They are by far the best anime! We counts down the best anime to come out all the time, including the likes of Detective Conan Movie 12: Full Score of Fear, Detective Conan Movie 09: Strategy Above the Depths, Detective Conan Movie 07: Crossroad in the Ancient Capital, and more!
50: Detective Conan Movie 12: Full Score of Fear
Japanese: 名探偵コナン 戦慄の楽譜（フルスコア）
MAL Score: 7.80
Serial murders involving all kinds have happened. All the victims are from a Music School led by a famous pianist. Conan and company have been invited to a opening concert of the Music Hall built by the pianist. The biggest attraction of this concert is the world famous violin called “Stradivarius” and a special appearance of a singer who has perfect pitch.
On with the review~
As I have mentioned before each DC movie contains a certain theme to it. The last movie, for example, contained a theme pertaining to pirates, while this movie contains a theme relating to classical music which has absolutely no relation to its predecessor which is quite unique in its own way.
The movie itself, in my point of view, is much faster paced compared to past DC movies. Each important event or crime as you may call it happens much quicker compared to the other movies which can be a downfall in its own way, but it doesn’t matter since we get a small glimpse of pretty girls singing opera house music to Beethoven. *shot*
This movie, like all other DC movies just gives us a small glimpse of how dangerous the real world can be; how one simple event can turn a person into a total psycho. This movie perfectly explains and personifies how even the most beautiful of music can cause the most shocking of events.
However, with this movie’s plot, it could have shown much more potential; maybe adding a bit more spice would have made this movie one of the best of the best of the DC movies.
Of course, this DC movie being about classical music, it’s only natural to hear some beautiful peaceful and relaxing music. But this movie did something more than add that to our plate, we also hear resonating pieces of two very different classics one being, “Amazing Grace” and the “Ave Maria” each one sung beautifully and naturally by a very young and beautiful, perfectly pitched young woman. This movie also managed to make the music sound even most enjoying even though on the outside of that beautiful performance, something deadly and horrific is happening. To sum it all up in one go, this movie has classical music with a BOOM!
For the past 16 years of Detective Conan’s airing we have seen an increase of better animation compared to when it first came out in 1996. This being the 12th movie of the DC franchise its only plausible to know that this animation is so much more better compared to when the 1st movie came out in 1997! The animation has improved so much that animators are even adding some 3D moments! It just goes to show how technology has advanced over the years.
I would describe each character, however, it would be pointless seeing as how the opening sequence of this movie will just explain the main man himself, Edogawa Conan and some other supporting characters which help attribute to the movie’s events. So I will just introduce one character, who only appears in this movie as the main heroine to help move the detective story along.
Akibe Reiko is by all means a prodigy in my eyes, who first appears in this story as what I would describe to be a stereotypical celebrity snob who in all cases thinks she’s better than everyone else. With looks which could put America’s Next Top Model to shame and a voice so glorious that it would have made Beethoven regain is hearing, she is by all means an angel created by the Gods of Anime! At first she may seem like a total bitch, but than through the course of this movie we learn a few things about her and find out that she’s like a tsundere; tough and rotten on the outside yet fluffy and sweet on the inside.
I enjoyed listening to the classical music of this movie because it was wholeheartedly different from your usual DC heroic themed soundtrack. It’s nice to experience something new once in a while after all. However, I’ll be honest, I was a bit bored. This movie felt like it was just dragging on and on that I even found doing my AP History Homework much more enjoyable than the movie itself! And that’s saying something! But I ask that even if this movie isn’t going to be the best, please don’t ignore it, especially if you’re a fan of Detective Conan! Who knows, maybe you might watch this and think to yourself, “What the hell is this woman saying? This movie is by all means a masterpiece!”
Seriously, I don’t have anything against classical music, but in this movie it is brought so boringly and unfitting. I rather go to a theater when I want to hear some good classics, instead of aspecting it in a Conan movie.
So, I give the whole movie a 4 and the stories potential a 7.
Following a bombing incident at a music school, Conan must protect the lead singer from the perpetrator before the big performance at a grand opera. While this movie’s premise is basic, it still makes it work with smooth pacing and little moments of character in the cast. The lead singer, Reiko, is interesting enough to work as a supporting character and the subplot with Ran and Shinichi is also kind of nice. While it would’ve been nice for the rest of the supporting cast to get this kind of treatment, it’s obvious that the filmmakers chose to do this deliberately. What’s also kind of fun is that the animators were able to sync the animation with the music and singing. On the subject of the music itself, it’s great… perhaps too great. While the songs in this movie are very good, I felt a bit of sensory overload from it all. Since this might be a personal problem, I won’t hold it against the film too much.
Now, one thing that I am still on the fence about is how Conan’s tone-deafness is handled in this movie. To be tone-deaf means having no concept of relative pitch and the inability of to distinguish between two notes. So how does Conan, a character who is tone deaf, be able to not only clearly distinguish how flat a certain note is, but also sing in harmony with a character with perfect pitch, a quality unattainable by tone deaf people? My only solution is that Conan isn’t really tone deaf; he just lacks proper training. After all, Conan was able to perfectly replicate the dial tones for the boss’ phone number after listening to it once. To be truly tone deaf would mean to not be a great detective, as being a great detective would mean the ability to distinguish between different sounds (which is an ability Conan has). Well, it’s definitely something to think about.
For a Detective Conan movie, its a pretty straight forward film. While lacking the appeal of more popular movies, one could consider this a hidden gem. If you are a big fan of classical music and would love to see it implemented in a mystery film, then consider Full Score of Fear a “full speed ahead”.
49: Detective Conan Movie 09: Strategy Above the Depths
Japanese: 名探偵コナン 水平線上の陰謀
MAL Score: 7.81
Fifteen years ago in a barren stretch of the Pacific, a cruise ship collided with an iceberg and was lost at sea. More than a decade later, Hideto Yashiro—a ship engineer—died in a fatal car accident. The unlikely connection between these events only comes to light on the luxury liner St. Aphrodite during her maiden voyage.
Aboard it on a much needed vacation, Kogorou Mouri, his daughter Ran, Conan Edogawa, and the Detective Boys enjoy a trip provided by Sonoko Suzuki’s family. But their fun is soon cut short when a game of hide-and-seek leads to Sonoko’s disappearance. Some time later, the CEO of the Yashiro group, who built the St. Aphrodite, is found stabbed to death and her father missing. While the police’s investigation turns to a dead end, Conan closes in on the culprit. Unwilling to be apprehended, the culprit threatens to blow up the St. Aphrodite and sink all her passengers.
As the ship’s hull rapidly fills with water, the truth behind the vengeful murders is finally revealed. With no place to escape, Conan and Kogorou must wrestle with the elusive culprit before everyone on board is dragged to the ocean floor.
Art (7/10) It got good art and i really love art even if it’s not like New Anime.
Sound (8/10) Very good sound i have no complain about it every characters got good sound.
Characters (10/10) Detective Conan always got Outstanding Characters.
Enjoyment (9/10) I really enjoy this anime film and didn’t felt bored.
Overall (10/10) I Loved Mouri Character because of this anime film. I can’t believe he solved this case before Conan. If you’re Detective Conan Fan you probably gonna enjoy this as i did.
Before I begin, I should at least bring up one of the reasons I didn’t like this movie so much. The version that I saw had the most atrocious translation of all the movies. I found out that the reason it’s so bad was because the movie was translated from Japanese to Arabic and then from Arabic to English. This criticism carries on into this review as no other version of this movie is available with better subtitles. It’s the only thing keeping me from recommending this movie to other people.
That said, I’m glad that this movie tried to make Kogoro a little more competent than he usually is. It’s nice to see him get some action besides Conan. I also liked how the culprit was handled in this movie. We actually got to see him carry out the crime all while trying to keep his innocence. The only thing that I could complain about is Ran’s reason to go back and get a special item she forgot, especially given the circumstance she was in at the time. No rational human being would ever do something like that in that situation! Over than that, this movie looks really great. After watching Jolly Roger in the Deep Azure and Requiem of the Detectives, I was relieved to see some kind of quality being put into the art and animation. It was like someone took the art style of early 2000’s Conan and made it shine like the top of the Chrysler building. This movie is just so good to look at.
While I wouldn’t personally recommend this movie to everybody, I’m glad that I enjoyed it this time. If you can get past the garbage subtitles, then what you will be left with is a very fun movie.
I love the series, I love the movies, I even enjoy the filler episodes.
But I have to say, this movie was a big disappointment.
Usually in a Detective Conan movie, you can split the story into two main parts.
Part one is a murder investigation, and part two is a danger that Conan has to save his friends from.
What disappointed me in the movie was not the action part, but rather the first part.
First, we were only introduced to two characters, which leaves no place for suspicions or predictions or even good twists, because you have only two characters.
And hey, you can argue that this in itself isn’t a bad thing. In Detective Conan movie 01: The Timed Skyscraper we were only introduced to one character, but this movie was not about investigation, it was about finding the bombs before it explodes, at least in the early parts of the movie.
What made it even worse is that they showed us everything, the culprit’s plan, actions, heck they even revealed their plot twist in one of the scenes !
and we weren’t even given a one proper scene with the victims !
This is not a Detective movie, A detective movie doesn’t reveal everything to you and only offers you some action scenes.
48: Detective Conan Movie 07: Crossroad in the Ancient Capital
Japanese: 名探偵コナン 迷宮の十字路(クロスロード)
MAL Score: 7.82
Under the cover of darkness, a masked samurai murders six men across the metropolis of Japan: three in Tokyo, one in Osaka, and the last in Kyoto. In their investigation, the police learn that each man was a member of the Genjibotaru—a thieves gang centered on the theft of Buddhist statues and artifacts and who go by the names of Minomoto no Yoshitune’s servants.
Without a clear motive or clues to the other members’ identities, the case runs dry until a Kyoto temple calls for the famous Kogorou Mouri. Having received an anonymous letter containing a peculiar puzzle, the temple monks ask for his assistance in solving it to recover their long lost statue. Meanwhile, Conan Edogawa and high school detective Heiji Hattori team up in order to solve the cryptic puzzle and find the murderer, as Hattori searches for his childhood love.
With Hattori’s knowledge of Kyoto, the two scour the streets and gradually discover the truth, but not before the murderer strikes again—killing another Genjibotaru member and, after repeated attempts on Hattori’s life, eventually kidnapping Hattori’s childhood sweetheart. It is only by working together to bring buried clues to light can Conan and Hattori hope to end the rogue samurai’s bloodshed and save Hattori’s love.
However, there are a few things that bothered me about this movie:
1) The plot involves a couple of moments that seem rather over the top or out of place for a Conan movie. This involves combat scenes that seem a bit unrealistic, given that our main characters (including casual martial arts practitioner Ran) are not professional fighters, but regular people. Hence, it feels weird that they are not overwhelmed by some moments in this movie, both in terms of skill and mental stress.
This seems different from the usual premise of “Conan” stories: Yes, there are pills that can shrink a person and, yes, there are a few special gadgets, but that’s pretty much it then. The rest of the story usually operates within fairly realistic boundaries. In this movie, there were a few moments that made me think “Really?! Oh come on…”
2) The detective story seemed to take a backseat to the action sometimes. That is not a problem in itself, but I felt that it distracted from the main case sometimes.
3) In that regard, it seemed to me that the villains’ background stories and motives where rather…forgettable. For some reason, even though the villains’ motives were reiterated a couple of times, I had to remind myself of them regularly. This could be due to the fact that a lot of the puzzles in this plot were a bit jumbled & random. It could also be due to the fact that the villains’ background stories & motives were simply not very interesting or gripping enough for me to care really.
Instead, it seemed to me as if the scriptwriters had mainly focussed on the idea: “Wouldn’t it be exciting if Conan & Heiji were attacked by a samurai-like killer in a Kyoto setting and had to find out who it is?”. As a result, one could watch this movie by focussing purely on the hunt for the killer, while forgetting completely about the bigger picture of why there was a killer in the first place. That’s enough to make the movie sufficiently entertaining, but I do think it’s a bit lame if it feels like the bigger picture of the plot is only(!) written to serve as a set-up for a killer chase.
I didn’t regret watching this movie. It was fine. And people who are less bothered by some of the points above or who find the story subjectively more interesting might enjoy it more. Still, I think there are better stories among the many Conan movies.
This time the case happened in Kyoto–former capital of Japan before Tokyo,so this movie is full of Japanese culture:Kendo(剣道),Kabugi(歌舞伎).Also there are Japanese history and places of interest of Tokyo.In a word his movie opens a window to Japanese culture.If you are curious about or interested in the country of Japan,you must not miss it!
Besides culture stuffs,the theme song by Mai Kuraki is another highlight.
However, I thought of this movie as more of a 2 hour special episode. Nothing in this movie seems as though it is a movie. For a Detective Conan movie there is a case that has to be solved and then something more drastic happens. For example, Movie 01, Conan solves the mystery of the culprit who planted bombs around their area, then it turns out he plants a bomb in a skyscraper where Ran is located and Conan must now go save her. This movie does not have that, being filled with investigation for almost the whole movie and capturing the culprit.
47: Little Witch Academia
MAL Score: 7.82
For young witches everywhere, the world-renowned witch Shiny Chariot reigns as the most revered and celebrated role model. But as the girls age, so do their opinions of her—now just the mention of Chariot would get a witch labeled a child. However, undeterred in her blind admiration for Chariot, ordinary girl Atsuko Kagari enrolls into Luna Nova Magical Academy, hoping to someday become just as mesmerizing as her idol.
However, the witch academy isn’t all the fun and games Atsuko thought it would be: boring lectures, strict teachers, and students who mock Chariot plague the campus. Coupled with her own ineptness in magic, she’s seen as little more than a rebel student. But when a chance finally presents itself to prove herself to her peers and teachers, she takes it, and now it’s up to her to stop a rampaging dragon before it flattens the entire academy.
Aside from Ryo, which I can’t seem to find anywhere (if you happen to know a site, a link would be very helpful), I’ve seen all of the Anime Mirai 2013 films. All 4 are about half-an-hour long, so they’re pretty concise with their story. Death Billiards is pretty good, but it feels a bit pretentious, shoving a little philosophical question down your throat but not really making you think that much. Arve Rezzle feels like the pilot to a full series, and as such offers very little closure, but it has some nice ideas, even if those are undermined slightly by some rather half-baked characterisation and poorly executed exposition.
I’m giving my little mini reviews to the other episodes simply to give my review of Little Witch Academia some context. As someone with a rather cold demeanour, and who typically enjoys a dark thriller or gore-heavy action series, it may come across as somewhat surprising when I say that LWA is my favourite of the three. It’s almost Disney-esque, with genuinely loveable and quirky characters, a strong and functional, if not particularly complex, story and a completely uplifting tone. The humour is solid and hits you enough to make even the most stoic individual smile a bit. The animation is brilliant, with the art differing just enough from the conventions of the Japanese style to make me completely fall in love with it. Voice-acting is probably my primary gripe, but it’s not so bad that it distracts from the episode. It’s fun, and reminds me of why I need to be less tolerant of those angsty action-thrillers like Arve Rezzle that seem to make up the meat of today’s anime industry.
LWA is like Shrek. Far from being childish, this little gem is fun for everyone (though it doesn’t share Shrek’s gleeful love for sexual innuendo). Even if, like me, you’ve grown into an emotionally-jaded, highly critical badass, you may just find that Little Witch Academia has enough substance and upbeat tone to penetrate your doughy cynicism and really cheer you up.
I would genuinely rather they made a full series of this than Arve Rezzle.
Actually, Little Witch Academia caught me by surprise. I didn’t know Studio Trigger had something like that in stock and after I found out about this little gem I almost instantly decided to download it and oh boy was that a fine decision.
Reminder: This review will be spoiler free and I will refrain from going too deep into happenings and just summarize it really, really quickly. We have the main heroine Akko Kagari. As a child she was attending a magic show featuring the witch Shiny Chariot who has become an idol for Akko. Even though she is not born into a magic family she attends the name giving magic school and is friends with Sucy and Lotte.
Let’s split up this review into the five categories as usual:
There really isn’t much I can say about a one episode anime with 25 minutes without coming up with a summary or spoilers. So let’s just say that Little Witch Academia features a coherent plot. It features a look in the past of the main character and her motivations, parts of the everyday life at the academy and the interactions between multiple different characters. It’s just one episode but felt concluded and not rushed by any means.
Since it has been Studio Trigger working on this it has this certain touch you instantly get out of it if you have watched Kill la Kill before. In general the backgrounds are very nice to look at, the animation is fluid, lightning looks gorgeous and the character models are full of variety in looks and facial animations. There is nothing to complain about here.
As it is a single episode anime yet I would have never thought so much effort has been pumped into the soundtrack. It was outstanding and had a broad variety of different tunes to set the mood. I really loved that it consisted mostly of orchestral music. It just fitted so well.
Another part worth mentioning in the “Sound”-category is the voice acting. Trigger got really, really talented people on board for Little Witch Academia and it was a pure pleasure listening to them.
For a one-piece show they had a pretty adorable and varying cast reaching from the arrogant but talented witch with her two friends and the goofy main character as well as her sidekicks which would be a clumsy glasses girl and the superficially more introverted girl with the not-so-obvious but kickass abilities. All in all a very good cast of likeable characters.
I can’t remember when it was the last time 25 minutes felt that short. It was over in almost an instant and had no dull moments. It was funny, suspenseful and full of quality. Pure entertainment!
A very good anime. It is nice to see that projects like Little Witch Academia are such a success (600.000 clicks on YouTube according to Trigger). Also the second episode has been an insane hit on Kickstarter, fulfilling the 150.000$ mark in just one day. I can’t wait for more.
It was fun all along. You shouldn’t miss out on this enchanting tale! It’s worth your very time and appreciation.
*) Score is not an average
Instead of writing an essay about this i’m going to create a list of Positives and Negatives, I know when you’re just looking to see if an anime is worth watching you usually don’t want to read all that much.
– A short story which leaves room for expansion yet ties up the major loose ends and sticks to a three act structure incredibly well.
– The characters are all very different from each other, none are stereotypical archetypes and each are likeable in their own way.
– The soundtrack is not something I noticed too much, but it was enough to create the correct atmosphere for the scenario’s.
– The animation, I feel like this really needs to be stressed, by god the animation is amazing, everything is so smooth I think this might be the smoothest and most consistent animation i’ve ever seen.
– Hard to think of many.
– The soundtrack wasn’t extremely memorable, hardly much of a negative.
Like I said, it’s very difficult for me personally to find faults in Little Witch Academia, I would recommend this to almost anyone and am certainly looking forward to the future of this project.
46: Urusei Yatsura 2: Beautiful Dreamer
Japanese: うる星やつら2 ビューティフル ドリーマー
MAL Score: 7.83
Not all is normal in Tomobiki, even by its standards. The students have been preparing feverishly for the first day of the student fair, which is scheduled to go on the next day. However, problems arise when some begin to notice that the next day simply will not come. As the students begin to try to find the reason for the problem, their beliefs about reality and the world of dreams are challenged.
The story, of course, is fantastic. The art is very good for its time, that being the early 1980’s, and the music fits perfectly with what’s going on in the movie. But one of the things I enjoyed the most about this movie relates to the cast of characters. Normally with the Urusei Yatsura series, Ataru and Lum are focused on very heavily. And while they are a big part of this movie, they also take a backseat for a lot of it, allowing some of the supporting characters to take much bigger roles than usual and show some of their depth. Onsen-Mark, Sakura, and Mendo all get a rare chance to shine, and it’s really a pleasant change from seeing them in the background all the time.
Even if you’ve never seen any of the Urusei Yatsura series before, this movie is a great, great watch. I know because it was the first piece of the Urusei Yatsura anime that I had the pleasure of watching, and I enjoyed it so much that I sought out the rest of the series afterward. If you ever find yourself awake at 1 A.M., pop this movie in your DVD/VHS player. There are few better things to watch right before you go to sleep for the night.
Without any knowledge of the TV series this film will probably baffle newcomers with its strange cast of weird characters and its odd and unreal universe. However if you can get past that obstacle then there’s a really clever and well made film underneath that explores themes and ideas concerning the nature of dreams and what we percieve as reality, territory that Oshii would return to and expand upon in his later films, whilst reamining an enjoyable and light hearted comedy. A quick briefing on the Japanese folktale of Urashima Tarō and Zhuangzi’s butterfly dream may also aid understanding of the plot if needed!
Urusei Yatsura is a wild and crazy time with all of the characters interacting behind Ataru and Lum. It is a hilarious non-stop comedy fest with little regards for a story and primarily focusing on making the viewer laugh. However, Oshii went the opposite and minimized the slap-stick humor and created a plot, and story involving all the characters. It is still a comedy at heart, but with a story on top of it, really invoked the viewer of the franchise to something incredibly fresh and interesting. Plus, the art, animation, and sounds are all top-notch to still hold up today.
There are two downsides to Beautiful Dreamer. One, if going into the movie without a simple knowledge of the show and its characters, the casual fan will probably suffer a bit. Two, as the show focuses on Lum and Ataru and each episode continues from there, Beautiful Dreamer seems to focus on all the shows characters as a whole. Basically, not enough Lum and Ataru until near the end.
Not much of the actual plot can be explained without ruining the experience of watching and learning yourself. If one could guess, based on Oshii’s future works, it has something to do with reality and what it means to perceive it.
Beautiful Dreamer is a pleasure to watch and the supporting cast of characters get a chance for air time in the foreground instead of the background. A little more Lum and Ataru time would have been nice, but a fun watch none the less. Who knows, it might be good enough to motivate some to watch the original show.
45: Lupin the IIIrd: Jigen Daisuke no Bohyou
English: Lupin III: Jigen’s Gravestone
Japanese: LUPIN THE IIIRD 次元大介の墓標
MAL Score: 7.83
The film will be a continuation spinoff of the 2012 “Lupin III: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine” television anime series.
Lupin and Jigen have their sights set on a treasure worth stealing called the Little Comet which is located in the country of East Doroa. The country has fortified its border after a singer named Queen Malta got assassinated in the neighboring country of West Doroa upon visit.
Despite the two countries being enemies, Lupin and Jigen still plan to steal the treasure. During the heist, Jigen almost got killed by a skilled sniper named Yael Okuzaki. His specialty is preparing tombstones for his targets before executing his kills. Its said that no one has survived after Yael makes a grave for that target.
Visually the film looks pretty good with vibrant and colorful animation. My biggest problem is the audio in this film and I don’t mean the music. I prefer to watch my anime dubbed but the dub in this film was pretty atrious to be honest. Tony Oliver, Richard Epcar, Michelle Ruff, Lex Lang , none of these original voice actors are present in this film to reprise their roles. Richard Epcar is in the film but only to voice Zenigata’s 2 lines in the epilogue of this film. What a waste! If you have the original voice actor, why not let him voice Jigen?! The new voice actors they picked to voice the main characters, deliver their lines with no emotion or charisma to the point where I thought about switching the audio to Japanese halfway through the film.
The story of Jigen Daisuke’s Tombstone is definitely weaker than its original counterpart, even compared to individual episodes – which is certainly a shame. Rather than a focus on Lupin III, as you may have guessed the story is focused more on his hat-tilting, gun-toting friend Jigen. Or does it? Jigen is indeed the one in the title, but he seems less interesting than other iterations of himself, and commands less focus (More about that in Characters). Rather the plot revolves around an assassination, the assassin involved and why it happened. But is that even the point?
If you couldn’t tell, the story, while easy to understand, lacks focus. It sets up a story of politics and assassinations, changes to one of ‘who is of greater skill’, gets sidetracked by something almost completely unrelated (Pretty much an excuse to get Mine Fujiko naked again – which isn’t a spoiler), then wraps it all up with brief mention to previous points. While it does hit the regular Lupin III plot point of Lupin being the smartest guy in a room, I can’t help but feel as if it’s setting up for sequels by intentionally leaving things unexplained. I guess I just expected more.
The regular Lupin III cast returns… except my two favourite characters are missing! But oh well, the detective and samurai can be put on hold I suppose. As for the cast that does show up, I have to say I’m a little disappointed. While indeed Lupin, Fujiko and Jigen are all more or less themselves, I can’t help but think that Fujiko and Jigen are less capable than they were in the original ‘Mine Fujiko’ series. To say more is spoilers, but I can’t help but think that their skill is arbitrarily reduced to generate conflict. Despite this, there’s nothing particularly wrong with any of the main characters personalities – if you liked them before, you’ll like them now. The ‘villain’ however is not too exciting, the writers thinking eccentricity is a replacement for actual character. But if you’re into calculated killer type of villain, then I’m sure you’ll enjoy him just fine.
While the art and the character designs is still very nice to look at (almost identical to the ‘Mine Fujiko’ series), I have to say that it looks much cleaner than its original counterpart, lacking the same style. Depending on your personal opinion that’s either better or worse, but personally I missed the thick chalky shadows of the original. Certainly anything but bad, but it doesn’t look quite as impressive as the original.
Pretty standard for a modern Lupin creation – which means it’s quite good. It lacks the breadth of the original ‘Mine Fujiko’ series, but then again 57 minutes compared to a 13 episode series means you can’t have as diverse a soundtrack. Also a little less jazzy, which I missed, but that’s just my personal tastes.
As I said in the opening, while lacking the same quality as the original, Lupin IIIrd: Jigen Daisuke’s Tombstone is still entertaining, as pretty much all Lupin is. It’s a short watch, and worth it just to have a bit more quality Lupin.
Overall, if this is the first spinoff of many, this first one certainly hasn’t reduced my opinion of those to come. I’m excited to see where this is heading, but I hope the story improves.
STORY: As I said, not much focus on Jigen. I mean, I guess it was titled “Tombstone” and not “Jigen Origin Story,” but I expected more from the trailers. I skipped through it before watching it, and found a scene with a woman on stage. I assumed we’d have a detailed backstory about that. Nope. No emotional connection there. And the movie is odd; broken down into two parts. Every single Lupin movie/special has at least one laugh out loud moment, one moment to make you really feel glad you watched it. This movie is so blah it’s ridiculous. It’s an action movie with very little good action and too many over used (and unsuccessful) story props. HOWEVER! The last 10 minutes will pay off. We get a few good cameos, and one that has me going back to watch the certain movie he or she was in.
CHARACTER: As a woman, the only thing I dislike about Monkey Punch’s anime and ESPECIALLY the manga, is how much he seems to hate women. They are there to be, either abused, killed off, or romanced. Every single female character in a special is killed off once we’ve warmed up to the idea of her, or Lupin goes gaga for her, or she’s the betraying vixen. Fujiko covers those last two pretty well. This time around, Lupin isn’t having any of her B.S. But still, she gets groped, of course, and is nude, of course. The movie takes the rapebait Fujiko trope (and I’m ashamed to admit that’s what she is at this point) up a step when Fujiko is set as entertainment for a bunch of pervy old men (picture the club from Speed Grapher) and is almost raped by a giant robot. Really. Horror movie fare, and not something I expected to see in Lupin (despite a good number of his villains being after Fujiko as the norm). All right, enough about Fujiko.
Zenigata and Goemon?? Absent from the movie. Entirely absent. And before you whine: 3 second cameos do not count. They count as fanservice, but do not number towards the character count.
In the movie, Lupin acts as though he practically owns Jigen — he’s clearly the star of the show, there’s no doubt about that. This is a Lupin movie, not a Jigen movie. Even during the end show down, it’s all about Lupin looking cool.
Oh, and we find out Jigen likes couture. Whoo. So glad we got that backstory out of the way. Not like there’s a whole period of his life he spent in America, or his youth, or anything else from his life before Lupin we could have possibly covered in an hour about Jigen, right? Right?
ANIMATION: Good, I guess. Steps it up a bit from the Fujiko series while still maintaining the style. The only thing worth mentioning is Lupin’s new look. Whether a blue or green jacket, that’s debatable as the movie gets a subtle filter that could have shaded the jacket from green to blue (and for the time line laid out, green would make sense). For a few minutes in the movie, Lupin gets a delightful disguise (you know the one — with the eyepatch). Also, Jigen hasn’t looked this good since the Pink Jacket series. As there were only a few characters, they definitely stepped up their allure.
SOUND: Where’s my jazz?? No Yuji Ohno on this one! Other than that, normal voice acting from the Lupin gang. Nothing worth mentioning.
OVERALL: Meh. Watch it because it’s as good as watching one long, unimportant episode of Lupin. Watch it because you like mediocore action. Watch it again for the end scenes ^__^
44: Lupin III: The First
English: Lupin the 3rd: The First
Japanese: ルパン三世 THE FIRST
MAL Score: 7.83
The iconic “gentleman thief” Lupin III returns in an action-packed, continent-spanning adventure, as Lupin III and his colorful underworld companions race to uncover the secrets of the mysterious Bresson Diary, before it falls into the hands of a dark cabal that will stop at nothing to resurrect the Third Reich. The gang undertakes trap-filled tombs, aerial escapades, and daring prison escapes with the trademark wit and visual finesse that have made Lupin the 3rd one of the most storied animation franchises in the world, in a thrilling new caper that is sure to delight fans old and new.
(Source: GKIDS, edited)
Lupin the Third: The First (yes, it is a very confusing title) is a typical Lupin movie through and through with just a single new addition, it is in CGI. Not just any regular anime CGI, Hollywood level CGI. Disney/Dreamworks level CGI. The animation itself made this movie better than most of its Lupin counterparts, but the story has a couple of extra things that made this installment stand out among its peers (besides for the CGI).
First off, the story: Classic Lupin story, if you have seen any other Lupin installment than you know what happens here. No twists you won’t be able to see coming a mile away. However, this movie adds a Indiana Jones aspect to it that fits in quite well for Lupins character. I won’t call this movie a complete rip off of Indiana Jones, but it is obvious to tell where the inspiration came from.
For those who haven’t seen a Lupin film before: Lupin is a thief and he and his team steal something, it gets taken from them, then they try to get it back with Inspector Zenigata on their trail trying to arrest them. Very simple concept which somehow is still interesting even after seeing it over one hundred times.
Moving on to the technical aspects of the film, I can’t praise the art/animation enough. The CGI is on par (or at least close) to a Disney film. While a couple of the character models look a little weird compared to their 2D counterparts, the CGI is great, particularly in the action sequences. The animation is super smooth and fluid and everything looks clean and polished. The chase scenes in particular are fantastically animated and directed and it is easy to just replay them over and over.
However great the animation is however, just like usual, the greatest thing in every Lupin film/series continues to be the Soundtrack/OST. Yuji Ohno has succeeded in making one of the most iconic themes in all of anime and this is proven when the same theme has been used and praised for over 40 years. It’s not just the main theme song however, every one of his pieces are brilliantly orchestrated and are arranged in different ways for different movies. It is impossible to not just hum/tap along to the main theme and the ED “Gift” sung by Lyn Inaizumi is another beautiful addition to the Lupin music library.
The voice acting (Japanese) was very good, which is no surprise coming from Lupin which has a long history of good voice acting. Even the new roles in the movie were done really well, with a shout out to Suzu Hirose who voiced Latiana.
The main characters are the same as always. Lupin is a playful not so serious thief, Fujiko is mysteriously trustworthy/untrustworthy as usual, Jigen is the serious partner, Goemon is the cool headed samurai, and Zenigata is the stubborn, persistent, and foolish inspector. The side characters however really make this movie stand out. Latiana is a great new addition used to attract our the viewers sympathy, and it succeeds. The antagonists are also given a lot of screen-time to help them not just be the forgettable Lupin villain. One of the antagonists actually has a little bit of depth.
This movie was extremely enjoyable to watch as a huge Lupin fan. Even in CGI, it feels like a Lupin movie. I will definitely watch this a couple more time once the English dub gets released.
Overall, this movie was as perfect as a copy paste story-telling Lupin movie could be. Th CGI was visually appealing, the OST was gorgeous, the new characters were given some depth, and the plot was an Indiana Jones movie. The movie couldn’t have been much better.
Score: 10: A masterpiece and so good that i would watch it again and again and again.
Apart from short Lupin III 3DCG special, this is the first time Lupin has been animated in full 3D and boy I’m really pleased with the result. The animation is fluid and detailed, and it really makes the action scenes shine. The character design was translated into 3D perfectly and respectful to the original (though not without any change. I’m especially a fan of the movie look of Jigen, albeit I’m a bit saddened that Jigen and Goemon didn’t get more spotlight. Laetitia, the newest addition to collection of Lupin ladies is also seriously cute. I also really liked the animation of facial expression of the characters. Yes, the style of animation looks quite like a western-made movie, to an extent that it at first felt almost unnatural that the dubbing was Japanese and not English, but I don’t see a problem with that, if anything it keeps things fresh, something that a franchise with so many specials and movies certainly needs.
The plot isn’t ground-breaking, but I don’t think anyone expected a revolutionary script for a non-reboot Lupin Movie, go watch The Woman Called Fujiko Mine and its related movies for that. Regular Lupin movies (and specials) are foremost meant to be fun and this one passes with flying colors. If you’ve seen some amount of Lupin anime you probably already know what to expect plot-wise, so there is no need to go into greater detail here. I’ll just note that this one feels a bit Indiana Jones-ish, and I don’t mean that in a bad way.
Overall, I certainly recommend it to Lupin fans, but it works as a family movie too, even if not every member of said family is a Lupin fan.
After waiting for some while I finally got to watch this but since it was fansubbed there were many hilarious mistranslations here and there. Gotta give the studio props since this cg looks fantastic. It is like the level of Pixar or Dreamworks. It is smooth and looks and feels quite nice. Of course I thing Lupins artstyle works well as CG anime. It isn’t overly anime looking so it works, it is like some cartoon artstyle.
Story: So Nazis are trying to get their hands on this one dudes journal but it goes missing. Later it was found and thrown in to a museum in France. Of course Lupin wants said thing so he goes to get it. Well the journal gets taken by a girl named Letizia and Lupin follows. Well shit happens and Luping gets caught. Then comes another rescue operation. The journal contains information and the whereabouts of an ancient weapon of mass destruction. This one man wants to get that weapons and deliver it to Hitler. We then follows the adventures of Lupin III, Letizia, Mine Fujiko, Jigen Daisuke, Ishikawa Goemon and Zenigata. Who gets the weapon first will be the winner.
Characters: They are the same as before. Letizia is a girl who wants to go to the Boston University to study archaeology. His so called “dad” will send her to the university if she brings the journal to him. Later on she joins Lupins gang to find the weapon. Lupin is still the quirky, comedic and sometimes badass thief. Jigen is still the master marksman he has always been. But in this it feels like he is a bit closer to Lupin than in the previous shows. Goemon still does cool samurai stuff and gets awkward around women. Also he really doesn’t want to lose his sword. Mine Fujiko is back with in my opinion the best character model she has ever had. It looks so good. She still uses her charm to get out of tough situations.
The theme is the Ol’ Reliable. So it is the same as Part 4 and 5 and etc.
If you like Lupin, then watch this. If you haven’t seen Lupin then this is a very good show to start with.
43: Detective Conan Movie 01: The Timed Skyscraper
English: Case Closed The Movie: The Time Bombed Skyscraper
Japanese: 名探偵コナン 時計じかけの摩天楼
MAL Score: 7.86
Conan Edogawa is facing a dilemma: Ran Mouri has asked Shinichi Kudou out to the movies and he is unable to provide a convincing excuse not to go. However, when the day of the date arrives, he has more pressing problems to worry about—a great amount of plastic explosives has recently been stolen and the culprit has challenged Shinichi to find and dispose of the bombs he has scattered across the city. Now forced in a race against time, Conan must not only protect the city, but also figure out who the mastermind is and his reason for confronting Shinichi.
Let me fill you in on the story, Conan (Shinichi) has to find a mad bomber, who’s been setting fire to buildings and blowing up other things. Bomb after bomb, Conan finds his way to the criminal, but there’s always a parting gift from the villian’s.
The story is pretty basic, but it’s enjoyable, it’s well organized and done pretty simple, yet impressive, the "final touch" was brilliant. Expect some anti-climax…es here. It suprised me at least.
The art is very good, it’s the same ol’ Conan style, yet it’s been animated pretty good, hope this will be getting better with each movie.
We still have the same ol’ cast, introduced with 2 new characters, the villian and a police officer, the characters that are always in Conan are still the same, so good. Mouri’s desperate love for Ran was done pretty well to if I have to say it. The villian is this bad-ass rich ugly person, which is almost standard, the meaning behind his terroristic attacks are unbelievable stupid, but maybe it’s just the way "they" (the job he performs) think. The police officer is cool too, pretty plain guy, but he’s not the guy he seems to be.
Overall a good sound, though I give it a lower point since I still don’t agree on Det.Mouri’s voice-actor.
Highly enjoyable movie, if you like or if you don’t like Conan. Beautifully animated, good simple story, well organized and good dialogue’s.
well the story is nothing unusual for a detective genre. the culprit called the detective and challenged him to found the bomb that he planted and give him some clue to solve it. not the most original thing but enjoyable
the animation are pretty well done. not jaw gaping but fluid enough for eyes and the rest is the usual detective conan art style if you like it then you will like the one here too.
it reuse the same soundtrack from the tv series and there is only 1 new standout soundtrack in through the end, i don’t know if there is any new soundtrack outside of that. nothing too bad but not great either
the usual detective conan cast with only 4 noteable new character: moriya, shiratori, the mayor and his son. moriya is a symmetrical freak, shiratori….um…. likes architecture? and the mayor and his son doesn’t have time to show personality. that’s a shame since when i see a movie i pay attention more to the new character since i already knows the other character from the tv series
the usual detective conan. you will like it if you like detective conan
if you are in mood for some brain teasers/ more detective conan then go ahead and watch it
Anyway, lets begin:
I really liked the plot. I mean, don’t expect something outstanding, but it was honestly good. Shinichi, who is trapped in the body of young Conan, has to deal with someone who planted bombs all over the city. As I said earlier, the plot isn’t the most original thing you’ll ever see, but it’s good.
Let’s talk about the art. It’s amazing, I mean, I like the character design and the animation in the anime series, but the movie was something else. Seriously, it felt like they tried so hatd to make the animation perfect- and let me tell you a little something- they succeded.
Well, there’s honestly not much to talk about here. I mean, there was a quite nice soundtrack, but not something honestly amazing.
I really enhoyed this movie. It’s a good movie that has the Detective Conan spirit in it, and I had an amazing time watching it.
This movie is good. If you consider yourself a Detective Conan fan and you haven’t watched it, then well, joke’s on you, because this move is very fun and enjoyble, as I mentioned before. Go watch it!
42: Lupin the IIIrd: Chikemuri no Ishikawa Goemon
Japanese: LUPIN THE IIIRD 血煙の石川五ェ門
MAL Score: 7.86
Lupin’s friend, the samurai Goemon Ishikawa, takes a job as bodyguard for a yakuza boss. But a brutal assassin kills the yakuza and Goemon is honor-bound to track him down.
A 1/10 is the worst score possible on this website and I’ll now explain why in my opinion is a fai score for this film.
Animation: the visuals are my least favourite from all the different animation styles that Lupin III has seen over 50 years. I like the detailed backgrounds but I don’t like the “rough, dark” appearance of the main cast.
1) the soundtrack does not include jazz or “samurai” songs that are part of the musical legacy of Lupin III.
2) the iconic Lupin III theme song is nowhere to be found. You may argue that because this special is more focused on Goemon, it’s something that made sense to leave out of the film but I don’t agree with that at all. The movie is titled “Lupin III” and is part of the franchise. Goemon himself is a main character in the franchise. It only makes sense for the trademark instrumental to be there.
Story and characters:
1) the only characters that act as themselves are Jigen and Fujiko. The rest of the cast seems to have either nothing or very little with the versions of themselves that have existed for 50 years. Lupin doesn’t act as his “happy-totsan-love-me-Fujiko” ways once throughout the film; Zenigata is overly-serious and shows no emotion whatsoever about the possibility of chasing/arresting Lupin and his buddies. Goemon does the unthinkable and this will be a SPOILER!!!!! – Goemon dismantled his Zantetsuken to get a new guard and handle. There’s no way in flipping hell that Goemon would do this. Every single individual that has watched Goemon for at least 5 minutes understands how Goemon feels about his sword. This sword is sacred and is more important to him than his own safety. And then of course Goemon gets stupidly injured by bullets that he’s been able to easily dodge or cut for 50 years and of course at the end Zenigata doesn’t acknowledge him as part of the Lupin III gang and warns him not to trouble his police work. It’s been 50 years worth of thefts and other shenanigans for Goemon with Lupin and the rest but for some stupid reason, someone thought it would make sense for Zenigata to have a case of sudden memory loss about Goemon’s involvement in those events.
2) SPOILER: I don’t know where to put this but to have Goemon challenge a baby Megalodon was ridiculous and absurd.
Regardless if you read the spoilers above or not, the main reason why I gave a 1/10 to this movie is because of this: I sat down and chose to watch this movie because it’s part of the Lupin III franchise. That’s what I expected. It doesn’t sound like Lupin III (soundtrack) and the characters don’t act like the characters from Lupin III. If something takes the name of Lupin III and/or its characters I demand to get the same enjoyment and experience and unfortunately this was a waste of 1 hour of my time that just made me feel that Monkey Punch’s creation was disgraced by this rubbish.
Art direction is fantastic as usual. I really like the more mature view of Lupin III that this movie has. It’s something Lupin needed to a degree, almost as if it’s a homage to the original manga. It’s mature enough to be appealing to older audiences, but doesn’t take itself too seriously. It has the same “air” as all the other Takeshi Koike films. It’s dark and disturbing. Sexual at times. But that’s something I don’t mind. It’s really startling how Lupin can either be fun and light, or can be the complete opposite and sometimes disturb its viewers.
It felt much more enjoyable than Takeshi Koike’s first Lupin special, that being Jigen Daisuke’s Gravestone. I feel like this special was more “tight” – now that they’ve worked with their interpretation of blue jacket Lupin once, they’ve now gotten it right. I’m excited to see what they might have in store next.
I watched this without subtitles and my understanding of spoken Japanese isn’t the greatest, so I can’t say much about the story, unfortunately. The main villain was interesting and creepy, despite not really looking like it.
As for characterization, the special mainly focuses on Goemon and his view of his honour from what I could understand. I felt like his characterization was similar to that of The Mystery of Mamo – he becomes a brooding samurai, faced with defeat, unsure of what to make of himself. He’s not really a punchline at all. He’s very serious in this special, almost to a terrifying degree (as Lupin puts it in the original green jacket series, he’s a “scary man”). The antics between Lupin, Jigen, and Fujiko were quite entertaining. Their silliness was a lot more adult-oriented. I got the feeling from this film that Goemon wasn’t very close to them at all, but I think it fit for his character. Zenigata’s characterization of a more hardened detective is also starting to grow on me, and I liked his interactions with the gang.
Regardless, if you’re a fan of the more violent and serious Lupin, this is a special that you need to watch. I’ll definitely be rewatching it once subtitles come out so I can fully understand it. Visually, this is the most appealing thing. The animation is incredibly smooth and the characters are always so nicely drawn. The way they draw each character has really been refined in this special. It’s definitely a treat, so I highly recommend you check it out.
If you’ve already seen the movie, then you might be disagreeing with me on this. Goemon has a lot of screen time, he struggles with a conflict unlike we’ve ever seen before, and the final scenes are his time to show off. But I have two major problems with how this was executed. One, we never learn anything about how Goemon is feeling, what he’s thinking, or why he does anything directly from him. He barely talks to the other regular characters or interacts with them. Every insight into him is provided by Lupin’s narration, even when there’s zero logical reason for him to know the things he explains. As a result, Goemon comes off as very distant, barely a character. My second problem is that Goemon having such a crisis in the movie makes no sense. The fight that breaks his spirit is nothing out of the ordinary, but if it has such an effect on him, it makes you wonder if this is the first time in his life that he loses. I don’t think they wanted to make the title character come off as a spoiled brat who’s never had to face disappointment before, but that’s what it looked like to me. If they’d presented this as Goemon being an arrogant upstart who learns a lesson, it would have had the potential to be great, but due to the emotional distance, it just doesn’t work.
The plot is fairly incoherent as well. It starts off promisingly enough, with Goemon having been hired as a bodyguard for a mob boss whose casino Lupin, Jigen and Fujiko have decided to rob. The three are being targeted by a new character called Bermuda Ghost, a terrifying giant of a man who seems inhumanly unstoppable. Meanwhile, Zenigata is searching for Bermuda Ghost as part of an investigation.
Circumstances get all these characters mixed with each other, and soon it looks like we’ll be following Goemon on a path of personal revenge and reclaiming his honour. But, due to the reasons mentioned above, it’s not a very engaging path. The movie fails to wrap up most of its plot threads. We never learn who hired Bermuda Triangle and why. Zenigata’s investigation goes nowhere and we never find out why the chief was trying to stop him, creating the feeling that his plot line existed only so that we could have some exposition on who Bermuda Ghost is. Goemon gets over his crisis due to a deus ex machina plot point that comes out nowhere and makes so little sense that Lupin has to explain it to the viewer. The revenge angle has no proper climax for anyone involved. Fujiko just walks out of the movie.
In short, I feel that the people who made this movie had lots of really cool ideas they wanted to include, but they didn’t manage to create a story where the events follow each other logically. I think it might have benefitted from being longer so that it could have given some depth to its characters and tied up the plot more neatly. One of the elements I like best about the Lupin franchise is how the regular characters play off each other, and that is almost entirely missing here. We get a few amusing scenes with Lupin, Fujiko, and Jigen, but other than that it feels like the characters only exist to make the plot move onwards.
All that said, there were also elements that I enjoyed. The animation and colour design are great and make the movie beautiful to look at, the soundtrack is smooth, and there were a bunch of cool and entertaining scenes. The first half in particular worked and raised my expectations pretty high. The fight scenes were as brutal as the title promises, so if you like that kind of thing, this is definitely worth a watch just to see Goemon get beaten that badly. Since this is a direct continuation of Jigen’s Gravestone, I assume there will be more movies taking place in the same timeline. Hopefully they’ll do a better job of wrapping things up.
41: Detective Conan Movie 02: The Fourteenth Target
English: Case Closed: The Fourteenth Target
Japanese: 名探偵コナン １４番目の標的
MAL Score: 7.89
A mysterious attacker has appeared and is assaulting people whose names contain a number from the standard deck of cards in descending order. When Conan Edogawa points out that all the victims are related to the now famous detective Kogorou Mouri, suspicion immediately falls upon the recently released convict Jou Murakami, as Kogorou was the one responsible for his arrest ten years prior.
With potential victims still at risk, Conan and the police are determined to catch the culprit. As the case gradually unfolds, both Conan and his friend Ran Mouri learn more about her parents’ separation and the truth on what transpired a decade ago.
A brilliant story, and the system which the murderer uses in amazing, the story itself is good then too, and the plot isn’t what you think it is. A cool story, with a second story in it, a piece of Mouri and Ran’s past, I gained alot of respect for Mouri through this (and the first) movie. I see this character in a (almost) new light.
Same ol’ characters, just as usual good, we get a look at a piece of Mouri’s and Ran past, which made me see Mouri in a new light, a better light, the new introduced characters, the old villian, the victims and the murderer are great, all are different, yet the same in a way, and without knowing it (most of them) bear a relationship with each other. Magnificent!
It all begins with Ran having a nightmare, where her father shoots her mother. This actually happened, he only grazed her. Now, 10 years later, Ran tries to find out, why did he shoot the kidnapper, if he knows, he could’ve killed his own wife? This is the sidestory for this movie.
The real story is how a murderer takes out (or tries to take out) 13 people which are related to Det.Mouri, by playing a smart death-system via cards and numbers. As soon as injuries become murders, our… police team, Mouri and Conan get angered and try to find out who the murderer is, and why he’s doing it. It all folds together in the end, with most of the (chosen) victims in one place, this is where the mainplot folds out. At the ending of the movie itself, the reasoning from the past (where Mouri shot his wife) comes to place, when it’s happening again, (this time of course with Ran and Conan).
The art’s good, so is the animation, sometimes the animation is really smooth and lovely, sometimes it’s just normal animation. But they did a good job.
this time the story is about attempt at serial killing of 13 people that are related to kogoro mouri. the build up is pretty good although a bit draggy in the beginning but an improvement compared to the first movie
pretty fluid in movement there is no really major improvement when compared to the first movie overall pretty fitting for a movie
yeah.. the standard detective conan music. if you like the music from the tv series you bound to like this one too
thankfully there is more character on this one. frankly its way too eazy to guess the culprit in the first because of how there is only a few character in there, the second have more character and more diverse personalities oh and the character from tv series is coming back.
as usual detective conan is an enjoyable movie if you have nothing to do at home
if you are itching for some detective mystery series then go ahead and watch this one
Sadly an issue this movie has right off the bat is that, in some ways, it’s a bit of a repeat of the first movie. Like, last movie was a series of bombings that had a pattern, and this movie is a series of murders with a pattern. Of course there are some differences, namely that the heroes find out about said pattern very early on, so the cast is moreso trying to prevent the murders while following the pattern.
This movie also introduced one of the most (in)famous memes in the franchise: Hawaii! Yup, every time Shinichi does something crazy, he’ll just hand wave it as him having learnt it in Hawaii by his father. In this movie, it turns out two of the things Yusaku apparently taught him was to use a gun and FLY A HELICOPTER! Like, I can see why he’d like to teach him the former, but what’s the point of even teaching him the latter!?
Another issue with this movie is that it’s final twist of who the culprit is ends up being predictable. Of course it is not gonna be the guy everyone suspects it is, we know that it’s actually gonna be one of the possible victims instead, so what’s even the point? Also, the actual culprit is voiced by Nakao Ryusei, the voice of Freeza. Because of course that would be the case.
Actually, on that note, that’s one of the amusing bits about most of the movies, most of the one off characters will often have some big name actors attached to them. I already mentioned Nakao, but there’s also the late great Suzuoki Hirotaka, Okamoto Maya and the late great Utsumi Kenji.
That said, there are some things that put this above the first movie, even if it technically does more things wrong. For instance, the whole scene in which the cast is stuck in an underwater complex is great, with the feeling of paranoia running through. I also feel this movie does much more service to Kogoro’s character than most of the anime fillers do. The thing about Kogoro is that he walks a very thin line between incompetence and laziness. The manga original stories moreso goes for the latter, as while he’s a good detective (Not as good as, say, Heiji or maybe even Yusaku but still competent) he’s just too lazy to follow more than one line of reasoning. The anime by contrast moreso goes for the latter, being legitimately bad at his job and only gets as far as he goes because Shinichi knocks him out. Here we get a happy balance, being shown as a bit lazy at times, but is still a competent detective in his own right. The movie is also the only Detective Conan related… thing that actually bothers to give an explanation as for why he and Eri are estranged. Oh yeah, this is also Eri’s movie debut!
Then there’s the climax. If you thought the last movie’s climax of the last movie was intense, well, this movie has the cast escaping an exploding underwater complex, then a hostage situation at the top of a collapsing building and THEN trying to get the now injured hostage into a helicopter. Yeah, I think we know which movie has the better climax.
So like the last movie, I really enjoyed this one. It had more issues, sure, but I feel that it also does a lot more right than the last one. Definitely another movie that’s easy to recommend.
Final Score: 8/10
40: Gake no Ue no Ponyo
MAL Score: 7.89
A goldfish sneaks away from home and floats off on the back of a jellyfish. After getting stuck in a glass jar, she drifts to the shore where she is freed by Sousuke, a five-year-old boy who lives with his mother Lisa in a house by the sea while his father Koichi works on a fishing boat. After healing a cut on Sousuke’s finger by licking it, the goldfish is named Ponyo by her new friend.
Unknown to Sousuke, Ponyo already has a name and a family. Her father Fujimoto, a sorcerer who forsook his humanity to live underwater, searches frantically for his daughter Brunhilde. When found and captured, Ponyo rejects her birth name and declares that she wants to become a human. Using the power received from Sousuke’s blood, she grows arms and legs and escapes to the surface once more. But the magic released into the ocean causes an imbalance in nature, causing the Moon to start falling out of orbit and the tides to grow dangerously stronger. Reunited with Ponyo, Sousuke must pass an ancient test to restore order in the world and let his companion live on as a human.
If you thought Totoro was cute, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Ponyo is the cutest little…fish-girl ever. The movie is loosely based on “The Little Mermaid,” but don’t think Disney. Think instead of when you were a kid, and the world was brighter, magical, full of wonder and delight. Those are the feelings which describe what happens when you enter the world of Miyazaki.
Story – Although there’s more story to Ponyo than your average Miyazaki film (eg: Totoro again), the film is geared more to a younger audience, and therefore has simply a slow progression of events which unfold for the main character Sousuke, who saves what he calls a “goldfish” from the ocean, trapped in a jar. Unbeknownst to him, her father is looking for her, as she has run away from home. Sousuke, however, promises to protect the “goldfish” he names “Ponyo,” and Ponyo slowly becomes more and more human as she spends time with Sousuke.
Art – The art is great Miyazaki as usual. This time, the art reflects a child’s view of the world. I particularly liked the backgrounds that look they’re colored pencil/crayon/chalk (though still drawn with lots of detail) and the sea creatures. Actually, any of the ocean scenes are amazing. It felt like I was in an aquarium.
Sound – The beginning of the movie was an opera piece, which was quite interesting, and a normal orchestral score after that. The seiyuu who played Ponyo has the most adorable voice too. Voice acting throughout was top-notch.
Character – If you do not fall in love with Ponyo, you have no heart. She’s innocent and adorable. Sousuke seems really smart for a 5-year-old, and very kind, obedient, and generous. If I had kids, I’d want them to be like the characters in this movie. The “grown ups” seem to be overly cheery, and this was the main thing I found incredulous in the film. What kind of mom leaves 2 kids alone at night? What kind of adults seeing 2 kids alone in a candle-powered boat, simply wave hello to them? What kind of adults calmly talk to sea-spirits like they’re next door neighbors?? Yeah, this only happens in Miyazaki world.
Enjoyment – I love the ocean, and little kids (when they’re not brats), and the whole fish-out-of-water element (haha, this movie literaly has a fish-out-of-water), so I obviously loved this movie. You know it’s great when you get out of the movie theater and you`re still smiling.
If you like other Miyazaki movies, I think you’ll like this one. If you don’t like slow paced, slice of life (with a dash of magic) movies, then you probably won’t enjoy it as much. If you do, just sit back, relax, and let Miyazaki take you to another world…
And it is also why the disappointment was so great.
Ponyo was bad. The plot had holes large enough to happily sail through and the characters were about as two-dimensional as you can get; depth wise, not graphic wise. Now the animation and the music is what you’d expect; Beautiful, inspiring, and amazing. But they do not save this film, the Miyazaki legacy does.
The Miyazaki legacy has the mindless majority praising this film solely based on the name and preceding accomplishments. I guarantee, however, of its own merits Ponyo would be quickly forgotten and ignored due to its many flaws.
I dare anyone to try to explain to me what this movie was even about without delving into any folklore or mythology that wasn’t properly represented or explained in the film. I dare myself to make sense of it. I dare Miyazaki to try this again and make it more like his other films! Y’know, the ones with the action, danger, and heart-wrenching drama? NONE of that was here!
In fact, I can re-tell the story of Ponyo in five easy sentences without missing a thing.
Ponyo is a fish girl that decides to run away from her little fish sisters and her crazy-cool father. She meets a boy named Sosuke and they play together. Ponyo has magic powers and, for the hell of it, tsunamis Sosuskes’ hometown. Ponyo and Sosuke go to look for Sosukes mom who ABANDONED the children during the tsunami.Ponyo and Sosuke run into their moms and dads, innocently and without hesitation proclaim their lukewarm, mild-mannered lover for one another and SAVE THE WORLD…somehow.
Did I mention the world was in danger? Neither did the movie, cept in passing once and at the very end. “Oh and, by the way, you saved the world from complete and utter annihilation!….somehow”
What a mess. That all said…it wasn’t terrible. I still enjoyed what I was watching but I would compare to it to cloud watching; calm, beautiful, enjoyable, but with no sense of danger, drama, or action anywhere in sight. Not a hint of villainy or doom or even excitement. Just….clouds, harmlessly and happily floating along. And if thats the story Miyazaki wanted to tell, then fine, but by all accounts, thats just boring.
ANIME: Ponyo is the eighth animated feature done by Studio Ghibli (well-known for other films such as Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke) and the tenth animated feature for Hayao Miyazaki as a director (well-known for his directorial work on My Neighbor Totoro and Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind). Ponyo was released in Japanese theatres on July 19th, 2008, and won Best Anime of the Year at the Tokyo Anime Awards and the Japanese Academy Prize for Best Animation of the Year. It was released dubbed in Stateside theatres just this last weekend, on August 14th, 2009, and, as of the time of this writing, is already in the number 9 position for box office profits in its opening weekend.
STORY: A young five-year-old boy, Sosuke, finds an odd-looking fish who he names Ponyo and vows to protect. What he doesn’t know is that Ponyo is the daughter of a sea wizard and the goddess of the sea, and that she will soon use her magic to turn herself into a girl so that she can be with him. But, unawares to Ponyo, doing this causes a rip in fabric of reality that the two of them must right.
Ponyo’s not so much about the broader plot, which has plenty tinges of the Little Mermaid in its story, and serves more as a way to move the movie forward and to frame the events that happen in the movie. It’s more about the two kids, Ponyo and Sosuke, and the people around them and their interactions with each other.
Most of the movie is cenetered around the absolute adorableness of Ponyo and Sosuke interacting with each other, and with the people around them, like Sosuke’s family and the residents of the Hiwamari Senior Living Center (not called as much in the movie, but its more or less what it is). It’s far more a slice of life story than it is one of Miyazaki’s previous epics, such as Nausicaa or Mononoke, and you know what? He does this just as well as he does his other films.
The only bad thing I have to say about this is that big threat of the world being unbalanced is very vaguely detailed, and seems like an attempt to throw in urgency in the plot, but it really doesn’t end up being focused on at all, and to be frank, doesn’t add that much to the plot. It could’ve just been left as a test of Sosuke and Ponyo, and the movie would’ve been none the poorer for it.
ART: The visuals in this, as with any Miyazaki movie, are beyond spectacular. If you have the chance to see this in theatres near you, I definitely recommend it; seeing the visuals for this on the big screen is an experience in and of itself.
There are two big things with this that I feel like pointing out:
-The ocean scenes are spectacular, just in terms of sheer imagination in all of the creatures and the detail that packs the screen, and will probably make your jaw drop. And anything to do with Fujimoto or the goddess of the seas’ or even Ponyo’s magic are definitely some of the more spectacular scenes in the movie.
-The backgrounds on this, I’m pretty sure, were done in watercolors, which add a delicacy to the entire movie.
MUSIC: Joe Hisaishi did the composing work on this, just as he did with all the other Ghibli works. This score has far more emphasis on orchestral and choral numbers, especially in the horns, just a really grand sound in general, and while relying on a few repeated themes, is a really solid score.
SEIYUU: The Japanese cast on this did an amazing job on their characters, especially the voice actors for Ponyo and Sosuke, whose first role this was. They do an amazing job of just being five year olds, which carries the whole production.
VOICE ACTORS: There’s some good voice acting, too on the dub cast’s part: Liam Neeson and Cate Blanchett feature as Ponyo’s parents (one’s a slightly wacky magician, the other one’s the goddess of the sea), Tina Fey is the main boy’s fairly feisty mom, and Sousuke and Ponyo are played by one of the Jonas Brothers and Miley Cyrus’ little siblings, respectively (that last point will probably appeal more to younger siblings, but they still do a solid job). I’d actually suggest the dub cast over the original Japanese cast, as I like it far more.
DUB: Whoever did the script for the dub actually got the nuances of the original Japanese language, so I’m beyond pleased that this was done so well. There’s a bit more added to the characters’ lines than in the Japanese version, but I think that has more to do with the timing of the voice actors and their characters’ personalities. The only problem that I have with the dub is that it obscures some things with regards to the main plot; I watched the Japanese version later in the day after I got back from theatres seeing this, and there were several moments when I was going, oh, so that’s why that was that way.
LENGTH: Ponyo does feel a bit long towards the end, but, at the same time, for most of the movie, its a fairly dreamy pace, so you don’t mind it that much.
OVERALL: An amazing movie, in terms of visuals and the dub cast, fairly solid in the story, music, and original Japanese cast. If you have the chance to see this in theatres, definitely go do so, but be sure to follow it up with watching the Japanese version just so that you’re clear on things.
VOICE ACTORS: 9/10
OVERALL: 58/70; 83% (B)
39: Berserk: Ougon Jidai-hen II – Doldrey Kouryaku
English: Berserk: The Golden Age Arc II – The Battle for Doldrey
Japanese: ベルセルク 黄金時代篇Ⅱ ドルドレイ攻略
MAL Score: 7.89
The Band of the Hawk and their enigmatic leader Griffith continue winning battle after battle as their prestige throughout the kingdom of Midland grows. But their latest task is one that has seen failure from everyone who has attempted it: the subjugation of the impenetrable fortress of Doldrey.
But with members like Guts—the captain of the Hawks’ raiders who can easily fell 100 men with his gigantic sword—such tasks prove to be trivial. However, in the aftermath of the battle, Guts decides to leave the Hawks in order to pursue his own dream and bids farewell to his companions, despite Griffith’s attempts to make him stay. This single event causes Griffith to lose his composure, and leads him to make a decision that will alter his and the Hawks’ fates forever.
The animation feels more uneven in this than it does in the last movie. This is more prevelant in slow motion. It feels really choppy like a disc in your game system skipping at times. But it runs much more smoothly at faster speeds. The violence and the gore is very well graphically depicted and makes up for some of the flaws this series has. The violence is just manically massive which is of course the nature of the franchise. I really enjoyed the scene where Guts becomes the 100 man slayer. But to me, the series broody effects would be more immersing if it was more grainy like in the 1980s and 1990s animation styles.
The difference in soundtrack compositions is also more notable. It is more orchestrated and has more acoustic sounds as opposed to the grand chorus style of Hirakawa Susumu. I feel for some fans who have had exposure to the previous series and the games, it will feel unnatural. But to newcomers, I suppose it does work. Other than that, the soundtrack reflects the atmosphere pretty good but of course I’d rather have Hirakawa do everything again.
In this movie, I felt that the performance of Guts’ new seiyuu isnt really that great. These are part of the story arcs was where the original seiyuu really captured Guts. Caska’s new seiyuu I just don’t feel. Sakurai is ok as Griffith, but doesnt have the coldness that Morikawa Toshiyuki has. I really don’t feel the voice acting in this one. I thought the last movie was ok, but this movie really made me miss the original voice cast. I suppose newcomers without any exposure to the original series or the games will be fine with the voice acting. Nobutoshi Canna really defined Guts in the original series and in the DC and PS2 games. I feel that this new voice actor just doesn’t capture Guts as intimidating or as a bad ass. To me, he comes across way too much as a sarcastic cynic and tries to bring too much humor to the character.
In the end, I feel the only way we can see the true potential of these new Berserk installments is when this trilogy is over. What the fans want to see is the post golden age arc animated. Quite frankly, I am glad we have these new installments, but I want to see the berserker armor animated and all the other bad ass shit. And get the old seiyuus and Hirakawa to do the series again.
We get to see the epic battle between the Band of the Hawk and the hilariously named Purple Rhino Heavy Cavalry. As you no doubt already surmised…the battle looks like total crap! Then we get tons of scenes with the Hawks celebrating because there is a very limited amount of time and this movie wants to get the important stuff in. Remember the sub-plot revealing how Midland’s politics work? The one with the royal hunt, the attempt to assassinate Griffith, and Guts’ counter assassination that results in him killing a child? They cut that out. The fact that Guts felt great guilt over that act and it played a huge role in the story for both his character development and his decision to ultimately leave the Hawks…who cares about that? Instead of even alluding to that sub-plot, just have Guts leave for no reason. We need to spend 10 minutes of screen time on a wonderfully Narm, shit CGI sex scene with Griffith, featuring questionable quality violin accompaniment. This movie is meant to introduce Berserk to a new generation and of course THAT was the part of the story they really needed to see. Fuck Guts’ character development. Griffith’s throbbing CGI, 240p resolution cock is FAR more important. Important characters like the devious minister Foss, and the Queen were axed, because that screen time obviously needed to go to Corbowitz and the goblin dungeon keeper. Corbowitz and the goblin were such critical parts of the story and atmosphere of Berserk. This technique of shitty adaptation has been passed down through the Corbowitz family for 3,000 years!
The film badly waters down the story and characters of Berserk, constantly making horrendous decisions to cut out important parts and leave in pointless parts. The CGI is very slightly improved over the first film, but still looks like absolute SHIT. If you are looking to get into the Berserk franchise, read the manga or watch the original anime. Don’t waste your time on the first 2 movies. The 3rd movie actually isn’t bad, but that is another review!
Whereas in the anime series we get to see Griffith in one light, in the movies he appears more humane, new layers of him are being exposed, or should I say, emphasized. In the anime series, the emphasized themes were gradual character development, friendship, loyalty, betrayal, points of view on all that. In the movie adaptations, we don’t get to see that much of character development. The movie mainly reveals more layers to the characters.
What is the most striking is the underlined homoerotic inclinations on Griffith’s part towards Guts, I believe. Casca’s character is pretty much unchanged. But, you’ll see for yourselves.
Sometimes I really didn’t like how they packed up the things and events, especially if I find such things crucial for the building of opinions about one character on the part of another (flashbacks instead of storytelling). However, there were really things worth omitting without doing any damage to the storyline. All in all it remains unchanged, and the message is somewhat conveyed. I’m still debating whether the anime series was more profound than this piece.
As for the animation, as one reviewer said, some motions sequences looked like they really needed debugging. Other than that, the new approach to things and new technology used to make this movie and its prequel, still leaves me puzzled. For ones who like battle scenes, I think this will be feast for the eyes. I especially enjoyed them!
Music and sound was okay, I think that the music used in battle scenes added to them being more dramatic and left me really excited. The spirit of the battlefield and the spirit of the Band of the Hawks is very well conveyed!
As for the voice actors, I think Griffith’s voice actor managed to convey his overall character and charisma perfectly, thus made me thoroughly enjoy the battle scenes even more.
Overall impression is that I find this movie to be very good (8), especially for ones who haven’t watched the 25 episodes of the anime series, this will be candy for the senses. The series will later fill up what is missing. And definitely this one will nicely warm you up to the third movie, which will be released February 2013.
To conclude, this movie is a must-watch and I hope it won’t leave you disappointed. Enjoy yourselves!
38: One Piece Film: Gold
Japanese: ONE PIECE FILM GOLD
MAL Score: 7.93
Monkey D. Luffy and his Straw Hat Crew have finally arrived on Gran Tesoro, a ship carrying the largest entertainment city in the world. Drawn in by the chances of hitting the jackpot, the crew immediately head to the casino. There, they quickly find themselves on a winning streak, playing with what seems to be endless luck.
When offered a special gamble by Gild Tesoro—the master of the city himself—the crew agrees, choosing to believe in their captain’s luck. However, when they find themselves victims of a despicable scam, the crew quickly realize that there is something darker happening beneath the city’s surface.
Left penniless and beaten down, the Straw Hat Crew are forced to rely on another gamble of a plan. With the help of a new friend or two, the group must work to reclaim what they’ve lost before time, and what remains of their luck, runs out.
What to expect:
Luffy (Gear 4)
Roronoa Zoro (air swoosh)
From an aesthetic perspective the movie is basically flawless. The animation is gorgeous, the character designs are on point, and every costume change the case goes through is exciting and memorable. The film-exclusive character is far more memorable than most of her predecessors as she is an old girlfri- I mean accomplice of Nami’s from her cat burglar days, and their dynamic is simple but effective. Getting the One Piece cast to do a heist film is inherently interesting given how batshit insane the characters are, and the genre-standard twists are handled well. There is a particular sub-twist that makes perfect sense in universe that was both inspired and hilarious.
The movie isn’t flawless character wise. Like most OP movies the characterization is slightly off. Nami, despite having ample screen time, never comments on the fact that the kids enslaved by the casino are basically in the same situation she was in for a decade. Luffy seems unusually apathetic when a crewmate is placed in danger in the first act. Nothing is egregious, but it is enough to take notice. As for most modern OP films some characters are included for no reason other than to have them in marketing material. Still have no idea what Sabo and Lucci were doing. The gambler character introduced serves no particular purpose and just drags down the movie in the middle.
The main villain is compelling ideologically, but never gets quite enough attention to make sense. His devil fruit is busted to the point it is completely unbelievable, and the main confrontation between him and Luffy suffers as a result. Cool idea, but not enough spice to make him memorable.
Its a good One Piece experience, but outside the outfits and nice cuts of animation provides nothing to remember it by.
Score: Strong 6 to a Light 7
Our beloved straw hats are going to the biggest casino in the world to have some fun and of course they will meet the owner himself!
The Casino is the biggest ship I’ve ever seen in the series and I couldn’t believe it was moved by 2 gigantic turtles! “There is gold, gold, everywhere” I mean the whole casino is filled with golden buildings, statues, restaurants, hotels and even golden amusement parks!
The animation is by far the best performance I’ve seen in a OP Movie! I was really happy to see some darker colors in the movie because the casino is filled with thousands of golden stuff. So I saw yellow and golden colors the whole time. They have done everything right at this point!
The sound was incredible! Background music, conversations and fights. Everything was sounding like I wore high end headphones the whole time!
There are so many apperances from older arcs and of course I will not tell you who I mean! I loved the costumes because our beloved crew got some noble outfits!
I heard so many laughs during the movie because there are so many funny moments while the straw hats are enjoying the time in the casino!
I really enjoyed One Piece: Gold, because I love to see how the straw hats enjoy their time like a family! The best part are the final fights and they are all insane!
Watch this movie! You’ll see a lot of old characters from the past and a lot of funny moments with luffy and the rest of the crew.
37: Kurenai no Buta
English: Porco Rosso
MAL Score: 7.96
After a curse turned him into a pig, World War I ace Marco Pagot becomes Porco Rosso, a mysterious bounty hunter who takes down sky pirates in the Adriatic Sea. He whiles away his days on a secluded island, rarely leaving other than to collect bounties or to visit the beautiful Gina, a songstress and owner of the Hotel Adriano.
One day, while traveling to fix his faulty engine, Porco Rosso is gunned down by a young American hotshot named Donald Curtis. Thrilled at the possibility of fame, Donald boldly declares that the flying pig is dead. Not wanting to disappoint Gina, Porco Rosso flees to the famous Piccolo S.P.A. airplane company and takes out a massive loan in order to repair and improve his fighter plane. There, he is surprised to find that the chief engineer of Piccolo S.P.A. is the 17-year-old Fio Piccolo, who hungers for a chance to prove herself. With Fio’s improvements, Porco Rosso prepares to challenge Donald officially and regain his honor.
Miyazaki movies can broadly fall in 2 or 3 categories; some of them are driven by their uncanny and bizarre plot (princess mononoke, spirited away etc). And then there are some where the direction almost completely overshadows the plot-line. Like Totoro, Porco Rosso falls in the latter category. From the opening scene to ending, this movie is all about direction, direction and direction.
The movie, set in the 1930’s, starts on a deserted island which acts as a hideout for the famous war-veteran turned bounty hunter ace pilot known as porco rosso (scarlet pig) who, we soon learn, has been afflicted by a curse which turned him into a pig. Just knowing this much can give you a false impression that this movie, like most miyazaki movies, has a lot to do with the mystical or the supernatural, but nothing can be further from the truth. Our ‘manly’ protagonist is a pig for a reason, but that reason has little to do with magic. The movie follows the scarlet pigs journey to reclaim his honor, after being ‘shot down’ by an American mercenary. For the most part, its a comedy drama with sprinkles of romance and slice-of-life
As the movie progresses, we learn more about the scarlet pig and some of his background. Eventually we get to the reason of his current predicament. There is a strong lesson to learn here, and thankfully it’s not force-fed into your head like Disney does with some of its movies. Here, the message is subtler and yet strikes a stronger chord.
‘Porco Rosso’ is different from miyazaki’s other endeavors. For one, it has a lot more comedy in it, and this aspect is amplified by the comical and, sometimes, witty dialogue. The humor is in-your-face laugh-out-loud funny, filled with wise-cracks, puns and word-play. And the concept of a man-turned-pig ace pilot flying the skies of a fictional Europe dueling pirates and an arch-nemesis from America is not something you’ll find in every anime.
Speaking of arch-nemesis, this movie has a really good one in the form of Donald Curtis, a notorious womanizer, and an over-confident and pompous, yet funny and very likable American, who also happens to be Porco’s rival in lurrve. Two of the funniest sequences of this comedy ride are his ‘encounters’ with porco in the skies. Characters in general have been done very well, with each of them lending to the comical aspect of the movie really well.
The airplane designs and all the flying sequences are really good. Some of the flying sequences are especially enthralling- not in the eye-candy sense, but it’s just that they’ve been done so well that it feels like whoever did it must be in love with airplanes and flying in general. In fact, a good part of Miyazaki’s early life was spent drawing battleships and airplanes. That life-long fascination of his mirrors very well throughout his works, especially this movie.
The premise and the post WWI European setting gives a very unique and exquisite feeling to the movie; and this fact is reflected well in the artwork, with its lush sceneries, views of exotic islands and beaches, cities and some of the characters, especially the pirates, which really do look like something from cartoony Europe of the 30’s. The leader of the pirates, for one, can pass for a Bluto (from Popeye) look-alike. For the most part, the miyazaki like feeling is intact. The animation is just gorgeous for a movie made in 1992. The color palate is exceptionally vibrant and has a certain depth to it that Miyazaki fans have come to associate with his movies.
The music is vintage Hisashi joe; fans of the maestro will find some of his best tunes in this movie. The animation and music blend perfectly to evoke the right emotion at the right time, bringing to life the world of Porco Rosso while lending it a unique charm that you probably won’t see in any other anime movie. Disney’s dubbed version has excellent voice-overs that fit perfectly with each character’s personality. I find that the Disney version does not deserve the hate that it is often subjected to by the fans of the older pre-Disney dub versions.
However, there are two things that might put-off people. The first is the minimalistic approach to storyline. Plot-junkies who expect their animes to be filled with deep and complicated plots might not find this to their liking (I’ve heard a few complain about this). But if you like Miyazaki movies in general, you’d know that complaint is baseless. With Porco Rosso, everything might be charming and simple on the outside but there’s more to this movie than meets the eye. The second complaint, which is actually a little more common, is that the ending is too abrupt. The ending is a bit subtle, yes, and it may leave a you wishing there was more, but the movie manages to tie all the loose ends very well, and it is by no standards an unsatisfactory ending. Porco Rosso is more like an old friend from a long forgotten time who stops by your front door to have a nice cup of tea, has a warm and pleasant chat with you but then quietly leaves from the back door with a quick goodbye.
Thanks to Miyazaki’s captivating direction, the movie is very soothing and peaceful and I think its best watched at the end of a hard and tiresome day, when you want to watch something calm and relaxing. All in all, Porco Rosso is a unique movie; not just as miyazaki or a Ghibli film, but a unique anime movie.
This right here is what you call a good fucking “anime” movie. Yes i know, those exist, right? Way back, millennia ago, before dinosaurs become extinct and before anime movies weren’t only a weeabo-loser and pedophilia pander, good movies, heck even stupid movies reigned supreme.
Now you might be asking yourself, hey but this is a Miyazaki flick, doesn’t he always have some pre-teen girl as the lead in his movies so that pedophiles from all around the globe can cream their unwashed jeans. Well yes, and actually no, this one is an exception hence why Im writing a review for Porco Rosso and Porco Rosso only.
This movie delivers one of the finest main characters in anime cinema history, even tho is he merely a swine, he is actually Clint Eastwood in his patented ice-cold ass-whippery, he is James Bond in his wittiness and humor, he is John Wayne, he is Steve McQueen, he is a culmination of the spiciest cultural ass-whoppers from the far east to the shores of the west.
The WW2 setting just adds to the flavor.
Although this movie does have a pre teen girl in it but who the fuck cares about her, we are here for the swine, amirite? Im not?
Blow me, moving on.
Now, Porco Rosso does have a lot of the typical Miyazaki niches. You have the small underage heroine, the curse which our main protagonists has to overcome, a douchebag on crack, some olg hag and so on and so forth. What is unbeknownst to me and to many other intellectuals is just how underrated this movie actually is, quite possibly Miyazakis most underrated film to date. Why is that you may ask?
There are a few reasons for this the main one being is that most people see our protagonist which is a swine looking like a pimp on steroids and immediately conjure thoughts like “But where is muh cute little girl” or “this most be boring”. If you ever encounter people like this the right thing to do would be to call the authorities and have the pedophiles removed from the streets and loser ridden anime conventions.
The OST? I dont even have to delve any deeper into this to say anything other than give that nigga Joe Hisaishi a raise for these fine pieces of music. He constantly hits it out of the park and leaves you craving for more after you have listened to his playlist for the 84th time.
The art is fine, like in every other Miyazaki film. So nothing special to write home about here.
On the other hand it is unique because of the world it builds around. Any fans of classic Hollywood will be pleased at the amount of homages that are spread through the story, both in individual scenes and in tone. This movie holds many similarities in its more dramatic part, both aesthetical and story-based, with “Casablanca”; and the slapstick comedy that is there through the whole storyline, softening the conflicts and relationships of the characters, resembles “The quiet man”.
This polarity between a heavy character drama and a dreamy comedy may be a double-edged sword, in the sense that many people will probably find this movie inconsistant in terms of its mood, but I think “Porco Rosso” does a really fine work at balancing both aspects of its storyline. The comedy never disallows the viewer from appreciating the gravity of Porco as a character, and the serious and intimist sequences don’t deny the zaniness of his daily life. The best thing about this is that it allows to create a full dramatic portrayal of the main character, while bringing some kind of fabulistic charm to his lifestyle, which gives nostalgic vibes to the story. This ends up being relevant as well in the romantic view that Miyazaki brings to describe one of his childhood passions, flight engineery. In this movie it becomes completely obvious through the careful visual depiction and the spectacularity of the flying scenes.
The storyline is completely focused on Porco and the universe around him. He is definitely a complex character that goes way beyond his main defining trait. In fact, his aspect in the context of the daily relationships it’s the least relevant. We are told that he is a human turned into a pig by some sort of mysterious spell, but those around him still recognize Porco as a human. Even Gina, the one that he’s most closely related with, treats him as if he was the same as always. The appearances in this movie are brought for a much less superficial purpose, as this transformation is used as a metaphor for the deep wound Porco carries with humanity in general, and with himself. His bitterness, however, is contrasted in the movie. That is, instead of being exaggerated, and giving rise to an overly cynical character, the story also emphasizes on his caring side. He is shown to have friends, understand their emotions and care for them; his scenes with Gina make clear that they love and respect each other. This side of him is emphasized later with the presence of Fio and the clear effect she has in his growth as a character.
The rest of the characters, while not being as fleshed out as Porco, still hold their own charm. I am specially fascinated with Gina. She doesn’t even appear too often in the story but her elegance and intimist approach increase the emotional effect of every scene she’s in, and the hints on her own past are so suggestive and enveloping that, despite the lack of physical presence in the plot, she manages to create a very strong emotional involvement around her. She is there in some of the most moving moments of the story and I’m specially fond of one where a flashback of her past with Porco is shown.
Fio, on the other hand, plays the counterpart of Porco as a quick-witted and joyful girl. This simple purpose is actually conveyed in the form of a very strong and charismatic character. Her chemistry with Porco through their scenes is amazing, and another one of the key points of this story. In fact my favorite scene of the movie involves them both; with Porco narrating a defining experience of his past -in his very own way, though- and Fio hearing this whole story completely captivated, understanding, finally, the dimension of his personal conflict as a whole.
Donald Curtis and the pirates, despite being technically the antagonists of the main story, are actually quite light and charming. The arrogance of Curtis is contextualized in a way that emphasizes on his innocence rather than on an actual malice. And similarly, the pirates never come off as evil and their hate towards Porco is never treated seriously.
On the artistic level, this is a great effort overall, though probably not as satisfying as other Miyazaki movies. For example, it suffers from a lack of shading in many scenes, and the designs of the background characters don’t look very inspired. However, it still keeps a lot of strength in the visual depiction of the scenarios, and places like Porco’s lonely island or Gina’s bar are given a distinct atmosphere that becomes very effective. The design for the main characters is simple, yet very effective, with Porco being the obvious choice as the most outstanding. The aesthetics, as said, are very closely tied to the imagery of classic films, which sort of fit very well with the Italian environment of the late 20s this movie is located at.
Similarly, the soundtrack is quite outstanding overall but not as consistantly mesmerizing as in other works of the author. Then again, this is not a very relevant issue, and I guess it has to do with the huge variety of music pieces; as this variety leading to some irregularity seems unavoidable. Anyway, if I have to choose one, it would be Tokiko Kato’s version of the French Revolutionary song “Le temps des cérises”, that serves to introduce Gina. Her song in the ending credits is equally beautiful.
All in all, and while it’s not my favorite, it is still a Ghibli and Miyazaki movie I am very fond of. It is a little tricky to recommend here, though, because its style and themes will probably not fit the tastes of an anime fan if they are mainly interested on exploring the imagery and philosophy that are associated with the Japanese culture; in fact, I think that “Porco Rosso” is a better recommendation for movie-goers than for anime fans, in general. That doesn’t mean it will be necessarily less enjoyable, but it’s more likely for people with a grown interest on Western filmmaking to find points in common with this movie.
36: 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.
35: Tekkon Kinkreet
MAL Score: 7.97
The streets of Treasure Town are said to belong to “The Cats.” They know everything that goes on in the city, and no one can stir up trouble without going through them first. In reality, The Cats are a pair of orphan boys called Black and White, who aren’t afraid of anything or anyone.
But their rule of the streets is challenged when the Yakuza come to town and start making changes. The wild Black and the carefree White have no one to rely on but themselves to get their Treasure Town back to the way it was. But their bond is tested as they quickly realize going back to how things were may no longer be an option.
Tekkonkinkreet is also known as Black and White, and so named are the two main characters; both being delinquent street kids who live out of a rusty old used car in the concrete city-scape Treasure Town. Despite being mere children, their gang, the (stray) Cats, dominate the violent underbelly of Treasure Town’s yuppie society, their attentions feared by thugs, police and yakuza alike. As is immediately clear, Black and White aren’t normal kids at all; for a start, they can fly, but mostly, they are defined by their emotional eccentricities.
Black is just that; a black-hearted, blood thirsty thug who is constantly looking for a fight; his attraction to violence borders on sadism and often he can be seen with a giant crow perched on his shoulder, the meat-eating birds that feed off of human garbage aptly symbolizing his pessimistic views on life. His snot-nosed buddy White is the exact opposite; optimistic, innocent and constantly laughing, he has dreams of a future outside of Treasure Town; a vision of rolling blue seas and sparkling golden sand. Black and White live for each other; Black protects White from the city’s violent undercurrents, while White’s very existence anchors Black’s true departure into darkness.
The plot is simply a means to that end, and quite frankly, isn’t so important. Treasure Town is being steam-rollered by an unscrupulous theme park franchise and hence, they need to get rid of the tourist-scaring delinquent kids. Unfortunately for them, Black sees the city as his town too, and his unrelenting intent on causing trouble begins what is a gradual descent into violent madness. The heart-rending characterisation extends to an entire cast of misfits, not least of all a scar-faced ex-yakuza struggling against the tide of violence to forge a better future for his pregnant girlfriend. Early in the movie, this same yakuza shows his professional streak when he gleefully removes the ears from one unlucky fellow.
The tragic and emotionally intense characterisation is well balanced by extended sequences of brutal and kinetic action, not least of all an Akira style opening scene that sees Black and White chasing a group of rival punks across colourful roof-tops and moving traffic. The gravity defying jumps, flips and kicks are well complemented by an emotive electronica score courtesy of British dance group Plaid. Of special note is that the music really captures the beautiful and surreal elements of Tekkonkinkreet, whimsical dreams of a flower-laden future totally at odds with Treasure Town’s overflowing urban metropolis.
A truly three dimensional effort; the excellent Tekkonkinkreet is a rewarding and exciting movie that offers bitter-sweet moments of friendship and family, morals and loyalty, set in an unrelentingly violent and cruel world dominated by industry and capitalism. Animated with beautiful perfection and stylized to the point of surrealism, it’s a great looking film that both exploits and cherishes the inherent contradictions of the human spirit.
Story: Black and White, Kuro and Shiro are orphans, and they’re the "Cats." In a word they’re street thugs and it’s mainly Kuro (Black) who does the fighting. Shiro (White) is missing something in his head and he constantly "phones" outer space to let them know how he’s doing. The main relationship is between these two and it’s expertly crafted. There are two police officers who really do a great job of balancing the anime. Their presence really keeps the movie level. The antagonist is Snake, he’s trying to milk Treasure Town for all it’s worth, to do this his plan is to create an amusement park. Kuro doesn’t want that to happen. I’m finding it very difficult to explain the story and I really don’t think that I can do it any justice at all. The story is multifaceted and multilayered. There are no scrap characters and every conversation is important. There are absolutely no wasted scenes in this anime. I was getting a huge Steinbeck vibe, I was feeling that this anime was doing a great job of channeling his "Of Mice and Men." White’s dream of going to the ocean is a lot like Lennie’s dream of owning a farm and tending rabbits.
Art: The art is amazing. Every scene is breathtakingly beautiful. The backgrounds are detailed so well that I occasionally paused the screen just to admire their beauty. The art is probably the best I’ve seen in an anime and the details are beautifully rendered. The characters style is slightly minimalistic. Compared to the backgrounds the characters are very bare, but this suits the feel perfectly. The characters fit in so well with the backgrounds and interact with the world so well. The art is absolutely beautiful. Every scene of animation is beautiful. There are so many sequences that took my breath away, there is never a choppy scene, no scene feels clunky. The animation is so perfectly fluid and I cannot express how amazing it is, it has to be seen to be believed. The one thing that I thought was perfectly done was how the art and the mood of the anime clash wonderfully. The colours are very bright and vivid, and if you really weren’t paying attention you’d think that this is a very bright and happy anime. But the anime is dark, it’s quite dark and the art only shows that darkness at certain intervals, but for the most part the anime is bright and colourful, whereas the mood is dark.
Sound: This is one of the first anime that I’ve seen where I was activally paying attention to the background music. It was all perfect, it was all fast and just amazing. I’m a firm believer in that music in anime does not make or break it, it either makes a good anime better, or worse; or a bad anime better or worse. In Tekkon Kinkreet, the music makes an already excellent anime even better.
Character: Every character is incredibly, and sometimes painfully, human. With the exception of the alien assassins of course. The relationships between the characters, especially between Black and White are so beliveable and so incredibly real. I found myself caring so much about all of these characters, which is not something that I regularly do. It’s amazing because every character changes and every relationship changes as well, it’s rare to see how realistically each character’s change is portrayed.
Enjoyment: If you haven’t noticed already, I love this anime, it’s completely and utterly perfect. There is not a boring or meaningless scene. There are no pointless characters, every character is unique and human. Kinkreet is very original and it really does an amazing job of everything that it does. I cannot express how enjoyable this anime is, you really need to watch it for yourself.
If this isn’t at the top of your list, put it there. I believe that in order to appreciate anime you have to see both terrible and amazing anime. To me there are very, very few perfect anime, I would have a hard time listing them on my hands. However, this anime is so close to perfection that I would myself, call it perfect. Watching this anime reconfirms the reasons why I started watching anime in the first place.
This isn’t going to be an easy one to review. I have very mixed feelings towards Tekkon Kinkreet. It’s one of those anime that to me wasn’t great and certainly wasn’t bad. However, that isn’t to say it was average. It’s more accurate to say it was simultaneously spectacular, and a total piece of shit…so it ended up in the middle.
Oh and Spoiler alert! I can’t really talk about why I’m conflicted with this film unless I go into some spoiler territory.
Plot and characters:
We are introduced to a wild and beautifully animated city. According to the director, this city was created by taking elements from Japan, China, and India. Our main characters are 2 orphans named Black and White. Black is an angry, brooding, violent anti-hero. White is a special needs kid who remains pure and innocent despite being surrounded by crime and poverty. Together they balance each other out and form a very obvious Yin-Yang dynamic. The first 1/4th of the film is Black and White living together in the slum called Treasure Town and defending their turf from Yakuza. We get some very touching scenes of brotherly bonding. We’re introduced to the city and Tekkon gets to demonstrate its beautifully fluent animation and vibrant colors. Everything is going great. The movie at this point is safely in 8/10 territory. Then everything starts going wrong.
Around 1/3rd through the movie, an evil foreign real estate developer is introduced. This guy wants to destroy the slum where our heroes live in order to build a giant amusement park. That’s right! It’s time to rip off the plot of such great films as “Breakin 2 Electric Boogaloo and basically every Disney TV movie from the 90s. It gets better. The evil real estate tycoon introduces 3 super powered assassins who can fly. We’re just going to throw in super powers and kick any small sense of realism out the window halfway into the movie. The tycoon’s plan is to have the assassins kill Black and White. Once the 2 orphan defenders are dealt with, the rest of the slum will give up hope and evict themselves…I guess. The first assassin is dealt with when White pours gasoline on him and sets him on fire. White is pretty pleased with himself and says “Maybe this whole rotten city should burn!”. WTF Tekkon!? We’re over halfway through and out of fucking nowhere you turn the sweet retarded kid into Rorschach?! White ends up getting injured by the 2nd assassin and is taken into protective custody. We also get a touching, tragic scene in which one Yakuza thug is forced to kill his old boss at the behest of the tycoon. The Yakuza guy loved his old boss, but the Tycoon will kill his family if he doesn’t obey. The boss understands this and accepts his fate. It’s probably the best scene in the entire movie and if had ended here, we would still be in 7/10 territory.
Now we enter act 3 and here is where things REALLY fall apart. The foreign real estate tycoon succeeds in tearing down the Treasure Town slum and building an amusement park…surrounded by more Chinese/Indian slum. I can’t wait for Disney World to build a park in the endless, sprawling slums outside Bengal! The tycoon though is STILL obsessed with killing Black and White! He develops a plan to kill Black in the middle of his own amusement park using his remaining assassins. Never mind the fact this would create a massive panic and badly hurt visitor numbers to his park. Character motivations in this film make zero sense. Speaking of which, the yakuza thug reports back to the tycoon and just decides “fuck it! I hate this guy too much!”. The thug kills the tycoon and gets shot in return. Whelp, his family is fucked. It also completely undermined the best scene in the movie. We aren’t done yet though! Black goes completely insane without having White by his side and develops multiple personality disorder. We’re 90% in and its time to just throw in multiple personalities. Since we have no time left, Black quickly kills the assassins and banishes his dark personality in 5 minutes simply by thinking about White’s innocence. This is definitely the fastest and easiest I’ve seen dissociative identity cured in a movie! It’s almost like it had no reason to be here! Black reunites with White and the film subverts expectations yet again by ending perfectly happy with them playing at a beach. As for the 5 or so murders and 12 assaults Black commits in this movie with tons of witnesses? Who gives a shit?! It has zero repercussions! The film just kind of ends and I don’t feel like anything was really learned or accomplished.
Art and Sound:
The art and animation is amazing! This film just oozes with style and personality. It has a very unique aesthetic that kind of reminds me of Yuasa’s style. The soundtrack is honestly nothing special and I wasn’t impressed with the voice acting. This anime was written and directed by an American guy. If this anime is famous for anything, it’s that little bit of trivia. So I went with the English dub. Big mistake. White’s voice actor is a 6 year old child who had no prior acting experience and according to IMDB has never worked again after this. The dub is just fucking painful in places and the soundtrack does this film no favors.
Tekkon Kinkreet is a visually stunning film! If you consider anime to be a purely visual medium and ONLY a visual medium, you can still love every second of this film. I just want to make it clear that I’m not some uncultured asshole who gives low ratings to purely visual experiences. I didn’t go on Letterbox or IMDB and give low ratings to “Man with Movie Camera” or “Olympia”. Those are great films and I rated them accordingly. Tekkon is in fact a narrative story and to me doesn’t just fail in telling that story, it failed HARD. It still has individual scenes that are good, but the total project is just…ugh. It has this weird obsession with subverting expectations in the stupidest possible ways. I think the director just gets giddy to jerk the wheel and send us all over a cliff. Tekkon Kinkreet is like watching City of God as written and directed by a drunk Rian Johnson. No matter how pretty it looks, I just can’t personally rate this one above a 6.
34: Doraemon Movie 31: Shin Nobita to Tetsujin Heidan – Habatake Tenshi-tachi
Japanese: 映画 ドラえもん 新 のび太と鉄人兵団～はばたけ 天使たち～
MAL Score: 8.00
Jealous of Suneo’s new robot toy, Nobita asks Doraemon to build him an even better one. Doraemon initially refuses, until Nobita accidentally discovers pieces of a mysterious robot that falls from the sky. After gathering all the robot parts and assembled them together, the giant robot, Zanda Claus, is soon completed. The duo soon learn that the robot is not a mere toy, but a powerful weapon in the fight against the coming Robot Army that is going to attack Earth and enslave the human inhabitants of it. An invasion is near, as a mysterious girl Riruru (リルル, Alternative spelling: Lilulu, Lillele [Doko Demo Doa Scanlations]) shows up, looking for the robot.
There is pretty much nothing Bad I can say about this movie.
This movie has great characters, a pretty good antagonist, good comedy and the soundtracks as well as the animation are on another level.
One thing that makes this movie special is that no matter how many times you watch it doesn’t get old. There is always something in the movie that you love and the ending is emotional, it pulls you in right from start and the new characters that introduced in the movie are probably the best doraemon side characters ever.
In my opinion this is peak doraemon and the series may never reach this level of quality again when it comes to movies and This movie is without a doubt, worth your time and I can’t recommend it enough.
Despite being made for kids, this movie is actually quite good and better than your average kids movie.
There aren’t any major plot holes and everything makes sense while being somewhat complex at the same time.
This is also a remake of the older version of steel troops and this remake made it way better.
I liked the old one but with it’s really good animation, voice acting and overall enjoyment this remake elevates the old movie story line to a whole new level.
In the past they have remade older movies and improved on them but this remake is just on another level compared to the others. The actual steel troops story is honestly the best out of all doraemon movies as well.
If you are a doraemon fan I recommend this.
The characters who stole the show the most in this movie were Riruru and Shizuka. You will see Shizuka’s kindness tested to it’s absolute limit, and Riruru questioning her beliefs and purpose. It is surprisingly deep material for a Doraemon movie, especially near the end which I will not spoil for you.
Unlike other Doraemon movies, this one has a more serious tone. The bad future always seems like an immediate threat, which makes for an action-packed movie. There are still some moments of levity despite this, to keep the film from getting depressing.
Overall, I would say to check it out. It is among the best Doraemon movies, and it’s heartwarming story shows us why Doraemon ended up being such a beloved character in our culture.
33: Sakasama no Patema
English: Patema Inverted
MAL Score: 8.01
Patema is a plucky young girl from an underground civilization boasting an incredible network of tunnels. Inspired by a friend that mysteriously went missing, she is often reprimanded due to her constant excursions of these tunnels due to her royal status. After she enters what is known as the “forbidden zone,” she accidentally falls into a giant bottomless pit after being startled by a strange creature.
Finding herself on the surface, a world literally turned upside down, she begins falling towards the sky only to be saved by Age, a discontented student of the totalitarian nation known as Aiga. The people of Aiga are taught to believe that “Inverts,” like Patema, are sinners that will be “swallowed by the sky,” but Age has resisted this propaganda and decides to protect his new friend. A chance meeting between two curious teenagers leads to an exploration of two unique worlds as they begin working together to unveil the secrets of their origins in Sakasama no Patema, a heart-warming film about overcoming differences in order to coexist.
The film was first premiered at France’s Annecy, the world’s largest animation festival, on June 13, 2013. Screening in Japanese theaters began on November 9, 2013.
No, not really. That plot synopsis is pretty close though.
After falling into a pit that her village declared a danger zone, young Patema is plunged into a bizarre new world where everything is inverted. Suddenly, literally falling into the endless sky becomes a very real possibility. She meets an inhabitant of the land, Age, and they quickly connect with each other. Patema clings to Age very closely, as he is the only thing that stands between her and being “eaten” by the sky. Despite her fear of the sky, Patema discovers the amazing new world that she had been told stories of as a child, living her dreams of seeing the world for what it really is.
The world that Age lives in is classically isolated and under absolute rule, complete with a 1-dimensional dictator that crosses his hands in a way that screams “excellent work, my minions.” Looking into the sky is forbidden, and Age has already suffered for his curiosity. With Patema, however, he learns that there is more to the world than what he has been taught, and seeks to live his own dreams of flying in the sky as well.
The characters are connected in this visually stunning film, literally to stop them from falling but also to emphasize the message that people of different backgrounds can coexist and live peacefully. It’s a time tested story that we are no doubt familiar with, but the way the film uses the inverted gravity to bring the main characters together and to build the legends and myths surrounding the world is remarkable.
The fact that everything in the film is reversed depending on your perspective is a unique aspect that plays with what is real and not. For example, you could turn your screen upside down and still watch essentially the same film, because the film itself frequently turns itself around so that we can see the same thing from either Patema or Age’s perspective. What is normal ground to Age is a ceiling to Patema, with nothing but the vast sky beneath her feet, and vice versa.
The story is thought provoking and with so many inversions of the screen, we begin to feel just like one of the characters, confused at the sudden shift of gravity and afraid of what is beneath us. Through this adventure, Patema and Age encounter new worlds themselves, thinking to themselves “This is what was really out here?” They see beautiful things, like the stars in a swirling galaxy, and they see the abandoned, like the wasteland their ancestors forgot about. Even when everything comes together, there are still mysteries left unanswered. Why not try figuring them out?
The artwork and animation for the film are top notch. Particular detail is made to the sky, because for all the characters, it is such a mysterious place. Clouds swirl in streaks of white and gray, the stars peek out from the night sky, and the sun illuminates in soft streaks of orange and yellow. There is a scene in the middle of the film that is particularly stunning, where Patema and Age finally found out what links their world and the truth of the past. The color palette between Patema and Age’s world is very distinct, and its use of color is no doubt excellent.
Along with the visually pleasant film is a soundtrack that captures the mood perfectly. Sometimes it is like “space” music, and at other times it is a sweeping orchestral piece to go along with the sense of adventure in the film. The ending song is “Patema Inverse” by Estelle Michaeu, which is a nice listen that emphasizes the connection between two different worlds.
It’s been a long time of waiting for this film, but it was well worth it. It was an enjoyable, romantic adventure that took the familiar story of acceptance between 2 different worlds and spun it literally around with gravity inversion, a result of a failed experiment from a long, long time ago. At the heart of the film is a realization that people need each other to survive, and to discover our common features is truly a wonderful thing.
Don’t be afraid to look up at the sky! Likewise, don’t always look down at the ground! There is a much bigger, more fantastical world out there than what school and books tell you. All it takes is a little push.
The brainchild of the movie falls under the hand of Yasuhiro Yoshiura, who also serves as the director. His previous involvement in projects such as Eve of Jikan and Pale Cocoon labels him as a colorful director, one that can turn a sci-fi story inside and out. And indeed, Sakasama no Patema is such a film that is literally turned but this time from up and down.
To get an experience of what the world is like, one should first be familiarized with how flight works. Literally, the movie has the two main characters, Patema and Age (Eiji) hanging on to each other as they see their perspective world from different points of view. You ever heard of the perhaps humorous joke of ‘don’t look down’ on a suspended bridge? Try putting your shoes into their position in this movie and you’ll get a good general idea. Nonetheless, the movie wastes little time by introducing the two main characters and their perspective worlds. In the underground kingdom, the technology is rigid and desolate. People there relies on scavenged food and crude machines to survive. But as a curious girl like Patema, she’d definitely want to explore what the outside world is like. Of course, curiosity almost kills the cat as she ventures into the danger zone and gets herself into some serious trouble, more than what she had imagined.
On other hand, there’s the surface world. Unlike the underground kingdom, the technology there is sufficient and its strength lies with the superiors. Classrooms are in fact held indoors with dictatorship and authority by the higher ups. Taken for granted, Patema falls into the danger zone and is thrown into danger until Age prevents her from “falling down”. From there on, we get whole scenarios where he must hold Patema in order to prevent her from flying away. It brings credibility to the term of ‘inverted’. But for a movie with this sense of adventure, there’s needs to be more to add on. From an experimental perspective, there’s also a sense of prejudice as the antagonists label certain characters as “sinners”. On the other hand, there’s the way how Patema experiments with her life in the surface world. At first, it’s easy to tell that she’s scared as a new kid in the world of the unknown. Oh and don’t forget the fact that she sees the world differently as everyone else through her inverted vision. It’s a unique gimmick despite lacking strength in crafting its concept of gravity. In fact, gravity is defied and the law of the universe is negated.
They’re not star-crossed lovers but Patema and Age shares a rather unique relationship. Combined with the way they discover each other, the pair brings dynamics, humor, and integrity. It takes guts to fight off governmental control or those menacing looking bat humanoids as seen throughout the movie. At the same time, their connection builds off what little time they share with each other. Unfortunately, this doesn’t transit into any sort of significant development as most of their moments in the sky is reflected by struggles. What we have here is something they contrast in terms of dealing with their families, friends, and relatives. Patema has the love of her people in the underground kingdom. On the other hand, Age shares minimal connection with his professors and friends (or at least so evidenced) in his society. To make matters worse, we briefly witness Age’s past which comes out as more of a painful memory rather than as a treasure.
As thought provoking as the film sounds to be, the antagonist can and should be labeled as rather stereotypical. Although not a mad scientist, he still has similar ambitions such as making Patema a guinea pig of sorts through intimidation. And of course, he doesn’t get the answer he wants to hear. At the same time, we learn that the classes taught in Age’s world serves more as a propaganda rather than education. There’s a conspiracy vibe going on as we find out more about the past involving the “sinners” and experiments. Then, there are interesting concepts involving the world referred to by the characters. One could formulate their own theories and come to conclusions as how they function. It creates interesting and methodical ways of seeing the story from another point of view, perhaps not opposite down but more with thought.
Like I mentioned before, this isn’t love story but it does have some flags going up in the sky. Some moments capture fine details involving how Patema and Age are fated to be together while other times creates a feeling of despair. For Patema’s childhood friend though, he becomes more like a scapegoat to the story. Despite his heroic efforts, he seems to be unrewarded towards the end. At the same time, the antagonist’s obsession to discover the people from the underground world leads to a downfall, even to a point where his own subordinates questions his motivations. Still, action speaks louder than words and during climatic moments, we witness it firsthand. While it is dramatic, it’s also cheesy and unrealistic where one could feel less attached to how it’s presented.
Artwork is handled by the relatively unknown studio Purple Cow Studios Japan. Yet, its craftsmanship decorate the backgrounds with great creativity. It sharply details the contrast between Patema and Age’s world. The steampunk style of the underground kingdom shows consistency while the surface world focuses on its more advanced society. Character designs also makes sense with Patema’s designs matching her curiosity and attractive cyan hair. However, Age’s character design shows little distinctiveness but instead comes off as a rather normal human being. For the antagonists though, they share facial features to demonstrate their intimidation. In particular, the bat humanoids have a design that makes them look like malevolent machinations. It creates the feeling of fear and how hunters can become the hunted. Finally, the camera angles is important to really bring the idea of ‘inverted’ to life. And I’d have to say, it did just that. You’ll have to see it to believe it.
Likewise, soundtrack is strong and demonstrates maturity. There’s no stupidity in its OST as comedy isn’t a main focus. During the more dramatic scenes, the soundtrack systemically follows in rhythm with the mood. On the other hand, we also get tense and sorrowful moments when characters are put into more complex situations. Speaking of characters though, Patema and Age has voices that matches their persona. Patema sounds like a normal girl despite her status as a princess in her world. There’s no egoistic or brash attitude coming out of her but rather as a girl who is just curious. Similarly, Age has the voice mannerism of a normal boy and often worries about the well-being of others, in particular Patema.
If you ever wanted to fly, take this movie as a motivation. Of course, you’ll probably need some aerial experience to ensure yourself that you don’t land in the wrong place. For Patema and Age, they land themselves into an adventure that will be unforgettable for the rest of their lives. As a movie crafted by such innovative ideas, I find it to be well done but not ultra-thought provoking. Sure, the idea is great but the time the characters spent together lacks meaningful development. Whatever the goal the movie was trying to accomplish focuses mostly on its premise with less emphasis on characterization but more on concept. Still, this movie should still be on your watch list especially if you’re in a mood for wanderlust.
There wouldn’t be a movie if they didn’t opt for the latter. And they become quite a pair. Age is observant and intelligent, but sullen and despondent; Patema is upbeat and adventurous, but somewhat scatterbrained and clumsy. These are perhaps not the most unique attributes for the protagonists of an animated adventure film to possess, but what distinguishes them as more than lazy cliches is the ease with which we can see how each of them is a natural product of their respective environment. Age, once a dreamer with plans of leaving the ground and flying, has been beaten down in his day-to-day life by a society which believes that the sky is a source of death and destruction. Bereft of anyone to share his thoughts with, he has locked them away and chosen to meet the minimum expectations of his world with begrudging cynicism and indifference. Patema’s world is equal but opposite—its rules discourage exploration as well, but out of a real desire to provide safety rather than to control. The people of the underground try to shelter Patema, and the result is a girl whose curiosity and enthusiasm far exceed her capabilities and knowledge. These two are not merely personalities dropped into a world, but characters built from the ground up to make sense in the world of Patema Inverted.
Moreover, their chemistry works with the simple grace that is characteristic of this film. Patema’s earnest curiosity pulls the old Age back into the light, unearthing his buried interests and passions, restoring some of the childish happiness and optimism which he was forced to outgrow. He, in turn, provides the reason and restraint that she is lacking. Together, they’re a force to be reckoned with, a billiard ball of measured recklessness careening through a world that has never seen their like.
The film follows their lead, rolling along from obstacle to obstacle. It carries the marks of veteran storytellers. It’s paced brilliantly, balancing frantic, high-energy chases and momentous events against careful, deliberate exposition and instances of character introspection, maintaining a brisk speed while occasionally giving the film (and the audience) a chance to breathe and consider the impact of events. Despite the thoughtful and curious nature of its concept and setting, it neatly avoids the tar pit of wordiness and overindulgence into which stories of that nature have the chance of sinking; it is never too slow or too obtuse, instead rationing its heavier sci-fi aspects so as not to become overly ponderous. It foreshadows its twists and turns with admirable finesse and carries itself smartly, eventually leading to a conclusion which, while definitely a shock, ends up providing the satisfaction of a story brought to fruition from start to finish as one realizes that all of the requisite hints were provided, and it suddenly all makes smashing, effortless sense.
Visually, there is much to love. While the production values might not stack up to those associated with many feature films, this is nonetheless a pleasant movie to look at. Key character designs are refreshingly simple, yet distinctive, and backgrounds are filled with bright, glossy detail. However, it is Yasuhiro Yoshiura’s skillful direction and cinematography which steal the show. A pan across a classroom shows, row by row, each student staring blankly ahead, except for Age, who gazes out the window at the forbidden sky. Patema fears the stars in that same sky until she sees their beauty reflected at an angle in Age’s briefcase, truly aligning her perspective with his for the first time. Yoshiura’s compositions and shots not only draw the eye with subtle technique, but reflect the theme of the film, wordlessly expose the thoughts of his characters, and imbue each scene with a sense of purpose.
It’s worth mentioning, though, that the swift, simple and energetic nature of the film is a double-edged sword. When a light, pleasant story is told with such sure-handed competence, it’s not unreasonable to wonder what could have been had the storyteller gone the extra mile in search of more creative ideas, more thematic resonance, more lasting impact. In essence, Patema Inverted is just a little safe. The settings—both Age’s oppressive totalitarian society and Patema’s underground village of peaceful outcasts—tread well-worn territory for sci-fi. The antagonists—the unquestionably evil, short-sighted dictator and his doubting second-in-command—are also old standbys. They serve their roles adequately, but unlike Patema and Age, they lack the foundation of character needed to be true standouts from their respective crowds. And while the film contains many tidbits about what we can understand and accomplish when we merge our perspectives, and the inherent fragility of close-mindedness, it’s lacking the focused thematic punch in the gut needed to make a permanent impression.
That’s not to say that Patema Inverted is a brainless work, that it’s poor, or even that it’s merely forgettable, airy entertainment. The opposite—it’s not only entertaining, but also clever, deftly executed, artfully made, and chock-full of those little touches that make the difference between a tired, mediocre creation and one that is palpably bursting with the life, thoughts, and energy of those who created it. It might not aspire to greatness, but it’s good with such confidence and efficiency that one can’t help but smile.
32: Detective Conan Movie 15: Quarter of Silence
Japanese: 名探偵コナン 沈黙の15分
MAL Score: 8.02
The momentous day of the opening of the new Tokyo subway, the Touto Line, has come, but a bombing incident puts all celebrations to a halt. The governor of Tokyo is caught in the blast while onboard the train, but he and everyone else present is fortunately saved by the quick thinking and actions of Conan Edogawa.
Intrigued by the incident, Conan researches the governor’s political history and discovers that the man was responsible for the destruction of a village in Niigata to build the Kitanosawa Dam. Believing the attack to be related to the construction of the dam, Conan, accompanied by Ran Mouri, Kogorou Mouri, Professor Agasa, Sonoko Suzuki, and the Detective Boys, decides to visit the village and investigate.
There, they meet a group of locals who lived in the old village before it was torn down. However, just as one mystery leads to another, one of the locals is murdered. Suspecting that something much more sinister is afoot, Conan vows to uncover the truth behind these two incidents before it is too late.
But after watching this movie, I just got an urge to do it.
So, here I go:
Even though the trailer didn’t get me least excited and therefore I wasn’t THAT hyped, because of Movie 12’s, 13’s and 14’s Awesomeness, this one blew me away, once again.
It had everything, I love so much about this series (except for Kaito and Heiji, but they were in Movie 14 already).
The case was very exciting, the typical humour was good and the action was thrilling.
Of course, there also was the obligatoric dosis of drama, the series and especially the movies, always got. Some may find it cheesy and that’d be fine. But it doesn’t bother me.
Last but definetely not least, there was one of my most favourite things about the show, that I missed in the recent movies.: the presentation of the beautiful country and culture of Nippon (mostly country this time).
Before and even in between the cases, the series very often delievers a heartwarming, authentic and overall fascinating impression of the land of the rising sun. In my opinion, that is what makes the show so great, almost as much as the cases themselves.
The only thing I didn’t like, were the 3D-Effects regarding vehicles and traffical stuff in general. It’s common in anime these days and especially the Conan-Movies made use of them for a long time now.
Still I like the “old way” of animation best, were this parts also were “handmade”.
The Skate- and Snowboard-Scenes were an exception though. They were fantastic. They added a lot of action and dynamic feel to the movie and were great to watch.
The finale was the cherry on the cake. It was one of the best, if not THE best in the whole series. And that is quite an accomplishment.
It was dramatic, fast paced and simply bombastic.
Bottom line it was one of the best Conan-Movies so far, even though nearly all of them, were top notch.
Every fan of the series should’ve watched it and most of them, should come to love it, too.
As a huge DC fan, I was wondering about how they could surprise us, after producing both DC movies (13 & 14) which where very very enjoyable.
So, does this film hold all his promises, and our expectations?
Let’s talk about it.
Detective Conan Movie 15: Quarter of Silence:
After an introduction scene, showing a boy falling from a small snowy cliff, the story begins immediately out kind of crazy.
With a threat against the japanese governor, which became reality with a bomb’attack in a subway tunnel.
Conan succeeds to save everybody, after seeing someone suspect in the tunnel near this subway (actually, in top of) and understanding that some bombs were planted there.
Then.. A police summit and… nothing.
Conan & friends decided to came to Kitanosawa for Snow’s party (does it really exist in english?), and after the eternal and essential Agasa’s quizz, we discover the main characters of this movie. (Oh wait, I do not talk about the “memories” present, and the snowmobile’s course cause it’s without interest)
We discover these 5 people, childhood friends, who seem to be connected by tragic events (for each of them: A dead sister, a son in the coma, a killer…).
And after that, all of the continuation of the movie is tasteless. Indeed the story is soooo easy to guess, and far too badly settled and introduced:
The awakening of toma, after 8 years in the coma, the death of the character which seemed the most narcissistic and “bad”, Conan who ridicules Kogoro by finding how the culprit made not to be seen (in a easy way, moreover), the memory which returns little by little to Toma, which could remember the man who would have pushed him of the cliff…
Conan who solves easily the survey, the children who leave the place with Toma, and who are followed by the killer, then saved by Conan..
And similar. Bombs on the dam, predictable since the beginning.
How to stop the water of the dam? With an avalanche, obviously.
We also knew it since the beginning, as soon as they speak of ” how long we can survive under the snow after an avalanche “… Oh wait. Reread the title of the movie.. Yes, we still guess the end. AGAIN
Conan who arrives supernaturally to make an avalanche, to save everybody and the village, and RAN who finds him (shinichi, again) at the last second (14 minutes > 15 minutes of survives max.. Remember?)
Aniway, even if the story isn’t that much interesting, I’ll give a 04.
I was a bit sad at the beginning of this movie. DC passed in full HD, and it’s wonderful. The animation is redone and perfectly worked. To my eyes, the movie is really very very beautiful.
Nevertheless, all the added details, to make the spectator laugh (all these visual onomatopoeias, all these small gags…) are tasteless and without interest. And it’s a pity..
Sound is cool. Nothing really good, or really bad.
Even if I didn’t like Kogoro’s voice in this movie, it’s quite enjoyable.
•Characters (02/10): (DID NOT COUNT DC USUAL STAFF)
No surprise, we have the team: Kogoro/Ran/Sonoko/Conan + Agasa/Ai/Ayumi/Genta/Mitsuhiko.
And that’s, then, the BIG weak point of the movie. All the unpublished protagonists and existing only for this movie are clichés and stereotypes. Besides we’ll never arrive to fasten (Your sealtbealt *.*), indentify ourselves to one of them.
They are divested of interests, both by their character and by their actions.
I have no problem to watch this movie. Even if it was boring at such time, it’s always like that in some point, in DC movies, that’s why it does not disturb.
Yeah, I’ve lot of problem with this movie.
OBJECTIVELY, how did a 10 year’s boy could stop cars on road, at high speed? Could survive at bombs, and avalanche (after being shot, yes, shot by a rifle)? Couldn’t be unmasked, while IT WAS a lot MORE EXAGGERATED than lot of DC’s movies (Summit police, when Conan’s talent vas revealed AT TV!!!).
There were too many coincidences, too many improbable and guessable events at the same time, so that I appreciate OBJECTIVELY this movie.
And the IMPORTANT part:
The morality of the movie being badly brought ( the friendship > Movie’s people + Conan & Shonen Boys) making it so old-fashioned…
And it’s a pity, he would have been able to be a waaaaay better than that!!
Thks for reading, and sorry for the english, not my language.
Story (7/10): After an almost fatal bombing on a newly opened subway line occurs, Conan believes there’s a connection to a dam building project that relocated an entire village 5 years ago, and the whole gang (minus the police department characters) end up traveling there. They are then met with some freaky coincidences that could lead to the culprit in this case. But just what is that persons goal, and what does a coma patient have to do with it?
As a story for a movie, this feels a bit underwhelming, but by no means is the story itself bad. In fact I would say that it’s the one of the more well done stories in a Conan movie to date, utilizing the time correctly and using the movie exclusive characters very well. The bad thing though is that it does feel like a longer episode of the main show, so there’s a bit too much padding to fill out the almost 2 hour time frame. The movie also tries to bring up the Shinichi/Ran romance, but where it fit almost naturally into the previous movie, here it feels tacked on for the sake of having it just be there.
Also I hope you’re a fan of the Detective Boys, cause they play a larger part here than in more recent films, but even I, who isn’t really a big fan of them, have to admit that they added a certain charm to the story itself. Otherwise I feel like the story moves along fairly well and the climax is really amazing, so kudos (heh) for holding itself up to the better standards of the last few movies.
Art (8/10): I get the feeling that the staff who works on the movies is getting more into doing action scenes, since they were better than ever. They must have had fun with all the snowboarding scenes because hot damn were they fluid and exciting. The snowy village location was also really nice to look at, though this does cause the problem of the film being very white and pale colored heavy.
Sound (7/10): I’m not going to rehash anything, since sound is pretty much the same in most Conan movies by now. But as usual, it was great (an much better timed with things compared to the horrendous job done in the last movie).
Character (7/10): Conan/Shinichi, is, as usual, great, along with a bit more screen time for Ai, but since they really don’t have too many character moments themselves, lets focus on the others. As I said before, the Detective Boys are actually fairly important in this movie, so I hope you have a soft spot for them (me personally, I don’t really like them all that much, but they have their moments). But thankfully, they fit in very well with the plot and they are played up with their strengths, making them much more tolerable than in other films. Agasa, Kogoro, Ran, and Sonoko, on the other hand, are just sort of thrown into the movie and don’t really do all that much, one of the unfortunate trends that the movies tend to have.
(If you’re wondering, Conan movies have the bad tendency of only focusing on one set of secondary characters, so one movie (Rave Chaser) may focus on the police characters, one (Jolly Rodger of the Deep Sea) focusing on Ran and Sonoko, and this movie on the Detective Boys, where the other set(s) feel out of place or underutilized. …rant over, I promise.)
The movie characters, thankfully, are fairly strong and are fun to watch. While they aren’t too amazing (they do have the standard feel of a Conan case character), special note goes to Touma, who is fairly interesting and probably could have had more screen time on his own, but for what we got he was interesting and helped with some interesting parallels with Conan, Ai, and the Detective Boys.
Enjoyment (8/10): Going into this movie, I had no idea what I was in for. All I knew was that there was a snowy location and…that’s it. But I’m happy to say that I was pleasantly surprised. While I do think that they could have made the film a slight bit shorter, it was entertaining and a totally fun watch.
Detective Conan: Quarter of Silence is a fun ride from start to finish, though it doesn’t feel quite as strong as the two movies prior to it. But that doesn’t matter as much since the mystery was interesting, the action fun, and it gave some characters some time to shine. While some things are the same as ever, it’s still a fun movie for fans and non-fans alike.
7/10 = fun movie with an interesting mystery and good action, but just doesn’t feel as strong as some of the better entries in the movie franchise; you better like the Detective Boys, because they’re partial headliners here
31: Detective Conan Movie 03: The Last Wizard of the Century
English: Case Closed Movie 3: The Last Wizard of the Century
Japanese: 名探偵コナン 世紀末の魔術師
MAL Score: 8.03
Kaitou Kid dares to challenge the police once more, setting his sights on the Russian Imperial Easter Egg. With the date, time, and place, the Osaka police force scrambles to stop him. But this time, Kid may have bitten off more than he can chew—Conan Edogawa, Heiji Hattori, and numerous others are also trying to get their hands on the jeweled egg.
As the race for possession of the egg escalates, a string of murders threatens those after it, and at the same time the tragic truth behind the Romanov Dynasty is finally revealed. At the center of these developments, it is up to Conan to solve the gruesome murders and catch Kid, all while protecting those close to him and concealing his identity.
The most notable thing in detective movie is the mystery element. Be prepare to found an amazing movie with a lot of mysteries hidden with it. You will be blinded by one of the most well-produced mystery. While the individual elements of the story done well, the plot is decent and manage to balance the story up. With historical value within this film, Last Wizard of The Century have a + sign for them and did a fairly good job in the plot settings.
It is easily accessible, the movie is a perfect example of enjoying the series at its best without having to watch all of Meitantei Conan episodes.
The animation is quite old if we compared it with our era now, but in general, it’s decent. The sound settings are also decent as well.
The characters came out from everywhere, almost all of the main cast appear in the screen.
Kaitou Kid is the omniscient and overpowered character while our hero Conan is analytical and smart. Although omniscient is not a good thing, but the character did their roles pretty well.
Overall, if you are a fan of Meitantei Conan, don’t miss this. Also, if you a fan of detective and mystery settings is quite recommended for you.
As you should know Edogawa Conan is Shinichi after being poisoned by the mysterious Black Organisation.
The story starts with Conan, Ran and Mouri going to Osaka, under the request of Ran’s Best friend in order to protect their family’s Fabergé egg, which is under threat of being stolen by Katiou Kid (A new Character in the series which appears around 120 episodes).
The plot revoles around the mystery of the Fabergé egg and the history and secrets it holds. The uniqueness of the plot is how it accounts for Tsar and its family including the history of the russian revolution. After Kaitou Manages to steal the egg from the police that were guarding it. He is shot down by a mysterious character, all that was left was his broken moncle and an injured white dove.
With Kaitou mysteriously disappearing, The owner of the egg decides to go and make sure the egg is undamged after the incident. During this time someone who claims the egg belongs to their ancestors arrive. with the orginal designs for the egg. Only to discover from the drawings that there is two eggs.
As the characters begin to relax and let loose and the other parties begin to fight over buying the egg, a murder takes place. Which leads Conan to believe the murderer is the same person who took down Kaitou. Therefore calling up Proffessor Agase. To check up the interpol wanted list. and found his suspected murder “Scorpion”
All in all this movie involves probably the largest array of the Conan characters, practically everyone makes an appearence. From Inspector Meguri to Conan’s Fellow high School Detective Hattori Heiji.
I enjoyed this movie mainly cause there was more mystery then the first two. But at the same time it felt more story watching then challening you to try to solve the murders and the mystery. But I still enjoyed the twist at the end of the moive. ^_^
At first the story starts off getting to the real point of the whole thing. Kito Kid is in this, and he is a magician, so he must of course be the Last Wizard of the Century, which is the title of the movie, no? I mean, it is three years away from the change of the century to two thousand when this is movie is made. This might be something that one might want to keep in mind to the end.
The ideas and the concepts in the movie run through in a way that one might think one thing at the begining and be possibly blinded by them, but as one gets furthur along in the movie and more historical facts are revealed to the audience, one becomes less and less mystified and begin to put the facts together. The information presented about hte Russian tzar and his family is fairly accurate from what I can tell.
As always, Detective Conan’s animation is good, expessully for the time frame that it comes from. And some of the details on things, like the egg that Sonoko’s family owns are amazingly detailed. I would go more into this, but the one problem is, if I do… I’ll give away a story line that is really good and that isn’t the point of a review.
The musical score for the soundtrack reminds me of the soundtrack for the Disney Movie Anastasia. It was released two years after Disney released it’s movie, so it is an actual possibility that one movie may have influenced this movie. That really is up to you the viewer to decide, not me.
We get to see the unprofessional acting cops who are after Kito again, which is histarical, though they don’t play as big of a humor role in this. In fact, there are a lot of characters that rather show up in this movie, the cast isn’t limited. Also, not only is this a Kito Kid movie, it gives depth into the theif magician’s character.
At first I was, for the first ten to twenty mintutes, not exactly thrilled with the movie. Most of the good stuff happens later on. Then again, Detective Conan movies are some of the few that will actually go and give a synopsis of what has happened so far for him, which might have been part of my problem, as I kind of feel that I know that allready.
I am a major fan of the history and mystery surrounding the tzar’s family and their deaths. So when I found, or more of figured that this played a good role in this movie, I was thrilled. And I might admit… biased because of it. From the historical point of view, they handled the historical facts quite well.
If you are a fan of Detective Conan, or of the tzars story, this is worth the watch of someone to watch, whether it is only one or not. It is put together in a way that is craftmanship.
30: Detective Conan Movie 04: Captured in Her Eyes
English: Case Closed Movie 4: Captured In Her Eyes
MAL Score: 8.03
On a rainy afternoon, the Detective Boys witness a murder across the street. Barred by traffic, the culprit slips away and Conan Edogawa is left a single clue by a dying detective. Days later, another detective is found murdered in a parking lot, leaving the police rattled. Suspicious that the culprit is one of their own, everyone in the police department without an alibi is suspect. But despite being on high alert, they are outmaneuvered and suffer yet another attack—this time with Ran Mouri finding herself in the crossfire.
Traumatized, Ran wakes in the hospital with retrograde amnesia, remembering nothing about her life. Soon released, she struggles to remember her past and grows fearful of not regaining her memories before being targeted by the killer for what she witnessed. As she is guarded by friends and family, it is up to Conan to piece together the clues and find who the murderer is before they strike again.
Captured In Her Eyes is the best movie of Detective Conan. Shinichi confessed that he likes Ran. Ran lost his memory and no matter how Shinichi wanted to appear to her as Shinichi and comfort her…thinking of it just made it harder for him. And also that Haibara almost confessed to Shinichi…that part is really something. The thrill, the excitement, the romance, the mystery being revealed…I really like it so much!
It’s so painful even for a great detective like himself not to be able to help the one you consider the most important in the world…but because of the unexpected situation he got himself into, he made a really big sacrifice. Shinichi doesn’t want to hurt Ran and that made it a lot difficult for him especially when he sees that the only one Ran felt nostalgic about after losing her memory is his picture. And in here, Conan got saluted by a high ranked officer of the police department. It’s really good!
A lot of the emotion comes from Ran losing her memories after a traumatic experience with the murderer. The fact that Conan can’t do anything as Shinichi to help her is a very cruel thing to undergo. But despite that, Ran is still still just as much her awesome self as she was with her memories. The fact that she still chooses to keep a positive outlook after the incident is probably one of my favorite things about her and why I love this movie so much. One of my favorite parts about this movie is the finale in Tropical Land, which is home to some of the most imaginative environments in a Detective Conan movie. Combine that with a well-polished art style and what you have is a movie that’s both fun and good to look at.
The movie itself, while interesting, is admittedly kind of slow. Having to wait while Conan plays catch-up with the audience is one of the least exciting moments in the film. Also, the case itself isn’t that very interesting to solve, with the first clue about the culprit being heavily reliant on Japanese wordplay. It’s very clear that the movie was more focused on Ran’s amnesiac experience than the mystery itself. By no means is that a bad thing, as a lot of the emotion comes from everyone dealing with her loss of memories. If you are looking for a movie with a great mystery to solve, this may not be the one for you.
Captured in Her Eyes is one of my favorite Detective Conan movies. While the case itself isn’t much to write home about, the fun character moments and polished visuals are what keeps this movie highly rated for me.
29: Omae Umasou da na
English: You Are Umasou
MAL Score: 8.03
By a twist of fate, a herbivorous dinosaur finds a lost egg and brings it back to her nest. When the egg hatches, however, a carnivorous dinosaur emerges. Unable to abandon the child, she names him “Heart” and raises him in exile alongside her own child. As Heart comes of age, he struggles to eat the same food as his family and runs away in disgrace when he learns that he cannot live properly without meat.
Years later, the now feared predator Heart encounters a situation similar to his past—he spots a dinosaur egg opposite his kind. As it emerges, Heart remarks that the newborn is delicious-looking. The newborn herbivore thinks that Heart is his father and takes delicious-looking, or “Umasou,” as his name. Unable to eat a newborn who loves him, Heart reluctantly decides to raise Umasou as his own. As he nurtures a forbidden child like his mother before him, Heart struggles to deal with an unforgiving world and the true natures of predator and prey.
Story: The story focuses on a T-rex(Big Jaw as it’s called in the movie) named Heart. At the beginning of the movie an egg drifts down the river, a plant eater(Completely blanking on the species) finds this egg and decides to take it as it’s own along with her own eggs. After a dinosaur attack all that remains of her eggs are just one of her own eggs, and the one with Heart in it. After the eggs hatch the herd tells the mother to abandon the egg due to it being a meat eater, the mother decides to split off from the herd and raise the two children in solitude. In order to control Heart’s meat eating nature the mother has him eat red berries as a substitute. This plan works decently but Heart still has his cravings for meat. While Heart and his brother Light(The other dinosaur that hatched) go out berry hunting, Heart decides to head off in his own direction. Heart then meets a herd of Big Jaws with their leader being a one eyes big jaw named appropriately “One Eyed Baku.” While the herd is taking in their game Heart flees at the sight of them eating the flesh of their catch, Baku then questions him on why he is here and what is he doing. After answering his questions and scurrying off, one of the herd breaks off to track Heart. When Heart returns to Light the herd member (Think his name was Doma. Names were far and between in this movie) attacks Light and questions Heart’s relationship to a plant eater. Doma laughs at the idea of the two being brothers and tempts Heart with the taste of meat and tells him that he is a Big Jaw.(Which Heart denies due to being raised as a plant eater) They scuffle with Heart ripping off Doma’s tail and Heart begins to question his taste of meat and what he really is. That’s part one. I’ll focus on part two briefly so you get a glimpse of why the hell this movie is named what it is.
A stronger grown up heart (This is probably the only movie where you will see a T-rex doing push-ups with one hand), after breaking off from the herd has taken his taste of meat with pride. Hunting other dinosaurs and eating his flesh, he soon sees a tiny egg on the ground. Heart approaches it to find a baby anklyosaurus(Hard Shell is the term they use) who believes Heart is his father. Heart in his meat phase calls the baby Umasou(Which means something on the lines of delicious) as to which the baby thinks his name is(Reminded me of Chii’s sweet home). Umasou now follows Heart believing that he is his father and wants to become strong like him. I’m gonna leave off there since I’m sure at this point if you’re reading you must have some interest in this movie. I hope that’s the case.
Art: The art is very colorful. Landscapes are painted to match the areas, my favorite being the vast deserts covered with sands with animal bones being scattered all across, with patches of grass randomly in it. Character designs are well, this is a kid’s movie after all. Basic and plain, but enough to warrant some attention.
Sound: Music choices fit the scenes accordingly. There are 3 vocal songs that are actually really catchy. The main one being when Heart and Umasou are training(For what dare you ask? Watch the damn movie!). It’s really addicting I swear.
Seiyuu’s are also very good. Was surprised to see Baku being played by Ikari Gendo’s seiyuu(He’s like, every villian now).
Character: Very good. You get attached to the Heart and the struggle he goes through. Being raised by the complete opposite and ending up raising the complete opposite with Umasou. The other characters like Umasou and Heart help keep the story in check. Was a little bit upset that Umasou did not really do much in the last part, he was just kind of there to say “Hey! Cute mascot here!”
Enjoyment: The movie is meant for kids, that’s a given. But it does appeal to all crowds. I grew up with these types of movies so seeing another one is fine with me, though for this one the fight scenes are actually pretty cool. The last one with ____ being the best one. I watched it on my own and enjoyed it, I’m also 20 by the way.
Overall: This movie is the same old telling just brought back with some cool stuff. Characters are fun, the songs are catchy, and in the end you really do feel for Heart and the choices he makes as a character. It’s a movie you can really watch with anyone, and I’d say if you got nothing better to do. Watch Umasou do a breakdance spin with his awkward body.
28: Detective Conan Movie 10: Requiem of the Detectives
Japanese: 名探偵コナン 探偵たちの鎮魂歌[レクイエム]
MAL Score: 8.06
After receiving a strange invitation, Kogorou Mouri pays a visit to the Miracle Land theme park along with his daughter Ran, Conan Edogawa, and the Detective Boys. Once there, Kogorou and Conan are tasked with finishing an unsolved case by a mysterious stranger. Realizing that the invitations were actually an elaborate trap, the two have just 12 hours to solve the case or face grave danger.
With the help of familiar faces like Heiji Hattori, Kaitou Kid, and even Saguru Hakuba, the group of detectives must unravel the web of clues surrounding the case in order to find the culprit and bring them to justice before it’s too late.
The only saving grace about this movie is its story, which has Conan and the other detectives try to solve a case for a client before they all explode. There is some semblance of a looming sense of dread, as every moment is leading closer and closer to death as the movie goes on. There are even a few decent character moments here and there. Of course, this is where the praise for this movie stops.
While the story itself is good, the execution is extremely lacking. Despite being under pressure to solve a case as soon as possible, the way the scenes are shot fail to capture that urgency. Everything feels so slow and plain that it eliminates any semblance of tension that the characters may be under right now. What also ruins this movie even more is its art and animation. The Detective Conan movies usually have a level of polish that puts them above the anime series. Here, there is no trace of quality or refining done to either the art or animation. It is, quite literary, an extended episode.
If this were a TV special, then I wouldn’t mind it so much (then I wouldn’t even need to review it). But this isn’t just a movie; it’s a movie celebrating the 10th anniversary of the series. When put into that context, what does it have going for it? What can you watch in this movie that you can literally see in any other movie? Heiji and Kaito Kid? They already have their own movies. Everyone is going to be killed if Conan doesn’t solve the case? Try the Eleventh Striker. Requiem of the Detectives’ main problem is how basic it all is; every other movie before and after it did the same things that this movie does but even better. It’s almost like this movie only had the story to work with and just did whatever with everything else.
Before I end this review, I do want to stress that this only just me speaking and that my opinion may not apply for everyone else. These movies are like different flavors of ice cream. Some are like chocolate. Some are like strawberry. Some are even like pistachio. If I had to define Requiem of the Detectives as an ice cream flavor, it would be vanilla. Not French vanilla or vanilla bean; just basic vanilla. Some people like vanilla and that’s okay. Even I’m morbidly curious what maple bacon ice cream tastes like. As such, Requiem of the Detectives will always be somebody else’s favorite Detective Conan movie no matter what I think of it.
27: Detective Conan Movie 08: Magician of the Silver Sky
Japanese: 名探偵コナン 銀翼の奇術師[マジシャン]
MAL Score: 8.08
Once again, Kaitou Kid crosses swords with Conan Edogawa in this annual installment of the Detective Conan movie franchise. After receiving a letter from the thief, famous actress Juri Maki seeks the help of private detective Kogorou Mouri to protect the Star Sapphire—the “Jewel of Destiny,” said to represent faith, fate, and hope. Thinking he has deciphered Kid’s riddle, Kogorou personally shows up to the newly constructed space theater where Juri is acting in the play “Josephine” in order to catch Kid in the act.
The next day, Conan and the gang are invited by Juri to her holiday home, to celebrate the thwarting of Kid’s plan and the success of the play. However, their triumph crumbles when a murder occurs during the flight there. Although unintentional, this sets off a series of events that escalate to catastrophic results. Conan and Kid, unlikely allies that they are, must work together to save both their friends and every other passenger aboard the plane.
One of the movie’s most interesting aspects is how it takes three different scenarios and combines them into one, cohesive story where the elements in one part carry on into the next. While this is some very interesting story-writing, one could not help but wonder if more time went into writing one part more than the others. In 1995’s Goldeneye, the movie begins with an opening so great, that the rest of the movie fails to measure up to it. The same can be said for Magician of the Silver Sky. As fun as the other two parts are, the first part is and always will be the most memorable part of the whole movie. It’s kind of like eating a three-course meal, where the first dish is a juicy steak, the second is a PB&J sandwich, and the third is a bowel of chicken noodle soup. All are of varying quality, but none are better than the first dish.
One other thing that people do not like about this movie is how Kaito Kid always disguises himself as Shinichi. As genius as it was for him to do so, it sort of takes out the fun of figuring out who Kid is. Back then, I wouldn’t really have a problem with Kid disguising himself as Shinichi since it meant Conan can’t point him out without giving himself away. But after 15 years and 2 other movies where Kaito disguises himself as Shinichi (plus 1 if you count Fist of Blue Sapphire), I think now would be a good time for Kid to change up his Modus Operandi.
Despite my earlier analogy about chicken PB&J, Magcian of the Silver Sky is still a worth while watch. Everything that people love about Detective Conan is here and is still just as good. The story structure is interesting, the art and animation is pretty good, and the characters are still their usual lovable selves. Definitely a good watch.
Story-wise, it isn’t the typical Detetive Conan wherein the ending is usually when the culprit is caught. It somehow has a mix of other genres as well that made it unique in a way to the other movies so far. The mystery and detective-ness of the typical Detective Conan though was outshone by the scenes in the plane. In a way that made this a bit anti-climatic in terms of mysteriousness. It was however refreshing to see a different story from the typical series. There were also some scenes that had a bit of a bland after taste to it but still the good parts outweigh those. The story was good not the best one there is but it was good.
Every anime has its own unique art style. What sets Detective Conan apart from the others is that aside from the unique plot the art is also different so the author’s work can be easily distinguished for the others. Growing up with this anime makes my rating for it biased but I, for one, am content with the art.
The usual sound effects used in the series but there were a few added sound effects to make it sound new to the ears. Not complaining with the usual opening though, it just makes it even more exciting since it is the signature opening of Detectuve Conan so nostalgia from it isn’t lost to me.
The characters were okay though the culprit was predictable. The different sides of Kaitou Kid was seen here though his identity remains a mystery and that makes him all the more a character one can look forward to every time he appears. The kids however were a bit unnecessary in some scenes. Ran’s parents however made it refreshing. Everytime those two show up it’s really fun to watch. There were characters though that were a bit lacking in presence and sort of easily remained in the background. Conan though, is still the typical Conan we all know and love.
It was not what I had expected from the title and the movie poster though, so at the beginning I thought it was going to be a full on Kaitou Kid vs Conan movie but the unexpectedness of the plot all the more made it a good movie to me. There were some scenes that for me, were not needed and felt like they were just a few added scenes to make the movie longer. But other than that it was good. Not the best Detective Conan movie I’ve watched but nonetheless a good movie to watch.
If you want something a bit different from the typical Detective Conan, this is probably the way to go. There are a lot of mixed genres here that made it enjoyable to watch. It was a good movie. There were unexpected scenes and twists but that just made it even more fun to watch.
26: Detective Conan Movie 05: Countdown to Heaven
English: Case Closed Movie 5: Countdown to Heaven
Japanese: 名探偵コナン 天国へのカウントダウン
MAL Score: 8.12
Conan Edogawa, the Detective Boys, and Professor Hiroshi Agasa decide to visit the Nishitamashi Twin Towers. There they run into Ran Mouri; her closest friend, Sonoko Suzuki, and Ran’s father, the famous Kogorou Mouri. Learning the trio are attending the towers’ grand opening, Conan and company tag along for a private tour of its floors.
However, as preparations are finalized for the opening ceremony, their visit takes an unexpected turn—three brutal murders occur, seemingly linked to a mysterious Porsche 356A. Soon after, as Conan and the detectives dive deeper into the case, the towers are rocked by an explosion. With fire rapidly spreading and lives in danger, police desperately seek to evacuate everyone. But when the elevator, their only means to escape goes down, Conan and company are left behind. With help on its way, they frantically try to keep everyone safe, but time is running out if they want to bring the perpetrators to justice.
One might think that the idea or inspiration for this movie came from the 911 attacks, however, this is not so, the same way as Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers had no relation. This was released in April of that same year, so it was months before the attack happened.
Why the comparison to the attacks? Well, because for one thing there are a few simularities and second, one might feel a bit of nolstalgia from this movie, a good kind, as… well, the thing about detective mysteries, it is very rare that the detective gets to die, so you know that there is a happy ending, which is nice in comparision to the 911 attacks.
It had beautiful art work in this. I loved for example, the design for the two towers, and I also liked the paintings of the painter. There are other things I liked about the art, but hey… that would kind of give spoilers for the movie.
This one didn’t have much varience from the typical Detective Conan score, not from what I could see.
How to go about this without spoiling things. I have to say that the murder in this happened to have such a beautiful, dramatic reasoning behind it, but murder is still murder. It was one that I have to say I definatly liked.
I loved how Sonako is rather concerned with her looks, but when isn’t she? I also liked how quite a few of the canon characters, expessully Ran and Conan get their kicks of heroics. Sherry is as always, her pesimistic self.
I am seriously trying to think of things to say that doesn’t give away the plotline here. The new characters almost have no character development along the way, until the very end. So that is a problem.
My enjoyment was high, but I related this to the 911 tradgedy. And it wasn’t like it was, oh… they based this on 911, but I did wonder and go research that small detail there. I had to say that I was rather impressed with the action scenes too. I can’t tell much as for this one it would give away the plot line… and for murder mystery, that can be a bad thing.
For this movie, I would say that a lot of people might like it, but there are going to be a few people who don’t, might call it clique. Some people might go and say that it is based of 911 and they are trying to make money off of it, much like someone did with the Two Towers Movie for Lord of the Rings.
I also wonder if this is going to be brought over here, or if they might skip bringing the movie over here. Or if they will release the third and forth movies in time, they will be able to release this in time for the tenth anaversary of 911, which to me would be cool, but for some people, they might not like it.
But why do I think so?
There are a plethora of reasons! The animation, the storyline, the dramatic and the score… I just got into it so fast and I can’t get away…
Of course, the animation might be a bit outdated, because this movies goes back to the very beginning of the last decade; however, it’s still wonderful to watch it! The Animation and the score, side by side, work wonderfully together! And that’s why there’s room for the story – it allows to improve itself even without much dialouge!
I did enjoy (and I still do so) the characters and their background stories – which is for a conan movie always quite important!
So, I just can say: go and watch it!
My first reason is that this movie is bursting to the brim with great moments from the main cast. Conan, Ran, Kogoro, the Detective Boys, & Haibara all get their moment to shine in the spotlight. The moments with these characters are so charming and fun that it’s able to carry the audience through parts of the movie some would consider to be boring without. That’s not to say that the story sucks. In my opinion, it’s a very-well told story with several twists and turns that keeps the audience engaged all the way to a satisfying conclusion. I think everyone can agree that everything that happens in the third part of the film has some of the best moments in the whole series(save for maybe Haibara’s quick lesson about physics). If I had only one nit-pick about this film is that it is too dark. That is, a lot of scenes in the latter third are shrouded in darkness, making several scenes, including those epic ones, feel significantly less epic. If this movie received a visual update, it could easily become a strong competitor for my favorite Detective Conan movie.
If you are still deciding if you should see Countdown to Heaven, then put those doubts aside and go see it! While it may not have aged well in the art style, don’t let that put you off from enjoying this fun and classic movie that showcases the best that Detective Conan has to offer.
25: Dragon Ball Super: Broly
English: Dragon Ball Super: Broly
Japanese: ドラゴンボール超（スーパー） ブロリー
MAL Score: 8.12
Forty-one years ago on Planet Vegeta, home of the infamous Saiyan warrior race, King Vegeta noticed a baby named Broly whose latent power exceeded that of his own son. Believing that Broly’s power would one day surpass that of his child, Vegeta, the king sends Broly to the desolate planet Vampa. Broly’s father Paragus follows after him, intent on rescuing his son. However, his ship gets damaged, causing the two to spend years trapped on the barren world, unaware of the salvation that would one day come from an unlikely ally.
Years later on Earth, Gokuu Son and Prince Vegeta—believed to be the last survivors of the Saiyan race—are busy training on a remote island. But their sparring is interrupted when the appearance of their old enemy Frieza drives them to search for the last of the wish-granting Dragon Balls on a frozen continent. Once there, Frieza shows off his new allies: Paragus and the now extremely powerful Broly. A legendary battle that shakes the foundation of the world ensues as Gokuu and Vegeta face off against Broly, a warrior without equal whose rage is just waiting to be unleashed.
This is an absolute gem of a movie. Modern Dragon ball can’t get any better than this. It was really phenomenal. Here a few key features of the movie
The movie is divided into 2 phases. The “Past&The Present”. The start of the movie is all about the history of the Saiyans. The movie does a half an hour long depiction of the history of the Saiyans. The past is mostly based on “DB MINUS” with a few tidbits from the “Bardock: The Father of Goku”. The movie is more about broly. Broly was a Saiyan with really high potential. King Vegeta being jealous of Broly’s latent potential decided to send away baby Broly to a faraway planet “Vampa”. Paragus(Father of broly) being betrayed by The King, vowed to find his son and one day get revenge on the king. The movie explains the ties of fate between Goku, Vegeta and Broly. The present section of the movie takes place after “THE TOURNAMENT OF POWER”. It’s about the encounter of the 3 fated Saiyans with each other. Pretty simple plot not too complex or anything but is really well written and executed pretty well!
The animation of this movie is out of this world. Toriyama and Toei Animation decided to change the animation supervisor and character designer “Tadayoshi Yamamuro” to “Nahiro Shintani”. His animation is more fluid and gives a refreshing feel to the movie. There is a use of CG as well. In short, this is the best anime movie of 2018 when it comes to animation. Having animators from My hero academia, one punch man etc working on it. Also got Toei’s best staff with the likes of Naotoshi Shida, Yuya Takahashi, Naoki tate and other great animators. The movie is one hour and forty minutes of pure ” SAGAKA”.
SOUND AND DIRECTION 8
The movie director is “Nagamine” who produced one of the best episodes of super like episode 95 or the introduction of Ultra Instinct etc. The movie is directed really well by him. His storyboards were really amazing. The music is composed by ” Sumitomo” who had his fair share of criticism from the fans because of his music at the beginning of super. His music in the battle of gods was pretty good but in this movie it’s so emotional and captivating
FIGHT SCENES 10
Dragon Ball is known for producing some of the best fights in all of anime. And this movie is no exception. With the likes of Takahashi and Naotoshi Shida handling the main action parts of the film, the fight scenes are absolutely mind-blowing. Especially the final section of the movie where Shida brings his A game to the movie, Shida mixed with Shintani sheets produced some of the best fights in all of anime.
CONCLUSION….. overall 10
You should absolutely watch this movie. Not only its animated really well, but it also showcases some of the best fights of 2018, and it has great music too. Please go and watch this movie in the theatres. Its theatrical experience will blow your mind. Overall it’s a pretty solid movie. 10/10 for me !!!
-Goku who has a scar in his face
“I smell obligatory money grab in the air.”
-Me, and about half of the DB fandom
Let’s face it, Dragon Ball Super is just fanfiction written by the original Dragon Ball creator. First the amazing Dragon Ball manga was ruined by the Z route with its fillers and godawful pacing, and then the franchise got extended with million different side/backstories/sequels over decades and they are shamelessly even called “canon” because that’s the best insult anyone could ever come up with when trying to mock DB. I wish this would stop because nothing was needed after Kai. Nothing.
In this movie, Goku and Vegeta have an obligatory fist fight, Bulma tried to be sexy. Beerus and his buddy eat some cake and every main character acts like a clown to add some comedy. Rest of the story focuses around 2 things: recycling the same shit in the exact same manner as DB Super did, and adding new story elements and characters in the mix in purpose of rewriting the true canon story. It’s truly amazing how mere 20 minutes of the movie’s air time is put in something that quite literally just rapes the history of Saiyan race once again. “There was this guy and that guy and then this happened oh and that, and yes, it totally existed always now I am just confirming this shit, I swear.” What a joke. At the very least, separate, 2-hour long movie about this subject would have been needed, but I guess that’s fine, it’s not like this franchise is supposed to be taken seriously anymore. I actually read that the original script was 3 hours long, but the storyboard was changed by the director and the outcome is now this 1 hour 35 minutes of messiness that doesn’t give a shit about Dragon Ball. Quality level: shonen.
Character-wise, at least the main cast’s personalities aren’t as heavily altered as in the later DBS arcs, so I guess that’s an achievement of some sort. Broly himself is basically acting like a mentally handicapped dog. I am sure he couldn’t even fetch a stick, etc. ETC standing for Electrical Training Collar. Seriously, this version of his character is pretty much just a ripoff of Danny the Dog. Frezzamocca (Freeza) also talks about planet Vegeta’s destruction for the 90.000th time here as well because no one has yet grown tired of hearing about that shit. Such a fresh experience this one. It’s truly great to see the fans getting respected this way, love letter to the fandom, no less. //sarcasm. Art and sounds are pretty much the same as earlier, tho the last fight scenes are quite spectacular especially considering it’s the work of 2018’s Toei. If we talk about the event that lead to the fight, the pacing, the fusion training, the powerlevel asspullery… well, maybe they pass as a comedy. Lots of lung work is put in the yelling sequences and the hair designs are matching all colors of rainbow. The 3 seconds long OP doesn’t really make any sense, but who cares really. Broly’s own song is cringe as duck, tho. “Go Broly, go go” and I hate myself for letting it get stuck in my head.
Because I considered myself a fan of Dragon Ball, I can only call this movie trash. I give a 2 instead of a 1 because Piccolo.
I am not going to explain the story because the internet is flooded with it.
What i do can say is that the story used for the movie is built up better than most popular series movies in the last 3-4 years.To be honest i did not expect that because most of the past movies are not that big story based in the DB universe.
however i do feel that they could’ve exploit some topics broader.
Ladies and gentlemen you need to see this movie just for the artwork/animation alone.
While every other series are fully going for the digital animation/modern look,the director of the DB Broly movie MADE a STATEMENT by making the movie in Old School manga/anime colours and pencil strokes.They do have some use in the movie of modern techniques but it does the movie justice.
I watch anime for over 25+years and my god this movie gave me back those Old School nostalgia.
no other series can top this up for the moment.
But i must confess i did not like some of the character designs because it did not match the Old School touch.
soundtrack and movie effects are on point and were blasted off on the right moment.
I felt that some characters did not match the whole concept of the movie.Probably they did this to make the movie more open for NON-DB viewers.
The new Broly design is superb!It truly screams the savage saiyan look.The old broly personage of the previous movies is blown by bits from the new broly.
To bad some characters had not to much screentime.
How can you not enjoy this movie?This movie is packed with action.
There is nothing wrong watching some old school typical DB fighting.
This movie will dominate box offices.
The amount of effort and work into it is insane,if you can not acknowledge that then i suggest you stop watching J-animation in it’s whole.
This movie made a statement by using the Old School look and re-vamping 2 popular characters and that takes balls to do it since we live in an era flooded with oversensitive fanservice fans and keyboardgangsters that like to bash because they cannot accept change or cannot accept good work.
I salute the whole crew who made this movie!It has been a while that i really enjoyed a good J-animation movie since kimi no wa and wolf children
24: One Piece Film: Strong World
English: One Piece Film Strong World
Japanese: ワンピース フィルム ストロングワールド
MAL Score: 8.14
Upon hearing news that islands in East Blue are being destroyed, Monkey D. Luffy and his crew go to investigate. On their way, however, an outlandish pirate ship appears out of the sky, helmed by the infamous pirate Shiki “the Golden Lion”—a man who ate the Float-Float Fruit and the first ever prisoner to escape from Impel Down. In his quest to defeat the World Government, Shiki kidnaps Nami to be his own navigator and sends the rest of the Straw Hat Pirates to his floating islands as hostages, leaving her in a dilemma. Separated in a land under Shiki’s absolute control, Luffy and his crew must survive the mystifying terrain in order to bring back their navigator and friend.
I don’t wish to ruin anyone’s enjoyment, that’s why I will try to be as objective as possible and give all the arguments necessary for my score decisions.
BUT LET ME WARN YOU, THIS IS A NEGATIVE REVIEW AND IT MAY CONTAIN SOME SMALL SPOILERS, SO DON’T READ IT IF YOU KNOW IT MAY AFFECT YOUR VIEWING EXPERIENCE!
STORY: The story is nonexistent. There is absolutely nothing in this that could be considered a story. The crew just beats the crap out of the bad guy saving the damsel in distress in the process and all for some cheap reason. When I say that the reason is not worthy to mention is because the viewer just doesn’t seem to relate to the seriousness of the situation, mainly because we only HEAR about what the bad guy (Shiki) is going to do. There is almost NO VISUAL REPRESENTATION of the tragic that such a situation would represent, so the viewer remains unfazed emotionally most of the time. My score for the story is 3, yes you read it right, 3. All the hype about Eiichiro Oda being the one to write the script for this film I think it was mainly done for publicity reasons, as there is little substance to the actual story.
CHARACTERS: The characters that we all love and adore are full of clicheistic behaviour and unnatural reactions. But let me elaborate a bit on what I mean. The Straw Hat crew seem to behave throughout the story mostly in repetitive ways from past series’ episodes. Now, this wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing if done with care and moderation, but here we just see this many behaviour patterns brought together from several different arcs from the anime series and mixed to form this “thing” that lacks substance. On the other side of the barricade, the bad guys are… well… just silly. I mean, Shiki is one bad dude, his power is awesome, I can’t deny that. I was really surprised by it, but his personality is just demeaning for the “legend” that he is supposed to represent and his actions and his master plan are just at a kindergarten level. His crew is stupid, and I mean stupid… There is no way such a crew could ever pose any threat to anyone, especially Gol D. Roger. They’re not scary, they’re not smart, they’re not powerful and they’re not even funny… especially funny. The jokes are terrible. And not only their jokes, but the jokes throughout the hole movie. They’re really D grade material. The only thing that really stands out about the characters is the clothes they wear. Now, I don’t dislike them, they’re pretty cool, but I think this is mainly for the fanservice and the publicity and don’t really fit well with the adventurous atmosphere that the One Piece world should have. So… for the characters I think a score of 4 is just about right. There are some good points but too few to make a difference. The not so good points just seem to overwhelm everything…
ANIMATION: The animation, at first really blowed me away, but slowly started to seem less and less attractive. The opening and the first part of the anime has astonishing graphics, wonderful views with top notch computer finishes. The battles are also very beautifully animated and really give a sense of awesomeness. But… yes… there is a but here too… There are some sequences where the animation just seems rushed and others where it seems plain. Not many I might add, but it still adds this feeling of inconsistency throughout the movie. Talking about inconsistency, the pace is very uneven. Either a fast pace is invoked or a slow one and they don’t really transition smoothly between one to another. So, for the animation, I think an 8 is appropriate, and yes, I don’t think I’m being generous. This is probably a fair score.
SOUND: Now… here you will find a problem. One of the first thing you may notice is that there is NO SOUND… yes, you heard me correctly… NO SOUND. And when I say this I mean there is no music through much of the film. The music is the most important thing when one wants to create an atmosphere suitable for the different situations that arise. And this movie lacks everything when it comes to atmosphere, and mainly because of the music. I was really disappointed by this. The characters’ voices are pretty decent… the ones’ everyone’s already familiar with, so no problem here, although there isn’t really much dialogue to be found. So for the sound, another 3, and now I’m being generous…
ENJOYMENT: I was really flustered about my expectations from this movie and it’s real value. So, while I can’t say I didn’t enjoy it I can’t say I felt any kind of satisfaction either. More like dissatisfaction. So… for the enjoyment, let’s say… 4 will do.
RECOMMENDATION: If you’re a One Piece fan, watch it. Also, if you’re age is not greater than 12 you’ll probably find it cool. Otherwise don’t waste your time with it.
OVERALL my score is 4. Now, I don’t know, maybe I was in a bad mood when I watched it and it deserves more, so don’t go screaming your eyes out at me. If you disagree with me then I’m really happy for you, because the time you spent watching this film was enjoyable and it probably became a happy memorable experience for you.
Story (9): The story is great. I suppose they couldn’t do more in just one movie. The Strong World: Episode 0 OVA helped buying a lot of time. Like in any One Piece arc, the story moves fastly, no matter what has been shown before.
Art (9): Once you watch One Piece (anime) and see how the art isn’t that good in many parts of the series, you’ll notice that this movie contains a great art. Like, Franky had a banana on his hair. What the hell is that? Brooke was smoking. Well, I liked it and all, but the clothes were strange, and I have to admit it. Anyway. Great art and this is it.
Sound(9): The sound is great, but it has nothing “unexpected”. New soundtrack, but once it’s a movie, it had to be like this. The voices were great (duh) like on the anime.
Character(10): Luffy’s crew is so original that I can’t give it less than 10. Their personalities, the clothes they were wearing (strange, but original)… Shiki was, as well, an outstanding character. I have nothing bad to add about the characters.
Enjoymen(9)t: If you like One Piece and you aren’t expecting a lot of this movie just because Oda wrote this, then you’ll love this movie and even give it a 10. The key is: Don’t overrate it.
Overall(9): Well, many may not agree with me and rate this movie with a 10. But in a general analysis, 9 is a great note for this movie. All of the terms were combined and this is what we got: 9. The absence of logic in some parts (once I may not write spoilers, I’m not telling which parts these are), besides One Piece lacks logic on the anime itself many times, makes me feel like if this movie deserves a 9.
We open with ships floating in the sky. We cut to a pirate who causes them to fall on a group of government ships. We then cut to silly putty brain and his crew wandering around on a floating island. Why? Well the film quickly moves into a flashback to show a pirate named Shiki, the same guy who made the boats float, trick elongated man’s paint chip eating roommate and his crew into crashing on the island so he can kidnap Nami. What’s the point of showing the events out of order? I have no idea, it doesn’t make sense. There’s no story reason for this structure nor does it create tension. Anyway, Shiki wants Nami to join his crew because he needs a good navigator so that he can take over the world. Okay, so the story is pretty cliche. How’s the execution? Well, the first issue is that Shiki isn’t even remotely threatening. He has sword legs which just look stupid and shouldn’t be functional. Swords, they don’t work that way. He also looks like the love child of Jay Leno and Kraven the hunter, making him very difficult to take seriously. Then there’s his crew, which consists of a clown who wears shoes that make fart sounds, a pink gorilla and a bunch of nameless henchmen. I’ve seen more menacing villains in the Care Bears. Maybe they’re trying to be funny, but there’s not a lot of humour here. There were all of two funny scenes. Another thing that really bugs me is that they use the term “Evolution” when what they mean is mutation. Science, how does it work?
The characters are pretty one-dimensional. Let’s be generous and say that they’re relying on us knowing them from the show. But those characters who I remember from what little I’ve seen of the show haven’t changed, except for their outfits. Rousai’s disappointing grandson is still an obnoxious moron and the rest of the cast is pretty under-developed and bland.
The art… I don’t even know where to start. I have to admit that I hate the art in One Piece. The mostly lidless and blank eyes, the mouths that always seem to have their teeth showing for no reason, the bizarre proportions, the random things that replace various body parts. I will give the film credit though, most of the fight scenes do look pretty cool.
The voice acting is okay. I really can’t stand Tanaka Mayumi’s performance, although I don’t really blame her since I know she can act. It’s probably the direction. The rest of the voice actors do a decent job albeit exaggerated a times. The strongest performances are probably from Cho and Okamura Akemi. The music is pretty underwhelming and forgettable.
The yuri factor is a 1/10. There isn’t any in this.
So, how does Strong World fare? It’s not that bad. The story is pretty stupid, Elastic girl’s brain damaged admirer is the worst aspect and the weak antagonists don’t help matters. To the film’s credit, the fight scenes are pretty good and a lot of it does fall into the “so stupid it’s funny category.” So, I’m going to give it a 4/10.
23: Made in Abyss Movie 1: Tabidachi no Yoake
Japanese: 劇場版総集編【前編】メイドインアビス 旅立ちの夜明け
MAL Score: 8.14
The movie is a compilation of episodes 1-8 of the 2017 television series with new scenes added for the introduction. It covers the period from when Riko descends into the Abyss with her robot companion Reg, reaching the second layer where they meet the White Whistle Ozen who reveals information about Riko’s mother.
This movie is a recap of season 1 from the beginning to the end of episode 8 or beginning of episode 9. Condensing about 3 hours of anime down into 2 hours means that a lot needs to be cut out. The original 8 episodes don’t have an hour worth of fluff to cut, so a ton of minor scenes that gave important background end up getting cut. This ends up messing with the pacing of the story, and everything felt way to rushed. My friend who watched the anime and I kept reminding each other of our favorite scenes that were skipped, and there were a lot. Our friend who hadn’t seen it kept making comments like “I didn’t understand _____ until an offhand comment later on”. He had a lot of trouble following the story, and needed to make a lot of assumptions just to keep up. We filled him in the best we could after, but he said he needs to read the manga to answer all of his confusion.
Even though I had watched the anime fairly recently, there were a number of moments that caught my eye as being jarring due to the bad pacing. Near the end of the orphanage arc, Riko runs off crying, then shows up at the beginning of the next scene maybe 20 seconds later perfectly okay as if nothing ever happened, because several scenes in between were cut. Habo just bursts out of nowhere because any appearance of him in the chase scenes were cut (as was all but 1 other scene with him in it), making that whole part just about Riko and Reg relaxing, then rushing, then relaxing again, and ended by an unintentional borderline jumpscare. I hope you didn’t care about Kiwi, because almost every appearance of his was cut, and any background for when he does speak was cut. I feel the movie needed to be at least 20-30 min longer, as too much was cut.
So going back to my original question, who was this made for? It definitely wasn’t made for anyone who hasn’t seen the anime before, so I highly discourage anyone from recommending this to get someone new up to speed if/when season 2 rolls around. My friend likened it to watching an anime or movie on Youtube that was cut up and jumbled to avoid copyright infringement. As for my friend and I who had seen the anime, we either would’ve preferred to have just rewatched the anime or wish they had made an OVA instead (which we had never thought of before, but suddenly really hope they make one). I guess it does do what it’s supposed to do – it was just a recap. My friend has much harsher words for this than I do and felt it was somewhat a waste of time. I personally did find some enjoyment in it, just not nearly as much as watching the original. Ultimately, I feel this movie is only for the die-hard fan of season 1 who doesn’t have enough time to just rewatch it, which is a pretty limited audience.
I have slightly better hopes for the second movie when it reaches the US, as it should be a bit easier to fit only 5 episodes (one of which was double length) into 2 hours, but it will suffer the same problems. If you can afford only an extra ~90 min to just rewatch season 1 instead of watching both movies, you will likely have less regrets.
Though the movie is a recap of the anime that had aired in 2017, the movie does a great job of bringing the entire experience together. With the inclusion of a brand new intro we get to learn a little more about the characters, I won’t spoil who. The episodes were also edited together in a way where anything important isn’t lost, but the slower scenes are cut away. One that comes to mind is the scene with Habo. Otherwise any other changes are along the lines of music, one of the songs is unique and I don’t remember it being in the original anime, taking the place of Hanezeve Caradhina from episode 1. Speaking of music and sound, it was amazing to hear it in a theater with the surround sound. All in all, it was a pleasant experience, where both people who haven’t seen the show, as well as returning viewers can enjoy.
Edit: The first movie also only spans the first 8 episodes with the rest to come in the upcoming movie wandering twilight.
What do you get when you take Hayao Miyazaki, , mix in an equal amount of H.P.Lovecraft, a little bit of Ichigo Marshmallow, and a dash of J.R.R. Tolkein?
You get this masterpiece of fantasy genre, ‘Made in Abyss’! This movie is a compilation of the first eight episodes and if you haven’t watched the TV series, it is a damn good edit. This is really a perfect way to check it out if you have limited time and I highly recommend it.
Story: Without giving too much away, a friend of mine compared this series to One Piece…which had me going “Huh” but once I read some of the OP manga, I totally get what he means now. This story is a grand scale adventure of the most exciting kind. Because it’s such a big story, pretty much anything is possible.
“Hey, there’s a giant hole in the middle of town that stretches thousands and thousands of meters; let’s go jump in it and see what we can find!”
That’s the plot. It’s so simple yet so brilliant, right?
Art: Breath-takingly gorgeous animation. Especially the backgrounds. There’s a ton of creativity here. Tsukushi is a big fan of critters and there are lots and lots of imaginative critters in the abyss. That’s where the ‘Hiyao Miyazaki’ aspect comes in. But Tsukushi isn’t copying Miyazaki’s style; this is very much his own. Some are adorable and some are terrifyingly hideous and ugly just like the real animal kingdom we come in contact with every day. Which makes it feel all the more real.
The child characters are round-faced and cute. I was in fact surprised that this WASN’T from the artists behind Ichigo Marshmallow because the resemblance is uncanny. And then there are the adults who are almost as unique as the creatures like Ozen and Habo. I especially love Lyza’s Valkryie-esque design. It makes her limited screentime very charming.
Sound: If the art falls under ‘Scenery Porn’, the music most definitely falls under ‘Ear Porn’. The score is fantastic and unlike anything you’ve really heard before. Which was the staff’s goal; “we don’t want this to sound like it’s from just one country. That’s too easy to do.” So they met with a man from Australia (yes, that’s right) and he composed the score. I would love to own the OST of this. There is a vocal song…that doesn’t really say anything but it is so beautiful. You’ll have to listen for yourself because I can’t even describe it. Like….I dunno ‘Enya but so much better’?
I haven’t watched the dub yet but the Japanese voice actors are top-notch. The children are really cute. Ozen’s seiyuu is silky-smooth which makes her feel even MORE intimidating, oddly. And old-school anime fans will be delighted that the narrator and Lyza, Riko’s mother are voiced by Maaya Sakamoto (Hitomi from Escaflowne and many other notable 90s anime roles)
Character: This is probably Abyss’s ‘weakest’ part and when I say ‘weakest’, I only mean ‘slightly less fantastic than everything else that is so amazingly good’. Lol So they are STILL very very good. Riko is plucky and brave; basically a walking guidebook to the Abyss. She knows everything the experienced adults of her world know because she’s utterly fascinated with the giant hole. (‘Riko’ in Japanese does mean “clever” and I have a hunch that’s why she is named so).
Though Riko is smart, she still pretty naive and physically weak (because she is a 12-year-old girl). She’s mischievous and always getting in trouble so she’s also fun to watch. Not a lot of time passes between episodes 1-8 (this movie) so she doesn’t really…develop or change but in this case, it’s not that necessary.
There’s also Reg, the super-adorable (he’s my favorite ok) maybe-a-robot-maybe-not mysterious little boy who seems to have come up from the Abyss itself and takes on the role of Riko’s bodyguard and protector (possibly future love interest because he blushes around Riko a lot and it’s freaking cute lol) Reg is the more intriguing of the two because we know next to NOTHING about him and the cast, like the audience is willing to die for the answers.
The lesser characters are either cutely inoffensive, charming, or plain intriguing. Ozen definitely stands out as the most intriguing among the adults. But I’d also like to know more about Lyza. And though he has only a tiny role, I’m fond of Jirou. But he’s just that type of anime guy I go for. *laughs*
Enjoyment/ Overall: …..as if you couldn’t tell from everything above, I REALLY enjoy this series a lot. It’s vastly entertaining and will fill you with a sense of childlike wonder.
This is NOT for children. Oh I know it looks innocent enough with how cute everyone is but don’t be fooled; this show is the POSTER CHILD of the phrase ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’. You see, as Riko and Reg venture further down into the Abyss, the plot grows darker with each layer. The Abyss is dangerous and Tsukushi wants everyone to know it and experience it. And experience it, we do. This first movie is just the TIP of the disturbing iceberg. If you’re planning on continuing to movie two, BRACE YOURSELF.
One last thing: There are…some odd innuendo jokes going on with the young characters and you WILL probably pick up on lolicon undertones. Some people who have watched this are rather disturbed by it. But I do think it’d be a shame to forfeit this amazing title just because of small scenes like that. There’s just so much more to partake in.
22: Lupin III: Cagliostro no Shiro
English: Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro
Japanese: ルパン三世 カリオストロの城
MAL Score: 8.15
Arsene Lupin III discovers that the spoils from his latest casino robbery are actually “Gothic Bills,” legendary counterfeits that are nigh impossible to distinguish from genuine bills. Together with colleague Daisuke Jigen, he heads to the small nation of Cagliostro to investigate the origin of these counterfeits. Upon arrival, they save a girl from a high-speed chase who turns out to be Clarisse d’ Cagliostro, the daughter of the late Duke d’ Cagliostro. She is running from a sinister plot by Count Cagliostro to steal her family’s treasure through a forced marriage.
Natural flirt Lupin dislikes seeing a girl in distress and seeks to remedy the situation. Goemon Ishikawa XIII, Fujiko Mine, and Kouichi Zenigata also join the fray, each with their own motivations. As everyone converges at Cagliostro Castle, Lupin reminisces about his visit there 10 years ago, and the castle’s secrets emerge from the depths.
Lupin and Jigen are following the trail of some counterfeit money to a castle in a small independent country in Europe. This leads them to a girl from Lupin’s past in need of a hero.
Miyazaki’s first feature film is a great one. He takes the already lovable Lupin cast and makes them just a bit more innocent, which gives this a very pleasant fairy tale feel. The characters are charming, and it’s a joy watching the story unfold.
In this great adventure, our heroes set out to save the damsel in a tower from an evil count. The always great Fujiko is there looking for some loot, samurai Goemon shows up to lend his blade, and Inspector Zenigata is on Lupin’s tail as always.
The movie has a laid back, cool feel at first. It also gets pretty fast paced, and the action heats up. Pretty much, it’s great to see all the Lupin characters in top form, their interactions always entertaining.
There are some nice nods for fans of the series too. For example, a montage of a younger Lupin’s exploits features some of the situations from the intro of the original series.
It’s beautifully animated, with a very moving score by Yuji Ohno. And of course, great voice work from the Lupin cast. Plus this movie has one of the coolest car chases ever.
Pretty much, this movie is two masters at the top of their game, Hayao Miyazaki and Lupin III. A true classic, check it out.
Little known director Masaaki Ōsumi directed a show called Lupin III, an action/adventure/comedy series based upon the exploits of the eponymous master thief from the manga by Monkey Punch, which in turn was inspired by Maurice Leblanc’s crime novels about gentleman thief Arsène Lupin. The show proved to be too dark and adult-themed for general audiences, so Ōsumi was replaced by two directors. The new duo working under the name “A Productions Directors,” consisted of Isao Takahata (who would later give us emotional films like Grave of the Fireflies and Only Yesterday) and Hayao Miyazaki. Under their direction, the show was given a lighter, more family friendly tone, though this did little to affect the show’s already poor ratings. Following the show’s cancellation, Miyazaki and Takahata worked on various projects together. In 1979, the creators of the original Lupin III show, TMS Entertainment, ask Miyazaki to come back and direct the next feature film in the franchise. At this point, Lupin III has had one live-action movie (that borders on being absolutely terrible), one anime film (that’s in the same adult style as the original series), and a second anime TV show. With Miyazaki now in the director’s chair, one of the finest films ever created is made.
The Castle of Cagliostro debuted in Japanese theaters on December 15, 1979, only five days after the second series’ 113th episode. While initial reviews were positive, the film failed to become a box-office success and thus only had a limited theatrical release. However, over the years the film gained a cult-like status and was a fan-favorite at various anime conventions. There’s even a rumor that it was shown at the Cannes Film Festival (making it the first anime to be shown there), though there’s very little out there to verify this. Even more dubious is the claim that Steven Spielberg was in attendance and called it, “One of the greatest adventure movies of all time.” In 1992, the film was dubbed into English by Streamline Pictures and was distributed internationally. In 2000, Manga Entertainment purchased the license from Streamline and created an all-new second dub. I’ll talk about each dub in detail later on. Now that you know this history behind this film, you’re probably wondering if it’s worth all the hype. To answer that question, I can respond with a firm, “Yes!”
The story starts off rather simply. Lupin III and his buddy Daisuke Jigen have just robbed millions of dollars off a high-class casino, making a clean getaway in their stylish Fiat 500. When they examine the money, the duo soon realizes it’s all counterfeit. Lupin instantly recognizes the high quality workmanship of the money. Years ago, he attempted to find the source of the “goat bills” himself, but was almost killed and narrowly escaped with his life. Now Lupin decides to locate the source once again at its supposed location: The Castle of Cagliostro. Before arriving, they rescue a young girl who was being pursued by a gang of thugs. She is later captured by the men, but not before leaving a ring bearing the crest of Cagliostro that gets into Lupin’s possession. The girl is revealed to be Princess Clarisse, who is to be married to the Count in a few days. By marrying Clarisse, the Count wishes to cement his own position of power by bringing the two families together and to uncover the fabled treasure of Cagliostro. Lupin bears a strange connection to Clarisse as old memories from his past soon come back to haunt him. No-nonsense samurai Goemon Ishikawa XIII joins the Lupin gang to help rescue the princess and Fujiko Mine assists by working under disguise at the castle. Kochi Zenigata also shows up in order to capture Lupin, but winds up helping him instead.
Castle of Cagliostro is a real visual treat for the eyes. The gorgeous backgrounds are full of intricate detail and color. The character designs may seem simplistic, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Lupin and his gang were meant to look this way. Not as realistic drawings, but as cartoonish and vibrant characters. Some people have claimed that this animation doesn’t look as good as Studio Ghibli’s films. I really think that’s an unfair comparison. Studio Ghibli’s artwork is more realistic, yet fantastical at the same time. With Cagliostro, the style is completely different. Lupin III has always been more about simplicity, and that’s not a bad thing. Characters are supposed to look basic, while backgrounds are meant to be more detailed. If this movie had animation like Princess Mononoke or Spirited Away, it simply would not work. Not only does this look amazing for 1979, it’s still breathtaking today. From that dreamlike opening titles sequence, to the masterfully animated car chase scene, to that climatic clock tower duel; Cagliostro simply looks beautiful. My review on the animation cannot do this film justice. It really has to be seen to be believed. The soundtrack is great too. Series veteran Yuji Ohno is at the reins here and his jazzy tunes perfectly fit each scene. The score can bold and upbeat for the more intense action scenes, as well as subtle and quieter for more mellow parts. The film’s main theme, “Treasure of the Flame,” is one of Ohno’s best contributions to the Lupin III music mythos with its beautiful lyrics and composition. I’m sure that most fans (myself included) will get a kick out of the use of the amazing Lupin III ’80 theme during the opening car chase theme. I also really enjoyed the use of the third movement from Bach’s BWV 590 organ piece during the wedding scene. It feels so haunting, yet strikingly beautiful at the same time. Altogether, Cagliostro looks and sounds wonderful. ‘Nuff said.
As mentioned before, Hayao Miyazaki is director, and his fingerprints are all over this movie with its characters. You won’t find any of his environmental or political themes here, but his influence is still strongly felt. Lupin is noticeably much more “nicer” than previous incarnations and demonstrates his more chivalric side. Although he is very much after the treasure, he no doubt wants to save Clarisse by being, as he puts it: “your thief in the night.” Yasuo Yamada is back again as Lupin and he plays him expertly as always. In fact, all the Japanese regulars are here again. There’s really not too much else to say about the original Japanese audio, because it’s pretty much perfect. The actors hit all the right notes with each scene and character, so there are no problems here. Instead, I’ll talk more about the two English dubs. In the Streamline dub, Lupin is voiced by veteran voice actor Bob Bergen. I should also note that in this version, Lupin is referred to at all times as “The Wolf,” due to fears of copyright from Maurice Leblanc’s intellectual property estate. This is sort of laughable though, as the symbol on his belt clearly bears the letter “L,” and his calling card also reads the name “Lupin.” While I normally enjoy Bergen’s voice work, he sounds way too cartoonish and silly here. It’s not terrible or anything, just kind of unfitting for a master thief. David Hayter in the Manga dub, on the other hand, is far better suited for the role. You heard me right. The same guy who voices Solid Snake in the Metal Gear series voices our main protagonist. How cool is that? He perfectly gives Lupin that “nice guy” vibe and always nails each line of dialogue. There are hints of kindness in his voice, but also a bit of the gruff Snake tone when he gets more serious. With Zenigata, David Povall is serviceable in the Streamline dub, but Dougary Grant proves to be much more entertaining to watch in the Manga dub. It’s clear that Grant was trying to emulate Gorō Naya’s acting in the original Japanese dub, though he does a good job in the role himself nonetheless. This time around, Zenigata teams up with Lupin to uncover the secret behind Cagliostro’s counterfeiting ring. The banter between these two guys is pretty funny to watch seeing as how they’re normally enemies.
Then we have our main villain, Count Cagliostro himself. There’s really not a lot to say about him, because there’s little character to him other than he’s the evil guy after the treasure and power. Even still, he provides an excellent foil to Lupin by being that diabolical antagonist to go against our hero’s noble and heroic antics. Both actors in the two dubs do a pretty good job of getting that “snobbish aristocrat” personality out of him and there’s not a whole lot of difference between their performances since they handle the character so similarly. The final sword fight between Cagliostro and Lupin in the clock tower is an absolute joy to watch; and it’s seems to have inspired several works of animation from The Great Mouse Detective to Batman the Animated Series. I should also note that voice actor Kirk Thornton actually appears in both dubs! In the Manga dub, he plays Count Cagliostro and in the Streamline dub he plays the chief guard Gustav (who in the Manga dub has an awful Arnold Schwarzenegger-like voice).
We also have two female supporting characters. The first is Clarisse. With her voice, I have to say that I prefer Joan-Carol O’Connell’s acting in the Streamline dub than Bridget Hoffman in the Manga dub. Both actresses do a great job, but I feel that Hoffman sounds a bit too childish for my tastes. Clarisse seems to be little else other than the stereotypical damsel in distress. However, I don’t necessarily see this as a bad thing. That famous scene where Lupin climbs the tower to rescue Clarisse is an obvious homage to classic fairy tales. In fact, I think that in the Streamline dub this is more apparent when Lupin calls himself Clarisse’s “knight in shining armor.” Even though she may not be the strongest female character ever, you still want to see her rescued by Lupin. Again, it’s sort of the same with the Count. These characters aren’t meant to be complex, but rather basic archetypes that are supposed to be simple enough for the audience to sympathize with. Lupin is the brave hero, the Count is the evil villain, and Clarisse is the damsel in distress. With this kind of film, you don’t need any more depth or character beyond that. That’s not to say there’s not a strong female character in this film. Come on, it’s Miyazaki! He’s better than that! That role belongs to Fujiko Mine, Lupin’s lover, ally, and foe. In Cagliostro, Fujiko is no longer the buxom babe that she was in previous incarnations. Miyazaki never cared for Fujiko being the object of Lupin’s lustful desires and long-time fans of the franchise will immediately know what I’m talking about. This time around, she’s a spy working undercover at the Count’s castle. She helps Lupin out of sticky situations, but it’s clear she has her own intentions. Between Streamline’s Edie Mirman and Manga’s Dorothy Elias-Fahn, the point must go to the Manga dub. Elias-Fahn gives off much more emotion than Mirman, whom I consider to be a little too stiff in the role.
Finally, we have our supporting characters Daisuke Jigen and Goemon Ishikawa XIII. In previous anime, Jigen and Goemon are Lupin’s loyal henchmen and that’s no different here. Jigen is Lupin’s straight man, and he always has Lupin’s back with his quick gun-slinging skills. I found Jigen’s Streamline voice actor, Steve Bulen, to be way better than Manga’s John Snyder by far. Bulen feels perfectly natural, but Snyder tries to add a sort of “toughness” that’s unconvincing. He’s still perfectly fine, but there is a notable difference between the two actors. Either way, both manage to have perfect chemistry together with Lupin’s actors Bob Bergen and David Hayter, respectively. Sword-wielding samurai Goemon has little dialogue in both versions. As an honorable warrior of little words, he’s the type of guy who doesn’t waste time talking and focuses solely on the matters at hand. Steve Kramer in the Streamline dub and Richard Epcar in the Manga dub give different takes of the character. Kramer is quiet and calm with his voice (though he does have quite a few annoying one-liners), while Epcar’s voice is deeper and has more presence. I don’t really think it matters that much if I compare the two together, since Goemon doesn’t have that big of a role in this film to begin with. Basically, the two actors play him fine. Speaking of Goemon, here’s a pretty cool Easter egg I discovered at the beginning of the film. Lupin and Jigen rob a casino in the intro, but throw the money away when they realize it’s fake. If one looks closely during the scene where Lupin tosses the bills out of the sunroof, the top of Goemon’s head and sword can be seen in the pile of money! I didn’t realize this until I read some trivia online. This is probably why Lupin and Jigen were able to make such a clean getaway and they probably dropped him off before they reached the Cagliostro border. I’m guessing that there was probably a planned sequence with Goemon, but it was taken out from the final film. Really though, Jigen and Goemon don’t serve that much of a major purpose in the film other than being Lupin’s backup. Still, I think that they’re both given enough screen-time as is. Giving Jigen and Goemon bigger roles would only shoehorn them into the plot. This film is really more about Lupin and his own quest to save Clarisse.
Overall, both dubs have their own strengths and weaknesses. The Streamline dub takes some rather needless liberties from the original Japanese script and the lip movements don’t always match up with the dialogue; but the acting is solid for the most part. The Manga dub is much more faithful to the Japanese script and the acting is strong; but there is much more swearing in this version. I’m not offended by this or anything, but it kind of ruins what’s otherwise a family friendly film. Regardless of which dub you get, it shouldn’t really affect your overall viewing experience. I’m honestly a purist for the original Japanese language track with English subtitles, but I have to say that I prefer the Manga dub over the Streamline version. Since most releases usually have the Manga dub, that’s probably what you’re going to get anyways. The Streamline dub will probably appeal more to those nostalgic fans who had the film on VHS way back when it was originally released, but it really shouldn’t matter for the casual viewer.
Now that I’ve talked about virtually every aspect of the film, I’m going to give my own personal take and thoughts on something that rarely gets talked about: the hidden level of emotion and storytelling that can easily be missed by the average viewer. I’m probably drifting into spoiler territory here, but chances are you’ve probably seen the film already. If you haven’t; skip this paragraph, watch the film, and then come back to it. Anyways, onto my analysis.
When I first saw this film, I instantly knew it was a perfectly crafted animated feature. I really loved the film, but because it was my first time in the rich universe of Lupin III, a lot of things slipped under my radar. What do I mean by this? After I had seen the film, I soon went to the original green-jacket series. The Lupin I saw in that show was almost the polar opposite of the one I saw in Cagliostro. While in the film he was brave, heroic, and chivalric; our thief in the show was crude, mean, and arrogant. This was of course due to the way he was originally portrayed in the manga series by Monkey Punch. What could have possibly caused this drastic change in character? The touch of Hayao Miyazaki. When Miyazaki and Takahata first worked on the series, Lupin’s evolution began. The series started hinting at this, but by the time we’re in Cagliostro; the change is complete. The production-wise reason of this was that Miyazaki disliked the original character of Lupin and wanted him to be more likable and nicer. Story-wise though, we see something that perhaps was unintended. The opening of the film shows Lupin and Jigen on a more-or-less standard caper: stealing money. The robbery goes off without a hitch and it’s clear that Lupin has mastered the art of thieving at this point. When he sees the counterfeit bills, that’s when Lupin’s old memories resurface. The man thinks back to a time where he was young and just starting out. In fact, we are treated to a brief flashback sequence that shows actual scenes from the original series re-animated and integrated mid-way through the film. Lupin looks upon those days with regret and chides himself for being so arrogant. Perhaps this represents Miyazaki’s own views on his earlier animation career. Now that Lupin is more experienced, those rookie days are behind him. Lupin wants to save Clarisse for the reason that he himself might be saved. As mentioned before, Clarisse is the damsel in distress; but she means much more than that to Lupin. She’s his path to what could possibly be a normal life. A normal life away from the chase and the thrills of being a thief on the run from the law. He battles through Cagliostro’s forces with all his might and in the end; he’s successful in rescuing her. Lupin is then face with a personal choice: what do I do from here? He looks into Clarisse’s eyes and sees the innocence that he himself never had. Lupin doesn’t want Clarisse to have the same life by following him. Instead, he leaves her behind but vows to always be at her side if needed.
That final scene in which Zenigata is in hot pursuit of Lupin symbolizes how his thieving ways will never change. Lupin will never have a normal life because he doesn’t need one. He lives and enjoys his life by always being on the move and savoring every moment of the chase. Going back to Miyazaki, I think this also shows his own personal choice by being an animator. He enjoys what he does, and wants to create these kinds of films for the rest of his life. Just as Lupin’s purpose in life is to steal, Miyazaki’s is to create animated films. And that’s what I believe is the main theme in Cagliostro. Looking upon your own life and questioning if this is what you’re happy with. Can people really change, or do we stay the same throughout our lives? I find it quite ironic that such a seemingly simple film has these kinds of themes. Whether or not Miyazaki actually intended for this film to have a deeper meaning is up for debate, but I think that’s the whole beauty of it all. It doesn’t really matter if the creator intended for this film to have any symbolism or meaning. That’s up for the audience to decide. Cagliostro isn’t just an entertaining film, but a film that can actually teach you something if you look hard enough. Miyazaki does this in all of his films, but in Cagliostro it’s just less apparent. Now the difference between the film and the television show is probably quite obvious. Films have longer running times, thus more character development and plot can be added in. You can add drama and the previous themes that I mentioned, but not so much in a television show episode. Since Lupin episodes only are about 20 minutes, it usually just cuts right to the action. It’s a nice change of pace to see Lupin given more character and emotion than his usual TV self. Needless to say, I realized none of this when watching the film for the first time. However, going into this film with a new set of eyes made it mean a whole lot more to me.
Now we come to the bad news. In the US, there’s unfortunately no definitive release of this wonderful film. Manga’s original DVD release of the film is a non-anamorphic transfer that only has decent picture quality. The DVD itself doesn’t even have any extras. A few years later, Manga released a “Special Edition” that improves picture quality and they even added a couple of extras. However, one absolutely pointless change completely ruins this release. The original opening titles sequence has been altered. Instead of using that beautiful animation with the Japanese credits, Manga decided to remove all Japanese text and only show still frames of the intro. Why would they ever do such a thing? It completely takes you out of the moment and destroys the original version! That’s why I cannot recommend you purchase this so called “Special Edition.” Both DVDs have also been long out of print for years. In Japan, Cagliostro received a deluxe Blu-ray treatment with a gorgeous new transfer in crystal clear 1080p high definition. Seeing has how it’s region free, I would have imported this in a heartbeat; but there are no English subtitles or language options. Europe received a full English version of this Blu-ray, but it’s region-locked; thus it can’t be imported by anyone else. I really hope that this release will come stateside soon. And why shouldn’t it? This is a classic work of Japanese animation! To all those that live in Japan and Europe, I urge you to buy this! Hopefully the strong sales of it will guarantee a wider release!
Hayao Miyazaki’s last involvement with the Lupin III franchise was directing final two episodes of the second TV series. Miyazaki himself really doesn’t consider the film his best work, and called it a “clearance sale on all the previous Lupin ideas I had previously done.” If one watches the original television series, the influences that it had on this film will be extremely noticeable. There are many scenes here that are almost taken shot-for-shot from the series and a lot of the scenarios are similar. And perhaps that’s what makes this film so enjoyable. It takes everything that that Miyazaki ever did with the Lupin III series and puts it together into one satisfying experience. I don’t think that Miyazaki is ever going to go back to Lupin. Now that he’s with Studio Ghibli, there’s little reason for him to go back to the franchise. My one dream is for there to be a brand new Lupin III animated feature film that reaches audiences worldwide. It would give our thief the international popularity he deserves, similar to how Spielberg’s Tintin film revived interest in Hergé’s original comic series. Even if that never happens, at least we still have this masterful film that has aged remarkably well. This is a movie that, after you’re done watching, you immediately get a good feeling inside. Anyone who’s a fan of Hayao Miyazaki should see this film as it demonstrates his own animation techniques just when he was starting out. If you’re a serious fan of animation or film, you owe it to yourself to see the Castle of Cagliostro. It gets my highest praise and reminds us all why we enjoy the genre in the first place. Go see it!
The art style may seem a bit dated to some, but despite its age, it really gives the film life and is a treat for the eyes.
In terms of audio, the dub and sub are both very nice, especially the dub. Coming from a person who cannot stand anything in dubbed, I have to say that their English voice actors, really fit their characters roles and as such made it easier to enjoy the film, so for those of you who prefer English over sub, you are in for a treat.
The characters in general, ranging from Lupin all the way to the zany inspector Zenigata, were well written and interesting, with their various personalities, actions, and dialogue. It never felt stale, they really kept the picture alive.
To be entirely honest, if you are a lover of Hayao Miyazakis work, or perhaps a lover of things involving Lupin and his pals, then I can guarantee that you will love this film, because it is quite honestly a classic.
MAL Score: 8.16
Japan, 1988. An explosion caused by a young boy with psychic powers tears through the city of Tokyo and ignites the fuse that leads to World War III. In order to prevent any further destruction, he is captured and taken into custody, never to be heard from again. Now, in the year 2019, a restored version of the city known as Neo-Tokyo—an area rife with gang violence and terrorism against the current government—stands in its place. Here, Shoutarou Kaneda leads “the Capsules,” a group of misfits known for riding large, custom motorcycles and being in constant conflict with their rivals “the Clowns.”
During one of these battles, Shoutarou’s best friend Tetsuo Shima is caught up in an accident with an esper who finds himself in the streets of Tokyo after escaping confinement from a government institution. Through this encounter, Tetsuo begins to develop his own mysterious abilities, as the government seeks to quarantine this latest psychic in a desperate attempt to prevent him from unleashing the destructive power that could once again bring the city to its knees.
Akira is a very controversial piece of art—but a remarkable one regardless. It’s not an easy watch by any means, nor it is an easy review subject: the ambition and influence exerted by the movie and its creators make grasping and appraising it in its entirety far from trivial. As virtually every other seminal work of art, Akira is nowhere near flawless, hence why many people don’t even consider it a good movie—what with all the gratuitous bloodbath, plot holes, odd side-characters and whatnot—just read some other reviews here. A good bulk of the criticism is valid for sure. But what do we have beside it?
Allow me to get the bad out of the way: if there is a particular aspect where Akira is teetering on the edge of failure in my opinion, it’s the fact that Katsuhiro Otomo chose to stuff an elaborate story encompassing almost 2000 pages’ worth of his original manga into barely two hours of screen time. This lead to a significant degree of screenplay butchering and stunted character development that visibly skips important steps all too often. Would an OVA or a multi-part feature-length movie work better? Who knows! Thankfully, what remains is still above what we tend to get in the science fiction action movie genre even these days, and to be fair it contributes heavily to the re-watch potential. In fact, I would recommend watching Akira again, given some time—you will most likely notice some details you ended up missing the first time owing to the breakneck pacing. Personally, I find myself re-watching it every couple years, and despite almost having learned it by heart already, it’s very hard to stop myself once I get going. It’s just too awesome, and the sheer delivery of some of the pivotal scenes still—some 30 years since its release!—remains at the pinnacle of animated cinematography.
On this note, I’d also like to point out Otomo’s setting: although Akira is set in the (not-too-distant) future, it is remarkably unappealing and free of the rampant techno-fetishism (aside from *that one bike*) and uncharacteristically rich aesthetics often seen in works of dystopian fiction. It’s all about the everyday soot, grit, and dirt; it’s filled with biker gangs, corrupt politicians, and radical groups trying to drag each other down. Everyone is miserable in their own way. The core plot revolves around a post-WWIII secret military experiment program to manifest, magnify, and control latent psychic powers; the experiments in question partially lead to the WWIII in the first place and went awry a few too many times. The social, political and scientific (borderline mystical) aspects mix and intertwine as a couple of rebellious teenagers accidentally get involved in the whole mess. There are no heroes or winners in this story, only casualties—but that’s also what makes the ending so moving and ultimately uplifting.
I’m sure I don’t have to point out the quality of the art and the animation in particular—everyone has already done so many times over—it’s still a globally recognized milestone in animation and the first Japanese movie to rival the production values of Western studios like Disney’s, and it stands tall even among the high-budget anime movies of today. The attention to detail, the complete lack of filler shots to pad the length, and the exemplary way the animation is used to convey impact yet again contribute to the high re-watch potential. This is a master class on animation; everyone even remotely associated with the industry would benefit greatly from watching and studying Akira: from the technical perspective, it stands the test of time remarkably—perhaps only one-upped by the likes of Redline (2009) and Otomo’s own second megaproject Steamboy (2004). Also of note is the fact that Akira pioneered lip-syncing character dialogue—typically characters are animated first; then voices are recorded, which often results in audiovisual incongruity. But Otomo was intent on using the high budget he was provided with to do things right even if it broke the industry conventions.
That said, many people complain about the character designs, and it’s easy to tell why: they are remarkably unappealing—everyone has small eyes, the guys are borderline ugly, and there’s not a single hot waifu in sight—to the dismay of a modern anime fan pampered by omnipresent moe. Personally, I find this aesthetic charming and a perfect fit for the gloomy setting. It makes way more sense to me than seeing e.g. the likes of Charlize Theron in Mad Max: Fury Road. I like that movie to bits, but come on: no amount of dirt smeared over her face is going to hide its gorgeous features. It looks silly and out of place when it doesn’t have to—proper character designs should reflect their environment, not contradict it. But if I were to name an actual problem with Akira’s designs in particular, it’s that facial variety isn’t Otomo’s strongest suit, leading to a lot of similarity between characters’ faces across Akira’s cast as well as Otomo’s other works. Then again, the same could be said about Hayao Miyazaki.
In terms of sound design, Akira makes remarkably good use of being silent a good portion of the time. This is an approach modern filmmakers very unjustly tend to ignore, eager to fill every scene with music that’s often too expressive for the purpose, rendering the sound stage into cacophony and contributing to mental fatigue. When sounds do play in Akira, they’re always highly dynamic and spot-on. Most of the soundtrack is dominated by sparse industrial beats overlayed with ethnic motifs and chants, and is intended to set the ambiance for visuals, further enhancing their impact. The score is composed and performed by Geinoh Yamashirogumi—a unique performance collective consisting of hundreds of members from all ages and professions that mostly have nothing to do with music (seriously, look them up). And good lord it is a massive score! Tetsuo’s hospital hallucination theme, Dolls’ Polyphony, never fails to give me the shivers when I so much as *think* about it. And when I watch it in-context on a good sound system, it just blows my mind. This, my friends, is how to do it right!
I tend to be very conservative when giving out 10s for anime as you can tell by my list (of which barely 1% ends up in that bracket), but after all these years, Akira remains among the very few titles that feel deserving of this high mark, and it is one I keep returning to when I need to cleanse my palate after the onslaught of stale shounen cliches, cardboard moe blobs, terminally shy schoolchildren, and science fiction that fails equally at the science and fiction parts. Akira combines visceral, high-octane action with an uncharacteristically cathartic resolution—I couldn’t have asked for more. Even if flawed, it certainly remains a timeless masterpiece and deserves a watch—regardless of whether you are an anime fan or a regular moviegoer. Sure, there have been many pieces released in the past 30 years that are arguably more enjoyable or more competently done, and it’s not like Akira has to be the be-all, end-all of any specific entertainment category you put it in. But even as more and more works surpass it in particular respects, Akira stays the Colossus of Rhodes of the anime industry, representing a monumental creative achievement by itself and serving as an excellent gateway anime for many people for years to come. And for that I am truly grateful to its existence.
(Last edited 2019/08/29: Rephrased and streamlined most of the text, fixed bad grammar and formatting errors forced by a change in the site’s code.)
It’s the future in Tokyo, or Neo-Tokyo, and everything has gone to Hell. The streets are a warzone between gangs, the government, and everyone else. In between all of this are a number of children with psychic powers that enable them to do pretty much whatever they want. One of these children is a teenager from a biker gang named Tetsuo. He and his friend Kaneda get caught up in the government’s attempt to . . .
I’m sorry, I’m giving this plot way too much credit. Do you want to know what I recall this movie being about? It’s a series of one senseless act of violence after another. Sure, there are scenes of expository dialog, and an important flashback, but this is pretty much the entire movie right here: someone gets the crap beaten out of them. Someone else gets shot. Someone else gets exploded. Someone else gets the crap beaten out of them. Throw in nonsensical psychic powers, among even more people dying whether they deserve it or not, throw in one of the worst endings in cinematic history, roll credits. The film does not even bother to explain most of the things that happen. It’s pretty much like all those mindless action flicks that plagued Hollywood in the 1980s, except animated. Then again, Akira was made in 1988, so I guess it was just following the leader in this regard. 3/10.
Akira is famous for its fluid animation. Indeed, it is the oldest anime I’ve seen that has motion as fluid as what you would expect from an American animated film. As gruesome as the violence is, it is well-crafted. So why then does this only get a 6? Two problems. One, the coloring. I know, this is a bit unfair, seeing as how Akira is a pre-digital anime, but the coloring is drab for the most part. At times, it is fitting of its dystopian setting, but other times, it’s just, well, drab. And two, this film has some of the most bland character designs I have ever seen in a theatrical animated film. It’s like the filmmakers weren’t even trying in this aspect. This and the coloring bogs down my score, but at least there’s no choppiness in the animation. 6/10.
The sound is alright. The soundtrack is eccentric, but works. The sound effects do their job. The ending credits song is lame retro 80s synth fluff, but it could’ve been worse.
I got to see parts of Akira in both Japanese and the English dub by Geneon. The Japanese dub is superb. Unlike most anime, Akira’s Japanese dialog was recorded before the animation work was completed, much like an American animation. Unfortunately, because of this, foreign language dubs look off compared to the original. Now, dub purists are probably thinking, “But . . . but . . . Johnny Yong Bosch! Wendee Lee! Joshua Seth!” Yes, I love them too, but honestly, if for whatever morbid reason you do decide to watch Akira, you’re better off seeing it in Japanese with the subtitles on. 7/10.
Characterization? What characterization? This, along with the threadbare plot, is what killed Akira for me. Who are these characters? Why are they doing the things they are doing? Why should I care for them? Only one character gets any such development, and that’s Tetsuo. We learn his motivation and his desire to strike back at the world, and why he and Kaneda are conflicted with fighting each other at the end, but that is it. Seriously, that’s all the characterization you get in this film. When a character dies, you don’t care for them, because you know nothing about them. The characters whose names I even remember are Kaneda, Tetsuo, and Akira, and that’s only because the first two keep shouting each other’s name, and the last has his name in the title. Like, for example, who was that girl Kaneda kept hitting on? The one that, thanks to the lackluster character designs, looks like a boy? What was her purpose in all of this? What about all those government guys? The rival biker gang? The other children with psychic powers? And why does Akira do what he does in the ending? None of this is either elaborated, or done in a way to make me care as an audience member. 2/10.
Enjoyment: If all you want to see are brutal, pointless acts of violence, then you’re in luck, because that’s exactly what Akira delivers, in spades. If you want more than that, you’re going to be sorely disappointed. I know this is a compressed adaptation of a manga, and the manga is supposedly better, (I don’t know, I haven’t read the manga version of Akira) but couldn’t Otomo have made the anime at least stand on its own for those who haven’t read the manga? As it is, it is a confusing mess, chock to the brim with sensationalized violence. Now, mind you, I don’t mind seeing mature content in my entertainment. What I do mind is seeing “mature” content used only as a means to shock and awe the audience. That’s all Akira does, and somehow, it managed to delude a large number of anime fans into thinking it was “deep” and “meaningful”, when all it really is is a crappy 80s action flick that dissolves into nothing by the end. That’s about as much sense as I can make out of the ending anyways. 3/10.
Now before any of you say “You just hate Akira because you didn’t see it back when it first came out!”, I want to point out that that is a moot point to make. My favorite film by Hayao Miyazaki, Castle in the Sky, predates Akira by two years, and is a much, much, MUCH more enjoyable film than this. And also, Katsuhiro Otomo would go on to make the film Steamboy, which, unlike Akira, actually has a proper plot, characters worth giving a damn about, really nice coloring, and slightly less bland character art. So really, there’s no point in seeing Akira anymore, except to laugh at it, because as far as I’m concerned, the anime version of Akira is nothing more than a joke.
My main problem with “Akira” is the vagueness of the story. I mean, I’m not the biggest fan of these abstract, philosophical stories to begin with, but “Akira” also suffers from a lack of completeness, which only exacerbated my confusion even more. I was watching it with a friend and he was having to constantly explain what to me what was happening using knowledge that he’d accumulated from reading the manga (and in fact he didn’t fully understand everything either as he hasn’t read all the manga). My own view on this is that an anime like this should be able to stand on its own – I shouldn’t have to go digging into the manga just to understand what is going on.
The visuals of “Akira” was supposedly amazing at the time. But if it was, stylistically I don’t think it’s aged particularly gracefully, though it hasn’t done too badly either. Some of the background scenery still looks great, but the characters designs have an odd, “wobbly” kind of feel to them.
Even though I didn’t find the music particularly to my taste, I appreciate the fact that it tries to do something different. The chant heavy soundtrack used had a primitive and alien feel to it. In the context of the anime, it worked quite well in a weird way and didn’t sound out of place. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for the voices, which sounded rather horrific on the dub, with the sub sounding a little but not much better.
Other than Tetsuo’s character, which was quite well done, I found the rest of the character to be a little wooden, which probably affected my enjoyment of this anime a bit. And as you probably will have guessed by now, I’m not too impressed regarding the grand, complicated plot underneath that’s nigh on impossible to follow unless you’ve read the manga.
If you like those philosophical kind of anime, you’ll probably enjoy “Akira”. I can’t deny that it’s an interesting watch, but for me, that’s about as far as it goes.
Personal rating: +0.5 (decent)
20: One Piece Film: Z
English: One Piece Film Z
Japanese: ワンピース フィルム Ｚ
MAL Score: 8.17
The Straw Hat Pirates enter the rough seas of the New World in search of the hidden treasures of the Pirate King, Gol D. Roger－One Piece. On their voyage, the pirates come across a terrifying, powerful man, former Marine Admiral Z.
Z is accused of having stolen the “Dyna Stones”, weapons believed to have the power to shake up the New World. The Marine Headquarters believes Z is about to use it to end the pirate era, and with it, the lives of many innocent people. In fear of such a phenomenal event, marines start to take action against the former admiral.
Even if it means stumbling upon marines and the navy, the Straw Hat Pirates decided to chase after Z and stop him from causing havoc. As they continue to embark on their ventures, the pirates bump into new and familiar acquaintances.
For this review it will be broken down into four parts: Music, Animation, Characters and Story.
If you watched the trailers, you know that two tracks of Avril Lavigne would be played in the movie but you won’t hear that until the credit rolls. First half was “How You Remind Me” and then “Bad Reputation” played after that. The original soundtrack was brilliant. It was different while at the same time maintaining that One Piece feel we all love; high tension to melancholy themes that played throughout different scenes.
There was a lot of CGI just like Strong World. The action scenes were animated far better than anything I’ve ever seen in previous One Piece movies or the anime. The angles and camera movements following every scene was done fluidly.
The title of the movie is quite self-explanatory. The movie focused on Z, at times even more than the Straw Hat gang. Character Z, also known as Zephyr had such deep story to him and if you love backstories of various characters in One Piece, you’ll definitely love Z’s. As for our lovable characters, the Straw Hats each got their turns to shine in this movie, however the stronger and prominent fighters such as the Monster Trio(Luffy, Zoro and Sanji) had their own individual opponent to fight. Franky was the next in line after the Monster Trio. Usopp also had good action scenes, but not quite on the same level. Nami and Robin at times were used for fan-service until the climactic battle at the end. Chopper was funnier than ever before, but not entirely important to the story. Brook didn’t do a lot in terms of getting into battles, but he had his comedic moments just like Chopper.
This movie as an entirety was built around the Marine lore and back story. This will have it’s drawbacks for some though. The story had lots of explanation regarding the principle themes of the Marines and some characters were basically used strictly just for the sole purpose of providing exposition. To fit the plot in a movie length time span, it was surprisingly well done. This was one huge gripes that I had with Oda’s previous project, Strong World was a bit of a let down. With Film Z, I feel that he understood what it took to make a movie that retains the breathtaking aura of One Piece series, and he delivered it.
I would love to talk about just about every scenes in the movie but I want to keep it spoiler-free. If this movie doesn’t win major awards in Japan, I will be very surprised. It surely deserves to be nominated in Japanese Academy Awards and win Best Animated Japanese Film Awards or even Best Picture of the Year Awards.
That being said, let’s talk about this movie. I was excited when I first heard of it. They were projecting it to be better than Strong World, and Oda was going to have a hand in it (which meant the possibility of something canon) I couldn’t contain myself the first couple months it was in theaters in Japan.
Then life kind of got in the way, and I forgot about it until it came out on blurray and I was finally able to see it subbed. When it started, I quickly felt the excitement I felt months ago, but that was quickly dashed as the movie progressed.
Now, if you’re a One Piece fan, you have to watch it. Same as with Strong World. Regardless of what I think, of either movie, One Piece fans need to probably judge for themselves. Which probably makes you wonder what the point of this review is.
Well, as much as I wanted it to be true, this film is not better than Strong World. I know many people complain about Strong World basically being Arlong Park arc, but it at least had pacing. This film doesn’t really. It has a lot of nice animation and some humorous moments (along with a few kind of overly suggestive scenes) but not much else.
One minute you’re on one island and the next you’re on another island resolving the main conflict. They try to make you empathize with Z a bit, but because of the vagueness in Garp’s story about Z and the sort of unexplained randomness of Z’s flashbacks, you never really get a chance to know that character. Which is unfortunate, because this is the type of thing One Piece usually excels at
In the end the fight between Z and Luffy isn’t especially memorable. He gets beat in his first fight with Z, and wins by overpowering him in the second (despite nothing really changing in his strategy) Similar thing happens with Z’s henchmen. In Strong World you at least had a pretty epic fight in the air, and there was more tension with whether they would get the antidote for Nami in time. Here the stakes were supposed to be raised, but you never quite felt any of the danger.
This movie on the other had is a sad reminder of what one piece has been reduced to. One pointless and boring arc after the other, introducing character who are never developed enough to be either liked or hated and going on the very same ideas that started with, but after 10years it simply can not shock or cause the same emotions anymore. It got old, outdated and donwrigth dissapointing.
The plot is your typical nowdays onepiece. A “stong guy” (my name is Z…) wants to destroy the world. He encounters the strawhats, he beats them. Many boring scenes later the same happens. Boredom after boredom later they meet again, only this time luffy wins. The end.
I mean,at least try to deliver something original. I know that expect Strong world, one piece movies are ‘nt that great, but at least they try. Some even have some interesting plot and good ideas, which never happens here. This movie could end at 20 minutes, after all its not like the enemies are that strong anyway.
The strawhats are the strawhats,no surpise there. But the villains….
are simply horrible. A weak as hell sword lady who zoro takes pity on, an annoying plant ninja who is one of the worst characters ever conceived, and then Z. A guy so underdeveloped that has to repeat his name so the viewres do not forget him. We get nothing on his story except he was an admiral( a really weak one compared to the three monsters we know as admirals, i mean the guy uses haki, big deal, even coby uses it nowdays), no idea on why he does what he does. Nothing. The guy was so boring that even his death caused no reaction on my part. I even speeded it up so the movie could end sooner.
So, Z is a horrible movie. But it represents perfectly the onepiece of the 2013. An anime that half the people who watch it simply wish it was like the one piece of old,and the other half feel like they have to, as a sad obligation.
Really, shame on us who endulge movies like this
19: Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution Kizuna
Japanese: デジモンアドベンチャー LAST EVOLUTION 絆
MAL Score: 8.18
As the Chosen Children and their partner Digimon live happily together in the human world, Taichi Yagami and Yamato Ishida, alongside their friends, dedicate themselves to maintaining this hard-earned peace. Though united by this innate responsibility, each one has already started to take their first steps toward a future beyond being a Chosen Child.
However, this new journey is interrupted by the appearance of Menoa Bellucci, an American professor specializing in Digimon research. She bears news of several Chosen Children from around the world being found comatose, with their partner Digimon nowhere to be found. Menoa’s investigations indicate that a new breed of Digimon is behind the alarming phenomenon: Eosmon, who hides within the internet’s depths.
To succeed in this mission, the team must endeavor through the growing distance between them and band together one last time.
With Taichi and his friends in their early twenties, Kizuna is the perfect example of a coming of age / growing up movie. You can see them talk about university or job hunting, when some moments later they encounter a powerful, unknown enemy Digimon, Eosmon. Unable to instantly defeat it, they meet Menoa Bellucci; a girl who is a Digimon researcher and offers her help. She tells them that, because they are growing up, their time with their Digimon is limited and that sooner or later their digital partners will disappear. Not spoiling you the rest, but get prepared for a chain of unpredictable events and many meaningful messages.
The now grown-up characters we loved as kids, show clear character development and are true to their beliefs until the end, especially Yamato and Taichi who are the main protagonists. Daisuke and his gang from Digimon Adventure 02 play a role too, and seeing all the Chosen Children / DigiDestined fight together is pleasing. The main antagonist of the movie is what I would call a well-written villain, or maybe anti-hero, which is a big plus. There is no good and bad guy in this movie, there are just Chosen Children fighting against their own coming of age, each in their own way.
It is indisputable that Toei Animation put a great effort into this movie, because it is spectacular, full of detail and amazing soundtrack. Starting off with nostalgic “Butter-Fly” and “Brave Heart” to hit us in the feels, with a well-animated battle and beautiful scenery, they make it clear we are going to watch a great movie. As time passes, there is always a different soundtrack playing. It feels like each one is better than the previous one – and they all fit the atmosphere perfectly. The animation is great from beginning to end, the Japanese voice actors did an amazing job so it is inarguably a great audiovisual experience. Special credits to Natsuki Hanae (Taichi), Yoshimasa Hosoya (Yamato) and our guest star Daisuke Ono whose addition was a pleasant surprise to the Digimon world.
Closing the review, I would like to note that Last Evolution Kizuna is not only for Digimon Adventure fans, but for all audiences. That’s because it is not a typical Digimon work and it holds special meaning for everyone. Its theme is something everyone can relate to, therefore I highly recommend it to all of you reading.
The film strikes a nice balance between telling a new story to wrap things up while also referencing many classic moments in the series and fanservice without going overboard. The opening scene is a great example of this while also showcasing the best animation of the film. This opening scene was very exciting but unfortunately raises expectations on the visual front a bit higher than the rest of the film is able to manage. After the scene concludes, we’re quickly shown some generic cgi crowd and pedestrian shots and reminded to keep our expectations in check. Overall the films visuals are an upgrade from Tri, though in all honesty that isn’t really saying much. The character art and animation is solid and the designs are definitely an upgrade from what has recently been put out. Unfortunately the main villian Digimon is animated fully in CG and some of the later action, showcased after an extended period of plot and talking suffers from heavy CG use not present earlier in the film.
On the character front, it’s great seeing all our favourites grown up and (mostly) achieving their future aspirations. This is also a major theme of the film, and coupled with a plot that directly draws on and even uses the classic child character designs, really brings the story full circle and amps up the nostalgia factor. Additionally, seeing these characters we grew up with drinking alcohol and having their porn stashes found by their digimon (yep) really drives home how many years have passed since seeing these characters for the first time. This nostalgia is likely what most fans are looking for in a film like this, and on this level I feel the film succeeds, and to a much greater degree than Tri.
The plot at times felt reminiscent of the first Digimon film to me, with some of the staging of scenes being direct callbacks to the film. The themes of the film focus on loss and acceptance and the power to move on mirrored in both the films antagonist and Taichi and Matt. The film manages to be quite serious at times, with some fairly serious real world stakes both small and grand scale. It’s able to evoke a few really emotional moments and like I hinted at the beginning of the review as well, the film does actually has the guts to live up to its title and for that I commend it.
Overall Digimon:Last Evolution is a nice send-off to the series that should certainly satisfy fans in a way Tri didn’t even come close or TRY to (sorry). At this point, I feel like that’s the best Digimon fans could have asked for.
18: Berserk: Ougon Jidai-hen III – Kourin
English: Berserk: The Golden Age Arc III – The Advent
Japanese: ベルセルク 黄金時代篇Ⅲ 降臨
MAL Score: 8.20
The Band of the Hawk has dwindled in the year since Guts left them on his journey to forge his own destiny. Unaware of their fate, Guts returns to the Hawks—now being led by his former ally Casca—after a rumor about them passes his way. Once the saviors of the kingdom of Midland, the Band of the Hawk are now hunted as they desperately fight for their lives while plotting to free their leader, Griffith, after he was imprisoned for committing treason. But the man they save is far from the Griffith they remember.
Griffith is a shell of his former charismatic self after a year of continuous, horrific torture. No longer able to walk, speak, or even hold a sword, he has nothing but the small, strange trinket, the Crimson Behelit, that will not leave him. The entire Band of the Hawk want to rise to greatness once more, but how much are they willing to sacrifice to return to their past glory? It doesn’t seem possible, but when Griffith’s heart darkens and a solar eclipse blackens the sky, the Behelit offers a choice that will leave the Band of the Hawk with a blood-soaked fate that will haunt them for the rest of their days.
The controversial CG in my humble opinion, has improved but still has its problems. I say the frame rate is more even and the frame size in proportion to the characters and foreground appropriately accommodates it. It still comes across as “gamey,” but it is an improvement, but by no means perfect. The action is very violent and lives up to its bad ass title. There will be plenty of blood and gore. Even though Guts is the main character and a bad ass, I will admit when this guy fights, he scares me and this movie does a good job of making me scared of the main character. There’s nothing to fear, but fear itself, but fear fears Guts. On a list of top anime bad asses, Guts has to be on that list no doubt.
I say what defines the art and animation is how it sets the atmosphere and brings you into the emotions. You feel Griffith’s fragility. Even though you don’t see him unmasked, the detail to the art on whatever you see of his face is enough to give you an idea of what he would look like if unmasked. You see the hesitation of Guts on whether or not he should leave the Hawks again. You feel Casca’s frustrations. I feel that the raw emotions bring a sense of substance in conjunction to its R-15+ (the equivalent to an NC-17 in America) rating.
The voice acting, as I have admitted in previous reviews, has been an issue for me. I will admit that Guts’ new actor has shown improvement and shown instances that he can capture the character. But I will openly admit as a purist and fanboy that Nobutoshi Canna is still Guts to me while Michael Bell will always be his English voice to me. The guy who plays Jedau does an ok imitation of the character’s original voice actor, Ishida Akira. Maybe for people not familiar with the previous anime series and the games will not find this to be an issue and may like the voice actors.
Like the second movie, the soundtrack is more acoustics and orchestrated. My thoughts on that carry onto this movie as well. It suits the time period very well and knows how to suit the atmosphere. The orchestra in the ending credits was very impressive. Susumu Hirakawa still does the opening theme and is my favorite part of the soundtrack. Still, like the newer voice cast, fans new to Berserk who had not seen the previous anime series or played the games will probably not think of this as an issue.
The closest thing to a spoiler I can give is that after the ending credits, there is a post credits scene which isn’t much for some people, but after that is over, there is a message in clear English that says “This is only the beginning” meaning we will get new Berserk movies. I say its only natural with the easter eggs in previous movies, this series deserves its shot where it really shines. For those not familiar with the Berserk manga, this new trilogy is a mere fraction of what Berserk has to offer. So I hope we hear more news soon if a new Berserk movie will come out this year or not.
After that, we get a bonus music video!!! So fans will most likely enjoy this.
After how much I bashed the first 2 Berserk films, you might be surprised to learn that I actually really liked the 3rd one! I try not to be petty and hold grudges, where I will automatically attack every work in a certain franchise or by a certain author, simply because I didn’t like previous entries. In the 3rd film covering the Eclipse portion of the Berserk storyline, they FINALLY get it right.
The first vast improvement is the pacing. The 3rd film covers an appropriate number of episodes, so the much beloved story and characters of Berserk don’t need to be massively watered down in order to fit a 2 hour run time. In fact, the 3rd film is able to give us background about the Berserk world that the original anime wasn’t able to fit in. We also get to actually see the full conclusion of the Eclipse instead of a random fade to black. We know from the first episode of the original Berserk anime that Guts survived the Eclipse, but the first anime doesn’t even hint as to how he could have survived it. The 3rd movie is able to fit in the Skull Knight in all his Deus ex Machina glory! Given the movie did unfortunately cut out the Skull Knight’s fight with Zodd the Immortal, but just showing the escape made it a massive improvement on the original ending. I also appreciated that the movie captured the full brutality and horror of the Eclipse even better than the first anime. There were parts of the original anime that I liked better including Judeau’s final confession of love for Caska. However, Berserk 3 still does a very solid job adapting this portion of the manga…unlike those first 2 movies.
On a technical level, the CGI is vastly improved and actually doesn’t look like complete shit for once. The music was also pretty solid throughout, although the extremely melodramatic piano piece when Griffith rapes Caska was a tad out of place. I wasn’t sure if he was going to rape her or tie her to a railroad track while evilly twisting his handlebar mustache.
Bonus Section: Trivia
The “Eclipse” happens every 216 years because 6 x 6 x 6 = 216.
The Godhand members are all named after obscure books by great fantasy/scifi writers that Miura likes. Each Godhand member is partially inspired by one of these titans of fantasy.
Void = Frank Herbert Conrad = Roger Zalazny Ubik = Philip K Dick Slan = AE van Vogt
Berserk is one of VERY few non-hentai titles to show pubic hair. Although there is no longer a censorship law against this in 2015, most anime don’t do this out of convention to keep the border between hentai and non-hentai echii clear.
Guts was named after the real life historical figure Gottfried “Götz” von Berlichingen, a badass medieval mercenary who fought with a prosthetic iron hand just like Guts.
Often hailed as one of, if not THE best mangas of all time, Berserk has earned itself a spot on many an avid manga reader’s “must read” lists and for good reason as it’s the quintessential dark fantasy manga and the ultimate story of friendship, tragedy, and the pursuit of self-destructive vengeance. This may very well be true in the manga, but Berserk’s animated history isn’t much to speak of. The TV series produced by Oriental Light & Magic in 1997 is hailed as a classic by many but its piss-poor animation along with its mortifying cliffhanger of an ending left a sour taste in the mouths of a lot of people (myself included). Unfortunately, this was the *only* adaptation of Berserk that ever existed… that is until Studio 4C announced that it would be releasing a series of films to adapt the Golden Age Arc of the Berserk manga. Are these movies any good? Personally, I say that they’re great but I’m pretty sure that statement of mine just evoked the wrath of thousands of Berserk fans. Allow me to explain myself:
As fans of a manga, it’s completely understandable that we’d want our adaptations to copy the source material verbatim, but the sad fact of the matter is that it’s just not possible whatsoever. Despite the fact that mangas are basically pre-drawn storyboards for anime studios to work with, anime and manga are two completely different mediums with different demands and nuances to work with. Changes *must* be made for the sake of things like time, narrative consistency, budget, and all that other stuff. If you’re going to get up in arms about how the adaptation lacks every single irrelevant detail from the source material that you adored the shit out of, do yourself a favour and stick with the manga because no matter which way you look at it, the adaptation will *always* be inferior to the source material so there’s no use in complaining about it.
On another note, censorship is generally not an issue when it comes to manga because S&P boards aren’t even a thing when it comes down to print media (well, I think they aren’t anyway). Anime broadcast on television however need to abide by certain standards and given the content that Berserk has, there’s no way it can last as a TV series without either suffering from extensive censorship OR butchering it to the point where it’s a completely different show than what it was intended to be. Cinema on the other hand, doesn’t have to put up with censorship (unless you’re in a country with a turbulent civil rights history like Saudi Arabia, China, or Iran) and it’s more readily accessible to a greater audience than it would’ve been otherwise had it been a TV series. Sure, Studio 4C could’ve easily made an OVA series like Space Battleship Yamato 2199 but ultra-violent GAR OVAs died in the late 80s and early 90s along with parachute pants, grunge music, and The Fat Boys. Also, I don’t think a lot of people would be too eager to buy a full season’s worth of one show on DVD/Blu-ray so there’s that to factor in as well.
Now with all of that stuff out of the way, let’s talk about the movies and how they actually are from a quality standpoint. Well I won’t mince words here: each film in the trilogy is better than the one that preceded it with “Eclipse” being the best and “The Egg of the King” being the worst (by default). Now, that’s not to say that the first movie in the trilogy was terrible because in all honesty, it really wasn’t. It was a fair enough introduction to Berserk, the storytelling was fair enough (albeit rather clunky) and hey! We finally got a chance to see a battle animated properly (and in 1080p) instead of seeing blown-up watercolour stills so that’s also quite lovely. The problem lies in the way the film itself was actually animated. It’s strange to say, but that’s the most succinct way to explain the problem.
Studio 4C is an awesome studio and they’ve got some great stuff on their resume like the short film “Magnetic Rose” from the Memories trilogy by Katsuhiro Otomo, Steamboy, The Animatrix, and Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox (if you wanna include their collaborative projects with Warner Bros). Yeah, these guys aren’t slouches when it comes down to the audiovisual department. The problem is that the Golden Age Arc of Berserk contains no shortage of large-scale battles that are incredibly difficult to animate in two dimensions. To mitigate this issue, Studio 4C opted to integrate varying degrees of CG animation into the mix in order to actually animate all those large-scale battles and it works absolutely beautifully in those situations.
Unfortunately, they decided to maintain the CG even when there weren’t any battles to actually animate in the first movie and it just looks so ridiculously clunky to the point where there’s something eerie about it. That clunky CG animation is basically what caused so many people to not even bother giving these movies a chance despite the fact that it actually does get better as time went on. I’m not going to lie, the CG is an eyesore but there’s no denying that the animation across all three movies is a million leagues better than the barely-animated rubbish the TV series had to offer (do keep in mind I’m talking about the animation of the TV series, the story and characters are quite lovely). Hell, the third movie actually got the CG right and used it to great effect during the Eclipse (which I’ll talk about later).
In regard to the story and characters, I must say that Studio 4C did a pretty good job (especially given that they were trying to cover 11 volumes’ worth of content within the span of 3 films). The Golden Age Arc of Berserk is the ultimate story of hardship and sacrifice fuelled by the pursuit of one man’s dream. We start our journey in the middle of a century-long war between two kingdoms. Midland, our country of origin was forced to enlist the help of countless mercenaries just to supplement their waning military forces. In the process, they enlisted two people: our aimless protagonist with no goals in life, Guts and the charismatic and ambitious Griffith and the rest of his team known as the “Band of the Hawk.” Through circumstance, Guts ends up joining Griffith and his band of mercenaries and I’ll just leave the rest for you to experience.
Yeah, there are a lot of things missing from these movies that the TV series had but Studio 4C managed to retain the “spirit” of Berserk throughout the course of the trilogy. Sure, some events are either implied or omitted entirely but most (if not all) of the important stuff from the Golden Age Arc remain intact and dare I say that these movies managed to portray these events much better than the TV series and even the manga ever could. I’m not even being hyperbolic or anything of the sort. A lot of the highlights of the Golden Age Arc just “take” to being animated and I can safely say that Studio 4C did virtually everything they could to make those highlights from the manga stand out and work much better than they ever could’ve if they were just black-and-white panels upon pages with no sound whatsoever.
On that note, let’s talk about the Eclipse. If you’ve EVER spent any time around the Berserk fandom, chances are that you’ve heard of this event and have a vague idea of what it is. But for those of you who aren’t well-versed in the ways of Berserk, I’ll explain what it is. The Golden Age arc of the manga is first and foremost, a protracted flashback that lasted from Volume 3 of the manga to Volume 14. Berserk initially starts off with Guts in the present time in pursuit of Griffith for reasons that were never revealed until the climax of the GAA. The Eclipse is nothing short of a cataclysmic nightmare that seamlessly merged ghastly and surreal horror with heart-wrenching tragedy. A recurring theme throughout the course of the Golden Age arc is causality and the existence of free will. Throughout the manga and the films, these theme was always working its magic in the background and gave us hints and foreshadowing of the ghastly nightmare that we would later experience.
Unfortunately, the TV series lacked this sort of foreshadowing almost entirely. By the time the Eclipse actually happened, it just came out of nowhere. The impact of the Eclipse was lost completely because the themes of causality and the supernatural were downplayed heavily in lieu of putting more emphasis on camaraderie and friendship. Hypothetically, this could’ve led to a more impactful tragedy but the problem is that there was no foreshadowing whatsoever. Instead of making us crap our pants in pure, unadulterated terror whilst also making us cry like little bitches because of the fact that all of this horrible shit is happening to characters we’ve grown to know and love, it made us scratch our heads in confusion… oh, and that’s not even getting into the appalling animation making the entire ordeal difficult to take seriously and how all of this actually ended in the TV series.
Thankfully, none of that was the case when it came down to the third Berserk movie and its portrayal of the Eclipse. In fact, it managed to perfectly capture the sheer intensity of the Eclipse as a cataclysmic tragedy in ways that both the TV series AND the manga failed to do. A lot of this can be chalked up to the fact that Studio 4C did an outstanding job with the animation. Did I forget to mention that the Eclipse is one of the bloodiest and most gruesome parts of Berserk to ever exist (because that’s kinda important…)? The way Studio 4C went about portraying the Eclipse was so graphic to the point where people who actually saw this movie in theatres ended up having to leave because it was just too much for some people to actually sit through. This is the way that the Eclipse was meant to be portrayed from the very beginning. The third movie succeeded where the source material and its previous adaptation failed. I’d love to keep going, but I think that’ll reach into some seriously spoiler-heavy territory and I think I spoiled more than enough at this point.
On that note, let’s talk about how it ends. The TV series ended on what is undoubtedly the single most depressing point of the entire story, but the actual resolution of the Golden Age arc in the manga wasn’t like that at all. Though the TV series left the overall story of the GAA is left largely intact, many alterations had to be made so that the entire story could fit within the span of 25 episodes. Because of this, the guys at OLM decided that it would be an absolutely fantastic idea to just omit the ACTUAL resolution of the Golden Age arc and just ended it on such a mortifying cliffhanger to the point where anyone who wasn’t familiar with the source material would be shouting at the screen going “What the actual fuck?!” The movies completely and totally avoided this and I’m SO thankful that Studio 4C managed to get it right. All you manga purist Berserk fans can talk shit about the films all you want, but there’s no denying that the way the third movie got right what the TV series got wrong.
Now, you may be wondering whether or not the movies do a good enough job of making us care about the characters. Personally, I think that the movie managed to do a great job but others may beg to differ because of the fact that the Golden Age Arc movies cut out a lot of stuff. While I can’t really say much about the secondary/tertiary characters, I can safely say that the movies hit the nail on the head when it came down to our dynamic duo of Guts and Griffith which is what ultimately matters in the end. It’s the dynamic between these two and the rest of the cast that made this arc of the manga so captivating to read in the first place.
Guts started out as a wandering mercenary with a brutal past, no friends, and nothing to aspire toward. His encounter with Griffith and the Band of the Hawk led to him finally knowing what it was like to have friends. What’s more is that it was revealed that despite all of the horrible things that Guts went through in the past, he’s got such a capacity for things like love, trust, friendship, and all that other stuff. At the same time, the GAA by and large is a tragedy and we all know that shit will end horribly for Guts and that he’ll take up his sword in pursuit of vengeance no matter what the cost. I don’t think it’s any stretch to say that he is without a doubt, one of Berserk’s greatest assets. The movies retain the very essence of this tragic character and makes it so that we’ll always have a reason to root for him in the end.
That’s not to invalidate Griffith, because he’s just as great a character as Guts is. Griffith has evoked the ire of countless Berserk fans for his actions in the manga that I’m not at liberty to discuss, but don’t let that make you think he’s not a great character in the slightest. I viscerally despise everything there is about Griffith, and yet I can still find myself finding some modicum of sympathy for him (Kentaro Miura might be fapping away to Idolmaster these days, but there’s no denying that he’s more than capable of writing amazing characters). Many of us have larger-than-life ambitions, but Griffith is one of the few who actually makes the effort to chase after those foolhardy childhood dreams that we end up letting go of as we get older. Throughout the course of the Golden Age arc, Griffith is depicted as a sort of demigod and it isn’t until he encounters Guts when his cool shell starts to crack as he and Guts end up becoming like brothers. It’s this very bond between these two that provides the catalyst for almost all of Berserk’s highlights and tragedies. If you want to know more, then you know what you need to do: watch the bloody movies and then read the bloody manga for context!
Before I wrap this review up, I want to take the time to talk about one last thing: the audio. The Golden Age Arc trilogy’s OST and dubbing is absolutely spectacular. Say what you will about the animation, but there’s no denying that everyone in the sound department deserves a gold medal for their work. On the OST side of things, every single track is absolutely spectacular and fits the mood perfectly… except one track during the climax of the third movie which makes me wonder if Griffith was wearing a top hat, a monocle, and had a thin moustache he was twirling around in one finger whilst waiting for an oncoming train to run over Casca (but let’s not get into that). Of all the tracks that were played across all three movies, I’d have to say that “Blood and Guts” (the ending theme of the first and third movies) would have to be my favourite because it perfectly captures the tragic nature of Guts as a character (that, and it also sounds REALLY fucking awesome).
As for the dubbing, I really have to give props to Viz because they not only hired the bulk of the original cast of the TV series’ dub, but they gave them better voice direction and also managed to sync up the mouth movements properly! Marc Diraison did a wonderful job in the TV series, but he really gets a chance to shine under Viz’s direction. As for Kevin T. Collins, well his work as Griffith is absolutely spot-on and almost everything I’ve said about Marc Diraison can be applied to him as well. My only complaint however is the fact that there are no outtake reels on the DVD/Blu-ray release of any of the movies (at least from what I can gather). Come on, guys… if the guys at Media Blasters have the dignity to show their bloopers, you guys can do it too.
So, what else is there to say about these movies? Hm… well, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that these movies are definitely worth watching. As an introduction to Berserk, these movies do an excellent job with acquainting any potential newcomers with everything whilst giving long-time fans of the series a properly animated adaptation that while condensed and short, manages to perfectly encapsulate virtually everything there is to love about this series. At present, there is no sequel to this film trilogy, so if you’re new to Berserk and you just finished the third movie, you’ll have to do one of two things:
a) Read the manga from the very beginning so that you can see what you missed out on whilst also learning what became of Guts et al post-Eclipse.
b) Wait for Studio 4C to release the next instalment of their Berserk adaptation. They have stated previously that they have plans to adapt the rest of the manga, but they’ve yet to release anything.
Personally, I’d recommend the first option, but waiting ain’t half bad if you don’t wanna buy volumes or put up with shitty scanlations. Anyway, that’s all for now. Feedback’s always welcome and with that, I’m out. Peace 🙂
17: Majo no Takkyuubin
English: Kiki’s Delivery Service
MAL Score: 8.22
Kiki, a 13-year-old witch-in-training, must spend a year living on her own in a distant town in order to become a full-fledged witch. Leaving her family and friends, Kiki undertakes this tradition when she flies out into the open world atop her broomstick with her black cat Jiji.
As she settles down in the coastal town of Koriko, Kiki struggles to adapt and ends up wandering the streets with no place to stay—until she encounters Osono, who offers Kiki boarding in exchange for making deliveries for her small bakery. Before long, Kiki decides to open her own courier service by broomstick, beginning her journey to independence. In attempting to find her place among the townsfolk, Kiki brings with her exciting new experiences and comes to understand the true meaning of responsibility.
Everything about this movie just brings me a smile and always brings me up when I feel down. What makes this movie great is that it doesn’t have huge ambition; it’s not here to tell you about the consequences of relying too much on technology, or destroying the natural earth, confronting the spirits of the forest. Of life. But it’s simply the story of a young girl coming to terms with growing up and living in an entirely new town with total strangers. Transitioning from the comfort of her quiet country side hometown, to the hustle and bustle of an urban area.
Being independent for the first time is a terrifying experience for anyone, but it’s also enlightening, as you can learn more about yourself and others than you thought. Kiki’s Delivery Service showcases those ups and downs brilliantly. From an awkward introduction to baffled strangers on the streets, to starting her own business and befriending her clients, to meeting the owner of a Bakery who immediately shows a keen interest in the young girl, taking the role of a sort of mother figure to her. You meet all sorts of characters in this movie, all of them with an interesting or realistic characteristic. From a gruff looking, but gentle husband of the Bakery owner, to a boy who is extremely passionate about flight and aircrafts(even attempting to lodge a propeller onto his bike to try to get some air) who develops an immediate infatuation with Kiki, to a painter who takes comfort living in the middle of the woods, befriending the hordes of crows that live in it.
And then there is Kiki herself; at first glance she is cheerful, if a little naive. Honest, yet surprisingly old fashioned(“It’s not polite to ask a persons name without introducing yourself first!”). The thing I love about her character is that she’s so many things, so many qualities that show how much of a varied, complex, but very realistic character she really is. She isn’t a spoiled brat, she isn’t selfish, she isn’t annoying. She’s simply a little girl with her own quirks and principles.
The film showcases the joys and pains of growing up finding your place in the world. At one point, she wearily laments the fact that she doesn’t have pretty dresses, and she cannot afford that sparkling pair of red shoes that she gazes at through the window of a clothes shop. She sees her friend Tombo chatting and laughing with girls, sparking an immediate sense of jealousy from Kiki due to her insecurities.
She wants nice things, she wants to wear a nice dress, she wants to talk to boys and make friends. But cannot afford it, nor does she have the time. She simply desires a lot of what girls probably want at that age or slightly older. It’s what makes her human and convincing as a character.
Even if you’re not the same age group, or even gender, I feel that a lot of us have lived through moments where we feel so unsure of ourselves, feeling a sense of loneliness and isolation in the process.
And even though she goes through times of insecurity, depression and feeling like she’s in a rut. She also befriends and meets many people that find her remarkably charming, sweet and sincere. She experiences friendships, success in her business and feeling accomplished.
The music, composed by the master himself, Joe Hisaishi. Is nothing short of perfect, the soundtrack has a very distinct European sound to it, also induces a large sense of nostalgia. From the early 60s pop sound of the opening, to the tender folk ballad of the ending. The soundtrack compliments nearly every scene in the movie to considerable effect. As expected!
The animation and designs are also incredibly top notch. It’s crisp, it’s clear(I just recently purchased the bluray version), it brilliantly showcases the varied areas and backgrounds. Everything is just straight up gorgeous. The town itself, Koriko, an ideal version of a pre-WWII Northern European city is one of my favorite designed places in fiction. To the hectic main-roads, the quiet alleyways and side areas you could casually stroll through, to the gorgeous beaches and scenery. It’s very romantic and exhilarating. I would personally love to live in a city like this.
Despite what it does right, does it do anything wrong? Well, I wouldn’t have minded if the movie went a bit more into the witch culture. In the story, when 12-13, a witch must leave her town and spend a year elsewhere, growing and learning, broadening their horizons essentially. But it’s not really explained too much, but this is simply a nitpick as the film is more about Kiki and her experiences than all that.
There’s a certain warmth to this film that makes it feel like you’re revisiting an old friend. I find it difficult to find any major faults in this movie. I’ve grown up watching it on tv dozens of times, and later in life revisiting it, only to truly then realize how special this film is to me. I never said that I would be objective or impartial in this review, that would be pointless and a disservice to the film. Kiki’s Delivery Service makes you passionate, or just really happy and relaxed, whichever works for you.
It’s anime like this that proves to me yet again that animation can be a wonderful expression of art. If you’ve never seen this film, do yourself a favor and do so soon. Set up some free time during a quiet weekend afternoon and let yourself be enveloped in tenderness.
Any constructive feedback is appreciated on this review!
I liked the plot of Spirited Away much, much better though. Spirited Away had a more complex and interesting plot, while Kiki’s story was simpler. I guess the advantage of that is it’s easy to understand. As much as I like stories about witches living amongst normal humans, Kiki didn’t really act or live like a witch. She was more of a human who can fly and happens to own a cat that talks.
Since I brought up the subject of the talking cat, I’m glad I picked the English dub over the original Japanese dub. I fell in love with the cast when I saw their interviews, so I decided to go with the Disney dub.Sure it became more Disney-ish, but it was actually pretty good. I like how they made Jiji talk more – I realized that in the Japanese dub Jiji wasn’t as talkative. Also, Phil Hartman made Jiji way funnier.
As expected of Hayao Miyazaki, the animation was fantastic – even if it was a 1989 movie. Since it’s from 1989, I’m assuming everything is hand drawn. The backgrounds were very detail, but it wasn’t overwhelming. It’s kind of looking at a fine, intricate watercolor painting that moves.
I did notice a lot of fan service throughout the movie. I know that seems weird, but there were numerous panty flashes from Kiki herself. I was beginning to think if that was intentional.
Disney edited the music, for sure. There were poppy, contemporary songs (both by Sydney Forest) during the beginning and the ending scenes of the movie. I can’t say I like the songs that much, but they were pretty catchy. I also noticed that a lot of the original BGM was omitted – I don’t know why that is. For the BGM I heard, I thought those tracks were very nice. They were easy to listen to and made the scenes especially peaceful and serene.
I’m probably gonna watch it again. It’s the kind of thing that you can watch any time and you’ll never get tired of it.
Kiki’s Delivery Service is one of the very few Ghibli movies that would make a viewer cry. Spirited Away would come close, but it wouldn’t quite hit the mark with what it offers, and wouldn’t emotionally resonate with some viewers. Kiki’s true beauty, however, lies in the fact that it is a simple movie, and any person would have come up with both the plot and the ending, but it takes a lot of care and brilliant directing to make a plot so simple shine in such a prepossessing manner. Miyazaki took a simple concept that is magic and witches flying through the air, and turned it into a film that emotionally resonates with most of those who have seen it. The plot follows Kiki, a young witch who wants to find her place in the world, and this is where the narrative truly stands out from the rest of both the other Ghibli movies, and the other witch fairytales. Kiki’s Delivery Service may seem like a witch story on the surface, but as you delve deeper into it, it begins to show itself as a movie exploring the hardships of life and a masterfully crafted coming of age story as well. The titular character is one of the most relatable to ever come out of the Ghibli discography, and is the most explored heroine in Ghibli’s catalog as well.
The central character Kiki, is relatable due to the fact that her relationship with her companions is explored thoroughly, from her relationship with her black cat Gigi, to her relationship with the young boy Tombo, to her relationship with the bakery owner, and so on and so forth. Not only are the character interactions believable and thoroughly explored, but so is the fact that Kiki exhibits human behavior unlike any other Ghibli character. When I say “human” I do not mean in the sense that it is forced like some of the other Ghibli characters, as her depression and lack of self-worth arise slowly after losing something that is deep to her, which makes her character all the more believable. It doesn’t come across as something that is shallow for the sake of gaining some sympathy and tears from the audience, since the thing she lost is something which she had owned her whole life, not something cheap which came out of nowhere and then vanished that easily to garner sympathy and tears from the viewers. This is one of the very few times where Miyazaki would go into such hard topics when it came to his characters. Usually, Miyazaki’s characters are mostly joyful and cheerful, whereas Takahata’s characters are the ones to exhibit such genuine lack of emotions and self-worth, which is another factor as to why this movie stands out as something that is both unique and exceptional in Miyazaki’s discography.
As for the other characters, they aren’t as well explored as Kiki, but they serve their purpose well within the narrative regardless. Kiki’s black cat, Gigi, isn’t the typical black cat that a witch would carry around, he talks, and his attempts at humor land solidly. When something devastating happens to him, the audience relates with him and to his struggles. To be able to make the audience feel attached to a character that isn’t as deeply explored as a well-developed protagonist like Kiki, is a feat that should not be underestimated, but Miyazaki did it brilliantly this time around. As for the bakery owner, she serves to guide Kiki through her emotional struggles and as a maternal figure to Kiki as well, since Kiki is a character that was forced to depart from her parents as a part of undergoing a witch training program. The contrast between the owner’s kindness and Kiki’s depression makes the emotional catharsis all the more immense here, and makes Kiki even more relatable as a character. Kiki is also not a perfect character at the end of the day, which makes her all the more relatable to the audience, especially those who struggle with hardships. Yes, she may be a witch and she may have special powers, but she isn’t a princess nor a hero prophesied in legends like most other Ghibli heroines. Kiki is clumsy, acts haphazardly at most times, especially with her terrible ability when it comes to landing her broom, and she tries to better herself and develop throughout the movie’s run.
As underrated as this gorgeous movie’s characters and direction are, the most underrated aspects of it are the animation and the visuals. People do not give enough credit to this movie’s audiovisuals, as it boggles the mind how a movie that is thirty years old, can have such animation that has not aged in the least bit. It is also nice to see Ghibli upping their game with this one, as the animation progressed from stills and flappy animation back in 1986 with Castle in the Sky, to some of the most fluid animation found in Kiki’s Delivery Service. Whether it’s the beautiful hand drawn animations, or the picturesque landscapes, Ghibli never ceases to amaze with this one. The backgrounds serve the story better and make the atmosphere all the more engaging, especially with the places they chose. The colors are vibrant and give the movie more life, and become pale and lifeless when the movie needs to be serious and grim. As for the character designs, Kiki is by far the most visually striking Ghibli protagonist, her most appealing feature being her tie that she wears on her head. Her dress is only one cloth, but it’s a nice change from the ridiculous clothes many other Ghibli characters wear, and it adds more to her humble character.
As for the soundtrack, this is Joe Hisaishi’s best work. The soundtrack immensely captures the beauty of the film and the general atmosphere that it was striving to achieve. The best piece Ghibli has ever put out is “A Town with an Ocean View”, as it is immensely visceral and awe inspiring, and it beats out Spirited Away’s main theme, “The Name of Life”. The other pieces helped solidify the scenes that they were placed in as well. All around this soundtrack is Hisaishi’s most emotionally striking soundtrack, even when some may argue that it isn’t his absolute best.
This is Miyazaki’s masterpiece. After seeing most of what Ghibli had to offer – from the bad, to the nauseatingly slow average, to the very good, I can assure readers that this is Miyazaki’s crème de la crème. This movie contends heavily with some others that Takahata has put out, and uncertainty always arises when trying to make sure what Ghibli’s absolute magnum opus is. Regardless of that, this is Miyazaki’s visceral masterpiece, without a shadow of a doubt.
16: One Piece Movie 14: Stampede
Japanese: 劇場版『ONE PIECE STAMPEDE』（スタンピード）
MAL Score: 8.22
The world’s greatest exposition of the pirates, by the pirates, for the pirates—the Pirates Festival. Luffy and the rest of the Straw Hat Crew receive an invitation from its host Buena Festa who is known as the Master of Festivities. They arrive to find a venue packed with glamorous pavilions and many pirates including the ones from the Worst Generation. The place is electric.
It felt like their Budget on Animation was just as much on this 1:40h Movie as on a normal 20 Min episode of One-Piece. The animations are horrendous and PC 3D animations are used waaaay to often, they didn’t care animating many scenes. About 40% of this movie is made in some 3D software and not Animated. Very disappointing concidering Cinema movies rack in way more money than just a single episode.
The character Bullet also seems like a cool idea also coming off of GolD Rogers ship but his backstory and especially his Devilfruit concept are very bad and just made to be over the top. And on top of that he looks very bad in the Anime only being animated in 3D….
Consistency to the Main story is also close to None, for example with Luffy being able to Use Gear 4 Multiple times within 5 Minutes. Oh and dont even get me starten on the “King King King Kong Gun” or whatever it was.
All in all there are some enjoyable moments (Sabo and Ace Fire Fist in the end) but all the bad aspects of the movie push me to beg you to not support this movie in any way shape of form. Dont buy the CD, dont buy Figures of this movie etc. We have to choose what we want and we definetly dont want trashy 3D animations. Vote with your wallet and show them we want something better. I get it’s just a filler but they probably spent more money advertising the movie than actually making it.
Though I had high hopes for this one, unfortunately it turned out to be quite horrible. Brainless plot, abrupt start & ending, bad use of characters, no heartfelt incidents, no meaningful turning points, dialogs that made me facepalm myself and so, so many coincidences throughout this movie. So many coincidences it’s actually ridiculous. For instance, they are all on a huge freaking island and they just keep ‘stumbling across’ one another at the right moment. Nevertheless, the thing that ticked me off the most was that I found 0% funny scenes. Seriously, even One Piece Movie 6 had more humor and its basically a psychological thriller.
It seemed more like a really long One Piece commercial that a movie. “Oh, look! We have all those cool characters in our anime. Come and watch it.” I mean they introduce a person like Bullet and he does absolutely nothing other than shout “I strive to be the strongest!” Sooo original! In addition, how he enters the scene is boring enough to revert your eyes from the screen. An otherwise stressful moment of Usopp being hurt by this insanely strong enemy, was ruined when it was not shown properly so that the viewer will feel fear or compassion for this long-nosed character.
Fight animation wise it was… decent. A few fight scenes looked quite silly, but those were few and far apart. The final battle though was just awful. It was fairly alright until Bullet decided to go full Mechagodzilla style which, in my humble opinion, destroyed my already low interest in this movie.
This film could have had SO much potential (and I can’t emphasize this enough!) due to the festival setting and the story of one of Roger’s former crew-mates, but they managed to ruin it and create a “stampede” of already well known characters who begged for screen time and nothing more. Maybe this story required 2 parts and more time to do it correctly.
And all the aforementioned come from an One Piece fan that loves it since grade school. I do not know why I still keep watching this anime. Maybe it’s the nostalgia, the need to know the ending or maybe just to see some random adventure of this crew. Whatever the reason, I always hope for at least a decent plot and not some unreasonable fights with gibberish dialogs like in this movie. But, alas, our beloved One Piece has already become another victim of exploitation and exists for the sole purpose of selling merchandise, video games and plot-less films. It’s a shame…
I want to preface this review by saying, if you’re not already a die-hard One Piece fan, this movie has next to nothing for you.
Despite my fairly limited Japanese ability, I was able to comprehend the entire plot and the vast majority of the dialogue, (maybe to an extent of about 90% or so). I think the reason being is that this movie has barely any substance. When the movie starts we’re introduced to the island and then the “first event” starts.
Shortly after the battle begins the movie devolves into “oh hey look it’s [insert one piece character here]” that character does an attack or something and then we get another character show up and the same thing happens all the way till the end of the movie.
I kept expecting some hint of story to be mentioned but it never really happened, aside from a few short moments.
The villain is highly forgettable and leaves no real lasting impression, even writing this review I was struggling to even remember his name, despite being able to remember the Z and Gold villains easily, despite having seen those movies a much longer time ago.
This isn’t to say that the movie is bad, if you’re a die-hard One Piece fan you will find enjoyment in this movie. The battle is enjoyable, the animation is good and the soundtrack just adds to the excitement.
But I think the lack of a decent story and over-reliance on fan service really brings the movie down.
For me I think the movie would sit at a 5 or 6. It’s better than average and I enjoyed watching it, but I would be in no great hurry to run out and watch it again. And if you’re eagerly awaiting the western release, and expecting anything more than fan service I recommend you lower your expectations to get more out of seeing this movie.
TL;DR The movie is severely held-back by it’s lack of narrative, over-reliance on fan service and rushed pacing. Lower your expectations before watching to get the most enjoyment from this film.
15: Sennen Joyuu
English: Millennium Actress
MAL Score: 8.26
At the turn of the millennium, Ginei Studio’s dilapidated buildings are set to be demolished. Ex-employee and filmmaker Genya Tachibana decides to honor this occasion with a commemorative documentary about the company’s star actress: Chiyoko Fujiwara, the reclusive sweetheart of Shouwa Era cinema. Having finally obtained permission to interview the retired starlet, an enamored Genya drags along cynical cameraman Kyouji Ida to meet her, ready to put his lifelong idol back in the spotlight once more.
Hidden in this secluded mountain retreat is a thousand years of history condensed into one lifetime, waiting to be narrated. Chiyoko’s recollections take them on an illusionary journey through Japanese cinematic history that transcends the boundaries of reality; the saga of her acting career intertwines with her filmography, the actors in her life blend seamlessly with the characters on screen, and the present melds with the past. Though the actress may have retired at the height of her career 30 years ago, the curtain on her life’s stage has yet to fall.
The story follows a pair of filmmakers who are interviewing a famous actress who has been retired for many years to celebrate the studio’s 70th anniversary. Millennium Actress features one of the most original story telling methods I have seen. We see the majority of the movie told through the actresses various movie roles. We shift from feudal Japan, World War 2, and a futuristic moon base, amongst others. You are never actually sure what is real and what is the movie all the time. I also found it interesting that the two filmmakers were always observers during the entire process. Their presence provided an interesting way of narrating the story and kept the viewer from getting confused by the constantly changing scenery.
Though many will perhaps not be able to relate to Chiyoko’s devotion to a man that she hardly knew anything about, I still never felt as though it was too farfetched. Whether or not she truly loved him the way one might feel for a lover is beside the point. Her love is what shaped the remainder of her life and allowed her to accomplish the things she had. I think this is summed up best by her last lines from the film when she comments that finding him was not that important, because it was the chase that she loved the most.
The two filmmakers Genya and Kyoji provide a nice anchor for the viewer. Of the two Genya is the most important and as the story unfolds we learn about his past and why he idolizes Chiyoko. As for the object of Chiyoko’s devotion we really learn little about him other than has ultimate fate. I think it was a good decision from a storytelling standpoint because his mysterious nature was what kept her looking for him.
The art was really exceptional. There were sometimes that some of the backgrounds looked like actual photographs and perhaps they were but they seamlessly fit in with the rest of the animation. The film as does a wonderful job at portraying many different settings. Everything feels so authentic from the prewar Japan costumes and architecture to the 50s styling and fashions.
Overall I really can’t recommend this movie enough. I don’t think its appeal is limited to just shoujo and romance fans. Give this movie an hour and a half, you will be glad you did!
Millennium Actress is a film that can easily be called great. It is outwardly audacious and seemingly gorgeous in nature.
Though frankly, Millennium Actress comes across as something that would be praised as long as the aesthetics are nice, the plot is convoluted and that it is directed by Satoshi Kon. As ridiculous as it might sound, this is a genuine statement after coming to a conclusion: the movie’s fans are often completely oblivious of any criticisms, and their belief that this movie is a magnum opus will not change due to the mentioned reasons. Of course, about the said belief, I beg to differ.
The story is quite average. If I should be honest, this is the kind of plot that I would consider dreary and uninspiring for how frequent it is recycled in Hollywood, so I see no point in magnifying it. It’s just not special, but it has a heart, and that’s what matters. I can clearly see where they were trying to go with, and so the intention is clear and rightfully consistent throughout. Unfortunately, this also means the movie is predictable and has virtually nothing to anticipate other than “does the actress meet her love?”, which is kind of a dull two-sides-of-a-coin. Nevertheless, it is still a movie that feels complete and satisfying regardless. Also, paying homage to Japanese cinema is no good excuse for an average story, though it’s nice and somewhat exciting to feel such radiated, genuine affection of Kon towards the pridefully rich cinema history.
The execution, however, is arguably poor. As thin and uninspiring as the story is, the execution barely does anything to embrace it (unlike in, say, Tokyo Godfathers). To be fair, all the director does for the movie is dragging this nonexistent storyline for an hour and a half. And so coming upon the second problem, the expendable convoluted nature of the narrative. For a story with barely any philosophical weight or plot development, the messy confusing narrative is just absolutely pretentious. “Oh but it’s gorgeous, and it merges reality with memories…” well, fair enough. But this naturally would beg a question, “Why confusing, necessarily?”. While acknowledging that by the end of the actress’ life, she can recall the events so vividly and can’t differentiate what’s real and what isn’t; yet forasmuch as this whole sequence solely focuses on that concept itself without even bother to have a wider, or deeper reach, it gives the audience no insights or depth other than the actress’ very simplistically discernible state of mind. This would have been so much more thematically powerful if it had included an actual psychological emphasis, and that the acting career emergence didn’t just take up the whole second half for nothing. When an idea so superficial being told so grandiosely, it will inevitably give the impression of being overly self-indulgent. To me, the complexity (or just convoluted, not complex) in this movie has not much depth or thematic ideas.
The characters are fine. They are fun and likable enough to lead the audience till the end, but none of them were even remotely profound or memorable. Some parts of the scripts are honestly so corny. I could forgive everything these hombres verbalize throughout the movie, but for the last line, I simply couldn’t. It’s just melodramatic and corny and foreseeable. Unforgivable.
The tone is clearly a craft of dexterity by a truly talented director. Kon knows exactly how and when to implement comedic relief, or to build up our expectations for an emotional impact. And so, thanks to the tone, the story seems to flow much more seamlessly. Still, this is insufficient as a saving grace for an overall poorly-written and executed movie.
Nonetheless, taking all that aside, we actually have quite a fantastic audiovisual piece of art. The animation is flawless and the art is not your typical degenerate garbage (not trying to sound disrespectful, but it really does look mature and visually intriguing). The music is really good and generally well used. I have no major complaint about the production value and perhaps am even more than enthusiastic to praise this truly astounding audiovisual spectacle. I can rest assured anyone who watches this movie would concur.
That said, this movie, albeit aesthetically merited, is subpar in almost every way. Satoshi Kon is definitely not a hack, however refutably overrated, for he has demonstrated his genuine competence in composing his own coups such as Perfect Blue or Tokyo Godfathers, and even glimpses of greatness here and there in Millennium Actress. Nevertheless, the self-indulgent and bafflingly confusing narrative has made Millennium Actress his weakest work that I’ve experienced so far. Mind you, this movie used to hold a 10 on my list for quite some time, so I do understand all the unhinged worshipping. Yet have I verily changed to thus give my sincere final verdict upon this movie: How corny.
STORY – Millennium Actress’s story is very simplistic and very sweet. I’m not usually a fan of unquestioning, devotional love, especially to such a crazed, obsessive extent, but the way this movie presents things makes it very easy to like. Just the extent of everything, the lengths to which Chiyoko had been willing to go; all of it was incredible. Even better still, was the idea that we in the audience could not know just how much of it was real and just how much of it was fantasy. The lines seem permanently blurred and any one scene might have just as easily been a memory or a dream, especially since all of the recollections are coming at an age where forgetfulness is common, making everything all the more tragic.
The use of movies to convey a fantasy was brilliant, especially considering the story’s form as a movie. The way people in the present are thrown into the past (or fantasy) was also a wonderfully creative way to tie the two times together, and there’s even a bit of tongue-in-cheek self-commentary on this way of handling things. Really, it’s Satoshi Kon’s phenomenal storytelling that transforms Millennium Actress’s exceedingly simple plotline into a masterpiece.
CHARACTERS – I have mixed feelings about the characters in this movie. I’ve said before that I’m not a fan of sudden, unquestioning love; thus, I definitely wasn’t a fan of the fact that Chiyoko essentially fell into eternal love with a man she’d met once, briefly, for several short hours. At the same time, the extent to which she took this infatuation seemed strangely realistic, despite how incredible it was. Indeed, people obsess over little things all the time, irrelevant people, incidental meetings; there are short moments that they will remember for the rest of their lives, so perhaps it isn’t so strange that Chiyoko should cling onto something like that. Besides, it wasn’t as if she had thrown her entire life away for the man, even if she did build up everything she had in order for him to see her. Aside from the obsession, I really enjoyed the way the elder Chiyoko was portrayed. It was very believable that she would become a recluse, and the way she told her story, the small revelations that came along with it — all of it was wonderfully interesting to watch and very touching in the end.
The other characters in the movie are all relatively minor and their characters subsequently less complex. Mostly, their personalities are sculpted so that they contribute directly to moving Chiyoko’s story along, whether by acting as antagonists or by wanting to discover more. In the end, I find them more to be tools to help Chiyoko along more than being characters of their own, but in a movie like this, I think that’s fine.
ARTSTYLE & ANIMATION – Millennium Actress has some absolutely gorgeous animation. The art style is rather typical of Satoshi Kon, and you’ll easily notice that many of his middle-aged and older male characters look startlingly similar across the movies and series he’s directed, but the same can be said with a number of other prominant artists and directors. What I loved about the animation itself was how smoothly scene transitions were handled, especially considering that we moved back and forth between present day and past recollection and between reality and movie fantasy constantly. The inclusion of the present day interviewers within flashbacks is one of my favorite touches and really helps weld everything together in the end. It was especially nice too, to see so many different kinds of scenes animated since they were just scenes within Chiyoko’s movies.
MUSIC – Maybe I was too wrapped up in the pretty animation and storytelling, but I didn’t note very astounding music, though nor did I note anything bad.
VOICE ACTING – I saw this movie subbed. The voices were pretty average for the most part, though I didn’t rather enjoy elder Chiyoko’s performance for some reason. Her emotion, especially near the end of the movie, was just very touching. :3
OVERALL – I really enjoyed this movie, though if I had just been given a synopsis, I probably wouldn’t have been very interested in the first place. Having Satoshi Kon’s name attached to it did help though, and I think this is one of the better examples of his works. The way the story was told just changed everything, including the fact that the plot itself was very simple.
14: Tonari no Totoro
English: My Neighbor Totoro
MAL Score: 8.27
In 1950s Japan, Tatsuo Kusakabe relocates himself and his two daughters, Satsuki and Mei, to the countryside to be closer to their mother, who is hospitalized due to long-term illness. As the girls grow acquainted with rural life, Mei encounters a small, bunny-like creature in the yard one day. Chasing it into the forest, she finds “Totoro”—a giant, mystical forest spirit whom she soon befriends. Before long, Satsuki too meets Totoro, and the two girls suddenly find their lives filled with magical adventures in nature and fantastical creatures of the woods.
Starting with the movie’s strong suits, the artistic side of it is outstanding. While the obligatory “for its time, it looks incredible” compliment must be said, I’ll do one more and say that for our time, I wish people would pay as much attention to detail in animation as was done in Tonari no Totoro and would look at least half as good. The animation has plenty of small details throw in that makes each frame look lively and realistic. As an example there will be some scenes with children crying. Have you ever seen someone cry in an anime? I will assume that most of the time, depending on what you watch of course, crying doesn’t rise any red flags. However, watching a child cry in this made me realize something. Most people don’t even put any effort into the way they display someone crying and see it as something simple and easy to portray. However, in Totoro, when the child started crying I could see the range of emotions she went through and react realistically, the same way any child of that age would. All down to the point of starting to cry silently because she was upset then up to the outburst of emotion, screaming and bawling as soon as she was given attention again the way children do when they are given attention in these situations. It may seem a ridiculous thing to pick out the level of detail for animation, but that’s what I found most impressive. The range of emotions displayed in a few frames was done as right as anyone could ever do them and I can’t imagine someone outdoing this kid.
Ok, now the movie so far was 10/10 children cry real. Anyway, up next I’m gonna talk about, more of the art, and rather, its significance in this movie. You see there’s a point to the art actually being this well animated and that is that its goal is to be as captivating as anything can be. Yeah, sure, anything has to be captivating, but in this situation, you have to keep in mind, the audience was intended to be children. Children are impressionable. And I assure this was artstyle was very impressive if it still is today back then. But the reason it also has to be captivating it is because it’s trying to display the innocence of children, which is the artistic goal of the movie. Which it does. Quite well. To the point where everyone praises it. So I praised it on that front enough. But I have to add, since its audience seemed to have been children, it has build an impressive world with imaginative designs in a realistic looking manner. To the point where adults can watch it to feel like a kid again and children can watch it to be amazed by the movie’s world.
But here’s where my praise stops and my gripes with the movie starts… well… you see… I was bored. Yes, despite the amazingly looking visuals that occasionally made me so impressed I forgot all about how bored I was for a short while and despite being 100% on board with what the movie has displayed, I still was bored. Why? Because it is mostly comprised of the children fucking around and showing off how well designed everything is, as well as put focus on what they’re trying to display in the movie. The movie piles on a lot and a lot of scenes together for artistic value and to continuously display how innocent a child is. I get it. So what?
What do you mean “so what?”, that’s the point of the movie?
Yes, and why would I watch something solely meant to display that. Quite frankly, there’s a lot of things intended for kids that are sweet, innocent and whatnot and have a point in their story, even if simple and meant for children to understand and teach them good values. However this movie spends an hour on children and then realizes something needs to happen as for the story to have some sort of tension by the point where you’d have ingrained the target audience into your brain and know everything’s gonna be alright. The story is a tool to display art, rather than to display a engaging narrative.
Yeah, but the story’s goal was to show off the children’s innocence. It’s only your fault if you can’t appreciate that.
Yeah, finally something that we can agree. Frankly if you enjoy a movie that is artistic and the theme that I’ve described in the review, it will be outstanding. But do you enjoy stories? Do you enjoy it when you learn something? Do you enjoy it when you see someone have some sort of struggle and have some type of conflict? Do you enjoy it when something you watch tries to drive home a point or multiple points? Are you entertaining by these things? Because they are absent here. As a child or enough of a childlike mentality, you could admire and yonder or feel nostalgic over how your own childhood was due to the movie, but, if that’s not what you’re looking for… You’re likely to get bored… just like me. Unless you’re watching it for the amazing visuals. In which case, congratulations again.
Most often times when something succeeds in what it sets out to be it is often free of criticism because there is no point to it because it’s already succeeded. But just because it succeeded in something doesn’t mean it will succeed in entertaining you. If narrative is something you really want in the movie, a series of connected events that do drive a point across, this is not something you should watch. If you value the artistic side of a show more than anything, this is a masterpiece that you should not miss, this movie is for you.
My Neighbor Totoro is, simply put, a child’s imagination brought to life; fanciful tales that become reality, replete with picturesque wonders that reveal the magical and mysterious. Hidden from adult eyes, the otherworldly rewards only those of pure heart. Spirits and mystic guardians of the forest, they embody the creativity and candidness of children—content to experience the simple joys of life and the beauty of nature. With down-to-earth characterization, Satsuki and Mei are splendid lenses into the film’s world, their optimism and enthusiasm ensuring every little discovery resonates with the audience—a magical tale that is an adventure for kids, and an opportunity to revisit childhood for adults; a genuine moment of reflection.
Although the setting lacks depth, My Neighbor Totoro alleviates this by deftly weaving together fantasy and realism. Very little is explained and detailed, but its integration of the imaginary is both natural and unobtrusive. A big house nestled amidst greenery, uninhabited for decades, a likely home to the mysterious. Satsuki and Mei, true to their age, are explorers of the unknown—their interactions with the rich environment are not only a delight to observe, but also a reflection of the curiosity inherent within every child.
Unveiled with mystique, uncanny soot creatures emerge from the house’s floor and scamper into the shadows as the heroines enthusiastically tour the dark rooms of their new abode. Even if slightly scared at first, Satsuki and Mei’s fear quickly gives way to curiosity, then excitement, and finally delight. The two adventurous sisters stumble upon a new world, and like any child would, wholeheartedly embrace its magic. This very sense of wonder is what leads them to the mythical spirit Totoro, protector and guardian of the forest. Intimidating in size, but gentle in nature, the fuzzy giant embraces the two of them with otherworldly tenderness. In an ever-so-subtle way, he becomes a link between the characters and the forest itself, introducing them to many of its magic wonders.
In essence, My Neighbor Totoro is more about inspiring one’s imagination—an honest message about the importance of childhood and a connection with nature—than creating a fantasy backdrop. Complexity is absent, but the presentation is delivered with finesse and flair. Much of this is due to the laid-back pace and the amiable guidance of the protagonists, slowly hinting at the mysteries that may be hidden in the nooks and crannies of dark rooms and lush forests. All the viewer needs to do is to sit down, relax, and enjoy the magic unfold.
Allowing their daughters the liberty to go and explore the surroundings of their new home, Satsuki and Mei’s parents are often absent physically, but present in spirit. As caring guardians, the parents concern themselves with their troublesome daredevils in an earnest and honest fashion. These carefree dynamics connect the otherwise distant adult world with the children’s, instilling a sense of trust and intimacy among the family. In this sense, Miyazaki makes a conscious effort of displaying human relationships in a sincere and natural style.
True to Ghibli’s reputation, My Neighbor Totoro’s visuals are masterfully crafted with great attention to even the most minute details. Rich with body language and facial expressions, the screenplay succeeds in the art of showing and not just telling, breathing nuance and realism into the cast’s actions and interactions. These subtleties add striking believability to the characters, as adults and children alike look and behave according to their ages. The physical environments, too, are vividly detailed, setting the stage for the integration of the cast and fantasy—be it the cluttered rooms of a house recently moved into, or the green vastness and richness of the countryside.
Likewise, the film’s sound department is remarkably well-polished. Joe Hisaishi’s compositions harmoniously blend with the mood of the scenes—the tempo is upbeat in situations of excitement and discovery, while smooth when tension is low. The timing is delicate, but more than anything, the tracks themselves are what stand out most. Charming and varied, the melodic tunes make extraordinary scenes even more memorable. The careful management not only soothes body and mind, but also permits the soundtrack to lace key scenes with vivid and meaningful tonality. Interesting to note, though, is that for most of the movie, there is no background music. Instead, focus is placed on environmental sounds, allowing the countryside setting to weave its own atmosphere. In concordance with the naturalistic tone of the story, this adds a more organic touch to the presentation—one focused on painting nature in its purest form.
A tale intended for kids, yet a journey fit for audiences of all ages, My Neighbor Totoro is a splendid story that encapsulates the beauty of childhood. The film’s wonderful portrayal of Satsuki and Mei’s imagination conveys a true sense of jollity present in most children. Beyond its realism, the film delivers a dazzlingly magical experience by way of its supernatural encounters with the manifestations of nature. But this occurs ever so gently, that one could consider it a dream-like tale that both begins and ends in blissful serenity. A true classic, My Neighbor Totoro will remain in the hearts of many as a heartwarming experience of one of the purest and most beautiful memories: a frolicsome childhood, never to be forgotten.
This review is the final product of a team composed of members from the “Critics and Connoisseurs” club. The writers were:
Editing was done by:
Totoro’s story is incredible: it captures the imagination of two girls with very different personalities. Satsuki, the older, responsible girl who takes care of household responsibilities while her mother is sick, and little Mei, a veritable firecracker who’s curiosity knows no limits. What made this movie so incredible was how well it captured the imagination of kids their age. Just watching it makes you think back about all those fun things you did when you were younger, whether you’re helping your parents with chores or you’re outside picking acorns off the grass. I think thanks to this movie, I spent a good chunk of my childhood looking through bushes and trying to find crevices in trees so I could find where Totoro’s house was! Ah, lots of memories…
Miyazaki’s artwork is stunning. Despite the fact that by now, it’s obviously somewhat older, the animation is still superior to anything Disney can throw at us. His specialization in artwork of nature make this film a delightful piece of eye candy.
The music! How cute! The opening sounds like one of those little tunes my mother would sing to me in Korean when I was younger. I’ve always loved the music in Miyazaki’s movies and this one is no exception.
Totoro is easily still my favorite movie in the world for over a decade. Highly recommended to watch, rewatch, and watch with everyone else.
13: Tenkuu no Shiro Laputa
English: Castle in the Sky
MAL Score: 8.28
In a world filled with planes and airships, Sheeta is a young girl who has been kidnapped by government agents who seek her mysterious crystal amulet. While trapped aboard an airship, she finds herself without hope—that is, until the ship is raided by pirates. Taking advantage of the ensuing confusion, Sheeta manages to flee from her captors. Upon her escape, she meets Pazu, a boy who dreams of reaching the fabled flying castle, Laputa. The two decide to embark on a journey together to discover this castle in the sky. However, they soon find the government agents back on their trail, as they too are trying to reach Laputa for their own greedy purposes.
Tenkuu no Shiro Laputa follows the soaring adventures of Sheeta and Pazu, all while they learn how dreams and dire circumstances can bring two people closer together.
For anyone looking for an exciting way to spend two hours, this film is an excellent choice, featuring just the right amount of humor, exploration, wonder, and mystery to keep one interested. The artwork, although not as spectacular as in some of Miyazaki’s later movies, is fantastic and gorgeous enough to watch with imaginative characters and locations, incredibly exciting action scenes, and breathtaking flight sequences that will make one feel giddy. And while the characters that populate this tale are less complex than Miyazaki’s other works, each has a memorable, endearing personality that stays with the viewer long after the film is over. Dola, in particular, makes for a terrific comic character, shouting orders to her dimwitted sons one moment and being protective of Sheeta the next. Muska is one of the few Miyazaki creations to ever come across as an irredeemable villain, but like Dola, he commands every scene he’s in with a sinister charisma that is both alluring and chilly.
Anime fans have often compared this movie to Gainax’s sci-fi adventure series Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water. After all, both works share similar story and character elements… not to mention that they were both created by Miyazaki himself. Where both differ is in their execution. Nadia, although charming for the most part, suffered from taking a wrong turn at its midway point, devolving into cartoonish nonsense which all but distracted from the main plot, even though it did have a strong ending. Castle in the Sky, on the other hand, remains consistently entertaining and focused for its two hour running time, and is all the better for it. While the film’s epic tone is sometimes broken up by some “cartoonish” moments, like a brawl between Pazu’s boss and one of Dola’s sons, it’s never to the point that it detracts from the film.
While purists will probably prefer to listen to the original Japanese version, I am of the opinion that there’s nothing bad about watching Miyazaki’s movies in English, and this is no exception. That said, there are two different dubs of this film. The first one, dubbed by an unknown company but released by Streamline several years ago, was a hastily produced, badly acted, poorly written trainwreck briefly released in 1989 but quickly disappeared afterwards. The current version, produced by Disney in 1998, features an all-star voice cast and, interestingly, a rerecorded score by the film’s original composer, Joe Hisaishi with the Seattle Music Orchestra. There has been a lot of heated debates arguing over which is the better version. Personally, even after seeing the Japanese version once and having distanced myself from it enough to appreciate it on its own terms, I’m ready to offer up the following: Disney’s Castle in the Sky, despite its faults, is an entertaining listen in its own right.
The leads aren’t the strongest voices in the dub; James Van Der Beek’s Pazu sounds significantly more mature than his character, while Anna Paquin’s Sheeta speaks with an odd accent that fluctuates at times (a problem which actually works in favor of the character). That said, both do good jobs overall and provide a fairly believable chemistry throughout. It’s the lively supporting cast, however, that really make this dub so much fun, particularly Cloris Leachman’s Dola and Mark Hamill’s Muska. Both are perfectly cast and steal every scene they’re in as the cantankerous sky pirate captain and treacherous agent, respectively. If there’s any reason to see this dub, it’s for these two. Another reason to check out the dub is for the aforementioned rescore by Joe Hisaishi. There are some instances where filling in some critically silent scenes from the original Japanese is a bit distracting (notably the journey through the dragon-infested storm cloud), but the overall reworking is fantastic and in many ways improves on the original, particularly the scene where a robot attacks the army’s fortress and the climactic moments toward the end. Here, Hisaishi displays his musical versatility and genius for matching music to visuals. (The original Japanese track is on the DVD, complete with its original, unaltered score.) The script adaptation borders on the loose side at times–there’s quite a bit of extra lines and/or commentary (some of which are pricelessly funny and others somewhat overdone)–but aside from at least one debatable alteration (Sheeta’s speech in the climactic showdown “the world cannot live without love” as opposed to the original “you can’t survive apart from Mother Earth”), the overall characters, story, and spirit remain fairly faithful to the original. On the whole, there is little point comparing the Disney version to the original language track; each puts their own stamp on this legendary masterpiece, and I like them both.
Either way, though, you can’t go wrong with Castle in the Sky. It’s one of Miyazaki’s all-time greatest, and I highly recommend it.
The story of Castle in the Sky is about, you guessed it; a castle in the sky. There’s a legend about a floating island castle, called “Laputa” that contains all the riches a person can ever dream of having. The main male character, Panzo believes that the castle exists, and dreams of one day following his deceased father’s footsteps, and finding the castle for himself. The only problem is, he doesn’t know where the castle is. Then there’s the main female character, Sheeta whom Panzo finds falling/floating down from the sky with a shining sky blue necklace that has some sort of relationship to Laputa’s location. Panzo and Sheeta begin a friendship, perhaps love relationship and they decide to go on a journey to find Laputa together. But they run into trouble with, and clowny pirates, the greedy army along with some mysterious men led by an even more mysterious man named, Muska.
Really the art and music is stunning. The theme song of Castle in the Sky: Laputa may actually be my favorite piece of music ever! Seriously, please listen to that song! It makes me tear up every time I hear it! Furthermore the voicing of each character was perfectly matched, nothing unusual that pops out. The portrayal of Laputa, the castle in the sky, was absolutely beautiful! I actually teared up thinking about how I’d never be able to see the castle in real life. The connection and peace between the the robotic beings, and nature (trees, wild animals, plants) on the Island was absolutely beautifully portrayed. None of the characters were drawn like weirdly; every character’s looks were unique and memorable. And normally I hate robots, but I felt this weird connection and pity for the dying breed of robots on Laputa. I loved all the characters, except Muska (who is the villain, so my hatred for him is a good thing). The stupid army was really funny, as were the pirates. Panzo and Sheeta are your average Miyazaki main characters, absolutely tragic and lovable!
I think this is the best animated story in the world.. Honestly there’s nothing to dislike about this anime and so much to love. It’s truly a heart-pounding adventure story about friendship, loyalty, greed, and people’s connection to nature. The anime starts off innocently and happily, but it quickly becomes darker as the evil ambitions of the antagonists make themselves known. The characters, good and evil, are all fully developed and interesting to watch. I remember watching this over and over as a little baby, and I still have a vcr tape of Castle in the Sky ^o^. If you haven’t seen this movie yet, then I think no matter what age you are, you should watch it at least a couple times in your life. Thanks for reading my first review!
Considering that this movie has one of the highest review mean scores ever, it seems hard for someone to dislike it. Unfortunately, this movie never managed to be appealing nor striking nor cathartic in any way, shape or form, as this one is the most laborious and unimaginative movie Ghibli have ever produced, even with the fantasy elements sprinkled all over it. Saying that this movie should not be given such harsh criticism considering the old age of it is fair, but people tend to forget that Ghibli had made a movie two years prior to Laputa, which has aged extremely well, and that movie is called “Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind”. It’s really not about the age of the work at the end of the day, since a really old work can stand firmly against the test of time when given well executed directing and a well thought out script and characters. This wasn’t the case with Laputa though, as it’s plot feels trite now after it’s release, and so do it’s characters, due to several factors that is. Perhaps not having a manga to adapt to movie form, and it being the studio’s first film with no source material to work with, turned it into such a nauseating catastrophe.
The plot tries to implement a sense of mystery with a missing father that the two main characters have to find, but unlike My Neighbor Totoro, the mystery is not intriguing nor does it work in any way. Isao Takahata was needed in order for the mystery to work, but he wasn’t there to save this film, and an amateur Hayao Miyazaki wasn’t enough to save it on his own as well. The plot is also unoriginal, compared to some of the better Ghibli movies out there, which have the same exact premise but are filled to the brim with better execution and directing. The characters are all one dimensional archetypes, be it the cartoony villains who switch from being evil to the side of good very easily, or the main heroine who resembles every other Ghibli heroine, only much less developed this time around. All of this wouldn’t be so bad if the movie was made by a third rate studio, but unfortunately, Studio Ghibli made this movie. Studio Ghibli, one of the best studios when it comes to creating memorable, well written characters in the short span of one to two hours only, made such vacuous and poorly thought through, simplistic characters with this movie.
Perhaps it was trying to be simplistic, but with that, it deemed itself unwatchable for an older audience, and mostly became a movie for kids. It doesn’t tackle the same mature themes that others within the same studio tackle, and it lacks the directing genius that Miyazaki would later go on to showcase in his later works. As far as themes go, there is no theme exploration here, especially the environmentalism theme which Miyazaki likes to preach about in most of his other works. If there was theme exploration, then it was handled and conveyed in a much better fashion in most of his other works. The comedy displayed here is lackluster as well, and the emotional catharsis is nowhere to be found. Nothing, I felt nothing while watching this movie. It lacks the depth of Princess Mononoke, it lacks the imagination of Spirited Away, it lacks the emotional catharsis of Kiki’s Delivery Service, and it falls short in most regards, especially when it comes to creating emotion and resonating with people.
The animation has not aged well at all, and it shows throughout most of the movie. At least Nausicaa had some memorable art and colossal amounts of imagination poured into it, something that made it age all the more better, even when it’s animation was flappy at times. What also made Nausicaa age very well, is how extravagantly Joe Hisaishi’s tracks flowed with the movie’s memorable moments and gave them a certain feel that is hard to find anywhere else. Laputa felt much worse than Nausicaa when it came to the animation aspect, add in to the fact that the atmosphere was not intriguing, and the artwork was not memorable, and you’ve got yourself a work that is inferior to it’s predecessor in almost every aspect. Laputa fails in the animation and visuals department, and even when it comes to the directing and memorable scenes, it fails as well.
Moving on to the final aspect of the film, which is the soundtrack – it was neither striking nor memorable, nor could one say it was good, even as a standalone soundtrack and without having to compare it to Hisaishi’s other works. This is rather surprising considering that this is a movie which composer Joe Hisaishi worked on. No track stood out, unlike some of the top Ghibli movies out there, and neither were the tracks immersive or good.
Other contentions a viewer would have with this film is that it is excruciatingly slow, as scenes take forever to translate. This movie is also too long for it’s own good, spanning a length of two hefty hours. Any movie which fails in the audiovisuals department, in the script department, and in the characters department, must at least redeem itself by not having the viewer tortured for hours on end. A perfect length for a movie is to span between an hour and an hour and thirty minutes, which are more than enough to tell an entire narrative. Two hours is very long for a movie, even the Studio Ghibli ones, especially when the movie has nothing of value or substance to convey.
Aside from all of this, what is truly astounding about Laputa, is the fact that this movie might as well have one of the highest review mean scores an Anime could have, as there has yet to be a negative review for it. It being higher than movies such as Kiki’s Delivery Service and Only Yesterday in general mean scores adds more insult to injury, especially due to the fact that those movies surpass this one in almost everything – from sheer imagination, to directing, to the raw emotion poured into them, etc.
All in all, there really isn’t much else to say about this movie. It is not memorable in the slightest, bordering on nauseating boredom. The animation has not aged well at all, and the soundtrack is neither striking nor helps in making the scenes better. It’s technicalities would have been forgiven if it had a good story or characters, but alas, it is boring and trite, especially for those who have seen many other Ghibli movies, which have taken the same exact premise and executed it in a much better fashion. Laputa is Ghibli’s first feature film, and the studio would go on to write and produce some of the best and most memorable Anime movies ever made, leaving this one in the dust, right where it belongs.
12: Stranger: Mukou Hadan
English: Sword of the Stranger
Japanese: ストレンヂア -無皇刃譚-
MAL Score: 8.29
In the Sengoku period of Japan, a young orphan named Kotarou and his dog Tobimaru steal from unsuspecting villagers in order to make ends meet. However, Kotarou is forced to remain on the run when he finds himself being hunted down by assassins sent by China’s Ming Dynasty for mysterious reasons not involving his petty crimes.
Fortunately, the duo run into Nanashi, a ronin who has taken refuge in a small temple, when Kotarou is attacked and Tobimaru poisoned. Although the samurai saves the helpless pair from their pursuers, he feels that there is no need to help them further; but when offered a gem in exchange for his services as a bodyguard, he reluctantly accepts Kotarou’s offer of employment—just until Tobimaru is healed and the two reach their destination. As the three set out on a perilous journey, it soon becomes evident that their path is riddled with danger, as the Ming Dynasty has now sent a terrifying swordsman after them to capture Kotarou and fulfill a certain prophecy.
Some people have already ordained this film as a classic of sorts, but I’d have to disagree with that, simply because, although it hits hard and fast with splendour, and resonates beyond mere eye-candy, it doesn’t have a crucial element to elevate it into that tier. The characters do have sufficient weight for the audience to empathise with them, and they are also very likeable, but I felt that my appreciation of the characterisation is due largely to the voice talent behind them. So, credit goes to the cast and not necessarily to the way the film was written, which perhaps had more featured characters than it should have. If the film had focused more on the central to characters, I feel it could have been a classic, or at the very least, deliver an even more powerful finale. Perhaps replacing some of the action scenes with more intimate, personal character moments could have helped. But that minor gripe aside, the big problem with the film was the gaping hole where the plot should be.
A plot should always be more than just a vague framework to drive a movie from one scene another all the way to the climax. It should give credence to the movie, so that the film has a certain importance or reason. As it was, the plot, both simple and relatively silly, told me that the film existed for the sake of great action scenes. It’s a valid premise for entertainment, but it means there’s no lasting impact on the audience because it doesn’t really have anything much to convey. There’s no story here I haven’t seen before in this genre, and for much of the time the plot is a little too confusing.
It seems I’d almost forgotten the potential for animation to be so visually compelling. On a technical level, the anime medium has frequent success, but transcending animation quality, it’s a very rare experience for an anime to be truly visually compelling, creating not just mood and detail, but also scenes of beauty. This film achieves that in a way that totally blew me away, and I don’t say that very often (I’m not one of those apt to calling every Kyoto Animation production flawlessly animated). The climax of the film, a roaring skirmish amidst snow and fire, is breathtaking and elegiac. More than just an impressive, visceral action sequence, it is tinged with emotion and dramatic tension, which drives the film up to its climactic pinnacle.
As I say time and time again, the concept of a conclusion is highly important to me. When anything ends I expect more than a bit of excitement, or an explanatory wrap-up, I want the climax to resonate and to pay-off the themes of the series/movie. This film does achieve that, and even though it is devoid of really challenging and engaging themes, it still manages to be moving with likeable characters and endearing score music. In my mind, an anime that can end on a powerful high note, with stunning production and consistent pacing, is a winner. Even though the film falls prey to a number of action film clichés, and at times feels like a rehash of bits of the samurai film genre, and even though its plot is undemanding and almost silly, it is irresistibly engaging. Beyond anything else, this should definitely be approached as an action film, and with that approach, I can safely say it is a great accomplishment in its genre. It is fast-paced and features fierce, clever battle sequences, but more importantly, overshadowing the violence (which any action film can claim on), it is rendered with artistry and beauty, and effortlessly tugs at your heart. Frankly put, the only flaw in this film is the slight lack of depth to the characters, and the completely unremarkable plot. But if, like me, you’ve grown tired of the relative mediocrity of most anime television and want something to renew your love for the anime medium as an art form, this would be a good bet.
I guess I could just say that and be done, but if you’re not convinced yet, I’ll pimp it some more.
Story – typical action stuff, set in historical Japan, but has twists enough in the plot to make me unable to predict exactly what was going to happen next–and I’ve watched enough action movies and anime to know that this one stands firmly within its chosen genre, yet breaks out of it from time to time. This, I think, makes it interesting to watch (because who wants to be able to predict the whole story?).
Art – Quite good, detailed backgrounds, though there aren’t that many grand, sweeping vistas in this movie. There’s some CG that’s done fairly well. The action scenes is where the animation makes you sit up and question whether what you’ve just seen is drawn or not. I’ve never seen sword fights done this well before: without excessive slow-motion, artsy camera angles, just straight up, flat out, swordsmanship. Of course, it’s flashy, but much more realistic than many live action sword fights I’ve seen in other movies. The characters are drawn realistically as well.
Sound -There were distinctly Japanese themes and instruments in the soundtrack. Perhaps a bit over-dramatic at times, but I like dramatic music to set the scene, so though it may bother some people I liked it a lot.
Character -Some cliche/stereotypical stuff here, but for the most part, sympathetic characters. There’s no annoying characters, and the main characters are developed/change throughout the course of the movie, which in my opinion is hard to do considering the time constraints.
Enjoyment -Well, if you don’t like a lot of blood, then your enjoyment will be lower than mine. I don’t particularly like loads of it, but in this movie, since the fight scenes are realistic, with swords and all, there’s all the slicing and dicing of enemies you can possibly imagine that goes on.
Ok, enough of my raving about it. Just go watch it already!!
Stranger is first and foremost an action movie. Because the meat and potatoes don’t lie primarily with the plot, its straightforward and very typical “unlikely hero” premise is forgivable. A wandering swordsman reluctantly agrees to protect a child from an elite Chinese expedition. The local feudal lord joins the pursuit, stacking the odds further against the protagonists.
By no means am I implying that the story is bland. The web of tangled motives creates conflicts between the feudal government and the Chinese, and also internal conflicts within each group. There’s plenty of plot movement here to justify a feature length film even though the simple premise of “samurai protects child” remains throughout. The overall simplicity is, in fact, a benefit to this historical martial arts epic; the story flows at a brisk pace, but remains cohesive and effortless to follow. This straightforward approach to the plot lends itself to the primal, action oriented appeal of this film.
In the bread and butter aspects of the visuals, Stranger isn’t especially impressive for a movie. Though the character animations show consistent attention to details of weight and balance, the ugly CG and the lack of textural details in the background make the more mundane scenes easily mistaken for a half decent TV series.
As soon as the first action scene shows up-and fret not, for this occurs during the opening credits, the merits in the visuals suddenly become abundantly clear. Aesthetically, these scenes are impressive. The characters are spritely and acrobatic, but grounded with a touch of realism in their body mechanics. Even in the fastest exchanges, the frames of animation are sufficient to keep individual moves distinguishable.
Regarding everything that puts the drama into gratifying action scenes, Stranger delivers in spades. The action choreography moves at lightning speed with elaborate exchanges passing within the blink of an eye, but apart from a few of the villains’ excessively acrobatic flourishes, the characters’ techniques still manage to stay within their weapons and personalities. The main character, for instance, is an unambitious, get the job done kind of guy, which comes through in the action scenes with his simple, fundamentally sound usage of his two handed sword. The fact that he actually cuts and thrusts with two hands may seem like a trifle detail, but it contributes to the continuity of his character. Considering the characters’ personalities in the choreography make it altogether more believable, more engrossing, than if it had been treated merely as eye candy.
This film puts the “acting” of the characters to good, tension building use as well. With their body language and facial expressions, most of the characters show fear as they barely manage to thwart an attack and an eruption of killer intent as they deal a finishing blow. A few of the villains are emotionally unphased by pain, which, by design or not (in this case, it is by the design of the plot), saps a little of the drama out of these scenes. Still, a good majority of the cast members, including the main character, deliver convincing performances that make these fight scenes more like a tooth and nail brawl, and less like a ballet masquerading as violence.
The music primarily consists of the powerful orchestral pieces typical of epics. The ever present leather drum beats and flute solos give the soundtrack a distinct Asian flavor appropriate for the setting. The full onslaught of an orchestra of strings or a blaring leather drum beat are played against the action scenes, while unaccompanied flute solos match well with the more tender segments. Despite the range of emotions that the different tracks embody, the Asian motif keeps the soundtrack cohesive, as if each track was part of a single, larger piece of music.
My one glaring issue is the “dub” put over the Chinese expedition. It’s shown many times in the movie that these characters don’t speak Japanese with any semblance of fluency. Most of the time, their lines will be dubbed in Japanese, leaving the viewer to imagine that in reality, the language they are speaking is Chinese. On the other hand, at seemingly random points, these characters will actually speak Chinese to each other. How the director decided when Chinese was appropriate as opposed to the dub is beyond me. One character may deliver a Chinese line, and the very next line he utters in the same scene will be dubbed. It’s also a little jarring when half of the expedition speaks perfect Chinese while the other half speak it so poorly that had the context not been there, I’d have sooner guessed it to be broken German than broken Chinese.
The characters in Stranger have few nuances. Simply describing the two main characters as lone wolves, one a petulant child, the other a reluctant, carefree ronin, covers most of the complexities you will see in their personalities. From this description you could probably also guess that the two characters eventually bond, and bring out the virtues within one another. The child learns to be more appreciative and apologetic, while the ronin finds meaning in self sacrifice. The rest of the cast is equally simple, only the exact opposite of the two protagonists. They’re not malice embodied ala traditional Disney villains, but they do demonstrate the darker side of humanity: cowardice, ambition, blood thirst, greed, and several other character flaws. The heroism and purity of the protagonists are highlighted nicely next to the backdrop of immorality in the rest of the cast.
The emphasis of these characters is the virtuous courage of our ronin hero; going against the world if need be to save an innocent child. The clash of heroic self sacrifice and greed inspired villainy gives the cast a bedtime story charm that is unhindered by simple and clear characterizations. The two main characters also avoid my two greatest peeves with one dimensional leads; their defining quirks aren’t obnoxiously exaggerated, and they prefer emotional understatement over melodrama. Instead of beating you over the head screaming “this is my unique personality!” or sulking and bawling at their own misfortunes, the two main characters retain a believable mildness that separates them from the droves of corny single-layer characters.
You can, and ought to, leave your higher thought processes behind while watching Stranger. Its story piques our deepest, most primal sense of morality, and the action fuels our savage desire to watch violence unfold. If at any time you are too lazy to follow convoluted plots, too irritable to stomach pretentious lectures on philosophy, but you want to find release in heart pounding action sequences, then there is no title more elegant than Stranger that will satiate such a craving.
11: Detective Conan Movie 06: The Phantom of Baker Street
English: Case Closed: The Phantom of Baker Street
Japanese: 名探偵コナン ベイカー街(ストリート)の亡霊
MAL Score: 8.30
Noah’s Ark—the latest in VR technology and a milestone of human innovation—is set for a showcase to Japan’s privileged children. They have the honour of beginning a new revolution in gaming; however, their carefree fun is cut short when a company employee is found murdered, with his dying message pointing to a clue hidden within the Ark.
Along with the Detective Boys and Ran Mouri, Conan Edogawa enters Noah’s Ark to solve this mystery and ensure the perpetrator is caught. But once they’re inside the Ark, it takes on a mind of its own, imprisoning them and the children within its worlds. To escape and bring the murderer to justice, Conan and company must navigate a simulated 19th century London and track down the infamous Jack the Ripper—with the lives of 50 innocent children depending on them.
I’ve seen all the Conan movies currently (which I could find) subbed (11), and this movie, "The Phantom of Baker Street" was the movie I enjoyed most.
Let Detective Mouri drag Conan (Shinichi), Ran, Professor Agasa and the Detective Boys with him to another party where he was invited to, with lots of kids, celebrity’s and known people from the anime. Don’t forget the highly anticipated murder which will occur….
Then you get a good story for Conan to solve, but what’s more? This isn’t a regular party, this is a party for kids to test out the beta-cocoon, a game terminal formed like a cocoon, which takes on the five senses we humans have, then they let the people think they’re somewhere else, we got several stage’s, Paris Dakar Rally, Treasure Hunters and more, and of course a theme for a Conan movie, England, a 100 years ago, the time, where Sherlock Holmes lived.
But, before the actual story, with Conan begins, we get an intro, of a very young protagonist in the computer world, he created one of the best A.I. systems in the world, but he couldn’t take it anymore, his step-father pushed him to his limits, and he decided to let the program free, he let it escape via phone line, and then ended his live.
Now, when Conan enters the game, Ran and the remaining Detective Boys find a way to get tickets for the cocoon beta test too, together with some snobs we meet in the beginning they visit the old england, while the other kids go to different stage’s, but then an error occurs, the A.I. "Noah’s Ark" has the game and pretty much the whole building under his control, if all 50 kids die in the games, fail they’re objectives or run out of they’re time limit (if they have one, like Paris Dakar), they’ll vanish from the game world and are put to sleep, if really all 50 lose, they’ll die,cause these kids are the future, but everyone is corrupt, so the A.I. wants to change their minds, not to follow in daddy’s footstep.
Pretty cool story huh? Well, there’s another story in each game world, Conan and the gang have to solve the mystery of JTR (Jack The Ripper), and then capture him, sacrifice’s are made, puzzle’s are solved, death is around each corner. If they.. succeed, they will find the killer of the one who created this game..
So you get it, a cool story within a cool story, then about the art, the style’s the same as in the series, yet better animated, and more things are realistic now, movements, carriage’s and such. The sound, the ending is sweet and beautiful (mixed with the movie) and all the sfx’s and such are amazing!
The characters basically stay the same, we can yet see another horrified and afraid Kogorou (Det. Mouri), which I think is a good side of his, we can see what he will sacrifice to save his daughter (not so much in this movie, but there’s a hint.), we can see Professor Agasa from a side we’ve not seen him before (not totally). The rest stay the same, new introduced characters are basic type’s too, like the murderer, the victim(s), and the snobby, irritating, dumb rich snobs which are introduced.
An anime movie where you can’t take you’re eye’s from, when it’s not humorous, it’s intresting, when it’s not intresting, it’s exciting, when it’s not exciting, it’s beautiful.
One of the best anime movie’s I’ve seen.. yet.
The story in this Detective Conan film was definitely the weakest part of it for me. It makes many attempts to do something, but doesn’t follow the rules required to do that thing. One thing it tried to do was have a suspenseful mystery, but the film reveals who the murderer is early on, creating a mystery story that doesn’t really matter, because we, the viewer already know who did it. The method the murderer used also didn’t end up being very interesting. Aside from ruining the mystery elements, the film also does a poor job of creating suspense and tension. The newly introduced characters are put in life-threatening situations, but because they’re in the same situation as the main cast, there’s never any reason to be worried, because you’re always assured that they’re going to survive with them. What we’re left with is a story about an adventure in a game world, that ends up being moderately exciting, but nowhere near as exciting as it could have been if a proper mystery was in place alongside it.
The art was pretty decent. It goes one step above the Detective Conan TV series, and does end up having some nice looking moments. However, there are also some pretty mediocre looking CGI shots in there as well. However, those CGI shots make up a minority of the film, and they’re pretty easy to ignore. For the most part, the art is pretty acceptable, and looks pretty decent, even by today’s standards.
The soundtrack doesn’t stand out, but it also doesn’t get in the way. It’s pretty average. The audio mix is pretty average as well. The voice acting (I watched it in Japanese) is what you’d expect to hear from Detective Conan. It’s quality work, and is enjoyable, but also doesn’t amaze.
Your standard Detective Conan characters are here in spades, and they’re all just as interesting as they are in the TV series. There’s a few new characters introduced, but none of them manage to be very interesting or deep, so for that, the characters lose a few points from me. Still, this is easily the best aspect of the film.
This managed to be a pretty average experience. I felt like the lack of suspense made it much more tepid than it otherwise would have been, and if it wasn’t for Conan & crew being such an interesting and eclectic cast, I would have been somewhat more bored with this film.
Overall, I give Detective Conan: the Phantom of Baker Street a 6/10
Obvious clue of intrest can be told from the Movie’s title, that the storyline will deal with Holmes. This asspect of the storyline for Detective Conan fans is a good thing, because if you know Conan/Shinji, you know that he is a major Conan Doyal fan.
Also, there is the odd technollogy which does not exist yet, the virtual reality system. This is a change from most Detective Conan storylines as we are dealing with something that has not come into being yet. For the most part, new technollogies are introduced as possibilities when they become possibilities, so this adds an interesting effect. Even Dr. Asaga’s inventions have some bases in current reality.
Also, the story line is quite involved with the details of who when and why, the clues being dropped all throughout the virtual reality world. If one doesn’t yet know about Sherlock Holmes, I do suggest learning somethings, as that would make the movie even more enjoyable then it is.
I loved the renditions of the art work. The big feature in this one was London. The details are just how I’ve seen them in picture books, including Big Ben, the clock tower in all its full glory. Also, there are some funnies that got programmed into the virtual reality game, but you will have to keep your eye out for them.
There was enough new sounds that I felt like I was actually transported along with Conan and the others. The electronic noises and some of the music were really nice to hear and made for a nice change in pase.
There were quite a few unique individuals here, including four new kids who Conan meets at the sneek peak release of the virtual game. They have… for the most part, a good deal of development along the way character wise, as because they are rich kids, they are a tad snobby.
I enjoyed a lot of it, getting to see Sherlock Holmes, and even one of my favorite murder mysteries that still remains unsolved even to day. I happen to love how they handled the theory about the murderer and worked it into the plotline. Who is it and what did they do? I really can’t tell as that would be a major spoiler in itself, and I… who tends to not mind spoilers, was glad this one wasn’t spoiled for me.
While I think most people would actually like this, I am thinking there might be some people who might have a problem with the truthfully non existant technollogy in here, but that, along with the Sherlock Holmes theme, helps to make this movie as great as it was. Plus… think about it… if Dr. Asaga can create the devices he can, the virtual reality system could certainly exist too.
10: Bakemono no Ko
English: The Boy and the Beast
MAL Score: 8.30
Two souls, living very different lives, wander alone and isolated in their respective worlds. For nine-year-old Ren, the last person who treated him with any form of kindness has been killed and he is shunned by what is left of his family. With no parents, no real family, and no place to go, Ren escapes into the confusing streets and alleyways of Shibuya. Through the twists and turns of the alleys, Ren stumbles into the intimidating Kumatetsu, who leads him to the beast realm of Shibuten.
For Kumatetsu, the boy represents a chance for him to become a candidate to replace the Lord of the realm once he retires. While nearly unmatched in combat, Kumatetsu’s chilly persona leaves him with no disciples to teach and no way to prove he is worthy of becoming the Lord’s successor.
While the two share different goals, they agree to help each other in order to reach them. Kumatetsu searches for recognition; Ren, now known as Kyuuta, searches for the home he never had. As the years pass by, it starts to become apparent that the two are helping each other in more ways than they had originally thought. Perhaps there has always been less of a difference between them, a boy and a beast, than either of the two ever realized.
I really didn’t think the story was that great, but it was good enough to be a successful movie. The growth of the characters was probably the best I have seen in an animated movie; you feel happy when the characters are happy. One main thing I didn’t like, however, was the fact that when Kyuuta goes to the human realm, the bakemono realm is totally neglected. In addition, the final conflict/climax was really predictable, making it a bit dull. Nevertheless, I was touched by the actions of the characters towards the end. Overall, it wasn’t an outstanding story but definitely a good one.
Besides the people, the background art was really realistic like it was in Wolf Children. Overall solid art.
I don’t know of an anime with “bad sound” so I always give a 10 in this section. When I was in the theatre while watching this, the explosions and stuff were kind of loud, but that just intensified the experience. I also liked the theme song by Mr. Children, which fit quite well with the story.
I have never ever cried from a character’s actions. But even when Kyuuta cheers for Kumatetsu in the beginning I teared up. The student-teacher relationship between Kyuuta and Kumatetsu (always arguing) seems a bit stereotypical, but somehow it was unique as they were able to compete with one another to benefit from each other. Both Kyuuta and Kumatetsu gave up their lonely lives to accommodate each other.
If you liked Wolf Children, you will probably like this as well. Since it was directed by the same person; the stories are completely different, but have similar feelings attached to them. I can’t explain why, but I feel really excited after watching it and it was probably my favorite anime movie. Maybe it is just because I haven’t seen any good anime movies since I was like 10, but this movie is really going to stay with me.
Go watch this movie, I watched it the 4th day it came out and I don’t regret it. If an English dub comes out I really suggest watching the Japanese version (subbed) because I have a feeling that the English version will not be able to convey the same emotions that the original did.
It’s a shame, as I thought the film was really strong when it was about a boy looking for strength and being trained by the beast while the two of them developed a father / son relationship. Then the film became really messy and unfocused with a sudden shift in direction during the second half of the film.
The film is beautiful though, which single handily took it from a 6 to a 7 in my ratings. It’s definitely the directors weakest work though.
The movie starts off like a more mainstream version of Spirited Away, in that it focuses on a young boy named Ren running away from his legal guardians after his parents became unable to take care of him on account of his father being somewhere unknown and his mother being straight-up dead. He encounters a beast deity named Kumatetsu in the streets and ends up following him into a strange world of colorful beast people, most of who are wary of humans due to the inherent darkness within them that can destroy animals in a way that PETA would declare too powerful to oppose. Ren ends up being apprenticed by Kumatetsu in the art of swordplay and after some initial struggles due to his master being a complete idiot, a ten-year time skip turns him into the standard Disney strong man who soon finds another way of life after going back to the human world and meeting a girl who’s as smart as he is strong. What follows is the old classic tale of Ren struggling between staying in the beast world or integrating back into the human world whilst strange things happen in the former that threaten to affect the latter in the process. The only thing missing from this familiar fable are people bursting into song after a major event.
In some ways, Hosada’s approach to this style of storytelling is better than say, Disney’s Tarzan or Ushio & Tora, because he likes to focus more time on making his leads relatable to a general audience, having them go through actual struggles that can’t be solved in song and giving them personal flaws we can identify with. And Ren definitely has that in spades if you ignore the fact that he can beat up three guys at once with only a slight scratch and summon supernatural powers that will allow him to go toe-to-toe with water demons. While the movie can overdo the angst at times, you have to keep in mind that Ren is a stubborn kid who’s never had a real family and isn’t one to just dive into something without questioning the methods, not helped by the fact that his would-be guardians are often idiots. Kumatetsu is pretty much every stupid shonen lead ever, which doesn’t exactly translate to good teaching or fighting, so whilst this leads to a volatile relationship with his human apprentice, it also gives him a character arc where he has to grow more mature in order to become a God. In that sense, The Boy and the Beast can be considered the criticism against the shonen action genre that it desperately needed.
As a tradeoff though, Hosada’s stories tend to be overcomplicated despite the fact that the overall narrative is really simple. The most egregious is the final villain of the film, who I won’t spoil, but I’ll ask the following questions. Why exactly is there a physical villain that Ren has to face at the end of this film considering the majority of the conflict up to that point has been mostly psychological? And why did that character do such a 180 in terms of personality when he grew up in order to fulfill that role in the first place? And why was he and his backstory never important until the final act? It feels like it was crowbarred into the narrative at the last minute.
But that’s not the only problem that bogs down what could have been a great film into something that’s just decent at best. The Boy and the Beast is paced weirdly, like someone cut and paste scenes from a would-be series and just made a movie out of it. The middle arc where Ren goes back to the human world for the first time in ten years, meets his lady friend, and yearns to get an education whilst struggling with the life of fighting he once lived is executed decently for the most part, but the arc when he’s a kid moves really slowly on account of it just consisting of him struggling to get along with Kumatetsu and the other inhabitants for what felt like an hour (I think it was only forty or so minutes though), and the final arc where all the plot points the movie had built up over its run come together feels rushed – largely due to the last minute villain, but also because Kumatetsu is absent for a large chunk of the middle section and thus when the film has to resolve his story, it comes off a little Deus Ex even with all the foreshadowing during the movie’s slow start.
Oh, and as you probably expected from this sort of “human entering beast world” premise, a large chunk of the story is devoted to how much animals don’t like humans because of everything the vegetarians call us out for. This leads to Ren suffering from species-ism, if you can call it that, and one of the ultimate takeaways of the film being about how man and animal can get along just fine. It doesn’t have a “must” attached and the ending ends up being similar to Spirited Away in a good sense in order to give it some life, but that message wasn’t really interesting when Tarzan did it years ago, and it’s not dealt with uniquely enough here to be anymore than tolerable. Still, it was kinda cool to see Ren earn respect from those who used to torment him. I’m sort of a sucker for that trope.
But overall, I’d say the hits and misses balance themselves out enough to be worth at least one watch. The emotions are decent, the action is good, and if you don’t mind how jarringly out of place Hosada’s character animation is with his background stuff, you can do far worse than The Boy and the Beast in terms of anime, film, or otherwise. I’d even go so far as to say it’s my favorite anime of the season, even if the bar isn’t really that high now that ERASED kinda shot itself in the foot in its closing act. But Hosada really needs to find a better balance between how to tell a story and how to cater to the mainstream audience if he’s going to continue focusing on making movies for the latter in the future. I don’t mind the fact that he’s basically the Disney of the anime world, but that really doesn’t excuse the fact that he needs a better editor. Preferably one armed with Kill la Kill scissor-blades.
9: Luo Xiao Hei Zhan Ji (Movie)
English: The Legend of Hei
MAL Score: 8.32
Luo Xiaohei is a young monster who normally takes the form of a small black cat. Living freely in the forests, gradual deforestation and human development force him to flee and find a new home. Wandering the city streets, the black cat struggles to survive until he encounters Feng Xi, a fellow monster who takes Xiaohei to an isolated island inhabited by a small group of monsters. Excited to find what he thinks is his new home, Xiaohei lives with the monsters for only a short time before Wuxian, a human Guild Executor, arrives on the island in pursuit of Feng Xi.
Feng Xi and his companions manage to teleport off the island, leaving Xiaohei and Wuxian alone. Though Xiaohei refuses to cooperate with the man who attacked his friends, Wuxian forces the black cat to travel to the Guild along with him. Embarking on an uncertain journey, Xiaohei is exposed to a new perspective on the relations between humans and monsters in a rapidly changing world.
Characters are all pretty much lovable, even the side characters. It feels like they all have their own stories and like they’re not just there to fill up space. Highly, highly recommend!
And here I am writing out my disappointment about mal actually telling me that I have to write a how long review they want. Without any spoilers or story summaries. Even though there are so many reviews already. I have bought up the subject already in the suggestions @ mal so if u agree, help me make it shorter.
Much like the main series, the main appeal I got of this movie was its art and animation. Between its more well-defined characters, rich backgrounds, and smooth animation, it’s a very noticeable improvement visually. That’s about it though, the story hardly made sense to me. It’s supposedly a prequel to the web-series, but I had a hard time this movie is even related.
I think the story was supposed to show us how Xiaohei gets over his hate of humans. It starts with him displaced from his home in the forest by humans, and shortly after he meets another group of spirits with similar circumstances. He’s then kidnapped a powerful human who works with larger group of spirits who are attempting to maintain a peaceful balance between humans and spirits. The rest the seems to going for some heartwarming story about mentor-student relationship between Xiaohei and this human with Xiaohei gaining a better understanding of both humans and his spirit powers. It was hard to it view it that way though since Xiaohei had no real choice in the matter. The human literally kidnapped him; any attempt to get away was thwarted or impossible altogether due to his transportation method. The last 15 minutes or so made no sense to me either. It felt like they just were making stuff up along the way to ensure a happy ending for Xiaohei.
As mentioned before, I really did enjoy this movie visually. They took nice, simplistic style of the main series and turned it up a notch. The colors were vibrant, character designs much improved, and all of the fight scenes were explosive and exciting.
I thought they did a good job with the sound effects. which is something that usually doesn’t stand out to me. Voice acting was bit flat at times, but serviceable overall. Don’t remember any of the music standing out.
It was nice to see more personality out of Xiaohei, who was pretty one-dimensional in the web-series. None of the other characters really stood out to me.
I watched the web-series beforehand thinking context would be helpful, but I think it actually took away from my enjoyment of the movie. I spent a lot time wondering how they were even related to each other. The movie went in-depth about many spirit related mechanics that were hardly present in the main series, and they ended up bending their own rules towards the end of the movie anyway.
8: Made in Abyss Movie 2: Hourou Suru Tasogare
Japanese: 劇場版総集編【後編】メイドインアビス 放浪する黄昏
MAL Score: 8.34
The movie is a compilation of episodes 9-13 of the 2017 television series. Riko and Reg descend to the third layer where Riko has her first experience of the Curse. They descend to the fourth layer where Riko’s arm is injured by an Orbed Piercer and Reg tries to save her. Nanachi comes to their aid and saves Riko’s poisoned arm. In return Nanachi asks Reg to kill her immortal companion Mitty. Nanachi then joins Riko and Reg in their quest to reach the bottom of the Abyss.
This is probably one of the best recaps I’ve ever seen, even though I’ve seen the anime and already know what’s going to happen, the story is still wonderful and heartbreaking.
Therefore, I recommend watching it even if you already know what is going to happen, as it serves as preparation for the 3rd film, where the really important events happened.
7: Kaze no Tani no Nausica
English: Nausica of the Valley of the Wind
MAL Score: 8.38
A millennium has passed since the catastrophic nuclear war named the “Seven Days of Fire,” which destroyed nearly all life on Earth. Humanity now lives in a constant struggle against the treacherous jungle that has evolved in response to the destruction caused by mankind. Filled with poisonous spores and enormous insects, the jungle spreads rapidly across the Earth and threatens to swallow the remnants of the human race.
Away from the jungle exists a peaceful farming kingdom known as the “Valley of the Wind,” whose placement by the sea frees it from the spread of the jungle’s deadly toxins. The Valley’s charismatic young princess, Nausica?, finds her tranquil kingdom disturbed when an airship from the kingdom of Tolmekia crashes violently in the Valley. After Nausica? and the citizens of the Valley find a sinister pulsating object in the wreckage, the Valley is suddenly invaded by the Tolmekian military, who intend to revive a dangerous weapon from the Seven Days of Fire. Now Nausica? must fight to stop the Tolmekians from plunging the Earth into a cataclysm which humanity could never survive, while also protecting the Valley from the encroaching forces of the toxic jungle.
BACKGROUND: The most important thing to know when watching this is that this anime is from 1984 (ironic, right?) and that this is Miyazaki Hayao’s second time directing (the first being Lupin III The Castle of Cagliostro, arguably the best Lupin film ever created.) Miyazaki and his producer Suzuki Toshio first met up because Suzuki, the editor of the magazine Animage, wanted some comments from Miyazaki about Lupin and Miyazaki basically told him to stop bothering him. After a while, however, Miyazaki began talking more with Suzuki and told him ideas that would eventually become two of his greatest stories; Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind and Princess Mononoke (1997).
Now, I have heard two versions of what happened next. On the Nausicaa DVD bonus features it says that Miyazaki, who had intended to make an anime from the get go, was denied because he did not have a comic to back the feature up, and that the manga was created because of this. However, other sources such as the famous Nausicaa.net (Ghibli’s #1 English Fansite), say that Miyazaki intended this to be a manga originally, and that the anime was almost forced upon him. I don’t know which one is true, however I would note that Miyazaki’s manga continued to run long after the movie was created. If his true intentions were a movie, why make the manga into something so much longer? (Note that the Nausicaa anime adapts the story until midway through the second volume of the manga. There are seven volumes in total. Viz Media makes an excellent English version.)
Either way, the Nausicaa film was Miyazaki’s first story that he had written and directed. It should also be noted that after Nausicaa was made, Studio Ghibli was established from the staff who created Nausicaa.
Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind was not an anime I expected to like. When I stared at the DVD case and the home screen of the DVD menu, I thought Nausicaa looked like a vulture and that this wouldn’t be a fun anime at all, but, you can guess, I was very wrong. My dad and I started watching this kind of late and we didn’t realize how long it was. Dad was tired and went to bed halfway through, but I couldn’t keep my eyes off the screen.
STORY: The story was unlike anything I had ever seen before. We all know of post-apocalyptic stories set in the far future where man kind has almost been destroyed, but somehow this world was nothing like the other ones I had seen. Instead of mechas and advanced governments, there are giant insects, forests you can’t breathe in, and kingdoms with both armored knights and airplanes. The setting is truly bizarre, but so interesting, you almost wish you were there. The theme Man vs. Nature is clearly distinguished in this movie whereas good vs. evil is almost shunned.
ART: I really respect the artwork done in Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. I am not going to compare this to modern day animation, because that’s just not fair to the movie. This film was created without the help of a single computer, and it still looks this good. The action scenes are detailed enough to keep me satisfied. However, I can’t give full points for art, as I laugh myself silly every time I watch the scene where everyone runs over to Nausicaa and hugs her. You see, the little girl wearing pink and red clothes, or strawberry shortcake as I like to call her, runs by about five times. XD Still, I give it a pass.
SOUND: Not much to say, I think that the seiyuu are wonderful in this. The musical score is done by one of my most favorite modern composers, Hisaishi Joe, and I really don’t think that it feels eightys -ish at all. Sure we hear a few synths, but I feel it actually kind of works for the movie 🙂 The insect music is really fitting. Although I do believe that this score is not as solid as I would have liked, something that Hisaishi gets better at throughout Ghibli’s movies.
As for the Dub, I am not generally a fan of dubs, but this one is done very well. I especially enjoy Shia LaBeouf’s voice as Asbel. The only thing I really resent is the pronunciation of Pejite. Peh-gee-teh, not kryptonite Pejite.
CHARACTERS: I mentioned before that my initial impression of Nausicaa felt very unpleasant, but this was the most incorrect judgement I had about the movie. Nausicaa is, in reality, a incredibly wonderful human being. She is benevolent and gentle, the scene where she first befriends Teto is one that I still hold my breath when watching. She is determined to protect what she deems important, but is level headed enough to asses situations thoroughly. However, she is not a saint. She is frightened and angered in the same way as everyone else. I think the best word to describe Nausicaa is human. I believe that Nausicaa herself does grow throughout the course of this movie. If you look at the scene earlier in the movie where she goes berserk at the Torumekian soldiers and compare that to the final scene with her and the Ohm, you can just tell.
Other than our peacemaker/heroine, the rest of the cast is excellent as well. Asbel, Yupa-sama, and Mito are an excellent supporting cast. Yupa-sama is one of the coolest swordsman I’ve seen, and he is one of the few who really understands how Nausicaa thinks as far as intellectually. Mito and Asbel are less like Nausicaa in nature, as they are prepared to blow up a few ships and kill enemies, but not without cause.
We also have what might be called the “bad guys,” Kushana and Kurotowa. However, you might remember me saying earlier that the idea of good vs. evil is shunned in this movie. I stand by that statement because I have seen these characters. Kushana is very human, she has her dedication to her army and her country. Its unfortunate we don’t see more of Kushana like we do in the manga, but that can’t be helped. Kurotowa may be the funniest character on the set, his slyness truly makes me laugh. These characters show that even those who are branded as “evil” can never really be called that.
ENJOYMENT/OVERALL: Over all, it is a great treat to watch Miyazaki’s first story unfold. Miyazaki Hayao, you’ve done a great job with this movie, even if you weren’t satisfied 😀 It has become my second favorite anime movie.
Please rate as or Not , as either one will help me write better reviews in the future.
MANGA, ANIME: Nausicaa was originally a manga with story and art done by Hayao Miyazaki (Howl’s Moving Castle, Spirited Away) that, ironically enough, was only created so that the movie could eventually be made, as Toshio Suzuki, the producer, couldn’t get money for a film that wasn’t based on a manga. It was serialized in Animage magazine from February of 1982 to March of 1994, and was licensed Stateside by Viz Media, and consists of a total of seven collected volumes.
Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind was created before Studio Ghibli actually existed and distributed by Toei, but is considered to be the first of its movies, and was directed by Hayao Miyazaki. It was released theatrically in Japan on March 4th, 1984. It was first bought Stateside by New World Pictures in the 1980s as a horribly butchered version known as Warriors of the Wind, which caused Ghibli to add a no editing clause to all of its future licensing contracts. When Disney licensed the Ghibli movies, they rereleased the movie in its original uncut format and redid the dub track, coming to DVD on February 22nd, 2005.
STORY: A millenium after the “Seven Days of Fire” that destroyed the world as we knew it, forests of poisonous plants and fungi and giant bugs are spreading through the world, isolating and swallowing human settlements. Nausicaa is the humane princess of one of the few untouched human settlements known as the Valley of the Wind, known for its peaceful inhabitants. However, an airship that crashes in the Valley and its cargo will expose the Valley to the machinations of its larger, more powerful, warlike neighbors…
Nausicaa is considered to be Miyazaki’s life’s work in many circles of anime fans. And I can honestly believe that; the effort that went into the story in weaving together so many differing subplots into one coherent whole that merges at the story’s end. There are, that I can remember off the top of my head, two political subplots, two involving the poisonous forests, two involving weapons to destroy the forest, and probably a few plot threads I’m missing somewhere in there.
The environmental themes can get a bit heavy handed at times, and the fairly black-and-white dichotomy of the characters seems a bit simplistic. Also, you can see Miyazaki archetypes developing in most of the characters; there’s the kind, resourceful young heroine (Nausicaa), the older, mature woman who has lost her way but is redeemed in the end (Kushana), the plucky young male sidekick (Asbel), the older wise woman (Obaba) and man (Lord Yupa) mentor figures, and, unfortunately, they aren’t characterized much beyond that.
ART: The Ghibli character design conventions are clearly being developed here; big hair, small noses, and a very specific eye style. However, the animation itself is still incredibly exquisite; the backgrounds, Ohmu herd scenes, and the jungle and its creatures are amazingly designed, and the animation sequences themselves are incredibly beautiful.
MUSIC: Joe Hisaishi did the work on the music for this, as he has on all of the Ghibli films since. However, this one is tinged with a little more of 80s influence; there are synthesizers that run rampant through the music, and while they’re used to pretty decent effect and blend with the orchestral parts of the pieces, it dates the music.
SEIYUU: I haven’t really watched the subbed version of this in quite some time, but, for the most part, from what I can remember, it was a pretty good job on the Japanese end of things, and I recognize some of the seiyuu from other productions (one was Ashitaka in Princess Mononoke, most notably).
VOICE ACTORS: I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m beyond pleased at the English voicework for Nausicaa. Some of the names on the production include Patrick Stewart (Star Trek), Uma Thurman (Kill Bill), Shia LeBeouf (Transformers), Mark Hamill (Star Wars), and Edward James Olmos (Battlestar Galactica), and they all do an amazing job voicing their characters and not making them sound ridiculous or like their voicework doesn’t fit the character.
DUB: Again, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I have absolutely no criticism whatsoever for the dubwork on this. Translations are done accurately, there’s no intentional flubbing of the original meaning, and it’s fairly well done. Yes, some of the expository dialogue and the dialogue that states what they’re doing as the character does it (there’s a name for it, I’m sure of it) is kind of annoying, but, really, it could be far, far worse.
LENGTH: The movie starts to drag about an hour and a half in, but the creators recognize it and pick up the pace at that time. The overall pacing is slow, but builds towards the climax of the film.
OVERALL: A slower-paced film with an excellent interweaving of subplots into a coherent whole with slightly archetypal Miyazaki characters, beautiful art and animation, if beginning to show the Ghibli character design archetypes, wonderful if slightly dated music, solid seiyuu, and amazing voice acting and dub work in English. Definitely worth a watch.
VOICE ACTORS: 9/10
OVERALL: 56/70; 80% (B)
Nausicaa came out in 1984 and was the 2nd movie ever directed by Hayao Miyazaki. It was also one of only 2 Miyazaki movies that was based on one of his original manga. The other was “The Wind Rises” in 2013. Nausicaa is an unusual movie, so it often gets overlooked and it is among the most underrated Miyazaki movies here in the US.
A large part of the problem was an absolutely BUTCHERED port of the movie called “Warriors of the Wind” released by Disney in the 1980s. Nausicaa was intended to teach morals to a younger audience, but was NOT purely a children’s movie in the way that Disney executives wanted it to be. 25 minutes of footage including all of the violent scenes were cut out. The anti-war theme was removed. The mutant insects representing nature were changed to be evil and the giant robot representing Nuclear warfare was changed to being presented as good! In effect, “Warriors of the Wind” preached the EXACT opposite message of what Miyazaki intended! A few of Disney’s changes were at least understandable in the context of the 1980s and corporate marketing. Nausicaa could hardly be marketed to small children as a “Disney Princess” if she went into a berserker blood rage and brutally murders 4 soldiers with a God damn war hammer. Yep, Nausicca fights Robert Baratheon style! (this actually happens in the film!) Disney destroyed Nausicaa by trying to change it into purely a small children’s film, which it was never intended to be! Fortunately, Nausicaa was FINALLY re-released in the West in its original form…in 2005!
Nausicaa takes place in a post apocalyptic world, several hundred years after a global war destroyed most of the planet’s life in just 7 days. The majority of the planet is covered by toxic jungle and dominated by mutant insects. The majority of the planet’s soil was so polluted by the war, that the only plants that adapted and survived were highly radioactive and toxic to humans. Although it later turns out that these future flora can be raised to be non-toxic if grown in some of the remaining clean soil. Nausicaa is the princess of the small Wind Valley civilization squeezed between 2 perpetually warring military juggernauts, much like the US and USSR. Nausicaa is one of very few humans left alive who still believes that nature hasn’t turned its back on mankind and works to reconcile mankind with nature. She desires to learn how to live with the mutant insects and de-toxify the forest rather than try exterminate the insects and burn down all the forests to make way for more cities. Nausicaa unwillingly becomes involved in a massive war between the 2 neighboring superpowers and must stop a plot to resurrect one the giant, organic, WMDs that caused the apocalypse in the first place. Nausicaa must find a way to both end the war, and stop the insects from wiping out mankind, which is a pretty tall order for most princesses! I don’t want to spoil too much, but the plot, adventure, world building, and allegories are absolutely spectacular for a young adult movie, especially factoring in the time in which this was written.
Themes, messages, and execution: 10/10
Nausicaa takes on many themes and messages for a young adult film. Nausicaa broke the 1980s mold of American “good guys” and “evil” Soviets and instead presented both military superpowers as deeply misguided, but not innately evil. In fact, even the film’s villains are morally ambiguous and have sympathetic characteristics, which was completely outside the norm for most movies in the mid 1980s, ESPECIALLY movies aimed at young people. The movie is un-apologetically feminist, but not in a way that seems forced, preachy, or obnoxious. I don’t think I need to explain that this wasn’t normal in 1980s Japan where female characters were either getting constantly captured (Hi Yuria from Hokuto) raped, or both. Usually it was both. Nausicaa managed to have a strong environmentalist message without turning to crap like Captain Planet or fucking Birdemic. That is actually a lot harder than you might think! There are very few actually GOOD environmentalist movies. Most make the mistake to be simultaneously obnoxious and preachy, while at the same time blaming pollution on a few “bad guys” instead of mankind as a whole. This leads viewers to mistakenly think that they aren’t contributing to the problem and don’t need to do anything, unless they are a corporate scumbag dumping tons of toxic waste into the ocean for the lulz! Nausicaa also manages to teach a strongly pacifistic message during a time when nearly ALL popular movies were pro war like Rambo 2 and 3, Red Dawn, Commando, etc. WE are good and WE must exterminate THEM because THEY are BAD! That was the basic message of nearly every fucking American movie in the 1980s. Nausicaa not only bucked nearly every social trend of its time, but it delivered Miyazaki’s personal values and opinions in a way that was nuanced and well done instead of propaganda beaten in with a meat tenderizer (see 1980s anti-drug commercials). If you are politically to the right, you MAY take a disliking to Nausicaa since it is probably the most leftwing film NOT directed by Sergei Eisenstein. However, it is an extremely well made film, so you SHOULD appreciate it no matter what your political opinions are. For example, I am not politically far right, but I think Triumph of the Will is on a purely technical level one of the best films ever made. I will even begrudgingly admit Gone With the Wind is a great film…although I like Triumph a lot more. Basically, don’t listen to someone who says Nausicaa sucks due to its political leanings. That is bullshit!
The art and specifically the fluidity of the animation isn’t quite on par with some of Ghibli’s later works. It doesn’t look nearly as pretty as Mononoke or Spirited Away. However, it looks AMAZING relative to most other anime of the 1980s. Only a few 1980s anime movies like Akira and arguably Ghost in the Shell really look significantly better than Nausicaa.
The Wind Village flute theme will get stuck in your head for months! I deduct 1 point for deadly ear worm status!
Nausicaa is an underrated masterpiece! I basically can’t praise this movie enough. If you haven’t seen it yet, go out and do so. Also if you had the misfortune of having to see “Warriors of the Wind” PLEASE go and watch the original. It is a LOT better!
6: Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! Movie: Kurenai Densetsu
English: KONOSUBA -God’s blessing on this wonderful world!- Legend of Crimson
Japanese: 映画 この素晴らしい世界に祝福を！紅伝説
MAL Score: 8.49
It is not strange that the Demon Lord’s forces fear the Crimson Demons, the clan from which Megumin and Yunyun originate. Even if the Demon Lord’s generals attack their village, the Crimson Demons can just easily brush them off with their supreme mastery of advanced and overpowered magic.
When Yunyun receives a seemingly serious letter regarding a potential disaster coming to her hometown, she immediately informs Kazuma Satou and the rest of his party. After a series of wacky misunderstandings, it turns out to be a mere prank by her fellow demon who wants to be an author. Even so, Megumin becomes worried about her family and sets out toward the Crimson Demons’ village with the gang.
There, Kazuma and the others decide to sightsee the wonders of Megumin’s birthplace. However, they soon come to realize that the nonsense threat they received might have been more than just a joke.
The Good – The humor is on point, exactly the same quality as the show. Kazuma’s antics are entertaining as always, Megumin gets plenty of fanservice, Yunyun gets a bit more screentime, and even the new villain is memorable. The interactions between the characters were a goldmine of laughs for me. Story-wise, it’s a simple story about the gang visiting Megumin and Yunyun’s hometown. Nothing special, but no one watches Konosuba for the plot, amirite? 😉
The Bad: Since the movie is basically just an extended episode, the animation was lacking in quite a few places, which is even more noticeable this time since it’s supposed to be a movie. Background characters sometimes barely have a face. True to the spirit of Megumin, they seemed to put more budget into just the explosions, which looked pretty good.
Overall score: 8/10 – If you liked the show and don’t expect the movie to go above and beyond the show’s quality, then this will be a great watch. If you didn’t like the show, why are you even reading this review? Go watch something else, pleb. 😛
Definitely not a bot
Saw this movie in a local german cinema a few hours ago.
The german subtitles were kind of inaccurate at times, but nothing that impacted the understanding of the scene/plot. (But one time they forgot to translate background chatter, that was subtitled in Japanese.
Story – 7
Nothing too special, but not generic either.
The story was mostly what you’d expect from Konosuba, but the last 20 minutes were a bit too “cliché-anime-movie”, in my opinion.
However all plotpoints had the usual quirky (and kinda dumb-funny) konosoba-feel to it.
It was sort of ecchi-heavy and it revolved more about sex, love and relationships as i expected.
Art – 6
Probably my biggest gripe with this film.
Most of the time it just looked like the TV-show, but on a big screen.
There was no scene that looked like complete trash, but -apart from some spells and explosions- nothing really stood out.
Also this movie had a lot of jiggling boobs.
Sound – 8
Can vary depending on Location, but my local cinema is pretty new so the sound equipment is rather good. You could really feel the explosions through your whole Body, but the sound wasn’t deafining in any way.
Music was fine, the use of the OP at the beginning was fitting.
Voice acting was on point, but that’s not too surprising.
Characters – 10
The characters and their quirks is something that makes Konosuba to what it is, as most of the jokes are built those characteristics.
Probably most important was Kazuma’s desire to be a womanizer, which was used throughout the film, creating funny scenes until the very end.
All the characters’ actions fitted their respective personality, nothing felt off.
The new characters were all pretty quirky and made for some humorous additions.
Enjoyment – 9
I pretty much laughed throughout the whole movie, in fact i laughed so much, that at some point i had to stop laughing, because my face started hurting.
Really only the chliché finale bugged me.
Overall – 8
“Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo!: Kurenai Densetsu” knows where it strengths lie and plays them perfectly, but its weaknesses can’t be overseen, especially the animations.
5: Mushishi Zoku Shou: Suzu no Shizuku
Japanese: 蟲師 続章: 鈴の雫
MAL Score: 8.61
On a warm summer day, a boy heard the sound of bells ringing, as if in celebration, in the mountain near his home. Several years later in that same mountain, the mushishi Ginko encounters a strange girl with weeds growing out of her body. Soon after, Ginko coincidentally runs into the now grown-up boy Yoshiro on his way off the mountain. With Yoshiro’s help, Ginko soon begins to uncover who this mysterious girl is and what happened to her.
An adaptation of the last arc in the manga, Mushishi Zoku Shou: Suzu no Shizuku follows Ginko’s peculiar journey amidst the occult to unravel the mystery behind the enigmatic girl called Kaya and the mountain that has become her home.
Drops of Bells (the title of the double-episode) basically tells of humanity’s growing more and more separate from nature. The plot is of a human girl chosen from birth to be the next lord of a mountain, yet her human family cannot understand this and strive to keep her from the destiny forced upon her by nature’s law. The primary plot point is that humans aren’t really fit for the task of mountain lord, as humans possess a wisdom unlike other animals that is unfit for becoming one with the mountain, and possess a heart that can be crushed under the weight of the thriving life throughout the mountain. However, Ginko basically says that despite humanity being as separate as it is from nature’s law, it is still a part of the whole.
That’s the Tao for you. Humanity’s a bitch, and balance with nature is dead. However, that doesn’t take the Tao out of the human species. As a human murders a bird for sport, it’s the same life force flowing through each of them, and when the bird falls to the ground as a corpse that life force does not die with it. That’s the way of shit, and that’s what’s so real about Mushishi. It takes that whole concept and makes the whole unexplainability of the Tao explainable through the beings known as mushi. That’s exactly it; Mushishi makes the unexplainable explainable. Ain’t that just the coolest shit? That’s what makes Mushishi the pinnacle of Japanese animation and manga.
[Edit: Replace the Chinese “Tao” with the Japanese “Kannagara” and you basically get the same idea. The latter concept is likely what Urushibara was familiar with.]
In the first half of Suzu no Shizuku, a girl leaves her family behind when she’s summoned to be the next lord of a mountain. Thriving lands, called “Rivers of Light”, require the presence of a lord to maintain the balance of the surrounding life. Choosing a human as a lord is an unusual move, however. Such a task is typically delegated to animals since they live with fewer emotional attachments.
Several of the introspective themes that were previously explored in the Mushishi world are summarized here—most notably interconnectedness, the indifference of nature, and the necessity of letting go. All life—plants, animals, and humans—are dependent on each other, and are influenced by the ripples of cause and effect. Nature, which is personified in Suzu no Shizuku as the mountain lord, acts as the unbiased mediator. The overarching lesson seems to be that we should appreciate what we have, and not cling when the time comes to move on.
The second half concludes the story without quite concluding the series. The ending leaves some questions unanswered, but it ties up enough to guide your imagination to where the stories and characters could progress into the distant future. I’ll refrain from deconstructing this any further. To me, Mushishi is more of a meditation than a conventional story, and is therefore best appreciated without excessive analysis.
The art, animation, and sound design have remained remarkably consistent since its premiere in 2005. The backgrounds in Suzu no Shizuku are just as gorgeous as they were when the first season aired. The character and special effects animation are fluid and precise. And the subdued and ambient melodies that have become a hallmark of this series are present here as well.
When you think about it, it’s kind of a miracle that Mushishi, which is essentially about life experiences and nature, was made with such a substantial budget in today’s hungry and impatient climate. I’m grateful that ArtLand was willing to take a chance on such an esoteric and spiritual story, and that it’s been successful enough to adapt in its entirety. It’s been a truly extraordinary experience.
Watched the first season about a year ago and over the course of good 3 weeks and now the second season with all the specials in 2 days.
I was really not in the mood for this show and actually wanted to look for some slice of life anime instead but I did it anyway and this show is really so, oh so different from any other. Never have I seen or heard of an anime that could compare to Mushishi. Regarding my expectations, I knew what I was diving into since I read that the ‘episodic’ part doesn’t die down in the second season, and that’s very true. Just know, there’s a very good reason why every single season and/or special has a rating of 8.5/10 or higher on MyAnimeList.
Well, let’s do this.
Mushishi is one of the most interesting anime in every way. That also goes for the animation. It is among the most exceptional things I have seen in anime. The way it fits the mood and overall theme of the anime and the way it underlines everything is just amazing. Every background could be an actual painting. Nothing is half-assed. And as a Winter fanatic, the episodes that take place in deep Winter absolutely make my heart melt. The sheer beauty of the scenery with snow everywhere is exceeding pleasure for the eyes. It basically screams melancholia and sadness in a way but due to the art style combined with the theme of the story it also has such warmth, it’s hauntingly beautiful.
One more thing I really enjoyed about the animation were the designs of the Mushi. They had such original and vivid designs and were moving in such weird ways. Real creativity by the creators right there. And not to forget the design of the people in the show, who basically make up the entire show. That’s what this show is about. The humans have this distinct look and these very distinct, round features that instantly let you know what show you’re watching because no other anime has this kind of look to it. Only thing was that sometimes you couldn’t make out the difference between characters from different episodes since a lot of them look so, well… normal! But that’s not really a bad thing. So all in all, can’t complain, oh no!
First to the openings.
The opening for the first season is Ally Kerr – Sore Feet Song. Second one is Lucy Rose – Shiver. Like everything else, they fit the atmosphere of this anime like my old shirts fit me again because I lost a lot of weight. They’re as calm as they could be and also, they’re English songs by English artists. I have both on my phone and love them to bits because they bring you back into this show and all that you experienced in it. Lovely. And now…
Oh man. That soundtrack.
What’s there to say? Ever heard of Feng Shui? Yes? This is like it, but just a bit less boring for the show. The soundtrack is by Toshiro Masuda, who also made the soundtrack for the original Naruto show. And I still remember how incredibly well that soundtrack burnt itself into my mind. So well, that you can play me a song out of the Naruto soundtrack in about 30 years and I will probably still instantly know where it’s from. The same goes for Mushishi. And let me stress this. The soundtrack Could. Not. Fit. The. Show. Any. Better. This soundtrack is absolute brilliance. It takes the very, very calm theme of the show and makes it even calmer. And as with the Naruto one, these tracks, these very calming tracks with bells, light flutes and beautiful melodies will dig inside of your head, maybe without you even noticing, and they will stay there. If you ever feel stressed or burnt out, even if you haven’t seen Mushishi, you should listen to this soundtrack. It’s so hauntingly beautiful I still have all of it on my phone and listen to it regularly when I want to feel at ease. Fantastic, brilliant work, I can’t stress this enough.
There is the problem I have with this show. While on the one hand I completely understand how the author wanted to write this anime, since it is episodic in every way until the very last minute, I still can’t completely wrap my head around the fact that we basically know nothing about the main character at the end of this show. And by nothing I mean almost nothing. There were like 2 episodes that revealed a bit and then a tiny bit more that was sprinkled here and there but that’s about it. There is no overarching storyline that leads to some grand finale or anything. But then again, this show started as mysterious as it ended. I understand the idea behind that thought. It is probably the most ‘grown up’ show I have ever seen. That’s the best way to describe it for me.
The entire thing plays in old Japan (probably?) and it’s about our main character Ginko. And that, dear people, was a lie just now. Since he is the main character, but he travels through the land for a particular reason and he is what they call a Mushishi. Since Mushi are basically entities that can’t be seen by most people but they are part of nature just like any plant or animal would be, they can interact with humans and might do harm. Some change peoples’ surroundings, some change the people themselves. And they all are connected through the big Light Veins that flow through the earth that basically represent life itself. The best way to describe it is basically… There are poisonous plants or for example mosquitoes, right? These plants or bugs don’t attack humans for any malicious reasons nor do they mean any harm, they’re just there, doing their thing. And that’s what Mushi are, just that most people can’t see them. And that’s where the Mushishi come in. They can see them and research them to find cures for the problems these things cause.
But again, I personally feel a bit of a lack of an overarching plot… Maybe that’s just me though!
Well, well. You have to create a main character for your show. How do you do that?
Don’t ask me.
I’m an idiot.
These people did it right though. Oh and how well they did it…
Ginko is probably one of the most simple, most complex, most mysterious and most interesting and greatest characters I know in anime. He is an enigma from episode one until the last episode and aside from a bit of info about his past, he will stay that way. Full of questions and answers and full of self-sacrifice. Always with that Mushi-repellent cigarette in his mouth. Simply put, he’s cool as fuck. And chill as fuck. I don’t want to imagine this show without Ginko. His personality was perfectly written and as the animation and soundtrack, fits this show 100%. And he’s a lone traveler. He doesn’t have any travel buddies. No cute mascot that lives in his backpack and no shits to give. Actually that last one is wrong, because he actually cares a lot about every part of nature there is and in every way possible. A young, wise man that says stuff that you will find yourself thinking about twice. More than just once. One of my all-time favorite characters in anime.
Regarding the other characters, most of them are very ‘normal’. In the most purest way. They’re just villagers or wanderers who are just casual people in old Japan. And they don’t have any blue or red or green hair. This anime doesn’t need stuff like that to have you, the watcher, remember who is who. Because honestly, you forget. And that’s kind of part of this show. They’re just normal townsfolk and once Ginko did whatever a Ginko does he just leaves, mostly, never to return. So given that they’re supposed to be as normal as it gets, most fill their role well. They do just what they should do. But a few can seem a bit too bland to be honest. They just have nothing special going for them at all. They’re TOO normal. But that’s my only problem here. Good.
Overall just probably one of the best shows I have had the pleasure to watch. But that ending left me wanting more. I really lacked a conclusion to something. Again, there was no overarching problem, but I just wanted something more… I mean don’t get me wrong, I’m really content with what I got since that ending was as enigmatic and classy as this show has deserved it to be, but it’s just the syndrome of ‘I want more’ after having reached the end of a good show, you know?
I wasn’t in the mood for this show. But this show put me in the mood for it in about 2 episodes. It is absolutely, ABSOLUTELY fantastic. You have my word on this.
Mushishi (All of it): 9/10
I don’t know what I’m gonna watch next. Gotta find a quality show but don’t know what…
Also it’s 7am, why do I always get in the mood to write these when it’s late as hell. Goddammit.
4: Howl no Ugoku Shiro
English: Howl’s Moving Castle
MAL Score: 8.66
That jumbled piece of architecture, that cacophony of hissing steam and creaking joints, with smoke billowing from it as it moves on its own… That castle is home to the magnificent wizard Howl, infamous for both his magical prowess and for being a womanizer—or so the rumor goes in Sophie Hatter’s small town. Sophie, as the plain daughter of a hatmaker, does not expect much from her future and is content with working hard in the shop.
However, Sophie’s simple life takes a turn for the exciting when she is ensnared in a disturbing situation, and the mysterious wizard appears to rescue her. Unfortunately, this encounter, brief as it may be, spurs the vain and vengeful Witch of the Waste—in a fit of jealousy caused by a past discord with Howl—to put a curse on the maiden, turning her into an old woman.
In an endeavor to return to normal, Sophie must accompany Howl and a myriad of eccentric companions—ranging from a powerful fire demon to a hopping scarecrow—in his living castle, on a dangerous adventure as a raging war tears their kingdom apart.
Story: the story is about a girl named Sophie who gets turned into an old woman and ends up living with a wizard named Howl in his moving castle. The story is the only part I felt was lacking in this movie. Though I have to admit I see more flaws with the story after reading the book (even though I find the movie much better). Overall, I felt many of the war scenes were overdramatized and left a lot of questions. There were also a lot of small things throughout that they could have done a better job at explaining. Even after watching the movie so many times I cannot fully explain some scenes and still have questions about the movie.
Animation: The animation is absolutely stunning and many of the backgrounds look realistic. I also have to say that I am impressed with how Sophie is animated, and how it is so easy to tell when she is aging/regressing just simply by looking at the animation (her voice also helps). Overall this is the most impressive Miyazaki art I’ve seen and I really haven’t seen much that can top it.
Sound: I’ll just start off by saying the music in this movie is so beautiful. I love every single background music in this movie, and the only song I don’t like so much is the theme with the words that plays at the end. Aside from the beautiful soundtrack, the sounds in the movie are so dead on. Hearing Sophie’s bones crack as an old woman is really painful, and as much as I don’t like Sophie’s voice, her seiyuu does a great job at portraying the character and how she fluctuates between young and old so frequently throughout the movie. I think all the seiyuu in the movie were good as well.
Character: The characters in this movie make up for all the lack of closure in the plot. Each character has their good points, even the Witch of the Waste. I personally adore almost all the characters, though I actually like Sophie the least of all. Calcifer, Heen, and Turnip head are such adorable and fun characters to watch (and Heen and Turnip have pretty much no lines in the whole movie). Howl is also another loveable character as well. The characters have such different personalities that you will probably like at least one character or more.
Enjoyment: Obviously I enjoy this film a lot. I’ve watched it so many times! Each time I sit there in awe of the animation and empathize with the characters. It’s one of those movies that I love to watch and I have not gotten bored of it yet. I do have to say that towards the end I get slightly bored with the stressed focus on the war, but that only lasts at most 15 minutes.
This movie is defenitely worth watching, and even if you watched it and didn’t like it, you only spent two hours watching it since it’s a movie. I think it’s defenitely one of Miyazaki’s better works. If you have time or interest, I think it’s worth checking out the book, since it’s a completely different take on the story. It’s got a lot less romance between Sophie and Howl in it, but it brings a lot more character development to Markl and Sophie’s sisters (she has more than one in the novel). But if not, just watch the movie!!
STORY – This movie was apparently based off a book, but as I haven’t read the book, I’m judging this movie as a work all on its own, for better or worse. So I suppose this was, in a way, a story about courage and facing one’s fears, but it was approached in such a roundabout way that I’m really not sure, even now. The premise of the movie — Sophie getting bewitched into an old woman — seemed almost completely random, and I was left wondering why? and what was the point of that? Those questions were, for me, repeated a ridiculous number of times throughout the course of the movie. Indeed, most of the scenes seemed haphazardly spliced together with little rhyme or reason connecting them. Eventually, the focus of the movie fell onto Howl and his troubles, which was fine, except that we seemed to forget entirely about Sophie’s initial dilemma because of it.
In some ways, Howl’s reminded me of Spirited Away, what with its eclectic assemblage of characters, all with their own problems and goals. But while Spirited Away maintained and remembered its initial story and theme, Howl’s Moving Castle was seriously all over the place. The further we progressed into the movie, the more it seemed like Sophie’s problems were taking a backseat to Howl’s, and even her position as a member of his castle and one of his helpers didn’t seem very important. One of the things that annoyed me the most was also the fact that the spell placed on Sophie was never explained the depth — all you knew was that she couldn’t tell anyone about it (which was pretty useless since most characters seemed to be able to tell anyway). Nothing was explained as the spell seemed to gradually fade; when Sophie randomly appeared to be her old self, you were never sure whether it was for real or a dream. Eventually, you sort of accepted that she was slowly regaining her old self, but even then, you weren’t sure why.
There’s also the matter of the war. Throughout the entire movie, it seemed like more of a background element more than anything else. We were never told why the war was going on or against whom they were fighting; thus, it didn’t seem like all too important of a thing, even when leaders were requesting the aid of magical folk. In a way, I find this impression interesting as there seems to be a distinct separation between the affairs of our characters and the world around them. Despite the war, they’re in their own little world, even with airships attacking every so often and Howl’s subsequent injuries. I’m not sure why that is or whether it’s a positive or negative element, but it’s there all the same…
CHARACTER – I wasn’t really all that impressed by any of the characters in this movie. Most of them seemed to be typical of Miyazaki both in personality and goals and were consequently predictable. Sophie is an all around "good" character who only wants the best for her family and friends. Howl is the mysterious one with great power and internal insecurities. Calcifer is the sharp-tongued, sarcastic one who just wants to be free, despite a seemingly good relationship with his master. And Markl is just a good kid, more or less in the same vein as Sophie except younger, and the Scarecrow was a similar personality as well. The Witch of the Waste is a completely stereotypical semi-villain, as is Suliman.
Though there are certainly attempts at expanding on some of the characters’ very flat personalities, I don’t really feel as if any of them are successful. Sophie’s fascination and eventual love for Howl was a little interesting, but the feelings could be attributed very easily to the typical goodness of her personality, and it didn’t seem like Howl was very special to have her affections. Similarly, Howl’s feelings for Sophie seemed generic, or perhaps he (and all the other characters) could not help but be attracted to her goodness, as there didn’t seem to be very many flaws in that purity at all.
ARTSTYLE & ANIMATION – This is easily what contributes the most to the entire movie. As we have come to expect from Studio Ghibli, Howl’s Moving Castle was an exceptionally beautiful film. The highly detailed background renders were superb and featured all sorts of fantastical elements, giving the environment a wonderful personality. The streets and storefronts were inviting and cheerful, and the darker alleyways held a mystery of their own. The characters were all wonderfully animated, especially Howl, who transformed slickly between his human and harpy-like form.
The design for the castle was especially fun. As more or less a gigantic heap of metal parts, its lack of uniformity gave the viewer a lot to look at, and all of it was interesting. It was also great to see rooms and halls within the castle shift, contract, and expand as Howl magicked them around.
MUSIC – I don’t remember anything especially extraordinary, but I think it’s safe enough to say that most of the music was satisfying and fitting for their scenes.
VOICE ACTING – I’ve only seen the movie subbed. The voices were about average, but I would say that’s more because of the characters’ flatness more than lack of talent on the part of the actors. Calcifer is the only one that had a particularly memorable voice — it was a little whiny and a little scratchy: absolutely perfect for his grumbling character.
OVERALL – Howl’s Moving Castle was a very fun movie to look at. The visuals were gorgeous and everything smoothly animated. Unfortunately, the story and characters definitely left a lot to be desired; there was so little substance that I might have gotten about the same impression if I’d seen the whole thing on mute (or without subtitles). I’ve been told that the original novel is better, and I wonder if Miyazaki’s downfall is only in that he was trying to adapt someone else’s work, because certainly I know the man’s capable of telling a story better than this.
NOVEL, ANIME: Howl’s Moving Castle was originally a young-adult fantasy novel written by Diana Wynne Jones in 1986. It won a Boston Globe-Horn Book Award in 1987, and was also was designated an ALA Notable Book for children and young adults.
Howl’s Moving Castle was produced by Studio Ghibli (Ponyo on the Cliff, Spirited Away), and directed by Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind). Howl was released in theatres in Japan on November 20th, 2004, and showed dubbed in theatres Stateside starting on June 10th, 2005, courtesy of Disney, and is available both subbed and dubbed on DVD.
STORY: Sophie Hatter is a young, self-conscious young woman who, after a chance encounter with the wizard Howl, is cursed with the body of a ninety-year-old by the spiteful Witch of the Waste, and is unable to tell anyone about the curse. She ends up going into the Waste, and, with the help of an animated turnip-headed scarecrow that she helps, ends up finding Howl’s home; a legged, walking, amalgamation of a castle. In order to break her spell, she makes a deal with the fire demon who powers the castle, Calcifer; if she can break the spell on him and Howl – which he also can’t tell anyone about – he will break hers.
Howl’s Moving Castle isn’t necessarily one of Ghibli’s strongest movies, story-telling wise. There are a lot of disparate plot elements floating about, with not a lot of explanation given, or even development, for that matter; the movie kind of just drifts from scene to scene, as if it can’t decide what plot element it wants to focus on. Probably the biggest example of this is Sophie’s curse. There are times in the movie where she’ll appear younger or older; it’s hinted that this difference in physical appearance is tied to her self-confidence, but it’s never explained, it just happens. The ending is kind of unsatisfying, as everything’s quickly wrapped up in a neat package with even little to no explanation of sudden plot elements that end up popping up.
The characters themselves are all fairly well fleshed out, though, and are at least intriguing to watch; the moments in this movie that center around the characters alone are where it really shines, such as Sophie going through and cleaning the house, Markl going to market with Sophie, or Calcifer and Howl talking by the fire.
Taken in terms of the original novel, Howl is a nice retelling. The basic plot elements from the novel are mostly intact, though a great deal of the actual plot has been changed around. If you don’t mind a looser retelling of the novel, then you should be fine with this; however, if you’re looking for the novel translated exactly onto the screen, then you may not want to see this.
ART: As always with Studio Ghibli, the art for this is beyond beautiful, that goes without saying. There are three big things that stood out for me with the art, though:
-The castle. I can’t say enough about how intricately this was done; just the design itself is amazingly thought out, and the animation of the movement and all the little parts moving and operating on their own and as a part of the larger whole is incredibly steampunk.
-Anything to do with magic being used. Incredibly created, especially in how it manifests from character to character, and with beautifully intricate detail.
-The war sequences. Incredibly realistic and devastating, though it should be noted that production on this was happening while the Iraq War and the bombings were just beginning.
MUSIC: Joe Hisaishi does the composing work on this, as he always does. While his music has most of the normal chords and progressions it normally does, the music here tends to be variations on several instruments of the main theme song, which, while not my favorite ever, is passable. Not the greatest soundtrack he’s ever done, but still fairly solid.
SEIYUU: The cast for this is fairly new to voice work, but it doesn’t show; there are some excellent performances in this, especially the voice actor for Calcifer. I actually like the sub and dub about equally, so I can’t state preference here for any one cast. I do like that there is a single seiyuu for Sophie, whether she’s young or old, as it just shows you the range of the seiyuu.
VOICE ACTORS: The English dub for this has some fairly big names for the performances; Christian Bale does a pretty good job (and even utilizes the Batman!growl) as Howl, Jean Simmons does an amazing job as the older version of Sophie (even though I don’t really understand why there needs to be two separate voice actors here), Billie Crystal does a good job of being the comedic relief in Calcifer, Lauren Bacall is an amazing Witch of the Waste, and Crispin Freeman even shows up for a few lines. Overall, a solid performance.
DUB: I have absolutely no criticism whatsoever for the dubwork on this. Translations are done accurately, there’s no intentional flubbing of the original meaning, and it’s fairly well done.
LENGTH: The movie does tend to drag at times, especially with how the movie tends to float from scene to scene. The whole thing feels kinda dreamy, though, and you tend to not notice where the time’s gone at the end of it.
OVERALL: Not Ghibli’s best story or score, but still has wonderful characters, amazing animation, and a fairly solid dub, and cast in both languages. A dreamy sort of film, good for a rainy afternoon.
VOICE ACTORS: 8/10
OVERALL: 55/70; 79% (C+)
3: Mononoke Hime
English: Princess Mononoke
MAL Score: 8.69
When an Emishi village is attacked by a fierce demon boar, the young prince Ashitaka puts his life at stake to defend his tribe. With its dying breath, the beast curses the prince’s arm, granting him demonic powers while gradually siphoning his life away. Instructed by the village elders to travel westward for a cure, Ashitaka arrives at Tatara, the Iron Town, where he finds himself embroiled in a fierce conflict: Lady Eboshi of Tatara, promoting constant deforestation, stands against Princess San and the sacred spirits of the forest, who are furious at the destruction brought by the humans. As the opposing forces of nature and mankind begin to clash in a desperate struggle for survival, Ashitaka attempts to seek harmony between the two, all the while battling the latent demon inside of him. Princess Mononoke is a tale depicting the connection of technology and nature, while showing the path to harmony that could be achieved by mutual acceptance.
When I say that Princess Mononoke is his masterpiece, I mean it. It was the first film where he finally got everything together and made a perfect anime film. Some will say that Spirited Away is better, but Mononoke is so much more powerful than that.
Story: Miyazaki does not like civilization. He stated once that he would prefer it if we went back to living in the fields, he wants to get rid of all technology. In Mononoke we see the evils of industralization and how humans are killing the earth. Humans can coexist. But many purposefully try to make themselves better and stronger. Miyazaki does an absolutely amazing job of showing that industralization, if handled the wrong way, is an incredible evil, but that it is in the hands of humans..of real people. I didn’t really care all too much for the story, but I found his use of spirits to be incredible. I wasn’t a huge fan of the story itself, it was a country boy goes to the city vibe…but I was a huge fan of all the political jabbings that Miyazaki was throwing. I will admit that I didn’t notice it the first time around, I was told this as I watched it the second or third time, by my friend who is a Miyazaki acolyte. The beauty of the story really comes after you watch it the second or third time, as the whole movie experience is very overwhelming.
Art: I give it a 7. I am not a fan at all of Ghibli. I absolutely cannot stand their use of recycling their characters. I hate how all the women look exactly the same, and the men have the same annoying mustaches and beard combos that obscure almost their entire face. I find it lazy and incredibly detracting. I found that Ashitaka was…..boring, his design was so lacklustre that I have now just googled him to figure out exactly what he looked like. Where the art shines in this is in the spirits (gods), the creatures, and San. The designs of those characters alone redeemed the art for me. Also worth noting that in the beginning all those "snakes" were done digitally, which was, for me, impressive.
Sound: Eh….what can I say. Miyazaki films ALWAYS have great music and soundtracks. I have never found an instance in watching any of his films where I’ve gone "hey, the music doesn’t really feel right." The music in his films are absolutely superb.
Character: I felt that the characters weren’t really people so much as symbols. I felt that Ashitaka, in a certain way, was innocence. When his arm is cursed he is given a power that he cannot wield and he struggles to find a way to cure it, to get rid of the curse that now stains his arm and will kill him. Eboshi was industralization, but she was also compassion. I felt that she was the most human of all the characters, even though many people view her as an antagonist or slap her with the label of "oh..she’s the evil lady." The thing I appreciate about this film is that there are only a handful of truly bad people. Everyone else is human. San is humans living with nature, but at the same time she is a beast herself. She lives in harmony with nature and has absolutely no qualms about killing to defend her land. Every character is multifaced, however if you only view the movie once you might not see the different characteristics of each character.
Enjoyment: The perfect Miyazaki film. It is deep for people who are looking at it closely, but it is also just a fun film for people who are only looking for something fun to watch. The first time I watched this (the first Miyazaki film I’d ever seen) I wasn’t impressed at all. Mind you, I was probably 10 at the time, this was the first exposure to REAL anime I’d ever had. But as I watched it again recently I realized just how great of a film it really is.
However it really is accessible. You talk to almost anyone about anime and they’ll probably (99% likely) know about Princess Mononoke. I know that this turns a lot of people off. Personally when someone comes up to me and says "hey, I saw Samurai Champloo and it was great, can you recommend me anything else kind of like it?" It makes my skin crawl a little bit. However, Mononoke is a staple, and is really something that you should watch, if you haven’t watched it, I would definitely put it at the top of your to-watch list.
The story is basically can be summed up as Man’s conflict against the natural world. While this may be a good summarization it also could be misleading because with Mononoke we don’t get a classic good vs evil plot. The fascination I have with this film stems from the many groups that are at conflict with one another and how no one is truly the evildoer. We have nature battling with human civilization while within itself there are humans trying to topple each other. The story revolves around how self-destructive we are as human beings and how we haven’t realized we are innate in nature. The movie gives us parallels of the battles that the humans face with each other while still all congregating together for that one perceived enemy in the film, nature. All in all the film tries to communicate a deep message through the story and it leaves the viewer with a lasting impression.
The characters in this film are fascinating. Particularly Ashitaka and Princess Mononoke. We follow the story through Ashitaka’s experiences with the different warring groups in the story. He always is the rational character in the movie and he openly tries to correct the irrationalities the other characters have. he serves as the medium which communicates the overall story and how meaningless the conflict can be found to be. He is extremely brave and he usually gets himself in dangerous situations in order to show the others their incorrect ways. Princess Mononoke is another intricately created character which is full of mystery. She seems to detest fellow humans for their selfish egotism and hostility towards earth and its inhabitants. Lady Eboshi is the a character some may mistakenly confuse for the villain of the movie. I think this would be more prevalent with western viewers like myself. The reason for this is they might seem to mistake her as another modern day oil baron except she is much more than that. Her main goal is to protect her people, particularly the other women who live in the city. She feels in order to do this She has to pursue the industrialization of her city in order to protect her people from the samurais and beasts of nature.
In the animation department this is a Studio Ghibli film so you obviously will get an amazing experience visually at least. With this film though I feel the animation captures the essence of nature. It does this with the various beasts and mystical characters Miyazaki created. There are even gods in this movie which helps bring about the feeling that nature is alive. You will enjoy the action sequences in this movie. Especially the battles between Lady Eboshi and Princess Mononoke. I also think the use of CGI in this film was done well and this is coming from someone who despises CGI.
The music in this movie is beautiful. Its the kind that can put you in a trance that you wouldn’t want to ever wake up from. Especially the main theme song. A lot of the music puts you in the right mood for the film. Especially the more darker music which is used during scenes with the beasts of nature. The battle scenes also have plesant sounds and the sword fights don’t contain the same sword clashing sound *cough Nausicaa cough*.
Anyways, I recommend this film because its Miyazaki’s Masterpiece.
Ashitaka, the last prince of a people called the Enishi, gets cursed while fighting a demon, and sets out on a journey to get rid of the curse, which can be lethal. He soon hears rumors of a forest spirit that can give and take away life, and sets out to find it. However, he soon finds himself in the middle of a fight between humans and animals, and he soon gets to know of a girl called Princess Mononoke, who has sided with the animals.
The way the story is presented makes it really enjoyable, as we get to see how various humans and animals view the ongoing fight. Different humans have different viewpoints, different animals have different viewpoints, and it makes it so that part of what they think is right, but they’re also wrong about things. In the middle we have Ashitaka, who is the only one looking for a peaceful resolution to this struggle. It’s mainly the theme of destroying nature that’s mainly being touched upon, a theme I feel is something everyone should think about.
The small love story you that’s presented is what some would call forced. At least I do. I didn’t quite like the way in which it was presented, but different persons have different opinions. It was okay enough though, but nothing that really placed itself in my heart. Maybe they just didn’t do enough with it. But it’s okay, since the focus of this movie is other things than love.
As expected of Studio Ghibli, the visuals are stunning, especially when you think about the movie’s age (8 years). With its massive budget of 2,4 billion yen, what else is there to expect anyway? The environments are drawn extremely beautifully, be it mountains, lakes, villages, trees or underbrush. Sometimes I just forgot the movie because of the stunning environments. Thank heavens for rewinding! The character motions are extremely fluid and lifelike, and with a total of 144 000 cels during the movie, you couldn’t expect anything less (I even heard that Miyazaki re-drew quite a lot of them himself). I got quite surprised when I learned that they used CGI in the movie; I couldn’t spot it at all. That again serves to prove the quality of it. The character designs are typical Studio Ghibli-ish, so you’ll know what to expect in that department if you’ve watched a Studio Ghibli film.
The music is perfectly in tune with the movie, giving that calm, mysterious kind of feeling that you’ll expect when in a forest where magical creatures are as normal as insects. But ti doesn’t do anything more than that, really.
Overall, Princess Mononoke is a film that you might enjoy the most for its stunning natural environments; they almost overshadow the plot. But all the different factions, the different viewpoints in the fight, and last but definitely not least, the theme of destroying nature are all something that everyone should give a thought. Especially the latter.
2: Made in Abyss Movie 3: Fukaki Tamashii no Reimei
Japanese: 劇場版メイドインアビス 深き魂の黎明
MAL Score: 8.70
Continuing their perilous descent down the Abyss, Riko, Regu, and newfound friend Nanachi reach the Abyss’ fifth layer, The Sea of Corpses. Upon arriving at the research station known as Idofront, the main trio encounter the mysterious Prushka, the alleged daughter of Bondrewd, who leads them to the White Whistle responsible for Nanachi’s dark past. Despite the welcoming appearances of Idofront’s residents, Nanachi warns the young adventurers that things are not always what they seem. With the only route to the sixth layer shrouded in mystery and Bonedrewd’s schemes awaiting them, what sacrifices must be made in order to continue the journey down to the bottom of the Abyss?
Well, last 15 minutes and certain character almost ruined my enjoyment. Beware of spoilers and grammar.
I wasn’t in fond of Prushka, although I felt very pressured to feel sorry for her. She didn’t do anything important through the whole movie and when it tried to give her some bits of characterization with a flashback it came awkward at best. Her arc feels like a lazy attempt to recreate the same feeling as Mitty’s story, but from my perspective, even though the scene itself is emotional and dramatic, it has no meaning considering Prushka’s lack of screentime prior to it. There’s no understood chemistry between Prushka and Riko, no reason to become emotionally attached to their “friendship” which was build offsreen. In many ways Made in Abyss tells us that their bond matters, but that’s never justified in anything shown in the movie. Prushka barely interacts with Riko in any meaningful way, usually in flashbacks, but even then it’s not enough for her character to develop such a deep attachment in inredibly short period. So, when certain twist happened, it just fell apart.
I can’t help, but I feel like Riko didn’t deserve White Whistle. Everything comes on silver plate in her story and I don’t feel anything, but frustration about her reaching status of legendary delver. We haven’t seen her actually working to earn it (and reveal about origin of Bondrewd’s White Wistle makes it even more shallow in comparison) because she was carried by luck and overpowered companions from start to finish. I can’t say that that she is completely useless, but she is nowhere as great as Made in Abyss tries to present her. Riko is just “sunshine child” that everyone protects and allows her to take credit for their hard work. Inspirational characters can be interesting, but they still have to be relatable on some level and their bravery and optimism has to feel earned, but Riko fails to serve as a source of inspiration because the real world is never so overwhelmingly convenient. Made in Abyss tries to be a story about the depths of human desire for unknown, because curiosity can take a twisted form, and dealing with this theme when main character is kid is fantastic opportunity to show how Abyss messes with minds of explorers. But Riko is never in danger of becoming the monster like other White Whistles, everything is always solved by others and she doesn’t need to sacrifice her morals or anything to continue adventure. She plays the role of the goody two-shoes and the story’s logic contorts to her aspiration of never getting her hands dirty or push Riko to evolve from her naive idealism. If a sacrifice has to be committed, it will be done by someone else, if Riko makes a risky choice, she never has to deal with the consequences.
This time Made in Abyss certainly disappointed me. The movie is like opposite of the first season – it starts bleak and hopeless, but once Reg went full on marysue against Bondrewd and Riko shot him with a sniper accuracy (as if her arm wasn’t break into pieces not so long ago), it started to feel like a boring shounen with a forced tear jerker. It has a good premise, but hindered by bland characters with no chemistry and the unearned progression, as its plot points felt incredibly contrived and reliant on external factors like Reg’s almighty combat mode rather than anything the characters made.
Right now it seems no different from any seasonal popcorn anime where everything can be solved with the power of (poorly written) friendship or sudden power ups. I want dark fantasy adventure story about the Abyss, not a crybait melodrama with the same reused twist about suffering lolis.
This movie follows our challengers, Riko, Reg, and Nanachi as they challenge Bondrewd and the 5th layer of the abyss. Bondrewd, being the monster that he is, obviously won’t make that easy on them, and as such we have this movie.
In terms of the Made in Abyss arcs, this is absolutely the peak of the story thus far. All of the events that happen over the course of the journey through Idofront are so perfectly executed, I can’t help but wonder how Tsukushi does it.
Anyways, the main things I like to talk about here are the soundtrack, and Bondrewd himself. The soundtrack, first of all, is perfect. I genuinely can not think of a single issue with the soundtrack, every song is incredible and perfectly fits with the tone of whatever scene it is used in, Kevin Penkin is quite possibly the best composer on earth. From The Rumble of Scientific Triumph to Riko’s Motherfucking Cooking, every song in this movie is perfect.
Final thing I want to talk about is Bondrewd, so spoilers if you haven’t seen the movie yet.
I genuinely can not think of a better and more interesting antagonist. In all of anime. Or even all of media itself. Even when he lays dying on the ground after losing the final fight, all he wishes for is for our group to successfully continue on their journey, no ill will, no revenge swearing, just a simple wish for their journey to be filled with curses and blessings. After all the horrible things that he had done, even Nanachi, arguably the one most affected by this horrible monster, came to a sort of mutual understanding with him, because that’s just the type of person he is. He doesn’t do anything out of malice, he merely just wants to know all the mysteries that the abyss has to offer, and will go to disgusting lengths to do so.
Final thoughts, as for final thoughts, I really don’t have anything else to say. The movie is perfect, everything about it is perfect, the staff put their heart and soul into this and what came out was the peak of all media. Thank you Kinema Citrus, thank you Kevin Penkin, thank you Akihito Tsukushi, thank you all for the incredible experience that you have given to us. From the bottom of my heart, i love you all for your work, keep putting in the groundbreaking effort to bring this story to life.
The movie picks up right after the end of the first season and covers everything in the 5th layer expanding on what the finale of the previous season built up to and does it beautifully. I was initially worried when Kinema shifted from a traditional season to movie format but boy did it deliver while only cutting out very few things from the manga original story while adding in another scene for some additional context.
Getting into the main elements of this movie, animation and the soundtrack are of course an absolute masterpiece to watch and listen to. The characters really managed to capture everything I love about seeing them dive down deeper into this hellhole and the story still instills that sense of wonder and imagination while answering questions but raising even more about whats really down there at the bottom and why the curse does so much to the human mind and body. It really is a true joy how this movie makes all my theories of whats down there explode into so much more.
The animators really captured every moment with the highest quality possible to match or even beat most Ghibli movies, especially the fights which are some of the most beautiful parts of the movie. Absolutely flawless! (10/10)
Kevin Penkin already had an amazing soundtrack with season 1 and came back around and delivered the greatest soundtrack I’ve ever heard beating out the likes of Nier Automata and AoT. This man really is the greatest composer and I can’t wait for the MiA OST 3! (10/10)
[Story and Characters]
Reg and Riko, its hard to believe how the Abyss has made them grow so quickly and how different they are since leaving Orth. Over the course of one season and a movie they still have that innocent child-like personality they did in the beginning but throughout this movie it shows how much they’ve matured since departing. Reg, between being apart of and witnessing horrific events and then forcing himself to do things that he absolutely hates in order to protect the two he cherishes most. Riko getting to show how intelligent she is with Prushka, figuring out secrets that even Nanachi didn’t know, and expressing what she really wants to do with her group and what she will do once at the bottom it really is emotionally touching to see. Nanachi, we finally get to know the additional backstory she hinted at the end of season one and what she did after becoming a Hollow during that time at Idofront and it is one of the most heartbreaking scenes I’ve ever seen and also one of few moments in any manga to make me cry. These three are truly some of the best characters I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing grow throughout a series and it only makes sense to have an equally rivaled antagonist. Bondrewd, where do I even begin? This is my all time favorite antagonist and what really captures the greatness of this arc. The first time all these characters meet is enough to let you know whats going to happen and the things he does after match that intensity. Bondrewd is so obsessed with attaining what is called the Blessing and will do whatever it takes to obtain it. But he never harpers any negative emotion or ill will in doing these things, if anything he really loves all of these characters especially his daughter Prushka and it is shown at the end with Prushka’s backstory and his new aspiration of hope that all of them reach the bottom as he loses what he spent years trying to obtain. Truly a character that won’t ever be topped. (10/10)
Final Thoughts and Score: This is the easiest 10/10 I could ever give, it truly is a sequel and series that has no rival and to give it a 10 feels unfair for how much this movie raised the bar across everything I could analyze, it deserves some extra credit. I may end up raising some of your expectations to high and affect how you go into watching it, but I can’t help it, this movie is absolute perfection in my eyes and I never see anime literally build this much depth to where the characters, the world, and I as a viewer are so intertwined together throughout the series that it invokes this much raw emotion and investment to where I listen to the OST everyday and refine my theories as to what will happen going forward and how it will end. As well as where Tsukushi draws his inspiration from his story to see if I can guess anything from what he references. This will be a series I will remember fondly and revisit throughout the rest of my life and I’m truly thankful that its getting the recognition it truly deserves.
1: Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi
English: Spirited Away
MAL Score: 8.80
Stubborn, spoiled, and na?ve, 10-year-old Chihiro Ogino is less than pleased when she and her parents discover an abandoned amusement park on the way to their new house. Cautiously venturing inside, she realizes that there is more to this place than meets the eye, as strange things begin to happen once dusk falls. Ghostly apparitions and food that turns her parents into pigs are just the start—Chihiro has unwittingly crossed over into the spirit world. Now trapped, she must summon the courage to live and work amongst spirits, with the help of the enigmatic Haku and the cast of unique characters she meets along the way.
Vivid and intriguing, Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi tells the story of Chihiro’s journey through an unfamiliar world as she strives to save her parents and return home.
Still, I watched it again and, for some reason, I got it the second time around. Spirited Away isn’t meant to be anything grand, with all the bells and whistles. It has a quiet, subdued way of telling a simple story about a simple girl in a very strange world. Instead of expecting something huge, just sit back, watch, and appreciate the world and story Miyazaki has finely crafted for us all to enjoy.
To get to the technical aspects…
The art is, of course, amazing. The colours are rich and the animation is fluid. When Chihiro and her family first walk into the spirit world, you can practically feel the breeze as you watch it whisk through the grass. The lights of the spirit world at night are breathtaking. And watching the train ride closer to the end of the movie, coupled with the amazing music score (the track is called "The Sixth Station"), remains one of my most favourite animation sequences out of anything I’ve seen. Which brings me to another point: the music.
I will get this out of the way first – Joe Hisaishi is one of my favourite composers. His music style is very simple, but he makes every note count. Most of his music is quite subdued in nature and takes a careful ear to notice when your eyes are being captivated by what’s going on in the screen, but do take notice if you have the chance. Or search on YouTube for videos of his live performances. His music is a joy to listen to. Like with Spirited Away, Hisaishi’s music lacks all the "bells and whistles" per se, but it’s beauty lies in its simplicity. Hisaishi has not failed here in Spirited Away.
I dearly loved the characters. One of the best parts of this movie, for me, was that it lacked any clear good or evil characters. Everyone has a bit of both, though perhaps some allow the evil sides of them to come out a bit more obviously than others. In this way, it’s very realistic. Granted, the characters were all quite predictable and Chihiro grated on my nerves at times, but overall, I enjoyed each and every one of the characters Miyazaki has create here.
Overall, Spirited Away is one of my favourite movies and will always be a treasured item in my small DVD collection. It requires some patience to get through since it’s not packed with action or drama, but it’s a nice fairy tale to watch and enjoy.
I enjoyed this very much. You will experience all kind of different feelings watching this; fear, love, warmth..etc
I first watched this film 5 years ago during my senior year in high school when a friend of mine was raving about it. Back then I found the film to be boring and feature a paper thin plot. Now 5 years later and a few hundred anime titles later I was compelled to review this. However, since it was 5 years since I viewed the film, I decided to re-watch Spirited Away in preparation for this review as my memory is a bit foggy. After watching it again, I discovered 2 things about Spirited Away. I now know why I forgotten many of the events, thus needed to re-watch it and my perspective about the film really hasn’t changed.
Spirited Away begins with Chihiro’s family moving to their new home. Like any normal 10 years old girl she is quite sadden and angry about leaving her old life (hell anyone would feel this way). Chihiro’s father makes a wrong turn somewhere and decides to take a short cut through the forest. Ok, perfectly normal but what gets me is when they see an abandon building they decided to go in and explore. Next, they go, “oh look food that’s sitting out with no-one around” let eat. The events leading up to Chihiro getting trapped in the fantasy world are way too plot devicy for my taste. However, this isn’t my main complaint about the film, it’s just that the rest is so shallow I can’t really analyze it with much depth. The rest of the story can be summarized by Chihiro get a jobs, does a job, returns something, get freed and goes home. In fact, I’m quite dumfounded as to how they created a 2 hour movie with this plot line.
Although, perhaps I’m being too critical with the story and story structure that Spirited Away takes. What I think Spirited Away tries to do is create a magical world in which the viewer can escape to. It tries to take us on an adventure to somewhere very different. That is does, studio Ghibli creates a worlds that is both imaginative and beautiful. I could go on and on about the world but words wouldn’t do it justice. However, something is very wrong when the only major praise I can give is about the fantasy world that is created. They spend way too much time creating and focusing on this world. When I analyze a few scenes I realize how drawn out Spirited Away makes each scene. They could have easily cut 30-40 minutes and have a more focused story. This is how they were able to stretch such a thin plot out for 2 hours.
When reviewing anime I put the most weight on the plot and characters. I’ve already talked about how thin and weak the plot is in the above paragraphs. Sadly the characters don’t fare too much better. Chihiro does grow over the course of the movie and in the end she is a bit stronger and can now face new challenges (i.e. new school, neighborhood, etc). After going through what she went through, I don’t think a new school will faze her. However, there really isn’t much to Chihiro’s character, she’s simply a random girl that happens to go on an inadvertent adventure and becomes a little bit stronger in the end. She feels a bit like an empty shell for the audience to live through. In general, the characterization for the movie feels a bit weak, I mean do we really know these characters? If that’s all there is to these characters, then I have no choice but to conclude that most of them are extremely flat.
Ok now on to the easy part of this review, the technical aspects. It should be no surprise that the animation and art is top notch. This is studio Ghibli and Spirited Away is also a movie so there should be no excuses when it comes to animation. The environments are beautiful and quite vibrant. Characters designs are extremely consistent but I don’t like the designs that Studio Ghibli uses. Not really a negative, just a personal preference. Music, really works to create and accent the magical world of Spirited Away. However, the music is nothing too note worthy, above average I guess. In contrast, the voice work, this is a meh for me in both the English and Japanese, nothing really outstanding or bad. However, there really wasn’t anything in the movie that would require the VAs to show their talent.
As with any Miyazaki films there are themes of environmentalism along with others in particular, greed. Thankfully, these themes and ideas never become the focus or become too blatant. Also, I have to add another audience that Spirited Away may have been targeted to. That would be nostalgic Japanese adults that long for a more traditional setting away from the modern world. In that respects it does a great job however, I’m neither a child nor a Japanese adult disillusioned with the modern world. So it should be no surprise that I’m not very fond of this film, as none of the positives really appeal to me. Those would be the imaginative/magical or nostalgic world of Spirited Away.
Spirited Away is an imaginative and magical world that child will most likely enjoy. In addition, its nostalgic feel will appeal to some Japanese adults. However, it also features a paper thin plot as well as weak characterization. Spirited Away is a nice watch if you want to get away for 2 hours and turn off your brain but it is ultimately shallow and forgettable. Even now after watching it a few hours ago I’m having a hard time remembering the details.
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi
2. Made in Abyss Movie 3: Fukaki Tamashii no Reimei
3. Mononoke Hime
4. Howl no Ugoku Shiro
5. Mushishi Zoku Shou: Suzu no Shizuku
6. Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! Movie: Kurenai Densetsu
7. Kaze no Tani no Nausica
8. Made in Abyss Movie 2: Hourou Suru Tasogare
9. Luo Xiao Hei Zhan Ji (Movie)
10. Detective Conan Movie 06: The Phantom of Baker Street
11. Bakemono no Ko
12. Stranger: Mukou Hadan
13. Tenkuu no Shiro Laputa
14. Tonari no Totoro
15. Sennen Joyuu
16. Majo no Takkyuubin
17. One Piece Movie 14: Stampede
18. Berserk: Ougon Jidai-hen III – Kourin
19. Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution Kizuna
20. One Piece Film: Z
22. Lupin III: Cagliostro no Shiro
23. One Piece Film: Strong World
24. Made in Abyss Movie 1: Tabidachi no Yoake
25. Detective Conan Movie 05: Countdown to Heaven
26. Dragon Ball Super: Broly
27. Detective Conan Movie 08: Magician of the Silver Sky
28. Detective Conan Movie 10: Requiem of the Detectives
29. Detective Conan Movie 03: The Last Wizard of the Century
30. Detective Conan Movie 04: Captured in Her Eyes
31. Omae Umasou da na
32. Detective Conan Movie 15: Quarter of Silence
33. Sakasama no Patema
34. Doraemon Movie 31: Shin Nobita to Tetsujin Heidan – Habatake Tenshi-tachi
35. Tekkon Kinkreet
36. Kurenai no Buta
37. Trigun: Badlands Rumble
38. One Piece Film: Gold
39. Detective Conan Movie 02: The Fourteenth Target
40. Gake no Ue no Ponyo
41. Berserk: Ougon Jidai-hen II – Doldrey Kouryaku
42. Detective Conan Movie 01: The Timed Skyscraper
43. Lupin the IIIrd: Chikemuri no Ishikawa Goemon
44. Urusei Yatsura 2: Beautiful Dreamer
45. Lupin the IIIrd: Jigen Daisuke no Bohyou
46. Lupin III: The First
47. Detective Conan Movie 07: Crossroad in the Ancient Capital
48. Little Witch Academia
49. Detective Conan Movie 09: Strategy Above the Depths
50. Detective Conan Movie 12: Full Score of Fear