Posted on 22 November 2016 with categories: Anime Reviews, World Animation

Hooray, I’m finally back to this section after a while. I originally plan to review a more in-focus groups of animated films, like Korean movies, anthology movies, female-directed films, etc but now I have a different plan. The days that I cover all these will come, I promise. Instead, this time I want to highlight the very spirit of World Animation- take you around the world to check out a diverse set of animation techniques in wide ranges of genres. As I mentioned before the very purpose of this column is to recommend you readers to check out those movies as an alternative to anime and mainstream animated movies, so don’t feel discouraged to read on the review if you haven’t seen these movies. There will be mild spoilers on the theme of the movies, but I don’t see it as an issue should you guys decide to check out these films later.

The title this week: Strange Frame- Love & Sax sold me based on its premise alone. This is an …hold your breath here… indie musical psychedelic lesbian-themed sci-fi film using cut-out animation and upon reading this I know I have to check it out already. As the box office now is dominated by family-oriented animated movies with themes like “you’re different, but be yourself (Shrek, Ratatouile, Wreck-it Ralph…) or “we family will support each other forever” (the Croods, the Incredibles), something as weird and adult-oriented as this is certainly welcomed. So how the film itself fare, let’s get down to it.

The story of how this film got made is already a curious one. The story was written 10 years prior to its release by Shelley Doty and GB Hajim (and was directed by the latter) with their mutual love for sci-fi, especially works from John Valey and believe it or not, Shinichiro Watanabe. GB Hajim then continued the project by using his local Hawaii community (high school students no less) instead of going to big studio and it took them 7 years to finish the project. The story (if I could call that) follow the love story between Parker and Naia (a slave) and they form a band together. But then stuffs happen and Parker found out that she had been kicked out of the band, while Naia is under controlled by a ruthless record producer. Parker’s now lovesick and she attempts to save her lover from danger.

The settings are one of the real highlight of the film, it’s inviting enough to let us sweep up to its worldbuilding, but also ambiguous enough to still hint on the seedy parts laying underground of this world. Set in the 28th century after humanity has abandoned the polluted Earth and settled on several of Jupiter’s moons, humans then have to adapt to the new environment and as a result the physical appearance has been genetically modified as mutants. This allows the film to go wild on character designs, and they really go all out to create a chaotic and gritty world (with influenced a lot by Blade Runner and Cowboy Bebop). In this world, race, gender and sexual orientation seem to be non-issues and for me that is one of the most distinct and refreshing take on the future I have seen for a long time. At least we have probably one of the very first lesbian leads (someone please correct me if I’m wrong here) and those mutants people are all colored-people, which I personally happy to see that this film has balls to go that far.

Another unique thing about this feature is the technique they engaged. They use cut-out animation (think of the style of South Park) so that the visual animation sets itself out from 3D animation, while at the same time the technique supports the limited animation as they don’t have to animate every single frame. The best example for you to check out this technique is when the band playing their music, their heads are shaking while their bodies don’t move… For the most part I say the technique was used appropriately and moreover it carries certain charms that you can’t find it elsewhere. The music in the film, which is a mixture of jazz and rock, is phenomenal. I really love all the music played by the band, and the score, while goes overboard sometimes, is still solid and engaging.

The story is sadly the film’s weakest part. It always feels like the story is a patch-up of many unrelated stories, and really fall apart when you step back and think about it. As much as I like the chemistry between Parker and Naia, they both brought down by lousy dialogues, meaningless voice overs and the pacing is all over the place. Now that when I recall the actual plot, I can’t fill it pass three sentences because there’s not much into it. The love quest has been done thousand times before and unfortunately this story adds nothing new to the table, at the same time goes through as much genre cliché as possible. The story eventually comes together a bit at the end, but by then who really care for any development whatsoever?

But to be fair, nobody come to watch Strange Fame expecting for a good plot. What they are looking for is the trippiness and LCD-filled plot and boy did it deliver. There are many scenes where the movie just goes full wacko, and they keep going wilder and more bizarre as the story progresses. It also helps that the film’s visuals support that acid trip very well. The sequence where the leads are in drug, for example, contains full of weird and arresting visuals (really a love it or hate it moments I would add) and that high feeling is the feeling you can’t get out of after watching this.

Strange Fame proves to be an experience. Although the plot is as cliché and disjointed as possible, the dark, acid aesthetic, plus its innovative cut-out animation and its unbashed look on race and gender issues make it a movie that you all need to experience at least once. Just like a dream, in about a year time you will most likely forget about the plot of the film, but also like a dream you will never forget about the experience you encounter in your dream. Call this film a nightmare if you like.

Next one (probably next week), let head to South Korea where our comrade K-Off is heading for a world that slowly being eaten away by zombies. Stay tune.

Posted on 8 November 2016 with categories: Anime Reviews, Thunderbolt Fantasy

Sometimes you dread for the current state of anime: high school settings, cute girls, fan-service jokes, idol madness… that you wish for once to see something different, and out of nowhere an oddball like this just pop up: a wuxia puppetry show influenced by Taiwanese glove puppetry written by Gen Urobuchi. The sheer fact that it was greenlit at all was mind-blowing enough, but the most absurd things was the audience it aimed: the anime medium. Because no matter how you look at it: this isn’t an anime at all. Well, not even an animation to begin with. I’m not going to detail about it as I already addressed it in my weekly post. The fact that this is a wuxia puppetry show already makes it a unique show among anime world and all the more reason to watch it. But on top of all that, the show’s writing and execution are really excellent and refreshing. If the show just relies on its gimmick of being a puppetry show, it will fall apart very quickly, but Thunderbolt Fantasy understands that their characters are the real stars of the show, so they spend a huge amount of them talking to each other, explore their philosophy of life and the campy dialogues are entertaining and humorous.

Set in a fictional Eastern Asia settings, the show tells a story of a merry band in the quest to retrieve a legendary sword that was stolen by Mie Tian Hai, a skilled swordsman with a history of black magic. Our MC Shang Bu Huan is a mysterious swordsman who came from another area, that’s why he doesn’t know much about this place and thus got tagged along to the quest by Gui Niao, a cool-head strategist and the bunch of misfits including the naive guardian girl, the One-Eyed archer, the young Spear-wielder, a demon necromancer and the bloodthirsty assassin. The group, each has their own unique appearance and personalities with different set of goals head up to the Seven Sins Tower, and there were double-crossing, triple-crossing, blood-splattering, heads rolling and even demons, undead, skeleton birds join in along the way. Indeed, half of these characters here are easily villains in other story and the fun here is to see their huge ego crashing with each other.

Because this is a puppetry show, there are many elements that you won’t find in other anime. The characters, for example, have very static faces. Especially when they are in close-up, it’s hard to tell apart what they are thinking because of the lack of expression in their faces, but this issue actually works in the show’s favor, for how else would one portrait a group that double-crossing is the norm? Second, the practical effects are truly what set it apart from other anime. There is little amount of action for a true-action show, but when the action kicks in, it’s a feast to the eyes. Bloods squirming all over, bodies blowing up, heads rolling that you can actually feel the weight of the blood dripping are refreshing to say the least. Lastly, I have to highlight the costume designs because they really go all in for the costumes to make the characters as distinctive and stand out as ever.

The characters themselves is easily the show’s best strength. Each character is elegantly designed and all of them have their own unique mannerism, assisted greatly by the use of puppetry, something that ordinary anime usually lack. My favorite characters in that vein is the demon lady Xing Hai, as whenever she talks, it feels like she’s singing and whenever she walks it feels just like she’s dancing. Like Mayoiga, those characters all have interesting traits and utterly over the top but here in this show they can actually get loose and carry the story. Like for example, the show spends half an episode for Sha Wu Sheng the Roaring Killer Phoenix challenging Mie Tian Hai (and then loose despite knowing it all), simply because these characteristics are unmistakably Sha Wu Sheng. In Thunderbolt Fantasy, those characters embrace their roles to the bitter end. As a main character, Shang Bu Huan is like our blank-state who unfamiliar to this world (like ourselves) and he’s being the most sensible person in this whole madness. I particular love his stunning reactions every time something absurd happens. Moreover, he bounces off other characters very well, creating a rather great chemistry between them and the dialogues maintain the campy sense that so entertaining to watch. There are pure gold moments throughout the series like when Shang Bu Huan talks to each member of the group to find their real motives, or simple quick remarks like “the temple smells offensive” or even “it’s already a sitting fight before the sword fight” because of course they’re too awesome to fight it normal way. Like a puppetry show, these characters are just there to perform their larger-than-life roles, but they perform it so well that I have a very good time following them.

But this show is not only about characters having fun, there is a theme for the show if you want to look deeper. The notion of the sword is both mentioned various times throughout the series and the show twists that notion around quite wonderfully. In this world, swords represent power of destruction. Mie Ting Hai seeks out the most famous sword because he believes his technique deserved the best. The demon Yao Tu Li was put to sleep for 200 years because of the sword. The characters kill off hundreds of people through their swords… As long as you are good at swords, you have the ultimate power in this world. But not for our two mains Shang Bu Huan and Gui Niao. In fact, the series showcases two extreme spectrums from Shang Bu Huan that go directly against with the above notion. The “sword’ that Shang Bu Huan always carries around is just a piece of wood painted silver, because he doesn’t want to cause more deadly troubles with the swords, but when in needed, he could pull out 36 legendary swords (that he said he was about to expose them, sly guy!) to send the monster to the black hole (quite literally!), Gui Niao also hates using swords as a mean of killing. The legendary sword that everyone seek in the end was destroyed meaninglessly.

Thunderbolt Fantasy is the most entertaining series you will encounter this year. Plain and simple. Urobuchi writing is excellent in this show, both leaving enough room for the group to act, and maintaining the plot that both is fast and unpredictable, but always makes sense and a lot of fun. It appears that we will have an entirely new cast on the second season, plus our mains Shang Bu Huan and Gui Niao and if that’s the case then I’m totally on board. After all, Shang Bu Huan’s only weakness is his trust towards people and Gui Niao happens to be the master of manipulation; so I’m eager to see how our MC get himself dragged into Gui Niao’s little scheme next time. Like this first season already demonstrated, the world is simply too small for the two of them.

Posted on 19 October 2016 with categories: Anime Reviews, Orange

What would you do if you receive letters from your future-self saying that you can change your future? That’s exactly what Naho experienced as she obtains ones from herself 10 years later that urge her to look after her new friend and prevent him from committing suicide. The premise, I agree, is hardly anything groundbreaking, but it functions well as a romantic drama anime. And orange is exactly that: a romantic drama anime. We have tons of romance developing between the leads Naho and Kakeru, and even more time focusing on the depression of Kakeru and the group’s attempt to save him.

The very central theme of orange is the sense of regret. Kakeru always feels regrets over his mother suicides, blaming himself for what happened and the thought of continue to live on proved to be too much for him. Moreover, it’s the adult counterpart that hold that same sense of regrets and griefs towards what they could do in the past for Kakeru. If they were more attentive, they could’ve realized his inner struggles. If they helped him out when he needed the most, chances were, he could’ve survived. Should’ve known better. It’s that regret sense that carry the weight in Naho’s, and eventually Suwa’s and the rest of the group’s actions and make their efforts feel grounded and genuine.

But that’s not to say that their efforts were executed flawlessly. The show’s at its best when the group confronts Kakeru to say out loud his issues, to really share his troubles to his dear friends. Kakeru always puts up a mask in order to cover his troubles, mostly because he believes he could drag the group down, and partly because he fears that he’d be rejected. By making him to be honest to himself, he knows that he can rely on his friends and that’s what save him in this new timeline. But orange feels forced whenever the group tries to recreate a perfect happy time for Kakeru; be it their fireworks night, his birthday, their relay match. Although those moments come from good intention, I can’t help but feel uneasy the way the group manipulates the outcomes so that little Kakeru always feel happy. Is it fair for the guy to receive too much without give anything away? Is that selfless love that you protect your loved ones from being hurt really the best possible outcomes? Hell, NO.

Although Kakeru and Naho share some good romantic moments together, it is Suwa who become the show’s best character. He’s in a complex situation since he decides to support the leads all the way, despite his own feeling for Naho. Sound cliché I know, but what make his character works is that Suwa is an observant, sensitive and highly emotional intelligent than the rest of the group. On the other end of the spectrum, Ueda is really a bad-written character. Orange clearly doesn’t think too highly of her, so the show frames her in a biased and negative light, it’s sad because whenever she appears on screen, she becomes a sore thumb to an otherwise solid cast. The rest of the cast share a natural, lively and effortless chemistry, but they are not the deepest bunch of characters you will ever witness. In fact, in the second half, the amount of time spent on the group trying to help Kakeru overwhelms their own character’s development.

In terms of production values, orange remains a very strange shoujo adaptation. The show has an above-standard quality in terms of direction. The director Hiroshi Hamasaki (who most famous for his Steins;Gate) elevates the show by his sensitive directing, which many scenes convey smartly the emotions the show want to make. The show, on the other hand, was done on a shoestring budget, as a result in a middle part the production values took a huge downfall, the characters are often off-model and those insignificant parts are treated equally messy and off-putting to the point that it brings the whole production down. This is a shame because this is a kind of budget that orange doesn’t deserve to have.

Despite a huge leap in quality, orange at least ends in high note, as the conclusion successfully ties up loose end and gives up a satisfying emotional ride. With the main theme about trying your best in order to have none regrets, it’s more about the ride, how to get there rather than the results, yet I have a feeling that orange focuses too much on the outcomes. To say all that, the ending was executed fairly well that I’ll complain no more. Overall, despite the huge decline in terms of production values in the middle part, and some thematic issues, orange is what it is- a solid entry of shoujo romance drama anime. Anyone who expect more from it will end up being disappointed.

Posted on 4 October 2016 with categories: 91 Days, Anime Reviews, Currently Watching:

When taking up the job of checking out every anime season you really can starve for something different. Variety is the spice of life and yet the entertainment industry seems determined to give us more of the same. So in the sea of average high school students gaining superpowers and harems I see an anime promising a classic Mafia drama and say sing me the hell up. The story is of a boy called Angelo, who joins the mafia to enact a plot of revenge against those who murdered his family. As the likes of Joker Game and Gangsta proved, doing something different does not automatically make it great. I will say that 91 Days succeeded in avoiding the failures of those respective series but sadly the result is a decent anime. While great to some this story does seem alright despite it really feeling like it should be more. It has it’s good moments, even some great moments and it makes no major missteps in it’s delivery. This is a solid series without doubt but I sadly never got as invested as I really should have been.

Part of the reason for this could be to the nature of the storytelling which goes the opposite route of most anime by having characters thoughts not be narrated by monologue and instead shown through actions. Certainly a fresh take but sadly the series tends to keep the audience too much in the dark about what is really going on in people’s heads which makes the finales emotional climax fall hollow as the characters actions don’t really convey the depth of their intentions or feelings. Another thing is the story’s tendency of foreshadowing developments moments before being revealed. Whenever a character gets development or focus it often means they are about to be removed from the plot entirely or are the focus of that episode’s twist. A police chief is introduced decides to take on the mafia one episode but in that very same episode he is scared off and hereby removed from the remaining plot. This kind of thing happens numerous times through 91 Day’s run and as a result the characters that remain end up being those we have the least attachment to. There is also the matter that this show is a slow burn that continues to the end here it finally fizzles out instead of exploding. Our main character is far too stoic to really relate with and thus like him the audience is equally unmoved by the events that unfold before him. Only at times when the perspective changes to another more relatable character does this show start to shine.

Studio Shuka managed to avoid major quality drops in the animation and art of 91 Days but it does remain a show that couldn’t really be called visually impressive. The greatest strength of this series is it’s ability to evoke the mood and atmosphere of classic mafia film to which it references and homages quite a bit. I consider this series to be a unique identity within anime but sadly not an outstanding one. Depending on your taste you could come to love this series and with a Baccano style dub it could gain a cult following, however I am afraid it didn’t quite hit the notes for me. It has merit for being what it is and I applaud the choice to try such a novel concept in animation but it never quite reached the potential it could have. In truth this proves that one can copy the style of Mafia movies but without the heart all you really have is something temporarily charming but fundamentally hollow. Much like every movie gangster feels when it’s his time to bite the bullet.

Posted on with categories: Anime Reviews, Mob Psycho 100

After the explosive popularity of One Punch Man it really was a high bar that another work of the author ONE had to reach. While it didn’t quite manage that it still differentiated itself enough to allow it to be a worthy anime of it’s own right. But admittedly that will depend on whether this anime is for you or not. Boasting a massively experimental animation style over the rough drawing style of the artist, this show is visually dynamic from start to finish though at times can get chaotic. Our story is about a boy called Mob who has immense psychic power. Mob wishes to live out his life normally as an ordinary person but is drawn into conflict when he meets those of the supernatural side of the world. The focus of the story is mainly on the themes of adjusting to society and bettering yourself as a person while having some good humor thrown in so things don’t get too serious. Whether you find this show funny or not will depend on your sense of humor as I got a chuckle out of it but for the most part merely found the jokes amusing.

Mob Psycho 100 tauts some fairly impressive action sequences but these scenes are often filler for personal character development which the show does deliver in spades. Mob appears at first to be an emotionless depan protagonist but as the show continues you can see he is anything but. Even side characters and villains have their own personal arcs or insights into life. I wouldn’t consider this a deep show by any means but it does offer some nice food for thought as well as general good life lessons. The story does somewhat dag when a villain organisation called Claw becomes involved and some character arcs and battles tend to end on a interesting but low key note instead of a more explosive alternative. The show ends with a number of loose ends which only a second season can address and could leave viewers unsatisfied as they are left off with a small skit regarding Mob and his mentor to end the season.

Character development is what drives this series and carries it as we see the personal struggles of Mob and his friends as they are influenced by mentor and villain alike. Reigan is a particular stand out member of the cast with his charisma and boundless confidence despite being a powerless conman. Even comes to steal the show by series end and goes from being an unlikable scumbag to a flawed but great influence on Mob. Music wise I can’t saying I have any complaints but I don’t really recall a particular tune that stuck out in my head besides the catchy opening theme. Pacing of the plot could speed up too fast at times but never to the point of becoming a major detriment. Overall I say if you want an animation showcase with good themes and a pinch of humor thrown in then I wholeheartedly recommend Mob Psycho 100. If you are looking for One Punch Man season 2, well I say keep waiting for season 2.

Posted on 20 September 2016 with categories: Anime Reviews, Re:Zero -Starting Life in Another World

I will be the first to admit that this is very much a biased review as I have come to love this series very dearly and will now proceed to devour every piece of entertainment related to it that I can find until the day a second season is confirmed. The story involves a boy who is suddenly transported to a fantasy world while shopping and follows his adventure to save a girl from a gruesome fate. However what makes this different for the usual fare is that our protagonist has no magic superpowers or special abilities besides one. When he dies he returns to a point back in time and can use his new knowledge to guide things to a better outcome. With this the story follows the Subaru’s tale as he goes through time loops till the point when he can make things right. All the while dealing with the heavy psychological scars of suffering death time and time again. As you can tell Subaru is the one with the most focus and also gets the bulk of the character development for the show.

His transformation is a fascinating one which makes him one of the more interesting protagonists to come out of anime in a while. Subaru is flawed selfish character which differentiates him from the heroic white knight he wishes people to see him as. It makes him remarkably refreshing when compared to the heroes of these kinds of stories as he is unmistakably human. Subaru usually doesn’t truly fight the villains he faces but instead helps and guides those who can defeat them. The story can get quite dark as Subaru deals with some pretty heavy PTSD and a world that is outright cruel and unforgiving to a normal human being.

White Fox did a great job in bringing this story to life though the art style could be better and when compared to the animation powerhouses of Ufotable or madhouse it does fall short. But it gives the fights of the series the dynamic movement and focus to make action exhilarating. Presentation overall is marvelous and adaption of the source isn’t perfect but is pretty good nonetheless.  The music deserves special mention as the staff aimed for a more cinematic feel to the sound and it really shows. The thing that really makes the best moments of this series hit hardest is the music playing at that time. Though equal praise can go to the voice actors who just did a great job throughout.

One particular standout choice when adapting this was to on several occasions cut out the opening and ending to put in more content. As a result the opening and ending of the show is not often used but in exchange we get over an extra episodes worth of content from the series. As sparingly used as they are, the opening and ending do a decent job of showing what the show is about and the songs are serviceable. Animation remains fairly consistent throughout the run with the director compensating for what drops in quality there are with atmosphere and suitable use of still frames.

Despite my praises for this show I will admit that there are a number of things here which could not to be to anothers liking. I do adore this show but it is far from perfect and if some cannot find enjoyment in it I can at least see why. For a few examples, the main heroine of the show remains a fairly bland one dimensional character for this season and for the most part is completely overshadowed by the female cast of the series second half. As the series continues she seems to assume a role of a plot device to keep the story moving forward. Subaru’s meta jokes can be rather annoying and can grate on a viewer’s nerves. As well as Subaru’s general attitude which can border on obnoxious at times. The villains of each arc while serviceable and likeable to extent lack any real character depth and have motivations that range from gleeful sadism to just performing a job.

When a story arc of the series ends the series feels rather directionless up until the point that Subaru starts looping again. Despite the series going to great lengths to show Subaru as an average human being with no superpowers, the story still cheats and has him perform some clearly superhuman feats such as welding a club his own size with one hand and performing some ridiculous midair acrobatics. This is also the question that the story tends to veer away from is the matter of Subaru’s past and more importantly the family he left behind in his old world which is never addressed or elaborated on.

Due to the adaption cutting out material it can seem at times that Subaru is pulling solutions out of nowhere. The level of sadism the plot pushes on our protagonist can get a bit too much, particularly during the middle part of the series. This sadism is offset by the times when Subaru gets his act together and suddenly everyone is praising him which can feel disingenuous on the author’s part. Moreover even if the story does aim to go against the trends of standard Light Novel storytelling, it still does rely on standard tropes for the fountain of the cast. Therefore the cast that doesn’t get developed can be a bit run of the mill, a primary example being Beatrix who by all accounts is a pretty standard tsundere loli. Subaru also appears to be gathering a harem of girls by series end. Lastly the entirely of this 2 cour series feels only to be a prologue of a much grander story to come which at this point in time may not be animated. Yes if you dislike this series I can at least get as to why that may be but even if the reasons above are not contributing factors, the story is of a kind of love it or hate it quality.

That said if you do take a liking to it then it will have you hooked from start to finish. Re:Zero uses a lot of cliffhangers leaving you scrambling for the next episode and has a very addictive quality about it that can make episodes breeze by in what feels like minutes to the viewer. Characters may start out stereotypical but quite a number of them become absolutely lovable by the shows end. The battles in the show feel high stakes as with the nature of Subaru’s power allows the possibility that everyone can die at any given moment, giving battles a tension not seen often in stories. The cinematic feel can lead to some truly outstanding moments with the end of episode 15 being a massive high point. Re:Zero is a story that starts good, becomes very good ten episodes in and by episode fifteen it becomes great. I do think that this will be an anime to be remember and one still recommended years from now.

It ends with a fairly decent conclusion but it is true that this really needs a sequel to truly make use of the plot points brought in it’s last episodes. Even if you hate it, you must admit there is a reason this show is as popular as it is and when it comes to over excited new anime fans, which would prefer they be throwing at there friends claiming it’s is the pinnacle of anime? This? Or Sword Art Online? An anime where you have to work and suffer to earn your happy ending? Or an anime where everything is handed to you, you are praised for being super special and important for no reason? I know which of the two I prefer and I say instead of a new SAO movie we just pump out two more seasons(Or more) of this. I don’t care what needs to be done to accomplish that, get on it White Fox. Good work, keep it up, I look forward to buying the Blu-Rays and Rem is best girl. I will accept no debate on that last matter. Good day.

Posted on 25 August 2016 with categories: Anime Reviews, Game Reviews

Well I promised I would do a review of this visual novel quite a while ago and believe it or not I only just got around to finishing it. If the fellow who requested it is still here then here you go, I kept my word. Anyway it has been a while since my last game review and I have been itching to cover more visual novels on this site. What better way to jump back into the fray than with The house in Fata Morgana made by Novectacle in 2012(2010 if you consider the trail version) but recently localised by Mangagamer and published on Steam on May of this year. Now this game is a strange beast for a Visual novel. Usually a VN has a main protagonist who lives in Japan and has a number of female friends who act as alternate routes and stories depending on who you choose to partner up with. Fata Morgana doesn’t have that and just in case you were thinking it, it’s not an Otome novel either. (AKA, what i just described but with male friends) Instead what we have here is a visual novel set in the west forgoing the usual anime style for a more comic book/gothic portrait style with a story that is akin to anthology of tragedy tales. For those concerned about censorship, there is none here as this game was all ages, meaning it holds no pornographic content. Don’t take that to mean that it isn’t dark or gory because I can assure you that is most certainly not the case. In a world where in the vast majority of cases you primary concern is choosing your first waifu, this game sticks out and very much in a good way. Don’t take it that I consider visual novels to be generally trash, this is more like the anime industry were for very interesting title you have a truckload of terrible fanservice fantasy harem battle anime. Only difference here is that unlike the anime industry, the dozens of visual titles coming out are not all translated, leaving potential greats sitting in the visual novel database unread due to no English translation. As a prime example, Baldr Sky which has held a spot in the top 5 visual novels of all time in VNDB since 2009 is only just now getting an English translation. It honestly pains me when i think of the numerous potential great titles which escape my grasp due to a lack of a translation. But alas let us move on.
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Posted on 12 August 2016 with categories: Anime Reviews, Game Reviews

The title of this game rather says everything you need to know about my initial reaction, and I’m still all around puzzled at the mixed bag that this turned out to be – it IS just a standard mashup while having a bit of fun with some experimentation, but the game itself is actually a jumble of Persona’s mechanics with some hints of Fire Emblem, Final Fantasy X-2 masked behind a colorful anime-esque fatigue. Originally called “Shin Megami Tensei x Fire Emblem” but changed shortly thereafter to “Tokyo Mirage Sessions,” I decided I’d have an open mind about this before I went into it, without looking for comparisons to the Persona or Fire Emblem aspects of the game, and did actually enjoy the gameplay. But by the end of my second playthrough, it turned out to be a mediocre title that failed to consistently interest me as a standalone title, much less as a fan of both Fire Emblem and Shin Megami Tensei.

The story is entirely original, so it’s not required that you play any of the Shin Megami Tensei or Fire Emblem titles for you to dive into it unless you want to understand certain references. The story begins with our protagonist in some talent agency in Tokyo as he learns how to utilize an energy called Performa and attract beings known as Mirages much like in the Persona series. The rest of the plot is pretty by the books, it has cameos/references to Fire Emblem and Shin Megami Tensei characters to keep you interested in the plot, and in between the unnecessarily text-heavy story are the animated cutscenes by Studio 4C, which are all serviceable except for the poorly integrated CGI during music/dance sequences (which I believe were done by a different studio). Although Japanese pop isn’t really my favorite genre of music, it’s well produced to say the least and the background soundtrack isn’t too generic either, they accompany the combat really well as the fights feel like a performance rather than a traditional RPG battle.
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Posted on 2 August 2016 with categories: Anime Reviews, World Animation

Just a quick note that I originally intended this week’s review to be about Miss Hokusai. But because of the DVD release of this Kizumonogatari (with good subtitle to boost), I decided to bump this up and review it instead. Monogatari series has been among one of my favorite series, and certainly the one that I spend time the most. Sorry Miss Hokusai but you will have to wait for few weeks later. When it comes to Monogatari series there’s simply no competition, okay? Now, let begin.

It’s always a tricky line when you are making a TV movie when you think about it, because you have to please both the fans of the series, along with new audiences who never see the series before. In other words, you have to make a movie that maintains the elements, tone and themes that make the series famous, at the same time the movie has to have something that can stand on its own. In that regards I always consider that The Adolescent of Utena is the best TV movie adaptation ever in anime. The way it reimages the plot of the original show, updating the settings, altering some plot points, and then goes completely bananas with its theme. Kizumonogatari has a bit of advantage, since it is also based from the light novel as a prequel to Bakemonogatari. The film was originally announced to be adapted right after the first series, back in 2010. Six years past, with the presence of many following seasons, there were doubts whether or not Shaft going to adapt it at all. Then comes the announcement of not one film, but a trilogy. This movie is just the first part of the trilogy, and clocking at exactly 1 hour, the film doesn’t hide the fact that it’s not self-contained, instead the film pleases itself of placing a groundwork for more events to come in latter parts.

Kizumonogatari part 1 nails many of the show’s distinctive features. Audiences who already love the series will find a lot to enjoy here. There are long, snappy dialogues, the distinctive but messy style of visual, the sharp impressionist art backgrounds, the insert screen texts, the ecchi undertone and of course the head-tilts. They’re all here. Its quick styles of visual prove to be too much for some, but never fail to impress (there’s a reason that my avatar is from Monogatari). The color palate changes according to the mood the characters are in or the topics they conceive. Monogatari is one of the few examples on how a great adaptation should be, in the sense that they don’t need to adapt it faithfully, but take the tone, the theme of its source material and turn the show into a very distinct visual feast (The Tatami Galaxy is another example). After all, light novels and visual anime shows are two different mediums, there is something that work well in one medium but will not work in another, hence taking an artistic liberty to the source is a very necessary task. Many characters that we come to know and love has returned for the film, or to put it more correctly, appear for the first time together. It’s actually very nice to see those characters before everything happen, when they are still insecure and naïve.

Yet, this movie sets itself apart from the series for so many reasons, or I should say, this movie is an update version from the series. While usually I don’t like the use of narration, Monogatari series is one of the best example on how to use the voice-over right. Because every character in the show has their own distinctive voices, using narration to understand the way they think, the worldview they possess feels deeply personal. Yet in the movie, the inner voice is stripped down and what we have instead is the external experience. The film shows what the characters experience through pure visual storytelling instead of relying on what the character’s inner thought. The first sequence of the film is the perfect example of this approach to create a sense a paranoia we feel along with our main character Araragi. We literally follow our main character’s every footstep, see what he sees, hear what he hears. In the sequence, Araragi wanders around an abandoned building. He’s shaking and terrified, completely out of place. It is a nightmarish situation in which Araragi couldn’t get out of and we sense his uneasiness. All this were achieved without any spoken dialogue.

Moreover, if there is one element that truly stands out in the film, it is the sound designs. The film uses a more jazzy, popular melodic soundtrack that fits the scenes they play like a glove. My favorite piece of soundtrack happens when Hanekawa and Araragi meet up for the first time after the “incident”, the soundtrack goes Latino and sweet and upbeat, but later when Araragi encounters the vampire Kiss-Shot, the soundtrack goes dense and off-putting. The sound, or the lack thereof, complements the movie in so many way as well. I have to note that the sound designs, just like the visual presentation, are highly unconventional. The film use sounds like the tickling clock to represent the sexual tension of Araragi when he thinks back about Hanekawa’s underpants and big boobs, or use baby cries to substitute for the desperation of Kiss-shot when our main character refuse to help her, or the distorted sounds of people talking to illustrate the un-humanness Araragi is becoming. The more I think about those sound designs, the more I believe that the movie has outdone the series in so many level. The settings also get new designs: the old abandoned cram school, the high school and Araragi’s house have these new looks and it’s a joy to watch. As did with our characters. The characters have their own distinctive appearances and ask me which hairstyle fit Shinobu better, I would choose this one without hesitation. Unlike the series that I have mentioned earlier, the color palate in the film is dominated by the bright yellow and orange colors, which for me is very suitable, since Kiss-Shot has yellow hair (and she’s very important to this story), the yellow ray of the sun (which also very fitting with the theme) and most of all it makes the blood looks less terrified.

Story-wise, the film contains 3 parts: Araragi and Hanekawa meet for the first time; Araragi finds a limbless vampire Kiss-Shot on a verge of dying and decides to help her; Araragi on his mission to retrieve Kiss-Shot limbs in order to reverse back to human, with the help of Oshino Meme, a “negotiator”. Actually, for those of you who curious, the very first opening section of Bakemonogatari is basically a very quick overview of Kizumonogatari and contains the prequel’s most important scenes. Now I don’t encourage you to watch that to spoil yourself, but you might check it out to see the different in approach and design between that “preview” and the actual movie. That is for me what Kizumonogatari would look like if it were adapted 6 years ago. The second part of the film is easily the best part of the film, the way it mixes the natural world of the first part and the supernatural world of the last part, in addition with the visual and sound designs to create an eerie and quite disturbing atmosphere. Monogatari has tackled difficult and even depressing subjects before (the whole Sodachi’s acts), but this is the only time where they manage to put the viewers in and make sure us stay there with Araragi with an unflinching look.

So what’s to expect for the next two movies then? Oshino Meme mentioned that the whole thing now is too unbalanced that he can’t help but to step in; and he is the negotiator who bridges between here and there. Araragi thought that this is them (Araragi and Kiss-Shot – the Vampires) against human (the Vampire executors), but then Meme remarked again that Araragi and himself are human. If he can pick up something from that, he should have realized the reason Oshino Meme steps in is to help Araragi against Kiss-Shot. She’s hiding something and at this moment she just manipulates Araragi in order to get her full power back. Like the film states clearly in the beginning, “This story about a vampire has an unhappy ending – It concludes with everyone becoming miserable”. Don’t expect a joyous ending here, but that’s precisely the reason I look forward to the next movie.

Overall, Kizumonogatari part 1 is a worthy successor to the series, and a major step up in terms of production values and its visual storytelling, which is a feat itself consider that everyone have an extremely high expectation from it. Still, I have a hard time to score it alone as this one is clearly just a set up for more to come, but at least I could say that it succeeds in what it sets out to do. Lastly, to the question whether this movie would be a good place to start for newcomer. Well, I always prefer to go with the airing order, because they have been written that way (Kizumonogatari would be the third release in light novels). But I’d say the newcomer would welcome to watch this, because the movie both maintains many trademark elements from the series, and it’s chronically a beginning of its all. The only downside with this is you then have to wait for almost a year for the full trilogy to come out and it’s no fun waiting.

Next post, I will review one of my favorite film and personally the best animated film of this decade so fa… scratch that, this is one of the best film of this decade so far in any form, animated or not. Expect a high score here. Stay tune!

~SuperMario~

Posted on 25 July 2016 with categories: Anime Reviews, World Animation

Welcome to the third installment of World Animation section, but this time we head back to Japan for my favorite anime movie out of last year. If anything, I have always wanted those reviews to be a recommendation if you want to look for something different. So if there is anyone who would check out the films after reading those reviews, then I consider those posts a success. I know myself checking out a wide range of movies just because I read reviews that I enjoyed, so I hope I could offer the same here. Unlike those first two movies that I happened to watch in certain film screenings, from now on those movies that I review are available online or on streaming, so if you feel interested then by all mean go check it out yourself.

The Murder Case of Hana & Alice (or just simply The Case of Hana & Alice) is a prequel of a 2004 live-action movie Hana & Alice. The film divides into two separate parts, which contains even different sets of characters besides the titular Alice. We follow every steps of Alice as she familiars herself with the new environment in the first part; noticing the mysterious neighbor who spied on her (that would be Hana), being bullied in class for breaking the “curse seal”, having a chance to play ballet, meeting her father, participating in relay, and investigating a superstitious “murder case”. The second half we have her teaming up with Hana in an attempt to find whether the real victim was dead or alive, which leads to the many misadventures along the way.

If there is one thing that you immediately notice while watching this film is that the film looks and feels more like a live-action movie than anime. This is true in a sense since the director Shunji Iwai is famous for his live-action films and The Case of Hana & Alice was his first anime attempt. The shots compose is more of live-action sensibility than animation as well. Take for example the motifs of tracking the characters walking through the streets in a profile shot; while we have that kind of shot in anime, it’s usually used very quickly to show the characters talking to each other. Here in the film they use a good 10-20 seconds just to follow those characters literally just walking, either alone or together. The character designs, since they are modeled from real actresses, look more realistic than our usual anime designs. The color is always on bright scheme, with the mixture of real life building and pink/green-dominated background. It produces a more impressionist look and honestly I like the look of the movie. The music is easily one the best component out of this film, which composed by the director himself. It contains both piano score and violin score resembling a ballet score. If you close your eyes and just listen to the music, you can really feel the flow of the music and the mood it creates. It’s that good.

In addition, the decision to make this film an animated one was more of practical choice than artistic choice. The director wanted to use the same actresses from the original movie to display an even younger version of them, as a result he had to use rotoscoping to avoid ageing the actresses. To put it simply, rotoscoping is a process of filming live action footage (with real actors of course), then retrace it frame by frame by either re-drawn it or using computer software. Rotoscoping has been used before in anime, quite controversially even, in Flowers of Evil, to suggest an eerie and uncomfortable sense to our viewers, but in this case, the use of rotoscoping produces a very different outcome: a floating sense. That floating sense plays both as its strengths and as its shortcomings. On a plus side, this suits the most for ballet dancing, since you know, ballet dancing is already like floating across the floors. Many of the ballet sequences are easily the highlights of the movie, both visually and as a statement of how to use the technique right. On the negative side though, the weight of the characters always seems off, as a result we feel the characters “just floating” in many moments, most noticeably the first sequence where Alice falls off from her window and was “catch” by the worker, or later whenever Alice’s running. On other notes, the disparity between characters who were drawn from actual actors and those fictional characters is just jarring. The designs of the worker mentioned earlier or the triplets with bikes in the end felt really like they came from Tintin universe (with big-dot eyes and cartoon face) and to put it together with a much more realistic designs of the mains, you feel like you’re watching two different movies at the same time.

The biggest selling point of the film is, of course, the characters themselves and the dynamic between the two main girls. On that front, the film shines the brightest. This is the kind of characters I love to follow, not because they are the deepest, but because they’re full of identity. There are many vivid little moments that showcase this quality, as mundane and realistic as possible. From Alice punching the book written by her mother in a bookstore, to a moment where she found the last piece of snack, to the moment where the two girls practicing ballet out at night. Make no mistake, the staffs really love their characters and we feel that love throughout the movie. They are not your typical teenager high school protagonists, Alice is a girl that acts on impulse, she’s direct and doesn’t afraid to speak her mind; but she’s surprisingly down to earth and sincere as well or Hana is not your typically shut-in character, as she’s actually smart and quick-wit, and her guilt that she might be responsible for the death of her close friend makes her a more realized person than most other main characters we see in anime shows. Furthermore, they bound off each other very well, mostly because they have so different personalities, yet they can share the pain to each other. The other side characters, in general, provide enough charms and again, “personality” to make them stand out too: Alice’s mother is wise enough but often shown as childish, Mu is fantastic with her unique-but-nonsensical quirks.

Another note that I find really interesting is that the whole film is decidedly female-centric cast, with the men only appear as either faraway (both Alice’s father and Yuda) or as weak and dependent (Alice’s father mentioned that he didn’t have a mindset to become a top runner, the bullying boy who reveals that he does it to save face, Yuda who is insecure about love and the idea of commitment). The only real male cast that was portrayed in different light is the old man. He’s representing the contrast between his old-self with the youthful, full-of-life of Alice. The sequence that speaks best to that idea, when Alice playing on the swing, stating how long it has been since her last play (2 years), the old man just sits quietly there in the next wing, his body feature looks no different than the old man in Ikuru, he told her that it has been 40 years since he played, because it was the time when his daughter was still in elementary school. This sad, melancholic tone mix in so well with the youthful of Alice. This is really the heart of The Murder Case of Hana and Alice- a film that celebrates the youthfulness, of how it’s like to feel young and enjoy the little moments of your life.

It’s criminal that The Murder Case of Hana & Alice slipped under the radar of most of anime fan. Surely it doesn’t look like your typical anime but I will say that there won’t be any anime like this in the near future. This is a rarity even among anime fandom. I haven’t watched the original live-action film, but surely after watching this I’m eager to check out the movie, just so that I can spend more time with those characters again.

Next post I will review the best written anime movie out of last year. And this time it might be the one you think it is. Stay tune!

~SuperMario~

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Kaiser Eoghan
At most moonbeam city seems sylistically interesting.
Kaiser Eoghan
Archer I simply lost track of and it ended up getting to long to catch up on it.
Kaiser Eoghan
Relatively old news, although I've been joking with friends about what if scenarios for a streets of rage film. I know there is a cg/live action hybrid sonic film in the works. I kind of want to think a shinobi or streets of rage film could work if they went full on 70s style action film.
AidanAK47
None of these games are played for the story. You would be better off just making a new game for them instead of a movie.
AidanAK47
I haven't even seen Archer. On another note SEGA is planning a bunch of live action movies of their franchises and boy do they all sound like a horrible idea. Shinobi, Golden Axe, Virtua Fighter, The House of the Dead, Crazy Taxi, Streets of rage and Altered Beast.
SuperMario
@Anon522497: hmm, I found Moonbeam City underwhelmed and for Archer up until their last season I actually got a bit tired of the cast (couldn't finish that season 7)
Anonymous522497
If i wanted Archer i would just watch Archer or Moonbeam City like everyone else.
Anonymous522338
Bloodivores
SuperMario
Anyone here watching Pacific Heat? It's an Aussie Archer-ripoff aired in Netflix last week. I actually enjoyed the 1st episode, not that great but everyone panned it like a plague.
AidanAK47
@Anon, Who?
Anonymous521123
#StephanieJaworowiczIsBeautiful
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: That'd be the compiliation film. I watched that based on hearing that the film version trimmed back on the shows weaker moments.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: was it the compilation film or the series itself? That scene is the highlight of that first season. I'm always a fan of KyoAni so it's very natural that I enjoy this series a whole lot.
Kaiser Eoghan
I watched the first season of sound euphonium, not much to say for it other than I liked the teacher guy and the scene where the black haired girl tells the main character that she thinks shes hiding behind a mask. Animation was as expected of kyoani good. All of those emotion shots though and some of the melodrama...
AidanAK47
@Kaiser, it does stop if you make an account.
Kaiser Eoghan
Hmmm there we go again, it delayed sending my message for longer than it should have.
Kaiser Eoghan
Anyone notice today and last night that the site has had some loading issues? I kept getting an error page for a while and it was also loading a bit more slowly. A server issue?
Lenlo
Have to say, Flip Flappers ep 5 was pretty good. I love atmospheric settings like that.
Lenlo
Looks like an Epee. The large bell guard, the fact that they are focusing on thrusting attacks instead of slashing (mostly). Fencing is alot of fun. Be prepared for some bruises though, as some people put their full body weight behind their thrusts.
SuperMario
I have one last dumb question, Can you tell what types of blade of Juri in Utena? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGsVSSUv_i0
SuperMario
@Lenlo: the more you described the more I found fencing interesting. I might take a look around my town to see if we have Fencing here (the curse of living in a small town).
Lenlo
Blades are slightly different, yes, but mostly just in their guard and how much they bend. Sabers bend easily, Epee's not so much. Surprisingly Epee is the slowest, because people tend to be more careful. Saber is actually the most aggressive of the blades, atleast at my skill level
AidanAK47
That's all they had to do. Just stay inside and let it pass. But for some weird reason they just keep panicking over nothing.
As far as time/alternate world stuff goes this was ridiculously underwhelming. Just finished another movie called triangle and now that's how you do Time travel mindfuckery.
AidanAK47
@Mario, I am not fond of movies where people make stupid decisions for no good reason. For example:
"We should just stay inside"
"No, staying inside isn't realistic"
WHY IN THE HOLY HELL ISN'T IT REALISTIC.
SuperMario
Showed that movie to a bunch of friends last year and I remembered one of the girl just shut off the movie after 15'
SuperMario
@Aidan: too bad. I found Cohenrent really funny and entertaining. Some of their twists are stupid but I was actually invested in much of their characters. Maybe because I always love movies about a bunch of characters in an isolated setting
SuperMario
@Lenlo: sounds like Epee is the most "all-out-attack" and aggressive one. Their blades are different as well I assume?
AidanAK47
Just watched a movie called coherence and man, what a bunch a pseudo-intellectual garbage that was.
Lenlo
For Right of Way, its basically Person A attacks, Person B parries, Person A hits, Person B hits, Person B gets the point because they took right of way with the parry. Saber and Foil both have that, but Epee does not. Epee is simply "Whoever hits the opponent first, doesnt matter where, whole body is target area"
Lenlo
Theres Saber, Foil and Epee. The main difference is this thing called right of way, but there are other smaller ones like how Saber can hit with the edge and Epee is allowed to hit the entire body, instead of just the chest like Foil
SuperMario
For news, Blood Blockade Battlefront getting second season next year. As it was one of my favorite last year I'm really lokking forward to this second season
SuperMario
@Lenlo: that sounds great. From what I know from fencing there are 3 different types of blade right? So what are the differences between them? (Fencing 101 here)
Kaiser Eoghan
Although a fantasy sports thing could also generate interest, such as combining sports together to create something totally new.
Lenlo
@SuperMario, Fencing was great. Favorite sport ever and it helped me stay in shape in College. I find Epee to be the best blade, mostly cause I fenced it, but its a very intense 3 minutes. Unlike sports like Soccer and such which is alot of sustained running, Fencing is 3 minutes of Dont-Stop-Moving then wait till next match. Gets really fun once you figure out your own style.
SuperMario
haha, I wouldn't mind either if each episode focus on a single sport/ character/ country. Or even the positive aspects like role models, sports inspirations and stuffs
Lenlo
That Olympic anime sounds great.
Kaiser Eoghan
And it would be a good excuse to have characters of multiple backgrounds included too.
Kaiser Eoghan
Could be an 13 episode ova series with 48 minute episodes, and if its to be an ensemble character drama you could have 10 minutes to a each character (the ones being focused on in that episode) in each episode.
Kaiser Eoghan
Ah yes, aswell as cheating it could also get into "stage parenting", "abuse", "Disabilities" and also the general politics of sports, the backroom stuff.
SuperMario
I'll be the first in line if that olympic anime ever come out. Could be interesting to see the interactions between athletes in different sports, and then fans/athletes/coaches relationship, then the gold rush, doping... So much to talk around to
Kaiser Eoghan
I don't think theres ever been a manga about hurling either. Hey heres an idea, someone do an ensemble drama anime that deals with the olympics, fit in multiple sports that way.
SuperMario
Personally I find Australian football much more exciting than rugby. Or crickets.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: ha! Interesting that you mentioned Gaelic football, because in Aus we have AFL (Australian Football League), that really similars to Gealic Football to the point sometimes we have the 2 national teams compete each other with modified rules
Kaiser Eoghan
Hmm, lets see, sport under-represented in anime? Fencing, golf , Gaelic football, bowling, boat racing.
SuperMario
Hey, fencing is actually really cool. How did you like it Lenlo?
SuperMario
You have your point there Topgavin, as I clearly remember many instances where players' legs, backs or even necks got snapped during rugby's tackles. But in regards to Rugby I never really care about it. That and car racing
Lenlo
Its mostly the type of injuries you get that differ I think. Football you get concussions and broken bones and such, while in Rugby you probably get alot of bruises and cuts. Granted I have played neither, I was a Soccer man in highschool and fencing in College
Lenlo
American football has alot of rules, and really is just a bunch of millionaires running around chasing a ball. Rugby however, as Topgavin said, has no pads so when you get hit you get hit HARD
AidanAK47
I never ceases to surprise me just how high and mighty visual novel fans can be over Mosaics present in localized games. I mean they are literally complaining about not seeing genitalia yet the way they phrase it, it's like they are fighting against great injustice. If these VNs were Nukige they might have a point but in most cases the sex scenes in question are pointless and shoehorned in.
Topgavin
@Mario Rugby is more extreme *because* it has no protective gear. No hiding behind helmets and cushioned shoulder pads when ya get bowled over.
SuperMario
@Lenlo: I'm no expert but isn't American football a variation of Rugby? And I believe american football is more extreme, considering they have to wear helmets, protection gears and all that
Lenlo
I dont think theres alot of manga about it because its simply not that popular outside the US. As far as it being a battlefield, eeeeh? Not really? You want a battlefield watch Rugby.
SuperMario
I can think of other cool sports that could be interesting to see in anime: Kick Volleyball (Sepak takraw), Bossaball (combined soccer, volleyball in a trampoline), or in the same vein of skate figures this season, why not pole dancing competition???
Anonymous504493
What other sport is cool and popular that remains original to write about by now? There isn't a lot of manga about it compared to anything else.
Anonymous504493
American football looks like a battlefield with a visible battleline and everything. Id like it if there wasnt so many darn commercials.
Lenlo
I mean, its a sport. Far cry from best, but its definitely a sport.
SuperMario
@Vonter: or maybe because american football IS the best sports ever?
Kaiser Eoghan
@Vonter: Most likely due to the middle section of the original anime being the most popular bit.
Vonter
Can someone explain me how Cobra, is apparently getting an anime around some sort of space american football? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54kNWPr43zE
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Its not safe enough a film for me to properly recommend. Even to exploitation fans, they might find it too slow others would be too sensitive to it. Really una vita violenca, mamma roma, accatone, hawks and sparrows are what Pasolini is really about.
SuperMario
Now that you watched Salo, would you recommend the film to other people? I personally think it's a masterpiece but it's one of the title that I think people would break up with me if I show them this movie
SuperMario
@Kaiser: even him as a director, both Braveheart and Apocalypto don't do much to me, will see if Hacksaw Ridge going to change my mind (but I'm not to fond with war movies in general). La Notte is in my sooon-to-watch list for years, haha
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Mel Gibson as a director, not as an actor =)
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Thats why I prefer the neo-realist/quasi-neo-realism stuff as it deals with the worse off in society. But Antonioni was the master of being able to do films about angsty well-off people, L'aventura, the passenger and La notte for example
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Its not so much that I dislike post 50s fellini moreso I feel that his throw everything at the screen and hope what sticks method can be hit or miss.
SuperMario
While I don't really mind his later stuffs because he was masterclass, I have a pretty hard time for Paolo Sorrentino's later works. The thing is I don't care much about the high class society so everything is just ridiculously over the top and glamour and I'm tired of it.
SuperMario
I haven't watched nights of cabiria but I did watch La Strada and boy, I was sad for few days after watching it. Fellini mentioned that he was inspired to make this movie when seeing a woman pushing a cart from behind. The film really carry that sense throughout its running
SuperMario
Michael Haneke put Salo in his top 10 films. Quite understandable when you think about it. Still for me one of the movie that affected me deeply.
SuperMario
I really admire Elle for its ability to maintain its sharpness because under other inexperienced directors it could easily becomes a mess. Mel Gibson, really? He's one of the few actors that I absolutely dislike
SuperMario
@Kaiser: The Red Turtle remains one of the the most refreshing time I had this year in cinema, but then again I haven't watched much films lately. Agree with you on Sonia's performance, and I still think they could cut out the first 20' of the film because it feels out of place compare to the rest of the film
Kaiser Eoghan
Debating whether to bother catching up on I am a hero or watching the film adaptation. I haven't read it since they got rid of that one female character.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: I've a feeling you'll like nights of cabiria, Fellini was cranking out some solidly effective social-realist dramas in the 50s before he fell into self-indulgence.
Kaiser Eoghan
Now I have that sound euphonium compilation film downloaded, I should get to that sometime.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: I also finally watched Salo, I ended up meeting it pretty much halfway. Some parts still retain the ability to effect a modern viewer, having seen his other works though its crazy just how different Salo is to them.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: Seeing I, daniel Blake tomorrow and rogue one in a few weeks.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: I hope Mel Gibson and Isabelle huppert win at the next oscars.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario: I liked the red turtle for its visual style of storytelling and animation even if I didn't get as emotionally attached to it as others did. I also watched Aquarius nd was pretty much blown away by Sonia Braga's performance. Elle is now one of my favourite Verhoeven films and its a miracle he managed to maintain such a great balance successfully throughout the film.
SuperMario
I don't care for the sequel of Code Geass at all. Why Spice & Wolf still hasn't got season 3 though is what really bugged me. From what I know their manga and LNs are selling very well
Anonymous494677
I wonder why that is...
Kaiser Eoghan
Ah, they were always milking code geass though what with those bajillion-million-billion manga spinoffs.
Kaiser Eoghan
Still say I was more fond of the character chemistry in spice and wolf as opposed to everything else.
Kaiser Eoghan
I'll likely pass on the code geass sequel, the memory I have of it has already led to its appeal dimishing for me, I don't want to ruin things further watching an un-neccesary followup. Still avoiding utawerumono's second season for same reasons.
AidanAK47
After all there are things which need sequels and things which don't. And Code Geass never needed a sequel after R2's ending. Giving something a sequel can just ruin the conculsion of the orignal series. Case in point. Eureka Seven Ao. Remember that? Cause you shouldn't. Because it was terrible.
AidanAK47
Honestly I would have preferred Spice and Wolf Season 3.
AidanAK47
So...is anyone gonna mention that Code Geass is getting a sequel?
....Because Code Geass is getting a sequel.
AidanAK47
@Anon, I am watching it as well. But I am a bit behind because I am watching the funimation broadcast dub. It's a very good guilty pleasure. I don't find it quite as funny anymore but it's still pure dumb fun.
SuperMario
@Anon487524: I'm still following it and it still remains a fun show to watch. I love the way they do the fan-servicey completely straight.
Topgavin
@anon I'll admit to watching it. While it is very simple and follows the sport anime formula religiously, it's still a blast to watch every week. This is also helped because you have no expectations for it before watching other than "oh god what's gonna happen this week".
Anonymous487524
Granted, nothing special, just one of those anime whose only worth is being fun to watch without being deep, but Keijo really is fun to watch, easily the best guilty pleasure anime in a long while to me.
Anonymous487524
I started watching it expecting an crappy fanservice anime with nothing of worth, but it ended up being actually pretty fun and awesome to watch.
Anonymous487524
Anyone here seeing Keijo?
SuperMario
What's up with 3-gatsu no Lion? Delayed for a week huh?
Kaiser Eoghan
Checked out Hedeki anno's godzilla re-boot earlier out of curiousity, its a bit plodding/dull at times but sometimes its high camp value played straight is kind of funny, having godzilla evolve during the film was a cool touch and I enjoyed every scene with him and making a Godzilla film today is still very relevant. Not a patch on the old ones though.
Anonymous482380
I think that movie was just so terrible that people made it into a meme. Stuff like "The Entire Bee Movie Except Evey Time They Say 'Bee' The Movie Speeds Up"
Kaiser Eoghan
I'm sorry lmao I had to, it seemed so appropriate a moment: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1GadTfGFvU
AidanAK47
Fun Fact: The whole Bees shouldn't be able to fly thing is a myth.
Badesh
I think that was just a dry realization...
AidanAK47
@Topgavin, It's a meme to post the entire script of the bee movie in random places?
....I don't get the joke.
Topgavin
For anyone wondering, I think anon just copy/pasted the entire script for the Bee movie. Memes are goin strong
Anonymous479946
According to all known laws
of aviation,


there is no way a bee
should be able to fly.


Its wings are too small to get
its fat little body off the ground.


The bee, of course, flies anyway


because bees don't care
what humans think is impossible.


Yellow, black. Yellow, black.
Yellow, black. Yellow, black.


Ooh, black and yellow!
Let's shake it up a little.


Barry! Breakfast i
Kaiser Eoghan
Actually I think it was up to about episode ten or so I saw.
Kaiser Eoghan
From what I can recall I watched legend of the galactic heroes somewhere past the part with the Caligula guy.
AidanAK47
That is one thing I wonder about the remake. How are they going to make the space battles interesting? Cause for me theres only so many times you can watch tin boxes shoot lasers and explode.
AidanAK47
I didn't like LOGH until the third episode. That's when it started to catch my attention. It also helps that I have a interest in history as the plot of LOGH practically reads like genuine history.
AidanAK47
In my case the overhype didn't kill it for me as I generally try to avoid that. When I walked into LOGH I was under the impression that it would ahve merit but not be for me. After all I heard it was mostly politics and the politics of Gundam bore me to tears. Funny enough the opposite happened. The space battles bored me but the politics got me really interested.
AidanAK47
@Leahcimali, The problem is that the people who say that something is the best thing they ever seen don't actually mean it. Often it's just hyperbole. When talking we other people fans tend to blow certain things out of proportion unintentionally. Overrated is likely the wrong word but you get what I mean.
leahcimali
@AidankAK47 oh and are you going to write a review about it or because psngel already wrote a review of it you are not gonna write it ?
leahcimali
the problem is trying to rank art . Even comparing a comedy show and a story focus show is clearly impossible. @AidanAK47 do you think the overhype of some hardcore logh fan killed you enjoyment of the show ? Because sometimes when you expect nothing of something you can enjoy it more than when waiting for something incredible.
leahcimali
i hear the same thing from fan of lord of the ring, star wars and game of thrones, star trek ... etc. The hardcore fan of those says that they are the greatest things in history ... but saying there are overated is discrediting the quality of those. Nothing is perfect and again maintening equal quality in a longuer running show is impossible. But having a longer story create a more rich background
LookingForKeys
@Mario Kimi no Na ha is pretty damn good. Watched it while in Japan a couple weeks back. The story has well done surprises, and on the graphics side you can *really* see Production IG worked on it.
leahcimali
I don't think saying logh is overated is a good way to say it. All media with great aclaimed critics or even highly popular show suffer from the fan reaction. If fan claim that it is the best things that they have ever saw and you don't agree, it feels overated. But this is only pure subjectivity. Saying he is greastest thing in history is a way for fan to exprim there love
AidanAK47
However it has been placed on a unreasonable pedestal that nothing could live up to. Eva is sort of in the same boat. So yes it is overrated but that does not mean it isn't great.
AidanAK47
@Leahcimali, if anything is claimed to be the greatest thing in the history of mankind it is overrated. The basic idea that there is a single anime out there which is fundamental and universally better than all other anime regardless of genre or intent is inherently a flawed concept. I do certainly see why LOGH is so highly acclaimed and I believe it is well worth watching.
AidanAK47
@Anon, I didn't look into the details of the new LOGH remake. I was planning on doing that when I am doing an anime season preview for it whenever it's going to air next year. For a long anime it does rate highly but even then I am not certain it really needed all 110 of those episodes.
leahcimali
about your comment are you thinking the LOGH anime is overated ? i ask Because you said that there is plenty of anime you consided better .
Anonymous476875
about the remake won't it be a straight adaptation from the manga remake by the artist that made shiki ?
Anonymous476875
AidanAK47 personally i really loved legend of the galactic heroes and it is one of the anime that make one of the biggest impact on me. I found it the best "long" anime that i ever seen (more than 24 ep). But comparing it to anime with shorter format is a bit hard. you can make something that have perfect pacing in 1h30 but it is impossible with a 110 ep anime.
AidanAK47
Either way I am pretty certain that all other isn't crap to me now seeing as I have seen the so called pinnacle. In fact There are plenty of anime I consider better that LOGH.
AidanAK47
There are aspects of its story which wouldn't really work by today's standards.
AidanAK47
And I did it. I watched legend of the galactic heroes. I have slain the white whale of anime. It certainly was interesting to say the least but I think the remake coming is going to have trouble. I am in between giving it a 8 or a 9 but it's clear that LOGH is very much a product of its time.
Kaiser Eoghan
I didn't really care for this weeks flipflappers, the fanservice and also it was even more trigger than I could take.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Gavin@Mario: I'll get round to your name someday but I think this might be my last chance with shinkai.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Aidan: That disgaea review made me nostalgic because I remember my friends and I playing it back when it first came out. We found it difficult but were amused by it/liked the characters.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Aidan: Are the manga posts exclusively for series with only a few chapters translated or series that came out in the past year or so? I've been reading gunka no balthazar and enjoying it enough and think it should get recommendation out there.
Topgavin
Just booked tickets to go see it on Sunday with my little sister. Was surprisingly reluctant but I know she'll like it, I've already seen it but pumped either way.
SuperMario
Your name movie has been showed theatrically here in Aus, I'm planning to rewatch it soon in theatre and then do a review on it. Is that alright with other admins?
SuperMario
so I guess the top 6 will advance to the final are: Otabek Altin (Kazakhstan), Giacometti (Switzerland), Yuri, Yurio, JJ and Phichit? Will be very cool final event haha
SuperMario
At the very least Yuri on Ice shows me how entertaining ice skating can be
SuperMario
@K-Off: have a good trip ahead K-Off. Well, it's still better than Japan (earthquake) I guess
K-Off
Well, heading to Korea tomorrow. What a time to go. In the middle of Korea's biggest financial scandal since the 80s.
Lenlo
Is it just me, or does the Yuri on Ice opening get more colorful and detailed every week?
SuperMario
Badesh, if you like to check out their other songs, give "Tunnels of Love" and "Romeo & Juliet" a listen. Though I just discovered Telegraph Road quite recently, those 2 songs are qmong my all time favorite
SuperMario
I prefer their ealier version when the band was still together (aLCHEMY 1983), but that Rome 2005 was magnificent too. Seriously with this band diifferent live versions feel like another experience... And that song is criminally under-heard in radio too, because of its running time. A crying shame
Badesh
uhh, found it in better quality. now, THAT is a fitting present for my dad :)
Badesh
well that commentator, that sounds like he's in a soccer match, will get on my nerves though...
Badesh
if you're talking about the rome 2005 version... hell, that's some sweet music. i'll inhale that for the rest of the evening, thanks for that
SuperMario
Anyone here listen to Dire Straits? I just in the mood for their music lately. Checked out the band playing Telegraph Road live the other day on youtube and I was completely stunned.
SuperMario
@Lenlo: I considered Flip Flappers 3,5,6 to be its best so far so continue on to see if Flip Flappers is your cup of tea or not
SuperMario
For me I have a lot of stuffs to catch up on this time a year, both in terms of anime and in my RL. Time goes fast as hell
Lenlo
Started watching Flip Flappers. Thought I had it figured out, then we got Mad Max going on. I may start liking it more, cause the first 2 eps didnt do much
Lenlo
Its also nearing Thanksgiving in the states and end of semester for University, so those sorts will be busier than usual.
AidanAK47
You are far too young to be reminiscing. You can build a place for a community but you can't force one to come. I for one would think it would be easier to form one if people stopped using the Anon tag. You can change your name with the customize button you know.
Anonymous469664
I remember a time when people other than site admins were regular posters. Those were the days...
AidanAK47
But I suppose watching Westworld isn't exactly a waste of time.
AidanAK47
Downside is that I really don't have a lot of time these days. It's rather annoying. The day goes by and it doesn't really feel like you did anything.
AidanAK47
On the upside, I am nearly finished Legend of the galactic heroes. So when the Remake airs next year I will have a lot to say about it.
AidanAK47
Personally I have been rather busy lately and wanted to finish off a few things. Hence why my posts have been getting later.
Total users: 18

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