They are by far the best anime! We counts down the best anime to come out all the time, including the likes of Higashi no Eden Movie II: Paradise Lost, Kimagure Orange☆Road: Ano Hi ni Kaeritai, Toaru Hikuushi e no Tsuioku, and more!
50: Higashi no Eden Movie II: Paradise Lost
English: Eden of The East the Movie II: Paradise Lost
Japanese: 東のエデン 劇場版II Paradise Lost
MAL Score: 7.61
As one of the 12 Sele??o that needs to save the country in order to win a game, Akira Takizawa decided to become the “King of Japan.” With that in mind, after his return from the U.S.A., the remaining Sele??o will also need to follow up on their own plans as they strive to outdo each other.
Saki Morimi and the other members of the “Eden of the East” are under suspicion of being terrorists, but they still do everything they can to help Takizawa reach his goal and unravel the secrets of his past, as the last fight between the Sele??o begins.
I’m writing this review to urge you to watch this movie regardless of whether some people on MAL told you this movie was “shit” – because it isn’t. It’s far from it, and not only that but this movie also answers a lot of questions about the EotE universe.
The story has somewhat departed from it’s original venture of romance, action, and global politics and degraded into just politics, but that doesn’t make this movie a bad one. The story moves away from Saki and the Eden of the East server and really focuses in on who Takizawa Akira really is. The movie directly picks up where the last left off, where Ropponogi gives Takizawa a private jet and goes to meet the wife of the Prime Minister, doing so because he believes he’s the Prime Ministers son. Spoiling too much would ruin the movie for you, but I can promise the suspense that builds is great and resolve is incredibly interesting.
Art and Animation: 10/10
God, I love Production I.G. The animation is nearly the same from the original series and the first movie (as if you didn’t already know) and is of course, gorgeous. There’s one scene in particular though that has animation elevated on an even higher level than usually seen in EotE and that one scene is probably one of the most powerful. I won’t say which one but when you’ll see it, you’ll know what I’m talking about.
school food punishment did the original ending to TV series and I really liked their sound, so having them do the opening and the ending made me pretty happy. The background music is also not something to leave without mention. The music can get pretty intense at times, and it definitely increases the suspense.
EotE is often criticized most harshly for it’s characters. Takizawa Akira is the main subject of this movie, and you could technically say this whole series is about him, but that doesn’t mean he’s the only character that needs to be developed. At the very end of the series we have so many characters that haven’t really been cultured into what they could have been. Saki is still just a romantically challenged girl running around Japan trying to find Takizawa, and so on. This movie introduces a couple of new characters too, the Prime Ministers wife, Takizawa’s mom, the Prime Minister himself, the ball girls, and most notably Mr. Outside. Ato Saizo is the best new face in this movie. Once again, I’m not going to delve too far in because of spoilers.
Regardless of the last three or so minutes, the enjoyment of this movie for me was a ten out of ten. They really wrapped up the whole EotE story and put a couple of nice bows on it and then all of a sudden, a plot twist end that was very unnecessary came along. Albeit unhappy with this end, I’m not going to take out all my anger on this movie and call it awful. I think this movie has such a low score because like me, many others wanted to see the ending to Eden of the East. Whether this is or not, for now at least, we’ve reached the end of Eden.
This movie supplements us with so much information on the EotE series, it’s hard to miss for fans. It keeps the original dramatic and suspenseful nature of the series without cutting any corners – it’s an hour and a half of pure story. After finishing this movie, I’m glad I followed this series all the way through.
*The rest of the review includes minor spoilers.*
This is no longer a dangerous game as it was portrayed to be. Mr. Outside makes an appearance, and he doesn’t fit the script of a criminal mastermind or an evil villain. There are last minute changes to the game in the last few minutes of the movie, and it eliminates all of the seriousness that occurred throughout the series thus far. Apart from that, the game ends without revealing the Supporter and explaining anything about how Juiz operates.
As in the anime series, Takizawa ends everything with a bizarre move, and everyone wonders “What is he doing” and “Why is he doing this.” No one knows what Takizawa is thinking, and he never explains himself. Also, it ends in a goofy fashion when the series appeared to be serious.
There is no happily ever after between the two main characters. Nothing changes with Takizawa and Saki, and they spend no alone time together. While Takizawa is dealing with the drama of being the successor to the throne, Saki sets off to search for his long-lost mother. After everything’s over, Takizawa and Saki basically go their separate ways again.
At times like these, I would turn over to the adaptations for an alternative ending. Sadly, there is no manga in relation to Higashi no Eden, and the novels written by Kenji Kamiyama are the same as the TV series.
My advice is to read reviews on Higashi no Eden II: Paradise Lost before beginning the Higashi no Eden series altogether. The series starts on a good note, but the final ending is mediocre and twists the entire plot. If you already watched the series, then you may feel the need to complete it. However, don’t get your hopes up, because the dedication that you put towards the entire series will probably result in a heartbreak.
Takizawa seems to love wiping his memory and regaining it for no good reason other than “he doesn’t want to bear the guilt of using himself as a scapegoat”. At long last the elusive Mr.Outside makes his appearance except he’s extremely unimpressive, he doesn’t live up to his hype at all. The possibility of Takizawa being the prime-minister’s illegitimate son is explored but I won’t drag on about the weak plot, I’ll let you guys judge it for yourselves. One thing I will mention is that the ending is left open, that’s right OPEN! After the ordeal of having to wait for 2 very stagnant movies I believe that as viewers we deserved a decisive ending. To me the ending felt like more of a make-shift conclusion to a plot that had spiraled out of control, they had to wrap it up in this movie so they ended it abruptly. Nothing gets me more worked up than when good shows are given bad endings. It’s almost as bad as the disappointment I felt when playing Lost Planet 2 (a game that i still pretend doesn’t exist).
The only thing I enjoyed about this movie was the very atmospheric soundtrack. The only reason this movie is getting a 7 from me is because it’s riding on the success of the anime series, Part of me still wants to give it a 6! If you’ve seen the series there’s no way you’re not going to watch this so the only advice I can offer is not to go into it with very high expectations because they will be quashed.
GOOD RIDDANCE EDEN !
49: Kimagure Orange☆Road: Ano Hi ni Kaeritai
Japanese: きまぐれオレンジ★ロード あの日にかえりたい
MAL Score: 7.64
After the TV-series of Kimagure Orange Road, Kyosuke and Madoka have finally arrived at the point where they are close to graduation and have to decide where they want to go to college. Naturally, they want to go together, so beside all the studying they also have to look for a proper college where they can enter both.
Hikaru, still a year from graduating, wants to support Kyosuke as well and does that in her own way. But while she does that, Madoka feels jealous and tells her feelings to Kyosuke.
And then Kyosuke has to take action to finally decide on the girl he loves… thus concluding the story of the Kimagure Orange Road.
The goofing days are finally over. Kasuga and Ayukawa are finally graduating from high school and they’re moving on. This is Kimagure Orange Road without the out-of-this-world Power, over-acting Hatta and Komatsu, and crazy time-travels. What’s left in this movie is raw human emotion. This is the ultimate conclusion to the Kasuga-Ayukawa-Hikaru love triangle.
Kasuga Kyosuke has to choose. I won’t say who he chooses. But it’s what the movie is all about.
Before you watch this, think first. If you want to remain happy with Kimagure Orange Road’s TV series conclusion, then don’t ever watch this. The indecisive yet sensitive-to-others Kasuga is gone. The understanding Ayukawa is gone. The jolly and heartwarming Hikaru is gone. The Kasuga twins just make some brief appearances. Jingoro is turned into a passive cat. Hatta and Komatsu are still as horny as ever, but they’re toned down, and perhaps are the only sources of humor in the movie (and they didn’t do well). And for the first time since I started watching the franchise, I kind of missed the bozo Yuusaku.
The falling leaves. The telephone talks. Secrets were finally revealed. Each scene was made with subtlety and utmost care so as to deliver to us what each character really feels. They were made more human. They run after who they love. All defenses put aside, they show their hidden sides and deepest doubts and fears.
There are some parts that were totally silent except for the voices of the main characters, which was good, since it emphasized the movie’s meanings more. The art, well, is still what it is: outdated. I can’t really say I enjoyed the movie; it was too emotional. I was a bit shocked with its content; it was really a departure from the feel of the TV series. This is no romantic comedy, this is drama. You could feel the uneasiness, the uncertainty, the bitter parts of adolescence, embodied by Kasuga, Ayukawa and Hikaru.
Even though it doesn’t contain the same warmth of its prequel, the story could be looked at as something that is more reality-based. We have to grow up. We have to take separate roads. Still, with all the emotions surrounding it, this is a worthwhile work to watch and is as gripping as any movie, only it will leave you will a feeling of nostalgia and loss, and a bit of relief and bittersweet happiness, too.
My suggestion: watch something jolly after this.
What is Kimagure Orange Road(KOR)? It was a long running romantic comedy series about a love triangle between a spineless goody-goody male lead, Kyousuke, the alluring high-school delinquent Madoka, and the bright-eyed always cheerful Hikaru. It was a huge hit at the time, not just in Japan, but in many European countries, especially Italy. Despite that, it fell down the memory hole at some point, and all that remained was a small cult following of superfans from back in the day.
It is the most 80s Anime ever created, the opposite of timeless, something totally rooted in 1980s Japan. If you think the 80s died for a reason, this is pure torture. However, there is something very nostalgic about it for me, even though I wasn’t alive back then. 1980s Japan was one of the last times in the West when a generally positive or even utopian attitude about the future was still present, where the future was still possible. With the 90s, the economic recession, and The End of History, all this would die. Of course, the 80s were a pipe dream induced by neoliberalism, but at the time, people really did believe in it.
The series had it all, cheesy, energetic pop music, discos, skateboards, soda cans, aerobics, extravagant outfits, youth gangs, warm summer nights at the beach, skiing trips, totally confident in its decadence. Back when it aired, this was just a reflection of the perceived reality, but today it is a melancholic time capsule. What was then simply anytown is now a very specific setting, the 80s Japanese suburb. I love that each episode ended with a zoom out into a photo. I love the super stylish intros, some of the best in all of Anime. The soundtrack in general is excellent. And I love the character designs and dreamy artwork done by Akemi Takada, like the poster for this movie, she also worked on Patlabor and Urusei Yatsura.
But after all, the 80s did die for a reason, and something that looks awesome in a vaporwave music video might not be as awesome to actually watch. Even if you ignore all the sexism of that period which KOR is full of, the 80s were also a time when Anime could just run forever. Excess was all the rage, and we have all the time in the world, baby.
With 48 episodes KOR was even tame in that regard, Maison Ikkoku lasted 96 episodes, Urusei Yatsura 195 episodes. At some point, the plot in KOR ground to a halt and it lost itself in episodic nothingness. The love triangle became very stale as the same situations are repeated again and again. The series always teased you with some resolution, but never delivered, the status quo was always restored by the end of the episode, no matter how contrived, sometimes with literal magic powers.
Thus, what first appears to be a simple, cute and nostalgic romance about youth and growing up is eventually suffocated in endless filler and shitty pervert comedy. The characters really outstay their welcome after such a long time(I never want to hear “Daaarrrling!” again ), and even when you power through to the end, the central issue remains unresolved.
And this is where the movie “I Want to Return to That Day” comes in. It is the conclusion which was always meant to be, presented with an emotional brutality totally contrary to the easygoing nature of the series. There is nothing cute in this film, nothing funny, no fantastic power to save the day, it’s true to life, and it hurts in the soul. The characters are full of subtle sorrow and display their deepest vulnerabilities. They are pathetic, egoistic, and thus completely human. This film does not hold back, a choice has to be made that will have terrible consequences either way, and these consequences are displayed without mercy. Ultimately, it is a story about accepting that things can’t be the way they were.
While the movie also takes place in the 80s, they are very different from the bubblegum 80s of the series. The music still has a certain cheese factor, but it is much more somber and less energetic. The two songs “I Love You” and “Embrace That Sky” by Kanako Wada, who is a J-Pop singer referenced in the movie itself, are particularly beautiful. Many scenes take place in total silence, always an effective choice.
Shots focus on the fleeting things, ice cream in the summer heat, birds flying away, the direction is placid, allowing us to really soak in the emotional turmoil of the characters, there is an Oshii quality to it. As with many productions of the time, the background art is beautiful and atmospheric, the evening star in the orange sunset sky, nightly cityscapes with the red blinking position lights, lakes shimmering in the sun. I really don’t understand people who call this look dated, do they even have eyes?
This is a film in which relationships start and end, accordingly, there is always some couple in the background of a scene, telephone booths are plastered in pornographic adverts, radio and TV full of romantic advice, when you have a breakup it seems everyone wants to remind you of it.
The most interesting background detail is that we see the ugly side of the achiever society, as if the emotional turmoil our characters and many teenagers go through isn’t enough, it is also the time in their lives when they become firmly embedded in a bureaucratic machine which doesn’t care about them. As one character jokingly remarks “Why do the college entrance exams have to be right when we’re hitting our sexual peaks?”
Madoka and Kyousuke, all grown up, attend a special summer school just to succeed at those exams.
This school is a depressing environment, where you don’t learn for your own sake, but just to pass a test. When Madoka and Kyousuke in one scene quiz each other, all they do is spout historic dates and the events that happened then, a meaningless exercise in memorization. While the cicadas chirp in the summer heat, they lock themselves into their rooms to study, have others bring them food, can’t even attend the town festival. All that will ultimately decide their future are two numbers on a board among hundreds of others.
Hikaru is still in school, but in a similar situation. She wants to be an actor in a school play done by a famous director, and the casting process is analogue to the college entrance exams, anonymizing and merciless. The director seems devoid of any empathy, we never see his face, just that he always taps his hand with the script impatiently. The intense external stress imposed on the characters serves as a backdrop to the internal emotional conflict.
FULL SPOILERS BELOW————
In a way, this film gives us the conclusion we all wanted. In the series, Kyousuke was really in love with Madoka, and she with him, and it was always clear they would end up together. He kept dating Hikaru because he didn’t want to break her heart, maybe also because she was a “safe” alternative. As mentioned above, this dynamic never changed which became increasingly frustrating as the series went on, he would have to tell Hikaru the truth at some point, and the longer he waited the worse he would hurt her.
This movie finally is that conclusion, but there is no sense of achievement, only raw sadness, because what we wished for was ultimately a crushing breakup story, and that is what we got.
Most powerful is how the film treats Hikaru. In the series, she became nothing but an annoying plot device, someone to keep Kyousuke from Madoka to artificially extend the show’s lifetime, her screeching voice certainly didn’t help, it was someone you just wanted to do away with.
But here she is the most interesting and sympathetic character. After all, it is her heart that is broken and ground into dust, because Kyousuke does break up with her. Not only that, he shuts off all contact completely. But she doesn’t let go, calls him day after day, visits him unannounced, always appearing in high spirits which cover her ruined interior. It must be doubly harsh to be depressed when you’re the designated cheerful person.
The film is really about Hikaru coming to terms with the fact that she wants to return to that day when they were still together, but can’t. It is an insanely painful thing to accept, so her actions shouldn’t be judged too harshly. People today are in denial about lesser things.
After all, what happened to her is through no fault of her own and very “unfair”, she doesn’t understand it at all. She did everything for Kyousuke, while Madoka really only had to exist for him to fall for her, this is what Hikaru accuses Madoka of. Of course, she is wrong, affection can’t be judged in those metrics, Hikaru tells herself in her desperation that the situation can be rectified if she just puts in the work, tries hard enough.
While the series always teased us with change but restored the status quo, the movie gives us the change with total resolve and teases us with restoration. But it really is over for good this time. In their final scene Hikaru appears in front of Kyousuke’s home late at night. They argue once more, and he leaves her to her tears. When he comes back, she is crouched on his front poach, waiting for his return. He can’t even bring himself to walk past her, and goes to a dingy supermarket instead. It starts to rain, and he can only think of one thing, how she must now be getting soaked. He sees umbrellas for sale. He could run back to her, maybe some reconciliation would be possible. In the series, this would have happened. But this is the new, adult Kyousuke, and he overcomes this final temptation. Instead, the tears start flowing. “Goodbye Hikaru”.
What he does to Hikaru is quiet cruel, and his actions are certainly controversial. In their final argument, she asks him what she even was to him, and it is a good question he never answers. In some ways, she was always just his backup plan, when things wouldn’t work out with Madoka he could return to her, but now that they did he discards her.
But he was a confused teenager as well. And there is so much pain in his brooding silence, by the end of the film it’s pretty clear he really did love her, but couldn’t ignore his feelings for Madoka any longer. He completely separates himself from Hikaru because he knows that if he gave her an inch she would have taken a mile. She flat out doesn’t accept that he broke up with her, and any reprieve from him she would take as a false hope that maybe time can be turned back. It would be more cruel in a way.
As one relationship dies, another forms. Like Kyousuke, Madoka is quiet different from her TV-series version. There, she had a tough no-nonsense attitude, was on top of most events, did cheesy saxophone solos at night, and got into fights with gang members, most of which she won. It was easy to like her, and her character design is straight up iconic.
She is much more vulnerable in this film. She loves Kyousuke, she is jealous of Hikaru’s relationship with him, and very much ashamed of that jealousy. There is a sense that her feelings have been kept inside far too long, her cool personality didn’t permit their expression, so that they must now explode outward.
Just like for Kyousuke, for Madoka it is a choice, between him and Hikaru, as Hikaru is her childhood best friend. In the series, it seemed Madoka tolerated the relationship between the two because it made Hikaru happy, and that she was too aloof to really care. But she can’t ignore her feelings anymore, and ultimately she accepts whatever happens to Hikaru, as long as she can be with Kyousuke. Is that egoistic? Maybe, but it is also how many people would act. This movie is not concerned with blaming anyone.
The most cathartic moment in the film is when Kyousuke finally confesses his love to Madoka. It is night, the rest of the town left for the festival, while Kyousuke and Madoka have to stay home to waste away at their studies. At that moment, it seems they are the only lonely people in the world, with the fireworks outside to remind them. She calls him, crying. The voice acting throughout the film is incredible, but here it reaches its peak, there is so much shame and confused hurt in her voice. It’s entirely one static drab shot, Kyousuke talking on the phone in his living room, there is no music, no flashy background art, the movie is so confident in its emotional impact that is removes all distractions, the antithesis of a Shinkai picture. Madoka tears down her protective walls, she is so afraid that Kyousuke might not like her after all, she blames herself for being too passive. He has to tell her at that moment or never again. “I want to see you.”
A photo is probably the ultimate means to return to that day, so they make multiple appearances in the film. There are the polaroids Kyousuke takes with Madoka when they’re on a date and in the final scene of the film the pictures in the photo album entitled “Sweet Memories” of Madoka’s and Hikaru’s shared childhood. In a flashback, Madoka remembers the three of them looking through that album, they joke around, everything was still alright. But these friendships are indeed nothing but a sweet memory, just as a photo can never really take us back. Now it just reminds us of what was lost, and it would probably be best never to look at it again.
“I Want to Return to That Day”, the characters want to return to the days of the TV-series, when everyone was friends and everything simple, but the message of the film is that you can’t, certain things can’t be undone. You can only heal by moving on, but it will take time to accept this. In all the hurt, there is some consultation. Madoka and Kyousuke can finally be together for real, they are accepted into college, they have a future ahead of them. And in the post-credits scene, it seems Hikaru has also regained some of her happiness.
But it is not just the characters, it is us who want to return to that day as well. We live in a time of revivalism. It has been 80s revivalism for the longest time, but that aesthetic has gotten so stale at this point I suspect it will be replaced soon. It was just last year that this very series was rereleased on Blue-ray, the same year there was a successful kickstarter to publish the manga this is based on in the west. The future under capitalism is impossible, but we can’t think of an alternative outside it, so we look towards a supposedly better past. We find refuge in these old styles of music, storytelling, clothing and animation.
And it is true that much has been lost since then, cultural artifacts out of print, for a long time it was very difficult to even obtain KOR in legal ways, its legacy only maintained by Italian Web 1.0 fanpages. But with the emergence of vaporwave, in which 80s J-Pop of the kind you hear in KOR, so called City Pop, is often sampled, we reached into the deepest corners of the dust bin of history, and so the Orange Road was revived.
It is nice to give the forgotten a second chance, but we go much further. We are just like Hikaru, who keeps returning to Kyousuke, our media landscape is obsessed with going back, remixing, remaking, entire big-budget franchises like Stranger Things exist solely to euthanize us in comfortable 80s nostalgia. We keep looking into the photo album even though it hurts ever more. And according to this movie, this is exactly the wrong approach. We can only push onward, look forward, no matter how impossible it seems. Just like for Hikaru, it will be painful for us to realize that time can’t be turned back, but there will be a light at the end of the tunnel.
The animation wasn’t really anything special; it was about the same quality as the series.
I really wasn’t expecting an Ushiko-Umao reference in the movie. It’s been a while since I watched the series, so it was just a nice surprise and probably the only really funny part in the movie.
Spoilers below, it’s hard to talk about the movie without spoiling it since he makes his decision sorta early in the movie. It’s based more on their feelings and how things go after that, not indecisiveness.
Kyosuke finally tells Hikaru how he feels in this movie. It’s pretty tough, but… well, it was always very one-sided from the start. She was always just pressuring and forcing him into stuff simply because she thought he looked cool the day he used his power to shoot a basketball through a hoop? I always thought Hikaru just seemed really shallow and stupid, so it’s pretty easy to accept her defeat.
The movie starts off in black and white as if to set a more serious tone… it also ends in black and white after the story is explained and it returns to the point where the intro ended. Something about this feels just feels kinda incomplete… It didn’t just set a serious tone, it set a kinda depressing one, like all the fun’s been sucked out since Hikaru’s been turned down. Are Kyosuke and Madoka happy together? They sure didn’t make it look like it. Did Hikaru accept reality? I dunno what the point of her “bang” at the end was. The black and white thing makes me feel like the two aren’t happy and like Hikaru didn’t move on…
The movie gave the conclusion we were all waiting for, but it could’ve tied things up a little better, I think. It doesn’t handle that very well by itself, but the second movie gives a more concrete ending.
48: Toaru Hikuushi e no Tsuioku
English: The Princess and the Pilot
MAL Score: 7.64
The war between the Levamme Empire and the Amatsukami Imperium has been raging for years. In the midst of this struggle, the prince of the Levamme Empire declares his love for Juana del Moral and vows to end the war in one year, as part of his marriage proposal. When the Amatsukami catch wind of this, they assault the del Moral residence, targeting Juana’s life. As a last ditch effort to bring the prince his bride, the San Maltilia Airforce hires a mercenary of mixed blood—a bestado—to fly Juana to the Levamme capital in secret. The pilot, Charles, accepts the mission…but traversing an ocean alone, into enemy territory, proves a much more dangerous ordeal than anyone could have anticipated.
(Source: NIS America)
This didn’t bore me at all, and in fact, it’s so much more refreshing than most of the anime aired these days. If you are like me, who need occasional breaks from tsundere and yandere girls and harem loving boys, come and watch this please. I wouldn’t call it serious or deep, but it’s real. Yes, it’s real as in, it’s how real people are. I’m not trying to offend quircky and crazy characters or random and insane plot twists. It’s like I said, I need a break sometimes.
I digressed from the review a little bit, but honestly, if I say one little thing about the plot or characters, it’ll basically ruin the series for you, since everything is as straightforward as they can be, and should be in my opinion.
The soundtracks and animation are really good, and the fighting scenes are very well made. It’s like one of those studio ghibli’s works, simple but solid, and in my case, will be remembered fondly.
It was originally published as a single volume light novel in 2008 and was considered a runaway success. Although Inumura Koroku was already writing a different novel series at the time, this novel became his breakthrough and most well-known work. Inumura left such an impression on his readers that the novel reached tenth place in the annual “Kono Light Novel ga Sugoi!”, or “This Light Novel is Amazing!”, poll conducted on the Internet. It spawned a subsequent “Hikuushi” series which encompasses two additional spin-off series of the same “Toaru Hikuushi e no” title.
There are a number of predictable formulas for characters involved in forbidden love. In this case, we are introduced to mercenary pilot Charles Karino and Juana del Moral, fiancée of the crown prince of a powerful empire. Their story and the conflict that is in their hearts are set within a greater conflict: relentless warfare between two neighboring empires. The conditions also beg of the question of whether it is right to sacrifice a world’s peaceful future for the selfish desires of two people. The juxtaposition of these two elements presents a love story that is timeless and refreshing. While it is something we’ve read before in stories like “Romeo and Juliet”, the tale does not fall into the trap of creating a predictable ending, but rather an inevitable one. In fact, when the reader begins to understand the fate of the two characters, he or she can still be impressed by the way their relationship is developed.
With the story focused on only two noteworthy characters, it can be easy to assume that watching their interaction will boring. On the other hand, one can easily empathize with the strong feelings of the characters. Each time pilot and princess are torn between duty and personal affection, even the reader feels can feel torn as to which decision they should make. One can sense that the two are close in their hearts, yet a gap as wide as an ocean separates their conscience. As both characters begin to open up to the feelings of each other, we become more invested in their relationship.
Madhouse presents its viewers with an artistic presentation that is both appropriate and experimental. Heavy use of the color blue is obvious from the theatrical poster alone as it represents the vastness of both the sky and the ocean. It does not, however, drown out the other colors that are also presented, and certain environmental details make this anime movie as realistic as possible. Madhouse also presents a sound mechanical design for aircraft technology in the film. Aerial combat is presented with great detail in the movement of each airplane as if one were watching a World War II reel, complemented by a rich portfolio of sounds that realistically replicates an propeller airplane’s engine.
While the film’s soundtrack may not be very memorable, Niizuma Seiko presents us a touching theme song with lyrics that reflect the longing of both characters. As an ending theme, it provides an appropriate closure for a story with mild pacing. Conflicts in the plot came at the appropriate times and keep the viewer interested through a film that could easily have bored viewers if done improperly because of its length.
“The Princess and the Pilot” is a simple story set in a rich universe that shines through the human interaction that is neither exaggerated nor lacking. While it can be enjoyed as a standalone work, reading the novel will also present a richer understanding of the distance that separates Charles and Juana and the affection that binds them.
47: Byousoku 5 Centimeter
English: 5 Centimeters Per Second
MAL Score: 7.65
What happens when two people love each other but just aren’t meant to be together? Takaki Toono and Akari Shinohara are childhood friends, but circumstances beyond their control tear them apart. They promise to stay in contact, and although the progression of time widens the distance between them, the chain of memories remains ever-present.
Byousoku 5 Centimeter is a romantic drama that focuses on the mundane and harsh reality of long-distance relationships. Stuck in the past and unable to make any new memories, Takaki and Akari cling to the hope of seeing each other again. They live their everyday lives half-heartedly, both hurting themselves and the people around them.
The movie tells of a love that’s slowly torn apart because the lovers move further away, both in heart and home. It’s underlying themes are beautifully incorporated into the story; about growing up, letting go of an unreachable past, and taking control of one’s own life. Though they’re not necessarily very obvious throughout the movie, the final scene symbolizes these themes, and what the main characters decided on in the end.
The character we follow through the movie is Takaki Tohno, and we get to see how he looks on the events that unfold as a child, a teenager and finally, and adult. We see how he develops through these stages of life, and how it all relates to his childhood friend and love, Akari Shinohara.
The emotions are protrayed in an incredibly beautiful and realistic way; how they portray the love between Akari and Takaki, how they portray the girl who has a crush on Tohno during his high school years, Kanae Sumida, and finally, how they portray their development from children to adults all makes them characters you’ll place your heart with. They’re characters you’ll love, feel sad with, and you’ll wish for them to live happily.
The animation quality is astounding, from the detail in backgrounds to the astounding ligthing effects and camera angles that help bring the mood of the scenes to a level different from mostly anything else. The only beef I have is that the characters’ faces lost a bit of detail from time to time, but aside that the movie is a visual pleasure that goes beyond pretty much everything I’ve ever experienced.
Tenmon, who’s made the soundtrack to other Shinaki films, does an astounding job on the soundtrack for the movie, with piano pieces that effectively and beautifully amplifies the mood of the movie, be it melancholy, calmness or nostalgia. However, if you don’t like piano soundtracks, chances are you’ll not like it, since it’s mostly the piano that’s used throughout the movie (I love them though, and that’s what made me give it a 10).
The seiyuu also do a marvelous job of portraying the characters, their emotions and age. I’ve only watched the Japanese version of the movie, so I can’t say anything about the quality of the English voice acting. But I’d recommend it in Japanese anyways =)
5 cm per Second is a movie that takes a story of growing up and makes it into something that cannot be described as anything less than a masterpiece, with astounding themes, storytelling, art and sound. If someone told me I could watch one movie before I died, I’d undoubtedly choose this one.
To ‘Not ‘ voters (and you ” voters too): Feedback greatly appreciated =)
If you love this movie, you will most likely hate me for this review. Call me someone with a heart of ice, whatever you will. I am simply expressing my thoughts on it.
I’ll break this into a two-part review. The first part will be my thoughts, written as I think of them, the second part an analysis with numbers for those who prefer it that way.
Oh, I am sitting here, after watching the movie, but it’s not out of awe, it’s out of bewilderment because despite all the reviews and recommendations from ,everyone that proclaim it the best movie ever, that the message of it is poignant and beautiful…I can’t say that I fully agree. Maybe it’s because I’m a heartless robot who has never felt love before, you would say, but no, I’ve cried and felt emotional at even the smallest hints of feeling, and I’ve most definitely been in love, known what it’s like to feel heartbreak, desolation, the chill when you know the person you love will never share your feelings. But for some reason…I couldn’t relate to this movie, try as I might.
Why did this movie completely fail my expectations? I’m still trying to make sense of it as I write this review. I’m a bit disappointed in myself, because it seems everyone else except for me was touched by this anime while I appear to be some stone-cold freak of nature. I had the tissues ready, the feels shield up, the family relocated to another room so that I could peacefully watch this and take all the dialogue in.
The most outstanding issue in 5 Centimeters per Second, for me, is that I don’t feel that there was enough character development. I understand. Toko is in love with Akari, and in the first part, she reciprocates his feelings, but they can’t be together. Yes, that is sad, but the way it was expressed just didn’t seem to impact me. At the end of the movie, I don’t know anything about them except that they’re star-crossed lovers who, unfortunately, can’t be with each other.
The movie does have wonderful messages in it. You have to move on from the past, learn to let go, and know when it’s time to move on. However, I don’t think that message is unique to this movie only. I’ve seen it expressed many times before. The story is interesting, but I think it needed a lot more plot and character development.
Yes. We can relate to the characters as they experience loss, heartbreak, falling in love for the first time. But for some reason, I didn’t feel as though there was enough effort put into making the watchers really connect, to strengthen that link of empathy. I appreciate the symbolism used in this anime. The messages are indeed deep and something that many can relate to, but in my opinion they were not conveyed in the right way. I also think that some of the lines from the movie are elegant…Overall, this anime seemed to have all the elements to be wonderful, but for me, they didn’t come together.
And for you data analysts out there, have a breakdown by numbers:
Story :: 7
It started out promising, but spiraled into something a bit boring and, at least for me, terribly predictable. The story is well-thought out and I liked how it was broken up into three parts, but it moved very quickly, and at the end I found myself shocked that there wasn’t something more. It would have been much better if even half an hour was given to plot development. The way the story is played out is in soft hints of emotion, feelings that can be easily related to, and in a relatively tranquil way, but because of this, I felt that it was difficult to find the actual point of the plot. When the movie ended, I sat there and asked myself, “so what?”. The answer was simply that “We have to learn when and how to move on”. I was hoping that I would have been able to think of more. I appreciate, though, how it was portrayed realistically throughout, with nothing cheesy or sugar-coated.
Art :: 9
Ah, but I do have to say, the artwork in this movie is outstanding! The backgrounds, lighting, climate, everything. I was spellbound by the gorgeous landscapes that were concocted, with the perfect touch of surrealism and fantasy at every part. You see a routine town setting, and then look up at the sky…a nebulous wonderland, full of stars, conveying the idea that there really is no boundary to where we can go. I can’t give this category a 10, however, because the people were somewhat disconcerting amongst all this scenery. I didn’t feel as though as much effort was put into drawing them, and they looked a bit odd at times.
Sound :: 9
I play the piano, so all the piano songs in the background stood out and they really did provide a lovely backdrop for the movie, which is peaceful and not full of action or drama. The background music could most certainly put me at ease in any situation. I also appreciated the realistic sound effects, reminiscent of the sounds in a Miyazaki movie. It’s clear that a lot of effort was put into this movie.
Character :: 6
These characters should be relatable. At times, I felt like I could relate to them. However, they were greatly lacking in personality development. Maybe, though, it’s the point of the movie. As was noted in an article that I read some time ago, if the characters in a work of art are relatively simple, we use them as blank canvases on which to paint our own emotions. I think I would have appreciated a bit more character structuring, though.
Enjoyment :: 6
Like I said in the beginning of this review, I sat there the entire move trying very hard to like it. At some points, I did. I could appreciate the messages, clear or somewhat hidden, that were being given. However, for most of the movie, I was bored, as though I was waiting for something to happen. Maybe this is because I thought it would be a lot more sad than it turned out to be.
Overall :: 7
The messages in 5 Centimeters per Second are beautiful. I believe that they should have been conveyed more through character actions than through them having to tell a story to us using words. As I continue through my life, perhaps I will encounter scenarios that will make me think of this movie. I would still recommend that people watch this movie, because there are lessons to be learned and chances are that they’ll enjoy it much more than I did, looking at the sheer amount of 10s that this movie has received. Until then, I’ll continue pondering this movie, and why I, usually so quick to empathize with others and share emotions, was not moved by this piece. If my opinions change, I will be back to write another review. As was the message of Howl’s Moving Castle, hearts can change, and people can too.
The only thing I really enjoyed about the movie was the animation quality and detail that was put into the movie. The animation was just simply beautiful from the vividness of the background to the fluid motion of characters but then, sadly, the praise ends here.
The story and the characters were very anti-climactic as no real progress is met by the characters with one another. This is however how the creator of the story wished for it to be i think as the title is named "5 centimeters per second". It was a collection of short stories about human distance. I’ll say though that the concept and execution were nice but the story itself was lacks proper closure as it presents the audience with the concept but then leaves it at the presentation with no real conclusion. The story began as a cultured glass of wine then slowly transforming into wine in a box. The depth slowly filled in as the stories progressed. They were written just so that a concept could be brought to stage and left there to be a static attraction for the audience.
So if you’re looking for a totally artistic and visually pleasing feature with no real concern for a happy ending with much depth in the end then give this one a looksy.
46: InuYasha Movie 2: Kagami no Naka no Mugenjo
English: InuYasha the Movie 2: The Castle Beyond the Looking Glass
Japanese: 犬夜叉 鏡の中の夢幻城
MAL Score: 7.67
Inuyasha and company have finally destroyed Naraku. And each start to go in their separate ways. Sango going to find her younger brother Kohaku; Miroku back to his old home; Inuyasha, Kagome and Shippou go to gather the rest of the Shikon shards. Unfortunately this peace is not to last. Shortly afterwards the full moon rises, and just keeps rising each night bringing with it the promise of danger. Kagura and Kanna go in search of a mirror, where locked inside is the ruler of the eternal night, Kaguya. To set her free they must gather five items and drop them into the five lakes of Fuji. Setting her free means the worst danger for Inuyasha and the others. Who are forced to face this new threat.
An interesting thing about this movie as well is the use of poetry. In the process of releasing Kaguya. I found that superb. There were several moments in the movie where I would get chills even having seen it two other times. That’s how exciting and intense this movie was to me. Of all the movies, this is definitely the one worth the watch. I give a 9/10! It’s great!
On the other hand, this is definitely a good movie to watch when you approach “An Ancestor of Kagome” episode, since it gives more insight in Akitoki Hojo’s character.
The movie was good! I wouldn’t say it was thought-provoking, but more like an extra long episode. It was fun to watch since the anime doesn’t show funny stuff in midst of battles like the movies do, so it’s a bit different to watch. Would recommend everyone give it a chance.
The type of the movie you can watch with non-Inuyasha watchers! So family and friends 🙂
45: Detective Conan Movie 21: The Crimson Love Letter
Japanese: 劇場版『名探偵コナン から紅の恋歌』
MAL Score: 7.67
A bombing case at Nichiuri TV in autumn. The Satsuki Cup, which crowns the winner of Japan’s Hyakunin Isshu, is currently being filmed inside the facility. The incident results in a big commotion and, while the building is burning to ashes, the only people left inside are Heiji and Kazuha. They get rescued just in time by Conan, who rushes to the scene. Both the identity and purposes of the bomber are unknown.
While confusion takes over due to the explosion, Conan meets a mysterious beautiful girl who claims she is “Heiji’s fiancée”. Her name is Momiji Ooka and she is the Kyoto High School champion of the Karuta game. As fate would have it, Kazuha is going to face Momiji in the Hyakunin Isshu, so she begins to train with the help of Heiji’s mother, Shizuka, who is a skilled Karuta player.
At the same time, in a Japanese house in Arashiyama, Kyoto’s outskirts, the reigning Satsuki Cup champion is murdered. Pictures of the crime scene reveal Momji’s presence. Additionally, several Karuta cards were spread around the victim.
Conan and Heiji, along with the Osaka and Kyoto police departments, begin their investigation on the Satsuki Cup and the related murder case. As the inquiry goes on, they come across a secret connected with the Hyakunin Isshu.
(Source: Detective Conan Wiki)
I entered the cinema with fingers crossed and hoped for the best. After the disaster that was the 20th movie I was cautiously optimistic about this one, and while a small part of me was reluctant to watch it, the squealing fan-girl within me pushed me to give it a chance.
And so fast forward several days later – I can still recall the utter relief that rushed through me when I finished watching The Crimson Love Letter. I left the cinema with an excited smile on my face, mind whirling with thoughts and opinions to prepare for this review. It’s a little depressing to be happy just because the movie didn’t suck, but eh. We’ll just have to wait and see if the movie 22 turns out to be good, so that the spike of dread at each new Detective Conan movie will finally cease.
The case this time is simple and straightforward, no closed room murder or intricate murder mystery for the viewer to unravel. I think it’s a good thing because instead of getting a complicated mess of a story what we got instead was a simple and solid mystery. The whodunit didn’t become clear to me until they were revealed but more astute watchers might guess who it might be if the manage to piece together the evidence quicker than I could.
The Crimson Love Letter not only gives us a good mystery, it also provides a generous dollop of competitive Karuta – something some anime fans might be familiar with if they watch or read Chihayafuru. Basically, it’s a sport wherein players have to ‘steal’ cards from their opponent’s territory, a one-on-one battle to see who gets the card first. It requires a fast-reflexes and an intimate knowledge of the poems written on the cards, and the first player to get rid of all their cards, win.
A deep understanding of Karuta isn’t necessary but you would enjoy the Karuta battles more if you did, I suppose. The movie does a good job of tying it in with the main plot and character motivations, so I was slightly impressed by that. The inclusion of Heji and Kazuha also served to spice up the regular mystery formula due to the fact Heji’s childhood friend has a role to play in the story as well. Overall, I think the plot was well-paced and kept my interest for the entire runtime.
Hattori Heji and Tomoya Kazuha stage an epic return in this movie. I really missed them as it’s been quite a while since they appeared in both the manga and the anime, and as I watched Conan and Hattori bicker like old pals I felt indescribably happy at such a familiar scene.
In contrast to Conan’s rational and sometimes cold personality, Hattori’s hot headedness provides a nice change. He spices up boring exposition scenes and makes the regular doom and gloom of searching for the murderer more enjoyable, and his ‘will they or will they not’ relationship with Kazuha makes The Crimson Love Letter more energetic and humorous. There were many scenes throughout the movie where the chemistry between the two childhood friends were downright intense – you can literally see their affection for each other through every action and remark.
This causes the appearance of the movie’s new character, Ooka Momiji, to have a bigger effect, one of the side plots being that she is ‘engaged’ to Heji due to a childhood promise. This was another aspect of The Crimson Letter that I really liked as it gave the movie a lot more personality, rather than going through the usual tired detective mystery and eventual capture of the suspect.
In many ways, the characters here felt more genuine than those in the last few movies.
Editing was on point for this movie, and the creative use of panels from the manga to convey flashbacks was a very nice touch, and honestly, damn impressive. They really stepped up the game for this movie. The animation was consistent with several standout moments, like one scene where Kazuha and Momiji admire their surroundings from a boat. Overall, I have nothing but praise for the animation.
The Crimson Love Letter may not be a return to form, but it does a fine job of reminding fans of why they’re in love with Detective Conan. A well written mystery with entertaining characters and impressive animation, you can’t go wrong with this one. Take it from someone who hated the last movie, The Darkest Nightmare. This movie is definitely worth your time.
44: Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon S: Kaguya-hime no Koibito
English: Sailor Moon S Movie: Hearts in Ice
Japanese: 美少女戦士セーラームーンS かぐや姫の恋人
MAL Score: 7.68
An unusual snow storm hits Tokyo and the Sailor Senshi discover that an evil snow queen Kaguya, wants to freeze the entire earth. It’s up to the Inner Sailor Senshi along with the Outers, to defeat the Queen. Meanwhile, Luna falls in love with a human astronomer named Kakeru whose girlfriend is an astronaut about to take a space shuttle mission. Kakeru becomes ill and Luna wishes she could be a human to help him.
In my opinion, the S movie stands head and shoulders above the other two in almost every way. I’m glad that the focus is on Luna instead of Usagi. Not that I dislike Usagi (quite the opposite), but we get plenty of her in the TV series, so it’s nice to see something different. Also, they managed to fit quite a bit of stuff into a short running time without making it feel too rushed. The story isn’t the most original or innovative, but it still hits all the right notes.
Speaking of hitting all the right notes, the best thing about this movie is the music! It uses all the various musical cues to great effect, without going too over-the-top. My favorite is the beautiful, heartbreaking theme used for Luna– I cry when I listen to it. The music does a great job of punctuating and enhancing every scene and without it, I don’t think I would have enjoyed this movie so much.
1. It is actually based off the manga, though in my opinion the manga was way better (you even get to see a party in the beginning of the manga as well as Usagi using the Luna Pen, which she hasn’t used in a long time!
2. I happen to like Luna, who some may think is a nag, but at least she does care for Usagi and is actually quite useful in a lot of ways. Anyways, this is based mainly on Luna.
3. C’mon, you just gotta love the plot as well as the background music and the characters and villians too. And may i say, the artwork is gorgeous!
It’s about a guy named Kakeru, who dreams of going up to the moon And dreaming of a princess from the moon named Kaguya, who he is fascinated by. He is a scientist who has deep feelings for his childhood friend and partner, Himeko, who secretly loves him in return.
Anyways, Luna begins to fall in love with Kakeru after saving her from getting ran over, during which she caught a cold and stuff. Anyways, Luna falls in love with Kakeru and a love triangle forms in front of them and Himeko.
Meanwhile Earth is being controlled by a snow demon named Kaguya also, who wants to take revenge on Earth and stuff.
It’s a really good movie that is my favorite out of them all, and i recommend in buying the movie as well as watching the movie too. You’ll love it!
Story: Ok I’ll be honest, when I first watched this movie as a kid, the plotline concerning the scientists confused me. I wasn’t too sure what their connection was to the movie’s villain, or what was going on between the two of them. After watching it again when I was older, I finally slowly understood it. They seemed to mix up the timeline with the past and present, and it can get easy to mix them up.
Other than that, the story consists mainly of Luna, and her feelings towards ‘stuck being only a cat’. I was disappointed; they didn’t take this chance to explain more about both Luna and especially Artemis’s past as the manga did, but overall it still was a pretty good plot even with our usual main characters not being seen as much.
Art: Once again, the art is basic Sailor Moon style and there is nothing really that stands out. The ending scene is really nice to look at, especially the transformation sequence.
Sound: Sound wasn’t so much of a deal. Didn’t have breakthrough songs, and the sounds of the Snow Dancers made my ears bleed.
Character: I’m going to say it here and now. Luna’s outcome at the end was the only reason I liked this movie. I cared little for the supporting characters, and the main characters were hardly present.
Another good point was the outer scouts made a believable appearance in this movie with the absence of Saturn, who hadn’t yet appeared in the series timeline. The movie even managed to squeeze in short moments between Sailor Moon, Tuxedo Mask and Mini Moon.
Enjoyment: I liked the movie and thought it was cute to see Luna’s outcome and Artemis acting adorable. I wouldn’t say it’s not necessary to watch because it does have some important scenes to see before getting into the SuperS season.
Overall: A cute fluffy movie, but overall nothing huge.
43: Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon R: The Movie
English: Sailor Moon R: The Movie – The Promise of the Rose
Japanese: 美少女戦士セーラームーンＲ THE MOVIE
MAL Score: 7.70
When Mamoru was little he gave a rose to a little boy named Fiore. Fiore promised that one day he would bring Mamoru lots of flowers. Now Fiore has come back to earth but his intentions are not merely to fulfil a promise…
We open with the sailor soldiers going to a greenhouse/ garden to look at flowers. Everything seems to be going well and laughter is in abundance. That’s when a strange guy approaches Mamoru and takes his hand in a very suggestive fashion while telling him that he’s brought a flower like he promised. Usagi notices and tells him that Mamoru is her boyfriend. He responds by pushing her away, shifting appearance to look very similar to Ail and Ann & teleporting away with a flowery effect. But he vows to bring Mamoru lots of flowers. Mamoru mentions the name “Fiore” and goes off on his own. Leaving the soldiers to contemplate what it all means and Usagi to try to deal with her boyfriend’s probable bisexuality. Although she really has no room to judge given that she’s attracted to at least three other women over the course of the anime.
Now, I actually do like that they use their words and try to reason with the antagonist rather than just going into a long fight scene. I also do like that they make Fiore sympathetic, which is pretty common for Sailor Moon villains, instead of evil for the evils. The film also has some good comedic moments, some with Chibi-Usa, although I only begrudgingly admit that I liked some of her scenes. I also like that the film’s story is self-contained, giving you enough information that you can easily understand it even if you haven’t seen the series leading up to it. The film’s major narrative flaw is the ending. A lot of the stuff leading up to it is good, but it moves into an obvious fake out scene with a cheap resolution. Now, it really needed a little time after that scene to wrap things up properly. Instead, the movie just ends abruptly. It feels like they couldn’t think of a good way to wrap things up and just decided not to bother.
The sailor soldiers remain fun, entertaining and interesting characters. Some of the best scenes in the film involve the five of them just having fun or explore their bonds with each other. Fiore is also a great character and I did, overall, like what they did with his story arc. The weak links are Chibi-Usa, who gets some funny scenes but is still a pretty annoying character, and Mamoru, who is just as bland and generically good as he’s always been. The difference is that in the series he stayed largely on the sidelines as a secondary character and in this film he’s one of the major focus characters. It does make his dullness more noticeable.
The art is good. The character designs look as nice as ever. The action sequences flow better than they do in most of the series with some of the stock attack animations being replaced by more active scenes, although there are certainly plenty of the stock animations present. The backgrounds are lively and nicely detailed, certainly moreso than was present in the first series at least.
The vocal cast is superb, as it is in the main series. Mitsuishi Kotono, Hisakawa Aya, Tomizawa Michie, Shinohara Emi and Fukami Rica are joined by Touma Yumi as the Kisenian flower and Midorikawa Hikaru as Fiore. Sailor Moon fans may recognise them as the same duo who played Ail and Ann in R. Which is a little confusing given that the film’s story really has nothing to do with the main R storyline in spite of the title. Still, they all give great performances. The music is really good. Sure, some of it is recycled from the series but it was good music then and it’s still just as good.
Given that the plot revolves on another man with an obvious crush on Mamoru and that Mamoru does respond to his feelings pretty favorably in spite of Fiore’s feelings being arguably one-sided, I’m going to give it a ho-yay factor of a 5/10.
Sailor Moon R: The Movie does have a lot to recommend it. The characters, aside from a certain two, are really good. The story itself is compelling and features a lot of good moments. The voice acting and music are great. It’s not a great film, however. It suffers from a weak ending. It feels incomplete. One of the focus characters is Generic Male Love Interest #403. If you’re a fan of the Sailor Moon franchise and you haven’t seen it, check it out. You’ll probably like it okay, at the very least. My final rating is going to be a 7/10. Tomorrow, a film from a different famous Toei animation franchise. Yes, this one is probably the first one you thought of.
Story: Truly an interesting story for a short movie. It provided some background to Tuxedo Mask’s mysterious past.
Art: Art was typical Sailor Moon style, but some scenes were very well drawn and detailed. The battle scenes were fast-paced but full of such detail that it I believe it made certain scenes feel much more tense and moving.
Sound: Sound definitely was my favorite part of this movie. This movie made many fans who claimed they hated the American dub to make an exception when it came to Promise of the Rose. Songs created for the movie were my favorites out of the entire series.
Character: Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask scenes were abundant in this movie compared to the other movies. It’s obvious this movie was meant for R’s season. Tuxedo Mask expresses his emotions more openly and visibly.
Enjoyment: I really loved this movie. I felt sorry for one of the villains, was touched by the movie’s romance, and thrilled at the battle scene. There wasn’t much lagging as the other movies had.
Overall: As I said before it’s my favorite of the three. If you love Sailor Moon for its romance between Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask, definitely this is a movie to see.
42: Macross Plus Movie Edition
Japanese: マクロスプラス ＭＯＶＩＥ ＥＤＩＴＩＯＮ
MAL Score: 7.72
A.D. 2040—Thirty years have passed since the battle between the Earth and Zentraedi forces changed the lives of both races. On planet Eden, a top-secret project known as “Supernova” is being held to determine U.N. Spacy’s next-generation variable fighter. Competing to win the funding are Shinsei Industries’ YF-19 and General Galaxy’s YF-21. Piloting the YF-21 is Guld Goa Bowman, a half-human, half-Zentraedi. Shinsei receives its new test pilot in the form of the unruly fighter pilot Isamu Dyson, who was once a friend of Guld. Meanwhile, as Isamu and Guld furiously battle to see which of their fighters is superior, a Virturoid Idol named Sharon Apple is to perform her debut concert on Eden. In charge of Sharon is producer Myung Fang Lone, another former friend of Isamu and Guld. When the three meet each other, old disputes spark from a troubled past. Little do they know that their past incidents—along with the Supernova Project and Sharon Apple—will somehow bring them together.
Most people have a dream of what they want to become in life. Usually it’s a career, and then what kind of life they wish to lead with which kind of people. These people develop friendships to help give their current live meaning, and to potentially help each other achieve their dreams and lead a happy life with the people they care about. Unfortunately, life does not always match up with a dream, and friends will not always last. For one reason or another, people will do something damaging or face a terrible circumstance, both of which can lead to resentment, and even regret. Suddenly, life isn’t so pleasant, and you want nothing to do with some of the people you previously held so dear.
Macross Plus showcases a fantastic take on this, with one of the best and most tragic love triangles anime has to offer. Accompanying this with fantastic visuals and a soundtrack that lives up to its franchise’s standards, and we have a classic film that holds up decades later.
It is the year 2040 A.D. Two test pilots are testing out their machines for this big project. They, unfortunately, were once friends until an incident involving a girl they both love, tears them apart. One adventurous and brazen Isamu and one jaded and violent Guld reunite in competition, not just for this project, but for the girl they both love named Myung. She arrives in Eden, a manager of a robotic singing idol device named Sharon. All three end up meeting up, only to realize, things have changed since 7 years ago, since the time when they used to be friends. Myung has given up her dream, while the boys still latch on to theirs. The movie leaves dramatic bits and pieces which seem odd at first, until you get cleverly and masterfully fed exactly why that is. Sure, the antagonist is crazy about Ismaul for disturbingly odd reasons, and the characters’ emotions guide their extreme actions, but they’re presented in such a way that you can keep the suspense and drama going, and not just root for one person. This is very much an adult film, and despite a few minor missteps in the end which chances are, you will notice, this movie is directed so brilliantly, that such a plot can be used to its fullest potential. Sure, not everyone gets closure, and it feels like some characters were just shoved out of the story, but it’s a beautiful story none the less. Plus, while the movie ends a bit tragically, the final moments of the movie are just wonderful.
Isamu, Guld, and Myung are fascinating characters, written in a way that makes them come off as real people. They are presented realistically, and tragically, and that is one of the movie’s strong points. These people are not just characters, stereotypes, or archetypes. These are people. They are full with regret, realistic emotions, and dialogue. You root for all three of them to reconcile, but this is real life. Something has to happen. They actively put themselves and each other in danger due to their own emotional trauma and goals. The description for these characters is in the story section, but it only describes a general portion of their character, rather than them as a whole. If I were to accurately describe them, there’d be no point to you watching these characters the way you’re supposed to. By the end, you’re supposed to feel as if you know these people personally, as if you were there with them, filming their dillemmas. The directing makes them more relatable than they’d normally be.
For the side characters, they are all rather pleasant, but nothing notably spectacular as it’s the main trio that take precedence here. That only leaves Sharon, but to spoil her character, would deny you the full experience this movie offers, even what kind of character she is.
To be perfectly clear, this came out in 1995, and was done by Studio Triangle Staff. This movie has such beautiful concert effects, such realistic yet beautiful character models that represent the best of the film side of this anime era, such fluid and breathtaking battles that hold up majestically. The CGI is actually not intrusive or distracting, well most of the time. Sometimes, it gets a bit awkward, and not all of the effects blend perfectly with the CGI. However, some scenes, like the space fold scene look majestic. Seeing this futuristic 2040 and the effects and innovative features of these new Valkyries, just shows the beauty of this futuristic world. The wings can mold their shape. The vehicles look like futuristic versions of the vehicles presented in the time of the movie’s release. It even retains a few of the city quirks of our modern times like spray cans being used as graffiti. The concert visuals look very impressive, and captivating. Once again, the fights look expertly crafted, and perfectly shot, leading to some of the best mech fights I’ve seen in quite some time. The sequence near the beginning with Isamu horsing around with the YT-19 really hooks you in as you feel the adventurous adrenaline that Ismau’s feeling, due to the amazing directing by Shoji Kawamori, Shinichiro Watanabe, and Yuji Moriyama. It impresses 21 years later (at the time of this review) as it did back then along with contemporaries such as Ghost in the Shell, and that’s a testament to it’s beauty.
The actual OST done by Yoko Kanno is impressive. The guitar bit when Isamu does the airplane gesture with his hand conveys the tone of that quirk perfectly, and is honestly a bit catchy. Myung’s song: Voices. It’s a great and kinda beautiful song, in both English and Japanese. You should give it a listen. Sharon’s songs are melodically creepy, except for that one cheerier and merrier one, which was also catchy. While the rest of the OST unfortunately isn’t as memorable, the notable tracks more than make up for it, I find.
Needless to say, I loved this movie. It had some epic action, some brilliantly done characters, and an ability to really mesmerize me for the 1 hour and 55 minutes that it had to show, making it feel like so much less time has passed. It is one of the most captivating, emotionally resonant films and anime I’ve seen to date, and of the Macross installments thus far, this is the one I arguably love the most.
Overal, this is truly an amazing film, and any true fan of Macross or future based sci-fi, should give this classic a much needed watch. Its music is as good as to be expected given the Macross standard, and the characters and the narrative they drive are wonderful, if depressing. The fact that it also deals with repressed memories, which is a rare subject in anime, is proof enough of this film’s ambitions. Please, it you are at least 15 years old, and can find a copy of this film somewhere, watch it; but it. It needs to be experienced for yourself as an installment of animated science fiction, and especially as a part of the Macross franchise. And with all of that said, I bid you adieu.
The animation is just the same, mature more lifelike charac. unlike other macros serie´s , and some scene´s reveals more about the isamu, guld and myung chara. childhood wich i liked, but it was just slitsecond scenes too bad. For me its all about the last 50 min. of the film thats shows the full potential of the 3-d uncut scene´s and when Sharon flys through the city is just soo well done for its time, together with some nice jetfight scene’s between isamu and guld. And the jet design,s remain still some of the best i,ve seen in the whole macross universe!
41: The Last: Naruto the Movie
English: The Last: Naruto the Movie
Japanese: THE LAST NARUTO THE MOVIE
MAL Score: 7.77
Two years have passed since the end of the Fourth Great Ninja War. Konohagakure has remained in a state of peace and harmony—until Sixth Hokage Kakashi Hatake notices the moon is dangerously approaching the Earth, posing the threat of planetary ruin.
Amidst the grave ordeal, the Konoha is invaded by a new evil, Toneri Oosutuski, who suddenly abducts Hinata Hyuuga’s little sister Hanabi. Kakashi dispatches a skilled ninja team comprised of Naruto Uzumaki, Sakura Haruno, Shikamaru Nara, Sai, and Hinata in an effort to rescue Hanabi from the diabolical clutches of Toneri. However, during their mission, the team faces several obstacles that challenge them, foiling their efforts.
With her abduction, the relationships the team share with one another are tested, and with the world reaching the brink of destruction, they must race against time to ensure the safety of their planet. Meanwhile, as the battle ensues, Naruto is driven to fight for something greater than he has ever imagined—love.
I have been a Naruto fan for ages and I have to say a HUGE Naruto fan. But there is one thing I cannot accept…when the author turns everything you like about the show to dust.
This movie is set somewhere after the last manga chapter (By the way, didn’t like the ending either.). Naruto is like a star in Konoha. Everybody loves him, he has a lot of fans, especially among young girls. This part was beautiful, I have to admit. I really enjoyed the feels when watching Naruto and his “Will of Fire” after all the suffering he had to go through. It was also nice to see all the other characters, especially Kakashi as a hokage looks so epic! And the intro where they summarized the whole story in an awesome ink-like animation was so amazing!
Unfortunately, that’s all. The rest of the film is not worth watching. You know, something is probably wrong when scenes that are supposed to be sad or dramatic makes you laugh. I found the whole plot really ridiculous and stupid. It had such a filler-like atmosphere. Some random villain comes here to marry Hinata and the Moon falls on the Earth to destroy it. Seriously?
Plus most of the film is just about Hinata dealing with her love for Naruto and everybody forcing Naruto to understand what love is, to make her happy. Is Naruto soap opera or what? I don’t mind romance in anime but this romance was so ridiculous and kinda forced or how to say that. I am not sure what to think about the intentions of the author. It was like “Umm now let’s add a cool fight with…eh who? Well let’s make someone random up aaand now…hm let’s bring romance again, never mind just place there Hinata and her shy face, that’s enough.”
So the result? If it wasn’t Naruto I would probably say it was an interesting movie, not memorable but not bad. The thing is that it is Naruto after all. It was supposed to be the last movie that closes one era in Naruto universe. It brought us a filler with a childish plot and distorted characters form the original anime instead.
I expected more, much more dattebayo!
At the beginning, we see Hinata being bullied… Again lol. Except this is actually filmed in a different location. Naruto appears and once again saves hinata in a comedic fashion. In this movie, the viewpoints of Naruto and Hinata are shown various times as well, which normally makes the viewer think whether these people will ever fall in love. It literally takes at least an hour for the dense Naruto to notice Hinata’s feelings and start reciprocating.
Shikamaru is smart as always, Sai always makes me laugh as I watch the movie, Sakura has finally gained my respect for what she did for Naruto (I will not spoil anything) and I think Hinata has changed my view on her. These characters are shown rather well. The other shinobi of Konoha 11 also get some screen time. If anything they get more than enough screen time, unlike Tenten who just made a small appearance.
I see Toneri as a plot device to bring both Naruto and Hinata together. Sadly enough, I already knew he would not succeed in getting Hinata. Toneri’s goal was to change the world because of the wars that continuously happened. I find this villain sad, mainly because of what he has gone through and the suffering that he put on himself (Still trying not to spoil anything). The end of the movie (after the credits) is full of feels, so I warn everyone that is going to watch the movie to wait until the credits finish. The music almost brought me on the verge of tears, seeing a knuckle headed ninja finally become “his dream” and much more shows so much. After all these years of following Naruto, I am glad I stuck this far. I enjoyed the voice acting, the voice actors portrayed their characters amazingly well. I found Toneri a bit odd. Probably because I wished he had more screen time, but I did feel for what he received before the end of the movie.
Overall, I enjoyed the living hell out of this movie. It is a great send off to the legendary Naruto series and the character himself. Following Naruto from his knuckle headed times to his adult life was worth it and this movie just brought that feeling out further.
The beginning of the movies shows why Hinata is initially attracted to Naruto so it adds more to things from her point of view. I think the series does a good job of showing the movie through the eyes of both Naruto and Hinata. The movie movies at a moderate pace but unfortunately, a lot of the more awesome characters from the series (why I won’t reveal due to spoilers) are reduced to a millisecond fanservice cameos just to remind us they exist. Sakura who has been infamous for being useless does have some decent use in this movie and does bring some convenient contribution. Shikamaru shows he is a capable leader and Sai is mostly used as bad comic relief.
Toneri is just a very boring, unoriginal and lame villain for every reason you can practically think of (once again without giving away any spoilers). Despite his plot, he comes across as non-threatning and has the charisma of drying white paint on interior walls. I found the love story between Hinata and Naruto a lot more interesting.
I say the make or break for viewers is how their favorite character are used in what is supposed to be “the last movie.” If your favorite character despite being alive and active is not used to their fullest potential, it may piss you off. If you don’t mind that, then hey, cool.
The character design does an effective job in making the cast looking like they are in their late teens and I cannot complain about it. They are taller, have more mature faces, etc. It gets the job done. The action relies too much on the 360 foreground/background turnaround way too much for me. The final fight does play homage to a lot of the older fights as well. I also enjoy Hinata’s close range combat fighting as well and is a fun representation of southern style Kung Fu.
The background music as usual is an excellent use of traditional Japanese acoustics and percussions carried by the rhythm of modern guitar licks which everyone can get behind. The ending theme is just too generic and trendy in comparison to current Japanese music trends for my tastes.
The voice acting is superb and I think Sakura’s voice sounds appropriately more mature out of all the characters. Naruto still sounds the same though I think his voice could have been a bit deeper for his age but glad to see they kept their cast (unlike the new Initial D anime). However, Fukuyama Jun, most famous as the voice of Code Geass from Lelouch as the voice of Toneri doesn’t exhibit that same powerfulness in this performance in which you can blame on a writing and voice directing issue as opposed to a voice actor issue.
Overall, this anime is mostly a decent representation of what people love and hate about Naruto. A good fraction of the fans will find this moderately satisfying. Haters will hate it for why they hate Naruto.
English: Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade
Japanese: 人狼 JIN-ROH
MAL Score: 7.78
In an alternate history, following World War II, civil unrest and terrorism run rampant in a devastated Japan under foreign occupation. During a botched interception of underground munitions being transferred by a terrorist organization, Constable Kazuki Fuse, a soldier in an elite counter-terrorism unit, witnesses the true terror of human nature. He fails to prevent a teenage girl from carrying out a desperate suicide bombing that subsequently causes immense destruction to Tokyo. With mental scars and his competence under question, Kazuki is sent back to the military academy for re-evaluation. Unbeknownst to him, he will soon be caught up in a web of government conspiracies that have the power to determine the future of all of Japan.
Jin-Rou is a heart-wrenching tale of a man treading the fine line between human and beast, ultimately discovering to which side he truly belongs.
Things like what Fuze is brooding about constantly are shown as glances into the character, you really have to be following the story to understand anything about the characters. Motivations and subterfuge are the grips of the story after viewing.
The animation is dry, on a color scale you would say that there are no ‘warm’ colors. Much like done in The Matrix or Gladiator, the lack of color is definitely intentional but still loses marks for art rating (made up for in char/enj).
Then there’s the story, its very simple yet extremely complicated to piece together as-you-watch-it. I had particular trouble with understanding the back story, its not necessary and only briefly covered by prose. As the watcher this creates alot of interest to me, I am not given the required information to understand the entire situation going on in the government but still take blind leaps of faith into the characters, trusting them as genuine. I do not know if the good guy won in the end or if the country is worse off. But this isn’t to say I felt a lack of resolution, I am very content in the story.
The character development is extremely interesting in this story, the use of imagery to portray characters as heroic, frightened, or animalistic in nature is wonderful. To play into the red riding hood theme you can clearly see at times the animation giving birth to wolf like qualities, or with the girl showing true meakness, frailty and confusion. The short dream sequence is quite graphic and horrible to fathom in reality, but shows the truth behind the story setting and how things felt to Fuze.
And as the moon cascades into its slumber and the sun perches itself on the thinly veiled horizon, a new figure emerges. Under the pitch-black headgear and ghoulish red frames, the wolf reverts back to its original form. The predator is gone, leaving a man in its place. This is the tale of Jin-Roh. The tale of a lone wolf.
Like an urban mythos being brought to life, Jin-Roh wisps the viewer up and sends them jettisoning into the unknown. A place where alternative Japan find itself in a state of civil unrest. Tension builds, tempers flare and riots break out in the damp decrepit streets. In an endless pursuit of unattainable justice, the people has had enough and violence is the only ultimatum that would voice their grievances. But standing between them, the bureaucrats that dip their probing fingers into their pockets and the satisfaction of unadulterated vengeance, are the Kerberos Panzer Cops: an elite counter-terrorism group tasked with oppressing and carrying out capital punishment against any individual or organized body that threatens the stability of Japan’s government.
With swift precision and unwavering conviction, they descend upon the detractors. Giving no time for pause and leaving no room for sympathy, once their fangs sink in, there’s no letting go. No pleading for mercy. No hints of empathy. Just the transparent hand of the pack delivering the gavel with a devastating blow.
But despite the atrocities committed by this unit in the name of justice, when their impenetrable armor is removed, what’s shown are people that turn out to be surprisingly human, sober in their awareness of their cutthroat methods and expected duties. And it’s this unmasking that introduces us to Kazuki Fuse; a man who isn’t completely unified under the pack’s objective, and the one we follow after an incident brands him with a hellish memory that he cannot erase — witnessing a girl taking her life by self-detonation right in front of his eyes. He could wash away her blood stains but he can’t rinse away the permanent scar left on his psyche. And so the wolf is ousted from the pack, shedding his animalistic tendencies in search for answers far greater than himself and for a truth far crueler than the actions his pack partakes in.
More often than not, the best stories of fiction tend to be the ones that tell universal truths. These are the stories embellished with themes and life lessons that beckon back to real world scenarios. They adhere to primal instinct and timeless constants, making them tales with longevity beyond the topical comings and goings of contemporary media. Fairy tales are by far the most elementary example of these kind of stories. Originally starting out as a form of storytelling intended for listeners of all ages (as its original German term of “Märchen” meant “little story”), it’s only in recent centuries that they’ve been narrowed down to being featured primarily in children’s literature. And while not very common anymore, we still get rare cases of fairy tales being aimed towards a much older, intellectual crowd. Jin-Roh is one of these rare occurrences. It took the basic structure of the folktale, Little Red Riding Hood, and retrofitted it into a gripping tale of betrayal, yearning desire and fulfilling one’s purpose.
But the movie is about much more than that. It’s about coming to terms with the choices you have to make. Forgiving yourself, even when doing so only serves as self-pity for the defendant. It’s a story about humanity’s sins and how we go about dealing with it. But perhaps more important, Kazuki Fuse’s sins and his willingness to carry that cross, even if it means discarding what little humanity he has left in the process. And in an almost ironic twist of faith, Fuse find himself coming face to face with a woman bearing a striking resemblance to that of the suicide bomber that set him on his journey to begin with. And so begins the warped tale of their uncanny relationship and the dreaded path they’re destined to follow.
Originally intended to be a live-action film from Mamoru Oshii’s Kerberos Saga manga, it was later decided that it would undergo the animation route instead, with Oshii hiring, who was at the time, an up-and-coming key animator and future frequent collaborator, Hiroyuki Okiura, in what would become his directorial debut, to help see Oshii’s vision through. This decision to switch from live-action to animation was perhaps the best move that he could have taken for the project, as it allowed the movie to flourish in ways that only the boundless freedom of anime could allow. But since the screenplay was intended for the live-action treatment, we’re given techniques and refined storytelling that’s often reserved for that medium in particular. Jin-Roh, as a result, was an animated film that took the best of both worlds.
This was immediately noticeable with the hyper-realistic anatomical structure of all the characters introduced, the dark hues and lush layered color of the matte paintings that loomed in the background, the meticulous attention to detail to even the most minuscule of objects that found itself littered throughout each scene, and in the movement of the shifting environment that our characters find themselves traversing across. All of these attributes placed Jin-Roh in a realm rarely achieved by other animated features. It’s a lived-in universe independent of the viewer’s gaze and awareness of it. An almost tangible form that’s just out of reach.
Scattered with motifs that beckon back to the classical Red Riding Hood folktale and other parables that were gracefully interwoven between these time-stamps of unkempt tranquility, Jin-Roh rides the thin line of heady content, while still being an enthralling thriller planted firmly in the realm of theater. It walks this tightrope effortlessly, stringing us along with it. And with the violins slowly creeping into the mix and the unnerving thump of drums that echoes the heartbeat of the city, the time spent here becomes symbiotic with our living quarters. Immersion that blurs the line of augmented reality and the screen that keeps us staring through the looking glass.
But the truly memorable moments blossoms when everything else takes pause, leaving the audiovisual cues and actions on screen to do the legwork. It’s the mechanical thud of the Brigades’ footsteps ringing out in the distance. The heavy breathing and frantic staggering of the prey, feet sloshing through the echo chamber of the sewage canal. Wind interspersing between follicles of hair, faint glimmer of cold sweat hanging off the chin. Beady eyes jutting frantically at its final glimpses of color, right before the thunderous clap of gunshots ring out, metal slugs tearing into the soft tissue of an unwilling participant. These are the moments that Jin-Roh becomes more than just a movie; it becomes an experience. Moments that keeps us under its spell, only to find ourselves snapping out of it when the credits begin to roll and our reflection enters the frame.
In-between all of this, we’re given several stories meshing together into one cohesive piece. One of which is a game of cat and mouse carried out by several law-enforcing agencies within the government. Fuse finds himself caught up in the power struggle due to his connection with the Wolf Brigade — a secret subsidiary of the Kerberos Panzer Cops. Each of these agencies partakes in this charade of comradeship with fingers crossed and daggers pointed at each others’ backs. But the Public Security division gets more than what they bargained for when their prey bites back. Political subterfuge is met with bloodshed and Fuse find himself at a crossroad that will forever alter his course.
A decision rests in his hands. Forbidden love or the special armed garrison that makes up his pack? Would he challenge the narrative, that red thread of ill-fate that binds the wolf and red-hooded woman? Or will he succumb to the natural flow of the world and snuff out the warmth he’s found? And here we’re forced to stand, in the ironclad boots along with Fuse, as the weight of his decision presses down on his shoulders. Hard-body wrapped around the soft, warm embrace of fragility incarnate. Time is up. An answer must be given. And we’re all held hostage to hear the final verdict.
Jin-Roh never lets up, it keeps the viewer entrenched in the underpinnings of its universe. No stone is left unturned. No emotion is left unaccountable. It presses forward, taking us down every avenue along the way. By the time we’re met with our final destination, every nook and cranny make itself known unto us. The world of Jin-Roh shows its hand without so much as flinching in its decision. We’re left mentally exhausted but amply rewarded. And while there’s no comfort assured to us at the end of the journey, there’s a feeling of finality that gives us a chance to exhale burden-free.
But that blessing isn’t extended to our man-at-arms.
Despite his best efforts, Kazuki Fuse will always be an outcast. He could walk upright, intermingle with the faceless masses, carry on trivial conversation and be just another sheep guided by the invisible hand of bureaucratic meddling. But when all the masquerading is over and the sun retires for the moon’s return, Fuse finds himself facing the truth once more. The sheep’s clothing is tucked away, blood-lust coats his throat, and his true nature, the wolf, is revealed once more.
Jin-Roh stands as one of the most visceral and haunting viewing experiences I’ve had in all the years I’ve spent consuming titles in the anime medium. There are moments here that still leave me with goosebumps from just reminiscing about it. Oshii’s prowess for strong, uncompromising storytelling and Okiura’s dedication to seeing it brought to life, made this a pairing on par with the unified work of other established duos in the medium like Yoko Kanno and Shinichirō Watanabe. It was a cerebral experience that knew when to land the emotional punches and when to rein it back to let the impact settle in.
And as far as an anime goes, Jin-Roh’s shadow dwarfs the efforts of most animated films I’ve seen up to this point. There are even moments that I believe outshines Oshii’s magnum opus, Ghost in the Shell. It’s truly impeccable craftsmanship. A title that won me over with its opening sequence alone.
“We are not men disguised as mere dogs. We are wolves disguised as men.”
Haunting, relentless and often contemplative, Jin-Roh brands its viewers with an unflinching look into the hidden folds of humanity’s perpetual sin. It’s a powerful romanticizing of a classic tale but done so with a modern twist. With powerful imagery that becomes ingrained into your subconscious, and a potent message that opens up the channels for meaningful discussion, Jin-Roh will go down as an unsung classic that will be appreciated by those fortunate enough to experience what it has to offer.
An incredible wealth of potential wasted on hand-holding the audience into a waste of time. There’s a constant motif of this narrative being symbiotic to Little Red Riding Hood, and while this is a cool thing at first, it’s played to death over and over as the narrative continues. Virtually nothing new comes forth from this motif, and because it’s crowding the run-time with over expository allusions, there’s no room for characterization, world development, or memorable sequences. What crawls out from this hot mess is something that’s more brawns than brains.
There’s no real goal any of the characters are trying to achieve. It’s not that I needed any aspirations clearly stated for me, but since this narrative forsakes visual allusion for blatant dialogue expository hand-holding, it was strange for the writer to conveniently forget to explain what it is the cast of characters each individually want. I’m not asking for a wealth of subplots, but by doing so, the writer could have created a world I could connect with.
For instance, the first 10 or so minutes of this film are fantastic. There’s clear evidence as to what everyone is doing and why. Then, upon Fuze killing the girl, the film starts to go downhill. It becomes impossible to really understand what anyone wants, why, and how they’re going to go about doing it. From then on out, it’s a matter of guess-timating and accepting what takes place merely because the film says so, not because the characters or anything around them would naturally do so.
And, upon the film’s final moments, nothing really comes to fruition. There’s no message, theme, or value to be retrieved from the narrative. Because it fails to properly create anything other than visual pleasure, the project fails to do anything than that.
The animation here is incredibly solid. Many times it felt like watching a live-action. Not because the images were so realistic, but the motions themselves looked great. Characters do more than sit still. They look around, brush their hair to the side, turn their head to the side, tap their foot. It all feels very real and based on an immersive intention.
The backgrounds feel lively, but as the film progresses, things are re-used and less interesting. It’s as though the film halfway decides to put anything new aside and return to the old stuff we’d seen before. It’s not a super big deal, but considering how gorgeously dystopian everything looked I will admit that I was disappointed to not see anything new halfway in.
Characters look marginally different and realistic. Some anime like to hyperbolize features, but this film is definitely grounded in realism with its designs.
An excellent, wonderful soundtrack. I only had issues with one song, and that’s because it didn’t sound as good as the others, but was still pretty great.
Sound effects were all very good and felt fitting. Unfortunately, they used a stock bullet effect that sounds unbelievably unrealistic. It’s used in so much stuff and I still have no idea why. It sounds terrible.
Audio levels for the dialogue are all pretty great. Things sounded solid and I thought the VA work was quite exellent.
I don’t care about anyone. Nobody has any character at all, and nobody has anything to care about anyway. The only reason this isn’t a 1/10 is because the use of motifs for the 2 lead characters is still cool despite it being executed horribly.
I couldn’t wait for it to end during the last 10 minutes. The whole project was downhill after the end of the complicating incident’s scene. If I ever watch this again, it’s just that beginning part. After that, I’ll turn it off.
I will, however, definitely be listening to that soundtrack again. It’s excellent, and I’ll be damned if anyone ever thinks it’s no good. It sounded absolutely beautiful, somber, and sobering. If anything, the music has the potential to recover such a boring work. However, this was still plagued with far too many errors in regards to its execution. Such a shame.
((If you liked this review, friend me for new reviews on other works, both manga and anime!))
39: Toshokan Sensou: Kakumei no Tsubasa
Japanese: 図書館戦争 革命のつばさ
MAL Score: 7.78
Kasahara Iku and Dojo Atsushi receive an emergency recall in the middle of their date as Japan is rocked by a terror attack. Their new duty is a protection detail assigned to Touma Kurato, an author. Meanwhile, the relationship between Librarians and the Media Purity Committee is also worsening.
While this movie does explain the major plot points of the anime series and features a standalone story that can be enjoyed by anyone, it is still a direct sequel. You’ll get the most out of this movie if you’re familiar with the characters and their relationships with each other.
So how does this compare with the original anime series? The feel is more or less the same, though it’s great to see the story play out with Production I.G.’s top-notch animation. Some scenes, particularly the chase scene and the climax, stand out quite well because of the dynamic sense of movement and detail in the backgrounds, and the romantic moments are portrayed with great use of lighting and atmosphere.
The plot, too, is what you would expect from the Library Wars setting. Our heroes Iku and Dojo are charged with protecting an elderly writer from the heinous clutches of the Media Betterment Committee. The story is well-paced from start to finish and moves along briskly, not even dragging in the middle part where the action is slow.
It’s interesting how at one point in the movie Iku admits to being more interested in characters and forgetting the overall plot whenever she reads books – this is precisely how I feel about Library Wars as a whole. The setting is still ridiculous and the villains are never really given an identity or a proper motivation, but the characters are so down-to-earth and charming that it is hard to focus on the flaws. Library Wars treats its unbelievable setting with seriousness and dignity, but it is hard to believe the characters are ever in any real danger even as the bullets fly. Even so, it’s so easy to root for the characters and to cheer for Iku when she displays her boundless courage. To be able to pull this off without much serious dramatic tension takes some great writing.
The movie will probably best appeal to romance fans who enjoy a bit of action here and there. Picking up directly where the series left off, Iku and Dojo’s newly discovered intimacy lies at the very heart of the story. It inspires Iku in particular to be braver, and the influence is always felt while never feeling overstated. It is not a particularly deep love story but it works in this movie in particular because of how grounded the interactions are in the characters and their idiosyncrasies.
Library Wars is an underappreciated gem of a series and it is a shame the movie has not seemed to have gotten the exposure it deserves. While the setting might not get the closure it deserves by the end, the characters certainly do. It’s definitely worth your time to check out, both for newcomers and veterans to the franchise. It’s easy to watch and the characters are fun. There’s really not that much more we can ask for in a story.
This movie was incredibly fun to watch and there was a lot of emotional moments especially (Without giving too much away) near the end of the film. It’s one of those movies that give your soul a bit of “boost” (Sorry if that sounds corny) and makes you feel happy after watching it.
While certain things are easy to predict in this series, it’s done in a way that still leaves you curious about things and this causes one to continue on with the series despite situational irony. While the main focus is events that occur in the library and protecting books, the drama and dark aspects of these concepts are lightened by giving you breaks in the story so that you can see the relationships the characters have with each other outside of work and how the things actually affect them- as emotion cannot rule when they are right in the middle.
I found while looking through the books, that the ideas presented in this story are actually highly relevant to today’s society- governments and certain citizens are fighting to censor certain things from the general public because they feel that these things are dangerous to society. There are people who fight back against this censorship with the argument that we choose our own actions. Censorship becomes a bigger issue each year and this story proves that when taken too far, the consequences can become dire, requiring drastic measures to try to fix the damage that has been done.
The relevance to today is amazing, especially when coupled with how the anime was created. The art is great- it doesn’t make the characters look too cartoonish and it also doesn’t make them look too adult or real. The art helps lighten up the story with how amazing the expressions have been drawn- you can almost see EXACTLY what the characters are thinking. The anime also stayed true to the story presented by Hiro Arikawa- sensei; it was not embellished or drastically changed from what it is. If you are a person who prefers accuracy to the manga or original form, Library Wars is a GREAT example of that.
Despite knowing what was going to happen, when I watched this I was riveted and intrigued. The way the characters interact is engaging and amusing and if you haven’t read the story, you will be surprised because somethings you just CAN’T expect!
No matter what genre you enjoy, if you’re looking for a great story with engaging, amusing characters, and plot twists that will make you go back to watch again, I DEFINITELY recommend this one!
38: Mind Game
Japanese: マインド ゲーム
MAL Score: 7.79
After seeing her jump onto a subway at the last second and getting her ankle crushed between the doors, Nishi reconnects with his high school sweetheart, Myon. Nishi is still very much in love with Myon, but is shocked to learn that she is engaged to another man. Nishi agrees to meet Myon’s fiancé at her family’s Yakitori restaurant, but members of the Yakuza storm the joint and murder Nishi when he tries to stop them from raping Myon.
Nishi, now dead, wakes up and meets a constantly shapeshifting god, who mocks him for dying. The god tells Nishi to walk into a portal and disappear from existence, which Nishi rejects, choosing instead to sprint past the god and reanimate. With a new outlook on life and knowledge of how the Yakuza are going to attack him, Nishi kills one of the Yakuza with his own gun, fleeing in a stolen car with Myon and her sister.
Acclaimed director Masaaki Yuasa’s debut film, Mind Game’s constantly shifting visuals tell a story about living one’s life without regrets that is unlike any other.
Produced by one of the most innovative animation studios around, Mind Game takes an abstract approach to a theme that a lot of mainstream anime has been promoting to viewers for decades: Don’t give up, live life.
You see it everywhere, from Naruto to Mobile Suit Gundam to Ghibli. Anime is always reminding you of how short life is; encouraging you to stop watching it and go outside. Stop being self-conscious, act freely, chase your dreams, jump into the melting pot of humanity!
Mind Game’s humorous approach is through a breezy kind of animation style that isn’t afraid to become inconsistent at random moments. The most striking moments are when characters’ faces are replaced by actual real life actors, which gives a surreal charm to the whole thing. A reason why I keep thinking of obscure quirky live action Japanese films, like Survive Style Five+, instead of other anime, because that’s where Mind Game’s sensibilities lie.
It is both aware and ignorant of the fact that it’s animated, taking full advantage of the medium to show us wonderfully insane visuals, and ignoring it to use a narrative template that is underused in anime-land which is obsessed with plot driving the characters rather than the other way around, and whenever it is the other way around its labelled as ‘slice of life’.
Not so much slice of life in Mind Game as it is a gigantic bite. We follow Nishi as he hooks up with a childhood sweetheart, we laugh at a violently ugly encounter in a restaurant, we grin stupidly at a loony action scene and spend the long remainder of the film captivated by a couple humans stripped bare, their hearts naked for all to see, and with that freedom enforced on them they’re truly able to live life like they never were before.
The enforced freedom ultimately has to be taken away, which results in the film’s powerful climax which is basically a race for life. A metaphorical dash across the debris of 21st century living; a furious rush that takes everything in the characters to achieve a future full of life and possibilities.
Mind Game itself shows the future and possibilities of anime. Another accomplishment for Studio 4C.
Despite the title, this isn’t a movie that will mess with your head or challenge you to think. It has a very simple message, one that was clearly stated: Live Life. The characters go on a journey that, while being fantastic, ended up feeling like a hollow victory come the climax. You can either blame that on the "reset button" ending or on the fact they chose to send us on acid trips over fleshing out the story.
The characters themselves were very much the same as the story. Decent, with some depth, but you could feel as though there was a wealth more to be explored that simply wasn’t for one reason or another. Again, more time was given to the exploration of the art.
But what about the art? This movie is probably best known for its atypical style and beautifully executed animation. The problem though is its not a matter of execution, its a matter of content. Yes, the animation was expertly done, but the animation itself was a Wal-Mart bargain bin of good, bad, and indistinguishable. In this department, it really relies on the person watching and their preferences. Personally, I found it to be distracting and in some cases, absurd.
Basically it should come to this. If you’ve seen the movie or if you’re thinking of watching it, ask yourself this one question…"Did I enjoy it?" . No, don’t ask yourself if you ‘understood everything’ or if you ‘appreciated the art’…ask yourself if you truly and honestly ‘enjoyed’ it.
Personally, its not a movie I’ll watch again nor a movie I’ll forget. It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t that one amazing movie that its hyped to be either. It falls in the middle of the road.
It was fair. Decent. Average. 6 out of 10.
Story: It’s a story that you cannot take seriously. There are essentially 3 different scenes in it. All three of them are beautifully executed. The pacing in this movie is also very nice, the few slow scenes are beautifully shown, there’s never a single moment of tediousness.
Art: " I think that Japanese animation fans today don’t necessarily demand something that’s so polished. You can throw different styles at them and they can still usually enjoy it." -Masaaki Yuasa (director) The art in this is so spaced out, to call it anime would be to really push the border of what anime is and can be. This free, wild form is both beautiful and also sometimes detrimental. There are some scenes that are not beautifully executed, they seem dull and boring, almost lifeless. Whereas others are beautiful, and some are quite hilarious. One of the best scenes involves God. However the best scene, is a love scene. It is worth it to watch the entire anime JUST for this one 3-4 minute scene. I cannot describe to you how beautiful this one scene was to me, you really need to see it for yourself.
Sound: The voice actors are magnificent, Niishi is especially great, he’s energetic and sounds absolutely crazy half the time. The sound effects are also amazing and the background music incredible as well.
Character: To fully get the characters, to fully understand all the relations and dreams of each character this anime needs to be watched at least twice. Almost every character has a detailed story and aspirations. Niishi’s dream of being a Manga artist leads to a cute little story. The characters at all time seem human, they seem pliable and three-dimensional. This aspect is so beautifully shown, it’s one of the many highlights of this series.
I was never let-down during this entire movie. However I would not recommend it to everyone. If you don’t have an open mind about what you believe anime is, then don’t watch this. This anime is incredibly unique. To use the word "weird" would be an insult to this. I have never seen anything like this, it’s an anime that really does a magnificent job at being a beautiful piece of art.
37: InuYasha Movie 3: Tenka Hadou no Ken
English: InuYasha the Movie 3: Swords of an Honorable Ruler
Japanese: 映画 犬夜叉 天下覇道の剣
MAL Score: 7.80
Izayoi and Inu no Taishou, Inuyasha’s parents, are having problems with a human named Setsuna no Takemaru. Sou’unga a magical sword that has been sealed away for 700 years is found. Now everyone is after the sword and its powers but it seems the sword has something else in mind.
First of all, the artwork looks really pretty, and the plot of the story is very enjoyable. This movie basically gives you a little flashback into Inuyasha’s past, and who his parents were. Like any Inuyasha movie, there’s plenty of action to see.
In my opinion, the movie could have went a little bit deeper into the past, but overall it’s great!
36: Macross F Movie 1: Itsuwari no Utahime
English: Macross Frontier: The False Songstress
Japanese: 劇場版 マクロスＦ 虚空歌姫 ～イツワリノウタヒメ～
MAL Score: 7.81
Half retelling of the original Frontier series, half new story. Conspiracies arise within the Frontier government when Sheryl Nome arrives to the colonial fleet for her concert and is soon marked as a spy for Galaxy while childhood friends, Alto Saotome and Ranka Lee both try to achieve their dreams as the battle between Frontier and the Vajra draws closer.
This movie serves as part one of the Frontier retelling and will conclude with the second, The Wings of Goodbye.
Macross Frontier: The False Songstress is an excellent example of bringing a two season long TV series to the movie theater. Unlike many recent TV-to-theater adaptation in which a large portion of the movie is nothing but recycled scenes from the TV original, the staffs behind this Macross movie has dedicated their time in rewriting the story, revising the character relations, composing new songs and OST, and most of all, using completely new animation and scenes on ~90% of the movie. In other words, there are no more than a couple of minutes of reused materials from the TV series in this 120 minutes movie! So don’t be fooled if you are told this movie is nothing but a retell/summary of the original because that is far from the truth.
While the movie is paced so that a first time viewer with no prior background from the TV series can still follow the story at ease, but at the same time it will not bore those who have already watched the 25 episodes original because the story is so immensely different on so many different levels. However, with that said, I personally still recommend watching the TV series first before proceeding with this movie so that one would have more time to get accustom to the terminologies in that universe (ie. Deculture!). To fully appreciate the skillful remake of the story, one would need to have a solid understanding of the original creation.
The Macross series has been well known to many as a futuristic action-packed, mecha, sci-fi space opera with a healthy dose of romance and lots of aliens in the mix. But what really make this series differ from other mecha shows are the superb songs, soundtracks, and OST. In other words, the music. Music is an integral part of each and every Macross title dating back to the first series aired in 1982. Following this old tradition, Macross Frontier and its first movie have set numerous sales records in the anime music industry. In fact, it is not an exaggeration when it claims that its success is nearly unmatched in the history of anime music industry. Many of its albums reached Oricon’s weekly chart top three positions and maintained those positions for weeks! Of course it is always possible to argue that the successes of the albums are thanks to the skillful J-pop singer, May’n and to a lesser degree, Megumi Nakajima, the winner of the “Best Musical Performance” award.
Character growth/development tends to be lacking in recent TV-to-theater adaptations and before watching it, I sincerely hoped Macross Frontier: The False Songstress will allow me to write something positive for a change in this category. Fortunately for me (and for all the viewers), the main casts are quite realistic albeit the girls seem a bit more moody than their TV counterpart. While not on the level as its music production, the main characters do show enough depth and personality to make me view them as something more than a 2D character with voice (2.5D?).
Much like the music compartment, the animation of Macross Frontier and its movie has been highly regarded as top notch in their respective category. The fluidity in mecha motions during intense battle scenes must have struck many unprepared viewers like an intense thunder. It is rare to see Cel-shaded animation used so well that they seem natural to be part of the environment. What makes the animation more praise-worthy is the fact that the studio did not neglect the other aspects of the show (ie. not just the battle looks great). Simply put, the animation is without doubt THE selling point of the show. Even if you are not interested in mecha or galactic warfare or singing diva, the animation alone is enough to persuade you that this movie is great in its own way.
This two hours long movie is certainly a thrilling ride and well worth my time. There were moments that threw me off my seat, moments that I cheered for certain heroic deeds, and a particular moment that I thought was slightly awkward. But all in all, the “pros” of this movie heavily outweigh the “cons”, or perhaps I was being a bit unreasonable with my expectations. For the action-minded, both the introduction and climatic ending will not be a disappointment. For the music-minded, there are enough new and old songs in the mix to tease you into buying the albums. For all other viewers whether you are new to the Macross franchise or a diehard fan, the combination of beautiful divas, awesome looking mecha, and a love triangle fighting to save the galaxy should be a pretty good recipe to stir up your appetite.
First off, you don’t even have to speak Japanese to tell this movie is rushed, although it’s not as much of a wreck as Unlimited Blade Works, it’s pacing is still kind of hectic, if you are going to watch this movie, whether you understand japanese or not, please watch the series first or you will be somewhat confused.
It is a remake of the series, so you will see some differences from the series, which to me are welcomed. I can’t really say much or I risk spoiling the movie.
As with most Gekijouban, Utsuwari no Utahime’s strong point is NOT the story, although the story isn’t bad, what really takes it away is the presentation. This movie is a classic example of what you can do to a masterpiece of the series when given a lot more money to do a remake. The animations and fight scenes were absolutely amazing, probably the best animations I have ever seen. They were so good, at times I just found myself just completely awed by how good it was. Everything just went so far above the series, including Sheryl’s concerts, the Frontier itself, the looks of the ships and vajra, the explosions, the macross cannon, ect.
The music was what stayed the most faithful to the series, although we get pretty much the same music maybe 1 or 2 new songs, it was not a letdown any less than the rest of the movie. Because one of the coolest things about Macross F was how they presented the animations during the music, such as concerts and ect. Well, they take it to a whole new level in this movie, what eyes can do to your music listening experience is just absolutely amazing, the director definitely knows this, and used it to their full advantage.
If I had to pick a weakness of this movie though was that there wasn’t nearly as much action as I thought there was going to be. Especially for a gekijouban of a mech series. Mech Gekijouban usually say “screw the story” and give us action every 5 seconds. There really is only action in the beginning and end of the movie, with the middle being dramatic build up and story. Which isn’t really bad, but they could have put a fight in the middle, that actually would have been pretty nice. Even if there wasn’t as much action as there could have been, the action we did get was supurb, and the story was different enough from the series to constantly keep you somewhat on edge. The story goes up to about episode 7 in the series, when the Galaxy gets attacked by the vajra, but the ending is different than what happened in the series, so look forward to that.
Character-wise, Sheryl definitely played a bigger role with the vajra than she did in the series, but Ranka hasn’t really done much in this movie. And Alto is the same Alto.
Overall, this movie was really damn good. If you are a fan of Macross F I strongly recommend you watch this whenever it’s subbed. There is definitely enough changes to keep you interested. I now can’t wait for the second movie, after watching this one, I wonder what kind of “different ending” they are going to give us, well, if anyone wants to give me a ticket to fly to Japan in February I’ll gladly accept it.
Story: This is not just the first half of the anime series squished into the time slot of a film. The first half does greatly draw from the beginning of the anime series, even down to frame-by-frame shots taken (but enhanced) from the anime. Things are also a bit out of order. For instance, Alto’s teasing and training is in the second film, even though it was in episode 3 of the anime, but film 2 is very much Alto’s story, so this makes a lot of sense. A number of small things have been removed to make the plot more fluid, and also focus on the pretty art. The second half of the film is almost entirely new story, and it’s pretty enjoyable. If you’ve seen the anime, you will probably cheer a lot during the second half of the film. It ends on a high note and a lot of good things happen.
I like a lot of the narrative decisions they made. My main quibbles are these:
1) Someone clearly thought that there was not enough fanservice and far too much manservice in the anime, and rectified this in the films. The concerts in the films are longer and more fanservicy (e.g., Sheryl is seduced by a male version of herself for one concert, wherein she wears a thong with a pom pom on the butt). It’s to the point where it’s cringe-worthy at times (although the animation is a lot better and worth seeing), but if you can get past it, it doesn’t truly ruin the story. Plus, they added a few things for the guys later on.
2) Women do not do a lot of the action in the films. In the anime, Ranka and Sheryl end up saving Alto a couple times, and Klan and Catherine are far more noticeably badass. This is almost entirely gone in the films. Almost immediately after we meet Catherine the first time, she basically faints from surprise. The films are a bit better because Ranka is a much stronger character overall in the films: she really knows what she wants and pursues it, spending a lot less time confused about what to do. The same is true for Sheryl. But it was a little worrying to see the women pushed back so much.
Art: They had a much bigger budget for the films, and it really shows. While they took a number of scenes from the show, they added a ton of new content. The concerts are quite gorgeous and the fighting scenes are pretty fun. Sheryl and Ranka get a lot of neat outfits to wear and the overall look of the film is much more refined and gorgeous.
Sound: Honestly, I enjoyed the music from the anime a lot better. It’s still great in the films, most likely because they reused a number of songs from the show, and I hear that a lot of people like the film versions more, but I just didn’t hear anything that really stood out to me. I paid more attention to the narrative changes and art. That being said, if you have not taken the time to check out the soundtrack for this franchise, please do so. It’s worth the time.
Character: A lot of character revamps occurred for the films. Ranka and Alto are friends before the narrative even starts, which removes some of the contrived meetings and better explains why they’re texting and seeing each other so much. Brera is also introduced almost from the beginning, which better explains his story. It’s stuff like that which was changed to just remove a lot of the clutter, give more reasons for cast members to be involved in the plot, and allow more focus for the central plot.
I liked a lot of the changes they made. Sheryl and Alto get to hang out more (this is very much a film series for SherylxAlto fans, since they do a lot of cutesy stuff). Brera’s character was also re-done very well, and his relationship with Alto is a let better: less of a testosterone-fueled conflict over Ranka, and more of one of camaraderie. One of the best changes by far for the films is the revamp of Grace’s character. Her story in the anime feels so contrived and silly. In the films, you actually like her, and her relationship with Sheryl is incredibly sweet. Yet she’s still a beautiful, intelligent, powerful badass.
Enjoyment: There are some things that are missing from the beginning of the anime that I am sad to see gone, and I did not like seeing the ridiculous amount of fanservice, but overall, I liked this film a lot and I like this narrative a lot more than the first half of the anime. On its own, it’s very enjoyable and beautiful. It’s definitely worth a watch (along with its sequel), especially if you’re a fan of the anime.
35: Kara no Kyoukai 2: Satsujin Kousatsu (Zen)
English: the Garden of sinners Chapter 2: Murder Speculation Part A
Japanese: 劇場版 空の境界 the Garden of sinners 第二章『殺人考察（前）』
MAL Score: 7.82
In the winter of 1995, Mikiya Kokutou passes a young woman during a late night stroll in the snow. Clad in a striking white kimono and bearing an enigmatic gaze, Shiki Ryougi smiles at Mikiya who stares back with curiosity. Later that spring, Mikiya notices Shiki at his high school entrance ceremony, and they become acquaintances through lunchtime conversations. As Shiki begins opening up to him, Mikiya learns about her unique upbringing.
Meanwhile, a series of unprecedented murders takes place across Mifune City. Seemingly related, these murders are particularly brutal and warrant a large scale police investigation. Because of his cousin’s work as a police investigator, Mikiya is given insight into the investigation. Concerned for Shiki’s safety, Mikiya decides to monitor her actions, but in doing so, he stumbles upon a truly frightening discovery that changes his life forever.
The problem with movies is that all too often they’re lacking in one or two fundamental areas, and unfortunately these are normally the plot or the characters. The first installment of this series suffered from the latter, and while it was still enjoyable even with that flaw, there was always the nagging feeling that something wasn’t quite right.
Thankfully this episode begins to address that issue.
The second installment in the Kara no Kyoukai ~The Garden of Sinners~ franchise, Satsujin Kosatsu (Murder Speculation), is actually part one of a two part story arc (viewers will have to wait for the seventh movie to see the conclusion of this episode), yet while this small irony is amusing, the are some flaws with this episode which one can only hope will be rectified with the final movie.
This time around the story takes place over two years prior to the events in the first movie, and thankfully the main theme is the developing relationship between Ryougi Shiki and Kokuto Mikiya during their time together as high school students. Kokuto finds himself strangely attracted to the seemingly aloof Shiki, and proceeds to befriend her until a bizarre series of murders takes place.
Now the nice thing about Satsujin Kousatsu Part 1 is that the plot takes a far more measured approach than Fukan Fuukei does, and while the pace picks up towards the end, there’s something here that was somewhat missing from the previous installment – a sense of purpose.
While the first episode was entertaining, there was a certain aimless quality about it due to the underdeveloped characters that permeated the quieter moments. This movie begins to shed some light on the actions of both Shiki and Kokuto during that time, especially on certain aspects of her behaviour and personality.
The story is generally much quieter in tone than before, which may not sit too well with those who liked the frenetic action of Fukan Fuukei. This is a necessity as the anime of Satsujin Kousatsu Part 1 is to offer the viewer some perspective on every other movie in the franchise, and the clarity it provides may force viewers to reassess their opinion of the first installment.
Once again Ufotable produce the goods with regards to artwork and animation. The character movements are excellent, and the incorporation of CG is almost seamless in respect of the backgrounds and backdrops. There are fewer action sequences this time around, but they are just as good here as they are in the first movie, especially when it comes to choreography and use of environment. As for the the character designs, they’re a little different in that both Kokuto and Shiki have a certain youthful quality about them, which is reflective of the fact that this story takes place two years before the first movie.
Sound is, again, extremely good overall, and the movie uses the various effects well, however there are some issues as there are occasions where the various noises clash to create a veritable cacophony. This doesn’t really detract from the movie though and, surprisingly, actually improves certain sequences.
The music throughout the movie is generally utilised to good effect, often enhancing the atmosphere in a particular scene. The voice actors are also very good, and are able to show some real talent with regards to their respective characters, however given that this is the second movie in a series of seven, this should come as no surprise. What is surprising though, is that the lead seiyuu are able to instill their respective characters with a degree of naivety and innocence, something which improves the overall effect of the movie no end.
Unfortunately that’s not enough to raise the characters from their stupor.
While there is very clearly some development occurring over the course of the movie, one of the issues that seems destined to repeat throughout the franchise is that the plot doesn’t give them enough time for this growth to set as part of their persona, and that leads once more to an imbalance in the storyline. The revelation about Shiki’s personality goes some way to explaining why she is the way she is, but Kokuto is the real problem. As a character he is simply bland, and at no point does the movie go into any detail about his goals, thoughts, ideals, etc. Everything in the movie actually revolves around Shiki, including Kokuto, and all of his actions stem from that one driving principle. Unfortunately this feels like a missed opportunity to add some real meat to both the leads, but it may be that all of these concerns will be addressed by the time the series ends.
The other problem was the lack of Aozaki Touko. It would have been a nice addition to have more information on her from that time period as she is one of the mysteries of Kara no Kyoukai, and in all honesty this could have been done simply and easily. Sadly, the fact that she has not been included in this movie means that it has a slightly disjointed feel compared to the first, but again this may be rectified with the second half of this story arc.
We shall see…
Even with those flaws this is still an enjoyable movie, and it’s nice to finally see how the two leads met and got to know each other. It would have been nice if the plot wasn’t focused so much on Shiki as this would have allowed for some introspection of the part of Kokuto. On the plus side, the slower pacing of this speisode actually adds to the tension this time around, but like the first movie the plot continues to retain a degree of predictability.
Fans of Fukan Fuukei will be pleased at this second offering as it is very much in keeping with the spirit of the series, however I would advise against making snap judgements about the whole franchise simply on the basis of this or the first movie.
As before, I look forward to the next episode.
The first installment threw audiences into a mystery unfortunately dulled by the lack of depth to the characters, but the second installment lays down the groundwork, exploring the origins of Shiki and Mikiya. The story is well executed and – unlike in the first film – has a real sense of purpose, progression and development. It’s a compelling origins story, where Shiki and Mikiya’s relationship is genuinely captivating to watch unravel (especially given the eerie undertones); much more befitting as an introduction to the septenary.
The film chiefly explores Shiki and Mikiya alone, with little room for anyone else in the run-time, but the film still feels a lot more ‘alive’ than the first installment. The supporting cast are more pronounced, with the locations well explored; there’s a better sense of the setting than before. Of the two main characters, Shiki is particularly well developed, we see her many sides and for the first time get a real understanding of who she is. Mikiya, on the other hand, comes across as rather dull and more a vessel to further explore Shiki than an important presence himself.
As in the first installment, the animation and art style remain consistently strong, though with more dialogue-heavy sequences this time around, it is perhaps not as dynamic. Nevertheless, the art is crisp and detailed – Shiki’s eyes are ever-beautiful, as are the locations – with the staff exquisitely animating a number of terrific dramatic scenes. The visuals are impressive, though the cinematography could have been more absorbing, with certain shots becoming a little banal.
There’s no stunning insert song this time around (though Mikiya hums Singin’ in the Rain which is a nice little nod to a classic), but the background music is ever prominent. There are a number of immersive tracks that blend well with the visuals – ultimately creating some very coherent, well put together and atmospheric sequences – with the more uptempo tracks complementing the action sequences well.
Kara no Kyoukai 2 isn’t a masterpiece, but it’s a huge improvement over the first installment. It’s a well constructed origins story with a lot of depth and promise, offering the series its groundwork. Here’s hoping the septenary continues to climb.
This is a sequel to the 1st KnK……kind of….Well, not exactly. You see, KnK is not being shown in chronological order and as such should not be watched in chronological order. I almost made a grave mistake of doing so.
The story of KnK 2 takes place 3 years before the events of KnK 1.
Mikiya, while walking home from school, meets a mysterious girl who he thinks is cute and starts falling in love with her. A month later, he met her again during the high school entrance ceremony. The mysterious girl that he met is named Shiki Ryougi. Meanwhile, the city is experiencing a series of bizarre murders but no suspect has been caught yet.
The events may have taken place before the events of the first KnK but the movie shows us how the 2 characters met and why there’s a connection between them. It’s starting to connect some of the dots but there’s still obviously a lot of unanswered questions that will be answered later on in the movies. So far, I’m liking the story. The gruesome murders, the mystery around it, etc.
Do I need to review the animation? I mean, it’s still the KnK series and nothing really changed from the first one which is already perfect and visually stunning.
The soundtrack was perfect in the first movie but somehow, the soundtrack here is…….inferior to the first one. Granted, there are some themes that are great but it didn’t quite stand out like the first one did. The voice actors are all the same so my opinions on the VA still stands.
The first movie didn’t really give us any great details about the 2 main characters and why I should really care for them. The 2nd movie showed us the main character’s past, how they met, what connections do they have, what they were like back in high school, etc. The movie is now developing the characters (not too developed yet) and they’re giving me a few reasons on why I should give a crap about them. I’m also starting to understand more about Shiki and her “dual personality” and why Mikiya cares for Shiki. In short, the movie just showed us a hour of character development for the 2 main characters.
I personally enjoyed the movie because of the character development and story development. There’s not a lot of action for this movie since all they did was build up and develop the characters
The second movie of the KnK series is not better than the first movie but it’s not worse either. It gave us more in-sight about the characters. The movie just created more plot holes for me but there’s 5 movies to go so I’m not going to complain that much.
For the love of god, if you’re watching KnK 2 first because you’re watching it in chronological order then don’t. The KnK series is meant to be shown out of chronological order and should be watched out of chronological order.
34: Sekaiichi Hatsukoi: Valentine-hen
MAL Score: 7.82
Animated short with an original story that was screened alongside “Sekaiichi Hatsukoi Movie: Yokozawa Takafumi no Baai.”
By the time you’ve got to this “movie” you’ve already seen both seasons and the first movie if you’ve done things right so you know what you’re in for. This short anime basically runs through all the couples and shows them on Valentine’s Day and how each of the them deals with the “dilemma” of giving chocolates to their romantic interest. What I liked most about this is that it was theme-focused rather than couple-focused. Most episodes of Sekaiichi Hatsukoi are specifically centred around one of the couples but this shows all of them.
The short scenes are cute and wholesome. The characters act pretty much exactly how you’d expect them to act but in a way that seems adorably fitting rather than predictable. I particularly like Ritsu’s story because I think that was pretty creative as well as Chiaki’s story because it made me laugh. I might just be sold on the whole Sekaiichi universe but I found it pretty charming. It’s not groundbreaking or amazing but it’s achieving exactly what it’s setting out to achieve and that’s be a short, fun, cute valentine-themed shounen-ai anime.
The other thing I liked about this is that it showed the couples all being pretty happy and content with each other. It had less angst and moodiness than the main show so it was a cute change.
Let’s be honest, as far as animation goes, you know what you’re getting into at this point with Sekaiichi Hatsukoi – it’s not great is it. In fact, I’d say calling it fine is generous. The chins are a bit pointy and there’s something off about the uke’s eyes. But whatever, no-one is watching this show for the animation style.
Overall, I found this to be charming but frivolous. Just a fun little bonus movie with some cute scenes. Perfectly watchable if you’re into the series.
33: Urusei Yatsura 2: Beautiful Dreamer
Japanese: うる星やつら2 ビューティフル ドリーマー
MAL Score: 7.83
Not all is normal in Tomobiki, even by its standards. The students have been preparing feverishly for the first day of the student fair, which is scheduled to go on the next day. However, problems arise when some begin to notice that the next day simply will not come. As the students begin to try to find the reason for the problem, their beliefs about reality and the world of dreams are challenged.
The story, of course, is fantastic. The art is very good for its time, that being the early 1980’s, and the music fits perfectly with what’s going on in the movie. But one of the things I enjoyed the most about this movie relates to the cast of characters. Normally with the Urusei Yatsura series, Ataru and Lum are focused on very heavily. And while they are a big part of this movie, they also take a backseat for a lot of it, allowing some of the supporting characters to take much bigger roles than usual and show some of their depth. Onsen-Mark, Sakura, and Mendo all get a rare chance to shine, and it’s really a pleasant change from seeing them in the background all the time.
Even if you’ve never seen any of the Urusei Yatsura series before, this movie is a great, great watch. I know because it was the first piece of the Urusei Yatsura anime that I had the pleasure of watching, and I enjoyed it so much that I sought out the rest of the series afterward. If you ever find yourself awake at 1 A.M., pop this movie in your DVD/VHS player. There are few better things to watch right before you go to sleep for the night.
Without any knowledge of the TV series this film will probably baffle newcomers with its strange cast of weird characters and its odd and unreal universe. However if you can get past that obstacle then there’s a really clever and well made film underneath that explores themes and ideas concerning the nature of dreams and what we percieve as reality, territory that Oshii would return to and expand upon in his later films, whilst reamining an enjoyable and light hearted comedy. A quick briefing on the Japanese folktale of Urashima Tarō and Zhuangzi’s butterfly dream may also aid understanding of the plot if needed!
Urusei Yatsura is a wild and crazy time with all of the characters interacting behind Ataru and Lum. It is a hilarious non-stop comedy fest with little regards for a story and primarily focusing on making the viewer laugh. However, Oshii went the opposite and minimized the slap-stick humor and created a plot, and story involving all the characters. It is still a comedy at heart, but with a story on top of it, really invoked the viewer of the franchise to something incredibly fresh and interesting. Plus, the art, animation, and sounds are all top-notch to still hold up today.
There are two downsides to Beautiful Dreamer. One, if going into the movie without a simple knowledge of the show and its characters, the casual fan will probably suffer a bit. Two, as the show focuses on Lum and Ataru and each episode continues from there, Beautiful Dreamer seems to focus on all the shows characters as a whole. Basically, not enough Lum and Ataru until near the end.
Not much of the actual plot can be explained without ruining the experience of watching and learning yourself. If one could guess, based on Oshii’s future works, it has something to do with reality and what it means to perceive it.
Beautiful Dreamer is a pleasure to watch and the supporting cast of characters get a chance for air time in the foreground instead of the background. A little more Lum and Ataru time would have been nice, but a fun watch none the less. Who knows, it might be good enough to motivate some to watch the original show.
32: Initial D Third Stage
Japanese: 頭文字〈イニシャル〉D THIRD STAGE
MAL Score: 7.88
Takumi Fujiwara is a skilled street racer, but he suffers a crushing loss against the team Emperor’s leader Kyoichi Sudou due to his AE86 experiencing an engine failure. Doubting his abilities, the recent high school graduate is then approached by the Akagi RedSuns’ team leader Ryousuke Takahashi, who proposes the formation of a professional street racing team. Although it would be the ideal way to improve as a street racer, Takumi remains undecided.
Does the young street racer have what it takes to become a professional? Perhaps Ryousuke and the RedSuns can help him reevaluate his own doubts and misconceptions concerning street racing. However, first and foremost, Takumi decides to settle the score with Kyoichi Sudou…
Well, the art, resolution, and the cg continue to progress. The art is cleaner and more detailed, and the cg’s rendering also improves. The races as usual are exciting, but have more of a gimmick or twist behind them this time, which makes them fresh and original in addition of allowing the races to take place in a new environment. And you can never get bored of breath taking drifts. However, some problems I have in this movie are that the races this time tends to end more anti-climatically more than usual.
Fortunately for some, the tech speak is virtually non-existent this time so it’ll be easy to follow and just simply enjoy the races. But I say the tech speak in the previous sagas are always a big help in getting a professional understanding of how the cars and techniques work. But that’s just me.
Well, I can’t really add too much about the voice acting since anything I said in the previous reviews can be applied here too. However, the addition of Kai played by Canna Nobutoshi is a great one. He is very intimidating and hot blooded as Kai like other roles he has played such as Guts from Berserk, Tasuki from Fushigi Yuugi, and Knuckles from Sonic. The music is still the number one trait has always captivated me to Initial D, and is a great representative of the fast and fun nature of this anime. The opening theme Gamble Rumble by MOVE goes very well to the sequence and is always in tradition that MOVE is part of the soundtrack, and I love the insertion of Crazy for Love as well. The ending theme Jirenma adds a new kind of feel to this series as well that you have to watch to understand what I mean.
Like I said, to get into this movie, and understand and enjoy it, you have to see the first 2 seasons to understand a lot of things such as Takumi’s developing acquainting with Ryosuke, why Takumi is avoiding Natsuki and what ended their relationship, and the score he has to settle with the Emperors. To me, this movie is an extension of season 2 and transitions very well into the 4th stage. This movie does an excellent job of standing on its own by further developing Takumi’s character, and balancing his issues and resolving them.
Third Stage involves a few larger plot points and many of the smaller plot points from First and Second Stage that remain unfinished. We’re not treated to anything earth shattering, but it is a necessary part of the overall initial D storyline. Unfortunately even in the manga, you couldn’t get away from some of the plot points that were opened and yet unclosed, so Third Stage serves as that closure. Some may find it a bit more tedious when compared to the other stages, but I find it enjoyable as it delivers a lot of satisfaction from closed plot lines.
Both CGI and drawn art takes a big leap in the movie compared to any previous installment in the series. CGI especially is incredible compared to the previous stages. Drawn art is treated to an overhaul of rich colors and generally looks much better than First and Second Stage. There is a point in the beginning of the movie where I actually remarked to myself just how rich the blue was of the gas station uniforms. Sunsets are well drawn and play an integral part in the settings of this movie and in the metaphorical sense.
Sound quality is good, both acting languages (English, Japanese) are well done and comprehensible. The Eurobeat is great and really helps propel the excitement of the races. OST music outside of the Eurobeat is much better and the car sounds are equivalent to that of Second Stage.
Compared to the previous stages, characters shine in Third Stage. Much of the plot revolves around their growth and change. Mogi is featured, Itsuki continues to mature and Takumi undergoes a comparatively massive shift in development.
It’s hard to say how I feel overall about Initial D Third Stage. It gives you a ton of closed plot points, a few exciting races and tons of character development and interaction. Yet at the same time, it feels melancholic. Nonetheless, it is an important part of the Initial D storyline and a must watch.
The story told is about Takumi’s effort to tie all the loose ends from the past two series. So, we’ve got races, development of his craving for becoming the best driver and an emotional part involving Mogi.
Most of the races are as good as always, but there is one which due to the nature of the rival becomes even more interesting. From this race we will also hear some more of Bunta’s story which is a very good thing.
Although Christmas and snow fit love emotional story like nothing else, while watching that part of the movie I had the strange feeling that it was simply taking too long, especially that similarly to what we’ve seen before when it comes to emotions Takumi is definitely on the slow side.
The animation is better than in the second season. The races seem more realistic, the car models are more detailed and even the character animation stepped up a notch. It’s a shame though that there is still such a wide gap between the quality of how the races and characters are animated.
When it comes to sound it is the same thing we have experienced before. So, once again will listen to good voice acting combined with eurobeat music. It seems that the Initial D style simply does not get old and sounds as good as always.
Most of the time we will be seeing characters, which Takumi has encoutered before. Two chracters are however worth pointing out.
First we have Takumi’s greatest enemy in the movie, who all though plays a short part in the story is one of the most memorable characters from the movie.
Secondly, we have the guy who gets involved with Mogi. Since the Mogi part of the plot is way too long for my taste, the least would be to let the viewers know why the hell is he acting like that.
Concluding, it was a pleasent feeling to see the animation improve, but still as a whole the movie is not as good as the second season of the series, but mark my words when I say… ‘You have to watch it!’.
31: Vampire Hunter D (2000)
English: Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust
MAL Score: 7.89
The story revolves around D, the infamous “dhampir” (born of a vampire father and a human mother) outcast and renowned vampire hunter. His prowess at hunting the creatures of the night allowing his acceptance among humans, he is called upon to locate Charlotte Elbourne, the lovely daughter of an affluent family who has been mysteriously kidnapped.
When the sun sets, the hunt goes on! Charlotte’s father offers a rich bounty, be she dead or alive, a task D willingly accepts, even with notorious Markus brothers and their gang of bounty hunters seeking the prize as well. Amidst the chase and unknown to all lurks, a sinister evil which has been secretly manipulating their every move and has set a chilling trap that none will expect and few will survive. With the tables turned and the secrets revealed, the hunters could quickly become the hunted!
The story seems simple on the face of it, but couched in the plot are beautiful layers of character development. A vampire hunter, D (a dunpeal or vampire/human half breed) is commissioned to recover a rich man’s daughter, Charlotte, who has been kidnapped by a vampire. She is wanted dead (if turned) or alive (if still human).
D meets up with a band of bounty hunters, all of whom have their own special powers, and personal demons. Against them are an array of gypsy monster/vampires. The animation and sound are so good that one feels compelled to watch and rewatch the fight scenes just because they are so well done. Each character is different and their story comes through, the only fault is the minor villains’ motivations could have been made more clear.
The pacing of this movie is excellent, and it is definitely theater quality in all respects. I’ve introduced my friends to anime by showing them this movie, a few have become fans. The only drawback is after viewing this masterpiece, some of them complain it is hard to get other anime of this caliber quality (plot, action, animation, character, sound).
Unlike the original Vampire Hunter D, the Bloodlust movie is gothic, gory, beautiful and touching. Highly recommended to be watched on a big screen, preferably with surround sound. You won’t be disappointed if you rent/download this. It’s so good you’ll want to own a copy to add to your anime collection, as the rewatch value is very high.
D is a half-vampire, half-Mexican–er, wait. Anyway, D is not human but he’s not exactly a vampire. His powers allow him to hunt most other evil vampires and he takes up a mission to save some stupid human girl who wants to get it on with the undead, and so runs away with her vampire lover. While D tries to get the hussy back, a rival gang who also hunts vampires compete with him. This movie was excellence. Watching all the action, the fabulous choreography of the fights were simply jizz-in-your pants worthy.
Art and sound were pure amazing. It looks beautiful, and D can make the straightest of men drool over his beauty, really. He was hotter than the chicks, believe it or not. Sound was cool, felt like I was listening to an epic horror flick. Which I was.
Characters weren’t so hot except for D who we’ve established is walking, delectable man-meat for the ladies and just the sort of guy folks like myself just wanna hang around and kill things with. Anyway, D’s just cool and aloof and can kick all types of behind. The rest of the characters were cool as well, I didn’t have a problem with them, since most knew when to die anyway.
All in all, Bloodlust is the best Vampire Hunter D movie ever. And it is better than you, too.
The dvd available in North America (at least in Canada) is only available in the english dub. For elitetists this is a huge problem, but the dub isn’t terrible, it’s pretty good as far as dubs go.
The theme for this, doomed love, is played so beautifully in this. There were a few scenes that almost moved me to tears. I loved the way the story progressed, they adapt it quite well from the book. The Markus Brothers and Leila also keep the pacing of the story quite well. There are a few scenes with them that really add alot to the story. There aren’t alot of loose-ends, and it ends semi-ambigously but they add a very comforting scene right at the end.
The art in D is good. It’s very distinctive, there are some beautiful subtleties to it. They put alot of time into some of the scenery which really show off the skills of some of these artists. Some of the character designs bug me, villagers all seem to have the same kind of frame and all moved very similarly. But they play a small part in the movie and the Markus brothers have some nice designs.
The gothic soundtrack in this is very nicely composed. It definitely suits everything that happens in this. It greatly heightens all the emotions you would feel anway. It conveys the hope and the hopelessness of it, as well as the darkness of the time.
The characters have changed slightly from the novel. These changes are for the most part quite nice. As far as progression of the story the characters pull them off quite nicely. I had a few problems with the changes that were made, but the changes they made push the anime in a completely different direction. D is how D always is, they don’t change him at all…and they don’t need to.
As far as vampire anime go this one is quite good. They show vampires in both ways, both as super-powerful as well as being weak zombies. So people who like both style of vampire won’t be dissapointed. If you’ve seen the first movie and were highly dissapointed then you definitely need to watch this. It’s a great movie, but if you can’t find the jap audio don’t sweat it too much, the dub is decent.
30: Kokoro ga Sakebitagatterunda.
English: The Anthem of the Heart
MAL Score: 7.89
Jun Naruse is a chatterbox whose life is colored by fairy tales and happy endings. However, influenced by her deep belief in those tales, she is too naive and trusting, and her words soon shatter her family’s bond when she inadvertently reveals her father’s affair. Naruse is scarred for life after being blamed for her parent’s divorce, and her regrets soon manifest into a fairy egg—a being who seals her mouth from speaking in order to protect everyone’s happy ending.
Now, even in high school, Naruse’s speech remains locked by the fairy egg. Even trying to speak causes her stomach to twist. Though unable to convey her thoughts through words, she is unexpectedly chosen to perform in a musical alongside three other students: Takumi Sakagami, Natsuki Nitou, and Daiki Tasaki. Naruse makes her way to the club room to reject the daunting task, but changes her mind when she overhears Sakagami’s beautiful singing.
Perhaps the fairy egg “curse” does not apply to singing, and perhaps Sakagami is the fairy tale prince she has been seeking all along. Will Naruse be able to convey the anthem of her heart?
Right now, there are 725 that have watched this movie. “Wow!”, You say, “That’s even less than Legend of The Galactic Heroes!” So here’s THE deal I’m offering you. You get to be part of the exclusive 725 people (Now 726 if you watch it) who get to see something AMAZING. Care to hear my sales pitch?
Right now, 161 people, a good 21% percent of viewers, have rated this anime 10 OUT OF 10. Now that’s not for no reason.
Lets kick this off with the story. Important background knowledge first: A young girl named Naruse stumbles upon a magnificent hilltop castle. Her curiosity makes her see something she should not have: Her father coming down from the castle with what seems to be a princess- but Naruse has never seen her father with this princess before. Excited, she goes tell her mother about the castle upon the hill and how her father was going down the hill with another princess. Having been told something Naruse shouldn’t have said, her Father is kicked out and the family is torn apart. Then, a magical egg prince appears and seals her ability to speak because she wishes not to hurt people with her words anymore. [Words aren’t very good to describe the aforementioned parts without spoiling it] HOWEVER this all changes when she is forced to sing in a musical, and much to her surprise, she finds herself able to express her feeling and thoughts through song.
The meat of the plot revolves around her, and a bunch of other individuals, having to organize and participate in a school musical after being unwillingly chosen to do it. Among them a baseball captain, Tasaki, and 2 other students, Sakagami and Nitou. They are all developed quite nicely in the time of 1 hour and 59 minutes. The dramatic conflict is quite well played out, tension rising between Sakagami and Tasaki at the start, Tasaki and his baseball team, along with romantic conflict forming between Naruse, Sakagami, and Nitou, this love triangle of uncertainty. Thus, I really enjoyed watching that. I could go into further detail about all of it but you’d rather save it for when you actually watch the movie. What I can say, is that there is a very strong sense of resolution to the story and the character development [How characters change] is absolutely spot on. Especially Naruse’s, as she is the main focus, on how she transforms from a quiet, unnoticed, kind of girl to someone willing to stand up for others and express herself, ever so slowly, through sometimes moments where she forces herself to shout her feelings and moments where she just begins to sing at the most random of times. [This show is a little like a musical, or at least music and song focused at times]
The art was not bad even though art doesn’t play much of a role in this sort of setting. But now we get to the music. The music shines when the characters are writing or singing songs. There is a rendition of “Somewhere over the Rainbow” in Japanese and the lyrics are altered to reflect what Naruse wishes to say, which is to express her thoughts and feelings [Even musical the characters organize is a retelling of Naruse’s story made more child friendly]. This song isn’t heard a lot throughout the movie, but I shed a tear when it was sung during the performance of their musical. Evoking emotions is what the creators intend to do, and they did it damn well.
Overall this movie intended to be dramatic yet heartwarming, provoking the viewer’s emotions to what it called for, and this show is all that. A beautiful piece of entertainment that will live on in the heart of the 726th viewer. What else do you expect from the writer of AnoHana?
[VIEWER WARNING: The drama is, to be honest, quite important when deciding if you want to watch this or not. It’s a great part of the show. If you can’t stand high school type drama, or you can’t just click with it [essentially all drama we can’t relate to we call “Melodrama”], perhaps you shouldn’t watch this despite it being well portrayed and executed in my opinion. It’s like people who don’t like burgers will never eat any, no matter how good they are.]
[EDIT: At the time of this review I did not know that this hasn’t been released in English subs for streaming/download. For those wondering, I watched it on Singapore Airline’s in flight entertainment system in English subs. Sorry for not knowing and I hope it is available soon!]
So the film starts with a little girl named Jun Naruse indulging in her Utena-like fantasies regarding a prince finding a princess when she sees her father leaving a castle-like love hotel with another woman. Not understanding what it means, she tells her mother about the incident and her father is soon given the boot, but not before reassuring her that his leaving was completely Jun’s fault. Fucking jackass. But since Jun is a kid, she sincerely believes it’s her fault to the point that she imagines a strange egg-shaped creature who tells her that her talkative personality needs to go if she wants to stop hurting people. Thus, Jun ends up getting the reputation of the girl who never talks by the time she enters high school and we get a promising setup about a girl having to face her inner demons in order to live a normal boring life.
After the timeskip, the film kickstarts by having the head teacher randomly choose four people to serve on the class council, and for good measure, he decides that they should be in charge of having the class put on a musical for the school festival because he’s just that much of a carefree jackass. Why? Because all good dramas have musical events in them and we needed a reason to get our outcast leads to participate in it no matter how contrived, let alone a reason to meet each other in the first place. So in addition to Jun and her personal problems, we get three other characters thrown in the equation, each with their own issues and romantic preferences between each other. I won’t spoil who’s hot for who, but the additional cast members are a nice boy who has no hobbies of his own, a gruff big dude who used to be the school’s top baseball player, and a cheerleader who puts on a confident facade to hide the fact that she had personal experiences with the nice boy in middle school. Think back to Anohana with these character types in mind, and you should be able to figure it out. Then become frustrated as the movie seems to change these preferences whenever the plot demands it.
Like most Mari Okada works, the film loses its way a short ways in in regards to discovering the best way to tell this story, because it keeps glancing at the “how to write drama” handbook whenever it’s confused on how to progress things and grabbing something from a really successful work without understanding why it worked when it did it. So what we end up with is a bloated mish-mash of underdeveloped tropes that tend to get in each other’s way rather than do any complementing. Most of the story is told in a rather dry manner where the characters just go through the motions and hang out with each other in order to establish that the little girl might like the shorter of the two males and that he might be the prince that will allow her to talk. But then she starts to speak up for herself because she wants to participate in the music club’s activities because for some reason, she really wants to sing despite never showing any interest in it before. And then people are surprised she can talk. Then they aren’t. I kept on feeling like I missed a post-it note explaining these transitions somewhere down the road.
And despite the story pushing Jun’s problems, it never takes center-stage as much as it should, mostly due to the fact that it never feels like her inability to talk meshes well with any of the romantic entanglements or personal issues the other characters face. At times, it feels like Jun’s inability to talk is just a vehicle to make her fall in love and deal with the consequences. I find that disappointing, because romance holds up about as well as action in standing on its own aka not well at all. It also doesn’t help that good chunk of the subplots have that usual “came up with the set pieces first” problem you’d expect to see in a visual novel anime. The big gruff dude of the main cast is tangled in a conflict regarding his team and pushing them to the nationals that adds fuck all to the plot and only exists so that he’d have something to do, with said conflict getting swept under the rug after a few scenes and said guy losing any sense of importance throughout the story afterwards.
Also, as much as we see him, the main male lead never acts as anything more than an arbiter for events rather than a fleshed-out character with his own motivations. Any problem he experiences is always tied to one of the female characters, and it generally tends to circle back so that their problems are rooted in their relationship with him and nothing else besides vague motivations we never get to truly understand. I’ll admit that where it finally ends up did stick in my mind, although it’s a pity that the scenes preceding it were a real chore. I really wish Okada would stop it with conclusions where the characters cry and yell out all the frustrations that have been boiling up over time like it’s some form of triumph. That’s only true if the revelation lives up to the magnitude caused by the character’s overacting, and Jun overcoming her ability to stop acting like a spoiled brat isn’t exactly something worthy of a Lifetime achievement award. Especially since that problem was pretty much inserted in at the last minute due to that classic and incredibly tired “I heard something I shouldn’t have” plot element that I thought we were over by now. There should be a rule in that drama handbook with the statement “don’t do this crap!”
Buried somewhere underneath all the slipshodness, there’s potential for an interesting story regarding personal problems and overcoming them, but in this team’s hands, it’s like trying to wring out noise from a giraffe. All the characters act dramatic whenever it’s convenient for them after overly long periods of slow boils that can’t stay focused long enough to develop into anything noteworthy, and the connection between their problems is thinner than a woman’s spread legs when you start bringing up your opinion on right-wing policies. At its best Anthem of the Heart can most accurately be described as the quintessential example of a teenage anime drama, and I don’t mean that in a good way. It has all the elements you’d expect of its genre, but the way they’re executed is so wide-spread and bland that I grew bored and stopped caring about the characters thirty minutes in, then groaned when I realized that the movie was two hours long rather than the ninety minutes I initially thought. And it was really wearing on my patience during the ninety-minute mark, let me tell you that.
The film does sort of come into its own by the end, but it’s not worth the long stretch of muddled subplots and dry buildup to get to that point. And all the ending really did at the end of the day was remind me of the vastly superior The Girl Who Leapt Through Time as well as the also superior Sound Euphonium. If you have the opportunity to go see Anthem of the Heart, I’d recommend watching those anime instead and simulating the experience by pretending the characters are all Final Fantasy archetypes by way of a Hot Topic filter. In other words, the emo whiners from Kingdom Hearts.
With regards to the film’s story, Kokosake’s slice of life storytelling successfully portrays a situation that many people can relate to. In general, this plot sets to resolve the protagonists’ internal conflicts through the events of resolving the story’s conflict. In Kokosake’s case, Naruse Jun, the protagonist of the anime, has her internal conflict in which she cannot speak her true feelings—the main conflict that the film revolves around. As the story progresses, the resolution of the story’s conflict, the school musical, helped her to “open up her heart.” Cleverly enough, the story not only resolves Naruse Jun’s internal conflict, but also resolves the conflicts of the other protagonists in the film.
The characters’ development in Kokosake was also enjoyable to watch. Kokosake’s plot is very beneficial toward developing the main protagonists’ relationship, communication, and their feelings toward each other. For example, Naruse’s personality changes as the story progresses. Naruse’s actions to “break out of her shell” is hilarious and at the same time relatable, making the film more interesting. There are some bits of comedy and typical anime tropes that tangent off the main story. But, overall, the story is well paced, has enough content to convey the film’s message, and concisely portrays the actions that Naruse Jun and the other protagonists take to resolve the main conflict.
The artwork that portrays this story brings the animation to life. With Anohana’s and Toradora’s art style, Kokosake’s artwork impressively makes the animation look realistic. The film’s settings is well drawn and emits an earthly vibe throughout the film. The characters of the anime were drawn really well to the point where anime seems to be merging with reality. The characters movements in the animation follow most physics and their facial expressions—especially Naruse’s expressions—is exaggerated to express emotions and feelings. Since Naruse does not initially communicate with actual words in the film, her facial expressions and body language conveys an idea about what she is trying to say. With this realistic and expressive art style, Kokosake’s art is one quality that makes the anime a beautiful film.
But, one of the main qualities that makes Kokosake such a beautiful film is through sound. Because the anime aims to encourage the freedom of expression, the voice acting and music are exaggerated. The voice acting matches the characters and their personalities and the music is well composed to match the situations during the plot, enhancing the liveliness of the anime. As the protagonists who can talk speak, the music serves as a substitute for Naruse’s silence and embellishes the atmosphere of the film. It may be because of the film’s music that enables people to shed tears along with the nostalgic story.
With this, Kokosake’s plot, artwork, voice acting, and soundtrack enhances the anime’s beauty, making the movie enjoyable to watch. The film does indeed beautifully conveys its theme. Thus, Kokosake’s coming of age story is one of many good anime that people young and old can enjoy.
But, the decision of whether this anime is worth watching is definitely up to you. I acknowledge and respect any opinions that you have for this anime and I hope that you will read my reviews in the future.
Thank You So Much For Reading!
29: Sekaiichi Hatsukoi Movie: Yokozawa Takafumi no Baai
Japanese: 劇場版 世界一初恋 横澤隆史の場合
MAL Score: 7.90
Movie adaptation of the Sekaiichi Hatsukoi: Yokozawa Takafumi no Baai BL light novel.
Story (70/100) The Case of Yokozawa Takafumi is by all means no masterpiece. In reality, it is far from it. It is filled with cliché moments found scattered all about in the Boys’ Love genre, and Nakamura is no stranger when it comes to said cliché. (-10 points). When you look at it as a whole, if this was any regular story, it would be rated extremely low. But since this is the ever-so popular BL genre, it is safe. You start out with Yokozawa awaking in a stranger’s house. Seems…okay, right? Well, YtnB stays like that throughout the whole movie.
‘Okay’. Nothing too exciting happens. Man meets another by accident (in this case, they sort of knew each other), they hang out for awhile (in actuality, Yokozawa was blackmailed), and love sprouts off-screen, instead of showing them actually falling in love. (-5 points). This is where I thought it might have been better as a 4 episode OVA. I dislike how Yokozawa gained affection for Kirishima off-screen. Over the course of what seemed a few days, or maybe even weeks by the minute. (-5 points).
After falling in love, of course there is a huge conflict that keeps them from confessing. It always happens. Whether it be a past lover/break-up, misinterpreted cheating or anything else in the bag of cliché. (-5 points). In the end, they live happily ever after. (-5 points).
Character (85/100) Despite all its’ cliché story ideas, Yokozawa is by far one of Nakamura’s best characters. He acts like a true person when it comes to breakups and love. No one is able to get over your first love so quickly like most BL show. You can see Yokozawa’s inner dialogue throughout the story, and you understand why he is the way he is. Why he is so rude. Why he is unapproachable. His gentle side, too. Although I dislike how Yokozawa is tsundere, and even Kirishima points that out.(-5 points).
Kirishima is your typical seme (-5 points). but with a twist;He has a daughter. And he loves his daughter. He wants the best for her, like any caring dad. His constant antics toward Yokozawa are quite amusing, as well. But he does them for a reason. That doesn’t take away that he’s a typical topper, though.
You have your other known characters as well, such as Takano and Ritsu. It sort of goes into their relationship as well, but what Ritsu tells Yokozawa is unlike him. (-5 points). I can’t just see Ritsu up and telling Yokozawa what he did.
Visuals (80/100) I’m not really a fan of Nakamura, so for me, that retracts 5 points. (-5 points). But the visuals were done very nicely.
Now the bad things. Typical. BL. Bodies. HUGE hands, tiny heads, and odd proportional bodies. (-10 points). . Some of the movements looked weird because of their distorted bodies. They weren’t fluid because of it. (-5 points).
Audio (95/100) Audio was done very well. I don’t really complain when it comes to audio, though. Everyone’s voices fit perfectly fine. I don’t remember any of the OST’s, if there were any. (-5 points).
Enjoyment and Final Scoring (82/100) 70+85+80+95+80=410/5=82
Overall, it was a nice movie to pass the time, and since I’m a sucker for BL, I had to watch it, seeing as how there are barely any adaptations of BL manga. If you love Nakamura and Sekai-ichi Hatsukoi, I recommend this. If not, and you are just a BL fan, then dive right in.
It still has typical BL problems, such as feeling incredibly rushed — or maybe that was a feature of it being a 50 min movie instead of a, say 4-6 episode OVA; I haven’t read the source manga — I didn’t keep exact track of how much time passed between Takano breaking it to Yokozawa that there was no chance at them ever getting together, but it felt like at most 2 weeks. Hm. I should rewatch to check out the weather, because at the end the cherries bloom; maybe more time passed than I realized. Anyway, it felt much too fast, because it takes time to let go of the old feelings, even though Yokozawa sort of always knew that there was no real hope with Takano, he had just settled into that role. And I don’t believe anyone would introduce their new flame to their kid this fast, and leave them alone together.
I also didn’t like that Yokozawa got ukefied, and into a tsundere to boot; ugh. Why can’t more mangaka let go of the idiotic stereotypes? I am pretty sure at this point Japanese women can handle the occasional BL couple who both act like men, and who switch. But at least they didn’t have him undergo a complete character change, which means he has now replaced Yukina as the most transgressive Nakamura character — an uke who doesn’t at all look like an uke and doesn’t behave like one in public either. Nicely done, Nakamura-sensei. Go on, be more daring!
Since Yokozawa got mildly ukefied, of course we needed an über-seme, henceforth the very forceful Kirishima, who didn’t shy away from a little friendly blackmail because right after my rapist, my blackmailer is who I’m gonna fall in love with; so much for realism. Well, we can’t have it all. At least we were spared a naked apron scene.
But it was still better than any of the silly seme-uke pairings of the main anime with their never-ending push-pull antics. Not a lot of time was wasted on superfluous drama and artificially thrown up barriers like random women standing between the men, or their own weaknesses preventing them from actually grabbing what agency they could get, unlike the other pairings. Kirishima was very straightforward, to the point of hurting Yokosawa’s pride at one point, which was a realistic problem — some things, however true, are very hard to hear from somebody else, especially somebody by whom you want to be respected, but Yokozawa pulled himself together without weeks of moping.
This is now my favourite pairing because they acted the most like adult men, and actually gave the impression that they could have a healthy relationship, not something I feel is a given for any of the other couples. Yokozawa was a bit of a prick to Onodera in the previous installments, but I never saw him as a true villain, and here he completely redeems himself, in more than one circumstance.
The story itself is VERY previsible. You don’t even have to watch the trailer of the anime to know the ending. Also, I felt the plot lacked enough conflict to actually be called a movie. It was like watching a longer episode of a slice of life anime at times because of that.
So, does that mean that “Yokozawa Takafumi no Baai” is bad? The answer is no, because despite of it’s flaws there’s a lot to love in this movie: first, despite my initial fear of making a villain-like character the MC of a romcom, Yokozawa suceeds on having a story centered around him, showing a sweeter side without having his personality changed. Second, I think that even people who hate yaoi will be able to watch this movie, because it doesn’t have many “innapropriated” scenes and shows a healthy homoparental household with the main couple adorably taking care of Zen’s daughter, Hiyroi. This is important considering how many people still oppose the idea of same-sex couples raising children. And don’t forget that Yokozawa, despite officially being an uke, doesn’t look like one, which is refreshing to see.
I recommend it for everyone who wants a light and cute movie to spend a Sunday evening. “Sekai ichi Hatsukoi: Yokozawa Takafumi no Baai” might be a pretty forgettable romance, but is above average to the regular yaoi genre.
28: Umibe no étranger
MAL Score: 7.95
Shun Hashimoto is an openly gay aspiring novelist living in Okinawa who was abandoned by his parents after coming out to them. Mio Chibana is a reserved, orphaned high school student, often found spending his time by the sea. One day, the two meet on the beach, and Shun is instantly captivated by Mio. The days fly by as they slowly begin to grow closer until Mio suddenly announces that he has to leave for the mainland.
Three years pass before a 20-year-old Mio returns to Okinawa to confess his love to Shun. However, in those three years, Shun’s life has changed. Will he be able to accept Mio’s feelings and make such a commitment?
The animation is nice enough and everything else is of good quality, but I can’t recommend this if you’re anime only like me. It’s just a bunch of random scenes strung together. It’s not a real story.
Mio and Shun contrast each other. Shun is a quiet novelist who, despite having known his sexuality before Mio, still hasn’t come to terms with it. Mio on the other hand is young, carefree, and is comfortable with openly confessing his love to Shun. They balance each other out. Mio learns from Shun’s family situation, while Shun learns from Mio that he shouldn’t be embarrassed about their love. There is nothing wrong with expressing feelings for someone of the same sex. And Shun, having lived his life with this affecting him, comes to terms for the first time, that, this is how he is, and that’s perfectly okay.
As for how the technical terms go, I will admit that the pacing of Umibe no Étranger is rather fast. The pacing is the weakest part of both the anime adaptation and the original manga. Before you know it, it’s over. Albeit, this may have faired better pacing-wise if it had been split up into a four-part OVA.
The art. I’ll just say it. It’s great. They did Kanna Kii’s style justice. The animation is smooth, the backgrounds and coloring are beautiful. There is nothing to nitpick. It’s above average, probably even ABOVE above average. Studio Hibari did a wonderful job.
Now, for what I am head over heels for – the sound (by Eiko Morikawa) and original music (composed by Mina Kubota). None of the sound effects felt out of place – the blowing wind and stretching sea made the setting even more immerse. And what takes the cake is the music. Beautiful piano pieces, that, whenever they started playing during a scene I would focus on them instead because I didn’t expect them to be so… good. Mina Kubota did an amazing job with the music. The ending song is equally addicting; it is all I imagined a song representing Mio and Shun to be. This attitude also goes towards the voice actors, who did a great job with bringing these two to life (along with Sakurako, Eri, Suzu, and most particuarly a young version of Mio, who actually had a child voice acting him).
Umibe no Étranger is a story that bases itself around coming to terms with who you are and your situation. It is a story about growing up and basking in pure first love. The animation, sound, music, and setting all bring this movie together. And albeit it may be a little fast-paced, it surely is a diamond in the rough.
Also, it has cats.
Umibe no Étranger is so much more to me than just another BL story. It kinda reminds me od Doukyuusei, with its storyline and characters and showing the more sweet and realistic depiction od same-sex love. As a LGBT person myself, I love stories surrounding these topics but it’s so hard for me to find an anime that would satisfy me. Mostly, because most yaoi/BL stories are overly sexualized and show same-sex attraction as a fetish. L’ Étranger is different in that case. It’s good to hear the word ‘gay’ being used in the show and see a character identyfying as such. Sure, Mio still follows the ‘I’m in love with a person, not their gender’ trope but from what I’ve understood from the manga sequel, he’s still unable to have sex and fall in love with a girl so he might have some identity issues. Besides, there are people who are bisexual with a strong preference for the opposite gender but they still feel same-sex attraction. I’m not against that, what has always annoyes me is the fact that it’s been overused in BL stories.
The relationship between Mio and Shun is very real written. It feels real, there are no big fireworks and their dillemas are actually relatable for me. The whole story is not centered around sex and we can actually see their daily struggles with life. Shun’s high school life was well depicted and I wish we could see more of it. There is no stereotypical seme/uke dynamic between these two. They’re both equals in their relationship.
The movie was quite short and I wish it was at least 90 minutes instead of an hour. The art was beautiful, they really brought the climate from the manga to the big screen. The colours were vivid, the background were detailed. The voice acting was amazing and their voices sounded just like I imagined them in the manga.
The thing with L’Étranger is that it’s actually a very simple story. But I feel like we need more stories like this or Doukyuusei with LGBT characters. It’s so refreshing for me to actually enjoy a simple romance between two guys, no fetishization, no characters dying. Just a pure story about love. I really recommed it to anyone who’s looking for this kind of story. Trust me, it’s definitely worth that hour of your time.
27: Kurenai no Buta
English: Porco Rosso
MAL Score: 7.96
After a curse turned him into a pig, World War I ace Marco Pagot becomes Porco Rosso, a mysterious bounty hunter who takes down sky pirates in the Adriatic Sea. He whiles away his days on a secluded island, rarely leaving other than to collect bounties or to visit the beautiful Gina, a songstress and owner of the Hotel Adriano.
One day, while traveling to fix his faulty engine, Porco Rosso is gunned down by a young American hotshot named Donald Curtis. Thrilled at the possibility of fame, Donald boldly declares that the flying pig is dead. Not wanting to disappoint Gina, Porco Rosso flees to the famous Piccolo S.P.A. airplane company and takes out a massive loan in order to repair and improve his fighter plane. There, he is surprised to find that the chief engineer of Piccolo S.P.A. is the 17-year-old Fio Piccolo, who hungers for a chance to prove herself. With Fio’s improvements, Porco Rosso prepares to challenge Donald officially and regain his honor.
Miyazaki movies can broadly fall in 2 or 3 categories; some of them are driven by their uncanny and bizarre plot (princess mononoke, spirited away etc). And then there are some where the direction almost completely overshadows the plot-line. Like Totoro, Porco Rosso falls in the latter category. From the opening scene to ending, this movie is all about direction, direction and direction.
The movie, set in the 1930’s, starts on a deserted island which acts as a hideout for the famous war-veteran turned bounty hunter ace pilot known as porco rosso (scarlet pig) who, we soon learn, has been afflicted by a curse which turned him into a pig. Just knowing this much can give you a false impression that this movie, like most miyazaki movies, has a lot to do with the mystical or the supernatural, but nothing can be further from the truth. Our ‘manly’ protagonist is a pig for a reason, but that reason has little to do with magic. The movie follows the scarlet pigs journey to reclaim his honor, after being ‘shot down’ by an American mercenary. For the most part, its a comedy drama with sprinkles of romance and slice-of-life
As the movie progresses, we learn more about the scarlet pig and some of his background. Eventually we get to the reason of his current predicament. There is a strong lesson to learn here, and thankfully it’s not force-fed into your head like Disney does with some of its movies. Here, the message is subtler and yet strikes a stronger chord.
‘Porco Rosso’ is different from miyazaki’s other endeavors. For one, it has a lot more comedy in it, and this aspect is amplified by the comical and, sometimes, witty dialogue. The humor is in-your-face laugh-out-loud funny, filled with wise-cracks, puns and word-play. And the concept of a man-turned-pig ace pilot flying the skies of a fictional Europe dueling pirates and an arch-nemesis from America is not something you’ll find in every anime.
Speaking of arch-nemesis, this movie has a really good one in the form of Donald Curtis, a notorious womanizer, and an over-confident and pompous, yet funny and very likable American, who also happens to be Porco’s rival in lurrve. Two of the funniest sequences of this comedy ride are his ‘encounters’ with porco in the skies. Characters in general have been done very well, with each of them lending to the comical aspect of the movie really well.
The airplane designs and all the flying sequences are really good. Some of the flying sequences are especially enthralling- not in the eye-candy sense, but it’s just that they’ve been done so well that it feels like whoever did it must be in love with airplanes and flying in general. In fact, a good part of Miyazaki’s early life was spent drawing battleships and airplanes. That life-long fascination of his mirrors very well throughout his works, especially this movie.
The premise and the post WWI European setting gives a very unique and exquisite feeling to the movie; and this fact is reflected well in the artwork, with its lush sceneries, views of exotic islands and beaches, cities and some of the characters, especially the pirates, which really do look like something from cartoony Europe of the 30’s. The leader of the pirates, for one, can pass for a Bluto (from Popeye) look-alike. For the most part, the miyazaki like feeling is intact. The animation is just gorgeous for a movie made in 1992. The color palate is exceptionally vibrant and has a certain depth to it that Miyazaki fans have come to associate with his movies.
The music is vintage Hisashi joe; fans of the maestro will find some of his best tunes in this movie. The animation and music blend perfectly to evoke the right emotion at the right time, bringing to life the world of Porco Rosso while lending it a unique charm that you probably won’t see in any other anime movie. Disney’s dubbed version has excellent voice-overs that fit perfectly with each character’s personality. I find that the Disney version does not deserve the hate that it is often subjected to by the fans of the older pre-Disney dub versions.
However, there are two things that might put-off people. The first is the minimalistic approach to storyline. Plot-junkies who expect their animes to be filled with deep and complicated plots might not find this to their liking (I’ve heard a few complain about this). But if you like Miyazaki movies in general, you’d know that complaint is baseless. With Porco Rosso, everything might be charming and simple on the outside but there’s more to this movie than meets the eye. The second complaint, which is actually a little more common, is that the ending is too abrupt. The ending is a bit subtle, yes, and it may leave a you wishing there was more, but the movie manages to tie all the loose ends very well, and it is by no standards an unsatisfactory ending. Porco Rosso is more like an old friend from a long forgotten time who stops by your front door to have a nice cup of tea, has a warm and pleasant chat with you but then quietly leaves from the back door with a quick goodbye.
Thanks to Miyazaki’s captivating direction, the movie is very soothing and peaceful and I think its best watched at the end of a hard and tiresome day, when you want to watch something calm and relaxing. All in all, Porco Rosso is a unique movie; not just as miyazaki or a Ghibli film, but a unique anime movie.
This right here is what you call a good fucking “anime” movie. Yes i know, those exist, right? Way back, millennia ago, before dinosaurs become extinct and before anime movies weren’t only a weeabo-loser and pedophilia pander, good movies, heck even stupid movies reigned supreme.
Now you might be asking yourself, hey but this is a Miyazaki flick, doesn’t he always have some pre-teen girl as the lead in his movies so that pedophiles from all around the globe can cream their unwashed jeans. Well yes, and actually no, this one is an exception hence why Im writing a review for Porco Rosso and Porco Rosso only.
This movie delivers one of the finest main characters in anime cinema history, even tho is he merely a swine, he is actually Clint Eastwood in his patented ice-cold ass-whippery, he is James Bond in his wittiness and humor, he is John Wayne, he is Steve McQueen, he is a culmination of the spiciest cultural ass-whoppers from the far east to the shores of the west.
The WW2 setting just adds to the flavor.
Although this movie does have a pre teen girl in it but who the fuck cares about her, we are here for the swine, amirite? Im not?
Blow me, moving on.
Now, Porco Rosso does have a lot of the typical Miyazaki niches. You have the small underage heroine, the curse which our main protagonists has to overcome, a douchebag on crack, some olg hag and so on and so forth. What is unbeknownst to me and to many other intellectuals is just how underrated this movie actually is, quite possibly Miyazakis most underrated film to date. Why is that you may ask?
There are a few reasons for this the main one being is that most people see our protagonist which is a swine looking like a pimp on steroids and immediately conjure thoughts like “But where is muh cute little girl” or “this most be boring”. If you ever encounter people like this the right thing to do would be to call the authorities and have the pedophiles removed from the streets and loser ridden anime conventions.
The OST? I dont even have to delve any deeper into this to say anything other than give that nigga Joe Hisaishi a raise for these fine pieces of music. He constantly hits it out of the park and leaves you craving for more after you have listened to his playlist for the 84th time.
The art is fine, like in every other Miyazaki film. So nothing special to write home about here.
On the other hand it is unique because of the world it builds around. Any fans of classic Hollywood will be pleased at the amount of homages that are spread through the story, both in individual scenes and in tone. This movie holds many similarities in its more dramatic part, both aesthetical and story-based, with “Casablanca”; and the slapstick comedy that is there through the whole storyline, softening the conflicts and relationships of the characters, resembles “The quiet man”.
This polarity between a heavy character drama and a dreamy comedy may be a double-edged sword, in the sense that many people will probably find this movie inconsistant in terms of its mood, but I think “Porco Rosso” does a really fine work at balancing both aspects of its storyline. The comedy never disallows the viewer from appreciating the gravity of Porco as a character, and the serious and intimist sequences don’t deny the zaniness of his daily life. The best thing about this is that it allows to create a full dramatic portrayal of the main character, while bringing some kind of fabulistic charm to his lifestyle, which gives nostalgic vibes to the story. This ends up being relevant as well in the romantic view that Miyazaki brings to describe one of his childhood passions, flight engineery. In this movie it becomes completely obvious through the careful visual depiction and the spectacularity of the flying scenes.
The storyline is completely focused on Porco and the universe around him. He is definitely a complex character that goes way beyond his main defining trait. In fact, his aspect in the context of the daily relationships it’s the least relevant. We are told that he is a human turned into a pig by some sort of mysterious spell, but those around him still recognize Porco as a human. Even Gina, the one that he’s most closely related with, treats him as if he was the same as always. The appearances in this movie are brought for a much less superficial purpose, as this transformation is used as a metaphor for the deep wound Porco carries with humanity in general, and with himself. His bitterness, however, is contrasted in the movie. That is, instead of being exaggerated, and giving rise to an overly cynical character, the story also emphasizes on his caring side. He is shown to have friends, understand their emotions and care for them; his scenes with Gina make clear that they love and respect each other. This side of him is emphasized later with the presence of Fio and the clear effect she has in his growth as a character.
The rest of the characters, while not being as fleshed out as Porco, still hold their own charm. I am specially fascinated with Gina. She doesn’t even appear too often in the story but her elegance and intimist approach increase the emotional effect of every scene she’s in, and the hints on her own past are so suggestive and enveloping that, despite the lack of physical presence in the plot, she manages to create a very strong emotional involvement around her. She is there in some of the most moving moments of the story and I’m specially fond of one where a flashback of her past with Porco is shown.
Fio, on the other hand, plays the counterpart of Porco as a quick-witted and joyful girl. This simple purpose is actually conveyed in the form of a very strong and charismatic character. Her chemistry with Porco through their scenes is amazing, and another one of the key points of this story. In fact my favorite scene of the movie involves them both; with Porco narrating a defining experience of his past -in his very own way, though- and Fio hearing this whole story completely captivated, understanding, finally, the dimension of his personal conflict as a whole.
Donald Curtis and the pirates, despite being technically the antagonists of the main story, are actually quite light and charming. The arrogance of Curtis is contextualized in a way that emphasizes on his innocence rather than on an actual malice. And similarly, the pirates never come off as evil and their hate towards Porco is never treated seriously.
On the artistic level, this is a great effort overall, though probably not as satisfying as other Miyazaki movies. For example, it suffers from a lack of shading in many scenes, and the designs of the background characters don’t look very inspired. However, it still keeps a lot of strength in the visual depiction of the scenarios, and places like Porco’s lonely island or Gina’s bar are given a distinct atmosphere that becomes very effective. The design for the main characters is simple, yet very effective, with Porco being the obvious choice as the most outstanding. The aesthetics, as said, are very closely tied to the imagery of classic films, which sort of fit very well with the Italian environment of the late 20s this movie is located at.
Similarly, the soundtrack is quite outstanding overall but not as consistantly mesmerizing as in other works of the author. Then again, this is not a very relevant issue, and I guess it has to do with the huge variety of music pieces; as this variety leading to some irregularity seems unavoidable. Anyway, if I have to choose one, it would be Tokiko Kato’s version of the French Revolutionary song “Le temps des cérises”, that serves to introduce Gina. Her song in the ending credits is equally beautiful.
All in all, and while it’s not my favorite, it is still a Ghibli and Miyazaki movie I am very fond of. It is a little tricky to recommend here, though, because its style and themes will probably not fit the tastes of an anime fan if they are mainly interested on exploring the imagery and philosophy that are associated with the Japanese culture; in fact, I think that “Porco Rosso” is a better recommendation for movie-goers than for anime fans, in general. That doesn’t mean it will be necessarily less enjoyable, but it’s more likely for people with a grown interest on Western filmmaking to find points in common with this movie.
26: Macross: Do You Remember Love
Japanese: 超時空要塞マクロス -愛 おぼえていますか-
MAL Score: 7.96
After warping light-years away from Earth, the spacecraft Macross carries a city of civilians and soldiers back home. They continuously fight off the threat of the Zentradi and Meltrandi, giant alien races with whom humanity wages war.
During a battle, the Macross transforms into a mecha operated by fighter pilot Hikaru Ichijou. Thrust into a number of hardships, Hikaru grows close to the city’s idol Minmay Lynn. As their relationship develops, however, it is viewed unfavorably by others due to Minmay’s status and popularity.
With war raging on and the state of Earth unknown, Hikaru and his fellow soldiers fight on against their mysterious enemies. Throughout the bloodshed, Hikaru and Minmay attempt to keep hold of their feelings for one another. Minmay pours her heart into her music, which may just turn out to be the key to finding peace.
In comparison to the TV series, Do You Remember Love? solves a lot of the problems people have with it. The animation holds up much better. There are no shortcuts or sudden drops in quality due to budget constraints. In addition, the movie format cuts a lot of the slower parts of the story that put off some fans. The pace is much more consistent, and downtime is minimal.
On the downside, the shorter format sends any development of minor characters out the window. Roy and Claudia’s relationship, Max and Milia’s relationship, all personality of Kanzaki, the bridge bunnies, and all of the Zentradi… these aspects are all greatly cut back if not gone altogether. This is a typical consequence of converting TV series to feature film format, so it’s not something one can hold against Do You Remember Love. However, you will feel a better connection to these characters if you’ve seen the TV series first.
The music utilizes many of Minmay’s songs from the TV series, with the addition of the title track "Do You Remember Love?" The song itself becomes a major plot point, and at about 9 minutes in length plays over the whole climactic battle sequence. Iijima Mari was also propelled into pop stardom in her own right due to the mainstream popularity of the single.
I definitely recommend Do You Remember Love? to anyone interested in the Macross franchise, as well as anyone interested in the best of 80’s anime.
What I really enjoyed about this version is Misa Hayase’s softer/vulnerable side. I think her sensitivity wasn’t as obvious in the Robotech Macross series (or maybe my memory is just fuzzy because it was a long time ago). Here, while only a two hour film, her personality is quite likeable and you really feel for her.
As the previous reviewer stated, this movie should be (if not already) the benchmark of all anime movies. Animation, sound, story, characters are all great and still enagaging and exciting after more than 20 years since release.
I highly recommend this to those interested in some Macross nostalgia as well as those who want to see what makes 80’s anime so classically historical and beloved.
Other changes is that the female Zentradi, renamed the Meltlandi, are recognized as a different faction in the war. Despite all of that, the movie still retains the themes of love triangles and such in the same fashion, but Hikaru’s coming of age story is not that well emphasized in my personal opinion. However, because the series of Macross was told in this single movie, other elements such as Max’s and Milia’s relationship is slightly nodded to, but not at all officially established or developed. But in general, the main characters from the series are still present and still share the same fates but under different circumstances and situations. Despite this being a movie off a series, I say you don’t necessarily need to have any familiarity with the series to watch this movie because the characters are already established and developed. It’s not really who, but it’s question of how you want to know the characters and this movie doesn’t address it in the same way the TV series does. Despite that, the characterization is still faithful. But it offers another kind of ending and its own distinctive approach on the origins of the Zentradis where you are getting a movie still semi-original in its own right.
Not only are you getting new footage in this movie, but there is much more updated designs and animation quality over all you can say is appropriately theatrical. Despite this movie being as old as I am, I find the animation to be amazing. I like how it’s really high res while the series was more grainy with the quality. It’s brighter with the res, but still knows how to keep dark tones. Especially with the Zentradi characters who have a much more updated look. They look more alien and monster like and not as humanoid or human resembling in the TV series. They are colored much darker and are just re-designed altogether. Minmei’s concerts are also just great to watch and have excellent elaboration.
The mech designs are still the same, but the execution of the action is always as exciting as ever and spread out. The city inside the SDF-1 is excellently detailed and I love the battle scene there.
Much of the music from the TV series is still present in the series. For example, the moment you see the title screen, you hear an instrumental version to the opening theme from the TV series. I thought the music was good enough in its own rights and I don’t think it needed that much changing, but could certainly use some additions which is where the main theme, Do You Remember Love comes in. This was the song that really made Mari Iijima an established singer. She still sings today and works out of LA. Her talent is just incredible and well rounded. She can sing bubble gum pop in the likes of Shao Bai Lo which is also sung in the series, and this really incredible love song right here. It’s really hypnotic and the lyrics are just beautiful.
And the Japanese voice cast still retains more or less the same voice actors from the TV series which is good and I got nothing more to comment on except I really liked how they gave the Zentradi their own language which is subtitled to Japanese which is then subtitled to English depending on what version you watch. I wouldn’t say that approach is more realistic, but more logical and practical. I also like how they were given an echo sound effect and well modulated in that kind of way.
Considering how much of a success the TV series was and how it continues to be a success today, I think the movies could have been a TV series like Gundam like how I said earlier. Granted Gundam movies in comparison tended to stick to the design and animation style of the TV series while Macross steps above that. I think in Macross certain characters were not centered around that much, like Max, who is my favorite character. I like how he has this nice guy personality and looks all nerdy, and yet, his piloting skills is shown to be much more superior to Hikaru’s and I think he takes down Roy. But I gotta give the experience edge to Roy and in a lot of situations, that out does skill and natural talent. Though it’s not necessarily the same as the series and is just meant to be a retelling, it’s still distinctive in terms of art and animation style, and music. If you’re looking for top notch plot, I wouldn’t call this movie that, but still has something engaging, but the characters are too established already and all you need is the relationship development which I don’t think should be that centralized. But anyway, you’ll also get action and adventure
25: Kotonoha no Niwa
English: The Garden of Words
MAL Score: 7.96
On a rainy morning in Tokyo, Takao Akizuki, an aspiring shoemaker, decides to skip class to sketch designs in a beautiful garden. This is where he meets Yukari Yukino, a beautiful yet mysterious woman, for the very first time. Offering to make her new shoes, Takao continues to meet with Yukari throughout the rainy season, and without even realizing it, the two are able to alleviate the worries hidden in their hearts just by being with each other. However, their personal struggles have not disappeared completely, and as the end of the rainy season approaches, their relationship will be put to the test.
Does his latest animation achieve that same ideal? In some ways, it does. But if you are awaiting another great story, this is not what you are looking for.
“The Garden of Words” is a short film depicting the romance and relationship between a 15-year-old boy and 27-year-old woman. Takao, the boy, feels lost and alienated by his uncertain future and passion for shoemaking. Concurrently, Yukino feels lost in an adult society where she feels she does not belong.
It’s a premise that holds potential for a compelling story. How many films deal with such an age gap, especially with an older female? Very few. Sadly, this film doesn’t realize its inherent potential. Rarely are their feelings for each other actually explored. It simply is. They meet, they talk, they fall in love. And why? The relationship seems platonic until a sudden confession at the very end. While the romance is at least passable, one can’t shake off the feeling that more could have been done with the two. It all just feels a bit contrived.
Then again, one could always ask: with only 46 minutes of film, isn’t it too much to expect developed characters and relationships? Maybe. But Shinkai was not constrained. He could have simply increased the length and have made the story exponentially better as a result.
Where “The Garden of Words” makes up for its romance, perhaps, is in its dialogue. What makes the dialogue so intriguing is not what it does, but what it doesn’t do. It is simple, restrained; often limited to ordinary conversations between the characters. It shows more than tells. When Takao’s dreams of being a shoemaker are revealed, it is through watching him sketch feet outside and craft shoes in his room. When it must tell, it relies on introspective monologues and poetic conversation. It gives us the time to think and the time for the atmosphere to establish itself. The modesty of the dialogue captures the monotony of their lives– the change that they experience together.
Or at least that is what the majority of the film accomplishes. What builds as a subtle, heartwarming story regrettably ends as conventional melodrama. Any maturity in the characters is thrown aside in favor of screaming and crying. And, yet again, it relies on Shinkai’s exhausted theme of unrequited love. For once, just once– could he bother to convey the romance differently? It would be a sad thing if a director with so much talent was reduced to being a one-trick-pony. He is capable of more than this. I would like to believe that, anyway.
From a visual perspective, Shinkai’s latest is nothing short of a masterpiece. If you have watched any of his previous works (notably 5 Centimeters Per Second), you will be very much familiar with the gorgeous scenery and eyecandy that accompany them. And is eyecandy ever plentiful here. It is a visual spectacle in every regard, meant to have us immersed in the world. Perhaps too much so, as you might find yourself so stunned by the scenery that any dialogue will sound like little more than background noise.
Numerous animation techniques are employed in the film. The most prominent of which is a depth of field effect, often used but never to the point of being distracting. Lens flare and careful panning are also frequently used to accentuate the scenery. Not a single error (at least noticeably) exists within the animation or artwork, thanks to Shinkai’s meticulous attention to detail. There are times when the artwork looks and feels so authentic that it could very well be mistaken for live-action at a glance. “The Garden of Words” may be the best-looking anime to date. It is something that other animated films will (and should) aspire to, and nothing more could be asked from it visually.
Rain is the primary theme of “The Garden of Words”, both in narrative and aesthetics. In storytelling, rain is often used to represent loneliness. Here instead the rain symbolizes happiness and peace. It succeeds in creating the appropriate atmosphere for the film, ensuring that there is more here to experience than the visuals. It is just as much an experience to feel as it is to gawk at.
The score comprises mostly of piano pieces and ambient noise which serve to further immerse the viewer. It’s deliberately simple– anything thrilling would only serve to undermine the experience. Notably, there is one vocal piece that plays during the climax and credits. I didn’t think too much of it other than “Hey, this reminds me of 5cm/s!”
So what is “The Garden of Words” in the end, beyond a visual and aural treat? I would tell you that it is not a very good story. What brilliance it holds at the start is obstructed by lackluster characterization and cloying drama. With more focus given to the writing process and with a story at least partly equal to its production quality, this may have been a film to remember for years to come. As it stands, it is a captivating but ultimately disappointing experience. It could have been much more without the melodrama and with more room given for the characters to live and breathe. After all, beauty is best achieved in simplicity.
If only Shinkai held to this for the entire film.
The entire plot centralises around the interactions between our two main characters: a young student and a mysterious grown-up woman. Be that as it may, the dialogue is very minimal but simultaneously so potent for a vast majority of the development that occurs and the insights we gain into our protagonists hinges upon brief and restrained conversations. It is the absence of dialogue in many cases that convey human emotions more eminently and passionately than when spoken and the visuals play an incredible role to enhance this. Given the film’s brevity, it requires every element to contribute to the plot and no element exists without a reason – be it simple movements, scenery, music or dialogue. It is truly impressive to see how effectively and concisely deep emotions and their underlying intentions are conveyed. The story is told elegantly for nothing is wasted.
Rain is a fundamental aspect that initially represents the condition necessary for our protagonists to meet. I think with regards to the symbolism that Shinkai has employed to explore key themes, it is better if you watch and contemplate yourself on them as this is where the majority of the satisfaction lies in this movie. The most impressive aspect of the Shinkai’s film was how effectively extended metaphors such as the rain were used consistently and in an enlightening fashion which keeps the film short yet brimming with sentiment. These themes coalesce with our characters and their self-discoveries to tell a larger story at hand in a modern social context exploring the Japanese traditional notion of love. Takao’s burning desire to transcend into adulthood and realise his dreams is beautifully embodied by the older and seemingly sophisticated woman but even during the film’s brief journey, Takao’s preconceptions are deconstructed and despite their differences, they come to realise their similarities through their interactions under the rain which are painfully human. Perhaps my only significant issue I found was the lack of emotional intensity or potency that led our female main character to the position and predicament she was in. By no means was it weak but it seemed lacking compared to how brilliantly Takao was characterised and this slight imbalance for me, hampered the final climax to a certain degree.
For a film whose strengths lies in its representation through resigned soliloquies, much of the portrayal lies in the hands of the artwork and animation which are nothing short of a masterpiece. This is the most visually impressive work I have ever seen in the entirety of the anime medium. The animation is flawless with excellent cinematography such as clever use of deep focus in more intimate scenes that successfully emphasise key metaphors employed and well angled panoramas boasting the vast and gorgeous landscapes that are a sight for sore eyes. The sceneries and landscapes are meticulously drawn with details that are exceptionally similar to real life further enhancing the immersion of the experience. The musical score has a larger focus on softer pieces that almost act as an addition to natural sounds of rain and nature or the cacophony of city-life. The soundtrack is entirely piano-based and range from subtler pieces that capture the ambience of the moment to more prominent pieces such as “Greenery Rain” (one of my favourite anime OSTs) which accompany many of the visual experiences.
“Kotonoha no Niwa” is a magnificent movie that adopts a more nuanced and authentic approach in exploring human relationships. As stated initially, this is not simply a bittersweet romance that many condemn it to be but a subtle journey into the solitude and desires humans hold, within a prominent and relevant modern day social context. All of this is delivered to viewers in a film that entirely takes advantage of the anime medium, showing just how much artistry and cinematic storytelling that resonates within you (as most Shinkai films do) can be achieved in a what is fundamentally 46 minutes of animated images.
Garden of Words (also known as Kotonoha no Niwa) is a 2013 film and the latest installation of Makoto Shinkai’s works. He is already known as a famous Japanese director as well as a former graphic designer. He is previously known for his involvement in other films such as The Place Promised in Our Early Days, 5 Centimeters Per Second, and Children Who Chase Lost Voices. As both director and writer of this latest movie, he puts his skills to test once again and I am grateful to say that it was definitely a memorable experience.
The story is told in a narrative perspective by a young man named Takao Akizuki during the mid year of June. He is 15 years old and has hopes to become a shoemaker. On a rainy day in June, he meets a mysterious woman named Yukari Yukino. They seem to be striking up a conversation that begins with an unfamiliar mood. The rain dark clouds covers the skies with claps of thunder strikes their first unusual encounter in the garden.
For the setting of the movie, it takes place in modern Tokyo seemingly in a normal environment. There’s nothing too unusual going around the place with the sunny mornings, the cloudy sky, and passing days of riding the subway station. However, what becomes unusual is Takao and his admiration of shoes as well as Yukari’s feet. His artwork expresses his desire to become a shoemaker more than ever. As mentioned in the film, it is in Takao’s mind on what will get him out of his current living standards.
Throughout the film, it’s observed that Takao and Yukino’s bonds become stronger through their first unusual meeting in the garden to food sharing and later on with more of emotional attachment. Despite this, their relationship is lighthearted but again unusual. Takao dreams to become a shoemaker and here we have Yukino and her feet. The two doesn’t know anything about each other but their connection somehow bonds them together. Takao is charmed by her presence and with the pouring rain symbolizes a picture worth a thousand words.
The season continues on. Seemingly every day, the atmosphere of this movie gives off a natural feeling. It’s enchanting to see how everything flow along with the pouring rain. The fact days passes by like pouring rain but later on, it shows more of a clear sky. Throughout this time, it’s clear that Takao has a clear mind with what he wants to do. He wants to become a shoemaker and with a proper mind set tries to raise income to achieve the task. After all, money don’t grow on trees and everything has a price.
Takao and Yukino’s relationship throughout the movie seems to be based on a strange connection. It’s hard to make out exactly what it is because of their unusual encounter in the garden in the first place. But still, there’s definitely a connection between them. It’s just that the connection here seems to be rather blend due to Takao’s lack of knowledge regarding Yukino. However, it’s clear that he cares for her. In fact, his rage builds up whenever Yukino’s name is heard from Takao’s ears when something negatively is spoken behind her back. Most of the time though, Takao seems to be in his own little world.
The series also adopts the ‘romance’ genre so naturally, their budding relationship steers from strangers, to platonic, and romantic. To be honest, I find this rather bit bizarre and out of place. They’ve only met for less than a few months with little knowledge of each other. Furthermore, their relationship seems to be more of a fantasy from my perspective rather than realistic. It’s definitely something not many of us see in every day life where people gets connected by shoes and feet, right?
Love or hate.
Like most of Mikoto Shinkai’s films, the movie moves with feelings from a calm mood to more of a dramatic. This is expressed through secrets that are revealed later on. Under the rainy clouds, their tears pour and expresses emotions from the bottom of their hearts. Did I find this appealing? Yes. Did I feel the emotions of the characters? No. To me, this was just rushed in terms of relationship. In just that summer, bonds are established but once the dog days are over, it just becomes blend again. That’s how I felt for the story anyways.
The artwork of this series is spectacular. Have you ever seen a bright rainbow right after a long shower? Perhaps this is how I viewed the visuals throughout this film. It is majestic and has a strong radiance that shines more than the cloudy skies that fills the settings. As expected of Makoto Shinaki, a former graphic designer, he puts his skills at work and obviously makes it dazzling for viewers to enjoy those scenery. It is no doubt in my mind the visuals of this series deserves a standing ovation.
On another note, the soundtrack of this movie combines a piano like tone with a song of melody to top things off. The ED song, “Rain” by Motohiro Hata shows emotions flowing through the backgrounds of our two main characters. Needless to say, it puts you in the shoes of their emotions. Along the way, the calm and lighthearted OST gives off a balanced vibe of naturalism. The dialogues spoken by the characters shows their everyday life tones while rage and emotions are expressed in a more intimating voice. I give praise to Kana Hanazawa who is known for her many works and in this movie, she shows the world her talent once again with her dazzling expressions and mannerisms.
For fans of Makoto Shinkai, this is definitely a film to watch and enjoy. However, if you’re looking for more of a deeper plot, then that might leave you a bit more unsatisfied. At the same time, some hopes just doesn’t keep up with my own expectations especially in the story department. Needless to say though, the colorful and artistic visuals of Garden of Words will paint you a memory you won’t forget. Along with the soundtrack and song, it captures a moment where you feel as if you were there with the characters. It’s also from this moment that hopes are formed with Takao and Yukino. There’s this feeling from this 46 minute film I got that people can relate to. It’s about hopes and dreams for the future. Takao wants to be a shoemaker and that’s what he aims to be. I’m sure most of us has our own hopes and dreams for the future as well. Well with that said being and done, I HOPE you enjoy this film.
24: Tamako Love Story
MAL Score: 7.96
As she edges toward the end of her high school life, the energetic but generally clueless third-year Tamako Kitashirakawa has only one major concern: pulling off a stunning baton performance at the Usagiyama Marching Festival. But all too soon, she is confronted by the reality that all her friends have big plans for their futures; she, on the other hand, just operates with the moderate goal of continuing to work at her family’s restaurant.
Under the same brilliant sky, Mochizou Ooji intends to study at a university in Tokyo, leaving behind his family, friends, and most importantly, his first and only love Tamako. Unfortunately, the shy admirer cannot bring himself to declare his love, and Tamako is yet unaware that she is the source of such anguish. With time quickly running out, Mochizou must confess his feelings to Tamako soon, or his dream of romance will never be fulfilled.
When characters become so endearing and the story becomes so interesting, it’s difficult to let go of preconceptions and selfish desires. Desires to, for a lack of a better word, fill in the gap for the future of the beloved characters. To want to know more, more about the new world that they have entered through their actions in this movie. How they will grow, how they will learn to cope with difficulties, together. We don’t want to be left out of their future adventures, and that is one of the great hallmarks of a truly great show or movie. To leave an impression, and change the viewer’s mindset on whatever it may be. And while some may argue that this movie did in fact have an excellent ending that finalizes all things past and present, I differ slightly.
It is because it has such a great ending that, paradoxically, it does not.
It keeps the future in a haze (although some may argue that the future is clear and defined).
It leaves more questions than it answers (although some may argue that all questions have been laid to rest and satisfactorily answered).
It selfishly ends itself on a high note, with a cinematic and unquestionable “thud”. It tells the audience that all is well, and yet sneaks in the false feelings of anticipation and hope. It dramatically and slowly closes its doors on that beloved story with a smile, leaving the rest of the character’s lives up to the imagination of the viewer. Are the viewers to be left happy in the dark, when the play has finished, when the actors and actresses have bowed to the audience, the curtains lowered and the lights dimmed? And in a ironic and unexpectedly cruel twist, one may find that it may have been “better” to end the story ambiguously.
Opinion is not the greatest tool of measurement, that much is clear. The opinions of the viewer cannot change what has already happened. All that we can do is reflect on the past and look forward to the future. And the process of moving on is perhaps the most difficult part of watching any show or movie.
And it’s Anko-chan Pero Pero throughout – cute girls doing cute things.
As anticipated, Kyoto Animation delivers when it comes to simple human drama of teens’ friendship and maturing – and Director Naoko Yamada now successfully adds a guy (!), as well as families, and some good people in the neighborhood (although this mix probably didn’t come out too well in the TV series). Yamada proves herself again as a director capable of delicate handling of emotions; by depicting a girl sitting alone in a classroom on a table in silence, the Director lets you share her mixed emotions of sorrow, slight regret, and fulfillment.
But the girl won’t be left alone by herself for too long, as she has a good friend who wants to “go up with her to a higher ground and overcome” an obstacle. How to overcome obstacles in life is probably the “hidden” theme of the movie (Yamada probably felt that it needed to be tackled after making K-On!). Isaac Newton and his answers to how he overcame his obstacle and found the gravitation theory (“By always thinking unto them”) was quoted as a reference (and hence the title of the ending song- Principle; also the story behind the visuals in the ED song of the TV series with the Sun and Moon and Tamako with a different sort of face is now revealed).
My favorite line in the movie: “Bitter memories are proof that you did something”.
Some ways of presentation (“camera work”) that Yamada uses, and the way things are told covertly might not appeal to everyone, but I personally enjoy that as originality and creativity- it keeps the movie fresh from banality. Overall, it’s an “ordinary” love story, a pure and innocent one, with which anyone with a heart and memory can sympathize (and writhe in shyness and embarrassment). You would almost certainly have a Mochizo or Tamako (or perhaps a Midori – lez or no lez, that’s not the matter) inside you.
It’s not a big film but it’s heartwarming. If you’ve liked the small film by Ghibli like Mimi O Sumasebai, you might see Tamako Love Story as Kyoto Animation’s reply to a sort of similar theme. Go see it, or buy a BD/DVD release (should be released in the later half of 2014).
Tamako love story is just like a mainstream romance/slice of life anime at first glance. I enjoyed watching it, but there’s something that made me love this more than any other romance/slice of life anime, its realistic and simple story.
Story – 10
This is suppose to be the sequel of tamako market and the development of both male and female protagonists. But I can say that this sequel doesn’t need a prequel, it can stand alone by itself. The story is so simple yet you feel the enjoyment throughout the film and you can share the same emotions as the characters are making.
Art – 9
KyoAni’s art is expectedly moe-ish but that moe-ish art makes the characters emotions a little closer to realistic. And at the same time, its cute.
Sound – 9
The sound sticks to a romance genre anime, soft, gentle, and gives off emotions. I really enjoyed the song [koe no uta] It gets right into my heart (dam*).
Character – 9
The flow of all the main characters development is perfect, I’ve learned a lot in terms of love (romance genre, duh). That’s all.
Enjoyment – 10
The enjoyment I felt is not something out of ordinary, I don’t know if I’m crazy or not, because I’m smiling from the start until the end of the film. I might go to a hospital one of these days.
Overall – 10
This film is a must watch for romance lovers, of course you need to watch Tamako market before this, ignore the stand alone blah blah in the story part of my review. Because by watching the prequel, you will get to know the characters more and their everyday lives. And you can feel their love by watching the sequel.
23: Macross F Movie 2: Sayonara no Tsubasa
Japanese: 劇場版 マクロスＦ 恋離飛翼 ～サヨナラノツバサ～
MAL Score: 7.97
Second Macross Frontier movie.
Remember my Evangelion anecdote in my Macross Frontier Movie 1: Itsuwari no Utahime review? If not, let me recap. Evangelion had 3, soon to be 4 rebuild films that got progressively strayed from the original anime, the more the rebuild story went on, to the point that movie 3 was something new in its entirety. It’s a similar thing here. Itsuwari no Utahime partly recapped the first 10 episodes of Macross Frontier, and then strayed away for the film’s second half. This film, Macross Frontier Movie 2: Sayonara no Tsubasa or the equally awesome English translation, Wings of Farewell, is a new story in its entirety. So, with the final installment to this 2-part ambitious project, did they put off a stellar farewell performance, or did they come crashing down into the crevasses of forgotten stardom? Let’s find out, shall we?
Your enjoyment of the story comes down to how much you can handle all of the many twists and hidden agendas this movie throws at you. It rivals Code Geass R2 in the amount of those present here. Back in Itsuwari no Utahime, Sheryl and Grace, two of the more prevalent characters in the series, were suspected as spies from Macross Galaxy. This movie finishes what that film started. It turns out that like in the show, Sheryl has been afflicted with a fatal Vajra illness, and she’ll eventually die, so Grace O’Connor wants to take her and her career out in one fell swoop. Luckily, Leon, whose role is somewhat changed from his villainous role in the show, brings this case back up, eliminates most of Grace’s men, shot Grace multiple times, arrested Sheryl, and started a manhunt against a guy named Brera Sterne, a guy being controlled by Grace herself. Fed up with Sheryl’s arrest, Alto, the rising star Ranka, and various members of Frontier’s military team up to bust her out, and eliminate the still present Vajra threat. Unfortunately, Grace’s body is brought back by Leon, thinking he still has a use for her. Considering the bullet her minion Brera Sterne put on Leon’s head, it’s safe to say it didn’t work out well. Also, if there was anything recycled from the show during this movie, it would be the remaining sides during the final confrontation, seeing as there were four sides to this epic battle of wits and conquest. Also, this movie, like Code Geass R2, pulls an ambiguous ending, leaving you to speculate what truly happened. There’s already enough spoilers on the review as it is, and I won’t add any more.
One of the biggest sections of dramatic tension, is Sheryl’s arrest. She’s heartbroken knowing that her career is going to end, and she’s going to die, weather the illness or the new death sentence placed on her arrest kills her first. Luckily, she’s even better than her portrayal in the show, with slightly more depth in this incarnation. Ranka is the same as before, and so is Alto, except for some choices he makes, even if it’s pretty much confirmed that at some point after the ending of this film, you know, when he gets back home from his crazy decision, the Alto x Sheryl ship will set sail. Everyone else is the same as in the show as well, except for Leon. He is no longer a backstabbing villain who gets confronted near the end of the show with no further punishment. This time, out of the four sides, he’s the second best, aside from the protagonists of course, only this time, HE gets backstabbed, or rather, shot.
The visuals of this movie have barely aged a day. The performances are marvelous and full of life, the CG looks stepped up from the show, and even more amazing than before. The mech fights are some of the best I’ve ever seen. So much beautiful flashy effects everywhere, it’s just breathtaking! Nothing looks bad, and it’s just a marvel to look at. It’s like being up close for a fireworks show, only, no side effects like smoke or whatever.
No track is less than stellar in terms of vocals. Sure, the background music sounds just OK, but the vocals are the best in the series. Kindan no Elixir and Sayonara no Tsubasa are some of the best performances ever, and Ranka’s performances are no slouch either. You have to listen to these songs for yourself. Also, a majority of songs are new this time around. I still listen to Kindan no elixir from time to time. It is that good.
The twists were enthralling, the action was amazing, and the music was just beautiful. What else do I need to say? If I can put up with some of the worst subs I’ve ever seen, just for this movie, that`s a testament to how much I loved this film, even if some of the twists are a bit more disagreeable than others. It was definitely the most fun I’ve had with Frontier as a whole, as well as some of the most fun I’ve had with the franchise period.
OVERALL: 8/10 RAW SCORE 81/100
There’s not much left to say. This movie was epic. It truly brought a great conclusion to the series, and is a worthy addition to the franchise. Sure, not all twists were great, but they kept me at the edge of my seat, along with the amazing songs and battles. Sure, this movie is a bit more divisive than the first, despite it having a higher score than the first, but it was a real treat, and you should definitely watch it if you have watched movie 1 already. With that, I bid you adieu.
a) The best animation ever seen (the first movie blew me away so did this one)
b) Cheesy songs that you may end up listening to as a guilty pleasure, you wouldn’t be caught dead listening to them in front of your friends
c) A crazy story about how music can suddenly save the world and make wars come to an end
d) some sort of stupid Love Triangle
I mean the thing with Macross is you can’t judge it in comparison to other shows nor can you judge it with a regular mindset. If you’re the type of person who has willingly chosen to watch Macross then you know by now that – c) and d) are very likely to be present, perhaps you even enjoy dismally bad stories and love polygons perhaps you dream of one day singing to make the galaxy a better place, or maybe you’re just an obsessed fanboy/girl. To you all of these things shouldn’t matter
Strangely enough the love triangle here is finally resolved! Yes RESOLVED – after the series’ rather indecisive ending – which was left like that so as not to piss off half of their fanbase. Now that the frontier chapter is over though and cinema tickets have been purchased nobody cares about the disenfranchised lot who are probably now embarking on a host of collective suicide gatherings and poster bonfires.
Was it better than the first movie? No use comparing them they’re probably better watched in sequence
If Nuclear reactors ran on cheese then this movie would be Fukushima – non-irradiated people like myself can actually sit through it if we take the time to remember that a) and b) are worth watching – so much so that c) and d) can be overlooked.
–may contain some SPOILER!–
Alto-kun is a real man~
I would have complained if the movie ended with alto not being
able to choose between sheryl and ranka. Even though that was
(or maybe) his last time~ He really… *cries*
he really made up his mind and chose~
I’m a rankaXalto fan. Even way back from the series, I was
hoping that Alto would end up with Ranka. I was obsessed about
their pairing so I kinda hated Sheryl. Or should I say I really
hated Sheryl. What I had in mind about her was that she makes
all this “alluring” moves to seduce Alto and so on. But after
seeing this movie, i changed my view about her. TT^TT
Well, more about the movie~ The concert (Sheryl and Ranka’s
concert) was very amazing! I wish there would be a concert like
that. It started with Sheryl having her concert. (Once again,
MF never really fails you with their songs XD) with all of
those costumes and test tubes~ TEST TUBES? yeah~(It kinda goes
along with the meaning of the song) test tubes and she used one
of those as her mic then she suddenly collapsed. I thought the
reason why she collapsed was because she kinda swallowed some
of the liquid from her test-tube-mic. Hahaha~ n_n”
Well, the rest of the story was just like from the series. Some
events on the series was elaborated on the movie. And there was
also bit of twist. Also a memory of Alto from the past was
revealed. Which I think is the one that contributed to the
‘thing’ that made Alto chose that girl.
Alto’s moment of decision must be considered a very special
time~ considering how the movie ended. But if he could have
just got out from that VAJRA, the movie would be more dramatic.
Alto surviving, returning to his chosen girl, and that girl
being on the verge of death, ranka getting over or accepting
alto’s decision (So sorry for the spoiler >_
22: Kaze Tachinu
English: The Wind Rises
MAL Score: 8.10
Although Jirou Horikoshi’s nearsightedness prevents him from ever becoming a pilot, he leaves his hometown to study aeronautical engineering at Tokyo Imperial University for one simple purpose: to design and build planes just like his hero, Italian aircraft pioneer Giovanni Battista Caproni. His arrival in the capital coincides with the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, during which he saves a maid serving the family of a young girl named Naoko Satomi; this disastrous event marks the beginning of over two decades of social unrest and malaise leading up to Japan’s eventual surrender in World War II.
For Jirou, the years leading up to the production of his infamous Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighter aircraft will test every fiber of his being. His many travels and life experiences only urge him onward?—even as he realizes both the role of his creations in the war and the harsh realities of his personal life. As time marches on, he must confront an impossible question: at what cost does he chase his beautiful dream?
The film is based on a true story, that of Jirou Horikoshi. He was a japanese aeronautical engineer in charge of the design of the Mitsubishi Zero, the fighter plane used in World War II – specifically during the attack on Pearl Harbor.
The movie begins by following Jirou at a young age and his dream to become a pilot. This is not the case because Jirou is nearsighted; nevertheless, we see Jirou’s great interest in the Italian aeronautical pioneer, Count Caproni, as he becomes inspired to become an aeronautical engineer.
The story doesn’t just focus on Jirou and aviation, but it develops into a love story between Jirou and Naoko. Hayao Miyazaki was able to produce a beautiful love story that did not interfere with the work focus surrounding Jirou. Both Jirou’s love for airplanes and Naoko were able to coexist and have the same equal amount of passion throughout the film.
Like any other Miyazaki and Ghibli film, the art is memorable and breathtaking. The watercolor style backgrounds are drawn with so much care and detail that the animation alone is able to bring the movie to life.
For those of you who have seen Miyazaki’s films, you will definitely have déjà vu moments as you see the similarities between the artwork and music. You will see the animation and music that made: Porco Rosso, Howl’s Moving Castle, Spirited Away, and his other movies so distinctive from one another all coming together and producing that unique tone for The Wind Rises. We can clearly see all of Miyazaki’s accomplishments in the industry pouring out into this film and piecing itself together like a perfect jigsaw puzzle.
I believe that the characters are what drive this film to its fullest potential. I have only watched the english dubbed, but the casting was great. Each voice fit the different role remarkably. Emily Blunt and Joseph Gordon-Levitt deserve nothing but praise as they did an outstanding job voicing Naoko and Jirou. All of the relationships developed in this movie are a beautiful portrayal of every day life friendships and interactions. There are no “bad” guys. The suspense built is not from an external race trying to cause havoc, but rather a more personal suspense built within Jirou. Overall, the characters are very charismatic and enjoyable.
The pacing of the movie was very steady. It never felt as if it were too rushed or was dragging. Much of the film is spent in and out of Jirou’s dreams. Some people believed that it was hard to decipher when he is actually dreaming versus when he is not. The introduction of Caproni makes it very obvious, or should, to whether or not he is dreaming.
There have been many complaints about how this movie doesn’t live up to Miyazaki and his other films, but I think otherwise. Each of his movies are uniquely set in their own world of a dream-like fantasy. The Wind Rises joins them as a masterpiece, but in its own category.
By the end of the movie, all of your questions will be answered. Your overall understanding of the events that have just taken place will hit you straight in the heart – let those tears of joy and sadness run down your cheeks! The finale of Miyazaki’s movies has ended. Go with the wind as you take away the two hours of complete sublimity. My words alone cannot even describe the amount of emotion and beauty seen in this film, you will have to see it for yourself!
Of course, it would have been even better if he did it before Wind Rises came into existence, because my god was this one fucking dull movie.
The genre that Miyazaki tackles with his latest flying extravaganza is the biographical one. Whilst it’s true that stuff like Porco Rosso and Kiki were films centered around one protagonist’s life, Wind Rises goes a step further by detailing the life of our main hero, Jiro, as he grows from a boy to university to adult to irresponsible fuckwad. We see that he’s acrophobic but still wants to build planes as inspired by his dream friend and famous plane designer Caproni. As such he grows into a man who builds planes that are eventually used for war – who didn’t see that coming? – and eventually gets to marry a girl he knew when she was only twelve or so whilst he was in college. More things happen later, but it’s not really my place to spoil that stuff, so I’ll just go into “complaining mode” now.
Okay animation guys, I’m going to establish a new rule. You know those slice-of-life stories where we follow a dude as he learns about new things and the charm apparently relies on how much you like the focus character whilst throwing in a few comedic scenes that make up the crux of anime like Silver Spoon or Uchouten without any real conflict that can’t be solved through a counselor on Skype? You’re NOT allowed to do that anymore! You can still have them as downtime or whatever, but you have to have something else, even if you have to hire the Kanon car or introduce a sick mum who’s not really that sick, Totoro-style. Why? Because it’s boring! It doesn’t allow the audience to learn about the subject matter you’re probably trying to teach. And it’s #1 on my most hated anime cliche list for a reason.
Even if I was into Jiro as a character, I still wouldn’t find following him for two hours all that interesting because there is no real personal conflict that happens to him throughout the majority of his life. He likes planes. Some plane-related/war-related incidents happen that have fuck-all tension and don’t really affect him all that much. He meets the girl he’s going to marry and we get a few playful scenes before they decide they want to be together. He goes through a bunch of timeskips that have no subtitles to indicate when they’re happening and come off as jarring when they occur without incident because after he stops being a kid, he looks the same in his thirties as he does in his twenties.
And to make it worse, the finale of the film is that the story just ends. No real big scene. No big climax. It’s just a revelation where the message overrides the story and then it just ends without a second thought. That’s got to be the most sudden “okay we’re done” ending I’ve seen since that godawful Steins;Gate movie.
I won’t say the film isn’t without merits. The stretch of time where Jiro gets married and has to care for his wife is decent, if only because it actually introduced a personal conflict to his life. The way it all ends up is sad, even though the finale became a little manipulative in that Up sort of fashion. Unfortunately, that only takes up about twenty minutes of the film at most and it only happens in the last act.
I suppose Wind Rises is worth watching if you’re a plane geek who’s into all the “many” historically accurate details that are peppered through the film’s early 90s setting, or if you’re a die-hard Miyazaki fan (despite the fact that I didn’t like this film, I’ll probably still buy it just to complete the collection), or if you’re into “feels”, whatever the fuck that means. But dude, that’s a lot of hype and talent to use up on what comes across like a nature documentary with a plane dude as the main subject. Personally, I want to free up time to watch Castle in the Sky again. Whilst eating Papa John’s pizza.
So, The Wind Rises is a movie that focuses on a man named Jirou Horikoshi, the designer of the A6M Zero fighter plane of World War II, notoriously known for its use in the kamikaze, or suicide, missions back in the war.
That said, this is far from a biographical movie. It’s a fictional work loosely based around the historical figure known as Jirou Horikoshi. Wikipedia classifies this movie as an “animated historical fantasy film” and I think that classification fits the bill perfectly.
The story focuses on the life of Jirou Horikoshi and the romantic relationship between him and a woman named Setsuko, who suffers from tuberculosis. Overall, I felt the pacing of the movie was pretty well done, starting from childhood and slowly progressing through different stages of his life in a very fluid manner, although there were moments that felt rushed from time to time (the romantic relationship between Setsuko and Jirou for example).
The animation was of course amazingly detailed and well done (I loved how they paid attention to giving the animation depth; little mannerisms like a guy habitually shaking his legs under the desk while he’s working or the main character’s suit crumpling up when he sat down on a stool). One other thing I loved were the “dream sequences”, basically portraying Jirou’s dreams in a very surrealistic manner, as they were very vibrant and made for perfect transitions between different parts of the movie. These things, combined with an amazing soundtrack that fit perfectly with the mood (as expected of Hisaisi Joe), made some scenes truly amazing. Well, I had expected nothing less from Ghibli and Miyazaki Hayao, but even with that in mind, it blows you away.
The characters are overall unique and likeable. We also have some glimpses of other historical figures such as aeronautical engineers Giovanni Batista Caproni (who serves as a role model of sorts in Jirou[‘s dreams] in the movie), and Hugo Junkers. And of course there’s Setsuko, the lover of our man, Jirou. The romance in this movie of course tugs right at your heartstrings. It’s not burningly flamboyant nor overly exciting; rather it is one of those faint, calm romances that makes you feel calm and happy inside. It makes you shed a few tears (and be on the brink of shedding more on other occasions) for the romance for it was absolutely beautiful and heart-wrenching.
(Fun fact: Giovanni Batista Caproni’s aircraft manufacturing company, Caproni, manufactured a plane called the Caproni Ca.309 Ghibli, which served as the inspiration to Ghibli’s name)
On a side note, the voice acting by Anno Hideaki (famous for being the chief director of Evangelion TV and movie series) I thought was quite amusing; it fit the out-of-it character of the main character pretty well, although at the more emotional moments of the movie, it lacked depth.
Overall, it was a very enjoyable 2 hours. It made me laugh, it made me cry at the right moments, it made me stare at the screen with a slack jawed expression because some scenes were just too beautiful.
Finally, I found the criticism and controversy it’s generating (especially in Korea) was a bit overblown. If anything, I found it to be quite critical of war and Japan attacking other nations (at several points in the movie, the characters say that Japan is going down a path of ruin [along with Germany] ).
I think it’s best to enjoy this as a piece, a work of art, rather than read too deep into it. I advise you to watch it just as a story of the life and love of a man who simply loved aircrafts.
21: Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! Movie: Take On Me
Japanese: 映画 中二病でも恋がしたい！-Take On Me-
MAL Score: 8.14
Although already a third-year high school student, Rikka Takanashi remains a chuunibyou—a “disease” that causes people to fantasize about themselves and their surroundings. Her relationship with Yuuta Togashi has also gone unchanged for the past six months, and with entrance exams right around the corner, both of them strive to enroll at the same college. However, Tooka—Rikka’s elder sister—decides to take Rikka to Italy as she has found a stable job there. This unforeseen turn of events causes a commotion between the couple as neither of them want to be separated from each other. Desperate for ideas, they seek assistance from their friends, and after a brief conversation, they come up with a plan—to elope.
Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! Movie: Take On Me is a sensational drama featuring the couple—Yuuta and Rikka—as they journey across Japan. The two attempt to prevent Rikka from being taken to Italy, but will they be able to succeed in doing so?
This movie is practically identical to the anime series, offering new content and pushing the romance onward. Fans and haters will hold similar thoughts about this sequel for the given reason. Those who thought Tamako Love Story is the best conclusion KyoAni has ever given, will find Take On Me give them a gentle bitchslap in the face.
Our story is amazing. The daily life of Rikka and Yuuta where we run from place to another in absolutely ridiculous tempo. The movie is practically a presentation of what side-tracking means. Much like the mind of a child, the focus changes from one play to another. Our characters constantly getting interested from new things and interacting with the newly discovered, only to find something better moments later. This type of ADHD narrative holds some beauty for sure.
My favorite scene was the one where Rikka was supposed to study, but wore night goggles and ate cookies instead. If this is not how you life properly then I don’t know what is. My favorite meme was Rikka failing to enter Mordor. As a person who also has found automatic doors to be my enemies, I can totally identify. My favorite explanation was Rikka’s take on motion sickness. It’s the devil!
There are 4 core flaws here that all made me drop my score by one:
– No date at a zoo arc
– No one drinks dr. Peter
– Deko’s hair rolls didn’t K.O anyone
– They didn’t use the song ‘Take On Me’ by a-ha even once
– When Rikka brought destruction upon earth, there were no casualties
– The movie contained direct to indirect kisses in 5:1 ratio which is way too low
– The amount of Yuuta and Rikka holding hands totaled mere 16 minutes. What travesty.
I started from 11 because this thing is beyond perfect by default, and I refuse to count because math is for nerds.
I recommend this movie to intellectual people as there was a symbolic artwork in the background, The Creation of Adam. There were also countless eggies from earlier KyoAni shows, such as the stuffed animal being a character (Talking Pimp-Bird-san) from Tamako Market. I have decided to release my review with a score of a 10/10 to prove that I, indeed, understood these references.
Those who don’t think this review is amazing most likely didn’t yet see the movie, or my references failed. Either way, this movie is beyond happy and I especially recommend this to people who aren’t because you will be after watching it.
The movie is a big, pretty piece of f*cking nothing. Nothing happens in the grand scheme of the Chuunibyou series. There are no themes here that aren’t tackled somewhere else in this series, but the worst part of it is it dangles genuine character growth in front of you and then it spits on it and sneers at you, “How could you? How could you genuinely expect these characters to develop and change and grow? Don’t you know you need to accept all the imperfections and bla bla bla”
Rikka’s character arc in this movie is utterly ruined, because it would rather pander to it’s base and keep everyone’s precious status quo than possibly challenge the viewer. These characters are stuck undergoing their Sisyphean task of being the same dull characters they were in the rest of the series.
The idea of Rikka finally maturing and dealing with the adult world in a healthy way is a very interesting one, but the execution is atrocious instead choosing to romanticize her unhealthy delusions because “As long as someone encourages you delusions- I mean loves you for you are, you need not grow” She has grown past the need for these eight-grade delusions, but because the audience hasn’t, she will be perpetually stuck as a mentally ill teenager.
Take On Me begins with Rikka up to her usual antics. She’s in her third year of high school now, but not only does she still have chunibyo, she and Yuta still haven’t even kissed. This alone strains credibility, but fortunately the film immediately identifies this as a problem to be fixed. Rikka and Yuta go on a journey around Japan together, knowing that they’re escaping from impending reality, but wanting to maintain their current relationship until the end. Fans who have been waiting to see progress between these two will probably come out of the film feeling satisfied.
It is starting to get tiresome, however, to see this series revolve around the same “will they or won’t they?” romance in its third instalment. Rikka and Yuta may be an official couple, but if anything, they’ve gone backwards since the first season. By this stage, Rikka has some prosaic issues that she ought to be worrying about—like whether she can pass her entrance exams—but her only moments of introspection show her worrying about whether falling more in love with Yuta will make her “lose” her powers. This is the exact same conflict that was central to the second season. This time, at least, Take On Me allows Rikka and Yuta to progress their romance, but the issues of Rikka’s grades and future are never brought up past the beginning of the film. It’s a sweet resolution, yes, but it’s frustrating to watch these kids work through the same basic issues every time.
On the other hand, it’s not the destination that matters so much as the journey. As a road trip story, Take On Me encapsulates that idea perfectly. Fans of Kyoto Animation shows will get an extra kick out this film, as the characters visit the locations shown in Tamako Market, Sound! Euphonium, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Clannad, and other familiar series. Not only do these various locations provide fodder for some amusing sight gags and referential humor, it also gives the characters a chance to breathe outside the school setting. The gags feel fresh here; it’s especially funny to see Nibutani and Dekomori take on the role of the ineffectual pursuers. Their hilarious frenemy dynamic definitely steals the show more than once.
I should note that not every character gets a chance to shine in this film. Kumin-senpai has apparently graduated but still hangs around the school anyway, but this setup is a bit of a waste since she barely contributes to the plot in any meaningful way. Shichimiya, meanwhile, is stuck playing the same role she had in the second season—the friendly antagonist who pushes Rikka to make an important choice. To be fair, the series has always had a problem with utilizing all of its characters effectively, but I do wish Kumin and Shichimiya could have more chances to show off their quirks in this film.
It’s also a bit disappointing that the production values aren’t quite as polished as they could be. The film by no means looks bad—this is a Kyoto Animation production we’re talking about—but there were some noticeable imperfections with the compositing in particular. 3D objects like vehicles stood out against the 2D backgrounds more than they usually do for a Kyoto Animation production. I also couldn’t help but notice that the crowd scenes didn’t have as many background characters drawn in them as usual. The animation itself was on par with the TV anime series, which is to say it was full of energy and stylistic flourishes, but for a cinematic feature, Take On Me was a bit of a letdown.
In short, Take On Me is the quintessential Chunibyo experience: it captures the charms of the TV series but also the flaws. On a thematic level, the series has already said everything it needed to say in the first season; everything since has been an extended encore. The film functions best as fanservice, not just for Chunibyo fans, but for anyone who has ever loved a Kyoto Animation production. Take On Me is at its most fun when its jokes veer off the plot’s beaten track to revel in the countless Easter eggs aimed at KyoAni fans. I won’t spoil these, as spotting them for yourself is half the fun, but after watching the film I’ve started to think that maybe the world is ready for a Kyoto Animation extended universe saga.
Overall, I recommend Take On Me only for Kyoto Animation fans who weren’t too jaded by the second season of the Chunibyo TV series. Actually, you can probably understand the film without watching the second season. Only Shichimiya was a new development in that season, and her role is pretty much the same in the film anyway. Also, do watch this film if you’re a fan of the shipping, as it absolutely does deliver by the end. Otherwise, my general recommendation for Chunibyo is to stick to the first season of the TV series—it’s the best telling of the same story.
20: 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.
19: Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo
English: The Girl Who Leapt Through Time
MAL Score: 8.16
Makoto Konno is in her last year of high school, but is having a hard time deciding what to do with her future. In between enduring the pressure of her teachers and killing time with her best friends, Makoto’s life suddenly changes when she accidentally discovers that she is capable of literally leaping through time.
Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo follows Makoto as she plays around with her newfound power. However, she soon learns the hard way that every choice has a consequence, and time is a lot more complicated than it may seem.
However, everything has a consequence.
Even the seemingly most insignificant and puerile of acts can have grave consequences, as such acts are often made out of ignorance or selfishness; both which are traits that rarely bring out a good result if actions are based on them. Our heroine has to learn this the hard way, as she sees how fateful her so-called insignificant acts are, and how wrong she is in her childish beliefs. What she want is merely to keep the fun times around; with her and her two beloved friends. She wants time to stop, to remain in the present. However, time is inexorable; the future is relentlessly closing in on us. And she has to learn this the hard way. But she learns. Through hardships, through death, and most important of all, through love, she learns that the future is not something to be avoided. Rather it is something to be cherished; something one should embrace.
And that is the basics of the plot and characters in this story; a girl who repeatedly travels back in time to keep the times as they are, and actually learns during this process that it is better to look forward and into the future rather than intransigently dwell on the present. Her two friends aren’t focused on that much, but both are portrayed beautifully when they are, both the though-shelled Chiaki and the obliging Kousuke. Accompanying the beautiful plot is a standard-fare movie animation; which means beautiful and detailed landscapes, cityscapes and backgrounds. And while character movements are fluid, the designs themselves are a bit lackluster, and should have been more detailed. The soundtrack which follows on top is equally beautiful, with serene piano tracks accompanying the at times laughter-provoking and at times melancholy story, and a somewhat expected, yet beautiful ending theme.
Toki wo Kakeru Shojo is a beautiful movie, which is good for many things, but especially its underlying hints about looking towards the future and accepting that the present will change as well as the simple message that every act has a consequence; especially childish and ignorant acts at that. And even if such themes does not interest you, I think this beautiful story is well worth spending one and a half hour of your life watching.
Although the character art is simple, I love it <i>because</i> it is simple and clean. The backgrounds, environment, and special effects are a different thing entirely. They are rendered in such gloriously realistic detail. The landscapes, the classrooms, the streets — I have never seen such detail in an animated film. It makes things like Beowulf and Final Fantasy: Advent Children look really silly.
The movie also has such beautiful sound. The effects are perfect and clear. This is topped off by one of the most beautiful soundtrack and score I’ve ever heard outside of…well, nothing! The music is so appropriately poignant at times that I almost cried from it, fifteen minutes into the movie. I actually knew, glowing reviews aside, fifteen minutes in, that it was going to be a wonderful film. I mean, if the music can make goosebumps rise on my arms, then it can probably save even a disaster of a film — which this is certainly not. The ending theme is the most appropriate song ever written for any anime. Ever. Just listening to it makes me go "awwwww" and I really want to find it. I’m making it my mission. It’s like a direct line to Makoto’s head at the end, and made me cry all over again. I’m really not normally a sap, but I’m very sensitive to music, and this movie’s music is just so awesome. Not in a grandiose and sweeping sense, but in a gentler, more subtle way. (In fact, subtle describes this whole movie: subtle but effective.)
The characters are also very well-written, complemented by good voice actors. Chiaki’s has a tendency to mumble so much, I can barely understand him sometimes, but it actually fits his character well. They’re quite convincing as high-schoolers, though, and I love how they were all created so realistically, without following any staple formulae or types. They’re all just…normal, even though two of them can do very abnormal things.
Though the plot itself is very simple, the way the characters develop throughout the seemingly minor conflicts (and that big, heart-pounding one toward the end) gives the story incredible depth. And when it reached the ending, I didn’t want it to end but, at the same time, I felt the ending was perfect. I’m a sucker for this type of ending: very, very hanging. Like most of the novels and movies and anime I like, the movie ends just when another story is about to start — the rest of Konno Makoto’s life. I mean, the movie is set within two or three days, I think, though with the time leaps it may feel like it takes place for a much longer period of time. Those days are when Makoto is merely poised at the threshhold: summer is drawing near, school is almost out, and they have to decide on their majors. Yet what happens in that short time is so profound that I’m sure it will affect the rest of her life.
Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo also drives home a message. The line "time waits for no one" is mentioned several times during the course of the film, and by the end it makes sense why the writer chose that line. That there is no time like the present seems like such a cliche, but when we can’t leap through time and change events to suit us, the present is all the time we have. We have to cherish each day as it comes and each person as they are, for how do we know that by tomorrow they won’t be gone?
Our protagonist, Makoto, is having a bad day. She woke up late. She flunked a quiz. She got into an accident while trying to cook tempura, another student was tossed into her, sandwiching her between two other students for a while and she heard strange sounds when turning in some questionnaires only to find no one in the next room. Things take their worst turn when her bike’s brakes fail and she’s tossed in front of an oncoming train. That’s when she finds herself back in the past a couple minutes before the accident. Her aunt tells her that it was a time leap, but Makoto doesn’t believe such a thing is possible until, after some experimentation, she discovers how it works. She puts on a cricket uniform with celery in the lapel and leaps through time and space in search of adventure.
Actually, she uses her new found power to do better on tests, perform better at baseball, have fun and, most importantly, avoid slightly awkward situations. Yeah, our protagonist is neither smart nor creative. At first, she’s having a lot of fun but then she learns that her actions are having consequences, as actions are liable to have. Yeah, about half the film is made up of Makoto using her powers to mess around in relatively innocuous ways and the other half is comprised of her trying to fix things that go wrong. Honestly, it’s pretty boring. You keep expecting something interesting to happen with it, but it never does. There is one genuinely dramatic moment, but it doesn’t even last ten minutes. The main romance is kind of stupid and doesn’t make a whole lot of sense given the circumstances presented.
Our cast is bland. Really, really bland. None of them are particularly interesting, but none of them are obnoxious or terrible characters either. There’s just nothing that makes them distinguishable from other characters we’ve seen thousands of times, if not more. Makoto is an idiot who gains a really amazing ability but can’t be bothered to think of anything to do with it aside from playing around. Her friends are the generic nice, reliable guy and the generic off-putting guy with a good heart. Then we have all the secondary characters like the supportive friend, the shy girl and so on.
The art is really good with nice detailed backgrounds and character designs that, though simple, look good. The time traveling effect is appropriately strange and is also well animated.
The voice acting is competent. None of the actors give really exceptional performances, but none of them do badly either. They all do decently. The music is also okay. It doesn’t really stand out in the slightest either positively or negatively.
There is no ho-yay in this. 1/10.
The Girl who Leapt through time is a hard film to discuss. Not because it’s complicated but because it’s tedious and generic. It’s a story about time travel where the time travel is never used in either an interesting or a creative way. It’s like a mystery story where the detective solves minor mysteries that don’t really have any impact. Sure, you can do it but you’re going to have to have really strong characters to pull it off. Not the rather generic cast you get in this. That being said, there’s nothing really wrong with the film. In the end my rating is going to be a 5/10. It’s average. If the concept of a girl traveling through time to make her everyday life better appeals to you, check it out. If you want something more compelling out of your time travel stories, stick to Steins;Gate, Back to the Future, The Time Machine, or any number of other stories. Tomorrow, film festival week ends with a look at a certain film involving cyborgs.
18: Cardcaptor Sakura Movie 2: Fuuin Sareta Card
English: Card Captor Sakura Movie 2: The Sealed Card
Japanese: 劇場版 カードキャプターさくら 封印されたカード
MAL Score: 8.21
For this year’s Nadeshiko Festival, Sakura Kinomoto’s elementary school class is presenting a play. She will portray a princess who struggles to respond to the love confession of the neighboring country’s prince. Sakura empathizes with her character all too well, since she herself still owes an answer to the boy who confessed his love for her four months ago.
When cousins Shaoran and Meiling Li return from Hong Kong to pay a surprise visit to their friends in Japan, Sakura receives further encouragement to finally declare her feelings. However, she is repeatedly distracted by a presence reminiscent of a Clow Card as well as unexplained disappearances around town.
Eventually, Sakura learns of another of Clow Reed’s creations—the “Nothing”—which was formerly sealed away beneath the magician’s old house. It has power equal to all 52 cards Sakura possesses, and furthermore, it wants to take those cards away from her! Objects, space, and people disappear from Tomoeda with each card that is stolen. Sakura sets out to capture the Nothing so everything will return to normal, but what must she sacrifice in the process?
Story 10/10: The story was a lot more gripping to me than the first movie, mostly because this movie was a direct sequel to the series. I truly enjoy the relationship between Syaoran and Sakura and was rather disappointed in how the series ended, without Sakura being able to say how she felt about him. Another thing I was afraid of with this movie is that it would feel like a giant monster of the week, but I felt that the antagonist and the conflict in the story were rather unique as far as the series is concerned and it was interesting enough to not bore me within the first half hour.
Art 10/10: This may be a little biased, but I’ve always been a fan of CLAMP’s art. The problem with a lot of anime movies is that they get such a bad rep that the funding for the movies are significantly less than the series. As such, many times you’ll find that a movie based off an anime series has lowered animation quality than the series itself. I was really glad, then, when I found no quality loss in this movie. It’s still as bright and flashy as the series and the characters haven’t started to suffer from Anime Movie Deformity Syndrom.
Sound 9/10: Something that’s always kind of bugged me about this movie is that every version I’ve seen of it, the sound quality is drastically lowered. It isn’t as bad as the first movie, but it sounded like it was recorded playing out of speakers and then THAT recording is what was played in the series. I mean, it isn’t the worst sound I’ve ever heard, but it was enough to break the perfect 10 record I’m giving this series.
Character 10/10: I’ve always loved this series’s characters. CCS characters have always been really unique and vibrant, catching my attention very easily. They all have their own pros and cons that don’t fit easily into anime stereotypes. For this movie in particular, since they were exploring unknown territory, such as the deepening relationship with Syaoran and Sakura, I was afraid a lot of out-of-character experiences would occur, where the characters weren’t acting at all in their personality. Thankfully everything was pulled off without changing personalities or giving you a bad taste in your mouth.
Enjoyment 10/10: I think this is just a summary of what I’ve been saying all along: I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. The characters were wonderful, as was the story they were wrapped in, and the art and music weren’t enough to turn me away from it. I love watching this movie again and again, and I hope you will too.
The movie takes place after the anime TV series, where Sakura is still reflecting on Li’s confession from before he moved… Yeah. One day Sakura notices a presence while walking around with Tomoyo at an amusment park which was being built where a character of the series previously lived, and there she meets Li, who is visting from Hong Kong with Meilin. As the movie goes on, Sakura makes several attempts to tell Li how she really feels about him, and during this time she notices that her Sakura Cards are starting to disappear, and that a 53th card is behind it all….
As I watched the plot of the movie unfold, I had a serious case of deja vu. Why I don’t know, it could possibly be that the plot had something of an inkling to the previous movie where the antagonist of the story was taking things away from Sakura, actually, I think that’s what it was. Anyway, that aside, the plot was alright, it was good enough to keep my attention, though I was also watching to see if there was any real advances in Sakura’s and Li’s relationship…
Well, this is probably the part of the review that I dislike the most, since I always say the same thing. But anyway, the animation was the same as the TV series, so I didn’t feel like I was watching something totally different, though I wasn’t sure if I was looking at the same Yue. The coloring of the backgrounds fitted their respective scenes (does that make sense?), though some parts did seem dark and… yeah.
Background music was okay, though I don’t really remember any of it (despite the fact I just watched it) except for the dramatic parts, which were good. I absolutely loathed the vocal insert songs and I didn’t really pay attention to them.
…I watched the dub to this, and I sort of regret doing so, not because I thought they were bad, but because I simply wasn’t really used to them, which happened with another series that I watched. I also thought that Sakura’s voice could’ve been a little… lower… But I loved Eriol/Eli’s voice, which is some proof of me not being used to the voices since I haven’t heard his voice in the series. However, I do have to note that the pronouncations of the names in this movie were accuate, or more so than the series, though I’m not sure what Eriol’s name is anymore…
Erm. The characters do remain true to their TV series and manga counterparts, Sakura being a bit dense, and Tomoyo being… well, Tomoyo. Their interations, especially Li and Sakura’s are very cute, since it’s young love, and you know that you have to go “Aw….” when you see it, or you’re like me and you giggle, especially with the movie’s closing line.
The antagonist, the Nothing/Nameless/Whatever Her Name Is Card is probably my favorite character because she does seem rather human, she’s not being evil for the sake of being evil, it’s because she wants her friends back, and yeah… You can’t really help but feel sorry for her.
I can’t really say that I really really loved this, but I think that it was okay. The sound really brought it down for me, and at times I did want to stop watching, but I kept on watching because I didn’t want to drop it…
The Good: Ah… Probably characters. They are just cute and lovable!
The Bad: …But I didn’t enjoy their voices all that much, nor any of the background music…
i really love the works of CLAMP, especially cardcaptor sakura.
in the anime, syaoran grew a warm feeling for sakura and when he confessed, sakura was at first, confused but in the end, she knew what she also feels for him. the ending was kinda “bitin” but still, i’m satisfied with it…
then, i saw this movie. i was really excited to watch it and witness the continuation of their lovestory.
i won’t spoil anyone esp those who didn’t watch it yet but i’m telling you it’s really a happy ending for them.
the movie is really heart-warming and “nakakakilig”.
i was “kinikilig” the whole time and i’m super-duper satisfied with its ending.
they finally heard each other’s feelings…they finally told “it”. 😀 got the hint?
17: Yoru wa Mijikashi Arukeyo Otome
English: Night Is Short, Walk on Girl
MAL Score: 8.21
On a mysterious night that seems to last for a year, an ordinary college student continues to chase one of his underclassmen, a girl with black hair—the girl of his dreams. Up until now, he has been relying on a simple plan, which is to calculatingly bump into her every day while making it seem like a meaningful coincidence. However, his efforts remain futile as their relationship is not progressing at all.
Meanwhile, the black-haired girl believes that everything is connected by fate and endeavors to experience as many new things as possible, leaving it all for destiny to decide. While strolling along the lively streets of Kyoto, she discovers that the very beginning of her fateful journey—a book she had as a child—is currently being sold in a second-hand bookstore. Upon knowing this, the college student eyes another opportunity to run into her “by chance”: this time, he hopes to get the book before she does and finally grasp the thread of fate that could connect their hearts.
The First one is that it is hardly accessible for anyone who aren’t familiar with anime and probably not the best starter if you want to go through Masaaki Yuasa’s. In the Tatami Galaxy, the barriers to many people are the fast-paced dialogue that makes you had to rewind every minutes in order to read subtitles. In this movie, specifically in the first 25 minutes, Is even had more barriers; not only does the dialogues is still fast-paced, It’s very absurd, the story was just some random bullshit about nonsense that no one care about. The character’s even doing some unfunny jokes involving wrestling moves which does occur repeatedly. It does serve its purpose to introduce the characters that play role in the story and to know the basic of their personality and how the main girls is obsessed with drinking but even then it was random into doesn’t make any sense in the end. Whenever I watching anime I always put some though “if I haven’t known anime much, would I like this?” ‘The night is short’ though, doesn’t have that accessibility because it is too niche, which I think could lead its potential audiences to be lost interest.
The second one is the characters which is sadly quite weak. It is because the personality of these characters are something you have seen before, the protagonist is just some nice guy acting realistically, the ’ god of books’ may be funny but if you have seen Tatami Galaxy you just realize he is carbon copy of Ozu (which is intentional I think). The rest of the cast is as eccentric as they get but the movie doesn’t expand it further. The cast in Tatami Galaxy is also present and they play major role in the story instead just being a cameo, but it doesn’t help much. The anime doesn’t seems to be focused on the aspect.
What it focused on I think is the overall experience with its story and the visual, and I think it deserves credit, for manages to make up simple idea into a convoluted storyline that is somehow still able to be entertaining. The basic premise is quite easy but relatable and effective, it is essentially about some dude who had crush with a woman and he gets some powerful friends with info about her, so basically he would stalk and gets her impressed with information from his friends. Then we moved on to the single night of university festival when the plot be chaotic where to be some competition of eating spicy meatballs in hell, meeting some kids who declare himself as ‘god of books’ and many many other nonsensical thing that could be listed.
What makes this things effectively works is the visual. It is not just there to be some thrown away object and background, but becoming integrated part with the story, making the movie looks like a visual journey. Mostly it was chaotic and abstract but complementing plot very well. Particularly in the final scene which hard to be explained in text formats. But even then it is not artsy for the sake of being artsy, the anime may have some short open chance to be deeply analyzed by its presentation, but it’s not that much matter because taking it away does have zero effect on overall experiences. It is also very aesthetically pleasing, the animation is gorgeous, very vibrant and effectively create happy-go-lucky mood.
The main feature of the sound is definitely the ending by Asian Kung-Fu Generation which could stand on its own without ever experiencing the movie to liking it. The voice acting was good and the actor combined very well with their characters. All In all. The sound was solid
At the end of the day, what we have here is a show that’s superficially hard enough to get into yet, I think when one could pass through the beginning of it, it’s actually quite an experience; with its abstract yet pleasing visual trick. Characters that while unexplored but entertaining, eccentric, and funny. The plot that is a convoluted mess that is somehow manages to be easy to follow and entertaining. The finale that’s solid and the journey that making simple story about romance cliché that expanded further in a good way. The night is short is quite an option if you’re getting tired of anime with conventional approach, but I wouldn’t hold your breath expecting someone say you’re weird for liking it.
Note: On my own list I give this one a 5 mainly because my personal enjoyment suffered that it got me two sitting to finish it due to first 25 minutes, but here I’m giving this a 6 because the actual content it has.
To put it simply: this movie is an utter, frenetic delight.
The story, without spoiling too much, is a perfect match for the big screen. Covering the events of a single lively night in the imaginative world of Morimi’s Kyoto, it’s not often you see so much happen in such a short amount of time. Fans of “Yojouhan” will be familiar with the unforgiving speed of the dialogue, but as you’d expect with a film adaptation, the story events move just as quickly, with scene after scene transitioning wildly into the next. To add to that, the content is as surreal as ever despite the simple premise. Most of the scenes are thoroughly steeped in a sort of magic realism, the characters seeing the strangely off-kilter world—in which people claim to be local deities, loan sharks travel along the rivers, students run around hosting guerrilla theater productions, and everyone seems to have bottomless stomachs—with a sense of relative acceptance. Though this kind of storytelling seems like it would be hard to follow, I surprisingly never got lost, as the story itself is fairly straightforward and the motivations clear.
That’s not to say the film’s design is simple as well, however. Yuasa’s portrayal of Kyoto at night is as much his as it is Morimi’s. Every crevice of the city is brimming with life and abstract design to match the surreal events of the story, and following the characters as they jump from narrow, pub-filled alleyways to bustling marketplaces in the middle of the night, from brightly-lit restaurants to unreal, technological command-rooms almost feels like watching a fever dream unfold. In every new scene, the nighttime city evolves more and more into a fantastic, magical maze of mythology and wonder, something that only the combined imaginative force of Yuasa and Morimi could produce. Add to that the wild, exaggerated, but uniquely simplistic art style and the light, delightful soundtrack, and the end result is something truly refreshing.
As was the case with “Yojouhan” as well, the characters are a complete joy to watch. All of them are immensely varied in personality but still somehow all manage to stay afloat amidst the chaos of the story as they effortlessly weave in and out of plot. In particular, the black-haired maiden, voiced by the equally delightful Kana Hanazawa, carries the show with her indomitable charm and a refusal to let herself be slowed down by what happens around her, instead almost encouraging the story to grow even more wild. I was a little unsure about the male protagonist at first, but his personality proves to be an invaluable foil that really seals the movie’s conclusion for the better and makes for a very satisfying ending. The side cast is also extremely memorable and full of strange, amusing personalities that somehow work in perfect conjunction with each other despite being so unique and energetic.
Of course, this movie isn’t without its flaws. I’m honestly not even sure “flaws” is the best way to word it, but for better or for worse, there are a couple of scenes and subplots that seem to be drawn out a little excessively, albeit in true Yuasa fashion. (They certainly serve a purpose, but the experience is still a little jarring and they tend to break the flow.) In addition is the large cast. While the major side characters are given surprising depth and background despite the movie length, I feel this very strength takes away from the development of the two main characters slightly due to the limited time. Also, a lot of the more minor characters are thrown into the story a little too haphazardly. While it does add to the overall exciting and chaotic atmosphere, it can be a little overwhelming at times, and the sheer number of characters gives each of their stories somewhat less impact.
This brings me to how much this movie references earlier works. In every recess of the film are nods to previous Morimi adaptations and Yuasa films, including the use of many character designs from “Yojouhan” and even featuring a brief cameo from the director’s as-of-this-moment not-yet-released film, “Yoake Tsugeru Lu no Uta.” This has the wonderful effect of allowing us to enter the all-too-familiar Morimi universe with minimal amounts of exposition, but it presents a somewhat high barrier of entry for people that might not be familiar with “Yojouhan Shinwa Taikei” and, to a much lesser degree, “Uchoten Kazoku.” Although not entirely necessary to enjoy the film, I strongly recommend watching “Yojouhan” beforehand to get a firm grasp on the characters of this eccentric universe so you’ll appreciate the film that much more.
All in all, “Yoru wa Mijikashi” is an immensely delightful experience. Every second of it is filled with undeniable charm and gorgeous imagination, and the breakneck pace of the story and transitions alongside the quirky cast of characters brimming with personality come together to take the audience on a wild ride really unlike anything else. I highly recommend it.
This film is closely intertwined with The Tatami Galaxy, a previous Yuasa-directed work. Their original novels were written by the same author, they share a setting in Kyoto and apparently take place in the same universe – many characters from TG pop up here and there in NiS, if not always in the way you expect them to. It’s not strictly a sequel, but you’ll get much more out of the film if you’ve seen Tatami, so that’s something to consider.
Night is Short, much like Tatami Galaxy, is a bit of a difficult sell plot-wise – it focuses mostly on a college student only named Senpai whose only goal is to win the heart of his crush, the titular Girl, over the course of a night in which the two are out and about in Kyoto. Of course, it’s not quite that simple- inventive camerawork and use of surrealism turn what could have been a very dull story into an amazingly fun adventure through Kyoto with a bouncy, dynamic cast of lovable characters.
Without revealing too much, the film retains Tatami Galaxy’s distinctive, surreal visual style and sense of humour, but is much more lighthearted, comedic, and amazingly over-the-top in places without missing out on conveying its own messages. If you liked Tatami Galaxy, I can practically guarantee you’ll love Night is Short.
The increased film budget combined with Yuasa’s direction style lead to some beautiful animation sequences, and the Girl is so amazingly cheery, she can’t help but grab your interest. An easy 10/10 from me, but then again I also loved Tatami.
16: Mimi wo Sumaseba
English: Whisper of the Heart
MAL Score: 8.22
Shizuku Tsukishima is an energetic 14-year-old girl who enjoys reading and writing poetry in her free time. Glancing at the checkout cards of her books one evening, she notices that her library books are frequently checked out by a boy named Seiji Amasawa. Curiosity strikes Shizuku, and she decides to search for the boy who shares her love for literature.
Meeting a peculiar cat on the train, Shizuku follows the animal and is eventually led to a quaint antique shop, where she learns about a cat statuette known as “The Baron.” Taking an interest in the shop, she surprisingly finds Seiji, and the two quickly befriend one another. Shizuku learns while acquainting herself with Seiji that he has a dream that he would like to fulfill, causing her dismay as she remains uncertain of her future and has yet to recognize her talents.
However, as her relationship with Seiji grows, Shizuku becomes determined to work toward a goal. Guided by the whispers of her heart and inspiration from The Baron, she resolves to carve out her own potential and dreams.
Regarding this film in comparison to other films Miyazaki has been a part of, this one seems to by far have the fewest fantastic elements (that is, elements which contain impossible occurrences or imaginary creatures). If I could compare it to any other Miyazaki film, I would say that it is most like My Neighbor Totoro, in that they both focus on the more or less ordinary lives of their characters, rather than large, sweeping plots. It is something that needs to be watched with a mind set that is not waiting for something to move forward, or endanger the characters lives, or otherwise throw them into an absurd situation. Everything that happens in the plot is very believable, yet has its own magic about it because of the playful way it is presented.
One thing that was especially impressive about this film, although most Miyazaki films carry this trait, was the accuracy of the child psychology (and psychology in general). When you watch the characters of this film interact with each other, and when you see things happen to them and how it affects them, you get a feeling of profound truth. This film is dramatic, but it was not cinema dramatic, it was true dramatic. If a character is sad, that doesn’t become their entire personality, it is something that affects their personality. The reason I ramble so long about this is because of how rare it is to see in any medium of art. It is something that if you are looking for it, it is truly beautiful and astounding. This quality of work is not easily imitated.
If you ask me why I rate the art a “9” I will tell it is because of its expressiveness. The landscapes are beautiful, sure, but the real reason I give it a 9 is because of the work put into the animations of every character. There is nothing lazy about it, and there is a uniqueness to the characters movements that takes serious attention. Most films will cut corners in this department, but even though you could call this movie’s art dated, that doesn’t decrease the pleasure gained from its attentiveness.
Still, I will hesitate to recommend this to everyone. If you want a plot that ‘actually goes somewhere,’ so to speak, this film will not give that to you. If you want a film with a tonne of weird and unbelievable things (such as you may be used to with Miyazaki), this film will also not deliver that. What this film delivers is a very detailed picture of its characters which is at times heart warming, at other times heart breaking, and at all times true.
True to form as a Ghibli production, this film complements its character driven narrative with a slew of wall-paper worthy long shots and vibrant animation schemes which I have yet to see that often even in more recent large scale production anime ( there are several such scenes in the latter half of the film, but no spoilers here of course!). Not much else to say here, I recommend you watch the film and see for yourself.
Sound quality in the film was solid throughout. But what really won me over was the Japanese rendition of Jon Denver’s country road. Not only was it an impressive rendition by itself, it was incredibly appropriate for the small town slice-of-life feel that the creators seemed to be going for. Even after hearing it on replay throughout the film, I did not tire of that song, which in my opinion, speaks volumes for how fitting the song was for the film’s overall atmosphere. Sadly, the other background music did go relatively unnoticed, but upon re-watching the movie and listening to the original soundtrack again, the rest of the background music was quite good as well.
When we think of studio Ghbli we often times think of Hayao Miyazaki and sometimes Isao Takahata. In the case of Whisper of the heart, we have a tale with all the flavor and style reminiscent of these Ghibli greats, and yet was directed by neither Miyazaki nor Takahata but instead by a man named Yoshifumi Kondō, whose life was cut tragically short after the release of his 1st and only film. A darn shame too, because at the time he was considered a legitimate candidate to succeed Miyazaki as head of the studio.
As a film that seems almost forgotten among the plethora of excellent productions from studio Ghibli, Whisper of the Heart is a much watch as an entry level anime for people just getting into the medium and as a deeper exploration into the world of anime film for seasoned veterans out there. In addition, as with all Ghibli films, Whisper of the Heart feels like it was made with a general audience in mind, so you needn’t be a fan of slice-of-life to enjoy watching it.
Even if you end up not liking this film I hope you found my review helpful. Of course I am always looking to improve, so feedback is always appreciated.
Just leave a message on my profile thread if you have any comments, criticisms, or just wanna talk about anime!!
Working on the themes of adolescence and infatuation giving rise to a wonderful journey of self discovery, Studio Ghibli presents us with Mimi wo Sumaseba also commonly known as Whisper of the Heart. The story mainly revolves around the female lead, Shizuku Tsukishima, a junior high school girl living in New Tama Town. The story progresses as Shizuku constantly finds a certain someone, named Seiji Awasama, always issuing books before she does at her town library, which leads her to grow a sense of respect while her imagination weaves together a personality of Seiji as one could only describe as the “Prince Charming of her life.” Much to her disappointment, Seiji is any thing but the “prince charming” she had imagined him to be; but Seiji had a unique charm of his own. One thing led to another and soon, Shizuku starts facing typical teenage life problem ranging from the urge to rebel against her parent’s wishes, unnecessarily squabbling with her siblings, while also realising she has fallen in love with the “not-the-prince-charming-she-had-imagined”, Seiji. Hereby follows a movie about self discovery, presented in the most heartwarming way possible.
Now it may seem like any other teenage-romance on pen and paper, but Whisper of the Heart, has its own charm, specially due to the way it presents itself. The problem with most romance shows now a days is that they tend to be extremely dull or overly melodramatic and their predictable plot structure doesn’t help them much either. While being melodramatic, most also tend to be highly unrealistic with their character interactions, their behaviour, body language and much more which just brings their over all quality down. Whisper of the heart, throws all these out of the window and carves its path through this genre in a rather realistic and dramatic way, without crossing the dreaded line between the dramatic and the melodramatic. Character interactions are seamless and seem as realistic as it can get for a story of such sorts. Characters behave as a mere reflection of any other ordinary teenager, as they would to the shown circumstances and these strokes of realism are even more integrated into the movie with the help of detailed, subtle body language of the the characters through which many emotions are shown, rather than told through mere dialogue exchange.
The characters themselves are rather eccentric even though they are fairly ordinary people. The female lead, Shizuka, is a rather charming and adorable girl. Her relation with her family and her friends is well portrayed through meaningful dialogue. Her monologues of what she thinks about her sister, mother, her best friends and her general view of the situations she faces helps build up her base character along with her relationship with the side characters in a gradual and methodical way. The development that Shizuka goes through the movie, simply put, is phenomenal. From a naive junior high student, who didn’t know what she wanted to do with her talent, and on the bigger scale, with her life; Shizuka realises her field of interest and recognises her talents. Her love for writing also explores her vivid and colourful imagination. She comes to realise the importance of family and meeting up with family expectations, while chasing her individual dream too, but the main motivation behind most of her development is her love interest, Seiji.
Seiji is quite the character himself. He is shown as an ordinary boy, working at his grandfather’s small antique shop, while learning both, to build and play the violin. The development between Seiji and Shizuko’s romantic relationship, albeit a bit cheesy, was handled with great care. While Seiji doesn’t receive as much development as Shizuko on screen, most of his character development is rather implied. While maintaining Seiji’s lively manner, we see a sense of responsibility grow in him which we naturally see in most teens as they go through their phase of adolescence. His growth in sense of responsibility is established through his interactions with Shizuko, specially, the conversation they have on the school rooftop where they realise they have to work their way so that they could live and spend more time together in the future.All these character interactions which lead to their subtle development, was neatly woven together by the skilful hands of the director, Yoshifumi Kondou, who is known for his works in various other critically acclaimed works such as Omoide Poroporo and Akage no Anne as an animation director.
Studio Ghibli has always been known for sending the audience into another magical dimension with their various works, but sometimes, due to the lack of proper direction, the whole magical element backfires, and in the end, the movie tends to become a mess. Thankfully, Whisper of the Heart, is not one of these movies! Even though the movie is highly realistic at its core, Studio Ghibli didn’t stop from adding their key fantasy elements into the movie. And with the efficient direction, these were used to enhance the whole experience of the viewer. Shizuka’s main writing work is dynamically shown, rather than being simply narrated. These scenes range from talking rabbits wearing monocles to riding an air stream to an unknown mysterious castle. All these fantasy elements are integrated into the movie with great caress without leaving deep scars on the strokes of realism, the movie portrays.
The animation delivered by Studio Ghibli, as usual, is fantastic. Great detail is maintained in almost every frame and the movement of characters and the general motion is as fluid as it can get. The landscape scenes are pretty eye candy and the movie is completely devoid of any ugly CGI. There are some great camera angles used when necessary, sometime to show the overarching city while some soothing music plays to evoke a strange feeling of nostalgia. The artistic direction of the movie takes credits when the fantasy world is involved, as the colour palette becomes much more vibrant and animation becomes subtly smoother and camera angles range from the typical to experimental ones where Shizuka is shown riding the winds to the castle.
Along with the magical animation, the movie imbues a deep sense of nostalgia with its musical direction. The movie begins with Olivia Newton John’s cover of the famous song, Country Road, which itself evokes a warm fuzzy feeling in the viewer, making them feel right at home. Other than that particular cover of John Dever’s, country road, a japanese rendition is sung many times in the movie and their placement couldn’t have been more correct which added to the overall atmosphere of the film, whenever they were used. A personal favourite would be when Seiji plays the violin and Shizuka sings along and the elders join in with various other instruments, to create one of the most joyous and heart warming scenes in anime for me personally, but one could feel free to disagree, I guess. Other soundtracks just add to the magic of the film and its overarching, heartwarming atmosphere. To weave such a fantastic atmosphere, and evoke feelings of nostalgia with the music alone, credits must be given to the “music director”, Yuuiji Nomi who is also known for his quirky OST’s in Nichijou.
With all that said and done, I must conclude by saying that Whisper of the Heart is a wonderful coming of age film; and a journey of self discovery. This film has something for everybody to enjoy, whether it be seeing yourself as a teenager grow up in the movie, facing similar problems or for parents, who could see how to co-operate with their child when they’re in their rebellious phase of life and let them freely chase their dreams. The fantastic musical score coupled with the fluid animation has the right balance of drama imbibed into it. It may appear to some as a typical animated work at first glance but once the experience is over, many will quickly realise that Whisper of the Heart is anything but typical.
And yeah, Country Roads, will never be the same again, for me at least.
15: No Game No Life: Zero
Japanese: ノーゲーム ノーライフ ゼロ
MAL Score: 8.25
In ancient Disboard, Riku is an angry, young warrior intent on saving humanity from the warring Exceed, the sixteen sentient species, fighting to establish the “One True God” amongst the Old Deus. In a lawless land, humanity’s lack of magic and weak bodies have made them easy targets for the other Exceed, leaving the humans on the brink of extinction. One day, however, hope returns to humanity when Riku finds a powerful female Ex-machina, whom he names Schwi, in an abandoned elf city. Exiled from her Cluster because of her research into human emotions, Schwi is convinced that humanity has only survived due to the power of these feelings and is determined to understand the human heart. Forming an unlikely partnership in the midst of the overwhelming chaos, Riku and Schwi must now find the answers to their individual shortcomings in each other, and discover for themselves what it truly means to be human as they fight for their lives together against all odds. Each with a powerful new ally in tow, it is now up to them to prevent the extinction of the human race and establish peace throughout Disboard!
Great story but it definitely feels rushed even with 2 hours. Tet recalls the story of 6000 years ago before he becomes the one true god and it pretty much explains who everyone is and the survival of imanity, however, they just go over way too many things and loses the entire “no game no life” part of NGNL. To elaborate, they have to cover the great war, romance between two characters, and focus on several characters in just 2 hours, which isn’t enough imo. What really pushed this movie from a 7 to an 8 was the fact that it was a recollection done by Tet, who makes an appearance at the beginning and at the very end, which may explain the amount of content covered. Still interesting and very enjoyable though.
To me NGNL will always be way up there in art, the colors and the unique designs and fantasy setting all work together to create a vivid and interesting experience and NGNL Zero does it even better. The setting is much darker than the original, but it was still an incredible experience to see in theaters to say the least.
Sounds were great and built up was on screen nicely. The ost playing as Tet concludes his recollection really made an impact, however, none of the OST’s in the core part of the movie stood out as some of the more iconic themes did in the anime.
This was another problem for me with the anime, as all the characters were great, except Shuvi, which is somewhat of a problem as she’s our heroine / Shiro replacement. Her entire premise as an ex-machina, and robot yet human felt out of place and just continues to feel out of place while she develops. As for the others, a majority of the characters resemble the cast of the original NGNL anime (since they’re technically their ancestors), and to top it off, the movie has a much nicer looking, less annoying Steph.
I point out a lot of the issues I had with the movie and the truth is it was great. I`m probably going to go see it again before I`m out of Japan but it`s something you have to see if you even somewhat enjoyed ngnl.
Btw if you saw it in theaters(Japan) you can buy goods and you even get a free little manga-like mini-pamphlet for free. Pretty nice!
The story is well written for both anime and Light Novel; Volume 6, content delivery is very good and easy to understand. However, it is important to watch the TV anime before proceed to the movie since not everything explain from scratch.
Art : 10/10
If you like colorful anime you know NGNL have it but dark-themed of NGNL surprisingly went along with the story theme. It’s the great war after all. Well drawn background and coloring, expected nothing less.
Character : 10/10
This part might containing a spoiler however reading this will not spoiling your experience.
Author, or rather Tet, made Riku and Shuvi similar to Sora and Shiro, keep in mind that they are not same person ( same VA though ) and Tet mentioned that he alter the story a bit so that the REAL story remain untold. In reality, probably that actually Riku and Shuvi look nothing like Sora and Shiro, but since it is 6000 years ago, the story look more interesting if the character similar to someone that we already know, Sora and Shiro. If they created entirely new character, we might not get the similar experience. ( Can you imagine an NGNL without loli heroine? )
Sound : 8/10
The sound is good, but not great. The OST goes well with anime with good impression but there’s nothing catchy. If you fall in love with the anime, sound is not something that you’ll hype, still it is good.
Enjoyment : 10/10
Watched this twice at cinema, further explanation is not required.
Overall : 10/10
This one will require math. Total of my score before is 48 which when divided by 5, resulting in 9.6 and after rounding off it, 10.
No Game No Life (TV) is, to me, a flashier version of the detested Sword Art Online as both anime share many similar strengths and faults. These similarities include poor pacing, overpowered characters and an outstanding soundtrack. However, unlike Sword Art Online which, aside from the gradual deterioration of its concepts, has relatively consistent quality, No Game No Life throws many of its strengths out in No Game No Life: Zero, the prequel to the TV series.
One of the most noticeable changes is the shift from a vivid palette to a duller one which helped enforce the movies more serious and dismal tone. Unfortunately, despite the visual adjustments, the writers could not get this tone across as the utilized poorly placed jokes to lighten the mood. These jokes, though humorous, ruined almost all of the more serious, melancholic moments this movie had to offer, altering the atmosphere and creating a lighter tone. These tone setting (and ruining) jokes made the visual modifications futile as the only offered to deduct from No Game No Life: Zero’s quality.
The creators of No Game No Life: Zero, despite changing the palette, fail to improve the overall caliber of its animation, keeping its quality relatively the same as the TV shows. This lack of color, however, expresses the negative aspects of the movies animation as it flaunts the numerous errors that passed us by in the first season. These poorly animated scenes, though prevalent in the TV series as well, were less prominent as the series used vivid colors and unique backgrounds to divert our attention from their errors. However, without the palette No Game No Life is so well known for, this facade is easily seen through.
Battles in No Game No Life: Zero are the exception when it comes to the animation quality as it revives many of the shows vivid colors and combines them with fluid animation. Many of these astounding fight scenes were, unfortunately, ruined by the CGI that accompanied them. Though I don’t believe this CGI is necessarily bad when compared to many other anime, I do feel CGI itself has a long ways to go before it can consistently and excellently be implemented into anime without ruining its overall quality. This poor CGI animation was only made more evident because of its brighter pigmentation, creating a stark difference between it and the somber background of the show.
Aside from their shabby attire, the characters themselves are quite aesthetically pleasing, using many of No Game No Life’s original character designs as templates for No Game No Life: Zero, retaining at least some of the artistic choices the series is so well known for. The characters themselves, however, are riddled with a multitude of flaws.
One of the more noticeable flaws these characters exhibit is their lack of rational thought. Throughout the movie, almost every character, both main and side, make irrational choices that only serve to push the plot forward. Riku, for example, uses his anger at the world (and how unfair it is) and presumed thirst for vengeance as the driving forces behind his will to survive. However, despite knowing Schwi was the one who destroyed his town and forced his neighbors underground, he is willing to take her in and care for her. This hatred and fear for AI among the humans is also demonstrated when Riku forces Schwi to conceal her identity from the rest of his group for her own safety.
Similarly, Schwi, hoping to learn about the human “heart” leaves her swarm, cutting off all connection to them to be with Riku.Why an AI, which is known to only make rational decisions, left in the first place and why she was allowed to, however, is never explained. What is explained, upon Riku and Schwi’s first encounter, is that Schwi is under the misconception that to understand the human heart she needs to have sex. This misunderstanding prompts her to consistently request Riku’s body. Surprisingly, it is later revealed that Schwi is incapable of having sex, making her reasoning for leaving the safety of the swarm in a chaotic world pointless (and therefore irrational). Why Schwi left her swarm to understand the heart despite physically being unable to (because of her misconception) is also beyond me and the rationale behind it is never explained within the anime.
No Game No Life: Zero’s cast also lacks a backstory of any kind. What Schwi did in the swarm, how Riku survived the destruction of civilization despite being a human child and how he becomes the leader of his group of dwellers (among many others) are never addressed and are only there for plot convenience. Without Riku having survived we couldn’t have had this story, without seeing Schwi’s actions in her swarm we can grow to like her (as she presumably made some inhumane choices which is why Riku is wary of revealing her identity to his fellow humans) and without Riku being his clan’s leader, he could never have ordered his allies to die for his sake and therefore would never have fallen into as depressed a state as he did (if he had still managed to survive) therefore giving him little to no motivation.
Regardless as to whether you want to know the backstories of the characters or not, their futures are just as poorly written. Aside from the cute and entertaining interactions between Schwi and Riku, there isn’t much depth to their relationship. In the anime, you see the dynamic duo meet and their first interactions and then there’s a one year time slip that leads to an anti-climactic confession.
At this point you’re probably extremely confused and are asking yourself, “What time skip?” I myself didn’t actually notice it but, researching the anime on several different sources, I discovered there is a major one hidden within the anime as the movie itself spans roughly a year and a half. What exactly happened over this year, however, is left up to speculation.
This major time skip, however, affects the shows pacing dramatically as it rushes major events with little to no actual build up. Because this movie also tries to cover such an enormous amount of events in so little time, the buildup and excitement meant to be felt in a lot of these scenes is lost and the anime itself feels rushed as it jump from one major plot point to another.
To make up for the lack of emotion presented in and around (chronologically) these major scenes, No Game No Life: Zero implements multiple “shock factors” to move the audience. A prime example of this is with Ivan, a deceased human whom we see sacrifice himself (at Riku’s command) so that others might survive on an outing during the first 5 minutes of the movie. Apart from knowing his loyalty to Riku and his clan, the only thing we really know about Ivan is that he has a (presumably young) daughter. After this scene ends (where Riku and another young man escape the crashed Dwarven ship), the anime cuts to a makeshift classroom where a young girl proudly proclaims that she can write her own name and can’t wait to show her father. Aside from this and a name, nothing else is known about poor little Nonna.
The movie then transitions to Riku’s return where Nonna rushes out to greet her father. The father who didn’t come home. The movie then tries to play this off as Riku’s breaking point (ruining it with a bad joke mind you), making us feel pity for both him and Nonna; characters we know next to nothing about.
Emotionless scenes similar to that one are abundant in No Game No Life: Zero as they express where certain characters relationships are in the movie. However, because of the time skips, these relationships aren’t fully expanded upon or developed and we’re left with poorly written shock factors and our own assumptions to fill in the multitude of blanks.
To make up for its poorly written “emotional” scenes, No Game No Life: Zero implements a heart wrenchingly beautiful soundtrack. Though the songs themselves aren’t as catchy or memorable as the TV series, they’re much better at eliciting the desired emotions from the audience. Unfortunately, No Game No Life: Zero, despite boasting a beautiful soundtrack, misuses its OST which, more often than not, takes more from a scene than it gives to it. Music in most anime (including No Game No Life: Zero) is meant to add to the scene and the dialogue but, in No Game No Life: Zero, the music competes with the actual dialogue for the limelight. This competition takes a lot away from the scene and I found myself becoming much more emotional because of the unbearably loud music than the actual dialogue or story it was supposed to be aiding in the delivery of.
Overall, despite being satisfied with the concepts No Game No Life: Zero had, I found the experience ruined by a multitude of factors ranging from poor writing to poor volume control. These negative aspects took so much from the actual experience of the movie that I just couldn’t bring myself to enjoy it, especially as it became more evident that my burning questions wouldn’t be answered.
14: Sennen Joyuu
English: Millennium Actress
MAL Score: 8.26
At the turn of the millennium, Ginei Studio’s dilapidated buildings are set to be demolished. Ex-employee and filmmaker Genya Tachibana decides to honor this occasion with a commemorative documentary about the company’s star actress: Chiyoko Fujiwara, the reclusive sweetheart of Shouwa Era cinema. Having finally obtained permission to interview the retired starlet, an enamored Genya drags along cynical cameraman Kyouji Ida to meet her, ready to put his lifelong idol back in the spotlight once more.
Hidden in this secluded mountain retreat is a thousand years of history condensed into one lifetime, waiting to be narrated. Chiyoko’s recollections take them on an illusionary journey through Japanese cinematic history that transcends the boundaries of reality; the saga of her acting career intertwines with her filmography, the actors in her life blend seamlessly with the characters on screen, and the present melds with the past. Though the actress may have retired at the height of her career 30 years ago, the curtain on her life’s stage has yet to fall.
The story follows a pair of filmmakers who are interviewing a famous actress who has been retired for many years to celebrate the studio’s 70th anniversary. Millennium Actress features one of the most original story telling methods I have seen. We see the majority of the movie told through the actresses various movie roles. We shift from feudal Japan, World War 2, and a futuristic moon base, amongst others. You are never actually sure what is real and what is the movie all the time. I also found it interesting that the two filmmakers were always observers during the entire process. Their presence provided an interesting way of narrating the story and kept the viewer from getting confused by the constantly changing scenery.
Though many will perhaps not be able to relate to Chiyoko’s devotion to a man that she hardly knew anything about, I still never felt as though it was too farfetched. Whether or not she truly loved him the way one might feel for a lover is beside the point. Her love is what shaped the remainder of her life and allowed her to accomplish the things she had. I think this is summed up best by her last lines from the film when she comments that finding him was not that important, because it was the chase that she loved the most.
The two filmmakers Genya and Kyoji provide a nice anchor for the viewer. Of the two Genya is the most important and as the story unfolds we learn about his past and why he idolizes Chiyoko. As for the object of Chiyoko’s devotion we really learn little about him other than has ultimate fate. I think it was a good decision from a storytelling standpoint because his mysterious nature was what kept her looking for him.
The art was really exceptional. There were sometimes that some of the backgrounds looked like actual photographs and perhaps they were but they seamlessly fit in with the rest of the animation. The film as does a wonderful job at portraying many different settings. Everything feels so authentic from the prewar Japan costumes and architecture to the 50s styling and fashions.
Overall I really can’t recommend this movie enough. I don’t think its appeal is limited to just shoujo and romance fans. Give this movie an hour and a half, you will be glad you did!
Millennium Actress is a film that can easily be called great. It is outwardly audacious and seemingly gorgeous in nature.
Though frankly, Millennium Actress comes across as something that would be praised as long as the aesthetics are nice, the plot is convoluted and that it is directed by Satoshi Kon. As ridiculous as it might sound, this is a genuine statement after coming to a conclusion: the movie’s fans are often completely oblivious of any criticisms, and their belief that this movie is a magnum opus will not change due to the mentioned reasons. Of course, about the said belief, I beg to differ.
The story is quite average. If I should be honest, this is the kind of plot that I would consider dreary and uninspiring for how frequent it is recycled in Hollywood, so I see no point in magnifying it. It’s just not special, but it has a heart, and that’s what matters. I can clearly see where they were trying to go with, and so the intention is clear and rightfully consistent throughout. Unfortunately, this also means the movie is predictable and has virtually nothing to anticipate other than “does the actress meet her love?”, which is kind of a dull two-sides-of-a-coin. Nevertheless, it is still a movie that feels complete and satisfying regardless. Also, paying homage to Japanese cinema is no good excuse for an average story, though it’s nice and somewhat exciting to feel such radiated, genuine affection of Kon towards the pridefully rich cinema history.
The execution, however, is arguably poor. As thin and uninspiring as the story is, the execution barely does anything to embrace it (unlike in, say, Tokyo Godfathers). To be fair, all the director does for the movie is dragging this nonexistent storyline for an hour and a half. And so coming upon the second problem, the expendable convoluted nature of the narrative. For a story with barely any philosophical weight or plot development, the messy confusing narrative is just absolutely pretentious. “Oh but it’s gorgeous, and it merges reality with memories…” well, fair enough. But this naturally would beg a question, “Why confusing, necessarily?”. While acknowledging that by the end of the actress’ life, she can recall the events so vividly and can’t differentiate what’s real and what isn’t; yet forasmuch as this whole sequence solely focuses on that concept itself without even bother to have a wider, or deeper reach, it gives the audience no insights or depth other than the actress’ very simplistically discernible state of mind. This would have been so much more thematically powerful if it had included an actual psychological emphasis, and that the acting career emergence didn’t just take up the whole second half for nothing. When an idea so superficial being told so grandiosely, it will inevitably give the impression of being overly self-indulgent. To me, the complexity (or just convoluted, not complex) in this movie has not much depth or thematic ideas.
The characters are fine. They are fun and likable enough to lead the audience till the end, but none of them were even remotely profound or memorable. Some parts of the scripts are honestly so corny. I could forgive everything these hombres verbalize throughout the movie, but for the last line, I simply couldn’t. It’s just melodramatic and corny and foreseeable. Unforgivable.
The tone is clearly a craft of dexterity by a truly talented director. Kon knows exactly how and when to implement comedic relief, or to build up our expectations for an emotional impact. And so, thanks to the tone, the story seems to flow much more seamlessly. Still, this is insufficient as a saving grace for an overall poorly-written and executed movie.
Nonetheless, taking all that aside, we actually have quite a fantastic audiovisual piece of art. The animation is flawless and the art is not your typical degenerate garbage (not trying to sound disrespectful, but it really does look mature and visually intriguing). The music is really good and generally well used. I have no major complaint about the production value and perhaps am even more than enthusiastic to praise this truly astounding audiovisual spectacle. I can rest assured anyone who watches this movie would concur.
That said, this movie, albeit aesthetically merited, is subpar in almost every way. Satoshi Kon is definitely not a hack, however refutably overrated, for he has demonstrated his genuine competence in composing his own coups such as Perfect Blue or Tokyo Godfathers, and even glimpses of greatness here and there in Millennium Actress. Nevertheless, the self-indulgent and bafflingly confusing narrative has made Millennium Actress his weakest work that I’ve experienced so far. Mind you, this movie used to hold a 10 on my list for quite some time, so I do understand all the unhinged worshipping. Yet have I verily changed to thus give my sincere final verdict upon this movie: How corny.
STORY – Millennium Actress’s story is very simplistic and very sweet. I’m not usually a fan of unquestioning, devotional love, especially to such a crazed, obsessive extent, but the way this movie presents things makes it very easy to like. Just the extent of everything, the lengths to which Chiyoko had been willing to go; all of it was incredible. Even better still, was the idea that we in the audience could not know just how much of it was real and just how much of it was fantasy. The lines seem permanently blurred and any one scene might have just as easily been a memory or a dream, especially since all of the recollections are coming at an age where forgetfulness is common, making everything all the more tragic.
The use of movies to convey a fantasy was brilliant, especially considering the story’s form as a movie. The way people in the present are thrown into the past (or fantasy) was also a wonderfully creative way to tie the two times together, and there’s even a bit of tongue-in-cheek self-commentary on this way of handling things. Really, it’s Satoshi Kon’s phenomenal storytelling that transforms Millennium Actress’s exceedingly simple plotline into a masterpiece.
CHARACTERS – I have mixed feelings about the characters in this movie. I’ve said before that I’m not a fan of sudden, unquestioning love; thus, I definitely wasn’t a fan of the fact that Chiyoko essentially fell into eternal love with a man she’d met once, briefly, for several short hours. At the same time, the extent to which she took this infatuation seemed strangely realistic, despite how incredible it was. Indeed, people obsess over little things all the time, irrelevant people, incidental meetings; there are short moments that they will remember for the rest of their lives, so perhaps it isn’t so strange that Chiyoko should cling onto something like that. Besides, it wasn’t as if she had thrown her entire life away for the man, even if she did build up everything she had in order for him to see her. Aside from the obsession, I really enjoyed the way the elder Chiyoko was portrayed. It was very believable that she would become a recluse, and the way she told her story, the small revelations that came along with it — all of it was wonderfully interesting to watch and very touching in the end.
The other characters in the movie are all relatively minor and their characters subsequently less complex. Mostly, their personalities are sculpted so that they contribute directly to moving Chiyoko’s story along, whether by acting as antagonists or by wanting to discover more. In the end, I find them more to be tools to help Chiyoko along more than being characters of their own, but in a movie like this, I think that’s fine.
ARTSTYLE & ANIMATION – Millennium Actress has some absolutely gorgeous animation. The art style is rather typical of Satoshi Kon, and you’ll easily notice that many of his middle-aged and older male characters look startlingly similar across the movies and series he’s directed, but the same can be said with a number of other prominant artists and directors. What I loved about the animation itself was how smoothly scene transitions were handled, especially considering that we moved back and forth between present day and past recollection and between reality and movie fantasy constantly. The inclusion of the present day interviewers within flashbacks is one of my favorite touches and really helps weld everything together in the end. It was especially nice too, to see so many different kinds of scenes animated since they were just scenes within Chiyoko’s movies.
MUSIC – Maybe I was too wrapped up in the pretty animation and storytelling, but I didn’t note very astounding music, though nor did I note anything bad.
VOICE ACTING – I saw this movie subbed. The voices were pretty average for the most part, though I didn’t rather enjoy elder Chiyoko’s performance for some reason. Her emotion, especially near the end of the movie, was just very touching. :3
OVERALL – I really enjoyed this movie, though if I had just been given a synopsis, I probably wouldn’t have been very interested in the first place. Having Satoshi Kon’s name attached to it did help though, and I think this is one of the better examples of his works. The way the story was told just changed everything, including the fact that the plot itself was very simple.
13: Tenkuu no Shiro Laputa
English: Castle in the Sky
MAL Score: 8.28
In a world filled with planes and airships, Sheeta is a young girl who has been kidnapped by government agents who seek her mysterious crystal amulet. While trapped aboard an airship, she finds herself without hope—that is, until the ship is raided by pirates. Taking advantage of the ensuing confusion, Sheeta manages to flee from her captors. Upon her escape, she meets Pazu, a boy who dreams of reaching the fabled flying castle, Laputa. The two decide to embark on a journey together to discover this castle in the sky. However, they soon find the government agents back on their trail, as they too are trying to reach Laputa for their own greedy purposes.
Tenkuu no Shiro Laputa follows the soaring adventures of Sheeta and Pazu, all while they learn how dreams and dire circumstances can bring two people closer together.
For anyone looking for an exciting way to spend two hours, this film is an excellent choice, featuring just the right amount of humor, exploration, wonder, and mystery to keep one interested. The artwork, although not as spectacular as in some of Miyazaki’s later movies, is fantastic and gorgeous enough to watch with imaginative characters and locations, incredibly exciting action scenes, and breathtaking flight sequences that will make one feel giddy. And while the characters that populate this tale are less complex than Miyazaki’s other works, each has a memorable, endearing personality that stays with the viewer long after the film is over. Dola, in particular, makes for a terrific comic character, shouting orders to her dimwitted sons one moment and being protective of Sheeta the next. Muska is one of the few Miyazaki creations to ever come across as an irredeemable villain, but like Dola, he commands every scene he’s in with a sinister charisma that is both alluring and chilly.
Anime fans have often compared this movie to Gainax’s sci-fi adventure series Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water. After all, both works share similar story and character elements… not to mention that they were both created by Miyazaki himself. Where both differ is in their execution. Nadia, although charming for the most part, suffered from taking a wrong turn at its midway point, devolving into cartoonish nonsense which all but distracted from the main plot, even though it did have a strong ending. Castle in the Sky, on the other hand, remains consistently entertaining and focused for its two hour running time, and is all the better for it. While the film’s epic tone is sometimes broken up by some “cartoonish” moments, like a brawl between Pazu’s boss and one of Dola’s sons, it’s never to the point that it detracts from the film.
While purists will probably prefer to listen to the original Japanese version, I am of the opinion that there’s nothing bad about watching Miyazaki’s movies in English, and this is no exception. That said, there are two different dubs of this film. The first one, dubbed by an unknown company but released by Streamline several years ago, was a hastily produced, badly acted, poorly written trainwreck briefly released in 1989 but quickly disappeared afterwards. The current version, produced by Disney in 1998, features an all-star voice cast and, interestingly, a rerecorded score by the film’s original composer, Joe Hisaishi with the Seattle Music Orchestra. There has been a lot of heated debates arguing over which is the better version. Personally, even after seeing the Japanese version once and having distanced myself from it enough to appreciate it on its own terms, I’m ready to offer up the following: Disney’s Castle in the Sky, despite its faults, is an entertaining listen in its own right.
The leads aren’t the strongest voices in the dub; James Van Der Beek’s Pazu sounds significantly more mature than his character, while Anna Paquin’s Sheeta speaks with an odd accent that fluctuates at times (a problem which actually works in favor of the character). That said, both do good jobs overall and provide a fairly believable chemistry throughout. It’s the lively supporting cast, however, that really make this dub so much fun, particularly Cloris Leachman’s Dola and Mark Hamill’s Muska. Both are perfectly cast and steal every scene they’re in as the cantankerous sky pirate captain and treacherous agent, respectively. If there’s any reason to see this dub, it’s for these two. Another reason to check out the dub is for the aforementioned rescore by Joe Hisaishi. There are some instances where filling in some critically silent scenes from the original Japanese is a bit distracting (notably the journey through the dragon-infested storm cloud), but the overall reworking is fantastic and in many ways improves on the original, particularly the scene where a robot attacks the army’s fortress and the climactic moments toward the end. Here, Hisaishi displays his musical versatility and genius for matching music to visuals. (The original Japanese track is on the DVD, complete with its original, unaltered score.) The script adaptation borders on the loose side at times–there’s quite a bit of extra lines and/or commentary (some of which are pricelessly funny and others somewhat overdone)–but aside from at least one debatable alteration (Sheeta’s speech in the climactic showdown “the world cannot live without love” as opposed to the original “you can’t survive apart from Mother Earth”), the overall characters, story, and spirit remain fairly faithful to the original. On the whole, there is little point comparing the Disney version to the original language track; each puts their own stamp on this legendary masterpiece, and I like them both.
Either way, though, you can’t go wrong with Castle in the Sky. It’s one of Miyazaki’s all-time greatest, and I highly recommend it.
The story of Castle in the Sky is about, you guessed it; a castle in the sky. There’s a legend about a floating island castle, called “Laputa” that contains all the riches a person can ever dream of having. The main male character, Panzo believes that the castle exists, and dreams of one day following his deceased father’s footsteps, and finding the castle for himself. The only problem is, he doesn’t know where the castle is. Then there’s the main female character, Sheeta whom Panzo finds falling/floating down from the sky with a shining sky blue necklace that has some sort of relationship to Laputa’s location. Panzo and Sheeta begin a friendship, perhaps love relationship and they decide to go on a journey to find Laputa together. But they run into trouble with, and clowny pirates, the greedy army along with some mysterious men led by an even more mysterious man named, Muska.
Really the art and music is stunning. The theme song of Castle in the Sky: Laputa may actually be my favorite piece of music ever! Seriously, please listen to that song! It makes me tear up every time I hear it! Furthermore the voicing of each character was perfectly matched, nothing unusual that pops out. The portrayal of Laputa, the castle in the sky, was absolutely beautiful! I actually teared up thinking about how I’d never be able to see the castle in real life. The connection and peace between the the robotic beings, and nature (trees, wild animals, plants) on the Island was absolutely beautifully portrayed. None of the characters were drawn like weirdly; every character’s looks were unique and memorable. And normally I hate robots, but I felt this weird connection and pity for the dying breed of robots on Laputa. I loved all the characters, except Muska (who is the villain, so my hatred for him is a good thing). The stupid army was really funny, as were the pirates. Panzo and Sheeta are your average Miyazaki main characters, absolutely tragic and lovable!
I think this is the best animated story in the world.. Honestly there’s nothing to dislike about this anime and so much to love. It’s truly a heart-pounding adventure story about friendship, loyalty, greed, and people’s connection to nature. The anime starts off innocently and happily, but it quickly becomes darker as the evil ambitions of the antagonists make themselves known. The characters, good and evil, are all fully developed and interesting to watch. I remember watching this over and over as a little baby, and I still have a vcr tape of Castle in the Sky ^o^. If you haven’t seen this movie yet, then I think no matter what age you are, you should watch it at least a couple times in your life. Thanks for reading my first review!
Considering that this movie has one of the highest review mean scores ever, it seems hard for someone to dislike it. Unfortunately, this movie never managed to be appealing nor striking nor cathartic in any way, shape or form, as this one is the most laborious and unimaginative movie Ghibli have ever produced, even with the fantasy elements sprinkled all over it. Saying that this movie should not be given such harsh criticism considering the old age of it is fair, but people tend to forget that Ghibli had made a movie two years prior to Laputa, which has aged extremely well, and that movie is called “Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind”. It’s really not about the age of the work at the end of the day, since a really old work can stand firmly against the test of time when given well executed directing and a well thought out script and characters. This wasn’t the case with Laputa though, as it’s plot feels trite now after it’s release, and so do it’s characters, due to several factors that is. Perhaps not having a manga to adapt to movie form, and it being the studio’s first film with no source material to work with, turned it into such a nauseating catastrophe.
The plot tries to implement a sense of mystery with a missing father that the two main characters have to find, but unlike My Neighbor Totoro, the mystery is not intriguing nor does it work in any way. Isao Takahata was needed in order for the mystery to work, but he wasn’t there to save this film, and an amateur Hayao Miyazaki wasn’t enough to save it on his own as well. The plot is also unoriginal, compared to some of the better Ghibli movies out there, which have the same exact premise but are filled to the brim with better execution and directing. The characters are all one dimensional archetypes, be it the cartoony villains who switch from being evil to the side of good very easily, or the main heroine who resembles every other Ghibli heroine, only much less developed this time around. All of this wouldn’t be so bad if the movie was made by a third rate studio, but unfortunately, Studio Ghibli made this movie. Studio Ghibli, one of the best studios when it comes to creating memorable, well written characters in the short span of one to two hours only, made such vacuous and poorly thought through, simplistic characters with this movie.
Perhaps it was trying to be simplistic, but with that, it deemed itself unwatchable for an older audience, and mostly became a movie for kids. It doesn’t tackle the same mature themes that others within the same studio tackle, and it lacks the directing genius that Miyazaki would later go on to showcase in his later works. As far as themes go, there is no theme exploration here, especially the environmentalism theme which Miyazaki likes to preach about in most of his other works. If there was theme exploration, then it was handled and conveyed in a much better fashion in most of his other works. The comedy displayed here is lackluster as well, and the emotional catharsis is nowhere to be found. Nothing, I felt nothing while watching this movie. It lacks the depth of Princess Mononoke, it lacks the imagination of Spirited Away, it lacks the emotional catharsis of Kiki’s Delivery Service, and it falls short in most regards, especially when it comes to creating emotion and resonating with people.
The animation has not aged well at all, and it shows throughout most of the movie. At least Nausicaa had some memorable art and colossal amounts of imagination poured into it, something that made it age all the more better, even when it’s animation was flappy at times. What also made Nausicaa age very well, is how extravagantly Joe Hisaishi’s tracks flowed with the movie’s memorable moments and gave them a certain feel that is hard to find anywhere else. Laputa felt much worse than Nausicaa when it came to the animation aspect, add in to the fact that the atmosphere was not intriguing, and the artwork was not memorable, and you’ve got yourself a work that is inferior to it’s predecessor in almost every aspect. Laputa fails in the animation and visuals department, and even when it comes to the directing and memorable scenes, it fails as well.
Moving on to the final aspect of the film, which is the soundtrack – it was neither striking nor memorable, nor could one say it was good, even as a standalone soundtrack and without having to compare it to Hisaishi’s other works. This is rather surprising considering that this is a movie which composer Joe Hisaishi worked on. No track stood out, unlike some of the top Ghibli movies out there, and neither were the tracks immersive or good.
Other contentions a viewer would have with this film is that it is excruciatingly slow, as scenes take forever to translate. This movie is also too long for it’s own good, spanning a length of two hefty hours. Any movie which fails in the audiovisuals department, in the script department, and in the characters department, must at least redeem itself by not having the viewer tortured for hours on end. A perfect length for a movie is to span between an hour and an hour and thirty minutes, which are more than enough to tell an entire narrative. Two hours is very long for a movie, even the Studio Ghibli ones, especially when the movie has nothing of value or substance to convey.
Aside from all of this, what is truly astounding about Laputa, is the fact that this movie might as well have one of the highest review mean scores an Anime could have, as there has yet to be a negative review for it. It being higher than movies such as Kiki’s Delivery Service and Only Yesterday in general mean scores adds more insult to injury, especially due to the fact that those movies surpass this one in almost everything – from sheer imagination, to directing, to the raw emotion poured into them, etc.
All in all, there really isn’t much else to say about this movie. It is not memorable in the slightest, bordering on nauseating boredom. The animation has not aged well at all, and the soundtrack is neither striking nor helps in making the scenes better. It’s technicalities would have been forgiven if it had a good story or characters, but alas, it is boring and trite, especially for those who have seen many other Ghibli movies, which have taken the same exact premise and executed it in a much better fashion. Laputa is Ghibli’s first feature film, and the studio would go on to write and produce some of the best and most memorable Anime movies ever made, leaving this one in the dust, right where it belongs.
12: Doukyuusei (Movie)
English: Doukyusei -Classmates-
MAL Score: 8.32
Hikaru Kusakabe is a normal, carefree boy in a rock band who is always focused on the present. During the summer, his entire class is forced to participate in an upcoming chorus festival. By coincidence, he discovers his classmate Rihito Sajou—known for being an honor student with excellent grades—practicing his singing alone. Sajou just cannot seem to get their class’ song right, and Kusakabe, delighted at seeing a new side of his straight-laced classmate, offers to help him prepare for the event.
Although their lives and personalities are total opposites, they begin to grow closer as time progresses. But with the pressure of an unknown future, what will become of them and their growing relationship?
It really just doesn’t live up to modern standards of progressive ethics. In fact, it just falls into all Yaoi content I’ve seen so far, just a infestation of zero consent and very close to just highlighting “rape” in a positive light.
When someone says “No!” that means no. This movie just throws that completely out the window in exchange for extremely weak character “progression”. Their relationship goes from amazing to terrible in literally minutes. The movie forces drama as much as the writer probably wanted the characters to “force” each other.
AGAIN do not watch this. Its revolting and borderline disgusting.
Based on the very popular manga of the same name, this movie follows Hikaru Kusakabe and Rihito Sajou, two high school students of the same age, through their journey of self-discovery and their first love.
Story (8/10): Even tho this movie is good, the story isn’t very deep or emotional. In real life first loves can be a very complicated thing, but not for these characters. The story flows as it should be, there’s isn’t a “dramatic twist” or a “love rival” or a “love triangle”, this movie didn’t need that at all, it’s just them falling in love and enjoying each-other. Nothing more, nothing less.
Art (9/10): Doukyuusei has a very unique kind of artstyle. I personally think it works PERFECTLY with the movie and the characters but you’ll have to see it for yourself.
Characters (9/10): the characters are what makes this movie WORK. How they interact with eachother is the cutest thing you’ll ever see. You can feel the love they have for eachother, and that’s an big accomplishment for the mangaka, the studio and specially the director.
Overall: If you’re looking for a hardcore yaoi movie then you’ll be disappointed because this movie is very romantic and REAL. You can easily feel the characters and understand their actions because they’re very relatable.
Anyway, WATCH IT.
The artstyle is unique and simpler than what we’re used to, I really liked it. It’s very similar to the manga artist’s artsyle. Animation is smooth and fits this movie perfectly. Just the animation itself made me laugh a several times. The backgrounds are also gorgeous. I loved all of the usage of colors.
The soundtrack somehow gave Doukyuusei a realistic vibe, and Galileo Galilei’s song playing at the ending was perfect.
Both Kusakabe and Sajou are mostly chill characters, and seeing them get along like this makes me very happy. Their love doesn’t seem forced, which is in my opinion the most important thing when it comes to love stories. Sajou is a typical nerd/careful character, but something about him makes him stand out, as if there’s something that he really wants. Kusakabe is not like the typical rock star/talk-without-thinking character. He’s calm and very nice. They are both just high school students, which is very easy to notice. They make dumb choices like every teenager does. I love how their ages actually show through their personalities.
I would recommend this movie to anyone, whether they like shounen-ai or not. This is what a good love story looks like: characters falling in love the most natural way.
The only thing I didn’t like was one of the changes from the manga. I wish that they would tell us something about Sajou earlier. ***SPOILER He has a fear of trains SPOILER IS OVER*** In the manga, they made this very clear, and it cleared up what was going on in some of the scenes. In the anime, this didn’t come through well at all, and has definitely caused confusions.
11: Hotarubi no Mori e
MAL Score: 8.33
Intrigued by the tale of a mountain god, six-year-old Hotaru Takegawa loses her way in the ancient forest while visiting her uncle. Exhausted and desperate for help, Hotaru is thrilled to find a masked forest spirit named Gin. She learns the hard way that she should not touch the boy, or he would disappear. In spite of this, Gin leads Hotaru out of the forest and warns her never to return when she promises to come again with a gift.
Paying no heed to his cautionary words, and despite being separated by both distance and planes of existence, Hotaru and Gin become close friends as she visits him every summer. However, their relationship and resolve are put to the test, when romantic feelings conflict with the one and only rule.
Based on Yuki Midorikawa’s manga of the same name, Hotarubi no Mori e is a tale of friendship and compromise of two people who should never have crossed paths, as their lives become hopelessly intertwined.
Time is cruel. Time is responsible for the summers that come and go, for the leaves in autumn that shrivel and fall to the ground at the mercy of the next toddler looking to create satisfying crunching sounds, for the long and cold winters.
You come to love the smell of rain in the spring or the cool breeze of a summer night and then poof. It’s gone.
Much like a fleeting summer’s day, the main characters in Hotarubi no Mori e are bound by the chains of time. He cannot leave the forest for fear of being touched by a human and she cannot see him until three seasons have passed and summer comes again. And so, the two spend time together when they can, and as she grows up with him she realizes there will come a day when time will yet again become their enemy.
Their time together is short, meaningful and ultimately bittersweet. Much like the anime itself.
Hotarubi no Mori e is a beautiful movie that takes the idea of forbidden love, a topic that has been overly done and worn out by bad soap-opera themed dramas, and remakes the idea in an elegant, refreshing manner. Much of the brilliance in this anime can be accredited to the captivating character and background designs as well as the honesty that shines through in the writing. The anime pulls us viewers in with dramatic music and writing while keeping everything light and down-to-earth. And it does all of this in a mere 45 minutes.
Forbidden love, playful love, intense love, a love that is not love. With all of these takes on love, can we really be sure of what love is? Simply put, love is a universal… well, for lack of a better word, thing.
Nobody really knows what love is but everyone has their own interpretation of the word. Plato once said, “at the touch of love, everyone is a poet”. And it’s true. The concept of love is incredibly popular and you can probably find more pieces of literature or entertainment that center around love than any other genre. This anime specifically has taken the idea of a physical love and completely thrown it out of the window, all the while proving with gusto that love doesn’t have to be physical to be just as emotionally impacting.
You see, the anime focuses on the more important ideas about love that maybe we’ve all kind of forgotten.
Like the happiness you feel when you’re near them.
Like the first time you saw them laugh.
Like when it’s suffocating to be with them because you don’t know what to do or say.
Hotarubi no mori e gracefully weaves these elements into a heartbreaking tale of a first love. Sure, it’s lighthearted and even a little fun, but a love founded on emotions is the heaviest burden you can imagine.
As stated before, the art this anime is nothing short of breath-taking. The designers definitely knew what they were doing when it came to setting the mood with soft pastel colors or adding bursts of colors to enhance a scene. Although it wasn’t exactly memorable, the art did help to add an extra element of beauty. Similarly, the soundtrack to this anime was also very fitting and nice. Especially the ending song, “Natsu wo Miteita” (I saw summer) which had the feel of summer that is longed for but will never return. The art and sound really worked together well with what was happening on screen. Everything fit together perfectly like puzzle pieces.
To end this review, I will rebound back to the very beginning and touch upon the subject of love again with our two main characters Hotaru and Gin. What makes this anime so special, what makes it stand out from all of the others that claim to give you the true meaning of love is that it’s believable and honest, despite having the supernatural theme of spirits. Despite their wishes, the two are bound by circumstances that are out of their control.
They cannot touch.
They cannot see each other outside of the forest.
They are reunited in the summer and are separated in the fall, over and over again.
And against all odds, they try their best to maintain the connection they’ve built through years of playing in the grassy fields, spending time by the lake on a warm summer night talking in hushed voices or confiding in one another under the light of the fireflies — a connection stronger than any kind of physical love can ever provide.
The ending may come as a shock to you. Having read the premise, and a few other stories with similar plots, it didn’t come as a shock to me. And although I knew it was coming, I couldn’t stop myself from crying when it did. This anime was touching and nostalgic. I know it was good because I was left with an empty feeling after watching it — like the feeling of longing after something that time has already taken away.
Like the ever-changing seasons, this anime will pull you in, get you attached to the characters, make you love it and then…poof. It’ll end.
[THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS AHEAD NOW!!!] Now for the detail of why I didn’t like this movie:
In this kind of short, emotional movie, the characters have to be easy to get attached to, since the short time of the movies gives no times for the viewer to get accustomed to them and feel empathy towards them, and no snobbish quote about love can change the fact that the characters in the movie have no personality, and are very forgettable. Hotaru the main character has 2 traits to her, she got lost in the forest, and is in love with the other chraracter, Gin. She is as bland as it gets, she boils down to this person saved me thus I have to love them. Maybe she fell in love with Gin because of the time she passed during all her summers with him, but most of the movie is just the writer bashing your head in trying to make SURE your remember that if Gin touches a human he dies. Wow, thanks, after the 4th time you told me I forgot, so thanks for the new heads up random voices from the forest.
This is where my biggest problem comes from, instead of developing a sweet relationship between an almost immortal spirit and an aging young girl, and have the character that was supposed to live on forever die, thus creating a sad and tragic ending, the movie was basically 45 minutes of being reminded that Gin was going to die. Even worst is that that ending came out of nowhere. Not in a good way like I was surprised, like in the sense that I have no idea why he just died when he did. There was no buildup, no emotion, it just happened after a weird festival thing that was frankly pointless.
The more I think about it, this movie is quite pointless, nothing is developed, all you get is a 45 minute movie about a young girl who likes a spirit and how she gets told 10000 times that her lover is basically as good as dead. Thanks, but if you try to hard to make me sad, instead of writing characters I will feel sad about, I’m not going to cry at your super at of nowhere unemotional death scene.
Just like I said, listen to the soundtrack, because it’s probably the only thing I thoroughly enjoyed. From the same writer Nastume Yuujinchou which is miles better. And watch Garden of Words if you want a 45 minutes emotional movie about growing up and impossible love.
Or you could just go watch Train Wars, at least that has the bonus of being entertaining.
I started to watch this because it was written by Yuki Midorikawa. I loved her previous work “Natsume Yuuchinjou” and I was hoping this would be another good anime to pass my time on. I was not wrong.
I am sure that on this movie there are many reviewers who has retold the summary of this story in their own review which I am going to skip over because I am pretty sure you get the gist of it.
The whole plot was well put together. Even though the movie was only 40 mins. long, it did not seem rushed at all. Every scene flowed well into place.
BEWARE: READ ANY FURTHER AND THERE MIGHT BE SPOILERS!!
The characters were well played and none of them annoyed me, which is a plus point for me. It was really heartbreaking to see both Gin and Hotaru growing up to be good friends and eventually falling in love. Seeing them both struggling to hold each other and feel each other’s warmth did make my eyes water.
Whenever I watch any anime, I am really careful about the ending because even though an anime could be great, the ending could really kill the whole story for me. But the ending on this movie was too good. Though it would be better if they could get together, but that did not happen…it was still beautiful though!
I definitely recommend this!! Can’t wait to see what Yuki Midorikawa comes up with next! ^^
10: Tenki no Ko
English: Weathering With You
MAL Score: 8.35
Tokyo is currently experiencing rain showers that seem to disrupt the usual pace of everyone living there to no end. Amidst this seemingly eternal downpour arrives the runaway high school student Hodaka Morishima, who struggles to financially support himself—ending up with a job at a small-time publisher. At the same time, the orphaned Hina Amano also strives to find work to sustain herself and her younger brother.
Both fates intertwine when Hodaka attempts to rescue Hina from shady men, deciding to run away together. Subsequently, Hodaka discovers that Hina has a strange yet astounding power: the ability to call out the sun whenever she prays for it. With Tokyo’s unusual weather in mind, Hodaka sees the potential of this ability. He suggests that Hina should become a “sunshine girl”—someone who will clear the sky for people when they need it the most.
Things begin looking up for them at first. However, it is common knowledge that power always comes with a hefty price…
“Hey can I copy your works”
“Of Course, make sure just change it up a bit so it doesn’t look to obvious”
This is snarky little thought that I came up with when I just got back from seeing this film in the theaters. However, in essence it is pretty much understandable to compare Tenki no Ko with Kimi no Nawa or even call this movie as its spiritual successor. Aside from the obvious the two movies are made by the same person, it also share the same universe where mystic/magic do appears in a grounded realistic setting as a main feature for the plot, RADWIMPS is once again present for providing the insert song/OST throughout the movie, and the two main protagonist of Kimi no Nawa did made a cameo appearances.
The plot plays out exactly same too, with the first half of the movie coming up with mix up of Melancholic but very cheerful type of movie and the second half had drastic change in tone ;becoming dark and full of intensity. Most of the jokes including some perverts jokes, reverting-expectations jokes, mascot jokes and pretty much everything else that you’ve seen in Kimi no Nawa, to my eyes this is very poor attempts, because it didn’t give any variety and it seems as though Shinkai’s very content with his usual formula (but then again why doesn’t he feel the need to fix something that he thinks is not broken).
But the problem of this movie is not that it is feels like a rehearse or it is a worse version to Kimi no Nawa. The problem with this movie is that judge on its own, it still feature the similar trait(or dare I say problems) of usual Makoto Shinkai’s movie; while the movie had an excellent production values it does not had a genuine plot and characters. It seems Shinkai has an idea but he doesn’t really manage to pull off the execution. Plot conveniences appear one after another, making it seems as though the objective is just to make the story progress whether is it believable. One of the examples is a scene when kids manage to escape from police station full of police and I do believe anyone with their right mind will find it odds and quite puzzling.
In the setting that is very unforgiving and cruel, the violence’s in the movie is extremely tame. There’s literally many chance when characters could die (and even implication of death of people) but the anime gets away with it and the characters never felt show any emotion on it whatsoever. The economic struggles the characters facing too is only explored in very superficial level and never goes depth, making the drama that the characters lacks of money is not very useful.
The romance is very tame too. With the amount events of relationship that the two protagonist present, I would believe they are at a stage where they are at least make a kiss. The girl even doesn’t mind to open her bath robe, but even so the romantic action is quite lacking. I guess both elements did not present so intensely because the targeted audience is for kids to young teenager, but even so why show those somewhat adult content from the first place and also there’s no excuse for that, as there are also others kiddy show that manage to show itself quite believable.
I guess my biggest disappointment is that Hina wasn’t a more fleshed out character. She’s too innocent and pure-hearted that at times she felt like a concept. At times, she didn’t feel real. Even her first and second encounter with Hidaka is also very questionable change of heart. Hidaka’s the prototypical anime protagonist, so we hear his thoughts, anxieties, frustrations, moments of bliss and joy, so on and so forth. We drag in too many side characters that don’t get enough development to stand out on their own, and as a result, they just needlessly pad out the film’s length. Had this been an anime series instead, we could then fully explore these characters and their issues. But in a two hour movie, the drama felt too forced between the characters and some of them become friends way too easily. Meanwhile the security was so useless; they’re dumb, unprofessional and incomptences making the films looks like Sunday morning cartoons.
And then there’s the second half of the show where things becomes chaotic and full of intensity. The ending was kind of resembling Life is Strange Video Games with the movie chose the ‘selfish’ options instead of the ‘saint’ which is not a bad thing at all. However, at this point the movie has become utter-train wreck. Aside from the usual plot convenient that happens, there’s also the usage of deus-ex machine that turn around reality with very little explanation. But the film doesn’t end there, what’s more? There’s a time-skip present which makes the consequences of the present time action been throw-out of window.
Having said that. You won’t find me complaining about the movie’s aesthetic. It is simply excellent, it’s always a pleasure to experience an anime film on the big screen and as expected, the art is simply gorgeous. Every background is full of detail and lively, it’s pretty much a joy to watch throughout, the character’s design is the same as Kimi no Nawa but it is they are quite distinguishable and have different feature on them. I feel like the animation could have been better specifically when the movie tries to show the fireworks happens all around city and I found the people standing still instead of cheering because the situations is happiness, but that’s just personal nitpicking and never it does hammering the quality of the animation at all. On the whole, it is just great production.
It doesn’t sound half bad either. The voice acting is generally very good; the background sound specifically the rain sound (which will feature a lot) is pretty spot on for building the atmosphere. Watching on theaters really enhance the assessment on the movie especially when you heard it on full volumes. Though one thing I did not like is that the trick that the movie uses when they want to insert some Theme Song/OST. The movie really likes to show the viewers some dialogue-less scene of the characters spending their moment or cinematic porn of the landscapes with the back sounds appears for like every 20 minutes throughout the movie. I feel like this is cheap effort to induces feels to viewers but I think the movie should do this with their story and not with their supporting elements.
All in all. I feel like Tenki no Ko is just really wants to follow the successful of Kimi no Nawa but it never feels had a major deviation from its predecessor. So in the end, we got an the all-too-familiar product and this time I feel the execution is worse. On its own, it’s never being a good movie; there are some genuinely emotional moments in this movie that could move some viewers I guess. Nevertheless, it is a thoroughly frustrating movie. If you want to finish your Makoto Shinkai’s movie collection or you just want to watch some gorgeous animation spectacles. Go for it. Otherwise, I’d really can’t recommend it.
I guess what I learned is that Mc Donald isn’t so bad restaurant after all.
I, however do encourage you to lower your expectations. Not that the film isn’t good, it is. Great even and really enjoyable for me. It’s just not Kimi No Na Wa 2, which I feel many people will be expecting going in and be disappointed. This is a different type of story and film that in my opinion feels closer to 5CM per second and Garden of Words than to Kimi No Na Wa. Keep that in mind going in. That doesn’t spoil anything, the endings are different, before anyone(mod) complains. I’m just referring to the storytelling method and type of story being told. It’s much more grounded and is its own unique thing involving a much more realistic narrative and a fresh MC backstory/internal struggle.
What do I mean by that? I don’t think I’m spoiling anything here by saying that the plot while being fantastical, is very grounded in nature. A huge part of Kimi No Na Wa was the magical aspect, here you’ve got that, but the story is much more rooted in the characters, their interactions and relationships. The whole “weathering with you” is more secondary to the actual inner struggle that the MC is going through and the hardships he’s been through which will resonate with many.
Art was top notch as I said before, usual Shinkai style with amazing detailed environments and amazingly detailed character designs. Sound was also really good, soundtrack was great and definitely set the tone for several scenes during the climax. Can’t wait for it to be released. Additionally the sound design with rain, weather and other day to day things sounded extremely lifelike and added to the immersion of several scenes. Animation was mainly stellar, but there were a few choppy scenes that I noticed when the characters were running or moving rapidly and I found it a bit jarring, not the biggest deal, but it was there. Mainly, the way the characters’ necks and legs moved.
Pacing was good in my opinion, I didn’t ever feel overwhelmed by the story, confused or lost. I felt that the script took me from A to Z properly and characters were given their time to shine. Main story and subplots progress smoothly.
Now for the negatives. The CGI was, in my opinion, kinda iffy at times and was a bit subpar in general. I personally think that if I can tell there’s CGI being used, it’s bad. That could just be me, but there’s several scenes where the CGI is really noticeable and so I have to dock points for that. That’s my personal definition. I also saw very little actual growth out of the MC from start to end. I know it’s a film and not a series, but I wish I would have seen more of his development. I like to see Protags grow and evolve over the course of a film and learn new things. I did not get that in this film.
Additionally, By the end of the film, there are still some unresolved questions and plot threads that I really wish would have been answered during the film, but I do have the Light Novel and am hoping that we will get more answers in that. I also found the ending to be really abrupt and not well led into. Again, think 5CM per Second and Garden of Words type endings. I reiterate, that’s not spoiling anything, I’m just comparing it to comparable works and types of stories. The ending is its own thing and completely unrelated. I just dislike how it was abrupt and left more to be desired. I like to see endings eased into. Hopefully the LN will tie up what the film couldn’t.
Overall, I really enjoyed it and while it won’t break records like Kimi No Na Wa did due to its more grounded nature, it is a really solid film with a unique story, beautiful character designs, great soundtrack and amazing art that I definitely recommend checking out if you can. I imagine there won’t be many people reviewing it on here for a year or so, so if you have any questions regarding the film or Light Novel, feel free to hit me up/add me.
Tenki no Ko tells us the romance story of runaway kids who kinda like each others but not really and then they start fighting against adults and opposing society because it rains all the time.
I found it very hard to relate to these youngsters because they feel like lifeless cardboard. Our main male lead ran away from home and got himself a gun which he uses to threaten people and pimps with. And our main female lead is living alone without parents and fighting against the child service by working as a… well, she is working for the pimp and she is a child. Why something like this was written for her backstory is something I entirely failed to understand, but at least it makes equally much sense with the male lead’s backstory.
The story itself consist of story events that are a highly random collection of separate ideas that are not tied to each others in any solid way or form. The male lead’s life is saved by a dude and after that he starts working as his assistant/maid. Most of the story that occurs before this specific event is just about wandering around the town doing nothing. The parts where he works as a maid is entirely about slice of life stuff which cannot be called really anything more than pointless filler. After meeting the main female with her pimp, he tries to save her even tho she doesn’t ask to be saved. Whilst doing so he gets beaten down and repeatedly hit in the face by the pimp until pulls a gun on the pimp. This, for some reason, impresses the female and they start hanging out.
Unfortunately the cops are onto him because he is a runaway with a gun and also onto the girl because she is raising a child on her own while being a minor, so things turn south until she sacrifices herself to stop the rain. Because she is now gone, the male lead and the small kid the girl was rising start fighting against 6 gun-wielding cops with their fists and win, and just so happens to be she didn’t actually sacrifice herself but the actually meet again and then the movie ends. This is the story and relationship development in a nutshell.
There is lot of stuff in-between these events, but to sum up why I didn’t like them is going to be brief: Every new story event that occurs is more unlikely and improbable than the last one. Every single adult character in the movie works as a tool in the narrative and their existence is limited to creating false tension. Their actions are the combination of logical errors and plain stupidity, and it all exist so that the story would reach its preferred ending.
I am not truly sure what Shinkai was thinking when making Tenki no Ko, but I can conclude that it surely was not a written epic or how to respect his audience.
In terms of art, this is identical to his past movies and it feels especially old and tiring to watch with this type of content. Perhaps I wouldn’t complain if there was something praise-worthy in other section. Like, to be fair, some of the weather related symbolism is quite nice and specifically few scenes towards the end are beautiful. It’s just that these thing really don’t carry the movie and feel highly insignificant compared to all the things which it does in a manner that could be called offensively bad.
I really didn’t enjoy this movie. The story board was a complete mess, writing horrendous, the world building and the supposed societal system in the work make no sense whatsoever and the way the movie and its character relations are build is just a plain how-to NOT. It tried to provoke some cheap anger reactions from audience with pimp-assault injustice and whatever other (supposedly) good kids vs. the world setup, but all it got from me was some lols and weird faces. Overall it’s an incredibly weak work with surprisingly poor writing and zero respect to give to its audience.
9: Kara no Kyoukai 7: Satsujin Kousatsu (Go)
English: the Garden of sinners Chapter 7: Murder Speculation Part B
Japanese: 劇場版 空の境界 the Garden of sinners 第七章『殺人考察（後）』
MAL Score: 8.42
In February 1999, a string of murders has Shiki Ryougi and Mikiya Kokutou on edge. These crimes share a disturbing resemblance to a similar set of homicides from 1995, when Shiki and Mikiya first met, and awaken a dark, murderous desire that has laid dormant within Shiki’s soul ever since then.
With Shiki under suspicion due to her involvement in the past killings and supposed resemblance to the killer, she and Mikiya set out to find the true perpetrator. In the midst of their separate investigations, Mikiya grows increasingly concerned with Shiki’s well-being and hurries to find the one responsible in order to protect Shiki from her own impulses. With the lead he receives from his cousin, police investigator Daisuke Akimi, Mikiya is led into the underbelly of Mifune City, as the salvation of Shiki’s soul lies in his determination to prove her innocence once and for all.
There’s an old aphorism about saving the best till last, and Kara no Kyoukai ~The Garden of Sinners~ has done just that.
The seventh and final movie in the franchise doesn’t simply follow the events of the second movie, but utilises threads from several previous stories to weave an interesting, and sometimes disturbing, tale of obsession. The second part of Satsujin Kousatsu (Murder Speculation), takes place in February 1999, one month after Oblivion Recording, and more than three years after the events in the second movie.
This time around it seems the serial killer from part one is back, and as the bodies are found one by one, Mikiya Kokuto searches for answers as he continues to believe Ryougi Shiki was not responsible for previous set of murders, and that she is innocent of the crimes being commited now. Meanwhile, Shiki prowls the dark alleys night after night …
One thing that really sets this movie apart from the rest of the series is that the plot is much tighter and more flowing than in most of the previous outings. There is also a conscious effort to tie up some of the loose ends left over the course of the series, and while there are still several unanswered questions, the second part of Satsujin Kousatsu does manage to offer some catharsis about Shiki and Kokuto’s relationship.
That said, the writing isn’t perfect. There are still some plot points that remain unresolved, and while they may not have a major impact on the narrative per se, they do leave one feeling that the overall storyline from the whole series is a little incomplete. In addition to this the dialogue suffers from an abundance of intelligence as every character can philosophise their actions in some manner. The upshot of this is that the movie can sometimes seem condescending or patronizing, and even though this questionable arrogance may be unintentional, the simple fact is that viewers may find themselves wanting to punch the screen from time to time.
While the writing may not be up to standard, the same can’t be said of the visuals. Ufotable have, once again, pulled out all the stop for this finale, and it shows. The characters move with an animal grace that is rare to see, and the overall animation is stunning in its quality and choreography. The opening credit sequence is particularly noteworthy as it shows great imagination, as well as some stunning techniques that will hopefully appear in more anime. As for the movie proper, there are some fantastic lighting effects throughout which add a more ominous atmosphere to much of the story, especially when used alongside the often dark, dank backgrounds and settings. That said, there are occasions where the lighting is a little off (for example, characters are easily distinguishable in areas where there is no readily available light source), however this is a minor gripe as the majority of the movie is the most atmospheric and well animated episode in the franchise.
Sound is another area where the movie excels, although there are admittedly a few minor niggles here and there. The cast are at their best in this episode, and their experience with the characters, especially Kokuto (Suzumura Kenichi), and Shiki (Sakamoto Maaya), really does shine through. The performances of the seiyuu literally ooze quality, and while there is a penchant for philosophical monologuing at times, these are delivered with aplomb.
In terms of effects Satsujin Kousatsu Part 2 might arguably be the best in the series. Each sound is clear and distinguishable, even when the habitual cacophony occurs during heavy action sequences, and once again the franchise proves that it can deliver very high production values.
The real triumph though, is the music.
In the simplest terms this movie a definite contender for “best anime choreography of the decade” as it features some of the most breathtaking melding of animation and music to be found in the medium, and the choice of tracks is nothing short of inspired. The opening sequence is a choral, hymn-like track which perfectly sets the tone for the rest of the movie, while the end theme, a bittersweet ballad, works very well with the movie’s finale. Where Satsujin Kousatsu Part 2 really shines though, is in the application of its thematic music. The tracks on offer have a generally dark feel to them (this isn’t really a “nice” story after all), but added to that are visuals that have not only been timed extremely well, but feature some excellent animation, stunning set designs, and superb camera angles.
One of the issues that has plagued the Kara no Kyoukai franchise from the outset is that the characters are often underdeveloped, and while certain events over the course of the series provide opportunities for growth, these chances are all too often overlooked. That said, there is some development to be had, it’s just unfortunate that the lion’s share of it only occurs in a few movies, and this is one of them. It’s the introduction of Shirazumi Lio that changes the dynamics of not only the story, but also the relationship between Kokuto and Shiki. He is the one thing that forces the pair to grow as characters, and his presence in the movie casts a pall over every story in the franchise.
Confused? I’ll elaborate then.
Kara no Kyoukai has made the effort to portray Souren Araya as the main “bad guy”, but while his goals may be the drivers for many of the events over the course of the series, he never affected Kokuto and Shiki in the way that Lio does. It’s his formation of a very disturbed “menage-a-trois” that causes Kokuto to “get off his backside” for once, and pushes Shiki to the edge of reason. Lio is also noteworthy for the surprising amount of characterisation that has gone into his creation. He is a complete persona from start to finish, and while there is virtually no development on his part, he honestly doesn’t need it.
To be perfectly frank, I found this to be the best installment in the series, and while it is somewhat more graphic than other episodes, this only serves to improve one’s understanding of the characters and events (as opposed to simply being graphic in order to be “cool”). A case in point is one particular interaction between Lio and Shiki, which while being rather sexually charged, is more reminiscent of a child pulling the wings off a fly. It’s this emphasis on improving the viewer’s understanding of the characters that really sets the movie apart, especially as this is what has been lacking for most of the series.
If you’re a fan of franchise, or of TYPE-MOON, then Satsujin Kousatsu Part 2 is a movie that you should definitely watch. As a standalone it holds its own against many other releases, but when the series is taken as a whole the movie is raised to a new level. That said, in order to fully appreciate the difference it’s best to watch the rest of the series first, as while each episode functions as an autonomous tale, this particular film has been designed to convey an ending.
Kara no Kyoukai may not be to everyone’s tastes, but whether you like it or not the one undeniable fact is that the franchise makes a great advertisement for the potential inherent in the anime industry, and given some recent releases like Break Blade, it seem like someone was paying attention.
Kara no Kyoukai 7: Satsujin Kousatsu Part 2 is the finale of a string of movies based of a series of light novels by Kinoko Nasu. In the final movie, the story revolves around the appearance of multiple murders as well as the disappearance of Ryougi Shiki, and Kokutou Mikiya’s attempt to unravel the mysteries of the murders and Shiki’s whereabouts.
I was really conflicted on whether or not the story for the finale deserved a 9 or a 10, but in the end i chose the give it a 10 against my better judgment. All of the Kara no Kyoukai movies have a very adult plot, focusing on murder and moral values within society, and the 7th movie also takes this stance while focusing on Shiki and Mikiya’s relatioship, as well as tying up lose ends in the plot, and revealing things that the other movies left out. The use of suspense and mystery, as well as the constant flash backs that reveal more and more of Mikiya and Shiki’s tale really helps to keep the story flowing as well as keeping the viewers interested. If I had to be really picky, the only problem with the story is the pacing at some points. The flow of the story does not have a constant pacing, where at some points it seems to move extremely slow while other times the story seems to progress and reveal information in a short amount of time.
Really, all the Kara no Kyoukai movies have amazing art and animation and the finale is no exception. The use of a dark color palet brings out the story’s dark undertones of the story, as well as complementing the characters and scenery.
Sound is also used very effectively as well to help create a mood to immerse the viewers in. It is up beat when it needs to be, and sad when it needs to be as well. The combination of the art and sound creates a mood that helps immerse viewers in Shiki and Mikiya’s world and the situation they are in. It is the addition of these elements which truly brings out Kara no Kyoukai’s brilliance. Keeping the viewers attention is only half the battle, for an anime to truly become remarkable in the eyes of the public it needs to draw in the viewers, immerse them in the characters world. Having the viewer feeling tense as a character rounds the corner, having them feel for the characters during emotional moments, this is all created through the use of art and sound, and Kara no Kyoukai nails it.
As stated in the story, we get to see more of the relationship between Shiki and Mikiya as well as their development as characters. Shiki is a very unusual character, one of the reasons that people are drawn to this anime, and although she is hard to identify with, seeing her struggle with her problems, struggle with understanding her emotions, as well as evolve as a person is what draws us to her. While other movies did not so much focus on Shiki and her emotions and how she is changing, this movie is solely dedicated to it, and that is one of its greatest draws.
What can I say, I have been praising this movie for the whole review. It is a masterpiece in my eyes, and while it may not have as much action as the others, it is still my personal favorite.
While writing this review, I was trying to find things wrong with this movie, but not matter how hard I thought, I was not able to. It may seem stupid that I gave this all 10’s, but really, this movie deserved every one of them. It is outstanding, amazing and remarkable.
So let me ask you, what makes an anime memorable to you? Characters? Story? Art? There are only a select few animes that ever reach this level with people, an anime which you will remember while forgetting many others. It needs to stand out, it needs to grab your attention, and most importantly, it needs to affect YOU. For me, Kara no Kyoukai 7 is that kind of anime.
*slight spoilers ahead*
This film had some good points (the art for example, which has been a consistent highlight throughout all of the films) but it’s heavily outweighed by the low points in the execution of the movie’s story.
For one, it ran an hour too long. The film is a bulky two hours I felt was mostly filler, and definitely could of been condensed. It seemed like the director and writer made this film way too long to make up for the long wait but it was completely unnecessary.
That being said, I did enjoy the first part of the film. It’s starts off very promising with a suspenseful murder-mystery sort of vibe that’s been prevalent with all the films. Shiki’s back story is finally fleshed out a little more which was nice, though you have to have a good memory to catch everything. (Lots of references to the past films, to be expected.)
Where the movie really lost points for me was the main theme of the film; the idea that Shiki has always had this latent desire to kill and Kokuto’s argument that murder is never justified. I agreed with Kokuto and the movie argues very well throughout that killing means killing a part of yourself too. This was a recurrent theme throughout the films and they had me believing it, which was why the ending was such a supreme disappointment for me. The film seemed to contradict and ignore it’s own argument for the sake of a “happy” ending and I felt a little cheated by it. Where are the consequences of murder they kept talking about? the loss?
So, if you liked the other films then you’ll get a lot of the same. The tone, characters and artwork are all familiar and are certainly worth a look if only to know how the series ends. But this film is a prime example of a story that was structured with a very clear ideal in mind, only to chuck it out the window for no reason at all. If your a fan of good, consistent writing like me, you’ll be disappointed.
8: Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata Fine
Japanese: 冴えない彼女の育てかた Fine
MAL Score: 8.47
With the second Winter Comiket just around the corner, Blessing Software has been vigorously producing its new game, “How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend.” Despite Utaha Kasumigaoka and Eriri Spencer Sawamura leaving the circle, Megumi Katou and Tomoya Aki are hopeful that, by sticking to Tomoya’s original vision for the game, their upcoming creation will exceed Blessing Software’s previous installment.
With the addition of new members Iori and Izumi Hashima, development ensues—but not without its share of setbacks. Things rarely go as planned in the dating sim industry, with numerous obstacles forcing Tomoya to decide between helping his friends or completing the game.
Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata Fine draws the series to a close as Tomoya selects his final route, both within his personal life and Blessing Software.
The animation is very good and what one would expect for a movie production, and there are plenty of Easter eggs for you to spot in various scenes.
But I feel that aside from Eriri, all of the other characters aren’t given the development and growth they deserve. It’s unfortunate that even though Michiru and Izumi get relatively more screen time, their existence isn’t very important.
There are both scenes meant to be heartwarming and heart-wrenching, but everything gets rushed along due to the time constraints and the impact isn’t as strong as one would hope.
It is an ending to the series, but was it the best ending? I personally don’t think so.
Also, when you watch this, be sure to watch past the credits.
If I were to describe this movie in a few words, it’d be sweet and satisfying. The heavy focus on romance is what made it so much more satisfying to watch than the previous 2 seasons.
The animation, as expected, was great. Clean and high quality, a slight step above its already well-animated prequels. Comedic scenes were also scattered throughout the movie and funny to watch.
The story was well-executed. Although this anime is known for its melodrama, I feel that the plot was nothing too extravagant. The romantic development was simple and clear cut. I really liked the empathy and understanding between the MC and best girl, which gave a really different form of romantic entertainment unlike the usual misunderstandings in romance anime.
All in all, it was immensely satisfying to watch its conclusive ending. If you’ve watched the preceding 2 seasons, I’d highly recommend that you watch this movie. I’d personally gave it an 8.5, but I’m sure it’d definitely be worth a watch for anyone else. Oh and remember to stay after the credits!
Yes, I’m aware of the things that they could’ve made way better but in a good anime, there’s either an ending that satisfies you, confuses you, or pisses you off. None of these three are bad but that depends on your “taste” in anime. Me personally, it made me really happy. The ending was just perfect (before end credits), and the fact that they came back to where it all started brought tears in my eyes.
Only reason why I didn’t give this a 10 is because of the disrespect on Utaha, who’s supposedly one of the main characters. Not only was her screen time limited but the lack of her development as one of the main characters bothered me. On the other hand, Eriri was given what she deserved with a “proper” goodbye to her “what could’ve been relationship” with Tomoya.
The actual ending (after credits) hit me right in the heart, I was brought back to reality after seeing what could’ve been the end of their relationship and their status as a couple after giving up on their dreams. Later then being reunited with all the members was just the cherry on top of the movie, it really couldn’t have been any better than that.
So if anything, don’t drop the series, trust.
7: Kara no Kyoukai 5: Mujun Rasen
English: the Garden of sinners Chapter 5: Paradox Paradigm
Japanese: 劇場版 空の境界 the Garden of sinners 第五章『矛盾螺旋』
MAL Score: 8.55
In November 1998, a double homicide occurs at the newly constructed Ogawa apartment complex in the heart of Mifune City. The murderer, Tomoe Enjou, has fled in a panic. To his astonishment, he is not pursued by the police and news of the incident has not been reported through media outlets. After Shiki Ryougi defends Tomoe from a group of thugs, she allows him to use her residence as a hideout. However, a few days later, Tomoe is shaken to discover that his mother is alive, even though he is convinced that he killed her.
Coincidentally, Mikiya Kokutou is investigating a tip that his associate Touko Aozaki receives regarding the murder at the unique apartment complex. As he uncovers more information about the incident, Mikiya takes a particular interest in Tomoe. Deciding to investigate him further, Mikiya soon discovers the disturbing truth of the foreboding Ogawa complex.
The fifth installment of the Kara no Kyoukai film series, Mujun Rasen combines an intricately constructed mystery with established themes and characters to produce a dark, thought-provoking story.
Wow. I have to say that this movie is enough to leave one speechless at times, and for a variety of reasons.
The fifth installment of the Kara no Kyoukai series, Mujun Rasen (Paradox Spiral), is somewhat of a departure from the previous four outings not just in terms of its running time (almost two hours), but also in terms of art direction and story.
Set around two months after Fukan Fuukei, the tale begins with a disjointed sequence of events that are gradually cleared up as the movie continues. The story itself centres around a boy named Enjou Tomoe, who is saved from a group of thugs by Ryougi Shiki. She invites him to stay with her after he begs her to hide him somewhere as he believes that he has committed a crime and appears to be on the run.
During this time it seems that Kokuto Mikiya is away on some business, and Aozaki Touko is investigating an odd rumour she has heard from a policeman she knows.
Now the main problem with the story direction is that many people will be confused by the path it takes. There are numerous sequences that are repeated several times, and the story has a tendency to not only jump about from one time to another, but also from one event to another (a style similar to that used by Luc Besson at times). The result is something more along the lines of a Satoshi Kon production, and while there will be many people who enjoy the numerous twists, turns, loops and whorls that take place in the story, there will be just as many who will be put off by the overwhelming amount of information one has to process at times.
The art and animation throughout the series thus far has been top notch, however there is a noticeable drop in quality in this Mujun Rasen. Given the length of the movie it may be that Ufotable were forced to cut some corners with the designs and animation, but there are quite a few scenes where their normal quality really shines through. The CG is, as always, of a very high standard and runs smoothly in conjunction with the normal animation. The backgrounds and backdrops are well designed, and a lot of thought has gone into ensuring that certain elements in this area follow the concept of the story.
Unfortunately, the drop in quality I mentioned is noticeable in several scenes, and in one in particular, the character looks constipated rather than hysterical. In addition to this the animation of the action sequences, whilst being excellent overall, suffers towards the end of the movie, with one key sequence being more dizzying than breathtaking. That said, the sequence in question will appeal to those who like roller coasters at the very least.
The sound is on par with the other movies and is well executed overall. The effects are extremely good throughout, but the old problem of the noise sometimes being too overwhelming has reared its head once more. The score used throughout the Mujun Rasen lends to the general atmosphere, however there are times when the music seems a little out of sync with the on-screen action.
On the plus side it seems my prayers have been answered as more is revealed about Touko, especially as the antagonist in this film, Araya Souren (who appeared briefly at the very end of the previous movie declaring himself to be a magus), has a history with her. In addition to this, there is a secondary character named Cornelius Alba who also has a history with both Touko and Araya. In addition to this the viewer can finally see some different sides to Shiki, as well as gaining some insight into why Touko was so interested in her during the events of Garan no Dou.
The downside is that Mikiya continues to be more of a supporting role in this movie, and Tomoe, while generally being a decent character for the most part, may annoy some people.
Even with those flaws, this is still an excellent movie (especially if you can get your head around the plot). Fans of Kara no Kyoukai should generally be pleased with this latest addition to the franchise, and although it does drop a little in terms of animation and artwork, Mujun Rasen will hopefully herald a new direction for the series.
I’m expecting good things from the sixth movie…
OK, so this is version 3 of my KnK 5 review after watching the movie for the second time and getting part of my first review deleted. The full summary part has been taken off to keep the size down (I spent a lot of time on that too). I will be more in-depth and critical this time around. Before you read this review or watch the movie, make sure you’ve watched the first 4 KnK movies. Scores are based on 2nd time around. Comments and private messages are appreciated to help me review better next time around.
First Time: 8.5/10
The thing to note for #5 compared to the other 4 is that this time, the movie is nearly 2 hours long. That’s more than double any of the previous movies. However, the story is by no means slow, and there are more than enough turn-arounds and absurd twists to keep it enjoyable. Odd installments of flashbacks and repeating scenes make the whole thing a bit difficult to follow, but overall, the story was unique compared to the other Kara no Kyoukai episodes and understandable if you’ve watched the other 4. By this time, you should be quite familiar with Shiki’s as well as Touko’s abilities.
Second Time: 9.2/10
The problem with the first time around was the confusing non-linear story pattern. The montage when Shiki reappears was helpful at clearing this up, and the second time through, I could grasp some of the deeper meaning in some of the obscure statements. Araya and Touko had some really profound quotes that only truly struck me after watching the movie again (this time, I didn’t have to worry about catching the plot). Philosophically, it was almost like GiTS for me. I also noticed some real logic lapses the second time around. Stuff like how the police didn’t do a follow-up and the lack of blood in some scenes and excess of blood in other scenes. Some of the coming back from the dead and not being fazed by stab wounds are also ridiculous, but within the bounds of a supernatural anime like KnK.
First Time: 10/10
I was going to give this a 9, but I suppose art also entails animation. As always, KnK has some of the best (or possibly the best) animation of all time. The fights are packed full of excitement and every attack is conveyed beautifully. Again, Shiki’s eyes are as beautiful as ever, and there is plenty of blood. This time around, there is more than one fight scene, so it’s almost like double the awesomeness.
Second Time: 10/10
KnK is basically the height of animation quality. There were a few lapses here and there and some sloppy artwork in some places, but the second time made me concentrate more on how beautiful the animation really is. Sometimes, I take KnK for granted, but compared to other anime, this is on its own level. Since there were 3 fight scenes, I am satisfied that there weren’t any blatant drops in quality for any of them. Some criticisms for you picky people include lack of blood during the stabbing scene and some cgi moments that were less than superb. Also, Touko regrows her teeth in her fight and Mikiya is present in the very beginning of Touko’s fight on the ground (1:07:32 in the gg-Takajun subs) when he shouldn’t be (he disappears in the next set of frames). Overall excellent though.
First Time: 9.3/10
Every person has their own personal taste with music. For me, the soundtrack of every KnK movie is beautiful, and this is no exception. With mixes of familiar tracks from the previous 4 movies as well as a few of its own, KnK 5 has perhaps the best soundtrack of the entire series so far. Additionally, the ED song is Sprinter, which is my favorite Kalafina song so far. The thing that makes KnK so amazing is not only the animation quality and straight-up beauty of the fight scenes, but also the incredible bgm that backs each fight scene up. Ever since the first movie, the bgm that they play has never failed to engage me more into the story and “feel” the emotions.
Second Time: 9.7/10
I downloaded a rip of the KnK 5 OST after watching it the first time. Lo and behold, the second time around, I loved it even more. Once again, Sprinter is a definite plus. Sure, the soundtrack is a bit repetitive, especially from other KnK movies, but I think that’s what makes it great. Why take down a winning formula? That being said, this is the best OST of the 5 movies in my opinion because it combines many great tracks into a full 2 hours, along with adding a few compositions of its own.
First Time: 9.7/10
If animation is the one thing KnK is associated with, character would be a close second. From the utterly confusing first movie to the scene-setting second movie, we’ve seen Shiki, Mikiya, and Touko develop. Now that I have become comfortable with Shiki, I consider her to be one of the most interesting characters of any anime, regardless of her eyes. Her monotone conversations never cease to amuse me, and she gets in a lot of time talking with Tomoe, the new character. The psychological aspects of KnK 5 rival those of some of the previous movies, and there is some questioning on the side of the “bad guys” as to what “absolute wisdom” is. If you’ve seen and understood the other movies, the character development in this is just as good, if not better because we get to see a side of Touko that has not been revealed before.
Second Time: 9.4/10
So I HAD reviews of individual characters, but it got eaten up by the MAL system somehow… Basically, there was some fluctuation between characters. Shiki and Touko really shone through this one, but Enjou was just annoying in some ways and Mikiya got almost no screen time. To reiterate, Shiki was just adorable at times, which is part of the reasoning behind the high score.
First Time: 9.9/10
I don’t really remember what I had written here before, but basically, this is well worth the time to watch. Heck, I even watched it twice… Just absolutely fantastic fight scenes and some serious plot development to think over.
Second Time: 9.2/10
Watch it again if you want. The fight scenes are still top-notch and engaging. Plot elements may drag on for the second time, but it’s helpful to know what’s going on as it’s going on.
Extremely impressive movie with some serious psychological elements interweaved into a complex plot. As always with KnK, incredible animation and character development. Basically what I’m trying to say is that this was one of the best things I have ever seen, anime or not, and something that I rewatched a week after seeing it the first time (don’t forget that it’s 2 hours long).
After having watched the four prequels of the series and finishing the fifth just now, I will write this review based on the information we have up to now for the characters, storyline and so on. Not for what this series could be or how the adaptation should have been either.
Also, this is my first actual review, so I hope I will end up being helpful to those reading this.
Ok, let’s begin! I’ll seperate this into 5 parts.
First off; The story. 9/10
The 5th part of the series does not fail to deliver yet another storyline that will not confuse the viewer, as long as he pays attention to the dialogue, that most of the time drives the show along.
Mystery, incredible twists and gore scenes lead to this increadibly dark show. The reason behind my 9 is based on the fact that I found the mystery absolutely original, it’s something I have never seen nor did I ever think of, and the way it was explained in the movie was simple and clear. As for its negative side, the only part of it that always annoyed me was the order of the series themselves. It never had a fluent continuation, a new movie was always beginning from a new checkpoint making it unclear at times.
The main characters are extremely well drawn. The simillarities between this movie and Fate/Zero are quite obvious, especially in the faces/eyes. Takeuchi Takashi is easily one of my favourite character designers and he has not failed to impress me yet another time. I can guarantee satisfaction on this certain aspect.
As for the animation, compared to the rest of the movies it was downgraded due to the length. However, ufotable is like pizza. Even when it is bad, it is still good. This part of the show is still its high point and when it has to get good, you know it will. The fights are excellent, wild and bloody as always, the movements are smooth and realistic and will keep the viewer glued to the screen whenever they occur.
Just like the movies before it, and, from what I’ve read, the movies after it, the sound is fitting always to the situation, energetic as well as calming whenever it should be, however, in this particular movie, the soundtracks tend to get very loud, making it hard to hear the voice actors or focusing on certain situations, although that really gives you an adrenalin dose when it should.
The characters in this movie had their best performance yet. We have seen each one of them in action this time, as well as proof of their intelligence and the potential that they have in the development of the story. We also get introduced to the counterpart of Shiki, who is the main focus of the first half of the show. The mystery that, as mentioned above impressed me the most in this movie was revolving around him, so I really enjoyed his stay on the show.
Overall, this movie’s advantages far outdo its flaws and the viewer will remain speechless at times. It deliveres pure entertainment. Intense plot, with truly well done fight sequences that might make your jaw drop. That’s what made me make a review on this particular movie.
Do not hold back from watching. And do it as many times as you want.
I hope I helped you out and I’ll try and get better with reviewing.
6: Josee to Tora to Sakana-tachi
English: Josee, the Tiger and the Fish
MAL Score: 8.55
A youth romantic drama with themes of growing up, the story focuses on college student Tsuneo and dreamer Josee, who lives her life stuck in a wheelchair. Josee—named after the heroine in Fran?oise Sagan’s Wonderful Clouds—spends most of her days reading and painting until by chance she encounters Tsuneo, and decides it’s time to face the real world.
(Source: MAL News)
Plot – 10/10
As you might have read in the synopsis, Josee met Tsuneo by a chance encounter (check out trailer if you want to know what happened) and decides that despite her disabilities, she wants to see the outside world. If you have seen the trailer beforehand, you will know that both of them sneaked out when her grandmother took her naps, and they explored the world Josee had never seen or had not seen for quite a long time. It was during those times that she experienced more of the outside world, an experience that she found very exciting and scary at the same time.
I think the best part of the movie was when everything goes wrong, one after another. I know there is bound to be people who say something along the lines of “oh, but the climax was cliché” and I won’t say they are wrong. But the way it is depicted in this tale is not very usual, and some scenes forces you to try sympathize with the characters due to how heartbreaking the implications and the events can get. Also, I can safely say that this is the only movie in which the storytelling of a children’s book can be phrased in a way that makes the audience very emotional, so look forward to that.
Art – 9/10
The art in this movie is average at best. If you have seen Garden of Words or Your Name, then you might feel that the art in this movie is mediocre. This is where I disagree. The art serves as a support for the plot that we are paying our money for, and the art in this movie actually supports the plot well. You will not find yourself feeling left out by the characters who look so unrealistic that they seem to be of a different world. In fact, you might actually be drawn to the characters because the art makes them feel real, and the fact that a simplistic art style makes it feel realistic is a selling point of a movie.
Sound – 10/10
Now many people might be reviewing this based on the ending song Ao no Waltz by Eve since the Eve music video in Youtube had been very popular before the movie’s release and had been the reason why many people watched the movie in the first place. While that song itself was good, we can’t discount the fact that you only get to hear that during the last few minutes of the movie. So instead I will share about the ambient sounds and the speech patterns of characters in the movie.
The sounds in the movie are engineered in a manner that will leave you breathless. Some scenes include a lot of atmospheric noises which will improve the already realistic feel of the movie, while others uses the strength of silence to emphasize the feelings each character holds true within themselves. The way each characters spoke really reflects what is actually on their minds, rather than the words they actually used and the message they actually tried to deliver.
Character – 9/10
In terms of character development, I feel that it was done in a rushed manner and although it explains every character, their personalities, and their behaviors well, it does not give you time to process the string of information. However, I can’t say that it was done in a bad manner, it isn’t. The main goal of this rapid development is actually to let you immerse yourself in their world and experience and understand more about the characters with the characters themselves. Confused?
Let me give you a rundown of my argument. Would you find watching a movie which tells everything you need to know about a character or one that makes you go in the same pace as the characters? I think the fact that we do not know everything about a character is realistic in the sense that, in the real world, we do not know everything about people we interact with, and instead only know what had been displayed by that person.
As for the characters themselves, there is not many to talk about, but there is much to talk about them, but I won’t, you have to see for yourselves. There are some you hate but will grow on you, some you enjoy looking at, and some you might loath so much because of how rigid their minds work. It is this good blend that reflects how the real world actually is, and that’s how the movie makes its characters so relatable and not flat.
Enjoyment – 10/10
Won’t go into too much details here since I’ve been waiting for this movie and it’s only natural that I will enjoy myself. However, in the theatres I was watching at, people cheered at the end of the movie so I guess it was enjoyable enough even if you watched it without any background information.
Overall – 10/10
Summary of this review, it’s worth it to watch. Give it a shot.
In summary, this romance drama is pretty standard as it goes, so if you expect something new or something compelling then you won’t find it here. Animated movie formats in general are fast paced due to its short run time; relying on common tropes, character archetypes and melodrama to convey the story quickly and efficiently; it simply can’t be fleshed out like a TV-series, and this movie is no different. Of course, this isn’t a bad thing – what I want to address here is to know your expectations before watching this (and pretty much anything else). I personally watched this because I want a light-hearted casual show with nice interactions between the main duo. And yes it is a cute show which satisfied my needs, so if you watch the trailer and like what it has to offer then you should definitely give it a chance. Next up are my personal thoughts of this movie with no spoilers.
The main duo Josee and Tsuneo got to know each other during an accidental encounter. Tsuneo, as a poor college student, was offered a job right after by Josee’s grandmother – it is to look after Josee and keep her safe from the outside world due to her condition. It wasn’t easy for Tsuneo to earn the trust of a wary and awkward Josee who’s confined from the outside world most of the time, but eventually he got through. And from there Tsuneo slowly helped Josee to see the world that she always wished to see; became more independent and overcome her physical condition that greatly hindered her life. You should be able to guess how the rest goes.
The movie doesn’t waste time elaborating, it set up the story and the arcs quickly and efficiently. You will feel the quick pacing of the film (due to the format’s limitation like I mentioned at the start), but it isn’t feel rushed. The first half introduced our characters and established the duo’s dynamic, and then it shifted gears right away into the second half where the drama starts surfacing. The general flow of the movie was decent from start to finish – exciting and cute at first, then it gets heavier during the drama act, goosebump during the climax and lighthearted in the end with a happy ending. I was pleased with the movie’s general execution, although the first act where it established the duo’s dynamic was kinda short in my opinion.
Tsuneo and Josee are classic characters you usually see in a romance drama, but what matters is the execution, and it was well done. Tsuneo is a hardworking college student who loves ocean life and want it to be his career goal. While Josee dreams of exploring the outside world, especially the sea. She loves drawing and her topic has always been about the world under the water. It is the love of the sea that draws these two together, and from here we see their relationship started to develop. Tsuneo is level-headed, matured and responsible; while Josee is a bit hot-tempered, and awkward due to lack of interaction with the outside world (which her overprotective grandmother played a big part in). But as she grew more comfortable around Tsuneo, she became expressive, happy, easily excited (and sometimes embarrassed) over the most mundane things of the outside world and it especially peaked when she saw the sea. It melted me a bit seeing these sides of Josee. During the second half we will see how the duo helped each other to overcome their struggles and life misfortunes. I won’t dwell too much into this, but it was well paced and ended on a good note like I mentioned last paragraph.
The relationship dynamic between Tsuneo and Josee for the most part can be described as cute and light-hearted. Their interactions and dialogues remind me of Korean romance for some reason – short remarks; bashfulness between the two, especially from Josee as she became fond of Tsuneo, but for the most part, light-hearted and pleasant. Their voice acting are on point as well. There’s only one gripe I had – I wished there was more development and connection between the two as they talk about their love for the sea because I love sea themes in general and unfortunately the movie doesn’t cover this too much, which was a bummer.
The supporting cast are nothing special. They serve only as plot device, nothing more, nothing less. There’s a love triangle but it existed only to move the story forward and the melodrama was rather awkward but ultimately it served its purpose and wasn’t dragged out, which was a relief. Moving on.
Art, music & general direction was nice. You can check out Eve’s MV Aono waltz to have a feel of everything. Unfortunately, 90% of the eye candy visuals and the most beautiful shots are all in that 4-minute MV so you won’t find much more in the movie. Don’t expect it to be stunning every frame like Makoto Shinkai’s productions.
All in all, this is an enjoyable show and I had a good time watching it. Hopefully this review will help you make up your mind and have a casual, realistic view of what this movie is like.
Josee, the Tiger and the Fish is a movie that tells a story heavily focused on Josee (the disabled girl shown on the poster) and Tsuneo (the boy who walks besides Josee shown on the poster). When you saw this movie’s poster for the first time, you might be thinking that this movie will tell one hell of a sad story. You’re not wrong, but you’re not completely right either if you think like that. My suggestion if you ever wanted to watch this movie, do not take your expectations too highly. I’ve heard a lot of positive things about this movie before, and that obviously made me expecting things highly from this movie. The movie did not live up to my expectations, but it did have it’s own redeemable quality to be called “good”.
Now, let’s get to the review:
The story is as generic drama as it could get. As I’ve mentioned as an opening before, this movie is heavily focused on Tsuneo and Josee. Why did I say it’s generic? Because this kind of story has been seen and used lot in the drama romance genre.
It’s a story about Josee who has a deficiency locked up by her overprotective grandma in her own house for too long, and that made her has a dream to see the outside world by herself. Tsuneo on the other hand, is a “normal” boy who has a part-time job that needed him to explore the ocean and has a dream to become a student in a foreign university. One night, Tsuneo came across Josee by accident and that somehow made Tsuneo became closer to her. Their journey exploring the outside begins there, and guess what? Yes, they slowly grow a feeling into each other.
Okay, the main problem is not how the story is oftenly seen on the screen, but it’s the way how the movie tells the story. There’s no proper explanations on how and why these things on the screen happening. Things just happens like that, and it tricks you into thinking the movie has explained the important parts when it’s actually not. I sat there watching confused with a question like “How? Why?” most of the time. Being “mainstream” is not enough to call this kind of story generic, but looking at how lacking the storytelling is kind of backing my statement about it being generic. The pacing on the other hand, is kind of balanced in a way even if it feels a bit forced sometimes. The flow from the happy introduction, to melancholic complication, then going back to the happy vibes in the end feels nice and balanced. As I said, Nothing bad, nothing good.
Art & Animation: 9/10
Probably the best aspect of the movie. The artstyle is absolutely smooth and detailed, it made my eyes almost reached the orgasmic point. Animation is also feels and looks smooth. I’m sure this alone could make you hooked into watching the movie more.
The voice acting is very good. The dialect that Josee spoke feels natural, and every other voice acting of the characters here is also feels natural, even the screams could make some goosebumps here and there. The sfx is nice, and then the music. Eve takes part in this, and boi it did make the show better. I almost shed a tear when Eve’s music starts to play in the middle of the movie as it fits perfectly with the scene that the song placed in.
Even though the movie is heavily focused on Josee and Tsuneo, they both did not have a proper background, but I’d say it’s still tolerable. Their backgrounds might be little, but their journey on the movie could make the viewer cares about them.
The other characters though? They seem to be exist only to be a plot device. No proper backgrounds and not enough screentime to make the viewer at least lay an eye on them. There’s one scene that made me scratched my head out of confusion. One character that is supposed to be an important character, just got removed without an explanation. Imagine one neutral scene where you’re not supposed to expect something, the show gave you a sudden turn anyway. It’s not a shock value, but it’s still something. Something to confuse the hell out of your mind. The scene is supposed to be “powerful” but it’s just, they don’t seem to even care with the characters other than Josee and Tsuneo. Also, the whole “love rival” just came out of nowhere, and the show expects the viewer to care about it?. I mean, again, because there is no proper explanation on it.
Even though this movie did confuse the heck out of me, and dissapointed me since i had high expectations on it, it somehow still made me almost sheds a tear. And that artstyle, my eyes highly appreciates it. Also, Josee’s cute not gonna lie.
Overall: 6.6 – (7: Good)
tl;dr – This is a heartwarming and cute movie. Best watched with your close ones and enjoys it together. Even if this would made the viewer confused with it’s way of storytelling, but it could still make the viewer cares about the two main duo of the movie, as it is their focus of the show. It’s a good watch overall even tho there’s a lot of downs from the movie.
And yes, i’m sorry if this looks like a rant rather than a review.
5: Kimi no Suizou wo Tabetai
English: I want to eat your pancreas
MAL Score: 8.58
The aloof protagonist: a bookworm who is deeply detached from the world he resides in. He has no interest in others and is firmly convinced that nobody has any interest in him either. His story begins when he stumbles across a handwritten book, titled “Living with Dying.” He soon identifies it as a secret diary belonging to his popular, bubbly classmate Sakura Yamauchi. She then confides in him about the pancreatic disease she is suffering from and that her time left is finite. Only her family knows about her terminal illness; not even her best friends are aware. Despite this revelation, he shows zero sympathy for her plight, but caught in the waves of Sakura’s persistent buoyancy, he eventually concedes to accompanying her for her remaining days.
As the pair of polar opposites interact, their connection strengthens, interweaving through their choices made with each passing day. Her apparent nonchalance and unpredictability disrupts the protagonist’s impassive flow of life, gradually opening his heart as he discovers and embraces the true meaning of living.
Spoiler Warning: I am going to spoil the entire movie (but so does the movie itself). If you choose to opt out here, know that I highly recommend this film.
There are two main themes of Kimi no Suizou wo Tabetai. The first is spelled out on for us on the heroine’s, Sakura’s, dairy, “Living with Dying.” Sakura has a pancreatic illness that will eventually cut her life short. As anyone would be in this predicament, Sakura is terrified. She tries to come to terms with her situation and live her remaining days as the same carefree girl she was before. Everyone’s time will eventually end, and, unfortunately for Sakura, her time will end a bit earlier than most. No one knows when they will die though—not even Sakura. Before her illness can even take her life, Sakura is stabbed in the streets and dies at the age of seven-teen. The film clearly sets up Sakura’s death to be an abrupt one, but this was the one event that even caught me slightly off-guard. The first scene of the movie is Sakura’s funeral, so, just like Sakura, the viewer is supposed to enter the story with the acceptance of her death, but, just like Sakura, we struggle to. No matter what, death will always be sudden, frightening, and sad. The way the film handles Sakura’s death should have be obvious to the viewer, but even if you see it coming, it still somehow catches you off guard, just like Sakura. Kimi no Suizou wo Tabetai weaves Sakura’s feelings into the viewing experience itself and forces the viewer to empathize with her situation. If the movie did its job, the viewer will be sobbing by the end of the film, just like Haruki.
Without Haruki, Kimi no Suizou wo Tabetai would be a hollow experience. Sakura’s story might be powerful, but it is Haruki’s that is truly moving. Prior to meeting Sakura, Haruki is a shell of person. He has no personality, no emotions, and he shuts himself off from the rest of the world. Sakura is the first person to really open up to him, and throughout the time Haruki spends with Sakura, although reluctant, he slowly starts to open up to her. For the first time in his life, Haruki makes a connection with someone else. Haruki knows that Sakura will not be around for much longer, but just like everyone else, he cannot handle losing her. After her death, Haruki starts to close himself off again, but he is not the same person as before he met Sakura. Haruki starts to realize how difficult being alone really is and starts pursuing other relationships. Although Sakura is gone, her impact on the people around her, especially Haruki, will remain. Haruki is meant to be a surrogate character for the viewer, and, because he so basic at the start of the movie, he is extremely easy to project yourself onto. At the emotional climax of the film, Haruki breaks down into tears alongside the viewer, strengthening the bond the two share and makes the following message of “the importance of connections” hit even harder.
No doubt, the story of Kimi no Suizou wo Tabetai is constructed with the main purpose of eliciting specific emotions and sending home simple, but still important, messages, and the production does more of the same. The film has strong animation and direction, but the real standout is the music. Although the OST has a few solid tracks itself, the most memorable part is definitely the handful of songs done by Sumika. They do the OP, ED, and an insert song during a pivotal scene, and all of them hammer home the emotions being felt by the viewer and adds even more to an already great experience.
I recognize that Kimi no Suizou wo Tabetai is not the film some people want it to be. The movie is certainly a shallow one: predictable, heavy-handed, and unoriginal. Although the movie might be simple, it is still effective. Kimi no Suizou wo Tabetai is not the type of movie that is supposed to spark discussion (even though I am still doing it lul), it evokes a feeling and leaves impact. In my opinion, two movies that tackle similar themes better are Colorful and Koe no Katachi, but both of them are certainly more flawed than Kimi no Suizou wo Tabetai. Actually, I consider both those other two to be in my top-ten anime of all time, so hopefully by me considering Kimi no Suizou wo Tabetai to be their equal, you can understand how much I truly do love and recommend this film.
‘I Want to Eat Your Pancreas’ is a common drama production to this industry. It offers generic school settings with rather superficial teenage characters. The only thing it tries to accomplish is toy with its viewers’ emotions to the point of some cheap tearjerking. Those who are okay with this will most definitely see how the movie accomplishes exactly all the thing it wants to. Those who want something more from anime, should look elsewhere.
This movie is a story about death. It starts when the most perfect mary sue on the planet starts randomly talking with a no-life loser dude who happens to be her classmate. Our characters start frequently interacting with each others and supposedly grow close. They hang out and talk about dying all the time. That’s pretty much the entirety of their relationship. It feels random and forced and unnatural.
Our dude is dense and has never had any friends during his pathetic life.. that’s pretty much him. Our girl is really perfect and chill and that’s also pretty much her. The catch being that she will die soon which further makes these two character – who are the opposites of each others (according to the narration at least) – even more the opposite because the dude is actually alive. Great.
The drama is a separate entity in the work, mainly because it is there constantly whispering to the characters –and especially to its viewers ears– that shit will go down, just wait and see. Since the great twist is obvious from the start, the whole thing relies on the journey… where nothing spectacular ever happens and the characters feel more like meridians that try to connect the viewers to the emotions.
One could defend most of the events by looking it more from the characters perspective. I found this to be quite hard as they don’t feel like real, genuine people at all. If they did, it would be understandable for our heroine to open up to a stranger, as to most people, it’s often easier to talk with 3rd parties than to people close to you. Especially the whole fear of death is amazing as a concept, but I don’t really see it as anything more than waste of potential in this case.
The whole main dude realizing that people actually die in real life is definitely quite an interesting idea as well.. at least to those who have never experienced this type of thing or considered that all of this could happen to literally anyone. I doubt any person who is aware of how fragile thing person’s existence is, can find this specific work do them any further waking up enlightenment, other sudden realization of such things or offer much feels at all. If this movie ever serves someone, it’s those viewers who are unaware of how life works, and instead of following our characters for what they are, fall into self-insert. This is one of the rare things with what the author seems self-aware of, as they say “to live is to empathize with someone.” And moreover, named the male lead simply “boku” which means “I/me”.
There are also several other things I’d want to complain about. Like the claim in narration that our characters are “pure and innocent.” Which is really just a try hard attempt on making the viewer accept these thoughts, but the content (teenagers and alcohol) and our characters behavior (random snapping incidents) among several other scenes is the polar opposite of what I’d considered to be either of these things.. which further makes me question the author’s ability to even recognize their own work for what it is. I can’t say I feel very respected as a viewer when such contradictions exist in the narration.. or perhaps my comprehension of “pure” just differs with the writer.
Our writing is practically a collection of romance cliches. The only remotely original things are the concepts which it deals rather poorly with. Every event, every side character archetype and every moment that drives the story and the relationship development onward, is loaned content. There is not a single thing any romance fan hasn’t seen at least 50 times before, and not only that, but the execution is so lame that I would call it offensively bad if the work managed to be less bland, but unfortunately it’s not even worth of getting mad over.
If this had been 50 episodes long tv series that offered a real character portray to both of our main characters and their life, connected them, dealt with the same heavy themes. all the copy-pasted events and cliches had been abandon and the story was written by Adachi Mitsuru: this could have been the best drama the anime industry has to offer. Now it mainly looks like a random, shallow past story from any fighting tournament shonen from Nanatsu no Tanzai to Naruto except there is no character depth present in this movie and therefore it is significantly worse than let’s say zero arc from Fairy Tail which dealt with rather similar concept.
4: Suzumiya Haruhi no Shoushitsu
English: The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya
MAL Score: 8.63
One cold Christmas day, Kyon heads over to school and the SOS Brigade’s holiday celebration, only to realize that Haruhi Suzumiya seems to have disappeared. Moreover, no one even remembers her or the SOS Brigade; Mikuru Asahina knows nothing and is now afraid of him, and Itsuki Koizumi has also gone missing. The Literature Club, formed only by an uncharacteristically shy Yuki Nagato, now occupies the old SOS club room.
Suzumiya Haruhi no Shoushitsu is based on the fourth light novel of the acclaimed Haruhi series and is set after the events of the anime series. Not uncultured in the supernatural, Kyon will have to deal with his whole life turned upside down like a bad joke, and maybe it’s better that way.
Well, it seems someone was listening.
Suzumiya Haruhi no Shoushitsu begins on 16th December, a month after the cultural festival in the first series, and all is seemingly peaceful. It’s not long though, before reality gets put through the wringer, and it’s up to Kyon to fix everything.
The thing that most surprised me about this movie is how closely it tries to follow the light novel of the same name. Granted there are a few liberties here and there, but nothing near the number used in both TV series. The benefit of this is that the story has a solid base to begin with, especially as the plot is mainly based around Kyon’s thoughts and actions.
The movie begins at a farily placid pace with nothing untoward or suspicious occuring, but one of the problems with the story is that it never really shakes off the languidity of the first 20 or so minutes. While the story itself is actually very good, there are occasions where there is a marked lack of urgency about the plot, and it’s these occurences that upset the flow of the movie.
There are some plusses though. The fact that much of the movie is based around Kyon’s motivations makes it a more interesting piece than the majority of TV episodes, as he is now the engine by which drives the plot rather than a reactionary element. Another big plus are Kyon’s numerous monolgoues which reinforce the direction of the story, but also offer some insight into his character, especially towards the end of the movie.
The design is exactly what one would expect from the Suzumiya Haruhi franchise and follows that of both TV series, but it’s when things go to hell that KyoAni really begin to flex some of their creative muscles. The alterations in the character’s appearances and actions are extremely well managed, and the characters are generally more expressive here than they are in either series. The animation is crisp and smooth for the majority of the movie, however there are the oddfew blips here and there with character actions (nothing that’s really worth worrying about though).
The music used throughout the movie is actually very good, even though the majority of Suzumiya Haruhi no Shoushitsu lacks any thematic pieces. The main theme, “Yasashi Boukyaku”, is sung by Chihara Minori, and while the song has echoes of regret and oppurtunities lost, these sentiments are made more powerful by the lack of any musical accompaniment. The rest of the music is choreographed well with the on screen action, and some of the tracks chosen are inspired in their usage.
The one thing that hasn’t really changed at all is the cast, and while many of the seiyuu definitely earn their pay with this movie, the two stand out performances are from Sugita Tomkazu (Kyon), and Chihara Minori (Yuki), both of whom give a new perspective on their respective characters.
Which neatly leads me on to the characters themselves.
One of the things that has always been a bit lacking with the Suzumiya Haruhi franchise is that there hasn’t really been much focus on specific characters with a view to developing them. Thankfully, this movie begins to address that issue. Unlike the two TV series, both of which adopt a more reactionary approach to the growth of a character, the movie is more direct in terms of Kyon’s development, and the difference this makes is rather surprising. While some may find Kyon’s monologues to be no different to those in the series, it should be noted that the content of his comments gradually changes overthe course fo the movie, and the culmination of this development bodes well for future releases.
In all honesty, I was pleasantly surprised by this movie. The tight storyline, together with the more focused character development, means that the plot is more flowing than in either of the TV series’ (although admittedly the time jumps from one episodeto the next play a part in that too). In truth, this movie is everything the second season should have been, and it goes some way to tying up certain loose ends from both series.
One thing that many people don’t seem to see though, is the very clear influence of a certain long running British sci-fi series about a time traveller who sometimes calls himself “John Smith” and there were occasions in this movie where I kept expecting to see a TARDIS.
As with any popular title though, there will undoubtedly be those who will be inclined to hate this movie because it’s part of the Suzumiya Haruhi series. The majority of viewers however, may find that they enjoy the movie in a way that isn’t possible with a 13 episode series.
Hopefully, movies like this will be the way forward for the franchise, as the last thing anyone needs is more Endless Eight.
First and foremost, this movie is indeed a sequel to both of the previous two seasons of Haruhi. Watching this movie without seeing both seasons is not suggested. For those who have seen both seasons, I suggest first taking time to remember some plot details and characters. First of all, who is Ryoko Asakura? If you remember from season one of Haruhi you would know that she is yet another alien in the same ranks as Nagato Yuki. In (chronologically) episode 4 of the first season of Haruhi she tries to kill Kyon by stabbing him. Second you should refresh your memories on the first episode of the second season of Haruhi, “Bamboo Leaf Rhapsody”, which is when Kyon goes back in time to help Haruhi draw lines on school grounds but then gets trapped in the past.
Since the plot summary isn’t too well done on the website, I’ll give a brief go. The plot starts on December 16. In about a week, Christmas will hit, so the SOS Brigade decides to have a Christmas party in which Haruhi will make a hotpot for all the members to enjoy. On the morning of December 18, Kyon goes to school to find the strangest thing: Haruhi has gone missing and there are no aliens, espers, or time travelers anymore. As bizarre events keep occurring one after the other, he finds that he is the only person who still knows who Haruhi is. As Kyon loses all hope, he goes to the club room and finds, in one of the books, a bookmark with Nagato Yuki’s hand writing. Striving to figure out its mysterious message, Kyon goes out and tries to find the key to changing the world back to how it used to be.
The plot is exceptional, with a huge plot twist in the middle. The monologues are very well done, including a really epic monologue near the end of the movie. The amount of thought put into the entirety of the plot is also well done; just by reading the plot summary will automatically suck you in. You will be on the edge of your seat the whole time trying to figure out the reasons for these bizarre events. There are some epic moments that really bring out your emotions. You will, at least one, feel tingles down your spine; for me it happened like 10-20 times. The plot is just that well put together that your body can’t help but to let you feel it epicness. Time travel is AMAZINGLY done in this movie. Your mind will be blown by the end of this movie because of time travel. One point in argument is that there are loose ends to the movie. This, of course, is part of the story because it will tie in with the seventh light novel of Haruhi (This movie being the fourth), so the movie automatically is open to a sequel, which of course is a really good thing.
The art is amazing, just as good, if not better, than the TV series. There is a fair share of flashy lights and warping colors when time travel or alien sequences occur. The art is wonderfully beautiful at Kyon’s monologue near the end; trust me when you see it you’ll know. The music is of course amazing, the OP is Bouken Desho Desho, sung by Hirano Aya (Haruhi) and is the OP to Haruhi season one, and the ED is Yasashii Boukyaku sung by Minori Chihara (Yuki) which is peaceful sad melody. The overall OST is amazing and I would definitely get it since it combines sad music with upbeat music when Kyon makes a breakthrough in trying to solve the mysterious occurrence.
Characters are at their best in this movie. Kyon is the central character and makes the biggest change in this movie. He comes to an ultimate realization of everything he was living for: Does he like the life with aliens, espers, and time travelers? Nagato Yuki would be another major character because her life, not as a humanoid interface, but as a human grows. She gains a little bit of emotions and is able to realize her true feelings. Even in the end, Kyon realizes that he has never been thankful everything that Nagato has done for him and ultimately saves her. Even minor characters play a big role, for example Taniguchi, who is ultimately the one who saves Kyon from absolute despair. Haruhi in the distorted world is just a normal person, but without her help, Kyon would not have been saved. The characters are amazingly done and you will love the way they are all presented.
Overall, The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya is a plot filled, plot twisting, emotional giving, character changing, enjoyment giving, plot loving, mind blowing, time traveling, time distorting, epic bringing, ultimate awesomeness, wonderfully put together, amazingly amazing story. There is only one scene in the movie that is particularly different from the light novel; this would be when Kyon and Asahina encounter Nagato at the school early in the morning (you’ll know when), the movie has the scene take place outside the school gates, where in the novel it takes place inside the clubroom; however, I would say putting that particular scene outside was a good call. Fans and haters alike will not be able to deny that this movie is amazing and will love every moment of it. As I said many times before, Kyon’s monologue near the end is wonderfully epic and you will love every moment of it with a passion. Your two hours and forty minutes will not be in vain in any manner, shape, or form. The DVD will come out in 8 to 11 months and you WILL rewatch it because it is just THAT good, I wouldn’t be surprised if I watch it two to three more times. The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya is a wonderful experience and might be the best anime this 2010 year.
I posted this review in a blog, so please feel free to leave a comment.
The series, though arguably mediocre, had some very fun moments. So where does this movie, The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya, stand?
Story/Presentation: I’m going to skip over the synopsis, since you can already read one with a button away. Due to the hype behind this film, it’s practically common knowledge that this movie has a complete different tone compared to the hyperactive series. It starts off like any other episode from the show, and then slowly transitions into a more solemn tone. Sure, it isn’t dark as something Gen Urobuchi would write, but in contrast to the series, it’s quite the difference. The use of tone is used well, and it helps make the movie feel a lot more believable than the show (assuming you have a suspension of disbelief).
Though the tone was one of the film’s highpoints, I can’t help but feel that it makes it a tad, just a tad, disjointed from the series. People expecting more misadventures from the original show will be sorely disappointed in this movie’s change for a serious plot.
The pacing also deserves mention. The beginning of the film is very slow and deliberate, and though many people may criticize it for being boring, I found it to be good writing. Sure, it may seem a bit dragging at times, and it really doesn’t pick up until a big plot twist ¼ of the movie in, but that’s the writer’s intention. It’s supposed to give the viewer the sense of the dull normal world Kyon’s facing after Haruhi’s disappearance, this being reality.
In terms of the story itself, it turns out to be quite the intricate tale, at least compared to the series. Many plot twists come along the way, and for the most part, the film remains unpredictable. Time travel also has a big role, and it really made me think, which is something I can’t say for the show.
However, my favourite part about the story is how it uses past events from the series, as many subplots and character motivations come back and play their role here. When it comes down to it, the writing here has moments of absolute brilliance.
Its connection to the series can be, to some, a downfall, as this isn’t a standalone. To watch this, the viewer must have knowledge of the first two seasons. Another flaw of this film is its association to the source material. It leaves a few plot threads dangling and a few unanswered questions by the ending (I will refrain from spoilers), and until we get more of the series animated, these plot threads will remain unanswered (unless you consult said source material).
Characters: I loved the eccentric cast from the series. Sure, they mostly followed typical stereotypes, but they did so in a refreshing matter that made them memorable. If there’s one thing that bugged me about the series, it is the lack of characterization. Though one shouldn’t expect much of such from a slice of life show, it was shame that most of the characters weren’t given much depth on their own and in their relationships. In addition, they never really felt like real people.
This is yet another highlight of the movie. Kyon is our point of view in this movie, and after Haruhi disappears, all his motivations and interactions with other characters are completely believable. The best part of his characterization comes to play when he starts to question whether he prefers the supernatural world he always complained about or the normal life he wanted from the beginning. His decision regarding that aspect says a lot about his character.
Another character I’d like to mention is Yuki Nagato. We’ve all known her as the monotone emotionless alien/robot, and now we see her as a quite shy bookworm. How she got that way comes from her motivations from the previous season, and her actions in this movie really strengthens our view of her as a character. Did she really feel nothing throughout all the events of the original show? Is she really the emotionless drone we all thought she was?
Surprisingly, Haruhi herself, despite being part of the driving force, doesn’t get as much screen time as one might expect. That’s not to say she was used poorly, and on that note, all the side characters were used well and they each held their respective purpose in the movie strongly.
Art/Animation: Ah, Kyoto Animation. Feast your eyes, ladies and gentlemen, for this movie is a visual ecstasy when it comes to Japanese animation. The visual quality for the original series was already top notch, so just imagine Kyoto Ani squishing that entire budget on a 2 hour and 40 minute movie. I don’t think I need to say much more than that this film, from a visual standpoint, is absolutely stunning. The colours are vibrant and the animation is smooth.
Speaking of the colours, they compliment the movie very well. In the beginning, the colours are bright to show the spunky life of the SOS Brigade, and when the movie transitions in tone, the colours become subtly darker to really drive home the dullness of an ordinary life. This is just a subtle but noticeable change, and that’s what I love about it.
Music/Voice Acting: This has got to be one of my favourite soundtracks in anime of all time. Each track compliments the movie extremely well and every single one of them is fantastically orchestrated. There is a lot of range in atmosphere in the soundtrack, from upbeat to suspenseful to solemn. It goes without saying the soundtrack is excellent and is used masterfully well.
As far as the English Dub goes, I really have no complaints. It is the same cast as the original series, and so if you had no issues there, then you shouldn’t have any here. Each actor continues to compliment his or her respective role well. As far as standouts go, they would have to be Crispin Freeman as Kyon and Michelle Ruff as Yuki Nagato.
Crispin brings something new to the table as Kyon, going beyond the usual snarky attitude he usually has. Michelle Ruff wasn’t necessarily impressive in the original series (though in her defense, her character didn’t really call for anything special), and when it came to portraying the new side of Yuki Nagoto, she really delivers. She doesn’t go crazy and change her voice drastically. Instead, she subtly adds an indescribable… meekness to her performance.
So yeah. The music and the dub are both fantastic.
Final comments: This movie will give fans of the original series the fangasm they were wishing for, and even those who didn’t like the series might find something to enjoy here. Does this make the original series worth watching? In many ways, yes, it does. It’s a well-written movie with a great use of tone, amazing presentation, and masterful production values. It goes without saying that The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya gets a high recommendation from me.
That’s all for my review, folks! Feedback would be greatly appreciated, whether it be praise or criticism.
3: Seishun Buta Yarou wa Yumemiru Shoujo no Yume wo Minai
English: Rascal Does Not Dream of a Dreaming Girl
MAL Score: 8.65
Six months ago, Sakuta Azusagawa had a chance encounter with a bunny girl in a library. Ever since then, he’s been blissfully happy with his girlfriend: Mai Sakurajima, that same bunny girl. However, the reappearance of his mysterious first crush, the now-adult Shouko Makinohara, adds a new complication to his relationship with Mai. To make matters worse, he then encounters a middle school Shouko in the hospital, suffering from a grave illness. Mysteriously, his old scars begin throbbing whenever he’s near her.
With Shouko’s bizarre situation somehow revolving around him, Sakuta will need to come to terms with his own conflicting feelings, for better or worse. With a girl’s life in his hands, just what can he do?
I’d like to avoid spoilers as well as I can.
Everything was awesome. Truths about Shouko are told with comfortable speed, with absorbing mood,with beautiful musics.
And those truths are so touching… I could’t help shedding tears over and over again. Most of audience was looked moved and weeping like me.
I really liked protagonist Sakuta already then, but I even respected Sakuta after he knew Shouko’s truth and behaved for her sake. And Mai, she already said ‘I love Sakuta than he thinks so’ in series, but I almost cried how she showed her love for Sakuta among this movie.
Every persons are great, I can say this is a culmination of series.
I recommend this movie from the bottom of my heart, and strongly wish fans of this series oversea also can watch this outstanding work.
Thanks for reading.
(Before judging, read the entirety.)
I wasn’t anticipating this. I wasn’t having high expectations for it. I did not even feel one bit of hype. But for some reason, I decided to go out with my friends and watch this movie. Expectations were low, yet this movie still somehow managed to exceedingly dismay me. No I’m being way too generous. This movie just took a full shit on my face, and squandered my precious money and time. As unsurprising as it is, the positive responses are regardless absurd, leaving me no choice but to write lengthily. I want to make it clear that I found the series to be quite okay, and I honestly wasn’t expecting the movie to be any better, if not, worse. And yes, it indeed was, probably tenfold worse. “Rascal Does Not Dream of a Dreaming Girl” is one of the worst movies I’ve ever watched in a very long time. To be honest, I’d never expect this movie to be this awful of an evidently devious disingenuous melodramatic tear-gushing tryhard.
Before this review, as to some opinions, this might seem like a nitpicking review, but no. Neglecting plot holes, poor characterization, etc. and claiming one is avoiding nitpicking is foolish. This will be a full in-depth analysis to thus express why I dislike this movie so much.
After the indisputable success of the series and for being only a 90-minute movie, I very much believe us audience deserve better quality than this. It’s basically akin to the series, which isn’t atrocious, just mediocre. Though, I want to particularly point out the awful CGI (human CGI is inarguably one of the worst backgrounds this industry has to offer) as well as the queer 2D drawing in the middle of a 3D background. I might be griping, but I expect a movie’s quality to exceed this. The animation is acceptable most of the time. If anything, my complaint would essentially hinge on some specific off-quality scenes, but I think it was not critical. The art style is never of my liking because I find the character design and color palette dull, but I got used to it eventually so again, it’s fine. In conclusion, everything is average.
I could not have been moved or impressed by this kind of plot, really. If anything, I was abhorred by the blatantly manipulative story that has no consistency or substance whatsoever. Basically, the movie is in toto a tear-fest where virtually every character has to cascade their interminable rivulet of tears to intimate their insuperable pain for at least not once, but twice, for such is the most subtle and artistic method to present one’s dejected emotions. On serious note, crying should’ve been powerful and relevantly timed, unlike this lazy and dodgy representation of one’s sadness.
The premise is essentially time-travel yet written abysmally. With a bit of non-sense quantum physics blabbering and a few illogical small talks with the smart eye-glassed girl, the idea of time traveling is thereby conceptualized. And it never demonstrates any beforehand conditions and repercussions of time travel, as if the author himself doesn’t know what he is writing about. But that inconsistency aside, I’d like to criticize the approach to this idea itself. Anyone who acknowledges the more or less impenetrable idea called ‘time’ simply understands that time travel necessitates meticulous fictional accounts. By making it so vague and providing so little details, it feels as though the director was trying to make things as feasible as possible, but in a way that viewers would be disabused that it made sense because it said so. In other words, since the movie never fully explains how you time travel but simply derive it from quantum physics and some ambiguous supernatural phenomenon (meaning it would seem sophisticated and condensed), it could trick viewers into thinking that it ultimately makes sense regardless of how non-sensical it might turn out to be (I.e. whenever a ramification arises, we are forced to automatically accept it while simultaneously think “Oh, didn’t know that could happen, I guess time traveling really isn’t all that easy. I must express some meager empathy to the characters now must I not?”). Honestly, everything is just randomly presented without much exposition via this time travel concept, for the sake of plot convenience that completely steers clear of any proper explanation; and I simply could not appreciate the fact that the author would do anything to control the emotions of their audience, in which this case involves a poorly-written premise.
I also notice people have stated how this movie reminded them of some other popular anime such as “The Disappearance of Suzumiya Haruhi” or “Steins;Gate”. It wouldn’t be unjust to call out how this movie plagiarizes a lot of ideas and styles, and I believe it is already quite clear in the first place so I see no point in dissecting the similarities. I guess Kamoshida Hajime should learn something from Tarantino or some successful “stealers” next time. For not only this man’s writing resembles just a bit too much with the other successful works viz. literally copying ideas, but he also fails to properly utilize its context. This is effortless and talentless.
The lack of connections betwwen every event is also what I’ve mentioned. The plot crams so many things and results in various climaxes, which makes it very separating. Though, I think even a plot like this might be more affiliated if the execution is on-point. Not to mention, the movie’s philosophy, which is the plausibility of changing one’s fate and what measure ought to be taken, can be a decent concept if well-executed. Thus, I will further develop these ideas in the Execution segment.
Absolutely appalling. I saw zero characterization other than some (once again) manipulative emotional shit from the young Shouko writing her dreams onto a homework paper. The thing about our protagonists is that they are superficial scalloping bods who have no prominent traits, to the point where they are quite undistinguishable. If you think making lecherous jokes about private woman matters is quirky, unique and writing-demanding then you sure have a grave problem, which I won’t solve it for you here unfortunately.
Anyway, while it’s true that our characters act upon propensity, such is too shallow to be deemed as ‘realistic’ characterization. As a result, the characters become awkwardly predictable, simple and even unnatural. Meaning every decision a character makes just doesn’t indicate anything remotely noteworthy. I.e. showing all the phases of depression that Sakuta has to undergo, from going to the beach, weeping to sillily shouting “Can anyone save…?”, means nothing. Whilst being established upon propensity, this scene is nothing but a subpar ‘conspicuous aka not quite subtle’ implication of depression that I find absolutely lazy, dull and clumsily obvious, and such (I believe) over 3-minute long scene does not further develop anything other than characters being sad in an irksomely overdramatic way. Instead of spending time on constant mourning and crying scenes like this (which take up the majority of its runtime), the movie could’ve made it much more subtle and short, which is far more effectively emotional, and preferably delving further into the characters. It’s only obvious to assume that Sakuta would suffer boundlessly without having to show it in the most extreme way, which makes this entire scene futile. It serves no purpose and is handled annoyingly overdramatically and unrealistically, only for the sake of sensationalization, not characterization. What’s worse is that the movie attempts to make the characters so facile and faultless that their resemblance to a human is completely nonexistent (and is also why they’re so undistinguishable). To be fair, it’s impossible to say there is any characterization whatsoever in this movie. And the absence of subtlety comes in every single way possible, prominently in characterization.
And again, I know saying this is redundant at this point, but please, don’t just approve how crying automatically suffices characterization. As to my explanation of how the plot misuses and awfully exploits it, this movie is a perfect exemplification of how crying could become a non-thematic and irrelevant device of emotional manipulation rather than good character writing/development (which is nothing superior to your orthodox ill-fitting fan service).
I can rest assured that I’m not the only person to feel that the pacing is all over the place and is never appropriate with the event happening. It’s sluggish at parts where I have no idea what’s so important (such as all the futile conversations between Sakuta and his friends after a certain death that he chose to let go for it was seemingly out of his capability, all just to show Ah, tranquility is back baby), whereas some important dialogues are unceremoniously bundled. Often times, things happen without any build-up. Awful pacing.
The execution is perhaps the worst factor of all, ruining what could’ve been an okay movie. To me, it doesn’t matter how good the plot is, since if it’s poorly executed, then everything already collapses. And truly, this is where the movie fails to deliver anything remotely cohesive or meaningful.
First prominent issue is that structurally, the movie feels like four episodes crammed together, with no coherent, consistent narrative. With probably roughly 3 climaxes (or so) and a handful of endings, being underwhelmed would be an understatement to transcribe my feelings. Essentially, every “fake ending” always tags along with a climax; thus, nothing feels emphasized, taking also the mere 90-minute duration into account. Not to mention I was so confused whenever it “faked” its conclusion. I literally couldn’t stop checking the time to confirm whether the “ending” I was seeing was just some sort of funny bamboozlement or not.
That being said, I believe the director focuses way too much on his redundant ‘impactful’ climaxes with out of the blue twists and yet he still fails to properly do so; also for that matter, he completely disregards the importance of theme impartation. In other words, having so many climaxes in a single movie primarily for the intent of having emotional weight, it really loses its focus on what it really wants to be, or convey. This is why its philosophy doesn’t matter. Let’s say the themes are sacrifice and love, and the underlying philosophy is the great length taken to change one’s fate, which people might bring up to reasonably defend the movie. Now, if the author really wants to express the said ideas, or anything else you could possibly analyze from this movie, then that should’ve been the focus. Instead, we’ve spent a large chunk of the movie looking at characters crying and saying they’re sad, literally. So regardless of the philosophy, being this excessive about emotional manipulation neglectfully undermines the focal of the story. What’s worse is that fate, or sacrifice, or any idea presented in the movie, are such loose and flimsy concepts in this movie. As stated, since nothing has any sort of real exposition to lay a concrete foundation, the author can just do whatever he wants, however stupid. Like conveniently rewriting future by simply “not meeting a certain someone” as if time-travel can just be that easy. This makes the whole “fate”, or “sacrifice” idea pointless. It feels underwhelming for bearing so little consequences, opposing the entire philosophy of fate and sacrifice itself. But maybe I’m overthinking, because I honestly just feel like “what we see is what we get”. The manipulative execution really makes everything feel superficial after all.
And yet so far I haven’t even nitpicked on trivial stuffs, because it would ineluctably lead to me hate-speeching endlessly (“wtf is that scene where Shouko helpes Sakuta to get on the bed? That is one of the most, if not the most artistically distasteful scene in a movie that takes itself seriously”), but lets not talk about that here. On side note, the jokes are dry as usual, but far more unfunny and cheap. I, unlike many, particularly find it uncomfortably skeptical about the likelihood of Sakuta’s lecherous jokes to realistically achieve its magnificent triumph like in this series. I would wholeheartedly recommend people to stop laughing at this jester’s unfunny little jokes about woman’s body and habits really, for I find it highly unappetizing.
I believe there’s nothing to be enunciated here. I struggled every second for it to end and cringed every time a character broke down and shed their incessant outpouring of tears. I hated this.
Boring typical rom-com music, I don’t remember much. Voice acting is actually fairly good.
I hate the title. All these long ass names that visually and content-wise attract viewers trend should stop. It’s cancerous.
This is an awful movie, and I would never recommend this movie to anyone, you have my words. I literally can’t imagine how anyone walking out of the theater be crying over this movie (good thing is there’s no one in my theater did, even better, most were just laughter). Maybe I’m way too apathetic, but this movie gave me absolutely no emotions that it should’ve given. Or rather, it doesn’t really matter, because the sole intent of this entire movie is seemingly to make you sad at any cost. As impassive as I am, I still hope for God’s sake the score will get lowered and this will no longer be in the Top 100.
2: Howl no Ugoku Shiro
English: Howl’s Moving Castle
MAL Score: 8.66
That jumbled piece of architecture, that cacophony of hissing steam and creaking joints, with smoke billowing from it as it moves on its own… That castle is home to the magnificent wizard Howl, infamous for both his magical prowess and for being a womanizer—or so the rumor goes in Sophie Hatter’s small town. Sophie, as the plain daughter of a hatmaker, does not expect much from her future and is content with working hard in the shop.
However, Sophie’s simple life takes a turn for the exciting when she is ensnared in a disturbing situation, and the mysterious wizard appears to rescue her. Unfortunately, this encounter, brief as it may be, spurs the vain and vengeful Witch of the Waste—in a fit of jealousy caused by a past discord with Howl—to put a curse on the maiden, turning her into an old woman.
In an endeavor to return to normal, Sophie must accompany Howl and a myriad of eccentric companions—ranging from a powerful fire demon to a hopping scarecrow—in his living castle, on a dangerous adventure as a raging war tears their kingdom apart.
Story: the story is about a girl named Sophie who gets turned into an old woman and ends up living with a wizard named Howl in his moving castle. The story is the only part I felt was lacking in this movie. Though I have to admit I see more flaws with the story after reading the book (even though I find the movie much better). Overall, I felt many of the war scenes were overdramatized and left a lot of questions. There were also a lot of small things throughout that they could have done a better job at explaining. Even after watching the movie so many times I cannot fully explain some scenes and still have questions about the movie.
Animation: The animation is absolutely stunning and many of the backgrounds look realistic. I also have to say that I am impressed with how Sophie is animated, and how it is so easy to tell when she is aging/regressing just simply by looking at the animation (her voice also helps). Overall this is the most impressive Miyazaki art I’ve seen and I really haven’t seen much that can top it.
Sound: I’ll just start off by saying the music in this movie is so beautiful. I love every single background music in this movie, and the only song I don’t like so much is the theme with the words that plays at the end. Aside from the beautiful soundtrack, the sounds in the movie are so dead on. Hearing Sophie’s bones crack as an old woman is really painful, and as much as I don’t like Sophie’s voice, her seiyuu does a great job at portraying the character and how she fluctuates between young and old so frequently throughout the movie. I think all the seiyuu in the movie were good as well.
Character: The characters in this movie make up for all the lack of closure in the plot. Each character has their good points, even the Witch of the Waste. I personally adore almost all the characters, though I actually like Sophie the least of all. Calcifer, Heen, and Turnip head are such adorable and fun characters to watch (and Heen and Turnip have pretty much no lines in the whole movie). Howl is also another loveable character as well. The characters have such different personalities that you will probably like at least one character or more.
Enjoyment: Obviously I enjoy this film a lot. I’ve watched it so many times! Each time I sit there in awe of the animation and empathize with the characters. It’s one of those movies that I love to watch and I have not gotten bored of it yet. I do have to say that towards the end I get slightly bored with the stressed focus on the war, but that only lasts at most 15 minutes.
This movie is defenitely worth watching, and even if you watched it and didn’t like it, you only spent two hours watching it since it’s a movie. I think it’s defenitely one of Miyazaki’s better works. If you have time or interest, I think it’s worth checking out the book, since it’s a completely different take on the story. It’s got a lot less romance between Sophie and Howl in it, but it brings a lot more character development to Markl and Sophie’s sisters (she has more than one in the novel). But if not, just watch the movie!!
STORY – This movie was apparently based off a book, but as I haven’t read the book, I’m judging this movie as a work all on its own, for better or worse. So I suppose this was, in a way, a story about courage and facing one’s fears, but it was approached in such a roundabout way that I’m really not sure, even now. The premise of the movie — Sophie getting bewitched into an old woman — seemed almost completely random, and I was left wondering why? and what was the point of that? Those questions were, for me, repeated a ridiculous number of times throughout the course of the movie. Indeed, most of the scenes seemed haphazardly spliced together with little rhyme or reason connecting them. Eventually, the focus of the movie fell onto Howl and his troubles, which was fine, except that we seemed to forget entirely about Sophie’s initial dilemma because of it.
In some ways, Howl’s reminded me of Spirited Away, what with its eclectic assemblage of characters, all with their own problems and goals. But while Spirited Away maintained and remembered its initial story and theme, Howl’s Moving Castle was seriously all over the place. The further we progressed into the movie, the more it seemed like Sophie’s problems were taking a backseat to Howl’s, and even her position as a member of his castle and one of his helpers didn’t seem very important. One of the things that annoyed me the most was also the fact that the spell placed on Sophie was never explained the depth — all you knew was that she couldn’t tell anyone about it (which was pretty useless since most characters seemed to be able to tell anyway). Nothing was explained as the spell seemed to gradually fade; when Sophie randomly appeared to be her old self, you were never sure whether it was for real or a dream. Eventually, you sort of accepted that she was slowly regaining her old self, but even then, you weren’t sure why.
There’s also the matter of the war. Throughout the entire movie, it seemed like more of a background element more than anything else. We were never told why the war was going on or against whom they were fighting; thus, it didn’t seem like all too important of a thing, even when leaders were requesting the aid of magical folk. In a way, I find this impression interesting as there seems to be a distinct separation between the affairs of our characters and the world around them. Despite the war, they’re in their own little world, even with airships attacking every so often and Howl’s subsequent injuries. I’m not sure why that is or whether it’s a positive or negative element, but it’s there all the same…
CHARACTER – I wasn’t really all that impressed by any of the characters in this movie. Most of them seemed to be typical of Miyazaki both in personality and goals and were consequently predictable. Sophie is an all around "good" character who only wants the best for her family and friends. Howl is the mysterious one with great power and internal insecurities. Calcifer is the sharp-tongued, sarcastic one who just wants to be free, despite a seemingly good relationship with his master. And Markl is just a good kid, more or less in the same vein as Sophie except younger, and the Scarecrow was a similar personality as well. The Witch of the Waste is a completely stereotypical semi-villain, as is Suliman.
Though there are certainly attempts at expanding on some of the characters’ very flat personalities, I don’t really feel as if any of them are successful. Sophie’s fascination and eventual love for Howl was a little interesting, but the feelings could be attributed very easily to the typical goodness of her personality, and it didn’t seem like Howl was very special to have her affections. Similarly, Howl’s feelings for Sophie seemed generic, or perhaps he (and all the other characters) could not help but be attracted to her goodness, as there didn’t seem to be very many flaws in that purity at all.
ARTSTYLE & ANIMATION – This is easily what contributes the most to the entire movie. As we have come to expect from Studio Ghibli, Howl’s Moving Castle was an exceptionally beautiful film. The highly detailed background renders were superb and featured all sorts of fantastical elements, giving the environment a wonderful personality. The streets and storefronts were inviting and cheerful, and the darker alleyways held a mystery of their own. The characters were all wonderfully animated, especially Howl, who transformed slickly between his human and harpy-like form.
The design for the castle was especially fun. As more or less a gigantic heap of metal parts, its lack of uniformity gave the viewer a lot to look at, and all of it was interesting. It was also great to see rooms and halls within the castle shift, contract, and expand as Howl magicked them around.
MUSIC – I don’t remember anything especially extraordinary, but I think it’s safe enough to say that most of the music was satisfying and fitting for their scenes.
VOICE ACTING – I’ve only seen the movie subbed. The voices were about average, but I would say that’s more because of the characters’ flatness more than lack of talent on the part of the actors. Calcifer is the only one that had a particularly memorable voice — it was a little whiny and a little scratchy: absolutely perfect for his grumbling character.
OVERALL – Howl’s Moving Castle was a very fun movie to look at. The visuals were gorgeous and everything smoothly animated. Unfortunately, the story and characters definitely left a lot to be desired; there was so little substance that I might have gotten about the same impression if I’d seen the whole thing on mute (or without subtitles). I’ve been told that the original novel is better, and I wonder if Miyazaki’s downfall is only in that he was trying to adapt someone else’s work, because certainly I know the man’s capable of telling a story better than this.
NOVEL, ANIME: Howl’s Moving Castle was originally a young-adult fantasy novel written by Diana Wynne Jones in 1986. It won a Boston Globe-Horn Book Award in 1987, and was also was designated an ALA Notable Book for children and young adults.
Howl’s Moving Castle was produced by Studio Ghibli (Ponyo on the Cliff, Spirited Away), and directed by Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind). Howl was released in theatres in Japan on November 20th, 2004, and showed dubbed in theatres Stateside starting on June 10th, 2005, courtesy of Disney, and is available both subbed and dubbed on DVD.
STORY: Sophie Hatter is a young, self-conscious young woman who, after a chance encounter with the wizard Howl, is cursed with the body of a ninety-year-old by the spiteful Witch of the Waste, and is unable to tell anyone about the curse. She ends up going into the Waste, and, with the help of an animated turnip-headed scarecrow that she helps, ends up finding Howl’s home; a legged, walking, amalgamation of a castle. In order to break her spell, she makes a deal with the fire demon who powers the castle, Calcifer; if she can break the spell on him and Howl – which he also can’t tell anyone about – he will break hers.
Howl’s Moving Castle isn’t necessarily one of Ghibli’s strongest movies, story-telling wise. There are a lot of disparate plot elements floating about, with not a lot of explanation given, or even development, for that matter; the movie kind of just drifts from scene to scene, as if it can’t decide what plot element it wants to focus on. Probably the biggest example of this is Sophie’s curse. There are times in the movie where she’ll appear younger or older; it’s hinted that this difference in physical appearance is tied to her self-confidence, but it’s never explained, it just happens. The ending is kind of unsatisfying, as everything’s quickly wrapped up in a neat package with even little to no explanation of sudden plot elements that end up popping up.
The characters themselves are all fairly well fleshed out, though, and are at least intriguing to watch; the moments in this movie that center around the characters alone are where it really shines, such as Sophie going through and cleaning the house, Markl going to market with Sophie, or Calcifer and Howl talking by the fire.
Taken in terms of the original novel, Howl is a nice retelling. The basic plot elements from the novel are mostly intact, though a great deal of the actual plot has been changed around. If you don’t mind a looser retelling of the novel, then you should be fine with this; however, if you’re looking for the novel translated exactly onto the screen, then you may not want to see this.
ART: As always with Studio Ghibli, the art for this is beyond beautiful, that goes without saying. There are three big things that stood out for me with the art, though:
-The castle. I can’t say enough about how intricately this was done; just the design itself is amazingly thought out, and the animation of the movement and all the little parts moving and operating on their own and as a part of the larger whole is incredibly steampunk.
-Anything to do with magic being used. Incredibly created, especially in how it manifests from character to character, and with beautifully intricate detail.
-The war sequences. Incredibly realistic and devastating, though it should be noted that production on this was happening while the Iraq War and the bombings were just beginning.
MUSIC: Joe Hisaishi does the composing work on this, as he always does. While his music has most of the normal chords and progressions it normally does, the music here tends to be variations on several instruments of the main theme song, which, while not my favorite ever, is passable. Not the greatest soundtrack he’s ever done, but still fairly solid.
SEIYUU: The cast for this is fairly new to voice work, but it doesn’t show; there are some excellent performances in this, especially the voice actor for Calcifer. I actually like the sub and dub about equally, so I can’t state preference here for any one cast. I do like that there is a single seiyuu for Sophie, whether she’s young or old, as it just shows you the range of the seiyuu.
VOICE ACTORS: The English dub for this has some fairly big names for the performances; Christian Bale does a pretty good job (and even utilizes the Batman!growl) as Howl, Jean Simmons does an amazing job as the older version of Sophie (even though I don’t really understand why there needs to be two separate voice actors here), Billie Crystal does a good job of being the comedic relief in Calcifer, Lauren Bacall is an amazing Witch of the Waste, and Crispin Freeman even shows up for a few lines. Overall, a solid performance.
DUB: I have absolutely no criticism whatsoever for the dubwork on this. Translations are done accurately, there’s no intentional flubbing of the original meaning, and it’s fairly well done.
LENGTH: The movie does tend to drag at times, especially with how the movie tends to float from scene to scene. The whole thing feels kinda dreamy, though, and you tend to not notice where the time’s gone at the end of it.
OVERALL: Not Ghibli’s best story or score, but still has wonderful characters, amazing animation, and a fairly solid dub, and cast in both languages. A dreamy sort of film, good for a rainy afternoon.
VOICE ACTORS: 8/10
OVERALL: 55/70; 79% (C+)
1: Kimi no Na wa.
English: Your Name.
MAL Score: 8.90
Mitsuha Miyamizu, a high school girl, yearns to live the life of a boy in the bustling city of Tokyo—a dream that stands in stark contrast to her present life in the countryside. Meanwhile in the city, Taki Tachibana lives a busy life as a high school student while juggling his part-time job and hopes for a future in architecture.
One day, Mitsuha awakens in a room that is not her own and suddenly finds herself living the dream life in Tokyo—but in Taki’s body! Elsewhere, Taki finds himself living Mitsuha’s life in the humble countryside. In pursuit of an answer to this strange phenomenon, they begin to search for one another.
Kimi no Na wa. revolves around Mitsuha and Taki’s actions, which begin to have a dramatic impact on each other’s lives, weaving them into a fabric held together by fate and circumstance.
I watched this film at Anime Expo 2016 Los Angeles. I’ll try to keep my review as spoiler-less as possible.
The film holds true to all the expectations of a Makoto Shinkai production, from heartfelt smiles to crying the 5th time within the last 30 minutes. His signature metaphorical use of trains, the idea of a hopeless and distant love, and beautiful scenery really dive you emotionally into the story, even for how generic and simple it may seem.
The story is fairly straightforward; It’s very easy to guess where the story will head, but that doesn’t mean to say I didn’t enjoy it. It warrants a 7 simply because I felt a lack of emotional depth from the characters. This lacking depth makes me constantly question the characters’ actions throughout the film, and because I am constantly searching for a motivation for their actions besides purely as plot devices, I am effectively removed from the immersion. However, this does not take away from my overall score which I shall highlight later.
As expected of a Makoto Shinkai film, the artwork is beautiful. The production quality is off the charts. The art in itself is enough to evoke tears, as it did for me during even the trailer. His choice of colors and use of movement and focus within the frame really help you pay attention to what you need to pay attention to, while also not skimping out and leaving out detail if your eyes do decide to stray, which I recommend you do while watching any Makoto Shinkai film for every blur, light flare, and particle floating along the screen really do add incredible amounts of emotion to the scene. My friends and I consider most Makoto Shinkai films as “5 Wallpapers per Second” and for good reason.
Granted I watched this film in an auditorium with hundreds of people, I can’t give an accurate score as of writing this review. I don’t know who did the music for the film, but during the Q&A Panel held with Shinkai, he mentioned that he messaged one of his favorite bands that he was working on a film, and wanted them to do the music, to which they said yes.
The music was done by the band RADWIMPS, a Japanese rock/alternative rock band. Some people have come to me asking whether or not this took away from the cinematic or emotional feel of the film, but in my opinion it helped in a way characterize the characters of Mitsuha and Taki. Rock music carries with it a sense of youth. Bringing that youthful feeling to the film’s soundtrack helps to establish the sense of naivety to the characters and their interactions. It really helps establish the characters as teenagers who don’t know or care about right from wrong, but rather would do what they feel in their heart is the right thing to do, which is exactly what motivates Mitsuha and Taki in their adventure.
I wouldn’t say I have much of a complaint about main characters Taki and Mitsuha. We all can relate to the high school phase of our lives, it appeals to us because stories we read or watch in books or films set on characters that are going through this remind us of our own springtime of youth. Shinkai did a good job at portraying them and their relationships. My main gripe is that I feel they weren’t explored enough to feel a strong sense of emotional attachment. Their lives, personalities, traits, habits, friends, lifestyles, etc are all explored in the first ~20 minutes, I personally felt that we only skimmed the surface of these characters and are forced to go further into the shallow end of a pool, only hoping that it gets deeper to actually swim around in this world of possibilities. I wanted to laugh, cry, and even relate more with the characters, but I felt that I only read about them in a story, or saw them in a film (which I did).
I wanted to feel they could have actually existed, but the film seems to be a bit too reliant on cliche tropes to incite certain emotions. The feeling I felt is similar to seeing characters smiling and laughing with each other, and having to individually accept that this is enough to establish their inner motivations, time spent together, individual goals, etc. I felt like it wasn’t enough, and just had to accept that Taki and Mitsuha were the way they were. It felt sometimes that their actions were baseless and lacking a strong motivation to be deserving of the emotion the characters poured into their actions. As if acting on a limb to do something as insane as climbing a mountain alone. I will admit that this can be disputed, however, as they are still children/teenagers, and we all do weird things for no reason growing up.
As little as I felt I delved into the personalities of the characters, I did enjoy the film a lot. Shinkai’s metaphorical use of trains just continuing to go along their routes that diverge in several ways really applies in this film, as much as it did in 5 Centimeters per Second. Everyone’s lives diverge in different ways, things happen in dreams and are forgotten the next day, things happen in reality and are forgotten over a lifetime. I enjoyed Taki’s and Mitsuha’s struggles throughout the film to help each other, and as much as it made me well up tears in my eyes, I enjoyed his questioning of how much our memories make up who we are.
Edit: I watched this at the World Premier in Los Angeles on July 3rd. It was released in Japanese theaters on August 26th. It is set to be streamed online (for north america) via funimation, hopefully within the next month or so.
Spectacular animation. There is one particular scene near the beginning which has a sort of “3D camera rotation” that looks so real that I thought it was rendered; but at the last second, the character turned their head, and I was able to tell that it had been entirely hand-drawn. There are scenes where basic physics are completely altered, yet they managed to make it 100% smooth, dragging me along through the character’s experience.
Characters. Due to the movie format, most of the characters had very simple personalities. The depth of the characters was sacrificed for the overarching story, ultimately leading to the main characters having deeper personalities, with the side characters left behind. Don’t be confused though. For the format, the character depth that they managed to convey was incredible. Small hints were blended into many scenes, discretely conveying the characters’ backgrounds and personalities.
Sound. The depth of the musical score was incredible, though I will need to re-watch it with my usual headphones before committing fully. There was not a single sound that felt out of place. All the characters’ voices suited their appearances, leading to a very immersive experience.
Story. The story is conceptually very simple, but a lot of depth is added as the story goes on. The show drives several important points, which can be very philosophical, without being too complicated for the average viewer to understand. Additionally, none of the story is sacrificed in order to drive these ideas, they are inseparably blended together.
Impact. During the show, I laughed, and I cried. Now don’t get me wrong, that’s a big deal. At the time of writing, only two other anime have made me cry. Also, I was at the premier, and thus out in public; I certainly wasn’t the only one. Please don’t approach this anime lightly. It’s truly an experience that you can never forget.
Timing. During the movie, there is a sequence where two characters get to know each other, which felt slightly rushed. It could have been better to have the full experience played out, or at least pieces of it, lengthening the movie as required.
World building. The depth of the story and characters took a toll on the world’s completeness, leaving some unanswered questions. Most characters didn’t have worldviews or ideas of right vs wrong, there simply wasn’t time to develop them. Also, where the world came from, and what the ending implies for the world itself, is left unanswered.
— I wrote this review immediately after leaving the premier. I will continue and edit it after I have had time to process the movie’s depth.
An absolute mess. Without spoiling it, this movie fails to get into the main plot until roughly halfway through. Before that point, it views like a teenage slice of life; nothing to be disappointed by. After the halfway mark, the plot becomes incredibly contrived with no logic, reason, or thought put into its creation. There were at least 4 separate climaxes (which is inexcusable for any movie which is not Return of the King) and an overly drawn out epilogue sequence. The main climax happens off screen, which negates the entire build up to it, because Shinkai wanted to have a reveal with little weight. There are an unacceptable amount of plotholes, mostly due to the concept of Musubi. There’s little coherence, and amateur directing/writing displayed frequently throughout. To differentiate this from his other movies, Shinkai infused supernatural elements with romance, which fails horribly at enhancing the movie and instead detracts very significantly. Even amongst the people who love this movie, there is a large percentage that find the plot messy.
It’s Makoto Shinkai. If movies were judged by aesthetics alone, this would be one of the best ones. There are no issues with the art. Scene composition is mostly great, the animation was very high quality, and the art style was beautiful. While there are not as many wallpaper opportunities as in 5cm/s, the quality of them is significantly higher. Watch this in the highest possible quality you can find. Worth watching for the art alone. The animation is what you’d expect from a high budget movie, but it’s not anything revolutionary. There are several scenes that move beautifully and feel like magic to look at. The animation quality isn’t quite up to Ghibli standards but it is nothing to scoff at.
Voice actors were quite good and played different roles effectively. The change in voice aesthetic was notable during the first half when they were body swapping. The soundtrack was unmemorable, but set the scene adequately, and it may help to broaden your horizons and expose you to new music. Sound FX and general background noise was well produced and sounded natural. The opening sequence song in particular stood out and is worth a listen, but I can’t say that for most of the soundtrack.
The mains were adolescents, which meant there was a lot of adolescent stuff going on in the first half. The characters were interesting initially, though none stood out as incredibly well written and became less and less captivating as the movie went on. The main positive about the characters was that they mostly felt natural, save for when they were clearly not meant to. Side characters were certainly more natural than the mains, and contributed well to the atmosphere of the movie. They develop plot stupidity and have no depth or drive other than the forced romance, and plot amnesia is introduced for added gratuitous drama. There is no reason for the characters to become stupid, or amnesiacs, and it detracts from the believability of the characters and the plot.
Buy this on bluray because it looks stunning. Don’t expect good characters, or a remotely good plot, but do expect to salivate at another of Shinkai’s wallpaper opportunity movies. Worth the watch for the visuals. It’s an awful movie that looks good.
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Kimi no Na wa.
2. Howl no Ugoku Shiro
3. Seishun Buta Yarou wa Yumemiru Shoujo no Yume wo Minai
4. Suzumiya Haruhi no Shoushitsu
5. Kimi no Suizou wo Tabetai
6. Kara no Kyoukai 5: Mujun Rasen
7. Josee to Tora to Sakana-tachi
8. Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata Fine
9. Kara no Kyoukai 7: Satsujin Kousatsu (Go)
10. Tenki no Ko
11. Hotarubi no Mori e
12. Doukyuusei (Movie)
13. Tenkuu no Shiro Laputa
14. Sennen Joyuu
15. No Game No Life: Zero
16. Mimi wo Sumaseba
17. Cardcaptor Sakura Movie 2: Fuuin Sareta Card
18. Yoru wa Mijikashi Arukeyo Otome
19. Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo
20. Given Movie
21. Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! Movie: Take On Me
22. Kaze Tachinu
23. Macross F Movie 2: Sayonara no Tsubasa
24. Kurenai no Buta
25. Macross: Do You Remember Love
26. Kotonoha no Niwa
27. Tamako Love Story
28. Umibe no étranger
29. Sekaiichi Hatsukoi Movie: Yokozawa Takafumi no Baai
30. Vampire Hunter D (2000)
31. Kokoro ga Sakebitagatterunda.
32. Initial D Third Stage
33. Urusei Yatsura 2: Beautiful Dreamer
34. Kara no Kyoukai 2: Satsujin Kousatsu (Zen)
35. Sekaiichi Hatsukoi: Valentine-hen
36. Macross F Movie 1: Itsuwari no Utahime
37. InuYasha Movie 3: Tenka Hadou no Ken
38. Mind Game
40. Toshokan Sensou: Kakumei no Tsubasa
41. The Last: Naruto the Movie
42. Macross Plus Movie Edition
43. Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon R: The Movie
44. Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon S: Kaguya-hime no Koibito
45. InuYasha Movie 2: Kagami no Naka no Mugenjo
46. Detective Conan Movie 21: The Crimson Love Letter
47. Byousoku 5 Centimeter
48. Kimagure Orange☆Road: Ano Hi ni Kaeritai
49. Toaru Hikuushi e no Tsuioku
50. Higashi no Eden Movie II: Paradise Lost