Posted by psgels on 7 January 2008 with categories: Anime Reviews


Before I start with the review, I have a small announcement to make. Anyone who’s looked at my blog for the past two weeks will probably have noticed the heap of movie and OVA-reviews. Well, with the review of Arete Hime, this special holiday-schedule has ended: every show should be getting out of their hiatus by now, the Winter-season has started as well, and tomorrow my studies will start again as well. I must say that it was a great way to spend the past two weeks, and this was probably the largest amount of activity you’ll see from me in like, ever (according to animeblogger, I managed to churn out more than fifty posts over the past two weeks ^^;). I also managed to greatly reduce my movie-watchlist, in fact, there are only nine titles left of movies and OVAs that I still want to see (three OVAs and six movies, to be exact), and I should be finished with that list in about two months, depending on how busy my studies will become.

Anyways, onto the review. For the past two weeks, I’ve seen a lot of good stuff, but the definite highlights for me were Tokyo Godfathers and this charming movie called Arete Hime, or Princess Arete. This movie really restored my faith in Studio 4C. Every thing has its bad points, and I guess that for Studio 4C this was Spriggan. Still, Arete Hime showed me that these guys remain a bunch of very talented storytellers.

Let me get one thing straight, though: boredom is a major theme of this movie, so yes: it’s slow. Don’t even dare to expect any action in this movie. Still, one flaw that I found in a lot of movies is that they tend to rush things along a lot, while forgetting to build up properly. Arete Hime delightfully avoids this flaw, and makes sure not to rush one minute of its storyline. Of course, the premise of a princess, locked up inside a tower has been done many times before, and yet the creators managed to create a setting with this that stands apart from the rest. The storyline and setting may be simple, but that makes sure that they’ve gotten sufficient development. It was definitely interesting to see the customs and habits of the people who live in a fantasy-influenced medieval setting, without any clichés or stereotypes.

The cast of characters is also well-developed, from the main characters to the side-ones: everything fits, and most of them are smarter than your average anime. You may not suspect it from first sight, but Arete is quite clever for her age, and the major villain too has one of the most interesting back-stories I’ve seen in a long while.

To be honest, if I were asked about the best movie-creating company, I’d answer Studio 4C instead of Ghibli. Sure, Hayao Miyazaki has made some great movies, but they all felt like they were missing something. That final spark to become truly interesting. The works from Studio 4C feel complete, varied and nearly all of them have a terrific sense of storytelling. Both studios try to be different and don’t care about popularity and mainstream. Princess Arete is yet another great example of this. Sure, I can imagine how it’ll put people to sleep, but the storytelling definitely makes up for all of the slow pacing.

2 Responses

  1. AG says:

    This is probably off topic, but have you checked out FLCL? It’s a famous OVA by Gainax which somehow manages to make a really weird story, about involving mechas and smashing guitars over people’s heads, so engrossing and enjoyable.?

  2. Wyrdwad says:

    Yay! I’m glad I’m not the only one who enjoyed Princess Arete. My favorite aspect of it is the atmosphere, though. The whole movie is just really, really… medieval! And I know a lot of anime are set in medieval times, but this is really the ONLY one I can think of that actually FEELS medieval. The music, too, is outstanding.

    My only complaint with Princess Arete was that the last third of it seemed a bit rushed. There was just no action at all for most of the movie, and then suddenly, right at the end, there was a TON of action, all of which seemed to occur far too quickly and conveniently when compared to the rest of the movie. I almost would’ve preferred it to have been a bit longer, as I really would’ve liked to see the action spaced out more, and better thought-out.

    But still, overall, I really enjoyed it.

    As for the rest of your movies and OVAs… I hope one of ‘em is Millennium Actress! (: Heheheheh…

    And I think I’ve mentioned this before (in fact, I’m almost CERTAIN I’ve mentioned it before!), but if you’re ever looking to start up another full series, I can’t recommend Mahoujin Guruguru enough. It just came up again in conversation with some of my friends recently, and I found myself re-watching a few episodes… and man, that really is one amazingly good show. And aside from the vastly inferior 2000 sequel, Mahoujin Guruguru Dokidoki Densetsu, all of it has been fansubbed, too: 45 TV episodes, and one half-hour movie. And excepting for a small handful of somewhat boring filler episodes, all of it is truly excellent, providing a wonderful blending of genuinely funny humor and surprisingly original, well-conceived fantasy elements (it may be a parody anime, but it actually has a pretty damn good story in its own right!).

    Of all the “unknown” anime I’ve watched, Mahoujin Guruguru and Ashita no Nadja have been by far my favorites (well, aside from PopoloCrois, anyway – which, BTW, will be done soon, I SWEAR!). It’s a shame Ashita no Nadja is being fansubbed so horribly slowly… though I guess I’m really no better, what with how long I’ve been making people wait to see the last few Popolo episodes. (:

    -Tom

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  • Emma
    (Sunday, Apr 26. 2015 11:56 PM)
    The Highlights for me in Sandman, a mixed bag though the series is are the Corinthian’s introduction and the orpheus bit.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Apr 26. 2015 11:54 PM)
    Sandmans an easy adaptation if they were to focus on a main plot, do volume 1 and 2, then 5, one issue of vol6, condense volume 7 and 9, do one chapter of volume 10 as the epilogue.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Apr 26. 2015 11:51 PM)
    The thing about these fantastic 4 flicks though is how on earth can you fail so hard that Ben Grimm becomes unfunny ?
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Apr 26. 2015 11:41 PM)
    That new Fantastic 4 just looks horrible, it needs a miracle to turn that shit around. I want to see that HBO adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman that was floating around, but just like the Guilermo Del Toro’s version of the Monster manga it sadly never materialized, although after seeing The Strain I’m rather glad it didn’t.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Apr 26. 2015 11:00 PM)
    I’d have a hard time getting psyked for a new fantastic four movie, I think its evident that those characters are just too hard to get right.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Apr 26. 2015 10:57 PM)
    These superhero movies can be enjoyable, though I wish DC and Marvel would start adapting stuff from their more adult lines.
    I’m really looking forward to the upcoming Preacher tv series. I also want a swamp thing film that follows Alan Moores run on the character.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Apr 26. 2015 10:54 PM)
    Winter soldier missed the mark for me because I felt it overly long and dodgely edited, it tried to do too much and messed up trying to blend spy thriller and superhero flick and it just didn’t gel, the winter soldier himself also needed more presence.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Apr 26. 2015 10:46 PM)
    The most disappointing thing with those two wolverine films is that they actually had a fair bit going for them but they completely undid and ruined themselves in their endings. I can’t forgive bad endings in films.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Apr 26. 2015 10:45 PM)
    I feel X-men only becomes fun when you focus on Magneto, wolverine, deadpool (with cable) and maybe nightcrawler, I find everything around Jean and Cyclops whingy and always found storm a dull character.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Apr 26. 2015 10:41 PM)
    I’m a pretty big fan of the spiderman, daredevil, captain America comics so that added to a negative opinions I had on some of the films.

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