“In This Corner”….

April 15th, 2021 in Anime, General Reviews, Movies by

I feel that I will never understand the magnitude on the Japanese psyche regarding WWII and the dropping of the bombs. It permeates every fiber of their being and colors almost everything they do, consciously and unconsciously, even so many years after the events. We have another film that looks at the war experience, but it is done in a different manner. The inevitable comparisons between “Grave of the Fireflies” and this one, “In This Corner of the World” (“Kono Sekai no Katasumi ni”) will happen, as both are depressing, but the latter approaches it in a more hopeful, but less natural-looking, manner.

The film covers around 15 or so years of time; I’m thinking 1932 to 1946 or thereabouts. We come into the life of Suzu (the lady in pink). She is a fabulous artist, but a bit of a scatterbrain. She lives in Hiroshima and spends a lot of time sketching, sketching, sketching. The movie reflects this, in having her be in the sketches she has done, a soft line or pastel approach, or having the artwork come ‘alive’. When she is 18, she is given a proposal of marriage by Shūsaku (him to the far left), as he remembers her from 10 years earlier. They move to Kure.

Now, to help with the geography, Kure is a big naval base and about an hour train ride from Hiroshima. And since Shūsaku works for the navy and his family is there, thus the move. The movie details all the privations and struggles with being a nation at war and a city that is a prime military target, as well as Suzu trying to fit in with a new, somewhat abrasive, family.

There is a strong element of nostalgia, reflected by the art decisions. If Suzu was still alive, she could be in her 90s, and so it comes across as remembrances of a time past and the paths that could have been taken. Certainly when the war comes into her life, with the endless bombings and air raid sirens and food shortages and the shift in mood, the film takes on its darker tones. War affects everyone in varying degrees and when personal tragedy strikes Suzu, it takes all of her emotional courage and fortitude to soldier on and try to remain true to herself.

Despite it being a war film, I found it rather gentle, even when she is interrogated by the military police for sketching the harbor and its battleships. Even then, the whole thing is laughed off. The way they handle the bombing of Hiroshima is done in an interesting manner and how they are a caliber of collateral damage from it.

Again, it was a moving film, perhaps aided by the art style that softens the corners and makes things not as horrible as it really was. The movie ends too soon, as you would like to see how they moved on with their lives after all of this. The only sour note for me is that the US soldiers were portrayed as pigs. Perhaps they really were that way and a dash of kindness from them to the civilian population could have gone for miles and miles, but still, I see it as the only dour note in an otherwise poignant film.

Back to the art style, as you can see it is more cartoonish, avoiding a lot of the tropes that come with a ‘regular’ anime approach. They inhabit a kind of tweeny world, where it is not full cartoon, but certainly not as realistic as it could be. Again, this might be holding in nature with the remembrance part of the overall directorial approach to it. You might want to compare/contrast with “The Wind Rises”, which covers a similar slice of time, in how they made their artistic decisions. It is still a film worth watching, if only to understand things better.

On a scale of 1 to 10:

Artwork           7 (Not certain if it is fully effective)
Plot                  8 (An interesting story told interestingly)
Pacing              8 (Moves along with a strong deliberateness)
Effectiveness   8 (Good use of sensibilities of the era)
Conclusion       7 (It reaches a ‘coupler point’, but hasn’t ended)
Fan Service      1 (A similar show would be “Ouran High School”)

Overall            8 (Well worth seeing)

Three stars

“Collection” Agency

February 18th, 2021 in Anime, Movies by

As with any movie that comes from a successful series, I am leery that it might be just might be a recap of the series, put in movie form, for those folks who are too lazy to plunk themselves down and watch the whole thing, from a company that wants to make some quick money for fans who are too gullible to take a second look at things. And I will be saying this plaint again and again until I am proven demonstrably wrong. I have gotten close, but not with any consistency. Yet, “Kantai Collection: The Movie” (and couldn’t you come up with a slightly better title than that?) does try to move events along, basing it off of that which we have already seen in the series and that which we already know, to tell a different tale. Of sorts. (more…)

Not Drawn to “Scale”

February 11th, 2021 in Anime, General Reviews, Movies by

“Sword Art Online” has been one of the more interesting series (and now franchises) of the past half-dozen years. As with any movie that comes from a successful series, I am leery that it might be just might be a recap of the series, put in movie form, for those folks who are too lazy to plunk themselves down and watch the whole thing, from a company that wants to make some quick money. Yes, they did do that in 2013, calling it the “Extra Edition”, so I was a little more assured that this one would be a real movie and not just a Season Two Recap. This brings us to “Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale”. Now, it would help to understand what an ‘ordinal scale’ is. (more…)

I Call a “Redo”

September 24th, 2020 in Anime, Movies by

I must be the dumbest sack of doorknobs out there. Why do I torture myself? I have potentially been chasing this franchise down longer than “Code Geass: Akito”, yet I am not half as whiny about it as I should be. This popped up at AX 17, so I grabbed a showing of “Evangelion 3.33: You Can (Not) Redo”. What a pile of noise! (more…)

I’ll Take the “Blame”

September 17th, 2020 in Anime, General Reviews, Movies by

It’s an anime movie. I am at least finding them a bit more often than in the past, but they still come out in a dribble, compared to other offerings. This is an odd one, more so for the apparent CG than the plot, which smells rather “Matrix”-y. This is “Blame!” (“Buramu!”). (more…)

Short Run Series XXII – If You See the “Dragon” Fly

March 26th, 2020 in Anime, Movies, Short Run Series by

I once mentioned (and frequently do so) that you can find an anime on almost any topic. This one is really strange, “The Dragon Dentist“ (“Ryū no Haisha”). It takes place in an alternate universe, a time when dragons existed and did take to the skies. (more…)

National “Anthem”

October 10th, 2019 in Anime, Movies by

I always have a problem with anime movies, in that I am aware of the merest tip of the iceberg that comes to a regular cinema on its own (although I am having troubles with “The Red Turtle” and that’s a Studio Ghibli offering). A tremendous amount of them just go drifting past, so it is a bit or a workout to be able to find them without having to go to some special showing in a theater no one can find at exorbitant costs to view it and you have but one weekend to grab any of the four total showings. And the next nearest theater for it is 600 miles away. That is why when I run into an anime movie, I grab it and take my chances.

Such is the case with “Kokoro ga Sakebitagatterunda” (“The Anthem of the Heart”, subtitled “Beautiful Word Beautiful World”). At its heart, it is a love story, but how we get there is a tad unusual. (more…)

Can’t See the “Forest” for the Trees

October 3rd, 2019 in Anime, Movies by

I am seeing a lot of music animes popping up, and it’s not just folks wanting to be the latest idol band or boy group, but real musical dedication. After having seen “Your Lie in April” and bumbled through two season of “Hibike! Euphonium”, I decided that I would try out “Piano no Mori”, (“Piano’s Forest”) although it is a strange confabulation of events. Also, it’s an anime movie and you know my stance on them. I will watch it and decide later if it was worth it, as they get such a limited to no release at all in the US (more…)

“Dead” To the World

November 1st, 2018 in Anime, General Reviews, Movies by

One of the functions of anime is to push boundaries. It can’t always be giant fighting robots, or a high school rom-com with witches or espers or someone who thinks they are God or a look at an alternative history with hip-hop samurais. Yes, there is a danger in this approach, as you can frighten off the more timid souls who are afraid to leave their comfort zone and you end up being cult.

The only reason I found this older offering (2004; a lifetime in anime) is that I ran across an article about “15 Must-Watch Forgotten Anime” movies (well, I own four of them, so it wasn’t that big of a deal to me). It’s just this one, which was rated at Number 2, takes anime and animation and science fiction and violence and sex and bounces it on its noggin for 50 head-twisting minutes (well, actually 43; you have about seven minutes of credits). The short-hand to this film would be if FLCL took the brown acid, THIS is what you would get: “Dead Leaves” (“Deddo Rībusu”). (more…)

“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…)