They are by far the best anime! We counts down the best anime to come out all the time, including the likes of Dounika Naru Hibi, Cardfight!! Vanguard Movie: Neon Messiah, Monster Strike The Movie: Hajimari no Basho e, and more!
7: Dounika Naru Hibi
English: Happy-Go-Lucky Days
MAL Score: 5.43
Love is love. Someday, the pain of being in love will be an endearing memory. No matter who the feelings are towards, no matter what form it takes, all love and lifestyles have the same value. An omnibus anime tells the stories of “The wedding of an ex”, “a student and a teacher at an all-boys’ school” and “childhood friends whose bodies and hearts change with adolescence.”
1st story: I’m not a big fan of Yuri, so I found the story really dull. Actually, I take that back. There was no story present! It had potential, but they rushed it and just kept the dull parts and some bed scenes.
2nd story: Wow .. The story that I looked forward to the most was the most disappointing one. A boy confesses his feelings to his closeted teacher and that’s it. The story goes nowhere. What the hell?
3rd story: Super uncomfortable to watch. A girl and a boy who are still kids thinking and talking about s*x and the parents are oblivious through out the whole story. Why did they even bother putting them in the story? The p star cousin was talking to the boy about sexual things on the dinner table and the dad was smiling and enjoying his meal like he was hearing nothing wrong. I’m not even going to talk about the rushed unsatisfying ending.
I loved the art & animation though …
Story – 1/10
A lot of this short film felt like a retelling of scum’s wish.
So if you like that anime, you may like this one. There are a lot of similar plotlines in both, with different iterations. For example, possible incest is present in both, teachers, and just horribly done yuri.
Things just don’t seem to wrap up nicely too. It makes you feel extremely unsatisfied and wondering if there is going to be more.
It also just felt so slow. 55 minutes feelings like such a long time at the pace this movie was going. This movie also had an issue with repeating jokes and lines, and it feels like we were going in circles. This is especially present in the third story following this guy and his girlfriend go through the struggles of being in love when the guy is attracted to his cousin who does porn.
It feels like such a cheap way to add tension and make jokes, especially considering the length of the time frame the issue occurs for.
Art/Sound – 4/10
They were both okay.
Not great, not even that good, but they were fine. The art was cute, but that was it. It isn’t spectacular, and the colours were a bit drab at times, but it was alright.
The sound was also fine. The opening and ending were both fine to good, depending on what you favour in music. It was also quiet for a lot of the times, not a lot of noise or sound, it felt extremely empty. When background music was used some of them felt very off and some of the tracks just ended unexpectedly, bringing you out of the illusion.
There is also a scene where there is someone using the restroom, and the sound just does not fit. It sounds like there’s rain pouring, but it occurs in a locked room and there’s no sign of downpour.
Characters – 1/10
The characters are so very bland. Since this is a collection of short stories there are a lot of them. I completely understand not being able to develop characters in the span of about 15-20 minutes each, but they just made them so unlikable. For example, story one, the two main leads have zero chemistry. The only thing distinct about each of them is how they look, they’re both in love with their ex and they both are sexually active, that’s it. Even by the end of the ~15 minutes, their only real interactions are just to talk about their ex and have sex.
Enjoyment – 1/10
The feeling of checking when this movie would end was there with me the whole time. I kept checking the bar just to see how much time was left. It was boring, plain and simple. 55 minutes felt like 90, and it just dragged on and yet, It left me feeling so unsatisfied.
The endings to these stories felt like a massive cockblock and some of these lines just made me so confused, that I had to pause and think, “They really want to keep this in? Alright.”
Overall – 1/10
All in all, this movie is just so boring and so mindlessly unentertaining. Stories go nowhere, and progression is just clunky. They could have made these into three separate stories spanning a few more episodes so development could occur, but they decided to just mash them all together ultimately, leaving the viewer confused as to why it existed in this form in the first place.
It seems to be trying to depict semi-taboo relationships that are nonetheless totally normal, which is fine in concept. But if these are more-or-less direct adaptations of stories from the 2002 manga (I have no idea), then I just have to scream “things have CHANGED!” Gay couples, like, exist. And always have. So opening a movie with this theme with a completely ordinary lesbian couple gives off weird vibes to me. (I recognize that I am writing as an American and this is a Japanese movie, but I’m explaining my feelings here.) The other three stories were about relationships that had real boundaries that were somewhat inappropriately crossed, so I just thought starting with an odd one out made little sense. Maybe they were connecting it to the others by having the high school girlfriend kiss her unprompted, but that’s not the relationship that the story was really about. Very little happened in this story and it didn’t bother giving us any characterization as to why the women were into each other, so I didn’t care very much about it. It was the least objectionable one, though.
The second story was about a high school teacher man whose boy student confessed to him. This went nowhere, which is fine. But the story was more about the teacher’s sense of longing for connection to his students, symbolized by kinda wanting this romantic fantasy to work out. Which is less fine. At that point, they’re not teacher-and-studnet anymore, so I’m not going to say they would be breaking a Rule or anything, but the framing of the story keeps the focus on the high school kids of future classes and is consequently uncomfortable. But, like I said, it goes nowhere. It’s very whatever because, again, we never actually get characterization.
The third short is a story about a grade-schooler’s relationship with his cousin who has been disowned by her father because she appeared in a porn tape. She’s very sexually open and talks to him about sex and teases him about his close friendship with a girl who goes to his school. And I think this is weird because sex is not high on my list of things to talk about with children, but I’m not going to pretend like keeping kids completely ignorant of sex somehow protects them. So, like, I’m not going to condemn this out of hand either. Its real sin is that it ends abruptly and serves mostly as a lead-in to the fourth short, which is about that boy and that girl. Do I even need to say that we don’t actually get any reasons that the boy and girl like each other?
So, in the third skit, the girl proposed having sex with the boy and he declined. The fourth skit takes place years later, when they’re in high school. It’s about how they still want to have sex with each other and are awkward about their sexuality. And, like, ugh. There’s no other way to say this. I don’t understand any adults’ fascination with children having sex or wanting to have sex. Acknowledging it exists is one thing, and that’s what the third short skirted just barely on the “Uh, valid, I guess” edge of. This fourth skit is a lot more explicit about how horny they are and how much they want to have sex, but he doesn’t feel ready in the way that she does. I just keep asking myself “Who is this for?” Who’s the audience for this? Is this a movie for high school kids? If so, I Guess this could work as an interesting subject that could give a young person some sort of validation. But if this movie’s audience is adults (or “everyone” 9_9), then why are we dwelling on child sexuality in this way right after the skit from a teacher’s perspective about romantic feelings prompted by a student?
I dunno, dawg. The movie starts with something easy and palatable, but then takes risky swings for really difficult subjects. People have serious, valid hangups over these sorts of situations, which are nonetheless serious and valid themselves. The way that they depicted these scenarios seriously did not work for me, and the intentions of the film are truly opaque to me.
6: Cardfight!! Vanguard Movie: Neon Messiah
Japanese: 劇場版 カードファイト!! ヴァンガード ネオンメサイア
MAL Score: 6.77
A hybrid anime/live-action movie for the series to be released Fall 2014.
After the events of Link Joker-hen, Aichi and Kai team up to a confront an enemy that threatens the peace they’ve just regained. The movie also covers the events leading up to Aichi’s disappearance in Legion Mate-hen.
Short review: Yay! The world is once again on the break of destruction and the heroes once again have to save the world. This movie is a movie about a phenomenon like Link Joker, but now it is called the Deletor. Deletor deletes and Link Joker possesses card fighters. The Deletor only needs one person, while Link Joker needs an army. So they aren’t that really that similar, I guess, but close enough. Anyways, the point is that if you loved the Link Joker arc, then you should give this movie a try.
Long Review: The problem about this movie is that there isn’t anywhere you can watch it in super good quality and accurate sub titles, but you can watch the movie on YouTube (Just search up CardFight!Vanguard: Neon Messiah english sub or CFV Neon Messiah english sub). If you are bothered about spelling mistakes like me, try to ignore it because you get the point and the movie is really good.
Since the synopsis is really inaccurate in MyAnimeList at this time, I will summarize the movie better. The just of it is that the world is once again threatened by a new enemy, which is called the Deletor, I mention that name 4 times already in this review. Basically, units started disappearing all over the world and Takuto Tatsunagi needed Aichi, Kai, Misaki, Kamui, etc’s help once again to absolutely destroy the enemy and eliminate it from the face of Earth and Cray. I’m going to pause the review for a second.
Didn’t Takuto get sucked into the Link Joker Ring in the end of the Link Joker arc? I was confused on why Takuto was back. Could this movie be a prequel?
Continuing on the review… Takuto invited them to a tournament called the Messiah Scramble for a reason I’m not going to tell you. The story is actually really good, they did a great job at finishing up the first part of the series because after this movie, you will never see Aichi or Kai ever again, probably.
The art was amazing. I think it is at the level of the Fate series. Maybe not, but you can see all the time and effort it took to make the art flow so smoothly. If you were waiting for fights to be an actual card fight holograms, then you will love this movie’s art. The problem for the art now is there are no card effects being presented and it is hard to know when they are taking damage. For all we know, Ibuki can be cheating his way through the tournament.
Like all the seasons, the sound is really good. I don’t think I have any other comments for sound.
The new character Ibuki is the antagonist of this movie. He follows the popular cliche for most antagonists, the cliche is the bad past cliche. According to the developer Ibuki had a bad experience relating to Vanguard, but I’m still not sure what that is.
There is this moment when you see Kai have some kind of light in his eyes. I think Kai secretly has Psyqualia.
Final Comments: It’s a really good movie. It is probably between Legion Mate and G, Takuto somehow used his magical powers to resurrect himself. But that is just a Theory right now.
So, after four seasons of a great anime about a card game called Cardfight Vanguard, comes this movie. After watching all 4 seasons of CFV, I watched this movie and honestly, this was one of the biggest let-downs I had with any series so far.
But, let’s start with the good stuff:
1. Characters – Most of the characters from this movie were taken directly from the series and have complex designs and unique personalities. While very little of it can be fleshed out with a time restriction like in this case, the characters are represented well. There is ofcourse a new character, Ibuki Kouji. His character is well designed (not so much his cards), his backstory well explained and he, as a villain, represents a real threat, which makes him relevant.
2. The ending – If any of the CFV season had at least one thing in common, that would be a satisfying ending. This movie is no exception. While I won’t spoil it for now, I’d say that it does redeem the movie a bit.
3. Voice acting – While this is hadrly its own topic since it mostly belongs under characters it might be worth noting that it is on point and well acted.
And that’s pretty much all I can come up with for the good stuff. Next comes the stuff that makes me feel that 3 is a very generous score for this movie.
1. The cardfights – Oh wait,… this is wrong,… there are no cardfights! Oh, yeah, that’s what I actually meant. “The lack of cardfights” would be more appropriate. This is why people who liked the series might not like the movie. And one of the main reasons I didn’t like it. So, what basically happens, CARDFIGHTS GET REPLACED by weak Half-CGI BATTLES, that will make your head spin an make you wonder wtf just happened. Also lots of gore-like stuff, ripping through people’s stomacks with one’s hand etc. (tons of unneccessary violence, in my oppinion)
So, no points of power, no trigger checks, no clever skills, basically nothing that make vanguard special as a card game. Instead, we get our character’s avatars flying around cray clashing weapons and smashing into their enviroment at nausiating speeds with weird camera angles, even weirder camera angle transition and just in general cluster**** action. If you like that kind of stuff, then great, but in my oppinion, slapping the name “Vanguard” on it is an insult to the original. Especially since the villain is apparently so overpowered that noone can defeat him without an actual miracle (minor spoiler), yet there is no explanation how he does it or what makes his cards so strong. Sure, the word “delete” gets thrown around, but unless you’ll go read the game rulebook it won’t help you at all.
2. General cinematography – It seems to me that the director of this movie just went a bit crazy and tried to squeeze every camera and perspective tric he could possibly imagine. Some of them look really cool, but when the cool shot lasts for two seconds only to immediatly and awkwardly transition into a new camera gimmick, the good shot loses most of its appeal. Most certainly not one of Shin Itagi’s finest works.
Personally, this ruined my viewing experience the most if I ignore the lack of cardfights. Lots of potential wasted.
3. Nagisa – That annoying little girl that won’t stop obsessing over Kamui. Well, at least they can’t make it worse, right? Wrong. Now she also showers the screen with imaginary hearts everytime she appears.
I’m gonna stop here. I could go on, but I’m too lazy and many things might not apply to everyone watching this. And in the end, it’s just my oppinion. I hope you don’t waste time on this bad excuse for a vanguard show, but if you do, I hope you’ll at least enjoy some of it.
Art + Sound + Character – 7/10 all together.
Enjoyment – 1/10: there’s no way that I can enjoy this movie. I hate it. the reason is well to tell the truth, Cardfight!! Vanguard is a card game anime, Not Dragon Ball Z. but this is wrong. There AREN’T Any Card fighting in here in this movies at all. I should call this Dragon Ball Z Vanguard.
A little talk like telling your unit skill and flip the card over for attacking would be more appropriate. but here, you are transform into unit itself, and I saw Aichi Sendou and Kai dodge the attack and counter the attack. not even mention about there are a few tons of unneccessary violence like GORE in the movie.
in cardfight rules, for each attack from your vanguard attack. you’ll be able to pull card(s) for triggers. in this movie, I witness no trigger checks, no skills reveal to activate it. basically this movie is not a vanguard card game. I heard that Ibui use Deletor deck which allow him to delete opponent vanguard. which is flip vandguard face down and its text and power are lost. I didn’t see it in the movie. Daunting Deletor, Oksizz I love this card so watch. I was hoping to see how the card works by counter blast 3 and put card in RG into soul and delete opponent vanguard and unit get +10000. um.. I didn’t see that stuff mention in here.
Overall: 4/10 to be honest. I can’t enjoy this movie. the way our character flying around and slashing and dodging is not really a cardfight. if this movie call Dragon Vanguard Z Movie Neon Messiah then I have no problem rating 10/10 lol
5: Monster Strike The Movie: Hajimari no Basho e
English: Monster Strike The Movie: To The Place of Beginnings
Japanese: モンスターストライク THE MOVIE はじまりの場所へ
MAL Score: 6.77
The Monster Strike film will feature a character named Lucifer.
Really liked the movie. Nice Story with nice characters. About friends, Adventure. I would recommend anybody reading my review and is thinking whether to watch it or not, i would say give it a try, you will like it. The Art was beautiful.
The reason why like this movie is bcas it kind of gives a old kind of vibe, when in earlier days it was all about friends and journey. This movie again follows in the same footstep. 2 Boys and 2 Girls working together, trying to save the world with their maturity.
One more thing which i like is that they incorporate the dragon era with modern era with technology and stuff. It really comes out very nicely.
It all matters whether you enjoyed it or not, i enjoyed each moment of it. All shows as positive and negative points based on each individual self but i would say it will entertain you and you will like it.
Story: This is strangely both a sequel and a prequel to the original series, we find out the events and memories that the main cast had forgotten and why they do. We also so much more out, and I like how it was handled. This is a movie that helps to flesh out what was hinted out in the original series.
Art: I really liked the artwork here, continues the great way that the monsters and enemies did in the original series, but I feel much much stronger.
Characters: If you seen the show you know them, though they are different and given their chances to shine in many ways, I can’t say much more without risking spoilers, but even some of the side chars get more details and depth then some main ones.
Enjoyment and overall: I highly recommend this, and torn as to wether to watch this one first or second, or as someone in the forum suggested, watch the first few episodes of the series and then watch this. This explains so much that was left out of the original, while telling you so much more. It’s hard to explain or describe, but I’m so glad that I watched this
4: Sayonara Watashi no Cramer Movie: First Touch
Japanese: 映画 さよなら私のクラマー ファーストタッチ
MAL Score: 7.20
14-year-old Nozomi Onda has only one thing on her mind: playing beautiful soccer. There’s just one problem: no matter how much she longs to participate in official matches, she’d have physically superior boys as opponents. But when a boy from her past confronts her on the street, she decides she can’t wait any longer.
(Source: Kodansha Comics)
I gave this series an easy 10 because it nails everything genuine about football as a sport and a way of life. Plenty of football anime struggles to stay grounded when telling their stories but with this movie, it understands the essence of football to its very core level and how that anybody can fall in love with football and play it. No superpowers, unrealistic movements or ridiculous situations. Just a girl that wants to play football and wants to do so really badly.
And speaking about Onda, her as a main character carries the show on her shoulders really well. She represents why billions of football fans love the sport so much. She lives and breathes football – and watching it in front of eyes makes her heart beat even faster as she wants to be out there playing football and not sitting on the bench. She has so much talent and most importantly- determination. She’s a stubborn little gorilla but she does so in a way that never comes off as annoying but endearing. And that’s why she is so admired and why I fell in love with her.
Story-wise, the whole battle of the sexes plotline has been done to death in all forms of media but this movie executes it really well by not having Onda magically destroy her more powerful and physically imposing male counterparts. I won’t spoil what she does but she uses her brilliant brain and of course mazy feet to counter the physical aspect and it makes for a wonderful climax as she executes them.
A last note on the CG animation, people seem to have a hate boner for them as it was used a little bit in the movie but I think it was great CG and how it should be used in anime. Football is such a dynamic sport with balls moving from back to front in mere seconds – the use of CG manages to envelope me into the game like I was watching it in real life. There is plenty of traditional animation here as well which was done great too and it was such a fun ride.
All in all, a fantastic movie and was a fitting adaptation to the wonderful manga as it says Sayonara Football to Onda in middle school – off to experience beautiful football in its sequel anime and raise the level of girls football.
This movie is an adaptation of another work by the author of Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso, so I didn’t have such high expectations. Well, the movie is bad.
I thought I would never see a bad sports anime like Ashita no Eleven-tachi. As much as this movie is not as shitty as Ashita no Eleven-tachi, it is still bad.
It has script convenience that isn’t the best (but it wasn’t bad either), and it was used to generate a drama.
The main character falls down playing soccer with a boy who is superior to her, and the coach forbids her to play official games just because she has an arm injury, and it wasn’t even a serious injury, doesn’t the coach know that in soccer people can get hurt?
Then comes the excuse that men have a superior physique than women. In most cases it is true, and this movie is one of those cases, but… the protagonist plays soccer with boys since always, and she is already used to it, which makes it kind of “meh”.
“Soccer is a contact sport.
I am bigger than you. A girl doesn’t even stand a chance against me.”
I wonder again:
Has the author ever seen women in professional games? Many women’s professional games are more “brutal” than men’s games, however yes, men usually have superior physical stature. Yes, I know it’s not professional gaming, that’s just an example.
I really want to understand why you are trying to give a girl a message of victimhood. Yes, there are men who think they are superior to women, but in this anime it is kind of “meh”, because the girl has been playing soccer with boys since forever, as I mentioned before. All right it is explained that in official games everything is heavier than in training, BUT THE SHOOTER HAS ONLY PLAYED ONE OFFICIAL GAME. And it’s also funny that the coach calls a boy, and he is not at all confident, unlike the protagonist.
There is a part where the main character slaps the boy saying what I mentioned above. Well, she is right to do that, at least.
At least the boy who was a friend of the protagonist some time ago, knows that he talked trash to her. This at least was something positive, it shows the character being more human. By the way, in the heat of the moment of an argument, anyone can talk some nonsense.
One thing that I thought was a little shitty was that the protagonist pretends to be her brother and arrests him in the bathroom and takes his clothes. Like, it would have been better if it showed how she did it, but no, it just happened.
After that the coach sees that she can play against the boys, and also comes up with those typical generic motivational lines… It is the typical “I can do it” anime. It is nothing innovative, I have seen this in so many anime…
At least the technician gives more detail that he cared about the protagonist and her career. In a way, it has logic. The problem is how this is executed, because, as I said before, the protagonist only fell once playing an official game and it wasn’t even a serious injury (besides this game wasn’t even detailed to see how everything happened).
Ok, fine, we know that most of the boys are bigger than the girls, but do we need to keep reminding them of this all the time?
There is also a moment when the main character says that she really has no chance against the boys’ strength, and that because of this, she wins in her own way. Aaaaah… What was all the drama about physical size for? This movie is a joke.
It seems that she wanted to say that physical size doesn’t matter, regardless if you are a man or a woman, and that her childhood friend and her coach are wrong, even though they are right. So what was the point of all this?
Comedy scenes are also not that funny, very few of them work. At least it is not as bad as in Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso, which has comedy in the middle of drama where it takes away all the impact of the scene.
There is one scene in this movie where a more emotional dialogue is cut for comedy, but it is done in a very natural way, and it was well planned. This scene is at 49:00 of the film, when the characters are talking and the main character is hit by a ball and falls into the water. This was really functional, and kind of funny. Other than that, the few times it has comedy, it’s not good.
The technical part of the anime up until 01:00:00 of the movie is good, but then it has game with a CG that is not so good, but not horrible.
The movie has almost no positive points. There is so much bad stuff in it that it prevents it from being at least average. I didn’t expect much for being from the author of Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso, and in the end it turned out to be another bad work from a terrible author.
This review may not have been good. But that’s okay, the movie is not good either.
But the standard here is pretty low. Even though I expected something coming from YLiA’s author. But I was immediately slap to the face because of how mediocre everything in this anime.
But moving on to the movie itself.
The story is not bad. It’s actually decent, having a girl prodigy who basically got overshadowed by boys in her team because of built difference.
It presented itself really good, and didn’t hesitate to use flashbacks when it’s necessary. Basically just the right amount of everything.
Though it gets a 6 just because it is too safe. It doesn’t really do anything outside of ordinary.
Not expecting some major plot twist or anything like that, but everything in the story is forgettable af.
The characters are pretty lackluster. They aren’t bad, but they sure are pretty much just there to exist. Replace them with a cardboard and nothing would change at all.
Idk, I don’t have anything to say to them.
The music is decent as well. It’s not bad, in fact I enjoyed the ED. But the OST were pretty absent in some scenes. Because of that, some of the powerful scenes in the movie became really forgettable.
The animation is decent to bad. Basically it’s a CG-fest whenever someone is moving. It’s a disgrace to eyes.
Overall, it’s not half-bad. I recommend watching it if you’re bored and you wanna watch a soccer anime. Well, there’s not enough of a choice since there aren’t any anime yet for Blue Lock or Ao Ashi.
3: 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.
2: 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.
1: 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.
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. New Initial D Movie: Legend 3 – Mugen
2. New Initial D Movie: Legend 2 – Tousou
3. New Initial D Movie: Legend 1 – Kakusei
4. Sayonara Watashi no Cramer Movie: First Touch
5. Cardfight!! Vanguard Movie: Neon Messiah
6. Monster Strike The Movie: Hajimari no Basho e
7. Dounika Naru Hibi