all the best.
This review section is mostly anime now, but I swear I watched these recently:
QUICK REVIEWS! with Eight.|
Black Rock Shooter is a series now.
Baby, Please Kill Me! is simple and stupidly funny.
Last Exile: Fam, the Silver Wing's world is dangerous and engaging.
Mirai Nikki (Future Diary) a battle royale to the death with magic cellphones. crazy!
Chihayafuyu actually looks promising for being an anime based on a card game, art is nice.
Hen Zemi (Abnormal Physiology Seminar) perverted yet funny.
C - The Money of Soul and Possibility Control actually looked okay but I didn't watch much.
Dororon Enma-kun I forgot to watch the last few episodes.
Recorder to Randoseru is sort of humorous but more kind of just weird.
Manyuu Hikenchou is about cutting off peoples' magical boobs for power.
Mayo Chiki is just a little too weird a premise. butler girl!
Morita-san wa Mukuchi episodes are just too short.
Maken-ki! magic, harem, fanservice hell. fail!
Shinryaku! Ika Musume is entertaining, sort of.
Hidan no Aria is just another one of those animes.
The Smurfs (2011) basically makes every smurf America-friendly for theatres. .. except for Gutsy Smurf
who's Scottish. Wait, who the fuck is Gutsy Smurf? Why don't you press pause 5 minutes in and take a long breath,
if you're faint of sanity you should close the window immediately because your remaining sanity will be sucked
away and you'll be forced to work at McDonalds. Hey, can I add tomatoes on that? NO, I didn't say 'add mayo',
I said 'add tomato', go back there and do it right you fucking idiot teenagers. I couldn't stand more than ten
minutes of this movie so I'll just spoil the ending for you; Clumsy Smurf catches something important, wow.
Gargamel, did he died?|
After bumming around YouTube watching random Miku Hatsune videos I inadvertently discovered that there was a
Black Rock Shooter (2010) OVA and decided to watch it. It was a little strange at first and I couldn't
really grasp what I was seeing - the story does actually conclude and start to make sense, and in a way it
was actually kind of cool. I heard that it was really hyped in Japan when it came out and the majority of
people were disappointed, as it seems to simply be a franchise created to sell records and shitty games.|
I consulted Wikipedia which told me that it all spawned from a drawing by the artist Huke, which in turn
was the inspiration for a song by Supercell who used the Miku vocaloid and collaborated to make a music video
for it on Nico Nico Douga.
Have A Look.
I'd heard of Working!! (2010-2011) before but never got around to watching any of it. With its
second season now starting, this made me believe that it could possibly be a decent series so I started
the first season. I was a little disappointed when I discovered a fairly lighthearted comedy based on a
group of eccentric people working together in a restaurant and realized that it's really little more than
that. Maybe it turns into more of a social drama later on (I'm just guessing) but most of the cast is
generally uninteresting, one-dimensional and a bit flaky. The running gags and schticks are introduced
early on and after repeating them ten to twenty times in the first three episodes my forecast radar
is predicting more of the same, and if none of it was funny before, I don't anticipate the same jokes
being any funnier in future episodes.
K.G.: Karate Girl (2011) is another starring role for Rina Takeda, this time with less emphasis on
the gratuitous use of slow motion and alternate-angle replays that nearly ground down High-Kick Girl into
complete unwatchability. Hina Tobimatsu's gravity-defying antics barely save the fairly straightforward
but mediocre story and the seemingly unneeded costume and location changes make the plot even sillier on
its way to eventual collapse at the end. A large amount of people get kicked in the head during the endless
fight scenes where one of the two girls beat down groups of 20+ grown men who all seem to suffer 'flinch's
disease', the number one killer of nameless, unskilled mobs.|
The only upside of the whole movie is,
despite a lot of camera panning and closeup stare-offs, everyone did their own stunts without wires so their
actual acrobatic skills come off as more realistic and dangerous. Even the huge American dude who was straight
up killing other dudes with punches went down faster than fresh sashimi after he caught the flinch.
I'd been digging around for something to watch in between the second seasons of T&B and Nichijou,
and I stumbled across Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei (2007) or 'Goodbye, Mr. Despair', and the
series immediately gains points for style, humor, and eccentricity. It starts off with a chance
meeting between a suicidal teacher and a bizarrely optimistic schoolgirl, and as the show introduces
every new, delightfully messed-up student in his class, he gains yet another reason to kill himself.
The presentation is minimalist and often contrasting between vivid color and monochrome, accentuating
the dark humor, sheer absurdity, and psychological conflicts.
One of my recent addictions has been Jimmy Two-Shoes (2009) due mostly to the wacky antics of the likeable
dynamic trio of main characters, all voiced and performed very well considering it's a fairly standard-faire budget
Canadian show that airs on Teletoon. Picked up for a third season, there are a multitude of episodes spread around
the internets and you can quickly join Jimmy in his quirky adventures in what is pretty much a representation of
Hell itself, Miseryville. While Lucius Heinous VII pretty much runs the state and country (and the planet?), he's
woefully inadequate as a villain and has to resort to genius-girl Heloise (one of the possibly very few other humans
in Miseryville and is 'older than she looks') to invent machinations designed for misery,
all the while Lucius' lazy, gluttonous son Beezy has taken to befriending Jimmy and participating in his regimen
of fun-having which is completely contrary to what Lucius works to maintain. It doesn't help at all that Heloise
secretly likes Jimmy and would betray her employer just for the giggles.
2011 Spring Season Preview... where every duo has a boy with spiky black hair and a girl with long,
light-colored hair, possibly tinted green or blue. I'm not kidding.
AnoHana (2011) - or, 'Ano Hi Mita Hana o Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai' (lit. 'We still don't know
the name of the flower we saw that day') ... but we'll just call it
AnoHana for now, looks like it's going to be a pretty gripping social drama. Once you figure out the premise,
it feels pretty depressing, but the bright side is that you know everything is going to work out in the end
because there's a strong element of hope present. The story and characters are well-portrayed, like animated
poetry that reaches into your heart and grabs hold. Sad, touching, compelling, and ultimately working towards
rebuilding a lost happiness.
Not expecting too much at first, I got into Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko (2011) and was a little refreshed
to discover that the male protagonist is just a little more intelligent than the average guy role he's been given,
and some of the early inner monologue even pokes fun at his introduction as the completely-average boy. Upon
arrival at his aunt's house in the city, he discovers an eccentric girl wrapped in a mattress, and that's where
the fun begins. I guess I should have expected an anime about aliens to be just a little bit quirky, but this one
is so over the top it gets quarky, in a good way. I don't know what that means.|
The opening song is pretty cool, and I was pleased to hear Etsuko Yakushimaru on the ending track. Go figure that
she'd have something to do with a show about aliens.
When I started watching Deadman Wonderland (2011) I had no idea that the manga was written by the same
person who did Eureka Seven, and now that the connection is made, I can see many similarities among the characters.
Ganta, much like Renton, ends up in a life-altering situation that demands he fight for his own survival. He
meets a very strange and powerful girl named Shiro, who looks a lot like Anemone from E7 but behaves more like
a naive Eureka. There is apparently another character, Minatsuki, who could probably give Anemone a run for her
money in the 'batshit crazy' category. While this series' central focus is on cold, gruesome violence, it's not
excessively depicted and more screen time is given to the characters' development. It's certainly interesting
enough to follow when it airs. However, one can easily find the entire manga to read and then the show tends
to feel too drawn out. Well, spoil yourself or don't.
A-Channel (2011) - This series has a strange yet familiar feel to it; it's a fairly typical formula,
apparently based on a 4-panel comic, so right away it draws a comparison to K-On! or Lucky Star. Four high school
girls, each with different personalities, spend their air time in school or doing random things. Run is the token
Yui personality, as she's a complete ditz but has her moments of glory. Tooru is similar to Azusa in that she's
short and is a year younger than the rest of them, and she's similarly aloof. Yukko is the Mio clone, tall with
dark hair, and the one who receives the most traumatization in her daily life. Nagi fits the bill as somewhere in
between Mugi and Ritsu, as she's the 'straight man' character in most respects, level-headed but also their
unofficial leader in a way. It's an average show that isn't particularly enthralling, although if I really have
to compare it to K-On!, I would say that A-Channel might be a little goofier.. but the fact that there are random
insertion songs in the episodes make me feel like they're trying to sell records too.
After my viewing of the first episode of Dororon Enma-kun (2011) I really don't know what to say about this
show and I'm not even sure if I like it or not... did 20 minutes really go by? I didn't even notice! This show is
fast-paced, but off-kilter and unique in its presentation. The character designs are retro, almost straight
out of 80's-era anime, similar to Cutey Honey, but the humor is more contemporary and they get away
with a lot of messed up jokes.. "My dick broke off!" or "I'm about to pee myself!" for example. Overall, this looks
like it could be fun to watch. Oh! and it turns out the show is a remake of a mid-70's anime of terrible quality!
... Just like Cutey Honey!
Tiger & Bunny (2011) is part of Japan's spring lineup this year, and it looks like it's probably going
to be the most entertaining and talked-about show this season. Initially a bit cliche, since it focuses on
elemental-themed superheroes with both American and Japanese influences, the series is taking a refreshing and
tongue-in-cheek take on the genre by setting up a city in which superheroes are company-sponsored and compete
for points on live television as they catch bad guys and save innocent bystanders. While that premise is similar
to the wave of alternative hero-type movies surfacing in the west, (Incredibles, Megamind, Mystery Men - yes, Captain
Amazing was covered in sponsorship logos!) it has the potential to develop into a very entertaining series,
simply because you can almost smell the conspiracy that Hero TV Live must have a hand in to create havoc for
the sake of ratings.|
Unfortunately, the character diversity hasn't been explored yet, but the formula
is pretty simple - everyone seems to have an elemental ability. Rock Bison? Rock, of course. Fire Emblem makes fire, Sky High controls wind,
Dragon Kid can make lightning, Blue Rose has ice guns, and Origami Cyclone
-probably- has something to do with water if he weren't focusing on advertising over crimefighting. The
two 'main' characters both have the power to hundredfold their strength for five minutes, so they basically look
like a cross between the Hulk and an EVA unit. Who knows, maybe this series will be interesting?
Nichijou (2011) - Okay, what the hell is this? Right off the bat it looks like Azumanga Daioh except it's
done by someone else so you can put down your Yotsuba&! boxing gloves for the moment. Right away you can tell
there's something a little 'off', or perhaps 'askew' with this series. While the delivery
is very simple and lighthearted and the stories are just as deliberately linear, you really can't just shrug off
the shock value of a wind-up woman and a cat that speaks like a mature man. While the manga has some swearing in
it, this show is family friendly(?so far) and there's just something really off-kilter about it that makes me
want to watch more of it.|
The series sticks fairly true to the manga so all of the great comedy is still there, although it seems as if
some of the jokes were 'enhanced', such as the string stuck to the back of someone's head is revamped into a
squid tentacle, and I don't remember the cat being in the manga, then again I only read one volume.
All in all, this is probably going to be the one show I can't wait to watch, I think it's really funny.
It just had to be done. Toy Story 3 (2011) took in a huge profit and has ranked #33 as of this date on IMDB,
beating out a ton of good movies including Toy Story (#145) and Toy Story 2 (not in top 250), but this particular
reviewer finds nothing great about this movie at all, in fact I find it disturbing, it's a movie about the toys,
belonging to a now-college aged owner, getting inadvertently thrown in the trash and awakening in a prison-like
daycare environment where the boss toy would have them locked away in bins at night in order to subject them to the
horrors of preschool children during the day... I don't particularly see why this could be rated as high as it is,
and I would like to warn parents from subjecting their children to this movie - it is not a family-friendly adventure
that's based on friendship and morals, this movie is an animated prison break. What the fuck? No really, what the
fuck? Please, I implore you, watch the movie yourself first before letting your children watch it... is this what you
want them to see???? WTF. ZERO out of ten. NO extra points for Totoro.
So, I decided to sit down and watch Red Dwarf (1988) for a while, and I ended up enjoying one of the
most brilliant shows I've seen in a long time. Although longtime fans of the show have mixed judgements of the
various seasons, the first two series are definitely solid and I'll probably allow myself to continue watching
this show whenever I can find episodes. It's sci-fi but it's also comedy; at times the dialogue reminds me of
Rowan Atkinson's Blackadder in the way insults are thickly layered into nearly poetic burns.
At first, the trailers for Rango (2011) mainly focused on some of the introduction gag scenes so I wasn't
really left with anything to expect. What actually happens is that a chameleon fatefully ends up in the middle of
the desert and uses his innate abilities to 'blend in' when he stumbles upon the critter-filled miniature town of
Dirt where old west conditions are the norm and the currency is water. They even have working miniature firearms.|
It feels like the movie was written just for Depp - there's even a Fear and Loathing cameo - and his
obsession with twisted desert movies and westerns. Throw in some borderline Castanedan shamanism to make 'Rango'
accept his destiny, add a covered wagon chase where bats are mounted with chainguns, and there's enough craziness
to make a rather entertaining movie that people will either enjoy or sort of stare at and then shakily affirm that
they thought it was okay while giving you that look that translates to 'please don't rent this again'.
Tangled (2011) - Oh boy, I get to rant about Disney for a bit! Although well-known for appearing to
coincidentally rip off other ideas for their films, (Lion King/Kimba the White Lion, Atlantis/Nadia: the Secret
of Blue Water) they've gone back to their roots this time. By that, I mean: flushed a stupendous amount of money
into rehashing old, public domain fairy tales that everyone is already familiar with. Well, it works for Disney,
you can't deny that they make a fortune replacing children's books with direct-to-DVD sequels.|
Anyway, I watched Tangled. It wasn't bad, but I'm probably never going to watch it a second time of my own volition.
If you were a Japanese animation studio and really wanted to put a lot of money into saying 'Fuck You' to every
halfway-intelligent otaku on the planet, you would create Freezing (2011) .. I will just compress this into
a paragraph and tell it like it is; Take the relationship of the two protagonists from Gosick, give all the girls giant
breasts, pit them into a Battle Royale school in which they have Super Saiyan transformation powers and digital
weapons to use against a Strike Witches/Evangelion type alien invader, and then turn it into some shitty drama
with a Ranma 1/2 love triangle. The hard-as-nails
femme fatale main character suddenly turns into a whimpering sponge when the doofus average-guy-with-hidden-powers
gets close to her. Oh well, I'm sure everyone will only watch this for the nudity and bloody amputating violence.
A surprising amount of screen time is also utilized for explaining every technique in detail.
My Little Pony - Friendship is Magic (2011) - Wait, what? .... With a blank expression, you stare at the
review, perplexed. Apparently this show suddenly appeared and garnered some acclaim, enough to turn it into a
straight-up meme over at 4chan. Intrigued, I decided to do some detective work and it turns out Lauren Faust,
wife of Craig McCracken (Dexter's Lab, Powerpuff Girls), has run the production of a new My Little Pony series
that while promoting strong values and a wide range of character archetypes, manages to have smooth animation,
immersive stories, and is actually entertaining and often downright funny, completely shedding the brand's former
mold as a girly-girl girlish toy and replacing it with a show that appeals to everyone, regardless of age.|
It's easy to see why people not in the target demographic are confessing their addiction to this show.
2011 Winter Season Review!!!
Fractale (2011) - This promising new series is a little bit different from the rest of the crowd, and
noticeably stands out despite the first glance giving it the appearance of a completely normal-looking show.
After that quick double-take, you start to get immersed in this strange new world.. but just when you were
admiring the scenery, you get pulled into Clain's dilemma as his life's path leads him into a mysterious
all-out war between a nearly omnipotent religious network and a group of rebels intent on 'freeing' the people
by destroying the powers that be.
With much elation I discovered Mitsudomoe (2011) was renewed for a second season and I regularly catch
the new episodes for my dose of raunchy humor, off-the-wall antics and really awkward situations.
Gosick (2011) - Produced by Bones, so that's an immediate plus considering their work on Soul Eater and
Eureka Seven. Here we are in a post-World War era in the fictional country of Saubure, somewhere between Italy
and France stretching from the coast into the Alps. In a country ripe with ghost stories, Kujo, the Japanese
transfer student, is immediately branded as the 'Dark Reaper' and doesn't make too many friends, aside from the
mysterious Victorique who doesn't attend regular class and spends all of her time in the library. As he attempts
to gain her aquaintance, he discovers another side to her - she has the unfathomable ability to solve crimes with
flawless logic and observation.
Interestingly, Hourou Musuko (2011) was adapted from manga and brought to the light of television.
This series takes an angle at transgendered persons in a realistic manner, rather than portraying the fluff and
nonsense that a comedic gay/lesbian anime character would stereotypically display as a running joke or some
predefined cookie-cutter automaton designed for 'broad appeal' in any other series. Regardless of whatever my
own preference may be, I was first captivated by the simplicity of the manga and was then drawn into its complexity.
The anime starts off many chapters in, suggesting that all the main characters already know each other
(rather than being introduced one by one as in the manga), but the elements of the entire story are brought
together through current-time and flashbacks to flesh out the very realistic, human characters with which
you find yourself sympathizing.
Oh, you're in for a mindfuck. Level E (2011) makes no outright promises. 'A series of short stories involving
aliens on Earth'. Yep. The first three episodes are going to break your mind, and the rest of the series is going
to pretty much diverge the way Excel Saga made 'random' into 'funny as hell'. There's no possible way you're not
going to like this. Once you get the premise you're going to facepalm and then keep watching it all the way through,
just because you know you owe it to yourself.
With undeniably the coolest intro music is Yumekui Merry (2011), also a likely candidate for
one of the most original series I've seen in a while - the protagonist, Yumeji, has been plagued with strange
dreams after discovering he had the power to read a person's aura and determine if they will have a nightmare.
One day he happens upon an unusual girl who blocks a dream demon's attempt to take his body as a host to enter
the real world. The girl, however, is from the dream world and she has no idea how to go back. They have to team
up, relying on each others' abilities, to solve their individual dilemmas. For some reason, there are a -lot- of
body shots of Merry. Granted, that is one of her main appeals - she is somehow very well-drawn and despite being
slightly childlike, is actually athletic and depicted as being very adept at fighting and fluid in motion.
Kore wa Zombie Desu ka (2011) - First you think, "Oh god, what is this? Another fucking weird-ass anime
show with no redeeming qualities?", but you keep watching it, hoping something interesting happens. Ta-da!
Something interesting happens.|
This show takes a hard poke at 'magical girl' type shows and really goes over the top with introducing,
of all possible things, a vampire ninja, on top of the chainsaw-wielding magical girl and a zombie/necromancer duo
to round out the formal main cast, but you can't help but enjoy the insanity and get a few chuckles out of it
in the process. It's also chock full of graphic cartoon violence and death.
Auughhh, please shorten Onii-chan no Koto Nanka Zenzen Suki Janain Dakara ne!! (2011) into something
intelligible and I will be better off! .. Okay, making this short, it's a series about a perverted girl who
has a brother-complex and really wants to get it on with her stupid perverted brother.. she finds out in the first
episode that she's actually adopted (surviving a car wreck which killed her parents, of all things) and her brother
actually knows this - but he still plays fantasy incest computer games and has hundreds of illicit magazines stashed
in his room! The super-emboldened sister, now knowing she's not blood-related, goes into a frenzy and only her
brother's crazy stalker childhood friend and other cast members can keep her from fucking him!
It's.. well.. it's.. funny?
Rio - Rainbow Gate (2011) is one of the most disappointing wastes of studio money ever spent. The premise revolves
around gambling and jiggling bosoms, of which the latter appear in abundance. As for the gambling, you can generally
expect the main character to win somehow, every time, unless later on in the show they throw in some cliffhanger
episode where she doesn't win. That in itself should be expected as a cliffhanger, for a series in which the main
character miraculously wins a betting game in every episode. The formula is introduced early on and it falls flat
like the cards they're 'betting' on, contrary to the ample endowment of practically every character that's given
air time. The main comedic aspect of the show involves a pair of twins.. whatever one says, the other one repeats
it.. deadpan. So deadpan it's .. fill in the blank.
Thus concludes 2011! And now, older reviews!
Every now and then you come across something that manages to duck the formulas and slip under the mainstream radar
to end up on broadcast. The cast of Kuragehime (2010) - aka Jellyfish Princess - are a wild bunch, as long
as they don't have to leave the house and interact with 'normals' or 'stylishes'. Collectively referring to
themselves as the 'Nunz', this group of female otakus are basically shut-ins with obsessive passions ranging from
trains, dolls, jellyfish, Three Kingdoms, and um, old men. Their lives get flipped turned upside down when a
crossdressing boy befiends Tsukimi and begins to see the princess in her that she refuses to see in herself.|
The main point is, this show is the polar opposite of every popular harem anime ever produced, and it never fails
to be both funny and endearing.
The Eureka Seven movie basically starts with the main characters as younger versions of themselves, interacting with
other characters (inconsistencies: if Renton is aged 14-16 in the series and Dominic is 20, then Renton aged 8yrs~
would make Dominic about 13 so why is he a 'teacher'?) and proceeds to ruin everything that had coalesced during
the series' 50-episode run. I'm not going to spoil anything for you, but I'll say this: If you LIKED Eureka Seven,
you should probably stay away from this. .. but don't take my word for it, I only watched about 2 minutes of it
before shutting it off. If End of Evangelion is basically like watching your pet die, then Pocket Full of Rainbows
is like witnessing your pet give birth to a half-formed mutant which you avoid for five years then reconcile later
when they have absolutely no knowledge of any events prior to their adolescence. Jar Jar Binks becomes a jedi?
Please avoid this if you love Eureka Seven, or, feel free to ruin yourself, up to you. I'll probably watch the
remaining 113 minutes eventually but this movie is basically the sequel that you never wanted to happen - but it did.
Oh, I do like to review things I've liked, but sometimes I just need to rip on something to keep everything
in a state of balance. Hello, Yosuga no Sora (2010) - I'm sorry but this so deserves a ripping. Based
on a game (really??) and categorized as harem/incest .. wait, what? No, I apparently read that correctly, and watched the
first episode of what is to be a season of this show. Oh boy, this basically drops right into the category box
and lives up to it. The bland, friendly male protagonist returns to the countryside after his parents die in
an accident and suddenly all his well-endowed female childhood friends have fond memories of him and there are
at least three or four girls crooning on him within ten minutes. Also, his twin sister has incestuous fantasies
about him, but as long as they're fantastical rather than actual, they make it past the censors. Apparently so
does nudity and masturbation. Would I watch another episode? No, wikipedia basically tells me how boring this
show is. I tried it for a laugh but it wasn't actually that funny. Also, K-On ripoff insertion character. |
I could honestly be spending my time watching anything else, maybe even rewatching Cowboy Bebop since it's been
a while. Say, that sounds like a good idea!
Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt (2010) by Gainax immediately brings to mind the anarchic mayhem
that was Production I.G.'s groundbreaking Dead Leaves (2004), combined with the blatant fanservice
and magical transformations of Re: Cutie Honey OVA (2004). The whooshing letter-printed sound effects,
endless streams of police cars, chaotic action sequences and way too many bullets in the air in the latter
half of the first show play out like a throwback to Retro and Pandy's chase scene. Anyway, Panty (panty..
pandy.. hmm.) is the blonde slutty one and Stocking is the goth loli who eats nothing but sweets. They play
hackisack with their failed taxidermy experiment of a dog and take their orders from Reverend Garterbelt whenever
an evil ghost is messing up the city. This show's pretty funny and well-animated, and the end credits are lol.|
The series manages to constantly deliver laughs, despite some of the episodes being 'experimental' and sometimes
look as if animated by guest studios or even resorting to crude flash animation. The story gets heated up towards
the end of the series' run and it looks to me like they'll be making a second season, because if they don't,
fourteen million fanboys will bum rush their studios armed with pencils. Also, the soundtrack is dope.
When I first glanced over Eureka Seven (2005) I thought about watching it, but never got around
to actually doing so; 50 episodes looked a little big for me to take on at the time. Well, now that the
fall season shows have ended, there's nothing left for me to watch. This was at the top of
my list, so I took up the challenge and have not regretted it one bit. Renton Thurston is just a kid
living in a strange world where both people and giant mecha are able to surf in the air on waves of trapars,
a phenomenon that seems very alien yet completely natural. Renton's dreams are fulfilled when he gets
caught up in the middle of a conflict between the government and his heroes, Holland Novak and the infamous
Gekkostate crew, and ends up awakening the true power of the monstrous LFO his father dug up before he died,
now piloted by a mysterious girl named Eureka. I'm about halfway in, and so far this show gets more interesting
every episode. I'll definately finish watching this one and always remember it.|
Mitsudomoe (2010) was adapted so closely from the manga that there are only slight changes and
extra 'skits' added into the shows for runtime, |
..and don't ask me why I read the manga, either.
Based on appearances this may look like a kiddie show or some perverted lolicon crap, but if you're looking
for a show that delivers laughs, most notably through crudeness, cruelty and (mis)communication, then
this is your bag. One day the teacher buys the class a pet hamster, and the kids name him Nipples.
I rest my case, your honor.
It's time for a big 2010 anime review wrapup!|
I've been hovering around anime44 a lot recently, so I've racked up a lot of series in a fairly short time,
most notably the second season of K-On!! (2010) which also led me to find other gems such as Tatami
Galaxy and House of Five Leaves. What can really be said about K-On 2 other than this season ran twice as
long as the first and managed to generate fewer songs than the entire first run (though
this might change in october - a whole slew of character songs are on their way) yet it managed to retain
just about the same watchability... both seasons of K-On, in total a whopping 36 episodes plus an inbetweener
called Live House (I liked this little OVA, the band actually does a gig) plus some minis, offer plenty of
runtime to watch the four girls do practically everything except actually practice. Both series so far have
never been unwatchable for me, probably because each show is fairly episodic and the pace is always steady,
it's a little funny and a little cute without being overbearingly so. It's a bit light and a bit fluffy and that's
perfectly fine because it's not being rammed down my throat. It's a show that's just relaxing to watch, and
the soundtrack is consistently catchy and well-produced. Whoever's behind this is doing a good job of making
sure the quality standard is met and surpassed rather than watering down the franchise and riding on the back
of a successful first run.
Which, leads me into the second review: Strike Witches (2008/2010) - at first glance, and at second
and third glances, and generally through both seasons, one can see there is a gratuitous amount of fanservice
going on here. This whole thing is pretty much tailor-made for otakus: A squadron of teenage girl witches
sprout animal ears and tails and ride around on airplane engines while not wearing any pants, ever.
Yes, that's about the ugliest summary you'll get from any reviewer on the internet about this show, and it's
true really, that's what happens... the Striker Units they wear on their legs are a fusion of magic and
technology developed by the protagonist's dead father, and only young female witches in the prime of their
power are able to pilot the units to take flight and enhance their own abilities to defend an alternate-Earth
from an alien invader called the Neuroi. This is very much a character-driven series, and each episode tends
to focus on a single pilot or dynamic pair of pilots, and typically there is an adrenaline-fuelled battle
with the ever-adapting enemy. The cover of this book made me cringe a little, and once I got into it there were
surely a lot of facepalming moments for every excess of fanservice, but over the course of two seasons I couldn't
help but get a little bit attached to the characters, as two dimensional as they are, (or 3d during the
battle shots) they are often funny (I like Hartmann's attitude, but Lucchini is a little over-the-top
sometimes) and even dramatic, (Sakamoto's determination when past her prime, oh and there's even a Finlander
in this anime who's got a hard and a soft side) so if you can get over the panty shots and boob-groping
(may want to watch this when other people aren't going to be walking by during any said scene so you don't
have to explain what you're watching) the series is still watchable. I got into it by playing a random episode
and skipping around in it until I got to an action sequence and I thought 'well... okay.. I'll try this from
the beginning.' and then I was hooked. Sure, it has some faults, but they're not major enough to sink
a ship this big. I really liked the ending of season 1, although it came about -a little too easy- ..
which makes season 2 almost follow along like it was meant to happen - the enemy returns bigger and meaner..
and the boat they're in suddenly seems a lot smaller. Of course, none of the protagonists ever die or get
terribly injured, but there are injuries and unit damage.. in one scene, a pilot gets their foot cut off by a
laser beam.. but it's just the unit's foot (and propeller) just below where the pilot's actual foot is..
now that I think about it, there's a heavy recurring theme of stress and emotional strain on the pilots
as well.. nobody said war would be all fun and games. (I did say it was designed for
otakus though, right?)|
Arakawa Under The Bridge (2010) recently wrapped up its first season and is slated to continue into
a second season starting October 2010. This series takes 'weird' and 'what the f...', layers them in
a sandwich, then eats the whole thing. Rich boy Kou Ichinomiya gets caught up in circumstance one day and
ends up owing his life to a girl who lives under a bridge, claiming to be from Venus. Taught since birth
to never rely on anyone and never be indebted to anyone, Kou pleads to repay her somehow and she decides
with some dramatic hesitation to ask him to love her. Thus starts Kou's new life living under the bridge
among the eccentric citizens who've taken up residence along the riverbank. With certainty I can say that
this is one of the strangest shows I've ever seen, if anything not because it's an animated acid trip but
because of the contrast between the protagonist and his environment. There's a double helping of hilarity on
this plate and watching the series is akin to taking a spin on a backwater amusement park ride that lost
its place between the mini mall and highway XYZ.|
Finally ending this extremely long-winded update is one last show that I happened to watch the entirety of
and not give up on it. (Yes, I have actually given up on a few series because they just tasted awful from
the start and I could not eat another bite.) Ookami-san to Shichinin no Nakama-tachi (2010) aka
Okamisan and her Seven Companions may sound like a mouthful, but it's a fairly lighthearted love comedy
that takes its shape from fairy tales in various forms; Ookami Ryouko is literally the 'wolf', or at least
a girl who 'wears wolf's clothing' in the series, and along with her best friend Ringo (very much a little
red riding hood) is part of the Otogi High School Bank, a professional group which helps people and collects
favors in return. Some characters and episodes are based on other fairy tales (the ant and the grasshopper,
Cinderella, etc) but Ryouko ends up becoming the target of none other than the Hunter. (except the hunter
has fallen in love with her and she wants nothing to do with the lousy bum.) Apparently, Ryouko is an
example of what the Japanese would call a 'tsundere'.. so I gather that this must mean a person who is
generally pissy and mopey, beats people up to vent their frustrations, and keeps their feelings to
themselves. Oh, and there's a narrator in every episode who tends to talk over people and make fun of them,
so there's a bit of fourth-walling and generally plenty of humourous situations. Some slight fanservice,
as well as tongue-in-cheek fourth-walling of said fanservices by said narrator. hehs.
Yojouhan Shinwa Taikei (2010) - a.k.a. 'The Tatami Galaxy', is another refreshing dash of spontenaity
adapted by Madhouse. The poster caught my eye, and while I wasn't initially sucked into the premise,
it was clear during the first episode that this was going to be one hell of a ride. Whatever feeling the
first episode leaves you with, as you try to mold expectations for the series, is quickly flushed away by the
second episode and it's now apparent that this is a different sort of ride; the kind you get off at the end
and run back to the line so you can go again! The visuals are simple and goofy at times, but the color and
contrast, cranked all the way up, manage to paint the scenes and characters perfectly. There are a lot of running
gags, as to be expected once you figure the 'galaxy' out, and I found Akashi's fear of moths (particularly her
reaction to them) hilarious. I somehow managed to watch episode 10 after ep.1 where 2 was supposed to
have been... once I got to 10 I realized I had seen the episode already and backtracked to another source of
ep.2 and watched the real one. Oddly, it didn't feel out of place to me, because of the nature of the series'
timeline, and watching ep.10 early on actually lent insight to the whole without spoiling the ending. (ep.11)
Still fresh in my mind from marathoning all 12 episodes, House of Five Leaves (2010)
was the change of pace I'd been looking for during random screenings of whatever my finger landed on.
It reminds me of Samurai Champloo in that the characters are deeper than they first appear, and much
of the story centers on unravelling their personalities and pasts through their interactions.
The series, quite period-realistic, paints a quirky picture of feudal Japan through the people
whose short term goals are to eat well and wash it down with some sake. There is a stark contrast between
the lively surface of color and music and the ominous nature of the criminal underground dwelling beneath it.
Akitsu, the bumbling, introverted starving samurai may prefer to run away than fight.. but to those who put
their trust in him, he holds more value than the swords he carries. The artwork is weird, but it's suiting.
Karate Kid (2010) - Okay, I'll start off with a recently watched, fair and unbiased review of the new
Karate Kid movie, which is produced by Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith and stars the young Jaden Smith...
oh, and Jackie Chan. Oops, hang on, I think I have somehow replaced the thumbnail with a picture of a young
Italian American taken about 16 years ago... sorry about that, where was I? Oh yes, I had watched a movie and
decided to review it on my cardboard box I mean website because people care what I think. Jackie Chan tries
to make us cry halfway through by throwing in an irrelevant past story and then proceeds to 'train' Dre (Jaden)
until he is ready to take on his school bully in a tournament by throwing him the signature Will Smith
'what the fuck? no seriously what the fuck.' look during the final battle. Which, of course, beats him. Of course.
Hooray for Box Office Money! Can't compete with True Legend? (Su Qi-Er) If you can't get it right, watch it in China.
$9.99 (2008) - Interesting. Quite the story indeed. Surreal, and real.. It's unlike any
film I've ever seen, and I've seen Waking Life. Animation-wise, the stopmotion reflects the same
sort of unreal-yet-real characters experienced in Mary and Max, which is oddly enough also Australian-made.
I'm not going to give away any plot or character spoilers, you can find those easily enough on the internet.
I'll just say it's worth watching, as long as you're interested in watching what could become a classic
film rather than an average money-movie. Hey, I give everything a fair shot, and this one ranks up there
alongside Happiness. Maybe you'll nod with me when you see it, maybe not. To each their own.
Kick-Ass (2010) - It must be a great time to be a comic book artist right now, seeing as
creatively-deficient producers everywhere are snapping up the rights to anything they think would
sell theatre tickets. I'm not going to see Scott Pilgrim for a while, though I have nothing against
Brian Lee O'Malley's success - that kind of thing is what everyone hopes for, and maybe he can get
an animated series in the works someday. Anyways, I'm being critical of this movie here. I can't say
it was great, nor can I say it was good. It was a movie, and I watched it, but I wasn't moved by it.
It's pretty much wrapped up exactly the way you expect it to be; it's a bunch of violent scenes tied
together with a loose plot and a couple chucklers. Your kids will love it. Wait, did they rate it R?
Yeah, they did. Your kids will love it.
Metropia (2009) - Not to be confused with a 2004 Canadian show of the same title, this is an
animated film made in Scandinavia. It's worth a watch, if only to see the interesting animation style
and to hear Juliette Lewis voice one of the main characters. I've heard other reviews that are more
disfavorable of the story and plot, as if the presentation came off as some noteworthy gimmick..
granted, the story is fairly bleak and even a bit far-fetched but that's part of the whole package.
I thought it was played out quite brilliantly and is deserving of recommendation.
I could have sworn I tried to spoil myself on Batman: The Dark Knight (2008) by watching
a video on youtube in which The Joker is killed in a confrontational scene with Batman and has his
neck broken by the bat legs. It's early 2010 now and I decided to check out Heath Ledger's famous acting legacy
and when it was all over, I reflected back to that spoiler video (spoiler ahead) and thought, 'wait
just a second.. he didn't kill the Joker..' and then I started searching around for it, and..
I can't find it. I'm fairly convinced that my memory isn't faulty, either it was a very well-made
spoof that was released at the same time as the movie and subsequently disappeared, or it was an
actual leaked anti-spoiler clip that at one point in time was not a figment of my imagination.
I guess the movie was okay, despite heavy political/terrorism tones, but .. seriously?
Shaolin Soccer (2001) and Kung Fu Dunk (2008) have three things in common:
Sports, martial arts, and an absolutely ridiculous story. I hadn't watched Shaolin Soccer before,
but these are the guys behind Kung Fu Hustle which was good, so I thought I'd watch it.
It was actually enjoyable and there was some semblance of story, continuity, and even some
moments of genuine character building amidst the crazy special effects and the humor.
Unfortunately, Kung Fu Dunk doesn't take too well with having an absolutely ridiculous story,
and things fall apart halfway through. I mean, really fall apart. It becomes ludicrous to the point you
lose whatever connections to the characters you had made in the opening half of the movie. Up until a certain
point, you were willing to overlook the campy, kung fu plot to root for the main characters, but
then suddenly the screenwriters decide to dump a bucket of chum into the story, and this story doesn't
take place in the ocean.. it takes place on a basketball court. Consider that imagery for a moment,
and let the sight and smell of imaginary fish guts linger as it bakes under the spotlights.
Yes, there was once a plot under that. Having already watched Shaolin Soccer
in this back-to-back screening, I was accustomed to seeing ridiculous opponents and last-minute
saves but I just stared, gaping, and the only thought I could muster was '..what?'
This is where most people would have shut the movie off and gargled with listerine to get the taste
out, but I figured it would be funny to see how much worse they could make this movie. Good job, guys.
Keep it simple next time.
Soul Eater (2008) - So one day I had some ideas for a comic and decided to poke around
the net doing research and whatnot, and I stumbled upon Soul Eater. 'Crap', I thought,
'this has already been done'.. and after reading a character bio website I of course
realized it wasn't the same as my idea, just similar, yet - it intrigued me. Then, I found
that Funimation had basically released the episodes publically and I found them all on
Youtube (search for 'soul eater sub') and started watching. I got fairly into it, and then
took a break from it for a while after about 30 episodes. I figured, at that point, 'Well..
I get the idea and it'll probably be more of the same.' In any case, about a month later I
picked it up again, as it was still available, and watched another ten episodes or so.
Needless to say, I'll finish watching it to the end.
Mind Game (2004) - Awesome. Croly Hucking Fap. Although I used to have a distaste
for Studio 4°C's art style, it works well for this story, much like the style worked for
Tekkon Kinkreet. The opening clipmash isn't wholly understood at first, but it all fits
together like a puzzle at the end of the movie. The development of the characters is
the basis of the plot, as they reflect and come to terms with themselves in the mouth
of a giant whale. I had a clear head when I watched it, and it was still a trip.
Hyakko (2008) and K-On! (2009) - Some similaries are quickly noticed in
these two series, (yes, I've reviewed series on here before too) with the most prominent
being that they both generally revolve around four first-year high school girls who
interact amusingly amongst themselves and the secondary characters. I haven't watched
Lucky Star or Haruhi but I could probably guess that they're in the same vein for the
most part, and all aforementioned series have been widely successful in Japan. Success,
as some might say, is all in the formula and the marketing - in this case, the uber-cute
K-On! girls have gained a legion of moe-happy fanboys while Hyakko wasn't as
well-received by television audiences. However, anime review sites pass off K-On! as
over-fluffed cutesy nonsense that doesn't present any real character depth, while praising
Hyakko as a hidden gem that gets better the longer you watch it.|
As you can tell, I try to hunt down what may be interesting or funny to watch, and if I
come across a title I'll google some images or peek at a few reviews or youtube clips
beforehand so I know what I'd be getting into - heck, that's what movie previews are for,
right? I came across Hyakko first, and the reviews tend to suggest that you should watch
more than just the first two episodes before giving up on it, because they are fairly
slow. I would have to say that I liked Hyakko a good bit, it's actually pretty funny
and the characters grow on you. From there, I would find people posting that Hyakko was
better than K-On! or Haruhi.. so I thought I'd see what K-On! was. The 'funny' clips of
the show posted to Youtube did seem kind of fluffy and cutesy and not much like Hyakko.
However, I stumbled upon some of the music clips from the show and was impressed enough
to watch the whole series to see what the deal was. It's actually not that bad, although
a little cliche for an anime, it has its moments and the music is definately addictive..
but reminiscent of Alvin and the Chipmunks. (but you could never really rock out to the
Chipmunks, could you?)
Mary and Max (2009) - Based on a true story. The opening narrative is hilariously
dry and sets the tone for this melancholic tale of two pen pals who keep each other from
losing their minds. Mary is an eight year old Australian girl coping with vacant parents
and ostracization at school, and Max is a 44 year old Jewish atheist with Asperger's
syndrome living in New York with his pet cat, fish, and snails. Funny, sad, and even
confuzzling at times, their correspondence over the years solidifies a distant but
unbiased friendship that mutually supplies what each of them lack in their own lives;
basic companionship. Also, it's surprising how many of the central characters die during
this movie.. I don't want to spoil it for you but the scenes where Max finally snaps and
goes on a killing spree are the most chilling I have seen in an animated film. Okay,
that doesn't really happen. Or, does it? Now you're going to want to watch it, aren't you?
9 Movie (2009) - One day, a small beanbag being awakens into a post-apocalyptic
world where all the humans have been killed by a robot uprising. Finding a strange pendant
that later becomes the focal point of the plot and the answer to his existence, he takes
it with him on his trek to find others of his kind. I think it's a good movie, and
although you expect the main characters to survive through desperate situations, the tone
of the film is a lot more sinister than I had expected. 9 is the second movie made by the
same studio who made Coraline so it's visually impressive, and it doesn't hurt that
Tim Burton himself lends some credit to its production.
Summer Wars (2009) - By Madhouse, the studio behind Girl Who Leapt Through Time,
comes another surreal and bizarre adventure - this time in cyberspace. Kenji, a math whiz
who spends his time playing OZ, a world-scale online game, is suddenly invited to attend
Natsuke's grandmother's birthday under false pretenses. As soon as he arrives, strange
things start to happen in OZ.. a renegade A.I. program with a thirst for knowledge and
power begins hijacking accounts, starting with Kenji's and framing him for the mischief.
The problem escalates to global scale when the program starts using hacked accounts to
tamper with emergency services and GPS-controlled satellites, but luckily, Natsuke's
extended family have more than adequate resources at their disposal to help Kenji defeat
the monster! This anime is so 1337 it's EPIC.
Yobi, the Five Tailed Fox (2007) - The title character is a rare breed, a fun and
colorful 100-year old shapeshifter who ends up spending some time amongst humans when she
has to rescue one of her alien friends from the clutches of a small schoolgirl, before
someone sends him to a zoo or worse. Did I say aliens? Yeah, she lives with a group of
aliens who crash-landed on earth. On her stealth mission, curious Yobi discovers that
humans are more fun than she previously thought, and begins to wonder if it's worth
stealing one of their souls to become one herself.
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2006) - One day, Makoto Konno's life takes an
accidental turn that results in her gaining the power to go back in time to change the
recent events in her life. Unfortunately, she's kind of laid back and self-centered so she
uses this gift to go back and eat the pudding she was saving for herself but her sister ate,
as well as fixing her grades, showing up early to class and preventing humiliating accidents.
However, she begins to learn that her altered actions carry altered consequences. The movie is
free-spirited and adventurous as well as emotional at times, driven by strong characters
through one crazy rollercoaster of a day.|
I would have to say that this is one of my favorite movies. It pulls on my strings.
Sword of the Stranger (2007) - Bloody Hell. Some crazies are hunting down a kid so
they can take his blood for a ceremony that will make them immortal. Too bad there's this
guy who comes along, and has a guilt trip from serving in wartime that makes him soft for
helping little bastards like this. Some reviews have exemplified this movie as a typical
swordplay anime massacre but I think it reaches a little beyond this branding. You'll see.
Ghost in the Shell: Innocence (2004) and Appleseed: Ex Machina (2007) -
While Hollywood continues to maintain that sequels can be better than the original, only
these two titles deliver the goods, and they aren't even American. The time difference
between the first and second GiTS movies are longer, and while the technology advancement has
allowed for better visuals than its predecessor, it certainly does not lack for story;
picking up where the last film left off, as Batou searches for Matoko as well as himself.
Appleseed's followup has been injected with a little bit of John Woo as well as
computer-generated enhancements that surpass the original (the 2004 version, not the
1988 OVA, but really, who can argue with a Shirow anime) and it also feels like it goes
more in-depth into the portrayed universe to result in a very satisfying film experience.
Kakurenbo (2007) - I remember, a few years ago, I had seen some promotional images
for some anime film that struck me with 'I want to see that' syndrome. However, I forgot
what it was called and never found it again while digging. 'There's this anime I wanted to
see', I said, 'but I can't remember what it was called and I can't find it.' Well, lucky
for you, I stumbled upon it the other day, years later. It turns out it's only a 22-minute
mini-movie so that may be one of the reasons why it ended up becoming somewhat obscure.
Now that you know what it's called, go watch it. It's not that bad. I did however have more
expectations of it, based solely on the colorful character designs, but the film should be
considered in the 'horror' genre and these characters do not have enough screen time for
their personalities to be fully explored. I was half-expecting some ninja flick but this
works well enough.
Avatar (2009) - From seeing the trailers, I assumed this one would basically be a
bad, live action rehash of Battle For Terra. It looks pretty darn good and it's certainly
more involved than the book's cover (figuratively) lets on. But, this reminded me of
something else.. It's like watching a cross between Kaena and Battle For Terra, with
quadruple the budget and 100x the press. Just in time for Christmas theatres near you.
2012 (2009) - Two and a half hours of John Cusack very narrowly surviving every worst
possible version of every natural disaster known to mankind. Subtle hints in the movie, such
as suggesting Hollywood will show it first (self-referential) and a black president in office
sadly proclaiming that he will be the last president of the USA, tend to come off as bleak
propaganda to further persuade people to believe that the world will actually end in a few years.
Come on people, even the title year taken from the Mayan calendar 'predictions' is
misrepresented in this film as being an end of days rather than an end of an era.
Do your research and stop trying to self-fulfill old prophecies. Is it too late to learn?
Watchmen (2009) - Pretty good. Startlingly faithful despite obvious, glaring
discrepancies from the comic book such as the method Rorschach uses to kill the murderer/rapist.
What, was the director too afraid people would think he was ripping off the hacksaw scene
from Saw? Come on, why would he hack away at the guy's skull with a meat cleaver instead?
Also, blaming the end mess on Dr. Manhattan... what? Sure, it sums it up a lot 'cleaner' but
I wanted my flaming carnage served by mutant squid. You did too, didn't you. Didn't you?
Astro Boy (2009) - Somebody put way too much money into a CG remake which quickly
sheds the original story and becomes GUNNM. Familiar characters make their appearances
as non-relevant plot devices while new ones are thrown in to support the 'new' story,
which has subtle political overtones and poor illiterate orphans for Astro to make friends
with. It's watchable but unfaithful to its old school roots. Every shot of the floating
Metro City and the scrapheap made me think of Tiphares. That's Zalem for those of you who
saw the English version of GUNNM when they called it Battle Angel. The ending is ridiculous,
taking a page from all the sequential serial blockbusters that try to throw in a 'hook' for
a possible sequel, but of course when you see it you'll know it's an homage to the serial
nature of the original cartoon. But still, everything ends on a sweet note then OH MY GOD,
ALIENS ARE ATTACKING THE CITY, the end.
Baby Mama (2008) - Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. In a movie. Which means a skit gets stretched out,
no childbirth pun intended, into a full feature. It has the feel of your basic overbudget
average movie, so if you watch a lot of average movies you won't have a problem sitting
through this one. Although, some of the punchlines in this one are so out there it's like
the movie was a bowl of punch.. and somebody, uh, spiked.. the punch. Well acted, good twists. The
black guy in the movie plays a doorman, and he gets the honor of explaining the movie's
title by repeating it a bunch of times. Actually, the fact that he's the rich bitch's doorman
isn't really stereotyping the character as lower class since Poehler's character is
basically homeless white trash so, overall, the balance of the socio-|
oh fuck it, watch the movie.
Aachi & Ssipak (2006) - Okay, so this ain't Disney, and it ain't FLCL for that matter, and if you
aren't sure what I mean then you probably came to this site by accident. So, watch this one,
probably by torrent since it's a South Korean animated film which could be summarized as
about 90 minutes of well-animated violence. The distopian future's primary energy source is
poop, and defecation is rewarded with 'juicybars' which turned out to be addictive and the
side effects include blue skin, dwarfism and shrinkage of reproductive organs. So, get
enough mutants in a room and they form the Diaper Gang, whom the title hoodlums get tangled
with in their pursuit to get rich pilfering the blue gold. Funny and cleverly violent;
there are so many ways a mutant can get killed!
The Secret Of Kells (2009) - Remember when you were younger and thought you had seen
the most amazing, well-animated fantasy cartoons ever? I guess your kids won't be disappointed
that some studios are actually sticking to quality over quantity. Disregarding whatever the
previous sentence was meant to say, you'll probably enjoy this legendary work of film in your
own way - there are religious overtones but they are not focal to the story, in fact there
may be faeries and pagan spirits present in this Irish tale of courage and chaos. I know
the film has been reviewed by some as 'not making sense' or being too complex without
explaining what is happening, but I think they're just trying to read too much into it.
Maybe if you see it from Brendan's view you'll get it. Also: It's trippy.
I Sell The Dead (2008) - The main guy reminds me of the star of Shaun of the Dead and How To Lose
Friends and Alienate People but I don't think it's the same guy at all. However, good looks
aside (for a gnarly looking scot) this flick is pretty sick. In a good way. Here's the just
of it: A graverobber, in his last hours before execution, recites the most memorable points
of his career. The story and pacing are spot on, and you'll enjoy every twist.
Ponyo (2008) - If you can, watch it subtitled. I feel that a foreign film, especially animated,
loses some of its magic when high-paid hollywood actors provide voiceovers. It's Hayao
Miyazaki's newest film after he said he would stop making movies after Howl's Moving Castle
(also watch this one) so there isn't enough praise I can give this masterpiece other than
strongly suggesting you find yourself watching it. (preferrably subtitled if you don't understand
Japanese.) It's child-friendly but that doesn't make it any less captivating for adult
Paprika (2006) - A surreal dreamscape adventure begins when a prototype DC Mini is
stolen; the device allows a person to enter another's dreams. Well animated and written,
the story and visuals border on the bizarre, but that works perfectly well in this animated media.
Playing out almost like a detective thriller on acid, people in the development team begin
to exhibit signs of insanity, as if their minds are trapped in a dream, and the
protagonists attempt to find out who stole the device and what they're ultimately using it for.
Afro Samurai (2007) and Samurai Champloo (2004) - have a few basic themes in
common but are completely different. Champloo, made and aired in Japan first with a
double season 26-episode run, focuses on three characters on a journey as they encounter
life or death struggles in attempts to escape or come to terms with their pasts.
Afro Samurai on the other hand is originally a Japanese work but highly Americanized, with
some A-list actors providing voices and RZA providing tracks, eventually spawning a
sequel movie and a video game from its 5-episode series which centered primarily on
the main character's killing spree towards his ultimate goal of revenge. While both series
are incredibly well animated, they differ in that Champloo is more visually artistic and
more realistically choreographed while Afro is basically an unstoppable, superhuman force
whose sword messily dispatches opponents with little effort and much glorified blood spray.
Both series are entertaining, I'll give you that, and chances are you have never even heard
of Champloo if you live in the USA, and even if you did watch it you'd probably get bored
because of the massive runtime of the whole series in which the characters actually develop
in a progressive manner as their pasts are slowly unravelled. The similarities of both
series, the mashup of eastern bushido drama with western hip hop, are only notable in
terms of who did it first; much the way American 3D films copy each other in attempts for
box office success. You never noticed? ANTZ vs. A Bug's Life, Finding Nemo vs. Shark Tale,
Flushed Away vs. Ratatouille. I'll stop here, and suggest that you'll probably prefer Afro
Samurai if you're the type of person who'd rather see spilt blood than a reasonable
Up (2009) - If you can get over the possibly saddest beginning to an animated movie
ever, you'll accept that it's a solid and relevant backstory for the 78-year old main
character, who's already lived his entire life without actually following his childhood
dream until it was actually too late. Determined now, at any cost, to live his dream,
he sets out to do what he promised. Unfortunately for the old bastard, he finds out that
you can't always get what you want.. that is, he meets opposition as well as benefit from
the unpredictable world around him and he begins to understand the importance of what is
here and now. It's critically acclaimed so that must mean you'll like it too.