They’re the best Anime that 2019 has to offer! We counts down the best anime to come out this year, including the likes of Made in Abyss Movie 2: Hourou Suru Tasogare, Tenki no Ko, Violet Evergarden Gaiden: Eien to Jidou Shuki Ningyou, and more!
5: Made in Abyss Movie 2: Hourou Suru Tasogare
Japanese: 劇場版総集編【後編】メイドインアビス 放浪する黄昏
MAL Score: 8.34
The movie is a compilation of episodes 9-13 of the 2017 television series. Riko and Reg descend to the third layer where Riko has her first experience of the Curse. They descend to the fourth layer where Riko’s arm is injured by an Orbed Piercer and Reg tries to save her. Nanachi comes to their aid and saves Riko’s poisoned arm. In return Nanachi asks Reg to kill her immortal companion Mitty. Nanachi then joins Riko and Reg in their quest to reach the bottom of the Abyss.
This is probably one of the best recaps I’ve ever seen, even though I’ve seen the anime and already know what’s going to happen, the story is still wonderful and heartbreaking.
Therefore, I recommend watching it even if you already know what is going to happen, as it serves as preparation for the 3rd film, where the really important events happened.
4: Tenki no Ko
English: Weathering With You
MAL Score: 8.35
Tokyo is currently experiencing rain showers that seem to disrupt the usual pace of everyone living there to no end. Amidst this seemingly eternal downpour arrives the runaway high school student Hodaka Morishima, who struggles to financially support himself—ending up with a job at a small-time publisher. At the same time, the orphaned Hina Amano also strives to find work to sustain herself and her younger brother.
Both fates intertwine when Hodaka attempts to rescue Hina from shady men, deciding to run away together. Subsequently, Hodaka discovers that Hina has a strange yet astounding power: the ability to call out the sun whenever she prays for it. With Tokyo’s unusual weather in mind, Hodaka sees the potential of this ability. He suggests that Hina should become a “sunshine girl”—someone who will clear the sky for people when they need it the most.
Things begin looking up for them at first. However, it is common knowledge that power always comes with a hefty price…
“Hey can I copy your works”
“Of Course, make sure just change it up a bit so it doesn’t look to obvious”
This is snarky little thought that I came up with when I just got back from seeing this film in the theaters. However, in essence it is pretty much understandable to compare Tenki no Ko with Kimi no Nawa or even call this movie as its spiritual successor. Aside from the obvious the two movies are made by the same person, it also share the same universe where mystic/magic do appears in a grounded realistic setting as a main feature for the plot, RADWIMPS is once again present for providing the insert song/OST throughout the movie, and the two main protagonist of Kimi no Nawa did made a cameo appearances.
The plot plays out exactly same too, with the first half of the movie coming up with mix up of Melancholic but very cheerful type of movie and the second half had drastic change in tone ;becoming dark and full of intensity. Most of the jokes including some perverts jokes, reverting-expectations jokes, mascot jokes and pretty much everything else that you’ve seen in Kimi no Nawa, to my eyes this is very poor attempts, because it didn’t give any variety and it seems as though Shinkai’s very content with his usual formula (but then again why doesn’t he feel the need to fix something that he thinks is not broken).
But the problem of this movie is not that it is feels like a rehearse or it is a worse version to Kimi no Nawa. The problem with this movie is that judge on its own, it still feature the similar trait(or dare I say problems) of usual Makoto Shinkai’s movie; while the movie had an excellent production values it does not had a genuine plot and characters. It seems Shinkai has an idea but he doesn’t really manage to pull off the execution. Plot conveniences appear one after another, making it seems as though the objective is just to make the story progress whether is it believable. One of the examples is a scene when kids manage to escape from police station full of police and I do believe anyone with their right mind will find it odds and quite puzzling.
In the setting that is very unforgiving and cruel, the violence’s in the movie is extremely tame. There’s literally many chance when characters could die (and even implication of death of people) but the anime gets away with it and the characters never felt show any emotion on it whatsoever. The economic struggles the characters facing too is only explored in very superficial level and never goes depth, making the drama that the characters lacks of money is not very useful.
The romance is very tame too. With the amount events of relationship that the two protagonist present, I would believe they are at a stage where they are at least make a kiss. The girl even doesn’t mind to open her bath robe, but even so the romantic action is quite lacking. I guess both elements did not present so intensely because the targeted audience is for kids to young teenager, but even so why show those somewhat adult content from the first place and also there’s no excuse for that, as there are also others kiddy show that manage to show itself quite believable.
I guess my biggest disappointment is that Hina wasn’t a more fleshed out character. She’s too innocent and pure-hearted that at times she felt like a concept. At times, she didn’t feel real. Even her first and second encounter with Hidaka is also very questionable change of heart. Hidaka’s the prototypical anime protagonist, so we hear his thoughts, anxieties, frustrations, moments of bliss and joy, so on and so forth. We drag in too many side characters that don’t get enough development to stand out on their own, and as a result, they just needlessly pad out the film’s length. Had this been an anime series instead, we could then fully explore these characters and their issues. But in a two hour movie, the drama felt too forced between the characters and some of them become friends way too easily. Meanwhile the security was so useless; they’re dumb, unprofessional and incomptences making the films looks like Sunday morning cartoons.
And then there’s the second half of the show where things becomes chaotic and full of intensity. The ending was kind of resembling Life is Strange Video Games with the movie chose the ‘selfish’ options instead of the ‘saint’ which is not a bad thing at all. However, at this point the movie has become utter-train wreck. Aside from the usual plot convenient that happens, there’s also the usage of deus-ex machine that turn around reality with very little explanation. But the film doesn’t end there, what’s more? There’s a time-skip present which makes the consequences of the present time action been throw-out of window.
Having said that. You won’t find me complaining about the movie’s aesthetic. It is simply excellent, it’s always a pleasure to experience an anime film on the big screen and as expected, the art is simply gorgeous. Every background is full of detail and lively, it’s pretty much a joy to watch throughout, the character’s design is the same as Kimi no Nawa but it is they are quite distinguishable and have different feature on them. I feel like the animation could have been better specifically when the movie tries to show the fireworks happens all around city and I found the people standing still instead of cheering because the situations is happiness, but that’s just personal nitpicking and never it does hammering the quality of the animation at all. On the whole, it is just great production.
It doesn’t sound half bad either. The voice acting is generally very good; the background sound specifically the rain sound (which will feature a lot) is pretty spot on for building the atmosphere. Watching on theaters really enhance the assessment on the movie especially when you heard it on full volumes. Though one thing I did not like is that the trick that the movie uses when they want to insert some Theme Song/OST. The movie really likes to show the viewers some dialogue-less scene of the characters spending their moment or cinematic porn of the landscapes with the back sounds appears for like every 20 minutes throughout the movie. I feel like this is cheap effort to induces feels to viewers but I think the movie should do this with their story and not with their supporting elements.
All in all. I feel like Tenki no Ko is just really wants to follow the successful of Kimi no Nawa but it never feels had a major deviation from its predecessor. So in the end, we got an the all-too-familiar product and this time I feel the execution is worse. On its own, it’s never being a good movie; there are some genuinely emotional moments in this movie that could move some viewers I guess. Nevertheless, it is a thoroughly frustrating movie. If you want to finish your Makoto Shinkai’s movie collection or you just want to watch some gorgeous animation spectacles. Go for it. Otherwise, I’d really can’t recommend it.
I guess what I learned is that Mc Donald isn’t so bad restaurant after all.
I, however do encourage you to lower your expectations. Not that the film isn’t good, it is. Great even and really enjoyable for me. It’s just not Kimi No Na Wa 2, which I feel many people will be expecting going in and be disappointed. This is a different type of story and film that in my opinion feels closer to 5CM per second and Garden of Words than to Kimi No Na Wa. Keep that in mind going in. That doesn’t spoil anything, the endings are different, before anyone(mod) complains. I’m just referring to the storytelling method and type of story being told. It’s much more grounded and is its own unique thing involving a much more realistic narrative and a fresh MC backstory/internal struggle.
What do I mean by that? I don’t think I’m spoiling anything here by saying that the plot while being fantastical, is very grounded in nature. A huge part of Kimi No Na Wa was the magical aspect, here you’ve got that, but the story is much more rooted in the characters, their interactions and relationships. The whole “weathering with you” is more secondary to the actual inner struggle that the MC is going through and the hardships he’s been through which will resonate with many.
Art was top notch as I said before, usual Shinkai style with amazing detailed environments and amazingly detailed character designs. Sound was also really good, soundtrack was great and definitely set the tone for several scenes during the climax. Can’t wait for it to be released. Additionally the sound design with rain, weather and other day to day things sounded extremely lifelike and added to the immersion of several scenes. Animation was mainly stellar, but there were a few choppy scenes that I noticed when the characters were running or moving rapidly and I found it a bit jarring, not the biggest deal, but it was there. Mainly, the way the characters’ necks and legs moved.
Pacing was good in my opinion, I didn’t ever feel overwhelmed by the story, confused or lost. I felt that the script took me from A to Z properly and characters were given their time to shine. Main story and subplots progress smoothly.
Now for the negatives. The CGI was, in my opinion, kinda iffy at times and was a bit subpar in general. I personally think that if I can tell there’s CGI being used, it’s bad. That could just be me, but there’s several scenes where the CGI is really noticeable and so I have to dock points for that. That’s my personal definition. I also saw very little actual growth out of the MC from start to end. I know it’s a film and not a series, but I wish I would have seen more of his development. I like to see Protags grow and evolve over the course of a film and learn new things. I did not get that in this film.
Additionally, By the end of the film, there are still some unresolved questions and plot threads that I really wish would have been answered during the film, but I do have the Light Novel and am hoping that we will get more answers in that. I also found the ending to be really abrupt and not well led into. Again, think 5CM per Second and Garden of Words type endings. I reiterate, that’s not spoiling anything, I’m just comparing it to comparable works and types of stories. The ending is its own thing and completely unrelated. I just dislike how it was abrupt and left more to be desired. I like to see endings eased into. Hopefully the LN will tie up what the film couldn’t.
Overall, I really enjoyed it and while it won’t break records like Kimi No Na Wa did due to its more grounded nature, it is a really solid film with a unique story, beautiful character designs, great soundtrack and amazing art that I definitely recommend checking out if you can. I imagine there won’t be many people reviewing it on here for a year or so, so if you have any questions regarding the film or Light Novel, feel free to hit me up/add me.
Tenki no Ko tells us the romance story of runaway kids who kinda like each others but not really and then they start fighting against adults and opposing society because it rains all the time.
I found it very hard to relate to these youngsters because they feel like lifeless cardboard. Our main male lead ran away from home and got himself a gun which he uses to threaten people and pimps with. And our main female lead is living alone without parents and fighting against the child service by working as a… well, she is working for the pimp and she is a child. Why something like this was written for her backstory is something I entirely failed to understand, but at least it makes equally much sense with the male lead’s backstory.
The story itself consist of story events that are a highly random collection of separate ideas that are not tied to each others in any solid way or form. The male lead’s life is saved by a dude and after that he starts working as his assistant/maid. Most of the story that occurs before this specific event is just about wandering around the town doing nothing. The parts where he works as a maid is entirely about slice of life stuff which cannot be called really anything more than pointless filler. After meeting the main female with her pimp, he tries to save her even tho she doesn’t ask to be saved. Whilst doing so he gets beaten down and repeatedly hit in the face by the pimp until pulls a gun on the pimp. This, for some reason, impresses the female and they start hanging out.
Unfortunately the cops are onto him because he is a runaway with a gun and also onto the girl because she is raising a child on her own while being a minor, so things turn south until she sacrifices herself to stop the rain. Because she is now gone, the male lead and the small kid the girl was rising start fighting against 6 gun-wielding cops with their fists and win, and just so happens to be she didn’t actually sacrifice herself but the actually meet again and then the movie ends. This is the story and relationship development in a nutshell.
There is lot of stuff in-between these events, but to sum up why I didn’t like them is going to be brief: Every new story event that occurs is more unlikely and improbable than the last one. Every single adult character in the movie works as a tool in the narrative and their existence is limited to creating false tension. Their actions are the combination of logical errors and plain stupidity, and it all exist so that the story would reach its preferred ending.
I am not truly sure what Shinkai was thinking when making Tenki no Ko, but I can conclude that it surely was not a written epic or how to respect his audience.
In terms of art, this is identical to his past movies and it feels especially old and tiring to watch with this type of content. Perhaps I wouldn’t complain if there was something praise-worthy in other section. Like, to be fair, some of the weather related symbolism is quite nice and specifically few scenes towards the end are beautiful. It’s just that these thing really don’t carry the movie and feel highly insignificant compared to all the things which it does in a manner that could be called offensively bad.
I really didn’t enjoy this movie. The story board was a complete mess, writing horrendous, the world building and the supposed societal system in the work make no sense whatsoever and the way the movie and its character relations are build is just a plain how-to NOT. It tried to provoke some cheap anger reactions from audience with pimp-assault injustice and whatever other (supposedly) good kids vs. the world setup, but all it got from me was some lols and weird faces. Overall it’s an incredibly weak work with surprisingly poor writing and zero respect to give to its audience.
3: Violet Evergarden Gaiden: Eien to Jidou Shuki Ningyou
English: Violet Evergarden I: Eternity and the Auto Memory Doll
Japanese: ヴァイオレット エヴァーガーデン 外伝 -永遠と自動手記人形-
MAL Score: 8.40
Isabella, the daughter of the noble York family, is enrolled in an all-girls academy to be groomed into a dame worthy of nobility. However, she has given up on her future, seeing the prestigious school as nothing more than a prison from the outside world. Her family notices her struggling in her lessons and decides to hire Violet Evergarden to personally tutor her under the guise of a handmaiden.
At first, Isabella treats Violet coldly. Violet seems to be able to do everything perfectly, leading Isabella to assume that she was born with a silver spoon. After some time together, Isabella begins to realize that Violet has had her own struggles and starts to open up to her. Isabella soon reveals that she has lost contact with her beloved younger sister, Taylor Bartlett, whom she yearns to see again.
Having experienced the power of words through her past clientele, Violet asks if Isabella wishes to write a letter to Taylor. Will Violet be able to help Isabella convey her feelings to her long-lost sister?
Thank you so much KyoAni for the World Premiere Screening on AnimagiC, Germany.
Simply put, the story is like a very long version of a typical Violet Evergarden Episode, where this time Violet considers someone as her first real friend.
Animation is like every KyoAni movie breath taking and in comparison to the TV-series, there is slightly no difference. As for the soundtrack, there is some old very recognized ones as well as some new tracks. Main and support characters are presented or mentioned, with also a lot of references from the TV-Series.
Overall, very good story, animation and soundtracks.
is about a illegitimate noble woman Amy, who survived during the war years alone, resp. with her (not related) little sister Taylor. Due to a deal with Amy’s father both were separated from each others. In short, Violet helps Amy and later …
Story: The story is divided into two chapters. In the first chapter, Violet Evergarden goes to the private girls’ school and works as a private tutor for a girl named Isabella York. In the second chapter, the younger sister of Isabella named Taylor Bartlett comes to CH Postal Company and starts working as an apprentice mail deliverer. These two chapters are masterfully intertwined into one coherent story. As you watch, you will laugh; you will cry; you will be moved beyond words could express. See it for yourself. It is as perfect as a story can be.
Art: Violet Evergarden Gaiden is even better than the TV series in terms of quality and design. Whether it is an interior scene or an outdoor scene, the art design is impeccable. With vibrant colors and meticulously drawn scenery, every scene in the movie is breathtaking and a joy to watch. Simply put, KyoAni has delivered again.
Sound: Violet Evergarden Gaiden’s sound design is some of the best I have ever experienced. It sets the mood perfectly and makes the scenes more beautiful and vibrant. Kudos to the sound director Youta Tsuruoka and the composer Evan Call.
Character: Characters are well-developed and multifaceted. It is a masterful character design in every aspect.
Overall Enjoyment: It is very enjoyable and has a lot of re-watch value. I would re-watch it multiple times when the Blu-ray is released.
In conclusion, Violet Evergarden Gaiden is a masterpiece that is built upon a solid foundation. It complements the TV series and offers a fantastic experience. It is one of the best, if not the best anime movies I have ever watched.
What’s unique about this movie in which stands out more than any other normal Violet Evergarden episodes are :
– It has slight Yuri tease.
– Violet doesn’t really have much role in this movie. Instead, the movie feels more focused towards the two sisters. Amy Bartlett and Taylor Bartlett ( slightly contravening the rule of slice of life but I wasn’t bothered by it ).
This movie is like a dream come true for me. I used to think that if Violet Evergarden had Yuri. At least a little. Would it make the anime overall better? This is my answer. Yes. Yes, indeed.
Other than the Yuri teases that made me scream and go all fanboy over it. The movie uses the same soundtracks from Violet Evergarden ( except the ED ) and the quality is pretty much the same.
I cried my balls out when I was watching this movie. My eyes went red. My body was shaking. I tried to control myself but I couldn’t. I’d say that this movie’s sadness scale is comparable to the normal anime episode where Violet skipped on the pond or the famous episode 10 that everybody cries over.
I had an amazing time watching this movie. It feels nice to be back and I’m also incredibly glad that I had the privilege to watch this early. Y’all peeps who haven’t watched this yet. Don’t be fooled by the movie’s rating. It was botted. The movie was actually OK HAND.
2: Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! Movie: Kurenai Densetsu
English: KONOSUBA -God’s blessing on this wonderful world!- Legend of Crimson
Japanese: 映画 この素晴らしい世界に祝福を！紅伝説
MAL Score: 8.49
It is not strange that the Demon Lord’s forces fear the Crimson Demons, the clan from which Megumin and Yunyun originate. Even if the Demon Lord’s generals attack their village, the Crimson Demons can just easily brush them off with their supreme mastery of advanced and overpowered magic.
When Yunyun receives a seemingly serious letter regarding a potential disaster coming to her hometown, she immediately informs Kazuma Satou and the rest of his party. After a series of wacky misunderstandings, it turns out to be a mere prank by her fellow demon who wants to be an author. Even so, Megumin becomes worried about her family and sets out toward the Crimson Demons’ village with the gang.
There, Kazuma and the others decide to sightsee the wonders of Megumin’s birthplace. However, they soon come to realize that the nonsense threat they received might have been more than just a joke.
The Good – The humor is on point, exactly the same quality as the show. Kazuma’s antics are entertaining as always, Megumin gets plenty of fanservice, Yunyun gets a bit more screentime, and even the new villain is memorable. The interactions between the characters were a goldmine of laughs for me. Story-wise, it’s a simple story about the gang visiting Megumin and Yunyun’s hometown. Nothing special, but no one watches Konosuba for the plot, amirite? 😉
The Bad: Since the movie is basically just an extended episode, the animation was lacking in quite a few places, which is even more noticeable this time since it’s supposed to be a movie. Background characters sometimes barely have a face. True to the spirit of Megumin, they seemed to put more budget into just the explosions, which looked pretty good.
Overall score: 8/10 – If you liked the show and don’t expect the movie to go above and beyond the show’s quality, then this will be a great watch. If you didn’t like the show, why are you even reading this review? Go watch something else, pleb. 😛
Definitely not a bot
Saw this movie in a local german cinema a few hours ago.
The german subtitles were kind of inaccurate at times, but nothing that impacted the understanding of the scene/plot. (But one time they forgot to translate background chatter, that was subtitled in Japanese.
Story – 7
Nothing too special, but not generic either.
The story was mostly what you’d expect from Konosuba, but the last 20 minutes were a bit too “cliché-anime-movie”, in my opinion.
However all plotpoints had the usual quirky (and kinda dumb-funny) konosoba-feel to it.
It was sort of ecchi-heavy and it revolved more about sex, love and relationships as i expected.
Art – 6
Probably my biggest gripe with this film.
Most of the time it just looked like the TV-show, but on a big screen.
There was no scene that looked like complete trash, but -apart from some spells and explosions- nothing really stood out.
Also this movie had a lot of jiggling boobs.
Sound – 8
Can vary depending on Location, but my local cinema is pretty new so the sound equipment is rather good. You could really feel the explosions through your whole Body, but the sound wasn’t deafining in any way.
Music was fine, the use of the OP at the beginning was fitting.
Voice acting was on point, but that’s not too surprising.
Characters – 10
The characters and their quirks is something that makes Konosuba to what it is, as most of the jokes are built those characteristics.
Probably most important was Kazuma’s desire to be a womanizer, which was used throughout the film, creating funny scenes until the very end.
All the characters’ actions fitted their respective personality, nothing felt off.
The new characters were all pretty quirky and made for some humorous additions.
Enjoyment – 9
I pretty much laughed throughout the whole movie, in fact i laughed so much, that at some point i had to stop laughing, because my face started hurting.
Really only the chliché finale bugged me.
Overall – 8
“Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo!: Kurenai Densetsu” knows where it strengths lie and plays them perfectly, but its weaknesses can’t be overseen, especially the animations.
1: Fate/stay night Movie: Heaven’s Feel – II. Lost Butterfly
English: Fate/stay night: Heaven’s Feel – II. Lost Butterfly
Japanese: 劇場版「Fate/stay night [Heaven’s Feel] II.lost butterfly」
MAL Score: 8.56
The Fifth Holy Grail War continues, and the ensuing chaos results in higher stakes for all participants. Shirou Emiya continues to participate in the war, aspiring to be a hero of justice who saves everyone. He sets out in search of the truth behind a mysterious dark shadow and its murder spree, determined to defeat it.
Meanwhile, Shinji Matou sets his own plans into motion, threatening Shirou through his sister Sakura Matou. Shirou and Rin Toosaka battle Shinji, hoping to relieve Sakura from the abuses of her brother. But the ugly truth of the Matou siblings begins to surface, and many dark secrets are exposed.
Fate/stay night Movie: Heaven’s Feel – II. Lost Butterfly continues to focus on the remaining Masters and Servants as they fight each other in the hopes of obtaining the Holy Grail. However, as darkness arises within Fuyuki City, even the state of their sacred war could be in danger.
10 minutes into the movie: huh?
30: WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE
Mild spoilers follow.
No tedious philosophies nor pretentious dialogue that solely exists to postpone the battles and extent the awful battle tournament shonen storyline because of pride or other equally laughable reasons. No. This time it’s all about Sakura being too horny to stand and Shirou holding hands with every girl imaginable. Literally sex scenes and masturbation. Now this is what I always wanted from Fate. Finally understand why Heaven’s Feel is the best route.
The pacing can be a problem to some viewers because it is seriously fast and scenes change at ridiculous tempo. There is constantly something happening, twists actually in goddamn fate and people die. Why the earlier anime were even made when something this good was already written I do not know. As a whole, the story is insane and completely fucked up in a good sense.
No ‘master this master that’ bullshit from the servants. They powerful and have their own will this time around. Sakura literally too horny to stand. Haven’t seen anyone in such heat in the animated medium before, excluding hentai. The countless scenes where she said “senpai” and “humu humu” finally confirmed who is the best girl. Shirou is not afraid of anything I swear and Shinji got owned to hard they should cut him off from other routes. The feelings stuff is neato and for once the series feels genuine thanks to the characters who for once are not either living 100% slice of life or other times throwing some pseudo-intellectual horseshit one-liners no one cares about.
Slow motion hugging scene in the rain by goddamn ufotable. Prettiest shit I ever saw. Literally can’t wait to see Berserker vs. 2B Saber in blu-ray such badassery and perfect fight. The color pallet is glorious as ever and those animated tentacles piercing ppl’s hearts amazing. And just when I thought it couldn’t do anything more brutal they hit it with mutilation scene by Gilgamesh. The gore is seriously impressive.
Glorious as hell. Flamboyant and atmospheric. Absolutely served the movie. Great decisions were made. Ending song beyond catchy can’t wait for part 3.
Great fucking movie, will buy.
Violated is my body, and corrupted is my blood
I have been infested by over 1000 worms
Craving death, yet clinging to life
Have withstood pain to be with my Senpai
Yet his hands hold other women
So as I pray
Stay by my side forever…Senpai
Heaven’s Feel: Lost Butterfly is probably the most sinister and vulgar representation of a survival game that I’ve seen yet. Its structure is completely different from the other two Fate routes. Instead of showcasing that fantastical and epic feeling that the other arcs so expertly portray, the tone of Heaven’s Feel is much more despair inducing and grounded in reality. Characters don’t give grand speeches about their beliefs among other things and don’t always get moments of grandeur, and instead often find themselves dying in abrupt and grisly ways. Primal human emotions like lust and envy are amplified in this adaptation, showing off the impurities of the characters. Despite being a movie embedded with magic and mythological heroes, it never felt wondrous or magical. It instead instilled feelings of misery and dread into me, like a world devoid of the warm caress of light from the heavens.
Which is exactly how a death battle royale featuring broken characters should make me feel. And I loved every second of it.
I find it appropriate to start with what I found to be a big highlight of this movie, which would be Sakura Matou, the female protagonist. Heaven’s Feel completely deflowers the typical depiction of an anime heroine. Saber from Stay Night and Rin from UBW are prime examples of ideal heroines. They’re strong, attractive, kind, yet still have some issues that they get over with the help of everyone’s favorite idealistic protagonist Shirou. Plus they’re pretty excellent waifu material if you ask me. Heaven’s Feel takes an entirely different approach with Sakura. She’s much more realistic in that she’s far from perfect and pure. We actually see her masterbate on screen and express her desire to have sex with Shirou, while being disgusted with herself for having such impure cravings. She’s incredibly possessive of Shirou and is clearly agitated at the thought of him being with another girl, most specifically Rin. Her yandere tendencies led me to compare her with the famous yandere from a different survival game that I’m sure every anime fan knows: Yuno Gasai. And although Sakura is like at least 10 times less popular than Yuno, I’d say that she’s a far more engaging and fleshed out character than Yuno is. And that’s all thanks to the excellent portrayal of Sakura’s character.
Sakura’s story is hella depressing. I’ve always felt bad for her, especially after watching Fate/Zero. Yet my empathy towards her was highly amplified in Heaven’s Feel thanks to her finally taking the spotlight. Her relationship with Shirou was done excellently. It was one of the most legitimate relationships that I’ve seen in an anime. Both characters are broken in their own way, and they rely on each other to keep going. Shirou even gives up on his hero of justice ideal just for Sakura, which I found to be some great development on his part. Though what I find to be the best part of Sakura is her underlying dark nature. I think it was made pretty apparent from the previous movie, but in order to avoid spoilers, I’ll just say that she isn’t as innocent as she seems. Though it’s not really her fault.
In fact, my absolute favorite moment of the anime would be Sakura’s dream sequence and the aftermath that immediately followed. Using some creative visuals that rivaled the unique animation techniques of Studio Shaft, Ufotable presents a happy dream that Sakura is having where she’s a lovely fairytale princess in a kingdom of wondrous creatures. Yet the entire sequence is quite eerie, and kept me on edge. It culminates with her turning some of the creatures into candy after they were being naughty, and she happily unwraps a piece and eats it. Pretty harmless, right? But the scene that follows is simply chilling. And it was absolutely brilliant. It’s moments like these that made me really appreciate Sakura as a character. In fact, she was excellent in every scene she was in, and I could go on and on talking about her role in Heaven’s Feel. I had honestly never really given Sakura much thought since she was always outshone by the rest of the amazing Fate cast in my opinion, but my views immediately changed after watching this movie. Sakura is a criminally underrated heroine, and she deserves more love.
Most of the Fate cast hardly get any screen time, especially when compared to previous instillations, and like I said previously, usually just end up dying in gruesome or epic ways after going down fighting, as true heroes should. Since Heaven’s Feel is a group of movies and not a two season anime, I’m perfectly content with this approach. This way the movie can focus more strongly on its core cast of characters. So Saber, Gilgamesh, and others, I love ya, but you need to move over. You’ve already had your time to shine. Aside from Sakura and Shirou, the other character who gets a decent portion of focus would be muh fav loli in all anime (no I am not joking), Illyasviel von Einzbern.
Illya has a funny, and now that I think about it, only, comedic moment in the anime before everything goes completely crazy. She just never fails to make me smile. I love her relationship with Shirou in this film, and the two of them holding hands was pretty frickin kawaii. There’s also a really great moment where she overhears Taiga talking about how Kiritsugu would constantly go oversees in a desperate attempt to find someone who he dearly cherished, who would of course be his daughter Illya. It’s pretty heart-wrenching because Illya was led to believe that her father had abandoned her, but that was not the case at all. Dem unlimited feels tho.
I don’t think I need to discuss how amazing the visuals and sound quality are. Ufotable’s animation is the cream of the crop. Fight scenes are done beautifully. The slow motion hugging scene in the rain was one of the most visually appealing things I’ve ever seen. Everything just looks so damn good. And Yuki Kajiura once again composed a heavenly soundtrack. Plus the ending theme song by Aimer is pure epicness. The voice actors are amazing as always.
Fate has always been one of the most entertaining and well made franchises for me. Yet out of all of the Fate media I’ve watched, none have been quite like Heaven’s Feel. It’s a different experience from what I’m used to, but I absolutely love it. It tells a truly compelling yet tragic tale, and my eyes were glued to the screen while watching. After it ended, I found myself staring at my blank computer screen with unblinking eyes, an accelerated heartbeat, and numerous emotions flowing through me for a minute or two. Yeah, I know that sounds cringy af, but it’s true. I don’t believe that I’ve ever felt the same way after completing another anime then I did with Heaven’s Feel: Lost Butterfly. And let me tell you, I enjoyed every second of it. Can’t wait for movie three!
This review will heavily incorporate events that occurred in other works by Type-Moon, so I am going to assume that you are familiar with their other works.
I am pretty sure vast majority of the people who wants to watch this film are familiar with the original visual novel and have some general idea where the story is headed, but just in case you haven’t figured it out, Sakura is going to become full yandere by the end of the film. Not the Gasai Yuno kind of yandere. The good kind of yandere, where the film properly explores the events that gradually transforms Sakura’s fall from grace and makes her character believable. And that is in fact the key triumph of this film; it is raking in all the emotional weight accumulated from Sakura’s love for Shirou from the first film by crashing her world down slowly. The film does make use of some classical yandere tropes like “confine your boyfriend in the house to protect him from danger” and the “smiles of insanity” to make Sakura’s deadly transformation clear, but it was more effectively told through visually like the static interference happening to Sakura’s body, the ominous shadow that keeps following her, and that one scene where Shirou fearfully tried to ignore the dark presence following Sakura.
If you are familiar with the collaborative works between Type-Moon and ufotable, then you cannot help but draw the comparison between this film with Kara no Kyoukai chapter 3. KnK came long before Fate/Stay Night was published, so you can tell that Sakura is inspired from Asagami Fujino. They have very similar hair color, extremely similar build, and both are incredibly timid girls who later on go on a rampage, but that is about where the similarity ends. The difference is that in this film, we had an entire 2-hour film prior to this to make us feel invested in Shiro and Sakura’s love story, and also that Shirou has a large influence on Sakura’s humanity, and the outcome of the story depends entirely on Shirou’s decision. There was a certain scene near the end where Shirou had to make a decision about Sakura’s future brought tears to my eyes, because it was a perfect illustration of how much Shirou and Sakura are dependent on one another. Once you realize what Shiro had been up to, it suddenly hits you just how much Shiro is conflicted by his own emotion and his sense of justice.
That scene also revisited the single key dilemma that characters from Fate series have to explore endlessly. Will Shirou stick with his sense of justice and forsake Sakura, or will he forsake his hero complex and save the one he loves? From the perspective of us audiences, Shirou doesn’t only have his love for Sakura to consider. Abandoning his hero complex means abandoning the legacy that his father (Kiritsugu) left for him, which at this point defines his entire existence. Ten years ago, we saw that Kiritsugu’s sacrifice saved countless lives by preventing the Holy Grail from being fully complete, so Shirou should follow suit, right? It is not an easy decision for sure, but I love it that the film brings new perspective to this theme of justice and sacrifice that Nasu Kinoko has consistently tackled from multiple viewpoints from intertwined characters from different works. I must also applaud this film’s production staff for clearly communicating this theme and dilemma by trimming the fat from the visual novel and treating key thematic scenes with the respectful grace they deserve.
Now, regarding the technical merits, I will say that the film definitely had large amount of budget to work with, almost to the point of making the producers value quantity over quality. I forgot exactly what happened in the original visual novel, but it felt like the only things happening in the fight scene were explosions. Saber and Berserker also spent a lot of the time jumping from place-to-place and performing mid-air kicks like Rock Lee with five gates opened, so there wasn’t much opportunity to explore the mental state of the fighters. Don’t get me wrong, the animation was certainly gorgeous and fluid, and it also featured this insane sakuga where the camera showed the background of a natural scenery changing from following the movement of a character while showing beautiful animated explosions happening in that same background (the staffs of this film were boasting about this particular scene being the pinnacle of Japanese animation). But these fights feel empty unless we can feel the emotional stake of the fight, which it had none. There was also this scene where Sakura was confessing her secrets near the beginning of the film where Sakura was making so much facial and body movements that it seemed incredibly unnatural. I think this is what animators do when they have nothing better to animate but still want to make the scene look impactful. I am not a huge fan of this. However, not everything was overdone. Ironically, I felt that the art shined the most when there was not much to animate, when the characters were living their daily lives, when silence and calm conversations tells a better story. The music suffered the same problem as the animation. There were a lot of explosive choruses during fight scenes (no pun intended), which sort of distracted me from the fights, but it was haunting and beautiful during gruesome and emotional scenes.
So in conclusion, this is a film that is made for Type-Moon x ufotable fans through and through. You will especially get a lot of out of this film if you have already read the visual novels and have seen all the previous main Fate franchise anime. Ironically, the core hook of this film is its story and characters, which I didn’t think was going to be the case because I just simply didn’t think they would go in such depth in exploring the themes and characters in a humanistic way. The film is gorgeous to look at, but I question some of its animation directions. Like mentioned before, this is a story-focused film, so the best parts come from scenes that don’t involve actions. I will briefly mention here, that the highly anticipated sex scene was given the proper treatment. It was not overdone and it properly articulated the love between the participants. I just thought that you might be interested.
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Fate/stay night Movie: Heaven’s Feel – II. Lost Butterfly
2. Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! Movie: Kurenai Densetsu
3. Violet Evergarden Gaiden: Eien to Jidou Shuki Ningyou
4. Tenki no Ko
5. Made in Abyss Movie 2: Hourou Suru Tasogare