“Free Time”

May 17th, 2018 in Anime, General Reviews, Movies by

Whew! At least we picked up the pace for the final installment of “Arpeggio of Blue Steel” (maybe; I can no longer tell if a series has truly ended any more), with “Ars Nova: Cadenza”. It’s musical history time. A ‘cadenza’ often refers to a portion of a concerto in which the orchestra stops playing, leaving the soloist to play alone in free time (without a strict, regular pulse) and can be written or improvised, depending on what the composer specifies. The final movie is like that, as so much ‘new stuff’ comes in, that we are left in its wake.

The good news is that this is a full and true movie. We have progressed beyond the cut and paste of “D.C.” and formed a real film, with all the twists and turns you have come to expect from a submarine chase film. The time has come to end this war. (more…)

Fantastic “Voyage”

April 27th, 2018 in Anime, General Reviews, Movies by

More on Part Two of the movie Suisei no Gargantia ~ Meguru Kōro, Haruka”. Now, as I previously pondered as to why they did not decide to make this a two-hour (or so) movie, I do not know. Personally, I felt it would have benefitted from such a move, but then you lose the cliff-hanger ending for Film A, which would drive you into seeing Film B to conclude the offering and make for a more complete understanding of what is going on, although, for the most part, you don’t know what is really going on.

It comes off as not much more than a travelogue, as we see the life of people on these giant city-fleets and how they deal with other people on their giant city-fleets, who come along with items for trade or barter, so you can purchase or swap for that which you don’t have or have never seen. Oh, the story. The real story. An item that was pulled up from the sea bed in the last film appears to be a massive memory storage unit and could potentially explain a great deal as to what is going on and could even have technology. A lost technology that could benefit us, but it could also destroy us! (more…)

To the Land Beyond “Beyond”

April 19th, 2018 in Anime, General Reviews, Movies by

One of my responsibilities as a reviewer is to note trends. One trend I have noticed is the ten-episode run of second seasons, and that bothers me to no end. Another is the Movie Conclusion. I first saw it with “Eden of the East”, but a few more are cropping up. It appears a decision has been made by the Parent Company that rather than hoisting another season of a show (even if it is 10 episodes), let’s use a movie or two to close it out or explain things better. Thus is the case with Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet” (“Suisei no Garugantia”).

The initial series told the story of Ensign Ledo (right), a soldier in the Galactic Alliance, piloting a Machine Caliber. This is an AI-automated, humanoid-shaped battle suit, which he refers to as ‘Chamber’. After a failed attempt by the Alliance forces to destroy an enemy super-weapon, Ledo is knocked into a wormhole and loses consciousness. When he awakens, he learns from Chamber that he has been in hibernation for six months while his wounds were healing. Ledo also discovers that he and Chamber have been ‘found’ by a rag-tag band of human scavengers. (more…)

Movie Review – A Stranger in “Paradise”

September 24th, 2015 in Anime, General Reviews, Movies, Rakuen Tsuihou by

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The big problem that I have with anime movies is that I never get a real chance to see them in the theaters. With the exception of a lot (but not all) of Studio Ghibli, I would assume the bulk of these offerings never leave the Land of the Rising Sun. On those rare occasions that they do, it is a really limited release over the course of one weekend, in a movie theater that the bus lines don’t get to, at an outrageous ticket price (I had a chance to see “The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya” like this, but the tickets were $20 each!) and with a grand total of five showings.

Thus, when I do encounter a movie, I give it a look-see, and I will potentially not get another shot at a look-see. This means it is pot luck at best. Like the Mystery Bag, whatever is whatever. I had a chance to see “Rakuen Tsuihou” (“Expelled from Paradise”), a film I heard nothing about at all, even though it has been out in the US for theoretically five months.

It is the future. Most anime is about the future. Angela Balzac is an agent at the space station DEVA, whose inhabitants have no physical bodies, their minds digitized and processed into a virtual reality environment. She has a day off and is ‘lounging’ at the ‘beach’ on a ‘wonderful day’. Seriously, if this is all VR, it’s not much different than the Matrix, right? Anyway, after some Village People clone tries to hit on her, the beach scene deteriorates, as they have been hacked by some initially unknown entity. (more…)

Movie Review – Who’s “There”?

September 20th, 2015 in Anime, General Reviews, Movies, When Marnie was There by

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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). (more…)

Movie Review – “Bamboo” is Not a Weed

September 10th, 2015 in Anime, General Reviews, Movies, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya by

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Another Studio Ghibli release, “The Tale of the Princess Kaguya” (Kaguya-hime no Monogatari) is 95% of a marvelous film. A rather cheap-out ending mars an otherwise magnificent effort, both in story-telling and animation approach.

A bamboo cutter named Sanuki no Miyatsuko lives high in the mountains, plying his trade. One day, while doing his rounds, he discovers a glowing bamboo shoot. Inside is a tiny, tiny girl. Believing her to be a divine presence, Miyatsuko and his wife decide to raise her as their own, calling her “Princess“. The girl grows rapidly and conspicuously, marveling her parents and earning her the nickname “Takenoko” (Little Bamboo) from the other children in the village. Sutemaru, the oldest among Kaguya’s friends, develops a particularly close relationship with her. (more…)

“Scramble” To Survive

December 15th, 2013 in Anime, General Reviews, Movies by

Mardock Scramble Review

When is a movie not a movie? When is a series not a series? Why can’t you ever get a good answer to questions? Did you remember to turn off the iron?

I bring this up, as I am uncertain how to approach “Mardock Scramble”. If it is a movie, why isn’t it presented as such? At three hours, it is a bit long for a movie (especially an anime one), but it could have easily been broken up to be a first season of a show (a 12-episode run). I am going to call this a ‘special’, as it works best in that configuration. So, let’s get to the story, eh?

It could be the future, but it is certainly an alternate universe of Tokyo….I mean, Kamina City, Rune Balot is a 15-year old prostitute, who goes on a ‘date’ with the notorious Shell Septinous. Shell has a bit of a problem, in that he is a psychotic killer. He has sex with these underage ladies, and then murders them. Rune is no exception, as she is left to die in a burning car which explodes. However, she is rescued and transformed into a cyborg by the rather mysterious Dr. Easter. An Artificial Intelligence life form (more…)

I Hear “Voices” In My Head

July 21st, 2013 in Anime, Movies by

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I was at Anime Expo 2013 and you get marvelous opportunities to see films…provided you could get in. This one presented itself and the line for it was short, so I grabbed it.

Now, the official title of this is “Children Who Chase Lost Voices from Deep Below” (although in some places, it is also known as “Journey to Agartha”. The ORIGINAL title is “Children Who Chase Stars”. For me, this is a sign of trouble. Can you pick a title?) This is brought to you by the same folks who did “5 Centimeters per Second”. This has been out for a while, but is just getting to us here.

Asuna Watase is a girl who is mostly by herself. Dad is dead and mom works long hours as a nurse, so she is left to her own devices. This includes spending a lot of time at her secret cave, listening to whatever radio signals she can get on her cat’s-whisker radio and hears a song she has never encountered before. At school, she hears tales of a bear being seen in the hills where her cave is. Defying the people, as she knows the mountains well, she goes up the hill and sees the ‘bear’, but it is some kind of horrible monster, bent on killing her. (more…)

Teach Your “Children” Well

July 17th, 2013 in Anime, Movies by

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Usually I get kind of coy in giving reviews, making you read through my whole marvelous article before I finally let you know whether you should watch something or not. I also do not do movie reviews either, so this is a double departure for me. I’ll get straight to the point…..

You should watch “Wolf Children”.

Now, it will be coming out in the theaters, but it is going to be a limited release, which means you will have to do some hunting for it, but it will be in English Dub (although the subtitles were not a problem at all). The only thing wrong with the film is the title, which gives away everything far too soon. It would have been nice to be able to be surprised as to what events were unfolding. I even chose this image over the wallpaper release, as that really spills the beans regarding key plot points. Even something like “Different Children” would have been better as a title. (more…)

*The 1000th Summer*

June 6th, 2012 in Air, Anime, General Reviews, Manga Reviews, Movies by

Pretty 🙂

Air: An Overview

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Air, it’s the story of a homeless man, Yukito, and his journey as he stops in a quaint little town by the beach. He is searching for the Winged Maiden (sounds so pretty, doesn’t it?), a woman his mother would tell him about as a child who was cursed and bound to the sky. He meets a young girl named Misuzu when stopping in this town, and suddenly everything changes for him. So that’s the basic plot line. Now you don’t have to quickly google it before reading this article.

The Air Anime

Story: The anime first appealed to me because it was short at only 13 episodes and because the artwork is stunning. Where the story is concerned, it’s sloppy and all over the place. The Winged Goddess story line is choppy and poorly explained…well maybe it isn’t but I was just bored by the time they got down to specifics. A huge reason for this is the large and pointless cast of secondary characters who are tolerable at their best and horribly annoying at their worst.

Characters: Misuzu, Haruko (Misuzu’s foster mother), and Yukito are all fairly well-developed characters. The problem is the obnoxious bunch of secondary characters who are supposed to make this a more dramatic show but make it slow and all over the place. Misuzu goes beyond your typical cute girl. (more…)