They’re the best Anime that 2017 has to offer! We counts down the best anime to come out this year, including the likes of Blame! Movie, Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt: Bandit Flower, Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha: Reflection, and more!
5: Blame! Movie
MAL Score: 7.08
A young girl named Zuru sets out on an expedition through a post-apocalyptic city controlled by machines in a desperate hunt for food. Things go awry when her team accidently triggers the city’s AI defense program called the Safeguard. Attacked by the machines, her companions are on the verge of being annihilated when a mysterious man named Killy arrives and exterminates the hostile units.
Despite his heroic intervention, Zuru is hesitant to trust Killy and questions his motives. He reveals to have come from thousands of levels below the city in order to find humans possessing the Net Terminal Genes—a trait that would allow humans to regain control of their civilization and shut down the Safeguard. After hearing his story, Zuru and the rest of her team join Killy and embark on a journey in search of the Genes that could prove to be mankind’s last hope of survival.
While not being entirely true to the original story, I can’t really complain. This was spectacular… The music, the sounds, how everything looked, it was all so cool! I’m sure if you’re one of those super picky fans that rip anything that’s not exactly the original story you will find a lot of things to complain about. Also I know lots of people are not fans of the 3D art style. Quite frankly I think it fits it well.
In any event… I would not watch this until you read all of or some of the manga. To me this is just the icing on the cake to Blame! My one complaint is that I wish it was longer and spent more time around Killy. Time to read the manga again…
EDIT: If you have never read Blame! I would actually recommend you to watch this… Then if you think it is cool, read the manga!
Sanakan and Cibo are honestly adorable and Killy is as bad ass as it gets… nuff said
2019: Im still re-watching this movie every couple months… Its a good ass time! Can’t wait for my next Blame! manga re-read.
[Story: 2/10 , Characters: 4/10, Art: 6/10, Sound: 7/10, Enjoyment: 6/10]
If you are thinking the Blame! movie is a post-apocalyptic sci-fi action flick where humanity tries to blame the culprit that led to their society’s demise, well you can’t be more wrong. It’s merely a plot hole filled story about a group of villagers, Electro-Fishers, trying to survive in this post-apocalyptic world where technology has deemed humans as contaminants due to lack of Net Terminal Gene therefore must be eliminated. Cue in Killy, this strange emotionless robot human cyborg (Terminator) trying to find a human with this Net Terminal Gene to put an end to this chaos and fight against the exterminators. Though the premise might sound interesting, the execution by Hiroyuki Seshita fell flat.
There really isn’t a story to this anime. It’s just characters moving from one location to another. Due to their naivety they land in problems that needs to be resolved. It’s understandable that this is testing the water with a different take on the manga adaptation, hence how much the story is open ended. However, leaving something too open results in a hollow experience overall. That’s what happened watching this anime. Some action sequences were good. Some issues made sense. However, viewers won’t feel attached to the story and at times would even fast forward because how boring and stale the universe became.
If the story wasn’t stale enough, the characters made it even worse. Apart from the MC Killy, this Terminator-esque emotionless robot, all the other characters are just placeholders that can be replaced at any time. Which is exactly what happened as the movie progresses. You never feel anything for the people that dies in this movie. If there is one word that can sum up their deaths, it’s “meh.” The characters don’t really have a backstory or purpose and lack severe character development. They just exist because they exist. Except Killy, he is pretty badass.
Regardless of the movie’s failure in substantial plot and concrete character development, the art and sound were sort of its saving grace. The CGI animation, though in 10fps, still felt nice after you get used it. The landscape is vibrant with bold colours and the cinematography is quite beautiful. Not to mention, the redesigned Killy with the rugged features really added to his character. They gave Zuru kawaii features to turn her into an eye candy but failed to give other characters distinguishable features to make them stand out. Despite that, the action sequences with the background score, gave it a nice cozy feel and let you somewhat feel the catastrophic dilemma the people are trapped inside this post-apocalyptic run down world ruled by watchtowers (Skynet). The OST is definitely worth listening to on its own.
Overall, the movie is fun to watch for fans of the Blame! manga/anime or for anyone who just loves to watch a mindless action flick. The director left the ending open ended so one can assume if this movie receives positive buzz more installments in this franchise are to come in the near future. So if you can get over its subpar plot and confounding character development, give it a watch. Tell me later how you like it!
P.S. Thank you for reading. I hope you found this short and supaishi review helpful!
P.P.S. Blame! is just the Japanese onomatopoeic gun sound *blem*.
Set in a world in which humans have lost access to all of the world’s technology after an event called the “infection” causes all of the machinery to develop multi-levelled structures that repeat infinity creating a huge, never-ending dystopian city in which machines, called the safeguard, kill the humans resulting in only a very small volume of civilisation, tucked away safely in a place in which the safeguard cannot reach. Enter a girl named Zuru, whom, with a group of other young teenagers, venture out into this broken world in hopes of finding food for their starving village. However, things go horribly wrong when the safeguards begin to attack Zuru’s group and the exterminators, essentially fast as hell killer robots that run on all four legs, kill most of the members of the group and everyone would have died if it were not for a man, or, better yet, a robot (which the movie never actually explains nor do we learn his backstory) by the name of Killy who uses a big damn laser gun to destroy all of the exterminators in one shot. After this, the group take him back to their village after Killy asks them if they have the Net Terminal Gene which, as we learn later, is a gene in which allows humans to control the robots and take back the cities and the world around them. After Killy speaks to the village elder, whom everyone refers to as ‘papa’, the elder recalls the term “Net Terminal Gene” and takes Killy down to the lower levels to see if they can find any information about it. While there, Killy finds an old and beaten up android who had been laying dormant for hundreds of years, waiting for someone to come and save her, and, with that, Killy, the android called Cibo, Zuru and the rest of the team, set off on a journey in order to gain the Net Terminal Genes in order to restore balance to the world once again.
The narrative surrounding this movie is pretty linear and straightforward but that’s fine. I’d rather have a simpler narrative done right than a convoluted one that tries to squeeze everything into the time frame of a film. For starters, it doesn’t take too much to feel a sense of empathy between the last surviving humans and their quest for the Net Terminal Genes and the simpler narrative and set-up definitely does help in this regard. Not only that, but the pacing of the film is pretty decently executed. It felt as if it wasn’t trying to rush everything into a two hour frame and took its time explaining a few concepts and ideas, although nothing all too substantial as a whole, and that’s my biggest gripe with the film. The film format doesn’t allow for fully fleshed out characters or backstories and we don’t learn anything about Killy in the slightest, or even all too much about Cibo either! We’re given really vague and uninteresting backstories to Cibo in particular, but other than her motivation for wanting to take back the city, she feels extremely bland and underdeveloped, and this role also extends to Killy too. I understand they’re both robots, and thus lack emotion or character, but they just felt way too underutilised and underdeveloped. The human characters are a bit better but none of them gets any development either. The film does hint as Zeru’s anxieties and fears over losing some of her friends while fighting but it never surfaces ever again and lacks development. I could never really feel too attached to these characters, and while, I did feel some tension in some of the action scenes in regards to their life, for the most part, I just didn’t care who lived or died. It’s pretty obvious that the anime is trying to make you care since there are plenty of emotional scenes with character deaths but it never really felt all too sad to me since I was not attached enough to the character in order for this to have had any effect on me.
The film’s exposition delivery can also be a little too heavy at times with the main character just telling us the state of the world at the very beginning of the film and I’ve seen this done so many times before that it ends up leaving no impact on me, and the film does this a couple of other times as well. I believe it would have been more effective if the film opened up with no exposition what so ever and the audience could have seen the state of the world for themselves, it would have been more much more engaging and interesting. However, to be fair, there are a couple of exposition scenes that feel natural and as if they’re happening in the world such as when the elder is explaining the customs and history of the village to Killy who had never been there before and thus the audience assumes these characters roles. As we learn about their village, as thus Killy, but this technique is never really utilised all too much in the film.
If there is one thing the film does well is its setting and attention to detail. I was so immersed into this world they through me into and I loved the broken down, city dystopia setting and the entire design of the world; it was pretty good. Not only that, but the action and even the GCI were also great. The CGI never came across as jarring or awkward and the action scenes were full of high-level movement and were exciting to boot; I felt the hype, and if that’s what the movie was going for it certainly achieved it on that end. In addition, the final action scene was pretty fun to watch from a visual standpoint, but you may find yourself feeling that the ending was a bit anti-climatic since nothing much was actually achieved by the end, and it leaves on quite an annoying cliffhanger, which just makes me want to go and read the manga. The music does the job, but I never found it too be all too great and there were a few scenes that I found to be completely stupid which I would describe in more detail but I don’t want to get into spoiler territory. But, despite that, the film is enjoyable and does do a few things right to warrant the praise I gave out in the opening paragraphs. While the characters don’t get much development, it is easy to feel a sense of empathy for them, which is more than I can say for other films of this nature, and if you’re looking for a fun, action-packed adventure with a great dystopian setting, than I would recommend this.
4: Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt: Bandit Flower
Japanese: 機動戦士ガンダム サンダーボルト BANDIT FLOWER
MAL Score: 7.26
Compilation film for Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt 2nd Season.
The idea of being human has a myriad of components many would look into from a biological and philosophical sense. Some of the most commonly discussed components used as the defining factor for what makes someone “truly human” include: a sense of individuality and identity, the ability to communicate with people in a natural way, tact in regards to the dead, and the idea of dealing with trauma. The second season of Gundam Thunderbolt, and by extension, this film compilation of said season’s episodes, tackles each and every one of these facets naturally, without actively trying to dwell on it as the main selling point. As such, this integral facet of Thunderbolt 2 has undeservedly been ignored or brushed off entirely.
Before we dive deeper into this analysis, I feel we must first address the audiovisual component of this film, as regardless of your views on Thunderbolt as a whole, this is what the side-series is known for. We should also address some of the non-thematic additions made and any problems second season and this compilation of said season contain. Studio Sunrise, the main corporate entity behind this film’s production, did a wonderful job in creating another visually stunning work full of incredible and varied character designs, vibrant gunfire, blue flames, laser beams, and beam weapons, and the incredible new designs and updates to older models. The action is as stellar and destructive as ever, taking the carnage from the electrified and abandoned terrain of the abandoned Thunderbolt Sector of the first season, to a variety of mostly aquatic locations, whether they be attic or tropical. Whilst the Federation mobile suits of yore looked childish and out of place compared to both the Zeon suits and Thunderbolt Sector Federation models, each and every suit looks grittier and more at home with a carnivorous war environment.
The music, composed once more by Naruyoshi Kikuchi, is as fantastic as before. Like with the previous compilation film, it shuffles around the tracks to mixed results, often starting in the middle of the track, such as with the first two action scenes regarding the fantastic tracks “Thunderbolt New Theme” and “Groovy Duel”. Unfortunately, there weren’t any new tracks added towards the end like “Ronald Reagan Other Side” was in the new footage found at the end of the first film. The wonderful jazz and blues tracks of the second season are as electrifying as ever, with vocal tracks being better than some of the first season’s, and non-vocal tracks that directly rival those of season one.
As for additional scenes, the first two tie into the analysis so we will save that for later. The third additional scene has Io being temporarily assaulted by Zeon forces who chained and dogpiled his mech, with it solely annoying him before he managed to break out and obliterate them. The final one has Bianca questioning to Cornelius why Io is going after Claudia, in which he responds that it’s Io’s ex and they thought she was dead. It doesn’t alleviate how silly it is that Claudia and Sergei (Karla’s superior) survived since while we already knew they were picked up somehow, it was still an unknown amount of time after surviving a situation they should not have survived to begin with. However, it was odd that Bianca didn’t question it to begin with, so it’s good to see her do it here.
The English dub slightly less solid than last time. While we did see good returning performances from characters such as Io and Cornelius, and the background characters were largely better than last time, a few performances, such as Laura Stahl, were rather hit or miss, and the line changes were somewhat groan-inducing. The prospect of hearing “you selfish prick” being casually told in dub was burnt asunder. Additionally, Johnny Yong Bosch somehow does an inconsistent performance despite this being a reprised role. At least we seem to have got Patrick Seitz here, even as a background character.
In addition to the increased amount of new footage compared to its predecessor, the episodes of the second season flow better into a film than the episodes of the first. Even with the fact that there is no additional piece of music unlike last time where one was added at the very end, I would consider this to be the be superior compilation film of the two, regardless of if the content present in December Sky is overall stronger.
Needless to say, I feel that the sequel to the events of Gundam Thunderbolt is every bit as rich as the original, though in different ways. While Season 1 (and by extension, December Sky) was a savage and grueling endeavor and electrifying spectacle of sheer pain and misery for both sides involved, with the embodiment of this being the two ace pilots who were effective our main characters in the first season, season 2 is a more relaxed and humorous but still brutal spectacle of chaotic battles that ended in similar levels of sorrow for those we followed. Season 1 was a look into the sheer horrors of war and both the stakes people have put into the war with their personal lives, and just how far people are willing to go for the sake of winning a war. Meanwhile, Season 2 was a look into the consequences of such a war beyond it whilst looking into the various things that make people human. The fact that season 2 is only mildly less brutal and chaotic must be emphasized given the complaints of entertainment value being lost when the story takes itself too seriously, and that the story apparently was just boring exposition most of the time. Saying the former discredits Gundam Thunderbolt arguably even more than the second season, the primary target of these complaints, as season 1 took itself even more seriously as this unflinchingly brutal display of carnage and lights. Saying the latter is an exaggeration at best, as while the second season’s battles were not as beam and destruction-intensive and there is no raw rivalry, there was still a fair amount of fun, incredibly well-animated, and only mildly less flashy battles to be had. This isn’t entirely as strong as the first installment was, and it does leave with a lame cliffhanger, but it is most certainly a worthy successor to the original, especially this Bandit Flower compilation version. With that diatribe out of the way, the electrifying analysis begins now!
Humanization is defined as giving more human elements to something, usually in fiction. When used in regards to characters, it is often used to mean the idea of showing characters off as more human than simply a character that is written as a role in the narrative. Seeing realistic banter what they do in their free time beyond what is directly tied to the concept or narrative of the product in question, showing background characters doing minor yet real things, etc. Modern anime are occasionally criticized with not having much of any of this show off. Simply put, both Second Season and Bandit Flower have this in spades. In the events covering episode 5, we see two seemingly random soldiers exchange a quiet yet enthusiastic fist bump before flying into battle. In the events covering episode 6, we see Io and his new friend, Bianca, not only discuss Jazz, particularly in regards to famous Jazz artists and how the genre has evolved over time and what made it so special to begin with, but have a 96 second scene of them playing a favorite song of theirs. Said song brings back fun memories of the Thunderbolt Sector days back in the first season. We then see a soldier drinking and crying over the death of his six-month-old son whilst showing pictures of him to a comrade. He is one of the antagonists of this part of the story, as it is largely a battle between the Federation and members of a certain cult who salvages and reused uniforms and mecha of both sides of the One Year War of 0079. 10 minutes later, we see another enemy soldier move out, flicking a baseball player bobblehead he has stationed right beside him, only to later see an entire collection of them in his room at the end of the episode, or in this case, the events covering said episode.
Throughout the series, the banter between Io, Bianca, and Cornelius is shown to be charming and humorous. They act like real, sassy friends who have each other’s backs even with their misgivings with one-another, even discounting the fact that it is a given to survive in a situation such as war. The mildly agitated name-calling, the more friendly type of violence akin to lightly pounding bonking someone on the head with your fist or a plastic bottle or whatnot, and how open they are to each other about their hobbies and small requests. We did get to see the running gag of Io asking Cornelius for tissues back during Season 1 and December Sky, but the rest is completely new to this second season, particularly due to the inclusion of Bianca. It’s cute to see them warm up to each other so fast and get into long, passionate discussions about their favorite hobby in such a short amount of time, again, in the middle of what is effectively turning into a 3-way war.
Little touches like these add some minor depth to even the most insignificant of characters, making things feel more alive. They also freshen up the cast a bit more and make the time spent with them more fun as they know how to actually communicate like real people would rather than simply in a more constructed and narrative-continuing or character-justifying (the latter of which is never a good sign) type of way.
Referring back to the raw savagery that was the events of season 1, it was a standoff so devastating that major physical, mental, emotional, and even reputation-based consequences were inevitable to occur. When Karla had her mental breakdown towards the end of the time spent in the Thunderbolt Sector, it turns out that her mind regressed to that of a child as a result. Since Daryl’s mechanical hand resembles the mechanical hand of her father’s, he has to take care of her occasionally as a way of treating her mind so that it can become stable once again. During the Thunderbolt days, there was a mission where a bunch of teenage rookies was sent into battle to be mowed down viciously so that Io and others could break through into the Zeon ships. As a result, some of Io’s peers detest him. While he never has to confront them about it or even interact with them, it’s clearly something that will carry over to a possible third installment as they, over the course of the second installment, find themselves conflicted about him over time rather than simply resentful of him. Meanwhile, Daryl is considered a legend by some Zeon remnants for besting and capturing Io, including the Living Dead division. As a result, some members, specifically Billy Hackam, indirectly try to test him to see if he lives up to his reputation.
With everything having been said, it is only fitting that the main antagonist of this second installment is a cult wherein people sacrifice themselves for the same of a mission and one figurehead. This cult is known as the South Seas Alliance. Whereas episode 5 showed two kamikaze Zeon remnants cursing their superiors over the mission the more they thought of it, these cultists are more generally willing to sacrifice themselves. Clearly, some members were too scared to die, or at the very least, didn’t want to die until their contribution to the objective was fulfilled. However, there were plenty who actively suicide bombed themselves to distract the Federation or otherwise make way for their comrades. Not every member was entirely convinced, however, like Claudia, who felt entirely conflicted when Io tried and failed to get her out. The leader of the cult is a newtype named Levan Fuu, who was revealed to be a patient in a newtype facility created by an old lady who now runs the ship Io is working in. The awkward scene added in at the beginning was a younger Levan Fuu waking about the nature of sacrifice and humanity, whilst showing them with the necklaces we see in the show proper. This only makes him stronger of a character despite being such a non-presence until the very end as he is revealed. We already see what he has done, but to see that he developed this mentality due to his time in this facility helps make him more interesting, and made the idea of him becoming a real presence in a third installment all the more tantalizing. After all, he discovered what he believed people can do, and exploited that to turn his followers into mindless, self-sacrificing drones with no real interactions with each other whatsoever. How fitting that these nameless, hive-minded goons are mowed down by Io and Bianca, the diametric opposites of these people. How perfect that they were so easily scammed by one who claimed to be of their own. It’s almost the perfect punishment for those who have sacrificed some of the most basic human qualities.
Gundam Thunderbolt Bandit Flower is very nearly the epitome of the human side of the Gundam franchise. While it may not hit as hard or be as brutal or tightly-constructed as the first season, what it conveys is equally interesting and it manages to continue to showcase some of the best audiovisuals in non-film anime. In many ways, Bandit Flower is the tragically underappreciated, definitive version of the content of the equally mistreated second season. With all that said, as always, I bid you adieu.
Unlike the prequel which at least had an interesting plot, this feels all over the place. They didn’t even complete the whole plot cycle here. It sure feels like this movie is just an intermission to whatever movie that they have next in line. Few continuation to what happened previously in December Sky.. and that’s it.
Even if they replaced the entire character with a totally different one, it wont really make that much of a difference to the story so yeah, it is that bad.
The only redemption this movie have is the fairly interesting fight scene. The movie itself is an introduction to a different story. If you can wait for whatever’s next, just wait.
Story (7/10) Good
More Specifically (7.50/10) Good+
In comparison to the episodic format previously release just like December Sky I feel that having all 4 ONA episodes combined into one movie makes it easier and understand and consume. Unless it’s either been a while and I forgot or if they actually did I noticed a few additional scenes but not too many.
Art and Animation (10/10) Masterpiece
The animation and art-style of Gundam Thunderbolt never disappoints unique, rough and classic hand-drawn full as always.
Sound (8/10) Very Good
Nothing has really changed this time around that wasn’t in the ONA episodes the sound still very good and I guess some of the BGM didn’t bother me as much this time around as it somewhat did when I watched and reviewed the ONAs even though it’s the same.
Characters (8/10) Very Good
The Characters Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt: Bandit Flower are very good quite easy to follow everyone’s motives and characterization. Although the Claudia stuff did get a bit confusing nothing else really stood out as a big issue. None of the characters had any mind-blowing character development or characterization to make it any high than an 8/10.
Enjoyment (8/10) Very Good
More Specifically (8.50/10) Very Good+
I enjoyed watching Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt: Bandit Flower a bit more than I did watching the ONAs because like I said before it feels it’s easier to consume one movie with out the pauses of binge watching four episodes or in my case when the ONAs were airing waiting monthly for them.
Overall (8/10) Very Good
More Specifically (8.40/10) Very Good
Not much is needed to be said about Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt: Bandit Flower, although I wish Io and Daryl confronted each other that’s what made Season 1 aka December Sky so amazing which was their climatic rivalry but oh well and the last about 20 minutes of the movie was a bit of a challenge to follow but not too bad either way if you were wonder if you should watch the ONAs or this movie choose this movie it’s better don’t believe the score on this MAL page for either this or December Sky in comparison to it’s ONAs.
3: Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha: Reflection
English: Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Reflection
Japanese: 魔法少女リリカルなのは Reflection
MAL Score: 7.45
A pair of researchers stays behind on their dying planet of Eltria with their two daughters, Amitie and Kirie, in hopes of finding a way to revive the planet. But when the husband Granz falls ill it seems their dream of reviving the planet will die. Against her older sister’s wishes, Kirie sets off with her childhood friend Iris to seek help from a distant alternate world. They arrive in Japan on Earth to search for the key to their planet’s regeneration. There, they meet Nanoha, Fate, and Hayate.
Unlike strikers which sidelined the main cast in season 1 and 2, and vivid which basically almost changed the main cast entirely, Reflection retains the main cast from season 1 and 2 therefore it was an instant plus to me. The main cast has great chemistry and therefore is always a joy to watch them interact.
Reflection’s tone is similar to that of season 1, 2, and 3 (Strikers), not very lighthearted like that of vivid. Although not as well executed as As, the villains (well most of them) have believable motives which you can empathize with. The movie does end on a cliff hanger leaving many loose ends that will hopefully be tied up in the Nanoha: Detonation.
Overall, if you are a fan of season 1 and 2 or movie 1st and 2nd of the nanoha anime, you will most likely like Reflection.
THIS MOVIE IS PART 1 OF A 2 COUR MOVIE WHICH MEANS THAT THIS MOVIE HAS A OPEN END THAT CONTINUES IN THE NEXT MOVIE.
Okay, now that that is out of the way, let’s get to this. Nanoha Reflection is a movie from 2017, made by the studio Seven Arcs Pictures. It’s runtime is about and hour and 45 minutes. I don’t have to mention it but just in case I still gonna: This movie is part of the Lyrical Nanoha franchise. Yoh have to watch the Nanoha stuff before watching this movie. More specifically, this movie happens between the second and third season of Lyrical Nanoha. Now to the review. Also this will contain spoilers for Lyrical Nanoha S1 and 2.
Story/Plot: The story revolves around the sisters Amitie and Kyrie. Their father is dying from an unknown disease and Kyrie with the help of her AI Iris she sets out to earth in order to find ways to heal her sick father. Doing so she does considerable damage and this sets out Nanoha, Fate, Hayate and Co. to go stop and arrest her. But not everything works out as planned. Who would’ve thought?
To sort out what I just wrote, we have simple story of a person wanting to save someone and in order to do that that person does not hold back on even hurting others. In a previous review to the MHA movie I noted that it didn’t really do anything great because as a franchise movie it has things it cannot do. This however does not count for this movie. Reason for that is that this movie is canon and depicts the incident that happened in the time between Lyrical Nanoha Season 2 and 3. Another aspect is that this movie is only the first part and that the second one still has to be released. Because of the third season we know that none of the main cast is going to die and also we know or can suspect that this movie and the following one show the origin of what leads to season 3. There isn’t a whole lot you can do in these almost 2 hours. More so, this movie relies on the established cast only introduces a few new ones.
Art: Seven Arcs shows fluid animation and pretty nice action scenes. Nothing bad here at all. What we have here is a very familiar Nanoha artstyle and great action scenes. What more can you hope?
Sound: The sound…Yeah. Always a difficult point. The music and sound effects in this movie are there, that much is clear. But I didn’t really pay that much attention on them. One thing I can point out is the ending song that is pretty good.
Characters: Man, it’s been so long since I’ve seen the last Nanoha anime. I must say, it was great seeing everyone again. This movie definitely had me on the nostalgia level. Other than that, we do have our typical characters we all know and love. Nanoha, Fate, and Hayate are all a bit older now (not yet adults) and we get to see the development of Fate and her foster mother, as well as Nanoha’s growth as an OP person who can destroy anyone. We also get to see the 3 new characters Amitie, Kyrie and Iris. I can’t really go into detail here because of spoilers but I can say that their story is not yet over and will continue in the next movie. What we saw so far, Amitie is a pretty nice character and Kyrie is blinded by her cause. Things I have already seen in other anime. The main reason for this movie is to fill in a missing link in the anime apartment and satisfy our nostalgia.
Overall Enjoymenf and verdict: It’s Nanoha, of course im gonna enjoy it. A very entertaining movie and a nostalgia syringe. I kind of feel like Seven Arcs depended on that nostalgia. Anyhow. I can totally recommend this movie to Nanoha fans. They gotta have to watch this movie. For everyone else, I recommend you watching the whole Nanoha series first and then watch this, or watch this after watching the second season. Anyway, that is it for my review on this movie.
I will see you in my next review. Until then.
2: Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei Movie: Hoshi wo Yobu Shoujo
English: The Irregular at Magic High School The Movie – The Girl Who Summons The Stars
Japanese: 劇場版 魔法科高校の劣等生 星を呼ぶ少女
MAL Score: 7.46
In the story, the seasons have changed and it will soon be the second spring. Tatsuya and Miyuki have finished their first year at First Magic High School and are on their spring break. The two go to their villa on the Ogasawara Island archipelago. After only a small moment of peace a lone young woman named Kokoa appears before them. She has abandoned the Naval base and she tells Tatsuya her one wish.
I attended one of the theatrical releases and I’d have to say as a fan of the novels, I came away very satisfied.
I’m gonna keep this short and spoiler free. The movie flowed quite nicely with no overly long info dumps that messed up the pacing in the TV anime. The action is fun and exciting, not just Tatsuya, multiple characters get to kick some ass. The movie was also very comical, quite a few scenes had the audience in my viewing cracking up. The story was pretty straight forward and not to convoluted, which allowed it to be more engaging and straight to the point. Also for the fan service lovers, there’s a few scenes in the movie that you’ll be happy to see.
The only cons I have are the fact that if you’ve haven’t read volumes 8-11 of the LN, you’ll be a bit lost and confused about some things that transpire or happened in between the movie and the TV series(The movie takes place after volume 11), the movie’s production value could have been a bit higher(it looked more like a glorified OVA than an actually theatrical film), and it could have done with a longer run-time(like 15-30 minutes longer would have been nice).
Overall, the movie should be a very enjoyable experience to fans who keep up with the source material and even anime only fans should have fun watching the characters go on another adventure/mission. Even if you didn’t like the TV anime series, you might like this more if your main problem with the TV anime was its pacing and minimal action. Just don’t expect this to be a real continuation of the anime series as this is just mostly a standalone action flick(though it technically is considered canon).
PSA: To get the full amount of the enjoyment of the film, you should either:
a)Read volume 8-11
b)Read the summaries on the Mahouka wiki to at least get a grasp of those volumes and what transpires in them.
The reason I say this is that there are characters(Lina in particularly) and events that are referenced(via flashback or other means) that are in the film, but do not appear in the anime and only appear in the LN volumes that I’ve mentioned. They author stated that this movie is primarily targeted for the fans that keep up with the novels, so the best way to enjoy this movie is to have a good idea about what transpired between the anime series and the movie.
The movie suffers from pacing whiplash, going from mysterious high-stakes action to slice-of-life cute girls doing cute things with a gratuitous amount of fanservice (the majority of the movie), back to serious, fast-paced action. The new characters introduced barely get any characterization due to the bloated cast and the plot is problematic. Many things happen in the story that should have wider implications than what the movie allows. Like branches of the military attacking each other, an act of war from an outside nation, magician slavery, and tension between military and civilians. all of which are dismissed at the end of the movie. As for the main characters, there is no growth or significant development in their story, or in any other recurring characters’ stories. The action portion of the movie, although spectacular, cannot save the movie from its weak storyline and character development.
Overall, I left the movie a little dissappointed. Maybe the light novels do a better job at pacing and the overall plot, but the movie is little more than spectacle and fanservice.
That anime was also a gigantic piece of shit.
Thankfully, this movie isn’t so bad.
That isn’t to say this was a good or even passable film, however. It still suffers from flat characterization, holes and leaps in logic, pacing issues, and a major switch from one major object being a threat to another, with the first object being ignored entirely after the halfway mark, among other problems. It feels like a short filler arc of the show, though thankfully issues carried from the show are largely subdued.
Visually, the movie is passable. For one, they fixed the lighting issue to a decent extent, now I don’t have to squint to avoid my eyes being set on fire from the needlessly bright lighting effects. The artstyle is as bad as ever though, and the CGI is both horrible and prevalent. The fights and overall magic were pretty bad as well. At the very least, we got to see characters in a variety of fashionable uniforms outside of their school attire, which was thankfully absent throughout the film. Studio 8bit, while doing a mediocre job by anime film standards, still has a far more visually appealing product that the original, which is the long and short of it all.
Taku Iwasaki returns as the composer of the music for the film and it was far superior to his work on the show. There were two moments where the music did not fit the scenes, including a happy piano track halfway and an awful dubstep song during the big magic fight sequence near the start of the third act. The rest of the tracks sounded perfectly fine, with one vocal track near the beginning being probably the best in the movie, if not for GARNiDELiA doing another stellar performance with the ED song “SPEED STAR”. This is already a far cry from the amount of terrible tracks and times where the music does not fit the scenes in the original TV series. These audiovisual improvements did fix major gripes I had with the original to the point where it almost felt unfair as part of any enjoyment this film provided was fixing mistakes that should’ve never happened to begin with.
Unfortunately, that’s where any relative positives end, as the film is still a mess. There is this important character named Angelina, who has important relations with much of the relevant cast from the show. However, she wasn’t in the TV anime and the film doesn’t even establish their connection and instead assumes we already know, despite the fact that a large fraction of the audience of this film are only familiar with the anime, potentially leaving the viewer incredibly lost. Two groups of characters effectively on the same side fight to the death because they’re too stupid to explain what is going on, and one of them named Siegfried has some sort of bad blood with Leonheart, that again, is not established in this film, leading to the exact same problems as with Angelina. There is a character who only exist to be an obnoxious sadistic psychopath knife-wielder for the sake of such a character trait, and he disposed of by an enemy who should be an ally hit because both sides are stupid they don’t communicate that they have the exact same goal and should be working in tandem to stop the big threat of this movie. As for the characters we’re already familiar with, they are still immensely flat and dry, and some characters don’t really have a reason to be in the film due to sheer irrelevance, such as Mikihiko. This isn’t entirely the film’s fault, as the 2014 anime showcased them as worthless garbage anyway, and oddly enough, the women largely feel the same in this film, not even feeling like individual character tropes like in the show proper. Thankfully, the worst aspects of the main sibling pair are subdued due to the limited runtime, however, they are still as generic and dull as ever, if not nearly as infuriating.
There is this asteroid that is threatened to be in a collision course with the Earth, and this is established as the main threat due to scientists. However, that gets dropped halfway through the film with no resolution and instead it gets replaced by this satellite the researches were trying to move for some unexplained reason. Unfortunately, given that not many people have seen this film and this review is written without spoilers, I cannot go into further detail, nor can I explain any of the other problems with this film that require spoilers. However, there are a few that can be listed here, such as the sheer lack of subplots, the fact that it took Mayumi so long to realize that her plane was taken by her friends and that there was an important passenger with them (it took a day), the lack of consistency regarding magic being used with or without codes (since it has been established you need to use magic codes to use any form of magic), and that the scientists have no motivations for their actions beyond a one-off line of dialogue about the Navy accepting them. We aren’t even made aware of their plans. Lastly, it turns it that some of the character graduated, but Tatsuya is the same age and no one has reportedly aged. This could also explain why Erika is somewhat of a different character than before, but then we’d have missed important character development; not like the series could even attempt such a thing.
Ultimately, while this film was a considerable improvement from the 2014 Madhouse anime, it is still a lackluster film without much of an engaging narrative and a sheer lack of decent characterization, as well as an inheritance of some of the series’ major problems, even if it does attempt to at least subdue issues involving the production, the main duo, and the lack of cohesion with the music and the scenes back then. The third arc is where most of these issues come to a head, turning a movie that would have otherwise been classified as “so ok it’s average” into a bewildering mess that just happens to be an improvement. Even fans of the anime could get confused as to what’s going on regarding certain characters, which is a large issue. You could say this review is damning with faint praise, but that’s the best thing this lackluster film deserves. Regardless, with all that said, I bid you adieu.
1: Code Geass: Hangyaku no Lelouch I – Koudou
English: Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion I – Initiation
Japanese: コードギアス 反逆のルルーシュⅠ 興道
MAL Score: 7.90
The Holy Britannian Empire is a powerful nation that uses its military strength to expand its rule, and the small island nation of Japan is yet another victim. During a worldwide conflict in 2010 known as the Second Pacific War, the once-proud country was reduced to rubble and mockingly renamed to Area 11.
However, one student plans to free Japan from Britannia’s control through an extraordinary rebellion. His name is Lelouch Lamperouge, and he is fueled with hatred for the Empire, plotting to wipe its accursed name off the face of the planet. Lelouch’s malicious plans are unexpectedly accelerated upon meeting the mysterious woman C.C., who grants him a supernatural ability known as “Geass” that makes anyone Lelouch commands unable to defy his will.
Now armed with a devastating power, Lelouch assumes the persona of Zero, a revolutionary figure who carries the hopes and dreams of the oppressed around the world. He vows to restore the glorious nation of Japan and deliver divine retribution to Britannia.
Almost a decade after the saga of Lelouch came to an end, the magnificent bastards over at Studio Sunrise brought the old writing and directing team of Garou Taniguchi, Ichiro Okouchi, and others altogether for a project of retelling and resurrection. A retelling of the original 50 episode series was made as a film trilogy, with this being the first. Admittedly, some may pause at the word “retelling”, asking why not refer to it as recap. Simply put, it is far more, as they made alterations to the script for a new age and for the condensed format. The story of Code Geass has been passed down to a new generation, with the old masters learning from the year since the original’s conclusion, analyzing the original for what best to keep for a trilogy, and adding to it to strengthen the parts they kept and improve on characters in interesting ways with their new take on things. It’s a wonder the pacing is as decent as it is.
When it came to lifting visuals from the show, they did nothing to alter it, which sadly means no improvements on the CGI or any of the momentary dips on quality. However, the new scenes were wonderful, recapturing the look and feel of the show with a slightly sleeker look that hardly looks out of place. While the visuals of the show itself could have been polished up for the big screen in places, the plethora of new scenes makes up for it in a way due to how faithful and wonderful they look. The mech battles are as fun, well-planned and executed, and acrobatic as ever, and any new clothing featured looks as great as the rest.
Another area the film adds new love to is the music. Code Geass already has a wondrous OST, and this film nor only shuffled around tracks from the episodes being retold and added some fantastic tracks from R2, but the new tracks (whose names cannot be discerned at the moment due to lack of release) not only fit in perfectly but work as wonderful as the rest. They even added new songs from Hitomi Kuroishi, who sang the more melodic songs of the original such as “Continued Story”, “Stories”, and “Precious Time”. They kept the iconic opening to the TV series and added a new ED theme that surpasses both of the first season’s EDs, especially the first one. “Aka Dake ga Tarinai” by Iris, is a fantastic track that fits perfectly with the penultimate scene of Todoh’s rescue from episode 20 of the original, with wonderful vocals and lovely chorus sections that blend in magnificently with the tone of the scene proper. It was a wonder hearing the old tracks in new places and the new tracks getting along perfectly. Kotaro Nakagawa and Hitomi Kuroishi, thank you for such wonderful contributions to what is already one of the best OSTs in anime.
Admittedly, the film does carry a few vices from the television show. While not every tone shift in the series was done poorly and abruptly, they clearly only took the bad ones. I still have questions regarding the creation of Zero’s iconic uniform, among other questions. However, the new footage does a lot to expand on things, like give more time for the Black Knights to have fun and do relevant things not shown during battles and other moments in the original; the film even explains how they got their headquarters. From the end of the first scene, we even see relevant relatives of Lelouch as they see him and his sister off. These relatives would be the very same we know proper in the show, so it was a sweet touch to add to make the idea of them seeing Lelouch again all the more impactful. You can tell they analyzed this story to an extent to see what to add and what to alter. There is even a montage that shows some of the events the Black Knights did in the early parts of their campaign following the final major event they partook in during the film, showing most of what was skipped. As well, some scenes played out differently regarding Villetta and the Japan Liberation Front, in order to suit the runtime, and they work flawlessly.
While regrettably, the scenes of Arthur biting Suzaku and later getting acquainted with him were cut given a role that was played towards R2’s finale, it is nothing worth fretting overmuch. They even alter a scene of Lelouch and C.C in a way that has her come off as more tender and vulnerable, showcasing a stronger connection between the two at that point than the series did. Not to mention that a variety of the new scenes centered around those two, including a scene of Lelouch playing darts as C.C eats pizza. It’s very clear where the writers are taking this relationship in comparison to before. No other character was altered in any significant way with aside from adding more scenes with Lelouch playing darts and facing hardship over a major reveal about his rival; everyone remains just s good as you remember them. The only exception is a member named Naomi, who actually gets added relevance with her actually doing something like taking down an enemy onscreen and witnessing Zero’s conversation with the head of Kyoto along with more relevant members, Kallen and Ohgi. It may be odd to focus on such a minor character from the original, whose name the series didn’t actually tell us (promo material, merchandise, word of god, etc. told us instead) but the film adds a bit to her and they didn’t need to go out of their way to do so. Nice things aren’t always necessary to do, they’re just thoughtful and sweet and deserve to be acknowledged.
Effectively, this film succeeded splendidly as a retelling of the original 17 episodes (and episode 20, sans 8, 9, most of 12 and 13, and 14-16), while adding meaningful content to really justify the film’s existence, from new tracks to entire scenes that contribute to the characters in some way. The alterations worked wonders as well for this new interpretation of the material. It will be fascinating to see how the next two films of this new version of the story will handle things, and based on the results of this film, I am more than confident that they know what they are doing. As a fan of the original series, most notably the first season, I am more than satisfied with this new take on this legendary show, and at the end of the day, that was all they needed to do to solidify this film’s existence. Until next time, as always, I bid you adieu.
The stuff it leaves out/covers in less detail is generally very well done so the movie has a nice flow and still covers all the important developments. However they made one glaring mistake when it came to deciding what material to cut. This movie cuts out almost every interaction anyone has with the characters Shirley and Euphemia which is a massive problem. The relationships formed between Lelouch and Suzaku and them are incredibly important to the development of the plot and if someone were to only watch the movie version they would have almost no idea who they are or why they are so important and beloved. The sad thing is it would have been such an easy problem to fix by just extending the movie’s run time 5-10 minutes.
For reference I gave the original show a 10/10 because even though it isn’t perfect it was just so much fun to watch and I gave the movie an 8/10 because they left out the heart of the show by cutting out any emotional developments.
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Code Geass: Hangyaku no Lelouch I – Koudou
2. Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei Movie: Hoshi wo Yobu Shoujo
3. Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha: Reflection
4. Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt: Bandit Flower
5. Blame! Movie