They are by far the best anime! We counts down the best anime to come out all the time, including the likes of Neko no Ongaeshi, Kino no Tabi: The Beautiful World – Nanika wo Suru Tame ni – Life Goes On., Little Witch Academia: Mahoujikake no Parade, and more!
50: Neko no Ongaeshi
English: The Cat Returns
MAL Score: 7.76
High school student Haru Yoshioka is bored with the monotony of life. One day, she saves Prince Lune of the Cat Kingdom from being run over by a truck. As a token of gratitude, the Cat King sends her “presents” and invites her to the Cat Kingdom to become Lune’s wife. Haru’s inability to properly communicate with the cats leads to the misunderstanding that she has accepted the proposal.
As Haru ponders on ways to escape the predicament, a mysterious voice instructs her to search for the Cat Bureau. However, not long after she finally arrives at the bureau, a horde of cats swarms in and forcibly takes her to the Cat Kingdom, along with a member of the Cat Bureau. Concerned for their safety, owner of the Cat Bureau, Baron Humbert von Gikkingen, follows close behind.
The more Haru immerses herself in the activities of the Cat Kingdom, the more cat-like she becomes. To her dismay, she soon learns that, unless she can find her true self, she may become a cat permanently. Haru’s adventures in the world of cats lead her down a path to self-discovery, allowing her to return as a more confident person.
Story: The Cat Returns is a side story to the Studio Ghibli film, "Whisper of the Heart’. In essence, it is a separate story within a story, which makes the concept quite clever. It brings back old characters from the original showing, into a plot that has a similar atmosphere to The Nutcracker or Alice in Wonderland. It is a fantasy, in a which a shy girl is carried off into another land, and in the process learns more about herself. The moral behind the story is a touching one, and it is delivered well. Perhaps the only drawback that someone might find, is that it all ends too happily [or that the story is too predictable].
Art: The art was decent, considering it came from a studio that is well known for its high quality animation. Yet I saw the film in a site where the movie had slightly lower quality then what might be seen on a dvd or television screen. There are some scenes in which the art is commendable. This includes anatomy of the animals, and the city scenes. Some scenes were very well detailed, although the color at times wasn’t as vibrant as it could be. [This could simply be a style presented in the film]. It can’t compare to some of the more vibrant shows of today, but it is still well done.
Sound: The sound was decent, although it could have been better. If there were any songs, they were not strong or memorable. It was straight forward sound that was good enough to deliver the show. The voice actor for the main character did a good job, making Haru [the girl] quite comical at times. Audio was not the strongest area in this film, but it was not bad.
Character: The character’s personalities were probably typical for a story such as this one. Yet there are many aspects that they portray in the film in order to help the story flow. There is also character development within the main character, Haru, although the change was rather sudden and short-lived. It still makes it all fit together nicely in the end. The characters themselves are not as strong as the story or the enjoyment, but they are quite comical.
Enjoyment: In my opinion, this is the strongest point of the film. There will always be a moment in which something ironic, or humorous occurs. They try their best to make the audience laugh. If it isn’t the witty or silly remarks made by the characters, then it is the very actions within the plot itself. I enjoyed the film very much, and haven’t felt so light-hearted in a while.
Overall, The Cat Returns, is a comical and sweet tale. It isn’t something meant to be taken seriously. It is an odd, wacky fantasy with jokes and general mischief at every corner. I feel that it is a must see for any Studio Ghibli fan. Yet even if you are unfamiliar with the other works in Studio Ghibli, I feel that this story will still leave you with a nice (if not wacky) impression.
The story, which involves Haru, an unlucky high school student, whisked away to the Cat Kingdom after saving a feline from being run over by a truck, is serviceable but uninspired and predictable in a Disney-ish sort of way–a trait that Miyazaki and Takahata’s works never shared, and that is a detriment to this film.
More problematic, however, is the "believe in yourself" message. Rather than allowing the viewer to watch the struggles of the protagonist and determine what she has to learn in order to return to her homeland, Haru is given this very message verbally about halfway through the movie. Not only does this undermine the theme, it makes the ultimate resolution less satisfactory than it should be.
The Cat Returns is not a bad film by any means. It has its preciously delightful moments (an adorable scene where we see a young girl feeding a small, filthy kitten fish crackers and a very charming ballroom dance sequence), a healthy share of comedy (mostly in the form of a grouchy fat furball named Muta), and one truly memorable character, a suave, splendidly dressed "aristocat" antique by the name of Baron (his presence carries the movie as a whole). But while unquestionably fine for children and families, the film is ultimately a weaker effort, both narratively and artistically (the artwork, although colorful and imaginative for the most part lacks the polish that we have come to expect from Ghibli), and consequently, is not especially memorable.
Aurally, The Cat Returns cannot be faulted. The musical score from Yuji Nomi (Whisper of the Heart) is pleasantly orchestral and charming, and the ending theme song which accompanies the closing credits is lovely and catching. And of course, Disney does yet another fabulous job of providing a top-notch cast to translate the movie into English. These include Tim Curry, Peter Boyle, and Elliot Gould. Special credit in particular goes to Cary Elwes (Donald Curtis in Porco Rosso), who is perfect as the suave, debonair Baron. On the other side of the spectrum, Anne Hathaway’s Haru, although good, sometimes comes across as too whiney. Granted, this is how she is supposed to be, but it does detract from the likeability of the character.
As mentioned, children will obviously enjoy The Cat Returns, but in contrast to the studio’s more memorable features, it falls disappointingly short. Although better than the worst animated features out there, The Cat Returns, so far, ranks as the weakest of the Studio Ghibli films. Ghibli completists will pick it up just for the sake of "owning the entire collection", but chances are it will not be among their top ten lists.
The story here is very similar to many other Ghibli movies. A character is thrust into a magical land, or sees something out of the ordinary. However unoriginal it may be, it’s well done. It’s well written, and it’s well paced.
The art style is a bit mediocre for a movie. The characters are drawn very simply, and lack shading to make them look more three-dimensional. The background paintings are very beautiful, though.
Soundwise, it is very well done. The music is high quality, and the stereo sound is mastered well. The English dub is done pretty well, no complains there really.
The character is very relatable, especially if you are a girl. My sister and one of her friends were watching this, and fell in love with the movie. I believe the reason for this was the central female protagonist. She is portrayed realistically and believably as a teenage high school girl.
Although a bit short for a Ghibli movie, it’s a concise, memorable and whimsical adventure into a fantasy world that is worth seeing. It is a good movie overall; if you like Miyazaki’s work, give this one a go.
You can watch my video review of this anime HERE.
49: Kino no Tabi: The Beautiful World – Nanika wo Suru Tame ni – Life Goes On.
Japanese: 劇場版 キノの旅 -the Beautiful World- 何かをするために -life goes on.
MAL Score: 7.77
After running away from the grim future that awaited her back in her home country, a young girl takes upon a new name and identity—inspired by the man who sacrificed his life to help her escape. Alongside her newfound companion, a talking motorcycle, the two find themselves a new home in the forest—where lives an elderly woman with an expertise in guns. Under the woman’s care, the girl is trained in marksmanship and motorcycle handling among other various skills needed to survive.
Although the girl is happy with her current life, her guilt regarding her savior’s death continues to build within herself. She still feels responsible for her savior’s death, and considers the consequences of using his name as her own. In doing so, she is denying her own identity and existence by trying to replicate another person’s life, instead of living her own.
Kino no Tabi: The Beautiful World – Nanika wo Suru Tame ni – Life Goes On. follows the journey of a young girl as she begins to come to terms with her new identity.
Story 10: This is the story I wanted to hear since about episode 3 of the show, and it never disappointed. The plotline of "Life Goes On" does a wonderful job of showing how Kino’s writers are able to seamlessly integrate Lain-style philosophy into a story without interfering with its pacing. That being said, it contains a similar level of spoilers as watching any prequel before the main series, I would certainly suggest watching the show first.
Art 9: Just about the same as Kino’s Journey, along with the subtly annoying horizontal lines throughout. I really liked the darker moments of this OVA, the art in those parts were a very welcome supplement to the already established art style. And what can I say? I just love Kino’s character design <3
Sound 9: I really enjoyed the voice-acting in the show and in this OVA it was maybe even better. Still don’t really care for the OP or ED though, but neither are like gratingly bad. The BGM isn’t spectacular or anything but contributes well to the pace and feel.
Character 10: A surprising amount of character development in this OVA, without messing up the series’s, which was awesome to see. Also, many of the side-characters in "Life Goes On" were fairly unique, which was nice coming from a series where one of my few complaints was their reuse of stock characters.
Enjoyment 10: A very stellar OVA, if you liked Kino’s Journey but always wanted to know more about Kino’s past this is perfect for you. Even if that wasn’t really the draw of the series for you, I personally believe some of the series’s best moments are in this OVA so I’d check it out anyway.
Overall 10: If you didn’t like Kino, this probably won’t change your mind. If you liked Kino but didn’t like its ending (as in- what ending?) this OVA could fix your opinion of the show, as it did mine. I find myself wishing this were the canonical last episode, because I fear some people will miss it. Please don’t let yourself be one of those people! If you finished Kino’s Journey promptly go watch this OVA.
Anime: The Kino no Tabi movie was released on February 19th, 2005 in Japan, and was directed by Takashi Watanabe, who also directed Ikki Tousen. It has yet to be licensed or released Stateside.
Story: The movie is a prequel of sorts, focusing on Kino when she was younger and living with Shishou, who was mentioned in passing in the series. We see her learning to protect herself with guns, and learning how to ride Hermes, which makes for some nice laughs. It also focuses on her guilt over a death that she caused, and her first journey to the country of the one she killed, to tell that person’s family what happened.
This is a really nice continuation of one of the episodes in the series, not to mention an expansion on another person mentioned in passing in the series, and a great origin story in general. We get to see how Kino became… well, Kino.
Again, as in the series, there is some blood; nothing too significant, but it’s still there.
Art: No different from what we saw in the series; see my review of Kino no Tabi for my opinions on that.
Music: Again, no different from what we saw in the series, except for the ED. The new ED was sweet, but I like the series’ ED better.
Seiyuu: Once again, no change from what we saw in the series. It was nice, hearing more of Shishou’s seiyuu, because we heard so little of her in the series. She was exactly what I expected her to be: warm, comforting, motherly in general.
Length: I’m not real happy with this, as it clocked in at just under a half-hour. I was expecting something a bit longer than the typical episode length, and there was so much more that they could’ve done. It was nice, but still…
Let’s just hope that the second movie is actually full-length, and not this short.
Overall: An excellently written, if slightly short, origin story, with many similarities to the series.
Overall: 39/50; 78% (C)
As a prequel, the film isn’t bad but it leaves something to be desired. How did Kino and Shishou meet, and why does Shishou make Kino (and everyone else) call her Master? When and why did Kino decide to leave Shishou? If Life Goes On were actually a movie, maybe it would have had the time to answer these and other questions. At just under 30 minutes, it’s more like another episode, but unlike other episodes, it fails to raise any interesting cultural issues. For better or worse, it’s just a collection of events from Kino’s childhood, with little expository or intellectual value.
Given the dearth of Kino’s Journey anime, fans should certainly check Life Goes On out. It’s a good story, and of course, it’s more Kino. Just don’t expect to find any big answers or profound messages. For those who haven’t seen Kino’s Journey and are looking for a good starting place, the “Tower Country” OVA (Episode 00) is a better choice as it’s more representative of the series.
48: Little Witch Academia: Mahoujikake no Parade
English: Little Witch Academia: The Enchanted Parade
Japanese: リトルウィッチアカデミア 魔法仕掛けのパレード
MAL Score: 7.77
You can tell witch training is not going swimmingly for the young sorceresses Akko, Lotte, and Sucy—they face expulsion for screwing up one class too many, and their only way out is if they successfully organize their academy’s annual parade through a nearby town. But when they stumble upon the momentous discovery that the objective of the parade is to humiliate witches and commemorate their past subjugation, Akko decides it is time for a change: It is time to show the world how fantastic modern witches truly are! However, with the other girls struggling to keep up with Akko’s grandiose ambitions, and everything from mischievous boys to slumbering giants getting in their way, maybe pulling it off will require not only all the magical prowess the pupils of Luna Nova Magical Academy can muster, but also a miracle.
Like most sequels to beloved classics, expectations were quite high for Little Witch Academia 2. Considering that it was practically funded out-of-pocket by fans of the original short film via Kickstarter, anime fans really had every right to demand their money’s worth on this one. With the quality of the original and the hype that was created thereafter in mind, my inner cynicism led me to believe that LWA 2 was set up for failure. However, much to my delight, it can be said without hesitation that LWA 2 recaptures the magic of its predecessor and yet again contains more energy and charm in its little finger than the entirety of the modern anime comedy genre has in its whole body.
Synopsis: Akko and her friends are tasked with organizing the annual “witch parade” for their town. As you might have guessed, not everything goes according to their plan.
If ever there was a difficult characteristic to describe, it would be “charm”, and yet it is just that which makes LWA 2 such an entertaining and heartwarming film. It captures that innocent, child-like sense of imagination and wonder that never fails to pry your lips upwards into a smile, and does so with the utmost perfection. Despite being an adult male, this movie made me giggle like a little girl from beginning to end. It’s not just heartwarming; it’s hilarious. The comedy is spot on and it hits every note that it needs to hit. Something about this anime brings back that Disney-esque feeling of seeing your wildest dreams brought to life by the power of animation; like seeing Fantasia for the first time. In an industry that many feel lacks the soul that it once had, LWA 2 has soul in spades. It reminded me why I like anime to begin with.
Another masterful aspect of this film was the fact that its pacing was flawless. Every scene has a purpose, not a single one of them drags on for too long, and no scene is a boring one. The fast, energetic pace of LWA carries on into its sequel, and it fits the spirit of the show to a T. Despite being less than an hour long, this movie goes through a full, satisfying story arc, several character dynamics, and effectively expands upon its cast of colorful characters. There’s something beautiful about the simplicity of a well-executed children’s tale; the premise isn’t anything remarkably original, but it doesn’t have to be because the execution is all that matters. The characters don’t have remarkable amounts of depth, but they don’t need to; all that matters is that they have personality, they are entertaining, and they are likable. Disregarding a recap scene or two, which you could potentially argue were unnecessary, I wouldn’t change a thing about the story direction.
One of the most important aspects of an anime in this style is the animation. When you write a quirky, upbeat script, it is absolutely imperative that your animation is equally quirky and upbeat, otherwise the show is doomed to fail. Needless to say, Studio Trigger totally nailed it, just as they did in the original. Comedic timing is something so nuanced that it comes down to fractions of seconds, and while many lighthearted anime (even the good ones) can sometimes find themselves a bit off on their timing or not executing jokes as well as they could have, LWA 2 has no such issue. It is no exaggeration to say this movie makes the most of each and every scene. The visuals are like eye candy, everything is polished and crisp, the character designs continue to be brilliant, and every movement is about as fluent as you’ll ever see. Simply put, it’s animation done right.
To sum it all up, LWA 2 is a brilliantly executed anime movie that appeals to everyone. All ages, all genders, and all cultures won’t be able to resist cracking a smile at a movie that is simply so much fun. It’s a fast-paced, heartwarming adventure that will bring out your inner child, and I highly recommend that everyone take the time to watch it. If you ever need a pick-me-up, I can’t think of another anime that will cheer you up more than this one.
While I was worried in the opening portion of the film that we were substituting too much magic for drama, a satisfying and action-packed conclusion saw the series back at its strongest. There are areas where the original animation excelled better but there’s plenty here that also adds a lot in areas of world building and action. This latest addition to the LWA series remains a family-friendly, energetic experience that’s going to leave you beaming as the credits roll by.
Akko, Sucy and Lotte plus a trio of new characters find themselves thrust into control of the upcoming town festival. While Akko naturally wants to showcase the best of what witches have to offer, her ideas bring with it a few problems and create tension with her fellow students. That’s not all that’s at play, however. Before they know it the group are forced to band together and use everything at their disposal to overcome their biggest hurdle yet.
Having roughly 40 minutes to put together a cohesive, interesting narrative is a big challenge but Trigger managed to overcome this previously in half the time so they’ve had their practice. They also get the bonus this time of being able to cut down on a lot of exposition. They use this time well to expand the scope of the story. Because of that though there’s a little less intensity and magic. It works both ways.
The overall tone of the story is the biggest change up when compared to the previous offering, with a bit of character conflict thrown into the mix this time around. There was a real sense of adventure and exploration in the first film. Watching the characters make their way around the school grounds was exciting, the lessons were amusing and story in general was a lot more fluid. With some extra time up their sleeves Trigger opt to at least give us a lot of new characters and new settings. There’s some small thematic jumps, so it’s great to see the studio didn’t simply opt to do the exact same thing twice. Some elements of the story have certainly been copied over, but an expanded cast and setting help make it feel fresh.
Adding new locations to the world our story takes place in has its ups and downs. I felt that bringing the witches out of their school environment and into town took some of the ‘mystique’ and the ‘magic’ away from them. At the same time it’s nice to see the wider community around them and what the witches place in that universe is. When you look at it, there’s only so much Trigger could do by limiting everything to the school. While it’s wonderful to imagine all of their adventures happening in their own little bubble, it adds a new dynamic between the magical and human societies. Some may like that, others may not.
Some themes have channelled over from the first film, but the biggest change this time is the focus on friendship. In the original show it was more on having confidence in your own ability. This time Akko faces a lot more conflict and troubles with those around her, friends included. People may be a little bit put off by this slightly more serious approach but it thankfully has its purpose. Trigger use their extra minutes to create character complications that stretch over a long run of the film. The strength of friendship is an easy theme to stuff up and instead come across as cheesy. They mostly avoided that here. Everything revolving around this theme is nothing original but that hasn’t stopped it being executed fairly. Characters are shown to have retained important lessons, reflected on what they’ve been through and apply all that knowledge to find a solution – much like the first film. It’s a formula that works, even though it brings nothing new to the table. It’s easy to watch and it manages to be entertaining while doing so.
When the action kicks into another gear as the film nears its conclusion, the ride feels worthwhile. One particular moment is immensely satisfying, and you’ll know it when you see it. It’s a perfect blend of Trigger’s animation capabilities and ability to put on some memorable set pieces.
Characters + Art
Akko returns as our loveable, often inept, lead character. While Akko remains a primary source of comic relief for the show she’s a lot more proactive this time around. It’s refreshing to see that the original LWA tale has had an effect on her in that way. The original series gave her a huge shot of belief in her own capabilities as a witch and now this is a look at how she applies her new knowledge. I think some may be a bit turned off by this new, confident side of her. It’s certainly quite the leap from what we’ve seen previously. Her outgoing personality and habit of acting before thinking gets her into trouble once again. Nothing new changes there at least – and you wouldn’t have it any other way.
Both Sucy and Lotte feel a little underutilised but, honestly, that’s not a big deal. That too serves a purpose of its own. When they are on screen not a second is wasted and their role to play in the story still feels meaningful. It can serve as reminder that even not being around can make the times you are more important. As for our new trio they’re not that memorable, more there just to help drive the story along than contribute anything of value. They get their odd scene of comic relief or chance to show-off but that’s about it. I think it’s also disappointing that Diana, someone who played a big role in the complication of the first film, gets cast to the back this time around. Strange that Trigger didn’t opt to make more use of a character with a more defined personality and presence than almost anyone else in the show. It’s a show that very much rides on one character, Akko, which means a lot of your enjoyment will come out of how much you can take to her character and how’s she’s changed from the first outing.
I’m personally a big fan of Trigger’s character designs. The exaggerated expressions and reactions are always worth a laugh. The studio keep things simple when it comes to effects and shading in the animation, putting most of the work into some nice backgrounds. As always in Trigger’s works there’s the odd lazy bit of animation scattered about. Some background characters look crudely drawn and it’s often very easy to pick out where the costs have been saved. Some frames look very hurriedly put together, but thankfully most pieces of action looks a treat. As a whole, however, the first LWA struck me as more visually impressive.
Even when given additional time thanks to the efforts of their backers, Trigger was going to find it hard to live up to a wonderful debut in this franchise. But they’ve come close. It’s a show dying for more exploration of its characters and an expansion of its magical elements. I like the friendship building side of things, don’t get me wrong, but there’s that sense of adventure and mystery lacking that was present in the original Little Witch Academia.
Score: 6/10 (Fair)
Little Witch Academia was a surprise upstart in the Young Animator’s Expo in 2012, and along with fellow member Death Billiards, these two productions started making waves. The fan outpouring was great, and demands fell on the then-brand new studio Trigger to make more! A kickstarter was raised, and incredibly, the $150,000 goal was smashed in 30 days with the help of nearly 8000 backers and a grand total of $625,318!! (This is all pre-Kill La Kill, guys and gals.)
Let’s get into some other nice numbers- the score on this anime.
Artwork and Animation: 10
The original was entirely hand drawn, and with an enormous budget, it turned out to be a spectacular showing of fluidity and vibrant, flashing magical colors. LWA 2 is no different; it’s absolutely stunning to watch flow across the screen. I would go so far as to say that this is on a Disney level of traditional animation both techincally and in fluidity. The magic and characters practically animate themselves right off the screen, crisply, sharply, and beautifully.
You Yoshinari doesn’t get enough recognition for his work at Trigger in my opinion. As a Key Animator and character designer for FLCL, Gurren Lagann, KLK, Dead Leaves, PSG, and others, this guy has a crazy credit list, and his work is always quality. As the director and creator for Little Witch Academia- his eye for animation really comes to life.
Sound and Voice Acting: 8
Same players, new game. Sounds great, and good performances by the VA.
Characters and Story: 9, 8
After getting in trouble in potions class by Professor Snape, the hyperactive Akko, the narcoleptic Sucy, and the brainy Lotte are forced to plan and create a parade float for the yearly festival in town. Traditionally, the parade
is about making fun of witches and reenacting middle ages witch hunts, but in a much less deadly way; but our trio team up to change the public’s opinion of witches by making it into a fun and exciting show and showcasing how cool and exciting witches can be!
Along the way, Akko gets cross ways with her friends, and ends up having to work with three new characters, the “problem children”. This little gang is constituted of Amanda O’Neill, the red headed, hot tempered girl, Constanze Braunschbank Albrechsberger, the silent German robotics engineer, and Jasminka Antonenko- the constantly grazing Russian girl.
The story is paced excellently, with not a magical drop of filler to be found. An hour of screentime practically flew by on a broom, from the opening with a very Harry Potter feel, to the magical dreams-come-true Disney ending.
It’s a very heartwarming and enchanting watch- honestly, I know I keep repeating myself, but it just feels very Disney.
Enjoyment and Overall: 9
The extra length, the new characters, and the sharp, beautiful animation really sell Little Witch Academia. It’s a fun romp through a gorgeous world.
Little Witch Academia 2 didn’t have to be astoundingly original and bold to be charming and fun. The humor hits the right marks, the visuals are awesome, and it is simply easy to enjoy. The original was a very cute work that was obviously inspired by children’s tales and movies from ages past, and this works well within that framework- another adventure, another day in the life of a little witch.
47: Shingeki no Kyojin Season 2 Movie: Kakusei no Houkou
Japanese: 劇場版 進撃の巨人 Season2 覚醒の咆哮
MAL Score: 7.78
Eren Yeager and others of the 104th Training Corps have just begun to become full members of the Survey Corps. As they ready themselves to face the Titans once again, their preparations are interrupted by the invasion of Wall Rose—but all is not as it seems as more mysteries are unraveled. As the Survey Corps races to save the wall, they uncover more about the invading Titans and the dark secrets of their own members.
Well? What do you want me to say? It’s goddamn Attack on motherfucking Titan, yes it’s essentially a recap of the 2nd Season but it fucking delivers.
Normally my tolerance for recap movies is 0, however Roar of the Awakening is a recap movie done right. It streamlines the original product and makes it a worthwhile experience in it’s own right. It removes most of the original runs filler and gives you pretty much what you read on the pages of the manga, even throwing in some brand new animation to plug gaps and even give us a glimpse at the then unseen Season 3 Part 1.
WIT Studio once again out do themselves in terms of animation (they are going to be sorely missed for The Final Season) and combining this with the efforts of series director Tetsurō Araki you can see why this series made such an impact when it did. Bringing over his familiar style from Highschool of the Dead and Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress means the entire series looks breathtaking. Pulling off some insane camera movements leaving your perpetual jaw firmly on the floor. All capped off by new brand new compositions by series composer, Hiroyuki Sawano. Seriously, I think the version of the song Barricades is better than the one used in the series itself.
I’m extremely grateful for Anime Limited licensing this movie for a U.K. Blu-ray release, yes it even included some beautiful drinks coasters, but I’d wish they’d hurry up and licence the rest.
Until then… SHINZOU WO SASAGEYO!
“You wrapped this scarf around me. Thank you.”
“I’ll wrap it around you again… as many times as you want. Now and forever. That’s a promise!”
46: Shingeki no Kyojin Movie 2: Jiyuu no Tsubasa
English: Attack on Titan: Wings of Freedom
MAL Score: 7.79
Recap of episodes 14-25.
Now there’s even less focus on Eren’s friends (minus Mikasa and Armin) in order to focus on the more important story elements present in the second half of season one. It was good, but the story beats you’d usually find in a movie are practically nonexistent here; one scene lasts around 45 minutes, so I’d say that killed the pacing a bit.
It’s still a good story, but it’s definitely told better in the show. If you have any way to access the show, you should take that and leave this be.
45: InuYasha Movie 3: Tenka Hadou no Ken
English: InuYasha the Movie 3: Swords of an Honorable Ruler
Japanese: 映画 犬夜叉 天下覇道の剣
MAL Score: 7.80
Izayoi and Inu no Taishou, Inuyasha’s parents, are having problems with a human named Setsuna no Takemaru. Sou’unga a magical sword that has been sealed away for 700 years is found. Now everyone is after the sword and its powers but it seems the sword has something else in mind.
First of all, the artwork looks really pretty, and the plot of the story is very enjoyable. This movie basically gives you a little flashback into Inuyasha’s past, and who his parents were. Like any Inuyasha movie, there’s plenty of action to see.
In my opinion, the movie could have went a little bit deeper into the past, but overall it’s great!
44: Break Blade 3: Kyoujin no Ato
English: Broken Blade 3
Japanese: ブレイク ブレイド 第三章 凶刃ノ痕
MAL Score: 7.80
Third Break Blade movie.
This is a part of Break Blade 3: Kyoujin no Ato.
Story: The story continues as to where the second left off. Throughout the serieswe get to see Rygart changing, taking people´s lives becomes easier. That is only one effect of war. Misery is also one, friends have to fight each other people get killed and their families are left behind. Prisoners are taken.
In break blade 3, the story is mainly about the cause of war and the effects of it
Art: The art is outstanding! It is very detailed and the colors are nice and vivid. On top of that, the animation is just awesome, it is very smooth and just neat to watch.
Sound: Wow, wow! Almost the only thing you can say, if you start watching it and hear the sound you will be very pleased. Compared to your average anime it is easily 10 times better. The sound really feels realistic.
You also have the Opening, it’s a calm opening but if you use that song and put it under a video with disasters of war it would be a very sad video.
The opening is a perfect fit.
Art: Average art, not too good. Although some characters looked better then normal 😉
Sound: Pretty good choice of sound in areas, esp. areas that are pictured to be stressful or the like, quite interesting
Character: Pretty good character development, stories, etc.
Enjoyment was not so much.
Overall it was average.
Main Point for me was that it was kind of embarassing that Ryner couldn’t kill someone and they died by accident. I know in some cultures it is worse to kill someone by accident then to murder them. And for me I really thought “seriously? please man up a little bit, you’re an embarrassment to the rest of us”.
The development with how he had nothing and finally could fit in was an interesting twist. Although they really did not elaborate too much on the happenings in school or Assam through the 2 movies so far.
Actually, they didn’t even talk about the geography between too much besides to tell you the 4 main countries. What is the world exactly, what planet are they on. etc..?
Also I like how they used “Assam” which geographically makes no sense, but its funny I guess?
Some of the things in the 2 movies did not make sense, such as 5 golems on their own, or why they seemed to have such an overwhelming advantage ( 15 v 3) and the 3 won. That made no sense although I guess they were trying to add suspense?
Overall this really was not a great one to watch i believe and I think there were many other things I know that deserved a movie rather than this, or this is just a particularly bad adaptation of its source.
BB3 works well with incorporating a lot of flashbacks in order to support the character development. The story proceeds well with Rygart under the army to defend the kingdom of Hodr. It’s quite understandable how Rygart became so powerful as he pilots his Under Golem. However, I’m not that impressed with the development of Cleo’s character. It seems out of context and her fight scene in the badlands isn’t believable. Well, she would get empowered by fury but I wouldn’t expect for her to get THAT much power in her fighting. I see that as somewhat inconsistent in her character.
BB3 gives us a teaser to new characters and is not that engaging as the first two titles. However, the story and character development are still implemented well.
43: 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.
42: Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de Aru: Washio Sumi no Shou 2 – Tamashii
Japanese: 結城友奈は勇者である -鷲尾須美の章- 第２章「たましい」
MAL Score: 7.82
The second movie in the Washio Sumi no Shou trilogy.
One more thing, pay attention to the characters, there are characterizations there as always.
To give a short summary of this movie, the triad get a well deserved rest. After taking out 4 vertexes and lots of intensive training, they go on a vacation for a bit. This vacation from being heroes is very comparable to the first half of YuYuYu episodes, characterization through their interaction.
Story 7: The story in this movie is, as mentioned above, about the characters. It does not advance the plot much; but it does some, and where it does, it does it well.
Art 9: The art and animation is mostly what you expect at this point from this series, it’s really good. There was one place that they used 3D GC for full character animation, and I understand why they did it. But it wasn’t done too well, I’m not really that against 3D animation as long as it looks nice, but this was pretty choppy. Keep in mind they have done character animation in 3D before, just from far away, so my eyes may be deceiving me. Either way I know they are capable of more, hence I didn’t give a 10.
Still, the backgrounds were very pretty, even being out of the dreamlike world of Jukai for most the movie. It honestly impressed me how well they did the sunset lit sky (I live in a place with pretty good sunsets). They looked rather natural, but still beautiful, a hard balance to pull off.
Sound 9: This is better than the first movie in my eyes. The music was new from what I could tell during the most of the movie. It was good and went along with the scene very well. The opening and ending were great. It just didn’t have any music that stuck with me too much.
There’s also an amazing sound effect that shows up twice if I’m not mistaken, it has to be the best character being surprised sound I’ve ever heard.
Character 9: The characters remind us that, even if they were picked and prepared for this duty, they are still children. They like to play around like children, they get scolded like children, and they get excited like children. On top of that we got more depth into the characters. Lastly we get to see the characters grow closer together, which is always a nice thing.
Enjoyment 9: As a fan of the cute girls doing cute things genre It’s natural that I would enjoy just that. This was a really fun one, it had me smiling from cheek to cheek, laughing a lot too. The scene in Jukai was really good too. I just had a really good time watching this, it was fun, funny, and a bit heart racing during the action. It was just a great time overall!
Overall 9: See directly above.
Following the friendship cemented at the end of the first movie, the second movie delves deeper into those bonds. Amusingly, it uses an omake-styled skit setting for the opening half’s slice-of-life, giving us a fast-paced omnibus of character development, world-building and most importantly, juxtaposition, as the girls have a cutesy Vertex-free Summer to figure out who they are.
The universe of Yuki Yuna means that, at any point, the characters can be expected to be thrust into battle at the drop of a hat, indicated by the world’s motion halting except for the main characters. This small ingredient makes the entire series’ slice-of-life sequences incredibly tense, forcing you to watch the backgrounds for pauses. Watching the skits sections of this movie is incredibly stomach lurching, as you know at any point their world can be flipped upside down.
The movie isn’t exactly subtle about what’s to come, with very in-face foreshadowing. In fact, almost every skit can be considered as foreshadowing, either for later in the movie or the next one. But, despite all that preparation, it’s hard to be ready for the finale.
The original series always put the girls on the backfoot, and while Washio Sumi’s chapter is no different, it’s more like they are on their last toe before they even start. The odds are even more stacked than ever before, and the brutality is even greater. It gets real dark, real quick.
Barring one or two of the skits flopping in the first half, Spirit is the finest moment of the Yuki Yuna franchise thus far, usurping the first movie with stronger characterisation and capturing the unique sorrow of Sailor Moon meets Hurt Locker only this universe can bring. Can the third movie do better still?
Coming chronologically after the first Washio Sumi no Shou movie, this movie is the second in a triad of three movies. As opposed to the first movie which had quite a bit of action scenes, the main focus of this movie is actually detailed characterization so you can expect a minimal amount of action scenes. Initially, the first few events from this movie led me to believe that this movie would, in essence, amount to a mediocre filler, but I was wrong. This second movie has an abundance of great characterization that is reminiscent of the gloriously characterized anime of the days of old.
The main characters are revealed in such a way that I couldn’t help but come to love all of them for each of their individual personalities. It’s not that the characters are special in any way, but I actually feel that they have about as much character depth as you can fit into a 6th grader. This is exemplified in the interactions of the characters and the simple humor in this movie. Perhaps during their interactions, one may even notice their subtle changes since meeting one another. However, the characterization would not have been as great if it wasn’t for a story of comparable quality
The story was pretty interesting overall. This time, the focus veers away from the magical girl theme and we begin to learn more about the characters themselves through the story. Throughout the movie, we learn of their hopes and dreams for the future, we watch their lively responses in ordinary situations, we see how silly they actually are in ordinary life, how they joke around and tease each other, are protective one another, and much more. I found it to be a great slice of life movie, to the point where the story was actually good enough for me to get slightly emotional in this movie, which seldom happens for me in anime. The good story was only further enhanced by the great artwork of Studio Gokumi.
Studio Gokumi did a really great job on the artwork in this second movie. It starts off strongly with an action practice scene with some very fluid animation, before then presenting it with a bright appeal that was well-suited to the slice of life vibe of this movie. They created a very light hearted mood by using a blend of bright colors that is supported by artistic and dynamic effects, lighting, shading, and camera angles. The background art is nothing too special, but it also has a certain simplistic charm to it. Overall, the artwork was done quite well, but there was certainly room for improvement (especially that one 3DCG scene that had me shaking my head at how noticeable the 3DCG was). Luckily, with the aid of the fantastic musical compositions of the composers of the nier automata soundtrack, the movie certainly did not have to compensate for mediocre sound.
Like the first movie, the second movie’s soundtrack was also composed by Keiichi Okabe and Keigo Hoashi. These two are most recently well-known for their work on the Nier Automata game’s soundtrack. Overall, the music was great, using much of the same music from the first movie. Also, the voice actresses did a great job on the voice acting in this movie. They held were just as good as the other categories and perfectly supported the other categories. The sound effects guys also did a great job by themselves and had some really great effects to support the comedic scenes.
I truly enjoyed this movie, so much so that I wanted to give it a nine overall, but it’s not that great. The series just gets dark from here on out. The story was so good that I was actually sitting in my chair vocalizing my strong discontent at certain parts! Almost got emotional… But it’s up to you to watch this movie in order to see why~
You should take away that the characters were the strongest point of this movie, which made me feel that the category deserved a 9/10. The characters were supported by a very good story that allowed for some in depth characterization, but the itself story wasn’t particularly special or thought provoking in this movie 7.5/10. The artwork was definitely some of Studio Gokumi’s and is among the art of some of the better series in the anime genre, making me believe that this category deserves an 8/10. The music was also great, as one would expect from the Nier Automata guys 9/10. Also, that I truly enjoyed this movie and am enjoying this series 8/10! I hope this review helps you decide whether or not to watch this movie~
41: Break Blade 5: Shisen no Hate
English: Broken Blade 5
Japanese: ブレイク ブレイド 死線ノ涯
MAL Score: 7.83
Fifth Break Blade Movie.
Break Blade 5 continued where the last movie ended, with the battle between the forces of Krisna led by General Baldr and the forces of Athens led by General Borcuse ended in a draw. This time, with the arrival of Athen’s main force, General Borcuse turns his attention towards Krisna’s capital, the Binonten, taking a little detour to get there. As for Krisna’s side, the news that General Borcuse made a detour couldn’t be any worse for Rygart, the pilot of the ancient golem, distracted and nervous, he disobeyed his orders to get back to the capital city and made his move to counter General Borcuse’s advance. What the significance of that detour of General Borcuse’s forces to Rygart and Krisna’s counter for that as well as Binonten’s preparation for the upcoming attack is the main focus of the movie.
Animation is the strongest selling point of the movie. The level of detail of the mostly desert setting of the movie is as superb as ever. The characters are very nicely drawn with no noticeable derangement even in distant camera shots; their movements are very fluid and very lively. The mecha design couldn’t get any more better than what is shown on this movie or the entire series in general, it is very detailed, giving the impression that the golems are battle-weary and worn out. The fighting probably holds the best moments of this movie as it continuous to be very detailed and with a lot of focus on little details such as shrapnel, debris, damages, and scratches giving the impression of a chaotic and war-like environment.
The movie retains its previous Opening theme “Fate” by Kokia and Ending music theme “Serious-Age” by Faylan, which feels just about right and appropriate for a mecha movie embedded with maturer story themes. The movie is also covered by several soundtracks that are not really noticeable but feels just about right in adding extra details for the movie.
There is not much focus on the characters on this movie, however the movie was kind enough to give some sort of fanservice of Sigyn and Cleo on their sleep dress with Sigyn reminiscing her past with Rygart, Zess, and Hodr as the main topic and Cleo giggling every time Sigyn talks about Zess, a very nice scene. The characters that received a lot of attention on this movie are Narvi with her determination to save Rygart despite their grave situation which in the end ultimately endangered her unit, and most specially Girge, his interaction with Rygart is really something with Girge questioning and challenging Rygart’s true resolved to fight during the final scenes of the movie. Voice acting is superb in general, worth noting is the voice of Hoshi Souichirou as Rygart, I really like his voice (because of his performance as Yamato Kira and other similar roles) and applaud the producers in selecting him for the main role, and Saito Chiwa as Sigyn as well, I think her voice is really elegant and befitting of any heroine or main roles.
Break Blade 5: Shisen no Hate retains all the elements that made all its previous installments great, it has a very good story, nice characters, superb animation, and interesting battle scenes. The production values are very high in general. Never a dull moment on this movie, it is enjoyable and exciting from start to finish. My final thoughts for the movie are very positive and leave me wanting to watch the final episode immediately as possible. As a final note, I would recommend Break Blade for viewers seeking a mecha series in a movie format that contains sci-fi, and fantasy elements and doesn’t mind the long breaks between each episode.
40: Aria the Crepuscolo
Japanese: ARIA The CREPUSCOLO
MAL Score: 7.84
The season is fall and the city of Neo-Venezia is covered in fallen leaves. Something is bothering Anya, who works at Orange Planet. Her senior colleagues Alice and Athena haven’t seen each other due to their busy schedules, which is making Athena feel sad. But for some reason, Alice seems to be avoiding her altogether. With her friends Ai and Azusa’s help, Anya tries to find a definitive way for Alice and Athena to get together. But during this time, Anya learns of a situation that only she can see because of where she stands.
The problems with drama in slice of life overall is its unnecessary and unnatural moments. As soon as they solved a misunderstanding, another one will occur or some unpleasant problems will immediately take place. Aria doesn’t need that, it precisely understands that mundane life itself has too many worries already, it doesn’t need more manmade tension or fake drama to beg for the viewer’s sympathy. It carefully treats its characters like real and tender human beings. And along the blur line of fantasy and reality, Aria sends its heart-warming messages and encourage people to live on happily.
This short movie is just as wonderful, they centered around the mermaid pair of Athena and Alice, they seems to trouble over something lately. And with the help of their dear juniors, under the magical night of the festa del Redentore, their feelings will get to each other.
The ost of Aria is top-notch, along with the new and improved animation, everyone will enjoy this lovely movie.
If you’re a fan of slice of life or simply you have an hour to spare, Aria the Crepuscolo will be perfect. They will have another movie next year I believe. Can’t wait.
It’s more Aria, which we would’ve never imagined happening after Aria the Origination in 2008. Origination wrapped up the journey of the main cast and their senior undines very nicely, and to this day, it is still considered one of the finest iyashikei (healing slice-of-life) shows ever produced. 3 years after Origination, the voice actress for Athena Glory, Tomoko Kawakami, passed away. Avvenire was released in 2015 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Aria S1’s original airing. As a sign of ultimate respect, they didn’t recast Athena. Instead she only appeared as a cameo, and a stock audio recording of one of her past singing performances was used.
Fast forward six years later, and the second part, Crepuscolo, is finally out. What you’ll immediately notice is this one isn’t animated by the original studio that did Aria TV and Aria the Avvenire. Instead, it’s animated by JC Staff. This decision was probably because they did Amanchu, which was by the same author as Aria, and also directed by Junichi Satou. The background art, which has always been one of Aria’s strengths, was stunning as usual. But JC Staff revamped the character designs, and despite everyone looking more detailed, this is one of the few times where the detail update makes the aesthetic worse. It’s jarring and off-putting, as everyone now looks too sharp and “Amanchu’d”, as the style suggests they jumped out of that show. The original designs were softer and simpler, with more rounded outlines, which invited a sense of relaxation and comfort.
The main issue I had with Avvenire was that the three new singles weren’t given enough time to make the movie theirs and launch a new generation of undines. Crepuscolo doesn’t do this either, as the movie is squarely focused on Athena and Alice. It is clear now that the new singles will play second fiddle to the Aria TV cast for the whole movie trilogy, which is a shame. But what’s worse is that they did the unthinkable: they recast Athena, and then made her one of the main characters.
Yes, it’s more Aria, and fans will take anything they can get. But I felt that they disrespected Tomoko Kawakami’s legacy by recasting Athena. Her story, along with the other senior “Water Fairy” undines Alicia and Akira, had concluded nicely. They didn’t need to be in this movie. Two of them have moved on from being an undine. The movie trilogy should’ve focused on the new singles and their mentors. But the author was content on just having this be a supplement to Aria the Origination episode 9. Certain scenes from that episode are re-animated here, so at times this felt like a rehash rather than something new like Avvenire. As a result, this one didn’t have the tranquil magic of Aria that I so fondly remembered.
The synopsis for Benedizone makes it appear to have a more substantial story, so hopefully Crepuscolo was just a rare miss and that JC Staff is able to conclude the movie trilogy in a satisfying manner.
I suppose since I’ve been waiting to watch this for over a year now, it’s only right that I give this movie its first review. In Aria the Crepuscolo, the world of Neo-Venezia remains as magical as ever. Although it has fresh new visuals provided by the studio JC Staff, not an milligram of its old charm has been lost in the update. For all of those who have stuck with Aria throughout all the seasons and OVAs, this latest installment will prove to be anything but a disappointment.
The story of Aria the Crepuscolo focuses heavily around Athena and Alice of Orange Planet. Unlike the original series (and more like Avvenire with Akari/Alicia) this film centers on two of the characters and wrapping up their story. This may be mildly disappointing if you were hoping for a film that gives the whole cast a balanced amount of screentime, but I feel that the Akari and Aika appearances were natural and enjoyable. To keep it spoiler free, if you liked the dynamic between Athena and Alice in the series, you’ll likely love this movie.
Originally, I was skeptical about the overhaul on character designs and the fact that JC Staff had taken over production of the final two Aria movies. While I didn’t think the character designs looked bad in the promotional material, I was concerned that the characters would lose some of their identity and past expressions. This uneasiness was quickly washed away once I watched the new movie, as the new designs and animation provided some of the most beautiful moments of the whole Aria series. JC Staff really delivered on all the impactful scenes, and I couldn’t be more impressed with the consistent, stunning visuals.
As someone who really values good sound, Aria has always been able to achieve a very immersive effect with its audio. This continues over with Aria the Crepuscolo. A significant amount of the OST consists of songs previously used in Aria. This “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” approach to the OST is greatly appreciated, because it gave me yet another chance to enjoy so many of my favorites from earlier in the series. The VA work remained amazing as well, with almost all of the original cast returning. The seiyuu who stepped into the role of Athena with Avvenire really had a chance to shine in this movie, and her Athena proved to be just as enjoyable as the original.
Overall my love and enjoyment for this movie was the same as my love for some of the best moments from the Aria series. Although I can’t guarantee it, if you adored Aria like I did and craved an excellent movie that touches your heart, look no further than Aria the Crepuscolo.
Now… UNTO ARIA THE BENEDIZIONE DECEMBER 2021 AND THE FINAL INSTALLMENT OF THE BLUE CURTAIN CALL TRILOGY!
39: Break Blade 4: Sanka no Chi
English: Broken Blade 4
Japanese: ブレイク ブレイド 第四章 惨禍ノ地
MAL Score: 7.85
Fourth Break Blade Movie.
Break Blade 4 isn’t a stand-alone movie as it simple continued where the last movie finished, and this movie being in the middle part didn’t ended with any conclusions either, instead this movie is a setup for what comes next as the story is nearing its end. In this episode the viewers are treated with the introduction of the much feared General Borcuse of the nation of Athens and his soldiers followed by a very interesting battle against the forces of Krisna that ended in a draw, with the way everything balances out between the opposing forces, it is clear that the winners aren’t decided yet. Viewers are expected to have watched all its previous movies to makes sense of this one.
Animation is the strongest selling point of the movie. The environment is very detailed, probably one of the best detailed environment I have seen so far. The characters are also drawn very consistently and beautifully – especially the female characters. The well detailed facial expressions of the characters really shows off their emotions and feelings expressed vibrantly that the viewers can relate on. Movements are very fluid and life-like. As for the golems, while I admit that their mecha designs could have been prettier, I eventually got used to it and eventually got a liking of it seeing how it’s very mecha-like on how it looks and feels very clunky, and probably looks more mecha-like compare to other mecha shows of its type. Lastly the battle scenes, the battles are well choreograph and the animation stunning and pretty much eye-candy, detailed and well executed, I’m telling this because compare to previous episodes where the battles pretty much involved only a few golems from each side. In this episode, the scale becomes bigger in terms of sheer size, as the golems involved in the battle have gone into the hundreds and the area on which the battle occurred have also turned larger.
The music feels good enough and appropriate for the movie. The OP with its accompanying animation captures the image of the movie fairly well, it feels sad but appropriate. The ED meanwhile feels upbeat and lively which is pretty standard for a mecha show. The movie is also well covered by its different background music, while not really noticeable, I felt that the music played in any given scene is just about right and good to listen.
The movie has a fairly good cast of old characters as well as new ones. So far I like the development of the main character Rygart, initially I don’t like his character believing he will turn into a character-type with a very high sense of justice and righteousness that rubs me the wrong way, the kind of character that talks too much, spouts too much justice and righteousness and goes too far in proving their point e.g. Touma (from Index) and Naruto (from Naruto), it turned out Rygart’s development goes into a more interesting path of carnage and willingness to take responsibility and fight with a clear set of goal in his mind. Another is Sigyn, it’s good that the movie gives some bits of her history this time, I particularly like how her past romantic feelings for Rygart will play out as the story nears its end. Then there is this new character Girge, while not is much is revealed about him yet, it feels like he has more role to play. Other characters also have their own moments as the movie goes along, each character feels unique and given enough screentime. Voice acting is also excellent, with the actors doing a fairly good job in portraying their respective characters.
Break Blade is a movie series which I initially started watching just for the sake of variety with no real expectations, it turns out to be more than what I bargain for, never a dull moment here, it has a very good story, great characters, lots of eye candies with its beautifully rendered and very fluid animation, and battles scenes that are fairly top notch. Recommended for viewers seeking a mecha show that contains a mix of both sci-fi and fantasy genre and doesn’t mind the long breaks between each episode.
The land of disaster.
It is the 4th installment of the Break Blade series.
The story continues and Rygart is still in the process of becoming a “cold-blooded killer”, it is not that he is changing but he wants to change. This said, the war is progressing and more and more battles occur, some new characters introduced, but for the rest. it continues the way it was heading.
As for the art, as you already might know since your on the 4th movie of Break Blade, is top-notch, very detailed and smooth making those battle scenes look better then your average anime.
“Fate” by Kokia, this OP fits perfectly and bears the emotions of Break Blade. But i’d rather aim towards the seiyuu and effects’. The seiyuu do their work pretty damn good, but some just felt off sometimes, thus destroying a little of the realistic feel it would give off and making it harder for the viewer to get into the movie. But opposite to that you have the effects, when the characters are talking it is like an average anime, but when the fights start it takes a drastic turn and the sound explodes. Don’t get me wrong, not in a bad way but in a good one. Every sound effect fits and is not annoying to the ears, added to that we have the extra loudness of these sound effects making the fights just that bit better.
The character department stays almost the same, ofcourse we have Rygart wanting to change with some succes. But the accent in this episode is on Sigyn, she is the one that we find out the most about.
The enjoyment level as always is high, it is just a better anime then the standard for me.
Overall i give it a 9.
The forth episode of Break Blade is really good and Break Blade officially become my favourite show from now on.
There’s not much to say. It simply continue the 3rd episode and stick to the manga although it has some changes. The war started, Rygart, accompanied by some new and old character, rolled out!
Still outstanding like other episodes. Very detailed and well-drawn characters and robots. The characters are unique and cool (a new cool boy is coming, prepare yourself!). Sigyl is damn hot in this episode!
The fighting scenes in this episode is even better than the previous episodes! Rygart’s Delphine is truly a monster on the battlefield. The movements are smooth and powerful.
What can I say here? It’s just… awesome. The opening is still as touching as ever. BGM is good and there is an insert song in this episode. It fits well.
The characters are BADASS. As all of you who watch the 3rd episode know, General Borcuse and Girghe will appear in this episode. They are just so cool, cold-blooded and powerful with awesome Golem controlling skill. Rygart is still very funny and enjoyable, Sigyl is cute. There are romance hints, I love those scene m/
So far, this is the most enjoyable Break Blade for me. Good story, nice art and animation, touching songs, cool characters, that’s all about a good show.
38: Vampire Hunter D (2000)
English: Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust
MAL Score: 7.89
The story revolves around D, the infamous “dhampir” (born of a vampire father and a human mother) outcast and renowned vampire hunter. His prowess at hunting the creatures of the night allowing his acceptance among humans, he is called upon to locate Charlotte Elbourne, the lovely daughter of an affluent family who has been mysteriously kidnapped.
When the sun sets, the hunt goes on! Charlotte’s father offers a rich bounty, be she dead or alive, a task D willingly accepts, even with notorious Markus brothers and their gang of bounty hunters seeking the prize as well. Amidst the chase and unknown to all lurks, a sinister evil which has been secretly manipulating their every move and has set a chilling trap that none will expect and few will survive. With the tables turned and the secrets revealed, the hunters could quickly become the hunted!
The story seems simple on the face of it, but couched in the plot are beautiful layers of character development. A vampire hunter, D (a dunpeal or vampire/human half breed) is commissioned to recover a rich man’s daughter, Charlotte, who has been kidnapped by a vampire. She is wanted dead (if turned) or alive (if still human).
D meets up with a band of bounty hunters, all of whom have their own special powers, and personal demons. Against them are an array of gypsy monster/vampires. The animation and sound are so good that one feels compelled to watch and rewatch the fight scenes just because they are so well done. Each character is different and their story comes through, the only fault is the minor villains’ motivations could have been made more clear.
The pacing of this movie is excellent, and it is definitely theater quality in all respects. I’ve introduced my friends to anime by showing them this movie, a few have become fans. The only drawback is after viewing this masterpiece, some of them complain it is hard to get other anime of this caliber quality (plot, action, animation, character, sound).
Unlike the original Vampire Hunter D, the Bloodlust movie is gothic, gory, beautiful and touching. Highly recommended to be watched on a big screen, preferably with surround sound. You won’t be disappointed if you rent/download this. It’s so good you’ll want to own a copy to add to your anime collection, as the rewatch value is very high.
D is a half-vampire, half-Mexican–er, wait. Anyway, D is not human but he’s not exactly a vampire. His powers allow him to hunt most other evil vampires and he takes up a mission to save some stupid human girl who wants to get it on with the undead, and so runs away with her vampire lover. While D tries to get the hussy back, a rival gang who also hunts vampires compete with him. This movie was excellence. Watching all the action, the fabulous choreography of the fights were simply jizz-in-your pants worthy.
Art and sound were pure amazing. It looks beautiful, and D can make the straightest of men drool over his beauty, really. He was hotter than the chicks, believe it or not. Sound was cool, felt like I was listening to an epic horror flick. Which I was.
Characters weren’t so hot except for D who we’ve established is walking, delectable man-meat for the ladies and just the sort of guy folks like myself just wanna hang around and kill things with. Anyway, D’s just cool and aloof and can kick all types of behind. The rest of the characters were cool as well, I didn’t have a problem with them, since most knew when to die anyway.
All in all, Bloodlust is the best Vampire Hunter D movie ever. And it is better than you, too.
The dvd available in North America (at least in Canada) is only available in the english dub. For elitetists this is a huge problem, but the dub isn’t terrible, it’s pretty good as far as dubs go.
The theme for this, doomed love, is played so beautifully in this. There were a few scenes that almost moved me to tears. I loved the way the story progressed, they adapt it quite well from the book. The Markus Brothers and Leila also keep the pacing of the story quite well. There are a few scenes with them that really add alot to the story. There aren’t alot of loose-ends, and it ends semi-ambigously but they add a very comforting scene right at the end.
The art in D is good. It’s very distinctive, there are some beautiful subtleties to it. They put alot of time into some of the scenery which really show off the skills of some of these artists. Some of the character designs bug me, villagers all seem to have the same kind of frame and all moved very similarly. But they play a small part in the movie and the Markus brothers have some nice designs.
The gothic soundtrack in this is very nicely composed. It definitely suits everything that happens in this. It greatly heightens all the emotions you would feel anway. It conveys the hope and the hopelessness of it, as well as the darkness of the time.
The characters have changed slightly from the novel. These changes are for the most part quite nice. As far as progression of the story the characters pull them off quite nicely. I had a few problems with the changes that were made, but the changes they made push the anime in a completely different direction. D is how D always is, they don’t change him at all…and they don’t need to.
As far as vampire anime go this one is quite good. They show vampires in both ways, both as super-powerful as well as being weak zombies. So people who like both style of vampire won’t be dissapointed. If you’ve seen the first movie and were highly dissapointed then you definitely need to watch this. It’s a great movie, but if you can’t find the jap audio don’t sweat it too much, the dub is decent.
37: 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)
36: 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!
35: 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.
34: Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya Movie: Sekka no Chikai
English: Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya: Vow in the Snow
Japanese: 劇場版 Fate/kaleid liner プリズマ☆イリヤ 雪下の誓い
MAL Score: 7.96
After succumbing to an unenviable fate, Kiritsugu Emiya has left Shirou Emiya the duty to save mankind in his place. The world is dying and time is ticking, but when the salvation Shirou seeks is at the cost of his only family left—his younger sister—will he still have the heart to pursue this duty?
Shirou is now pressed with the choice to continue being a hero of justice—or become the very evil his ideal has vowed to vanquish. The orphan is alone once again, yet his body is still made of swords. The Fifth Holy Grail War now begins with his oath under snow.
The content of the film itself is quite specific however which makes it quite difficult to recommend to anyone who hasn’t seen all 4 seasons of the Prisma anime. With that said, If you are a fan of the Fate/Stay Night/Zero series you may very well find this film quite enjoyable even without prior knowledge of the Prisma series. While the content of the film is a flashback arc of the third main series of Prisma, it effectively acts as a sort of spinoff Shirou storyline, taking place in an alternate dimension which pulls from the Fate/Stay Night series, especially Heavens Feel. This may sound very complicated, but again, this is a very specific story and is definitely only able to be penetrated by those who have seen Prisma and those with a working knowledge of the Fate series.
The main reason I am specifying this is possibly enjoyed by those with a working knowledge of the Fate series but not necessarily Prisma is that many are turned off by the loli fan-service that plays a large role in the Prisma series. The animation, art and story line are all very strong in this film and there is just about zero fan service. Therefore, it can definitely be enjoyed by a larger audience.
If you are a follower of the Prisma series, you may be disappointed by the lack of fan-service but if you’ve read the manga, you’ll know this is a very serious arc where Shirou takes up the role of protagonist. Along with that, Illya makes only the briefest of appearances and Kuro, not at all. For a series with such a heavy reliance on fan service and the girls , this could be seen a downside but the film really plays into its respectable and serious tone, I think to its benefit. I feel like They could have done a flash forward to the bathing scene that takes place immediately after this arc for a bit of fan-service but they instead take it full circle in a much more well done and respectable way. As a big fan of the fan-service this series offers, the restraint they show in this film is actually quite commendable.
The film itself very closely follows the source material with decent animation and art all around. The animation is likely the weakest part of the film. Coming off of the already more poorly animated 3rei TV series and with film expectations, it does let down in this department. I may have expected a bit too much since it is a film and they generally have much higher budgets, but Prisma fans are generally spoiled on the art and animation front.
One interesting addition is an extended montage of Shirou collecting the class cards after his fight with Shinji. My mouth was wide open this whole time due to the sheer unexpectedness of it, the great animation and many fun Easter eggs and references to other Fate series in the identities of the installers. It also came immediately after a great battle with Shinji and featured tons of great 2D animation, as opposed to the final battle with Angelica which relied on quite a bit of CG. It’s very interesting that the best animated section of the film is anime original but this is definitely the highlight.
All in all, definitely check this film out if you follow the Prisma series (I’m sure you’re already frothing at the mouth to view it) and even if you are just a Fate/Stay Night or Zero fan. I didn’t focus on the earlier, slice of life moments much here. The first half could be seen as quite slow but they really beautifully build up Shirou and Miyu’s relationship which causes the rest of the film to be that much more tragic. I went with my girlfriend who has no knowledge of the Fate series and even she really loved the nicer slice of life moments in the first half and was really endeared to the characters.
Oath Under the Snow is a prequel story that tells the origin of the character, Miyu and adds context to the overarching plot of the TV series, Fate/kaleid liner Prismy Illya 3rei!! It’s a prequel in the best sense of the term, taking a primary character—in this case, Miyu—and adding depth to them in a way that changes how you view them and their actions while never betraying the character that has already been established.
As Oath Under the Snow is a prequel story, viewers will already know how it ends. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t any tension in the movie’s climax. Quite the contrary. However, having seen the Prisma Illya series—in particular 3rei!!—and having seen how the state of the world in the series contrasts with how Oath Under the Snow begins, we already know right away from the start that tragedy is waiting throughout the movie, and the movie plays it to the hilt.
Loved it anyway.
Having read the original story prior to watching (and loved it), I had high hopes for the story’s adaptation into movie format. For the most part, the movie had adapted nearly every aspect of the story save for the actual framing device of the story in the original source material and a few minor parts but those were not issues for me. As for the actual story, Oath Under Snow is the prequel to the events of the Prisma Illya series that tells the origins of Miyu (a main character in the aforementioned series) prior to her appearance in the actual series though the story’s focus is placed on her brother, Shirou Emiya. There are some changes to certain parts of the story from the source material (with some key moments switched to other parts of the film) but I found that those changes benefited the movie in establishing certain facts (with some possibly being able to help fresh newcomers gain a grasp of the story – I can’t say for certain on this point since as I’ve stated before, I am following the series). Overall, I give the story a 10 for how much I enjoyed this adaptation of a story I already loved.
Firstly, bear in mind that I am not the best judge for aesthetics so take what I say with a grain of salt: This is probably the film’s only real weak point. For the most part, the art was good and the animation of an acceptable quality. While nothing compared to Ufotable’s animation, I found the art of the film satisfying to watch.
EDIT: Upon retrospective, I would have to amend this part. The animation is not that great. The animation is not that great and definitely could be improved a lot. The direction of the main fights while good, are hampered by the film’s animation. With that in mind, I’m changing the actual Art score to 6. It’s fair, not great but not god awful either. I’ve seen god awful animation in other Fate anime and this film… is not that bad. Just not great for this arc.
I will have to split this part into two segments, voice and music. For voice, the voice actors pulled off amazing performances all around. Noriyaki Sugiyama especially pulls off an amazing performance as Shirou Emiya, hitting all the right notes and tones for the dialogue and monologues for his character. The only gripe I can come up with is that Kiritsugu (yes he is in this movie) comes across as lacking emotion at times but this is a negligible issue at best. As for music, it is fitting and great at setting up the tone & emotions for the scenes with a recurring Leitmotif that plays in appropriate moments in the story. The editing of the music was great as well. The best of the music in the film would have to be in the final battle of the film with every beat matching up with the scene to make for an amazing viewing experience. Even now, I still want to go back to watch the film again just to watch the climax again and see that amazing blend of visuals and music. Thus, I would give the sound a 10.
Part of why I enjoyed the story is due to Shirou Emiya’s arc in this story. I will not go into detail on Shirou here to avoid spoilers but let me just say that Shirou’s arc is well-portrayed and presented in the film with stellar voice acting as mentioned before. As for the rest, they do their parts well with the Ainsworth family being antagonists with heroic goals (though being cruel enough to make Shirou sympathetic despite the implications of his success). Sakura also appears in this film too with a great performance by Noriko Shitaya, hitting the right notes and tones for her character (I wound up liking Sakura quite a bit here which is a stark contrast with my indifference to her in the original series she is from). Overall, the characters are outstanding to me at least which is why I give a score of 10.
As someone following the manga and having read the original source material, this film was an outstanding experience for me from start to finish. As an adaptation, the film is great with key points and moments adapted well along with fitting voice acting and music throughout. I still recall sitting at the edge of my seat in sheer glee as scenes straight out of the manga are adapted into enjoyable spectacles (and as mentioned before, the film even adds on an original montage showcasing more of Shirou’s battles). In the end, I was left thoroughly satisfied and happy to have seen the film in cinemas. I’ll probably watch the film again in the near future. Overall, this gets a 10.
I enjoyed this film as a person following the original source material and its anime adaptation. Every element was done well enough to provide for a great experience that I want to relive through future re-watching. After the rather poor final episodes of 3rei during its original airing (though I hear the Blu-Ray versions are better), it is great to see Silver Link putting in such a good amount of effort to make such a satisfying final product.
EDIT: Now thinking about it, here’s another definitive issue. Pacing. The film goes by fast.
33: 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.
32: Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de Aru: Washio Sumi no Shou 3 – Yakusoku
Japanese: 結城友奈は勇者である -鷲尾須美の章- 第３章「やくそく」
MAL Score: 8.01
The third and final movie in the Washio Sumi no Shou trilogy.
This final entry of the Washio Sumi trilogy proved that again with the end of this prequel. Following the events from the second movies, it provides the final hit in the feels to the viewers before leading to the events of the main series.
As a source reader I have to say that this adaptation improved the light novel so much, the great art and music sure added to that, making every scene way more impactful.
I can’t recommend this movie (and the previous two) enough to anyone who likes this fantastic franchise, these girls are truly heroes.
Story (9) : Cute girls (yup we’ve seen that a lot), that ends in tragedy (we’ve seen that a lot too), but the way everything happens, it doesn’t sound forced, it doesn’t sound cringey or anything, instead it sounds so freaking EPIC! Some parts were rushed, and some were cut from the LN, but it doesn’t stand a chance to its positives that it makes me overlook any flaws.
Art (9) : The art was neat and stable throughout the whole 3 movies I believe, really colorful, character designs were unique. Backgrounds were simplistic most of the time, but as a whole it was really decent.
Sound (10) : How to describe this.. Keiichi Okabe and Emi Evans from Nier franchise. I think that’s enough to describe this masterpiece OST? Almost every track is god tier from epic ones to tragic ones. Voice acting was truly amazing, from all three main characters it was just astonishing, Suzuki Mimori and Kana Hanazawa, this is just heaven! It felt real af.
Characters (10) : Three amazing characters that the anime will make you love, Washio Sumi, Nogi Sonoko and Minowa Gin. All of them are best girls, no comment on that.
Enjoyment (10) : 10/10 enjoyment even if I were to re-watch this every single day that wouldn’t change ever.
Overall (10) : I guess that was expected right? Yes I’m biased but I’m pretty sure I’d give it a 10/10 even without being a fan of the franchise, I recommend this to any person who watched the sequel (Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de Aru), or any person in general that wants to see EPICNESS in its real form.
Film 3 needed to do 3 things: Glide down from the emotional high of film 2’s climax, build up to the climax of the Washio Sumi arc, and connect to Yuuna’s arc. Content-wise, this is possible in one TV episode, but that would be quite fast, even for a YuYuYu episode.
So after the introductory scene, we have a few more side stories interspersed with a buildup involving the Heroes’ parents and teacher over the introduction of the Hero System that would be used in the first TV series. I quite like this build-up, as it demonstrates that while the adults in charge are as mule-headed as one might expect, not everyone was on board with using it on young girls without telling them everything.
The side stories, as in film 2, demonstrate the powerful bond among the Heroes, and despite all they’ve gone through, they still take the time to laugh and play together.
The climax of the arc is as epic and tragic as was implied in YuYuYu, and one thing that might’ve been a nice addition during the transition scenes is Karin receiving her uniform/costume, but connecting to Yuuna was probably more important.
Could someone be introduced to this universe by first watching the prequels? Possibly, but throwing elementary school girls into a combat situation like this from the outset can potentially be a turnoff, particularly since this series is much harder-hitting than the Nanoha series. Sonoko’s diary entries that precede each film (and each episode in the TV version) provide foreshadowing and hints, and yet that doesn’t really soften the emotional blows delivered, quite the contrary. In this respect YuYuYu is a better introduction because like most of the audience, the characters have no idea what’s going on when they first face a Vertex, whereas the trio of Heroes in the Washio Sumi arc have some idea what they’re in for; additionally, the introduction of Sonoko in YuYuYu reveals that perhaps there’s much more to the lore than we’ve been led to believe. So perhaps the “Star Wars film release order” strategy is a successful one.
31: Persona 3 the Movie 4: Winter of Rebirth
Japanese: PERSONA3 THE MOVIE —#4 Winter of Rebirth—
MAL Score: 8.02
“The time of destruction is coming ever closer without a doubt. It cannot be stopped.”
To know death, to gaze at death, to face death.
Makoto and his allies have grown through the many meetings and partings they have experienced.
Their fight might not be for the sake of the world, but for themselves. Even so, they have continued to fight, believing that there are peaceful days waiting at the end of the battle.
However, a boy says that destruction is the fate that humanity must shoulder. The boy they believed to be their friend tells them the truth of the situation without an emotion on his face.
The season changes to winter. Makoto makes a decision in order to greet the spring that is waiting beyond…
Then the sun came out.
The emotially manipulative music blasted over our cast magically getting over their problems through one random deus ex machina event one after another, just in time for the big generic bad guy fight (But not without showing off all the Personas we are contractually obligated to shoehorn in!).
In only 5 minutes, the movie managed to shit the bed so hard with the hollow resolutions to each character arc that had been elaborated on in the movie. For example, Mitsuru knocks a photo over because the sun is in her eyes for the first time in weeks, and finds a key in the frame. She goes to her mansion, and a maid directs her to a locked room where her (dead) father kept wine that was bought on the year of her birth, and he meant to share it with her on her 18th birthday. He died earlier in the series, and for the last couple of movies she has done her best to get over her depression over it. The scene then ends, cutting to another bullshit asspull. Keep in mind this whole scene was 30 seconds, and wasn’t even the most insulting (Fuuka’s character resolution was literally sending her “friend” Natsuki a text, and eventally feeling happy that it didn’t go through.)
In conclusion, unless you like anything Persona or SMT related, don’t watch this. I could gp on about how the animation can be stilted and lazy at times, or how the character are mere husks of their in-game counterparts, or how the music and game are placed oddly and awkardly, but this is becoming a wall of text already. I’ll end with this. This movie is a more of a promotional movie for Persona 3 than an actual “Film”. Don’t watch this if you want a deep drama. Watch this for the desu anime friendship squad.
Persona # the Movie 4: Winter of Rebirth is an amazing adaptation, while staying true to the source material as needed it also added something that the P3 game was in lack of during the arrival of Nyx. The characters’ strife’s, struggles and development in the face of seemingly inevitable death; the movie made me feel once again the bonds between these characters as they search for the answer to life as well as death. In my personal opinion I believe that A-1 Pictures did an outstanding job at recreating one of my fondest memories and adding to them with this movie. With dialogue and music straight from the game, to the amazing animation and detail and finally nailing the characters perfectly in this final installation, I find it hard not to give this movie a 10/10
30: 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.
MAL Score: 8.05
The world of dreams can be an incredible window into the psyche, showing one’s deepest desires, aspirations, and repressed memories. One hopeful tech lab has been developing the “DC Mini,” a device with the power to delve into the dreams of others. Atsuko Chiba and Kosaku Tokita have been tirelessly working to develop this technology with the hopes of using it to deeply explore patients’ minds and help cure them of their psychological disorders.
However, having access to the deepest corners of a person’s mind comes with a tremendous responsibility. In the wrong hands, the DC Mini could be used as a form of psychological terrorism and cause mental breakdowns in the minds of targets. When this technology is stolen and people around them start acting strangely, Atsuko and Kosaku know they have a serious problem on their hands. Enlisting the help of Officer Konakawa, who has been receiving this experimental therapy, they search both the real and dream worlds for their mental terrorist.
Those familiar with Satoshi Kon’s work should know he likes to blend reality and illusion. Paprika was no exception, dealing with the dream world via DC mini, a device which can be used to enter someone’s dreams. As expected the dream world Kon created was incredibly imaginative and surreal. Animation and art for this movie was easily the best of Kon’s work as well as most anime. This movie was worth watching just for the animation and surreal world that Kon creates. Music was equally good, creating a haunting yet beautiful atmosphere. Sadly I don’t think its possible to even possible to describe the surreal and imaginative dream sequences in Paprika. However, that’s it, I could go on and on about the movie’s technical merit, but it doesn’t make up for its weak narrative.
Paprika featured highly imaginative imagery and excellent editing that Kon is known for however, what was it all for? If we take out the imagery out of the equation, what do we have left? The basic outline of Paprika’s story was wafer thin and had a painfully obvious twist near the end. In addition, a tacked on romance that made far less sense than even the most surreal imagery that Kon can muster. Chances are you’re thinking “Its all about the execution, who cares about a weak storyline as long as its done well.” Yes, execution is more important and surreal imagery and crazy editing can be used to make an otherwise boring story captivating. For example, Millennium Actress, one of Kon’s earlier works. However, in the case of Paprika the surreal imagery felt like it was the main point and the story/characters were secondary. Also, the imagery didn’t serve any purpose with respects to the story, it was there for the sake of being there and a “plot” to provide it some context.
What I said was only for the main plot line, the detective’s sub plot was sadly far more interesting. Here the use of imagery really suits his story and conflicts, similar in execution as in Millennium Actress. However, something is wrong when a sub plot is more interesting than the main story.
Characters are also pretty weak. The villain was pitifully boring and one-dimensional. Sadly, I can’t say otherwise for the rest of the cast. Also, the development of Atsuko and her romance at the end was so forced it was unbelievable. Once again, this confused me more than even the most surreal imagery Kon can muster. Konakawa (the detective) was the only saving grace in the cast of Paprika. He actually had a decent amount of characterization and actually developed through the course of the movie.
Paprika was a wholly imaginative work that only Satoshi Kon can create. He creates a landscape that was beyond words. This was coupled with amazing technical achievement by Madhouse, the animation studio. However, Paprika failed in terms of story and characters. The visuals didn’t serve much of a purpose with respects to the plot and felt like it was there for the sake of being there. Also, this plot was incredibly superficial and painfully predictable. The tacked on romance and forced character development was equally painfully and confusing. Konakawa was the only saving grace in terms of story and character however, something is wrong when a side character was more interesting than the main story. In the end, Paprika is more like a dream than Kon probably intended. It was captivating during but when it ends you’ll remember only a few visual snippets and forget everything else.
Dreams as a concept have always captivated me, and never before have I seen such a well-done representation of dreams in any form of media. Movies usually treat them as either being pointlessly strange, or pointedly symbolic, but Paprika captures their essence to fascinating effect. Dreams are as much about flow and direction as they are about the immediate situation, and this is something very apparent when watching Paprika, as the dreams flow and change fascinatingly with mundane illogic, moving from one setting to another with only a thematic thread between them. Looking back at my own dreams and how they shift from setting to setting based on the emotional context, and I see that Paprika portrays this perfectly. I can see that the dream sequences were thoughtfully brought to life, and were not just crazy for the sake of crazy. But through all its fanciful imagery and creativity unbound from realism, Paprika has a story behind it that deals with very strong human emotions, and it excellently weaves this emotional content throughout the films, particularly in the dream sequences, where the subconscious expresses the truth behind each character’s external, day-to-day personality.
The way it tells this story is simultaneously a strength and a flaw of the film; on the one hand I am inclined to say that it was obfuscatory in the way it obscured the plot from the viewer. While watching this movie I felt like I was trying to get my head around a particularly long riddle. As I followed it, the only understanding I really got of what was actually going on was in retrospect, and while some may call this clever, I found that not having an idea of the direction of the plot was a detriment. However, given that the movie revolves around the theme of dream analysis, it is also a fitting method of storytelling: the audience itself has to engage in the movie as though it were analysing a dream, and hence can only be understood when looking back at it. However, my advice to anyone planning to watch the movie: pay close attention to the dialogue and symbology of the dreams, because it is all too easy to get caught up in the zany fun of the dream sequences and lose track of the plot.
When it comes to the plot itself, I’m not so enthusiastic. Nor am I so aflame with praise when it comes to the characterisation. Both of these factors are the reasons why I am hesitant to label it as my favourite Satoshi Kon film; Tokyo Godfathers had excellent characterisation, and a simple yet powerful story; and Perfect Blue, with its introverted character study, delivered a great emotional impact. It may well be impossible to create a perfect film, but if these factors had been better incorporated into Paprika, then it would be among my favourite anime films, possibly my very favourite. It is a shame that Satoshi Kon’s vision and creativity is let down by a lack of depth in his characters and stories now, after his consistent accomplishments in the past. I think the main problem was that the movie tried to involve a too larger cast, to whom it could not provide ample depth in its limited feature-length time-frame. The other problem was that there was very little attention given to delivering a sense of conflict, a crucial element to any story. Perfect Blue had the internal conflict of the subconscious and the conscious; Tokyo Godfathers had conflict between its characters and society; and this movie tries to incorporate an antagonist-protagonist conflict, almost as an afterthought, with neither party given enough profundity to their perspectives to make the conflict intense. There was mention of their different ideology when it comes to the exploration of dreams, and a subplot of jealousy, but little more. So the story lacks the optimal ‘beginning -> conflict -> end’ structure, meaning it felt like it just went on and on until it finished, as entertaining as it was.
I have little to say about the technical achievements behind this film, other than the fact that it was fantastic in almost all aspects, with only the score music lacking. It is clear he used the same musical producer behind Paranoia Agent’s score track, and I simply cannot find his style of music appealing; it feels immature and cannot contribute effectively to the mood of the movie. Much better was the use of music in Perfect Blue, the score of which really sold the hauntingly intense atmosphere. The visuals are much better; this is his best looking film yet, with vivid animation and, as expected, brilliant direction.
It was not given enough weight, but I liked the message that dreams are the final sanctity of the human mind, which should not be intruded upon. This movie beautifies dreams, and attaches importance to them (as seen in Atsuko’s acknowledgement of her feelings for Dr. Torataro through her subconscious), and the suggestion that veil between them and reality is sacred really spoke to me, even if it came from the mouth of the antagonist. Paprika is a thoroughly enjoyable, visually captivating movie, which does overwhelming justice to its theme of dreaming, but which has flaws in its plot and characters that prevent it from being a great achievement as a film.
Adapted from a novel of the same name by science fiction author Yautaka Tsutsiu, Paprika takes Kon’s mind-bending style and applies it quite literally to the plot. The story takes place in the near future, where a remarkable device called the “DC Mini” has been invented, which allows people to enter other peoples’ dreams and access their unconscious thoughts; intended for the use of psychotherapists. However, while still in its development, one of the DC Mini prototypes is stolen. Soon, development staff members begin to have their dreams invaded and entangled, and its up to head of development Chiba Atsuko, and her chipper alter ego Paprika, to find the culprit and retrieve the prototype before more damage is done.
This premise works perfectly with Kon’s directing style and the themes he often explores. The movie weaves from dream to reality and back again seamlessly. With the DC Mini giving the ability to enter (or invade) peoples’ dreams and psyches, it becomes increasingly difficult to distinguish between delusion and reality. There are scenes which seem to take place in reality, until something strange occurs, pulling back the curtain to reveal that it is a dream instead. The dissolving wall between the two comes with some serious consequences, as characters slip into madness; becoming delusional and erratic. Kon perpetuates a sense of unease and delirium with colorfully deranged imagery, hallucinatory sequences, and sudden outbursts of insanity, keeping the audience in a state of constant imbalance. And yet there is a certain unhinged joy than comes with the madness. There is something wondrous about unconscious mind and the images it conjures; the limitless possibilities of a dream, and the hidden meanings behind those dreams. Even at their most disturbing, the surreal dreamscapes of Paprika are entrancing.
Our protagonist, Atsuko, is cool-headed; always in control. She maintains a stern, often harsh, but logical and level-headed demeanor. She’s all business, doesn’t have much of a sense of humor, and little patience for the childish irresponsibility of man-child genius Tokita, the inventor of the DC Mini. Or at least that is how she seems on the outside. In stark contrast is Atsuko’s alter-ego, the titicular Paprika. Paprika is a free spirit, more easy going and fun than Atsuko, to the point that the two seem to be completely different people, and not just because of their differing character designs. This contrast is interesting because it shows how a person’s suppressed desires can manifest in spite of (or because) their attempts to keep control over themselves. As much as Atsuko would like to think she has control over herself and everything around her by suppressing her emotions, she’s only being dishonest with herself. The rest of the cast (sans Detective Konakawa), are underdeveloped, yet still likeable and interesting. Tokita adds some nice comedic relief; the two antagonists are really quite interesting, though they would have certainly benefited from more screen time.
There is also a sub-plot involving a detective who Atsuko is treating in unauthorized sessions using the DC Mini. Here, Kon infuses Paprika with his love for movies, ironically enough through a character who claims to hate movies. Despite such claims, Detective Konakawa’s dreams often are movie themed, and his strong objection to movies implies some kind of past trauma. Indeed, as the movie delves deeper into his character, it reveals he has a deep knowledge and connection to movies, but now avoids them because of unfulfilled and broken desires of his youth. The movie reveals this slowly and uncomfortably, often playing out like a therapy session, using motifs such as a reoccurring dream of a murder in a hallway which represents a case Konakawa is currently having trouble solving, or his dislike of the number 17. Konakawa’s character ark also draws a interesting parallels from movies and the internet to dreams; all are places that the human subconscious can escape into. A rather meta concept, considering that you are watching a movie.
Paprika is Satoshi Kon’s most vivid and wildly imaginative work. Kon clearly let go of restraint from the deranged, ever-shifting opening dream sequence. However, that isn’t to say that it is done with no finesse, quite the contrary actually. Even with the free-floating lunacy of the movie, Kon’s cinematic brilliance shines through. The radical transitions from dreamscape to dreamscape, which would look awkward in less skillful hands, flow like water under Kon’s direction. The imagery is dazzling (if at times unsettling), and incredibly creative, sometimes frighteningly so. The chase scene in which Paprika is being pursued by the antagonists through multiple shifting settings is a breathtaking showcase of the movie’s visual ingenuity. As is the movie’s crazed grand finale, which features one of the main characters growing from infancy to adulthood while absorbing another character’s dreams. There are also some crafty motifs the movie implements to set mood and tone, notably the crazed parade that is assimilating all other dreams. This all comes together to create a unique controlled chaos of visual imagination that is impossible to forget. It’s also worth noting that the movie has the coolest opening credits I’ve seen, with Paprika taking a tour of the city in a way only she can.
The sweeping electropop soundtrack by Susumu Hirasawa is fittingly strange, but also grants the movie a sense of grandeur. The music has an odd, otherworldly texture which works very well in a movie that spends most of time roaming through the realm of dreams and human consciousness. Interestingly enough, some of the vocals were produced using vocaloid, which doubtlessly contributed to the music’s strangeness. Of special note is the bouncy track titled ‘Meditation Field’ that accompanies the opening credits, and the bizarre ‘Parade’ which plays as people descend into madness or when that crazy parade of dreams shows up.
Though sometimes a bit convoluted, Paprika is an eye-popping, cerebral extravaganza that never fails to impress and entertain. More than simply a piece of eye-candy, the movie invokes some interesting ideas about dreams and the human psyche. Both Atsuko and Konakawa illustrate some fascinating insights in how people lie to themselves or bury the unpleasant, and what repercussions that might have. Paprika is just exploding with creativity, brimming with imagery straight out of your wildest dreams, and endlessly entertaining. It’s a fitting final work for a great master.
28: 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
27: 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.
26: 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.
25: 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
24: Kyoukai no Kanata Movie 2: I’ll Be Here – Mirai-hen
English: Beyond the Boundary: I’ll Be Here – Future
Japanese: 劇場版 境界の彼方 I’LL BE HERE 未来篇
MAL Score: 8.18
After Akihito Kanbara reunites with Mirai Kuriyama—whom he believed had vanished after defeating Beyond the Boundary—he discovers a heartbreaking fact: Mirai has lost all memory of him, their friends, and her past as a Spirit Warrior. Akihito is utterly devastated, but realizes that she has a unique opportunity. Mirai can finally live the life of a normal girl—where she’ll be completely devoid of the supernatural society that both shunned and used her. While it’s all for the sake of Mirai’s happiness, the price is costly—Akihito and his friends must keep her true origins a secret from her, and as a result avoid befriending her.
However, the troubling memories of Mirai’s old life gradually begin to resurface, and a mysterious new evil leads a group of shadow-like creatures into the city with the goal of seeking her out. As the situations become dire, Akihito must fight to protect himself, his closest friends, and Mirai—the bespectacled beauty he holds most dear.
First things first, the story. They did an excellent job tying the story back together. While there was some disappointment with the ending of the series, this movie brings it all home. I was surprised by how many small points in the show were actually significant events what would be referred to in the movie. The show was a bit of a wild ride, but I absolutely love the story, theme , and setting. Everything about it is fantastic. However at points it can be hard to follow but it all ends up making sense.
Next the art. They did an amazing job with the art style of this movie. It is not unlike the original series, with exception of amazing well animated fight scenes and a few amazing animations. I’m picturing a certain scene, which you will know after watching the movie.
The sound quality was also amazing. Usually, I could care less, as long as it doesn’t sound like someone talking through a paper towel tube. But this movie had some amazing points in which I found my headphones rattling. It really blew me away. Some of the scenes sounds like a huge budget action movie. So more than I could ever ask for.
The characters were as good as always with some amazing depth. They really touched on all the main characters well, and even some side characters. The story is very intricate and will not leave you hanging. I would love to go more into detail, but I’d prefer not to spoil anything.
Overall, it was an amazing movie, that inspired me to watch asap, and here I am writing my first review on MAL so that should say it all. Thanks for reading, and enjoy the movie!
It is impossible to say anything about the story because the first thing you watch is a major plot twist about the end of the anime series, and everything goes around that twist. A minor hint, though: the movie is full of Akihito and Mirai tears.
My problem with the anime series was its drama, and how it wanted to force you to feel sad or be sympathetic with its characters. That problem continues in this movie. As the movie takes itself seriously, the drama I really didn’t like is everywhere. I didn’t grow emotionally attached to these characters, so for me the drama presented here is just there and nothing else. And the worst part is that what made the anime so enjoyable for me, i.e. the slice-of-life, comedy moments between the characters, just got in the way of that drama, making them out of place and very uncomfortable (or in the words of Mirai, fuyukai desu).
One of the reasons why the comedy didn’t work was the background music. The OST was made to make you feel sad, and basically the same sad violin song is played all along the movie: during the emotional parts, during the lighhearted parts, during the battles, during everywhere! Seriously, it is impossible to laugh at how Mirai fails to hit a tennis ball if funeral music is being played in the background. The ED song was good though. Minori Chihara has an amazing and beautiful voice, and the song is really connected to the events of the movie.
The characters also got some mild development. Even though the characterization is attached to the emotional parts of the movie, it at least answer (in a way) very good questions posed by the anime series: how Mirai got her ring, information about her mother, some mild explanation about Akihito’s mother. Hiroomi continues being awesome and keeps a bit of his main character quirks. Unfortunately, Akihito and Mirai spent most of the movie crying and suffering, and we didn’t get to see a lot of what made them really likeable in the series (although that is supposed to happen, given the main plot of the movie), and Mitsuki continues to be the useless, Senjougahara wannabe I’ve got to know.
There is little to say about the animation and art, only that it was, once again, absolutely gorgeous. Is Kyoto Animation, what can you expect?
Although I didn’t hate the movie, I didn’t get to enjoy it that much. It suffers from lots of the flaws of the anime series, and neither the character development, nor the amazing animation, nor Hiroomi being the best character of the series could save the movie for me.
HOWEVER, if you happen to be reeeeeeally attached to the characters, especially to Akihito and Mirai, and if you liked the drama of the anime series, then this movie would most likely be a 10/10 for you.
The story. It has many potential and they covered nearly all. Although there are some comedy, they stuck to the point, which didn’t leave me hanging. They pretty much answered many questions. Personally, it was amazing, but the reason why I said “nearly all” was the fact that by the end, it was just it. I meant I asked many questions “What happened to this?” and “What happened to that?”, so on and so forth. I just begged more questions.
The art. Long story short, outstanding. The animation, the visuals, everything, just great.
The sound. They’re great. Sounds effects, awesome. Music, beautiful. It could’ve been flawless, had they timed it right on some parts.
Characters. The movie covers mostly on the two main characters: Mirai and Akihito. I felt connected to them as they had to get through the suffering, especially from Akihito, as from the end of Kako-hen in the bonus scene (you better watch it first). The movie also told us the fate of the characters that went missing. However, the movie was so focused on these two that it left many other characters behind, including Mitsuki and Hiroomi. These two were pretty much left standing around, except for one scene where they find out who the masked person was, but even then, they weren’t covered as much. Sakura and Ai-chan, yeah, they’re just there.
Enjoyment, it was good, but like I said before, it left me hanging around. It made me ask more questions both from the end of the anime and the end of the movie.
Overall, it’s a very good experience. Although it answered some questions, it does inherit some flaws from the series.
Despite some flaws above, I personally recommend you watch the movie, if you watched the anime/Kako-hen of course. It’s a great film.
23: 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 🙂
22: Cardcaptor Sakura Movie 2: Fuuin Sareta Card
English: Card Captor Sakura Movie 2: The Sealed Card
Japanese: 劇場版 カードキャプターさくら 封印されたカード
MAL Score: 8.21
For this year’s Nadeshiko Festival, Sakura Kinomoto’s elementary school class is presenting a play. She will portray a princess who struggles to respond to the love confession of the neighboring country’s prince. Sakura empathizes with her character all too well, since she herself still owes an answer to the boy who confessed his love for her four months ago.
When cousins Shaoran and Meiling Li return from Hong Kong to pay a surprise visit to their friends in Japan, Sakura receives further encouragement to finally declare her feelings. However, she is repeatedly distracted by a presence reminiscent of a Clow Card as well as unexplained disappearances around town.
Eventually, Sakura learns of another of Clow Reed’s creations—the “Nothing”—which was formerly sealed away beneath the magician’s old house. It has power equal to all 52 cards Sakura possesses, and furthermore, it wants to take those cards away from her! Objects, space, and people disappear from Tomoeda with each card that is stolen. Sakura sets out to capture the Nothing so everything will return to normal, but what must she sacrifice in the process?
Story 10/10: The story was a lot more gripping to me than the first movie, mostly because this movie was a direct sequel to the series. I truly enjoy the relationship between Syaoran and Sakura and was rather disappointed in how the series ended, without Sakura being able to say how she felt about him. Another thing I was afraid of with this movie is that it would feel like a giant monster of the week, but I felt that the antagonist and the conflict in the story were rather unique as far as the series is concerned and it was interesting enough to not bore me within the first half hour.
Art 10/10: This may be a little biased, but I’ve always been a fan of CLAMP’s art. The problem with a lot of anime movies is that they get such a bad rep that the funding for the movies are significantly less than the series. As such, many times you’ll find that a movie based off an anime series has lowered animation quality than the series itself. I was really glad, then, when I found no quality loss in this movie. It’s still as bright and flashy as the series and the characters haven’t started to suffer from Anime Movie Deformity Syndrom.
Sound 9/10: Something that’s always kind of bugged me about this movie is that every version I’ve seen of it, the sound quality is drastically lowered. It isn’t as bad as the first movie, but it sounded like it was recorded playing out of speakers and then THAT recording is what was played in the series. I mean, it isn’t the worst sound I’ve ever heard, but it was enough to break the perfect 10 record I’m giving this series.
Character 10/10: I’ve always loved this series’s characters. CCS characters have always been really unique and vibrant, catching my attention very easily. They all have their own pros and cons that don’t fit easily into anime stereotypes. For this movie in particular, since they were exploring unknown territory, such as the deepening relationship with Syaoran and Sakura, I was afraid a lot of out-of-character experiences would occur, where the characters weren’t acting at all in their personality. Thankfully everything was pulled off without changing personalities or giving you a bad taste in your mouth.
Enjoyment 10/10: I think this is just a summary of what I’ve been saying all along: I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. The characters were wonderful, as was the story they were wrapped in, and the art and music weren’t enough to turn me away from it. I love watching this movie again and again, and I hope you will too.
The movie takes place after the anime TV series, where Sakura is still reflecting on Li’s confession from before he moved… Yeah. One day Sakura notices a presence while walking around with Tomoyo at an amusment park which was being built where a character of the series previously lived, and there she meets Li, who is visting from Hong Kong with Meilin. As the movie goes on, Sakura makes several attempts to tell Li how she really feels about him, and during this time she notices that her Sakura Cards are starting to disappear, and that a 53th card is behind it all….
As I watched the plot of the movie unfold, I had a serious case of deja vu. Why I don’t know, it could possibly be that the plot had something of an inkling to the previous movie where the antagonist of the story was taking things away from Sakura, actually, I think that’s what it was. Anyway, that aside, the plot was alright, it was good enough to keep my attention, though I was also watching to see if there was any real advances in Sakura’s and Li’s relationship…
Well, this is probably the part of the review that I dislike the most, since I always say the same thing. But anyway, the animation was the same as the TV series, so I didn’t feel like I was watching something totally different, though I wasn’t sure if I was looking at the same Yue. The coloring of the backgrounds fitted their respective scenes (does that make sense?), though some parts did seem dark and… yeah.
Background music was okay, though I don’t really remember any of it (despite the fact I just watched it) except for the dramatic parts, which were good. I absolutely loathed the vocal insert songs and I didn’t really pay attention to them.
…I watched the dub to this, and I sort of regret doing so, not because I thought they were bad, but because I simply wasn’t really used to them, which happened with another series that I watched. I also thought that Sakura’s voice could’ve been a little… lower… But I loved Eriol/Eli’s voice, which is some proof of me not being used to the voices since I haven’t heard his voice in the series. However, I do have to note that the pronouncations of the names in this movie were accuate, or more so than the series, though I’m not sure what Eriol’s name is anymore…
Erm. The characters do remain true to their TV series and manga counterparts, Sakura being a bit dense, and Tomoyo being… well, Tomoyo. Their interations, especially Li and Sakura’s are very cute, since it’s young love, and you know that you have to go “Aw….” when you see it, or you’re like me and you giggle, especially with the movie’s closing line.
The antagonist, the Nothing/Nameless/Whatever Her Name Is Card is probably my favorite character because she does seem rather human, she’s not being evil for the sake of being evil, it’s because she wants her friends back, and yeah… You can’t really help but feel sorry for her.
I can’t really say that I really really loved this, but I think that it was okay. The sound really brought it down for me, and at times I did want to stop watching, but I kept on watching because I didn’t want to drop it…
The Good: Ah… Probably characters. They are just cute and lovable!
The Bad: …But I didn’t enjoy their voices all that much, nor any of the background music…
i really love the works of CLAMP, especially cardcaptor sakura.
in the anime, syaoran grew a warm feeling for sakura and when he confessed, sakura was at first, confused but in the end, she knew what she also feels for him. the ending was kinda “bitin” but still, i’m satisfied with it…
then, i saw this movie. i was really excited to watch it and witness the continuation of their lovestory.
i won’t spoil anyone esp those who didn’t watch it yet but i’m telling you it’s really a happy ending for them.
the movie is really heart-warming and “nakakakilig”.
i was “kinikilig” the whole time and i’m super-duper satisfied with its ending.
they finally heard each other’s feelings…they finally told “it”. 😀 got the hint?
21: 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.
20: Fate/stay night Movie: Heaven’s Feel – I. Presage Flower
English: Fate/stay night: Heaven’s Feel – I. Presage Flower
Japanese: 劇場版「Fate/stay night [Heaven’s Feel] Ⅰ.presage flower」
MAL Score: 8.22
The Holy Grail War: a violent battle between mages in which seven masters and their summoned servants fight for the Holy Grail, a magical artifact that can grant the victor any wish. Nearly 10 years ago, the final battle of the Fourth Holy Grail War wreaked havoc on Fuyuki City and took over 500 lives, leaving the city devastated.
Shirou Emiya, a survivor of this tragedy, aspires to become a hero of justice like his rescuer and adoptive father, Kiritsugu Emiya. Despite only being a student, Shirou is thrown into the Fifth Holy Grail War when he accidentally sees a battle between servants at school and summons his own servant, Saber.
When a mysterious shadow begins a murderous spree in Fuyuki City, Shirou aligns himself with Rin Toosaka, a fellow participant in the Holy Grail War, in order to stop the deaths of countless people. However, Shirou’s feelings for his close friend Sakura Matou lead him deeper into the dark secrets surrounding the war and the feuding families involved.
For those of you unfamiliar with the series, the basic setting is a small city in Fuyuki. 7 historical figures are summoned by 7 “masters” in a fight to the death. Once a single servant and master are left standing, they are rewarded with the Holy Grail – which grants any wish for both of them. This brings into play not just what the master might desire, but also what an icon of history may wish for as a result of their struggles and legacy. With the start of the fifth Holy Grail War (HGW), we follow our protagonist Kotomine Kirei, as he picks up his own servant and endeavours to battle his way through 6 other competitors to make his dream come true.
The main protagonist is depicted flawlessly. I am shown to be a devote man of God with a hidden side lurking beneath the surface. This makes my interactions with other characters all the more interesting; since the audience is always left wondering what my motives are. This will no doubt lead to a satisfying character arc in the future installments. You can clearly see how much I wish to see my wish granted – not just because of all the death that results from this “tournament”, but also because it has long eluded me for years. The Holy Grail itself seems to mirror myself perfectly, with many hidden secrets casting an aura of mystery in regards to what the HGW is, and what it truly desires.
Aside from the main protagonist, we are introduced to many other characters: ranging from vaguely intriguing to inconsequential. Blondie makes an appearance and is truly a divine presence in the film. Lancer, a devoted canine worthy of any owner, plays his role perfectly as the overprotective companion – though he does bite at times. Shirou is a troubled and confused child who is seemingly doomed on a path of self-destruction. Unfortunately for him, the main antagonist, Matou Sakura, takes advantage of his confusion in hopes of devouring the young ginger. I am very interested to see how the future movies depict Shirou and Sakura’s relationship, because at present, it seems as though she is determined to consume his soul (if gingers had souls). As you can no doubt tell, Sakura is a contemptible creature. Her vile and disgusting presence reflects the dark side of this HGW.
Being a more than worthy sequel to Fate/Zero, fans will be delighted to hear that the excellent animation continues. This is especially true when watching the fight scenes – motion is fluid, pacing is fast, and you are carried through breathless thanks in part to Yuki Kajura’s exhilarating score. Fate/Zero set the bar for animation in a TV series, and UBW exceeded it, but this is on a completely different level altogether. Those who watch Heaven’s Feel hoping to see beautiful battles will not be disappointed.
In short, see this movie. It is worth your time. Rejoice.
–SPOILERS BELOW: DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN OR READ HEAVEN’S FEEL–
Here I will go more in depth into the main plot.
With the 5th Holy Grail War quickly approaching, both Gilgamesh and I were excited to begin our new journey to victory. I had butterflies in my stomach from anticipation, since this would not only be my second HGW, but the first which I would be the overseer of on behalf of the church. Unfortunately, with only a few days left, I had begun to fear that I might not have been chosen by the Grail to compete. This saddened me greatly, but I had heard that our friend Bazett had received her command seals. To fulfill my role as overseer, I went to meet and confirm her entry in the coming battle, as well as to congratulate her. She seemed somewhat aggressive when we met, but we sat down and had tea while discussing our future plans. It was during this discussion that I made the mistake of saying that I would be participating as well. Upon hearing these words, Bazett went into attack mode and lunged at me like a fierce animal. Clearly, she had decided that if I was to be involved, she would need to eliminate me before I became a threat. This cold and calculated attack scared me, and it was all I could do to defend myself while pleading that she show mercy since the war had not started. I tried to escape through the front door, but Bazett had grabbed by hand with a steely and determined grip that told me nothing short of my death could satisfy her. I instinctively pulled my hand back, but to my regret, I had forgotten how great my manly strength was. So determined was I to protect myself that I did not think to control the force which my bulging muscles were exerting. The result was that when I pulled my arm back, I had inadvertently torn Bazett’s arm off cleanly. In the next instant, she had fallen on the ground unconscious from loss of blood, and I was left standing there horrified. Fearing that she might die, I needed to contact the hospital to save this poor woman’s life. Since this was 2004, however, I did not have a cell phone to call, and using Bazett’s home phone without permission would have been rude. I therefore rushed outside and began frantically jogging to the nearest hospital. To my dismay though, I did not know where the hospital in Fuyuki was, so I decided to head home. It turned out that a dog named Lancer had followed me. Seeing this as a sign from God, I decided that I should use this opportunity to take Bazett’s command seals and join the Holy Grail War.
Gilgamesh and I were thrilled with Lancer’s skill, so we decided to send him out on errands one day since we were running low on milk. On his way home, he had apparently noticed that my young apprentice Rin was all alone at school after dark. Knowing this to be a dangerous time with the start of the Holy Grail War, he decided to escort her home with my approval. Unfortunately for Lancer, she recognized him as a servant and ruthlessly attacked him with her own. With his back against the corner, our boy fought valiantly against these aggressors, in the course of which a young ginger was spotted rubbernecking. Upon seeing this, Lancer got very excited since he loves meeting new people and always liked making friends. The young boy, unwisely, started running away, which only makes Lancer more excited to chase after. Finally catching up inside the school, a tragedy occurred. Through no one’s fault of their own, the young careless boy who was trespassing on private property had tripped over himself. Likely on drugs, he flew off-balance and landed on Lancer; impaling himself on the spear. Both Lancer and I were shocked, and I knew the boy needed an ambulance immediately. Regretfully though, I was sitting comfortably with Gilgamesh in the church lounge while this occurred, and the nearest phone to me was in the next room. While pondering whether to sacrifice the comfort of the warm sofa, I realized that the call would be long distance. I therefore instructed Lancer to race to the nearest hospital to fetch a doctor as fast as possible. To my surprise, the boy had disappeared upon Lancer’s return. Fearing that Rin had finished off the helpless child and disposed of the body, we searched frantically to find him. To our initial relief, we found the daywalker safe at home after likely escaping Rin’s lust for murder. Our relief was short lived, however, as the young man took up a weapon and attacked Lancer. With his life now in tremendous peril, my servant acted as any reasonable person could have in self-defence. Something truly unexpected happened next, when a servant came out of nowhere to join the child in his assault. This was obviously an ambush, and the ginger had merely feigned an injury to lower our defences. With a heavy heart upon realizing how uncivilized this war has made all of us, I reluctantly gave Lancer the go ahead to use his noble phantasm. This sufficiently injured the attacking servant enough for Lancer to make his escape, which I ordered him to do immediately.
Being the overseer, I would need to confirm the newest combatant into the war, which I was able to do that night when he came to the church for a visit. Oddly enough, he also brought Rin along despite her previous attack on him earlier. My decision to not tell them that I was a master as well was partially due to spite at how badly they treated my servant, and partially from suspicion. The redhead identified himself as Emiya Shirou. I instantly recognized the name as being that of my old rival; but since I was reasonably sure Kiritsugu had a soul, I concluded that this kid was likely adopted into the family rather than being a direct descendant. Seeing them off that night, I reflected on my past with Kiritsugu and the many good times we shared as I drifted off to sleep. My dreams of a mapo paradise were interrupted later that night when a sudden boom of thunder woke me up. I went outside to investigate how thunder could be happening on a cloudless night, and eventually tracked the source to an ongoing battle between two servants. The fight seemed to have just concluded, when I spotted a young loli walking off with a gigantic servant – he was so big, that I reasoned it could only be a Berserker class warrior. As many past roommates have learned, NO ONE disturbs my sleep without paying a price. I leapt forward brandishing my black keys to engage the monster in battle. Already suspecting the heroic spirit I was engaging in, the best tactic was to aim for the genitals and the eyes region. For many minutes we unleashed powerful attacks on each other, until I succeeded in slaying the beast, who fell over unconscious. Knowing the wounds would be fatal, I walked away in triumph. Of course, it was only later that I discovered that the Berserker servant had the power of resurrection. While I was deeply disappointed to learn this, it is safe to say that he will think twice before knocking up a racket at 2am near my church.
Slightly sleep deprived the following morning, I was amused to see that the young Emiya Shirou had taken the trouble of coming to visit me to gain information. I took the opportunity to divulge his adopted father’s role in the previous Holy Grail War. Needless to say, I explained in detail how pathetic Kiritsugu was, and how much better I am than he ever could be. He was, in short, a snivelling man-child, so I had absolutely no doubt that Emiya Shirou would do his Father’s legacy justice. The ginger left the church an enlightened and better person.
In the coming days, I began to catch whispers of a dark influence within Fuyuki City. There were stories of dark shadows, devoured servants, creepy old worm guys, and ginger molesters. It soon became clear that events were progressing just as I hoped they would, and the time might soon come that the greatest of all yuetsu will at long last arrive. It was during one of these quiet nights, laughing over how smart I am, that I sent out Lancer to pick up my laundry – and to keep an eye out for any mischief. Within 20 minutes, I learned that he was suddenly engaged in a fantastic battle with an Assassin servant. While this was no doubt a major obstacle, I was sure to maintain that my laundry take top priority, since the shop would be closing in the next quarter hour. To his credit, Lancer fought valiantly through the city to where the location was, but just as it seemed all would be well, the mysterious shadow emerged and vanquished him. With this, my formal involvement as a participant in the Holy Grail War had come to an end, and it was deep shock to me. Gilgamesh joined me the following day, and we both walked to the pet cemetery where a memorial for Lancer was held. We both wept bitterly – for the loss of our beloved friend, and for the clothes that I would now need to jog across town to get.
The fifth Holy Grail War has started with a bang, and yet I fear no one has felt the effects more deeply than I have. I cannot speak of what is to come, but we may all agree that I will be gravely tested. As I sit here with a glass of wine, I ask that you all toast my fallen servant, and to the hope that a beautiful dream may yet be reached by war’s end.
I’ll keep this brief, Fate Stay Night Heavens Feel – I Presage Flower can be an awesome ride, depending on how you go into it.
The Fate Series is infamous for being confusing and a challenge to even figure out where to begin watching, and while I can understand and even endorse newcomers to watch Unlimited Blade works by Ufotable (or even god forbid the two deen adaptations) I highly, highly, HIGHLY encourage people to make sure they have a sound knowledge of Fate before they go into this trilogy.
I watched the Australian premier of the film, and even there I witnessed many confused faces. This movie can be a mess if you don’t understand the majority of Fate, but if you do, the film is fantastic.
This is easily the darkest adaptation of Fate, and while a lot of what makes it dark is yet to come in the sequels, the beginning of the trilogy can paint an impression very quickly.
Quickly ill note, the characters are great, (much more expressive then usual), and a lot of characters that didn’t get much more screen time in UBW (such as Rider, Kirei, Shinji, and obviously Sakura) get a lot more development, at the expense of other characters such as fake Assasin and Caster and her Master (also don’t go into the movie expecting Gilgamesh…. he is basically not in the movie).
Similarly, I was surprised how much screen time Taiga got, which led to some funny comedic moments that didn’t pull me away from the mostly bleak atmosphere the rest of the film maintained, (and I mean bleak in a very positive way, the general atmosphere of the film is chilling and engrossing).
Unfortunately, like with all Fate routes, Shirou is still a fairly incompetent protagonist and as always makes numerous facepalm-inducing decisions. However by this point, I have come to accept who Shirou is, and if you are familiar with the Fate series, hopefully, you will have accepted who he is as well, (and to be fair, he is not nearly as incompetent as he was in past adaptions). Another small gripe I had was how much Rin was in the film, which was not a lot, but I won’t put that against the film considering how much development she got in UBW, I just personally like her much more than Sakura, who spends most of the film looking miserable until her glorious Senpai arrives.
The animation is fantastic, easily the best-looking anime related adaption I have ever seen in terms of presentation and polish (or though it can lack personality and style in some instances) and the fight scenes are amazing, except for a few instances in which I felt the battles moved a bit too quickly and had some jilted animation (such as the Berserker fight) the music is also fantastic, with the Aimer ED being especially great.
Overall I really enjoyed The first Heavens Feel adaption, and recommend it to people, but only if they have a decent understanding of the fate timeline, otherwise they will get very confused very quickly as the foundation of the plot is basically a montage in the opening.
I was going to give the movie an 8/10. however, the Kirei Kotomine scene pushed it to a 9/10 (if you have seen the film, you know exactly what scene I’m talking about… nom nom nom)
This will mostly be a character driven review, so I suggest you to leave if you don’t want spoilers.
I’m amazed and filled with melancholy.Those are some of the emotions the movie gave me. I’ll start off by saying that Heaven’s Feel is, without a doubt, the best Fate anime adaption thus far.
When I first heard that Heaven’s Feel was going to be a movie series, I was a kinda baffled, I had my doubts: how could three movies deliver without rushing the source material? All those doubts were destroyed when I finally saw the first movie: the movie format, presentation and content actually gave Heaven’s Feel a boost that couldn’t have been possible if it was a TV series. Before I go in depth to analyze various aspect, I must warn you that the movie is graphically violent compared to pretty much any other adaption of the franchise, precisely because they could get away with it given the the theatrical release. That, combined with the fact that the movie director teased sex scenes in the next movies, is the reason why I must advise you to avoid this movie series if you’re younger than 16. Without spoiling what’s coming, the route gets pretty heavy in both violence and sexual content.
First and foremost, this movie is a character drama rather than a war between supernatural beings. Yes, Heaven’s Feel is unique in that it is a slow burn rather than a bombastic experience. The Holy Grail War and most of the servants take a back seat in favor of the development of the human characters, in particular Shirou, Sakura, Rin and Kotomine. I must say that this was an extremely ballsy and risky move, with potential catastrophic results considering how many people are drawn to the franchise precisely because of the nature of the Holy Grail War, and how much of a popular character Saber is, who is pretty much a side character here. And yet, destroying all my doubts, the movie beautifully delivers what it wants to be. That’s the main aspect that sold me about it: the movie knows EXACTLY what it is and doesn’t pretend to be anything else. I like confidence, be it with people of products, and as a result I was truly happy that the movie never betrayed itself an stayed true to its premise.
The meat of the movie is the relationship between Sakura and Shirou. What really impressed me is how the director portrayed these two as beautiful, fragile souls that deserved to be happy with each other. Both Shirou and especially Sakura have suffered immensely in their past, and the movie goes all out in showing that, even with lacking the amazing powers and charisma of Gilgamesh or the intellect of Rin and Kirei, Shirou and Sakura have amazing inner strength that keeps them going. Through the movie, the director masterfully conveys the chemistry between these two, as you get the impression that they really understand each other to the point that they naturally get drawn to each other.From the comic relief scenes with Taiga and Issei teasing both of them about their relationship, to the more heartwarming and intimate moments, you can’t help but want those two to be happy.It’s the little, down the earth moments that make this relationship stand out, like Sakura”s decision to help Shirou with his daily chores since Kiritsugu’s death. It’s admirable how a person that suffered so much still goes all out to help those she cares about. The duality of their relationship, innocence and admirable will power, is pretty much the backbone of Heaven’s Feel as a whole, and, with spoiling what’s coming, it will pretty much explode in the most horrifying and beautiful way in the next movies.
Speaking of other characters what stood out this movie for me was Shinji. This Shinji was different from the Shinji in the rest of the franchise. Or rather, it was the same Shinji, but more human. Shinji in Heaven’s Feel is different from the cartoon villain he was in UBW. What was a laughable, mustache twirling pushover is replaced with a much more sinister, desperate and bitter being. Don’t get me wrong, Shinji is still an absolute despicable human being, but this movie presents him in a new desperate dimension, a much welcoming change from the one dimensional villain in other routes.
The other characters are pretty much the same as their other incarnation, with them being put in a much more otherworldly situation by the horrifying pseudo Servant known as The Shadow. The Shadow is more of a force of nature than a villain so far, despite being the primary antagonist other than Zouken and secret Servant. What I must remark about the Shadow scenes is how masterfully the direction captures the Lovecraftian and errant nature of this being. Historical heroes, known for their daring and glorious actions, are pretty much horrified every time this thing appears, with the lightning of the scene becoming more and more blueish/dark the more it advances. The message is clear: the Shadow doesn’t have a concept of dead, it’s pretty much impossible to destroy.
While the Shadow is more of a nightmare fuel inducing force of nature, the secret Servant is more of standard villain.The secret Servant is an average servant with a Noble Phantasm really good at killing people. Starting off as a brainless insect, he becomes more and more intelligent as the movie goes on, and by making the best use of his deadly Noble Phantasm while managing to turn the situation in his favor when The Shadow appears, he’s pretty much THE main badass aspect of the movie, a nocturnal killer as deadly as the Shadow itself. Still, as said before, this aspect still takes a backseat compared to the relationship between Shirou and Sakura, but it doesn’t stop this guy to have the best fight Ufotable ever animated thus far.It’s pretty much the main noteworthy fight of the movie and oh boy, Ufotable really delivers.
Despite those horror-like moments that will most likely be increased dramatically in the next movies, the more funny, slice of life scenes during the day are also a treat, especially the glorious Kotomine eating spicy food scene. He gets so hot that he starts unbuttoning his shirt, revealing his manly pecs. This little funny scene still has its meaning: it’s kind of a “breathing moment” between all the heavy, more serious staff. That’s what I really love about this movie: everything happens for a cause, everything has it’s meaning that beautifully blends together.
The art of the movie is simply stunning.To put it simply, you could pretty much stop the movie at any moment and use the images as the background of your computer. The vivid popping out colors and the amazing lightning are an absolute joy for the eyes to see. I was very impressed by how evocative the background were, an absolute masterful work and the best Ufotable ever did. The animation is also amazing and, especially during the longest fight scene in the movie, you could see how much it benefits from being a movie. The more graphic violence helps to highlight how dangerous those supernatural beings are, it gives off a sense of danger and “heaviness” that other part of the franchise didn’t have.
The OST, while standard Kajiura stuff, really helps setting the mood of the movie, from the frantic battles to the more somber moments. To put it simply, if you know who Kajiura is, you know exactly what to expect from the movie in terms of music. Nothing revolutionary, but pretty good at helping the atmosphere. The voice acting is, as usual, flawless. I especially like how intimate Sakura and Shirou sound when they’re together, but what stole the show for me was the hammy performance of the Secret Servant, who hilariously shares the voice actor of Gamagoori from Kill la Kill.
Overrall, the movie is pretty much a masterful character driven story where you can’t help but love what you see, how those characters feel, and most of all, YOU ROOT FOR THEM. This is incredibly important. You want to see Shirou and Sakura happy, because they deserve it. The heartwarming moments mixed with the thrilling sense of doom make it impossible to get bored during those two hours, precisely because the movie goes all out at making you care for these two. Heaven’s Feel is pretty much a personal experience: you can’t help but get passionated with out Shirou and Sakura fight against fate against all odds, help each other and fall more and more for each other. Their relationship is, simply put, genuine. A must watch for all lovers of character driven, slow burn stories about two people connecting with each other, and a fantastic opening for a trilogy which will most likely end up as one of the best anime movie series of all time.
19: 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.
18: No Game No Life: Zero
Japanese: ノーゲーム ノーライフ ゼロ
MAL Score: 8.25
In ancient Disboard, Riku is an angry, young warrior intent on saving humanity from the warring Exceed, the sixteen sentient species, fighting to establish the “One True God” amongst the Old Deus. In a lawless land, humanity’s lack of magic and weak bodies have made them easy targets for the other Exceed, leaving the humans on the brink of extinction. One day, however, hope returns to humanity when Riku finds a powerful female Ex-machina, whom he names Schwi, in an abandoned elf city. Exiled from her Cluster because of her research into human emotions, Schwi is convinced that humanity has only survived due to the power of these feelings and is determined to understand the human heart. Forming an unlikely partnership in the midst of the overwhelming chaos, Riku and Schwi must now find the answers to their individual shortcomings in each other, and discover for themselves what it truly means to be human as they fight for their lives together against all odds. Each with a powerful new ally in tow, it is now up to them to prevent the extinction of the human race and establish peace throughout Disboard!
Great story but it definitely feels rushed even with 2 hours. Tet recalls the story of 6000 years ago before he becomes the one true god and it pretty much explains who everyone is and the survival of imanity, however, they just go over way too many things and loses the entire “no game no life” part of NGNL. To elaborate, they have to cover the great war, romance between two characters, and focus on several characters in just 2 hours, which isn’t enough imo. What really pushed this movie from a 7 to an 8 was the fact that it was a recollection done by Tet, who makes an appearance at the beginning and at the very end, which may explain the amount of content covered. Still interesting and very enjoyable though.
To me NGNL will always be way up there in art, the colors and the unique designs and fantasy setting all work together to create a vivid and interesting experience and NGNL Zero does it even better. The setting is much darker than the original, but it was still an incredible experience to see in theaters to say the least.
Sounds were great and built up was on screen nicely. The ost playing as Tet concludes his recollection really made an impact, however, none of the OST’s in the core part of the movie stood out as some of the more iconic themes did in the anime.
This was another problem for me with the anime, as all the characters were great, except Shuvi, which is somewhat of a problem as she’s our heroine / Shiro replacement. Her entire premise as an ex-machina, and robot yet human felt out of place and just continues to feel out of place while she develops. As for the others, a majority of the characters resemble the cast of the original NGNL anime (since they’re technically their ancestors), and to top it off, the movie has a much nicer looking, less annoying Steph.
I point out a lot of the issues I had with the movie and the truth is it was great. I`m probably going to go see it again before I`m out of Japan but it`s something you have to see if you even somewhat enjoyed ngnl.
Btw if you saw it in theaters(Japan) you can buy goods and you even get a free little manga-like mini-pamphlet for free. Pretty nice!
The story is well written for both anime and Light Novel; Volume 6, content delivery is very good and easy to understand. However, it is important to watch the TV anime before proceed to the movie since not everything explain from scratch.
Art : 10/10
If you like colorful anime you know NGNL have it but dark-themed of NGNL surprisingly went along with the story theme. It’s the great war after all. Well drawn background and coloring, expected nothing less.
Character : 10/10
This part might containing a spoiler however reading this will not spoiling your experience.
Author, or rather Tet, made Riku and Shuvi similar to Sora and Shiro, keep in mind that they are not same person ( same VA though ) and Tet mentioned that he alter the story a bit so that the REAL story remain untold. In reality, probably that actually Riku and Shuvi look nothing like Sora and Shiro, but since it is 6000 years ago, the story look more interesting if the character similar to someone that we already know, Sora and Shiro. If they created entirely new character, we might not get the similar experience. ( Can you imagine an NGNL without loli heroine? )
Sound : 8/10
The sound is good, but not great. The OST goes well with anime with good impression but there’s nothing catchy. If you fall in love with the anime, sound is not something that you’ll hype, still it is good.
Enjoyment : 10/10
Watched this twice at cinema, further explanation is not required.
Overall : 10/10
This one will require math. Total of my score before is 48 which when divided by 5, resulting in 9.6 and after rounding off it, 10.
No Game No Life (TV) is, to me, a flashier version of the detested Sword Art Online as both anime share many similar strengths and faults. These similarities include poor pacing, overpowered characters and an outstanding soundtrack. However, unlike Sword Art Online which, aside from the gradual deterioration of its concepts, has relatively consistent quality, No Game No Life throws many of its strengths out in No Game No Life: Zero, the prequel to the TV series.
One of the most noticeable changes is the shift from a vivid palette to a duller one which helped enforce the movies more serious and dismal tone. Unfortunately, despite the visual adjustments, the writers could not get this tone across as the utilized poorly placed jokes to lighten the mood. These jokes, though humorous, ruined almost all of the more serious, melancholic moments this movie had to offer, altering the atmosphere and creating a lighter tone. These tone setting (and ruining) jokes made the visual modifications futile as the only offered to deduct from No Game No Life: Zero’s quality.
The creators of No Game No Life: Zero, despite changing the palette, fail to improve the overall caliber of its animation, keeping its quality relatively the same as the TV shows. This lack of color, however, expresses the negative aspects of the movies animation as it flaunts the numerous errors that passed us by in the first season. These poorly animated scenes, though prevalent in the TV series as well, were less prominent as the series used vivid colors and unique backgrounds to divert our attention from their errors. However, without the palette No Game No Life is so well known for, this facade is easily seen through.
Battles in No Game No Life: Zero are the exception when it comes to the animation quality as it revives many of the shows vivid colors and combines them with fluid animation. Many of these astounding fight scenes were, unfortunately, ruined by the CGI that accompanied them. Though I don’t believe this CGI is necessarily bad when compared to many other anime, I do feel CGI itself has a long ways to go before it can consistently and excellently be implemented into anime without ruining its overall quality. This poor CGI animation was only made more evident because of its brighter pigmentation, creating a stark difference between it and the somber background of the show.
Aside from their shabby attire, the characters themselves are quite aesthetically pleasing, using many of No Game No Life’s original character designs as templates for No Game No Life: Zero, retaining at least some of the artistic choices the series is so well known for. The characters themselves, however, are riddled with a multitude of flaws.
One of the more noticeable flaws these characters exhibit is their lack of rational thought. Throughout the movie, almost every character, both main and side, make irrational choices that only serve to push the plot forward. Riku, for example, uses his anger at the world (and how unfair it is) and presumed thirst for vengeance as the driving forces behind his will to survive. However, despite knowing Schwi was the one who destroyed his town and forced his neighbors underground, he is willing to take her in and care for her. This hatred and fear for AI among the humans is also demonstrated when Riku forces Schwi to conceal her identity from the rest of his group for her own safety.
Similarly, Schwi, hoping to learn about the human “heart” leaves her swarm, cutting off all connection to them to be with Riku.Why an AI, which is known to only make rational decisions, left in the first place and why she was allowed to, however, is never explained. What is explained, upon Riku and Schwi’s first encounter, is that Schwi is under the misconception that to understand the human heart she needs to have sex. This misunderstanding prompts her to consistently request Riku’s body. Surprisingly, it is later revealed that Schwi is incapable of having sex, making her reasoning for leaving the safety of the swarm in a chaotic world pointless (and therefore irrational). Why Schwi left her swarm to understand the heart despite physically being unable to (because of her misconception) is also beyond me and the rationale behind it is never explained within the anime.
No Game No Life: Zero’s cast also lacks a backstory of any kind. What Schwi did in the swarm, how Riku survived the destruction of civilization despite being a human child and how he becomes the leader of his group of dwellers (among many others) are never addressed and are only there for plot convenience. Without Riku having survived we couldn’t have had this story, without seeing Schwi’s actions in her swarm we can grow to like her (as she presumably made some inhumane choices which is why Riku is wary of revealing her identity to his fellow humans) and without Riku being his clan’s leader, he could never have ordered his allies to die for his sake and therefore would never have fallen into as depressed a state as he did (if he had still managed to survive) therefore giving him little to no motivation.
Regardless as to whether you want to know the backstories of the characters or not, their futures are just as poorly written. Aside from the cute and entertaining interactions between Schwi and Riku, there isn’t much depth to their relationship. In the anime, you see the dynamic duo meet and their first interactions and then there’s a one year time slip that leads to an anti-climactic confession.
At this point you’re probably extremely confused and are asking yourself, “What time skip?” I myself didn’t actually notice it but, researching the anime on several different sources, I discovered there is a major one hidden within the anime as the movie itself spans roughly a year and a half. What exactly happened over this year, however, is left up to speculation.
This major time skip, however, affects the shows pacing dramatically as it rushes major events with little to no actual build up. Because this movie also tries to cover such an enormous amount of events in so little time, the buildup and excitement meant to be felt in a lot of these scenes is lost and the anime itself feels rushed as it jump from one major plot point to another.
To make up for the lack of emotion presented in and around (chronologically) these major scenes, No Game No Life: Zero implements multiple “shock factors” to move the audience. A prime example of this is with Ivan, a deceased human whom we see sacrifice himself (at Riku’s command) so that others might survive on an outing during the first 5 minutes of the movie. Apart from knowing his loyalty to Riku and his clan, the only thing we really know about Ivan is that he has a (presumably young) daughter. After this scene ends (where Riku and another young man escape the crashed Dwarven ship), the anime cuts to a makeshift classroom where a young girl proudly proclaims that she can write her own name and can’t wait to show her father. Aside from this and a name, nothing else is known about poor little Nonna.
The movie then transitions to Riku’s return where Nonna rushes out to greet her father. The father who didn’t come home. The movie then tries to play this off as Riku’s breaking point (ruining it with a bad joke mind you), making us feel pity for both him and Nonna; characters we know next to nothing about.
Emotionless scenes similar to that one are abundant in No Game No Life: Zero as they express where certain characters relationships are in the movie. However, because of the time skips, these relationships aren’t fully expanded upon or developed and we’re left with poorly written shock factors and our own assumptions to fill in the multitude of blanks.
To make up for its poorly written “emotional” scenes, No Game No Life: Zero implements a heart wrenchingly beautiful soundtrack. Though the songs themselves aren’t as catchy or memorable as the TV series, they’re much better at eliciting the desired emotions from the audience. Unfortunately, No Game No Life: Zero, despite boasting a beautiful soundtrack, misuses its OST which, more often than not, takes more from a scene than it gives to it. Music in most anime (including No Game No Life: Zero) is meant to add to the scene and the dialogue but, in No Game No Life: Zero, the music competes with the actual dialogue for the limelight. This competition takes a lot away from the scene and I found myself becoming much more emotional because of the unbearably loud music than the actual dialogue or story it was supposed to be aiding in the delivery of.
Overall, despite being satisfied with the concepts No Game No Life: Zero had, I found the experience ruined by a multitude of factors ranging from poor writing to poor volume control. These negative aspects took so much from the actual experience of the movie that I just couldn’t bring myself to enjoy it, especially as it became more evident that my burning questions wouldn’t be answered.
17: 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.
16: 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.
15: 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.
14: 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.
13: Tenki no Ko
English: Weathering With You
MAL Score: 8.35
Tokyo is currently experiencing rain showers that seem to disrupt the usual pace of everyone living there to no end. Amidst this seemingly eternal downpour arrives the runaway high school student Hodaka Morishima, who struggles to financially support himself—ending up with a job at a small-time publisher. At the same time, the orphaned Hina Amano also strives to find work to sustain herself and her younger brother.
Both fates intertwine when Hodaka attempts to rescue Hina from shady men, deciding to run away together. Subsequently, Hodaka discovers that Hina has a strange yet astounding power: the ability to call out the sun whenever she prays for it. With Tokyo’s unusual weather in mind, Hodaka sees the potential of this ability. He suggests that Hina should become a “sunshine girl”—someone who will clear the sky for people when they need it the most.
Things begin looking up for them at first. However, it is common knowledge that power always comes with a hefty price…
“Hey can I copy your works”
“Of Course, make sure just change it up a bit so it doesn’t look to obvious”
This is snarky little thought that I came up with when I just got back from seeing this film in the theaters. However, in essence it is pretty much understandable to compare Tenki no Ko with Kimi no Nawa or even call this movie as its spiritual successor. Aside from the obvious the two movies are made by the same person, it also share the same universe where mystic/magic do appears in a grounded realistic setting as a main feature for the plot, RADWIMPS is once again present for providing the insert song/OST throughout the movie, and the two main protagonist of Kimi no Nawa did made a cameo appearances.
The plot plays out exactly same too, with the first half of the movie coming up with mix up of Melancholic but very cheerful type of movie and the second half had drastic change in tone ;becoming dark and full of intensity. Most of the jokes including some perverts jokes, reverting-expectations jokes, mascot jokes and pretty much everything else that you’ve seen in Kimi no Nawa, to my eyes this is very poor attempts, because it didn’t give any variety and it seems as though Shinkai’s very content with his usual formula (but then again why doesn’t he feel the need to fix something that he thinks is not broken).
But the problem of this movie is not that it is feels like a rehearse or it is a worse version to Kimi no Nawa. The problem with this movie is that judge on its own, it still feature the similar trait(or dare I say problems) of usual Makoto Shinkai’s movie; while the movie had an excellent production values it does not had a genuine plot and characters. It seems Shinkai has an idea but he doesn’t really manage to pull off the execution. Plot conveniences appear one after another, making it seems as though the objective is just to make the story progress whether is it believable. One of the examples is a scene when kids manage to escape from police station full of police and I do believe anyone with their right mind will find it odds and quite puzzling.
In the setting that is very unforgiving and cruel, the violence’s in the movie is extremely tame. There’s literally many chance when characters could die (and even implication of death of people) but the anime gets away with it and the characters never felt show any emotion on it whatsoever. The economic struggles the characters facing too is only explored in very superficial level and never goes depth, making the drama that the characters lacks of money is not very useful.
The romance is very tame too. With the amount events of relationship that the two protagonist present, I would believe they are at a stage where they are at least make a kiss. The girl even doesn’t mind to open her bath robe, but even so the romantic action is quite lacking. I guess both elements did not present so intensely because the targeted audience is for kids to young teenager, but even so why show those somewhat adult content from the first place and also there’s no excuse for that, as there are also others kiddy show that manage to show itself quite believable.
I guess my biggest disappointment is that Hina wasn’t a more fleshed out character. She’s too innocent and pure-hearted that at times she felt like a concept. At times, she didn’t feel real. Even her first and second encounter with Hidaka is also very questionable change of heart. Hidaka’s the prototypical anime protagonist, so we hear his thoughts, anxieties, frustrations, moments of bliss and joy, so on and so forth. We drag in too many side characters that don’t get enough development to stand out on their own, and as a result, they just needlessly pad out the film’s length. Had this been an anime series instead, we could then fully explore these characters and their issues. But in a two hour movie, the drama felt too forced between the characters and some of them become friends way too easily. Meanwhile the security was so useless; they’re dumb, unprofessional and incomptences making the films looks like Sunday morning cartoons.
And then there’s the second half of the show where things becomes chaotic and full of intensity. The ending was kind of resembling Life is Strange Video Games with the movie chose the ‘selfish’ options instead of the ‘saint’ which is not a bad thing at all. However, at this point the movie has become utter-train wreck. Aside from the usual plot convenient that happens, there’s also the usage of deus-ex machine that turn around reality with very little explanation. But the film doesn’t end there, what’s more? There’s a time-skip present which makes the consequences of the present time action been throw-out of window.
Having said that. You won’t find me complaining about the movie’s aesthetic. It is simply excellent, it’s always a pleasure to experience an anime film on the big screen and as expected, the art is simply gorgeous. Every background is full of detail and lively, it’s pretty much a joy to watch throughout, the character’s design is the same as Kimi no Nawa but it is they are quite distinguishable and have different feature on them. I feel like the animation could have been better specifically when the movie tries to show the fireworks happens all around city and I found the people standing still instead of cheering because the situations is happiness, but that’s just personal nitpicking and never it does hammering the quality of the animation at all. On the whole, it is just great production.
It doesn’t sound half bad either. The voice acting is generally very good; the background sound specifically the rain sound (which will feature a lot) is pretty spot on for building the atmosphere. Watching on theaters really enhance the assessment on the movie especially when you heard it on full volumes. Though one thing I did not like is that the trick that the movie uses when they want to insert some Theme Song/OST. The movie really likes to show the viewers some dialogue-less scene of the characters spending their moment or cinematic porn of the landscapes with the back sounds appears for like every 20 minutes throughout the movie. I feel like this is cheap effort to induces feels to viewers but I think the movie should do this with their story and not with their supporting elements.
All in all. I feel like Tenki no Ko is just really wants to follow the successful of Kimi no Nawa but it never feels had a major deviation from its predecessor. So in the end, we got an the all-too-familiar product and this time I feel the execution is worse. On its own, it’s never being a good movie; there are some genuinely emotional moments in this movie that could move some viewers I guess. Nevertheless, it is a thoroughly frustrating movie. If you want to finish your Makoto Shinkai’s movie collection or you just want to watch some gorgeous animation spectacles. Go for it. Otherwise, I’d really can’t recommend it.
I guess what I learned is that Mc Donald isn’t so bad restaurant after all.
I, however do encourage you to lower your expectations. Not that the film isn’t good, it is. Great even and really enjoyable for me. It’s just not Kimi No Na Wa 2, which I feel many people will be expecting going in and be disappointed. This is a different type of story and film that in my opinion feels closer to 5CM per second and Garden of Words than to Kimi No Na Wa. Keep that in mind going in. That doesn’t spoil anything, the endings are different, before anyone(mod) complains. I’m just referring to the storytelling method and type of story being told. It’s much more grounded and is its own unique thing involving a much more realistic narrative and a fresh MC backstory/internal struggle.
What do I mean by that? I don’t think I’m spoiling anything here by saying that the plot while being fantastical, is very grounded in nature. A huge part of Kimi No Na Wa was the magical aspect, here you’ve got that, but the story is much more rooted in the characters, their interactions and relationships. The whole “weathering with you” is more secondary to the actual inner struggle that the MC is going through and the hardships he’s been through which will resonate with many.
Art was top notch as I said before, usual Shinkai style with amazing detailed environments and amazingly detailed character designs. Sound was also really good, soundtrack was great and definitely set the tone for several scenes during the climax. Can’t wait for it to be released. Additionally the sound design with rain, weather and other day to day things sounded extremely lifelike and added to the immersion of several scenes. Animation was mainly stellar, but there were a few choppy scenes that I noticed when the characters were running or moving rapidly and I found it a bit jarring, not the biggest deal, but it was there. Mainly, the way the characters’ necks and legs moved.
Pacing was good in my opinion, I didn’t ever feel overwhelmed by the story, confused or lost. I felt that the script took me from A to Z properly and characters were given their time to shine. Main story and subplots progress smoothly.
Now for the negatives. The CGI was, in my opinion, kinda iffy at times and was a bit subpar in general. I personally think that if I can tell there’s CGI being used, it’s bad. That could just be me, but there’s several scenes where the CGI is really noticeable and so I have to dock points for that. That’s my personal definition. I also saw very little actual growth out of the MC from start to end. I know it’s a film and not a series, but I wish I would have seen more of his development. I like to see Protags grow and evolve over the course of a film and learn new things. I did not get that in this film.
Additionally, By the end of the film, there are still some unresolved questions and plot threads that I really wish would have been answered during the film, but I do have the Light Novel and am hoping that we will get more answers in that. I also found the ending to be really abrupt and not well led into. Again, think 5CM per Second and Garden of Words type endings. I reiterate, that’s not spoiling anything, I’m just comparing it to comparable works and types of stories. The ending is its own thing and completely unrelated. I just dislike how it was abrupt and left more to be desired. I like to see endings eased into. Hopefully the LN will tie up what the film couldn’t.
Overall, I really enjoyed it and while it won’t break records like Kimi No Na Wa did due to its more grounded nature, it is a really solid film with a unique story, beautiful character designs, great soundtrack and amazing art that I definitely recommend checking out if you can. I imagine there won’t be many people reviewing it on here for a year or so, so if you have any questions regarding the film or Light Novel, feel free to hit me up/add me.
Tenki no Ko tells us the romance story of runaway kids who kinda like each others but not really and then they start fighting against adults and opposing society because it rains all the time.
I found it very hard to relate to these youngsters because they feel like lifeless cardboard. Our main male lead ran away from home and got himself a gun which he uses to threaten people and pimps with. And our main female lead is living alone without parents and fighting against the child service by working as a… well, she is working for the pimp and she is a child. Why something like this was written for her backstory is something I entirely failed to understand, but at least it makes equally much sense with the male lead’s backstory.
The story itself consist of story events that are a highly random collection of separate ideas that are not tied to each others in any solid way or form. The male lead’s life is saved by a dude and after that he starts working as his assistant/maid. Most of the story that occurs before this specific event is just about wandering around the town doing nothing. The parts where he works as a maid is entirely about slice of life stuff which cannot be called really anything more than pointless filler. After meeting the main female with her pimp, he tries to save her even tho she doesn’t ask to be saved. Whilst doing so he gets beaten down and repeatedly hit in the face by the pimp until pulls a gun on the pimp. This, for some reason, impresses the female and they start hanging out.
Unfortunately the cops are onto him because he is a runaway with a gun and also onto the girl because she is raising a child on her own while being a minor, so things turn south until she sacrifices herself to stop the rain. Because she is now gone, the male lead and the small kid the girl was rising start fighting against 6 gun-wielding cops with their fists and win, and just so happens to be she didn’t actually sacrifice herself but the actually meet again and then the movie ends. This is the story and relationship development in a nutshell.
There is lot of stuff in-between these events, but to sum up why I didn’t like them is going to be brief: Every new story event that occurs is more unlikely and improbable than the last one. Every single adult character in the movie works as a tool in the narrative and their existence is limited to creating false tension. Their actions are the combination of logical errors and plain stupidity, and it all exist so that the story would reach its preferred ending.
I am not truly sure what Shinkai was thinking when making Tenki no Ko, but I can conclude that it surely was not a written epic or how to respect his audience.
In terms of art, this is identical to his past movies and it feels especially old and tiring to watch with this type of content. Perhaps I wouldn’t complain if there was something praise-worthy in other section. Like, to be fair, some of the weather related symbolism is quite nice and specifically few scenes towards the end are beautiful. It’s just that these thing really don’t carry the movie and feel highly insignificant compared to all the things which it does in a manner that could be called offensively bad.
I really didn’t enjoy this movie. The story board was a complete mess, writing horrendous, the world building and the supposed societal system in the work make no sense whatsoever and the way the movie and its character relations are build is just a plain how-to NOT. It tried to provoke some cheap anger reactions from audience with pimp-assault injustice and whatever other (supposedly) good kids vs. the world setup, but all it got from me was some lols and weird faces. Overall it’s an incredibly weak work with surprisingly poor writing and zero respect to give to its audience.
12: 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!
11: Violet Evergarden Gaiden: Eien to Jidou Shuki Ningyou
English: Violet Evergarden I: Eternity and the Auto Memory Doll
Japanese: ヴァイオレット エヴァーガーデン 外伝 -永遠と自動手記人形-
MAL Score: 8.40
Isabella, the daughter of the noble York family, is enrolled in an all-girls academy to be groomed into a dame worthy of nobility. However, she has given up on her future, seeing the prestigious school as nothing more than a prison from the outside world. Her family notices her struggling in her lessons and decides to hire Violet Evergarden to personally tutor her under the guise of a handmaiden.
At first, Isabella treats Violet coldly. Violet seems to be able to do everything perfectly, leading Isabella to assume that she was born with a silver spoon. After some time together, Isabella begins to realize that Violet has had her own struggles and starts to open up to her. Isabella soon reveals that she has lost contact with her beloved younger sister, Taylor Bartlett, whom she yearns to see again.
Having experienced the power of words through her past clientele, Violet asks if Isabella wishes to write a letter to Taylor. Will Violet be able to help Isabella convey her feelings to her long-lost sister?
Thank you so much KyoAni for the World Premiere Screening on AnimagiC, Germany.
Simply put, the story is like a very long version of a typical Violet Evergarden Episode, where this time Violet considers someone as her first real friend.
Animation is like every KyoAni movie breath taking and in comparison to the TV-series, there is slightly no difference. As for the soundtrack, there is some old very recognized ones as well as some new tracks. Main and support characters are presented or mentioned, with also a lot of references from the TV-Series.
Overall, very good story, animation and soundtracks.
is about a illegitimate noble woman Amy, who survived during the war years alone, resp. with her (not related) little sister Taylor. Due to a deal with Amy’s father both were separated from each others. In short, Violet helps Amy and later …
Story: The story is divided into two chapters. In the first chapter, Violet Evergarden goes to the private girls’ school and works as a private tutor for a girl named Isabella York. In the second chapter, the younger sister of Isabella named Taylor Bartlett comes to CH Postal Company and starts working as an apprentice mail deliverer. These two chapters are masterfully intertwined into one coherent story. As you watch, you will laugh; you will cry; you will be moved beyond words could express. See it for yourself. It is as perfect as a story can be.
Art: Violet Evergarden Gaiden is even better than the TV series in terms of quality and design. Whether it is an interior scene or an outdoor scene, the art design is impeccable. With vibrant colors and meticulously drawn scenery, every scene in the movie is breathtaking and a joy to watch. Simply put, KyoAni has delivered again.
Sound: Violet Evergarden Gaiden’s sound design is some of the best I have ever experienced. It sets the mood perfectly and makes the scenes more beautiful and vibrant. Kudos to the sound director Youta Tsuruoka and the composer Evan Call.
Character: Characters are well-developed and multifaceted. It is a masterful character design in every aspect.
Overall Enjoyment: It is very enjoyable and has a lot of re-watch value. I would re-watch it multiple times when the Blu-ray is released.
In conclusion, Violet Evergarden Gaiden is a masterpiece that is built upon a solid foundation. It complements the TV series and offers a fantastic experience. It is one of the best, if not the best anime movies I have ever watched.
What’s unique about this movie in which stands out more than any other normal Violet Evergarden episodes are :
– It has slight Yuri tease.
– Violet doesn’t really have much role in this movie. Instead, the movie feels more focused towards the two sisters. Amy Bartlett and Taylor Bartlett ( slightly contravening the rule of slice of life but I wasn’t bothered by it ).
This movie is like a dream come true for me. I used to think that if Violet Evergarden had Yuri. At least a little. Would it make the anime overall better? This is my answer. Yes. Yes, indeed.
Other than the Yuri teases that made me scream and go all fanboy over it. The movie uses the same soundtracks from Violet Evergarden ( except the ED ) and the quality is pretty much the same.
I cried my balls out when I was watching this movie. My eyes went red. My body was shaking. I tried to control myself but I couldn’t. I’d say that this movie’s sadness scale is comparable to the normal anime episode where Violet skipped on the pond or the famous episode 10 that everybody cries over.
I had an amazing time watching this movie. It feels nice to be back and I’m also incredibly glad that I had the privilege to watch this early. Y’all peeps who haven’t watched this yet. Don’t be fooled by the movie’s rating. It was botted. The movie was actually OK HAND.
10: Sayonara no Asa ni Yakusoku no Hana wo Kazarou
English: Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms
MAL Score: 8.43
Maquia is a member of a special race called the Iorph—mystical beings who can live for hundreds of years and remain separate from the lives and daily troubles of mankind. However, Maquia has always felt lonely despite being surrounded by her people, as she was orphaned from a young age. She daydreams about the outside world, but dares not travel from her home due to the warnings of the clan’s chief.
One day however, the outside world finds her, as the power-hungry kingdom of Mezarte invades her homeland. They already have what is left of the giant dragons, the Renato, under their control, and now their king wishes to add the immortality of the Iorph to his bloodline.
The humans and their Renato ravage the Iorph homeland and kill most of its inhabitants. Caught in the midst of the attack, Maquia is carried off by one of the Renato that has gone berserk. It soon dies, and she is left deserted in a forest far from home, now truly alone save for the cries of a single baby off in the distance. Maquia finds the baby in a destroyed village and decides to raise him as her own, naming him Ariel. Although she knows nothing of the human world, how to raise a child that ages much faster than her, or how to live with the smoldering loneliness inside, she is determined to make it all work somehow.
I wasn’t sure how to feel about it so I watched it twice in cinemas in Japan with a one week cool-off period in between both viewing.
Honestly, the first time it simply blew me away and stayed in my head non stop for like 3-4 days. This is a heavy statement but it is indeed one of the best animated movies I’ve ever watched. The second watching was in order to try to find flaws and to focus a bit more on small details of the plot and the music.
Let’s structure a bit the mess in my head, here goes:
Well, Mari Okada all right. She is known for her emotional stories and this one indeed enters the category just fiiiine!
The movie feels very long in a good way: The story, the world and places, the character development, the sub plots… All these elements adds up and fill the ensemble to the brim giving the impression to have lived and discovered a lot with the characters ; and that is one of the main strenghts here. Everything is well rounded and the difference of pace in the various plot elements do not leave any space to get bored. There is a well-balanced mix of emotional moments, intense action and everyday life organized in a non generic narrative structure, which I find very refreshing.
The theme developped is that of the relationship between mother and child. It is not a very common subject developped in detail and I really enjoyed the depth and various angles the movie takes to treat the subject.
Here, we have a very prestigious staff making characters and backgrounds.
For the characters, Akihiko Yoshida character designer on Final Fantasy and Granblue Fantasy did a great job in creating the various types of characters. Even with the adaptation done for animation, you still see his strong influence, especially on the astounding work done on the clothes that are very stylish, diverse and inspired. The resulting chara design is very simple and round on the faces which can be a bit unsettling at the beggining but very cute nonetheless.
About the background: the most prestigious animators of PA Works created incredible places helping to create a very rich world to discover. It is without a doubt the most impressive visual aspect on my end.
To conclude this section, the CGI: globally well done and integrated, some rare sequences stand out too much but it isn’t much of a problem in my opinion.
Kenji Kawai is quite recognizable as a composer and you get that very easily here with the usual sound and instruments used. Nonetheless it is a very inspired soundtrack that come and goes with some very insistant themes that really shape the movie and the emotions. Also very well paced and used.
I am not gonna go in too much detail here because I don’t wanna spoil the story but once again the characters are very well made, the vast majority of them are very logical in their motives, development and thought processes. The whole focus of the movie is obviously Maquia and Erial (or Ariel whatever) and their relashionship. So much so that you may feel that some secondary characters / subplots are not developped enough… Well it is indeed an argument but remember: It is the story of Maquia and Erial, so it is good the movie doesn’t dwelve too much in various directions.
Enjoyment + conclusion:
Well I suppose this is clear enough already!
I very deeply enjoyed this movie that awed me and obsessed me for days on end. It has a compelling story with a not so common theme in a fantasy setting including memorable scenes and very well developped characters with whom you grow fond of very quickly. It gets very emotional towards the end, all thanks to that very well paced development and evolution throughout the film.
Beware, it is indeed a tear jerker and both times the whole room was crying at the end.
Also, in case it isn’t clear enough already, this is not a family oriented movie, it is geared towards adults and some themes and element are quite dark and mature.
I’ve been trying to find flaws but putting aside very minor stuff, I don’t see any major problems. Add to that the overwhelming impact of all the goodness I developed above and you get a masterpiece to be remembered. Hence the 10/10.
Not everybody is gonna like it the way I did but if you are okay with emotional stories and fantasy, please give Sayoasa a go without hesitation and you won’t be disappointed.
Thank you for reading!
Firstly, I find the plot to be all over the place, and it never seems to have enough time to focus on each ‘arc’ of the story. Due to this, we see a few time jumps that aren’t explained and many many many coincidences throughout this animation. So many coincidences it’s actually ridiculous. So many unexplainable coincidences made it seem pretty silly many times throughout the film. The best example would be when Maquia one night disappears, and then the next thing we know she’s getting her hair cut in some random room and then next thing we know she’s heading an invasion of some sort. Like, wtf just happened? I have a general idea, but wow. There is literally no explanation other than she vanishes and then bam shes back again so you’re left to put together the pieces. And, of course, the fact that in a massive metropolis city she manages to ‘stumble across’ every main character multiple times across the entire movie. “The Clan of the Separated”? Yeah right… This for me dampered many scenes that would have otherwise been fairly heartwarming or sad. The overall plot isn’t a bad one. It’s actually a very interesting concept that I feel was just simply not done right. Or, maybe needed 2 parts and more time to do it correctly.
Animation wise it wasn’t bad. Certainly wasn’t great either. A few scenes looked quite silly but those were few and far apart. Was up and down throughout the film and sometimes is quite plain and boring but decided on a 7. Overall, not many complaints here.
Here I had no complaints. No song really stuck out and made me really think about it deeper but all the songs seemed to match their scenes and OST was well done. No issues here
Characters were pretty good. Clear development was seen in our two main characters which was nice to see. However, many other characters who seemed like they had importance, or could have had importance were simply forgotten about which was very disappointing. The biggest of which is the Army General Izol who swore to atone for his sins to Leila who was seen after that for maybe less than 5 seconds. In addition, the drunk man whom we never learn much of anything about whi randomly appears to save the day or just simply out of nowhere could have been done a lot better too.
In conclusion, it was a Weak 7. The movie was decently enjoyable but was literally coincidences the animation. Had a good concept with potential but didn’t live up to it. However, still created a movie that was appealing and a decently enjoyable watch if you don’t think too much about it.
*might contain light spoilers*
Let me start by giving some backstory information: I am huge fan of drama series, but unlike most people who consider themselves a fan of drama: I hate almost every drama that is being made today. No matter how highly praised the series and movies I watch are, they always end up disappointing me. Shallow teenagers cry in them for no reason whatsoever. Emotional depth is at near 0% if achieved at all. Story telling and characterization rely too much on spoon-feeding the feelings. The world building is miniscule since the sole point of the series is always just to offer some cheap tearjerking for those who never ask for more. Execution-wise, silence; situations where nothing needs to be said are the heaviest possible way to convey drama, but the audience is almost never respected or trusted in this way. So instead, the drama is directed at viewers via over-exaggerated voice acting, crying scenes and downright pathetic yelling sequences which only purpose is to show how much emotions the characters are feeling, but the viewer is always forgotten. What ‘When the Promised Flower Blooms’ does is different because the feels are not hitting the characters: they hit the viewer instead. For the first time in 7 years, the anime industry has managed to create something that made me cry.
I will keep this as simple and honest as I can.
-Takes place in a world that is a mixture of high-tier utopia fantasy where peaceful beings similar to elves are coexisting with nature and medieval human race in where kings and knights rule their part of the land in highly immoral and not-so-peaceful manner.
-Mixes together political thriller, war, drama and daily life of both races.
-Focuses on interracial willing and unwilling relationships. The main plot line being about elf-woman and a human child starting a family together where she takes the role of a (foster) mother. Another heavy motherhood-related concept is related to another elf-woman who is raped by the human king and becomes a (biological) parent to her child, but never sees her.
-Deals with heavy questions about family, love, living, finding your own place in the world. As well as regret, adapting and one’s purpose in life.
-Several different themes are presented via different characters and their circumstances to a point that it is hard to see how at least one of these POV’s wouldn’t resonate with its viewer.
-All of this is build around a solid story and inside a world so masterfully crafted that despite its drama-heavy content, it could as well be called just a fantasy movie.
-Build together in such an impressive manner that after finishing the 2 hour movie, I felt like I had seen a 24 episodes long tv anime. So much content, hardly any filler, smooth and impressive from writing to directing.
-Simply put: they are genuine, often very lost, trying their best, miserable beings at times, yet developed into something beautiful.
-Most of them struggle to face reality, some simply can’t. Ideas such as suicide are brought on the table. In generally, great many characters are put in places that are against everything they would prefer. The best part is how much sense the drama makes in the series and how honest the character reactions to every situation are.
-Elf-people are have close-to-immortal lifespan which creates confusion especially in the main plotline where our mother realizes she is cursed to outlive her adopted son. The son simultaneously has to deal with his own confused feelings where he starts maturing and surpassing this person who no longer starts to seem like a mother to him, but a litle sister.
-Very familiar feel to it. Fantasy world similar to video games such as ICO, Shadow of the Colossus, The Last Guardian + also the Disney Movie Atlantis.
-Character movements can look occasionally weird for they can never truly match the backgrounds that are so insanely beautiful.
-No money was saved in the making of this piece of art. It looks cold and brutal at times, yet so often incredibly beautiful. Water surfaces work like mirrors, the lighting and color pallet make details come alive.
-In generally, the art serves the immersive nature of the series so well that it can’t really be said to be none less than its very own thing. Something that can’t quite be found anywhere else.
-Some of the cast are voiced by annoying “shonen-like” seiyuu’s which is a minus.
-The important roles are highly fitting to the characters. They offer personality and practically never go over board with the seiyuu work. Even the rare emotional voice acting feel real and genuine.
-Music is used in the smartest possible way. Otherwise this doesn’t have an OST I would listen separately, but it really feels like it was made just for this movie.
-The first 15 minutes made me think this is going to be highly mediocre drama like all the other recent drama.
-Rest of the movie quite literally flew by.
-It left me with a long lasting impact, highly memorable piece.
-My eyes got wet in total of 3 times, and I legit cried during climax of the story where everything went down.
9: 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.
8: Fate/stay night Movie: Heaven’s Feel – II. Lost Butterfly
English: Fate/stay night: Heaven’s Feel – II. Lost Butterfly
Japanese: 劇場版「Fate/stay night [Heaven’s Feel] II.lost butterfly」
MAL Score: 8.56
The Fifth Holy Grail War continues, and the ensuing chaos results in higher stakes for all participants. Shirou Emiya continues to participate in the war, aspiring to be a hero of justice who saves everyone. He sets out in search of the truth behind a mysterious dark shadow and its murder spree, determined to defeat it.
Meanwhile, Shinji Matou sets his own plans into motion, threatening Shirou through his sister Sakura Matou. Shirou and Rin Toosaka battle Shinji, hoping to relieve Sakura from the abuses of her brother. But the ugly truth of the Matou siblings begins to surface, and many dark secrets are exposed.
Fate/stay night Movie: Heaven’s Feel – II. Lost Butterfly continues to focus on the remaining Masters and Servants as they fight each other in the hopes of obtaining the Holy Grail. However, as darkness arises within Fuyuki City, even the state of their sacred war could be in danger.
10 minutes into the movie: huh?
30: WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE
Mild spoilers follow.
No tedious philosophies nor pretentious dialogue that solely exists to postpone the battles and extent the awful battle tournament shonen storyline because of pride or other equally laughable reasons. No. This time it’s all about Sakura being too horny to stand and Shirou holding hands with every girl imaginable. Literally sex scenes and masturbation. Now this is what I always wanted from Fate. Finally understand why Heaven’s Feel is the best route.
The pacing can be a problem to some viewers because it is seriously fast and scenes change at ridiculous tempo. There is constantly something happening, twists actually in goddamn fate and people die. Why the earlier anime were even made when something this good was already written I do not know. As a whole, the story is insane and completely fucked up in a good sense.
No ‘master this master that’ bullshit from the servants. They powerful and have their own will this time around. Sakura literally too horny to stand. Haven’t seen anyone in such heat in the animated medium before, excluding hentai. The countless scenes where she said “senpai” and “humu humu” finally confirmed who is the best girl. Shirou is not afraid of anything I swear and Shinji got owned to hard they should cut him off from other routes. The feelings stuff is neato and for once the series feels genuine thanks to the characters who for once are not either living 100% slice of life or other times throwing some pseudo-intellectual horseshit one-liners no one cares about.
Slow motion hugging scene in the rain by goddamn ufotable. Prettiest shit I ever saw. Literally can’t wait to see Berserker vs. 2B Saber in blu-ray such badassery and perfect fight. The color pallet is glorious as ever and those animated tentacles piercing ppl’s hearts amazing. And just when I thought it couldn’t do anything more brutal they hit it with mutilation scene by Gilgamesh. The gore is seriously impressive.
Glorious as hell. Flamboyant and atmospheric. Absolutely served the movie. Great decisions were made. Ending song beyond catchy can’t wait for part 3.
Great fucking movie, will buy.
Violated is my body, and corrupted is my blood
I have been infested by over 1000 worms
Craving death, yet clinging to life
Have withstood pain to be with my Senpai
Yet his hands hold other women
So as I pray
Stay by my side forever…Senpai
Heaven’s Feel: Lost Butterfly is probably the most sinister and vulgar representation of a survival game that I’ve seen yet. Its structure is completely different from the other two Fate routes. Instead of showcasing that fantastical and epic feeling that the other arcs so expertly portray, the tone of Heaven’s Feel is much more despair inducing and grounded in reality. Characters don’t give grand speeches about their beliefs among other things and don’t always get moments of grandeur, and instead often find themselves dying in abrupt and grisly ways. Primal human emotions like lust and envy are amplified in this adaptation, showing off the impurities of the characters. Despite being a movie embedded with magic and mythological heroes, it never felt wondrous or magical. It instead instilled feelings of misery and dread into me, like a world devoid of the warm caress of light from the heavens.
Which is exactly how a death battle royale featuring broken characters should make me feel. And I loved every second of it.
I find it appropriate to start with what I found to be a big highlight of this movie, which would be Sakura Matou, the female protagonist. Heaven’s Feel completely deflowers the typical depiction of an anime heroine. Saber from Stay Night and Rin from UBW are prime examples of ideal heroines. They’re strong, attractive, kind, yet still have some issues that they get over with the help of everyone’s favorite idealistic protagonist Shirou. Plus they’re pretty excellent waifu material if you ask me. Heaven’s Feel takes an entirely different approach with Sakura. She’s much more realistic in that she’s far from perfect and pure. We actually see her masterbate on screen and express her desire to have sex with Shirou, while being disgusted with herself for having such impure cravings. She’s incredibly possessive of Shirou and is clearly agitated at the thought of him being with another girl, most specifically Rin. Her yandere tendencies led me to compare her with the famous yandere from a different survival game that I’m sure every anime fan knows: Yuno Gasai. And although Sakura is like at least 10 times less popular than Yuno, I’d say that she’s a far more engaging and fleshed out character than Yuno is. And that’s all thanks to the excellent portrayal of Sakura’s character.
Sakura’s story is hella depressing. I’ve always felt bad for her, especially after watching Fate/Zero. Yet my empathy towards her was highly amplified in Heaven’s Feel thanks to her finally taking the spotlight. Her relationship with Shirou was done excellently. It was one of the most legitimate relationships that I’ve seen in an anime. Both characters are broken in their own way, and they rely on each other to keep going. Shirou even gives up on his hero of justice ideal just for Sakura, which I found to be some great development on his part. Though what I find to be the best part of Sakura is her underlying dark nature. I think it was made pretty apparent from the previous movie, but in order to avoid spoilers, I’ll just say that she isn’t as innocent as she seems. Though it’s not really her fault.
In fact, my absolute favorite moment of the anime would be Sakura’s dream sequence and the aftermath that immediately followed. Using some creative visuals that rivaled the unique animation techniques of Studio Shaft, Ufotable presents a happy dream that Sakura is having where she’s a lovely fairytale princess in a kingdom of wondrous creatures. Yet the entire sequence is quite eerie, and kept me on edge. It culminates with her turning some of the creatures into candy after they were being naughty, and she happily unwraps a piece and eats it. Pretty harmless, right? But the scene that follows is simply chilling. And it was absolutely brilliant. It’s moments like these that made me really appreciate Sakura as a character. In fact, she was excellent in every scene she was in, and I could go on and on talking about her role in Heaven’s Feel. I had honestly never really given Sakura much thought since she was always outshone by the rest of the amazing Fate cast in my opinion, but my views immediately changed after watching this movie. Sakura is a criminally underrated heroine, and she deserves more love.
Most of the Fate cast hardly get any screen time, especially when compared to previous instillations, and like I said previously, usually just end up dying in gruesome or epic ways after going down fighting, as true heroes should. Since Heaven’s Feel is a group of movies and not a two season anime, I’m perfectly content with this approach. This way the movie can focus more strongly on its core cast of characters. So Saber, Gilgamesh, and others, I love ya, but you need to move over. You’ve already had your time to shine. Aside from Sakura and Shirou, the other character who gets a decent portion of focus would be muh fav loli in all anime (no I am not joking), Illyasviel von Einzbern.
Illya has a funny, and now that I think about it, only, comedic moment in the anime before everything goes completely crazy. She just never fails to make me smile. I love her relationship with Shirou in this film, and the two of them holding hands was pretty frickin kawaii. There’s also a really great moment where she overhears Taiga talking about how Kiritsugu would constantly go oversees in a desperate attempt to find someone who he dearly cherished, who would of course be his daughter Illya. It’s pretty heart-wrenching because Illya was led to believe that her father had abandoned her, but that was not the case at all. Dem unlimited feels tho.
I don’t think I need to discuss how amazing the visuals and sound quality are. Ufotable’s animation is the cream of the crop. Fight scenes are done beautifully. The slow motion hugging scene in the rain was one of the most visually appealing things I’ve ever seen. Everything just looks so damn good. And Yuki Kajiura once again composed a heavenly soundtrack. Plus the ending theme song by Aimer is pure epicness. The voice actors are amazing as always.
Fate has always been one of the most entertaining and well made franchises for me. Yet out of all of the Fate media I’ve watched, none have been quite like Heaven’s Feel. It’s a different experience from what I’m used to, but I absolutely love it. It tells a truly compelling yet tragic tale, and my eyes were glued to the screen while watching. After it ended, I found myself staring at my blank computer screen with unblinking eyes, an accelerated heartbeat, and numerous emotions flowing through me for a minute or two. Yeah, I know that sounds cringy af, but it’s true. I don’t believe that I’ve ever felt the same way after completing another anime then I did with Heaven’s Feel: Lost Butterfly. And let me tell you, I enjoyed every second of it. Can’t wait for movie three!
This review will heavily incorporate events that occurred in other works by Type-Moon, so I am going to assume that you are familiar with their other works.
I am pretty sure vast majority of the people who wants to watch this film are familiar with the original visual novel and have some general idea where the story is headed, but just in case you haven’t figured it out, Sakura is going to become full yandere by the end of the film. Not the Gasai Yuno kind of yandere. The good kind of yandere, where the film properly explores the events that gradually transforms Sakura’s fall from grace and makes her character believable. And that is in fact the key triumph of this film; it is raking in all the emotional weight accumulated from Sakura’s love for Shirou from the first film by crashing her world down slowly. The film does make use of some classical yandere tropes like “confine your boyfriend in the house to protect him from danger” and the “smiles of insanity” to make Sakura’s deadly transformation clear, but it was more effectively told through visually like the static interference happening to Sakura’s body, the ominous shadow that keeps following her, and that one scene where Shirou fearfully tried to ignore the dark presence following Sakura.
If you are familiar with the collaborative works between Type-Moon and ufotable, then you cannot help but draw the comparison between this film with Kara no Kyoukai chapter 3. KnK came long before Fate/Stay Night was published, so you can tell that Sakura is inspired from Asagami Fujino. They have very similar hair color, extremely similar build, and both are incredibly timid girls who later on go on a rampage, but that is about where the similarity ends. The difference is that in this film, we had an entire 2-hour film prior to this to make us feel invested in Shiro and Sakura’s love story, and also that Shirou has a large influence on Sakura’s humanity, and the outcome of the story depends entirely on Shirou’s decision. There was a certain scene near the end where Shirou had to make a decision about Sakura’s future brought tears to my eyes, because it was a perfect illustration of how much Shirou and Sakura are dependent on one another. Once you realize what Shiro had been up to, it suddenly hits you just how much Shiro is conflicted by his own emotion and his sense of justice.
That scene also revisited the single key dilemma that characters from Fate series have to explore endlessly. Will Shirou stick with his sense of justice and forsake Sakura, or will he forsake his hero complex and save the one he loves? From the perspective of us audiences, Shirou doesn’t only have his love for Sakura to consider. Abandoning his hero complex means abandoning the legacy that his father (Kiritsugu) left for him, which at this point defines his entire existence. Ten years ago, we saw that Kiritsugu’s sacrifice saved countless lives by preventing the Holy Grail from being fully complete, so Shirou should follow suit, right? It is not an easy decision for sure, but I love it that the film brings new perspective to this theme of justice and sacrifice that Nasu Kinoko has consistently tackled from multiple viewpoints from intertwined characters from different works. I must also applaud this film’s production staff for clearly communicating this theme and dilemma by trimming the fat from the visual novel and treating key thematic scenes with the respectful grace they deserve.
Now, regarding the technical merits, I will say that the film definitely had large amount of budget to work with, almost to the point of making the producers value quantity over quality. I forgot exactly what happened in the original visual novel, but it felt like the only things happening in the fight scene were explosions. Saber and Berserker also spent a lot of the time jumping from place-to-place and performing mid-air kicks like Rock Lee with five gates opened, so there wasn’t much opportunity to explore the mental state of the fighters. Don’t get me wrong, the animation was certainly gorgeous and fluid, and it also featured this insane sakuga where the camera showed the background of a natural scenery changing from following the movement of a character while showing beautiful animated explosions happening in that same background (the staffs of this film were boasting about this particular scene being the pinnacle of Japanese animation). But these fights feel empty unless we can feel the emotional stake of the fight, which it had none. There was also this scene where Sakura was confessing her secrets near the beginning of the film where Sakura was making so much facial and body movements that it seemed incredibly unnatural. I think this is what animators do when they have nothing better to animate but still want to make the scene look impactful. I am not a huge fan of this. However, not everything was overdone. Ironically, I felt that the art shined the most when there was not much to animate, when the characters were living their daily lives, when silence and calm conversations tells a better story. The music suffered the same problem as the animation. There were a lot of explosive choruses during fight scenes (no pun intended), which sort of distracted me from the fights, but it was haunting and beautiful during gruesome and emotional scenes.
So in conclusion, this is a film that is made for Type-Moon x ufotable fans through and through. You will especially get a lot of out of this film if you have already read the visual novels and have seen all the previous main Fate franchise anime. Ironically, the core hook of this film is its story and characters, which I didn’t think was going to be the case because I just simply didn’t think they would go in such depth in exploring the themes and characters in a humanistic way. The film is gorgeous to look at, but I question some of its animation directions. Like mentioned before, this is a story-focused film, so the best parts come from scenes that don’t involve actions. I will briefly mention here, that the highly anticipated sex scene was given the proper treatment. It was not overdone and it properly articulated the love between the participants. I just thought that you might be interested.
7: Ookami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki
English: Wolf Children
MAL Score: 8.61
Hana, a hard-working college student, falls in love with a mysterious man who attends one of her classes though he is not an actual student. As it turns out, he is not truly human either. On a full moon night, he transforms, revealing that he is the last werewolf alive. Despite this, Hana’s love remains strong, and the two ultimately decide to start a family.
Hana gives birth to two healthy children—Ame, born during rainfall, and Yuki, born during snowfall—both possessing the ability to turn into wolves, a trait inherited from their father. All too soon, however, the sudden death of her lover devastates Hana’s life, leaving her to raise a peculiar family completely on her own. The stress of raising her wild-natured children in a densely populated city, all while keeping their identity a secret, culminates in a decision to move to the countryside, where she hopes Ame and Yuki can live a life free from the judgments of society. Wolf Children is the heartwarming story about the challenges of being a single mother in an unforgiving modern world.
OK so bear in mind that this will be a very subjective review. I watched Wolf Children because I really liked Summer Wars and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, and because everyone said it was amazing and a tear-jerker. However by the time I finished watching it, I was just angry at it. Here’s why:
This movie certainly ranks 10/10 for most frustrating movie I’ve ever watched. Not even ridiculously beautiful backgrounds and high quality art direction can save a film with slow, barely-there plot and irritating characters. I couldn’t empathise with any of them because they consistently made dumb decisions for no reason (especially the mother) making me yell at the screen “why would you even do that?” which is what you really *don’t* want your audience experience to be.
Let me list every significant moment that made me want to pull my hair out: 1) woman in college gets pregnant after literally having sex with a wolf (calling him a wolf because he didn’t even have the decency to change into a human for at least the duration of the act – call me a prude but I find bestiality really off-putting in a movie that is supposed to be about a cute family going about their lives), 2) woman casually accepts throwing away her entire life to raise a kid with her werewolf boyfriend (about whom we get the absolute minimum amount of backstory or any kind of characterisation beyond “he looks cool” and “he’s a werewolf with a difficult childhood”), 3) woman gives birth at home without a midwife or anybody to help in case something goes wrong, 4) woman gets pregnant YET AGAIN, 5) gives birth at home AGAIN, 6) werewolf dad leaves the house and inexplicably dies, 7) mother takes her unvaccinated children and moves to the middle of nowhere.
Pause. I understand that I pretty much just summarised the first quarter of the movie, but this is exactly why I found Wolf Children to be so exhausting. And yes, a lot of these criticisms are because of my personal beliefs, but hey I never said this review was going to be objective.
Before I continue let me mention the only character I liked in this movie; old man Nirasaki, the family’s cranky neighbour that teaches the mother the basics of farming, because he sees how irritatingly useless she is. Over 10 minutes of this film are used to show us how hard-working she is. In general, Wolf Children manages to stretch a plot that could have been shown in 30 minutes into 2 hours by filling it with repetitive, redundant scenes that do not advance the plot. The only time this isn’t done is in the quite brilliant lateral shot that shows the children growing up (shortening 4 years into a few seconds without using any cuts or dialogue). And this is one of the most frustrating things about this movie: it’s beautiful. Artfully crafted, brilliantly animated. Which is the reason why I think so many people were fooled by it. Sure it has its nice moments, but their effect is diluted by the blandness of the rest of the film. Don’t get me wrong, I can appreciate slow paced, slice-of-life films, but Wolf Children’s pacing was all wrong. It started with an interesting premise and then did nothing with it.
But let me come back to the frustrating moments near the end of the movie (because I honestly can’t remember much that happened during the middle of the film – it was so nothingy):
During a storm, the mother chases after her werewolf son who goes into the forest (which he has been doing regularly, for months) instead of picking up her daughter who is stranded at school. She calls after him over and over again, almost gets attacked by a bear, falls down a cliff, and just when you think that something significant will actually happen in this movie, it turns out she’s just fine after her son picks her up and just dumps her outside the forest. Her psychopath of a son is 10 at that point. And I am 110, having aged prematurely waiting for this damn movie to end.
TL;DR the beauty of this film was wasted on it.
Teenage Hana is a hardworking girl putting herself through college. During a class, her eyes fall on a man who enthusiastically and diligently takes notes, but he has no textbooks and he disappears before roll is taken. Intrigued, she searches him out and learns that he sits through classes but doesn’t attend the school. From what we see, he works with a moving company, delivering goods to houses. He comes to university and bums through classes to learn. Hana works at a laundromat to make ends meet, and meets him when her day is over. We never learn of this man’s name, but he becomes Hana’s world, and she, his. Then their worlds are joined then broadened with the births of their children.
To call this film a movie about “werewolves” is doing it a mighty injustice. To call it a spirited, charming and heart-rending look about family is more accurate. And while it is always about the “ookami no kodomo”, it is carried by Hana’s life. Hana does what she can to keep her children safe and alive. She removes them from the urbanised world and carries them deep into a rural village where they are free to develop and understand the other half of them.
The film can be divided into three clear arcs. The first finds Hana in love, developing a relationship. The second follows Hana’s struggles to raise her young children who have special needs. The final one sees her settled while her children attempt to find their own places in the world. A recurring theme throughout each arc is that there is a reason to always keep smiling.
Ookami Kodomo is a film of change and self-discovery. Yuki begins the film feral and wild, easily embracing her lupine half while Ame, tearful and timid, is afraid of what it means to be part-wolf. As the years pass, Hana’s resolve remains unwavering, but her children grow apart from her as children naturally do. With this growth, they also change. The film changes focus from Hana as the children grow older, giving us their insight and feelings about who they are. Yuki’s desire to belong allows her to channel charisma into socialising with peers. Ame’s introversion makes him steely and independent. Yuki wants to embrace her humanity while Ame wants to explore the animal. Ame and Yuki yearn for something more, just as their mother knows they would but is afraid to acknowledge.
The story carefully and gently handles the fantasy so that it never overwhelms the film. There are no transformation hijinks or forced comedy or drama. The film treats the wolf children naturally. They seamlessly transform into their wolf-forms and out again. Some of the greatest scenes animated in the movie are these transformations as they move in and out of their dual identities.
The animation for the most part is fluid, with beautiful art painting a lovely countryside and the wilderness. Sometimes the film suffers from poorly chosen CGI effects, repeated animation and disproportionate character models, but this does not take away from the movie’s overall beauty. Hana and the children’s country home is clearly inspired by the 1988 classic My Neighbour Totoro, even down to Yuki’s exuberant exploration of the broken down shed and the wild grass growing everywhere. Adding to the atmosphere of the film is a well-thought out score which knows precisely what type of music fits a mood. Sometimes, especially in the beginning and ending of the film, it can be a little heavy-handed with its emotional outbursts, but largely, it works and it makes itself invaluable to the film’s impact. The voice-acting for the movie is one of its strongest aspects. Having child actors to play Yuki and Ame’s characters in their toddler stages was a wise choice, as their earnest delivery of their lines makes the characters more genuine and loveable.
Ookami Kodomo’s characters are the major reason that any viewer will become easily involved. Hana is one of the most inspirational characters ever to be given life through animation. Her love for her family is apparent. If anything, I’m pretty sure some of this film’s audience is going to feel a pang of affection for their own mothers. She dutifully cares for them in ways that are admirable and it is her unbreakable spirit and positive disposition that makes her noteworthy. She is a strong woman and an even stronger mother. The mysterious man who she loves doesn’t have the chance to be developed but it is this shroud around him that works to his character’s benefit. We care for him through Hana’s affections; in one particularly jarring scene, we understand what he means to her and this breaks our heart more than he himself ever would.
Yuki and Ame carry the film in places their mother cannot. While her hopes and fears for them are palpable, it is their experience of hope and of fear that makes these feelings more acute. Yuki’s voice takes us through the entire film with its steady narration, and her character grows from precocious and brave child to a young girl who unfortunately knows what it means to be afraid. Ame’s behaviour becomes a bit frustrating in the end of the film, but to understand him in the context of an animal, it makes perfect sense. He is a wolf.
The rest of the cast is made up of extremely likeable characters, including the old man who looks after Hana when she moves to the village and Souhei, a boy who crosses paths with Yuki. Even non-speaking, non-human characters like the caged wolf whose pain Ame senses and the wild fox whose freedom Ame respects are indispensable.
While the film’s imperfections are honestly very few, they add up enough to have it stop just short of being a masterpiece. With some tighter editing of the story, cleaner and consistent art and animation, more precise handling of the characters, and a more memorable soundtrack, it easily would have been a masterwork of anime. As it is, it is still essential viewing for anyone interested in a movie that looks at growing up and raising a family. It is a mature, insightful and often painful reflection of how deeply we feel about those we love and inevitably have to let go of.
The story is both simple and elegant, with a well constructed plot that follows the above mentioned periods of a young family in a emotionally dynamic and charming manner, evoking joy and humour in equal measure, and just the right amount of melancholy and distress. This is helped by the endearing, often cute – in a fashion non-stereotypical of modern anime trends, and thus refreshing – and naturalistic characters (again, no ridiculous anime archetypes to be seen here really, and the one ‘expy’ in the film is a rather respectful and very amusing pastiche of Clint Eastwood). Indeed, despite the fact that the eponymous kids are indeed wolf-children, their stories are those of many a young person – the desires to fit in with society and conversely to take ones own path through life are explored in a counterbalanced fashion between the two siblings, which adds great depth to their intertwining tales. Even if we are too young to have experienced the hardships and joys of parenthood, or fortunate enough not to have experienced the loss of a spouse or parent at a young age, most of us will still likely relate in some way to the young lives of Ame and Yuki.
The elegance of the plot and tone of the story are complemented perfectly by the exquisite animation, which was in fact created in 3D and then augmented with 2D (apparently the opposite of the anime film norm). The effect is that the simple, familiar art style one might associate with a Ghibli production or Mamoru’s other works is given that extra bit of depth, that touch more of aesthetic richness, and so when a scene that makes full use of the visuals comes along, one is treated to breath-taking feats of visual artistry, thus augmenting the whole experience as a whole. Underpinning all this is an equally impressive soundtrack, as well as superb sound design – I felt that the subtle crescendo of the rain in the first sequence in which Hana searches for a missing loved one was almost harrowing in its evocation of her growing despair. As a composer myself, I was pleasantly surprised to hear the effective use of interesting metres and rich textures throughout the movie, and thought the music did a great job emphasising and revealing the emotive nature of the film.
I saw the film in Edinburgh as part the Scotland Loves Anime festival, but because it had already aired in London last week, it was ineligible for that particular festival’s award. If it had been, there is no doubt in my mind that it would have taken that home as well, for as a film (read: piece of visual art, as opposed to Otaku fan service) it was invariably better than all the others on offer. Indeed, it is without doubt one of the best animated films I have ever seen, on par with if not better than many of Ghibli’s best efforts. I thus implore anyone who has read this and not seen it to go watch it at the first available and convenient opportunity. I’d be greatly surprised, and even perhaps worried, if it fails to warm you heart to at least half the degree that it did mine.
6: 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.
5: 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+)
4: 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.
3: 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.
2: Fate/stay night Movie: Heaven’s Feel – III. Spring Song
English: Fate/stay night: Heaven’s Feel – III. Spring Song
Japanese: 劇場版「Fate/stay night [Heaven’s Feel] III.spring song」
MAL Score: 8.76
The Fifth Holy Grail War in Fuyuki City has reached a turning point in which the lives of all participants are threatened as the hidden enemy finally reveals itself. As Shirou Emiya, Rin Toosaka, and Illyasviel von Einzbern discover the true, corruptive nature of the shadow that has been rampaging throughout the city, they realize just how dire the situation is. In order to protect their beloved ones, the group must hold their own against the seemingly insurmountable enemy force—even if some of those foes were once their allies, or perhaps, something more intimate.
As the final act of this chaotic war commences, the ideals Shirou believes will soon be challenged by an excruciating dilemma: is it really possible to save a world where everything seems to have gone wrong?
“Heaven’s Feel III: Spring Song” is the final part of a trilogy adaptation of the Fate/Stay Night visual novel. Those who have been following these films will know the story so far: in the first film, we established our protagonist’s journey through the Holy Grail War while encountering fierce resistance. Yet in spite of these obstacles, Kotomine Kirei pushed through his struggles, and we as an audience start to believe that he may in fact have the courage necessary to be victorious. The crisis of the first film comes when Kirei’s servant dies upon encountering the evil Matou Sakura who transforms into a hideous cannibal and eats Lancer. Our hero is crippled by this devastating blow to his mission, but the first film ends on an optimistic note when the young Emiya Shirou’s servant is consumed; giving the audience hope that Kirei might find a way to rise from the ashes of his defeat. Nobody cares about what happened in the second film.
This third and concluding film has everything any Fate/Stay Night fan could ask for; and I daresay there will be much to enjoy even if you never liked this series before. With the Holy Grail War turning increasingly morbid and grotesque, many of the characters you’ve seen in other shows are pushed to their absolute limits here. Their resolve is tested in a way never seen before, and if you are not familiar with the source material, I imagine the direction the story takes will be incredibly shocking. In some ways, I envy the viewer who has never read the visual novel because they will experience this yuetsu for the first time.
In regards to specific characters, this movie is a welcome return to form for Kotomine Kirei. He unsurprisingly steals the show after being horribly misused and sidelined in the last film. I cannot stress this point enough: That Kirei fellow is beyond incredible. What a guy. His brilliance is in stark contrast with Emiya Shirou; whose character regresses from the last movie into his more familiar role as the village idiot. He spends most of his time gaping open-mouthed while smarter characters exposit around, then drag him from one place to another while he tries to remember where he is and how he got there. Sakura shows her true colors here; becoming a moody teenage hooligan who dyes her hair and gets tattoos all over herself to try and look edgy. Sakura spends most of the time in angst and taking drugs. As for Illya and my pupil Rin, I have seen the film, and I can confidently say that they are in it.
Animation – to no one’s surprise – is perfect. Ufotable knows this is their final movie in the last Fate/Stay Night route, and they make every effort to raise the bar once more. The final days of this route feature some of the most memorable scenes in the visual novel, and the way which these have been translated into animation will be enough to excite any fan. Even if you hate this movie, you will not be able to deny that there will be some great screenshots and desktop wallpapers from here.
To sum up my thoughts: there are a myriad of positives. You get some of the tensest fight scenes in animation today; well-developed characters; bombastic music; and surprising twists. Kinoko Nasu may be a shit writer, but Heaven’s Feel was his magnum opus. If nothing else, ufotable did his work justice.
This next section has spoilers. Please keep in mind that the remainder of this review is not for you if you haven’t read the visual novel. Come to think of it, I cannot guarantee the rest is for you even if you have read it.
During the production of the second movie in this trilogy, there were early script drafts that took us through Kirei’s redemption arc. The original plan was for him to do the Lord’s work, and save the lives of the meek and the useless. In the course of this, he would gain a renewed fighting spirit and grow as our protagonist. There were early production talks of spiritual visits from Kirei’s father, and character developing flashbacks. This would have culminated at the end of the second film with a final confrontation with Dark Sakura to set up the final movie. Truly it would have been a wonderful sequel had all this come to pass.
Unfortunately for those of us who are anti-MAP, the director Tomonori Sudou decided to focus the movie instead on high school children having sex and dabbling in vampirism. The prevailing logic seemed to be: why focus on developing complex characters, when we can have ahegao Sakura on the floor pleasuring herself to senpai? Clearly Sudou could not suppress his perverted nature, and much of my development ends up on the cutting room floor. I am demoted to a simple doctor who gets sidelined for the duration of the movie. The scope of the film narrowed to a pinhead directly on Matou Sakura’s “tragedy” – where we are meant to sympathise with her murdering innocent people because, apparently, she is the true victim. In my stead, Emiya Shirou assumes the reigns of the main lead character, and the natural consequence is the movie ending with the apocalypse on the horizon.
No more. This madness ends now. We are now on movie 3, and I will not allow this pitiful excuse for a director to ruin my moment of glory. I am forcefully taking back the reigns of this train wreck, and making sure it arrives at the final station before it bursts asunder. When this trilogy is over, I will send Sudou to answer for his sins directly to Lord Nakata – and there will be much rejoicing.
This is all water under the bridge, however. Getting back on topic, this movie begins with me having a restful nap, once more dreaming of a perfect world filled with endless suffering and mapo tofu. Suddenly, I was awoken once again – this time by a knock at the front door of the church. Remembering the last time someone disturbed my slumber, I immediately suspected that Berserker did not learn his lesson, and was back to his old schemes. Grabbing my black keys, I rushed towards the entrance. Whether the cause of the disturbance was a hulking servant or hooligan pranksters, their fate would be the same either way. Looking out the window, I chanced to see what seemed to be a visually impaired mother abandoning her children on the church steps. I naturally assumed she gave up on parenting and threw her children away – as many “modern” parents that dye their hair purple are likely to do in this disgraceful society. I decided right there to take these children in. After all, with the coming end of this Holy Grail War (not to mention any future ones that might take place), it was important to harvest as much mana as possible; and unfortunately, the orphans in the basement had begun running dry as of late. This, I thought, was Lord Nakata’s answer to my prayers. Upon examining them, I was surprised to find that the abandoned children were my student Tohsaka Rin and – less surprisingly – Emiya Shirou. The decision was made to spare them for now, since I may have needed human shields before the war was resolved.
Both were severely injured, and needed to be cared for. Apparently, Rider did not have enough common sense to know that Rin’s mana would recover best within her own home; or maybe she knew this, and just left me to take her home. Both possibilities greatly annoyed me. This church is not some animal shelter where I return lost pets. Nonetheless, I performed my duty as a good civilian by dragging Rin to my car, slowly driving by Tohsaka’s house, and chucking her at the front door like a newspaper.
To anyone familiar with my plan, you would know that it is preferable that Matou Zouken does not have the Einzbern Holy Grail. It was therefore disappointing, though far from unexpected, to learn that Shirou failed to prevent this. Dark Sakura had managed to take the LoliGrail, which meant an effort would need to be made to take it back. I pondered over this while waiting for Shirou to finally regain consciousness. After taking advantage of my hospitality yet again, it was difficult to resist the urge to throw him out the window. This church is not a hotel, and I should not be expected to provide shelter to a child that is too stupid to survive in his own house. Finally, he began to stir. After explaining to the dimwit how he ended up here and assuring him that Rin was safely delivered home, Shirou seemed to lose his nerve and broke down. He became a pile of rage and self-loathing, and kept raving about needing to save everyone he doomed. Never did he remind me more of Kiritsugu than at that moment.
After enduring this whinging for an ungodly amount of time, I finally had enough. If this insecure mess continued to be the main character, there was no guarantee that we would achieve my ultimate yuetsu. That destiny could not be trusted to someone who had failed in every way so badly that he had to abandon his own ideals. The time had come for me to reinstate myself as a main character.
The two of us entered the Einzburn forest, and began making our way to Illya’s Castle. With great enthusiasm, I took this opportunity to have a mighty good jog through the forest. We were making very good time, and I began thinking through the different scenarios of what might happen – while ignoring Shirou panting and heaving behind me as he tried to keep up. Eventually, we stopped running and I let Emiya have a quick break – to spare his dignity, if nothing else. It was then that I reminded him to not focus on Sakura at this moment, and just concentrate on bringing Illya back safely.
Shirou, once again, lost his nerve, and began advocating for the death of Sakura’s unborn child. Worrying about her dying while giving birth, he threw a tantrum and accused me of allowing evil to come into the world. How dare he? The liberal education system has become monstrous indeed if a boy like Shirou is attempting to kill an unborn child without the consent of the mother. I then remembered how Kiritsugu wanted to use the power of the grail to force everyone into being “good” and eliminating all “evil”. Between that and what Shirou was saying now, it suddenly dawned on me that the Emiya household was partial to fascism. It was not enough for them to allow people to make their own choices in life whether good or bad; these authoritarians wanted to make sure everyone did the right thing – and for them, the “right thing” seemed to be whatever they want at the moment. Take this shadow killer, for example. Up until recently, Shirou would have agreed that it was “right” to save innocent people by taking out the serial killer – but that was before he discovered the killer was his sexy housemaid. Oh yes, now that he knows the murderer is a big-tittied skank that he wants to bang – only now has he become “enlightened” enough to understand that, on second thought, keeping her alive is what’s “right”. This has now gotten to the point where he is preaching about the necessity of non-consensual abortions. It is truly a wonder how Shirou can believe his own dumb rationalizations enough to keep a straight face. Throughout Shirou’s rant, I tried to make the very reasonable point that a newborn should not be killed when it has not done anything. To be born is not an evil act.
Finally reaching the castle, I concluded that Illya would likely not be held near ground level where she could easily escape. The balance of probability laid in her being in an isolated room on the top floor. It was then a question of how to reach her as fast as possible and making a hasty retreat. I could sense Assassin was nearby, and would soon interrupt our rescue. I therefore asked Shirou if he had ever gone rock climbing up a building before. He replied to me that he had not – which was fine all the same, since my actual plan wouldn’t be anything like rock climbing anyway. Grabbing the back of Shirou’s stupid shirt, I lifted him up over my head and wound back my arm. Breathing steadily, I loaded as much mana as I could into my arm and launched the brat into the air using the Bajiquan technique: 扔白痴
This succeeded in catapulting Shirou 50 feet into the air and crashing through the top floor window. I stood there for a moment admiring how precise my accuracy was. I would have certainly made a great name for myself in the popular American sport called “Base Ball”.
In any case, the time to ponder such trivialities were fleeting. The best move I could make while Shirou located the LoliGrail was to intercept Assassin and make short work of him. I may even be able to catch him by surprise and gain the upper hand. It took a few moments for me to scout out his location, as it turned out that he was in hiding – the first resort for any cowardly servant. The two of us confronted each other, and it was only now that I was able to get a good look at him. He certainly did look very similar to previous servants I had in 1994, who were also given the name of Hassan-i-Sabbah. The most significant differences were this new one had a ridiculously proportioned arm that made him look like a badly sketched character from an artist that could not draw human anatomy. This impression was strengthened when combined with the man’s lanky stature. My first reaction upon seeing him was a vicarious sense of embarrassment for Zouken, who seemed to have been dealt a bad hand if this was the servant he was stuck with. This ridiculous man made even the fake assassin with blue hair and a fetish for cutting birds seem dignified. If there was a return policy for servants, I would’ve strongly recommended that Zouken make another exchange. But this was just the first reason to pity this servant; and how idiotic he looked was nothing compared to the second reason. The fact remained that this mannequin-like servant had executed an innocent dog.
MY innocent dog.
He must be destroyed.
The table was set for his execution, but in the next instant, assassin had vanished without warning. He was no longer in the area. His escape puzzled me for a moment, but then the cause became obvious: Illya. That fool Emiya must have given away his location, and now the enemy knew we were there.
Returning back to the place where I made my great pitch, I leapt through the air, landing gracefully through the broken window. Shirou was still there, of course, and rather than carrying out the simple act of abducting a child, he instead was wasting time giving a soliloquy to Illyasviel about how much he loves jailbait. Fortunately, being a priest, abducting children swiftly is a talent that comes naturally. I saw my opportunity, and the time for netorare was at hand. I grabbed the small girl and jumped out the window with her in my arms.
Shirou, the tool, jumped out the window after me without using any magic to break his fall, and landed right on his face; I almost died from laughter right there. Afterwards, I started a brisk jog into the forest away from the castle. I didn’t run too fast, since I would need to pace myself to reach the end, and this gave an opportunity for the young Emiya Shirou to pick himself up and follow us. He eventually did catch up, and of course started complaining about how much his legs hurt, and asked us to slow down. This seriously was a pathetic excuse for a master. Here I was – a middle aged man jogging while carrying a child – and yet this youthful teenager still could not keep up.
In my peripheral vision, I caught Assassin frolicking next to us. The next moment after noticing this, daggers whizzed through the air barely missing me. It didn’t take long before Assassin was ready to throw more, but by then I was prepared. Having reached into my frock for black keys, I managed to deflect the daggers safely away. With me being armed now, Assassin must’ve realized I was not the vulnerable one amongst us. Soon he started taking aim at the defenseless ginger; who squealed like a pig while making embarrassing efforts to dodge the daggers. For my part, I assisted him whenever the projectiles were particularly accurate by planting my boot into Shirou from behind. This propelled him hundreds of meters ahead, out of the daggers’ path. I would have certainly made a great name for myself in the popular sport called “Foot Ball”.
Things were going well, until a most unexpected wildcard stormed the field. From the depths of the forest somewhere behind us, the mighty roar of Hercules Alter rang out. His feral viciousness seemed to echo all around us and shook the trees. That menacing growl reverberated with newly found heights of savagery. No one who heard that roar could doubt that he was ready to rip apart any human limb-from-limb if they were standing between him and his former master. At this point, I called for Shirou to stop, and handed him Illya to look after. I told them to escape by any means necessary while I bravely went to fight Assassin completely on my own. It was now on me to avenge my dear friend, my fallen canine, once and for all. I ran forward in the direction that I last saw Assassin. Behind me, I could hear the monstrous Berserker crashing through trees as he plowed passed my location. This was followed closely by ear-piercing squeals and cries for help; though I could not tell whether they came from Illyasviel or Shirou.
When Assassin and I finally met and battled, it began in close quarters with rapid exchanges of blows. I noticed that assassin was an appalling fighter. His attacks were so deliberate that I did not even need to use my “Hearing a Move” ability to be able to counter them. Even if a blow landed, it would have been so feeble that I probably would not even feel it. What this True Assassin really needed was a sandwich. Nonetheless, I followed my normal strategy, and aimed my blows at his eyes and groin; though honestly, I was not convinced he had eyes behind that mask, and even less confident about what he had between his legs. Suddenly, Assassin took out one of his daggers and lunged towards me. Unfortunately for him, his daggers were very small and did not have a hilt. I immediately drew out one of my black keys and parried assassin knife with so much force that I knocked the knife away and dealt a cut to the anorexic’s hand. I saw my opening. Using the split second Assassin was entranced by brilliant combat ability, I performed my super Bajiquan technique ‘Six Grand Opening- Elbow Upthrust’ right at assassin’s ridiculous mask, sending him tumbling to the ground in a heap.
At this point, only two questions were on my mind: One, where was Matou Zouken? That old fool must have been watching his servant from somewhere close. Secondly, how did this “True Assassin” ever become a heroic spirit? From what I could see, this Hassan-i-Sabbah was nothing more than a coward. He had no combat experience whatsoever. He killed from the shadows, and then would run away with his tail between his legs. I do not believe this servant has ever saved anyone, so what made him so heroic? If this useless piece of life was what the Grail qualified to be a heroic spirit, then I should qualify to be one as well. I spent years hunting down and killing dangerous monsters for the church. I even won the 4th Holy Grail War, which is more than this loser could say. Isn’t winning one of the greatest mage wars ever reason enough to become a heroic spirit for that stupid cup?
At that moment, my train of thought was very rudely interrupted by Assassin throwing one of his pathetic knives at me. He must have realized that he was no match for me hand-to-hand, so he was keeping his distance. This gave me an idea; I started throwing dozens of black keys at the scrawny servant. Before heading out earlier that day, I knew how violent this expedition to Illya’s castle might get, so I made sure to arm myself with enough black keys to survive a crusade before I left the church. This meant that I could throw a barrage of blades without ever worrying about running out. Assassin began leaping between trees and bushes evading my attacks; but when he landed in front of a particularly thick shrubbery, something changed. This time when I threw my projectiles, he deflected them away with a dagger. By this method, I then knew that Zouken must have been hiding in those bushes – a very typical hiding spot for a creepy old man like him. Zouken must have realized he was discovered, for Assassin immediately preformed his Noble Phantasm, Zabaniya. His deformed arm stretched out and shot towards me – pressing his fingers against my chest. Then something stirred inside of me – as if a creature was trying to burst out. I fell to the ground.
Surprisingly, as I lay there, I discovered that I was fine. Assassin’s Noble Phantasm did not hurt me at all. This made me start to chuckle. While standing back up, the chuckling turned into laughter – and then that turned into uncontrollable laughter. My body started to feel rejuvenated; I was growing full of magic! Full of might! Full of YUETSU!! Finally getting to my feet, I started conjuring as much strength and magic as I could. I looked over at Assassin while still laughing; I could see his dumbfounded expression behind his mask. My laughter finally subsided long enough to tell him, “If that was your best attack, then allow me show you what a real Noble Phantasm looks like. Rejoice!”
At that moment, I activated my ‘Hear a Move’ mindset. I knew Assassin was going to jump into my blind spot, but I just needed to know which direction he would go in order to intercept him. Sending a portion of magic to enhance my legs, I preformed the ‘Moving Stance’ technique at such blinding speed that Assassin had hardly taken half a step towards the shed beside us before I reached him. There was nothing he could do at this point. He was completely at my mercy. Channeling all the energy I could to my fists, I preformed Super Bajiquan ultimate technique ‘Hundred Postures of Death’ and sent both my fists careening into Assassin’s chest. That strike was so mighty that it ignited the hydrogen in the air and caused an explosion. The shockwave that resulted could be felt for miles and tore up the ground beneath us. The force of the attack rocketed Assassin into the air at Mach 3 speed. This also caused Zouken (who was no more than a few meters away from the attack) to be launched out of his hiding spot. It was over for the old kook. Having been exposed out in the open, he was completely helpless – and with assassin in the middle of his nonstop flight across Japan, the old man did not have anyone to hide behind.
I seized the cretin by the head and held him with one hand, as if holding an orange. I hope the reader of this can appreciate that up until that moment, I had not seen Zouken for 10 years. Seeing that disgusting face once more brought with it the wave of nausea I always felt whenever I was forced to perform the unenviable task of looking at him. Suddenly the sympathy I had earlier for him getting Assassin as a servant had vanished; these two were made for each other. Zouken likely summoned Hassan-i-Sabbah purposefully so they could trade beauty tips. I could not stand to look at him any longer, so with an anguished cry I pummeled him into the dirt. It was then that I saw his limbs begin to tingle, and dozens of those revolting insects began slithering out of his sleeves – but I knew this would happen. For a long time I had known about the undignified way which he stayed alive. Many evenings were spent in puzzled contemplation, or in the church archives researching about how a man like this could be definitively killed. Weighing the strengths and weaknesses of the magic used by the Matous’s, it took years just to pin down a theoretical method of cleansing him from the earth. It was only by the skin of my teeth that I had completed my ultimate weapon in time. Had the 5th Holy Grail War started a mere season earlier, I would not have been prepared. Zouken had, by this time, begun convulsing on the ground as his regular body lost its form by degrees. He was slowly dissolved into a colony of bugs. With little time to worry about strategy, I opened a secret pocket on the inside of my frock and withdrew “The Device” – there were many possible names that I thought of for it, but no single one could be decided on.
“The Device” was a 29 oz. can of Raid, ingeniously duct taped to a frag grenade. Never has the church collection plate money been used to fund an invention more worthy than this one. There was no time to admire my handy work, however. I pulled the pin out of the grenade, and shoved the devilish device down Matou Zouken’s pants. That done, I ran from the scene as fast as my legs could carry me – grinning all the while. An explosion rang out behind me soon after, and I knew that the Lord’s work had been done that day.
And then, just when I thought my day couldn’t get any better, out crawled Matou Sakura from whatever hole she was crying in. The murderer of Lancer had already been dealt swift revenge, and now the same would come to pass for Gilgamesh’s murderer. The sudden memory of that golden man made my stomach knot up. I turned away while attempting to keep the surge of emotions at bay. It felt like just yesterday that the two of us were going on our daily tandem bicycle rides around the neighbourhood, or kidnapping orphans and strapping them to tables in the church basement. It felt like the good times would never end; until one day when Gilgamesh said he was fed up with his mongrels being slaughtered throughout the city every night by Cousin Itt. He wished to put an end to it once and for all. In vain, I tried to stop him; In vain, I pleaded for him to let it go and not let it get between us – but in my non-heart I knew it was no use. There was a side of the King of Heroes which was too attached to his duty. The last time I saw him was when he walked out the church’s front door for the last time to face his enemy. And who was the one that killed him? This insecure and confused little wench, Sakura.
It goes without saying that I wished death on the fake Matou for what she did – not to mention that she had delusions of overthrowing me as best girl. On the other hand, I also must serve a higher calling and make sure she stayed alive to give birth. As a result, I did engage in battle with Sakura (to teach her a lesson), but I restrained myself from throwing her down the proverbial stairs. The battle didn’t last long since my Black Keys did little damage, and I was able to use “Hear A Move” to foresee anything she tried to attack me with. While I may have still been able to overcome this stalemate under any normal scenario, there were 2 critical factors which prevented that from happening here: One was that I was spent from having to fight off Zouken and Assassin, which meant I could not use my Noble Phantasm again. Secondly, that slimy cheater Sakura was able to control the Grail mud that was keeping me alive. She used this to her advantage hoping to instantly kill me; however, she did not understand that I was not just powered by the grail. I also had yuetsu coursing through my veins! As long as I had that, I could easily survive her measly attacks. Suddenly, the worm girl keeled over in a spasm of pain, and cried out for Saber before slithering away.
This sudden departure clearly meant that Emiya Shirou had finally succeeded in killing Berserker; it took him long enough. I would’ve already won several times over by now if I was in his place. Sakura almost certainly went after Shirou and Illya, and could be about to devour them at any moment. I rose to my feet once more, determined to save them yet again – but then I looked at my watch and saw how late it had gotten. The best move for me would be to go get some rest. I was sure some plot device would appear to save Shirou again for the 63rd thousandth time. I therefore went home.
The extremities of the day’s battles all bore down on me as I arrived home at the church. Perhaps my age had begun taking its toll, as I barely felt conscious while dressing my wounds. I turned on the radio to provide background noise during this painful work, but the sounds of the news that day barely registered. I recall hearing something about growing fears that extraterrestrial beings were responsible for the thousands of people disappearing. This seemed to be corroborated by hundreds of witnesses who swore that a newly discovered crater in southern Tokyo was caused by a UFO crashing into the ground just a few hours before the broadcast. Dozens of people who had run to the smoldering hole claimed to see a vaguely human creature laying in the center unconscious. It was described as being almost entirely black with a pale white face. Apparently, it had suddenly “disappeared” right before their eyes shortly after. I gave a scoff of contempt at these unhinged conspiracy nuts and the nonsense they spouted. Shortly thereafter, I drifted off to sleep.
Time grows short, so I shall quickly recap what the lesser beings were up to during this time. Shirou did encounter Berserker Alter, but managed to prevail using his left arm. It appears as though years of sinfully masturbating had caused Emiya Shirou’s arm to swell into a mass of muscle and shame. He defeated Berserker through these means; however, this did come at a price. The wickedness of his immoral pastime had finally caught up to him, and he began losing his sense of consciousness and the ability to perceive time – just as I have threatened would happen to hormone charged teenagers for years at my church sermons. Afterwards, they went home, ate some bad food, came up with a stupid plan, and started marching out the next day to their deaths. Moving on.
I awoke late the next day in high spirits; for that night I would finally have my wish granted by the Holy Grail. After receiving a good 20 hour nap, I had gained back some of my strength. I did not have much time to make preparations, so I grabbed the few tools I needed, and set out for Ryuudou Temple. I was the first one there, but this did not bother me since I would need to ready myself for Angra Mainyu.
My first job as a representative of the Holy Church was to prevent any possible eye-witnesses from being exposed to the Grail war as it reached its peak. I put on my gas mask, and set to work flooding Ryuudou Temple with enough knock-out gas to subdue a large pride of African elephants. This done, I found the perfect spot to set up; a nice open area at the top of the temple that overlooked what would soon become the battleground. I opened up my picnic basket, took out my blanket, and laid it out over the ground. I then poured myself a glass of wine and lit a few candles while preparing a side meal of mapo tofu. I managed to find my groove and settle down just as the show started.
Even from a distance, it was easy to spot that demon Sakura as she entered the scene. She was just starting the grail summoning ritual. I also saw my student, Rin Tohsaka, being accompanied by that red headed fool, Emiya Shirou. Both were heading in the direction of the crazy worm lady. It would seem that their intentions were to prevent the birth of Avenger but – unfortunately for them – their path was obstructed by the little King of Knights.
Ah yes, Saber Alter. She was nothing more than a cheap attempt by the writers to make Artoria more dark and edgy; moving her away from the fan-service furry we all knew and loved. Despite the writers’ best efforts to take her seriously, she still had the body of a 15 year old girl, and engaged in combat while wearing a 5th century dress. This is not to say she doesn’t deserve any respect – after all, she holds the title of being the first transgender King in history. Unfortunately, after claiming that title, (s)he went off and had sex with her/his cousin, which portrayed the transgender community as incestual whackos.
To me, the big problem with Artoria Pendragon was that she had no point in this Holy Grail War to begin with. Sometime before, the King of Heroes and I were sharing drinks and telling jokes. Gilgamesh told me that Artoria’s wish was to not become king in order to save Britain. After hearing this, we both exploded into laughter. What a stupid thing to wish for! I say this because I just visited London a month prior, and I can report that the country was doing fine, and did not need to be saved. This “complex and deep character” was really just a drama queen with a martyr complex. Either that, or maybe Artoria just realized that her place was in a kitchen and not on the throne; but I digress.
Getting back to the action, it turned out that Saber Alter allowed Rin to pass, but denied Shirou entry – a situation that I’m sure he was not unfamiliar with. My prize student made the right choice and left the village idiot behind to be vaporized. Sipping my wine and enjoying my mapo tofu, I watched as Saber Alter slapped Emiya around. Even with his jacking arm, he was useless; but right on cue, a plot device came in to save Shirou’s ass again. This time it was the visually impaired Rider grabbing the boy and pulling him out of harm’s way. It suddenly dawned on me that I was watching a fight between a girl in a dress, a masturbating fool, and a blind woman. This led me to consider the very real possibility that no one may emerge from this pack of freaks as the victor.
I turned my attention to the battle of the psycho sisters. It was a very entertaining fight; chiefly because as time went on, Rin slowly came to understand that she lacked the resolve to kill her own sister. Even with Sakura embodying pure evil, and no matter how hard she fought, Rin was doomed to lose before the battle began. As I think back now, Rin has never actually won a single battle in this war. Tohsaka Rin, who is supposedly so tough and powerful, was not even able to get a victory against that imbecile Emiya Shirou. I guess the years I spent misleading her as my naive student was not for nothing. It seems failure runs in her family. After all, Tokiomi did not put up much of a fight either when I stabbed him to death – hell, he gave me the weapon I killed him with. If the Emiyas are fascist simpletons, then the Tohsaka family is full of losers. There was no longer a point in watching this. Turning my attention back again to the Rider fight, it seemed that things were wrapping up. Rider was taken out, and Shirou had succeeded by stabbing Saber. Shirou watched as his old servant and friend died by his hand. It was an emotional moment for the young lad, and the surrounding atmosphere was so hushed that the only thing you could hear was me cackling from a distance. By the time my sides stopped splitting, I looked over to see Rin had lost too.
The fighting had finally ended, but it did not matter anymore. Sakura was already deep into labour, and we were all about to witness the miracle of birth. That certainly didn’t stop Shirou, however. He marched up to the helpless Sakura – who tried desperately to fight him off. The young Matou had become a strong independent single mother, and she didn’t want Shirou involved. Emiya Shrou didn’t care, of course. He was as determined to possess his “squeeze” as he was to abandon the responsibilities of parenthood. He projected a gruesome knife, and attempted to abort the baby right there. I was beyond horrified. Shirou had abandoned his ideals, and had now become what he hated most: the villain of the story. I thought all our struggles had come to nothing, but what happened next was nothing short of a miracle. Through God’s divine intervention, the child was still alive. His bond from Sakura had been severed, but the fetus remained viable. I praised the heavens and was overjoyed.
To my great sadness, the jubilation I felt did not last long. No, it did not last long at all… Shirou had already become a villain by that point, but in the next moment he became something much, much worse. Not satisfied his failure to execute the fetus struggling for life in front of him, Shirou took his wickedness one step further. He was no longer performing a late-term abortion; he was now going to commit infanticide. I could not fathom this. How could a boy – however moronic he may be – become so self-serving and sociopathic that he would kill an innocent newborn? This could not happen. This WILL NOT happen. If this sinner was to become the ultimate villain, then I would embrace my destiny as the protagonist and become the ultimate hero to stop him – and then finally I might become worthy enough for that grail/sky hole to be a heroic spirit.
I leapt down from where I was perched and landed between Shirou and the newborn. I threw my arm forward to point at Shirou defiantly, and cried, “Stop right there, evil-doer! I will not let you kill him!” I took a quick glance behind me to make sure that the baby was still doing well, and I noticed that this little miracle had already begun displaying those innocent mannerisms that mothers always find so adorable: such as staring into your soul venomously, and glowing demonically red. Emiya Shirou looked shocked to see me, but before I could begin to talk him down, the villain launched into a hateful and unhinged diatribe. He declared that the baby must be killed; that it is evil and would bring misery to everyone. Shirou said all this without the self-awareness to realize this could have easily been used as a reason to kill him when he was born. That decision to let him live was a mistake made long ago that I would make sure was corrected. Inevitably, the time came where I could not listen to his insane ravings any longer. I entered my fighting pose and cut off his vicious speech by yelling, “Enough of your woke left-wing bullshit, Shirou! Prepare to taste the FISTS OF JUDGEMENT!!”
Within a split second, desperation tightened every corner of Emiya’s face. He reached into his back pocket, and pulled out a weapon that I was more than familiar with: The Azoth Sword. “KOTOMINE KIREI!!” he cried out like a wounded animal, and charged holding the dagger pointing forward. I watched as the determined figure rushed at me closer and closer. The blade was now only a few feet away from meeting my chest, squarely where a heart would normally be located. There was great power in Shirou’s movements as he lunged forward thrusting the sword out to stab me. Then, I took one step to the side and dodged the blow. The young man now met empty air, and was falling forward off-balance. As his body sailed downwards where I was just standing, I calmly lifted my right arm high above my head, and then whipped it downwards to chop Shirou in the back of the neck. This strike greatly accelerated his fall, and his face collided with the ground, causing a loud “CRACK” to echo through the air. Did he really expect that to work? Who in their right mind would imagine that I – a martial arts specialist – would just stand there not moving and watch a 17 year old run up and stab me? I think it is safe to say that anyone who could imagine such a ridiculous death for me is a shitty writer and a hack. His body was now limp and motionless, and, as the hero, I seized this opportunity and began savagely kicking him in the ribs. After satisfying myself that his punctured lungs would keep him from attacking me again, I proceeded to phase 2, and started stomping down on the back of his head with the heel of my boot. Tremors shook the ground with each blow, and I could hear nearby trees snapping from the violent jolting. The ground burst outwards from the impact, and with each stomp we crashed deeper into a widening crater. It was in the midst of this fierce battle between good and evil that I think I finally understood Kiritsugu after all these years. Surely this was the sense of pride that made him wish to become a hero of justice. It was a moment of clarity that has stayed with me ever since. I finally felt your sense of justice, Kiritsugu. This one’s for you, old friend.
My stomping ceased. Shirou and I now found ourselves in a veritable canyon that stretched out hundreds of feet in both directions. I grabbed Emiya by his girly red hair, lifting him first to his feet, and then up off the ground. His body waved back and forth in the wind as if weightless, and I could feel a few strands of his hair breaking within the tight grip of my fist. My next attack was Super Bajiquan technique “10 Penances for a Fool”; I flung him upwards into the air by a few feet; which tore some of his hair off. Then, as he fell back down to my level and was about to hit the ground, I wound back my arm, and decked him in the chest cavity. Time seemed to freeze for a brief moment as Shirou’s body hung suspended in the air while registering the mighty blow and reacting appropriately. The next instant, all the dust around us was thrown up into the air in a massive cloud as Shirou was lauched back as if fired from a cannon.
The young man crashed into the wall of the crater on the far end, but actually managed to survive. He was slow to get up. It seemed he must have been equipped with Avalon, for that punch would have destroyed most people. No matter, with Saber dead, I only needed to overload Avalon to the point where I inflict so much damage that it ran out of juice. Shirou was shaking, as though the muscles that kept him standing were about to buckle. He started chanting some nonsense under his breath. The only words I was able to catch were some allusion to “boner swords”, but the distance between us made it difficult to hear clearly – I did send him flying pretty far, after all. I would have certainly made a name for myself setting dwarf-tossing records. Suddenly and without warning, I was surrounded by fire that teleported me to a strange land with giant gears meshing in the air, and a bunch of sword laying in dead, empty dirt. From the little I could hear, we were now in the reality marble ‘Unlimited Clock Works’.
With neither of us moving a muscle, two swords that appeared to materialize from nowhere were shot directly at me; they were met with a pair of my black keys. I then drew six more, and started parrying hundreds of swords that Shirou was somehow firing at me. From what I could tell, his attack was similar to Gilgamesh’s Gate of Babylon – but not as good. Therefore, I started charging right up to Shirou while swatting away the incoming weapons. I got within a few feet of him, then threw away my broken keys and commenced hand to hand combat. When dealing with someone who can fire an endless supply of projectiles, the best strategy is to be as close to the enemy as possible. That way, your opponent would more likely than not impale himself if he decided to use this attack.
After blocking a series of pathetic punches, I flicked Shirou on the forehead, which stunned the angry boy. I then preformed Super Bajiquan technique ‘50 Storms of Mercy’; which caused Shirou to be pummelled by a torrent of body blows thrown in rapid succession. The punches were so fast that my fists were not visible to the naked eye. Hopefully, this would be able to bring us back to the real world. The best way to stop a reality marble is to incapacitate the catalyst. I stopped my attack, leaving Shirou swaying on his feet for a second. I then preformed Super Bajiquan technique ‘88 Gifts from Nakata’; I clasped my hands together, and raised them above my head before hammering Shirou into the ground like he was a nail being hammered into a piece of wood. The resulting impact must have driven him a kilometer deep into the ground. At that point, the stupid gear world began to flicker, and then disappeared altogether.
It took some time for Emiya Shirou to heal and climb out of his hole. By this time, his flesh seemed to be pierced by dozens of metal shards; which jutted outwards from under his skin. It was as if his insides were actually made of swords, and they had decided it was time to bail. I was confident that Emiya did not have any fight left in him, but then the boy held out his sinful, jacking-off arm and whispered, “Trigger, off”. A moment later, a bright light exploded outwards with blinding intensity. The light slowly faded, and when it finally cleared away, there stood the young Emiya Shirou holding the divine sword Caliburn and Berserker’s axe sword in each of his hands. This kid certainly was something else. Between Avalon repairing his crippled body repeatedly, not to mention the several high level weapons being projected, I surmised that there could not have been much left of his brain that had not yet been fried away. The boy realized how outmatched he was, and decided to hold nothing back. He was now taking a massive gamble by trying to project the most powerful weapons in history. I barely had time to pull out 8 of my remaining blades to block the axe sword which had been swung at me. I channeled mana to my black keys, strengthening and enlarging them. The fact that this lad was duel-wielding a divine sword and a large axe surprised and impressed me. These bulky weapons were unwieldly given his style of combat, but Shirou has a lot of heart to make up for that. He used the axe sword and performed the Noble Phantasm “Nine Lives Blade Works”. I was amazed that he would attempt such an attack in his state, so in desperation I performed the Super Bajiquan technique “9 Times Faster than Nine Lives Blade Works” to move faster than sound and dodge his flurry of slashes. Even with this, I was unable to dodge all of them, and resorted to crossing all 8 of my keys to make a barrier to withstand Shirou’s final devastating slash. Even though I blocked only that last blow, the force from that single strike alone was so overwhelming it shattered 7 of my blades. A searing pain flared up on my left shoulder, but I was unable to see what happened clearly until the dust settled. I then saw my knuckles shaking as they held the remains of 7 broken black keys. Only a single one remained, which was able to meet the axe sword without breaking, but it could not deflect the force of the strike. As a result, the axe blade had slashed into my left shoulder, just above the bicep. Blood flowed from the deep cut and began pooling next to my feet. It was divine providence that my arm had not been severed entirely.
These were the results of Shirou’s savagely magnificent technique – then I stabbed him in the liver. He dropped the axe sword, and stumbled back while holding his side, but recovered enough to raise Caliburn into the air. Shirou started charging up another noble phantasm, with eyes that burned bright through tears of despair and desperation. The glowing sword came downward to point directly at my face. I parried it away as fast as I could, and the explosion of magical energy missed me and was fired up into the sky. I reached into my pocket and withdrew my final black key. With one in each hand now, I chopped off both of Shirou’s arms. Then I stabbed the unarmed man in the chest, and finally, the throat.
Shirou was still on his feet, but from what I could tell, he was one good push away from destruction. I grabbed him by the shoulders to hold him in place. Next, I wound back my right leg and preformed Super Bajiquan technique “96 Generations of Celibacy”; this brought the full, gargantuan force of my knee into Shirou’s manhood. The resulting impact caused a jet blast of wind so violent that it generated an F4 tornado. It was a good thing that I held him by the shoulders so securely, or he may have flown away and reached escape velocity. This was one of my favorite techniques, for it came with the curse that brings irreversible damage both to the victim’s body, as well as their soul. This meant that even if the soul was captured and put into another host, the family jewels would still not be operational. He would live for eternity as half a man, and every incarnation would make him wish for death; what YUETSU! That might be the timeline where Shirou eventually lost his mind and became that emo Archer. At last, the mystery of why that white-haired idiot had such a stick up his ass had been solved; decades of sexual frustration made him want to kill himself. It was difficult to explain what Shirou’s expression showed when the blow landed. That facial expression on the young eunuch will be something that I will always cherish. Shirou gave out such a high pitched shriek that all the dogs in Fuyuki City started howling uncontrollably. Then, he fell on the ground and began twitching. I did not need to do anymore. His death was inevitable, and I was not going to speed up the process for him.
Our battle caused so many thunderous roars and explosions that many residents the next day believed Earth was under attack. Coupled with the previous reports of UFOs crash landing, the city became hysterical and believed that aliens had made the first strike against our world. Riots broke out, countless cosplayers were assaulted, and rolls of tin foil vanished from store shelves. But this Holy Grail War was over at last. Now it was just a young man (?) on the ground with a hero standing over him. The deeply wooded area surrounding Ryuudou Temple, which had just seemed to be in the midst of cataclysm, was now strangely peaceful – were it not for the tornado that was barreling down the mountain. The heavily-wooded area that surrounded the temple was being ripped apart as trees were torn out from by their roots. I could have sworn that I had seen a white-haired girl dressed in some sort of religious wear being launched into the air towards the eye of the tornado.
It was in that serene setting that I was able to see the truth – I was going to die here. The grail mud that kept me alive for these 10 splendid years was finally about to give out. It was tragic for my life to end this way, moments away from the birth of Angra Mainyu. Ever since I accepted my twisted desires all those years ago, my life had been spent looking for someone to answer for them. My unrelenting need to see All the World’s Evil given birth stemmed from the desperate wish to have my own existence justified. Even if Angra killed me, I would not die alone on this planet. My very soul hinged on the answer to a simple question: Am I supposed to exist, or am I not? If I was not, then that would mean God is not all powerful, and is not able to save me; but if somehow I was meant to live, then what does that say about our Lord? I suppose we all suspected the great answer to these questions, and there is no shame in voicing them right before I left the land of the living: I exist – and Angra Mainyu exists – precisely because God wants us to. We are here to cause evil, because God wants us to cause evil; because God IS evil. How much joy it must bring him to watch his little creations beg him for salvation from the evil he inflicts on them. Humankind is like a sheepishly loyal dog that does not understand the cruel beatings it receives from its wicked master, and instead of resisting, they meekly plead with the same master to save them. This is my truth, and I am living testament to God’s twisted nature. As I stood there motionless, my last breath left me, but it did not matter. Lord Nakata’s voice spoke through me because the meaning of life is the same for both of us: Yuetsu.
Everything is perfect. The trilogy was beautifully ended. Not the usual finale, but I was nonetheless moved so much. Shirou Emiya’s faith never surrenders until the very end. He wants to save Sakura, a point that never changed throughout the course of the movie. I understand why Sakura is delicate, much more than before. Her depiction was really well-written. What is right? The decision is up to Shirou himself. Rin and Illya also have things like them. You can expect Kotomine’s position. It was difficult to understand some development for me, though it wasn’t a problem. These are bonuses for VN readers who would understand some of the more hidden nuances. Animation is awesomely splendid. Especially Rider. Her action scenes are very sick! All fighting scenes attracted me. Most creative art I’ve ever seen. Yuki Kajiura’s music pulled me into the screen fully. Aimer theme song made me cry…very memorable. Furthermore, the voice acting is phenomenal and well done. Sakura’s voice actress did a great job.
As a result, I really appreciate all the staff and cast members who were involved with this franchise. Best Fate ever made. Must watch for TRUE Fate fans.
No qualms here. I wish I could draw well enough to illustrate what I saw, so that everyone else can appreciate just how epic it was. I was blown away by how a simple exorcism(?) of Zouken could look so peaceful yet so cool.
Every bgm fit and nothing felt out of place. I particularly appreciated how the sfx illustrated how deadly each attack was, and yet act as a fitting backdrop for those scenes where a character expresses shock or sadness.
That moment Shirou decided to use Archer’s arm. That was where the non-stop action started. Connecting his present self to Archer in the future, he saw a mirage of Archer challenging him, “Can you keep up with me?”, to which he refuted, “No, can YOU keep up with me?”, followed up by the powered-up green Trace On coursing through all his magic circuits.
I thoroughly enjoyed the pacing and the prose. While not nearly non-stop action as I’d have hoped, the slow paced moments were like the silence before the storm. It keeps you on your toes, and many a time I had expected Tohsaka to cower and die then and there – what a brave girl! – but she didn’t. There were so many touching moments, such as the entire Shirou vs Heracles scene, where he traced all the way back to Illya’s and his past; the trust between Shirou and Rider, leading to the combination of Rho Aias + Rider’s Noble Phantasm, which I’ll leave it up to you to discover, and Illya’s reveal at the end.
The ending did feel a bit rushed though, and slightly anti-climatic, but other than that it was perfect.
Heaven’s Feel is the arc where everyone reaches their max potential. We’re given development for every character, including Kotomine Kirei. During the fist fight with Shirou, he revealed his true motives that he has been reiterating for ages. Not only did they mutually accept each other – something which Kiritsugu couldn’t do in Zero – no dirty tricks were used, which was very unlike the Kirei we have been shown.
The same goes for Tohsaka. We’re shown how she is unwavering, seemingly uncaring and knowing the right thing to do, as well as fully committing to it. But yet in the end, at the crucial moment, she couldn’t.
Similar for Shirou – he was willing to give up everything just to save Sakura. But yet, his wavered before he was about to conjure his final projection, instead choosing “I want to live on”,
It was a rollercoaster of emotions. What dies might not say dead, and people do not simply die when they are killed. No matter how dead they may look. The final master did his job thoroughly and skipped past the True End into the Good End. All’s well that ends well, and we’re even given the cameo of some characters from the Clock Tower. There were no plotholes, but maybe just a tad too much plot armour.
I’d recommend everyone to watch this movie. There was also a present at the live screening, which is related to the upcoming FGO movie – stay tuned for the trailer which should be released soon!
1: Violet Evergarden Movie
Japanese: 劇場版 ヴァイオレット エヴァーガーデン
MAL Score: 8.87
Several years have passed since the end of The Great War. As the radio tower in Leidenschaftlich continues to be built, telephones will soon become more relevant, leading to a decline in demand for “Auto Memory Dolls.” Even so, Violet Evergarden continues to rise in fame after her constant success with writing letters. However, sometimes the one thing you long for is the one thing that does not appear.
Violet Evergarden Movie follows Violet as she continues to comprehend the concept of emotion and the meaning of love. At the same time, she pursues a glimmer of hope that the man who once told her, “I love you,” may still be alive even after the many years that have passed.
Humans understand their feelings. Especially important people. A new era is coming with the passage of time. Everyone dies someday. A person who someone met becomes precious to existence for them. The core is love. Even if people never going to see each other, they live eternally in their hearts. Violet Evergarden. She and this series title are symbolizing life strength. We are the same, too. Life is Treasure.
Violet finally could know the meaning of “love” in TV series. The word is involved in this sequel deeply. Telling some emotions by a letter has mental imagination. Ulysse. He is one of the new characters in this series. His depiction is connecting Violet and Gilbert’s destinies. In a word, every character is well-written in terms of development. Violet is still thinking everything of Gilbert. She is a doll but not just a doll. She is an automatic doll named pure human. Violet is continuing to write letters for many people. The root can also be said for her dear Gilbert. Their relationship is straightforward in a good way and very emotional. This point can say the same for some character’s expressions. Violet and Gilbert think of their worlds. War in this series was ended but that’s not enough. Like we are living in these peaceful ages without war, Violet and her companions also living in their place so hard. That’s why many people never stop living for something purposes. Strong or Weak. These are symbols of this movie.
As a whole style, This movie is full of characters crying. Not your typical melodrama. As I said above, humans die in the future. I even don’t know when I would be dying. I felt like this movie is a love story more than TV series. It depends on you whether this is good or not. To me, it was very sweet. I have moved a certain scene so much. I cried many times while watching this movie. Combined with the effect, the voice acting was top-notch. Yui Ishikawa (Violet), Daisuke Namikawa (Gilbert), Takehito Koyasu (Hodgins) did really stellar job. Their voice acting gave me an admirable impact. Not only do characters move, but you should concentrate on every voice including three casts. Of course, art is also splendid. Beautiful, detailed, glorious. Really flawless. You can understand why KyoAni is one of the best anime studios. Music and theme songs are very wonderful, too.
I can say this is the perfect sequel. You should watch this finale. No regrets. Thank you, KyoAni. I never forget this holy masterpiece forever.
As the death-causing waves of COVID-19 continue to encounter all parts of the globe, one may understand how lackluster the world is without theatre movies – one of the most recreational industries of humankind. The fact that no movies were produced, or even recorded, for 5 or 6 months really hits the industry into its core, and casts a big doubt on its survival.
Luckily, the debut of several movies during this crisis has just confirmed that the community has its capability to overcome the difficulties. And to be honest, it was much more outstanding than I’ve ever imagined.
The latest movie of Demon Slayer was a good example, a remarkable debut and a truly wonderful cure for the whole community indeed. Everyone is talking about it, everyone is hoping this will act as a catalyst for more to come out.
I’m not an exception of this, but to be honest my intention was left on something else, something that may truly helps me gain back my fading interest…
Violet Evergarden Movie.
I have just finished it with my warming tears hooking on my face all along at the theater. I didn’t even remember where was the last time I cried so much like this…
Where should I start with…
The story was introduced in a quite unfamiliar way, which may distract or confuse viewers a bit thereafter. But from my perspective, it acts as a guide for the whole story to be smoothly displayed and thereby more easily grabs their intention. As the story continues to progress, you’ll have the chance to meet both new and appeared characters, each will leave a mark on the story as a whole.
What I love most in this plot is that everything was set and done exquisitely, a proper pace we’ve all seen in this franchise to, a decent amount of time separated for each scene to develop and expand the story, and the position flashback scenes which makes viewers cry so bad. Such great works KyoAni have finished, that every words, every expressions and actions matter.
Several friends of mine told me that the plot was what they did not found difficult to predict, and surprisingly they were right. It was indeed a drawback of this movie where the actions and conversations at the beginning indicated way too many details, which should have better been revealed in the middle or later of the story. Having said that, when the final phase of the movie was displayed and as your delicate heart were already step-by-step melted, it shattered yours and in the meantime pushed the whole story into a breathtaking finale.
The BGM and SFX of this movie is, from my perspective, the most successful and indispensable part of it. Old OSTs were played all along the movie, which really hit me with nostalgia and fill me up with fresh feelings that I’ve been new to for ages. The sounds of nature, the birds, the river, the waves of ocean, the sadness in rainy scenes were absolutely incredible. Crucial conversations was remarkably emphasized by wonderful soundtracks at the beginning but then just relied on characters’ voice soon after, which makes them more genuine and in a more aesthetic viewpoint. And of course, why should not I mention the appearance of “Michishirube” at the end of the movie, which was somehow sounded way much better than any versions and in any situations in the the anime series.
And not to forget the visuals, still as outstanding as usual. The characters were beautifully designed, each of whom possessed a unique look as well as a distinguished way of understanding and acting. And how about the landscapes? They are all delicately polished in the smallest details, which gave them a more real and lively look, as to highlight the meaning of each scene taken spot on them.
The conclusion of the movie is something I adore so much, but the point is that I’ve never read the novel so it’s not objective to say which one is better. To be honest, a happy ending is all I wanted after being shredded in pieces by the story and my own feelings, and I appreciated that they did not disappoint me… However, the changing of the sky color in the final part was something unrealistic. What I mean by that is, the way they changed the sky color in order to emphasized the contents (as it shifted from day to dawn then dust relatively) was quite unusual and not as successful as they expected it to be.
The movie, even though not flawless, is still something real authentic and fresh that may drive our feeling through this crisis. It’s not actually the one that marks the return of KyoAni after its 2019 tragedy, but it’s believed that Violet Evergarden Movie will set a high standard for any movies coming out after it.
So, if you feel life is boring and want something fresh, or you are desperate for more anime after you hyped up with Demon Slayer movie, then this is the one for you. I won’t add any further details that may ruin your feelings or your expectations, I’m just here to firmly tell you that the movie is amazing and you should give it a try.
Take a deep breath, close your eyes, let the music flowing in your mind and take you along until the very end of the journey.
So how this 140 minutes long movie looks compared to its prequel? Well, much, much better. It went full melodrama mode. Movie pick up the story basically where 2018 TV show left. Violet is unable to forget about Gilbert and don’t want to believe he’s gone forever. Even everyone told her to move on. The MAL synopsis doesn’t give much justice to the actual movie plot, but on the other hand… it’s somewhat perfect. This nearly two-and-a-half hour long movie throws us pretty fast in the story and it’s damn hard to avoid spoilers at this point. Enough tho say, that Violet herself is at her limit and anything can broke her faith and feelings she just learned to understand. As for romantic melodrama pacing is damn fast and story and directing doesn’t give much time to process the story. But it ain’t flaw, actually it’s better for the plot and it’s heartbreaking twists. Trust me, even with no spoilers, you’ll need napkins. This movie doesn’t take prisoners, you’ll cry. Especially changes towards Light Novel went even deeper than in TV series. And I’m happy of that, especially when it comes to the finale. Trust me, you can expect suprises, even tho it’s still bit predictable. But it was to be expected. It’s Violet Evergarden at her finest.
Honestly, this movie is fucking breathtaking. KyoAni did another masterwork, quality of animation is just speechless. Such a beauty, starting from flawless and even more enhanced character designs, throught amazingly animated action and dynamic scenes, finishing on backgrounds and planning. Animation is flawless, smooth and better than ever. Colours, quality, shadows, all location and character designs is just top of the top notch. If it comes to animation this year, no one can stand next to this masterfully crafted work, except ufotable of course. And even that, it’s extremely hard to compare this animation to anything I’ve ever seen. Work of pure art, such a beauty that leaves you literally speechless. KyoAni outdone themselves.
It’s KyoAni, sound quality is over the top. Perfectly synced, beautifully fitting every second of this movie. All-star seiyuu squad did work of the year, next to final F/sn movie, can’t actually decide which is better. Voicing is perfect, leaves no doubt that it’s real piece of art. There’s soul and love in every dialogue, feelings and power is everywhere, it’s a work full of dedication and understanding. Both, for characters and audience. Then we have beautifully crafted atmosphere, world is full of life and ambient sounds are just perfect. And finally we have soundtrack. Evan Call outshine himself once again, music is beautiful, very soft, but at the same moment powerful. It’s extremely well fit the melodramatic atmosphere and works both, as perfect piece of work that hit you straight into heart and separate album, will get it asap.
As before, this movie stands mostly on characters. But this time psychological portraits are deeper and much more detailed. Violet struggling with herself, her feelings, beliefs and past even more than before. It can be truly heartbreaking at one point. This time Dietfried, Gilbert’s brother received much more screen time and his character is much deeper and more clarity than before. Finally we can completely understand him, his pain and he went throught. In the past and now. Fortunately rest of the supporting characters got just enough time and plot to actually, unlike the TV series, be much more important to both, Violet and audiences. I mean that this time every important character, starting from Claudia finishing on Cattleya have important task and deepened characteristics and psychological portrait. It’s a huge step forward comparing to the prequel and deserves praise. This time characters are on the first plane, including the most important one next to Violet.
The movie heavily plays on the feelings, even more that TV series. But taking whole melodrama to another level it was pretty predictable. Enjoyment is top notch, but can be literally painful at some point. Before you visit your nearest cinema, ensure you have enough tissues on you. I’ll not spoil anything, but it’s Violet Evergarden, so trust me, you’ll need them. Enjoyment overall is great, you’ll sit on the edge of your seats, you’ll feel, laugh and cry with the characters. And you’ll love Violet even more than before. Such a powerful chatacter. Once again she’s having literally whole production on her shoulders, but this time, there’s no flaws. Enjoyment, even hurtful sometimes is outstanding. It’s a perfect entertainment. And perfect sequel, without a doubt it’s the best return for KyoAni after the tragedy. Beautiful.
It’s 10. Second best anine movie I’ve seen this year. Extremely poignant, beautifully crafted, with beautiful, bit predictable, but still satisfying plot. It’s an perfect example of closing a story and hitting deep into soul of its viewer. This anime movie is not only the best closure for the story, but actually is better in everything than its prequel TV series. It’s deep, touching and full of extremely different feels. Will leave you speechless, shocked and ultimately satisfied, even if you didn’t like prequel. KyoAni managed to achieve something very rare, they delivered satisfying, amazingly crafted epilogue to this story that’s actually better than ever before. 140 minutes long runtime gives perfect amount of time to answer all unanswered questions, to deliver beautiful romance and extremely touching story. It’s a masterpiece on its own rights. And beautiful tribute to all these people that died in this awful fire. Is it better than final Fate movie? Probably not, but it manages to stand next to it like equal. Terrible year for humanity, but great year for anime. This is how you craft masterpieces, even if you don’t agree. Beauty.
Long live Kyoto Animation.
And get bloody tissues, you’ll need them.
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Violet Evergarden Movie
2. Fate/stay night Movie: Heaven’s Feel – III. Spring Song
3. Made in Abyss Movie 3: Fukaki Tamashii no Reimei
4. Mononoke Hime
5. Howl no Ugoku Shiro
6. Ookami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki
7. Mushishi Zoku Shou: Suzu no Shizuku
8. Fate/stay night Movie: Heaven’s Feel – II. Lost Butterfly
9. Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! Movie: Kurenai Densetsu
10. Sayonara no Asa ni Yakusoku no Hana wo Kazarou
11. Violet Evergarden Gaiden: Eien to Jidou Shuki Ningyou
12. Kaze no Tani no Nausica
13. Tenki no Ko
14. Made in Abyss Movie 2: Hourou Suru Tasogare
15. Luo Xiao Hei Zhan Ji (Movie)
16. Tenkuu no Shiro Laputa
17. Sennen Joyuu
18. No Game No Life: Zero
19. Majo no Takkyuubin
20. Fate/stay night Movie: Heaven’s Feel – I. Presage Flower
21. One Piece Movie 14: Stampede
22. Cardcaptor Sakura Movie 2: Fuuin Sareta Card
23. Berserk: Ougon Jidai-hen III – Kourin
24. Kyoukai no Kanata Movie 2: I’ll Be Here – Mirai-hen
25. One Piece Film: Z
26. One Piece Film: Strong World
27. Made in Abyss Movie 1: Tabidachi no Yoake
28. Dragon Ball Super: Broly
30. Omae Umasou da na
31. Persona 3 the Movie 4: Winter of Rebirth
32. Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de Aru: Washio Sumi no Shou 3 – Yakusoku
33. Doraemon Movie 31: Shin Nobita to Tetsujin Heidan – Habatake Tenshi-tachi
34. Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya Movie: Sekka no Chikai
35. One Piece Film: Gold
36. Vampire Hunter D (2000)
37. Gake no Ue no Ponyo
38. Berserk: Ougon Jidai-hen II – Doldrey Kouryaku
39. Break Blade 4: Sanka no Chi
40. Aria the Crepuscolo
41. Break Blade 5: Shisen no Hate
42. Little Witch Academia
43. Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de Aru: Washio Sumi no Shou 2 – Tamashii
44. InuYasha Movie 3: Tenka Hadou no Ken
45. Break Blade 3: Kyoujin no Ato
46. Shingeki no Kyojin Movie 2: Jiyuu no Tsubasa
47. Shingeki no Kyojin Season 2 Movie: Kakusei no Houkou
48. Kino no Tabi: The Beautiful World – Nanika wo Suru Tame ni – Life Goes On.
49. Little Witch Academia: Mahoujikake no Parade
50. Neko no Ongaeshi