They’re the best Anime that 2010 has to offer! We counts down the best anime to come out this year, including the likes of Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha: The Movie 1st, Trigun: Badlands Rumble, Eve no Jikan (Movie), and more!
5: Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha: The Movie 1st
English: Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha: The Movie 1st
Japanese: 魔法少女リリカルなのは The MOVIE 1st
MAL Score: 7.89
Nanoha Takamachi, an ordinary third-grader, loves her family and friends more than anything else. One day, after having a strange dream in which a ferret gets injured, she sees the very same ferret in real life and rescues it. That ferret turns out to be Yuuno Scrya, a mage from another world who is trying to capture the 21 scattered Jewel Seeds before they cause serious damage to the universe. Yuuno is not powerful enough to capture the Jewel seeds on his own, so he grants Nanoha the intelligent device “Raising Heart” and begins training her as a mage.
Unfortunately, the powerful Jewel Seeds attract those with ill intentions. Another mage, Fate Testarossa, is desperate to collect the seeds for some unknown and sinister purpose, though the solemn look in her eyes makes Nanoha think that there is more to Fate than meets the eye. Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha: The Movie 1st is a retelling of the original series, which tells the story of two young mages and how their strong emotions shape their actions.
It’s unfortunate then, that the stereotypical mahou shoujo anime still reigns supreme.
The rather strangely titled Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha The MOVIE 1st (simply calling it Nanoha: The Movie would have sufficed as there’s only one Nanoha in anime as far as I’m aware – feel free to correct me on this point though), is, as many anime fans may already know, about 9 year old Takamichi Nanoha, who answers a ferret’s cry for help, obtains an intelligent device named Raising Heart (or Raging Heart, I’m still not sure which is correct), and becomes a magical girl tasked with finding “Jewel Seeds”.
Cue the twinkly effects and soppy romance? Hell no! This is Nanoha, and she’d kick Sailor Moon’s arse from here to the next dimension.
As far as the story goes, the movie is nothing more than a condensed retelling of the first series. Now some have tried to claim that the movie is a parallel history rather than a straightforward rehash (I’m looking at you Tsuzuki Masaki), however the differences between the two are very small indeed. While the movie takes liberties in an effort to condense information, the content is still pretty much the same (the major points anyway), so it puzzles me how anyone could consider this an alternative take on the original series.
Which brings me to a major problem I had with the movie. The plot flows rather nicely throughout the film, and the story has been compacted to a pretty good degree, however sacrifices have been made in order to accomodate the shortening of a 13 episode series into just over 2 hours. The biggest problem with the movie is that it has lost much of the charm the original series had, something which affects the characters in a big way. Granted there’s more focus on the action, but one of the reasons why the whole Nanoha franchise works is because we see her grow from being a young, naive girl into the Ace of Aces, and much of that growth is missing from the movie.
Here’s what I mean. Part of what I liked about the original Nanoha series was seeing how she came to terms with her new role and how it affected her relationship with her family and friends. Unfortunately, the movie doesn’t have the time to go into this kind of detail so much of this is missing, and the upshot of this is that many of Nanoha’s later actions, her fights with Fate and such, don’t really have the same level of justification that they did in the series. The movie is nothing more than action for the sake of action, and the whole “alternate history” concept is only really noticable in a few small scenes..
But it’s still enjoyable nonetheless 🙂
As for the effect of the shortened plot on the other characters, while the original series made some effort to round out certain individuals, the movie does nothing of the sort. Granted this is because of time constraints, however one can’t help but wonder how fans of the series will take this distinct lack of characterisation and development, although in fairness to the movie, the viewer does get a good idea of Fate’s motivations.
One thing that I did like is the fact that the cast from the original series and it’s sequels have reprised their roles here, and their familiarity with the characters is telling as the performances are very good throughout. The only real downside to the acting is that there aren’t too many opportunities for the seiyuu to display their talents because of the nature of the movie (i.e. it’s far more action oriented), which limits their performances to a degree. As for the sound, the effects are exceptional throughout, especially during the combat sequences, while the music is very good not only in the scope of tracks, but also in their choregraphy.
In terms of looks, the movie is very clearly a reflection of the first series, and the characters and settings will be very familiar to those who have watched the original. The only real differences between the movie and the series are that the animation is, on the whole, better in the new version, and the action sequences are much more exciting now than they were before. Granted there are some minor visual alterations between the two, however these are nothing more than cosmetic changes to facilitate the belief that this is an “alternate history”.
Now, did I enjoy the movie? Damn right I did. While I may not be a diehard fan of the franchise, Nanoha really did change my opinion of mahou shoujo, and while I may seem critical of the flaws in the film, that doesn’t mean I didn’t like it. The movie is very much an action based affair, and while this is an enjoyable romp in the realm of Nanoha, in all honesty I would much prefer to watch the original series. While the movie is a great way to while away a couple of hours, there is a distinct lack of character interaction that was part of the charm of the original series.
I doubt whether fans of the Nanoha franchise will find this a bad film as it enompasses a good deal of the plot from the original series. That said, while I enjoyed the movie a lot, there really is no competition as I much prefer the series. This isn’t a bad film, not at all. It simply lacks some of the things that I liked about the original, and the fact that this is being pushed as an “alternate history” doesn’t help matters.
In truth, while Nanoha: The Movie (see how much easier that is?), may be good, it’s not the re-envisioning I expected or hoped for. The film could have been so much more if writer Tsuzuki Masaki, and director Kusakawa Keizou, had decided to follow one route only – either a complete alternate history, or a condensed retelling of the original series.
That said, this is a good action movie that suitably pays homage to the original, and while it can’t really compare to the series in terms of depth, it will serve as a great introduction for new viewers who, like me, simply haven’t realised just how good a mahou shoujo anime can be if done right.
First off, as any Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha fan can tell by the title alone, Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha The MOVIE 1st is basically a recap of the first season. Things like reused elements to keep the whole feel of the series coherent, summarized version of the story to stay on track with the original, and on occasions seemingly reused portions from the original series… all of these are to be expected I guess. I’m pretty sure the creator(s) were aware of this, so in order to make such a recap interesting, they would have to make slight alternations and focuses to the storyline, put emphasis on the highlights or important parts from the original, subtract what is not extremely beneficial to give the intended feel or express the intended message, and add some stuff unavailable in the original series. Of course, I think keeping on track with the original is very important, yet it’s easy to make it feel repetitive. So, the challenge for the creator(s) was how to make the movie feel different while still remaining loyal to the original. That said, I think the creator(s) did a pretty good job with most of it.
STORY – 9/10
A smooth flow from beginning to end, even though it was a combination of seemingly reused scenes accompanied with new stuff. The basic structure of the beginning and ending is pretty much the same as the original series, with Nanoha encountering Yuuno and becoming a Mahou Shoujo in the process, eventually leading to the emotional and inspiring scene at the end with Fate. However, the middle portion of the story was altered somewhat. In the original series, you get to see more of Nanoha and her life, while in the movie you get more emphasis on explaining Fate and Precia’s situation which leads to a deeper understanding of the overall story if you have watched the original series before. I felt that the different perspective was definitely a nice touch, because in the original series it was easy to “get the logic” but not necessarily the “understanding”, whereas in the movie it was easier to “understand” because you just get to know a lot more about Precia and Fate’s past, with a few touch-ups like how Fate became the skilled Mahou Shoujo that she is and how Precia became the woman that she is because of loving her daughter so much.
Along with more of Fate’s side of the story, there were also a lot more (or in a sense, an abundance of) showdowns between Nanoha and Fate. This was one thing that I didn’t mind but was also questioning. With intense battles, I think it’s also a good thing to have some “quiet times”, such that the audience can refresh instead of possibly starting to falter from being overloaded by the intensiveness thus possibly degrading the quality of a few of the battles. Thus I wondered if any of the battles can be taken out, and my conclusion was that ever single battle felt necessary. Through each battle, Nanoha gets her message to Fate little by little. You can’t just have Nanoha finally realizing Fate’s situation in a mere 2~3 battles. I think the amount of battles put into the movie was probably the ideal solution, but I suppose the fact that everything felt a little too compacted is inevitable in a movie that tries to compress a 13 episode series into a mere 2 hours, especially if more new scenes are added to it. The creator(s) did a very good job in my opinion, but the challenge was probably just too difficult to overcome completely.
ART – 10/10
I don’t think there was anything to complain about the art. My view of the Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha series is that it’s a cute series in general, and I think the character design, background, color choice, etc… all reflected that very well. It remained pretty much the same as the original series anyways. The magic battles were also magnificent, being very flashy and elegant, as well as powerful both visually and in the impressionistic sense; The shaking of the screen, details of the spinning magic circles, detailed animation of the weapon assembling and form changes, they were all well done, perhaps a slight level up compared to the original series. If you pay enough attention, you will also notice that both Raging Heart and Bardiche was slightly redesigned to make them both look a little more epic but still look very much like Raging Heart and Bardiche. There were redesigns with Nanoha’s and Fate’s battle costumes as well, though it might not be so obvious to notice for Fate if you’ve never studied her costume design (not like the difference of Nanoha’s costume is that easy to spot either). Again, nothing to complain about, and the extra touches didn’t feel out of place.
SOUND – 10/10
I never disliked any of the Theme Songs or OSTs used in any of the Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha series, so there was nothing to complain about this either. I’m sure some people might want to hear at least a few new soundtracks (unfortunately I couldn’t tell if there were because there were some retarded anime fans that liked to yell or make idiotic comments while I was watching the movie), but I think more so than that, it’s important to make sure every piece fills the puzzle nicely. I would of course actually be glad to hear some new soundtracks as well, but in a sense I’m just plentifully happy with refreshing my memory of the series with the usual soundtracks. The only specific flaw for me was when Arf marched towards Precia with a rage. The sound effect made it appear as though Arf was wearing iron boots. o_0 But, it was so minor I just decided to overlook it.
CHARACTER – 9/10
There’s nothing new on Nanoha’s side, but as said before there’s a lot more emphasis, therefore character development, on Fate’s side of the story. In a sense I was happy about this, yet in a sense I was somewhat disappointed. Nanoha is obviously the main character, so logically speaking it would be best to give her the most depth in the story. However, like said before it’s probably a better idea to change the focus of the movie to make it not look just like a total recap of the original series. I suppose for people who have watched the original series before, the shift in emphasis would be beneficial. On the flip side, for people watching the movie for the first time, they might feel Nanoha a bit lacking in quality when compared to Fate, asides from Nanoha living up to her reputation of a “Magical Cannon Girl” as named by fans of the series. Nonetheless, I think character development on Fate’s side was well done. You get a few more flashbacks of her or Precia’s memories as new pieces of information to enhance the story. Characters were introduced as necessary, everyone felt like a necessarily component of the story, and every character was likable in their own way(s). At least, I found every character to be interesting. Even if they’re are just minor characters, you can still get a general sense of their personality and their importance to glue the story together.
OVERALL – 9/10
I was more focused on the creator(s) decisions or evident differences of the movie when compared to the original series since I didn’t expect much in terms of a different story, so that’s probably why I’m giving Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha The MOVIE 1st such a high score. Basically, I enjoyed noticing and studying the differences, which in return I was amused by the amount of decision making put forth to making this movie. I guess another reason I gave a high score is because I’m a big fan of the Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha series. I felt that the original series was already pretty good, and the creator brought forth something different (it’s different enough to me anyways) that was also enjoyable, so I didn’t hesitate to stick a positive impression in my mind. Despite being so short, I still think the movie still manages to capture the whole feel of the original series well. Another thing is that I loved was the scene near the end where Nanoha and Fate conversed before the farewell. Nanoha said what I consider as perhaps one of the greatest quotes of all time, and Fate’s reaction to it just makes me almost burst into tears while feeling so happy for her. That highlight was in the original series, and I was very happy that it was in the movie as well. Neither the movie nor the original series would’ve been as great without that scene.
Unfortunately, in the end I suppose I still suffer from knowing the general story beforehand. Even if has been over 2 years since I watched the first season of Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha, a few reminders from the movie allowed me to remember the general story very quickly. The upside of that was that I get to remember how much I liked the series to begin with. The downside of that was that if I wanted to enjoy the movie as I did, I couldn’t just sit there and watch it like it was something I’ve never watched before. I was too aware of many things from the original series that I had to kinda tweak my mindset a bit in order to absorb everything fully. Either way, I still think Nanoha fans would be able to enjoy the movie. For people new to the Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha universe, the movie would probably be a great introduction to the series, except I’m somewhat under the impression that if you do watch the movie first, the first season might not appear as good. It’s your call though. I would recommend watching the original series first, then jump to the movie as if it’s a super long OVA that covers more details of the overall story. If you do watch the movie first though, you can still try the original series right after, or jump straight to the A’s season without a problem. And of course, Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha The MOVIE 1st also works as a single story on its own.
For the movie itself, I won’t be reviewing it as a comparison to the series but as a standalone, mostly because it is possible to watch this movie without having any other knowledge of Lyrical Nanoha.
The story in the movie is pretty blunt and right to the point; basically, our main herione Nanoha gets involved with a young boy from another planet named Yuuno, and his quest to collect the scattered Jewel Seeds that have fallen to Earth. At the same time, another young girl named Fate is also after these Jewel Seeds. The two girls’ conflicts, and own inner conflicts as well, are the major driving points of the story.
The movie isn’t something that’s very hard to follow or understand, however it does go a bit deeper then what you’d expect from a magical series. It’s a pretty well written story that mostly focuses on the relationship between Fate and Nanoha. The story flows pretty nicely since it’s mostly focused on the rivalry along with growing friendship between the two of them. Speaking of rivalry, you should know that there are quite a few fight scenes in this as well. The movie focuses a lot more on these scenes then one might expect, especially if you’re already familiar with the show where these didn’t occur as often. While the story could’ve focused a bit more on some other characters or even had the fights occur less frequently, you have to remember it’s condensing 13 episodes worth of material into a 2 hour long movie. The movie basically covers all the events and relations between characters that you need to know.
The story itself is, like I said, more in depth then you’d normally expect. While the movie doesn’t totally screw you over and ride along on the dark side like Madoka Magica, it does have it’s fair share of moments that may leave you in shock, and also in awe. Everything flows smoothly together and these more or less shocking moments flow with it as well. Events in the movie are paced a bit faster then I’d like, but again – it’s condensed material. Standing alone, the story is an easy to follow one that’s driven mostly by its characters and their own actions.
As for the characters themselves, the movie mainly focuses on the two rivaling girls – Nanoha and Fate. Nanoha is a motivated, friendly, and overall likeable character and a very good fit for a magical girl movie lead. Fate, on the other hand, is a cold and distant girl who fights with loneliness in her eyes and determination in her heart. The two girls do indeed clash because of their own motives for the Jewel Seeds, but throughout the movie we get to see the relationship between Nanoha and Fate grow as Nanoha continues to work harder to get along with Fate and eventually become her friend.
While the characters aren’t the most original, the way that they’re presented and used in this movie is done so well that you almost forget that Nanoha is the nice-girl archetype while Fate is the emotionless girl one. It can easily bring a smile to your face to watch as Nanoha does her best to reach out and help Fate, and it’s nearly heartbreaking to watch exactly what Fate has to go through and how hard she’s trying to do what she thinks is best, even if it means being alone. The movie doesn’t try too hard to flesh out the characters or anything like that either. The bonds and connections between the two girls is really just something you want to sit back and appreciate.
The only downfall with the characters is that no one else is really focused on or given much screentime other then Nanoha, Fate, and anyone else involved with the Jewel Seeds. Again though – condensed material. It’s much rather preferred that this movie focuses on the major conflicts and relations between the main characters then the side ones.
As for the animation, considering it was made in 2010 and it is a movie it’s only natural that you’d expect the most out of the animation, and that’s what you get. The battle scenes are extremely fluid and really engaging to watch, along with the transformation scenes. (despite the fact that these were pretty infrequent.) Something that people may have an issue with is the really big eyes that are used on, well pretty much everyone, but it’s something that can be easily overlooked when you consider the well-done (and improved) character designs and fight scenes that take place in this movie.
The soundtrack isn’t something that I can say is the most memorable. While it is indeed there, most of the tracks aren’t something that you’re going to remember or really want to look up later on after the movie’s over. Most of it consists of pretty average battle music and just some nice pieces to fit the mood. The seiyuu’s all do a great job and fit their roles very well, but again it’s nothing all too fabulous. One thing I will give you as a treat to the viewers though is, “Namae wo Yonde.” Look up that OST. I can honestly say that it is the most emotional track in the soundtrack. You’ll thank me later.
I have to admit, I really did enjoy watching this movie. It was nice to see the story more focused on the plot and two main characters as opposed to the series, which took a little while to really set the story forward. The only thing that brings down my enjoyment is the fact that I had already seen the series and knew what was going to happen, but thankfully this movie doesn’t use the copy and paste formula when it comes to animation and gives you pretty much the same storyline, but with newer scenes (for lack of the better word) and better artwork as well.
Overall, if you’re a fan of the Lyrical Nanoha series and you’ve yet to see this movie, I’d highly recommend you pick it up since I highly doubt there will be much to disappoint you. You can still watch this movie without seeing the series, but I wouldn’t really say that’s the best way to approach the Lyrical Nanoha franchise. If you do plan to watch this first and you enjoy it, at least go back and watch the original series as well. Both truly show how great a mahou shoujo can be when it’s done right. & I can undoubtedly say that Lyrical Nanoha did just about as much right as one could expect.
4: Trigun: Badlands Rumble
English: Trigun – Badlands Rumble
MAL Score: 7.96
Vash the Stampede is a contradiction. He has a notorious reputation as “The Humanoid Typhoon,” laying anything he comes across to waste on the desolate planet of Gunsmoke. However, Vash is in fact very non-confrontational and kind-hearted, living by a code of pacifism.
Twenty years ago, a high-profile bank heist went sour. The ringleader, Gasback Gallon Getaway, swore to get back at his backstabbing crew and the man who stopped him from killing them: Vash the Stampede. In the present day, the traitorous crew has been living the good life as successful entrepreneurs and politicians. Although two decades have passed, Gasback’s bitterness has not waned as he aims to take them down one by one, by any means necessary.
Just in time to foil Gasback’s plot, Vash has arrived in Macca City. Teaming up with the mysterious Amelia Ann McFly, along with the insurance agents Milly Thompson and Meryl Stryfe, Vash is ready to rumble.
While it was fun to see Vash and the gang again I was really disappointed by this. My major problem was the story-line. It was predictable.
1 – Vash rolls into town, destruction (best part)
2 – Introduce the sex appeal (she’s useless throughout the movie, but she can beat up a couple nameless thugs pretty good)
3 – Introduce the Bad Guy, he has a strange philosophy where destruction and robbery fuel his massive ego
4 – Re-introduce the old mains, who rally to save everyone
5 – Vash rolls in to save everyone at the last second, because only he can.
6 – Sun glances off Vash’s super cool glasses and he wakes away into the desert without water
My problem with this story line is that it has been done over a million and a half times. There are no surprises in the entire movie (except for the part where Vash got shot, but we all knew he hadn’t really died BECAUSE HE’S THE MAIN CHARACTER). I fail to see any creativity in this old re-used excuse to bring back fan-favourites.
Here is what I wanted:
1 – If you’re going to introduce sex-appeal, then let there be sex. Otherwise, give them a use. Give them a personality. Give them something to make me feel like they are a real person and have something to contribute to the story. (Amelie was, admittedly the daughter of the bad guy, but whatever. That’s not enough for me :/ )
2 – Everyone has flaws, except the characters I see in anime/movies/books. Fictional characters seem to have fallen into a cookie-cut staple where they are basic and boring. When was the last time you saw someone seriously fuck up, or kill the bad guy out of rage, or shoot a bullet that missed and ended up killing an innocent, or something I can’t foresee.
3 – It seems to me that anime’s choose to be realistic whenever it serves to aid the plot. Example, Vash never misses a shot, except when its the final bad guy of the movie. A weak example, but I feel if you’re going to introduce realism to an anime, you need to keep it consistent throughout the entire thing. You can’t use it as a plot device, because it cheats the entire story(side note: I hate plot devices, they are boring).
I wanted more from this. I LOVED the original Trigun series, (I especially loved looking for that blasted black cat who was always hiding somewhere in the background of every episode, one of my favorite flavor-pieces of any anime ever). But I found nothing new or interesting in this story. It was nice to see Vash again, but I would have preferred that his memory was preserved in memory rather than tarnished by something new, and dull.
The worst part was probably the story. It is very obvious, every little twist that is. And I don’t just mean that Vash isn’t dead. If that’s a spoiler for you, you’re just strangely not aware of the likelyhood of the main character of a large franchise dying before the movie is even close to over.
Following that, would be the original characters. Like in many films, they lack even the interest that you would feel for a character who was introduced for one episode or chapter of a manga.
Lastly was the music, which while fitting in some ways, was rarely used and not put to good use.
The pacing was also strange. Like many movie adapations, it forgoes most character interaction for extended scenes of nothing. Also, planet gunsmoke now has 3 moons, which I don’t personally recall. It also has a very populated galaxy, which again I don’t recall. There’s like 20 planets on the zoom out, all within a planets distance of each other!
Of course, Vash was made out to be an idiot, rather than just somewhat strange.
While the animation was really good, it just lacked most anything that made Trigun good. And I did watch it subbed, unlike some reviews for it that rated it rather high.
3: Eve no Jikan (Movie)
English: Time of Eve
MAL Score: 8.02
In the Japan of the future, employing androids for various purposes is nothing out of the ordinary. However, treating androids on the same level as humans is frowned upon, and there is constant paranoia surrounding the possibility of robots defying humans, their masters. Those who appear too trustworthy of their androids are chided and labeled “dori-kei,” or “android-holics.”
High school student Rikuo Sakisaka notices when his house droid, Sammy, starts behaving curiously—she has been leaving the house without his instruction. When he inspects the movement logs in her database, a cryptic line grabs his attention: “Are you enjoying the time of EVE?” Accompanied by his friend Masakazu Masaki, Rikuo tracks the whereabouts of his houseroid to a cafe called Time of Eve, where it is forbidden for customers to display prejudice against one another. The cafe, Rikuo realizes, is frequented by both man and machine, with no evidence to tell either apart.
Each customer—from the cheerful Akiko, to a robot dangerously close to breaking down—has their own story and challenges to overcome. While Rikuo tries to reveal Sammy’s intentions, he begins to question the legitimacy of the fear that drives humans to regard androids as nothing more than mere tools.
This isn’t a new topic in the science fiction genre by any stretch of the imagination, but as a film Time of Eve manages to be a huge breath of fresh air with both its approach and execution to the topic.
The setting of the film mostly takes place at a cafe, called Time of Eve, where inside the cafe there is a rule that there will be no discrimination between humans and androids. Because of this rule, the androids which enter the cafe do their best to be like human beings, blending in with all the customers. Normally androids are not allowed to act like humans in the outside world, but the rules of the cafe dictate that they must.
It is through this setup that we explore the story of two friends Rikuo and Masakazu, and how they manage to deal with the unsettling notion of androids acting independently of humans and pretending to be humans in a way that makes it impossible to distinguish them as androids. Throughout the story we are constantly shown how androids are put into a demeaning, subservient role for the humans and it really raises some interesting questions to its audience. Can human beings learn to accept artificial intelligence as equals to themselves? As beings worthy of the respect we can give other human beings? Or are they merely to be reduced to mere slaves? I give Time of Eve considerable praise for its spectacular job at expressing these themes and managing to make its audience actually think while watching.
While of course the film raises interesting philosophical questions, it also is merely a great drama. Too many scifi works get caught up in trying to show off lots of action rather than just explore interesting aspects of its setting. Time of Eve keeps its focus very simple, a slice of life story about humans and androids in the future, and it is incredibly successful at it. The character interactions and the emotional highs of the film all strike the right notes at the proper times. Everything just feels very genuine and fulfilling. It manages to pass through moments of sadness, laughter, dark moments, light moments, and offer an overall very satisfying experience. In particular, the final moments of the film are very touching.
On top of all this is a generally pleasing to the eyes art work and animation. The camera work is absolutely spectacular. There are several shots in the movie that convey so much emotion without even a single word. Even the completely mechanical looking androids shined in moments through mere clever camera focuses. It’s hard to not be impressed by the director’s techniques throughout the film.
If there is any reason why I didn’t give this movie a perfect score, it is because there are many questions it leaves unanswered, though this may be on purpose. While the film is great as a standalone, the plot going on the side of all these things was too interesting to just not explore it (Though there are several indications out there that there will one day be a sequel). If some more closure is ever given to this film in the future, I’d have no qualms calling it a master piece.
Let’s look a little closer into why Time of EVE fails to offer an impressive narrative.
EVE’s plot is mostly about a pair of high school boys that find a new, fascinating experience in their world, involving androids that could easily pass for humans, were it not for their halo indicators that identify them as artificial. There is also a subplot about how the government (or some company) is trying to rectify this very issue. This subplot is basically abandoned as soon as it is brought up, and it never gains much ground. Instead, the majority of the plot centers around a cafe that the boys find.
It’s a nifty cafe that brings up this very poignant social issue for the boys to understand and come to terms with. There’s also a certain special robot that one of the boys takes a fancy in, and really, every encounter with a robot that they have is unique and compelling.
But here’s the problem: that’s the entire plot. There really isn’t much more, and what the movie sets itself up to discuss never ends up being talked about beyond the chit chat in the cafe. It presents a very dynamic issue, and it relents and instead indulges in how the boys are dealing with their own personal dilemmas, rather than exploring the wider problem that they themselves encounter and recognize. Essentially, EVE gives us a lot to consider and then skirts the issue itself, so that you have to assume the boys’ success in the cafe means the world will be okay with it all. A little bit anti-climactic, to say the least.
To me, this is where Time of EVE really disappoints. Most of the backgrounds in this film are of the cafe or the houses of the family. Rarely do we even see the outside world, and when we do, it’s not a very impressive design. There just isn’t much going on at all besides the characters themselves, which are often facially blank (robots) or just simply plain. Granted, there are some careful details to certain parts (one of the boy’s robots come to mind), but I would expect more from an anime that touts a futuristic concept and delves into robots and their evolution.
If you want to watch a visually stunning anime, this is certainly not the one you’re looking for.
The music and sounds in Time of EVE are fitting and often well-designed, helping to create moments of laughter or calmness for the viewer to experience alongside the characters. There isn’t much else to say here. It’s not the best sound design for an anime, but it certainly isn’t lacking. The pace is well-kept and the mood is appropriately enhanced by the aural ambiance, which seems to reflect the soothing nature of the cafe itself.
I really wanted to be compelled by the characters in Time of EVE, and you might say that this movie is more about the character development than anything else. However, it simply doesn’t deliver. The behavior of the characters is monotonously predictable, to the point where it dulls the entire gist of the film. Am I supposed to care that the protagonist has decided to take up his talent by the end? You can see it coming a mile away, and there really is no confusion as to how each character will interact with another. A robot that seems human? Well, that may have been exciting, if only that wasn’t the whole point of the cafe’s rules in the first place.
Yes, there are some touching moments, especially with Boy B’s dad and his robot. However, not much ultimately comes of anything, and we are left feeling that the film was merely a recitation of potential issues of human-robot interaction, rather than any resolution or defining wisdom to the dilemma. There just isn’t much going on here, and it’s hard to ignore when the anime sets up so many possible, compelling conclusions.
This shouldn’t be surprising. Time of EVE just doesn’t impress, despite having ample opportunity to do so. That isn’t to say it is a bad film; it has many fine qualities and certain moments are very genuine and heartfelt. However, these moments are muddled within an aimlessly wandering plot and a setting that lacks pizazz or anything other than the catchphrase of the movie being repeated on far too many objects. What could have been a visually-engaging and conceptually deep film ends up falling short and relying on the common cliches of shounen anime and slice-of-life melodrama.
If you are looking for a new sci-fi movie to watch, Time of EVE is not it. If you are interested in seeing the growth of two young guys and their puberty-infused social problems, coupled with an android twist, then Time of EVE will satisfy, amuse, and tease you. Sadly, what Time of EVE won’t do, however, is precisely what it seems set up to do in the first place, and with that in mind, you might enjoy the film more than I did.
The setting is stated as ‘probably Japan’ and is set sometime in the near future, i like how they took a few current inventions that you see today such as cameras and keyboards and beefed them up a little without going overboard Star Trek style.
The art for the show is very good, each character is drawn and designed nicely, they do use quite a bit of CG but they use it well and i does not stand out and adds to the feel of the story, i really enjoyed the movement of the camera, at points it spins on the spot and we get to see the cafe in its 360 glory, there is the occasional zoom to the other side of the room seemlessly and we are even treated to a hand held feel when it show the view point from the eyes of a character.
Voice actors did their job spledidly, though it is not surprising as they are ‘big name’ actors, the music was really nice, theres some decent piano tunes and the rest really highlighted the atmosphere and fitted the sci-fi setting, the ending tune played with the credits is the best part and is some beautifully.
The characters play a huge role for this series, the cafe has patrons of all types, the two main guys are similar to each other but are different enough at the same time and have to deal with their own issues throughout, there is also an enegetic girl, a nice waitress who treats everybody equal, a couple of love birds, a mysterious guy guy who references Blade Runner and an old man with a young child who thinks she’s a cat, they all play a part and have a small amount of drama and issues to understand and deal with.
The genres given for this movie are sci-fi and slice-a-life and Eve no Jikan gives off a great feel of atmosphere of both the genres and the movie is something that can be easily enjoyed with its calmness. As a whole there are a few points that make you wish it was a full fledged television series, just to answer a few questions that were left and to see deeper into these characters lives, that is how good this is that it makes you wish i wouldn’t end.
2: Gintama Movie 1: Shinyaku Benizakura-hen
English: Gintama: The Movie
Japanese: 劇場版 銀魂 新訳紅桜篇
MAL Score: 8.52
Gintoki and his Yorozuya friends (or rather, employees suffering under labor violations), Shinpachi and Kagura, continue to scrape by in the futuristic, alien-infested city of Edo. They take on whatever work they can find while trying not to get involved in anything too dangerous. But when Katsura, the leader of the Joui rebels and Gintoki’s long-time acquaintance, disappears after being brutally attacked by an unknown assassin, Shinpachi and Kagura begin an investigation into his whereabouts and the identity of the assailant. Meanwhile, Gintoki takes on a seemingly unrelated job: the blacksmith Tetsuya requests that Gin recover a strange and powerful sword called the Benizakura which was recently stolen.
As the two investigations gradually intersect, the Yorozuya crew find themselves in the midst of a major conspiracy that hinges on the sinister nature of the Benizakura sword. Gintoki resolves to take the fight directly to the enemy headquarters, and together with a few unexpected allies, sets out on one of his most perilous jobs yet.
The Benizakura story itself is kept unchanged. Katsura, leader of anti-government faction, has disappeared. Some believe he has fallen victim to a murderer, who targets samurai on the streets of Edo. Gintoki wants to look for his missing friend, but is given a job. He has to find a stolen sword, the Benizakura. While he is searching for it, Kagura and Shinpachi are looking for Katsura. They all face some dangerous enemies and eventually discover a conspiracy aiming to overthrow the government.
The differences with the TV episodes are not that great. They have re-used about 85% of the existing material. Most of the scenes, the fights and the dialogue are identical. In the movie, they have improved some small animation details, like sword reflections and effects. Some pieces of the background music and some camera angles have also been changed. There are also about 10 minutes of original footage in the movie, with some additional scenes (and some new jokes).
The overall enjoyment for Gintama fans would be 10/10… even though it is just the old episodes pasted together with some minor cosmetic changes. The Benizakura arc is awesome and watching it again never gets old. Those, who haven’t seen the series, can still watch the movie and enjoy it. The story is easy to follow and the action is good. Some may notice that the characters’ background and motivation need more explanation (which is covered in the TV episodes). Also some things (like Elizabeth) in the crazy Gintama world might seem confusing. Anyways, the movie is good, but “newcomers” would probably rate it around 8/10.
This movie’s plot comes from episodes 58-61 of the original series, just redone. The story is phenomenal (Gintoki keeps his former friend from destroying Edo).
The art is typical Gintama, as are the character’s audio.
What pushed me to love this was that the enjoyment was simply satisfying. From the usual Gintama, I would just get a laugh and that was it, but this is the whole freaking package. We finally see Gintoki get serious and it is awesome. His fighting rivals that of Kenshin Himura for all of you Rurouni Kenshin fans (I’m a hardcore one myself).
This movie is amazing. All I can really say is check it out.
Is it really necessary for me to explain and describe the plot and characters in this review even though you obviously seen the anime and if not why are you, the reader even going to attempt to watch the movie? You won’t understand it.
In all seriousness what was the point of this movie? I thought it was going to be something original, something that Gintama fans never seen before. But it turned out to be a remake of a popular arc. I hope I wasn’t the only one who was disappointed. Don’t get me wrong the Benizakura-hen arc is everything a Gintama fan would want it had action, comedy and adventure but was it really mandatory to remake the darn thing instead of creating something freah and exciting? It takes out the element of suspense and therefore it becomes bland and repetitive. My suggestion: watch the anime.
1: Suzumiya Haruhi no Shoushitsu
English: The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya
MAL Score: 8.63
One cold Christmas day, Kyon heads over to school and the SOS Brigade’s holiday celebration, only to realize that Haruhi Suzumiya seems to have disappeared. Moreover, no one even remembers her or the SOS Brigade; Mikuru Asahina knows nothing and is now afraid of him, and Itsuki Koizumi has also gone missing. The Literature Club, formed only by an uncharacteristically shy Yuki Nagato, now occupies the old SOS club room.
Suzumiya Haruhi no Shoushitsu is based on the fourth light novel of the acclaimed Haruhi series and is set after the events of the anime series. Not uncultured in the supernatural, Kyon will have to deal with his whole life turned upside down like a bad joke, and maybe it’s better that way.
Well, it seems someone was listening.
Suzumiya Haruhi no Shoushitsu begins on 16th December, a month after the cultural festival in the first series, and all is seemingly peaceful. It’s not long though, before reality gets put through the wringer, and it’s up to Kyon to fix everything.
The thing that most surprised me about this movie is how closely it tries to follow the light novel of the same name. Granted there are a few liberties here and there, but nothing near the number used in both TV series. The benefit of this is that the story has a solid base to begin with, especially as the plot is mainly based around Kyon’s thoughts and actions.
The movie begins at a farily placid pace with nothing untoward or suspicious occuring, but one of the problems with the story is that it never really shakes off the languidity of the first 20 or so minutes. While the story itself is actually very good, there are occasions where there is a marked lack of urgency about the plot, and it’s these occurences that upset the flow of the movie.
There are some plusses though. The fact that much of the movie is based around Kyon’s motivations makes it a more interesting piece than the majority of TV episodes, as he is now the engine by which drives the plot rather than a reactionary element. Another big plus are Kyon’s numerous monolgoues which reinforce the direction of the story, but also offer some insight into his character, especially towards the end of the movie.
The design is exactly what one would expect from the Suzumiya Haruhi franchise and follows that of both TV series, but it’s when things go to hell that KyoAni really begin to flex some of their creative muscles. The alterations in the character’s appearances and actions are extremely well managed, and the characters are generally more expressive here than they are in either series. The animation is crisp and smooth for the majority of the movie, however there are the oddfew blips here and there with character actions (nothing that’s really worth worrying about though).
The music used throughout the movie is actually very good, even though the majority of Suzumiya Haruhi no Shoushitsu lacks any thematic pieces. The main theme, “Yasashi Boukyaku”, is sung by Chihara Minori, and while the song has echoes of regret and oppurtunities lost, these sentiments are made more powerful by the lack of any musical accompaniment. The rest of the music is choreographed well with the on screen action, and some of the tracks chosen are inspired in their usage.
The one thing that hasn’t really changed at all is the cast, and while many of the seiyuu definitely earn their pay with this movie, the two stand out performances are from Sugita Tomkazu (Kyon), and Chihara Minori (Yuki), both of whom give a new perspective on their respective characters.
Which neatly leads me on to the characters themselves.
One of the things that has always been a bit lacking with the Suzumiya Haruhi franchise is that there hasn’t really been much focus on specific characters with a view to developing them. Thankfully, this movie begins to address that issue. Unlike the two TV series, both of which adopt a more reactionary approach to the growth of a character, the movie is more direct in terms of Kyon’s development, and the difference this makes is rather surprising. While some may find Kyon’s monologues to be no different to those in the series, it should be noted that the content of his comments gradually changes overthe course fo the movie, and the culmination of this development bodes well for future releases.
In all honesty, I was pleasantly surprised by this movie. The tight storyline, together with the more focused character development, means that the plot is more flowing than in either of the TV series’ (although admittedly the time jumps from one episodeto the next play a part in that too). In truth, this movie is everything the second season should have been, and it goes some way to tying up certain loose ends from both series.
One thing that many people don’t seem to see though, is the very clear influence of a certain long running British sci-fi series about a time traveller who sometimes calls himself “John Smith” and there were occasions in this movie where I kept expecting to see a TARDIS.
As with any popular title though, there will undoubtedly be those who will be inclined to hate this movie because it’s part of the Suzumiya Haruhi series. The majority of viewers however, may find that they enjoy the movie in a way that isn’t possible with a 13 episode series.
Hopefully, movies like this will be the way forward for the franchise, as the last thing anyone needs is more Endless Eight.
First and foremost, this movie is indeed a sequel to both of the previous two seasons of Haruhi. Watching this movie without seeing both seasons is not suggested. For those who have seen both seasons, I suggest first taking time to remember some plot details and characters. First of all, who is Ryoko Asakura? If you remember from season one of Haruhi you would know that she is yet another alien in the same ranks as Nagato Yuki. In (chronologically) episode 4 of the first season of Haruhi she tries to kill Kyon by stabbing him. Second you should refresh your memories on the first episode of the second season of Haruhi, “Bamboo Leaf Rhapsody”, which is when Kyon goes back in time to help Haruhi draw lines on school grounds but then gets trapped in the past.
Since the plot summary isn’t too well done on the website, I’ll give a brief go. The plot starts on December 16. In about a week, Christmas will hit, so the SOS Brigade decides to have a Christmas party in which Haruhi will make a hotpot for all the members to enjoy. On the morning of December 18, Kyon goes to school to find the strangest thing: Haruhi has gone missing and there are no aliens, espers, or time travelers anymore. As bizarre events keep occurring one after the other, he finds that he is the only person who still knows who Haruhi is. As Kyon loses all hope, he goes to the club room and finds, in one of the books, a bookmark with Nagato Yuki’s hand writing. Striving to figure out its mysterious message, Kyon goes out and tries to find the key to changing the world back to how it used to be.
The plot is exceptional, with a huge plot twist in the middle. The monologues are very well done, including a really epic monologue near the end of the movie. The amount of thought put into the entirety of the plot is also well done; just by reading the plot summary will automatically suck you in. You will be on the edge of your seat the whole time trying to figure out the reasons for these bizarre events. There are some epic moments that really bring out your emotions. You will, at least one, feel tingles down your spine; for me it happened like 10-20 times. The plot is just that well put together that your body can’t help but to let you feel it epicness. Time travel is AMAZINGLY done in this movie. Your mind will be blown by the end of this movie because of time travel. One point in argument is that there are loose ends to the movie. This, of course, is part of the story because it will tie in with the seventh light novel of Haruhi (This movie being the fourth), so the movie automatically is open to a sequel, which of course is a really good thing.
The art is amazing, just as good, if not better, than the TV series. There is a fair share of flashy lights and warping colors when time travel or alien sequences occur. The art is wonderfully beautiful at Kyon’s monologue near the end; trust me when you see it you’ll know. The music is of course amazing, the OP is Bouken Desho Desho, sung by Hirano Aya (Haruhi) and is the OP to Haruhi season one, and the ED is Yasashii Boukyaku sung by Minori Chihara (Yuki) which is peaceful sad melody. The overall OST is amazing and I would definitely get it since it combines sad music with upbeat music when Kyon makes a breakthrough in trying to solve the mysterious occurrence.
Characters are at their best in this movie. Kyon is the central character and makes the biggest change in this movie. He comes to an ultimate realization of everything he was living for: Does he like the life with aliens, espers, and time travelers? Nagato Yuki would be another major character because her life, not as a humanoid interface, but as a human grows. She gains a little bit of emotions and is able to realize her true feelings. Even in the end, Kyon realizes that he has never been thankful everything that Nagato has done for him and ultimately saves her. Even minor characters play a big role, for example Taniguchi, who is ultimately the one who saves Kyon from absolute despair. Haruhi in the distorted world is just a normal person, but without her help, Kyon would not have been saved. The characters are amazingly done and you will love the way they are all presented.
Overall, The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya is a plot filled, plot twisting, emotional giving, character changing, enjoyment giving, plot loving, mind blowing, time traveling, time distorting, epic bringing, ultimate awesomeness, wonderfully put together, amazingly amazing story. There is only one scene in the movie that is particularly different from the light novel; this would be when Kyon and Asahina encounter Nagato at the school early in the morning (you’ll know when), the movie has the scene take place outside the school gates, where in the novel it takes place inside the clubroom; however, I would say putting that particular scene outside was a good call. Fans and haters alike will not be able to deny that this movie is amazing and will love every moment of it. As I said many times before, Kyon’s monologue near the end is wonderfully epic and you will love every moment of it with a passion. Your two hours and forty minutes will not be in vain in any manner, shape, or form. The DVD will come out in 8 to 11 months and you WILL rewatch it because it is just THAT good, I wouldn’t be surprised if I watch it two to three more times. The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya is a wonderful experience and might be the best anime this 2010 year.
I posted this review in a blog, so please feel free to leave a comment.
The series, though arguably mediocre, had some very fun moments. So where does this movie, The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya, stand?
Story/Presentation: I’m going to skip over the synopsis, since you can already read one with a button away. Due to the hype behind this film, it’s practically common knowledge that this movie has a complete different tone compared to the hyperactive series. It starts off like any other episode from the show, and then slowly transitions into a more solemn tone. Sure, it isn’t dark as something Gen Urobuchi would write, but in contrast to the series, it’s quite the difference. The use of tone is used well, and it helps make the movie feel a lot more believable than the show (assuming you have a suspension of disbelief).
Though the tone was one of the film’s highpoints, I can’t help but feel that it makes it a tad, just a tad, disjointed from the series. People expecting more misadventures from the original show will be sorely disappointed in this movie’s change for a serious plot.
The pacing also deserves mention. The beginning of the film is very slow and deliberate, and though many people may criticize it for being boring, I found it to be good writing. Sure, it may seem a bit dragging at times, and it really doesn’t pick up until a big plot twist ¼ of the movie in, but that’s the writer’s intention. It’s supposed to give the viewer the sense of the dull normal world Kyon’s facing after Haruhi’s disappearance, this being reality.
In terms of the story itself, it turns out to be quite the intricate tale, at least compared to the series. Many plot twists come along the way, and for the most part, the film remains unpredictable. Time travel also has a big role, and it really made me think, which is something I can’t say for the show.
However, my favourite part about the story is how it uses past events from the series, as many subplots and character motivations come back and play their role here. When it comes down to it, the writing here has moments of absolute brilliance.
Its connection to the series can be, to some, a downfall, as this isn’t a standalone. To watch this, the viewer must have knowledge of the first two seasons. Another flaw of this film is its association to the source material. It leaves a few plot threads dangling and a few unanswered questions by the ending (I will refrain from spoilers), and until we get more of the series animated, these plot threads will remain unanswered (unless you consult said source material).
Characters: I loved the eccentric cast from the series. Sure, they mostly followed typical stereotypes, but they did so in a refreshing matter that made them memorable. If there’s one thing that bugged me about the series, it is the lack of characterization. Though one shouldn’t expect much of such from a slice of life show, it was shame that most of the characters weren’t given much depth on their own and in their relationships. In addition, they never really felt like real people.
This is yet another highlight of the movie. Kyon is our point of view in this movie, and after Haruhi disappears, all his motivations and interactions with other characters are completely believable. The best part of his characterization comes to play when he starts to question whether he prefers the supernatural world he always complained about or the normal life he wanted from the beginning. His decision regarding that aspect says a lot about his character.
Another character I’d like to mention is Yuki Nagato. We’ve all known her as the monotone emotionless alien/robot, and now we see her as a quite shy bookworm. How she got that way comes from her motivations from the previous season, and her actions in this movie really strengthens our view of her as a character. Did she really feel nothing throughout all the events of the original show? Is she really the emotionless drone we all thought she was?
Surprisingly, Haruhi herself, despite being part of the driving force, doesn’t get as much screen time as one might expect. That’s not to say she was used poorly, and on that note, all the side characters were used well and they each held their respective purpose in the movie strongly.
Art/Animation: Ah, Kyoto Animation. Feast your eyes, ladies and gentlemen, for this movie is a visual ecstasy when it comes to Japanese animation. The visual quality for the original series was already top notch, so just imagine Kyoto Ani squishing that entire budget on a 2 hour and 40 minute movie. I don’t think I need to say much more than that this film, from a visual standpoint, is absolutely stunning. The colours are vibrant and the animation is smooth.
Speaking of the colours, they compliment the movie very well. In the beginning, the colours are bright to show the spunky life of the SOS Brigade, and when the movie transitions in tone, the colours become subtly darker to really drive home the dullness of an ordinary life. This is just a subtle but noticeable change, and that’s what I love about it.
Music/Voice Acting: This has got to be one of my favourite soundtracks in anime of all time. Each track compliments the movie extremely well and every single one of them is fantastically orchestrated. There is a lot of range in atmosphere in the soundtrack, from upbeat to suspenseful to solemn. It goes without saying the soundtrack is excellent and is used masterfully well.
As far as the English Dub goes, I really have no complaints. It is the same cast as the original series, and so if you had no issues there, then you shouldn’t have any here. Each actor continues to compliment his or her respective role well. As far as standouts go, they would have to be Crispin Freeman as Kyon and Michelle Ruff as Yuki Nagato.
Crispin brings something new to the table as Kyon, going beyond the usual snarky attitude he usually has. Michelle Ruff wasn’t necessarily impressive in the original series (though in her defense, her character didn’t really call for anything special), and when it came to portraying the new side of Yuki Nagoto, she really delivers. She doesn’t go crazy and change her voice drastically. Instead, she subtly adds an indescribable… meekness to her performance.
So yeah. The music and the dub are both fantastic.
Final comments: This movie will give fans of the original series the fangasm they were wishing for, and even those who didn’t like the series might find something to enjoy here. Does this make the original series worth watching? In many ways, yes, it does. It’s a well-written movie with a great use of tone, amazing presentation, and masterful production values. It goes without saying that The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya gets a high recommendation from me.
That’s all for my review, folks! Feedback would be greatly appreciated, whether it be praise or criticism.
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Suzumiya Haruhi no Shoushitsu
2. Gintama Movie 1: Shinyaku Benizakura-hen
3. Eve no Jikan (Movie)
4. Trigun: Badlands Rumble
5. Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha: The Movie 1st