Within the first five minutes, we are shown all of the main characters personalities and desires quickly, whether it be Sanji’s affection for beautiful women or Nami’s for luxuries, Usopp’s ‘cautiousness’ or Zoro’s aloofness. For an unfamiliar viewer it helps you understand who these characters are, and their motives, for the familiar viewer, it’s fun to see the characters basic urges being poked fun of.
I’d say through the film we see (without trying to spoil anything) a different side of the characters, or at least in their attitude towards each other. Misunderstandings occur, arguments happen, crew members go missing and suddenly everyone’s fighting with each other. If, like me, when you watch One Piece’s emotional scenes (the character’s pasts, Luffy and Usopps fight etc) you actually feel for the characters, you cheer Luffy on, and when your favourite is beaten, you feel beaten too, this movie will get to you. The sight of the main characters drifting apart is painful and you think “What are doing you idiots? You’re nakama!” – that is the key to this whole film.
To touch upon the new characters that are solely in this film, they all have their own charm – I found Brief endearing and funny, the Tearoom pirates, despite their smaller amount of screen time, managed to have their own story and a family dynamic. Finally, Baron Omatsuri and the rest of the Island’s inhabitants are probably the most difficult characters to talk about. Personally, I probably felt more pity for them than anything else, despite the Baron being the ‘villain’. Characters like Muchigoro and DJ had the strange ability to invoke fear and sympathy at the time, I found it hard to completely dislike them even though they were the enemy.
Briefly, everything I love about One Piece was in this movie – the characters, the humour and the usual emotional nakama-related plot. If you enjoy One Piece for the same reasons, I highly recommend you watch this. I would even perhaps recommend this to people who haven’t watched the series, but I doubt it would have the same impact as it would for fans.
Thank you for reading, please feel free to send me any feedback etc.
The story and the setting and even the personality of the characters really help to set in the art style. and it really does help to show how the characters reactions and feelings begin to shift in the story.
The story was weird at first, but it almost immediately begins to make sense.
the action in this movie was decent and very enjoyable, especially the finale, which I really enjoyed, that scene just engraved itself into my head.
OVerall the story was more of a ghost tale, but at the same time it also held a important message of freindship. which I also enjoyed. the voice acting was brilliantly done as usaul, and the character were well thought out.
Overall I enjoyed this movie, more then some of the other one piece movie releases mainly because of the difference in the style and maybe due to the story itself, either way I really enjoyed it and have found my self rewatching it for more then 7 times.
On one hand I quite liked the story. The Strawhats, as always, are out on an adventure. It is wacky, funny with some slapstick and the good old jokes.
On the other hand the story is different from the usual One Piece we know, this is both good and bad as the story becomes interesting, but I will try to write them in a list.
– You do not know what exactly to expect to happen, so the plot twist is more satisfying
– The usual deal about a bad guy who needs to be beaten is not all this story is about
– The Straw Hats are seen in a desperate situation which test their relationship to one another
– the plot twist also makes the movie seem like another movie altogether. The tone, so to say, change drastically and magnificently.
– Plot holes. In the end this alternative story is indeed refreshing, but it does leave some things unexplained.
– After the first initial start of the movie I found the pace to be slow for a while. However I believe it is because of the mystery presented in the movie and the viewer is left question what direction the movie is going into
– The internal struggle which the Straw Hats goes through is not resolved. It simply disappears, which I find to be a huge letdown and it also reflect my Character score
The art is wholly different from the standard One Piece art, but this is not necessarily bad, I just find it to be bad in this case. Both the background and the characters, especially the expression on the crews faces is different.
Much of the story has buildings in its background, and those are amazing to look at. The things is though, that they are too different from the characters design, it just does not mix well together, at times it looks as if the characters has been plastered on.
The expressions and characters designs seen one the crew is refreshing. The expressions seem more cartoonish to me, a big plus.
The music used is a mix of the standard from the series and and some original mixed together, they mix okay together. The voice actors also do a pretty good job. In short I found the sound to be the most satisfying in the movie.
The characters could have shined in this movie, but ultimately failed to do so. The movie put the Straw Hats up against each other, but fail to do it trustworthily, as they act out of character and the conflict is never resolved, it simply disappears.
All in all this movie has it shortcomings, but it does not fully take my joy from watching this movie. It was pleasing to see a different story, even if it did not fully do its job.
2: Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children
Japanese: ファイナルファンタジーVII アドベントチルドレン
MAL Score: 7.74
Two years ago, the world was changed forever. The young Cloud Strife and his band of friends may have defeated Sephiroth and thwarted his plan to crash a giant meteor into the Earth, but this victory was not without great cost. The highly populated city of Midgar was nearly ripped apart in the conflict. Fortunately, many of the city’s citizens were able to evacuate to safety, and in the years afterward have formed a new home called Edge.
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children revolves around Cloud and Tifa as they try to make new lives for themselves, as well as for those around them, in this new city. Together they run a courier service, and tend to their mutual friend Barret’s adopted daughter Marlene and a young orphan by the name of Denzel. Denzel, Cloud, and scores of children are suffering from a mysterious new illness called “Geostigma.”
The children of the city have one other threat looming over their heads—a trio of powerful men are kidnapping infected kids for unknown reasons. Cloud is determined to save these young ones, not only from Geostigma, but from the kidnappers as well. He has no idea, however, that these men share a link to his old enemy, Sephiroth, and Cloud’s quest to vanquish them will bring him back into conflict with the demons of his past. If there is any hope in conquering these threats, it lays within the bonds of friendship between Cloud and his allies who saved the world once, and now must do so again.
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children takes place two years after the events of the game. It follows Cloud, who is still mourning the death of Aerith/Aeris and a trio of mini Sephiroth clone things as they try to obtain “Mother” and wreak destruction on the entire planet. Goody.
Well, I can say that anyone who has no idea about the events of Final Fantasy VII might be confused on the events and people that are mentioned, or it could be just my mother, but it’s fairly easy to keep up with, so long as you’re paying attention. While I did enjoy the story, it just seemed a little like your typical villian wants to destory the world because of some personal reason and hero, or slight anti-hero in Cloud’s case, goes and takes down villian for some personal reason, so that took away from the inital enjoyment.
Score – 8
…Dude, this is Square Enix we’re talking here. Square Enix the video game company. Do I have to say anything else? ….Fine, I will.
Okay, the last Final Fantasy movie, The Spirits Within, it was a flop, why? Well, I think that it looked too darn REAL, and when you’re making something animated or with CGI (that’s it right?), you don’t want it to look real! The whole point is for it not to look real, if it’s going too look real then you’re better off using real actors. When AC came around they learned that you can’t make them look too real. Now, while the characters can be mistaken for real people, they still hold that animated air around them (it’s all in the hair). And that, my dears, makes for some awesome animation. Satisfied?
Score – 10
Well, the background music is well. I have the feeling that some of it are different versions of the soundtrack from the game, but again, I can’t be sure. The piano compositions that play at certain points of the movie are simply beautiful, particularly the one, Cloud Smiles… I think that’s it’s name anyway. The remixed version of One-Winged Angel, is simply awesome, and it proves that you can mix a mad rock band with a orchestra. I wasn’t fond of the ending song that plays during the credits (the one with the vocals), so I seldom watch the credits because of that…
I watched the dub version, and I loved it, I thought everyone’s voices suited their apparent character… Kadaj sounding like a crazy boy dude, Cloud sounding like some… well, you get it, don’t you? Though my mind doesn’t agree with Aerith’s voice…
Score – 9
Well, I’d say the characterization for this is fairly well, particularly Cloud, since because the end while he does show some acceptance with what’s happened and what he’s been told over and over again, he still seems like the same…stoic Cloud. Ahm. Yeah. I’ll use Kadaj as an example again, he’s a good character because you see him, and when he’s in your mind you can’t put him out of character, unless you’re some rabid fangirl… But… yeah. Since this is a movie a character can’t really grow in the allowed time period (I assume the movie takes place during maybe… three or four days?), so I can’t say much… Unless we’re talking Cloud, and we did already.
Score – 9
…I can say with a straight face that I enjoyed this movie. After all, you’re not going to watch a movie that you don’t like eighty times, now are you? I liked the actions scenes, and the animation the most… And particularly Reno… Okay, moving on.
Score – 9
All In All…
Yay! – Animation, baby! Those graphics can be synonymous with… eye candy. I think they are, too.
Nay! – Story needs to be indepth, and should maybe a little easier for the… non fans to follow… Eheheh…
Overall Score – 9
(This review contains spoilers for the FFVII game, but not the actual movie.)
STORY – I recall looking up FFVII’s backstory and plot once or twice on Wikipedia, but most of what I know is based on sniplets of casual conversation, fanart, random other things on the Internet, and the (bastardized) versions of the characters’ stories in Kingdom Hearts. That said, Advent Children’s story was mostly “Wait, what?” to me. Even for movies based off other media, it’s always best to have enough cohesiveness for it to make sense to newcomers and strangers to the original; to that end, Advent Children definitely failed. Explanations seemed abbreviated and choppy, and characters did little to clarify their intentions or motivations. At times, it seemed like they were trying too hard to connect it to the game, as if people didn’t already know what it was based off of. (Seriously, how many flashbacks of dead Aerith do we need?) And despite that, I hear from the diehards that the movie’s story connected poorly to the game anyway.
The sickness is poorly presented and explained; its cure similarly so. A good number of scenes also seemed like they were there for the sole purpose of fanservice, rather than actual story progression. The same could be said for the inclusion of many of the characters — they served no real purpose, but I’m sure all the fanboys and girls in the audience were screaming their heads off, and that’s what really seems to count with a movie like this.
CHARACTER – Poorly developed, all of them! If they were even developed at all! Cloud seemed like he spoke no more than five sentences for the entire movie, and none of them were particularly insightful or informative. Why was he doing anything he was doing? Got me. Because he felt guilty? Because he felt obliged? Because he had nothing else to do? Most of his support characters were either mindlessly cheerful or vacantly stoic; none seemed to have any real depth. The children, as well, did not seem to have any substance — they were mostly objects to be protected or to be captured and mind-controlled. They weren’t people at all.
Reno and Rude provided some humorous antics and were entertaining to watch, but beyond that, it’s the same thing for the most part. I suppose they have the excuse of working for an organization for their motivation, but we never really see anything beyond that simple exterior. Kadaj and his brothers were just the same — one-dimensional characters with tunnel vision. What exactly they were trying to accomplish always remained vague, and why exactly did Kadaj manifest as Sephiroth when he came into contact with Jenova? Well, shit, I don’t know, but it’s probably just to give Sephy some screentime because otherwise he’s dead, right? The entire movie was built around that final fight. There is no other greater purpose or story. Advent Children is a 100% fanservice movie.
ARTSTYLE & ANIMATION – Now, this is where all my harsh words end, pretty much. The animation was beautiful. Beautiful! Stunning! The details in all the renders — backgrounds, characters, clothing, weapons… everything was gorgeous, moved smoothly, and integrated well with its surroundings. The special effects were great, too. This movie is full of so much eye candy, your brain will explode. Even the simple things, like the inverted forest, or our five minute long scene of a cell phone falling through water — all of it looked beautiful. I mean, come on, things have to look pretty darn amazing for me to be entertained by a falling cell phone for that long.
MUSIC – Another flawless aspect of this movie is the music. From the very first track, I was completely in love with Advent Children’s score. A collection of different composers did the music for the movie and each and every one of them did an absolutely amazing job with every single track on this soundtrack. Every melody fit its scene, and every scene was so much more emotional or exciting because of it. The piano thrashing for “Those Who Fight” makes me wish I could play better. The guitars in “Black Water” get me totally pumped every single time. This soundtrack is also definitely one you could listen to over and over again, independent of the movie, and I’m sure that many others who haven’t even seen the movie could enjoy the music here. The vocal track, “CALLING,” at the end of the movie is also pretty nice, and I thought it was a great way to conclude it all.
VOICE ACTING – I’ve seen both the sub and dub. The sub was amazing. All the voices fit their roles wonderfully. Kadaj and Reno in particular had very memorable performances. The dub was much better than I thought it would be; really, the only real problem with the dub is Cid’s hick accent, Yuffie’s annoying voice, and the fact that Tifa’s “zuruzuru zuruzuru” definitely did not translate well because we silly English-speakers don’t have a sound effect for “dragging.” Other than that, I couldn’t have wanted more from the dub. An identical voice cast was used for all the FFVII characters in Kingdom Hearts II, so the voices were familiar. This also impressed me since the same was true for the Japanese version. What impressed me further was the fact that both Reno and Axel were voiced by the same actor in Japanese, and the same is true in English (ironically for Axel, his voice is also the Human Torch). Those little similarities are what make the fangirls happy. Moving on though, Steve Blum as Vincent Valentine? Totally awesome.
OVERALL – I think it’s the general consensus all across the board that no one watched this movie for its brilliant storytelling and character development. This was an eyecandy movie for fans to squeal over. Really, the best way to watch this might be in Japanese with the subtitles off. That way, you can play ignorant to the bad stuff, but you still get all the brilliance of the voice acting, all of the amazing music, and of course, all of the visual madness that is this Advent Children. Enjoy.
Anime(?): AC is a digitally animated film that was released in 2005 by Square-Enix (famous for the Final Fantasies, duhr!), and directed by Tetsuya Nomura (Kingdom Hearts, FFVIII, FFX, duhr!). The original version was released in Japan in 2005, and it finally made its way Stateside in April of 2006 thanks to Squenix NA and Sony.
There have been several super-deluxe ultimate editions released, as is Squenix’s habit, and I’m not even going to bother covering those.
Story: I would assume that you know this, but maybe you’ve been hiding under a rock. Basically, it’s two years after the Planet was almost destroyed by Meteor and Sephiroth, and now there’s this disease called Geostigma striking the children, and Cloud’s living life as a delivery man and being generally emo and such before he gets dragged back into things c/o three silver-haired men (ZOMG SEPHIROTHS?!).
In case you couldn’t sense the sarcasm permeating the review up until this point, I’m not terribly impressed with this movie. The plot is very lacking, and I expect more from Squenix because I know they can deliver better than this.
No one gets any development (except Cloud, and that’s only to from emo to zomgkickyourassSEPHIROTH!), which is disappointing, especially because we have the three silver-hairs who could’ve been developed pretty nicely, but are pretty much cardboard cutouts. This applies to the rest of the cast, too.
The plot is essentially something I could have found on Fanfiction.net, and about as well thought-out/executed, too. It boils down to Cloud emo, fight, fight, Cloud emo, silver-haired guys, fight, fight, Cloud emo, fight for the kids, fight, fight zomgsephiroth! Come on, Squenix! You’ve done better than this! Basically, it was very obvious that they did this simply to milk FFVII for everything that it’s worth.
Art: It’s Squenix, so it’s guaranteed that the visuals are going to be astoundingly beautiful, which they are. The guys look prettier than the girls, for crying out loud!
I have a problem with the way they chose to cut this, though. Several people, both in the AC thread and in earlier reviews, have compared the editing to that of a music video. And it’s not that far off. The cuts are very confusing, as are the angles, and it takes a few viewings to get used to it.
Music: It basically comes down to strings and choir background vocals mixed with hard rock. Not all that impressive, really. There are some good tracks (‘For the Reunion’, ‘Aeris’ Theme’, whatever that one song is that plays during Tifa and Loz’s fight, the AC version of One-Winged Angel), but it’s not enough to save most of the soundtrack from repetition. Decent, overall.
Length: The repetition of the plot causes this to drag a little, despite how fast it moves along. The dragging is really obvious at the end, which is similar to Return of the King’s in how long it takes to wrap up. Nomura admits this was originally planned as a twenty-minute short, but it just ended up expanding and expanding, and you can tell that it got a little bloated as it did.
Seiyuu: This is one of the saving graces of the film. I could watch this just for Rufus and Kadaj’s seiyuu. And there are some top-tier seiyuu (Maaya Sakamoto as Aeris, most notably, and the guy who did Roy Mustang as Sephiroth) as well, and everyone else in the production carries their roles wonderfully.
Dub: However, what I said above doesn’t go for the dub. The voices are amazingly bland when compared to their Japanese counterparts. Aeris and Tifa’s voice actresses, most notably, deliver their lines like robots. The only ones who get close to their Japanese counterparts’ performances are Kadaj and Sephiroth, and even those are pale imitations at best.
Performances like these are the reason I went to/usually stick to subs.
Overall: This was a disappointment to me, especially after I went out of my way to get a legal version. I’m hoping this doesn’t carry over to the other Compilation of FFVII titles (though, from what I know thus far, Last Order didn’t fare much better than this, and I’ve heard the same for Dirge of Cerberus, while the recently-released Crisis Core is said to be the best of the bunch). I know you’re trying to get everything you can out of this, Squenix, but really, could you at least try for some quality?
Overall: 42/60; 70% (D)
1: Kino no Tabi: The Beautiful World – Nanika wo Suru Tame ni – Life Goes On.
Japanese: 劇場版 キノの旅 -the Beautiful World- 何かをするために -life goes on.
MAL Score: 7.77
After running away from the grim future that awaited her back in her home country, a young girl takes upon a new name and identity—inspired by the man who sacrificed his life to help her escape. Alongside her newfound companion, a talking motorcycle, the two find themselves a new home in the forest—where lives an elderly woman with an expertise in guns. Under the woman’s care, the girl is trained in marksmanship and motorcycle handling among other various skills needed to survive.
Although the girl is happy with her current life, her guilt regarding her savior’s death continues to build within herself. She still feels responsible for her savior’s death, and considers the consequences of using his name as her own. In doing so, she is denying her own identity and existence by trying to replicate another person’s life, instead of living her own.
Kino no Tabi: The Beautiful World – Nanika wo Suru Tame ni – Life Goes On. follows the journey of a young girl as she begins to come to terms with her new identity.
Story 10: This is the story I wanted to hear since about episode 3 of the show, and it never disappointed. The plotline of "Life Goes On" does a wonderful job of showing how Kino’s writers are able to seamlessly integrate Lain-style philosophy into a story without interfering with its pacing. That being said, it contains a similar level of spoilers as watching any prequel before the main series, I would certainly suggest watching the show first.
Art 9: Just about the same as Kino’s Journey, along with the subtly annoying horizontal lines throughout. I really liked the darker moments of this OVA, the art in those parts were a very welcome supplement to the already established art style. And what can I say? I just love Kino’s character design <3
Sound 9: I really enjoyed the voice-acting in the show and in this OVA it was maybe even better. Still don’t really care for the OP or ED though, but neither are like gratingly bad. The BGM isn’t spectacular or anything but contributes well to the pace and feel.
Character 10: A surprising amount of character development in this OVA, without messing up the series’s, which was awesome to see. Also, many of the side-characters in "Life Goes On" were fairly unique, which was nice coming from a series where one of my few complaints was their reuse of stock characters.
Enjoyment 10: A very stellar OVA, if you liked Kino’s Journey but always wanted to know more about Kino’s past this is perfect for you. Even if that wasn’t really the draw of the series for you, I personally believe some of the series’s best moments are in this OVA so I’d check it out anyway.
Overall 10: If you didn’t like Kino, this probably won’t change your mind. If you liked Kino but didn’t like its ending (as in- what ending?) this OVA could fix your opinion of the show, as it did mine. I find myself wishing this were the canonical last episode, because I fear some people will miss it. Please don’t let yourself be one of those people! If you finished Kino’s Journey promptly go watch this OVA.
Anime: The Kino no Tabi movie was released on February 19th, 2005 in Japan, and was directed by Takashi Watanabe, who also directed Ikki Tousen. It has yet to be licensed or released Stateside.
Story: The movie is a prequel of sorts, focusing on Kino when she was younger and living with Shishou, who was mentioned in passing in the series. We see her learning to protect herself with guns, and learning how to ride Hermes, which makes for some nice laughs. It also focuses on her guilt over a death that she caused, and her first journey to the country of the one she killed, to tell that person’s family what happened.
This is a really nice continuation of one of the episodes in the series, not to mention an expansion on another person mentioned in passing in the series, and a great origin story in general. We get to see how Kino became… well, Kino.
Again, as in the series, there is some blood; nothing too significant, but it’s still there.
Art: No different from what we saw in the series; see my review of Kino no Tabi for my opinions on that.
Music: Again, no different from what we saw in the series, except for the ED. The new ED was sweet, but I like the series’ ED better.
Seiyuu: Once again, no change from what we saw in the series. It was nice, hearing more of Shishou’s seiyuu, because we heard so little of her in the series. She was exactly what I expected her to be: warm, comforting, motherly in general.
Length: I’m not real happy with this, as it clocked in at just under a half-hour. I was expecting something a bit longer than the typical episode length, and there was so much more that they could’ve done. It was nice, but still…
Let’s just hope that the second movie is actually full-length, and not this short.
Overall: An excellently written, if slightly short, origin story, with many similarities to the series.
Overall: 39/50; 78% (C)
As a prequel, the film isn’t bad but it leaves something to be desired. How did Kino and Shishou meet, and why does Shishou make Kino (and everyone else) call her Master? When and why did Kino decide to leave Shishou? If Life Goes On were actually a movie, maybe it would have had the time to answer these and other questions. At just under 30 minutes, it’s more like another episode, but unlike other episodes, it fails to raise any interesting cultural issues. For better or worse, it’s just a collection of events from Kino’s childhood, with little expository or intellectual value.
Given the dearth of Kino’s Journey anime, fans should certainly check Life Goes On out. It’s a good story, and of course, it’s more Kino. Just don’t expect to find any big answers or profound messages. For those who haven’t seen Kino’s Journey and are looking for a good starting place, the “Tower Country” OVA (Episode 00) is a better choice as it’s more representative of the series.
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Kino no Tabi: The Beautiful World – Nanika wo Suru Tame ni – Life Goes On.
2. Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children
3. One Piece Movie 6: Omatsuri Danshaku to Himitsu no Shima
4. Arashi no Yoru ni
5. Fullmetal Alchemist: The Conqueror of Shamballa