They are by far the best anime! We counts down the best anime to come out all the time, including the likes of Blame! Movie, Crayon Shin-chan Movie 11: Arashi wo Yobu Eikou no Yakiniku Road, Ginga Kikoutai Majestic Prince Movie: Kakusei no Idenshi, and more!
50: Blame! Movie
MAL Score: 7.08
A young girl named Zuru sets out on an expedition through a post-apocalyptic city controlled by machines in a desperate hunt for food. Things go awry when her team accidently triggers the city’s AI defense program called the Safeguard. Attacked by the machines, her companions are on the verge of being annihilated when a mysterious man named Killy arrives and exterminates the hostile units.
Despite his heroic intervention, Zuru is hesitant to trust Killy and questions his motives. He reveals to have come from thousands of levels below the city in order to find humans possessing the Net Terminal Genes—a trait that would allow humans to regain control of their civilization and shut down the Safeguard. After hearing his story, Zuru and the rest of her team join Killy and embark on a journey in search of the Genes that could prove to be mankind’s last hope of survival.
While not being entirely true to the original story, I can’t really complain. This was spectacular… The music, the sounds, how everything looked, it was all so cool! I’m sure if you’re one of those super picky fans that rip anything that’s not exactly the original story you will find a lot of things to complain about. Also I know lots of people are not fans of the 3D art style. Quite frankly I think it fits it well.
In any event… I would not watch this until you read all of or some of the manga. To me this is just the icing on the cake to Blame! My one complaint is that I wish it was longer and spent more time around Killy. Time to read the manga again…
EDIT: If you have never read Blame! I would actually recommend you to watch this… Then if you think it is cool, read the manga!
Sanakan and Cibo are honestly adorable and Killy is as bad ass as it gets… nuff said
2019: Im still re-watching this movie every couple months… Its a good ass time! Can’t wait for my next Blame! manga re-read.
[Story: 2/10 , Characters: 4/10, Art: 6/10, Sound: 7/10, Enjoyment: 6/10]
If you are thinking the Blame! movie is a post-apocalyptic sci-fi action flick where humanity tries to blame the culprit that led to their society’s demise, well you can’t be more wrong. It’s merely a plot hole filled story about a group of villagers, Electro-Fishers, trying to survive in this post-apocalyptic world where technology has deemed humans as contaminants due to lack of Net Terminal Gene therefore must be eliminated. Cue in Killy, this strange emotionless robot human cyborg (Terminator) trying to find a human with this Net Terminal Gene to put an end to this chaos and fight against the exterminators. Though the premise might sound interesting, the execution by Hiroyuki Seshita fell flat.
There really isn’t a story to this anime. It’s just characters moving from one location to another. Due to their naivety they land in problems that needs to be resolved. It’s understandable that this is testing the water with a different take on the manga adaptation, hence how much the story is open ended. However, leaving something too open results in a hollow experience overall. That’s what happened watching this anime. Some action sequences were good. Some issues made sense. However, viewers won’t feel attached to the story and at times would even fast forward because how boring and stale the universe became.
If the story wasn’t stale enough, the characters made it even worse. Apart from the MC Killy, this Terminator-esque emotionless robot, all the other characters are just placeholders that can be replaced at any time. Which is exactly what happened as the movie progresses. You never feel anything for the people that dies in this movie. If there is one word that can sum up their deaths, it’s “meh.” The characters don’t really have a backstory or purpose and lack severe character development. They just exist because they exist. Except Killy, he is pretty badass.
Regardless of the movie’s failure in substantial plot and concrete character development, the art and sound were sort of its saving grace. The CGI animation, though in 10fps, still felt nice after you get used it. The landscape is vibrant with bold colours and the cinematography is quite beautiful. Not to mention, the redesigned Killy with the rugged features really added to his character. They gave Zuru kawaii features to turn her into an eye candy but failed to give other characters distinguishable features to make them stand out. Despite that, the action sequences with the background score, gave it a nice cozy feel and let you somewhat feel the catastrophic dilemma the people are trapped inside this post-apocalyptic run down world ruled by watchtowers (Skynet). The OST is definitely worth listening to on its own.
Overall, the movie is fun to watch for fans of the Blame! manga/anime or for anyone who just loves to watch a mindless action flick. The director left the ending open ended so one can assume if this movie receives positive buzz more installments in this franchise are to come in the near future. So if you can get over its subpar plot and confounding character development, give it a watch. Tell me later how you like it!
P.S. Thank you for reading. I hope you found this short and supaishi review helpful!
P.P.S. Blame! is just the Japanese onomatopoeic gun sound *blem*.
Set in a world in which humans have lost access to all of the world’s technology after an event called the “infection” causes all of the machinery to develop multi-levelled structures that repeat infinity creating a huge, never-ending dystopian city in which machines, called the safeguard, kill the humans resulting in only a very small volume of civilisation, tucked away safely in a place in which the safeguard cannot reach. Enter a girl named Zuru, whom, with a group of other young teenagers, venture out into this broken world in hopes of finding food for their starving village. However, things go horribly wrong when the safeguards begin to attack Zuru’s group and the exterminators, essentially fast as hell killer robots that run on all four legs, kill most of the members of the group and everyone would have died if it were not for a man, or, better yet, a robot (which the movie never actually explains nor do we learn his backstory) by the name of Killy who uses a big damn laser gun to destroy all of the exterminators in one shot. After this, the group take him back to their village after Killy asks them if they have the Net Terminal Gene which, as we learn later, is a gene in which allows humans to control the robots and take back the cities and the world around them. After Killy speaks to the village elder, whom everyone refers to as ‘papa’, the elder recalls the term “Net Terminal Gene” and takes Killy down to the lower levels to see if they can find any information about it. While there, Killy finds an old and beaten up android who had been laying dormant for hundreds of years, waiting for someone to come and save her, and, with that, Killy, the android called Cibo, Zuru and the rest of the team, set off on a journey in order to gain the Net Terminal Genes in order to restore balance to the world once again.
The narrative surrounding this movie is pretty linear and straightforward but that’s fine. I’d rather have a simpler narrative done right than a convoluted one that tries to squeeze everything into the time frame of a film. For starters, it doesn’t take too much to feel a sense of empathy between the last surviving humans and their quest for the Net Terminal Genes and the simpler narrative and set-up definitely does help in this regard. Not only that, but the pacing of the film is pretty decently executed. It felt as if it wasn’t trying to rush everything into a two hour frame and took its time explaining a few concepts and ideas, although nothing all too substantial as a whole, and that’s my biggest gripe with the film. The film format doesn’t allow for fully fleshed out characters or backstories and we don’t learn anything about Killy in the slightest, or even all too much about Cibo either! We’re given really vague and uninteresting backstories to Cibo in particular, but other than her motivation for wanting to take back the city, she feels extremely bland and underdeveloped, and this role also extends to Killy too. I understand they’re both robots, and thus lack emotion or character, but they just felt way too underutilised and underdeveloped. The human characters are a bit better but none of them gets any development either. The film does hint as Zeru’s anxieties and fears over losing some of her friends while fighting but it never surfaces ever again and lacks development. I could never really feel too attached to these characters, and while, I did feel some tension in some of the action scenes in regards to their life, for the most part, I just didn’t care who lived or died. It’s pretty obvious that the anime is trying to make you care since there are plenty of emotional scenes with character deaths but it never really felt all too sad to me since I was not attached enough to the character in order for this to have had any effect on me.
The film’s exposition delivery can also be a little too heavy at times with the main character just telling us the state of the world at the very beginning of the film and I’ve seen this done so many times before that it ends up leaving no impact on me, and the film does this a couple of other times as well. I believe it would have been more effective if the film opened up with no exposition what so ever and the audience could have seen the state of the world for themselves, it would have been more much more engaging and interesting. However, to be fair, there are a couple of exposition scenes that feel natural and as if they’re happening in the world such as when the elder is explaining the customs and history of the village to Killy who had never been there before and thus the audience assumes these characters roles. As we learn about their village, as thus Killy, but this technique is never really utilised all too much in the film.
If there is one thing the film does well is its setting and attention to detail. I was so immersed into this world they through me into and I loved the broken down, city dystopia setting and the entire design of the world; it was pretty good. Not only that, but the action and even the GCI were also great. The CGI never came across as jarring or awkward and the action scenes were full of high-level movement and were exciting to boot; I felt the hype, and if that’s what the movie was going for it certainly achieved it on that end. In addition, the final action scene was pretty fun to watch from a visual standpoint, but you may find yourself feeling that the ending was a bit anti-climatic since nothing much was actually achieved by the end, and it leaves on quite an annoying cliffhanger, which just makes me want to go and read the manga. The music does the job, but I never found it too be all too great and there were a few scenes that I found to be completely stupid which I would describe in more detail but I don’t want to get into spoiler territory. But, despite that, the film is enjoyable and does do a few things right to warrant the praise I gave out in the opening paragraphs. While the characters don’t get much development, it is easy to feel a sense of empathy for them, which is more than I can say for other films of this nature, and if you’re looking for a fun, action-packed adventure with a great dystopian setting, than I would recommend this.
49: Crayon Shin-chan Movie 11: Arashi wo Yobu Eikou no Yakiniku Road
Japanese: 映画 クレヨンしんちゃん 嵐を呼ぶ栄光のヤキニクロード
MAL Score: 7.11
A slapstick comedy going back to the basic, “laughable” style of the TV series. One day, the Nohara family was looking forward to having an ultra-rich yakiniku dinner, but they were put on the Wanted List on suspicion of heinous crimes because of a scheme of a mysterious organization named Sweet Boys. The Nohara family must run from Sweet Boys’ pursuit but to eat yakiniku for dinner they need to stop escaping and decide to meet the boss of Sweet Boys, who is based in Atami (a hot spring/resort city in Shizuoka Prefecture).
(Source: Manabu Tsuribe)
48: Ginga Kikoutai Majestic Prince Movie: Kakusei no Idenshi
Japanese: 劇場版 銀河機攻隊 マジェスティックプリンス 覚醒の遺伝子
MAL Score: 7.14
The alien Wulgaru’s last assault against humanity was foiled by the heroic actions of the genetically enhanced humans known as the Evolved Children in their advanced AHSMB battle armor, but now a new attack has been launched against Earth under an even deadlier champion, Diorna, created from the fusion of DNA from two Wulgaru Royals.
Unfortunately, Izuru Hitachi, the leader of Team Rabbits who defeated the Wulgaru Royal Jiart, is still out of action and recovering, so the task of marshalling the Majestic Princes and stopping Diorna falls upon the unready shoulders of Toshikazu Asagi. Together with the remaining members of Team Rabbits and the recently created Team Fawn, it’s up to Asagi to hold the line against the most ruthless adversary yet.
The Spring of 2013 or 2013 was a year when anime got MORE awesome! We got hit after hit, and it was a brilliant year for Mecha. The three spring anime of 2013 was Gargantia, Valvrave and of course Majestic Prince. Those three mecha anime became classics to me each one giving a different synopsis for the Mecha Genre. Now a days it has been almost 4 years later since the writing of this review and I finally realized that after the Spring of 2014, Mecha has been dying. It seems to me that we are getting an increase of Highschool slices of life here and there and the very common all girl casts anime with subtle lesbian undertones for ridiculous amounts of pandering. This is because as times change there becomes a new ground rule of ‘what anime to make’ in the market. It is a business after all. I will admit, those slices of life do have a lot of charm! But what if I told you that the Spring Mecha anime of 2013 had a lot of charm too with a more interesting plot? Well I would have to tell you that we are living in a dark age of anime and anime like Majestic Prince has to exist to save the industry from becoming complete trash and further ruining the reputation of anime itself.
Ginga Kikoutai Majestic Prince is about 5/6 teenaged genetically modified kids assigned the most interesting of mechs called ASHMB units. These units can only be piloted by them due to their assigned DNA and they are somewhat sentient on Fly or Fight mentality. Pretty cool huh? So they use these units to combat the Wulgaru who are trying to kill off humanity to recover lost genes to keep themselves alive. Trust me, it makes more sense in context. The movie takes place after the final episode of the show. Everyone is freaking out because Izuru almost died and a brand new Walgaru threat has revealed itself. A terrifying enemy that is possibly even stronger than Jiart. It’s up to Team Rabbits, Faun and Fox to saaaaave the day! It’s a simple story. Nothing wrong but still full of emotional ties that are required to give a crap about the plot. Honestly a story can be broken down to the basic bullet notes and can be seen as boring. A GOOD story is about presentation, not good writing. You can have the most boring premise in the world and still make it interesting and emotional. On the other hand you can have an intense situation and make it boring as hell. Majestic Prince avoids this by adding something I like to call ‘narm charm’. All in all the story is basic and full of interesting premises to keep you in tact. And in stories like this that is ALL what you need. However, the main point of THIS story is about Asagi figuring out what HE wants to do. So the story focuses a bit more on him.
People might disagree with me but I admire Hisashi Hirai’s character designs. Though one can make the argument that every character looks the same besides eye color and hair color, Hisashi Hirai’s art has a VERY strong power. Emotions. The guy isn’t afraid to cram in as many emotions into his character designs as possible. There is a reason why Hiashi reuses the same face: It works. The face can express so many emotions, rage face, super happy, embarrassed and my personal favorite “-_-“. His character designs have something else that modern day developers struggle with today, and identity. Everywhere you look modern day anime continues to look the same with character designs because of the unfortunate reality that one design sells like hot cakes. I’m talking about that damn A-1 face that was perfected. There aren’t a lot of anime anymore that has a unique and distinguishable art design. Yes a select few exist, but noticed how anime continues to really on the same art direction? It’s a BREATH of fresh air to see Hisashi Hirai’s character designs after seeing constant and constant anime character designs that come out of a factory. His designs have so much charm in them and I wish people can appreciate his designs more.
And the BEAUTIFUL mecha animation! Yes the humans get a bit stiff when they walk, but to be honest I feel like those cuts were made to create the bread and butter of Mecha anime. Relying on Hisashi’s character designs to be as expressive as possible to pull up the lack of animation, the mecha animation and choreography is just as good if not better than the actual show. Gargantia’s appeal was the unique premise, Valvrave’s appeal was it’s ridiculous over the top concept flashing so many cliff hangers, Majestic Prince’s strengths are its charms and MECHA FIGHTING ANIMATION. You thought CGi mecha animation was slow, THINK AGAIN. The action in Majestic Prince follows a simple formula of Camera panning when the time is RIGHT. Not constant camera panning to the point it distracts you from the animation, but angling it just right to make the animation even more crisp. You see it all, every slash, missile and laser making an intense impact with some extreme weight involved. Indeed the animation is good, but just because it has great animation you need to make sure if it was put into good use. The lighting of the attacks are just too damn perfect. I can HEAVILY agree on the idea that the choreography is so damn good it blew my god damn ball sack to the moon. And now I need to get it back. However, fighting alone isn’t enough to make a ‘fight’ scene interesting. It needs something else involved…
It needs sound. You need to hear every impact, every point of strike with the noise to understand the intensity of the fights. The music in Majestic Prince isn’t the best, but it sparks an emotion to use the theme songs including the new one for this movie! I like it! Let’s talk about voice acting for a second here. Voice acting in anime is hard to criticize. Despite watching subbed anime for so many years I only came across a few sub voices in my life that I wish never existed. Japanese Goku, the asshole dark knight from Grimgar and EVERY high pitched anime girl that is trying too hard to sound like they are 10 when they are clearly over 20. I know that in Japan their females have some squeaky voices but let’s be real here! If you ever heard an actual japanese woman talks, their voices are soft and high pitched but not to the point of being SQUEAKY. As if they are trying to sound too HARD to be cute. Tamaki’s voice strikes a nice balance for this. She doesn’t constantly scream all the time, she has more snarky -_- moments to adjust her voice to avoid sounding too much like a child. Tamaki is a good example on how to use a high pitched voice without coming off as too screamy and squeaky to the point of being cringy. Asagi’s voice actor does his role of being a not so confident teen who constantly questions why people keep entering his god damn room. Izuru sounds like a dork, Ange’s shounen kid voice with constant vulgar voices is freaking amazing to listen to, Kei is soft spoken and Ateru is cocky with his voice. Exactly what you would expect from these characters. Once again I gone off a tangent here, but when it comes to voice acting in subs you don’t care about inflections due to not clearly understanding the japanese language. Instead it all comes down to voice range and avoiding a point of coming across as forced and just overall annoying.
Some people argue that Story and Character are basically the same thing, I disagree. Story is the situation they are in and how the twists and turns along with the slopes and downward spirals entertain someone. Characters are they people that grant LIFE into the world they live in. Team Rabbits along with the other characters are VERY 2D. But that’s the point. They grew up in a military academy and only had ONE interest to grant them life. Meaning they focus on that interest to grant them character. The characters bicker and support each other, even take shots at one another. Small subtle things in anime helps bring so much life into them. Izuru wanting to be a cheesy hero and looking up to Asagi as his new found brother…to Asagi’s embarrassment of course, Asagi’s anxiety of being cool or being a leader bringing him down, Ateru’s nerdgasms, Ange’s VULGAR language, Kei’s deadly cooking that somehow has the amazing ability to bring Izuru back to the way he is and Tamaki being a cheerful ditz that wishes to love. These are basic 2d traits that are endearing when planted together. Imagine if Power Rangers had more freedom to be charming with their characters, you get the Majestic Prince cast. You don’t need 3D characters to have them be interesting or fun. 2d characters have strengths too! They are easy to understand and their quirks can easily sway you. Like going into Asagi’s god damn room. What I’m trying to say is that Team Rabbit’s appeal comes from small gentle emotions and teen friendly bickering that is very fun to watch. I also find it very touching where Tamaki tells Patricia thank you because she couldn’t say it to Patrick. Though I will admit Patricia RUINED the moment by asking to grope Tamaki after all of this is done, but I’m glad that Tamaki’s reaction completely reflected my own. -_- Meaning it was intentional. And I will never forget the moment where the entire crew came to Izuru’s healing pod to write down get well messages on the glass. THIS is what I mean by CHARM and EMOTIONS. It might be silly but it works. Even having call backs with the Otakus to inspire Izuru to DRAW FREAKEN BETTER. Damn it! He better get better with his crappy manga. Anyways! Characters are charming and easily likable! It’s easy to sympathize with Asagi…and…let’s FOCUS on him for a moment.
Asagi is no doubt about it the main character for the movie. While Izuru is out of commission Asagi has been appointed for the leader despite his hesitation. He isn’t confident, he is scared and most importantly he probably thinks he can’t live up to be a hero like Izuru despite what he says. However, he learns to be a hero for his little brother. Asagi unlike the rest of his crew doesn’t really have a quirk of ‘interest’. Instead Asagi’s role in the series is more of an emotional connection with his little sister like figure, his tech crew being a family, and most importantly finding a cause. Asagi is the deepest character in Majestic Prince and I would argue he might actually be 3D. I GET this guy. He learns about Izuru being his little brother and decides to take action. He needs to protect his little brother! And when he gets shot down after his BEAUTIFUL display of Blue 1, I was heart broken that he was robbed before taking up White 0. He learns to be his own kind of hero. A big brother, a family man like his tech crew, to be a true big brother. That is Asagi’s character.
I had never had so much fun watching an anime before. It’s been VERY long. Too long perhaps. Majestic Prince reminds me why I love anime so much. Mecha, action and of course charming characters that I will never forget. The final moment of Team Rabbits defeating the alien vulgar as shit lady is EXACTLY what I love about anime like this. The theme of team work and not just SHOUTING OUT to the main character to win with the power of friendship is how you DO IT RIGHT. Team Rabbits as a WHOLE defeated her. Kei awakens her unit to help Asagi pilot White 0. Izuru is still recovering so he isn’t at 100 percent to rob the show’s finale(Which I feared what would happen), Ateru takes the final shot while Tamaki injects power into Gold 4. And finally Ange gets the LAST vulgar line despite Black 6 being completely out of commission. THEY ALL DID IT. That is when I went bonkers. I want that…I want more of those moments in my anime. It’s so…sad that these don’t appear more often, but you know what they still exist. Vulgar alien language on Vulgar alien language people. You must see it to believe it.
Charm, action, expressions, laughs, emotions…this is what I call anime that still tries. This is an anime that needs to be watched by not only mecha lovers but also others who wish to explore the regions of Hisashi Hirai art and the wondrous properties of charm in anime. Let it not die, please continue to make anime like this. And why are you people in Asagi’s room?
47: Lupin III: Dead or Alive
English: Lupin III: Dead or Alive
Japanese: ルパン三世 DEAD OR ALIVE
MAL Score: 7.16
Lupin, Goemon, and Jigen take a mini-helicopter and head to the mysterious “Drifting Island” looking for a treasure rumored to be hidden somewhere on it. Through their exploration of the island, the trio encounters the lethal “Nanomachine,” the island’s security system. The trio triggers the alarm, springing “the Nanomachine” to life. The key to solving the island’s mystery lies in the small nation of Zufu. This once prosperous nation is now ruled by the ruthless, knife-collecting, General Headhunter. Fujiko does her usual probing and hacks into General Headhunter’s computer hoping to find some crucial information. Zenigata has received a video message from Lupin in which Lupin announces his desire for the priceless treasure. Oleander, a fiery blond officer with some hidden secrets of her own, steps in to help Zenigata. Armed with their newly found information, Lupin, Goemon, Jigen, and Fujiko go back to “Drifting Island,” but this time they are followed by General Headhunter.
This time Lupin and the gang, based on a rumour, head to a mysterious island to find a massive hidden treasure. Upon their arrival, they are attacked by a super sci-fi based security system and narrowly escape. The key to finding the treasure on the island is by unlocking some secret a small dictator nation has.
Although the plot is not too bad nor is it really good by any means, this Lupin movie is pretty average for the most part. Production was incredibly rushed and Monkey Punch basically only designed the opening and ending sequences, the most action packed parts of the movie. The rest of the team “filled” in the rest of the movie, which is why Dead or Alive has a bit of a slower pace and many questions and plot holes until magically filled in at the end. Basically, Monkey Punch did what he could to make this respectable.
Animation and sound are nothing spectacular. All of the usual Lupin characters are present as well as a change in Fujiko’s look and the basic Lupin driven femme-fatale character. Nothing really seems to stand out as good or bad in this anime. Even the evil villain in Dead or Alive seems too much of an evil gimmick. Dictator General Headhunter collects knives and is ruthless enough to kill with said knives. This character may be a gimmick but at least fits the evil villain role well right up until the end as he should.
The sci-fi element is what drives Dead or Alive. As opposed to the usual Lupin heist, this is more of a mystery treasure hunt. With this aspect it can either disappoint those who wanted more or intrigue those who wanted something different out of Lupin. However, for the fan familiar with Lupin and the gang, it is an average anime with a neat little science twist to drive the plot.
There a weird love story around the character development woman, but to me, it has a natural way of playing out. She seems pretty real about it around everything that’s happened, and I’m ok with her ending. It’s kind of obscure, but I’d say it’s enough.
I feel like the art and sound quality fell short on this one. I would recommend this to new Lupin fans, and people new to anime.
46: Crayon Shin-chan Movie 04: Henderland no Daibouken
Japanese: クレヨンしんちゃん ヘンダーランドの大冒険
MAL Score: 7.17
A modern horror style fantasy depicting a laughable adventure in Gunma Hender Land, the largest theme park in the north areas around Tokyo. Nohara family fight with Toppema Muppet (a talking doll from Magic World) against two gay ‘witch’ men Makao and Joma, who came from Another World and try to invade the Real World.
(Source: Manabu Tsuribe)
45: Kaijuu no Kodomo
English: Children of the Sea
MAL Score: 7.18
One summer vacation, Ruka meets two boys, “Umi” and “Sora,” whose upbringing contains strange and wonderful secrets. Drawn to their beautiful swimming, almost more like flying, Ruka and the adults who know them are intertwined in a complex mesh…
Meanwhile, an unexplained anomaly is occurring all over the world: fish are disappearing. Thus begins a marine adventure of boys and girls to captivate all the senses!
Honestly, the storyline lost me a little bit but I’m not gonna say I wasn’t entertained and absorbed. I would still highly recommend for the imagery. Can’t wait until it is released in English to rewatch it!
Next I want to let you know that I’ve never read the source, or heard of this title before watching this movie. So this review is my impression of the movie watching it blind.
Story – 4
It actually started off really great in my opinion. The premise of a boy who was raised in the wild is not something entirely new but still very interesting. And it was going so well until somewhere halfway through the movie… UNIVERSE, COSMOS, GALAXY… Like WTF was I watching? I’m sorry for all the people who liked this movie but it just felt totally random to me in terms of the story. I can’t actually imagine how you make any sense of what I just watched. I feel like they literally let a 5 year old write the story and you might think I’m joking but that’s really how it is. Sure the animation is great but the story…
Art – 10
I don’t think anyone can argue how breathtakingly amazing the art was. Watching this movie is like watching an animated version of the big book of marine life encyclopedia. Definitely watch this movie if you want to learn how to draw any fish. If nothing else, this is definitely one of the “best animated” movies (not to be mistaken with best “animated movies”)
Sound – 9
Is the rubber band an instrument?
Kaijuu no Kodomo would say: Yes, yes it is!
Mysterious, eerie, a sense of wonder and excitement. Wonderfully orchestrated and beautifully directed. Who doesn’t love this kind of music? One thing’s for sure: they definitely spared no expense in the sound and animation budget.
Character – 5
The designs are really nice and unique. There’s a lot of mystery with how the characters were introduced which I think is fine in itself. Unfortunately, the story is just so weird that it’s hard to make sense of anything the characters are thinking, if they are thinking anything. You can’t tell what the hell is going on and there’s barely any explanation either.
Enjoyment – 4
As someone who’s never read the source or remotely heard of the title before watching this I felt like a fish out of water (pun intended). Maybe they cut a lot of material from the source. Maybe the writing is just bad. Maybe maybe maybe… From my perspective, the story is just weird. At the very least, I enjoyed the animation.
Overall – 6
I would definitely recommend it, even just for the beautiful animation. But definitely not for anyone who’s looking for any coherent story or emotional impact.
STORY: (7/10) Five whole volumes of plot, filled with existentialistic concepts combining science fiction and supernatural themes, delicate portrayals of the relationship between the characters and the panoramas of sea life- all of these are condensed into a mere 111 minutes, a little less than two hours. Nevertheless, I applaud the teams’ effort in trying to follow the footsteps of the manga with their universal and surrealistic message; However, if you are a manga reader like me, I suggest that you don’t keep your hopes too high that every detail would be the same. Some scenes were replaced and rewritten in order to fit in the time frame, while others, I really don’t understand the choices for such replacements. I also felt that some of the more important and emotional parts were cut out as well, which really takes away the overall tone and message of the manga. (eg, Sora and Umi’s backstory with Jim and Anglade, which would have provided a LOT more insight towards their relationship with one another, as well as the plot of the story).
Kaijuu no Kodomo is a free form of expression, but Ayumu Watanabe doesn’t seem to be able to grasp onto what is needed in order for the film to have become successful. Overall a promising story which gradually loses it’s way to mass targeting. If I had to make a comparison- the film made me think of Finding Nemo or some fantasy related ocean cartoon. I felt comfortable watching the film, and that was the problem; The ocean in the manga made me wonder, doubt, and fear the terrifying beauty of the depths of the sea, as well as the haunting panoramas of the marine life.
ART: (8/10) The character designs stayed true to Igarashi’s indie, sketchy style, which I was very delighted to see. Precisions and details elaborating on the eyes of the characters give more emotional depths to our understanding of their roles within the narrative. I could also say the same to the way the ocean and the marine life had been beautifully animated, especially during the “festival” and Umi’s “birth”. Movements are smooth and stylistically ‘wonky’, yet again possessing the sentiments of Igarashi’s funkiness. I’d say the minor flaw in the art was the use of CGI, which were not the best ones I’ve seen- it kind of takes away the mysterious feeling of the ocean when you compare it to the manga. The ocean in the film makes everything seem all too welcoming and friendly, instead of haunting and dangerous. Nevertheless, the animation is definitely something worth praising, and it’s rare to see water, and movement in the water being drawn so smoothly.
MUSIC: (10/10) It’s Joe Hisaishi, nothing can go wrong when it’s him. He perfectly captured the oceanic vibes with his use of ‘random number technique’, and uses the same melody throughout important scenes, just with different variations. The brass instruments give off a more exotic feel and really captures the cultural aspects of the story, while the orchestra as a whole representing life within the sea. I am not a music expert, but his melodies never failed to provoke some emotional response within me.
CHARACTERS: (6.5/10) That being said, major characters such as Jim, Anglade (ESPECIALLY ANGLADE!) and Dede were robbed of their spotlights in the film due to the limited time. They had their defining roles, but were reduced to such labels- Jim was a scientist who merely looked after Sora and Umi, Anglade cooked dinner and did some chores, and spouted some universal nonsense under the starlights, and Dede? She repeated the same 5 lines about 10 times in the film, then drove away on a boat without contributing much to the plot. I was especially disappointed to see that they have taken away so much of Anglade’s charm, since he was one of the most important and intriguing characters of the story. Like Sora and Umi, he was an outsider, he was intelligent, sophisticated and complicated- yet they have made him into a pretty insignificant person in the film, cooked some fish then left.
Likewise, Ruka’s mother also did not get her backstory, which I felt would have helped a lot with explaining Ruka’s natural attraction towards the water. I don’t understand the reason for having Ruka’s father replace Dede in the final scene when they went to rescue Ruka too. Perhaps this film focused a lot more on Ruka and her estrangement with her friends and family- but I quite liked the idea of her reconciling with the girl she knocked over in the beginning, which is anime exclusive. It somehow added another kind of sentiment and changed the narrative (in a good way), as if to relay the message that life moves on. With the people Ruka met during summer gone, it’s like she was being welcomed back to her ordinary life (which in this case, you may argue that it takes away her eccentrics and the fact that she doesn’t get along with everyone, but again, they’re children).
I had no major problems with the three protagonists, but somehow felt that they were all lacking the charm they had in the manga- the film took all their most obvious traits (Umi and his naivety, Sora and his otherworldliness, Ruka and her curiosity) and made them kind of one dimensional. Ruka in particular became more taciturn in some major scenes, instead of being her usual curious self regarding the two boys who, in the film, were a lot less preoccupied with one another.
ENJOYMENT: (7 or 8/10) Again, this was a promising film considering that the manga was particularly a masterpiece. It’s ambitious, it’s creative, it could have created something new for the audience- but the choice of director has allowed it to lose its colour throughout the film. It’s not as philosophical or complicated as the original material, but nevertheless attempts to recreate the same message in a very condensed animated version. However, I overall thought it was still quite enjoyable. For those that may find the film confusing or constantly feel like it’s missing something, I really suggest that you read the manga first, as it will help you understand a lot of aspects and ideas they don’t mention and explain in the film. The characters in the manga are portrayed with such raw emotions, and Igarashi miraculously writes their relationship with one another through such vertiginous depths that you can’t help but love every single one of their quirks.
I do suggest the film to those that may be interested, but only if you decide to read the manga as well. Trust me, you won’t regret it!
44: Sarusuberi: Miss Hokusai
Japanese: 百日紅～Miss HOKUSAI～
MAL Score: 7.19
The time: 1814. The place: Edo, now known as Tokyo.
One of the highest populated cities in the world, teeming with peasants, samurai, townsmen, merchants, nobles, artists, courtesans, and perhaps even supernatural things.
A much accomplished artist of his time and now in his mid-fifties, Tetsuzo can boast clients from all over Japan, and tirelessly works in the garbage-loaded chaos of his house-atelier. He spends his days creating astounding pieces of art, from a giant-size Bodhidharma portrayed on a 180 square meter-wide sheet of paper, to a pair of sparrows painted on a tiny rice grain. Short-tempered, utterly sarcastic, with no passion for sake or money, he would charge a fortune for any job he is not really interested in.
Third of Tetsuzo’s four daughters and born out of his second marriage, outspoken 23-year-old O-Ei has inherited her father’s talent and stubbornness, and very often she would paint instead of him, though uncredited. Her art is so powerful that sometimes leads to trouble. “We’re father and daughter; with two brushes and four chopsticks, I guess we can always manage, in a way or another.”
Decades later, Europe was going to discover the immense talent of Tetsuzo. He was to become best known by one of his many names: Katsushika Hokusai. He would mesmerize Renoir and van Gogh, Monet and Klimt.
However, very few today are even aware of the woman who assisted him all his life, and greatly contributed to his art while remaining uncredited. This is the untold story of O-Ei, Master Hokusai’s daughter: a lively portrayal of a free-spirited woman overshadowed by her larger-than-life father, unfolding through the changing seasons.
(Source: Production I.G)
Sarusuberi has neither a main conflict nor a linear narrative, instead made up of a handful of shorter stories that are loosely held together by O-Ei, the film’s central character. It is difficult to asses the story’s effectiveness, because there isn’t really a particular “goal” that it tries to achieve, thus no tangible criteria to judge it against. I did think, however, that each section of the movie had something of interest in it, was well-paced, and never felt pointless.
The format also leads to the overall tone of the completed film being very subdued, with virtually none of the melodrama one would expect out of an anime. Where the movie gets its flair from are, in my opinion, the art, as well as the masterfully done sequences of magical realism woven throughout. There aren’t many, but when they do appear these sequences are breathtaking, effectively adding some variation in what could have easily become a monotonous film.
Due to the lack of a real plot, it’s also difficult to asses the film’s characters. While there is little development for most of them (though O-Ei does receive some, subtly but powerfully so,) it can also be said that they aren’t really meant to undergo much development in the first place. All I can say is that I believe the film is meant to be experienced with the characters rather than following them as they try to get from Point A to Point B, and for this purpose most of the characters are interesting and unique (though not always likeable, which in my opinion is a good thing), even though some appear only briefly.
The animation, art, and sound in this film are all exceptional. Perhaps due to the presence of O-Nao, O-Ei’s blind sister, this film is truly a sensory experience. So much attention is paid to the details in the scenes where she appears – everything from footsteps, the crackling of woven grass, the creaking of a great wooden bridge – that it adds a touch of realism to the animation. A number of scenes delightfully weave some of Hokusai’s actual art into the visuals, creating some of the most potent scenes of the film. Edo period Japan is crafted so immersively that it would be a joy to watch the film even for just that purpose.
The only thing about this movie I’m not sure that I loved was the music. The film makes use of a more traditional orchestral soundtrack, with sections using traditional Japanese music, and, strangely, in a couple of scenes, electric guitar riffs. While I understand what the film could have been going for – perhaps showing O-Ei’s character at odds with the norms of her time, I found it rather jarring to hear.
Not all will have the patience for or the interest in this kind of film, but I would recommend Sarusuberi to fans of historical anime, animation, and subdued slice-of-life shows of the non-moe variety. It is a beautiful, subtle, intelligent film that doesn’t try too hard to be any of those three, which is what, I believe, makes it so excellent.
So, maybe now you are interested in knowing the life of this mysterious unknown woman? Maybe you want to see the movie to find the truth and discover her life from her young age to her death…well, if that’s the case, you might end up to be a little disappointed by this movie ^^ .
But here, I’ll try to tell you why you should watch it nonetheless and what is in fact the qualities (and the little minor default) of this movie:
See, Miss Hokusai, while being centered around the figure of O-Ei, isn’t about her life, instead the movie take the gamble to opt for a slice of life aspect, developing around little separated scenes involving the little crew of marginal painter composed of Tetsuzo (more known by the name of Hokusai) the monolithic eccentric artist, and his disciples, including O-Ei.
The movie also didn’t chose to make the relationship daughter-father into a central aspect, and the hint about the link of the two character is discreetly spread through the movie instead.
Then about those different scenes I’m talking about, they can mostly be divided into two categories:
First the one including Hokusai, one of his slightly drunken disciple (provider of some of the comical aspect of the movie) and O-Ei. These moments follow the crew involved in problems and mystery that they will solve with painting. In them, some supernatural and fantastic aspect are surprisingly very present, would it be a menacing dragon lurking in the dark clouds of the sky, or the spirit of a geisha coming out of her body at night.
These moments, while being creative and unexpected, are not the best in the movie, instead, the real highlight of this movie come from the second type of scene:
In them, we discover O-nao, the younger sister of O-Ei, who had the misfortune to be born blind. These moments, with O-Ei walking around, “showing” O-nao the living life of the people traveling a pond, or listening to the silent in a snowy day, are very meaningful and powerful moments.
In fact, those moments reveal one of the best quality of this movie: the emotion is never expressed directly in a frontal way, with heavy talk and shows of tears, but by little touch, when O-Ei warmly touched her sisters little hands or when the screen simply took the time to show us her face, slightly smiling looking at her younger sister playing in the snow, discovering the discreet wonders of everyday life.
The relation between O-nao and her father, never showing up to her, is also a very impactful aspect of the movie, even if never addressed frontally.
But what about the music? Well it might be the weakest point of the movie. The movie take the bet on using rock instrumental music and sound, surely to try to emphasis on the modernity and strong whiled feminism of O-Ei…and while the intention is visible, the result don’t match and feel out of place. Other than that, the sound and music are quite rare and most of the time the scene will be composed of the character talking without ambient music or much sound, which accentuate the slow pacing of the movie (while it’s not really a default, it should be mentioned for those reluctant to watch a movie without action like this, that they might find boring).
I didn’t talked much about O-Ei in herself, but even if I might have made clear that the movie is not really about developing her character or make us enter in her life completely, she stays a very refreshing and free woman, a type of character that is not that often seen in anime, and it’s also one of the good points of this movie.
To summarize: if you like slice of life anime, if you want to take a look and feel what life in the end of the Edo periodeperiod was like, then you should watch this movie and will surely enjoy it.
Thank you for reading this review to the end.
Despite its focus on traditional Japanese arts, the art was mediocre. The style wasn’t something I liked, nor was it overly complicated or pretty. Several times some scenes were lacking too much in detail for it to be a movie made in 2015. The animation has way too many still scenes, often very confusing as I have to check if there was anything wrong with my computer while watching it. Had they chosen a different art style – perhaps one that has a watercolour feeling similar to Legend of Kaguya, it would have been much preferable to this bland mix.
The soundtrack can only be described as terrible. As a story set in 1800’s Japan, someone would expect a more traditional soundtrack with minimal electrical sounds. However, we are introduced to the opening scene with an electric guitar as a background. During one of the last climatic scenes featuring Oei running, the electrical guitar played, creating a somewhat ridiculous effect. The soundtrack wasn’t just bad, it was disorienting. It takes the viewer out of the setting of the story back into our lives in the modern world. When any good movie should let the viewer forget about their life, the soundtrack choice for this movie was more than appalling. However, there are very rare moments when the soundtrack sounded nice, preventing it from getting a simple “1” for its score.
Overall, it wasn’t a good movie. The soundtrack was terrible, the animation was mediocre, the story lacked focus, the characters didn’t get properly developed, and the art style just might not be your cup of tea.
4/10. And that’s being generous because it almost made me cry.
43: Maison Ikkoku: Kanketsu-hen
Japanese: めぞん一刻 完結篇
MAL Score: 7.21
The Maison Ikkoku tennants throw a party to celebrate the marriage of Yuusaku and Kyouko. However, during the party Yuusaku hears that Kyouko is waiting for a letter. He becomes jealous and begins to doubt Kyouko, worrying that she still loves someone else. When the morning arrives, the answer to his worries is revealed…
I withstood 94 episodes of misunderstandings waiting for Godai and Kyoko to establish mutual trust in one another and finally become lovers. Those wishes were met fully in the end, and to this day I consider the TV series to be the most rewarding in all of the romance genre.
So I didn’t appreciate this film throwing all of that patience into the trash by creating another silly misunderstanding about Kyoko sending letters to an unidentified person and Godai suspecting her of cheating. The tenets, as per usual, do everything in their power to goad Godai into believing he’s not good enough to date Kyoko and perpetuate the misunderstanding. The love scorned Yagami, one of the most annoying characters in the series, contributes in the witch hunt too. Some of this could be forgiven if this unnecessary drama didn’t take up 90% of the movie, leaving hardly any time to focus on the soon to be married Godai and Kyoko (who doesn’t even appear until the halfway mark)
As if emphasizing some the worst parts of the TV series weren’t bad enough, the aesthetic is noticeably different. The eye designs are less shapely than before and the animation is choppy, missing the fluidity and consistency that was present in the TV series that holds up surprisingly well to today’s standards. I don’t think I’ve seen an anime movie with worse production values than the TV series until now.
The saving grace of this film is that it’s not intended to be an afterword of the series, but instead a side story that takes place in between the final episode. That I don’t have to view this as the final canon story of the series is excellent, as I’ll forever see episode 96 as the true conclusion. Even so, what I’d hoped would be at least a fun reminder of what made Maison Ikkoku an iconic romantic dramedy was instead a painful reminder of everything that irked me while watching the series. Completely skippable by any fan.
This is set during the time frame of episode 96 but as anyone whos watched the series there is a showing of the future of all the characters in that episode. This is not what the movies about, in the movie godai and kyoko are still not married.
The animation is slightly different but still great quality for the series. Sounds and music are equal are just a bit sharper and higher in quality than the tv series. The show has not lost anything on the production end of quality.
It was a enjoyable watch like a much longer finale episode that did not end in a flash forward. It was more like one last laugh before its all over a final act for us to enjoy as it all comes to a end. Once it’s over you wish there was more but your satisfied in a way.
I give this film 10 on all fields, its a wonderful end to a wonderful series.
Lets start off simple, fuck this artstyle. The original TV series was gorgeous. It’s beautiful backgrounds, amazing character designs, superb shot composition, the TV show was a visual treat & stayed consistently well made from start to finish. For whatever reason, the people who worked on this movie decided to go with a completely unnecessary art-style change. Yuuji Moriyama is the person I have to blame for taking what once were these absolutely beautiful character designs adapted by both himself (eps 1-26) & then later on Takada Akemi (eps 27-96) and absolutely fuck them up. Moriyama tried taking a more realistic approach to designing the characters in this movie, but what Moriyama failed to realize was that the characters already looked about as real as you could believably make anime characters look in the original series, so I don’t understand why he made the characters so ugly in this movie. Remember earlier that I was praising the excellent backgrounds of the TV series? Yeah, those took a hit too. What once where beautiful, lush, involved backgrounds have now become lifeless, dull, devoid of soul, & largely flat. There’s a couple of good looking backgrounds in this movie every once in awhile, but they’re outweighed by the amount of bland backgrounds that are devoid of effort. I will give this movie some slight credit, the animation quality is actually good. I still like the way the TV show animates better, & quite honestly, the best animated moments of the TV series far surpass the best animated moments of this movie by a long-shot.
Now we have the story, oh my fucking god the story. A point of criticism that often comes up from Maison Ikkoku detractors is that the misunderstandings of the show are far too frequent, sometimes farfetched, & can easily be solved by Godai taking action. While I can understand these complaints, they aren’t ones I agree with for the most part. Until I watched this movie, & I then saw the complaints about the misunderstandings first hand. First of all, why? Why does Godai have such a lacking trust in Kyoko in this movie? We were treated to scenes in the series that clearly established these two shared a mutual trust betwixt one-another, & Kyoko never did anything particularly sleezy in the series in the first place, & Mitaka had already become married, why does Godai have any reason to believe Kyoko would be cheating on him? Did this idiot fuck-girl writer called Michiru Shimada go & misunderstand Godai’s character entirely? She shouldn’t have, she wrote 8 episodes of the series, some of them being my personal favorite episodes of the series. Let me be clear on one thing, Godai isn’t the brightest person out there, & he’s indecisive, gullible, & weak willed, but he isn’t completely fucking stupid. Now we have Yagamai & oh my god why? Ibuki Yagami was one of my least favorite characters in the series, but I didn’t completely hate her, because Yagami was still a realized character & contributed to the overall narrative at play. Nearing the end of the series, Yagami gives up on Godai coming to the realization that Godai likes Kyoko instead of her, while this admittedly concludes anti-climatically in the series & sort-of plays out in a way to where it feels anti-climatic, it was nevertheless a good conclusion to Yagami’s arc. SO WHY DID THEY BRING HER BACK? On top of that, why did they allow Yagami to be at her absolute worst that she’s ever been at this point in the series. Once Yagami’s arc concludes in the series she only appears infrequently, & never around anybody from Maison Ikkoku. Yagami had absolutely no reason to be in this movie. Her arc was concluded, she moved on with her life in the series, & that was that. It was a nice bittersweet ending to a character arc in the series, yet in Kanketsu-Hen her she is for absolutely no reason other than to stir up some drama because of course. There’s also a subplot going on this movie about the master from Chachamaru trying to propose to Akemi, while this is a somewhat sweet plot, it’s really not explored & is only used for a few scenes that add nothing but padding to an already short movie (coming in at a runtime of 1 hour 6 minutes), what a waste, & I’m sorry you had to be in this terrible movie master. Another disappointing aspect of this movie is that one of the most important characters to Godai’s development Lioka decides to show up, great, I’d love to see Lioka & Godai have a sort-of mini-reunion & see how far Godai has come ever since he stopped working at the cabaret because sakamoto fucked him over & the tenants of Maison Ikkoku are assholes who keep piling up his tab. But oh wait, he gets trapped in a room with Kyoko’s dad for the whole movie, just for 2, 3, maybe 4 gags that, contain some pretty slick transitions, but are otherwise unfunny gags repeating the joke that Mr. Chigusa doesn’t want his daughter to remarry, especially to someone like Godai, a man he finds unworthy of Kyoko’s heart, what a fuck-up. Now we have an absolutely pointless character that you would only need to make one minor plot-change, & he could be entirely useless & not contribute a damn thing to this movie. Nikaidou only contributes showing the letter to Kyoko that started this whole dumbass misunderstanding in the first place on accident. That’s all, he’s barely used for gags, & he has nothing worth contributing to the story. This guy was actually not in the original TV series, but was present in the manga. I’m guessing he was cut from the TV series because he contributed nothing of value to the narrative of the original source material too. This movie was anime original, why would you include a character from the manga that wasn’t even in the fucking anime in the first place? But I digress. All in all, the story of Kanketsu-Hen is all the worst aspects of Maison Ikkoku, that weren’t even that bad in the original series to begin with, amplified by 20K & then had the shit-switch cranked up on top of that, god I hated this movie.
You wanna talk sound? Because I’ll do that too. The voice acting isn’t bad, but it’s nothing impressive or special like the original series was. All the voice actors reprise their roles as their respective characters (Sumi Shimamoto as Kyoko), (Issei Futamata as Godai), (Shigeru Chiba as Yotsuya), so on. But the voice actors here all sound like they’re phoning it in and only doing this for a paycheck, I guess because the realized how terrible this movie was while they were recording their dialogue for it. The music is pathetic, not terrible, but an absolutely pathetic effort coming off of Kenji Kawai’s god-like OST from the original series. The movie didn’t even have the decency to open with either a unique OP, or a reused OP from the TV series, what the fuck gives guys? Maison Ikkoku had some of the best OPs out there, why didn’t you flex those in this movie? The sound design is actually a salvageable part out of this mess though, there’s some great SFX used for some actually funny & well timed moments in the movie, footsteps sound good, beer cans sound good, I’ll give the sound design some honest to god credit here, it was by-far the part that had the most effort put into it.
So in spite of all the shit-talking I’ve given to this movie, why did I not rate it a 1/10 like I should’ve? Because there were some honest to god really good character moments in this movie. Like the scene between Yagami & Kyoko in the attic of Maison ikkoku, Yagami asks Kyoko, “So the princess has two lovers, one of which being deceased, & the other being a young man, which one does she choose?” Kyoko thinks for a minute & answers back with “I never thought about comparing Godai to my late husband”. The banter between these two, & the structure both surrounding this scene before & after, & during the dialogue, it’s brilliant, & actually reminded me that I was watching something related to one of my all time favorite things for a little bit. Another scene I loved was close to the end of this movie, when Kyoko actually reads the letter to Godai. She tells a story about how Ikari Godai sent her a photo of Yusaku Godai in his childhood, she accidentally ripped the picture & wanted to apologize to Ikari for it. After Ikari writes back & the contents of the letter were revealed, Godai & Kyoko have some beautiful dialogue between them, again, the way this scene & the dialogue are structured is what makes it so good, & once again reminds me that I’m actually watching something that can be related to Maison Ikkoku twice throughout this god-damn movie. Another point of praise is that some moments of storyboarding in this movie are actually pretty slick & seamless, it’s one of the few good directing moments in this movie, as the directing from the TV series that was so insanely awesome in the first place has been stripped & gutted. I’ll also give credit that in the beginning of this movie I received a few laughs. I didn’t have many laughs throughout this movie, but hey, credit where it’s due I guess, I’m already being too easy on this movie as I am.
Maison Ikkoku Kanketsu-Hen is absolutely pathetic. Why did this need to exist? What point did this serve to the overall narrative? What value did this add to the series? How much did the people who work on this get paid? Really, there was no reason for this series to exist. The story would be a plot point that absolutely nobody would’ve cared about seeing as this wasn’t in the the TV series or even the manga to begin with. The story sucks, the art sucks, the directing sucks, the music sucks, my favorite characters are a shell of their former selves in this movie & devoid of their personality & comedic moments (except for Yotsuya). This movie is a disgrace to the masterpiece that is Maison Ikkoku. If you have any shred of self-respect & love this series, please. Don’t watch this terrible movie. It will bring nothing but disappointment & anger. Final rating for this one is gonna be a 2/10. This was a shameless cash-grab that was made only to capitalize on Maison’s popularity at the time & is an absolute disgrace to this series and any & everyone who is a fan of this series.
42: Sidonia no Kishi: Ai Tsumugu Hoshi
English: Knights of Sidonia: Love Woven in the Stars
Japanese: シドニアの騎士 あいつむぐほし
MAL Score: 7.21
After the Earth was destroyed by mysterious alien lifeforms known as the Gauna, surviving remnants of the human race escaped to space in the enormous generation ship Sidonia. Having drifted through space for millennia, the Sidonia found itself once more under attack from Gauna for the first time in a century.
Once again facing the threat of extinction, a temporary victory against the Gauna was eked out thanks to the human-Gauna hybrid Tsumugi Shiraui and ace Guardian mech pilot Nagate Tanikaze.
10 years later… The people of Sidonia enjoy a brief respite. Peaceful days pass, during which Tsumugi begins to realize her feelings for Nagate, who is now celebrated as a hero of Sidonia. However, as Captain Kobayashi has always known, as long as the Gauna remain, peace cannot last.
The decision is made: a final battle, upon which rests the fate of humanity’s last survivors. As the end approaches, will the crew be able to protect those they love?
(Source: Polygon Pictures)
Sidonia S1 was a bombastic marvel, and led to many people declaring it as Attack on Titan in space. It had the perfect balance of character-driven story arcs and action, and it seemed like a fresh take on the space opera, giving backroom politics a lesser role in favor of the frontline drama. Our hero, Nagate Tanikaze, had to make difficult decisions again and again. But S2 was a strange departure. The immediacy and horror of the Gauna threat took a backseat to rom-com antics with the introduction of Tsumugi. I felt S2 was a much weaker season than S1 and it left many questions unanswered. This movie needed a great payoff and return to the grim seriousness that made S1 so great.
The movie returned to S1 form after a short introduction that breaks the ice a little. But it’s a jarring switch, as the rom-com elements were eliminated entirely, and there was no closure to the harem that Nagate accumulated in S2. Instead, Nagate swiftly and suddenly made his choice without too much on-screen brooding. This allowed more time for the space battles, which looked and sounded better than ever due to the movie budget.
My biggest criticism of the movie was that it tried to do too much and juggle too many characters at once. The screentime of the new minor characters took away from what could’ve been more screentime and development of the characters we were already familiar with in S1 and S2. Nagate himself felt like a minor character, as he wasn’t the main focus for much of the movie. Giving a large cast enough time for each of them to shine is an issue that many anime adaptions must deal with. Notably, the two shows in which Sidonia evokes memories for me, Legend of the Galactic Heroes and Attack on Titan, had much more time to develop things. Sidonia had only 24 episodes and this movie. Though the movie clocked in at almost two hours, it really could’ve used some more time to explore the mystery of the Gauna.
The antagonist had great potential, but he wasn’t given proper development. Instead, he ended up acting comical, delivering hammy dialogue instead of being nuanced and making an attempt to convince viewers that his grand plan had any merit. The climax sets up the final battle as the Gauna’s last major stand.
The ending is satisfactory, and it is certainly the slickest space opera production in years. But while everything wrapped up nicely, I can’t help but feel that we were cheated out of something completely epic. Nagate needed to be more than just a nice guy with amazing Garde combat skills, and the Gauna needed to be more than just an evil alien force. It’s clear that underneath all of the technobabble, the Sidonia movie didn’t intend to present a deep, substantial story that will resonate with viewers long after everything’s over. But hey, if you want shiny space battles with some of the best sound production you’ll ever hear in anime, this movie delivers that in spades.
41: Crayon Shin-chan Movie 08: Arashi wo Yobu Jungle
Japanese: 映画 クレヨンしんちゃん 嵐を呼ぶジャングル
MAL Score: 7.22
An adventure set in a south island. Shinnosuke with his parents and friends joined a tour with the preview of Action Kamen’s new movie ‘South Sea Millennium Wars’ on a luxury liner, but a funky guy who names himself Paradise King and his slave gang of gibbon monkeys took away all the adults to a south island. Gotaro Go, an actor playing the role of Action Kamen, with Shinnosuke, fights a martial-arts battle and air battle against Paradise King.
(Source: Manabu Tsuribe)
40: Ajin Part 2: Shoutotsu
English: Ajin: Demi-Human Movie 2: Confront
Japanese: 亜人 第２部「衝突」
MAL Score: 7.25
For high schooler Kei—and for at least forty-six others—immortality comes as the nastiest surprise ever.
Sadly for Kei, such a feat doesn’t make him a superhero. In the eyes of both the general public and governments, he’s a rare specimen who needs to be hunted down and handed over to scientists to be experimented on for life—a demi-human who must die a thousand deaths for the benefit of humanity.
39: Crayon Shin-chan Movie 05: Ankoku Tamatama Daitsuiseki
Japanese: 映画 クレヨンしんちゃん 暗黒タマタマ大追跡
MAL Score: 7.26
An action comedy film depicting the Nohara family who get caught in a fight between two clans, Tamayura and Tamayomi. Set in Tokyo and Aomori (northern end of Japan’s main island). The Tamayomi clan had plotted to revive the evil genie Jarke and to conquer the world. To stop Tamayomi’s plot, the three gay brothers (Rose, Lavender and Lemon) from Tamayura clan wrested Jarke’s ball, which was a key to revive Jarke, from the bar girl gang of Tamayomi clan, but Shinnosuke’s younger sister Himawari swallowed down the ball. The Nohara family, with the three gay brothers and a female detective Yone Higashimatsuyama, fights a fierce battle against the Tamayomi gang chasing them.
(Source: Manabu Tsuribe)
38: Sidonia no Kishi Movie
MAL Score: 7.26
A recap of the first season of Sidonia no Kishi with additional scenes and re-edited sound effects.
37: Ajin Part 3: Shougeki
English: Ajin: Demi-Human Movie 3: Collide
Japanese: 亜人 第3部「衝戟」
MAL Score: 7.26
For high schooler Kei—and for at least forty-six others—immortality comes as the nastiest surprise ever.
Sadly for Kei, such a feat doesn’t make him a superhero. In the eyes of both the general public and governments, he’s a rare specimen who needs to be hunted down and handed over to scientists to be experimented on for life—a demi-human who must die a thousand deaths for the benefit of humanity.
36: Lupin III: Fuuma Ichizoku no Inbou
English: Lupin III: The Fuma Conspiracy
Japanese: ルパン三世 風魔一族の陰謀
MAL Score: 7.28
Goemon’s wedding to Murasaki Inabe, daughter of a samurai clan’s leader, is interrupted when the Fuma ninjas attack, kidnapping the bride-to-be and demanding her family’s ancient treasure as ransom. Lupin, Jigen, Goemon and Fujiko work together once again to try to save Murasaki and get to the treasure before the Fuma can steal it.
Goemon is getting married when ninjas swoop in! The Lupin gang has to stop these evil ninjas, save Goemon’s bride, and try for some treasure, for good measure.
This 80’s OVA has the unfortunate distinction of being the only Lupin anime without the usual Japanese voice cast. This is especially bad, because the voices used don’t fit the characters at all, and are distractingly out of place. The English dub is not good either.
On top of the unfortunate voice choices, the characterization is pretty weak here in general. The dialogue is not as clever as usual, and the characters don’t gel together as well as they usually do. Inspector Zenigata is very bland in this one too.
Another problem with this OVA is the poor soundtrack. They don’t use Yuji Ohno or any classic Lupin themes, and they don’t even attempt a jazzy style.
There are some good things though, the animation for example is very fluid, and the art style is nice. There are some fun car chases, and a couple enjoyable action sequences. Any time Lupin and Jigen are in a car, it’s decent Lupin fun. Plus Fujiko has some cool motorcycle action.
Overall, this Lupin OVA is really off it’s game. It lacks the usual Lupin stylishness and is pretty generic all around. Definitely on the lower end of the Lupin spectrum, but it’s a passable if generic action adventure on it’s own.
Bad stuff first: Plot-wise, this is a pretty average Lupin movie, it’s got the standard cast of forgettable side-characters, a very straightforward quest for treasure, and a generic villain with generic evil motives. There’s a bit of awkward pacing too, with really fun action sequences being separated by sequences of characters literally just walking around a cave. If you’ve seen Castle of Cagliostro, then this will come off as a weaker retelling of the same ideas.
Audio here is below average, unfortunately. The soundtrack doesn’t have any memorable tunes, and a lot of it feels kind of inappropriately silly, rather than cool. The typical voice cast isn’t here either, but that didn’t bother me, personally.
Fortunately, this movie more than makes up for what it lacks by being the best looking entry in the series. This movie is made up entirely of jaw dropping car chases, intense fight choreography, and solid character acting. There were no corners cut here, you get to see every building fall apart in full detail, and it’s incredible. I especially loved the chase scene in the middle of the movie. There’s a lot of really good visual gags too; for example, when Zenigata’s cars are run over by a train, you see his officers all crammed into one car chasing after Lupin.
This movie’s setting is also good. A lot of Lupin movies take place in “Somewhere – Europe”, rather than any specific locations, but the town in this movie has a lot of memorable set-pieces, and you can things about the setting while watching (it’s got a lot of trains, for example). It’s not quite as distinct as Cagliostro, but it’s still good. Would’ve been better if less of it took place in a cave though.
35: Crayon Shin-chan Movie 22: Gachinko! Gyakushuu no Robo To-chan
English: Crayon Shin-chan: Serious Battle! Robot Dad Strikes Back
Japanese: 映画クレヨンしんちゃん ガチンコ! 逆襲のロボとーちゃん
MAL Score: 7.29
Hiroshi got a slipped disk due to a back injury. He was taken to an Este salon by a mysterious beautiful girl who appeared suddenly, to receive a free trial of beauty treatment as well as a massage. When Hiroshi returned home after a beauty treatment, he was surprised to see himself in the form of a robot. Shinnosuke gets overjoyed, whereas Misae gets worried on seeing him as a naked robot. The robot version of Hiroshi turns out to be convenient. The robot Hiroshi could be controlled by a remote control and pretty much do anything including cooking and cleaning. Meanwhile, Hiroshi realizes that his turning into a robot has to do something with that Este salon. However, this new change was a dark conspiracy hatched by “Chichi Yure Doumei (The Association of Fathers)” to create a strong father figure for all the fathers in Japan. Soon, many dads in the whole nation go out of control, and the Nohara family (Shinnosuke’s family) and Kasukabe start falling apart. Before the near-collapse of Kasukabe, Shinnosuke and Hiroshi i.e. Robot dad stand up to save the day. Featuring the most intense battle of middle-aged men, the movie brings a touching story that makes all fathers and families in Japan cry.
As a die-hard fan of the Crayon Shin-chan movies, this movie generated more gross sobbing out of me. For those who have been following the series, or rather the movies, it really is not hard to see that Shin-chan’s dad, Hiroshi, is a great father. He’s the Japanese equivalent of Homer Simpson; not particularly talented, not very special or spectacular, but is a hard-working man who would give anything for his family. He may not be the best person, but he is a great father. He is the one who brings the tear out of the viewers during the movies through his expression of fatherly love.
This movie, which is all about Hiroshi, touched on two topics: the eternal “what if I was a clone?” and the just the topic of a father itself. The ending was fairly obvious and easy to predict. However, the fact that robot Hiroshi, a father who values his family more than anything, had to let go of his family was heartbreaking. The last scene where he speechlessly challenged the human Hiroshi to an arm wrestle at the verge of his death drilled a hole in my heart. Even though he was finally accepted by his wife, his family, in the end, he was still just a robot. This fact was all the more painful to take because of how well the loyal viewers have seen what Hiroshi had gone through as the father of the Nohara family.
This movie was not as adventurous as the rest of the Shin-chan movies, but it certainly did its job in showing the audience about Hiroshi and his position as a father. Even though the plot line of his creation was not very impacting, I personally think it made it easier for the story to be focused more on Hiroshi and less on the adventure aspect of the series.
The story starts with the Nohara family visiting the 20th century museum. Although it seems like a harmless museum at first, it is run by a Ken who is obssesed with making Japan revert back to the 20th century. The very next day, adults start to act like kids and they all head to the museum. Leaving their childs at home. Shin chan and his friends have to stop Ken and save Japan from reverting to the 20th century.
The story may seem stupid and childish and if you think about it, it actually is. But trust me, this movie is really good. It leaves a lot to think about. Our parents were once kids too. And we always hear about the “good old days” from them. If they could go back to the “good old days” would they? The part with Shin’s father recollecting his memories shows it best. It is a really emotional and great scene. I won’t say much more(cause I’m not good at English or Writing at all). But trust me, you have to watch this masterpiece of a movie
34: Lupin the IIIrd: Mine Fujiko no Uso
Japanese: LUPIN THE IIIRD 峰不二子の嘘
MAL Score: 7.29
Fujiko Mine is on the run with Gene, a boy who knows the location of a stash of $500 million dollars that his deceased father embezzled from the company Godfrey Mining. The boy is targeted by Bincam, an assassin hired by Godfrey Mining with a mysterious ability that allows him to bend a person’s will.
ART: Absolutely gorgeous animation. A lot of effort put into the animation for sure. Something that was pretty neat was that this was a… no jacket Lupin story. Which makes sense, because it was Fujiko’s story, not Lupin’s.
ENJOYMENT: Another gem in the Lupin franchise. There’s some enjoyment here in a one time watch; not sure it’s good enough for a rewatch, but I enjoyed it!
The Koike film series prioritizes high drama over the usual adventure-comedy tone that Lupin III is typically appreciated for. This works in Goemon’s Blood Spray because Koike managed to craft a gorgeous, hyper-violent action flick; the plot stops mattering when the audience is engrossed in meticulously-animated choreography. Either the budget or the work ethic of the studio took a sharp drop during Fujiko’s Lie, because those meticulous scenes are no more. To compensate for the comparative lack of real eye candy, we have Fujiko stripped and assaulted in various ways that apparently aroused the writers if no one else. Needless to say, this is a mark against the film.
The theme of Fujiko’s Lie generally works, despite distractions. Fujiko gains the trust of some fellow in order to get at his cash stash, as is typical. However, thrown into the mix is the guy’s son. Various challenges occur along the way of Fujiko’s quest to bag her cash, and hints of a maternal nature appear in the cold-hearted femme fatale. On the surface, she’s just using the boy to get at her treasure, but brief moments of motherly affection and sympathy are depicted quite genuinely (although a bath scene has an unfortunate pedophilic undertone to it). Of course, Fujiko returns to her purely materialist lady-bandit lifestyle after it’s all over, but the brief glimpses of something deeper and purer in her character were nicely done.
Whereas Goemon’s Blood Spray worked as a stand-alone masterpiece—despite its mystifying plot—Fujiko’s Lie begins the attempt to tie the Koike series together. Shocker: the various antagonists of the films are connected by a secret organization. I hate to break it to you writers, but no one is getting excited by this mystery. We saw The Woman Called Fujiko Mine’s pay-off after all of its own secret organization build-up. Let’s just say, it wasn’t exactly satisfying—and I have no hope that these writers (as great as Koike is) will surpass it. Mamo was hinted at in Jigen’s Gravestone, but does anyone really want to return to that absurd science-fiction mess?
Now, now, it’s still a solid Lupin film. The animation is still high above the main-line seasons and Koike’s style remains brilliant. The antagonist’s arc may have ended up lame, but his design and supernatural power carried my interest for most of the film. Though Goemon and Zenigata are sorely missed, the characters are all done right—no political screeds got shoehorned into this Lupin flick. While the cliff-hanger leaves me cold, I’m still very excited to see what Koike does next with Lupin and Co.
Fujiko Mine’s Lie is a bit of a slow burn compared to the other entries, with a greater focus Fujiko herself and Jean, son of an accountant who siphoned off funds from a shady company in order to pay for his child’s heart surgery. Lupin and Jigen are involved in the adventure going forward but they take more of a backseat role this time round. This character focus extends to the the assassin in this movie as well Binkam. I didn’t find him as intimidating as the tooled up and tactical Yael Okuzaki or the unstoppable force known as Hawk, but he struk me as the most interesting villain character wise. He additionally serves as a good foil/counterpart to Fujiko just as the other two in the previous movies.
The art and animation still stands as excellent. Character designs always look good (with my favorite being the henchman Carla), and the action scenes are fluid and fun in that characteristic Lupin way. You also get to see Fujiko more involved in the action, with some wonderfully choreographed hand to hand scenes that also make use of her distinct charm. The setting has been moved to a city within an arid desert. Background art is still great in both the city and desert environment, but there are some low texture CG model citizens walking the street in the city area. Its a minor nitpick though since it isn’t too distracting when they’re in your periphery, but its a bit jarring when you notice that the bustle of the city is made out of them.
All in all, Fujiko Mine’s Lie works well on its own merits and within the continuity of these movies. Its a bit headier and character focused, but its a treat if you particularly like Fujiko’s character and her conniving ways.
33: Lupin III: Kutabare! Nostradamus
English: Lupin III: Farewell to Nostradamus
MAL Score: 7.35
After a diamond heist in Brazil, Lupin hides the gem in a doll and boards a plane headed out of the country. While on board, the doll is stolen by a little girl named Julia, whose nanny is none other than Fujiko Mine. Before Lupin can get the doll back, the plane is hijacked and the girl is kidnapped. The kidnappers are after the same thing that Fujiko is after – a book of Nostradamus prophecies hidden in Julia’s father’s tower. Lupin and the gang join forces to save the girl, get the diamond back, and discover the secrets surrounding the strange book.
I haven’t yet dug in any series, since the episodic format doesn’t easily appeal to me. Instead, I picked the option of movies and specials. My impressions remain mixed, as some works simply manage to draw out more qualities of the franchise’s kooky charm.
Nonetheless, a major strength is the lack of an overarching plot; excluding the trilogy of movies related to the Mine Fujiko to Iu Onna series, one can watch in any order they desire.
On to the review!
[1. Visual production…]
Rivaling the quality of Cagliostro, this movie had nothing to envy. Its strongest aspect is the backgrounds: whether a cityscape in the USA, the carnival in Rio de Janeiro or a vivid rainforest by the Amazon River, they are brim with details. Also, the palette of colors is smooth to the eye and natural-looking.
Animation is consistent and smooth for both stunts and fights. Among my favourite sequences occur while a structure collapses, with dutiful care in depicting the crumbling building and the people falling or running away from the debris. Further impressing was the clever cinematography in certain sequences. An example is a skyscraper elevator scene: as it ascends, the viewer is treated to an outside view of an part of the cityscape, steadily revealing more and more layers of city blocks.
[2. Audio production…]
The music fits with the adventurous and old-school feel of Lupin III, featuring upbeat jazz soundtracks. The ending song is notable as a soothing ballad fitting, contrasting well with the rest of the OST. The sound direction is sublime, with both sound effects and voice acting maintaining a consistent quality to them.
[3. Story and characters…]
In my opinion, the Lupin movie with the most solid story. Despite its start, the plot takes more of an action thriller approach, shown by including themes of political conspiracy and terrorism. After the kidnapping occurs, the gang is going back-and-forth to the USA and Brazil in order to uncover the conspiracy and save the victim, overcoming obstacle after obstacle.
Transitions between settings and scenes were glued together so well that I lost track of time at times. As for the conclusion? Fitting for a typical Lupin work, but also delivered a great relief after the previously intense thriller.
There is not much to say for the main cast, of whom Zenigata was of particular interest. We are treated to two neat facets of his personality: his occasional inventiveness and insight on how much he values his archrival. The villains are fitting for their roles as crafty and ruthless antagonists willing to use any means. My only character-related complaint is about an introduction in the middle; a certain character (related to Lupin) is introduced hastily and disposed in a way that makes his relationship with Lupin fall flat.
It’s a heist adventure that takes less emotional twists and turns than some others. The twists in this are more the thriller type. Everything works out in the end, and the gang more on to the next adventure.
I was excited to watch this and there were a lot of laughs and gaspes. I didn’t feel the emotional stuff that was going on because of the corruption plot. I the emotional was attached and they really tried to put it on, but it didn’t get me.
Other than that, I suggest Lupin fans watch it! I don’t suggest it for anime new comers.
32: Crayon Shin-chan Movie 18: Chou Jikuu! Arashi wo Yobu Ora no Hanayome
Japanese: クレヨンしんちゃん 超時空！嵐を呼ぶオラの花嫁
MAL Score: 7.35
Comical action adventure film set in the future world, like a dystopian science fiction. Shinnosuke’s future fiancee, Tamiko Kaneari comes from the future via the time machine. She says her father Masuzo Kaneari captures adult Shinnosuke in the future world and they needs the power of Shinnosuke at age 5 to rescue him. She takes Shinnosuke and Kasukabe Defense Forces members to the future big city Neotokio, which is the world ruled by Masuzo Kaneari, the president of the electric power company Kaneari Electric.
(Source: Manabu Tsuribe)
31: Crayon Shin-chan Movie 10: Arashi wo Yobu Appare! Sengoku Daikassen
Japanese: クレヨンしんちゃん 嵐を呼ぶ アッパレ! 戦国大合戦
MAL Score: 7.38
A full-scale historical drama set in the last days (the year 1574) of the Sengoku Era of feudal Japan. It is the story of the Nohara family, who has been transferred into the Sengoku Era by time warp, and a tragic love between a princess Ren Kasuga (a daughter of the feudal lord Kasuga at the Province of Musashi) and a samurai warrior Matabei Ijiri (a retainer of the Lord Kasuga).
(Source: Manabu Tsuribe)
30: Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio: Ars Nova Movie 1 – DC
Japanese: 劇場版 蒼き鋼のアルペジオ -アルス ノヴァ- DC
MAL Score: 7.43
Recap of the Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio: Ars Nova TV series, with approximately 40 minutes of new material.
By 2039, global warming had caused sea levels to rise and large amount of territory to be lost. As though in response, a mysterious group of warships clad in mist, “the Fleet of Mist,” appeared in every corner of the ocean, and began attacking human ships. In spite of humanity mustering all their strength, they were utterly defeated by the Mist’s overwhelming force. All of humanity’s trade routes were blockaded by the Fleet of Mist, their political economy was destroyed, and the human race was steadily beaten down. Seven years later, the Fleet of Mist’s submarine I-401 appears before cadet Gunzo Chihaya. The humanoid life form that pilots the sub, who should be their enemy, is instead offering her services to mankind.
Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio: Ars Nova DC is a summary of the ARS Nova animated television series. The reason I recommend watching the series first is because, as a stand-alone movie, the story is under-developed. Many of the interactions, why they take place, and their significance are severely reduced without the extended viewing time that the series offers; however, this movie does a fantastic job of tying up loose ends, and giving the viewer a more “complete” feeling when seeing the conclusion of the film– which is one of the shortcomings of the ARS Nova series. Story: 7 (good)
The art and animation of this movie is awesome. Aside a few isolated scenes where the animation’s frame-rate is reduced, the movie does a fantastic job, and it is very aesthetically pleasing– especially for anyone who has read the manga. 9/10 (great)
The sound is great. No major qualms, except maybe a lack of variety. The tracks that are intended to elicit an emotional reaction do a good job of accomplishing their goal. 8/10 (very good)
The characters in the movie are an accurate rendition of the ones found within the series and manga, but many of the scenes which instill endearment and camaraderie are lacking. One could go as far as to say that the characters are severely under-developed, but given that the original series does not give tremendous amounts of back-story for any of the lead characters, this would be a bit harsh. The characters are as the Author intended, but in the abridged version that is this movie, they lack depth, and as such, some of their interactions are stilted. 6/10 (fair)
Overall enjoyment of this movie as a standalone film would be somewhere between a 5.5 and a 6/10. As a supplement to the Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio series, it is closer to a 7.5/10. Worth the watch if you are a fan of the series. If you are new to the series, the Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio TV Series is definitely highly recommended prior to watching.
Hope this review was helpful.
so i decided to watch this recap.
This movie isn`t for anyone who hasn`t seen the serie, it won`t make any sense.
Watch it as an recap, if you decide to watch the new film , “Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio: Ars Nova Cadenza”
The good thing about this movie is that is has an extra 45 min at the end.
This movie is for those who have watched the series, and need to refresh their memories.
You also get to see new ships, which i realy liked, if you liked kongou you will like the new girls
Warning! Spoiler alert!
The first half of the movie is basically a retelling of the first season and it’s not until the second half that the movie tells a whole new story. I have to say, watching a smaller version of the story seen in the TV show felt like a chore more than anything. There’s no dramatic tension because I already know what’s gonna happen; in fact, you could skip the first half of the movie and not really miss anything of importance. The story of the first season worked so well in an episodic format because that format gave the story more time to breathe and develop.
It’s not until the second half that the movie picks up some steam. We’re introduced to some new plotlines and characters and those are the things that kept interested till the end of the movie. (6/10)
While the character writing was one of the show’s best aspects, the same can’t be said for the movie adaptation. Because of its reduced runtime, the viewers don’t exactly have the time nor the motivation to get emotionally invested in the characters. In fact, the only reason the characters held my interest is because I had already watched the TV show. It’s not until the second half of the movie that my emotional investment in the characters amounts to something. (6/10)
This is one aspect of this movie that can’t receive enough praise. Everything, from the ship designs, the lighting and the explosions, looks absolutely goregous. (8/10)
Once again, the soundtrack of Arpeggio of Blue Steel proves its cinematic quality. The music used in battles is appropriately epic. I also enjoyed the vocal performances of the cast, especially those of Mai Fuchigami (Iona) and Manami Numakura (Takao), even though they weren’t really given anything new to work with. (8/10)
This movie cannot be watched as a standalone experience. If you want to watch this movie, I recommend you watch the TV show first. It wasn’t a bad movie, it definitely improved in its second half, but the TV show was way better. (7/10)
MAL Score: 7.43
Death does not have to be the end; one can live again, but only through beating the game posed by the black ball called Gantz.
On his way home to celebrate his younger brother’s birthday, brave and kind-hearted student named Masaru Katou is stabbed to death. He awakes in a small room with a cityscape view in the heart of Tokyo—and he is not alone. To his surprise, it is not the afterlife, but the waiting room for a high stakes game with their lives on the line. Before he has the chance to process the situation, Masaru is handed a gun and teleported into the center of Osaka to carry out one simple task: eliminate any alien on sight.
Accompanied by the aged Yoshikazu Suzuki, the stunning idol Reika Shimohira, and the cold but experienced Jouichirou Nishi, Masaru must overcome his fears in order to survive the game and return home to his waiting brother.
While Gantz O follows the Osaka Arc it makes some big changes, ones you can see the reason for and some you can’t.
Rated at PG12 in Japan, the drug abusing Kyo Hanaki and Rapist Kazuo Kuwabara are absent, understandable.
Less understandable is that most of the Tokyo team are abscent too, it’s faster to say the only ones shown are Kurono, Suzuki, Reika, Nishi & Kato….I’m so sad that Host Samurai was absent.
The movie also incorporates an alternative end to the Oni Arc that starts the film off, which was so awesome it gave me goosebumps.
The CGI is amazing and despite it being a PG12 it is still full of gore.
This adaptation of the Osaka Arc is pretty good, despite the changes and overall it’s a must watch for any Gantz manga fans.
Gantz:O is a CGI adaptation of a manga that was an extremely enjoyable piece of work. The CGI was consistent and beautiful, the fight scenes were amazing, and the makers stayed true to the storyline to an extent, which is excellent as well. The gore was something that I had worried about since this movie is PG12, but it was very vivid for a PG12 rated film, and personally it was satisfying enough for me.
There are some changes to the characters and storyline which were a little disappointing, but to be honest those changes were understandable, and it didn’t ruin the experience at all. Some of the big changes that came to my attention was,
1. The absence of several Tokyo and Osaka team members, including some members who had amazing battle scenes in the manga.
2. Katou’s stance in the arc; in the original, he has already experienced battles against aliens, but in this movie he’s shown to be a newbie, oblivious to the rules and weapons of Gantz.
3. An altertative ending to the Oni alien arc and Osaka arc.
Overall these changes are understandable because this movie is obviously for newcomers as well as fans, and if they had put all the characters in a 96 minute movie Gantz:O would’ve become a extremely rushed movie. Despite having these restrictions, the changes managed to fit in very smooth with the entire atmosphere of the Osaka arc, which is one of the reasons I give this movie such a high rating.
In conclusion Gantz:O is a film that you simply need to watch if you’re a fan of the original work, and even if you aren’t, it’s worth the watch with a solid story, outstanding graphics and fluid fight scenes.
The story makes some drastic changes from the manga, which by themselves wouldn’t make it bad, but together make the Osaka Arc a much simpler and more boring experience (You can feel this in particular during the first half of the movie). The new ending is the only change I think affected the movie positively. Without spoilers, I’d say that while it wouldn’t have had sense in the manga, it makes a perfect fit for the narrative flow of the movie.
I think the most disappointing part of the film was the music. The trailer had this really strong theme going on, but it was absent from the movie except from the credits, and all the music was pretty much the same “dramatic eleventh hour track”.
Anyway, I personally enjoyed the movie, but upon thinking about it for a while, I realized it had some very weak points. I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone who’s never heard of Gantz, but if you want to see the Nurarihyon fight animated, or at the very least have seen some of Gantz and liked it, I say go for it.
28: Ajin Part 1: Shoudou
English: Ajin: Demi-Human Movie 1: Compel
Japanese: 亜人 第１部「衝動」
MAL Score: 7.48
For high schooler Kei—and for at least forty-six others—immortality comes as the nastiest surprise ever.
Sadly for Kei, such a feat doesn’t make him a superhero. In the eyes of both the general public and governments, he’s a rare specimen who needs to be hunted down and handed over to scientists to be experimented on for life—a demi-human who must die a thousand deaths for the benefit of humanity.
This film is basically a recap splicing together the first six episodes of the anime series Ajin. You might be wondering what’s the purpose of this recap movie if there’s no noticeable alteration between the anime series, and film. Both use the same footage with the same dialogue rendering it rather pointless to seek out the other product depending on what you decide to check out. As negative as I was towards the recap movie, Sword Art Online: Extra Edition, A1 Pictures did the logical in creating new material exclusive to it. Ajin Part 1: Shoudou only major difference with the anime series are scenes not having Izumi Shimomura (Tosaki’s secretary) cheeks turning red when blushing in two episodes of the anime series. I would like to point out this film came out in late November of 2015, and between that time all the way to mid January of 2016 when the anime aired. Someone, or several individuals at Polygon Pictures felt it was important to slightly alter moments of embarrassment by having Izumi cheeks turn red when she’s blushing instead bumping up the framerate to not make the animation look like it is always lagging. Just like the anime series, this recap film purpose is to simply be dead air. The metaphorical coaster of anime so to say.
Ajin takes the classic premise of the “Human Parasite” (as I call it) trope where the focus is on a main character who becomes something he/she, or the world hates. If you read, or seen Invasion of the Body Snatchers (my go to association with this premise) you know for a fact this premise under right hands holds infinite possibilities. Especially horror since it could thrive on creating psychological fear of these creatures that easily blend into our world. However, Ajin doesn’t understand the basics of storytelling so when it tried to reach higher than possible never once does it bother to set up the building blocks for a stable story.
First issue for the film is simple; bad world building combine with bad context for exposition. In Ajin, it’s establish the entire world know the existence of Ajins, yet in a later scene in the movie a police officer is surprise there’s an Non Lethal Drug Gun specifically design to capture Ajins. Before you could be bother to ask what sense does it make that this weapon isn’t mandatory for all policemen to have in case of an emergency it throws another bad plot point at you. One being how high school students managed to find a leaked video of a Ajin being experimented on, and there being no mention of it in any news media outlet. The flimsy excuse of a student saying it could be fake cannot be assumed to apply to everyone else in the world which requires higher suspension of disbelief that does not come with the premise. In the anime series, the news media eventually discover this leaked video, but in the film the news media does not. Creating more plot holes that in sequel films Polygon Pictures will have to cover up instead of focusing on telling a story (not a good one at that).
We also have the Elephant in the room to address in that paranoia, hatred, disgust, or any feelings towards the public views on Ajin goes without setup. Aside from the first discover Ajin being a gun for hire in Africa, and if Ajin are turned in you’ll be rewarded there is nothing much to grasp from the Ajins presence in this world. The film even brings up the fact other Ajins were discovered, but mentions nothing if the other Ajins are commonly violent toward humans. If that was the case, than it would make sense for Kei Nagai (our teenage protagonist) not to trust anyone in his surroundings. However, if the story didn’t establish the public mindset on Ajins existence than the idea of them being turned in for a reward could still be a reasonable source of distrust for Kei Nagai. A simple, and not hard to shoe in solution for this issue is someone mentioning an Ajin who got betrayed by his friends for money. If this was done than you could have a less inferior reason for Kei Nagai not to trust his friends in the beginning of the film. It’s even brought up the reward could be just a rumor, but even if the reward is just a rumor than Kei Nagai fearing being betrayed by his friends from a story he heard would make a bit more sense. My solution sucks, but it could hold itself together much better compared to betrayal for rumored reward Kei Nagai just recently discovered imply by the film.
Reason number two this film is bad is because of main character Kei Nagai. I personally refer to him as Sam Blanderton since he has no personality, the writing pretends he’s a smart character, and has the plot armor of immortality. His younger sister describes Kei Nagai as a cold person so Vanilla Ice is also a suitable nickname for the protagonist. Jokes aside, you would also find Kei Nagai in that piles of jokes. Despite being told he’s a smart character, and studying to be a doctor he’s no smarter than the rest of the cast in Ajin that can’t phantom the idea of multiple people wearing hats (more on that later). Having never gone to medical school I can tell you it is possible to knock someone out unconsciously with your fists. I bring this up since Kei Nagai can summon a Black Ghost which are basically an invisible humanlike manifestation Ajins can use. For some reason, when Kei is being tortured about an hour into the film, Kei seems to have forgotten everything he learned. This is a character who the audience is told wants to be a doctor. In a scene where Kei is being tortured he is also pressured into killing scientists, which you would expect someone who has been studying to be a doctor to do the logical, and knock out whoever is torturing him in order to intimidate anyone who wants to torture him in the future. Not wanting to kill is one thing, but if you have the power to knock someone out unconsciously like Kei Nagai has with his Black Ghost where’s the conflict in the situation. Kei doesn’t have to kill anyone when he’s being tortured, yet he seems content that he could only kill despite the fact he’s been studying to become a doctor. Good to know that knowledge goes to waste.
Kei Nagai acts however the plot demands him to without a consistent personality trait. In the film, Kei meets face to face with an old man who kidnapped his sister, but is okay with it since she wasn’t harm. (Tear out hair in anger). Yet, he is more concern with the idea of this same old man wanting to kill scientists who have been torturing him (Kei) for days none of whom he knows. Showing concern for their very livelihood despite torturing him. Just, huh? What makes this infuriating for me is Kei Nagai brings up the idea to handicapped those scientists while begging for them not to be murdered. So the series (along with this film) is telling me Kei Nagai gives a rat ass his sister got kidnapped who he known for basically his entire life, and shows more concern for saving people who tortured him for several days to the point he’ll bargain to handicapped them to make sure they live. However, this completely goes against the established trait of Kei Nagai being a cold, but intelligent character which does not go well when you see this same intelligent character wear nothing to hide his face when out in public. This is never an issue since Polygon Pictures is too lazy to have background characters which is why there is hardly ever crowds of people in the film. What this means is that Kei Nagai is not a cold character since he bother saving random strangers who tortured him several days, and is not intelligent since he doesn’t use his medical knowledge in his situations to protect himself. There’s no moment of competency from this character since Kei Nagai either gets lucky by discovering a new ability to save himself when convenient, or needs to be save by another person.
Finally, the reason the film is terrible, and the anime series itself is also terrible is pretty much everything else. Characters are one dimensional in the film with the only character using his head is Satou who is presented as the villain. Satou is refer by others as The Man in the Hat (even in the English dub for who knows why) because he wears a hat. Apparently, in Ajin, Satou is the only person in the entire world who wears a hat. This is proven whenever Satou is brought up simply mentioning someone is wearing a hat. Characters will immediately bring up Satou. Details like this makes it impossible to take Ajin seriously. What it tells me is a race of immortal beings is easily accepted in this world, but multiple people wearing hats is an entirely alien to concept those same people. Satou character also suffers the same issue, in this film, of having little character development, but compare to every other character he’s written the best. Satou is the only character who has a goal, and a motivation for what he does to a certain character. As you can assume, one character who’s passable doesn’t excuse an entire cast that’s disposable. Kei Nagai does virtually nothing to advance the plot, Kaito/Porcupine (Kei’s best friend) disappears after the second act without explanation, Eriko Nagai (Kei’s sister) is practically pointless contributing nothing to the narrative, and a slew of other unimportant characters amount to either explaining things characters in the world should already know, or just disappear after a while.
Pacing is a mess rushing through everything. This issue applies to the anime series too, but in movie format it’s boils down to throwing set pieces at the audience face without substance. There’s nothing of value to gain from constantly seeing the main characters in danger if there is no reason to care for them. No tension, no stakes, and no investment in the characters will have you constantly looking at the time wondering how long this train wreck is going to last.
On a technical level Polygon Pictures 3D animation is dated, even by 1990s 3D television standards. It’s embarrassing that the Donkey Kong Country 3D animated series from the late 90s has more expressive facial animation, and a better framerate. Donkey Kong Country can make the simple action of Gorillas walking, and dancing for that matter move smoothly. In Ajin Part 1: Shoudou, in the beginning of the film, Polygon Picture can not make the simple action of walking move smoothly. Through the film (and the anime series) it seems like characters are moving in slow motion. Polygon Pictures is capable of fixing of this, but are too lazy to do anything about it. There are two sequences in the film where two Black Ghosts are fighting against each other using the technique of slowing things down briefly then speeding things up. This simple demonstration of being able to change the speed of motion freely should also apply to the frame rate. It’s done deliberately so Polygon Picture have the technology not make to their anime series, and films look like they’re lagging at all times. Polygon Picture is so lazy the film closing credits is the opening sequence to the anime series with just longer credits. Bravo Polygon Picture.
Ajin Part 1: Shoudou needed to be story boarded, and drafted at least once before ever entering production. If this was done than Polygon Pictures would have realize they have no motivation for people to hate Ajins which would have save them from a number of issues if it was addressed. However, even if Ajin did give a good reason for why Ajins are hated it wouldn’t do away with the idiotic plot filled with shallow characters, and a very lazy production. You could find better looking 3D animation from the late 90s than this film which came out in 2015 which is embarrassing. Whatever way you view Ajin in either film, or TV format it is an embarrassment display of Japanese animation, an embarrassment to 3D animation, and an embarrassment to storytelling.
The movie introduces the concept/world of Ajin, where some random humans happen to develop a mysterious super power, causing them many troubles and raising the ultimate anime question: “Am I still human?”. Doesn’t sound very original, right? We have seen this in many other animes like Ergo proxy, Parasyte, Tokyo Ghoul, etc…
However, the storytelling of Ajin is what makes it very enjoyable. It is very dynamic, there is no unnecessary information in it. Hopefully they will keep it filler-free for the upcoming anime too.
The characters are pretty much the standard arch-types for this movie. The “friend”, the “Organisation”, “the weak point” – the sister, in this case, the “veteran” and so on.
They seem to all have a background story that is not explained in detail due to the length of the movie. Hopefully, we will see their stories later on.
*heavy breathing* Well…when I first saw the teaser, I just had to do a facepalm. The CGI does not fit this show (or any show for that matter).
Despite all of that, I must say, I still really enjoyed the film overall, due to the amazing story and execution.
A very generic topic executed in a wonderful, very enjoyable way. Graphics could certainly be better but what can we do?
I definitely look forward to the anime series!
Despised by society, Ajin are humans who have regenerative properties and cannot die. Kei Nagai, a senior high schooler, learns upon surviving what would’ve been a fatal accident that he is an Ajin with the special ability to summon a “Black Ghost”. These Black Ghosts are dark, mummy-like figures (similar to the one in the movie’s cover art) which seem to be controlled by the Ajin’s unconscious mind. Yet, they are able to exert deadly physical harm to people and objects, but can only be seen by other Ajin.
The aspect that makes Ajin’s plot interesting is that Kei, the MC, is hesitant to use his deadly ability for revenge and murder, and instead tries to use his ability to help humanity, unlike other Ajin. The story contains philosophical themes of morality as both good (remembering his childhood friends and family) and evil (Ajin with murderous intent) influences try to sway him in deciding how to use his powers. All the characters in Ajin other than Kei act more or less as foils which develop Kei’s character by influencing his decisions.
One of the more surprising features of Ajin is the use of computer graphics (CGI) to animate the character movements. The frame rate of character movement is reduced to match the value normally seen in other anime. I personally think that while this is a novel and innovative approach to developing anime, its use of CGI strays too far from the conventional standard we saw in Ghost in the Shell or Paprika; however it still does a very good job of conveying expressions and emotions. Additionally, the background and scenery art were very well done as well.
In terms of sound, the BGM tracks were quite nice were helpful in setting the atmosphere of scenes. My personal favourite from the soundtrack is “Yoru wa Nemureru kai?” from the ED. The voices behind the characters are were well-known seiyu and I think each of the voices fit the characters nicely.
When we compare the anime to the manga version, we see that it is more or less similar to the origin, with the exception of a few scenes from the manga which were not adapted. One characteristic that was kept was the constant shifting of the scenes from one setting to another, which I thought was really unique in that it allows the viewer to better understand the timeline of the events in the plot and the scenes that are taking place simultaneously of each other.
Overall, the Ajin movie does not stray much from its Manga source and offers interesting themes of humanity and morality. I would recommend Ajin: Shoudou to anybody who has read the manga or if you are interested in anime with elements of supernatural horror, such as Tokyo Ghoul (which in many ways really is quite similar to Ajin).
Ajin: Shoudou is the first work in the Ajin film trilogy. Part two is set to premiere in theaters in May of 2016.
I hope you have found this review to be of help.
27: Ningen Shikkaku: Director’s Cut-ban
Japanese: 人間失格 ディレクターズカット版
MAL Score: 7.50
A theatrical film version of Madhouse’s Aoi Bungaku Series anime. The film will re-edit the four episodes based on Osamu Dazai’s No Longer Human (Ningen Shikkaku) novel, which have character designs inspired by manga artist and novel illustrator Takeshi Obata. This “director’s cut” will include new “navigation” footage which is being created specifically for the film with narrator Masato Sakai.
26: Kiniro Mosaic: Pretty Days
Japanese: きんいろモザイク Pretty Days
MAL Score: 7.52
The episode is set during a school festival where Shinobu is assigned to write a script and make outfits for her class play. Youko and Alice notice that Shinobu is sleepy every morning and are worried that she might be getting tired of all the work. Will Shinobu be able to successfully complete all her tasks in time?
(Source: MAL News)
While there is a school festival moving the plot, this movie focuses in Aya(ya) and her memories with Shinobu and Youko when they were still in middle school, putting focus on how the three friends spent their days together preparing for the entrance exam for highschool.
Even though Karen and Alice took a minor role in this movie compared to the screentimes they got in the main series, they were still as loveable as always and had their shining moments, Not to mention, the way how the backstory of Aya was executed definitely compensated for the lack of the two blondies.
The art of the movie was similar to the main series, focusing like always in putting a lot of focus in showing the various expressions of the girls, in the sound department, like most slice of life shows, this movie provides solid background songs that add to the emotions of the different scenes, but in the end tend to not be that memorable, something that happens here as well, the opening and ending themes kept the happy and sweet feelings that the ones from the main series had.
As a Kiniro Mosaic fan, this movie was as good as I hoped it to be and I couldn’t be more satisfied with the experience. I can’t recommend it enough to any viewer that enjoyed the previous two seasons of this lovable series.
Now, Kiniro Mosaic Pretty days is a movie that takes place after the events of Hello!Kiniro Mosaic, the second Season of the illustrious KINMOZA anime series, so quick warning for anyone planning on watching this: It probably goes without saying but i’ll say it anyway, Watch the first 2 seasons first, then watch this movie, as you’ll be more invested in the characters and whatnot. Now, with all that out of the way, let’s quickly go over why Kiniro Mosaic Pretty days is such a good movie shall we?
In this movie our group of main characters Shinobu, Alice, Karen, Youko, and Aya are back at it again with their moe induced antics and silly ways.
Now, while the plot involves our main girls setting up a play for the annual school festival, the real meat of the story centers around Aya, and her friendship with Shino and Youko. We see a sweet and heartwarming backstory on how the 3 girls were friends back in middle school and we see them preparing for the entrance exam for the highschool they want to attend.
There isn’t much to say about the art. The style is extremely cute, and the animation is very fluid. The character designs in particular are moe enough to give you a heart attack. Kiniro Mosaic has always been a series that’s just been very pleasant to look at, it’s like candy for your eyes.
The sound design is as great as ever. The opening and ending themes are really catchy as hell. And the voice acting is near perfect. KINMOZA is just really fun to listen to, the OST is cute/catchy, and the voice acting is really does the characters justice, they sound just how they shold be. Karen is particular having a voice that’s like hard crack for your ears.
Now we’re getting to the good stuff. What makes KINMOZA such a spectacle to behold, the characters. If you watched the first 2 seasons you should know why they’re so great, and they’re just as amazing as ever in this movie. The way they act, the interactions they have with eachother, everything they do is nothing less than pure perfection in its rawest form.
This movie is enjoyable. If you’re a fan of the series you’ll love this movie. Not once while watching this movie did I feel like I was watching something with any flaws, no, while watching this movie I found myself being reminded of why I gave season 1 a perfect 10 in the first place. I’m just happy to be alive right now because if I wasn’t, I wouldn’t be able to experience such greatness.
In the end: this movie may not be perfect, but it may as well be the closest thing we got to it. Yes, this movie might have flaws (God knows I couldn’t find any though), but that doesn’t do a thing to stop it from being a 10/10. The story is sweet and heartwarming, the sound direction is spectacular, and the characters are as close to a perfect main cast as you can get.
We may never find something that is truly perfect, everyone has different tastes (while some worse than others), and it’s impossible to find something that everyone will 100% agree on. But right here, right now in my little real life headcanon we have found perfection, and it comes in the form of an anime movie that goes by the name of “Kiniro Mosaic Pretty days” thank you for your time.
I will keep this brief since you should already know all about this show from the first two seasons of it. Pretty Days is essentially a 50-minute movie of Kiniro Mosaic taking place during a school festival. The film is divided into two parts: one which covers the events of the festival itself where Shino is tasked with scriptwriting and providing costumes for a stage play, and one which tells a lengthy backstory of how Aya, Youko and Shino managed to get into high school to begin with (I.E: before Alice and Karen came to Japan).
The backstory is definitely the highlight of the movie. For most of the TV-series’ runtime, Karen has been the one taking the center stage of the show, but this time it is Aya who gets the main spotlight. Here, we get to see how she helps her two friends with less than stellar grades pass their entrance exams together, and also the conflicting emotions starting to take place within Aya herself regarding whether she should go to a better high school (as her grades are much better than Youko’s and Shino’s), or if she should pick the same one as her friends in order to be able to remain with them for a while longer. Naturally, we already know the outcome of this from the start, but the way it is presented is quite heartwarming and charming to see.
Regarding the school festival, it is perhaps a bit less impressive, but still enjoyable. It is more along the lines of what a typical episode of Kiniro Mosaic might look like in the TV-series. The girls have some light-hearted fun together whilst preparing for the stage play, and then we get to see the results of it at the end, and unsurprisingly things quickly turn chaotic and silly but all in good fun.
The art is perhaps a little bit underwhelming considering that movies generally have better visuals than TV-series do, but in this case it basically looks the same as I recall the last season doing. Of course that has always been more than enough for the show, but maybe it could have been a little bit more still this time around.
Overall, this is another one of those cases where if you have seen and liked the first two seasons of the TV-series, there is essentially no reason whatsoever not to watch Pretty Days too. If you liked one, you are basically guaranteed to like the other. While it may be considered unfortunate that Karen and Alice are largely irrelevant for large portions of the film, I also think it was about time the other girls got some more focus instead of the blondies for once. As a result, Pretty Days manages to be more than just cute and funny (though it still does that too of course), but momentarily also quite touching. And for what after all is nothing more than a simplistic moe comedy at heart, that is about all you could ever ask for.
25: Aa! Megami-sama! Movie
English: Ah! My Goddess: The Movie
Japanese: 劇場版 ああっ女神さまっ
MAL Score: 7.56
For centuries, a god named Celestin has been imprisoned on the moon for betraying the kingdom of Yggdrasil. Released by the fairy Morgan Le Fey, Celestin travels to Earth to reunite with his former pupil, the goddess Belldandy. Things go awry as Celestin erases Belldandy’s memories of her boyfriend Keiichi and uses her as a catalyst to wreak havoc on Earth and Yggdrasil.
The romance is awfully cheesy and harem-y.
The characters are bland and one-dimensional and totally predictable, especially those too brown-haired losers who are the so-called protagonists, t
The sound was unimpressive, and the animation was average. It played out to me as one extensive episode, not a movie. Movies have a certain feel to them, and it was severely lacking in this so-called "movie".
It just wasn’t exactly easy to follow if you hadn’t seen the series, but you would get it immediately that the two main characters are in love, everyone else are side-kicks. That doesn’t say much about how they work out the plot or anything about subtle nuances. Most of the drama was shoved in your face, and I can’t say I enjoy anime that do that.
One of the dumbest anime I ever had the misfortune of seeing; I was screaming, ‘Ah! My poor brain!!’ after watching it.
Ah! My Goddess is a big fan favorite of the past decade or so, and know they have a movie. I recently had the pleasure to enjoy this movie by downloading it, (if u want i can tell u the site) anyway i thought the story meshed really well together and was a good finisher for the first 2 seasons the visuals flowed very good together simular to the series. The problem i had with this one is that compared to the series the art isin\’t near as good as it is in season\’s 1 and 2 which is very dissapointing but the sound was great expecially during the fight sequences.
The character\’s remained the same however they introduced Belldandy\’s mentor Celestine but the story is centered around Keiichi and Belldandy.
I really enjoyed this film and is a must for ah my goddess fans or ramantic fans, it offers everythings twist, and turns just like in the series i would suggest this to any anime fan, so overall i give this movie a 10.
But if you have any questions contact me or if you would like a site to download this movie please contact me.
Though I loved the series itself, I can definitely understand why a lot of people wouldn’t like it. It just seemed to linger on and on around the dude trying to impress belldandy even though he doesn’t have to.
The animation is so-so, but nothing you can’t be used to already…Not THAT much different from the series. The story is a bit cliche, however if you are attached to the characters as I am then you will love how it unfolds. The characters haven’t really changed but you see them at their best in this movie. It’s a good watch then a re-watch movie, which is better than I can say for most.
24: Uchuu Kyoudai: Number Zero
Japanese: 宇宙兄弟#0[ナンバー ゼロ]
MAL Score: 7.61
Prequel to the TV anime series revolving around the “origin of the dream.”
First let’s look at the plot of the movie. It’s set 4 years before the start of the anime and tells a story about how Hibito (the younger brother) dealt with his astronaut training while Mutta (the older brother) dealt with his work problems and getting transferred to country side. It’s a promising premise and a great opportunity to expand the history and flesh out all known characters (most of the NASA characters get a cameo as well as some JAXA characters).
This is sadly where the movie falls apart. The focus on both plotlines turns uneven. Hibito’s plotline is cut short 70% into the movie and we then get to see the consequences on one of the key events in the series. This event is fully fleshed out in the anime so I don’t really have a problem with them cutting it short and straight up skipping it. Mutta’s plot however suffers greatly because of this. The first half of the movie is mostly about his transfer and him becoming familiar with his new environment. Mutta then obtains a goal and works on it for the rest of the movie. We however don’t get to see this work. Only short montage of it. Which is pretty sad considering we don’t get to know the new characters outside of the most basic of visual gimmicks (cool older dude, cold intellectual with glasses, young woman who’s fan of boy bands) it’s not that I really care about them since they are non-canon, but if the movie introduced them I would like it to work with them. Mutta’s plotline is resolved with quite a significant jump (as I said there’s a short montage) and that’s about it. The movie then ends with a short connection scene that redoes few scenes from the first episodes of the anime.
The movie suffers from 2 things: uneven plot and cheap writing. As I already said the plotline is all over the place. What’s worse is however the cheap writing. You know it very well. It’s when a movie tries to retcon stuff into the source material. We get introduced to few key elements at the start of the movie only for them to work as plot devices and winks towards audience at key moments later in the movie. I am usually indifferent with this kind of stuff but this time it just felt so cheap to me. Not that they are horrible but they bring a sense of predictibility with them which somewhat ruins the enjoyment for me.
Quite honestly I think this movie should’ve been a short OVA prequel series of 6-8 episodes. The plot would be done more cleanly and the cheap writing could be justified with better pacing.
Which brings me to my next point and that is production. Considering this is a movie, the production is quite mediocre to straight up subpar. Voice actors do good job but it’s nothing really special. The drawn animation gets pretty funny at times (especially the scene with tractor on the field, I had to include the picture because it’s really funny https://i.gyazo.com/2902c80a153dba2619107f9dafa3bacd.png). The animation is mostly on the anime level. It’s not unwatchable by any means, but it’s not really movie quality either. The soundtrack is the soundtrack from the anime. Mind you, it’s been quite some time since I’ve watched the original anime so there may be some new songs, but nothing significant from what I’ve heard.
This is fans movie only. If you are thirsting for more Space Brothers watch it. It’s not BAD but it’s not really good either. I would say add 1 to the score if you are Space Bros fan.
The first thing I’d like to say is that, in my opinion, this movie should be watched after you’ve finished the anime. Although it’s a prequel, many characters from the middle-end series appear, and some spoiler events, shown in the main series as “flashbacks” are described better here in the movie. If you watch it first, will lose some expectation and surprises of some key events.
The second thing is, I’m sorry if my english is not the better one out there, because its not my first language.
I wanted to write a review because although I loved the anime, I took too long to watch the movie because I thought it was about Hibito and Mutta’s childhood, but it’s not. It shows Mutta in his previous work, dealing with his own problems in the car company as an engineer and designer, and Hibito following many training and exercises, that for the ones who watched the anime, will certainly remember. There is no explanation of many of those training in the movie, because if you already watched the anime you will understand them.
The movie follows the same animation as the anime, with the same music. It looks like a big episode, that finishes in the first episode of the series.
So, for me, it is worth to watch it if you already watched the anime and liked it.
This movie tells the story from the aftermath of the OVNI scene up to the moment Mutta headbutts his boss and so we get to see a lot of Mutta’s and Hibito’s backgrounds and journeys up to the start of the anime series. It was beautiful and emotional.
The animation is on the same level as the one present on the anime series and the only thing I’d change is get rid of CGI because it breaks immersion for me.
The sound design is solid. We have the original OP and most of the tracks played throughout the movie fit the whatever is going on at any given time. If it were up to me, though, I’d change the 2 last songs that played.
All things considered, this is a gorgeous movie that gets a 10/10 from me.
23: Piano no Mori
Japanese: ピアノの森 The Perfect World of Kai
MAL Score: 7.65
Piano no Mori tells the story of Shuuhei Amamiya, a transfer student, and Kai Ichinose, a problem child from the rough areas of town. Upon transferring to Moriwaki Elementary and telling the other kids about his talent for piano, Shuuhei quickly finds himself as the victim of bully Daigaku Kanehira.
Daigaku dares Shuuhei to find and play a cursed piano in the forest, which leads him to meet Kai, who claims to be the owner of the piano and the only one who can play it. Intrigued, Shuuhei follows Kai to the hidden piano in the forest and listens to him play a beautiful medley.
Earning the respect of not only Shuuhei but school music teacher Sousuke Ajino as well, Kai now finds himself formally learning how to play the piano.
The story takes place in a small town in the countryside, and revolves around the friendship and rivalry between Amamiya Shuuhei and Ichinose Kai. Shuuhei is an accomplished child pianist, and has studied hard for years to uphold the family tradition of producing outstanding musical talent. He and his family move to the countryside for a short time to help nurse his sick grandmother, and because of the duration of their stay, he must attend the school there. It is while he is at school that he first hears of the mysterious piano in the forest (which is rumoured to be cursed as no sound will be heard if you play it), and where he first encounters the scruffy and enigmatic Kai, who claims the piano belongs to him and only he can play it.
The artwork for this movie is excellent. The town and forest backdrops are very well realised, and the characters are nicely depicted as unique individuals. The animation is generally very smooth, especially during the piano scenes.
The sound is one area where this movie excels, especially during the scenes involving music. The sound effects throughout the movie are generally very good, from the hum of the car, to the sound of a restless crowd.
I found both Kai and Shuuhei to be very likeable characters, and the interaction between them is quite realistic. The side characters are also very well done, but as this is a movie, the only real development is given to the main characters, with a little devoted to some of the side characters. This should not be considered a limiting factor though, as the movie doesn’t really suffer for it.
I enjoyed this movie immensely, not simply because I’m a fan of classical music (and anime), but because it’s a very nice story that has been very well animated with some good characters and excellent sound.
I would recommend this movie to anyone who is a fan of classical music. I’d also recommend it to fans of shows such as Nodame Cantabile and La Corda D’Oro.
If you’re after action, adventure, fanservice, etc, then this movie is probably one you should avoid. If what you’re looking for however, is a heartwarming movie about friendship and rivalry then you should definitely check this out.
To conclude this review, I would reccomend this movie to musicians. Without these factors, the movie was just cute. Nothing special. But for a musician or a musician in the making this movie is beautiful simply beautiful.
To be honest, I hadn’t really expected to find other classical music anime that could compare to “Nodame Cantabile”, but enter “Piano no Mori”, a quiet film that, in less than two hours, captured what was at the heart of “Nodame Cantabile” surprisingly well – its passion for music.
“Piano no Mori” revolves around two boys, Shuuhei and Kai, who both have piano as one of the central aspects of their lives. Shuuhei comes from a family of pianists, is forced to practice piano day in day out in order to become a pianist himself. On the other end of the spectrum, Kai found a broken piano in the forest which only he can play; it enthralled him and he has grown up playing it without any formal training. The story starts off with Shuuhei moving to a new town with his family and meeting Kai, who attends the same school. The two soon become good friends, and the story focuses on how their attitudes towards playing piano is changed by one another.
The set up is not too dis-similar to “Nodame Cantabile”, with Shuuhei being a bit like the serious, hard working Chiaki and Kai representing the unrefined genius type, blessed with vast, untamed talents just like Nodame. Unlike “Nodame Cantabile” though, the characters are more polarised: while Chiaki also had talent and passion for music in abundance, and Nodame is also (somewhat) classically trained, Shuuhei and Kai have less of an overlap.
This comparison also holds true in other common areas shared between the two anime: while they have a lot in common in terms of what they have to say about music, “Piano no Mori” explores the themes with less maturity, and presents its messages in a more black and white, more straight forward way. As an example, see how easy it is for Kai to play complex pieces by ear, and to play a challenging Chopin sonata after just practicing the scales for a bit. Even for a genius, to play like he does without formal training and proper practice is just impossible. And this is one of my main complaint for the film: while I acknowledge that “Piano no Mori” isn’t meant to be well grounded in reality, at times it feels a tad too fairy-tale-esq in light of its generally earnest approach to music.
But because of its earnest approach, its faults are something I’m willing to forgive. The movie covers remarkable breadth and depth, emphasising amongst other things passion, hard work, as well as finding one’s self within the music. Shuuhei impresses upon Kai the importance of taking piano more seriously and facing it head on. But while Shuuhei learnt the piano, Kai lived it, and the latter’s infectious enthusiasm profoundly effects the former, for whom piano is mostly like a chore. To those who’ve watched “Nodame Cantabile”, most of this will sound familiar.
Unlike “Nodame Cantabile” though, I would hesitate to recommend this to people not into classical music. I just can imagine non-enthusiasts yawning through the first half of the film, though the second half is somewhat more entertaining. Though Shuuhei is a bit dull, Kai makes for an interesting, spunky lead; he pretty much carries the entertainment factor of the show, and often drew chuckles from me with his outrageous antics.
The story of “Piano no Mori” is a bit loose. For one thing it feels incomplete – it’s odd that the film introduces the mysterious piano in the forest that only Kai could play, only to ignore the mystery of its magical qualities almost completely. Also, the story is annoyingly inconsistent regarding the piano competition preliminaries that was featured. First they were saying the everyone had to play Mozart’s piano sonata K. 311… but then in the competition, someone played a different Mozart piece, and that seemed okay too. Also there was one part of the film dedicated to a contestant whining about someone like Shuuhei being in the region ruining her chances in the preliminaries as though there’s only one person who can qualify. In the end, about 10 people qualified, and I was left wondering what the big fuss was all about.
If you like classical music though, these problems will seem small compared to what the film does right. Unlike “Kiniro no Corda”, which often seems more concerned about its bishies than the music, “Piano no Mori” focuses on the music, and is essentially a simplified emboddiment of the ideas at the core of “Nodame Cantabile”. And THAT, is why it does not disappoint.
22: Berserk: Ougon Jidai-hen I – Haou no Tamago
English: Berserk: The Golden Age Arc I – The Egg of the King
Japanese: ベルセルク 黄金時代篇Ⅰ 覇王の卵
MAL Score: 7.73
In the Kingdom of Midland, a mercenary named Guts wanders the land, preferring a life of conflict over a life of peace. Despite the odds never being in his favor, he is an unstoppable force that overcomes every opponent, wielding a massive sword larger than himself.
One day, Griffith, the mysterious leader of the mercenary group Band of the Hawk, witnesses the warrior’s battle prowess and invites the wandering swordsman to join his squadron. Rejecting the offer, Guts challenges Griffith to a duel—and, much to the former’s surprise, is subsequently defeated and forced to join.
Now, Guts must fight alongside Griffith and his crew to help Midland defeat the Empire of Chuder. However, Griffith seems to harbor ulterior motives, desiring something much larger than just settling the war…
Okay, lets begin..
Story: The problem with the story is pacing. The movie leaves off way to many character building moments in favor of action and try to compress all of it in a laughably short time frame(88mins if I remember correctly). There is simply no time to make the connection with the characters and hurts immersion badly in my opinion. Many scenes were cut and not for the better. To be honest not many movies nowadays have such a short run time and it did not do this one any favors either. The movie needed another hour. Also, for those who expected something more “faithful” to the manga, this movie cuts out just as much, if not more, then the anime but keeps just enough to make sure the story can progress.
Art: To be honest the new style did not bother me visually as much as some other reviews I read have mentioned. I believe some said how.. “it made their eyes bleed” along with other colorful self mutilating descriptions of horror. I will say however, that it is hit or miss. Literally. There are some scenes that are beautiful and really well done but there are also a few parts that are awkwardly animated to say the least. For me it was not a deal breaker but something I did notice. The action segments were well done overall along with most of the still 2d scenes.
Sound: This will be quick. The original anime series soundtrack was better at carrying the mood and keeping a good theme. No contest, hands down, the end. I am glad Susumu Hirasawa was able to contribute “Aria” to the production(which is a fantastic track), but only to hear it once at the beginning intro and not as part of an overall theme was unfortunate.
Characters: I have to say, none of the voice acting wow’d me. Don’t get me wrong, it was not awful but the original anime simply had a better voice cast with more versatility. Character design and shading was also funky at times with consistency. I have already mentioned the lack of character development so I won’t rehash all of that again.
Overall: As a Berserk fan, its very much watchable. Sad to say though it was not what I hoped for when I was excited to see my series reborn. It could have been done so much better with all the story and material available to use from years of Miuras work. I’m also not sure their abridged version will attract the new fans they hoped which is a shame for a great series. I will admit one caveat, that as the entire movie series is not yet out my comments about character development may change depending how they handle key character and plot moments over the course of the next film. I do also realize how unfair it is to compare it to an anime which had way more content when this movie series is not yet complete. I am holding my judgement on the entire series until I can watch it fully.
My opinion with this movie: As Berserk fan its something you will want to see…but(and it hurts to say this) don’t expect to much.
As for what it is covered, if you’re already familiar with the source material you of course know what to expect and it’s once again faithfully adapted (spoiler: there is no blackswordsman arc at the beginning). But I feel that for those already familiar with story, you want to see it with whole new animation which the original series was harshly criticized, then new animation is what you get and it’s pretty awesome. But I suppose starting from the Golden Age, it can attract new audiences as well.
The action is very fluid and I feel that the postures and the weight of the armor and swords are properly depicted in the battle scenes. There are no still shots or any corner cutting. It really felt like an animated 300 but without all the trendy slow-mos and bullet time. What I really liked in the opening battle sequence is that the soldiers on both sides show fear in their eyes and that their arms and hands do shake when in battle knowing they could die. I like how more danger is more implemented with the battle scenes. Of course the battle scenes are violent, but I feel there is more psychology behind the battles as well. I like how Guts in his earlier days is portrayed as someone who fights off his experiences and instincts. When he’s on that field, to him, it’s just a day at the office.
I felt that the shaky camera angles you see in the Borne films was utilized too much. The panning both zooming in and out and the circular shots try to give it a live action feel. At this point, the fighting isn’t drastically defying the laws of physics so the action does feel realistic.
What I felt somewhat upset that they changed the voice cast from the original TV series who were also used in the DC and PS2 games. I felt that the new seiyuu for Guts didn’t have the same intimidation and that don”t fuck with me attitude that Nobutoshi Canna had. Sakurai Takahiro did capture some of Griffith’s qualities but strongly lacked his charisma. Casca’s new voice actress is nothing compared to the great Miyamura Yuko. If they could get those voice actors for the games, why not for something as big as this? Was this Miura’s choice like masami’s when they did the new Saint Seiya oavs?
Thankfully the music is once against compared by Hirakawa Susumu. To me, not having him for the music is like not having Kanno Yoko not doing the music for a Cowboy Bebop sequel and it would also be like Initial D without the Eurobeat. The style is still the same but brought to a whole new intensity appropriate for the epicness this project will bring.
For now, this movie does a great job of being just the beginning of what is to come. I understand this is supposed to be released internationally. I hope when it hits theaters or is on DVD wherever you are, you support this movie.
spoiling none of them, so feel free to read it)
Griffith believed that,
regardless of class and status, all men will sooner or later start yearning for their dreams.
The white haired man had concluded that
dreams support men, hurt them, revive them.. and in the end, dreams kill them.
Apropos of this, Guts had no choice but to accept that outlook of his and live by it.
In the world where the aeonian war between Midland and Tudor preserves perpetually for hundreds of years, two extraordinary beingnesses exist. The overpowered mercenary warrior, Guts, whose young years of life render him unaware of towards what direction he should focus his excessive strength to, and the Band of the Hawk. Incidentally, that unawareness of his, has him fighting in the war as an outsider and ensuingly with great skills and a great sword that man marches through death with the sole purpose of feeling alive. A series of coincidences leads Guts to join the infamous mercenary warriors…The Band of the Hawk.. and thus, with the meeting of these two extraordinary beingnesses the story is being set into motion. At the same time, expected aftermath of this union assisting in the war as a Midland force, is the tide of the war to turn in their favor.
The core of the story however lies further, in the individuals leading the band of the Hawk.
Griffith is the definition of nobility, dignity and later on of ambition and obsession.. A role model to his subordinates as well as capable to convince anyone in following him. The white demon with the baronial and angelic form and conduct is the source of inspiration, dreams and desires in the series.. Only, when Griffith comes across Guts, that flawless balance in his predisposition slightly wavers… For the reason that Guts has every potential in becoming Griffith’s equal, to be what they dare not utter-a friend- And when Griffith senses that possibility, perhaps subconsciously, he keeps Guts close to him. Be it out of fear of losing the gem he found within the rocks. Be it out of fear of something equal to him existing, he does, and thus a bond of pure and omnipotent friendship is formed. However, Griffith’s ambition shines too bright, so bright it engulfs Guts whom stands beside him contributing in that very ambition. And after three years of mutual sympathy and respect, three years with the sweetness of the word friend in the tip of his tongue, his belief is shaken. Because equality to Griffith means being made of the same material, and equality is what Guts’ soul desires. Consequently, the only solution in finding a sun of his own is to further away from him, but Griffith’s light is long used to Guts’ shadow it would wither had he left his side..
Because, if Griffith was a river, he was the mountain.. he flowed through him while he owned the conditions to his survival.. If Guts crumbled, he would perish.. And if Griffith evolved, he would thrive.. none of them knew, none of them admitted, that if one was to change shape, both of them would decay…
And then Casca, whom found in Griffith’s face everything she, as an individual, considers to be meritable or deems as wondrous. Because their meeting to Griffith might held the meaning of saving her, but for her it meant reviving her. Casca, who unlike Guts, Griffith’s light enhances hers, not putting shade to it..
Her will is admirable..
The fact that she only wants to fight for the person she looks up to, inspiring..
And her feeling of dispirited melancholy for not being able to stand at the point she desires beside him, sorrowful…
On the whole, all characters in Berserk meet the necessary development.. At a point where you may not even notice, but ultimately you end up with a complete global view of everybody’s personality and stand in the anime. Those three however, remembering their initial attributes
Griffith, intact purity and charisma
Guts, valiance and immeasurable kindness
Casca, a true Artemis and Athena
it becomes enthralling following the course of these attributes alterability.
(always adjusting logic and objectivity in the terms and concept of the
respective story, a human who kills insatiably is by no means immeasurably kind irl 😉 )
Yet another strong asset in Berserk, is the quality of the battle scenes, which even though they do not contain magic, flashy spells, Rasengan and Santoryu in general, they are addicting to the eyes and fit to keep you at the edge of your seat. Furthermore, aside brute strength, those scenes could also be characterized by intelligence, the strategies Griffith is coming up with in particular, to many viewers the capture of the impenetrable fortress of Doldrey might seem similar to the battle for defending the Ring of Isengard in Lord of the Rings, or at least not less riveting. At the largest part, the desire of the characters to conquer the world becomes your instant desire. The strain in Guts’ billion muscles as he faces powerful opponents or intimidating number of enemies becomes fleeting strain in your respective number of muscles. The length of the series do not allow much development in political affairs, however the general vibe of the civilization and culture in Berserk feels like the one in Game of Thrones, multi-dimensional and partly rotten.
When it comes to the direction, it has to be said that it is simply amazing, be it because it’s a movie and they took greater and more careful care of it, be it for the reason that it is a rerun and they know what to improve, the point is that the scenes succeeding each other will never get you bored. One might easily watch all three movies in a row, for the plot is unpredictable the battles enthralling and the characters alluring.
And of course the strategies during the war, as well as the vibe of thousands of fists raised in the air swinging their swords might remind you of Lord of the Rings.
The massive palaces and castles, the mythical atmosphere, the rotten predisposition of the privileged and the overall medieval culture might remind you of Game of Thrones.
However, the red Behelit hanging around Griffith’s neck, extends beyond Macbeth’s tragedy, it’s the monopolistic touch that only a mangaka can add, the mystery and the darkness that gathers all good concepts together to transform them into Berserk…
As far as the artistic part is concerned. For starters, the art in the manga is known for its high level, known for the detail each panel contains as well as the fluid, realistic and clear fighting scenes. Therefore, the movies that are its adaptation and an improved version of the tv anime, bring forth the dynamic attributes of Berserk in all of its glory.. Studio 4°C had Toshiyuki Kubooka take Miura Kentarou’s masterpiece and elaborate it into an action, fantasy and seinen adventure as the perfect prologue to the source. The water feels alive, the color of the trees appealing and the stone and marble all castles and towers are made of, coarse or silky inside your very palm.
On top of that we have Susumu Hirasawa performing-he also composed it-Aria, the insert song in all three movies. Aria, a dynamic, epic opera insinuating everything that will follow in a most effective and dulcet way. And then, Shiro Sagisu composed and arranged the soundtracks for the series.. the piano and violin everytime leaves fly around a serious conversation.. the opera in between the dust caused by the horses galloping and the steel meeting steel… and the heavy organ heightening the tension at crucial moments.. All in all, music in Berserk has a feel of professionalism and it sure is a notable component of the show.
In conclusion, a characteristic that needs to be noted is the broody, hectic and dark part of the anime.. as far as the first half of the third movie, the show is so worthwhile that one who doesn’t enjoy blood in particular might not mind it…The conclusion of the story however takes an incredibly different turn towards dark fantasy that made me rush over to the pc next day to confirm whether what I had watched last night was real.. At first glance, the conclusion of the movies seems unreasonably unjustified, like there is no explaining why the author would create such an appealing, sophisticated story only to give it that kind of ending.. but then I found out that in fact, the movies are a fascinating prologue to the manga.. so for those who can not handle violence, be aware that the third movie contains 18+ material.
Berserk is the story of the venerable Lord Hawk, the woman whose emotions shifted her structure into a warrior’s metal one, and of Guts, the man owning every shred of the word valiance, devotion and integrity all wrapped into the concept of outrageous swordplay and ominous fate… a story bringing its title to life.
21: Koukaku Kidoutai: Stand Alone Complex – Solid State Society 3D
English: Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex – Solid State Society 3D
Japanese: 攻殻機動隊 S.A.C. Solid State Society 3D
MAL Score: 7.74
Kenji Kamiyama and Production I.G’s Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex: Solid State Society movie will be converted into stereoscopic 3D. Kamiyama himself is overseeing the conversion, and I.G will also add a newly animated opening sequence.
20: New Initial D Movie: Legend 1 – Kakusei
English: Initial D Legend 1 Awakening
Japanese: 新劇場版 頭文字［イニシャル］D Legend1 -覚醒-
MAL Score: 7.76
The first movie in a trilogy, focusing on the battle against the Takahashi brothers.
Initial D’s movie retelling- itself an adaptation of an adaptation- is not one that aims to reinvent the series it is based on. It is yet another sort of compilation movie, an inferior version of the TV series that came before. Does that mean the movie itself sucks? Not necessarily, though it is beyond any doubt a disappointment.
I’m not entirely sure why Initial D is being remade since 1998 isn’t exactly what I would consider to be ‘old’. I suppose it exists as a way for anime fans who detest anything from before the 2000’s (you have my condolences) to get into the series with its pretty new visuals. And look nice it does, although the movie has lost far more than it has gained.
Let me first mention the positives before I start complaining: Initial D Kakusei looks fantastic. First Stage was admittedly pretty rough-looking with its cheap CG during the races, which often detracted from the experience and made it resemble some sort of weird PS2 game. The CG in Kakusei, on the other hand, is thankfully kept to the bare minimum. I can hardly fault the original series for its CG considering the money situation is very different between TV series and movies, but it is still an upgrade nonetheless. Speedlines are far more effective than bouncy bouncy CG cars rolling around.
Takumi’s new voice actor is also a far better fit. Takumi sounded like a 40-year-old man in the original series (really, what the hell was up with that?), whereas here he actually sounds like a teenager. Miyano Mamoru makes Takumi seem more alive and human, less lethargic, especially when you consider the same voice actor also played Okabe from Steins;Gate. It’s a nice change, since in the original series it was like Takumi just didn’t give a damn about much of anything. It is a bit strange to hear such a popular voice actor in his role, though. I’ve heard him in so many different anime now that I just can’t identify him with Takumi.
Others do not fare nearly as well, with Keisuke being robbed of all personality by his new seiyuu. Depending on your tastes, you might also find the story to be lacking in emotion or humanity. And you would be correct, as this has been (at least for me) the main issue with the franchise. There’s a lot of cool moments to satisfy both action and racing fans, but there’s nothing to really make you care about the characters. The romance here feels even more tacked on and superficial than usual, considering the movie removes important scenes like an enraged Takumi punching Mogi’s ex-boyfriend. Here, Mogi is just eye-candy and Takumi a quiet badass. Yawn.
The decision to use (generic) rock music rather than Eurobeat, the series’ staple, is beyond disappointing– it’s actually baffling. There is a major lack of intensity during the races as a result of this stupid decision. Whereas tracks like ‘Heartbeat’ or ‘Don’t Stop The Music’ blasting would often make the entire race, here the songs merely accompany it. The rock music has its place in anime, but Initial D is not where it belongs; it feels like something you’d find in a show like Kuroko no Basket instead. I don’t necessarily wish the same tracks from First Stage were reused here ad-nauseum (the entire thing would reek of laziness), but certainly it could have at least tried to preserve the same mood and atmosphere from the original series. Maybe people new to the series won’t care all that much, but it’s a bummer to see the Eurobeat gone. It was by far the best thing about the series. Initial D was the music.
The pacing is also very strange since it’s trying to tell a story in movie format while moving at the speed of a TV series. If the bigwigs behind the anime wanted to go for the movie approach, they should have tightened up the pacing and covered a much larger amount of content. It doesn’t use the medium to its advantage; it just feels like a compilation with pretty visuals rather than an actual movie.
People new to Initial D should be aware that, like the original series, there’s a bit of car and racing terminology that is pretty much gibberish to anyone who doesn’t follow the scene. It doesn’t really impede the enjoyment, though, since the spectacle is still more than enough. Most of it simply boils down to Takumi being a drifting god, anyway.
Should you watch Initial D Kakusei? I can’t say I recommend it. It’s simply an inferior version of the original series with prettier visuals. If visuals are all that matter to you, then hey, I suppose you’ll have a pretty good time. But if you value characters, music and mood to any extent, you would be better off just watching (or rewatching) First Stage instead. There are much better things you could spend the hour with instead. You could watch three episodes of Aikatsu, for example!
The pacing of this movie works for the way it is. Nothing feels to rushed but the specifics of Natsuki’s story is more hidden this time. Other than that, fans of Initial D who have prior exposure know what to expect. As for the final race, if you play the arcade games, the pace of the race works in accurate conjunction to that so I can’t really make an excuse it feels to rushed. I mean, most players can beat Akina in about 3 minutes.
As fans of the original TV series are aware, the voice cast has entirely changed and I felt it was unnecessary. I mean, Gundam for the most part very rarely changes the cast and neither has the new Evangelion series. The cast are still active and can still play. The only name I can recognize is Miyano Mamoru, most famous as the voices of Light from Death Note and Setsuna from Gundam. I say his performance works for what it is but I think it is the voice direction as opposed to his abilities as a performer is what I have an issue with. There are instances where you can get a reaction out of him as opposed to saying you fucked Natsuki or whatever. I felt there were instances where his reactions were completely out of character, or at least what I am used to.
Bunta’s voice feels weak compared to Ishizuka Unshou’s original performance. The rest of the cast to me lacks the personality of the original TV series voice actors.
And in other sad news that I find criminal. The Eurobeat and MOVE are no longer part of the soundtrack. Try to imagine a Cowboy Bebop reboot/remake without the jazz and that’s how some Initial D fans probably feel. Half of the music is heavy bass with weak techno cords and the other half is generic J-Rock. I say viewers who have no prior exposure to the original series will have no issue with this factor but to me, the Eurobeat and MOVE is part of the identity of Initial D.
As for the character design, it is sharp and crisp and more in tune with that of 4th to Final Stage. As for the races, I felt it was too over reliant on above and below angles and close ups. I felt this ruined Takumi’s inertia drift he did against his first race against Keisuke. In the 1998 series, granted the quality is not that great, but the set up and execution made it exciting. I felt this series lacked that. There are instances it works, and instances it doesn’t. Another issue is the frame rate. With the upper angles, the frame rate felt rough but the lower angles the frame rate was much smoother.
Overall, I say long time fans of Initial D will have mixed feelings for the right reasons. I say viewers with no familiarity will be more open minded to the changes and may enjoy it.
STORY- 5/10 DRAW: Initial D always represented a bit of a paradox in story terms to me. The plot remains simple and consistent throughout, but I could never really follow it. I know what happens, but it usually ends up becoming a big blur in my head. It by and large follows Character X races main character, main character wins in a very cool way. The story is a copy/paste from the manga and anime, but with a few differences. 1, Mogi is downplayed. 2, A lot of the ‘meat’ is trimmed off to make the story fit into an hour length package. 3, In the anime and manga, a character almost causes a head on collision and wrecks his car. In the movie, the same accident is caused not by another car, but a bump. and 4, In the anime and the manga, the main character goes straight home after the Akina race, but in the movie, a rival character confronts the main at the bottom of the mountain in order to have an important conversation that would not have fit elsewhere. I think that these differences are small enough to call this category a wash.
ART- 9/10 NEW WINS: Holy crap. This is where the first stage needed this remake the most. In first stage, the animators used a CGI tool that they clearly did not have the hang of. Not only did it look like a PSone was rendering the frames, but the cars never really moved right, especially at low speeds. Now, the cars all look stunning, the action is fast-paced and crisp, and the cars are moving more or less like they actually would. There are a few jarring moments, like when a car does a J-turn, but the animators never got the hang of J-turns anyway. I am not a fan of some of the screenplay, for example, where the POV will be a wide angle, then suddenly moves forward an absurd amount to emphasize the action and goes back to wide angle to appear artsy. Fortunately, the wonky cinematography is the exception and not the rule, and I found myself enjoying many of the moving shots. The actual human characters look cleaner and sharper. by far the biggest improvement is Itsuki, who looks significantly less like a giant-faced mutant. All things considered, the new version has better art in nearly every way. The old just can’t compare.
SOUND- 3/10 OLD WINS: Betrayal is a pretty weak word to describe my feelings on the background music in the movie. Initial D always had fast, energetic, and catchy eurobeat music in the background for a sample, look up “Space Boy Initial D” or “Don’t Stop the Music Initial D” on Youtube. It seems like a stupid combination at first, but it just ‘clicks’ in the most satisfying ways. The movie on the other hand, ditches the eurobeat in favor of the most generic rock music on the planet. Initial D First Stage relied less on the animation to convey speed and more on the eurobeat to draw the viewer into the race. This new version is quite the opposite. It ends up being so tragic, because if the producers had decided to keep the eurobeat and update the animation at the same time, the result would have been magnificent at worst. Like the Star Wars prequels with better acting… and no Jar-Jar.
CHARACTER- 6/10 OLD WINS: Not much to talk about, both the anime and the movie have identical characters with identical stories, but the anime just had so much more time to develop them. An hour is really short for a feature length film, and the movie does its best and does a good job of character development, but it is not quite enough.
ENJOYMENT- 7/10 OLD WINS:I wanted to like the movie more than the series, but I enjoyed the old anime series more than the new movie. The eurobeat is too good, the nostalgia too strong, and the QUALITY animation gives its share of laughs.
OVERALL- 6/10 OLD WINS: The important part here is the movie COULD have been better than the original series if it had about 20 more minutes of hardcore supporting character development, and had the glorious eurobeat soundtrack. But the fact is, it doesn’t. I just wish it did.
19: Crayon Shin-chan Movie 09: Arashi wo Yobu Mouretsu! Otona Teikoku no Gyakushuu
Japanese: 映画 クレヨンしんちゃん 嵐を呼ぶモーレツ！オトナ帝国の逆襲
MAL Score: 7.77
Adult people all over Japan had been captivated by 20th Century Expo, theme parks that reenacted good old days of the 1970s (the last days of Japan’s high economic growth). One day the adults disappeared into the theme parks, leaving their children abandoned. That was a plot by “Yesterday Once More,” an organization who despises the 21st century and tries to bring Japan back to the 20th century with the dreams and hopes. Shinnosuke and his parents, Hiroshi and Misae, fight against the plot of “Yesterday Once More” in order to live together with family in the 21st century.
(Source: Manabu Tsuribe)
I’m not exactly going to review this anime. Let me just say two things, and I’ll list out some quotes from the movie, and I’ll be done.
First, this movie made me realize that crayon shin-chan isn’t just for kids.
Second, some animes in the world may have mediocre story, mediocre art, mediocre sound, but may deserve no less than a 10/10.
These are quotes by Nohara Hiroshi.
“Those who believe they have gotten big have no right to be big.”
“The antonym for justice isn’t evil, but another justice.”
“My life isn’t not interesting! I almost want to share the happiness of having a family!”
“Like I’d have any regrets on a world without Shinnosuke!”
“We aren’t heroes who save the world. We are fathers who want future for their children.”
“I’m never letting you go again, Shiro, Shinnosuke. Never again.”
“It isn’t life if it goes as planned.”
“There are no parents who tell their kids to die!”
“There are people who can work for me, but there are no replacements for father.”
“No matter what happens to my body, I protect my family!”
“Idiot! It’s admonishing, not educating! There is no point if you don’t do it yourself!”
All the days gone by were better.
Avant-garde structures of unprecedented forms, international coexistence at the furthest scale, a rock brought from the stars yonder. The crowds, diligently convened in endless queues underneath the blazing sun, gaze in awe at extravagant pavilions competing to offer a glimpse of the upcoming millennium; all fevered by an ambience of meteoric scientific development, stretching their hands towards the world of tomorrow. And at the center of it all, Japan, savouring the remaining days of its miraculous economic growth, at the apex of its inner and outer cultural relevance. The 1970 Osaka World Expo stands as a symbol of the promising future, and the purest definition of modern times.
«Progress and Harmony for Mankind.»
Then, the trick is dismantled. A camera films the set where hopes and dreams have been contained, never to be disturbed, yet never to be fulfilled—an eternal sunset. It’s 30 years later, at the dawn of a new century; memories distilled in a theme park ride for the amusement of nostalgia-blinded adults, and to the misfortune of their oblivious offspring.
Such is the way ‘The Adult Empire Strikes Back’—the ninth feature film tie-in in the Crayon Shin-chan series—draws the curtains of this play. Located amidst rural lands, the 20th Century Museum has become the Japanese’s most frequented attraction, its influence reaching far beyond the walls that surround it. People drive vintage vehicles where radios play long-forgotten music records; obsolete television devices reign in every living room, their antennas capture signals of old-fashioned programs; local markets resurfaced, tradition on display in the streets. A contagious atmosphere rapidly spreading across the country. At the forefront of this change is Ken, a man claiming to have obtained ‘the scent of the past’. His project—’Yesterday Once More’—reaches its final stage when adults leave town to forever plunge in the joys of their childhood, abandoning all worries and duties. The neglected children are left behind, then forcibly assembled; only Shin-chan and friends running free and determined to seize their progenitors back.
Keiichi Hara’s script is penned with commendable skill, gradually unfolding a brilliant premise whose complexity steadily builds upon itself. Though it’s often the younger cast members who shine under the floodlights, the ulterior core of the film lies within the inner conflict faced by their parents, explored through numerous entangled motifs. The aforementioned Osaka World Expo, for instance, emerges as a relic of the past disrupting the future, its associated values of progress corrupted and turned upside down, acting as the central point of escapism. The travessy from urban life to the countryside is yet another subversion, that of the massive rural migration to Tokyo during the Golden Age of Capitalism, and symbolizes for the Japanese a return to their youth, a simpler life away from the hustle and bustle of the capital.
Exuding nostalgia in each and every frame, we’re drawn to a world that no longer is. Bittersweet melodies of old are gracefully complemented by a fitting original score of minimalist acoustics. The crimson sun looming on the edge of the Earth but never fading away, finely crafted background plates of beautiful colors bathed in its gloomy light. References to popular culture carefully inserted along the way—tokusatsu, the earliest magical girls, artists and personalities of all sorts. Narrative detours delve into hushed montages where one is left to simply soak in the atmosphere, guided solely by their senses.
The infamous lowbrow comedy characteristic of the franchise appears at first glance inevitably bound to clash with such a melancholic tone. However, the Nohara’s zany misadventures not only feel at home here, but ‘Adult Empire’ manages to keep itself significantly grounded in comparison to all preceding installments by integrating them meaningfully into the narrative. Clocking barely 90 minutes of runtime, the picture hardly wastes a second to aid its thematic relevance, seamlessly introducing visual cues throughout to showcase the disconnect between adult and child worldviews, both literally and figuratively, or allegorically exploring the struggles of child-rearing and family life. A recreation of Miyazaki’s classic Cagliostro chase sequence taken to the extreme pokes fun at the absurdity of media’s over-reliance on nostalgia factor, only one of many bizarrely amusing scenarios where everyone’s expected roles and behavior are misplaced.
The protagonists’ joyful defiance contrasts with the attitude exhibited by the main antagonists. Foreseeing the isolating effects of technological development, they reset life back to inviting small communities and tight-knit neighbourhoods, metaphorically stepping down from the future and returning to the past at the beginning of the film. They exemplify the disillusionment of the Japanese born and raised in the twilight of a resoundingly prosperous era, growing up to find themselves in an increasingly harsher world where the evolving geopolitics placed a higher degree of independence and responsibility on their shoulders. As the 21st Century draws closer and closer, the country is forced to choose its own path. Ken’s answer to that conundrum is to stop time itself. But neither he or his companion, Chako, hold malicious intent—they’re simply worn out. Restrained and distant, they rarely hinder the character’s path when given the chance, rather choosing to test their resolve to achieve their goals and thus the strength of their counterargument. The project itself is merely sustained by the adults’ will for it to exist, as opposed to any form of external coercion.
In what’s perhaps the film’s most emotionally gripping sequence, the memories of Hiroshi—Shin-chan’s father—are followed from childhood to adulthood; arguing the rewarding benefits of family life and long-term commitment to achieve happiness, stating the need to leave certain things behind while growing up in order to acquire new ones along the way, and hinting at the struggles to stay oneself while the world around us relentlessly changes by keeping Hiroshi always positioned in the middle of the frame. Consciousness regained, the Nohara family—for the first time reunited—runs against the clock. During the riveting climax, the camera cuts away to the people witnessing through television the dramatic climb to the top of Tokyo Tower’s replica, tears rolling down their cheeks. The heroic feat breaks the spell, revealing the fakeness of a motionless world. A genius final play of metanarrative; beyond the screen, an aimless Japanese society in the year 2001 finds the encouragement to move forward. One of the closing shots shows an empty room where the TV is now turned off. It’s the end of the fantasy, and the beginning of reality.
«The 20th Century is over.»
Regarded as a masterpiece and a classic in Japan and South-East Asia at large, ‘The Adult Empire Strikes Back’ is an exceptionally well directed and narrated feature; equally respectful for the bygone days and optimistic for those to come, reconciling with the most difficult dilemmas adults and children alike and society as a whole. Some may argue the message is lost in translation. But time is universal—its passage, Nature’s single dogma.
The story begins of nice, Shinnosuke and his family star in this action movie where his Dad plays a parody superhero. (Parody of Ultraman.). After this it just continues normally, everyone we basically know from the normal series is at the World Fair’s 20th Century Museum, where all the parents try to relieve they’re childhood. As they are about to enter the 21st century, a certain evildoer hypnotizes adults via tv, thr…ough a 20th Century Museum commercial, this turns the adults in childs, not psysically, but mentally.
This shows that Shinnosuke can be very mature, and yet.. not.
So the story’s pretty plain, but the way it is shown in this movie it’s just great.
They still use the same weird art style, which is just needed in Crayon Shin-Chan series/movies, specials and such. So I’ll give it a good score. The sounds okay too.
The characters, of course, Shinnosuke is still the same ol’ perverted kid, which I said before. Furthermore he still has those crazy moods and actions. Shinnosuke’s friend group is just as crazy as normally, especially when they get drunk on Oolong Tea. You can see they’re mature side which you don’t see very often, yet they can act as baby’s the next moment.
If you’re ready for a bit extraordinary artstyle, alot of humor and a funny adventure. This movie is where you need to be. I recommend that you’d watch (a bit) of the series, "Crayon Shin-Chan", just so you get to know the characters and minor characters a bit. But it’s highly enjoyable, even to watch it several times.
18: New Initial D Movie: Legend 2 – Tousou
English: Initial D Legend 2 Racer
Japanese: 新劇場版 頭文字［イニシャル］D Legend2 -闘走-
MAL Score: 7.78
The second movie in a trilogy.
17: New Initial D Movie: Legend 3 – Mugen
Japanese: 新劇場版 頭文字［イニシャル］D Legend3 -夢現-
MAL Score: 7.82
The third and final movie in a trilogy.
The story follows Takumi Fujiwara on his ascension to street racing greatness. Instead of glossing over his complex personality, or the nuanced relationships he has with others around him, Mugen dives head first into the intricacies of a young man’s life and how he deals with the ever-changing landscape of his world. Fujiwara finds himself embracing who he’s becoming as a street racer and forces him to confront the reality of the future beyond driving without a care in the world on his home course. Through this, he bonds with his father; a relationship that has shown little depth in both the original manga and anime adaptation. We, as viewers, get a front-row seat and better understanding of the romance he has with his then-love interest. While his friendship with his Akina Speed Star brethren remains as consistent as it always was, Fujiwara’s budding friendship and appreciation for his street racing constituency is explored in a way it has never been before. As Fujiwara grows, we get a true glimpse of how observant he is of his surroundings and his knowledge of self.
Artistically, Initial D has always grown with the times. As technology improves, as does the artwork of Initial D-related media. Gone are the days of poorly constructed 3D models of classic Japanese automobiles. Vehicles look real in the Legend Trilogy because they are. Advanced cell-shading techniques have given way to an immersive experience that truly shows off the direction of anime for the future. The characters’ facial expressions are individual to their personalities and add a layer of depth and understanding to who they are as individuals. Picking up where Final Stage left off, the roads and the surrounding landscapes look absolutely stunning, even during the street races in the twilight hours. The original storyline was done justice with this modernization.
The voice acting is solid, but foreign. Viewers have grown accustomed to 16 years of consistent, recognizable talent. Having new actors, though talented, makes a few of the characters feel foreign. With the lack of Eurobeat, the Legend Trilogy feels like a separate story entirely, at times. I have no personal qualms with replacing Eurobeat for Japanese alternative rock, however, the score feels flat and uninspired. In fact, many Initial D inspired audio that can be found in far corners of Soundcloud tend to favor instrumental, jazzy hiphop, often inspired by the vibes of the late, great Nujabes. However, the quality isn’t bad, but the choice in music simply feels out of place. Thankfully, the car sounds are as genuine as it can possibly get. You can easily distinguish the sounds from 13BT, 4AGE, and RB26DETT engines. The tire sounds are also accurate with how the characters are driving. In its production, there was an exceptional amount of attention to detail that went into the racing experience.
As mentioned before, the Legend Trilogy has taken character development in Initial D to an entirely new level. Instead of sullen melancholia, near-comical seriousness, and uncomfortable comic relief; we get a range of human emotion that allows us to fall in love with personalities, as opposed to simply the common underdog story. We see Fujiwara falling in love. We see him praise the opponents he’s beaten on Akina. We see him struggle with his own identity in finding his place in this world he was suddenly thrust upon. Even better, we get much-needed backstory on the RedSuns and Takahashi Ryosuke. Previously, these things were mentioned in passing and it was left up to readers of the manga to interpret these nuances in context. For anime watchers, such details may have been missed. Additionally, Takumi’s father, Bunta, shows a considerable amount of compassion and respect for his son during this period of growth. They even share a moment or two of shared stubbornness that only happens between father and son.
The enjoyment factor of Initial D has changed. The story itself has long ended so longtime fans may lack the excitement of finding out what happens next. One could argue that the enjoyment factor has now become the satisfaction of knowing. For individual viewers, some may feel relief in knowing details that went unmentioned previously. Others may develop a new respect for certain characters. Or, like me, you could fall in love with the underdog story all over again as the Legend Trilogy offers new perspectives. What’s most pleasing is that it can be equally enjoyable for both longtime fans and new viewers alike. Overall, Initial D is Initial D. It’s a cultural staple. A legend in itself. It’s responsible for many pilgrimages to Gunma Prefecture, Japan. It’s the reason why an cheap, fuel-efficient, economy car from the 1980s gained unthinkable popularity since production ceased nearly 30 years ago. It’s the ridiculously esoteric, and still personally relatable story of a teenage boy from a single-parent household finding himself and growing into a man with goals and ambition. It’s the dream we see become a reality.
For starters, I’m applying my usual format for Compilation movies here, so all movies are being reviewed at once. They’re technically not this but rather a re-adaptation of the Manga, but the point still stands.
As I stated in my Review of both shows, neither Initial D’s First Stage or Berserk 1997 have aged that well visually. That’s part of the reason the Berserk movies failed, as when you get right down to it, they were little better than the OG anime, with its Animation still being inconsistent, just in a different way. The Initial D movies on the other hand look… good! Actually, scratch that, they look great! Like, seriously, this is some great stuff! Not only are the character animations improved, but the CGI looks better than ever, and overall, this is a beautiful looking set of movies! I’m… actually surprised!
Though to counteract that, the sound is a downgrade. Contrast to the rest of the series, which uses Eurobeat Songs, the movies use standard rock. It’s pretty good rock, sure, but it just doesn’t hold a candle to the original OST. The same goes for the performance. Don’t get me wrong, these are all fine performances, but compared to the original VAs, something feels… missing. Like, to give an example, take for instance Miyano Mamoru; who takes over the role of Takumi from his Gundam 00 Co-Star Miki Shinichiro. He sounds a lot like Miki, but it feels as if he’s not taking the stoicness far enough. Perhaps more notable is Shiraishi Minoru as Itsuki, who sounds borderline identical to Iwata Mitsuo, but he isn’t taking the character’s goofiness far enough for my taste. Again, these are all solid performances; they’re just not as good as the original Seiyuus. Either way, it’s not as if they half-assed it with the cast, what with it having Uchida Maya, Suwabe Junichi, Nakamura Yuuichi, Hirata Hiroaki, Tsuchida Hiroshi and of course, the Casting Gag to end all Casting Gags, Ono Daisuke as Ryousuke! Nice!
Yet of course, it is in the plot that will decide whether this movie series is worth your time. And the answer is… yeah, it is. I mean, yeah, a bunch of issues with the show’s plot are still here (Read my review of that for more information) but if there’s one thing this movie does right, it’s retelling the story. The Berserk movies tried to cram way too much in in too little time. Here, they just go through the main plot beats and not much else because, well, there isn’t much left to tell without making the movies an unfocused mess.
Perhaps most surprisingly it doesn’t fall into the Second Compilation Movie curse! Yeah, they just decide to skip over a bunch of stuff in the middle part of the show so as to not drag things out, with the whole subplot with Mako and Satsuki being removed (Which does make their cameo in the final movie kinda odd). It’s actually kinda refreshing!
In general, I know this Review was short, but that’s because there isn’t much else left to tell. If the Berserk Movies were a soulless cash-grab, this is a work by a man who clearly cared about the franchise and wanted to leave his own mark of it while respecting what came before. Do I prefer it over the series? Eh, not really, as the removal of most of the SOL subplots and humor do make it a less enjoyable experience for me, but when it comes to the main plot, it arguably handles it better than the show proper. I had low expectations for these movies, I really expected them to suck… yet they didn’t. These movies are totally worth it to fans and newcomers alike, and I have no issues recommending them.
Final Score: 7/10
Well first things first, the art style and animation is in my opinion definitely improved. The characters got modern touch as well (especially the girls, they got more moe factor) which is subtle but noticeable.
They really followed the manga for the visual instead of going the realistic route that season 5 and 6 went for. The smokes are drawn instead of using CG FX, the cars have jagged lines which gives off the “this is a manga” feel.
Other thing that is miles better than the TV series are the sounds of the cars, specifically the engines and tires. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for the soundtracks and BGM, it’s not bad per se but definitely not great either because somehow they decided not to use Eurobeats or even having M.O.V.E. to sing the theme at all (which at this point, has shaped Initial D as an anime).
The story is basically a recap of the first season highlighting the races taking place in Akina, following our underdog Tofu delivery boy Fujiwara Takumi. In this movie however, the characters have slight difference from their anime counterpart (probably due to the changes of voice actors). Personally I find these change to be quite interesting, although it does breaks the characters I already knew from the anime, it’s not exactly as bad as it sounds.
TL;DR: If you have the time, just watch the tv series. This movie is a nice alternative if you don’t have the time to watch the first season or if you didn’t like the dated visuals.
16: Saint☆Oniisan (Movie)
English: Saint☆Young Men (Movie)
MAL Score: 7.83
After thousands of years of hard work, Jesus Christ and Gautama Buddha decide that they have earned a vacation and descend from the heavens to rent a small apartment in Tokyo, Japan. As the pair struggles to live incognito, they enjoy the luxuries of modern society, such as amusement parks, and limited-time store sales. Jesus and Buddha take the time to celebrate each other’s holidays, watch the changing of the seasons, and explore their new surroundings. Saint☆Oniisan follows the two religious figures as they meet new people and face the everyday challenges that come with living in Tokyo.
This anime shows a very candid look at how people of different faiths can come together and treat each other well without conflict in these turbulent modern times, and will likewise instill good morals upon the viewer regardless of their own religion. By showing how the founders of these religions themselves might act in these situations this anime sets a very good example not only for Christians and Buddhists but also for people of other faiths who were simply interested in a funny anime.
The story is simple and fragmented but compelling and very charming- it shows the everyday life of two young men who happen to be revered religious figures as they explore Japanese culture on their vacation. The plot itself is very laid-back and will not get anybody thinking particularly hard, but it serves it’s purpose of bringing up interesting ideas that will cause one to ponder their relationship with their own beliefs.
The animation is very pretty, despite the quality being no higher than any other movie. It is stylized just enough to give itself a unique look but not enough to seem complicated or alien to the viewer, invoking the welcoming yet imposing feel of a religious institution. In this way there has actually been a lot more thought and work put into the animation than one might first assume upon glancing at it.
The soundtrack I have to say, while not being disappointing in the least, was not a part I was particularly impressed with. It does well for a slice-of-life anime but fails to inspire as much interest as the rest of the film. I have to say it was really just “there” and was not really memorable, but it did very well match the mood of the scenes and I would not say it was bad at all.
The characters are ones just about everybody in the world are familiar with, and from my knowledge of religious doctrine they seem to be portrayed very well. It is a difficult task to imagine what these individuals from eras long past may have acted like in the modern age but it has been done very well here.
All in all I enjoyed this anime very much and I would highly recommend it to other people regardless of their religious and spiritual background. It teaches some important lessons about life, and even if one is not interested in such this is a very nice slice-of-life anime.
Jesus and Buddha — the actual beings themselves — decide to take an extended vacation on earth, with their tourist destination being (“Exotic!”) Japan. The result is this slice of life comedy that is miraculously charming and inoffensive. The movie doesn’t have a clear storyline, but consists of vignettes of their vacation in a town where the neighbourhood kids are bratty, the local yakuza can be ridiculous and where the people somehow never catch on that the two “foreigners” in their midst are REALLY foreign.
As a comedy, it does a fine job using observational humour and recurring gags as its base. Some of the best jokes come from contextualising the sacred in modern secularity, though it never actually takes critical jabs. It’s not quite satire; it has absolutely no criticism or intellectual examination of the figures represented or the related religions. It’s as gentle as a comedy about fictionalising deities can go, but that’s not a bad thing. After all, it’s hilariously sweet that Jesus, for instance, relates some his miracles as merely a form of personal convenience or plain old accident.
There’s no conversation or commentary about faith in this anime, so if you’re expecting this to be a hard bash toward or a reaffirmation of any kind of belief, then you’re not going to get that. It does well steering clear of that, and the most political it gets is revealing that mortal bureaucracy is bad enough that even the Enlightened One himself isn’t allowed to ring a bell in a shrine because he’s “not staff”.
While it’s no laugh-a-minute affair, there are good chuckles to be had and it’s a worthwhile hour and a half. It helps a lot that Jesus and Buddha have good chemistry. They make excellent room-mates and are a fine duo. Plus it’s nice to see an anime using supportive, gentle comedy instead of insulting or abusive humour to get a smile out of the audience. So what it lacks in hard-hitting comedy, it makes up for with its charming lead characters, both of whom (despite their differences) are kind, accommodating, respectful and attentive to one another. Hey, wait a minute.
Everything about this anime feels simple, but gives off this warm feeling of awesome. The art, with the two main characters drawn differently from the rest, the story with its small twists and turns through Japanese life, and the way it so casually plays with symbols of two major religions – all of this is simply bound to make you smile.
I don’t think anyone can really be offended by this; instead, I think this is a wonderful way to bring people of different faiths together and provoke deep thoughts about one’s own beliefs.
15: Lupin the IIIrd: Jigen Daisuke no Bohyou
English: Lupin III: Jigen’s Gravestone
Japanese: LUPIN THE IIIRD 次元大介の墓標
MAL Score: 7.83
The film will be a continuation spinoff of the 2012 “Lupin III: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine” television anime series.
Lupin and Jigen have their sights set on a treasure worth stealing called the Little Comet which is located in the country of East Doroa. The country has fortified its border after a singer named Queen Malta got assassinated in the neighboring country of West Doroa upon visit.
Despite the two countries being enemies, Lupin and Jigen still plan to steal the treasure. During the heist, Jigen almost got killed by a skilled sniper named Yael Okuzaki. His specialty is preparing tombstones for his targets before executing his kills. Its said that no one has survived after Yael makes a grave for that target.
Visually the film looks pretty good with vibrant and colorful animation. My biggest problem is the audio in this film and I don’t mean the music. I prefer to watch my anime dubbed but the dub in this film was pretty atrious to be honest. Tony Oliver, Richard Epcar, Michelle Ruff, Lex Lang , none of these original voice actors are present in this film to reprise their roles. Richard Epcar is in the film but only to voice Zenigata’s 2 lines in the epilogue of this film. What a waste! If you have the original voice actor, why not let him voice Jigen?! The new voice actors they picked to voice the main characters, deliver their lines with no emotion or charisma to the point where I thought about switching the audio to Japanese halfway through the film.
The story of Jigen Daisuke’s Tombstone is definitely weaker than its original counterpart, even compared to individual episodes – which is certainly a shame. Rather than a focus on Lupin III, as you may have guessed the story is focused more on his hat-tilting, gun-toting friend Jigen. Or does it? Jigen is indeed the one in the title, but he seems less interesting than other iterations of himself, and commands less focus (More about that in Characters). Rather the plot revolves around an assassination, the assassin involved and why it happened. But is that even the point?
If you couldn’t tell, the story, while easy to understand, lacks focus. It sets up a story of politics and assassinations, changes to one of ‘who is of greater skill’, gets sidetracked by something almost completely unrelated (Pretty much an excuse to get Mine Fujiko naked again – which isn’t a spoiler), then wraps it all up with brief mention to previous points. While it does hit the regular Lupin III plot point of Lupin being the smartest guy in a room, I can’t help but feel as if it’s setting up for sequels by intentionally leaving things unexplained. I guess I just expected more.
The regular Lupin III cast returns… except my two favourite characters are missing! But oh well, the detective and samurai can be put on hold I suppose. As for the cast that does show up, I have to say I’m a little disappointed. While indeed Lupin, Fujiko and Jigen are all more or less themselves, I can’t help but think that Fujiko and Jigen are less capable than they were in the original ‘Mine Fujiko’ series. To say more is spoilers, but I can’t help but think that their skill is arbitrarily reduced to generate conflict. Despite this, there’s nothing particularly wrong with any of the main characters personalities – if you liked them before, you’ll like them now. The ‘villain’ however is not too exciting, the writers thinking eccentricity is a replacement for actual character. But if you’re into calculated killer type of villain, then I’m sure you’ll enjoy him just fine.
While the art and the character designs is still very nice to look at (almost identical to the ‘Mine Fujiko’ series), I have to say that it looks much cleaner than its original counterpart, lacking the same style. Depending on your personal opinion that’s either better or worse, but personally I missed the thick chalky shadows of the original. Certainly anything but bad, but it doesn’t look quite as impressive as the original.
Pretty standard for a modern Lupin creation – which means it’s quite good. It lacks the breadth of the original ‘Mine Fujiko’ series, but then again 57 minutes compared to a 13 episode series means you can’t have as diverse a soundtrack. Also a little less jazzy, which I missed, but that’s just my personal tastes.
As I said in the opening, while lacking the same quality as the original, Lupin IIIrd: Jigen Daisuke’s Tombstone is still entertaining, as pretty much all Lupin is. It’s a short watch, and worth it just to have a bit more quality Lupin.
Overall, if this is the first spinoff of many, this first one certainly hasn’t reduced my opinion of those to come. I’m excited to see where this is heading, but I hope the story improves.
STORY: As I said, not much focus on Jigen. I mean, I guess it was titled “Tombstone” and not “Jigen Origin Story,” but I expected more from the trailers. I skipped through it before watching it, and found a scene with a woman on stage. I assumed we’d have a detailed backstory about that. Nope. No emotional connection there. And the movie is odd; broken down into two parts. Every single Lupin movie/special has at least one laugh out loud moment, one moment to make you really feel glad you watched it. This movie is so blah it’s ridiculous. It’s an action movie with very little good action and too many over used (and unsuccessful) story props. HOWEVER! The last 10 minutes will pay off. We get a few good cameos, and one that has me going back to watch the certain movie he or she was in.
CHARACTER: As a woman, the only thing I dislike about Monkey Punch’s anime and ESPECIALLY the manga, is how much he seems to hate women. They are there to be, either abused, killed off, or romanced. Every single female character in a special is killed off once we’ve warmed up to the idea of her, or Lupin goes gaga for her, or she’s the betraying vixen. Fujiko covers those last two pretty well. This time around, Lupin isn’t having any of her B.S. But still, she gets groped, of course, and is nude, of course. The movie takes the rapebait Fujiko trope (and I’m ashamed to admit that’s what she is at this point) up a step when Fujiko is set as entertainment for a bunch of pervy old men (picture the club from Speed Grapher) and is almost raped by a giant robot. Really. Horror movie fare, and not something I expected to see in Lupin (despite a good number of his villains being after Fujiko as the norm). All right, enough about Fujiko.
Zenigata and Goemon?? Absent from the movie. Entirely absent. And before you whine: 3 second cameos do not count. They count as fanservice, but do not number towards the character count.
In the movie, Lupin acts as though he practically owns Jigen — he’s clearly the star of the show, there’s no doubt about that. This is a Lupin movie, not a Jigen movie. Even during the end show down, it’s all about Lupin looking cool.
Oh, and we find out Jigen likes couture. Whoo. So glad we got that backstory out of the way. Not like there’s a whole period of his life he spent in America, or his youth, or anything else from his life before Lupin we could have possibly covered in an hour about Jigen, right? Right?
ANIMATION: Good, I guess. Steps it up a bit from the Fujiko series while still maintaining the style. The only thing worth mentioning is Lupin’s new look. Whether a blue or green jacket, that’s debatable as the movie gets a subtle filter that could have shaded the jacket from green to blue (and for the time line laid out, green would make sense). For a few minutes in the movie, Lupin gets a delightful disguise (you know the one — with the eyepatch). Also, Jigen hasn’t looked this good since the Pink Jacket series. As there were only a few characters, they definitely stepped up their allure.
SOUND: Where’s my jazz?? No Yuji Ohno on this one! Other than that, normal voice acting from the Lupin gang. Nothing worth mentioning.
OVERALL: Meh. Watch it because it’s as good as watching one long, unimportant episode of Lupin. Watch it because you like mediocore action. Watch it again for the end scenes ^__^
14: Lupin III: The First
English: Lupin the 3rd: The First
Japanese: ルパン三世 THE FIRST
MAL Score: 7.83
The iconic “gentleman thief” Lupin III returns in an action-packed, continent-spanning adventure, as Lupin III and his colorful underworld companions race to uncover the secrets of the mysterious Bresson Diary, before it falls into the hands of a dark cabal that will stop at nothing to resurrect the Third Reich. The gang undertakes trap-filled tombs, aerial escapades, and daring prison escapes with the trademark wit and visual finesse that have made Lupin the 3rd one of the most storied animation franchises in the world, in a thrilling new caper that is sure to delight fans old and new.
(Source: GKIDS, edited)
Lupin the Third: The First (yes, it is a very confusing title) is a typical Lupin movie through and through with just a single new addition, it is in CGI. Not just any regular anime CGI, Hollywood level CGI. Disney/Dreamworks level CGI. The animation itself made this movie better than most of its Lupin counterparts, but the story has a couple of extra things that made this installment stand out among its peers (besides for the CGI).
First off, the story: Classic Lupin story, if you have seen any other Lupin installment than you know what happens here. No twists you won’t be able to see coming a mile away. However, this movie adds a Indiana Jones aspect to it that fits in quite well for Lupins character. I won’t call this movie a complete rip off of Indiana Jones, but it is obvious to tell where the inspiration came from.
For those who haven’t seen a Lupin film before: Lupin is a thief and he and his team steal something, it gets taken from them, then they try to get it back with Inspector Zenigata on their trail trying to arrest them. Very simple concept which somehow is still interesting even after seeing it over one hundred times.
Moving on to the technical aspects of the film, I can’t praise the art/animation enough. The CGI is on par (or at least close) to a Disney film. While a couple of the character models look a little weird compared to their 2D counterparts, the CGI is great, particularly in the action sequences. The animation is super smooth and fluid and everything looks clean and polished. The chase scenes in particular are fantastically animated and directed and it is easy to just replay them over and over.
However great the animation is however, just like usual, the greatest thing in every Lupin film/series continues to be the Soundtrack/OST. Yuji Ohno has succeeded in making one of the most iconic themes in all of anime and this is proven when the same theme has been used and praised for over 40 years. It’s not just the main theme song however, every one of his pieces are brilliantly orchestrated and are arranged in different ways for different movies. It is impossible to not just hum/tap along to the main theme and the ED “Gift” sung by Lyn Inaizumi is another beautiful addition to the Lupin music library.
The voice acting (Japanese) was very good, which is no surprise coming from Lupin which has a long history of good voice acting. Even the new roles in the movie were done really well, with a shout out to Suzu Hirose who voiced Latiana.
The main characters are the same as always. Lupin is a playful not so serious thief, Fujiko is mysteriously trustworthy/untrustworthy as usual, Jigen is the serious partner, Goemon is the cool headed samurai, and Zenigata is the stubborn, persistent, and foolish inspector. The side characters however really make this movie stand out. Latiana is a great new addition used to attract our the viewers sympathy, and it succeeds. The antagonists are also given a lot of screen-time to help them not just be the forgettable Lupin villain. One of the antagonists actually has a little bit of depth.
This movie was extremely enjoyable to watch as a huge Lupin fan. Even in CGI, it feels like a Lupin movie. I will definitely watch this a couple more time once the English dub gets released.
Overall, this movie was as perfect as a copy paste story-telling Lupin movie could be. Th CGI was visually appealing, the OST was gorgeous, the new characters were given some depth, and the plot was an Indiana Jones movie. The movie couldn’t have been much better.
Score: 10: A masterpiece and so good that i would watch it again and again and again.
Apart from short Lupin III 3DCG special, this is the first time Lupin has been animated in full 3D and boy I’m really pleased with the result. The animation is fluid and detailed, and it really makes the action scenes shine. The character design was translated into 3D perfectly and respectful to the original (though not without any change. I’m especially a fan of the movie look of Jigen, albeit I’m a bit saddened that Jigen and Goemon didn’t get more spotlight. Laetitia, the newest addition to collection of Lupin ladies is also seriously cute. I also really liked the animation of facial expression of the characters. Yes, the style of animation looks quite like a western-made movie, to an extent that it at first felt almost unnatural that the dubbing was Japanese and not English, but I don’t see a problem with that, if anything it keeps things fresh, something that a franchise with so many specials and movies certainly needs.
The plot isn’t ground-breaking, but I don’t think anyone expected a revolutionary script for a non-reboot Lupin Movie, go watch The Woman Called Fujiko Mine and its related movies for that. Regular Lupin movies (and specials) are foremost meant to be fun and this one passes with flying colors. If you’ve seen some amount of Lupin anime you probably already know what to expect plot-wise, so there is no need to go into greater detail here. I’ll just note that this one feels a bit Indiana Jones-ish, and I don’t mean that in a bad way.
Overall, I certainly recommend it to Lupin fans, but it works as a family movie too, even if not every member of said family is a Lupin fan.
After waiting for some while I finally got to watch this but since it was fansubbed there were many hilarious mistranslations here and there. Gotta give the studio props since this cg looks fantastic. It is like the level of Pixar or Dreamworks. It is smooth and looks and feels quite nice. Of course I thing Lupins artstyle works well as CG anime. It isn’t overly anime looking so it works, it is like some cartoon artstyle.
Story: So Nazis are trying to get their hands on this one dudes journal but it goes missing. Later it was found and thrown in to a museum in France. Of course Lupin wants said thing so he goes to get it. Well the journal gets taken by a girl named Letizia and Lupin follows. Well shit happens and Luping gets caught. Then comes another rescue operation. The journal contains information and the whereabouts of an ancient weapon of mass destruction. This one man wants to get that weapons and deliver it to Hitler. We then follows the adventures of Lupin III, Letizia, Mine Fujiko, Jigen Daisuke, Ishikawa Goemon and Zenigata. Who gets the weapon first will be the winner.
Characters: They are the same as before. Letizia is a girl who wants to go to the Boston University to study archaeology. His so called “dad” will send her to the university if she brings the journal to him. Later on she joins Lupins gang to find the weapon. Lupin is still the quirky, comedic and sometimes badass thief. Jigen is still the master marksman he has always been. But in this it feels like he is a bit closer to Lupin than in the previous shows. Goemon still does cool samurai stuff and gets awkward around women. Also he really doesn’t want to lose his sword. Mine Fujiko is back with in my opinion the best character model she has ever had. It looks so good. She still uses her charm to get out of tough situations.
The theme is the Ol’ Reliable. So it is the same as Part 4 and 5 and etc.
If you like Lupin, then watch this. If you haven’t seen Lupin then this is a very good show to start with.
13: Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio: Ars Nova Movie 2 – Cadenza
Japanese: 劇場版 蒼き鋼のアルペジオ ‐アルス ノヴァ‐ Cadenza
MAL Score: 7.86
The group of privateers known as the Blue Steel continues their mission to deliver blueprints of the Vibration Warhead Torpedo—a weapon that may turn the tides of war in their favor—to the United States. However, a new threat arises from their enemy, the overwhelming Fleet of Fog in the form of “The Student Council.,” This is a group of warships composed of the remaining Mental Models—the ships’ humanoid avatars—who have yet to face the unpredictable captain of the Blue Steel, Gunzou Chihaya.
As the Blue Steel gets closer to understanding the origins of the authority controlling the enemy, Iona’s past starts to reveal why the war began and her reason for siding with humanity.
By far the best navy based anime series to have ever come out. i just loved it all the way. you can tell they put there heart and souls into making this movie. the action scenes alone are god like…i mean really the entire second half was one big naval warfare…it was truly amazing to watch it. It took me so long to finally give it a watch cause i so wanted it to never end. now i am a bit sad.
This is such an underrated series, i wish more people would know of it. the animation in this one really improved that there were times you can not even tell it was CGI. Sanzigen you did a good job.
well there is still the manga series and maybe one day when the manga series is closer to be finished, they might do another remake, this time based on the manga storyline. this series warped everything up nicely but there were still a few plot holes..mostly cause those plot holes dont have a clear explanation yet in the manga,,, such as who made the fleet of fog and what the admiralty code really is and since the manga is still ongoing they cant do tat explanation into the movie.
Having said all of this… You should give the original series a try and than watch the first movie and than this one and you would have a solid storyline with great action sequences and character development that would leave you feeling so satisfied,
The Soundtrack in this is very good, especially those used durng the fightining, it is subliminal enough to not be a distraction and yet hardcore fitting into the fight sequences perfectly and the ending credits song..wow…it will leave you feeling so sad. can’t say cause of spoilers (ssshhh)
Also despite the use of CGI animation that might leave you turned off..trust me this is one of the better ones to use it,,unlike say Ajin… The use of CGI in the Movie is even better as you dont even notice it.
I highly recommend this to those who love Science fiction, Warfare, Action Sequences and a Naval setting. Especially fans of naval genre. AS this is probablt the best navy series that has ever come out as an Anime form.
Either way a sold 9.5/10 . i just wish more people would know if it. 😀
For what anime movies with the “movie-only character” plotlines have become rather predictable time and time again, from the Ao no Exorcist Movie to Bleach: Memories of Nobody, however this movie is an exception.
For what with the huge new cast of characters in the movie LA was worried it might turn into the “movie-only character” plotline, but thankfully it did not as this movie really is a sequel to the TV series.
The new cast of characters are by in large villains to Gunzou and Iona and are in the form of “student council member” ships of Hiei voiced by M.A.O, Myoukou voiced by Ayaka Fukuhara, Nachi voiced by Satomi Sato, Haguro voiced by Hiromi Igarashi, Ashigara voiced by Suzuko Mimori and Musashi voiced by Rie Kugimiya as well as Yamato voiced by Mai Nakahara. LA would admit that almost half of the characters hardly get any development beside their abilities and personality and are more or less “heavy mooks” and the only three ships that get the focus are Musashi, Yamato and Hiei, Hiei about her conflicted relationship with Kongou and with Yamato and Musashi being the ship that drives this entire movie along. LA’s favourite villain from Cadenza would be either Musashi because Rie Kugimiya or Ashigara because of her eccentric literally bombastic personality.
As for the main cast, well besides some banter to I-401’s crew, they don’t get much development and the sole proper focus goes to Gunzou and Iona with Takao, Hyuga, Haruna, Kirishima and Makie being support characters to help the main cast when they are needed. However once again Takao for LA took the limelight and was LA’s favourite character in this movie (and might as well the TV series).
In terms of animation, done once again by SANZIGEN utilizing their “expertise” in 3D CGI, however LA can give the CGI some grace as EVERYTHING is CGI including the human and Mental Models, now you’d think LA would be irritated that, but since everything is CGI it blended together and really LA wouldn’t bitch about the animation as the grand battle set pieces (to some extent the batshit crazy naval battles) were outstanding in terms of animation thus the animation for LA gets HUGE praise.
In terms of voice acting, for what the cast has expanded to, Rie Kugimiya as the main villain of this anime was great (as Rie Kugimiya has now a habit of voicing some unstable villains), while on the other side Suzuko Mimori voicing the eccentric Ashigara was great making the battles even more “batshit”.
Now this movie does make changes to the character designs from the TV series, those being Hyuga, Makie and Kongou and LA at first didn’t know why the re-designs but LA warmed up to them especially Hyuga’s.
The plot twists within this movie does come in the form of “character coming to save the main cast” however those plot twists are more or less glorified and badass cameos for the battle set pieces, but the plot twists that concerns Iona, Gunzou and Musashi give more of a character evolution to them as well as bringing the plot full circle (from both this movie and the anime series).
The ending by all means DOES end this series but it’s bittersweet with a great battle set piece to boot. It did close if not most of the plotlines while utilizing it’s newer cast members and lore of the anime series making this ending satisfying though bittersweet at the same time.
If Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio: Ars Nova Cadenza does anything right is make the “movie-only” character plotline in anime movies make these “movie only” characters have a purpose and don’t just “disappear to be forgotten” to the overall plotline to the anime’s timeline. Seriously if you wanted closure in the Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio: Ars Nova series then Cadenza will deliver.
12: Lupin the IIIrd: Chikemuri no Ishikawa Goemon
Japanese: LUPIN THE IIIRD 血煙の石川五ェ門
MAL Score: 7.86
Lupin’s friend, the samurai Goemon Ishikawa, takes a job as bodyguard for a yakuza boss. But a brutal assassin kills the yakuza and Goemon is honor-bound to track him down.
A 1/10 is the worst score possible on this website and I’ll now explain why in my opinion is a fai score for this film.
Animation: the visuals are my least favourite from all the different animation styles that Lupin III has seen over 50 years. I like the detailed backgrounds but I don’t like the “rough, dark” appearance of the main cast.
1) the soundtrack does not include jazz or “samurai” songs that are part of the musical legacy of Lupin III.
2) the iconic Lupin III theme song is nowhere to be found. You may argue that because this special is more focused on Goemon, it’s something that made sense to leave out of the film but I don’t agree with that at all. The movie is titled “Lupin III” and is part of the franchise. Goemon himself is a main character in the franchise. It only makes sense for the trademark instrumental to be there.
Story and characters:
1) the only characters that act as themselves are Jigen and Fujiko. The rest of the cast seems to have either nothing or very little with the versions of themselves that have existed for 50 years. Lupin doesn’t act as his “happy-totsan-love-me-Fujiko” ways once throughout the film; Zenigata is overly-serious and shows no emotion whatsoever about the possibility of chasing/arresting Lupin and his buddies. Goemon does the unthinkable and this will be a SPOILER!!!!! – Goemon dismantled his Zantetsuken to get a new guard and handle. There’s no way in flipping hell that Goemon would do this. Every single individual that has watched Goemon for at least 5 minutes understands how Goemon feels about his sword. This sword is sacred and is more important to him than his own safety. And then of course Goemon gets stupidly injured by bullets that he’s been able to easily dodge or cut for 50 years and of course at the end Zenigata doesn’t acknowledge him as part of the Lupin III gang and warns him not to trouble his police work. It’s been 50 years worth of thefts and other shenanigans for Goemon with Lupin and the rest but for some stupid reason, someone thought it would make sense for Zenigata to have a case of sudden memory loss about Goemon’s involvement in those events.
2) SPOILER: I don’t know where to put this but to have Goemon challenge a baby Megalodon was ridiculous and absurd.
Regardless if you read the spoilers above or not, the main reason why I gave a 1/10 to this movie is because of this: I sat down and chose to watch this movie because it’s part of the Lupin III franchise. That’s what I expected. It doesn’t sound like Lupin III (soundtrack) and the characters don’t act like the characters from Lupin III. If something takes the name of Lupin III and/or its characters I demand to get the same enjoyment and experience and unfortunately this was a waste of 1 hour of my time that just made me feel that Monkey Punch’s creation was disgraced by this rubbish.
Art direction is fantastic as usual. I really like the more mature view of Lupin III that this movie has. It’s something Lupin needed to a degree, almost as if it’s a homage to the original manga. It’s mature enough to be appealing to older audiences, but doesn’t take itself too seriously. It has the same “air” as all the other Takeshi Koike films. It’s dark and disturbing. Sexual at times. But that’s something I don’t mind. It’s really startling how Lupin can either be fun and light, or can be the complete opposite and sometimes disturb its viewers.
It felt much more enjoyable than Takeshi Koike’s first Lupin special, that being Jigen Daisuke’s Gravestone. I feel like this special was more “tight” – now that they’ve worked with their interpretation of blue jacket Lupin once, they’ve now gotten it right. I’m excited to see what they might have in store next.
I watched this without subtitles and my understanding of spoken Japanese isn’t the greatest, so I can’t say much about the story, unfortunately. The main villain was interesting and creepy, despite not really looking like it.
As for characterization, the special mainly focuses on Goemon and his view of his honour from what I could understand. I felt like his characterization was similar to that of The Mystery of Mamo – he becomes a brooding samurai, faced with defeat, unsure of what to make of himself. He’s not really a punchline at all. He’s very serious in this special, almost to a terrifying degree (as Lupin puts it in the original green jacket series, he’s a “scary man”). The antics between Lupin, Jigen, and Fujiko were quite entertaining. Their silliness was a lot more adult-oriented. I got the feeling from this film that Goemon wasn’t very close to them at all, but I think it fit for his character. Zenigata’s characterization of a more hardened detective is also starting to grow on me, and I liked his interactions with the gang.
Regardless, if you’re a fan of the more violent and serious Lupin, this is a special that you need to watch. I’ll definitely be rewatching it once subtitles come out so I can fully understand it. Visually, this is the most appealing thing. The animation is incredibly smooth and the characters are always so nicely drawn. The way they draw each character has really been refined in this special. It’s definitely a treat, so I highly recommend you check it out.
If you’ve already seen the movie, then you might be disagreeing with me on this. Goemon has a lot of screen time, he struggles with a conflict unlike we’ve ever seen before, and the final scenes are his time to show off. But I have two major problems with how this was executed. One, we never learn anything about how Goemon is feeling, what he’s thinking, or why he does anything directly from him. He barely talks to the other regular characters or interacts with them. Every insight into him is provided by Lupin’s narration, even when there’s zero logical reason for him to know the things he explains. As a result, Goemon comes off as very distant, barely a character. My second problem is that Goemon having such a crisis in the movie makes no sense. The fight that breaks his spirit is nothing out of the ordinary, but if it has such an effect on him, it makes you wonder if this is the first time in his life that he loses. I don’t think they wanted to make the title character come off as a spoiled brat who’s never had to face disappointment before, but that’s what it looked like to me. If they’d presented this as Goemon being an arrogant upstart who learns a lesson, it would have had the potential to be great, but due to the emotional distance, it just doesn’t work.
The plot is fairly incoherent as well. It starts off promisingly enough, with Goemon having been hired as a bodyguard for a mob boss whose casino Lupin, Jigen and Fujiko have decided to rob. The three are being targeted by a new character called Bermuda Ghost, a terrifying giant of a man who seems inhumanly unstoppable. Meanwhile, Zenigata is searching for Bermuda Ghost as part of an investigation.
Circumstances get all these characters mixed with each other, and soon it looks like we’ll be following Goemon on a path of personal revenge and reclaiming his honour. But, due to the reasons mentioned above, it’s not a very engaging path. The movie fails to wrap up most of its plot threads. We never learn who hired Bermuda Triangle and why. Zenigata’s investigation goes nowhere and we never find out why the chief was trying to stop him, creating the feeling that his plot line existed only so that we could have some exposition on who Bermuda Ghost is. Goemon gets over his crisis due to a deus ex machina plot point that comes out nowhere and makes so little sense that Lupin has to explain it to the viewer. The revenge angle has no proper climax for anyone involved. Fujiko just walks out of the movie.
In short, I feel that the people who made this movie had lots of really cool ideas they wanted to include, but they didn’t manage to create a story where the events follow each other logically. I think it might have benefitted from being longer so that it could have given some depth to its characters and tied up the plot more neatly. One of the elements I like best about the Lupin franchise is how the regular characters play off each other, and that is almost entirely missing here. We get a few amusing scenes with Lupin, Fujiko, and Jigen, but other than that it feels like the characters only exist to make the plot move onwards.
All that said, there were also elements that I enjoyed. The animation and colour design are great and make the movie beautiful to look at, the soundtrack is smooth, and there were a bunch of cool and entertaining scenes. The first half in particular worked and raised my expectations pretty high. The fight scenes were as brutal as the title promises, so if you like that kind of thing, this is definitely worth a watch just to see Goemon get beaten that badly. Since this is a direct continuation of Jigen’s Gravestone, I assume there will be more movies taking place in the same timeline. Hopefully they’ll do a better job of wrapping things up.
11: 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!’.
10: Berserk: Ougon Jidai-hen II – Doldrey Kouryaku
English: Berserk: The Golden Age Arc II – The Battle for Doldrey
Japanese: ベルセルク 黄金時代篇Ⅱ ドルドレイ攻略
MAL Score: 7.89
The Band of the Hawk and their enigmatic leader Griffith continue winning battle after battle as their prestige throughout the kingdom of Midland grows. But their latest task is one that has seen failure from everyone who has attempted it: the subjugation of the impenetrable fortress of Doldrey.
But with members like Guts—the captain of the Hawks’ raiders who can easily fell 100 men with his gigantic sword—such tasks prove to be trivial. However, in the aftermath of the battle, Guts decides to leave the Hawks in order to pursue his own dream and bids farewell to his companions, despite Griffith’s attempts to make him stay. This single event causes Griffith to lose his composure, and leads him to make a decision that will alter his and the Hawks’ fates forever.
The animation feels more uneven in this than it does in the last movie. This is more prevelant in slow motion. It feels really choppy like a disc in your game system skipping at times. But it runs much more smoothly at faster speeds. The violence and the gore is very well graphically depicted and makes up for some of the flaws this series has. The violence is just manically massive which is of course the nature of the franchise. I really enjoyed the scene where Guts becomes the 100 man slayer. But to me, the series broody effects would be more immersing if it was more grainy like in the 1980s and 1990s animation styles.
The difference in soundtrack compositions is also more notable. It is more orchestrated and has more acoustic sounds as opposed to the grand chorus style of Hirakawa Susumu. I feel for some fans who have had exposure to the previous series and the games, it will feel unnatural. But to newcomers, I suppose it does work. Other than that, the soundtrack reflects the atmosphere pretty good but of course I’d rather have Hirakawa do everything again.
In this movie, I felt that the performance of Guts’ new seiyuu isnt really that great. These are part of the story arcs was where the original seiyuu really captured Guts. Caska’s new seiyuu I just don’t feel. Sakurai is ok as Griffith, but doesnt have the coldness that Morikawa Toshiyuki has. I really don’t feel the voice acting in this one. I thought the last movie was ok, but this movie really made me miss the original voice cast. I suppose newcomers without any exposure to the original series or the games will be fine with the voice acting. Nobutoshi Canna really defined Guts in the original series and in the DC and PS2 games. I feel that this new voice actor just doesn’t capture Guts as intimidating or as a bad ass. To me, he comes across way too much as a sarcastic cynic and tries to bring too much humor to the character.
In the end, I feel the only way we can see the true potential of these new Berserk installments is when this trilogy is over. What the fans want to see is the post golden age arc animated. Quite frankly, I am glad we have these new installments, but I want to see the berserker armor animated and all the other bad ass shit. And get the old seiyuus and Hirakawa to do the series again.
We get to see the epic battle between the Band of the Hawk and the hilariously named Purple Rhino Heavy Cavalry. As you no doubt already surmised…the battle looks like total crap! Then we get tons of scenes with the Hawks celebrating because there is a very limited amount of time and this movie wants to get the important stuff in. Remember the sub-plot revealing how Midland’s politics work? The one with the royal hunt, the attempt to assassinate Griffith, and Guts’ counter assassination that results in him killing a child? They cut that out. The fact that Guts felt great guilt over that act and it played a huge role in the story for both his character development and his decision to ultimately leave the Hawks…who cares about that? Instead of even alluding to that sub-plot, just have Guts leave for no reason. We need to spend 10 minutes of screen time on a wonderfully Narm, shit CGI sex scene with Griffith, featuring questionable quality violin accompaniment. This movie is meant to introduce Berserk to a new generation and of course THAT was the part of the story they really needed to see. Fuck Guts’ character development. Griffith’s throbbing CGI, 240p resolution cock is FAR more important. Important characters like the devious minister Foss, and the Queen were axed, because that screen time obviously needed to go to Corbowitz and the goblin dungeon keeper. Corbowitz and the goblin were such critical parts of the story and atmosphere of Berserk. This technique of shitty adaptation has been passed down through the Corbowitz family for 3,000 years!
The film badly waters down the story and characters of Berserk, constantly making horrendous decisions to cut out important parts and leave in pointless parts. The CGI is very slightly improved over the first film, but still looks like absolute SHIT. If you are looking to get into the Berserk franchise, read the manga or watch the original anime. Don’t waste your time on the first 2 movies. The 3rd movie actually isn’t bad, but that is another review!
Whereas in the anime series we get to see Griffith in one light, in the movies he appears more humane, new layers of him are being exposed, or should I say, emphasized. In the anime series, the emphasized themes were gradual character development, friendship, loyalty, betrayal, points of view on all that. In the movie adaptations, we don’t get to see that much of character development. The movie mainly reveals more layers to the characters.
What is the most striking is the underlined homoerotic inclinations on Griffith’s part towards Guts, I believe. Casca’s character is pretty much unchanged. But, you’ll see for yourselves.
Sometimes I really didn’t like how they packed up the things and events, especially if I find such things crucial for the building of opinions about one character on the part of another (flashbacks instead of storytelling). However, there were really things worth omitting without doing any damage to the storyline. All in all it remains unchanged, and the message is somewhat conveyed. I’m still debating whether the anime series was more profound than this piece.
As for the animation, as one reviewer said, some motions sequences looked like they really needed debugging. Other than that, the new approach to things and new technology used to make this movie and its prequel, still leaves me puzzled. For ones who like battle scenes, I think this will be feast for the eyes. I especially enjoyed them!
Music and sound was okay, I think that the music used in battle scenes added to them being more dramatic and left me really excited. The spirit of the battlefield and the spirit of the Band of the Hawks is very well conveyed!
As for the voice actors, I think Griffith’s voice actor managed to convey his overall character and charisma perfectly, thus made me thoroughly enjoy the battle scenes even more.
Overall impression is that I find this movie to be very good (8), especially for ones who haven’t watched the 25 episodes of the anime series, this will be candy for the senses. The series will later fill up what is missing. And definitely this one will nicely warm you up to the third movie, which will be released February 2013.
To conclude, this movie is a must-watch and I hope it won’t leave you disappointed. Enjoy yourselves!
9: Koukaku Kidoutai 2.0
English: Ghost in the Shell 2.0
MAL Score: 8.00
Mamoru Oshii’s first Ghost in the Shell cyberspace film will return to five Japanese theaters in an enhanced Ghost in the Shell 2.0 edition on July 12. The new edition will include new computer graphics and digital effects for some scenes and a reunion of most of the cast members for a new 6.1 surround sound recording. Academy-Award-winning sound mixer/editor Randy Thom (Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence, The Incredibles, The Right Stuff) has overseen the new soundtrack with Kenji Kawai’s original music and a final mix that has been produced at Thom and Lucas Digital’s Skywalker Sound studio in California.
In the new edition, the enigmatic Puppet Master character will be played by Yoshiko Sakakibara (Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence’s Harraway, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex’s Prime Minister Yoko Kayabuki). Iemasa Kayumi (Giant Robo’s Chief Chuujou Shizuo, RahXephon’s Ernst Von B?hbem) played the role in the original edition.
The film will screen in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Fukuoka, and Sapporo. Not coincidentally, Oshii’s latest film, The Sky Crawlers, will open one month after Ghost in the Shell 2.0 on August 2.
It’s basically the same as the original one, but the change of Puppet Master’s sex brought about slight changes in the voice actings and the atmosphere. Batou didn’t show so much jealousy over the relationship between Motoko and the Puppet Master, and the fusion of the two gave a pure impression rather than a sexual association.
There are two full 3D CGI scenes, something similar to the OP animation of the S.A.C1. The quality of the two scenes were awesome in the descriptions of the optical camouflage, air bubbles, reflections in the water etc. etc. But nothing buffered between the neighboring 3D and 2D scenes. You see 3D CG Motoko in a scene and the next moment Motoko is now in 2D animation. I understanding these discontinuities that Director Oshii wanted to show us his partial idea about how ideal GiS looks like.
SkyWalker sound studio did a terrific job in the sound effects. They were particular about the differences in gun shot sounds. Each gun sounded distinctively different. The sound of Motoko’s cyborg body torn up was so real that it gave me goosebumps.
No need to mention the greatness of Motoko, Batou, and Togusa. I focus on Sakakibara Yoshiko as Puppet Master. I think this casting has a good and bad point. Compared to the original actor Kayumi Iemasa, Sakakibara’s acting didn’t give me much mysteriousness of the character. (Kayumi’s low tone acting was perfect for giving an enigmatic impression.) Good thing was it got easier to grasp the idea of the Puppet Master’s line "We are mirror images to each other." because Sakakibara’s voice resembled Tanaka Atsuko’s one in this movie.
Before I watched this, I tried to memorize the contents of the original one as much as possible. It was so much fun to find changes in the lines and drawings. If you are fun of GiS 1.0, I strongly recommend to watch this remake. You will have a deeper understanding of this legendary title.
The major difference in 2.0 is the un-matrix-isation of it. GITS was a green movie, in revision it is shifted to a red hue. This makes it way more colorful than intented and a bit disrespectful to Oshii. The introduction sequence is mostly redesigned with 3D additions, it’s quite good and gives the impression this will be a complete revision of the original (which is not the case). The credits Matrix copied over is completely taken out.
Lack of transition between newly introduced 3D with the old 2D is extremely uneven and confusing to the audience. There are some panoramic sequences of the city very similar to GITS: Innocence, they manage to fit in, but character 3D ruins it.
I didn’t notice any difference plotwise, so if any is present it should be minor. My dvd copy of the original has lots of artifacts, especially in the dark scenes. They did a good job digitally cleaning the film on 2.0.
Overall this renewal feels clumsy and makes GITS more generic than it is. Only a blu-ray renewal should have been more than enough. If this’ll be your first time with GITS I strongly advise watching the original first. If you are checking it for a rewatch there is no harm with trying 2.0.
Ghost in the Shell 2.0 is to Ghost in the Shell what the Special Editions are to Star Wars, and while GitS 2.0 is nowhere nearly as egregious as the Special Editions, it still feels like a pointless exercise in updating a previous work.
GitS 2.0 was released in 2008 in celebration for the release of The Sky Crawlers in theatres that same year, as a way for it’s director, Memoru Oshii, and studio Production I.G. to cross promote both projects. The intention of 2.0 was to “remaster” the original film in away, but it doesn’t really feel like a remaster, it feels like a project intended to make money of an established franchise. And what we got was a weird mix of 2D animation from 1995 mixed with 13 years worth of advancement in CGI attached to a film never intended to have it in the first place.
The main difference between Gits 2.0 and The Sky Crawlers, besides the obvious subject matter and presentation, is that The Sky Crawlers was planned from the start to have CGI integrated with the 2D animation, and as a result, the mix between the CGI and the 2D animation for that movie mesh a lot better in that film.
The biggest and most obvious change in 2.0 is that a few scenes have been replaced with fully 3D animated versions of those scenes. These new scenes conflict with the original, not only because the switch between the 3D and 2Dcan be a bit jarring, but the 3D is presented in a different style to the 2D. This wouldn’t have been so bad if it weren’t for the conflicting film making styles between the 2D and the 3D.
The original film is almost entirely simple static shots, while the 3D animation has sweeping camera shots that don’t fit the style of the original at all, simply because the 2D animation wasn’t capable of these shots. The film was working with what it could the time it was released. It just feels weird going from smooth flowing movements with the CGI, to all of a sudden staring at a static couple of characters talking or plot happening.
There are several other shots throughout the film that have had parts of them replaced with CGI, such as aircraft or certain background features like an aquarium. I guess these were used to heighten scenes, but like I said before, the original Ghost in the Shell film was never meant to have CGI, so it just feels out of place.
I wouldn’t call the CGI awful, but it’s definitely just OK. It’s pretty clear the team behind the CGI added shaders onto it to try and give it a bit of a 2D feel, trying to wash out any detail the 3D models had, but it doesn’t help. A minor nitpick i have is the difference between look of the digital picture. It doesn’t match the grainy filmic look of the original footage. That sounds like a weird complaint, but it just shows the difference between something made in a computer and something made in an analog format by human hands (ironic).
The only change that i thought looked good were the holograms throughout the film being replaced with the CGI. They were the only things in the original meant to look digital to begin with, so the replacement CGI is the least intrusive CGI in the whole thing.
Another minor grievance I have is the framerate difference between the 2D animation and the 3D animation. It’s just another reason on the pile of reasons that mixing the 2D animation and the 3D animation wasn’t that good of an idea.
Everything else that wasn’t completely replaced with the CGI has also been modified to varying degrees. Every shot of the film has been tinted with a warm orange color, with varying intensity. Some shots it’s barely noticeable, and in some shots, it’s overpowering to the point of washing out a few scenes. It completely ruins the cold clinical blue look that the original film was going for, that was supposed to help heighten the sense of some characters losing their identities and becoming more robotic with how modified their bodies were. I assume it the color tinting was to help the older 2D animated scenes match the new CGI, but it just ruins the stylistic choices the original had.
The weirdest thing about this new version is the way it was re-edited. Several scenes have been changed, and there doesn’t seem to be a reason why. All of the edits are simple trims, cutting anything from a couple of frames to about a second of time off at most. But the fact that these edits were made make no sense. They add literally nothing to the whole experience. I don’t know if it was done to make the whole experience feel different or was done just to make a change for changes sake, but it just felt unnecessary.
The other obvious and significant change is the new audio mix. The original soundtrack was re-arranged and re-recorded, and the whole thing was remixed into 6.1Channel Surround, done by Randy Thom over at Skywalker Sound,previously working on Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence. For the most part, I don’t really have any problems with this. A lot of the new sound effects are not terrible, but nothing to complain about.
Along with the remixed audio, the Japanese voices were also re-recorded to try and modernize the dialogue. I don’t speak Japanese, but from what I can tell compared to a decent amount of Japanese performances that I’ve heard throughout the years, the performances are fine. The biggest change is that the original voice of The Puppet Master, played by Iemasa Kayumi, the male voice, was replaced by Yoshiko Sakakibara, a now female voice. This isn’t necessarily a bad choice, but it feels like another change in a long list of unnecessary changes.
I could see the argument that since it’s a robot intended to be female, it would have a female voice, but then why does the Major’s voice change back to her previous voice at the end of movie when she’s in a new body? And since the new sentient AI was born in the sea of information, it would either go with whatever voice it happened to be “born”with or pick something that represented itself.
I have no idea if this change was done with some sort of intent, but considering how many weird changes that 2.0 gets seemingly without much thought, I’d be surprised if there was any intent in the change of voice besides changing something for the sake of it, like maybe a perceived error in casting a male voice.
When it comes down to it, this whole 2.0 experiment feels a little pointless. If the entire film was redone as CGI, it would have at least been consistent in it’s quality. It still might have been a pointless shot-for-shot remake, but it would have felt less intrusive. But instead, what we got was a mixed bag in terms of a “remaster”. None of the changes feel like they enough of a change to justify their existence.
Best case scenario,Ghost in the Shell 2.0 is a companion piece to the original and is for fans only. Worst case, it’s entirely skippable, but doesn’t exactly ruin the film. I have a hard time recommending this when it’s incredibly easy to find and watch the original version of GitS over 2.0. The only people who would be interested in this version of the film would be fans of the original version anyway, and those are the people who would complain about this the loudest. And this version is not exactly a good way to introduce more people to a classic movie like this.
8: Kara no Kyoukai Movie: Mirai Fukuin
English: the Garden of sinners -recalled out summer-
Japanese: 劇場版 空の境界 未来福音
MAL Score: 8.02
Shiki Ryougi, Mikiya Kokutou, and Touko Aozaki begin investigating a bomber after they witness a nearby explosion. That same night, Shiki catches a glimpse of the bomber, and as a result, he becomes fixated on her. To get rid of her, the madman plays a game of cat and mouse in attempts to lure her to an empty parking garage. And bombs are not the only thing he has in his arsenal: he also possesses the ability to see the future, and he intends to bring an end to Shiki.
Elsewhere a few days prior, a student at Reien Girls’ Academy, Shizune Seo, plans to head home for the summer. However, while exiting a bus, she has a vision of the future involving a nearby stranger’s death. While trying to warn the stranger, she meets Mikiya—who succeeds in utilizing Shizune’s information effectively.
Subsequently, an employee is sent on a job with his employer’s 10-year-old daughter in tow. However, the subject of his investigation turns out to be a ghost from both of their pasts.
Mirai Fukuin tells the stories set during the main timeline of the Kara no Kyoukai films, as well as one set in the future.
Taking place in the summer of August, the film serves as a side story based off the novel series. Divided into two parts known as Mobius Ring and Mobius Link, the movie explores an insight relating to the power of precognition. That’s what it is on the surface anyways. In essence, the movie composes of two worlds as the main character Seo describes – the present and the future. In retrospect, we see from her viewpoint the power that encompasses herself as a special individual. She is able to see into the future before an event and can respond accordingly. But as a young and shy girl, Seo lacks confidence in her powers to be able to deliver its message at first. It’s easy to tell since such a power can be viewed as both a gift and a curse. That doesn’t come easy for her until fate comes together with a young man named Mikiya Kokutou whom she meets. Their meeting marks a breaking point for Seo. It’s from this encounter that she realizes there’s more than just what meets the eye. Mirai Fukin deals with Seo’s understanding of her powers and its responsibilities.
On the other hand, we have a young man named Mitsuru Kamemura also possessing the ability of precognition to foresee into the future. Unlike Seo, he uses his power for twisted purposes. Adapting the role of a serial bomber, Mitsuru describes his bombs as “toys” and treats the world like a twisted game. In essence, he holds the controller to trigger the bomb and thanks to his foresee ability is able to cheat life and death. Representing the dark side of the movie, Mitsuru is a man that lacks compassion in Mobius Ring. From minute one that he enters the show, there’s a thrilling atmosphere surrounding his appearance. It stands out for the fact that he simply enjoys every kill and treats it as a game. At one point of the story, Mitsuru admits that he hasn’t had this much fun in a while until he meets Shiki. Returning from the previous Kara no Kyoukai movies, Shiki plays the role of a player in Mitsuru’s twisted game. But to defy against such a power takes guts and complexity. For Shiki, she is a cunning woman and stays ahead of the game. While not always able to solve problems in a civil way, Shiki comes off as a woman that can perceive death based on her own powers – the sacred Mystic Eyes of Death Perception. In retrospect, she shows her fearlessness and goes against destiny.
The remainder of the film revisits Mitsuru’s life. Only this time, he plays a different role with a young girl named Mana. Rather than killing others for the sake of the thrill, Mitsuru adapts more of a guardian role for this young girl. Fast forwarding to 10 years into the future, Mitsuru acts with care for Mana but also questions about his own future. It’s symmetric to the film’s power involving premonition. At the same time, there’s a concept involving salvation dealing with choices and regret. With such a power, one would think its way to change the world. But for people like Seo and Mitsuru, they use it for their purposes. And while contrasting in one another with their usage, they deal with the responsibility.
Throughout the film, a supporting character by the name of Ms. Diviner talks about destiny and what fate has in store for people such as Shiki. And it’s true too, because fate allowed Seo and Mikiya to meet one another. Through their bonding comes trust and more confidence. Mirai Fukin focuses on a more psychological aspect of its storytelling rather than shounen action. That is one part the movie lacks in terms of aspect. Action is minimal in the movie only involving the serial bomber Mitsuru as he uses his powers. But what we should be more focused on is Mitsuru’s motivations. It delivers a stellar execution as he tests the limits of his powers but not fueled by any significant goal such as revenge or bounty. He is more like a textbook with no answer key that is hard to read on the surface.
Regrettably the movie lacks spectacular action but it makes it up for its extravagant visuals. As expected from the studio ufotable, known for its other involvement of the previous films, it delivers its magnificent animation style to life. It triumphs not just in its visual production values but its ability to match with the atmosphere. The Kara no Kyoukai franchise has an eerie atmosphere and this latest installation adapts it like a charm even for morbid actions such as serial bombing. It also captures the moment of the setting with its dog days in the summer when it focuses on the background such as the plants and chilling nights. Some of the scenes involving the characters walking in a dark alley brings back some nostalgia from the previous movie to convey its eerie atmosphere. Character designs are also consistent that conveys Shiki’s cunning personality, Seo’s innocence, Mana’s ebullience, Mikiya’s wisdom, and Mitsuru’s ideologies. It holds it altogether with their visage.
While ufotable is known for its prowess with animation production values, the soundtrack of this movie is also not a pushover. From the introduction to the very ending minute, this movie seizes its every moment to bring the OST to life. It ranges from the eerie atmosphere, the intimidating tone with the cat-and-mouse game between Shiki and Mitsuru, and mature conversation in the café. I would also give praise especially to Mitsuru’s performance for his voice mannerisms that captures his calculating movements. Similarly, Shiki’s voice also conveys her sly personality as she is able to fight against fate on her own terms. The theme song by Kalafina as well as Yuki Kajiura’s performance also shows their talent in an elegant manner.
1 hour and 30 minutes. That’s all it needs for this film to deliver its message. But for such a power to be able to foresee into the future through precognition, there are infinite answers to its true purpose. What we know is that everyone’s ideologies fits somewhere like pieces to a puzzle. This movie presents its themes and ideas in tolerant manners that matches with its mysterious atmosphere. And as expected, ufotable adapts this atmosphere with consistency in both artwork and soundtrack. For a movie that serves a side story, I highly recommend this presentation as an appreciation to its previous installations. It’s a gem that shines with grace.
The Mirai Fukuin movie adapts two of the five short light novel stories released back in 2008: Möbius ring and Möbius link. The first half of the movie, Möbius ring, portrays two people possessing similar abilities of precognition. However, one tries to live her life as a normal schoolgirl and the other utilizes his foresight ability and becomes a professional bomber. The second half, Möbius link, fast forwards to over a decade where Mikiya’s and Shiki’s daughter Mana plays the role of the main character where she and her partner investigate anomalies in the city. What I enjoy about these premises is the fact that though they may seem unrelated, the stories intertwine with one another. Similar themes of precognition and questioning what the future holds are present in both chronicles. Though there is much less action in Mirai Fukuin compared to the previous movies, what made up for it was how beautifully executed the stories were.
Along with magnificently adapted stories, Mirai Fukuin possessed beautiful animations. As always, ufotable is able to make every scene come to life, whether it is rain droplets falling from the sky, Shiki’s Mystic Eyes of Death Perception, or even bomb explosions. Ufotable’s unique animation style is what makes Kara no Kyoukai stand out. And coupled with the beautiful animations is the beautiful music. With Yuki Kajiura as the composer and Kalafina performing the ending theme like the previous movies, one can expect that each song completely fits the atmosphere. The trinity of story, animation, and music is overall spectacular, each category supporting the other two to make it look even more stunning.
However, one cannot create a great story unless the characters themselves are equally as good. Mirai Fukuin introduces two new prominent characters, Mitsuru Kamemura and Mana Ryougi. Seo Shizune was previously seen in the sixth movie, Oblivion Recorder, but has been expanded greatly in the latest installment. Seo and Mitsuru both possess the power of precognition, but differ greatly on how they use it. As previously stated, one tries to become a regular schoolgirl, which is Seo, and another becoming a professional bomber, which is Mitsuru. Mana of course is the daughter of the two most prominent characters of the series. The three character’s personalities were fleshed out quite nicely in just one movie. Of course, characters such as Mikiya, Shiki, and Touko play a role in Mirai Fukuin.
Overall, I found this to be a very enjoyable movie. I did, however, find it slightly disappointing that there was next to no action in Mirai Fukuin, but when it did, it was spectacular. Though three years was a long wait to watch the next installment, it was worth it. Type-Moon, Nasu Kinoko, and ufotable did an incredible job with this series and I hope they will provide more high quality features in the future. The movie ending quite nicely, and I am glad that the Kara no Kyoukai franchise ended in such a manner.
7: Lupin III: Cagliostro no Shiro
English: Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro
Japanese: ルパン三世 カリオストロの城
MAL Score: 8.15
Arsene Lupin III discovers that the spoils from his latest casino robbery are actually “Gothic Bills,” legendary counterfeits that are nigh impossible to distinguish from genuine bills. Together with colleague Daisuke Jigen, he heads to the small nation of Cagliostro to investigate the origin of these counterfeits. Upon arrival, they save a girl from a high-speed chase who turns out to be Clarisse d’ Cagliostro, the daughter of the late Duke d’ Cagliostro. She is running from a sinister plot by Count Cagliostro to steal her family’s treasure through a forced marriage.
Natural flirt Lupin dislikes seeing a girl in distress and seeks to remedy the situation. Goemon Ishikawa XIII, Fujiko Mine, and Kouichi Zenigata also join the fray, each with their own motivations. As everyone converges at Cagliostro Castle, Lupin reminisces about his visit there 10 years ago, and the castle’s secrets emerge from the depths.
Lupin and Jigen are following the trail of some counterfeit money to a castle in a small independent country in Europe. This leads them to a girl from Lupin’s past in need of a hero.
Miyazaki’s first feature film is a great one. He takes the already lovable Lupin cast and makes them just a bit more innocent, which gives this a very pleasant fairy tale feel. The characters are charming, and it’s a joy watching the story unfold.
In this great adventure, our heroes set out to save the damsel in a tower from an evil count. The always great Fujiko is there looking for some loot, samurai Goemon shows up to lend his blade, and Inspector Zenigata is on Lupin’s tail as always.
The movie has a laid back, cool feel at first. It also gets pretty fast paced, and the action heats up. Pretty much, it’s great to see all the Lupin characters in top form, their interactions always entertaining.
There are some nice nods for fans of the series too. For example, a montage of a younger Lupin’s exploits features some of the situations from the intro of the original series.
It’s beautifully animated, with a very moving score by Yuji Ohno. And of course, great voice work from the Lupin cast. Plus this movie has one of the coolest car chases ever.
Pretty much, this movie is two masters at the top of their game, Hayao Miyazaki and Lupin III. A true classic, check it out.
Little known director Masaaki Ōsumi directed a show called Lupin III, an action/adventure/comedy series based upon the exploits of the eponymous master thief from the manga by Monkey Punch, which in turn was inspired by Maurice Leblanc’s crime novels about gentleman thief Arsène Lupin. The show proved to be too dark and adult-themed for general audiences, so Ōsumi was replaced by two directors. The new duo working under the name “A Productions Directors,” consisted of Isao Takahata (who would later give us emotional films like Grave of the Fireflies and Only Yesterday) and Hayao Miyazaki. Under their direction, the show was given a lighter, more family friendly tone, though this did little to affect the show’s already poor ratings. Following the show’s cancellation, Miyazaki and Takahata worked on various projects together. In 1979, the creators of the original Lupin III show, TMS Entertainment, ask Miyazaki to come back and direct the next feature film in the franchise. At this point, Lupin III has had one live-action movie (that borders on being absolutely terrible), one anime film (that’s in the same adult style as the original series), and a second anime TV show. With Miyazaki now in the director’s chair, one of the finest films ever created is made.
The Castle of Cagliostro debuted in Japanese theaters on December 15, 1979, only five days after the second series’ 113th episode. While initial reviews were positive, the film failed to become a box-office success and thus only had a limited theatrical release. However, over the years the film gained a cult-like status and was a fan-favorite at various anime conventions. There’s even a rumor that it was shown at the Cannes Film Festival (making it the first anime to be shown there), though there’s very little out there to verify this. Even more dubious is the claim that Steven Spielberg was in attendance and called it, “One of the greatest adventure movies of all time.” In 1992, the film was dubbed into English by Streamline Pictures and was distributed internationally. In 2000, Manga Entertainment purchased the license from Streamline and created an all-new second dub. I’ll talk about each dub in detail later on. Now that you know this history behind this film, you’re probably wondering if it’s worth all the hype. To answer that question, I can respond with a firm, “Yes!”
The story starts off rather simply. Lupin III and his buddy Daisuke Jigen have just robbed millions of dollars off a high-class casino, making a clean getaway in their stylish Fiat 500. When they examine the money, the duo soon realizes it’s all counterfeit. Lupin instantly recognizes the high quality workmanship of the money. Years ago, he attempted to find the source of the “goat bills” himself, but was almost killed and narrowly escaped with his life. Now Lupin decides to locate the source once again at its supposed location: The Castle of Cagliostro. Before arriving, they rescue a young girl who was being pursued by a gang of thugs. She is later captured by the men, but not before leaving a ring bearing the crest of Cagliostro that gets into Lupin’s possession. The girl is revealed to be Princess Clarisse, who is to be married to the Count in a few days. By marrying Clarisse, the Count wishes to cement his own position of power by bringing the two families together and to uncover the fabled treasure of Cagliostro. Lupin bears a strange connection to Clarisse as old memories from his past soon come back to haunt him. No-nonsense samurai Goemon Ishikawa XIII joins the Lupin gang to help rescue the princess and Fujiko Mine assists by working under disguise at the castle. Kochi Zenigata also shows up in order to capture Lupin, but winds up helping him instead.
Castle of Cagliostro is a real visual treat for the eyes. The gorgeous backgrounds are full of intricate detail and color. The character designs may seem simplistic, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Lupin and his gang were meant to look this way. Not as realistic drawings, but as cartoonish and vibrant characters. Some people have claimed that this animation doesn’t look as good as Studio Ghibli’s films. I really think that’s an unfair comparison. Studio Ghibli’s artwork is more realistic, yet fantastical at the same time. With Cagliostro, the style is completely different. Lupin III has always been more about simplicity, and that’s not a bad thing. Characters are supposed to look basic, while backgrounds are meant to be more detailed. If this movie had animation like Princess Mononoke or Spirited Away, it simply would not work. Not only does this look amazing for 1979, it’s still breathtaking today. From that dreamlike opening titles sequence, to the masterfully animated car chase scene, to that climatic clock tower duel; Cagliostro simply looks beautiful. My review on the animation cannot do this film justice. It really has to be seen to be believed. The soundtrack is great too. Series veteran Yuji Ohno is at the reins here and his jazzy tunes perfectly fit each scene. The score can bold and upbeat for the more intense action scenes, as well as subtle and quieter for more mellow parts. The film’s main theme, “Treasure of the Flame,” is one of Ohno’s best contributions to the Lupin III music mythos with its beautiful lyrics and composition. I’m sure that most fans (myself included) will get a kick out of the use of the amazing Lupin III ’80 theme during the opening car chase theme. I also really enjoyed the use of the third movement from Bach’s BWV 590 organ piece during the wedding scene. It feels so haunting, yet strikingly beautiful at the same time. Altogether, Cagliostro looks and sounds wonderful. ‘Nuff said.
As mentioned before, Hayao Miyazaki is director, and his fingerprints are all over this movie with its characters. You won’t find any of his environmental or political themes here, but his influence is still strongly felt. Lupin is noticeably much more “nicer” than previous incarnations and demonstrates his more chivalric side. Although he is very much after the treasure, he no doubt wants to save Clarisse by being, as he puts it: “your thief in the night.” Yasuo Yamada is back again as Lupin and he plays him expertly as always. In fact, all the Japanese regulars are here again. There’s really not too much else to say about the original Japanese audio, because it’s pretty much perfect. The actors hit all the right notes with each scene and character, so there are no problems here. Instead, I’ll talk more about the two English dubs. In the Streamline dub, Lupin is voiced by veteran voice actor Bob Bergen. I should also note that in this version, Lupin is referred to at all times as “The Wolf,” due to fears of copyright from Maurice Leblanc’s intellectual property estate. This is sort of laughable though, as the symbol on his belt clearly bears the letter “L,” and his calling card also reads the name “Lupin.” While I normally enjoy Bergen’s voice work, he sounds way too cartoonish and silly here. It’s not terrible or anything, just kind of unfitting for a master thief. David Hayter in the Manga dub, on the other hand, is far better suited for the role. You heard me right. The same guy who voices Solid Snake in the Metal Gear series voices our main protagonist. How cool is that? He perfectly gives Lupin that “nice guy” vibe and always nails each line of dialogue. There are hints of kindness in his voice, but also a bit of the gruff Snake tone when he gets more serious. With Zenigata, David Povall is serviceable in the Streamline dub, but Dougary Grant proves to be much more entertaining to watch in the Manga dub. It’s clear that Grant was trying to emulate Gorō Naya’s acting in the original Japanese dub, though he does a good job in the role himself nonetheless. This time around, Zenigata teams up with Lupin to uncover the secret behind Cagliostro’s counterfeiting ring. The banter between these two guys is pretty funny to watch seeing as how they’re normally enemies.
Then we have our main villain, Count Cagliostro himself. There’s really not a lot to say about him, because there’s little character to him other than he’s the evil guy after the treasure and power. Even still, he provides an excellent foil to Lupin by being that diabolical antagonist to go against our hero’s noble and heroic antics. Both actors in the two dubs do a pretty good job of getting that “snobbish aristocrat” personality out of him and there’s not a whole lot of difference between their performances since they handle the character so similarly. The final sword fight between Cagliostro and Lupin in the clock tower is an absolute joy to watch; and it’s seems to have inspired several works of animation from The Great Mouse Detective to Batman the Animated Series. I should also note that voice actor Kirk Thornton actually appears in both dubs! In the Manga dub, he plays Count Cagliostro and in the Streamline dub he plays the chief guard Gustav (who in the Manga dub has an awful Arnold Schwarzenegger-like voice).
We also have two female supporting characters. The first is Clarisse. With her voice, I have to say that I prefer Joan-Carol O’Connell’s acting in the Streamline dub than Bridget Hoffman in the Manga dub. Both actresses do a great job, but I feel that Hoffman sounds a bit too childish for my tastes. Clarisse seems to be little else other than the stereotypical damsel in distress. However, I don’t necessarily see this as a bad thing. That famous scene where Lupin climbs the tower to rescue Clarisse is an obvious homage to classic fairy tales. In fact, I think that in the Streamline dub this is more apparent when Lupin calls himself Clarisse’s “knight in shining armor.” Even though she may not be the strongest female character ever, you still want to see her rescued by Lupin. Again, it’s sort of the same with the Count. These characters aren’t meant to be complex, but rather basic archetypes that are supposed to be simple enough for the audience to sympathize with. Lupin is the brave hero, the Count is the evil villain, and Clarisse is the damsel in distress. With this kind of film, you don’t need any more depth or character beyond that. That’s not to say there’s not a strong female character in this film. Come on, it’s Miyazaki! He’s better than that! That role belongs to Fujiko Mine, Lupin’s lover, ally, and foe. In Cagliostro, Fujiko is no longer the buxom babe that she was in previous incarnations. Miyazaki never cared for Fujiko being the object of Lupin’s lustful desires and long-time fans of the franchise will immediately know what I’m talking about. This time around, she’s a spy working undercover at the Count’s castle. She helps Lupin out of sticky situations, but it’s clear she has her own intentions. Between Streamline’s Edie Mirman and Manga’s Dorothy Elias-Fahn, the point must go to the Manga dub. Elias-Fahn gives off much more emotion than Mirman, whom I consider to be a little too stiff in the role.
Finally, we have our supporting characters Daisuke Jigen and Goemon Ishikawa XIII. In previous anime, Jigen and Goemon are Lupin’s loyal henchmen and that’s no different here. Jigen is Lupin’s straight man, and he always has Lupin’s back with his quick gun-slinging skills. I found Jigen’s Streamline voice actor, Steve Bulen, to be way better than Manga’s John Snyder by far. Bulen feels perfectly natural, but Snyder tries to add a sort of “toughness” that’s unconvincing. He’s still perfectly fine, but there is a notable difference between the two actors. Either way, both manage to have perfect chemistry together with Lupin’s actors Bob Bergen and David Hayter, respectively. Sword-wielding samurai Goemon has little dialogue in both versions. As an honorable warrior of little words, he’s the type of guy who doesn’t waste time talking and focuses solely on the matters at hand. Steve Kramer in the Streamline dub and Richard Epcar in the Manga dub give different takes of the character. Kramer is quiet and calm with his voice (though he does have quite a few annoying one-liners), while Epcar’s voice is deeper and has more presence. I don’t really think it matters that much if I compare the two together, since Goemon doesn’t have that big of a role in this film to begin with. Basically, the two actors play him fine. Speaking of Goemon, here’s a pretty cool Easter egg I discovered at the beginning of the film. Lupin and Jigen rob a casino in the intro, but throw the money away when they realize it’s fake. If one looks closely during the scene where Lupin tosses the bills out of the sunroof, the top of Goemon’s head and sword can be seen in the pile of money! I didn’t realize this until I read some trivia online. This is probably why Lupin and Jigen were able to make such a clean getaway and they probably dropped him off before they reached the Cagliostro border. I’m guessing that there was probably a planned sequence with Goemon, but it was taken out from the final film. Really though, Jigen and Goemon don’t serve that much of a major purpose in the film other than being Lupin’s backup. Still, I think that they’re both given enough screen-time as is. Giving Jigen and Goemon bigger roles would only shoehorn them into the plot. This film is really more about Lupin and his own quest to save Clarisse.
Overall, both dubs have their own strengths and weaknesses. The Streamline dub takes some rather needless liberties from the original Japanese script and the lip movements don’t always match up with the dialogue; but the acting is solid for the most part. The Manga dub is much more faithful to the Japanese script and the acting is strong; but there is much more swearing in this version. I’m not offended by this or anything, but it kind of ruins what’s otherwise a family friendly film. Regardless of which dub you get, it shouldn’t really affect your overall viewing experience. I’m honestly a purist for the original Japanese language track with English subtitles, but I have to say that I prefer the Manga dub over the Streamline version. Since most releases usually have the Manga dub, that’s probably what you’re going to get anyways. The Streamline dub will probably appeal more to those nostalgic fans who had the film on VHS way back when it was originally released, but it really shouldn’t matter for the casual viewer.
Now that I’ve talked about virtually every aspect of the film, I’m going to give my own personal take and thoughts on something that rarely gets talked about: the hidden level of emotion and storytelling that can easily be missed by the average viewer. I’m probably drifting into spoiler territory here, but chances are you’ve probably seen the film already. If you haven’t; skip this paragraph, watch the film, and then come back to it. Anyways, onto my analysis.
When I first saw this film, I instantly knew it was a perfectly crafted animated feature. I really loved the film, but because it was my first time in the rich universe of Lupin III, a lot of things slipped under my radar. What do I mean by this? After I had seen the film, I soon went to the original green-jacket series. The Lupin I saw in that show was almost the polar opposite of the one I saw in Cagliostro. While in the film he was brave, heroic, and chivalric; our thief in the show was crude, mean, and arrogant. This was of course due to the way he was originally portrayed in the manga series by Monkey Punch. What could have possibly caused this drastic change in character? The touch of Hayao Miyazaki. When Miyazaki and Takahata first worked on the series, Lupin’s evolution began. The series started hinting at this, but by the time we’re in Cagliostro; the change is complete. The production-wise reason of this was that Miyazaki disliked the original character of Lupin and wanted him to be more likable and nicer. Story-wise though, we see something that perhaps was unintended. The opening of the film shows Lupin and Jigen on a more-or-less standard caper: stealing money. The robbery goes off without a hitch and it’s clear that Lupin has mastered the art of thieving at this point. When he sees the counterfeit bills, that’s when Lupin’s old memories resurface. The man thinks back to a time where he was young and just starting out. In fact, we are treated to a brief flashback sequence that shows actual scenes from the original series re-animated and integrated mid-way through the film. Lupin looks upon those days with regret and chides himself for being so arrogant. Perhaps this represents Miyazaki’s own views on his earlier animation career. Now that Lupin is more experienced, those rookie days are behind him. Lupin wants to save Clarisse for the reason that he himself might be saved. As mentioned before, Clarisse is the damsel in distress; but she means much more than that to Lupin. She’s his path to what could possibly be a normal life. A normal life away from the chase and the thrills of being a thief on the run from the law. He battles through Cagliostro’s forces with all his might and in the end; he’s successful in rescuing her. Lupin is then face with a personal choice: what do I do from here? He looks into Clarisse’s eyes and sees the innocence that he himself never had. Lupin doesn’t want Clarisse to have the same life by following him. Instead, he leaves her behind but vows to always be at her side if needed.
That final scene in which Zenigata is in hot pursuit of Lupin symbolizes how his thieving ways will never change. Lupin will never have a normal life because he doesn’t need one. He lives and enjoys his life by always being on the move and savoring every moment of the chase. Going back to Miyazaki, I think this also shows his own personal choice by being an animator. He enjoys what he does, and wants to create these kinds of films for the rest of his life. Just as Lupin’s purpose in life is to steal, Miyazaki’s is to create animated films. And that’s what I believe is the main theme in Cagliostro. Looking upon your own life and questioning if this is what you’re happy with. Can people really change, or do we stay the same throughout our lives? I find it quite ironic that such a seemingly simple film has these kinds of themes. Whether or not Miyazaki actually intended for this film to have a deeper meaning is up for debate, but I think that’s the whole beauty of it all. It doesn’t really matter if the creator intended for this film to have any symbolism or meaning. That’s up for the audience to decide. Cagliostro isn’t just an entertaining film, but a film that can actually teach you something if you look hard enough. Miyazaki does this in all of his films, but in Cagliostro it’s just less apparent. Now the difference between the film and the television show is probably quite obvious. Films have longer running times, thus more character development and plot can be added in. You can add drama and the previous themes that I mentioned, but not so much in a television show episode. Since Lupin episodes only are about 20 minutes, it usually just cuts right to the action. It’s a nice change of pace to see Lupin given more character and emotion than his usual TV self. Needless to say, I realized none of this when watching the film for the first time. However, going into this film with a new set of eyes made it mean a whole lot more to me.
Now we come to the bad news. In the US, there’s unfortunately no definitive release of this wonderful film. Manga’s original DVD release of the film is a non-anamorphic transfer that only has decent picture quality. The DVD itself doesn’t even have any extras. A few years later, Manga released a “Special Edition” that improves picture quality and they even added a couple of extras. However, one absolutely pointless change completely ruins this release. The original opening titles sequence has been altered. Instead of using that beautiful animation with the Japanese credits, Manga decided to remove all Japanese text and only show still frames of the intro. Why would they ever do such a thing? It completely takes you out of the moment and destroys the original version! That’s why I cannot recommend you purchase this so called “Special Edition.” Both DVDs have also been long out of print for years. In Japan, Cagliostro received a deluxe Blu-ray treatment with a gorgeous new transfer in crystal clear 1080p high definition. Seeing has how it’s region free, I would have imported this in a heartbeat; but there are no English subtitles or language options. Europe received a full English version of this Blu-ray, but it’s region-locked; thus it can’t be imported by anyone else. I really hope that this release will come stateside soon. And why shouldn’t it? This is a classic work of Japanese animation! To all those that live in Japan and Europe, I urge you to buy this! Hopefully the strong sales of it will guarantee a wider release!
Hayao Miyazaki’s last involvement with the Lupin III franchise was directing final two episodes of the second TV series. Miyazaki himself really doesn’t consider the film his best work, and called it a “clearance sale on all the previous Lupin ideas I had previously done.” If one watches the original television series, the influences that it had on this film will be extremely noticeable. There are many scenes here that are almost taken shot-for-shot from the series and a lot of the scenarios are similar. And perhaps that’s what makes this film so enjoyable. It takes everything that that Miyazaki ever did with the Lupin III series and puts it together into one satisfying experience. I don’t think that Miyazaki is ever going to go back to Lupin. Now that he’s with Studio Ghibli, there’s little reason for him to go back to the franchise. My one dream is for there to be a brand new Lupin III animated feature film that reaches audiences worldwide. It would give our thief the international popularity he deserves, similar to how Spielberg’s Tintin film revived interest in Hergé’s original comic series. Even if that never happens, at least we still have this masterful film that has aged remarkably well. This is a movie that, after you’re done watching, you immediately get a good feeling inside. Anyone who’s a fan of Hayao Miyazaki should see this film as it demonstrates his own animation techniques just when he was starting out. If you’re a serious fan of animation or film, you owe it to yourself to see the Castle of Cagliostro. It gets my highest praise and reminds us all why we enjoy the genre in the first place. Go see it!
The art style may seem a bit dated to some, but despite its age, it really gives the film life and is a treat for the eyes.
In terms of audio, the dub and sub are both very nice, especially the dub. Coming from a person who cannot stand anything in dubbed, I have to say that their English voice actors, really fit their characters roles and as such made it easier to enjoy the film, so for those of you who prefer English over sub, you are in for a treat.
The characters in general, ranging from Lupin all the way to the zany inspector Zenigata, were well written and interesting, with their various personalities, actions, and dialogue. It never felt stale, they really kept the picture alive.
To be entirely honest, if you are a lover of Hayao Miyazakis work, or perhaps a lover of things involving Lupin and his pals, then I can guarantee that you will love this film, because it is quite honestly a classic.
MAL Score: 8.16
Japan, 1988. An explosion caused by a young boy with psychic powers tears through the city of Tokyo and ignites the fuse that leads to World War III. In order to prevent any further destruction, he is captured and taken into custody, never to be heard from again. Now, in the year 2019, a restored version of the city known as Neo-Tokyo—an area rife with gang violence and terrorism against the current government—stands in its place. Here, Shoutarou Kaneda leads “the Capsules,” a group of misfits known for riding large, custom motorcycles and being in constant conflict with their rivals “the Clowns.”
During one of these battles, Shoutarou’s best friend Tetsuo Shima is caught up in an accident with an esper who finds himself in the streets of Tokyo after escaping confinement from a government institution. Through this encounter, Tetsuo begins to develop his own mysterious abilities, as the government seeks to quarantine this latest psychic in a desperate attempt to prevent him from unleashing the destructive power that could once again bring the city to its knees.
Akira is a very controversial piece of art—but a remarkable one regardless. It’s not an easy watch by any means, nor it is an easy review subject: the ambition and influence exerted by the movie and its creators make grasping and appraising it in its entirety far from trivial. As virtually every other seminal work of art, Akira is nowhere near flawless, hence why many people don’t even consider it a good movie—what with all the gratuitous bloodbath, plot holes, odd side-characters and whatnot—just read some other reviews here. A good bulk of the criticism is valid for sure. But what do we have beside it?
Allow me to get the bad out of the way: if there is a particular aspect where Akira is teetering on the edge of failure in my opinion, it’s the fact that Katsuhiro Otomo chose to stuff an elaborate story encompassing almost 2000 pages’ worth of his original manga into barely two hours of screen time. This lead to a significant degree of screenplay butchering and stunted character development that visibly skips important steps all too often. Would an OVA or a multi-part feature-length movie work better? Who knows! Thankfully, what remains is still above what we tend to get in the science fiction action movie genre even these days, and to be fair it contributes heavily to the re-watch potential. In fact, I would recommend watching Akira again, given some time—you will most likely notice some details you ended up missing the first time owing to the breakneck pacing. Personally, I find myself re-watching it every couple years, and despite almost having learned it by heart already, it’s very hard to stop myself once I get going. It’s just too awesome, and the sheer delivery of some of the pivotal scenes still—some 30 years since its release!—remains at the pinnacle of animated cinematography.
On this note, I’d also like to point out Otomo’s setting: although Akira is set in the (not-too-distant) future, it is remarkably unappealing and free of the rampant techno-fetishism (aside from *that one bike*) and uncharacteristically rich aesthetics often seen in works of dystopian fiction. It’s all about the everyday soot, grit, and dirt; it’s filled with biker gangs, corrupt politicians, and radical groups trying to drag each other down. Everyone is miserable in their own way. The core plot revolves around a post-WWIII secret military experiment program to manifest, magnify, and control latent psychic powers; the experiments in question partially lead to the WWIII in the first place and went awry a few too many times. The social, political and scientific (borderline mystical) aspects mix and intertwine as a couple of rebellious teenagers accidentally get involved in the whole mess. There are no heroes or winners in this story, only casualties—but that’s also what makes the ending so moving and ultimately uplifting.
I’m sure I don’t have to point out the quality of the art and the animation in particular—everyone has already done so many times over—it’s still a globally recognized milestone in animation and the first Japanese movie to rival the production values of Western studios like Disney’s, and it stands tall even among the high-budget anime movies of today. The attention to detail, the complete lack of filler shots to pad the length, and the exemplary way the animation is used to convey impact yet again contribute to the high re-watch potential. This is a master class on animation; everyone even remotely associated with the industry would benefit greatly from watching and studying Akira: from the technical perspective, it stands the test of time remarkably—perhaps only one-upped by the likes of Redline (2009) and Otomo’s own second megaproject Steamboy (2004). Also of note is the fact that Akira pioneered lip-syncing character dialogue—typically characters are animated first; then voices are recorded, which often results in audiovisual incongruity. But Otomo was intent on using the high budget he was provided with to do things right even if it broke the industry conventions.
That said, many people complain about the character designs, and it’s easy to tell why: they are remarkably unappealing—everyone has small eyes, the guys are borderline ugly, and there’s not a single hot waifu in sight—to the dismay of a modern anime fan pampered by omnipresent moe. Personally, I find this aesthetic charming and a perfect fit for the gloomy setting. It makes way more sense to me than seeing e.g. the likes of Charlize Theron in Mad Max: Fury Road. I like that movie to bits, but come on: no amount of dirt smeared over her face is going to hide its gorgeous features. It looks silly and out of place when it doesn’t have to—proper character designs should reflect their environment, not contradict it. But if I were to name an actual problem with Akira’s designs in particular, it’s that facial variety isn’t Otomo’s strongest suit, leading to a lot of similarity between characters’ faces across Akira’s cast as well as Otomo’s other works. Then again, the same could be said about Hayao Miyazaki.
In terms of sound design, Akira makes remarkably good use of being silent a good portion of the time. This is an approach modern filmmakers very unjustly tend to ignore, eager to fill every scene with music that’s often too expressive for the purpose, rendering the sound stage into cacophony and contributing to mental fatigue. When sounds do play in Akira, they’re always highly dynamic and spot-on. Most of the soundtrack is dominated by sparse industrial beats overlayed with ethnic motifs and chants, and is intended to set the ambiance for visuals, further enhancing their impact. The score is composed and performed by Geinoh Yamashirogumi—a unique performance collective consisting of hundreds of members from all ages and professions that mostly have nothing to do with music (seriously, look them up). And good lord it is a massive score! Tetsuo’s hospital hallucination theme, Dolls’ Polyphony, never fails to give me the shivers when I so much as *think* about it. And when I watch it in-context on a good sound system, it just blows my mind. This, my friends, is how to do it right!
I tend to be very conservative when giving out 10s for anime as you can tell by my list (of which barely 1% ends up in that bracket), but after all these years, Akira remains among the very few titles that feel deserving of this high mark, and it is one I keep returning to when I need to cleanse my palate after the onslaught of stale shounen cliches, cardboard moe blobs, terminally shy schoolchildren, and science fiction that fails equally at the science and fiction parts. Akira combines visceral, high-octane action with an uncharacteristically cathartic resolution—I couldn’t have asked for more. Even if flawed, it certainly remains a timeless masterpiece and deserves a watch—regardless of whether you are an anime fan or a regular moviegoer. Sure, there have been many pieces released in the past 30 years that are arguably more enjoyable or more competently done, and it’s not like Akira has to be the be-all, end-all of any specific entertainment category you put it in. But even as more and more works surpass it in particular respects, Akira stays the Colossus of Rhodes of the anime industry, representing a monumental creative achievement by itself and serving as an excellent gateway anime for many people for years to come. And for that I am truly grateful to its existence.
(Last edited 2019/08/29: Rephrased and streamlined most of the text, fixed bad grammar and formatting errors forced by a change in the site’s code.)
It’s the future in Tokyo, or Neo-Tokyo, and everything has gone to Hell. The streets are a warzone between gangs, the government, and everyone else. In between all of this are a number of children with psychic powers that enable them to do pretty much whatever they want. One of these children is a teenager from a biker gang named Tetsuo. He and his friend Kaneda get caught up in the government’s attempt to . . .
I’m sorry, I’m giving this plot way too much credit. Do you want to know what I recall this movie being about? It’s a series of one senseless act of violence after another. Sure, there are scenes of expository dialog, and an important flashback, but this is pretty much the entire movie right here: someone gets the crap beaten out of them. Someone else gets shot. Someone else gets exploded. Someone else gets the crap beaten out of them. Throw in nonsensical psychic powers, among even more people dying whether they deserve it or not, throw in one of the worst endings in cinematic history, roll credits. The film does not even bother to explain most of the things that happen. It’s pretty much like all those mindless action flicks that plagued Hollywood in the 1980s, except animated. Then again, Akira was made in 1988, so I guess it was just following the leader in this regard. 3/10.
Akira is famous for its fluid animation. Indeed, it is the oldest anime I’ve seen that has motion as fluid as what you would expect from an American animated film. As gruesome as the violence is, it is well-crafted. So why then does this only get a 6? Two problems. One, the coloring. I know, this is a bit unfair, seeing as how Akira is a pre-digital anime, but the coloring is drab for the most part. At times, it is fitting of its dystopian setting, but other times, it’s just, well, drab. And two, this film has some of the most bland character designs I have ever seen in a theatrical animated film. It’s like the filmmakers weren’t even trying in this aspect. This and the coloring bogs down my score, but at least there’s no choppiness in the animation. 6/10.
The sound is alright. The soundtrack is eccentric, but works. The sound effects do their job. The ending credits song is lame retro 80s synth fluff, but it could’ve been worse.
I got to see parts of Akira in both Japanese and the English dub by Geneon. The Japanese dub is superb. Unlike most anime, Akira’s Japanese dialog was recorded before the animation work was completed, much like an American animation. Unfortunately, because of this, foreign language dubs look off compared to the original. Now, dub purists are probably thinking, “But . . . but . . . Johnny Yong Bosch! Wendee Lee! Joshua Seth!” Yes, I love them too, but honestly, if for whatever morbid reason you do decide to watch Akira, you’re better off seeing it in Japanese with the subtitles on. 7/10.
Characterization? What characterization? This, along with the threadbare plot, is what killed Akira for me. Who are these characters? Why are they doing the things they are doing? Why should I care for them? Only one character gets any such development, and that’s Tetsuo. We learn his motivation and his desire to strike back at the world, and why he and Kaneda are conflicted with fighting each other at the end, but that is it. Seriously, that’s all the characterization you get in this film. When a character dies, you don’t care for them, because you know nothing about them. The characters whose names I even remember are Kaneda, Tetsuo, and Akira, and that’s only because the first two keep shouting each other’s name, and the last has his name in the title. Like, for example, who was that girl Kaneda kept hitting on? The one that, thanks to the lackluster character designs, looks like a boy? What was her purpose in all of this? What about all those government guys? The rival biker gang? The other children with psychic powers? And why does Akira do what he does in the ending? None of this is either elaborated, or done in a way to make me care as an audience member. 2/10.
Enjoyment: If all you want to see are brutal, pointless acts of violence, then you’re in luck, because that’s exactly what Akira delivers, in spades. If you want more than that, you’re going to be sorely disappointed. I know this is a compressed adaptation of a manga, and the manga is supposedly better, (I don’t know, I haven’t read the manga version of Akira) but couldn’t Otomo have made the anime at least stand on its own for those who haven’t read the manga? As it is, it is a confusing mess, chock to the brim with sensationalized violence. Now, mind you, I don’t mind seeing mature content in my entertainment. What I do mind is seeing “mature” content used only as a means to shock and awe the audience. That’s all Akira does, and somehow, it managed to delude a large number of anime fans into thinking it was “deep” and “meaningful”, when all it really is is a crappy 80s action flick that dissolves into nothing by the end. That’s about as much sense as I can make out of the ending anyways. 3/10.
Now before any of you say “You just hate Akira because you didn’t see it back when it first came out!”, I want to point out that that is a moot point to make. My favorite film by Hayao Miyazaki, Castle in the Sky, predates Akira by two years, and is a much, much, MUCH more enjoyable film than this. And also, Katsuhiro Otomo would go on to make the film Steamboy, which, unlike Akira, actually has a proper plot, characters worth giving a damn about, really nice coloring, and slightly less bland character art. So really, there’s no point in seeing Akira anymore, except to laugh at it, because as far as I’m concerned, the anime version of Akira is nothing more than a joke.
My main problem with “Akira” is the vagueness of the story. I mean, I’m not the biggest fan of these abstract, philosophical stories to begin with, but “Akira” also suffers from a lack of completeness, which only exacerbated my confusion even more. I was watching it with a friend and he was having to constantly explain what to me what was happening using knowledge that he’d accumulated from reading the manga (and in fact he didn’t fully understand everything either as he hasn’t read all the manga). My own view on this is that an anime like this should be able to stand on its own – I shouldn’t have to go digging into the manga just to understand what is going on.
The visuals of “Akira” was supposedly amazing at the time. But if it was, stylistically I don’t think it’s aged particularly gracefully, though it hasn’t done too badly either. Some of the background scenery still looks great, but the characters designs have an odd, “wobbly” kind of feel to them.
Even though I didn’t find the music particularly to my taste, I appreciate the fact that it tries to do something different. The chant heavy soundtrack used had a primitive and alien feel to it. In the context of the anime, it worked quite well in a weird way and didn’t sound out of place. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for the voices, which sounded rather horrific on the dub, with the sub sounding a little but not much better.
Other than Tetsuo’s character, which was quite well done, I found the rest of the character to be a little wooden, which probably affected my enjoyment of this anime a bit. And as you probably will have guessed by now, I’m not too impressed regarding the grand, complicated plot underneath that’s nigh on impossible to follow unless you’ve read the manga.
If you like those philosophical kind of anime, you’ll probably enjoy “Akira”. I can’t deny that it’s an interesting watch, but for me, that’s about as far as it goes.
Personal rating: +0.5 (decent)
5: Berserk: Ougon Jidai-hen III – Kourin
English: Berserk: The Golden Age Arc III – The Advent
Japanese: ベルセルク 黄金時代篇Ⅲ 降臨
MAL Score: 8.20
The Band of the Hawk has dwindled in the year since Guts left them on his journey to forge his own destiny. Unaware of their fate, Guts returns to the Hawks—now being led by his former ally Casca—after a rumor about them passes his way. Once the saviors of the kingdom of Midland, the Band of the Hawk are now hunted as they desperately fight for their lives while plotting to free their leader, Griffith, after he was imprisoned for committing treason. But the man they save is far from the Griffith they remember.
Griffith is a shell of his former charismatic self after a year of continuous, horrific torture. No longer able to walk, speak, or even hold a sword, he has nothing but the small, strange trinket, the Crimson Behelit, that will not leave him. The entire Band of the Hawk want to rise to greatness once more, but how much are they willing to sacrifice to return to their past glory? It doesn’t seem possible, but when Griffith’s heart darkens and a solar eclipse blackens the sky, the Behelit offers a choice that will leave the Band of the Hawk with a blood-soaked fate that will haunt them for the rest of their days.
The controversial CG in my humble opinion, has improved but still has its problems. I say the frame rate is more even and the frame size in proportion to the characters and foreground appropriately accommodates it. It still comes across as “gamey,” but it is an improvement, but by no means perfect. The action is very violent and lives up to its bad ass title. There will be plenty of blood and gore. Even though Guts is the main character and a bad ass, I will admit when this guy fights, he scares me and this movie does a good job of making me scared of the main character. There’s nothing to fear, but fear itself, but fear fears Guts. On a list of top anime bad asses, Guts has to be on that list no doubt.
I say what defines the art and animation is how it sets the atmosphere and brings you into the emotions. You feel Griffith’s fragility. Even though you don’t see him unmasked, the detail to the art on whatever you see of his face is enough to give you an idea of what he would look like if unmasked. You see the hesitation of Guts on whether or not he should leave the Hawks again. You feel Casca’s frustrations. I feel that the raw emotions bring a sense of substance in conjunction to its R-15+ (the equivalent to an NC-17 in America) rating.
The voice acting, as I have admitted in previous reviews, has been an issue for me. I will admit that Guts’ new actor has shown improvement and shown instances that he can capture the character. But I will openly admit as a purist and fanboy that Nobutoshi Canna is still Guts to me while Michael Bell will always be his English voice to me. The guy who plays Jedau does an ok imitation of the character’s original voice actor, Ishida Akira. Maybe for people not familiar with the previous anime series and the games will not find this to be an issue and may like the voice actors.
Like the second movie, the soundtrack is more acoustics and orchestrated. My thoughts on that carry onto this movie as well. It suits the time period very well and knows how to suit the atmosphere. The orchestra in the ending credits was very impressive. Susumu Hirakawa still does the opening theme and is my favorite part of the soundtrack. Still, like the newer voice cast, fans new to Berserk who had not seen the previous anime series or played the games will probably not think of this as an issue.
The closest thing to a spoiler I can give is that after the ending credits, there is a post credits scene which isn’t much for some people, but after that is over, there is a message in clear English that says “This is only the beginning” meaning we will get new Berserk movies. I say its only natural with the easter eggs in previous movies, this series deserves its shot where it really shines. For those not familiar with the Berserk manga, this new trilogy is a mere fraction of what Berserk has to offer. So I hope we hear more news soon if a new Berserk movie will come out this year or not.
After that, we get a bonus music video!!! So fans will most likely enjoy this.
After how much I bashed the first 2 Berserk films, you might be surprised to learn that I actually really liked the 3rd one! I try not to be petty and hold grudges, where I will automatically attack every work in a certain franchise or by a certain author, simply because I didn’t like previous entries. In the 3rd film covering the Eclipse portion of the Berserk storyline, they FINALLY get it right.
The first vast improvement is the pacing. The 3rd film covers an appropriate number of episodes, so the much beloved story and characters of Berserk don’t need to be massively watered down in order to fit a 2 hour run time. In fact, the 3rd film is able to give us background about the Berserk world that the original anime wasn’t able to fit in. We also get to actually see the full conclusion of the Eclipse instead of a random fade to black. We know from the first episode of the original Berserk anime that Guts survived the Eclipse, but the first anime doesn’t even hint as to how he could have survived it. The 3rd movie is able to fit in the Skull Knight in all his Deus ex Machina glory! Given the movie did unfortunately cut out the Skull Knight’s fight with Zodd the Immortal, but just showing the escape made it a massive improvement on the original ending. I also appreciated that the movie captured the full brutality and horror of the Eclipse even better than the first anime. There were parts of the original anime that I liked better including Judeau’s final confession of love for Caska. However, Berserk 3 still does a very solid job adapting this portion of the manga…unlike those first 2 movies.
On a technical level, the CGI is vastly improved and actually doesn’t look like complete shit for once. The music was also pretty solid throughout, although the extremely melodramatic piano piece when Griffith rapes Caska was a tad out of place. I wasn’t sure if he was going to rape her or tie her to a railroad track while evilly twisting his handlebar mustache.
Bonus Section: Trivia
The “Eclipse” happens every 216 years because 6 x 6 x 6 = 216.
The Godhand members are all named after obscure books by great fantasy/scifi writers that Miura likes. Each Godhand member is partially inspired by one of these titans of fantasy.
Void = Frank Herbert Conrad = Roger Zalazny Ubik = Philip K Dick Slan = AE van Vogt
Berserk is one of VERY few non-hentai titles to show pubic hair. Although there is no longer a censorship law against this in 2015, most anime don’t do this out of convention to keep the border between hentai and non-hentai echii clear.
Guts was named after the real life historical figure Gottfried “Götz” von Berlichingen, a badass medieval mercenary who fought with a prosthetic iron hand just like Guts.
Often hailed as one of, if not THE best mangas of all time, Berserk has earned itself a spot on many an avid manga reader’s “must read” lists and for good reason as it’s the quintessential dark fantasy manga and the ultimate story of friendship, tragedy, and the pursuit of self-destructive vengeance. This may very well be true in the manga, but Berserk’s animated history isn’t much to speak of. The TV series produced by Oriental Light & Magic in 1997 is hailed as a classic by many but its piss-poor animation along with its mortifying cliffhanger of an ending left a sour taste in the mouths of a lot of people (myself included). Unfortunately, this was the *only* adaptation of Berserk that ever existed… that is until Studio 4C announced that it would be releasing a series of films to adapt the Golden Age Arc of the Berserk manga. Are these movies any good? Personally, I say that they’re great but I’m pretty sure that statement of mine just evoked the wrath of thousands of Berserk fans. Allow me to explain myself:
As fans of a manga, it’s completely understandable that we’d want our adaptations to copy the source material verbatim, but the sad fact of the matter is that it’s just not possible whatsoever. Despite the fact that mangas are basically pre-drawn storyboards for anime studios to work with, anime and manga are two completely different mediums with different demands and nuances to work with. Changes *must* be made for the sake of things like time, narrative consistency, budget, and all that other stuff. If you’re going to get up in arms about how the adaptation lacks every single irrelevant detail from the source material that you adored the shit out of, do yourself a favour and stick with the manga because no matter which way you look at it, the adaptation will *always* be inferior to the source material so there’s no use in complaining about it.
On another note, censorship is generally not an issue when it comes to manga because S&P boards aren’t even a thing when it comes down to print media (well, I think they aren’t anyway). Anime broadcast on television however need to abide by certain standards and given the content that Berserk has, there’s no way it can last as a TV series without either suffering from extensive censorship OR butchering it to the point where it’s a completely different show than what it was intended to be. Cinema on the other hand, doesn’t have to put up with censorship (unless you’re in a country with a turbulent civil rights history like Saudi Arabia, China, or Iran) and it’s more readily accessible to a greater audience than it would’ve been otherwise had it been a TV series. Sure, Studio 4C could’ve easily made an OVA series like Space Battleship Yamato 2199 but ultra-violent GAR OVAs died in the late 80s and early 90s along with parachute pants, grunge music, and The Fat Boys. Also, I don’t think a lot of people would be too eager to buy a full season’s worth of one show on DVD/Blu-ray so there’s that to factor in as well.
Now with all of that stuff out of the way, let’s talk about the movies and how they actually are from a quality standpoint. Well I won’t mince words here: each film in the trilogy is better than the one that preceded it with “Eclipse” being the best and “The Egg of the King” being the worst (by default). Now, that’s not to say that the first movie in the trilogy was terrible because in all honesty, it really wasn’t. It was a fair enough introduction to Berserk, the storytelling was fair enough (albeit rather clunky) and hey! We finally got a chance to see a battle animated properly (and in 1080p) instead of seeing blown-up watercolour stills so that’s also quite lovely. The problem lies in the way the film itself was actually animated. It’s strange to say, but that’s the most succinct way to explain the problem.
Studio 4C is an awesome studio and they’ve got some great stuff on their resume like the short film “Magnetic Rose” from the Memories trilogy by Katsuhiro Otomo, Steamboy, The Animatrix, and Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox (if you wanna include their collaborative projects with Warner Bros). Yeah, these guys aren’t slouches when it comes down to the audiovisual department. The problem is that the Golden Age Arc of Berserk contains no shortage of large-scale battles that are incredibly difficult to animate in two dimensions. To mitigate this issue, Studio 4C opted to integrate varying degrees of CG animation into the mix in order to actually animate all those large-scale battles and it works absolutely beautifully in those situations.
Unfortunately, they decided to maintain the CG even when there weren’t any battles to actually animate in the first movie and it just looks so ridiculously clunky to the point where there’s something eerie about it. That clunky CG animation is basically what caused so many people to not even bother giving these movies a chance despite the fact that it actually does get better as time went on. I’m not going to lie, the CG is an eyesore but there’s no denying that the animation across all three movies is a million leagues better than the barely-animated rubbish the TV series had to offer (do keep in mind I’m talking about the animation of the TV series, the story and characters are quite lovely). Hell, the third movie actually got the CG right and used it to great effect during the Eclipse (which I’ll talk about later).
In regard to the story and characters, I must say that Studio 4C did a pretty good job (especially given that they were trying to cover 11 volumes’ worth of content within the span of 3 films). The Golden Age Arc of Berserk is the ultimate story of hardship and sacrifice fuelled by the pursuit of one man’s dream. We start our journey in the middle of a century-long war between two kingdoms. Midland, our country of origin was forced to enlist the help of countless mercenaries just to supplement their waning military forces. In the process, they enlisted two people: our aimless protagonist with no goals in life, Guts and the charismatic and ambitious Griffith and the rest of his team known as the “Band of the Hawk.” Through circumstance, Guts ends up joining Griffith and his band of mercenaries and I’ll just leave the rest for you to experience.
Yeah, there are a lot of things missing from these movies that the TV series had but Studio 4C managed to retain the “spirit” of Berserk throughout the course of the trilogy. Sure, some events are either implied or omitted entirely but most (if not all) of the important stuff from the Golden Age Arc remain intact and dare I say that these movies managed to portray these events much better than the TV series and even the manga ever could. I’m not even being hyperbolic or anything of the sort. A lot of the highlights of the Golden Age Arc just “take” to being animated and I can safely say that Studio 4C did virtually everything they could to make those highlights from the manga stand out and work much better than they ever could’ve if they were just black-and-white panels upon pages with no sound whatsoever.
On that note, let’s talk about the Eclipse. If you’ve EVER spent any time around the Berserk fandom, chances are that you’ve heard of this event and have a vague idea of what it is. But for those of you who aren’t well-versed in the ways of Berserk, I’ll explain what it is. The Golden Age arc of the manga is first and foremost, a protracted flashback that lasted from Volume 3 of the manga to Volume 14. Berserk initially starts off with Guts in the present time in pursuit of Griffith for reasons that were never revealed until the climax of the GAA. The Eclipse is nothing short of a cataclysmic nightmare that seamlessly merged ghastly and surreal horror with heart-wrenching tragedy. A recurring theme throughout the course of the Golden Age arc is causality and the existence of free will. Throughout the manga and the films, these theme was always working its magic in the background and gave us hints and foreshadowing of the ghastly nightmare that we would later experience.
Unfortunately, the TV series lacked this sort of foreshadowing almost entirely. By the time the Eclipse actually happened, it just came out of nowhere. The impact of the Eclipse was lost completely because the themes of causality and the supernatural were downplayed heavily in lieu of putting more emphasis on camaraderie and friendship. Hypothetically, this could’ve led to a more impactful tragedy but the problem is that there was no foreshadowing whatsoever. Instead of making us crap our pants in pure, unadulterated terror whilst also making us cry like little bitches because of the fact that all of this horrible shit is happening to characters we’ve grown to know and love, it made us scratch our heads in confusion… oh, and that’s not even getting into the appalling animation making the entire ordeal difficult to take seriously and how all of this actually ended in the TV series.
Thankfully, none of that was the case when it came down to the third Berserk movie and its portrayal of the Eclipse. In fact, it managed to perfectly capture the sheer intensity of the Eclipse as a cataclysmic tragedy in ways that both the TV series AND the manga failed to do. A lot of this can be chalked up to the fact that Studio 4C did an outstanding job with the animation. Did I forget to mention that the Eclipse is one of the bloodiest and most gruesome parts of Berserk to ever exist (because that’s kinda important…)? The way Studio 4C went about portraying the Eclipse was so graphic to the point where people who actually saw this movie in theatres ended up having to leave because it was just too much for some people to actually sit through. This is the way that the Eclipse was meant to be portrayed from the very beginning. The third movie succeeded where the source material and its previous adaptation failed. I’d love to keep going, but I think that’ll reach into some seriously spoiler-heavy territory and I think I spoiled more than enough at this point.
On that note, let’s talk about how it ends. The TV series ended on what is undoubtedly the single most depressing point of the entire story, but the actual resolution of the Golden Age arc in the manga wasn’t like that at all. Though the TV series left the overall story of the GAA is left largely intact, many alterations had to be made so that the entire story could fit within the span of 25 episodes. Because of this, the guys at OLM decided that it would be an absolutely fantastic idea to just omit the ACTUAL resolution of the Golden Age arc and just ended it on such a mortifying cliffhanger to the point where anyone who wasn’t familiar with the source material would be shouting at the screen going “What the actual fuck?!” The movies completely and totally avoided this and I’m SO thankful that Studio 4C managed to get it right. All you manga purist Berserk fans can talk shit about the films all you want, but there’s no denying that the way the third movie got right what the TV series got wrong.
Now, you may be wondering whether or not the movies do a good enough job of making us care about the characters. Personally, I think that the movie managed to do a great job but others may beg to differ because of the fact that the Golden Age Arc movies cut out a lot of stuff. While I can’t really say much about the secondary/tertiary characters, I can safely say that the movies hit the nail on the head when it came down to our dynamic duo of Guts and Griffith which is what ultimately matters in the end. It’s the dynamic between these two and the rest of the cast that made this arc of the manga so captivating to read in the first place.
Guts started out as a wandering mercenary with a brutal past, no friends, and nothing to aspire toward. His encounter with Griffith and the Band of the Hawk led to him finally knowing what it was like to have friends. What’s more is that it was revealed that despite all of the horrible things that Guts went through in the past, he’s got such a capacity for things like love, trust, friendship, and all that other stuff. At the same time, the GAA by and large is a tragedy and we all know that shit will end horribly for Guts and that he’ll take up his sword in pursuit of vengeance no matter what the cost. I don’t think it’s any stretch to say that he is without a doubt, one of Berserk’s greatest assets. The movies retain the very essence of this tragic character and makes it so that we’ll always have a reason to root for him in the end.
That’s not to invalidate Griffith, because he’s just as great a character as Guts is. Griffith has evoked the ire of countless Berserk fans for his actions in the manga that I’m not at liberty to discuss, but don’t let that make you think he’s not a great character in the slightest. I viscerally despise everything there is about Griffith, and yet I can still find myself finding some modicum of sympathy for him (Kentaro Miura might be fapping away to Idolmaster these days, but there’s no denying that he’s more than capable of writing amazing characters). Many of us have larger-than-life ambitions, but Griffith is one of the few who actually makes the effort to chase after those foolhardy childhood dreams that we end up letting go of as we get older. Throughout the course of the Golden Age arc, Griffith is depicted as a sort of demigod and it isn’t until he encounters Guts when his cool shell starts to crack as he and Guts end up becoming like brothers. It’s this very bond between these two that provides the catalyst for almost all of Berserk’s highlights and tragedies. If you want to know more, then you know what you need to do: watch the bloody movies and then read the bloody manga for context!
Before I wrap this review up, I want to take the time to talk about one last thing: the audio. The Golden Age Arc trilogy’s OST and dubbing is absolutely spectacular. Say what you will about the animation, but there’s no denying that everyone in the sound department deserves a gold medal for their work. On the OST side of things, every single track is absolutely spectacular and fits the mood perfectly… except one track during the climax of the third movie which makes me wonder if Griffith was wearing a top hat, a monocle, and had a thin moustache he was twirling around in one finger whilst waiting for an oncoming train to run over Casca (but let’s not get into that). Of all the tracks that were played across all three movies, I’d have to say that “Blood and Guts” (the ending theme of the first and third movies) would have to be my favourite because it perfectly captures the tragic nature of Guts as a character (that, and it also sounds REALLY fucking awesome).
As for the dubbing, I really have to give props to Viz because they not only hired the bulk of the original cast of the TV series’ dub, but they gave them better voice direction and also managed to sync up the mouth movements properly! Marc Diraison did a wonderful job in the TV series, but he really gets a chance to shine under Viz’s direction. As for Kevin T. Collins, well his work as Griffith is absolutely spot-on and almost everything I’ve said about Marc Diraison can be applied to him as well. My only complaint however is the fact that there are no outtake reels on the DVD/Blu-ray release of any of the movies (at least from what I can gather). Come on, guys… if the guys at Media Blasters have the dignity to show their bloopers, you guys can do it too.
So, what else is there to say about these movies? Hm… well, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that these movies are definitely worth watching. As an introduction to Berserk, these movies do an excellent job with acquainting any potential newcomers with everything whilst giving long-time fans of the series a properly animated adaptation that while condensed and short, manages to perfectly encapsulate virtually everything there is to love about this series. At present, there is no sequel to this film trilogy, so if you’re new to Berserk and you just finished the third movie, you’ll have to do one of two things:
a) Read the manga from the very beginning so that you can see what you missed out on whilst also learning what became of Guts et al post-Eclipse.
b) Wait for Studio 4C to release the next instalment of their Berserk adaptation. They have stated previously that they have plans to adapt the rest of the manga, but they’ve yet to release anything.
Personally, I’d recommend the first option, but waiting ain’t half bad if you don’t wanna buy volumes or put up with shitty scanlations. Anyway, that’s all for now. Feedback’s always welcome and with that, I’m out. Peace 🙂
4: Kono Sekai no Katasumi ni
English: In This Corner of the World
MAL Score: 8.23
Suzu Urano is a pure and kindhearted girl who loves to draw and keep her head in the clouds. Growing up in the outskirts of Hiroshima with her family, she is more than happy to help with her grandmother’s nori business.
However, when she becomes of age, Suzu leaves her beloved home to marry Shuusaku Houjou, a man she barely knows. As she integrates into her new husband’s household, the homesick bride struggles to adjust to the unfamiliar environment as the war effort extends far beyond its point of no return. When the war reaches Suzu’s own backyard and peace gives way to brutality, how will she support herself and those she comes to love along the way?
Kono Sekai no Katasumi ni paints a colorful yet haunting depiction of everyday life in the years before and after World War II, showcasing the perseverance and fortitude of ordinary Japanese during one of the darkest periods of modern history.
The protagonist is a nonchalant (at least on the surface) and a bit dreamy ordinary girl who loves to draw and paint. She is raised in Hiroshima and marries into a family of a young man employed in the naval town of Kure,
The movies goes into great detail showing the life of an ordinary family of that time. It starts as a great slice of life, of her old-style marriage with a new husband, sharing life with in-laws and communicating with neighbors. There are happy, sweet, and tender moments although the life is set in wartime, and the hardship gradually creeps into life. The relationship with the sister-in-law is a bit fictitious, but the protagonist forms a solid bond with the family and the relationship to her little niece is just beautiful.
And I will stop there, as it would be a great spoiler.
I will only add that air raid scenes were really terrifying, although it was not right in your face bloody. The reason why almost excessive showing of daily life was necessary becomes evident when the war becomes very personal and relate-able to the protagonist, and you are shown what war can do to people leaving emotional and physical scars. The effects of the A Bomb is not directly shown apart from a later brief horrifying scene (as the protagonist was in Kure, 30-40km away from Hiroshima), but depicted as a culmination of personal tragedies in a mass scale (if one could feel the great tormenting pain and sorrow of losing a loved one in Kure which was attacked by conventional incendiary bombings, then imagining the tragedy of hundreds of thousands lives lost in Hiroshima can evoke fear and despair without showing it right in the face).
I groaned in the theater as shedding tears was not enough to control my emotions. After the film finished I was in the streets with Christmas lights and happy faces around among families and friends. The world felt very ordinary yet very fragile. I kept on half-weeping on the train heading home.
This is a very well done film with a distinct art-style (it is realistic but it’s a reality only achieved by animation and not a photoshop production using photographs or rotoscope), thorough research in history, and passion. I don’t know if this film is the best of all war films, but I think it is one of the best animated films produced dealing with war (I can’t say which is better- the Grave of Fireflies, or this).
This should be seen at theaters with a wide screen and good audio.
Aesthetically speaking, my only gripe is how much the character design seems marshmallowed and unfit for whatever mood intended. At first, I found it to be overall pleasing and cute, but as soon I realized it was confusing me on whether I should be relaxed or tense, it began to bother me. Aside from that, it’s overall gorgeous with a unique touch of visual realism that’s always welcome in any war drama. The backgrounds are detailed and cozy, rich in colors and identity, vivid and with an endearing picture book-esque look. There are also several angles only properly done through aerial photography, which again denotes the commitment to realism where it’s due. It’s simply undeniable the amount of care put into it. The animation is fluid enough, though I believe it wasn’t the focus as more often than not it’s obvious they want you to pay attention to the scenery instead of how things move. However, once the bombings take place, the animation reaches its peak and realistically depicts war explosions battering the screen in a manner that I doubt has ever been so accurate in anime medium.
I won’t lie, the protagonist’s voice doesn’t fit, but it’s still a great voice. It doesn’t fit due to the cartoonish look that is like seeing a little girl talking like an adult. I appreciate how natural the voices sound; in contrast to the artificial screeches that exist within the medium, the voices are closer to what real people sound like. Odd as it may seem to have a new type of voice to be your main character, it is these little actions that diversify the search for new talents and different approaches in the industry, thus, commendable.
Characterization-wise, it’s obvious that the protagonist is the main focus. It’s a coming of age depicting the development of a female character who faces several minor conflicts involving her family while dealing with the war and its outcome, and honestly, a lot is left to be desired. Most of the movie details a very generic situation: Suzu coming to acknowledge her own capabilities and trying to cease fire with her sister in law Keiko. The mundanity of events is way too clear, so much that it begins to beg for something more substantial to happen. Some major events like death and moments of extreme doubt are, unfortunately, rushed and not properly developed. It does not suffice to dedicate a mere few minutes to explore the regret, anger, and mourning involving an important and present character’s death. In the end, Suzu doesn’t really change beyond one would expect from the very beginning, as she doesn’t draw a very innovative conclusion out of the whole picture the film provides to us. War is bad and we need to do our best. This is a rather common problem I perceive in most anime about war: they don’t really do anything with the premise. It’s interesting to explore different facets regarding a theme, but it’s not actually leading anywhere. The mundanity of war isn’t ambitious enough. Even then, its execution could have been superb if it wasn’t rushed. This would give both the protagonist and the audience enough time to contemplate, feel, and think beyond the monotony she was trapped in but not necessarily brainwashed by. It’d be a lie to say that 90% of the film isn’t simply Slice of Life in War. In itself, it’s not a bad concept, but it requires extremely careful directing to hold an air of poignancy. It’s possible to delve further into other characters, but I don’t believe they’re worth analyzing when they mainly just set a conflict with the protagonist or contribute to the lighthearted vibe that weaves throughout the movie. It is indeed a character-driven movie, but by a character who isn’t very deep or interesting past what’s presented from the beginning. She does change, but just a little and we are mostly presented to how she reacts and interacts with others rather than how those reactions and interactions change her through time, which in my opinion should be the focus in any character study sort of story (as in Ashita no Joe for example).
In the end, In this Corner of the World can be a very good movie depending on what you’re expecting and planning to enjoy out of it. I can’t stop thinking this is a “feels good” sort of anime and no matter what tragedy they tried to convey, it just didn’t resonate with me at all. Maybe I had set the bar too high and got slightly disappointed, but my biggest gripes are without a doubt the pacing that’s occasionally repulsive and the abrupt cuts that can annoy some viewers, myself included. I do believe the movie had a solid and genuine intent as an adaptation made with care and I do believe its execution, albeit flawed, manages to deliver enough to constitute itself as a worth watching piece of animation.
I was fortunate enough to go to the very first screening of this film at the festival, which featured a short talk by Mr Katabuchi and, needless to say, the audience was very excited to watch the film. French isn’t my best language but what I got from it was that Katabuchi believes younger generations in Japan don’t realise how the war affected people, and it’s perhaps likely that foreigners don’t either (as a foreigner, I feel this is true of me). He felt that the original manga helped educate people about it through a very personal lens, by immersing them in and exploring how it affects the life of an ordinary woman from Hiroshima, and he hoped the film would do the same.
Well, that it certainly did. The film itself is slow, and beautifully so. The actual plot, as in most slice of life, is minimal. There is no big conflict to be resolved. Just life, and the war that affects it. And this was all extremely unnerving.
From the very beginning of the film, you could feel the tension in the theatre. We, as an audience, didn’t all know about how the war affected individual Japanese people, but we all knew about the war, and certainly about what that meant for Hiroshima in particular. As the film progressed, and more and more time passed, the tension in the room grew stronger. People were, quite literally, at the edges of their seats. It’s an awful feeling – you know what will happen. You see all this stuff happening to people but you know it’s not the culmination, because you KNOW what will inevitably happen in Hiroshima, and you’re just waiting for it to happen. With most films, there’s often the potential of something terrible happening, and you’re waiting to see if it will happen. With In This Corner of the World, a slow-moving 2 hour masterpiece of a film, you don’t wait to see IF the big bad thing (that the characters don’t even know about) happens. You wait to see WHEN it happens, and that is the most unnerving feeling in the world.
And I think In This Corner of the World knows how unnerving it is, and it plays with that. At several points in the film it builds up the tension and the feeling that something bad will happen, and you could hear little gasps in the audience. We were being played with in a very cruel way that only a very good film could. Once a character is invited to go to Hiroshima for a festival, and I heard someone whisper “oh no”.
And when IT inevitably happened, it was… brief, and unspectacular. It was not the huge culmination we had all been waiting for which, instead of underwhelming, made the whole thing even more uncomfortable. The entire theatre felt more silent than it had been the entire time.
I suspect we, as a majority of foreigners, expect that the bombing of Hiroshima would be the absolute worst thing to happen (I know I sure did), but it wasn’t. The aftermath, of course, was another deal, but that’s what I feel is so special about In This Corner of the World. It’s not spectacular in the sense of being a spectacle, it’s spectacular in the sense of being quietly real. We know the experience of an entire nation, more or less. We know what happened. But what we’re shown is the experience of just a handful of people. It makes it personal, and it makes it special.
And, through all the suffering you see in this film, in the end you can’t help but feel a certain… hope. In the end, even after all the hard-hitting stuff you see on screen, you’re left with a feeling of it gets better. You know it gets better, and you remember not just the hardships of the characters but also the message of sheer human resilience, and hope, so much of it.
In This Corner of the World is an absolutely beautiful film. It truly is a masterpiece, for any film – animated or not, and if you have a good supply of tissues, I can not recommend it enough.
3: Non Non Biyori Movie: Vacation
Japanese: 劇場版 のんのんびより ばけーしょん
MAL Score: 8.25
With summer vacation coming to an end, the girls are having as much fun as they can with their remaining time. However, their daily shenanigans are cut short when Suguru Koshigaya wins the grand prize of a lottery—tickets to Okinawa! After hasty preparations, the Asahigaoka group embarks on a three-day trip for their final summer getaway.
Upon arriving in Okinawa and checking into an inn, the group comes across Aoi Niizato—the young daughter of the inn’s hostess. Despite being of similar age, her mature demeanor leaves Natsumi Koshigaya reflecting upon her own childish nature. With the sign of an unexpected friendship blooming on the horizon, the girls waste no time diving into their ambitious sightseeing plans and regional activities!
While there is really no “plot” in the movie, you shouldn’t expect that if you’ve already seen the two season of the original series. The girls and friends go on vacation to Okinawa… they eat, they kayak, they snorkle, and they swim. And that’s it. The movie is meant to be JUST as feel-good as the series was. The production was very engaging (it had to in order to keep my attention as an English speaker) and very fun for anyone who loved the original show. I also teared up a bit at the end, because Non Non Biyori has always brought a certain innocence and charm that touches my heart.
I own and have read all the mangas up until volume 12 (which is the most recently released one) at the time of writing this review.
The manga itself is super good, but this movie made the contents even better than the manga. This is not saying the manga is terrible or anything, in fact it’s one of my favorites, but the movie went in to much more depth for the vacation chapters.
It’s been probably a year and a half since I read the chapters of the contents in this movie so my memories may not be 100% correct. I think most of the activities in the movies were done as like those “time-skip”/ “fast forward” panels where they just flash a scene and move on to the next in the manga, but this movie actually shows them doing these activities.
Just a typical slice of life story. Travel to Okinawa and do things there. Nothing much to say here.
I may be bias, but I’m a huge fan of Atto sensei’s (original creator of NNB) and Silver Link’s art style. The style is just like all the previous NNB anime. Oh, background art is beautiful as always. Really captures the nature. The animation is great too, I didn’t see any bad animations watching it in the theatre.
No complaints on sounds either. Just like the previous NNB, they share similar style of music and BGM. I didn’t hear anything that wasn’t fitting. The OP is sang by nano.RIPE and still has the same chill and relaxing theme as the music they sang for NNB before. ED is sang by our 4 main girls and it’s super cute!
This is why I love this show so much! Everyone is just so lovable! For this movie specifically, I felt that they focused on Natsumi the most out of everyone else. She got more screen time than any other character but not so much that it makes all other characters irrelevant. (Her screen time is cause of her relations and interactions with the new character that is introduced in this movie) You still get your super cute Renge and Koma-chan moments and oh, I found so many parts of the movie just making me and the audience around me in the theatre giggle. Pretty much all the comedic moments hit their marks. The character interaction is great as always! I found myself smiling so much during the movie and I can feel the joy in the theatre.
Having already read the manga, I knew what I should be expecting content wise, but after watching the movie I really felt like it blew the expectations off the roof. It was so much more than I could ask for and I would definitely go rewatch it again if I have the time for it! Gonna grab the BD for sure when they announce it!
This brings me back to my point in the beginning. If you are a NNB fan or a slice of life lover, you have to watch it. If you hate slice of life or has no interest in them, I really don’t recommend watching this movie.
We open with our girls, Renge, Hotaru, Natsumi & Komari, just hanging out and trying to make the most of their summer vacation before it ends. That’s when they spot Miss Candy Store, Kaede, and Renge’s oldest sister, Kazuho, driving to the department store. The four of them convince the older women to take them along due to Kaede’s soft spot for Renge, picking up Natsumi & Komari’s older brother on the way. While at the store, the older brother wins a raffle and gets four tickets to Okinawa. Naturally, they all go along with Konomi and Hikage.
The narrative is pretty simple and it’s also really well executed. The whole thing is very cute, full of funny moments and just a fantastically executed slice of life. It has strong pacing, a lot of memorable parts and a little side story about Natsumi experiencing her first love with Aoi, the girl who works at the inn.
My biggest issue with the characters is with the side character, Konomi. She just doesn’t have much personality nor does she really contribute much to the humour. I have the same issue with her in the series proper. She has that one memorable scene where she and Hotaru talk about things that go over Komari’s head and make her feel childish. Most of the scenes she’s in would be just as good without her. Aside from that, this is a great cast with strong interactions and great comedic chemistry.
The character designs are good and the animation moves smoothly. Even the ending card is super cute. But where Silver Link really kills it is with the backgrounds and nature scenes. There’s always so much detail and effort behind them. I could pretty much make any nature still from this film my background and it would look really nice. I also appreciate that when you see Renge’s drawings they look like a child’s drawings.
All the actors from the series proper do a fantastic job. There are a lot of talented ladies in this cast. The main person who joins them is Shimoji Shino as Aoi. You may also remember her as Beaver from Kemono Friends. The music is really nice too. Very pleasant and soothing.
Hotaru’s blatant crush on Komari is still going strong. In addition to that, we have Natsumi and Aoi. They have that dynamic where it very strongly comes across as attraction. Right down to them getting all flustered and blushing a lot. I will say, their dynamic could have worked a bit better if we’d gotten a few more scenes with them.
Areas of Improvement:
1. They could do something with Konomi’s character.
2. The ending credits could have shown cute vacation snapshots instead of scenes from the film. Provided a little more impact.
3. We could have stood to see a little more of Aoi.
I actually enjoyed this film a lot. It’s pretty much everything you want out of a slice of life. It’s endearing, entertaining, and very adorable. It also does feature some of the best nature scenes I’ve seen in an anime. So, I’m going to go so far as to give it a 9/10.
2: Koukaku Kidoutai
English: Ghost in the Shell
Japanese: GHOST IN THE SHELL（攻殻機動隊）
MAL Score: 8.29
In the year 2029, Niihama City has become a technologically advanced metropolis. Due to great improvements in cybernetics, its citizens are able to replace their limbs with robotic parts. The world is now more interconnected than ever before, and the city’s Public Security Section 9 is responsible for combating corruption, terrorism, and other dangerous threats following this shift toward globalization.
The strong-willed Major Motoko Kusanagi of Section 9 spearheads a case involving a mysterious hacker known only as the “Puppet Master,” who leaves a trail of victims stripped of their memories. Like many in this futuristic world, the Puppet Master’s body is almost entirely robotic, giving them incredible power.
As Motoko and her subordinates follow the enigmatic criminal’s trail, other parties—including Section 6—start to get involved, forcing her to confront the extremely complicated nature of the case. Pondering about various philosophical questions, such as her own life’s meaning, Motoko soon realizes that the one who will provide these answers is none other than the Puppet Master themself.
Okay, I’m giving myself a headache. Let’s get to the review.
Cyborg cops battle an anonymous super-hacker who takes control of people’s computerized brains and forces them to do his bidding. It’s a wicked sci-fi thriller, yet it’s also so much more. Not only is it a refreshingly original take on the standard Cops vs Criminals plot, but it manages to do it in such an intelligent manner. At it’s core, the movie asks the audience "What is it that makes us Human?" Although it never truly finds an answer (can anyone?), it gets closer to it than any other film has yet dared to go. The best part is, with all the philosphical, existentialist and technical chatter, it never really tries to beat the audience over the head with it. Many of the "big questions" are handled in subtle ways that keep the pace of the film going, while still making the audience think. "Ghost In The Shell" is cyberpunk at it’s best.
GitS came out in 1995 and still the visuals can compete with current animation standards. This film has aged extremely well. The action is wicked, every scene is full of atmosphere thanks to well detailed backgrounds, and the limited CGI is well integrated, even in such an early stage of CG animation. Yet the most astonishing part of the art is not the quality of the animation, or the artwork. It’s the level of thought and polish that went into creating the look and feel of this film. As an exemple: There is a scene where the heroine, Motoko, is fighting a criminal while wearing a suit that makes her invisible. Even though she is invisble, we can still see her shadow. This is because her invisbility is only an optical illusion. There is still a solid mass blocking the light. It’s little details like this one that make the visuals so incredible and, more importantly, believable.
The sounds of the film remain on the same high level as the art. Gunfire, ricochets, explosions, and even all the little computer noises are crisp and well implemented. The music is also quite fitting and original (‘Making of a Cyborg’, played during the opening credits, is one example). My only gripe is the voice actors are not at their best in this film (of course I mean the english cast). I greatly dislike Motoko’s voice (Mimi Woods) and would much prefer Mary Elizabeth McGlynn, who voiced her in pretty much every other GitS project. The rest of the cast is the same as it is in current GitS projects, but you can tell they weren’t as skilled as they are today. Still, they are quite good and it by no means ruins the film.
Though all the characters had aspects that made them interesting, Motoko is really the star of the show here and is the only character who developped over the course of the film. Of course, the direction in which her character went more than makes up for this fact. Throughout the whole film she is struggling with the thought of losing her humanity due to being a cyborg, and it all leads up to an incredible finale that just leaves you in awe.
Now, I’m giving it a 10 for enjoyment, but with an asterix. I personally loved this movie to death due to just how intelligent it is. Unfortunately, it is not an easy film to get into. Very little time is taken to explain how the GitS universe works. For example: The opening scene has Motoko speaking telepathically with Batou, who’s nowhere to be scene. The film never really takes the time to explain how this is done, but you do manage to draw your own conclusions once you get your first glimpse of a cyberbrain. Unfortunately, much of the film relies on just how quickly the audience can put together the little details of the world and storyline. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it can make things needlessly complicated and actually alienate viewers who may not have the patience to put together the pieces of this techno-puzzle. Luckily, the principle story is simple enough, and the action is good enough so that viewers can still have fun with it. Basically, it can leave you feeling pretty stupid, but you still pat yourself on the back for seeing it through to the end. And don’t be surprised if you want to watch it a second time.
With great action and an intelligent narative, "Ghost In The Shell" is a classic. It inspired "The Matrix", and anyone who has seen that film will know how great of a compliment that is. If you’re into philosophical discussions about the soul and the consequences of technological evolution, see this film. If you just want to see a bunch of cyborg cops shooting stuff up, see this film. You will not be disapointed.
This is a movie that did not provoke thinking or cause me to question my existence or my self worth as a human being, it just wasn’t complex or deep enough to change my views on humanity, and instead the topics it brought up seemed obvious to me. This is a movie that tackles human existence on a purely scientific level, which essentially boils it down to a simple fact: that our consciousness, memories, and emotions are merely created from electrical pulses within our brains. Humanity is separated into two parts, our consciousness and our physical body. For us, technology hasn’t reached a point where these things that make us distinctly unique can be controlled and artificially replicated. The fact that we can’t lends upon contemporary humans a certain sacredness to our existence, to birth, to life, and to our intelligence. The moment technology crosses that barrier, what makes us human will no longer be special or unique. This technological barrier is something that has already been crossed in the GITS universe, and with it, they decide to squander the potential of the setting, and only ask one question: What is a difference between man and machine?
At some point, there really is no practical difference, and ultimately, this is the answer the movie provides, and disappointingly, this is the only answer it provides with very little elaboration.
What truly scares me, would be if humans will be responsible enough to guide us on the correct path of evolution once we become powerful enough to control it ourselves. Will society be destroyed by the folly of man when we obtain the power of “god”? Or will we evolve into a more advanced species? Will humanity be willing to throw away the primitive identity of what makes us human for the sake of transcending into a higher organism? How will society compete in a world where cybernetic parts are far superior to the organic ones we are born with? How can we trust anyone or anything, how would we know what is real and what is not once our memories and senses can be completely replaced?
This movie sort of touches a serious topic, when hackers steal the memories of others for personal gain. This is to show that a human’s soul can be modified, just like a program, and it is a situation that is only presented in response to the movie’s central, existential question. But besides this the movie doesn’t touch any remotely serious topic at all, and most of the movie spends it’s time focusing on needlessly building upon a rather pointless existential crisis sort of thing. Because the movie ignored addressing actually important and very real issues future technology will impose on humanity, the movie simply fell flat to me. The setting was immersive and well made, and the story had potential to go a different and much more interesting route. But instead, it took a very simplistic philosophical approach and made it needlessly convoluted.
However, while the movies narrative fails to stand the test of time, the design of the futuristic world it builds is breathtaking and thoughtfully well done. The cinematography of this movie is ahead of its time, and its a movie worth watching for its beautiful visuals alone.
Story: This is the kind of stuff that university essay could be written about. I’m going to have to watch this again just to completely understand everything about this movie. Now, just so you understand, the storyline isn’t amazing. But the science and the mythology this anime is based on is so incredible. I believe, according to a few sources, that if you took all the footnotes in the manga they total to over 30 pages. Or was it 200? The point is that the science that’s used in this movie is absolutely amazing.
Art: The art is old. The art is…Akira old. It’s very old, but the details that are in it are incredibly amazing. The art is old but it doesn’t seem stale. It’s that good kind of old….classic. They used some really cool effects in here…especially when some people turned invisible. Oh..major plot hole if anyone notices…there’s a guy who turns invisible…with all of his clothes on. Whereas the girl….needs to strip naked…which she does QUITE often. The nudity in this is tastefully done…it’s not like Elfen Lied (no offense) where Nyu shows her boobs every couple of scenes.
Character: There is major character development for two characters. Batou and the Major. No one else really gets developed too much. Sometimes they’d show you a character who did one thing and then you’d never see them again ever. I’m not complaining too much, it never bugged me at all. But you do get a real sense of humanity from these characters…that’s a funny thing to say though, if you watch the anime you’ll figure out why.
Enjoyment: I guarantee that almost anyone who enjoys anime will also enjoy this. Anyone who liked the Matrix will enjoy this. It’s an incredibly amazing anime, it’s deep, it’s slightly frightening. The single thing that this anime does not have is comic relief…never once did I laugh. Never once did I actually want to laugh. This movie is so serious that if any attempt was made at making it slightly funny the attempt would surely fail.
Seriously, go…watch this anime right now, and I promise…that you will not be disappointed.
1: Mushishi Zoku Shou: Suzu no Shizuku
Japanese: 蟲師 続章: 鈴の雫
MAL Score: 8.61
On a warm summer day, a boy heard the sound of bells ringing, as if in celebration, in the mountain near his home. Several years later in that same mountain, the mushishi Ginko encounters a strange girl with weeds growing out of her body. Soon after, Ginko coincidentally runs into the now grown-up boy Yoshiro on his way off the mountain. With Yoshiro’s help, Ginko soon begins to uncover who this mysterious girl is and what happened to her.
An adaptation of the last arc in the manga, Mushishi Zoku Shou: Suzu no Shizuku follows Ginko’s peculiar journey amidst the occult to unravel the mystery behind the enigmatic girl called Kaya and the mountain that has become her home.
Drops of Bells (the title of the double-episode) basically tells of humanity’s growing more and more separate from nature. The plot is of a human girl chosen from birth to be the next lord of a mountain, yet her human family cannot understand this and strive to keep her from the destiny forced upon her by nature’s law. The primary plot point is that humans aren’t really fit for the task of mountain lord, as humans possess a wisdom unlike other animals that is unfit for becoming one with the mountain, and possess a heart that can be crushed under the weight of the thriving life throughout the mountain. However, Ginko basically says that despite humanity being as separate as it is from nature’s law, it is still a part of the whole.
That’s the Tao for you. Humanity’s a bitch, and balance with nature is dead. However, that doesn’t take the Tao out of the human species. As a human murders a bird for sport, it’s the same life force flowing through each of them, and when the bird falls to the ground as a corpse that life force does not die with it. That’s the way of shit, and that’s what’s so real about Mushishi. It takes that whole concept and makes the whole unexplainability of the Tao explainable through the beings known as mushi. That’s exactly it; Mushishi makes the unexplainable explainable. Ain’t that just the coolest shit? That’s what makes Mushishi the pinnacle of Japanese animation and manga.
[Edit: Replace the Chinese “Tao” with the Japanese “Kannagara” and you basically get the same idea. The latter concept is likely what Urushibara was familiar with.]
In the first half of Suzu no Shizuku, a girl leaves her family behind when she’s summoned to be the next lord of a mountain. Thriving lands, called “Rivers of Light”, require the presence of a lord to maintain the balance of the surrounding life. Choosing a human as a lord is an unusual move, however. Such a task is typically delegated to animals since they live with fewer emotional attachments.
Several of the introspective themes that were previously explored in the Mushishi world are summarized here—most notably interconnectedness, the indifference of nature, and the necessity of letting go. All life—plants, animals, and humans—are dependent on each other, and are influenced by the ripples of cause and effect. Nature, which is personified in Suzu no Shizuku as the mountain lord, acts as the unbiased mediator. The overarching lesson seems to be that we should appreciate what we have, and not cling when the time comes to move on.
The second half concludes the story without quite concluding the series. The ending leaves some questions unanswered, but it ties up enough to guide your imagination to where the stories and characters could progress into the distant future. I’ll refrain from deconstructing this any further. To me, Mushishi is more of a meditation than a conventional story, and is therefore best appreciated without excessive analysis.
The art, animation, and sound design have remained remarkably consistent since its premiere in 2005. The backgrounds in Suzu no Shizuku are just as gorgeous as they were when the first season aired. The character and special effects animation are fluid and precise. And the subdued and ambient melodies that have become a hallmark of this series are present here as well.
When you think about it, it’s kind of a miracle that Mushishi, which is essentially about life experiences and nature, was made with such a substantial budget in today’s hungry and impatient climate. I’m grateful that ArtLand was willing to take a chance on such an esoteric and spiritual story, and that it’s been successful enough to adapt in its entirety. It’s been a truly extraordinary experience.
Watched the first season about a year ago and over the course of good 3 weeks and now the second season with all the specials in 2 days.
I was really not in the mood for this show and actually wanted to look for some slice of life anime instead but I did it anyway and this show is really so, oh so different from any other. Never have I seen or heard of an anime that could compare to Mushishi. Regarding my expectations, I knew what I was diving into since I read that the ‘episodic’ part doesn’t die down in the second season, and that’s very true. Just know, there’s a very good reason why every single season and/or special has a rating of 8.5/10 or higher on MyAnimeList.
Well, let’s do this.
Mushishi is one of the most interesting anime in every way. That also goes for the animation. It is among the most exceptional things I have seen in anime. The way it fits the mood and overall theme of the anime and the way it underlines everything is just amazing. Every background could be an actual painting. Nothing is half-assed. And as a Winter fanatic, the episodes that take place in deep Winter absolutely make my heart melt. The sheer beauty of the scenery with snow everywhere is exceeding pleasure for the eyes. It basically screams melancholia and sadness in a way but due to the art style combined with the theme of the story it also has such warmth, it’s hauntingly beautiful.
One more thing I really enjoyed about the animation were the designs of the Mushi. They had such original and vivid designs and were moving in such weird ways. Real creativity by the creators right there. And not to forget the design of the people in the show, who basically make up the entire show. That’s what this show is about. The humans have this distinct look and these very distinct, round features that instantly let you know what show you’re watching because no other anime has this kind of look to it. Only thing was that sometimes you couldn’t make out the difference between characters from different episodes since a lot of them look so, well… normal! But that’s not really a bad thing. So all in all, can’t complain, oh no!
First to the openings.
The opening for the first season is Ally Kerr – Sore Feet Song. Second one is Lucy Rose – Shiver. Like everything else, they fit the atmosphere of this anime like my old shirts fit me again because I lost a lot of weight. They’re as calm as they could be and also, they’re English songs by English artists. I have both on my phone and love them to bits because they bring you back into this show and all that you experienced in it. Lovely. And now…
Oh man. That soundtrack.
What’s there to say? Ever heard of Feng Shui? Yes? This is like it, but just a bit less boring for the show. The soundtrack is by Toshiro Masuda, who also made the soundtrack for the original Naruto show. And I still remember how incredibly well that soundtrack burnt itself into my mind. So well, that you can play me a song out of the Naruto soundtrack in about 30 years and I will probably still instantly know where it’s from. The same goes for Mushishi. And let me stress this. The soundtrack Could. Not. Fit. The. Show. Any. Better. This soundtrack is absolute brilliance. It takes the very, very calm theme of the show and makes it even calmer. And as with the Naruto one, these tracks, these very calming tracks with bells, light flutes and beautiful melodies will dig inside of your head, maybe without you even noticing, and they will stay there. If you ever feel stressed or burnt out, even if you haven’t seen Mushishi, you should listen to this soundtrack. It’s so hauntingly beautiful I still have all of it on my phone and listen to it regularly when I want to feel at ease. Fantastic, brilliant work, I can’t stress this enough.
There is the problem I have with this show. While on the one hand I completely understand how the author wanted to write this anime, since it is episodic in every way until the very last minute, I still can’t completely wrap my head around the fact that we basically know nothing about the main character at the end of this show. And by nothing I mean almost nothing. There were like 2 episodes that revealed a bit and then a tiny bit more that was sprinkled here and there but that’s about it. There is no overarching storyline that leads to some grand finale or anything. But then again, this show started as mysterious as it ended. I understand the idea behind that thought. It is probably the most ‘grown up’ show I have ever seen. That’s the best way to describe it for me.
The entire thing plays in old Japan (probably?) and it’s about our main character Ginko. And that, dear people, was a lie just now. Since he is the main character, but he travels through the land for a particular reason and he is what they call a Mushishi. Since Mushi are basically entities that can’t be seen by most people but they are part of nature just like any plant or animal would be, they can interact with humans and might do harm. Some change peoples’ surroundings, some change the people themselves. And they all are connected through the big Light Veins that flow through the earth that basically represent life itself. The best way to describe it is basically… There are poisonous plants or for example mosquitoes, right? These plants or bugs don’t attack humans for any malicious reasons nor do they mean any harm, they’re just there, doing their thing. And that’s what Mushi are, just that most people can’t see them. And that’s where the Mushishi come in. They can see them and research them to find cures for the problems these things cause.
But again, I personally feel a bit of a lack of an overarching plot… Maybe that’s just me though!
Well, well. You have to create a main character for your show. How do you do that?
Don’t ask me.
I’m an idiot.
These people did it right though. Oh and how well they did it…
Ginko is probably one of the most simple, most complex, most mysterious and most interesting and greatest characters I know in anime. He is an enigma from episode one until the last episode and aside from a bit of info about his past, he will stay that way. Full of questions and answers and full of self-sacrifice. Always with that Mushi-repellent cigarette in his mouth. Simply put, he’s cool as fuck. And chill as fuck. I don’t want to imagine this show without Ginko. His personality was perfectly written and as the animation and soundtrack, fits this show 100%. And he’s a lone traveler. He doesn’t have any travel buddies. No cute mascot that lives in his backpack and no shits to give. Actually that last one is wrong, because he actually cares a lot about every part of nature there is and in every way possible. A young, wise man that says stuff that you will find yourself thinking about twice. More than just once. One of my all-time favorite characters in anime.
Regarding the other characters, most of them are very ‘normal’. In the most purest way. They’re just villagers or wanderers who are just casual people in old Japan. And they don’t have any blue or red or green hair. This anime doesn’t need stuff like that to have you, the watcher, remember who is who. Because honestly, you forget. And that’s kind of part of this show. They’re just normal townsfolk and once Ginko did whatever a Ginko does he just leaves, mostly, never to return. So given that they’re supposed to be as normal as it gets, most fill their role well. They do just what they should do. But a few can seem a bit too bland to be honest. They just have nothing special going for them at all. They’re TOO normal. But that’s my only problem here. Good.
Overall just probably one of the best shows I have had the pleasure to watch. But that ending left me wanting more. I really lacked a conclusion to something. Again, there was no overarching problem, but I just wanted something more… I mean don’t get me wrong, I’m really content with what I got since that ending was as enigmatic and classy as this show has deserved it to be, but it’s just the syndrome of ‘I want more’ after having reached the end of a good show, you know?
I wasn’t in the mood for this show. But this show put me in the mood for it in about 2 episodes. It is absolutely, ABSOLUTELY fantastic. You have my word on this.
Mushishi (All of it): 9/10
I don’t know what I’m gonna watch next. Gotta find a quality show but don’t know what…
Also it’s 7am, why do I always get in the mood to write these when it’s late as hell. Goddammit.
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Mushishi Zoku Shou: Suzu no Shizuku
2. Koukaku Kidoutai
3. Non Non Biyori Movie: Vacation
4. Kono Sekai no Katasumi ni
5. Berserk: Ougon Jidai-hen III – Kourin
7. Lupin III: Cagliostro no Shiro
8. Kara no Kyoukai Movie: Mirai Fukuin
9. Koukaku Kidoutai 2.0
10. Berserk: Ougon Jidai-hen II – Doldrey Kouryaku
11. Initial D Third Stage
12. Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio: Ars Nova Movie 2 – Cadenza
13. Lupin the IIIrd: Chikemuri no Ishikawa Goemon
14. Saint☆Oniisan (Movie)
15. Lupin the IIIrd: Jigen Daisuke no Bohyou
16. Lupin III: The First
17. New Initial D Movie: Legend 3 – Mugen
18. New Initial D Movie: Legend 2 – Tousou
19. Crayon Shin-chan Movie 09: Arashi wo Yobu Mouretsu! Otona Teikoku no Gyakushuu
20. New Initial D Movie: Legend 1 – Kakusei
21. Koukaku Kidoutai: Stand Alone Complex – Solid State Society 3D
22. Berserk: Ougon Jidai-hen I – Haou no Tamago
23. Piano no Mori
24. Uchuu Kyoudai: Number Zero
25. Aa! Megami-sama! Movie
26. Kiniro Mosaic: Pretty Days
27. Ningen Shikkaku: Director’s Cut-ban
28. Ajin Part 1: Shoudou
29. Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio: Ars Nova Movie 1 – DC
31. Crayon Shin-chan Movie 10: Arashi wo Yobu Appare! Sengoku Daikassen
32. Lupin III: Kutabare! Nostradamus
33. Crayon Shin-chan Movie 18: Chou Jikuu! Arashi wo Yobu Ora no Hanayome
34. Crayon Shin-chan Movie 22: Gachinko! Gyakushuu no Robo To-chan
35. Lupin the IIIrd: Mine Fujiko no Uso
36. Lupin III: Fuuma Ichizoku no Inbou
37. Crayon Shin-chan Movie 05: Ankoku Tamatama Daitsuiseki
38. Sidonia no Kishi Movie
39. Ajin Part 3: Shougeki
40. Ajin Part 2: Shoutotsu
41. Crayon Shin-chan Movie 08: Arashi wo Yobu Jungle
42. Maison Ikkoku: Kanketsu-hen
43. Sidonia no Kishi: Ai Tsumugu Hoshi
44. Sarusuberi: Miss Hokusai
45. Kaijuu no Kodomo
46. Crayon Shin-chan Movie 04: Henderland no Daibouken
47. Lupin III: Dead or Alive
48. Ginga Kikoutai Majestic Prince Movie: Kakusei no Idenshi
49. Crayon Shin-chan Movie 11: Arashi wo Yobu Eikou no Yakiniku Road
50. Blame! Movie