They are by far the best anime! We counts down the best anime to come out all the time, including the likes of Zounds, Maku, Ziggy: Soreyuke! R&R Band, and more!
MAL Score: 5.57
In 2003, Hideaki Motoki began “ZOUNDS,” a project centering around the theme of an ecosystem of sounds. In it, musical organisms called ZOUNDS not only communicate through sound, but also invent an abundant variety of sounds through interaction with the environment and each other, to grow and evolve.
MAL Score: 5.58
“There are two people who face each other in each space. Each pair keeps a few distance between their partners and find some fearful, tender, and comfortable feelings that fascinate them. The feelings are put into practice immediately, and they start groping each feelings. Somehow, I try to blend and connect them. “Feelings” are sound bliss for all who have a body and sense. I busily pick my feelings on the track of my life and reconstruct by animation to appreciate them.”
(Source: Yoriko Mizushiri)
48: Ziggy: Soreyuke! R&R Band
Japanese: ZIGGY それゆけ!R&R BAND
MAL Score: 5.59
Japanese rock band Ziggy comes to London and gets attacked upon arrival at the hotel after a recording session. The musicians barely escape the attack; however, soon they learn that their producer has been murdered, and they are the suspects! Chased by police and some mysterious organization, they find shelter at a local rockers’ place and even give a performance there; but it is not too long before their pursuers appear again.
There are a lot of great moments in Ziggy just waiting for well-deserved mockery, like the band playing an impromptu concert while on the run from the police, and a hilariously sexist and clueless scene where the members of an all-female punk-ish band giggle around in the kitchen, happily cooking a big meal for the all-male members of Ziggy and some assorted British punk dudes. You will also learn, again and again and again, about how important it is to never stop rockin’.
To be fair, the people in charge of this production weren’t completely deluded into thinking an audience would hail this fiasco as being great art. Once you learn why Ziggy’s been framed for murder, it’s pretty clear that the whole movie’s just meant to be a joke. The big reveal is genuinely hilarious and in the best tradition of campy films featuring rock bands. There’s an aerial battle that takes absurdity to new levels, and plenty of other deliberately ludicrous moments leading to the grand finale.
I had a lot of fun watching this little gem and definitely recommend it for a certain kind of anime fan. Ziggy is never dull. You’ll be laughing (or at least cringing) all the way through. Just don’t expect it to be anything more than what it is: an obscure bit of anime that manages to entertain despite itself.
And that mysterious organization? The Nazis. That’s right, the Nazis are back and want to take over over the world, but this time they want to take over the world through popular music. I know that this is technically a spoiler, but would you even be paying attention if not for the twist being that hilariously contrived? And to top it all off, the anime has members of Ziggy working with a cop from Scotland Yard who pilots an old World War II plane to attack a Nazi zeppelin to save another member of the band and to try and stop the Nazis.
Now, to pull it back a bit so that I don’t oversell this OVA, you have to approach this with moderate expectations. As awesome as that premise is for something, it’s still not as memorably crazy or over-the-top as some other anime is, like Angel Cop or Mad Bull 34, but I’d argue that in some ways that’s better. Sometimes being that over the top is tiring, so seeing something like this being a lot more low key can be a bit more enjoyable to some extent.
But considering that the anime’s plot is just an excuse to get the whole OVA going and the music being front and center of the whole thing, it’s pretty obvious that this was meant to to push the soundtrack that was being heavily featured throughout the whole thing, with the songs being features prominently in the credits.
And that’s because this was a promotional piece for the real world Japanese rock band Ziggy. But for those who aren’t in the know, who exactly are Ziggy?
Ziggy was and still kinda is (more on that later) a blues rock/hard rock band that was founded in Morishige Juichi in 1984. Throughout the years, the bands line-up has been constantly changing, with multiple members joining, leaving, and rejoining the band.
In the year 2000, they changed their name to “SNAKE HIP SHAKES” and released a few albums under than name, but they eventually changed it back to “ZIGGY” in 2003. In 2008, the band announced an indefinite hiatus and have only come back for short periods of time in 2010 and 2014, with 2014 being Ziggy’s 30th anniversary.
The TL;DR read version of it is that this 70 minute OVA was nothing but a promotional piece to put on store shelves to promote the band that it was designed around.
The band members didn’t even voice the characters in the anime, but I suppose that’s because either the band was touring at the time, it would have been too expensive, or the band members either couldn’t be bothered to do the voices for the anime or knew that actors would have been a better choice.
And this wasn’t the only anime to feature the music of Ziggy, with the long-running anime Detective Conan/Case Closed featuring other songs by Ziggy, including “Happy End” and “Step by Step”.
Ziggy is an anime that not only could have been made in the 80s, with it’s cheesy “Take down the man with the power of heart and music” plot and silly soundtrack, but it could have only been made during the Japanese bubble economy where Japan was having an exponential economic growth, which, coincidentally, would pop the year after the released of this anime.
And while it’s nothing more than a way to sell people on the band, it still enjoyed it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not some hidden classic, but it is a mildly amusing romp with a silly plot solely meant to get people to buy more CDs, but it was fun seeing some random 80s band take down the Nazis.
MAL Score: 5.60
Gestalt was shot over the course of a year in a Tokyo dormitory. Each day, Ishida would paint on the wall and photograph it using the available light from the window. The 7-minute long film, which is accompanied by haunting organ music composed by J.S. Bach, consists of those several seconds of film Ishida shot daily.
(Source: Midnight Eye)
It’s basically just a bunch of lines and abstract art across a wall next to a window. Honestly, it was pretty mesmerizing. The 7 minutes didn’t feel that long, and the art and music combined was actually soothing in a way.
There wasn’t really a story (unless you want to get really deep and philosophical with art) and no characters. It’s just art and music.
Give this a watch if you have 7 minutes to spare. It’s definitely not a waste of time, but it’s also not something I would commend greatly.
The art, animation and sound were superb, very well arranged together and made the 7 minutes very entertaining. The way the music blended in was specially well done.
I cannot recommend this to every one though, as this is very artsy and may not be that amusing compared to many other anime out there.
Now to the personal interpretation corner:
First let me note that the Japanese name “部屋／形態” means literally “Room/Morph” which I interpreted as “Morphing room”
Through the short, it felt like the paint on the wall was not only a reflection of the window, but represented how a story gets told. The development of the story told by the projections on the walls were tainted when passed though the windows and therefore acquired unique traits, represented by the shadow of the wooden part, interring the projections of the story being told. The sudden appearance of colors may as well represent how we perceive memories as good, bad, pleasant and unpleasant.
Interpreting the show was more than half the fun, Id’ recommend you do it too! 🙂
46: Cello Hiki no Gauche
MAL Score: 5.63
A Miyazawa Kenji story adapted as a puppet animation.
MAL Score: 5.70
Short animation by Ryu Kato.
Calm is no different, offering only an ambiguous two-act daydream rather than a fleshed-out narrative and a faceless, nameless girl as the main character. There is no dialogue nor character development to speak of, and thematically it is a barren wasteland. So what does it do different than other shorts and why is it worth watching? The answer lies in the title.
One of Calm’s greatest strengths is that it is stripped of all pretense: it aims to do nothing but offer a calm atmosphere with a tinge of eeriness, and it does so for all of its seven minute runtime. From the very beginning, the constant light flickering of the images and the yellowing of the screen evoke a sense of nostalgia as the viewer is transported into the girl’s daydreams.
In the following few minutes, sequences of evolution, the girl turning into a bird creature and flying through the skies, turning into a dolphin and swimming across the ocean, traversing planes of chizzled lines in the short’s usual handpainterly smudgy style of animation—generally strange but mesmerizing images create an atmosphere of calm. Meanwhile, the minimalist soundtrack consisting of mainly guitars and a synthesizer put one into a state of trance.
But as the day draws to a close, the tone shifts. The sequences of evolution turn into sequences of decay. The once bright colors make way for an overpowering red, as a heavy piano and strange beeping sounds suppress the former minimalist song. Where there once was fantasy there now is an estranging feeling of loneliness. The girl begins to fly once again, but this time over a dark and empty city. The strange noises become ever stronger, creating a growing sense of unease, as finally the sun goes down and the dream fades.
In just under seven minutes, Calm manages to evoke a number of feelings effectively and concisely. It does just what it set out to do and doesn’t overstay its welcome. It doesn’t accomplish any great feat and is far from life-changing, but it is beautiful in its own kind of way. To those of you who are lovers of the experimental and don’t mind something being insubstantial so long as it is poignant and unique, I wholeheartedly recommend this short. Those of you who prefer sticking to more conventional works with some sort of takeaway probably won’t like this one as much, but feel free to watch it if you will. It’s only seven minutes anyway.
No vocals or subtitles just background music/noise.
Unclear. However, it has some form of follow through. You are taken through a general path of a female person and her interaction with nature. Depending where she goes determines not only here background but who or what she becomes.
This transformation idea may be an effort of trying to show many different sides to natures. Or in other words appreciate nature for all it has to offer? Once you can wrap your mind around that idea there is the concept of time embedded as well.
All these forms with straight context can be previewed in countless ways.
-water based paintings. A somewhat of an original drawing approach. Although, tends to ruin how crisp a picture becomes. While it adds transparency clarity worsens. However, using this approach for this piece makes little sense. How can something be oblivious or transparent if all clues leading to it aren’t?
-The panting style also doesn’t play nicely with the background. In other words they are clearly drawn in different ways. Which doesn’t give off the natural you belong to this type of environment vibe.
I can theorize all i want to why the audio was what is was but i might never know. I am going to guess and say the artist/ or director found that people in general find peace or tranquility with acquainting themselves with sounds they have grown to. Where it is the sounds of the city of life on a farm. While that makes sense they did not preform to a natural standard. The sounds generally seemed foreign from not only the environment but from its partners in sound as well.
44: Suteneko Tora-chan
MAL Score: 5.76
A family of cats find a homeless kitten and take him in to their home. But one of the siblings becomes jealous about the attention the new cat gets from her mother and runs away from home. The new member of the family goes looking for her. Can he bring her back home safely and get her to accept him as part of the family?
The story is one about the consequences of the war and a reflection of how social order had collapsed due to the incredible calamity and casualties as a result of the unbridled total warfare. You had children losing parents on a large scale and being abandoned to rot on streets and in train stations and left to beg at markets. At this period, society in general was being encouraged to adopt these “lost generations” and help them out in a time of need.
Familial conflict due to common tribalistic tendencies in humans was common too. The hostile little girl was a representative of this particular strain of thought. The sudden appearance of a stranger in the family, a feeling of jealousy and the undeserved fear that one’s own place in this familial hierarchy might be upturned was a root of a lot of conflict. While the story tried to portray a glorious moral picture and a happy end, reality was a bit more cruel in such times of uncertainty and strife.
-Growing up has it’s ups and downs for sure. From not getting what you want to getting a good grade. However, as you to grow up if you are fortunate enough you can see what you could not see. For in this anime a situation presented which changed how things worked as a family. Now, the family unknowingly had a certain cycle of path when this situation presented as not going away there was bound to be some ripples before the water became ‘calm’ again. A brilliant idea for an anime with the perfect audience, children. For not only was the message kind and ‘opening’ it demonstrated a more helpful tool then the go to tool children have,feelings.
-Introduction was okay but as for the conclusion it was not only beautiful but symbolically beautiful. The say a ’round’ thing is needed for a marriage proposal for it has the idea of metaphorical connection. While i may or may not feel that way about marriage my self best you keep an eye on the ’round thing’ used this anime.
-black and white
-While the characters can be made out in most of the scenes, the choice of black and white has some drawn backs. If color was added it would allow for a faster recall if you had to take a to pause for something only to come back. In other words when you break it down scene by scene and really cue in on the art doesn’t it look like other things even though you know it isn’t. I am not talking about most of the film or even half, just a couple parts here and there. Mainly the water ‘tension’.
Enjoyment: I strongly advise having your children regardless of age watch this show. There is no negative moments in any regard. Aside from emotional but then again that is drama. And drama is almost in everything.
⚠️ Each entry in the Little Tora franchise is ten to twenty minutes long, so I am unable to talk about them without spoiling pivotal parts of the plot ⚠️
Suteneko Tora-chan (1947)
Synopsis: A family of cats find a homeless kitten and take him in to their home. But one of the siblings becomes jealous about the attention the new cat gets from her mother and runs away from home. The new member of the family goes looking for her. Can he bring her back home safely and get her to accept him as part of the family?
This short is kind of hard to see, even with the remastered visuals. Since it is so old, it has a misty look to the picture. This version of Tora-chan is a musical with realistic-looking cat people (the art-style gets more cartoonish as the series goes on). For the time it was made, the painted backgrounds are really eye-catching, it reminded me of one of my favorite animated films of all time, The Wind in the Willows (1995). The animation is smooth and the audio quality of the music gives the short an eerie ambience.
Note: There’s also an obvious nod to Disney’s Fantasia (1940), there’s a cloud full of storm people, wielding lightning staffs!
Tora-chan to Hanayome (1948)
Synopsis: Tora-chan and Miike and playing while their big sister prepares for her wedding. Just then a letter arrives; it’s from Grandfather, who writes that he won’t allow the wedding as long as he lives! Bride and groom rush to the church to get married before the old cat can stop them, but his boat has just arrived! Can Tora-chan and Miike keep him distracted long enough for their sister’s happy day to go uninterrupted?
I was really impressed with the animation in this episode-length story, it’s a little bit more of a cartoon style than the previous entry, but it still has art that borders on realistic. The other story had a litter full of kittens and this one just focuses on Tora and the little girl cat, and their mischievous, kid-like shenanigans. The directing in this one was very experimental and phantasmagoric, it’s apparent that Nekojiru-sō took some of its iconography from this animation particularly. There’s a scene where Tora gets a wood bludgeon to hit a bunch of bothersome pigs with; it’s a less cruel version of Nekojiru’s iteration of events, but still is dreadfully similar! The conclusion to this story ends up being really wholesome, too. I would suggest this cartoon particularly if you’re a fan of the old Betty Boop or Felix the Cat animations.
Tora-chan no Kankan Mushi (1950)
Synopsis: Tora-chan and Miike are working on the side of a tuna steamship and manage to run afoul of the short-tempered captain. But the captain makes plenty of trouble on his own!
The official description of this short says that it’s a “tuna steamship,” but I honestly thought it was some kind of naval ship based on the boxes full of dynamite and the sailor’s uniform. This short is far less of a Tora-chan and more of a silly little Popeye rip-off. I didn’t personally like the art in this one, it looked sloppy and the overly simplified drawings of the kitten’s faces made them look terrifying! The weakest link out of the bunch, and the shortest, too. The first two are twenty minutes long and this one is a measly nine minutes!
Conclusively, the iconic imagery of anthropomorphic kittens would become a staple in Japanese cartoons, ranging from Ginga Tetsudō no Yoru (Night on the Galactic Railroad) to Nekojiru-sō (Cat Soup)! Like Japan’s pension for conveying complex emotions through younger characters, the same can be said for their expression of emotion through cat characters. Heck, a famous Type-Moon artist, Takashi Takeuchi, has stated that the faces of his characters are modeled after feline faces! In a way, Japanese creators have taken the racist slurs meant to insult an Asian’s curved eye shape and made it into something beautiful, just like many of the Japanese myths around foxes. Somehow, during the post-World War II era (the Shōwa era), Japanese artists began to create a style of artistic expression that is refined enough to have its own name: anime.
43: Chiisana Jumbo
English: Little Jumbo
MAL Score: 5.78
This is a colorful, painstakingly animated musical about a boy and his pet white elephant who one day drift onto a peaceful island which soon finds itself caught between two larger islands at war
Sanrio got really, really trippy in the Seventies, and it definitely shows in this 30-minute three-act operetta. Set on an idyllic, uncharted island, where there is want for nothing and everyone is happy, one day a young boy and his pet trained elephant show up to entertain them (Act 1). Before long, however, war breaks out between two other islands on either side, and this little slice of paradise is stuck in the battleground (Act 2), where the young boy has to make some very tough choices with his unwittingly-always-happy companion. How will everyone turn out in the aftermath of the war? (Act 3).
Very well animated, as Sanrio was starting to come into its own. It’s almost all song-and-dance from beginning to end. A cute little diversion from the usual anime fare, even the horrors of war had an element of cuteness (with the bullets with faces). Then again, it is Sanrio, after all.
42: A Brightening Life
English: A brightening life
Japanese: A brightening life
MAL Score: 5.78
Above ground, there are many people, coming and going. Underneath a certain sidewalk grate, lives a garbage bag. He has no work, no home, and no family. This is a story of the dirty, black garbage bag and how he gains new life through his connection to the outside world.
However while mostly positively there was a section within the middle that left me mostly confused. I tried to think of what the director was attempting to convey within the context of the metaphors being used but I was left in the dark a bit. Maybe i simply misunderstood but I felt that with a little more clarity this easily could have been an even greater story.
Amazing story, quality animation, and I wholeheartedly recommend the 8 minutes of view time to appreciate this hidden gem.
Throughout eight minutes, the trash bag gets thrown around,
beaten up, and consumes the ‘garbage’ people drop, all while exhilarating sound dances in our ears. The trash bag yearns for a change from its dismal life. The stop motion did a good of capturing just that.
I appreciate the vivid imagery in each action and event that the trash bag goes through. The hardships one faces in life, a persons’ greed, feeling, fall, and desire. The trash bag is tormented and swept by its want and fear.
The trash bag blooms out of the prison that once held it down and becomes something extraordinary. It is sure a rollercoaster of color and noise, complementing the overall theme. It had a bittersweet aftertaste to it.
It was surely worth watching~
MAL Score: 5.82
A cavalcade of heretofore unheard-of critters, great and small, cute and hirsute.
(Source: Fantasia Festival)
40: Atomic World
Japanese: ATOMIC WORLD
MAL Score: 5.85
Yoshiki Imazu’s graduation work at Musashino Art University.
The ideas of growth and expansion were compelling and showed just how small we really are. This is shown throughout the animation where the characters walking across the street are compared to the tall skyscrapers and at the end when the camera pans out to show that everything that just occurred all happened in this one small portion of the world.
The story was relatively short at only two minutes and fifty seconds but it told a lot in this time frame. The music choice was rather wonderful and showed the fast pace action in the animation.
Overall this anime was really enjoyable and I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for indie shorts.
Sorry to get philosophical but how the hell is it possible that someone doesn’t have ANY self awareness? Ok, you’ve made the THING and you still don’t ask yourself if it’s ok to release this to the public. Now you are proud of this THING, disgusting. To make an anime, you must need at least 2 anime girls, 1 has the possibility to be a trap, they both need to be hot and be able to be on a body pillow. This is not an anime.
It is a good CARTOON, yes, I’ve said it. The character development of that cloud family is outstanding. Them creating a massive country of water droplets, scientifically called a hurricane, and then one of the founding family members finding out that it was all a lie so it goes to the ground and meets a seed, they fall in love but the water drop gets betrayed AGAIN by the seed, the seed consumes it and turns in to a tree and creates a tree country, scientifically known as a forest. Then it zooms out to see the world, if this happened in one small area, it must have happened multiple times in different places. Good job, music is bad though. Why a 7 though? 40 seconds in, we see a titan from Attack on Titan, the creator stole it!
-Kyle Anthony Patrick Fitzgerald Mangan
39: San Ge Heshang
MAL Score: 5.87
The film is based on the ancient Chinese proverb “One monk will shoulder two buckets of water, two monks will share the load, but add a third and no one will want to fetch water.” The film does not contain any dialogues.
38: Mu Di
MAL Score: 5.88
The story is about a relationship between a cow herding boy with an extraordinary flute playing ability and his buffalo companion. The boy dreams that he loses the buffalo, and when the buffalo won’t move from his hiding place, the boy uses a flute melody to bring him back.
37: Crazy for It
Japanese: crazy for it
MAL Score: 5.90
Yutaro Kubo’s graduation film.
brushing my teeth I feel exactly the same.
this anime short changed my life for the better
I was popping the zanx was smoking the Granja
I was hitting the strips day in and day out
I would do drivebys every day
I watched balloon but I was lost at the symbolism this though is all too clear as if everything until was a dream
man, balloon was trash 55seconds?? why so short?!?
I get visions of saving people running crazy for it
thank you to the crew
This is the time for “Crazy for it”
So I rewatched this a couple of times and I think I got the meaning behind it..unlike 00:08 this was a bit harder to find
but In the end I give it an 8 and now you’re going to find why:
Story and Art(Because like his other works the “story” is told with art,images and forms…or I must say in Yuutarou’s case with over the limits and with extreme liberty of expression) I have to judge story and art together and in this case I give those an 8.5
This is a short of 4 minutes telling the story of a man waking up every day and as he goes brushing his teeth we are suddenly transported in a very colored world with a very energetic music that follow our ride
The man every day as he wakes up he think about his limit in terms of creativity and he wants to pass then..he wants to fully express his art…he don’t want any restriction in his daily routine
Yuutarou’s works are all about creativity and themes surrounding it
and In this case it is stronger than ever..I must say that if in 00:08 we have a soft but yet progressive creativity till becoming insane and disturbing creativity that is troubling and “eating” the man every day bringing it to madness because he has to constantly put out ideas..fresh and great ideas because he has restricted times..here we have a different approach..we have our protagonist thinking about his creativity in a “light hearted way” and he wants to improve what he’s drawing..what he’s animating everyday and to test different methods of art..to be sperimental..why? Because he wants the best out of his art..and every day he pushes is to the limits..
we see a man running and constantly changing forms and colors..we have an interesting use of patterns and painting too..as we change background the techniques for drawing the running “stickman” are changing..and so does the camera shots.. those rotate everytime and the director tries to give us views from different places with different techniques
In a general way though the short like his other works are done with these characteristics: Rough drawings and style that wants to put out a lot of things..speedy and dynamic camera that expand and give views from different places..
In this case we have even changing backgrounds and a large use of colors..a wide amount of them..I just love those..we have like drawings done with blu pen or other pens..and that style it is awesome
What I love about this short is also the beginning with columns growing out of the ground..and Kubo’s style in general to transform little things in bigger things
By little things you can reach bigger goals infact
The palette of colors is just so wide that I can’t love this man
Plus Animations and Art + Music/Sound: I give it a 8/9 the music is energetic and it fits perfectly what this short tries to convey to the viewer..
as the man is every day putting out new and creative ideas..what I love about mixing the music and art in his style is that the art follows perfectly the rhythm and it deforms.
One thing to say about the art is the amount of things Yuutarou put in different frames..like the end part…he puts a big amount of different things..like planets..the moon…toys….and they alternate perfectly, they replace the original forms that delineate the drawing of the man
(this happens even in 00:08)
It is a very energetic rock music
SPOILER AND INTERPRETING/+ SUMMARY
So our man everyday is constantly putting out new and fresh ideas and he pushes them to its limits..thinking about improving everyday..till he becomes crazy about his passion and keeps sperimenting..in his daily routine
It all started a day when suddenly an impulse appeared and you start to make your creativity explode
The man that pushes to the limit can be interpreted in this way because he’s not running in a normal way..his legs are pushed a lot forward
In a certain point we have a use of patterns inside the stickman that he’s running and not a normal stickman anymore because compared to the beginning of the short he isn’t that thin..this represent the fact that he’s improving and constantly trying to that..
The only part that isn’t convincing me for now is the one with the drawings of the girl..but anyway..everything is deforming a lot and I love it
Enjoyment: I’m a huge fan of his works..and If you read all of this you probably already watched the short..but I should say that I enjoyed a lot this short..I give a 8/9 for that
Be sure to check out his other works..in particular 00:08
Overall: I give it an 8 maybe 8.5…I love this approach to creativity..but I think I prefer the one in 00:08 because he has a bit more to offer
So if you want a very energetic short with pumped up music go for this and if you’re willing to interprete it..go for it you want regret it
Thanks all of you that you are still reading this review..and please bear with me my inaccurate english..See you next review
It’s a shame that people like the autor of this who proves to be crazy for it isn’t and will not be appreciated, poor man him and all those who like him seek to come up with something special with animation (and have the capacity for it) in an industry with tremendous potential but whose audience only seems to value self-improvement stories for weaboos (I’m not wanting to attack that people, to each their own, but the effect they have).
Go draw backgrounds for the new ultra popular anime series, it seems to be the only future you have, even marketing and adds value people like you more than your industry and its consumers.
36: Googuri Googuri
English: Googuri Googuri
Japanese: ぐーぐりぃ ぐーぐりぃ
MAL Score: 6.00
“Googuri Googuri” – a made up word, a secret word, shared by a girl and her grandfather. For the girl, her grandfather is at times like a mountain, at other times like a tree, or an ocean; a warm and comfortable place. Her thoughts take wing into her endless imagination. The things we have seen, smelled, thought, and everything we have experienced, extending and expanding within the infinite expanse inside ourselves.
35: King of Prism: Shiny Seven Stars I – Prologue x Yukinojou x Taiga
Japanese: KING OF PRISM -Shiny Seven Stars- I プロローグxユキノジョウ×タイガ
MAL Score: 6.01
The first movie in the four-part King of Prism: Shiny Seven Stars movie series.
34: Ongaku Shoujo
MAL Score: 6.22
On her way to her first day of high school, Eri Kumagai is captivated by a girl’s singing. Her song is beautiful but ends abruptly when the girl steps on a cat’s tail and disrupts the moment. Eri pushes this out of her mind until that same girl rushes into her class late, cat in hand, and claims that the name on the attendance list—Chiharu Yuzuka—is her “false name” and she is actually called Haru Chitose.
Much to Eri’s distaste, she cannot escape the eccentric Haru, as the two happen to share the same dormitory room. Haru causes one headache after another, but when she snoops around in Eri’s laptop and discovers that she is an online composer, Eri is furious. Haru, enamored by Eri’s music, desperately wants to sing with Eri, but Eri is dead set against it. Will the two be able to find common ground?
My overall rating for Ongaku Shoujo is 7/10. Is it good as a slice of life movie? Im not sure but its definitely a nice comedy.
My reviews are normally low in score but as a 20 minute movie it couldn’t get a really high score either way.
The art is absolutely gorgeous, it reminded me of Sakura Trick by the same studio. Animation is pretty good except in one scene where the character movements dont feel right.
Background art was absolutely fantastic. And girls where also super cute.
animation/art – 8
for a music genre anime i actually despised the songs they where playing but i believe it to be more out of personal taste than anything
sound – 4
Can’t expect much for story, its a girl meets other girl and they try to (spoiler) sing at a concert. I guess it was average, at least it didnt feel clutered.
story – 6
The characters where ok, they can be defined in archtypes but for a 20 minute show its hard to come up with an original character. They where fun to watch tho
Characters – 6
Its fun to watch, not anything ground breaking but if you are a fun of moe/yuri you might love this
Enjoyement – 7
Is it worth the 20 minutes of your life? In my opinion: yes, absolutely even if only for the colors and the liveliness of the art.
Story – Fated meetings with transfer students, moving into a shared room, discovering a roommate’s secret talent, working hard together only to find that one of them is moving to another country and didn’t tell them, pulling through anyway… all rather cliche tropes. They don’t even count as spoilers at this point, that’s how cliche they are.
Art – Nice backgrounds and visual style, though I found it strange that they made the characters’ skin literally glow. The animation at some points was choppy, and, in true DEEN style, had little connection with reality. Also, wet clothes apparently aren’t a thing until it’s time for them to come off…
Sound – As I mentioned before, Taishi is one of my favourite artists, so I’m probably a bit biased here, but I’ll try. General soundtrack was not particularly spectacular. The songs were okay, definitely not his best works. The finale song however was somewhat disappointing compared with the teaser sample he released on niconico earlier, probably because of the nature of the scene itself. That being said I wouldn’t hesitate to acquire and listen to the full version (not edited with reverb etc. for the anime).
Character – Again, as far as tropes go they’re stock standard. Not much to be said about casting choice, as they used the original singers/VAs. Voice acting wasn’t particularly outstanding either
Enjoyment – Was okay, but it wouldn’t be first port of call if I was looking for something nice to watch when bored or procrastinating.
Overall – 5/10, would not watch again, would not recommend. I do appreciate the fact that the adaptation actually happened, but as far as expectations go I was rather disappointed with the end result. Anime Mirai OVAs have a reputation of being above par (such as Wasurenagumo by IG, Death Billiards) as new directors experiment, but this evidently wasn’t one
33: King of Prism by Pretty Rhythm
Japanese: KING OF PRISM by PrettyRhythm
MAL Score: 6.22
The unit Over The Rainbow succeeds in its debut. Aiming to become like the boy band, more students enroll in Edel Rose. Hiro and the others begin practice for the Prism King Cup, an event that is held once every four years. However, a rival called “Schwarz Rose” appears… Who will become the Prism King, the one who can make girls’ hearts throb the most!?
I must say that this movie is definitely not for everyone. If you are watching and hoping for a deep and dramatic thriller of a story, this is definitely not a strong point of the movie. It is primarily musical, fanservice, silliness, and the happiness of friendship and sparkles. Not much drama aside from two of the guys’ pasts, saying goodbye, and possible foreshadowing of the sequel.
Now, even though the story itself is weak, that does not mean it is without feeling. It does get a bit emotional later in the movie. There are also obvious implications of there being a planned sequel at the ending, which could possibly be darker.
The art is very pretty. There are some times where the 3D can be a little bit awkward in either the body movement or facial expressions. The facial expressions in 3D could use more movement, but it wasn’t too bad in my opinion. The dance animation was pretty much flawless, though their faces could be really cheesy-looking, but it was probably intentional for humor. After all, Prism Shows are meant to make you smile!
It feels a bit like it was made for a younger female teen audience, perhaps maybe even pre-teens, but at the same time it has plenty of fanservice (such as nudity, ropes, and a butt-touch) seemingly aimed at those who you would imagine to be older teens or young-adults. Some of the songs are from older 90’s music artists such as TRF, which also is very nostalgic for anyone familiar with it.
I would absolutely recommend this to you if you enjoyed titles such as “Osomatsu-san”, “Uta No Prince-sama”, and “Binan Koukou Chikyuu Bouei-bu Love!”, as they share a similar humor style and cater to Yaoi/Otome fans.
I think that if you like musicals enough, you may like it even just for that, because the music and dance are really well-done.
story- There is no plot except for a random backstory of some of the side characters in the middle of the film which is told at twice the pace of the rest. Nothing makes sense, they wear ice skates while dancing for no reason. I was left constantly confused but also in tears.
Art- the dancing sequences look like old vocaloid dances. This anime uses a wild amount of sparkles to distract us except… theyre always the exact same sparkles. It looks like a filter.
Character- The main character may as well not exist, they have no personality. The other characters are made out of tropes.
Enjoyment- 10/10 would watch again
Its so all over the place and I love watching my friends expressions when I make them watch this. If you don’t want to sit through the whole movie you must at least watch the dance battle.
There are 3 Pretty Rhythm series out there. Chronologically, they start with PR Aurora Dream, PR Dear my Future, and finally PR Rainbow Live. Rainbow Live is in an alternate setting with new characters while Dear my Future is the (trashy) sequel to Aurora Dream. They are all idol anime for younger girls based off of a rhythm game in arcades and follow various “prism stars” in their struggle to become better. If you want to fully understand this movie, I’d say start with PR Aurora Dream (you don’t have to but you will understand how prism shows work more if you do), skip Dear my Future because it’s awful, then you MUST watch PR Rainbow Live.
I personally really like the story. All of the other PR series focus on the girls side of things and its nice to finally see what some of the guys are up to. It starts by adding in some new characters as idols in Edel Rose and tells what Over the Rainbow has done after their debut. You follow along Shin, a new student at Edel Rose, as he learns how to do prism shows. The story has a few layers: the rivalry between Edel Rose and Schwarz Rose, Shin and Louis'(the guy that got Shin into prism shows) relationship and growth in the idol world, the King of Prism tournament, and leftover saltiness from characters that previously entered the King of Prism tournament. The story is still pretty easy to follow and interesting if you know whats up. However, a major flaw to this movie is that it doesn’t complete the story at all and you’d have to watch King of Prism: Pride the Hero to complete the story. It also doesn’t really feel like the story takes itself seriously because everything is so rushed, forced, and how absurd other parts of the movie are.
The art is somewhere between average to bad depending on what your standards are. The normal art is ok. All the characters are pretty colorful and unique which helps in identifying them later since there are a lot of them. there is only one or two character designs I’d say I dislike. I said “normal” art earlier because the prism show use everyone’s worst nightmare: CG animation. I personally don’t mind it and I think it’s better than the alternative of having really limited movement in shows because the shows are important to the movie. I will admit that they do go overboard with the sparkles and some of the special moves but it’s good for a laugh. Also, some of the costumes these guys wear look absolutely hilarious.
Since this is a idol anime, there is a lot of singing. The music is ok and the lyrics can be kinda cringey/ corny but its not that bad. One of the guys is a trap and sounds like a girl but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Otherwise audio is all around ok.
Some of the characters are from Rainbow live and there are at least 10 new ones, making for a LOT of characters to wrap your head around. Luckily, you can probably just remember most of the new ones by hair color and the only new characters that will really matter at the end are Shin and Louis. You do get some character development from Shin but otherwise it mostly just sets up character development for the future. The plot more focuses on the tension between Edel Rose’s owner and Schwarz Rose’s owner.
As a Pretty Rhythm fan, I absolutely adored this continuation of the story while it does have flaws. I really loved that I got to see more male prism stars instead of the girls as usual. I feel like this and Pride the Hero will nicely tie up some loose threads left after Rainbow Live. It makes me kinda sad to see that this got such a low rating, i think at least a 7 to a 7.5 would be more fair. That’s why I was compelled to write this review(this is my first one lol). I hope this review was helpful!
TLDR: Watch Rainbow Live first to watch this movie and fully understand it. The movie itself is pretty good if you are into male idol anime and are ok with it being more of a prequel to the next movie. Otherwise, I see a lot of comments that it’s cringey because of the CG and the cheesy special moves during the dancing.
32: Pop in Q
MAL Score: 6.23
The story begins the day before the graduation ceremony. Five middle school girls each are preoccupied with their real everyday lives. These girls meet each other in a fantasy world after being sent there through a sudden occurrence. There, they learn about the impending crisis that this world is facing. The way to avert this crisis is for the five to collaborate and bring their five hearts together as one through dance.
However, the five cannot come to love the world, and cannot tell their true feelings to one another, so their hearts are unable to unite. The time limit is fast approaching. Can the dance of the five girls save the world? And will they be able to graduate?
So, what even is this movie then? well it’s a fantasy adventure story on the surface, where five girls are transported to a doomed fantasy land and must save it from it’s fate with magical powers. But it’s also an effective coming of age story where they learn how to manage things in their lives not going exactly as they wished.
Also it’s a dancing show with cgi idol-like dance sequences, but don’t let that turn you off! Toei animation, masters of being the cheapest studio who can barely animate anything when they put it on TV are a totally different beast in their film department, especially their cgi teams. Pulling out all the stops, they deliver some of the best looking, cleanest 2d AND 3d animation here I’ve seen in a while.
I don’t have a lot to say about this movie, it’s cute, it’s fun, it’s a treat on the eyes. The story is a bit basic at time but what can you do it’s just a kids show. Don’t go in expecting a deep masterpiece and you get a fun magical girl/idolish thing (no actual idols) that didn’t bore me once in it’s hour and a half runtime.
Also there was a sequel hook at the end please deliver Toei.
The story is under acceptable terms. Isekai shenanigan, meet up with the homeboys, and dance to save the world. However, the characters and CGI are absolutely garbage. Specifically talking about the dolls/puppets seen within the show.
They are punchable. They are annoying. Their presence alone stimulates my evil desire to kill. Just like how a great story can carry lack of quality or how great quality can carry a mediocre story. This anime’s specific characters pull the entirety of this shit down like a ghost appearing out of a sinkhole and pulling you in without any warning ( pay no attention to the logic )
Overall one of the biggest potential loss anime movies ever. Really deserves to be better, but the past cannot be changed anymore. I recommend this to nobody unless you don’t mind the dolly puppetty kind of stuff. I do. And if you are like me, then ignore this movie. It is by all means not worth it.
Before listing all the reasons why it was really bad, I have to say that the 3D dance+songs scenes were REALLY good. Not at Love Live’s level, but were really fun. I watched all the movie just for these.
And one more thing I have to confess about- The funniest part was making fun of the movie. So if you and a few other friends are looking for stupid stuff just to make fun of it- I guess you can try this movie.
First of all, the movie is probably for kids. There’s no story at all, just one huge cliche.
Take 5 girls who are unhappy with their lives, throw them into a parallel world. They must dance to save the world!
You have the hardworking girl, the anti social one, the cute loli who’s all cheerful, an extreme anti social one aaaaaand the main character who’s “running away from everything”. Throw them together. And each of them get some talking doll.
5 minutes later they’re all friends!
But now the bad guys come, what’s their motive? Unknown. They’re just bad. Probably want to destroy the world. What are they? No idea.
Well girls! Dance and win! They’re really good even though they’ve practiced for one day barely.
And then they discover their special powers- they’re even more OP now.
That’s about it for the story.
Story: 1/10. Non existent.
Let’s talk about the good things now. There were a few dances and songs across the movie which were enjoyable. And Toei Animation did it quite well.
8/10 for art and 6/10 for sound (The sound track IS forgettable).
As for the characters: 5/10. Why? Well the cast was the usual stuff as I said before. Nothing special. As well as no development. Or more like there was development which made no sense.
Think there’s a person who hates something and then come and tell him “Believe in yourself!” and then he’ll like it and be amazing in it! Well that’s what happened to everyone in this movie.
I wouldn’t want to tag it as “for adults/for kids” but I would think a child would enjoy it a lot more than teenagers and adults.
Overall score/Enjoyment: 3/10. I do not recommend it. If you are looking for dances and songs just look up Love Live.
31: Mori no Densetsu
English: Legend of the Forest
MAL Score: 6.40
A tranquil forest and all of its residents must face the destruction of man. A squirrel, born and raised in the forrest, fights to defend his home and faces trials and adversities along the way.
Now for those if you don’t care, this film starts with a flying squirrel who was abandoned by his family after a hunter or lumberjack cut down their tree. We then follow his life in form of the evolution of animation which is probably the most visually interesting thing from Tezuka I’ve seen yet. The squirrel starts rather mean spirited till he meets the love of his life who shortly after gets shot by a hunter. Not to long after the squirrels story tragically ends with him getting struck by lightning and then we cut to suddenly fairies in the forest, weird right? now t this film’s credit it’s flat out unwatchable, if anything the animation alone warrants watching it at least once.
This should have been tezuka’s last masterpiece but it comes off as to mean spirited to be something he’d make. His works were usually about hope and how important it is to have it but neither of these two things are present. I suppose this might be due to this film being made shortly after he found out he had stomach cancer so i can’t blame his works tone changing. If I had to gauge this by a number I’d give it a 5. This is mainly due to the top notch animation attached to it. If you’re curious to see a so important piece of animation history from Japan or are a die hard Tezuka fan take a look, if not I’d say skip it.
No vocals it is instrumental instead
-Introduction was a success. A good intro shows and describes the main character and what is goal will be.
-conclusion was a disappointment and mystifying. In the middle of the movie there is a mini battle of sorts. That requires a godly act to end it. Fast forwarding we end with a vast amount of soldiers and an act that isn’t got like ends it. Maybe it wouldn’t have been so depressing and down putting if there wasn’t a meeting held to discuss what actions to take. For in the meeting it was made clear that although there were multiple ways in going about it none seemed to be the best.
-The message behind the story was kind. Went with the idea that never give up hope no matter how big the problem is.
This was a mess. While at some points i can agree the change in art style was appreciated for it provided a meaningful flair. Although, the constant jumps in later art styles was not only pointless but confusing. You had stills, then black and white, color, lack of color, old style cartoon and so forth.
While there was good background music that matched the tempo of the story the animation could have benefited from sound effects.
-moderate in depth in background
– normally i find when a story portrays a certain character from the rest i expect to see that character progress until the end. Instead it was as if the main character died.
This is like a Disney film based on a pro nature perspective. Although, given how it was produced i don’t see it ever coming close to great films like Frozen.
30: Pokemon: Meloetta no Kirakira Recital
English: Pokemon: Meloetta’s Moonlight Serenade
MAL Score: 6.44
The 24th Pikachu short, set to premiere alongisde the 15th movie of the Pokémon franchise, “Pokemon Best Wishes!: Kyurem vs. Seikenshi”. It will star the recently unveiled Pokémon, Meloetta, in its Aria and Pirouette formes.
29: Yousei Florence
English: A Journey Through Fairyland
MAL Score: 6.47
A gentle and talented boy named Michael played beautiful music on his oboe, and his greatest love was to play for and tend to the flowers in the greenhouse at the school of music where he attended. Unfortunately, his gardening made him constantly late for orchestra practice and resulted in his dismissal from the school. When Michael fell asleep that same night, he was awakened by a dainty Flower Fairy named Florence, who would take him on an enchanted journey to a land where flowers came alive, treble notes were mischievous, and adventure beckoned. There, he would soon come to realize that his love of flowers and desire to become a great musician could go hand-in-hand and help him to become focused in life and discover himself.
Fairy Florence seems to be Japan’s answer to Fantasia. While I don’t particularly enjoy Fantasia nor Fantasia 2000, I fully grasp the purpose of these films as an expression of animators’ influence taken from music and how that affects their works. Fairy Florence tries its’ hardest to do something similar while adding in commentary on the creative process and the struggle to find inspiration.
Michael’s story is one of a talented artist that cannot for the life of him find his place in the world. I think many artists can relate to Michael. He has a natural talent for music but is pushed by his superiors to take part in something he initially did not want any part of. He is forced to practice in a way he finds unconventional and because of this he does poorly and loses motivation. This lack of motivation leads to him seeking entertainment and happiness through outside sources. This scenario itself can be applied to anyone going through a creative struggle. The medium of music is not stringent here. Although not exact in scheme, Michael’s story is relative to all artists.
This idea, to provide commentary on a young artist’s struggle and to express the animators’ own struggles while showing the influence of music on their works, is not a poor one by any means. The real issue here is the presentation and delivery of this idea…
Instead of taking the steady and thought provoking road Fairy Florence had initially tread down for the first twenty or so minutes, an intermittent hallucinogenic trip is what follows. From what i gather from the progression of the story, Michael has a nervous breakdown and relapses from his two months of sobriety to continually ingest ayahuasca for the next hour or so. Michael’s hormones dictated his psychoactive romp will be filled with courtship of his new crush whom he just interacted with before his early life crisis. He plays out his wish fulfillment fantasies where the girl of his dreams falls for him and he can play his music the way he likes and it somehow has an impact on the world. His trip occasionally turns bad and he has to fight off marvin the martian’s imp cousin and that big baddy from fern gully…
You can see why this doesn’t sit right with me by now i hope. All the explanation in the world cannot save this symbolism and allegory. It no longer has importance because it is presented in a way that continually slaps you in the face. Michael trying to deflower his flower waifu holds no real significance. This plot device is there for convenience’s sake so that romance can be had. She is shown as only a catalyst and then a distraction so she cannot be thought of as motivation for Michael nor true influence. With a stretch, the fight scenes could be thought of as Michael overcoming his inner demons and breaking out of his shell as a confident individual, but there is no real support within the movie.. it just would have made sense to direct these scenes in that way from a logical standpoint.
Fairy Florence, like MANY movies from the 80s is a mixed bag of wasted-potential-flavored-nuts. The setup for a dramatic slice of life about a boy and his struggles is destroyed by an attempt at a disney ripoff. Sadly the staff behind this had no idea how to do Disney formula nor what aspects make Disney so charming for most viewers.
English-speaking members of MAL might recall this feature movie as “Journey Through Fairyland.” The movie feature by Sanrio (the makers of Unico and Ringing Bell) was their last animated movie until just a few years ago. It tells the story of a faltering music student (Michael) who spends more time with the flowers in the greenhouse than with the orchestra. After being kicked-out, a fairy named Florence comes out of one of the flowers and takes him to visit fairyland. There he finds both love and his muse.
The story is a bit simplistic, and is utterly predictable to anyone that has seen Fern Gully (and upon critical examination, I now realize where they got their inspiration. bonus points for inspiring an American movie). Being a children’s movie–if a bit sophisticated for the very young–this is not very surprising. I would actually have scored the movie higher in this regard if it wasn’t painfully anti-climactic. Apparently children weren’t meant to notice this needless drawing-out of the film; and in retrospect I in fact did not notice as a child.
The way I see it, the art in most portions of the movie is excellent. Obviously they ripped several pages right out of Disney’s Fantasia, but there are enough added visuals of their own to overcome the similarities. For once I have to actually bemoan the fact that the VHS version is the only version around for America–thus much of the visuals are muted by the degraded quality of the tape over time. The art is amazingly trippy by the time they get to Fairyland, and we are even greeted by an all-too-familiar face as a cameo (which I will save as a bonus for those of you that watch it). The viewer is bombarded with music-related visuals and swarsm of fairies–to say nothing of the gigantic monster near the end.
Yet again we must come to grips with the Fantasia playbook. With one exception; the movie soundtrack consists of classical music. This is quite likely by design, as the feel of the movie is that of getting kids to like the genre. The songs are well-chosen, at least. They settle quite nicely with the animation and even the corny introduction song (the only piece of discernibly original music in the movie) is not too difficult to sit through.
The English dub is the only viable copy around, so there’s not much I can compare it to. The script isn’t very elaborate, and the voice actors perform their lines on about par with other VHS-release animated movies of the time.
There are a grand total of five characters with lines/purpose of any note. All of them seem to be standard stock characters, from the tragic heroine Florence to the troublemaker Treble. Shallow characters are a notorious occurrence in children’s movies, and this one is no exception. The movie was not designed with character development in mind, and there’s really no other way to put it.
My recent rewatching of Florence reminded me that (quite often) childhood movies are better in our memory than in actuality. Florence is actually a rather charming piece, and despite its flaws I enjoyed the viewing. It really is a kid’s movie though, and thus I cannot easily recommend it to the average MAL user unless you are a connoisseur, looking for a classical music anime, or have a younger (12 or under) associate to watch with you.
On the bright side, I would consider Flroence to be a very nice alternative to Disney’s Fantasia. Don’t get me wrong, I love the movie. However, Florence provides both a single plot and a continual stream of actual animation. Really, happen to know from experience that the introductions by Deems Taylor were not enthrawling for younger audiences. To put it another way, Florence is the very young’s Fantasia.
I don’t expect anyone to seek this movie out; espeacily given that the VHS-only release continues to see price-gouging on ebay. However, if you do happen to get the oppertunity to view or own Yousei Florence, I encourage you to keep it as an animated treasure. At the very least, you can pass it off on your kids who will, I think, enjoy it more than we adult otaku ever could.
Follow Mr. Panda’s VCR of Doom at:
Michael, the main protagonist, is a kind-hearted character who enjoys gardening but has passion for music too. This film feels like a slow discovery of his forgotten feelings for music and a compassionate departure from horticulture. The premise is interesting and is brought to life in a fantasy setting with the use of colour and music to give off a fairy tale vibe.
I particularly liked that mostly everything was referring to Michael’s decision, it felt like everything had a purpose. From the character designs to the way they were animated. For example, the MokiMoki were all liquid-like substances which represents how lazy musicians go with the flow due to properties of liquid. Although the visual connotations were intriguing, I was entranced by the wonderful tunes that blended in with each scene and mood.
However, the editing was unnatural due to some scene transitions. The Fairyland section was nice but the real world setting appeared to be of minimal interest: characters shown for no reason, the area felt too quiet (perhaps due to fairy-like aspect of Michael’s life) and some peculiar lifestyles (living in a greenhouse). Also, the story played out in a typical fashion albeit tailored for kids.
Despite some peculiar references to Hello Kitty among others, though I don’t know why, it was a beautiful experience for a 1.5hr film. It felt like a dream due to the contrasting of the two worlds and it was worth a watch. If not for the story and themes at least watch it for the cohesion between music and animation.
28: Precure All Stars Movie: Haru no Carnival
Japanese: 映画プリキュアオールスターズ 春のカーニバル
MAL Score: 6.48
New Precure All Stars movie.
Story (3/10): So all the Precure teams have been invited to another magical kingdom (this one called Harmonia) for a Spring Carnival, but unbeknownst to them, it’s been taken over by a thief and his assistant. When the two realize who’s coming, they decide to hold a ‘concert’ to catch the teams unaware of their wrongdoing and escape with their transformation devices.
…holy shit. This plot actually makes the Miracle Lights look dignified.
Seriously, this is honestly the worst that I’ve seen these movies be. While the first New Stage was shaky, at least it had a plot and took itself seriously. This? This is bad. There’s almost no tension in this story, and it feels almost bland. Just…there’s nothing really exciting here to talk about. It’s just a boring as hell story and while I feel bad about ripping into it, at the same time I feel like with the way the current series is going, that this is a massive step down in comparison.
Oh and the kicker? The first half of the movie is a music video for each team. No really, you read that right. Each team gets a chance to perform either their opening or ending theme, with the team doing the CGI dance from the ending or a new dance to the opening. And while it is nice to hear some familiar songs, you have to imagine that Japanese parents were pissed when they realized that they had to sit through at least 40 minutes worth of nothing.
(Also, you ever see the Gokaiger 199 Heroes movie? You know, where all the Sentai teams show up at the end? I’m 100% certain that they ripped off the climax for that and stuck it on here.)
Art (6/10): One of the positives of the movie is that it shows off all the updated CGI Precure models, and boy do they looks good. Some look better than others, though that is more than likely due to animation style rather than anything else, since more often than not, they look amazing. Otherwise the art was average for the movie, with few and far between scenes looking good.
Also the Primavera Keys for the Princess Precure are honestly not that great looking. In fact the design looks like they just stuck puffy stickers to regular Elegant Mode dresses and called it a day. I’m starting to miss the original upgrade forms from the DX movies…
Sound (6/10): As stated above, this movie has a lot of tracks from previous shows. There are openings and endings aplenty, so you have the chance to listen to some good music at least. Oh yeah, and there’s a terrible fourth wall breaking song sung by the villains. …it sucks.
Character (5/10): I’ll give the movie a pass on one thing. It does a great job with showing off each team of Precure and it lets them all have some screen time. Everyone behaves in character and they all react in the way that you’re used to. It is, however, really obvious about which voice actors they got to come back for each team, since at least half to 3/4ths of the cast just stand in the background not saying anything.
The worst part of this movie, though, goes straight to the villains. Hell, I’m honestly reluctant to call them villains. They’re idiots that try to be comic relief and it’s just painful. Remember the huge big bads from other movies? You know, where they tower over the Precure and it takes the power of all the teams to kick their ass? Yeah, these guys aren’t even worthy of being shit those villains step in. And there’s also the royalty of Harmonia and a last minute boss, but they’re in the movie for a grand total of 5 minutes, so no, they really don’t count as characters.
Enjoyment (4/10): This one is bad guys. Really bad. I could barely sit through it. Actually, I fast forwarded through parts because it was either boring, bad, or not all that interesting. Seriously, after the shaky start of the New Stage movies, they ended up with a mostly well done third movie. This though? This is child pandering at its worst. The fights are disappointingly short, there’s just no tension, and it’s almost insulting that someone thought that this script was a good idea.
Precure All Stars: Spring Carnival has set itself to be remembered. Not for anything good, mind you. This is easily the worst of the All Star movies, with an almost stupid story, musical recaps, stupid villains, lazy reasoning, and just all around backward step in how the movies were going.
5/10: Precure fans will more likely than not really dislike this movie; only thing going for it is better time spent on past teams and interactions; pretty much sums up as lazy child pandering; I seriously urge that if you aren’t a Precure fan, you should stay away;
This movie showcases them all up until the Go! Princess Pretty Cure season, and it is an awful disappointment.
I’ve never watched a movie in my life without a story until this one. The plot is all the girls are invited to the kingdom of Harmonia, and some goons want to steal their pretty cure mascots and transformation devices. In order to distract the pretty cure, they have them sing their theme songs. That’s it. There’s really nothing else to it.
I felt this was more a showcase of all the different pretty cure seasons than a movie. The cinematics were cute, but it was the same songs we’ve heard already from each season.
The animation was decent, but the “routines” was recycled animations from the different seasons. The best part was the big song that all the pretty cures sing together.
Recycled tracked with only a few new numbers, which were good but not enough to make up for the rest of the movie.
No one was developed. You have no idea who anyone is supposed to be unless you’ve seen the series before. The movie doesn’t add anything new to any of them either.
I liked the music videos.
I don’t recommend this movie for anyone. You can find a playlist on youtube of all the pretty cure opening and endings, and it would serve the same purpose.
The art and animation is quite good. The CGI is really improving in all precure franchise and this movie is the prove of that. In general, the animation doesn’t have anything wrong at my opinion. talking about the 2D animation is good, is the average animation you can see in a lot of animes.
The music is other thing…If you are in precure in at least, 3 or more years the sounds will tired you. Hearing again some of the openings or endings will get you angry at some point. That or you will feel nostalgic. Or if you are new on precure you maybe will think a lot of things: too childish maybe or repetitive (they say precure all the songs). About the incidental music, is also repetitive. Most of them is repetitive (again, if you watched previous precure seasons, you can notice that in this movie 90% or more is recicled music.
In character, 6/10. Basically they are no character development. They are a lot of precure now and that will be difficult to do. Yes, we have Princess precure, our main characters. Haruka, Cure Flora learns a important (?) lesson but in real life it doesn’t have any sense. In other movies characters learn about the importance of friendship, about the dreams and future but, is dancing and singing that important?
Yes, I enjoy it. But it in general the movie didn’t impact me comparing with other movies that have Precure in the name. The only thing I want is a better movie from this title. Scince Fresh! Precure we can see the main characters having a dance during the ending, and that is popular around little girls in Japan. There is a game about that and now a whole movie about 70 minutes about that. Is Toei laking on writting a good story for a movie of this franchise?
MAL Score: 6.51
Blossom is a short work of animation set to music. It is dedicated to memory of Japan’s 3/11 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami disaster that “reminds us not to forget those who were directly affected.”
(Source: Crunchyroll News)
although only a 5-minute long animation it allows the viewer to sympathize with the character and narration that accompanies it. It’s a short watch with a good message and I would advise others to watch it simply out of sympathy for those who suffered in the disaster, and for the animators who worked on this stylized piece.
Once again, it’s a 5 minute watch so it isn’t much of a commitment to walk away with a smile on your face.
Originally before watching this i was anticipating a music video. As indicated by the music genre. Unfortunately this was a video with music accompaniment. Difference being is music accompaniment is centered around narration. In telling of a story. A regular music video provides more music than plot. In this video the theme is god but not from a view one might suspect. While the story is kind and soft centered there is nothing breathing breath taking. Or something to keep you on the edge of your seat. Not even a nice song. I suppose nature enthusiastic will enjoy this. But that is all this movie can provide nice scenery. That and the belief in god.
It took me while but i was able to appreciate this art choice. Here the art is border-lining from painting to realistic. Which is a proper depiction for the message. To me it indicates life as we know it is in the drawing form. Or better yet the editing form. There is bound to be mistakes that have yet to covered. And when we die everything will become clear.
Overall: Rather than seeing this as a music video see this as an art piece.
It was brought to my attention this is my 400th review. My word! Next hundred i hope to find something more entertaining to comment on.
26: Shanshui Qing
MAL Score: 6.51
The only noises you can hear are the sounds of water and wind. The story shows us a young girl and an elderly man. She cares about him and in a return, he gives her guqin lessons.
The thing about Shanshui Qing, which separates it from other Anime, is that it is relaxing to look at and experience. Rarely is there an Anime where the feeling of comfort is prevalent all the way through while watching. Shanshui Qing does that, it relaxes the viewer, and it is as peaceful as they come. The beautiful imagery, accompanied by the pleasant music, gently grabs the viewer to undergo a dreamlike experience. Shanshui Qing has no dialogue during the entirety of it’s run, only the pleasant music playing over the short’s beautiful visuals. The only two characters the movie has do not utter a single word, only their actions speak for themselves, where they experience life and it’s stages together as a master and his apprentice.
Here is where Shanshui Qing truly shines. It does not need several characters, nor does it need loads of information and dialogue to convey a beautiful message to it’s viewers. It is unaffected by time, as the beauty still looks visually pleasing today. All Shanshui Qing ever needed were passion and vision. It may be simple, but simplicity is not always bad, and Shanshui Qing is an example of that.
Shanshui Qing, to put it simply, is a simple short that does not need complexity to be a beautiful work of art.
Fate, as one would conjecture, inhibited his forward progression, forcing him to recuperate and recognize his last objective before his demise. Knowledge, after all, is a precious gift, one which must be transferred to the next generation to carry the luminescent “spirt” of the past into the future; thus, propelling mankind further into enlightenment through the “standing on the shoulders of giants.” The guqin juxtaposed the jaunty tune of the flute with its methodical, quiet sounds. It offered sophistication and clarity via its demand for meticulous precision, rather than violent strumming. A test of patience, if you will. A reward of delayed gratification, which cannot be realized until the process of learning has been fulfilled.
Such is life.
And just as life capitulates to the inexorable flow of time, humans, too, must purposefully accept the natural flow of the world around them. The flowing streams must be followed in their natural direction and not against it, to avoid unwanted struggle. A guqin should be played in a scrupulous, unhurried fashion, to prevent undesirable tones which may hurt the ears. And the end of a life must be seen as a fulfilled journey with a passing of understanding to the next generation, instead of clinging to possession(s) which cannot be transported into death. If one wishes to live a simple life, they must live simply. Listen to the music. Respect and understand nature. And pass your teachings on to others.
Simple. Yet so beautiful.
One of the most beautiful short films ever, Feelings of Mountains and Waters is like a painting come to life. Themes the film explores include the majesty of nature, the wonder of music, the love between a master and an apprentice, and death, all in a completely dialogue free 18 minutes.
Some films just speak for themselves and don’t lend themselves very well to review, this is definitely one of them. It’s easy to track down and there aren’t any language or age restrictions, so I suggest you just watch it and experience it for yourself.
25: Pretty Rhythm Movie: All Star Selection – Prism Show☆Best Ten
Japanese: 劇場版 プリティーリズム オールスターセレクション プリズムショー☆ベストテン
MAL Score: 6.57
Announced at the “Pretty Rhythm Christmas -Prism Stage- Event,” the movie will compile Prism Show scenes from all three seasons.
Residents of the Prism World Momo and Penguin-sensei work together to introduce various Prism Shows throughout the history of Aurora Dream, Dear My Future, and Rainbow Live. Within the many Prism Shows performed by Aira, Mia, Naru and their friends, only ten rank on top.
24: Aru Machi Kado no Monogatari
English: Tales of the Street Corner
MAL Score: 6.59
On a certain street corner, there live a girl and her bear doll; a mischievous mouse named Kanku-bouya; a sycamore tree; an old street lamp; a moth; and posters containing a bar girl, a violinist, and a pianist. They all strive for life, but the world may not allow them to flourish.
In Aru Machi Kado no Monogatari, will the inhabitants of the street corner be able to maintain their peaceful existences, or will war and tyranny plunge them into chaos?
‘Streetcorner’ has not one word of dialogue (not counting the print on the posters, which I can’t read anyway), communicating mood entirely through music and expression. Not only that, there is only one actually human character, a gender-ambiguous child who is never named or speaks. As such, it’s hard to get a hold of the plot, which seems to be largely a metaphor for the wars that wracked Europe in the first half of the 20th century. The streetcorner’s true life comes from the posters, oddly enough, the advertisements filling the walls with life and music until being brutally stamped out by war propaganda posters. In particular is a big, blue mustachioed man who appears to be a combination of Stalin and Hitler (mustache resembles the former, the ‘seig heil’ salute the latter), who covers everything with his monotonous image of death and loyalty.
Our heroes consist of a mouse who befriends a child’s lost teddy bear (or tries to; the bear is unresponsive, being only a stuffed animal) and a pair of posters for musicians, a violinist and a pianist, who fall in love only to be separated by the omnipresent dictator. There is also a mischievous moth who appears to have its own agenda of causing trouble, possibly a metaphor for America. This movie bears re-watching, in order to sift through the layers of metaphor and hidden meaning.
Story: 4 – Not really anything unique, and it’s pretty buried in vague metaphor
Art: 7 – A unique art style, with touches of period Disney … captures the time wonderfully
Sound: 9 – I loved the music, which is good since there’s no dialogue
Character: 6 – Amazing how much personality a piece of paper can have
Enjoyment: 7 – It kept me captivated for all of its 35 minutes or so
Overall: 7 – A fantastic score and unique art style make up for the lack of human characters
Writing about works like this is always a bit tricky, because the movie will at best appeal to a small percentage of the people reading this review. The challenge is always to make the show appear as repellant as possible to those that cannot and will not appreciate it, while at the same time recommending the movie to those that will actually like it. Essentially, this 1962 Tezuka short is not for “anime fans,” but “animation fans” – a subtle distinction to some, but a crucial one. Tezuka made the movie long before the stylistic distinctions that differentiate Japanese animation from the rest of the world came onto the scene. The heavily deformed character designs, giant robots and maid/schoolgirl/robot/whatever fetishes that the medium has become (in)famous for are all but absent.
Many will disagree with me on this, but Tales of a Street Corner can hardly be described as “anime” in terms of what the English definition of the word has come to mean. Thus, there is little here that will appeal to the standard Naruto-loving, DBZ-hating anime fan. They’ll balk at the primitive visuals, the slow plot, and the largely experimental approach. They’ll wonder where the kawaii schoolgirls/super-powered shonen have gone, and why most of the “characters” in the movie are actually inanimate objects.
On the other hand, a true fan of animation itself (one who appreciates anime not for its now commercialized mass appeal but for its occasional bursts of immense creativity) could very well love this. When Tezuka made the short, he was entirely unconcerned with profitability or broad appeal. Rather, he had his mind on something rarely seen today in the modern Japanese anime industry: creating art for art’s sake.
As a result, many people are going to get hung up on the first 20 or so minutes of the short, which is basically nothing more than world building. I found the beginning vaguely charming and entertaining, but Im afraid most are going to become deathly bored by the time the actual conflict of the show finally arrives.
By the end, the events in the show are clearly meant to be allegorical; obviously no one would care about the “lives” of posters on a wall or a tree spreading seeds if they did not represent something larger. In this case, they are used to show the effect war has on a community.
As a whole, the storyline is clever, creative, and poignant. Basically, this is the reason people will like Tales of a Street Corner, assuming they like it at all.
The animation is certainly not on the level of sophistication that has become the norm in modern shows, but is also not without merit. Tezuka uses the technology at hand extremely well, and the visuals as a whole are extremely creative and tell the story well.
For instance, rather than animate a walking soldier (who, with the animation standards of the time, would have looked marginal at best), Tezuka opts to show only the soldier’s marching boots. This image alone is enough to put the actual idea of a soldier in your head without getting caught up in the meaningless details. The result lends the short film a universal feel that works well with the allegorical approach of the story.
Also, even though the actual animation is limited, the visuals themselves are colorful, vibrant, and nice to look at.
Instrumental pieces coupled with the occasional sound effect or two. As a whole, I thought the soundtrack fit the work well – no complaints here.
Tales of a Street Corner hosts a plethora of truly bizarre characters. I have already mentioned the pair of walking boots, wall posters and a tree. These are all major characters, and get about as much screentime as any of the more traditional characters in the short (a little girl and an assortment of Disney-esque animals round out the cast).
As in most experimental shorts, none of the characters are particularly well developed, and many are intended to be symbolic. For instance, an intimidating poster of a mustached man in a uniform represents fascism, and the one human character in the show, a girl, is probably meant to represent childhood in general.
The plethora of characters is used to develop the actual street corner in which they reside into a living, breathing character of its own. By the end, I felt an emotional attachment to the street corner in and of itself – an impressive feat, given the brevity of the work.
If the audience can look past the unorthodox approach and the extremely dated animation, they’ll find a surprisingly profound anti-war piece that manages to say more with no dialogue than most shows (or this review, for that matter) could with ten thousand words. Unfortunately, this is a pretty big “if,” and most likely only active fans of “the weird stuff” should consider this.
Among the cast we find a human girl and her father; a moth; a group of mice; a street-lamp and finally a plethora of various posters containing a large variety of characters. These characters inhabit a street corner that, through clever development, comes off as an entity in its own right that the creators fill with life through musical sequences where all the “components” interact.
These sequences are enhanced by repetitive but infinitely cheerful melodies that are quickly replaced with far more solemn tunes when a mysterious person in soldier boots replaces the joyful posters with images of a man dressed in a military outfit and whose appearance is an obvious representation of a cruel dictator. Suddenly, the atmosphere of the movie ventures into darker territories as war breaks out and the characters do their best to survive.
As far as conventional storytelling goes, the above is about as much sense one can make of it. A metaphorical interpretation is a lot more rewarding in this case and luckily for the viewer it’s not a particularly complex one. It basically shows the horrors of war and the effect it has on a happy and functional community in a clever but simplistic way that children and adults alike can grasp.
A large portion of the movie can be seen as more or less irrelevant but these sequences are made a lot more interesting by the insanely creative animation. Make no mistake, the artwork is heavily aged, but there are enough highly interesting visual quirks to compensate for that.
In the end, Tales of a Street Corner isn’t saying anything you didn’t already know, nor does it make you ponder the eternally relevant questions of war. What it does do, however, is introduce you to a charming neighborhood that finds itself victimized by war and allows you to follow its struggle along with appropriate music and nicely done animation. It also makes you sympathize with inanimate characters without any verbal communication and only minimal movement; an achievement in its own right.
23: 8-gatsu no Symphony: Shibuya 2002-2003
English: Symphony in August
Japanese: 8月のシンフォニー ―渋谷 2002～2003
MAL Score: 6.61
Based on the autobiography of the singer Kawashima Ai. The name of the book is “Saigo no Kotoba” (“The Last Words”) and it follows Kawashima Ai’s life after her mother’s death.
The story chronicles her journey to make her dream come true to be a singer and, among other things, how she used to perform for free on Tokyo’s streets.
22: PriPara Movie: Mi~nna Atsumare! Prism☆Tours
Japanese: 劇場版プリパラ み～んなあつまれ！プリズム☆ツアーズ
MAL Score: 6.72
PriPara the Movie: Everyone, Assemble! Prism ☆ Tours is the film based on and starring the characters from PriPara. The film is scheduled to begin showing in theaters across Japan from March 7, 2015. The plot will focus on Laala Manaka finding out about Saints’ top idol journey, and will feature the return of many characters from across all the Pretty Rhythm series.
(Source: PriPara Wikia)
Refraining from spoilers, there was a time PriPara recycled the same dialogue four times with the same scene added in! Lack of imagination and nearing nonsense, but its understandable looking at how the scene played out. The characters came off as flat to me and they weren’t as exciting when compared to the actual show, though the return of- *cough* watch it yourself to find out!
If I reviewed this on a critic level, it’d get a “3”. Though, being a kids movie and enjoyment the main element I use for this genre, it gets a “7”. Its a fun ride, just a sloppy one!
The girls from the PriPara series meet with the girls from other Pretty Rhythm series. That’s about it, there’s no silly jokes or antics like they usually do in PriPara, the movie is a tour of the PriPara songs. At some point in the movie the audience has to choose between 4 different routes to watch from the Pretty Rhythm series songs. Nothing happens that could be called plot.
The movie has better animation but the artwork stays the same. Can’t expect much from a children’s movie. The CG animation stays the same.
Sound (Music): 7/10
If you like the songs from the series, then you’ll like the ones from the movie.
There’s no character developing at all. Just music and songs.
Watch the movie if you’d like to watch 90 minutes of songs from both PriPara and Pretty Rhythm. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it.
21: King of Prism: Pride the Hero
Japanese: KING OF PRISM -PRIDE the HERO-
MAL Score: 6.88
No synopsis information has been added to this title. Help improve our database by adding a synopsis here.
I watched KingPri: Pride the Hero for the first time at about 1 am. I would have thought the whole thing was some sort of weird lucid dream I had if it weren’t for some of the notes I took.
Here are some of those notes just so u can get a feel for what I thought while I was watching this shitpost of a movie:
“Energy orbs from abs???”
“I’m pretty sure I just saw a panty flash”
“AOI SHOUTA WHIPPED OUT A STRIPPER POLE!?! where the fuck did that come from???”
“Why is taiga doing pull ups on a 40ft tree?”
“These communal bath scenes have literally no purpose other than fanservice. Not that that’s a bad thing”
“Is there some sort of PR religion/cult??? why is June a nun??”
“Battle mode outfits look kinky AF”
“their catchphrase is ‘ready sparkling’ but it sounds like they are saying ‘ready spanking'”
And there’s still more
Assuming you’ve watched the first movie and PR rainbow live, we finally get to see the fricking KingPri Cup and see who really is the King of Prism (you’re probably able to tell from the title who wins if u know what’s up). While this movie does tie up a lot of loose ends from the other movie, it leaves me with more questions than answers. It doesn’t give enough attention to Louis and Shin’s weird relationship, Louis’ backstory, and hiro’s struggle through losing pride and his other scandals. The producers really tried to pull off more than they could handle in an hour.
The entire movie has no concept of subtle storytelling. Every character and every action is really fucking exaggerated. It goes as far as having the main villain act like a maniac, have some sort of weird dictator outfit, and have him literally whipping his students to show that he is evil. A dude literally spits on Hiro just to show that Hiro isn’t well liked.
It also kinda just ends on a high note right after the tournament ends. A lot of the other characters feel underdeveloped and had very little screentime so they just are kinda there. They honestly could’ve made the movie without 95% of the new cast and it’d be better( they probably only put them in because of the upcoming anime).
Overall, it’s interesting but the way they tell it is forced, lacks maturity, and rushed. The surplus of characters makes it confusing.
It’s all sparkles and bright colors with ok animation. The CG animation is actually fantastic for the live shows and they put a lot of detail in it. However, because of how detailed and almost out of context they make the live show’s art and animation, it seems like a surreal shitpost. The outfits for the show are hilarious because it’s either “generic idol boi outfit” or “do u work at a strip club???”. Also,,, the main villain dude’s facial expressions are hilariously exaggerated and remind me of what you would see in Kakegurui. During the live shows, every character becomes or already is half naked. All the boys are cute except for maybe one or two depending on what your tastes are.
I actually, unironically like some of the songs. Other ones gave me a pretty good laugh because it was cringey. All the idol characters are supposed to be around the same age but some of them sound like a chipmunk while others sound 30 but I didn’t really mind it. At one point during a live show, I distinctly remember that Louis made this weird orgasming sound so yea that’s a thing
BOI there are a lot of them. It’s the same cast from the first movie but I still don’t remember any of the new(as in not in PR Rainbow live) character’s names other than Shin, Louis, and Alex. Even then, I only remember Shin and Louis because they were kinda the main characters and Alex because his actions and outfits are so fucking extreme it’s hilarious.
While I really do love this movie, it’s only mostly ironically. The other small part of me likes it because it has the PR Rainbow Live boys in it and it was nice seeing them since I like Rainbow Live so much. I also really liked that they used references to past PR series and the girls from Rainbow Live. I knew I was in for a hell of a ride right from the opening where all the main characters were naked and had their junk blacked out to censor it.
If u liked the first movie, you’ll like this one even more. If u liked the first one just ironically, then Pride the hero is twice as gay and full of fanservice and cringe. If u liked the prequel unironically, then you’ll enjoy this movie because it finishes most of the first one’s plot.
This movie is just a mix of crazy, ridiculous, gay, and shining epicness. Yes. It is like a mix of JJBA’s crazyness and Naruto x Sasuke’s gayness.
The story itself isn’t super good. It’s rushed, lukewarm (as Ito says) and might be dull if you didn’t watch Pretty Rhythm Rainbow Live. But actually, it is deeper than just “guys dancing on ice”. Just like Rainbow Live, King of Prism story’s is more complicated than it seems. It’s talking about friendship, rivalry, duty, family issues, medias,… They just couldn’t develop everything in the movie (maybe the couldn’t afford a longer one), so they just put the most important elements. It’s really subtle, so you have to rewatch the movie a few times before knowing everything.
But isn’t that great ? You discover the movie everytime you watch it again. Another great point.
The characters can be an unappealing point too. We have 7 main characters from Edel Rose that we don’t really know. They’re just archetypes here to please everyone. All those names must be complicated. And here, I just talked about the ‘main 7’. There are more characters actually. Some of them were from Rainbow Live so I know their story, it’s surely confusing for a new watcher.
I also understand how the yaoi fanservice shit isn’t appealing. I don’t like this either, it makes me super uncomfortable usually, but HERE. It’s just so ridiculous.
Like HOW is it possible not to laugh when you see two half-naked men fighting eachother, knowing one is FIGHTING WITH HIS ABS.
Alec was litteraly bombarding the crowd with his abs and created a tornado just by dancing.
Louis was embracing the whole planet.
Hiro became all dictator and played billard with the solar system.
Kazuki was surfing with a sword coming from the sky.
Prism Shows are just perfect. It makes me forget any negative point of the show. The 3DCG is fantastic, it’s one of the best I’ve ever seen, I think. I love the music even though the lyrics don’t mean anything.
I think if you take time, you’ll see how funny King of Prism is. And maybe after that, you’ll finally see the light. Every second of this movie is pure gold.
I can honestly not tell if this anime is for real or if it’s a parody.
I did laugh my ass off watching it. And I thought the first one was funny.
The animation is bad, the CG is horrible, its packed full of cheesy fanservice and stuff that makes absolutely no sense even with context, which made me laugh from the beginning (that has a stupidly fanservice- packed title card) until the very end.
It’s so bad that I love it (very ironically), even more so than the first one! Though now I am more confused than when watching the 1st one about wether or not it’s a parody, hmm..
I recommend it to anyone that just wanna have a laugh about how over the top japan can get with it’s boy love fanservice.
20: Cello Hiki no Gauche (1982)
English: Gauche the Cellist
MAL Score: 6.90
The story concerns Gauche, a professional cellist. During rehearsals for a performance, he is scolded by the conductor because his playing is not good enough. His timing is off and he seems to have no “feel” for the music.
Gauche returns to his lonely cottage and starts practicing. Then a cat enters who tricks him into understanding the inner meaning of the music. The importance of practice is shown by a cuckoo, rhythm by a badger and tenderness by a mouse. In four days he learns the true meaning and feeling of music and develops into a great musician.
Laced with popular classical music this special combines fun and inspiration for all ages and audiences.
(Source: AnimeNfo, edited)
Gauche the Cellist is a movie that tells the story of a guy named Goshu that just tries his best to be a better cellist player. His hopes are put down by the conductor that’s managing the orchestra. Surely, this was a big downer for Goshu. Being bad already and out of tune at playing his instrument, he doesn’t get any support from anyone at all. He then decides to practice harder back at his cabin so he can prove his master wrong. As he does, random animals appears out of nowhere. That’s where the fun starts. The plot is really very straightforward, until those talking animals just showed up mysteriously.
The movie’s animation, I’d have to admit, isn’t all that great. Considering that it’s made back in the ’80s, I consider the bad quality of the animation. I wouldn’t be too generous giving it a higher mark, but below a ‘fair’ score would also be too harsh, with the account that it is an old movie. There’s nothing much really to talk about concerning the art. The setting takes place for a short time at the school building where the conductor and other students were, and most of the movie focuses on his cabin, where most of the story happens. The cabin is in the middle of a rice field, and maybe on the outskirts of a jungle just across a bridge. But it’s really nice to see a view of that place, which reminds me of how a simple life should be lived as back then. Even dragonflies are focused by the animators flying around, along with other insects/birds that usually just get ignored.
The sound was good. Gauche the Cellist focuses on classical music obviously, since a cello is part of the title in the first place. If you appreciate this kind of music, then this will surely be a good movie to watch. I’d say the voice acting could have been done better though, since some parts of the movie I can’t even hardly hear the voices at all (it just lowers all of a sudden sometimes). But again, an old movie, so I gave it some considerations. The playing of the cello by Goshu was also enjoyable for me, and when he actually got better at it, which was really a good listen.
The characters are mainly a person, then a bunch of animal creatures. Each of those animals seemed to teach Goshu about something that he has yet to discover for himself. It’s like one of those stories with moral lessons where animals talk. Exactly just like that. Those animals really got the smarts to pull off helping out a guy in need. Even the conductor back at where Goshu performs have that angry-looking face that just makes one wants to punch him right on the face. He’s that irritating that I laugh it out for being irritated at that guy. Really unique characters, with added flavor, making animals do the work.
As I said, if classical music doesn’t bother you, then this movie is worth checking out. Despite the old animation, it’s really a movie that I enjoyed. Nodame Cantabile was also a fun series that focuses in classical music, and this movie should just be added to anyone’s collection if they’re into that.
I really recommend Gauche the Cellist mostly to music enthusiasts, specifically to Nodame Cantabile fans that watched the show because of the music as part of their reason. I can see why this movie isn’t all that popular, but I really recommend it to anyone that likes something new to watch, something different.
Story [9/10]: The story is rather simple actually. Based in the countryside of Japan in the era of the 80s. Goshu is a Cello player in a choir. Always making mistakes on some of the fine playing whenever the choir is practicing. The conductor of the choir thus gets mad at him many a times. Goshu tries hard to perfect his playing by practicing on the Cello at his home every night after finishing his chores for the day. Every time during his practice he is interrupted by one of the animals living nearby his home. Yes the house is away from the town he goes for his choir practices everyday, so there are lots of small animals, birds around. Though he is interrupted every time by these animals they somehow help him by teaching the tunes he is trying to perfect.
The story is very well written. I always find that stories written in the olden times were much much more imaginative than they are nowadays. Continuity of the story in the movie is good and it builds up an atmosphere of the typical countryside. Overall there is a feeling of -i watched something very nice- at the end of the film exactly because of the atmosphere that the movie creates.
Animation [7/10]: Animation is okay. I think good according to the technology of the 80s probably. Movements of the charatcres and the animals shown are smooth enough most of the times. So its not all that bad.
Art [7/10]: Art again I give a 7. Characters drawn are too fat. but the animals are drawn well. The landscape portrays the countryside well. Goshu’s home looks really nice though its in a sort of an isolated place away from town.
Sound [8/10]: Music is good. Western Classical songs played during choir practices and when goshu is practicing at his home. Background music is okay again good considering the time in which it was made.
Character [10/10]: All the characters in the choir are very well portrayed. Gives an essence of the typical countryside folks. Animals also have been given distinct personalities very much suitable as to what kind of animal it is.
Enjoyment and Overall [9/10]: Really enjoyed watching this old movie for a change. The Ghibli type elements of fantasy are there in this movie as well. Enjoyed seeing the countryside in the movie. Overall a good watch.
19: Precure All Stars Movie: Minna de Utau – Kiseki no Mahou
Japanese: 映画プリキュアオールスターズ みんなで歌う 奇跡の魔法！
MAL Score: 6.98
Mirai and Rico come to the human world to play, but are separated when the witch Sorciere and her servant Torauuma suddenly appear. Their aim is to acquire the tears of the 44 Precure girls, using them for her “Most Evil Magic.” Only the friendship of all 44 Precure girls will allow them to protect the world.
And this is what the movie has not. The story is simply and jet not attractive at all. Watching again all precure together lose the attraction scene a group of selected precure don’t talk and the protagonist are a new character that is plain with no personality at all. The villian is only one that has no real motive to hate everyone. Using a theme like magic, withces and a world similar to Harry Potter, story really made bad things with the plot.
The movie has some comedy specially for the little kids, this time, mascots are only for decoration and making this jokes. What about the other 40+ precures that are not fighing? Put them all toghether and make some dumb comedy to obtain what we want as a villians. What we want as a villian? Chilché things: revenge, like example. Is this bad? No, if you know how to use it.
About the characters we don’t have really good development, talking about the villian and the main cures of the season, Magical and Miracle. Precure movies are like: separate the group or the pair of cures, they have a main crisis and after a motivational talk, they try again, reunite and fight. This can be interesting, but the movie hasn’t do it well. But now they sing… no, that doesn’t help at all.
There are several animated movies with insert songs (Frozen like example, and the movie uses songs better than this) that really has good development with transmitting emotions. Watching the characters sing and doing something looks a little fake. Without songs, other movies makes better.
Songs can be good transmitting feelings, but in the movie it really doesn’t work at all. And the music isn’t good at all. It’s a musical, but the songs aren’t that good. They are generic and forgettable.
In overall is only a 5. Predictable movie, boring, the only good thing is the animation of it. Only a fan of the series can enjoy this one.
18: Aikatsu! Music Award: Minna de Shou wo MoracchaimaShow!
Japanese: アイカツ！ミュージックアワード みんなで賞をもらっちゃいまSHOW！
MAL Score: 7.01
An Aikatsu! All-Star awards ceremony will take place. The film will feature songs and stages featured throughout the anime series.
17: Wake Up, Girls! Seishun no Kage
Japanese: Wake Up, Girls！青春の影
MAL Score: 7.15
Movie sequel of Wake Up, Girls!, announced at Wake Up, Girls! Festa.2014 Winter.
The story is the best part of the movie. There is no intense drama or complex plot here. It shows the realities of an pop group that has just made its major debut: the initial high, the change in lifestyle when working for a major label, and also the dip that comes afterwards when the newness wears off and people begin to wonder if they were a one hit wonder or a group that can endure. The WUG girls have to face a world that they are not familiar with and it shows when they try to act more like the idols around them but come across as unnatural and stiff. The story flows very naturally and engaged me the entire time despite the lack of action.
There is a subplot for the rival I-1 group from the anime that gets a good amount of development without distracting from our main girls, and shows the pressure at the top of the industry.
This movie has a sequel, so the plot isn’t resolved. However, it ends at a critical turnaround and growth period for the girls which is very effective in drumming up excitement for the sequel.
Unlike some other anime movies, the art does not see an improvement from the TV series. It is still the same clean and simple style, which is not a bad thing, but I had hoped for flashier performances and smoother animation. There is only 1 new performance and it is nice, if nothing spectacular.
There are two new songs, but one of them does not get fully played. The second song is really quite catchy and great. Again, a little disappointing for an idol movie.
Great. If you liked the girls from the anime, the same personalities return and they are cute as ever. They are normal girls that most viewers can sympathize with, even though they all have very different personalities. It is a short movie, so everyone does not get as much screen-time, but all the girls get chances to show off without it being forced. Their interactions with one another are natural and fun to watch, and they really count on one another. There aren’t any major new characters other than a flamboyant Spanish producer.
Edit: Damn Yoppi looks good with short hair.
The I-1 characters make a return as well and despite little screen-time, stand out strongly. Their CEO has some thought-provoking lines, so watch out for that.
However, what I enjoyed most about this movie was the manager. In the past year, he has grown up a lot, and now has an actual strong-willed personality. His weak and idiotic antics were the worst part of the anime for me, but dare I say it he is now quite likable.
Plenty of nostalgia for me, so I really enjoyed watching this movie. It’s a good thing when your biggest complaint is that the sequel movie has not been subbed yet. Soon.
Seishun no Kage is a great sequel to the anime that improves on its realism and story. The struggles that the characters face aren’t some obscure obstacle like saving their school or some evil rival CEO, but rather the realities of working in a tough industry. That’s why, when it sends the same message of not giving up and persevering through difficulty, it feels more sincere and relatable.
16: Wake Up, Girls! Shichinin no Idol
English: Wake Up, Girls! The Movie
Japanese: Wake Up, Girls！七人のアイドル
MAL Score: 7.16
In Wake Up, Girls! Green Leaves Entertainment is in the worst situation any Talent Management Agency can be in… they have NO talent! Desperate for an act, President Junko Tange targets the idol singer market and gives her flunky Matsuda his marching orders: get a girl group to manage, even if it means building one from scratch!
Since complete singing groups rarely appear out of thin air, Matsuda’s now in the difficult position of having to find girls with the right skills who don’t already have contracts with Japan’s music industry. That girl at the Maid Café? Good enough! A lead singer who’s been fired from another group? Sure, why not? How about one who’s only 13 years old? What could possibly go wrong there?
They may not be on the A-list, the B-List, or even the C-list to start, but with a little love and a whole lot of hard work, it’s possible that all Japan may someday wake up to the music of WAKE UP, GIRLS!
(Source: Sentai Filmworks)
Wake Up, Girls! Shichinin no Idol serves a prequel to the anime series of the same name. I highly recommend watching the movie first because it introduces initial concepts to grasp before venturing into the official anime series. The movie runs initially less than a full hour and offers some basic concepts of the show’s aesthetics.
The concept of music idols is hardly an original idea. It’s been done many times in series such as The Idolmaster, Love Live! School Idol Project, and the AKB0048 franchise. The series takes place in a city environment. By this standard, it’s proven itself that the show relates to people trying to discover themselves and open doors to dreams especially since cities are a welcoming billboard to opportunities. But for Green Leaves Entertainment, it’s running low on talents and not enough opportunities to shine like it once had before. Seeking out opportunities, we meet a normal man by the name of Kouhei Matsuda asking an abnormal question: Do you want to become an idol?
The girls he meets initially gives the cold shoulder and it should be no surprise. Shows with idols often have high expectations with the characters being gifted with talent. As an underdog group, Wake Up, Girls doesn’t start off well in terms performance. Most of the girls has big dreams but the group itself have little hope both mentally and financially. One particular girl named Mayu also becomes a topic of discussion on the web after an event that triggered her resignation from another idol group. Because of that, it’s suspicious what may have happened in the past. Unfortunately in this movie, we never find out why so hold those theories tight for the TV series. Perhaps the length of this movie is an obstacle to prevent this revelation but it’s a flaw that comes to play for other factors as well. Such factors includes characterization as hardly any of the other idols gets their own spotlights but instead collectively tries to radiant themselves as a group.
Wake Up, Girls does build itself well in terms of storytelling from the get-go. It’s straight forward and doesn’t bounce off from its premise. It gets right to the point and doesn’t neglect the fact that the girls all have dreams where each of them does get a little insight on based on their reasons. While the main male protagonist lacks a personality, Matsuda does hold some respect for going through with his work and not giving up. It’s like what people say sometimes, ‘you can do anything if you try’. This applies to the idols as well. The girls do put their efforts in despite running into various troubles. Perhaps the result isn’t exactly what they had hoped for, it still earned themselves a way of self-satisfaction knowing they put their efforts through. On the other hand is the strange comedy and almost monotonous dialogues thrown in various conversations. Matsuda is also a character hard to relate to and seems to lack talent himself.
The animation is fresh but not stellar by any standards. Some of the girls looks similar while none of them particularly stand out. Even Mayu, the prominent idol of the series lack any distinctive features besides her noticeable past. Speaking of which, the idols shown in the past has a more fancy style of artistic make up. The present ones lacks that thanks to a technical storyline point that drives the idols to go by what they have now. It also throws in surprising distractions in the forms of brief fan service to add some flavor. Background colors are natural on most terms and defines some form of realism. The snow falling down the sky near the end of the movie could symbolize a transformation especially for Mayu after her breathtaking confession.
Music is a critical theme of this movie as the idols themselves sing to entertain the audience while following their dreams. By most standards, the songs holds themselves together but the performance lacks any groundbreaking impact. The movements flow well but nothing unique or special comes out of the lyrics. One important factor to note though is that the idols’ voice actresses are fresh to the business. Most of them stars in this movie with their debuting roles and is a welcoming sight to embrace. At many points, it feels like the VA themselves embrace their roles such as Miyuu Okamoto with her enthusiasm.
This movie can feel a bit lacking if you are looking for an engaging plot or character development. The pacing and connection with the girls just doesn’t seem to fit together. On the other hand, it’s gratifying to see their efforts and brief progression. While not at a level of stardom, the music group Wake Up Girls is on its way as they take the first step to success. Wake Up, Girls! Shichinin no Idol serves a babyface so hopefully will mature itself in the TV series. After all, every journey begins with the very first step.
15: Chibi Maruko-chan: Watashi no Suki na Uta
Japanese: ちびまる子ちゃん わたしの好きな歌
MAL Score: 7.17
Sakura Momoko’s teacher assigns the third grade to draw an image based on their favorite song to enter a contest. Momoko loves a song she recently learned during her music class and is anxious to make a good drawing based on it. On her way to meet her relatives in Shizuoka, she meets Shouko Kimura, a university student who occasionally draws portraits at the local train station and plans to also participate in an art contest. Fascinated by her illustrations, Sakura meets Kimura once again. Shouko is enchanted by Momoko’s sympathy and honesty. They quickly become friends and end up inspiring each other in their own way.
The movie starts with Sakura momoko also known as maruko-chan learning a new song, Menkoi kouma (beloved foal), she soon gets an assignment : to think of her favorite song and draw the image that comes to mind with that song. While visiting her grandparents in Shizuoka, she meets a street artist and will quickly become friends with her. and decide she could help in creating the best drawing for her song. This movie mainly tackles their growing friendship, how parting can be difficult and also questions our relation with art under the prism of a child.
This movie is comprised of a lots of music clips which compose at least a big third of the movie as it is the main focus of the movie and they are also building its narrative.
Upon her journey cherishing this song, she will realize that what she learned wasn’t the full version and will learn, with the help of different characters, the rest of the song and its context, giving it a different signification which also echoes with her relationship with the artist. Be it by her interaction with her grandfather who only knows the modified version when he was a child which may seem silly but shows how folk songs were created and transmitted and passed on to a new generation. Later in the movie, it reveals that the song was created in time of war and the horse was taken by the army to become a warhorse sent to a far-away battlefield, destroying the precious and happy image she had at first. It gets further with her boyfriend who is from Hokkaido and his family has a farm there and loved the song because of that, joy of birth, seeing the newborn foals standing up.
« To never forget despite being parted. This happens to all of us so many times over the course of our lives… During the course of my life many things were bound to happen. But sensei’s word that day, I would never ever forget them »
Another major theme of the movie is saying goodbye to the loved ones, and the harsh reality of parting with someone, learn to cherish their memories tightly, and the storyline is simple enough to follow and still be emotional, it relies a lot on the viewer keeping the heart of a child and learn to appreciate all the little wonders in seemingly uninteresting events. Characters are kept simple and archetypal but them being that way doesn’t remove anything, in fact, that is its strength as it allows them to use empathy to its full extent. Maruko smug and naïve attitude, as well as her simplicity and her wild imagination certainly makes her adorable and relatable and her classmate all embodies one type of people we have encountered and are relatable in their own way. The way our two main characters evolve and progress throughout the movie is especially remarkable, it knows how to properly introduce them, how to foreshadow their relationship and just enough substance to make you sob at the end.
One of the other highest point of the film is its art and direction, now the normal section use of an improved version of the series, having a beautiful and marvelous pastel art as well as its varied colour palette. Where it really shines though, are the music clips where every bit of care is put to make them as well crafted as possible. Every song has its own themes and atmosphere, be it visually or the music genre it tackles.
The main song is presented differently from the clips present in this movie, it first start outs as a chorus sung by the children in the class. Then, you get to hear maruko sing it many times with a very smooth progression in how it is presented, either having it becomes an echo and having the reddish sun set as a background to symbolize nostalgia, or depicting the story of the song directly on screen and conveying the relation of the foal with his mother in a quite endearing way. Even after that, even though it is not sung, its themes and relation to the story never disappears.
As for the other songs, they vary greatly in their importance to the story, some are here just for comedic value while some plays an intricate value in the role they have to play, or in their style as it englobes different genres of music, from the dynamic pop song to a ballade but also reggae.
It would be very hard for me to talk about all of them but the most memorable for me is “Hoshi wo taberu” by tama.
“She was as beautiful as a porcelain doll on that day. Like a bubble, it seemed like she would float away and disappear. So I watched her as often as I could, while pretending to look at the fish”.
That’s how the song begins, I consider it to be a perfect symbol of their frienship being immortalized, it acts as a sort of climax for their friendship while being a nice foreshadowing of the end of the movie by the presence of the train of the galactic railroad which is smart considering how they can be close to Giovanni and Campanella.
I’d say overall kinda felt close to Fantasia, even though I believe nothing can even come close to that, but the way to tackle the narrative and to be a visual wonder and a treat for the eyes certainly makes it special to me. While I don’t know the degree of involvement of Masaaki Yuasa on this project, it seems pretty clear how it could have affected him and I see it as one of his first step into creating Mind Game.
This movie might not be perfect but it did an important job for me on the emotional level with its portrayal of childhood and all its hardships. It captures everything that makes our childhood a great adventure as well as an interesting on the relation of children with with art.
If I had to really compare it to another movie to give you an idea of what it’s like, “My neighbors the Yamada” would come to mind as the perfect example of associating a seemingly simple structure and artstyle that finally gets you hard and leaves you an everlasting heartwarming memory when it’s over.
With that said, towards the end of the movie there is a turn that is laughably regressive in its gender politics. This would be easy enough to ignore if they moved past it, but the entire remainder of the film is devoted to this turn and it really tanked my enjoyment immediately.
Spoilers: A man who has proposed to his girlfriend tells her that he has decided he wants to move back to the countryside to be a farmer. He says that she should join him. She declines, reminding him both that’d they’d already previously agreed to stay in Tokyo, and that being in the big city is very valuable for her art career.
People can change their plans and break up, that’s fair. No one needs to be a villain in this scenario, it’s perfectly fine. But the man has the audacity to state that she was putting her career before their love (mind you, *he* was the one who *abruptly* changed their plans and decided to move away) and the narrative of the movie has the further audacity to act as if the woman is wrong! Maruko convinces her that she is being selfish so she relents and they get married. This is the central story of the last 20 – 30 minutes of the film. It’s inexcusably regressive even for 90s Japan, and I promise I would be willing to look past it if the movie would just *stop focusing on it*. But it refuses to, so I do too.
This movie would have been an 8/10 but the sheer maddening, prolonged stupidity it made me endure towards the end drops it to a 5/10 in my book.
14: Wake Up, Girls! Beyond the Bottom
Japanese: Wake Up, Girls！Beyond the Bottom
MAL Score: 7.20
Second movie sequel of Wake Up, Girls!.
However, the latest entry in the series, “Beyond the Bottom” serves as a lackluster conclusion to an otherwise stellar series.
The greatest gripe I had with this show was that it simply lost all the positive aspects that the previous entries had. For instance, “Beyond the Bottom” felt horribly disjointed from the tone and atmosphere that the the TV series and previous movies had.
For instance, there is almost no conflict in this story, aside from the upcoming Idol Festival, which by this point in the series, has become a rather stale plot device. Not to mention, there is no buildup to the festival itself, which makes it seem rather lowly compared to the festival depicted in the TV series.
Another complaint I have would be that the music in this movie is lackluster. Although “Wake Up, Girls!” never boasted a massive soundtrack, they always had a relatively strong, albeit small, selection of songs for viewers to appreciate (“7 Girls War” and “Gokukujo Smile”) come to mind. The new songs introduced in this entry simply do not compare in the slightest. They are unmemorable and, unfortunately, not very catchy either. This is quite disappointing because I always felt that “Wake Up, Girls!” was quite strong in terms of the musical aspect of things.
The animation quality also took a massive nosedive. While ‘Wake Up, Girls!” was never known for its animation quality, as you can probably tell from other reviews, it is quite apparent that the animation is even worse than it was in the previous entries. Faces look odd, the dancing looks stiffer than usual, and there are noticeable shortcuts taken to reduce the amount of animation needed to be produced by the company (which is quite obvious once you see it).
The characters from “Wake Up, Girls!” that many of us have come to know and love suffer from lack of depth. The only characters that really receive any proper characterization would be Nanami, Mayu, President Tange, and Shiho. Everyone else is left in the shadows, merely serving as background noise rather than actual characters. However, I do appreciate how the movie develops I-1 Club member Shiho Iwasaki’s character. I found myself appreciating moments in which she appears, as she proved to be, in most cases, more interesting than the Wake Up, Girls! themselves.
To conclude, “Wake Up, Girls! Beyond the Bottom” was disappointing to say the least. In my opinion, it leaves a great big stain on an otherwise fantastic franchise. It is unfortunate that this otherwise good idol anime series ends off tainted with excessive cliches, quality issues, and lack of depth.
If you are a fan of “Wake Up, Girls!” like I am, you’ll want to check this movie out. Just be sure to head in with your expectations low.
Yes the plot is a bit predictable & there’s no real ‘ump’ to the drama. But that’s what makes WUG endearing & to an extent, relate-able.
Coincidentally, I can’t exactly give praise to the characters. I understand with such a large cast, it’s easier to give them a trope or defining trait which captures their entire personality. But sometimes even this feels a tad bland. If you were to remove the faces & voices when they’re in a group scene together : it somewhats blends in together & you can’t quite specify whose line belongs to who.
I will give praise to the production staff. The girls aren’t overly cute.Moments such as when they cry or just doing their shenanigans, it’s not top-tier animation. But the facial expression are just remarkably real, as if this is you or a friend. The actual songs of the idol groups respectively, it does its work.
13: Genius Party Beyond
MAL Score: 7.21
Containing shorts that couldn’t be included in the original, Genius Party Beyond weaves stories that are both deep and insightful: the idea all life is relative in size, the consequences of an oppressive government, and how to deal with your darker desires, among others.
From the directors and artists of works such as Samurai Champloo, Neon Genesis Evangelion, and Akira, come a multitude of thought-provoking tales, to create a collection equalling the original in storytelling genius.
The first short, “Gala”, directed by anime regular Mahiro Maeda of GONZO fame, is essentially a music video with an overarching story about a mysterious meteorite which lands in a small village and how the inhabitants react to it. While the animation and art are relatively standard, the music adds a sense of life and energy to the short that makes it both a great start and one of the best in the package.
The second short, “Moondrive”, done by director of the Kill Bill anime sequence Kazuto Nakazawa, is a humorous tale of delinquents on a search for treasure on a colonized moon after they discover an indecipherable map. The art style is a strange mix of Sylvian Chomet and Japanese conceptual art and gives the work a decrepit, yet comedic vibe.
“Wanwa the Doggy”, by Shinya Ohira, who has previously done key animation on well-known Ghibi and Gainax works among others, continues the collection with a baby’s vivid dream about pretty much everything a baby could experience. It’s one of the most imaginative in the package, featuring a simple chalk-based art style that makes the animation even more of a visual feast than it already is.
“Toujin Kit”, my personal favorite short, is the story of a young girl under arrest for breeding mysterious squid-like organisms in a steampunkish/cyberpunkish world. This short focuses more on narrative than the other works in the package, asking the viewer more questions than it does give answers, which serves to give the already intriguing world more depth. Done by Tatsuyuki Tanaka, who has previously done key animation work on a variety of lesser-known works.
The collaboration ends which the strangest of the bunch, key animation regular Koji Morimoto’s 20-minute “Dimension Bomb”. It plays out like an unfocused dream about friendship and betrayal set in a strange quasi-postapocalyptic world that’s one part Ergo Proxy and one part Texhnolyze. This one, while narratively simple, is filled with enough unique and highly detailed steampunk, cyberpunk and sci-fi imagery to make it a fitting end to the collection.
1. Gala – 8
2. Moondrive – 8
3. Wanwa the Puppy – 7
4. Tojin Kit – 8
5. Dimension Bomb – 9
Unlike the first Genius Party where 3 of the shorts were bad and the other 4 were good, Genius Party Beyond doesn’t have a single bad short. Wanwa the Puppy is the weakest of the shorts, mainly because the animation style can be a tad off putting at times, but it’s still a good short. Gala, Moondrive and Tojin Kit are very good, but the best short is Dimension Bomb. It’s hard to put into words how great of a short it is, you simply have to experience it yourself and see what you think. Even though I felt like I wanted more than just 5 shorts (the first film had 7), I think Genius Party Beyond is a step up from it’s predecessor.
Overall Rating – 8
Gala – Fine 6/10. A unique premise about the marvels of life, for lack of better words. Good visuals, but nothing too spectacular. Also could’ve been shorter and nothing would’ve been lost.
Moondrive – Good 8/10. Entertaining, Lupin III-esque action comedy. Has a plot. Fun cartoony animation style, memorable scratchy linework and backgrounds, decent number of actually funny jokes. Brought down a bit by its less funny sexism.
Wanwa the Doggy – Good 7/10. Really unique art style that kind of resembles Masaaki Yuasa’s short in the first Genius Party. Little more than just a very long chase scene, but the abstract backgrounds and technically impressive animation make it worthwhile, though not something I’d sit through twice.
Toujin Kit – Great 9/10. Beautifully executed setting that keeps inviting you to ask question about the world. More resigned than other entries action wise, putting more energy into really fluid character acting. There’s an actual plot, solid pacing. Monster design is genuinely other-worldly and is unlike anything I’ve seen before.
Dimension Bomb – Bad 3/10. Beautiful character designs, backgrounds, and lighting work here. Animation is on par with other entries. 20 minute ambient music videos are not exactly engaging though. What little narrative there is here is interrupted by long unrelated shots of a figure floating around buildings. You’ll see most of the shots here twice, for no apparent reason. Huge chunks of the short are occupied by a girl obnoxiously humming, the list of complaints goes on. This short is too painfully pretentious and dull to make its visuals worthwhile.
12: Yes! Precure 5 Movie: Kagami no Kuni no Miracle Daibouken!
Japanese: 映画 Yes! プリキュア５ 鏡の国のミラクル大冒険！
MAL Score: 7.27
The five girls plus Coco, Nuts, and Milk all go to visit a castle-themed theme park, where they dress up as princes and princesses and go off to have a fun-filled day. However, Coco and Nuts end up kidnapped! The girls have to save them with the help of two inhabitants of the Mirror Country, Hidarin and Migirin, by battling Shadow, an evil clown, and five girls who are also from the Mirror Country that look very familiar…
We open with a strange figure on a throne giving orders to some teddy bear looking dudes. They give him a shard of glass with Nozomi’s face on it. He transfers it into a crystal causing a shadowy figure to appear. We cut to our heroines who just watched their own show and are, naturally, feeling a bit bored. They decide to head down to a Princess theme park where all the guests dress up in cosplay for some fun. Which gets disrupted when Coco & Nuts are dragged into a mirror.
The biggest issue with the narrative is just that it’s not very interesting. Yes, all the PreCure films have been quite predictable and they’re all equally guilty of following the same pattern of having the heroines dragged into a fight to save some random magic kingdom. The others, however, had some strong character moments and interactions to make them worthwhile. Because PreCure 5 is made up of bland archetypes, it just makes the usual pattern all the more noticeable. And there aren’t a lot of fun sequences to distract from it.
The film tries to have the same sense of fun that makes the PreCure films, as a whole, entertaining in spite of their formulaic nature but it doesn’t work all that well. The sense of investment just isn’t there.
They’re still archetypes. It doesn’t help that the big draw of the film involves the PreCure fighting their dark versions. In some works, they make that cliché compelling by using the dark versions to tell you something about the characters. In this case, they pretty much all win because they draw strength from their friendship. This could have legitimately been an opportunity to add some depth to the heroines but it just doesn’t happen.
In terms of character interactions, about the best we get is a scene where Komachi, Karen & Urara are just joking around. And it is kind of a fun scene, to be fair, but there’s more focus on them participating in theme activities than there is in them actually spending time with each other.
There’s not much to say about the antagonist or the inhabitants of the mirror kingdom either. The antagonist is evil & the denizens are small, plush looking creatures that are easy to kick around.
The artwork is quite nice. The action sequences have a good amount of impact and the overall designs are nicely done. It does bother me that they spend so much time on transformation sequences when the film isn’t that long. Seriously, they have an abridged transformation scene and then one where they all transform one by one and it feels like they’re trying to pad out what is, ultimately, a fairly short film.
The acting is well done. One thing I can credit PreCure 5 with is that the acting has always been better than you’d anticipate given the lack of complexity in the characters. The Dark PreCure don’t have the same actresses as their counter parts which is an interesting decision. Nishimura Chinami, Minaguchi Yuko, Kugiyama Rie, Kiuchi Reiko & Nagasawa Miki do give pretty good performances as the dark versions. The music is decent. It’s pretty much the same thing you get from the series proper, like every PreCure film.
There really isn’t any.
Areas of Improvement:
Make the victories over the dark versions more personalised. I get it, the theme of the importance of friendship and connections has to be represented. But you can still have the girls win over their dark forms in more varied ways besides just having them all rally because they have people they care about.
Cut out the long transformation sequence. Just have the girls already transformed when they enter the mirror kingdom. We don’t need two transformation sequences in this short a period of time. It just wastes our time.
Give us stronger character interactions. I know the characters are boring archetypes, but you can still provide some entertainment by giving them fun scenes. Like the aforementioned one with Komachi, Karen & Urara.
This film, ultimately, is not very good. The characters don’t have strong enough interactions or personalities to really carry it which just makes the old PreCure film formula very noticeable. I can’t say the film is bad. If you really like Yes PreCure 5, it’ll probably be a fun time for you. But for me, it was a sub-par offering. I give it a 4/10.
However, that isn’t the only bad thing about it. We will be introduced to a new character that we’ll meet for about 30 to 40 minutes and somehow we’re meant to care deeply for this same character. Instead it just looks stupid.
This movie’s strongest aspect is the casting. We have the legendary Kugimiya Rie and Park Romi giving their voices to two new characters.
I also enjoyed the humour in this movie.
It’s a 7/10 for me.
11: Kowarekake no Orgel (Movie)
MAL Score: 7.31
In 2039, helper androids are widespread as general purpose electronics.
Keiichiro lost his family in a traffic accident and retired from his band. One day, he finds an old model android in a garbage dump. He takes her home but after taking her to a repair shop he was told she couldn’t be repaired so he planned to throw her away, but the next day he finds her making breakfast for him. Thus begin the summer days of a memoryless android and a dreamless boy.
Kowarekake no Orgel was originally an independent animation released as an OVA. Later on it received a theatrical release that is a bit different and longer than the original.
This movie revolves around Keiichiro, a young man who has lost his family and his passion for music, and Flower, an outdated, clumsy helper-android with a bad memory. The two meet at a garbage site, where Keiichiro finds himself unable to leave her behind, despite the fact that someone has obviously thrown her away. From there, the story broadcasts their day-to-day lives as the bond between these two lonesome individuals develops into a beautiful friendship.
Being that it is so short on time, it really is straightforward and to the point, you aren’t really given any information that you don’t need. Some characters are introduced, but never really developed, so because of that it may seem lacking from time to time. But overall this movie is a good one, and definitely worth the thirty minutes it takes to watch.
Very emotional piece of work here by POP, a titan among men of character designers. If you like having your heart tugged on this will accomplish that and quite efficiently at just a half hour length. Flower is super cute and makes me envy the man of tomorrow, for we are a long way off from having our own little moe machines running around. Little anime, big impact! No reason not to give it a shot. If you’re anything like me it will stick with you for a long time.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is the story of a man whom had lost his family. Depressed, Miserable and Pitiful. He spends his life carelessly without moving forward. But one day, an event transpired which changed his life forever. He met a loli robot. One which has already died, but he brought it in anyways and tried to fix it. Regrettably, Nobody could fix it so he decided to give up. However, during the night he gave up, the robot came back to life and cooks him omelette rice in the morning. That is where the story of the robot loli and the man begins.
[ MAJOR SPOILER ] The robot loli dies at the end and became the man’s jukebox ( don’t know if that’s what they call em’ ).
Kowarekake no Orgel (Movie) is only a 30 minutes movie. So it highly lacks development and things feels fast-paced. However, the sentiments I got from the movie was more than enough. In fact, I was quite impressed that a 30 minutes movie could make me feel so many ways.
This movie is similar to Eve No Jikan but it focuses more on a single relationship rather than general humankind and robots. I still can’t fully accept the fact that this movie was awfully short. But since it was awesome, I’d probably let it slide.
The ending was very unexpected and quite dark. 😉
Recommended to those who are bored and just wants some quick entertainment.
10: BanG Dream! Movie: Episode of Roselia – I: Yakusoku
Japanese: 劇場版 BanG Dream! Episode of Roselia I:約束
MAL Score: 7.35
To reach the stage of “FES.”, Yukina Minato decides to form a band. Each holding their own convictions, the members of the band come together. The five girls now begin their journey to the top as Roselia… This is the story of their “promise” made to each other, from the start of the band to their challenge towards FUTURE WORLD FES!
(Source: Official Site)
It delivered on some aspects, while falling short of certain fundamental expectations. It could have been so much better, but ultimately, it was barely satisfactory.
This movie is largely targeted towards the people who had played the game, and had already read Roselia’s band stories, plus certain event stories for the Roselia members (especially for Yukina and Sayo). It assumes that you already know what happened, and it therefore better serves as a recap for the audience. Viewers who have no prior knowledge of the franchise will almost definitely emerge disorientated from its wildly accelerated pacing. To put things into perspective, Season 1 of BanG Dream had 13 episodes and was equivalent to 27 in-game chapters. This movie attempted to cram 35 chapters (not including important event chapters) in 77 minutes. Just imagine how much material had to be cut in order to achieve that, which included core interactions that would have been integral to further the cast’s characterization and Roselia as a whole. I was thoroughly disappointed at how Sayo was portrayed especially. First-timers would be bewildered at her sudden transformation in personality, with a mere few still shots to “explain” her growth and what she went through. More attention should have been directed her way to flesh her out and smoothen her transition, much like how Yukina and Lisa was handled throughout the movie. It was nice to see cameos of some of the girls from the other bands though, and some added lines were included in the movie that weren’t in the game, albeit for the purpose of fluff.
If you’d watched Seasons 2/3 of BanG Dream! or the Film Live, then you’ll know what to expect. The art for this movie is similar in that it’s fully CG. Lighting and camera angles were mostly on point especially during Roselia’s performances, which did well at striving to reproduce the atmosphere of an actual live. A minor gripe would be that the movement of the characters can be stiff, almost to the point of being robotic at times, and that’s when you’d notice the CG doing its thing. Nothing much else to comment on this; I got used to the CG fairly quickly and it did not ruin the viewing experience. Not the best, but not immersion-breaking either.
Sound would be the department that deserved the most praise. One thing that was lacking in Seasons 2/3 that was present in Season 1 was how the singing and performances in Season 1 were raw and unadulterated, while the later seasons were just filled with studio tracks, which lacked the authenticity and emotion that was required to reach the audience. This movie falls somewhere in between the two extremes, but it was moving to listen to the raw power from Minato Yukina’s singing, pulsating through the speakers in the theatre. Awesome stuff. Also, two new songs in the movie which were bangers, always something to celebrate about.
I truly wanted to enjoy this movie to the fullest. I really did. But the manner in which the story and characters were handled prevented that reality from materializing. If anything, I’d expect the sequel movie to run in a similar fashion as this: one that sacrifices content to jam in as much of the overarching plot within a short period of time, limiting its true potential as being an anime of the music genre accompanied with a fantastic narrative… but I can only pray that there will be improvements made, and I’ll look forward to watching the sequel regardless, as a fan of the series.
Which brings us to this movie. The plot of EoR1 essentially stretches over a large number of segments and events in the game, which appear as visual novel-esque skits. Similarly to other VN-turned anime, that is where the gist of the problem lies.
Having only less than an hour and a half of air time essentially impacts how much plot and character development can be squeezed into the movie. Without going into too much plot, this is very obvious in the fact that the first 30 mins of the movie focuses on a portion very early in Roselia’s formation plot, but has a sudden jump cut to a time much later in the future in which character development has already taken place for some characters, but it is not obvious how it happened for people that weren’t already fans of the game.
The art of the series is fantastic, one of the best implementation of CGI I have ever seen in anime, and Bandori is renown for its fantastic music. Both the OP and ED are bone chilling, and I can very easily play both songs on repeat. However, neither art nor music can save the mediocrity of the movie.
Now, Bushiroad, the brains behind the Bandori franchise, are known for doing many things for the purpose of cash grabbing. They are a trading card making company that makes a large number of gacha games, so it is understandable that this is their business model. Sadly, as much as I hate to admit it, this movie was one of them. Their marketing for both movies have been tremendous… to a point that they forgot to actually put quality into the movie.
As of this review, I have yet to watch its “sequel” EoR2, but judging from what I have seen from this movie, I don’t have much faith that it will be any better.
Had they actually put in effort to make an actually good movie, maybe giving this another hour of airtime to properly animate the cut out segments that would have helped character development, and not try to put back to back movies just for the sake of sales, we may actually have had a good movie, because the plot in the game behind some of the characters (Sayo in particular) is fantastic. But in its absence, we will have to live with the “what could have been”.
9: Yoake Tsugeru Lu no Uta
English: Lu Over the Wall
MAL Score: 7.43
Kai, a young middle schooler, lives in Hinashi Town, a lonely fishing village, with his father and his grandfather, a sun-umbrella maker. He used to live in Tokyo, but after his parents divorced he moved back to his parent’s home town. Kai has trouble telling his parents the complicated feelings he has for them, and he’s lonely and pessimistic about his school life. One of his joys is uploading songs he writes to the internet.
One day, his classmates Kunio and Yuuho invite him to join their band, “SEIRèN.” As he reluctantly follows them to Merfolk Island, their practice spot, they meet Lu, the mermaid girl. Lu sings merrily and dances innocently. As Kai begins to spend time with her, he starts to be able to say what it is that he’s really thinking.
But since ancient times, the people of Hinashi Town have thought that mermaids brought disaster. Something happens that puts a huge rift between Lu and the townspeople. And then, the town is in danger. Will Kai’s cry for the heart be able to save the town?
(Source: Fuji Creative Corporation)
I had also seen the trailer for it and it very much made the film seem to me like a bootleg Ponyo… yet I somehow really wanted to give it a chance.
And I am so, SO glad that I did. All my expectations were subverted and the trailer does the film no justice. The only way I can really describe Lu Over The Wall is by saying it simply feels like the feeling of sheer joy, in film form. I’ll admit, when it started off, with the slightly sulky male protagonist and his musician friends right at the start I thought “oh no, what did I get myself into”, but the moment Lu enters the scene that was all gone and the film was an absolute joyride. At points when I thought I couldn’t be having more fun, it got more fun. I was grinning for a solid 60% of the film and the audience was laughing at multiple points and if that’s not proof that this film is pure joy, I don’t know what is.
Catch me buying this film on DVD and playing it if I’m ever down, and in the unlikely event I ever have children I promise you they will be raised on this stuff.
What’s remarkable about this movie is how it handles the bond between humans and mermaids and how it influenced the lives of the human characters and their choices. It doesn’t try to go deep or portray a dark side of it, it stays the same innocent , simple and magical story from a book that your mother would have read for you when you were a child before going to bed.
From my point of view this movie didn’t feel so appealing for my taste or left something memorable especially the characters. Some characters didn’t have enough screen time and they could have shown us more about their past (for example Kai’s dad band) to leave that emotional impact and connect us to them. Although i gotta admit that the last 10 minutes did a great job of that but despite all of that it seemed rushed and the attachement was lost. The story seem akward in some parts but hey that’s just my own impression and how i felt you can judge it with your own mind after watching it.
To end my review if you want to have a reminiscence about your childhood and you don’t mind the eccentric and childish style of storytelling then this is your perfect choice otherwise if you don’t like this genre you may avoid wasting 2 h.
If we say Devilman Crybaby (2018) was what he wanted to achieve with Auers Blu AKA Kemenozume already in 2006, we are not far from truth. On the other hand, if we look into Yoru wa Mijikashi Aruke yo Otome (2017) AKA The Night Is Short, Walk on Girl AKA The Maiden Galaxy, it is just a tribute to Tatami Galaxy like the last name suggests. What is Lu Over the Wall then? Well, for one thing, it is the closest of “inventing anime again.”
By inventing anime again, Yuusa decided take a look into Europe. More specifically to the country which has created the most original animation movies for over a decade now: France. This was of course not even a new idea. Ghibli had alredy expanded its production to French studios, creating movies such as “The Red Turtle” which is not considered an anime unlike “Da Yu Hai Tang” because reasons. If we think the less anime reminds anime equals inventing anime again, then Yuusa has clearly succeed.
Basically a mermaid who can controll water meets people who hate mermaids and then they make music together. Music and dance moves can apparently turn mermaids into humans, but people don’t like this very much because fuck mermaids regardless. The story is less generic and quite a bit more mature than in most children adventure movies. The main focus is in the animation directing, details of art and in the audiovisual execution. The music plays a big part in the work, but unlike with the Hollywood garbage movie Coco (2017) -which won the animated feature oscar over Lu because people are fucking idiots- Lu’s music is not out of the place. Instead, the whole animation of the movie relies on the music presented during the music sequences.
Yuusa did some avant-garde experiments with his ideas this time around. These vary from anti-gravity water physics to obstacles blocking sunlight. I wouldn’t say that I am impressed, but some of these scenes really burned in my mind, remaining memorable to say the least. All of this is quite irrelevant to those who watch anime for the sole purpose of being entertained.. From Lu’s core, it, above all else, aims to be entertaining movie to watch, and it does its job. I can recommend this to pretty much everyone just for the scene where guy goes to save his computer whilst yelling “muh PC.”
8: Cider no You ni Kotoba ga Wakiagaru
English: Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop
MAL Score: 7.52
The visual features the tagline, “I met you in my 17th summer…” The “boy-meets-girl” story depicts how words and music bridge the gap between Cherry, a boy who is terrible at communicating with other people, and Smile, a girl who hides behind a mask. They meet in a mundane suburban shopping mall in a provincial city.
Cherry always wears headphones and puts the feelings he cannot utter into his hobby, Japanese haiku poems. Smile always wears a mask to conceal her large front teeth, for which she has dental braces. As a popular video star, she streams a video about seeking “cuteness.”
Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop is not an uncommon romance anime movie to those familiar with the genre. Charmingly formulaic, it is an easy-going watch that will cheer you up if you’re feeling blue. It’s not likely to leave you with a lasting impact, but it’s a brief, pleasant watch—like a cool breeze on a hot summer day.
Cherry is a boy who writes haikus for fun yet has difficulty expressing himself verbally. Smile is a girl with buck teeth and braces concerned about looking cute for her Instagram following. Each of them communicates their personalities through social media; Cherry posts his haikus on Twitter. Smile streams vlogs to thousands of viewers. Cherry and Smile are relatable in the sense that they lack self-confidence. Both are timid kids; to avoid the daily awkwardness of being a teenager, Cherry has on his headphones, and Smile always wears a face mask.
The first third of the film is wonderfully upbeat; the two protagonists live a day in their life and cross paths at random. Cherry is a caretaker for older people, and Smile likes spending time with her friends. There’s little to know about the main duo, and we learn next to nothing about the one-dimensional side cast. Aside from providing emotional support, the supporting characters are irrelevant caricatures. Cherry and Smile’s meeting is very coincidental. A random person bumps into them, and they accidentally swap smartphones. It’s a wonder they didn’t realize they were in the plot of a cheesy romance. Thankfully, their slow-burn romance is only one of the plotlines because neither characters are interesting enough to form a compelling relationship. The social media motif lightly touches on how apps such as Twitter and Instagram cause insecurities; Cherry felt undervalued because no one ever liked his posts. Smile’s cutesy online persona caused her to be more self-conscious of her teeth. Lamentably, the film quickly forgot the introspective motif in favor of a scavenger hunt storyline.
The middle section consists of montages and slice of life snippets to show how their relationship progresses from friends to romance. During this act, the anime plants itself in a charming and formulaic romantic drama. There is very little character development to be had until the final act. Screentime is primarily taken up by the blossoming romantic duo searching for an old record lost by an older man—one of the people Cherry sees at work. At the start, we witness the man exploring a wide-open field and a mall with nothing but the record cover; this gets hinted at becoming the crux of the film. Their quest to find the lost record fails to maintain interest, but it is accompanied by the beautiful everpresent, primarily instrumental, music.
The most praise I can give to this film is the excellent soundtrack. It guided the mood from joyful to melancholy and it progressively became better. There is a lovely song playing in the background at nearly every moment—drowning out sound effects or chance at creative sound design. In a music genre film, that is fine. However, the lack of creative musical transitions left me slightly disappointed. I appreciate they did not attempt to go for melodramatic gut punches at the end. Though very predictable, there’s magic to an easy-going romance ending.
While occasionally choppy, the animation is serviceable. The vibrant and colorful background art is dazzling enough to draw your attention. It bears many similarities to the stunning art direction from Great Pretender. After a while, it feels rather mundane and static. It is more akin to drawn-on Hollywood set dressing than of a believable world. We’ve come to expect this visual fidelity from studio Signal MD. The voice actors did the best they could with the threadbare script: Somegorou Ichikawa’s performance as Cherry was natural, but it slightly conflicted with Smile’s enthusiastic personality—this further emphasizes their lack of similarities or chemistry. Cherry is his first role in an anime, which is clear, though, for a newcomer, he did well.
Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop is more on the level of a moderately high-quality anime than a movie. The expressively animated character designs nearly distract from their surface-level depth. There are a couple of impressive animation cuts, such as a boy skateboarding through a shopping mall while evading security at the beginning. Though the rest is simply cartoony. Melodic music, a low-stakes predictable story, and coming-of-age themes. There is just enough here to maintain our attention until the bittersweet finale. This is not a film that warrants a second watch. Although it won’t leave a lasting impact, it is a nice passing watch to wind down with during the middle of the summer.
The story was consistently good throughout the anime, though following a traditional structure to where the high or low points of the story was. It’s nothing too out of the ordinary for a SoL show which makes the moments where something special happens become even more special. It does have some predictable moments like how both of the main characters meet and what they do but overall with those predictable moments, they didn’t really deviate from the overall story’s quality and didn’t really affect the overall enjoyment of the film.
The art style is done spectacularly, it flows really well between the more actiony scenes and the calmer scenes, with it matches the aesthetic of the show beautiful. The characters are animated very stylishly and their facial reactions are very diverse and helps paint a picture of what the personalities of the characters are, even though they might be a tad overdramatic. There is always a moving part on the screen and even things like a book falling over on the ground is shown in a bright matter. The scenery at the points it need to happen were done well though at times it felt like it was panning a bit slow.
The sound is the best part of the show. The show’s background themes brighten up the anime in a bright, colorful way which I expected for it being made by Kensuke Ushio, who also did A Silent Voice and Liz to Aoi Tori. It is also a major part of the show as the whole show resolves around the theme of music.
This characters of this are well done. Cherry, a Japanese haiku poet with a lack of wanting to share his haiku’s vocally and hides behind his headphones to make people not want to talk to him and Smile, who is a successful online personality with a personal crisis with her bucked teeth which she wears a mask to protect herself from potential embarrassment. Both characters are very simple but both feel like real characters living with their basic problems, and seeing their interactions with each other and the rest of the cast. The supporting cast can be a bit forgettable apart from Fujiama, the grandfather of one of Cherry’s friends. He helps create this diversity from the main characters being this loud, forgetful and annoying character, which makes this story feel more alive and all together more realist.
I found this show to be a simple yet an enjoyable one at that, I would suggest this to people who like music, slice of life and people who love a little romance in the show. I was glad to see the global same time release of this film on Netflix as I think it’s the right step for Netflix to have these sort of releases for their original anime films.
The narrative starts off fine, you know, copy stuff from Jun Maeda and make yourself look like some wet market version of Shaft seems to do the trick, I can now understand why Netflix is so popular with the community. But then we go into the second half which kills any initial vibe and setup because there is a new plot device at play, honestly, with what the story had going for itself, it would have been better to take the generic route of “boy meets girl” story and just left it at that. I will say, however, that the change in the story wasn’t something I’d outright dislike, it had its good moments, and for a small brain reviewer person like myself it sure as hell made it enjoyable to watch without any kind of random incoherent actions just ruining everything. The characters are pretty much handled by the story, so anything about them didn’t even matter too much in the long run, at least they were people instead of representations.
Audiovisuals are interesting, it looked good throughout and the style was something I took a liking to, fits the theme very well. It does look a little unembellished at times but I would imagine it is part of the style. Audio is pretty good too, solid OST but it is more on the simpler side of things than anything. Seiyuus good, that is kinda their job, maybe I should stop saying stuff about seiyuus from now on :shrug:
I somewhat enjoyed this. I won’t lie, I was out here going to give this a 5/10 because it did a thing that just went a little sideways and just didn’t meet even generic standards at times, but it was a little fun. Overall, this is recommendable, but I would watch this if you have seen like 20-30 original movies that have no franchise connected to them. You can look at this as pass the time type anime.
Since when was Netflix good tho 🤷.
7: Sora no Aosa wo Shiru Hito yo
English: Her Blue Sky
MAL Score: 7.52
High school student Aoi Aioi lives with her elder sister, Akane, after a tragic accident took their parents away 13 years ago. Because Akane has since been taking care of her single-handedly, Aoi wants to move to Tokyo after her graduation to relieve her sister’s burden and pursue a musical career, inspired by Akane’s ex-boyfriend Shinnosuke “Shinno” Kanamuro. Shinno was part of a band until he left for Tokyo to become a professional guitarist after the sisters’ parents passed away, and he was never to be seen again.
One afternoon, while Aoi practices her bass in a guest house, she gets startled by the 18-year-old version of Shinno from 13 years ago! As if by coincidence, the current 31-year-old Shinno also returns to the town, but he has changed drastically. There are now two Shinno’s in existence, but why is the Shinno from the past present?
Sora no Aosa wo Shiru Hito yo revolves around these four individuals as they confront their inner feelings toward each other and make decisions that will affect their lives from here on out.
Firstly, the synopsis is not that accurate. This is not a story of time travel, nor did Aoi only start to fall in love upon meeting the Shinno from 13 years ago.
The movie starts with Aoi plugging in her earphones to practice her bass, drowning out all sounds. I feel that that is a nice touch. We are then gradually introduced to the other characters and how Aoi feels about them. There was also a flashback of her past which explains why the two sisters are living together, when Shinno suddenly appears.
There were some twists that I’ve never expected. At first, I thought only Aoi could see Shinno, but it turned out that everyone could see him too. They called him an Ikiryou (a spirit that is left behind when the living passes on) at the start, and I thought that that was the case too, when Aoi ran home to Akane and asked her for more details about Shinno – to which her reply was “I don’t know whether he is even living or dead”, which cemented my belief until minutes later when Shinnosuke appeared on the Enka stage as a guitarist.
What happens when you meet face-to-face with your past self? That was the other big twist that I did not expect. Watch it to find out!
The story built up emotions leading to that scene from the ominous cave to the landslide to the sealed guitar and to the meeting, and the tension – emotions at an all-time high was kept at that plateau for the rest of the movie. It was truly a work of art.
My first thought was that the older Nakamura looked like Poppo from AnoHana, but it turned out that they were different persons. Each scene, though ordinary somehow managed to look special while being not overtly imposing. I liked how the director transitioned from showing a dull welcoming scene to the appearance of a very flashy Nitobe, and how the camera slowly pans to the right to reveal the older Shinnosuke. That said though, while the art was great, it was not particularly outstanding hence the score.
As I have mentioned in the introduction, the touch when earphones are plugged in and when Aoi tries to convey her feelings for the older Shinnosuke was absolutely stunning. Aoi fondly reminds me of K-On! when she plays the bass. I feel that her VA has done a good job in conveying her feelings for Shinno, like how her voice trembled when she spoke to him or that outburst when she found out what Chika has done.
Given the number of characters, it can’t be helped. Although every character has some development, I feel that they could have given more depth to each of them, particularly the older Shinnosuke and exactly how did he come around. Also, the boy-crazy Chika could have been given more exposition – we never knew if she was telling the truth or not when she claimed that ‘nothing happened’, because we only have an idea of what’s her personality like.
Overall, I enjoyed the movie enough to write such a long review about it. Even after watching the epilogue however, I am left with more questions that I had at the start and I think that this movie would have a better reception had it launched as an anime series instead.
Overall verdict: 8/10
I had such high expectations for this movie…which perhaps was the mistake I made, because boy was it such a disappointment. I should have expected this from Cloverworks, who did Bunny Girl Senpai along with the movie which clearly wasn’t movie quality, much like this. Ultimately, I feel as though “Her Blue Sky” would have worked much better as a 1-cour series and it honestly does seem like it was cut down to a movie due to budget constraints, although obviously that’s just speculation.
There is absolutely nothing original about this story. That doesn’t mean it’s bad, it just… well, like someone else said, exists. It wasn’t really confusing to follow at all, but the main issue was that too many characters were included, too many things were going on, and the focus was spread out far too much for a less-than-2-hour movie. Half the time it felt like a slice-of-life story, a quarter of the time it felt like a supernatural mystery, and the other quarter felt like a romantic drama. Not all even in any specific order; interspersed throughout, which led to a distinct lack of atmosphere and connection to the characters.
There were too many random shots of people playing music, scenery, and nothing plot-related that it felt like they were trying to find things to fill the time which is just super confusing to me because the story that they were trying to tell in the first place felt rushed as it was.
The lack of cohesiveness in tone and atmosphere throughout the story really led to me feeling absolutely nothing during the climax of the movie, what was supposed to be the most emotional point – and then, the story just abruptly ended.
I guess it was trying to tell the story of not giving up on your dreams and realizing that even after time, what your heart most desires can come true – but that was just one subplot for one or two of the characters. What was it trying to convey to us – what was the story for the protagonist? What did she get out of it? When you can’t even figure out what the plot was about in relation to the main character of the damn story… I don’t know what to say. It felt like we were following around a protagonist and yet nothing in the story was actually meant to be about her and she was just a device used to serve the story of the two other mains.
I don’t even know what I’m trying to say at this point, other than the story felt almost non-existent, that things were just happening just for the sake of happening. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t good, and it failed at creating an atmosphere where I cared about what was happening or felt drawn-in.
Again, I really feel as if it would have worked better focusing entirely on only the main characters, cutting out the side characters, and making it entirely character-driven with no other real events occurring. The way the plot was, in order for it to feel realistically developed, the story definitely needed way more time than what was granted for the movie.
Basically, the plot had potential and failed mainly because there wasn’t enough time to adequately tell the story they were trying to tell.
There are definitely some beautiful still shots here. Extremely realistic, and full of life, a sharp contrast to the plot. Sadly, like the premise of the movie, the art is fool’s gold. I’m almost positive that at least half the shots in this movie, if not more, were photographs passed through filters made to seem like they were drawn or painted when really they were just pictures taken. There’s just too much detail, too much distinct lettering and small items in the background shots for them to have been all drawn.
But it looks visually stunning! Because it looks realistic!…because it’s actually real images that aren’t drawn. Because nothing in the backgrounds were actually moving, i.e. the backgrounds were all just stills, it leads to even more credence in my theory. In Shinkai’s films, all of the backgrounds are alive. Here, the backgrounds are just static. The only things really animated at all in this are the characters, which are drawn very inconsistently throughout the movie with such a clear discrepancy in detail between them and the backgrounds, that they feel jarring and clash with the backgrounds. Even if all the backgrounds *were* hand-drawn or painted, the design of the characters style clashes stylistically with them.
There are shots with characters’ faces not even attempted to be drawn-in because they’re at somewhat of a distance away – yet inexcusable for a movie to not have faces drawn in because it was 100% possible for them to have accurately been drawn-in. There are shots with characters off-model with little-to-no detail in their clothing.
Why would the studio go the extra mile for beautifully-hand-drawn, ultra-realistic backgrounds yet drop the ball hard on character art? I don’t know. I don’t think they would have, but I’m not going to through out baseless accusations that a lot of the backgrounds were photographs; only state my personal suspicions that they were.
Sound design was fine. The instrumentation was cool – meaning the actual instruments that were played by the characters in the movie. The soundtrack did not stand out in the least – not a single track was memorable for me. The voice acting was probably the strongest part of the sound. It’s hard to go wrong on sound and at least the music choice was fitting.
The protagonist felt like a plot device for a story being told about the side main characters. The movie clearly wasn’t about her yet it tried to make the emotional climax about her and it failed miserably because I felt nothing for her because the story wasn’t focused on her. She felt very one-dimensional, I personally saw zero development in her character throughout the entire film, and she didn’t gain anything from the events that took place in the film. Further, some of her actions felt groundless – mainly including her personal feelings towards one of the other characters – which I am attributing to the lack of time to properly show development. It felt like her particular feelings towards the character went from 0-100 in no time at all without any real interaction between the two. How she specifically acted towards that character – after 3-4 scenes with that character, practically no time at all – felt unbelievable and unrealistic.
Regarding the other characters, the other two mains – I don’t really get how their feelings for one another occurred either, especially considering how the one character was behaving and his attitude for most of the first half of the movie. Furthermore, I just don’t get how over a span of 13 years apart, things could have realistically developed again. Lots of things change over 13 years, what ended up happening just felt forced yet again because there wasn’t enough time for adequate development.
As for the side characters, they’re important enough to have screentime and lines, yet not important enough for anything they say to really have any impact on the story. Like, they were there, yet they played no role in the story other than being there. They had lines and moments, yet none of what they did impacted the development of the story or even how the main characters acted.
I didn’t see the purpose of a lot of characters and the narrative could have been much tighter had the movie focused solely on the main characters.
I wasn’t bored enough to drop the movie, it had my entire attention throughout, yet I felt absolutely nothing for it or any of the other characters. I enjoy things the most that pull me into the world through worldbuilding and development, both of which “Her Blue Sky” did not succeed at properly doing.
I think I would have enjoyed this movie a lot more had it been an entire series. There was simply too much going on and not enough focus to have me connected to the story even though I was never actually bored.
For this reason I give “Her Blue Sky” a 4.5/10, the definition of mediocrity for me. Good premise, just not fit for a movie.
the plot was just,,, well blend. the story was almost boring, and it felt like the plot could have included more, and the story had so much room for improvement, and the characters could have been better developed, but sadly this was not achieved. however, credit has to be due to the way the romance aspect of the show was handled during this series, giving you a smile on your face towards the end of the movie,
the characters were all interesting, but was not allowed to be developed in this film. the characters all had their flaws presented in the early stage of the film, but some were never fully addressed
overall, i would not recommend this movie to anyone who is looking for a romantic musical anime, but if you are just looking to spend some time with your significant other or just chill in your room and kill some time, by all means go ahead
MAL Score: 7.55
The story revolves around a rock band formed by a trio of punks, none of whom had prior experience with musical instruments.
(Source: MAL News)
“Beauty in simplicity” best describes the ethos of Ongaku. Every aspect from the minimalistic character designs to the blunt and incredibly straight forward script compliment each other and culminate to this strong sense of confidence in the film. That confidence in turn creates this aura of inspiration and optimism. Goes to show that you don’t need a huge all-star team or deep writing to create something special. Sometimes all you need is a strong vision and tenacity.
Creating anything as a one-man army is impressive in and of itself, however, the talent at display here is truly remarkable. Rotoscoping is used prominently throughout the film for a unique effect. It’s both very cartoony and life-like without ever dipping into the uncanny valley. This allows for lots of expressive character movements and complex background animation. The performances are definitely the highlight though. Pair that with the intense, emotionally-charged music and you’ve got yourself some of the most powerful performances of all time.
As a movie about music, there is a lot of attention put into the soundscape. All the voice actors do a great job at matching the script with their rather dry and mundane delivery. It’s quite suitable for the film’s sense of humor though, and the comedic timing is consistently on-point. It may not send you into bursts of laughter, but is subtle enough to always leave a smile on your face.
I cannot recommend Ongaku enough if you have an hour or so to spare. It’s a great film to just put on and have a great time with, and if you’re an animation nerd, this will be like a wet dream for you. There are also lots of nods to classic rock that, while a bit surface level, are still tasteful and fun to spot out. I suggest you gather up some friends and have fun together!
The anime begins with this simpler animation, which uses very static plans and frameworks, at times the characters don’t even move. It gives me a very good idea of the life of the characters, which is very still. The characters and the sets are also very “two-dimensional” in that sense. We can only see them from simpler perspectives, and not from complex insights. As far as we can see, they have no goal or pretensions until the main character invites them to create a band.
Music is treated as something to be discovered and deepened. The anime is very well etilized in musical moments. The evolution of the film starts from this point. It is an evolution that is styling the music more and more until reaching the end. As we already know the simplest and least expressive side of your universe, the stylization moments are very impactful. You can’t even say that what they play is really a song, it’s more of a noise that they make with the instruments. When the characters do this together for the first time, it changes from that two-dimensional, expressionless aspect to a deeper and more organic perspective.
The film treats music as a kind of discovery and fascinating goal. The sound in the film generates movement. The anime leaves the viewer immersed in that static reality and later gratifies him with that feeling of movement and freedom.
In this first moment, even at the beginning of the film, this technique appears as something fascinating, and that later becomes an imaginary element, especially when we encounter the character Morita. His relationship with music already transcends this vision of fascination with the new, he is already someone who relates to music, so he shows a more imaginary and meditative affection. The first song sung by the character group is calm, and this is reflected in the style of animation that is presented to us in this scene and also by the great voice actress Kami Hiraiwa. We, as spectators, are invited to discover this more imaginary side.
There is a moment in the film where Kenji gives up on the music after listening to it on his recorder. If we notice how the anime deals with the relationship between music and spaces, it makes sense to understand why he gave up. In that scene, they just listen to the song they just recorded, and it had no impact at all. It was staged without that expressiveness that we were used to seeing when they play, again passing that feeling of immobility that goes against the feeling that the characters should feel at that moment.
If there is no music or to appreciate one’s own, there is no reason to have that more evident expressiveness. This final stretch leaves the film again with that more static aspect, at least when it comes to Kenji’s musical group. There is a very interesting moment when the Morita musical group is handing out the flyers for the rock event, and they are not getting anyone’s attention. The character becomes uncomfortable with this situation and begins to play more aggressively, and this is reflected in the animation. Because it is a very unusual scene for the lightness that the character had when singing the first time, it shows how he not only likes to sing, but also takes it very seriously.
At the rock festival, we are in the situation where Kenji is not yet there to play, and another more important one that happens with the character of Morita. Before that, it is interesting to note that the first to sing his music is not so impressive due to the lack of expressiveness that his song goes through the form of animation that we are used to. This in a way takes away the importance of the other participants, until the turn of Morita’s Kobujutsu band comes. While they play, at the same time, Kenji’s character ran around playing the flute and being chased by a gang for the event. The character to the sound of rock has been traveling the spaces of the streets and the scenery in a very visceral way. This is interrupted when Morita’s instrument in the middle of the performance breaks and disrupts his song.
After this event, another band plays and then it is the turn of Kenji’s Kobujutsu group to do their show. In an obvious way, the character arrives at the last minute to play with his friends, so we have the most expressive scene in the entire film. When the characters begin to play, Morita’s band, by virtue of the music, joins them in the same song. It is interesting to note how at this point, everything becomes more organic, three-dimensional and expressive, and this effect reaches even the audience that is watching. And when it seems like it’s over, Kenji continues to play his flute, and in a surreal moment of animation, there is a dip in that imagery side, and then the character floats across the sky, transcending not only this musical and imagery expressiveness, but also reality. It’s kind of hard to have an idea if that was real or not, but the important thing is to convey that idea of the effect of the music.
To conclude my criticism. All the ideas and the staging of director Kenji Iwaisawa managed, through the contrast of simplicity and expressiveness, to pass this idea on to a discovery by movement and fascination that music can provide.
When you thought great songs, absolute stunning animation, well-written dialogues, subtle character development couldn’t be compressed in a one-hour movie…this movie is here to prove you wrong.
Taking over 7 years to make and more than 40,000 hand-drawn frames, Kenji Iwaisawa brings to us an absolute joy of a movie.
We have 3 high school delinquents, Kenji, Ota and Asakura, living a carefree school life, playing games on a console, in their own hideout in school, picking up fights with people from other students, and having a single female friend who gave the trio the title of “three musketeers”, they just do whatever they feel like doing in the moment. And just like that one day, kenji on his way to a brawl acquires a guitar (in perhaps one of the most hilarious ways possible) and comes up with a brilliant idea, starting a band. The trio picks up instruments from the school, like it’s just another day in their everyday nonchalant life, and takes them home, Beatles style. Having no knowledge about instruments they go with the classic set up of a drum and two bass guitars and create sound based on natural instincts and pure energy.
The movie follows their journey starting from them picking up drums all the way to their performance in the town’s small annual rock festival. Having quite a few side characters beside the main three, all of them fit excellently in the story, each having their own character backgrounds, personalities and they entwine with synergy along with our main cast without any friction.
Our trio names their band “Kobujitsu” meaning ancient martial arts, which is quite spot on given that all three are muscle heads, and believe brute force is the solution. The music that they create with the two bass guitars and drums, without any practice reminds you of a primitive era, where there is just raw sound, not really any tune or refined sharpness to it. So this gives the whole identity and is symbolism to their personalities and lifestyle.
On the contrary, in their school is another music club, which has a band named “Kobijitsu” meaning ancient fine arts, which is symbolising the personality of the band members. They play music which has harmony tuning and a pitch which loosens the strings clutching your body and you feel at ease, sound which is appealing to the ears, sound which provides tranquility.
So throughout the series we get to see how both of these meet and actually intermix their music style and influence one another.
Perhaps the most overwhelming aspect of the entire movie was its absolute hair-raising, spring-tingling and an overall phenomenal animation and art work. Initially what we are absolute school level character designs, with no focus, detail or even appeal to the character designs, eyes are just 2 lines with a dot, faces are drawn with no emphasis on design and mustaches are just a zig zag line, no lips or detail to mouth movement. The background artwork seemed like a painting done on a canvas, with light water colors. Simplistic designs, without any major detailing or 3D look to things adding to the aesthetics of the movie.
But the gimmick that makes those crappy designs, aesthetic one might argue, work is the steller animation, the way those characters move, the motion of the limbs and the body in general. The dynamics of the body movement throughout the series feel astonishingly real. The anime has moments where the animation completely changes, the art style goes into another dimension and one wonders if they are still watching the anime they started.
So how does this anime achieve those astronomical heights of graphic dynamics, well they did something similar to what Masaki did in ping pong. They traced frame by frame real live action scenes and performances. They copied the realistic body movements covering it with their character designs and single stroke faces. One can assume the reason they went with the simple character designs was so they can make the animation outstanding by making tracing and incorporating those traces in animation, easier.
We start noticing this from the starting itself, but major giveaway comes when, the leader of Kobijitsu, Morita, neglects the fine arts side of music and goes into a fit of hard rock guitar stringing, all color from the screens vanishes and we only see set oh black, blue and red lines creating an 3d image of a person playing guitar, with hair flowing and his entire body moving as he unleashes all his energies and drops all etiquette and completely immersed himself in the moment and all the frustration inside gets converted to metallic guitar tones. This scene makes it absolutely clear about the origins of the work and how the animation came to be as it is.
We get the final shock and wave of music and animation in the final 10 minutes, at the rock festival. And I can guarantee you it will leave you overwhelmed.
I’ve talked about it already, but building up more on the Kobijitsu and kobujitsu thing, I’ve honestly never thought about music with such depth and analysis as this movie made me do it.
Like how one expresses themselves through the medium of music, though the medium of sound production. Two different people, using the same instrument producing two very different sounds, presenting two very different emotions.
Key theme of the movie was that music is subjective. People fight over whose taste in music is superior or why do bands change their music style with time, but fail to see that what tunes might please you, other people may find inadequate and lacking.
The music played by Kobujitsu in the starting when they first picked up those musical instruments, remained constant till their final performance at the rock festival. This is one factor which makes this anime special. If suppose we say their first performance was awful and they realise that music takes time before you can create sounds which people like. We would have expected to see an entire training arc where they would work on improving their sound and style. But that never happened. What they played when they first picked up instruments, stayed consistent from practice to their final performance. Sending the message again that music is subjective.
The music they play showcases their nature, their personalities and emotions so that they don’t feel as if the music lacks in anything and they just play the same notes in a constant rhythm, which reminds of the primitive era, and caos, a world where nothing makes sense. This was personified when Morita listened to their performance. And Morita instead of getting mortified by their performance, was rather flabbergasted, and asked them to perform at the rock festival, without giving them any advice in music theory or anything.
But we see how kobujitsu affects Morita, when he goes into that fit of heavy rock strimming out of nowhere, and we get to see more of Kobujitsus effect on Kobijitsu at the rock festival. So we can say that maybe Morita, being well aware of music and its peculiarities, saw the appeal in Kobujitsu’s sounds, and felt his own work was inefficient at expressing himself. And the people in Kobujitsu were able to express themselves perfectly, for they don’t want to produce music loved by others, and just represent their emotions through sound. Also the fact that they aren’t well versed in the world of music or music theory and pieces, they don’t know the difference between what is refined music and what is raw sound. But when they hear Kobijitsu’s performance they do seem impressed.
On the other hand, Morita being very knowledgeable in the subject, listening to different peoples work, thought that maybe this was the music that people wanted to hear and that’s what he reciprocated. But looking at how Kobujitsu didn’t give a damn about people, Morita saw that as a message or as an inspiration and hence was blown away by them and followed their footsteps in a way.
Besides all this, we actually have some really beautiful music pieces in the movie. From simple guitar and drum OST to amazing acoustic songs to passionate guitar streaming and lastly an extravaganza of mix indie rock instrumental performance.
We get to see a small but really fantastic set of characters in the movie. The leader of Kobujitsu, Kenji, never expresses himself in more than a few syllables. His monotonous expression less voice and perhaps the most unpredictable dialogue writing make this character instantly lovable. You can predict his dialogues to a certain point, but never what is going to come out of his mouth. Throughout the series, he just does what he wants, without being guided or influenced by anyone. Just a free living delinquent, staying true to his character. Same could be said for Ota and Asakura, who take on the main lead when their time comes, but the story mainly revolves around Kenji and his character development.
Second character whose major development we see is Morita, as I have discussed earlier, how he goes from being a shy, introvert, playing soothing musical notes, to a punk rockstar playing beats on pure energy and his entire being vibing along.
Another side character we get to see is Oba, leader of a delinquent gang from another school in the same area, who has been wanting to fight kenji. Kenji rejects his proposal for a one on one fight, so Oba decides to hurt him, when it’ll hurt the most. And the next time we get to see Oba is on the day of the rock festival.
All the characters remained true to their feelings. There was character development but not the cost of the entire persona of the character changing. They stay as they are, but change their ways of doing things, without letting go of their attitudes and virtues.
So we have a stunning artistic masterpiece, revolving around subjectivity of music, with intricately well designed characters with perfect time frame and crispness. It’s really hard for me to actually come up with something that would make the movie a bad or even anything less than an overwhelming experience for anyone whatsoever. Lots of pop culture references, such as The Beatles, John Lennon, many more.
“Music doesn’t change but your perspective does” this is another thing that makes this movie so unique and special. The music doesn’t change as to seek appreciation from the audience. Instead, the audience starts appreciating the music as it is. Ultimately helping us understand, just how different music is for everyone, and instead of comparison, it needs to be acknowledged.
The animation in the starting and trailer might not seem as appealing, but as the story progresses, things will change for the better and the buildup doesn’t disappoint. If you are new to anime, it will be a 50/50 chance whether you will not like the movie or will be completely blown away by it, depending on your maturity and taste. It’s a different experience, I honestly can’t compare it to any other movie or show I have seen, this thing is unique in its own genre.
So go for it, great movie for a group watch, family friendly, and…yeah. It will be a big mistake to miss this one out.
My rating: 9.8
5: BanG Dream! Movie: Episode of Roselia – II: Song I Am.
Japanese: 劇場版 BanG Dream! Episode of Roselia II:Song I am.
MAL Score: 7.57
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The biggest improvement has to be the pacing of the movie. So, so much better than the first. It provided a sufficient depth of development to the main characters, and more importantly, did not rush through the plot as a whole. It definitely helps that there was less content that had to be covered this time, which permitted time for Roselia to interact amongst themselves and with other members of the cast to build up their characterization.
There isn’t much to comment on the remaining focal points like art and sound. It’s still fully CG, similar to the first movie and seasons 2/3 of BanG Dream!. The models were drawn well and moved fluidly enough, but there are moments where the occasional janky gesticulation will be noticed (as you do with CG). It doesn’t ruin the viewing experience though, and it’s easy to get used to. The performances were fantastic, more so compared to what the first movie had to offer. The camera angles and choreography were on point and the characters were expressive and evocative. The opening and ending were new songs and were absolute bangers.
All in all, a solid movie, one that I can confidently recommend to existing fans of the franchise who wish to relive Roselia’s Future World Fes arc in animation. Looking forward to the 2nd Film Live and Poppin’Party’s own movie!
4: The iDOLM@STER Movie: Kagayaki no Mukougawa e!
English: THE IDOLM@STER MOVIE: BEYOND THE BRILLIANT FUTURE!
Japanese: THE IDOLM＠STER MOVIE 輝きの向こう側へ！
MAL Score: 7.60
The idols of 765 Production continue on their neverending journey—towards a new stage, towards a bright and shiny future!
The girls and their producer have gone through thick and thin, and have stood face to face with all kinds of difficulties.
It’s time again for the girls to foster their friendship, and through great discipline, they step forward to their starry future.
(Source: Official website)
The problem with the Idolmaster movie is that it doesn’t quite understand what makes the franchise exciting to so many people. It’s well-produced, the characters are fun and unique, the music is great– exactly what any fan of the games would want– but as soon as it starts to reach a high point, it just pops like a balloon, replaced instead with mundane, boring drama that will send you into an hour-long yawning session. Even worse, the drama here is focused on a new group of idols rather than the main characters, so there’s even less reason for anyone (save for perhaps the most zealous of fans) to care about anything that occurs in the movie’s latter half. At least the girl with the side ponytail is cute, I suppose… ?
It’s a shame, because the first forty minutes are a ton of fun. As the girls are now all accomplished idols (famous enough to have their own television station or to throw the ceremonial pitch in a professional baseball game), the constant battle to keep 765 Productions afloat is largely a thing of the past, and the girls are now able to simply relax and be themselves for a change. And so they do, joking with each other, participating in silly commercials and occasionally hitting on our ol’ pal, the Producer. It’s fun. It’s cute. Idolmaster is at its best when it doesn’t take itself seriously and focuses instead on the positive aspects of the girls, rather than their daddy issues or their ability to scream at one another. As a cute slice-of-life, Idolmaster is excellent, but as a drama, it is trite, boring twaddle that you could find for sale at the dollar store. And unfortunately the movie decides to take the latter approach.
That’s not to say that the drama in Idolmaster is offensively bad, but it certainly does not offer anything new or interesting for the series. If you have watched even one idol anime before, you’ve probably experienced everything that the movie’s dramatic portions have to offer. Girls struggle to practice in time for the deadline, they have arguments with one another, one threatens to leave the group– you know how the story goes. It would be a little more interesting if the drama developed one or more of the characters by showing a more complex side to their personality, but nothing of the sort ever happens. The movie isn’t even about the main cast in the first place. It’s about the B Team. This may have worked if it was in the context of a second season, but developing seven new idols on-top of the main twelve (and then there’s still the Producer, and Ritsuko, and…) in a two hour movie is simply impossible. The movie was not their time and place to shine.
If you’re a fan of Haruka, though, you will find plenty to enjoy here since she is elevated to the role of protagonist, albeit at the cost of all the other idols. She serves as a role-model and a mentor to the other group, encouraging them and helping to resolve their issues. It’s a nice change from the main TV series where she was always the underdog, the motivated but naive idol, and it shows that the characters are indeed maturing as time passes.
The Producer is also a surprisingly positive presence in the story, just as he was in the main series. The idea of giving the blank Producer from the games a face and a personality was controversial to some because it hinted towards the possibility of another boring, oblivious harem protagonist (hello, Infinite Stratos), but that has never been the case here. He is a genuine character in his own right, as important to the story as any of the idols. He’s inexperienced at his job, yes, but his passion is real and it makes sense why the girls would feel attached to him. With his plan to leave Japan temporarily in order to study, he shows that he’s willing to change and improve, that he’s not content simply being the same person for eternity. The Producer is an honestly dynamic, three-dimensional character and the anime would not be anywhere near as exciting had he simply been a blank face like he was in the games.
The music in the Idolmaster movie is outstanding, perhaps even the greatest part of the entire experience, though that should not come as any surprise. There’s the occasional montage with one of Idolmaster’s iconic songs playing in the background, though it never breaks the pacing as it did in the case of something like A-Channel (… does anyone even remember that show exists?) The performances themselves are excellent and by far some of the best the idol genre has ever seen, although there are just too few of them. It might even be worth watching the movie solely for the five-minute performance at the end. If nothing else, Idolmaster has shown that it’s still the leader of the idol genre with regards to music.
The animation also bears a mention for how natural and fluid it feels. There’s a few short scenes that are even rotoscoped (and no, not the kind of rotoscoping found in Aku no Hana) which look incredibly lifelike. And whereas most idol anime opt to resort to CG when animating their performances, Idolmaster is drawn almost fully by hand. It’s certainly a good looking anime- at least when it matters the most.
Should you watch the Idolmaster movie? If you are desperately craving for more of the characters and don’t mind sitting through an hour of boredom, sure. But do keep in mind that the amount of screen-time for any non-Haruka or B-Team idol is pretty much nil. If you’re the type of person who watches Idolmaster primarily or even solely to see one or two of your favourite idols (and provided that idol isn’t Haruka), there really isn’t a whole lot to look forward to here. There’s no Mami, Ami, Takane, Makoto, Chihaya– just a few scenes of them sitting mindlessly in the background with the occasional line of dialogue of every now and then. The movie is barely even a story about 765 Productions, anyway.
It’s a nice sleeping aid, but if you’re looking for a better idol anime, Aikatsu and Love Live 2 are duly recommended.
Perhaps my on and off relationship with this franchise disqualifies me from quantifying this film’s place among its co-branded relatives. I know not whether I can speak for iDOLM@STER fans, idol fans in general, or even anime fans. I can only speak for myself, but the disparity between Classic and Beyond the Brilliant Future! despite sharing the same ensemble, makes for an emotional core that eludes description
But to be honest, my first impression with this film was rather pedestrian; simultaneously enjoyable while starved for a sign of incoming narrative catharsis. But as the curtain fell on the film’s first act, I realized what this film was about, and from there I knew I was in for something a little special
Beyond the Brilliant Future! is a film dealing in experience, walking side by side with enthusiastic aspirations and tangling with tangible insecurity. At the center of it all is Haruka Amami, thrust into the role of leader as she guides her peers to their first arena concert. Along the way, a group of aspiring idols is taken under Haruka and co’s tutelage. Though the gap in on-stage performance ability between the established idols and the idols in training is obvious, it’s soon clear the established idols, and especially Haruka herself, still have a lot to learn themselves
This is Haruka’s story through and through. Her bestowment of experience and the experience she gains is the canvas through which her character is expressed, painted by scene and song alike. Rain or shine, there are many moments where a certain frankness permeates her feelings. The whimsical fluttering in the early morning sun beyond her cheerful demeanor in the everyday. Her emotional maturity in confiding with her closest friend despite her role as leader, the only visible expressions mere reflections off a nearby window. To the very songs themselves, encapsulating everything from when she was a new idol herself, to the heights she’s reached and the triumph’s she’s had
But where Haruka’s character is most realized is through her relationship with a certain idol in training named Kana Yabuki. The plucky Kana adores the idol Haruka, her nervousness and fervor apparent but never a caricature of either shyness or admiration. At the same time, Haruka’s response to Kana’s intensity never elevates her to being above Kana, but sets them as equals from the outside looking in. At once, Haruka is elated and embarrassed, flattered and flustered, happy to be mentor and nervous -as- mentor, learning as much as Kana is along the way. The balance of humors between them perfectly grounds their relationship. The story understands what being starstruck is while the film understands how admiration acts
Through it all, Haruka runs through an emotional gauntlet as she juggles leading her peers while guiding Kana and the new idols. Throughout the film, the story slowly builds an escalation of tension on palpable worries and fears. But rarely does the story overstep anything it ever establishes; it’s clear their problems are a major obstacle for them, but the film scarcely draws attention to it with manufactured musical moments, instead preferring to punctuate high drama with low ambience. The film has -confidence- in itself enough to let the writing quality of its story come through in its deliberate pacing, to let the character writing express its depth for itself than to cue in for when it’s being expressed
But in committing so heavily to one main character from a cast of characters that was a true ensemble, the film runs afoul of having too many characters that contribute nary a much to the story. Remember how I said I might be disqualified from quantifying this film? I wasn’t terribly enamored with Classic in the first place, so where the film would go in terms of its focal point would be irrelevant to me. It might be safe of me to assume you’d really like movie this if Haruka was your favorite character from Classic, but Kana is the deuteragonist. I’d feel a bit dishonest if I didn’t disclose where I’m approaching this film from
That isn’t to say all of the characters got lost in the shuffle from Classic to movie. Chihaya Kisaragi has the same role to Haruka as before, being a close friend to confide in and be open with. The Producer and Ritsuko Akizuki are also more or less intact, but now distancing themselves from Haruka and her peers as they become the mentors for Kana and the new idols. Most pleasantly surprising, however, is Iori Minase, who imparts a few words of wisdom for the competitive Shiho Kitazawa
While Shiho felt like an antagonist who only expedited what would’ve happened eventually, she’s at least understandable, owing much to the preamble set in the early parts of the film that build to more drama as the story goes on. But the biggest problem with Shiho’s storyline, and Kana’s by extension, is the disconnect between what underlies their aspirations and the cinematography of the arena concert. The story is focused on Haruka and Kana, but the arena concert emphasizes Haruka and her peers. I know this is likely due to what The iDOLM@STER is as a franchise, but the disconnect between them is still noticeable
That’s my biggest issue with that storyline, but it’s overall just a nitpick that’s amplified because of how much I bought into that thread in the first place. Putting that aside, the arena concert song itself, M@STERPIECE, is, well, worthy of its title. It’s a tour de force of the Classic ensemble, as each of their voices stand out when they need to before harmonizing to perfection. The overall feel is nothing if not triumphant, emblematic of their accomplishments. Some of the insert songs are also nice callbacks to when Classic was the only anime The iDOLM@STER had. Definitely a nice touch of the past to accentuate the story-driven songs of the film’s present
But what I found more pleasing than the music were the visuals, and not solely for how good they look in and of themselves–high polish and budget can fade over time–but the direction within them. The film has a knack for communicating in juxtaposition between characters where dialog would be redundant, from the idols in training to Haruka to Miki Hoshii to Chihaya to Iori. And at its best, the film expresses some emphatically poignant epiphanies with nary a line of confirmation. This is part of why the film is often so confident to let the character and story writing express itself, because it can still speak volumes without uttering a word. And I just realized how ironic that is for a franchise rooted to characters who dance and -sing-
Regardless of what the core of the franchise is, I’m glad the original iDOLM@STER anime had this chapter and I’m highly satisfied I checked this out. This was the entry the original series needed, and the film the first face of the franchise in Haruka Amami deserved. Beyond the Brilliant Future! isn’t quite the M@STERPIECE to end a Classic, but if subsequent entries in the franchise can stick to this level of care, then that’s just one more step to a Brilliant Future
3: BanG Dream! Film Live
Japanese: BanG Dream! FILM LIVE
MAL Score: 7.69
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My dream is to see a live concert by the BanG Dream bands (or Love Live Idols) one day. This film made it clear to me how beautiful a live concert can be.
As it was already obviously from the title “BanG Dream! Film Live” and the advance announcements, this is not a “real” film as we know, more a live concert that has been animated.
Under the melody of “Tokimeki Experience!” (Poppin’Party) all 25 members (5 members per band) are presented first. Later you will see the members of RAISE A SUILEN and Marina , but they are not really active during the film. The film begins with Poppin’Party performing on a concert stage, how we are also used to. This makes it immediately understandable to the viewer that it is an animated live concert. The bands appear little by little.
The animation is just like the second season of BanG Dream. Very nice to look at and the girls give their full power on stage.
Surely the most important thing, especially during a concert. Anyone who generally is a BanG Dream fan or plays the mobile game knows all the songs that can be heard here. It’s just fun to see an animated version of the songs. The complete song list has also been uploaded online for a long time.
ENJOYMENT & OVERALL:
For people who are big fans of the BanG Dream series (not just the anime itself with the two seasons already broadcast), it is definitely a MUST. It’s really nice to listen to their songs again. You don’t have to click on the touchscreen yourself this time, you can relax and simply enjoy their music.
But if you really have nothing to do with BanG Dream and their music, you are out of place here. You expect a film, but you only see a few bands on the stage that give a performance.
In my opinion this “film” was very successful. It is an absolute MUST for people who love the bands and their music (like myself). No spoilers are made regarding the anime.
Let’s hope that season three will bring us a lot of fun and joy again!
smooth so it can be alittle jarring but the music is great.
As a person who enjoys Bandori, I must say this is very enjoyable. I’ve been playing the game for almost a year and watch all of the anime and this is the best one yet. Even tho the show doesn’t have a storyline like the tv-series but I still enjoy it very much. The whole show is dedicated to each band performing their own songs *not going to spoil the songs* which is great because there’s a bunch of songs that I really enjoy. And by having the POV of being an audience there do really boost up the experience
Like I said that this show doesn’t have a storyline, so don’t get disappointed by thinking that this is a movie, it’s all about the bands performing songs to a large audience, there is no story just music
The art is the same as season 2 and 3 which has a 3D CGI and I can get it why people dislike it, but if you don’t mind the CGI or you do like it well I can say this would be an enjoyable experience for you
For the sounds, I’m going to judge by the songs, which is what this show is all about, there’s never a song that I dislike in bang dream so I enjoy all of the songs. When I’m watching it I like to predict each song just for fun 😀
For the characters, we must watch the animes or read the stories from the game because it has a small introduction in the show. the reason I gave it a 10 is because I’m hyped to see all of the band members collaborate and the small talks during the break after a song
I do really enjoy the performance it really gives you the feeling that you are there listening and cheering to their performance, Even tho I watch the live performance on YouTube, I still think that this show is very enjoying from the performance and the songs
Overall I do really enjoy this show and if you’re a Bandori fan like me I will guarantee that you will enjoy this show
2: Given Movie
Japanese: 映画 ギヴン
MAL Score: 8.15
The band “given”—comprised of Ritsuka Uenoyama, Mafuyu Satou, Haruki Nakayama, and Akihiko Kaji—has advanced to the final screening of the Countdown-fes Amateur Contest, in which they will be judged on their live act. Although enthusiastic, they worry about having only one original song to perform.
Mafuyu embraces the idea of learning more about music in order to create new, emotionally resonant songs. In this regard, he unexpectedly receives help from Ugetsu Murata, Akihiko’s on-again, off-again lover. Ugetsu has unsuccessfully tried to let go of Akihiko, who himself is torn between lingering feelings for his past and an uncertain resolve for the future.
As the competition draws near, Haruki uncharacteristically begins to doubt his place in the band and the trust he shares with Akihiko. It is a given that not all attachments last forever, but it remains to be seen what can be salvaged from the ruins of heartbreak—or if only regrets will endure.
Like most franchises in the romance genre, Given is about relationships. But unlike most romance stories, Given doesn’t just focus on the relationship one can have with a significant other. Rather, Given goes in depth about how we interact with all of the things that matter to us. Whether it be a dream, a hobby, or a special someone you care about, Given explores all of these relationships and ties them to themes of self growth, change, and understanding. It is a heartfelt reminder that love is multifaceted and that our relationships with others are heavily influenced by the relationships we have with ourselves, our pasts, our goals, and our passions.
Knowing this, I was completely underwhelmed by the Given movie. The main points of the plot were there, the relationships were there, the characters I know and love were there, but the execution did not pull through. And as a source reader, my god was it disappointing.
The story starts right where we left off in the prequel, but the focus shifts from Mafuyu and Uenoyama to the two other band members of Given. Nakayama Haruki is in love with his bandmate Kaji Akihiko. For years, Haruki’s longing has been left unnoticed. Afraid of ruining their friendship and affecting the band, Haruki is in that tense and confusing state of having a crush on a close friend. But Akihiko’s feelings towards Haruki are just as conflicting. In season one, the audience was made aware of the fact that Akihiko is not completely oblivious to Haruki’s feelings. From small compliments to subtle touches, Akihiko’s actions provided insight to possible deeper feelings beyond friendship. This movie goes over those implications with the added depth of having Akihiko’s ex, Ugetsu Murata, in the picture.
Ugetsu and Akihiko’s relationship is passionate but unhealthy. When they were together, their relationship blurred the line between loving someone and simply needing them and between wanting someone and actually building a relationship with them. Even now that they’ve stopped dating, they still hold on to the memories of their relationship, and neither of them are fully able to let go of the other.
In premise, it’s easy to tell what makes the story amazing. It has great potential for good angst and character development. The relationships in this story are complex, and the original creator Kizu Natsuki has never been afraid to show the painfully realistic side to these interactions. In the movie, we can see how the producers attempt to follow the source’s footsteps in providing an intimate take on how relationships can both hinder us and make us grow. However, the movie forgets all of the basic details that make the plot so complex and heartfelt in the first place.
Remember how I said that Given often talks about how “our relationships with others are heavily influenced by the relationships we have with ourselves, our pasts, our goals, and our passions”? Well, unlike the series, the movie is so rushed and poorly paced that it has none of these.
There is no focus on the ’relationship with ourselves’.
The movie neglects the theme of self-growth by cutting out the whole part about Akihiko striving to be a better person. In the manga, we actually see Akihiko understand his feelings, gain a better outlook on life, and physically try to live better. In the movie, we skip everything having to do with Akihiko’s conflicting feelings, how he navigates through his tense relationship with Ugetsu, and how he learns as an individual. Without really addressing the issue, we jump straight into the details of Akihiko and Haruki’s relationship. And because we barely see Akihiko and Ugetsu struggle to organize their feelings for one another, the Given movie feels less like a story about growth and seems more like a generic depth-lacking love story between two friends.
There is no focus on ‘our pasts’
The movie practically cuts out the entirety of Akihiko and Ugetsu’s past. Unlike the series which took its time with exposition and background to build a proper climax for Mafuyu’s growth, the movie simply gives us this messy cloud of limited details about Akihiko and Ugetsu’s relationship. Rather than an actual storyline that provides more insight, we get a couple of reused montage shots of Akihiko and Ugetsu’s relationship from when they were together. How are we supposed to feel for these characters and their relationships when we when we don’t have that much background in the first place? It’s almost like the movie assumes you’ve already read about it in the manga.
There is no focus on ‘our passions’ and ‘our goals’
There are a ton of important band-related story parts that weren’t included in the movie. In one scene, we’re suddenly thrown into a band competition. Prior to this, we only get about one minute at the beginning of the movie where the characters explained what was going to happen. There wasn’t any build up, and there was not enough explanation. One second Akihiko is drinking a can of beer and the next thing we know, the band magically has a brand new fully arranged song and is performing it on stage. I can only imagine the confusion of anime-only watchers upon randomly having a music competition shoved into their faces. I know for a fact that I was not expecting that part of the story to be rushed since Given usually does a better job at balancing the music part of the story with the dramatic part of it.
This movie also neglects its other characters. Mafuyu and Ritsuka are barely even side characters. They have about 10 lines each that never amount to anything in the overall storyline. Without spoiling anything for prospective manga readers, there were supposed to be other characters joining some of the scenes as well. Those characters made the plotline about the band’s music even more complex, and their involvement in such scenes play a big part in the upcoming points of the story. I honestly don’t know how the anime adaptation will go from here now that a huge chunk of the plotline has been ripped out.
I know that writing a review for an adaptation by comparing it to the source isn’t the best and can sometimes over-focus on what’s lacking. But in some cases such as with this movie, it’s unavoidable. I hate to be the person that tells people that the manga is better, but THE MANGA IS BETTER. If you want to understand the characters more and if you want to feel how emotional the story truly is, I highly encourage reading the manga instead. Sadly, this movie doesn’t live up to it.
Given has an issue of the characters not properly communicating with each other which causes problems when if they were just honest with their feelings, the problems wouldn’t be an issue. Aki, Haru, and Ugetsu all had this issue where none of them were completely honest about what they want. They weren’t honest in conveying their feelings which resulted in miscommunications which then lead to *that scene* with Aki and Haru.
Between the three of them, Haru is my favorite whereas Aki and Ugetsu are not. This story arc didn’t do them any justice with how much miscommunication there was. Why did Ugetsu do the things he did instead of being honest to Aki. Why was Aki not truthful to Haru when things were getting complicated. There were many, and I mean MANY opportunities for the two of them to be honest. Except they didn’t.
And what happened with Aki and Haru during *that scene* (trying to keep this spoiler-free as possible) made me all the more disappointed with the story. It had to go with the assault trope in BL stories and seeing Haru going through that much pain made me mad at Aki. What’s worse is that the issue is sort of brushed under the rug and we have the two of them together. And I hated it. I hated that things had to turn out that way for them to be together. The saying “this needed to happen” does not apply to this. What happened in *that scene* did not need to happen for them to be together.
As much as I wanted to like Aki and Haru as a couple, the way things went about for them to be together was not great. They deserved better. Their love story deserved better. This arc deserved better.
The film starts off practically right after the anime series ended, but instead of focusing on Mafuyu and Ritsuka, it focuses on Akihiko, Ugetsu, and Haruki, much like how the manga is structured. What stuck out to me first thing was how great it was to see how Mafuyu has changed after experiencing that catharsis post-Fuyu no Hanashi/episode 9. He’s way, way more expressive not just verbally but overall, which Ritsuka helpfully points out in the film (side-note: best boyfriend? Best boyfriend. Mafuyu is LUCKY.) as he tries to cheer Mafuyu up. Seeing the progression of Mafuyu’s and Ritsuka’s relationship, albeit in a minor way, was nice, too.
I feel like I can relate a lot more to the main characters of the film- not to put down Ritsuka or Mafuyu by any means, but they’re high schoolers with high schooler issues, feelings and levels of maturity- and I’m a lot older than that. So, having characters like Akihiko, Ugetsu, and Haruki in the spotlight is kind of refreshing considering the problems they’re facing are more relatable to myself. They’re all well-written characters, even those that ended up in the background this time around, but it was just really nice to see the complexity of especially Ugetsu and Akihiko, not to mention their relationship. The build-up to the mature scene of the film is incredibly solid and though it happens fairly early on in the film, it certainly didn’t feel that way (mostly because there are eleven anime episodes preceding the film, of course). The conflicts feel realistic and Akihiko’s ‘redemption arc’ is a tough read and watch, but it’s all so, so, worth it in the end.
Overall, the only real issue I had was that it was too short of a film and that it felt rushed sometimes. That’s only to be expected, though, considering everything they crammed into less than 60 minutes, and when seeing it that way, it’s also impressive that it for the most part DIDN’T feel rushed with everything that was covered. They stayed very true to the source material of the manga, and since I absolutely adore the manga, both the anime and the film are great as a result.
1: K-On! Movie
English: K-ON! The Movie
Japanese: 映画 けいおん！
MAL Score: 8.34
Graduation looms for the founding members of the Light Music Club. With only a few precious weeks of school left, the girls decide to make the most of it and plan a trip abroad. Hawaii, New York, Dubai—many destinations are suggested, but after a little help from the club’s precious pet turtle, Ton-chan, London is chosen as the host of their next misadventure!
Yui Hirasawa, Mio Akiyama, Tsumugi Kotobuki, Ritsu Tainaka, and Azusa Nakano will visit famous landmarks, perform live music for Londoners, and eat all sorts of delicious food, all while stumbling clumsily from place to place. But the fun won’t last forever, as heartfelt songs and goodbyes will be made as their high school days together come to a close. One thing is for certain though: the undeniable friendships these girls have formed is something that will carry on long after the final scene rolls.
And when the credits roll in the K-ON movie, you know that you just witnessed something great.
After over a year since the second season of the anime finished its airing, KyoAni has released their final work for their famed K-ON adaptation. A movie with anime-original content or “filler” is something that normally carries a very negative connotation. For a person who doesn’t see themselves as a large fan of the series, this may appear to be something pointless, or, in the most severe form, a cash grab for the series. Though KyoAni has always prided themselves in selling based on the quality of their products, it’s safe to say that these worries have absolutely no basis in the movie.
This is in many ways the true ending to the series. It’s something that takes the expectations from the brilliant second season and goes above and beyond with what the series is truly capable of. Cute girls, comedy, and other important traits of the series remain prominent here, but it’s also something that shows itself to be much more than that.
K-ON is a series that needs no introduction. It’s always had a simple premise – young girls playing in a music club and growing up and having fun along the way. Yui is as ditzy as ever and Azusa is still her strict and mature self, though not without the character growth that came towards the end of the TV series. Taking place a few weeks before their graduation, the girls of the series make one last trip together as a full group in London to end things off with a smile. And just as you would expect, seeing the characters in a completely foreign environment and in a variety of strange and unique situations is a very delightful and amusing thing.
Surprisingly, there’s a large amount of exposition and build-up in the beginning as well as a lengthy goodbye at the end when they come back home. This isn’t a movie that starts and ends with their trip in London – it begins with a full 30-minutes of introduction and deliberation leading towards the trip. After finally boarding the plane and dealing with Yui’s silly shenanigans along the way, we see them in London making their way around the city sightseeing, having fun, and unfortunately for them, stumbling around and getting into several misunderstandings from their lack of knowledge with the English language.
They travel to many locations within the city that are based on and modeled after the actual locations, which is something that KyoAni has shown themselves to put a lot of work into. For somebody that lives in London or has been there frequently, there’s a lot of familiar sights in the movie which reminds the audience that this isn’t a story that takes place in a fictional setting, but our own living and breathing world. Even for people that aren’t familiar with the city, it gives a great glimpse at what the life and culture there is like and what the city has to offer. This is the real London, the hotel they stay at and all the locations they visit are very much real and lifelike places. And for a large part of the movie, you will feel like you’re traveling alongside the girls and witnessing all the silly and interesting things that they experience.
A lot of complaints towards K-ON can be directed towards a perceived lack of music which was established as the theme at the very beginning of the series. And while that does carry a small sense of validity in the TV anime, the movie is definitely something that will alleviate those complaints immensely with the amount of music the girls play and the amount of new tracks implemented here. A large portion of the screentime is spent by the girls performing music, both in London and back at home at their school. There aren’t just one or two new songs added in for the movie, but five in total, all performed and sang by the girls and their seiyuu. Two of these songs include a unique opening and ending while two of them are performed by the girls on-stage, and another exists as an insert song while they’re exploring the sights of London.
Background music is also much more varied and includes classical music reminiscent of the England from centuries past while others are more contemporary and involve catchy guitar riffs. While the background music in the TV anime wasn’t something that stood out most of the time, it is quite impossible to deny its presence here in the movie. Each track adds heavily to the emotional value and they also had me close to tearing up just from the music alone during a couple of the more serious scenes. This is a soundtrack that will be found incredibly hard to forget, especially with repeated and future seeings of the movie.
Another thing in particular that KyoAni should be commended for here is the quality of animation and the detail of the scenery. It’s honestly breathtaking at times and the characters and environments move so fluidly that it puts even the TV series to shame, which is saying a hell of a lot. Thankfully, many unique outfits are given to each and every character in the movie, rather than falling to the trope of a single outfit for the entire trip like many anime do. It’s very evident here that KyoAni put all their efforts into making sure the production quality is high up there, and it’s a very pretty anime as a result of that.
A large part of the emotion stems from the audience’s attachment to the characters, but with the direction of the movie itself and especially in the last thirty minutes, it finds a perfect way to end the series and tie it together with the ending of the second season. The story behind the song performed for Azusa during their graduation is easily the largest theme next to the seniors themselves moving on, and the movie goes into full detail with the creative process and emotion put behind that song. It’s what makes their final performance in the clubroom so meaningful and even more emotional than it was in the second season. With all the build-up and cues set before that point, it’s quite difficult to resist shedding a few tears or feeling impacted as the story of the five girls finally reaches its conclusion.
Many people praise previous KyoAni works like “The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya” and “Clannad After Story” as being some of the best of anime, but now it’s quite safe to say that KyoAni has opened this spot for a third title.
This is our final goodbye to the series, and what a beautiful goodbye it is.
“But, O, how bitter a thing it is to look into happiness through another man’s eyes!”
– Shakespeare, As You Like It
By the end of this humble review, the case may be that I will find myself skewered by countless pitchforks and torched at the stake by those who bear disdain towards K-ON! for forging what is igniting the burning passion in my heart for all to see. In spite of this inevitable dreary destiny, I shall boldly write on and write on I shall ‘till kingdom come for friend or foe to witness. So without further ado, before I enrage the angry mob which desires my public evisceration and execution to the point where they can no longer withhold their murderous intent, I shall grace your eyes with the weaving of this golden yarn of mine.
Infamous for its intricate, innovative and inspiring PLOT, or rather a lack thereof, K-ON! has garnered a reputation for being an inane and unproductive moefest after two seasons of moe madness featuring the endless antics of the musical moeblob members of the Houkago Tea Time Club.
But that is what it is.
And it will stay true to itself regardless of how irrational it may be. Because the story of the hectic daily lives of these high school girls aiming for the Budokan, and their various shenanigans along the way, is the quintessence of why we love them, or hate them, depending on which side of the spectrum that you may be.
This iconic image remains unaltered in its motion picture premiere. Indeed, there is never a dull moment in the world of K-ON! as it flawlessly maintains its ditsy eccentricity from Japan to England and back. That’s right. In this chapter of their high school adventures, the K-ON! girls travel to London, the birthplace of many talented musical prodigies, for their much awaited graduation trip. As with each episode of K-ON!, one cannot help but imagine in anticipation and in expectation of what lies in each installment, however it is usually the case that we are often wrong in our predictions of the coalescence of the events.
The same concept is applicable to the movie, which welcomes its audience with an explosive heavy metal opening that stands in stark contrast to the light and fluffy music that we are accustomed to. However, after a period of violent and erratic headbanging, I came to revisit the overwhelmingly nostalgic innocent and happy-go-lucky atmosphere which characteristically defines K-ON! We are immediately reminded that this chapter in the K-ON! girls’ lives takes place in the period before their graduation, after the senior girls receive confirmation of their acceptance into university. As such, they are presented with the dilemmas of how to celebrate their graduating year and final high school days as well as what will pose as the more uncertain and difficult challenge of expressing their gratitude to Azusa.
With these elements of PLOT presented, KyoAni does a splendid job of executing this duality by not only making the graduation trip an exciting and memorable experience for both the K-ON! girls and their spectators, but also succeeds in weaving the narrative fabric to incorporate the latter aspect throughout the film. And thus, we are once again thrust into the wild wacky absurdity of K-ON! From silliness on the airport conveyor belts which are undoubtedly amusing to tread on, to getting lost in a foreign land resulting in an unintended musical performance via a case of mistaken identity and Engrish gibberish, K-ON! and their fans embark on a misadventure with more destinations than what was planned on the trip itinerary. All of which was expertly animated by the talent at the KyoAni Studio, which never fails to dish out perfection with a side dish of K-ON! The addition of CGI that complimented the meticulously drawn conventional animation was a great welcome and generated eyegasms aplenty.
The movie also serves as a fast-track tourist trip to London city as we travel with the K-ON! girls to famous landmarks such as the London Underground, the Borough Market and the banks of the River Thames where the Tower Bridge, the London Eye and the Elizabeth Tower containing Big Ben all lie in their gloriously animated state. For those who have been to the massive metropolitan city, it is a refreshing sight to view its beautiful landscape in animated form. By the same token, it stirs a desire to retrace the steps of the K-ON! girls in those who have yet to travel to the hallmark destination.
Moving on, the audience is once again graced with the excitement that a typical K-ON! musical gig provides. KyoAni doesn’t disappoint its fans with the animation of the gigs, which leave me jumping and pumping my fist in the air in tandem with the song. I’m just kidding, I don’t do that. As we approach the film’s conclusion, we re-experience the nostalgic bliss of the end of the senior girls’ high school days and their final gift of gratitude to Azusa that they worked so hard throughout the movie to have come to fruition, which takes form in the performance that is depicted in Episode 24 of the second season. Witnessing the penultimate events which led to the pinnacle of that emotional scene was the most masterfully executed moment of heartfelt nostalgia that I had the privilege of experiencing and I felt the full brunt of the bittersweet joy that I basked in once before.
One would like to believe that after three years have passed since the debut of their high school years, the K-ON! girls would experience some sort of progressive change as they nurtured each other’s growth. However, that is far from the case as the only thing that has probably altered is the fact that they have become complacent to each other’s idiocy, and therefore have become increasingly idiotic. Hirasawa Yui returns as your friendly neighborhood airhead guitarist and stars in all of the crazy acts of hilarity which we all know and love. Tainaka Ritsu’s erratic hard-headed large-forheaded rash irrationality compliments Yui and completes their comedic duo in their plethora of stunts. Akiyama Mio. Ahem. Wait a moment please, I must compose myself. So Mio flawlessly and triumphantly makes her stunning comeback as our adorable and lovable cute and pure maiden. Bubbly Kotobuki Tsumugi and her eyebrows of awesome return to be Mugi and bubbly. Nakano Azusa, also affectionately known as Azunyan, becomes translated into Engrish as Azu-Cat and remains the most sane and levelheaded member of K-ON! Even side-characters make their respective cameos to remind the viewers of all of the individuals with which the K-ON! girls have met in their high school journey. Oh and Sawa-chan looks damn delectably delicious in black. In essence, KyoAni manages to preserve the iconic identities of all of their characters and work their magic by making the vast array of personalities interact and mingle in new ways.
Now how could I possibly forget about the musical score of a series centered around a group of girls who are characterized by their identity as band members? The soundtrack recycles some of the K-ON! series background music pieces to retain its iconic happy-go-lucky feel, but we are introduced to new music as we enter the realm of the English homeland K-ON! style. This is welcomed with open arms as it adds to consolidate the foreign setting of the film. In addition, the OP songs “Unmei wa Endless!” and “Ichiban Ippai” are sure to satisfy the listeners who are yearning for more K-ON! fluff. On the other hand, ED song “Singing” which bears the angelic –singing- voice of Hikasa Youko emanates the same feel as her previous K-ON!! ED piece, “NO, Thank You!” However, the film returns to showcase hallmark tracks which have defined its musical prowess such as “Fuwa Fuwa Time,” “U&I,” “Gohan wa Okazu,” and “Tenshi ni Fureta Yo.” All in all, the film’s soundtrack features some new spectacular tracks and reintroduces their predecessors to keep K-ON! music and nostalgia fresh.
Watching the K-ON! Movie has been the most exhilarating anime entertainment experience that I have witnessed and I am eternally grateful for seeing this legendary series meet its conclusion with such sparkling splendor. Bravo KyoAni for creating a beautiful masterpiece.
And in the end, Yui still got to go to Europe.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I am being carried against my will by this legion of pissed off K-ON! haters to be burned at the stake. I guess I have to visit the hospital after to treat this multitude of pitchfork punctures too. Well don’t worry, it’s just a flesh wound.
The school year is drawing to a close at Sakuragaoka Girls’ High School, and with it will come the graduation of four of the five girls in the school’s light music club. The girls have already spent plenty of time together during and after school having fun, making music, and drinking tea, but what better way to cap it all off than with a graduation trip? After some serious deliberation and a little outside help, the five girls decide to go to London, guitars and bass in tow. Between visiting Abbey Road, seeing palace guards, drinking afternoon tea, and more, they’ve got plenty to do on their schedules, but how much of the trip will go as planned? While these sorts of questions have a tendency to sort themselves out, one more question is weighing heavily on the minds of the four seniors, Yui’s in particular: what kind of song will the four write as their goodbye to Azusa, the one junior they’ll be leaving behind?
Fans may insist that it is impossible to grasp all the qualities of K-ON! without being intimately familiar with the franchise, and to a degree, they would not be wrong in saying this. However, the film still succeeds in its attempt to please fans across the spectrum, drawing even the most unfamiliar viewers into its world through its minutely detailed characters and fun, thoughtful story while also providing more than enough to keep hardcore fans happy.
Our heroines do arrive in the promised land, but much of the stereotypical sightseeing the girls do is summarized fairly quickly in a montage of short moments at famous locations. The speed at which this all goes by may be a let down to some, but on the converse, this approach does an excellent job of capturing how a highly-planned overseas vacation in an unfamiliar land might feel, as rather than actively engaging in their sightseeing, the girls’ experience seems to passively happen to them as they whisk themselves off from one spot to the next.
While the film’s first two acts are well-paced and easy to follow, the third and final act may prove to be the most divisive between hardcore fans of the K-ON! franchise and those who aren’t. Not only have the girls returned from a lengthy and conclusive trip by this point, but viewers will also have grown accustomed to the film’s technical aspects, meaning that the significantly lengthy end segment hinges around the emotional drama between the girls as all but one of them spends their final days in high school.
The production quality for the movie is insanely high. I love KyoAni’s realistic rendition of the city of London, which looks exotically breathtaking. The detailed and vibrant background is noteworthy, and it exactly highlights London’s busy streets and beautiful scenery. The animations and some of the carefully chosen angles make them as comparable as most of K-ON’s high-quality ending sequences. Also, the several number of food scenes expressed and reinforced the cultural opposites of the girls’ usual obsessions; teas and cakes, which was pretty refreshing.
As for the music in the film, all of the girls’ catchy, fluffy power-pop songs heard in the various performance scenes will be familiar to those who have seen the television series, as the three new songs by the K-ON! girls are used are all heard outside of the context of the story.
While this probably goes without saying, you’re looking for a theatrical anime experience that will blow you out of your seat, K-ON! is probably not the movie for you. What it is, however, is a very well-crafted and whimsical look into the lives of the movie’s five heroines, with each of its constituent parts supporting and creating a polished final product. Its story might just be about a group of girls who go on a school trip, but they’re are quickly made into characters who you develop emotional connections with and naturally want to watch as they go about their lives. While it may seem like a light message delivered in a sugar-coated package, K-ON! does a brilliant job of reminding us that sometimes who you choose to spend your time with is more important than what you do with that time.
All in all, the movie shows us the five good friends doing what they do best; messing and playing around, relaxing, trying to come up with new songs and procrastinating; all the way in London.
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. K-On! Movie
2. Given Movie
3. BanG Dream! Film Live
4. The iDOLM@STER Movie: Kagayaki no Mukougawa e!
5. BanG Dream! Movie: Episode of Roselia – II: Song I Am.
7. Cider no You ni Kotoba ga Wakiagaru
8. Sora no Aosa wo Shiru Hito yo
9. Yoake Tsugeru Lu no Uta
10. BanG Dream! Movie: Episode of Roselia – I: Yakusoku
11. Kowarekake no Orgel (Movie)
12. Yes! Precure 5 Movie: Kagami no Kuni no Miracle Daibouken!
13. Genius Party Beyond
14. Wake Up, Girls! Beyond the Bottom
15. Chibi Maruko-chan: Watashi no Suki na Uta
16. Wake Up, Girls! Shichinin no Idol
17. Wake Up, Girls! Seishun no Kage
18. Aikatsu! Music Award: Minna de Shou wo MoracchaimaShow!
19. Precure All Stars Movie: Minna de Utau – Kiseki no Mahou
20. Cello Hiki no Gauche (1982)
21. King of Prism: Pride the Hero
22. PriPara Movie: Mi~nna Atsumare! Prism☆Tours
23. 8-gatsu no Symphony: Shibuya 2002-2003
24. Aru Machi Kado no Monogatari
25. Pretty Rhythm Movie: All Star Selection – Prism Show☆Best Ten
27. Shanshui Qing
28. Precure All Stars Movie: Haru no Carnival
29. Yousei Florence
30. Pokemon: Meloetta no Kirakira Recital
31. Mori no Densetsu
32. Pop in Q
33. Ongaku Shoujo
34. King of Prism by Pretty Rhythm
35. King of Prism: Shiny Seven Stars I – Prologue x Yukinojou x Taiga
36. Googuri Googuri
37. Crazy for It
38. Mu Di
39. San Ge Heshang
40. Atomic World
42. Chiisana Jumbo
43. A Brightening Life
44. Suteneko Tora-chan
46. Cello Hiki no Gauche
48. Ziggy: Soreyuke! R&R Band