I did not know that this was part of a larger grouping of stories, referred to as the “Monogatari” (“Story”) series. I came in on Series #9 “Hanamonogatari” with a concurrent viewing of #11 “Owarimonogatari” (review on that later. Maybe). It’s just that they are very annoying both in presentation and content.
If I had watched them from the beginning, a lot of what transpires in this one would potentially make better sense, but it suffers the same problem as “Mekakucity Actors” or parts of “Penguin Drum”. But I get ahead of myself. The plot contends itself with Suruga Kanbaru (left), as she begins her third year in high school. She deals with her left hand that had been turned monstrous through the use of her mother’s monkey paw charm. After hearing rumors from Ougi Oshino of a Devil that can solve one’s problems, Suruga sets out to find this person. She secretly fears that this person is her. However, she soon discovers that the Devil is her former basketball rival from junior high, Rouka Numachi (right).Continue reading
This was (and is) a difficult show to review, as it is full of ‘Gotcha!’ moments and secrets that if I tell too much, it will take away those moments of discovery when you watch “Gakkōu Gurashi! (“School-Live!” or “Living at School!“). At the very least, I can run down the cast for you, right to left:
Megumi Sakura, sometimes called Megu-nee, the teacher. (PS, this is the closest you’ll get to fan service for the show)
Yuki, so very cheerful, along with her friends Kurumi Yūri and Miki, is a member of the Megurigaoka Private High School’s School Living Club. As Yuki seeks out fun school activities every day while living at school, the other girls work to keep her safe, because in reality……………..Continue reading
Although this was a fascinating series, in its cat-and-mouse, whodunit approach, the first season (and yes, there HAS to be at least a second season) of “Rokka no Yuusha” (“Braves of the Six Flowers”) was ultimately frustrating, as it came off as a tremendous tease with immense padding. I’ll explain, so settle into your bean bag chair with a couple of boxes of Pocky and I’ll relate the whole saga (part one):
In this Land of Nod, there is a peninsula to the west, a land filled with demons and monsters and unsavory types (kind of like Donald Trump’s condo). Every so often, they get the itch and venture forth to try and kill and/or enslave the residents of the rest of this continent island. Fortunately, coming to the rescue are Six Braves, individuals who have been chosen by the Goddess of Fate, endowed with special powers and abilities to meet the enemy head on and drive them back into their land of volcanos, choking smoke and unpleasantness (Los Angeles without the Starbucks).Continue reading
Can I work that ‘East’ tag any harder? This really isn’t a movie in the genuine sense; more like a special that was broken into two segments rather than to plunk us down for three hours to see the dénouement that is “Eden of the East: Paradise Lost”. I found this a rare offering, where the middle movie was better than the conclusion, as we threw in a needless complication to an already complicated plotline, and that was whether or not Takizawa IS the illegitimate son of the late Prime Minister of Japan.
It does follow the hunt for his mother, who is found living in NYC, tied to that dog with the wings, as well as the final machinations to determine who will be the winner of this contest. This one is more about flashbacks, as we learn how Takizawa was ‘chosen’ to be in this game (along with the other players) and the mysterious man behind it all. Seriously, who can afford to give up or away 12 BILLION yen?!!? (with the exchange rate, about $838 million) for such a lark?Continue reading
OK, so when “Eden of the East: The King of Eden” came out, I was very nervous, as I felt it was going to be a recap movie, as we cobble together the salient parts from the TV series and present it as a ‘movie’. Nope, that is not the case. If anything, it goes on to tell more story and (eventually) conclude the tale. It has been about six months since the end of the series. Things in the world are ‘normal’ (whatever that really means). We find our heroine, Saki Morimi in the Big Apple, trying to chase down the Air King (whom we know as Akira Takizawa), but she runs into trouble right from the get-go.
She has been asked by him to meet in New York, but between a grumpy cabbie and her suitcase spilling open, showing some weaponry, the cops are right after her. She manages to escape all that and find Takizawa, but he has had a memory wipe again and knows nothing of which she speaks. Adding to the confusion is the potential idea that he is the illegitimate son of the Prime Minister, who has just died. And thus paving the way for him to be not only the ‘Prince of Japan’, but finally bring to fruition HIS plan to ‘save Japan’.Continue reading
If you like those cat-and-mouse animes, like “Death Note”, but more closer aligned to “Future Diary”, then “Eden of the East” (“Higashi no Eden”) is what you want to watch, although it certainly starts out in a strange manner. An incident is referred to constantly, ‘Careless Monday’, where on Monday November 10, 2010, ten missiles strike Tokyo. They cause damage, but no causalities. But since no terrorist group took responsibility for the incident, it is forgotten.
Three months later, we find ourselves in Washington DC, where Saki Morimi, a college student, throws a coin at the White House (as a symbol of protest, I guess, or maybe the President should phone home). A security cop tries to arrest her, but she is saved by the arrival of Akira Takizawa, who is stark raving naked (and perhaps mad; it is the winter months). They both manage to escape and Morimi has to track Takizawa down, as the coat she gave her has her passport in it. Oh, he was also carrying a very nasty-looking handgun and that really complicated phone you see up there.Continue reading
You knew this kind of series was coming: it’s a magical girl show, set in a school, with guys trying to figure it all out and witches who seem to have an upper hand in things. CUTE witches (none of that old crone with a warty nose junk). But “Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches” (“Yamada-kun to 7-nin no Majo”) at least tries to put a new spin on old things.
Ryu Yamada (Mr. Shrieky in the upper left) is known as a delinquent in his high school; he has become bored of classes after one year of attending school. Wow, life can’t all be “Die Hard” or “The Expendables”, right? One day, he accidentally falls from a flight of stairs onto Urara Shiraishi (blondie in front) the ace student of the school. Yamada wakes up to find that he has swapped bodies with her. The two try to reverse the change and discover that kissing triggers the body swap.
On the suggestion of student council vice-president Toranosuke Miyamura, they revive the Supernatural Studies Club. The supernatural phenomenon-obsessed Miyabi Itō soon joins the club. The club encounters other “witches” with different powers that are activated with a kiss. A transfer student, Kentarō Tsubaki, becomes a part of the club after nearly causing a fire to the old schoolhouse. The show is an attempt to understand the seven witches that populate it, what their powers are and what their actual purpose is.Continue reading
With the end of the first season of “Tokyo Ghoul”, there was still a huge amount of work to do and things were not properly resolved. The second season, which appears to be called “Tokyo Ghoul Square Root of A (“Tokyo Ghoul √A”), picks up where the first season left off and therein lies the troubles.
The first season was trying to help us understand what Kaneki was going through (that’s Mr. Moody up there), a person who was a college student, and now is a ghoul. Couldn’t you have chosen a better major? He suffered a huge amount of tortuous abuse at the hands of Jason last season and dispatches him at the start of this season, but decides to join Aogiri Tree, a fierce ghoul group who clash with the CCG (Commission of Counter Ghoul) over a degree or supremacy and of whom the aforementioned Jason was part of. The problem with the show, overall, is that we turn into the Dragon Ball Z Syndrome: endless fighting amid endless fighting when we are not endlessly fighting. I mean, it’s like the Churchill quote: “…we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.” And they proceed to do just that.Continue reading
I was honestly not expecting a second season from this quarter, but we have “Mushi Shi: Next Passage”. For the first season, I felt they were just tales of the weird and of these odd creatures called Mushi. It wasn’t until the second season that I saw it for what it really was: a caliber of horror. But it is done in a deliberate way, and not relying on gore and dismemberment and other bloody tropes that bedevil many horror shows. Intellectual horror? That’s a good term.
Ginko is still wandering the countryside, trying to help people in regards with their Mushi issues and always working to expand overall knowledge of them. The opening credits show a variety of Mushi. Take note, as you will be seeing most of them throughout the season. This also had something that I never thought I would see: Ginko lose! One thing that bothered me throughout the season is that Ginko seemed surprised. Look, if he has been a Mushi master for 15 to 20 years (how old is he, anyway), nothing should come as a surprise. I will let you get away with “I have never encountered this before”, as it is a big world out there, but he should never be shocked or surprised or perplexed…except the episode where he loses (Episode 17 – “Azure Waters”).Continue reading
I wonder what it takes for an anime film to get decent distribution in the US. I did see “Ponyo” and “The Wind Rises” in the theaters, but how many others have slid below the radar? I’m not even seeing ads taken out in the papers or things getting mentioned, so I have to wait for alternate distribution to find out about them at all and then get a chance to see the latest film releases. “When Marnie was There” (or “Marnie of the Memories”) came out last July and could, potentially, be the last film from Studio Ghibli, as they are ‘on hiatus’, but with the retirement of Miyazaki, their future is vague.
On to the film. I am uncertain when the film takes place, but it could be the late 60s or early 70s. Anna Sasaki (left) is a 12-year-old girl who lives in Sapporo with foster parents, Yoriko and her husband. Anna’s mom and dad died in a car accident and Grandma passed away a couple of years earlier, so there is no one for her. One day at school, she collapses from an asthma attack, so her parents send her to spend the summer with Setsu and Kiyomasa Oiwa, relatives of Yoriko, in Kushino, a rural seaside town, where the air is clear. (OK, we will ignore the fact that asthma isn’t tuberculosis).Continue reading