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PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2016 3:46 am 
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A lovely little series from a few years ago, Waiting in Summer (Ano Natsu de Matteru) was released on English–friendly blu ray this week by Sentai. It's a surprisingly unrestrained romance show about a bunch of high school kids who get together to make a movie during their summer vacation. Unbeknownst to all of them, one of their friends making the movie with them is secretly an alien. Gorgeous art, appealing characters, and surprising and rangy humor make the show especially vivid. There's a nice atmosphere to the show that has room for the hilarity of the kids Ed Wood–style homebrew movie and also some uncommonly sober thoughts on love and longing. Towards the end there is also some thunderous alien action. The sleepy town where the story takes place is painted with a certain wistful romanticism, and the character designs are all drastically differentiated and unique. Only a few characters even share the same hair color.

Theres lots of surprises in the show, as it bucks a lot of trends. A surprising one is how the beach trip episode is, in fact, not a throwaway, or a marking of time, but rather an intense part of the development of the story. Characters reveal a lot of depth, and the fun of the show continues pretty unabated until the show's climax. It's sweet and heartfelt and very pleasing, and it's finally on blu ray with English subs. Huzzah!


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2016 1:34 pm 
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That sounds great, thanks for the rec!

I have a soft spot for wistful high school shows. I loved His and Her Circumstances from many years back. Wish I could get that on Blu.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2016 4:26 am 
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His and Her Circumstances was pretty great. Kazuya Tsurumaki, who took over direction of that show when Hideaki Anno left, is my favorite anime director––primarily for his FlCl, though I like Diebuster a lot as well. He seems very happy as a servant to whatever Anno and Gainax put him to, but I wish he would get another chance to make something more directly personal to him. I think FlCl revealed a fascinating character behind the scenes. Surely part of that was also the writer, Enokido, who did Utena and went on to Star Driver and Captain Earth in the last few years. Enokido has a new show, Bungo Stray Dogs, which has been somewhat interesting so far. It's about a private detective agency made up of famous writers, including Osamu Dazai and Kenji Miyazawa. They're fighting a mafia whose gunsels include Rynnosuke Akutagawa. Clearly the authors don't quite function as actual authors in the series––one of them has the ability to transform into an enormous white tiger––but I think their super powers have been derived somewhat from some aspects of their work. Additional episodes promise appearances by Agatha Christie and Dan Brown, so...fun.


An unexpectedly rich vein of anime has come from following the director of Utena and Sailor Moon, Kunihiko Ikuhara. Ikuhara has two series in the last few years that have really expanded upon both the silliest aspects of Utena and the darkest and most serious aspects as well. At the same time, he's racheted-down the use of repeated transformation sequences, which he used shamelessly back in Utena and Sailor Moon. They are still an element of the newer shows, but not to the same degree of mindless repetition.

The first Ikuhara show from recent times is Mawaru Penguindrum, and it's nearly indescribable. I'll try, my best: three children, two brothers and a sister, live in a ramshackle temporary house in metropolitan Tokyo. They get by admirably without parents, but the sister, Himari, has a rare, fatal disease. To take her mind off their troubles, the boys, sensitive Shoma and cynical Kanba, take Himari to the local aquarium, and after looking at the penguin exhibit, they buy her an odd-looking penguin hat from the gift shop. A couple minutes later Himari is dead.

Later, at the hospital, the brothers sit contemplating their sister's death, when the penguin hat, still on her head, brings her back to life––albeit as the embodiment of a wicked cosmic dominatrix. She offers Sho and Kan to reanimate their sister for the long run, so long as they bring her the penguindrum.

"What is the penguindrum?" they wonder. The dominatrix doesn't say. She thinks someone named Ringo Oginome has it. Probably.

That begins an odyssey (what I've described is only part of the first episode, so it isn't exactly the raft of spoilers it appears to be), as the brothers hustle to do the cosmic dominatrix's bidding, chasing down Ringo Oginome to find out what the penguindrum could possibly be, and whether or not she has it. Along the way there are loads of surprises, including an Aum-style cult attack, a roundelay of stalkers stalking stalkers, and a trio of penguins who end up at the children's door, freeze-dried in a box. Once unpacked, they start imprinting each on one of the three siblings, and mimicking their ways of dressing and acting. No one appears to be able to see the penguins except for the siblings.

It's about as crazy a show as I've ever seen, but it actually works exceptionally well on every level. It's drop-dead hilarious and, by turns, as dark and bleak as can be. The changes in tone come at you like an out-of-control racecar, constatly switching gears, but the elements of plot and their emotional weight generally balance well––though it has to be said that the series is about as depressing as can be by the end. When they got to starting to talk about something called the "child broiler," which at first seems abstract, but later is revealed to be exactly what it sounds like, I was feeling like absolute cr*p. But the series is a bracing emotional rollercoaster with some real fascination behind it, the art is simply gorgeous, and the music is very well--chosen. There is a parody of Takarazuka Revue midway through that is priceless.

The more recent Ikuhara show is called Love Bullet, or maybe Lily Bear Storm? Both titles appear on the opening credits sequence (Lily Bear Storm is shouted at the audience by the voice actors in unison). I'm about 3 episodes from the end, but it's been nice. Veeeery psychedelic, a little kinky, and super strange.

Love Bullet takes place in an all-girls school, after something called the "day of severance." That's a day in the recent past when a meteorite hit the earth and radiated something that made all bears on earth get an aggro mad-on for human beings. A sort of a war followed, which ended with humans erecting a giant "severance wall," sealing bears off into their part of the world and humans into their own section. During the course of the story, A girl searches desperately for her bestie/girlfriend, who was taken from her, probably by bears. Meanwhile, two new transfer students end up at her school. They punctuate all their sentences with little "growls" they act very suspicious. Could they be bears in disguise?

Love Bullet has a very fractured narrative. Towards the end, entire episodes consist of flashback after flashback after flashback, as the show jumps forward and backward in time, trying to explain a very large chronicle in a short amount of space. The show seems to be a bit trapped: It seems as if it needed two or three episodes more than its 12 in order to tell the story comfortably. But a full 24-episode order would be intolerable, if the non-linear style of the show was perpetuated throughout. As it stands, every relationship in the story, and every event that occurs, is essentially ambiguous. The girls at the school all have "important friends," who they cherish with something very like lust. They talk about being best friends, etc., but they also say things like "I'll never back down on love" with extraordinarily straight faces. It's impossible to tell just how amorous these "important friend" love connections are supposed to be. The characters who are bears most times look like pretty teenage girls. Sometimes they wear fake bear ears and fake paws. Sometimes they appear as tiny little bear cartoon drawings, with simple, scratch-animated faces. One bear wears a little crown in cartoon bear form. It's never clear, however, whether this is an actual change of their physical state, or whether it's merely an aspect of the bear's personality emerging. Do they always look like regular girls? It's patently unclear. All the characters look to be vaguely sourced from the old "Love is..." cartoon strips they use to publish in newspapers, with bulbous heads and enormous, wide eyes. Yet the heroine totes a dark, realistically drawn sniper rifle with her all the time, and swears vengeance against bears like a commando out of an American anti-communist 80s action film. Even though the heroine has pointed the rifle at half a dozen bears so far in the series, she's only managed to shoot one of them, and sometimes her errant shots send her flying backwards, seemingly off the roof of the school. The show goes all-out for wild continuity puzzles, as well. There's a particular pendant one character wears that is seen on at least three other characters at different times, and the mystery in the show really hinges on who has the pendant when, and why they have it.

It's a much smaller, more concentrated show than Mawaru Penguindrum, but Love Bullet doesn't really seem quite as good as the previous show. A certain monotony sets in as the Love Bullet cast hustles into place for one bear challenge after another (whenever a bear wants to eat a human, they hold a kind of kangaroo court, presided over by bear counselors and a bear judge, who pronounces every verdict "sexy"--very time the bear demands justice, in the form of being allowed to eat a human, the bear kangaroo court grants that bear the right to do so). But both shows are the work of an unmistakable maverick anime director, and Mawaru Penguindrum is a kind of crazy masterpiece. I hope Ikuhara will make another series soon. In the meantime, these are both recommendations.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2016 11:11 am 
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Out of nowhere question: my wife is interested in Vampire Hunter D, though unfortunately, it seems the only blu-ray doesn't use the original English dub. The DVD does have the original dub, but is of lesser PQ. Is this true? Is there a non-US version of the BD out there I'm missing in my search that is worth picking up?


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2016 3:33 pm 

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Drucker wrote:
Out of nowhere question: my wife is interested in Vampire Hunter D, though unfortunately, it seems the only blu-ray doesn't use the original English dub. The DVD does have the original dub, but is of lesser PQ. Is this true? Is there a non-US version of the BD out there I'm missing in my search that is worth picking up?


The recent Sentai Filmworks DVD and BD BOTH don't have the old dub. The 2000 DVD release from Urban Vision does. However, the 2000 DVD is 1.33 full frame, while the 2015 releases are widescreen. And yes, the 2000 release obviously is of lesser picture quality.

There are no perfect releases of VHD if you want the best picture + the old dub.


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PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2016 9:00 am 
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Ghost In The Shell: The New Movie (Kazuchika Kise, Kazuya Nomura; 2015)

Following on from the discussion about the four episode prequel series-reboot Ghost In The Shell: Arise on the previous page of the thread, which was a series that dealt with the Major slowly bringing her team together, this is the theatrical feature that deals with the first big Section 9 case investigating the assassination of the Japanese Prime Minister while everyone else was diverted by a hostage situation elsewhere. This film ties up all of the hanging threads from Arise, dealing with the newly introduced supporting characters that have to be neatly disposed of and a case that raises questions of 'shell bodies' and consciousnesses going purely into the internet, which is something that the Puppet Master plot in the first Ghost In The Shell film from 1995 dealt with. The final scene of this film ties itself explicitly into the first assassination scene of the 1995 film.

There is nothing in particularly poor about this film, its just that there is nothing spectacular, (ironically given the title!) 'new', or innovative about the story. Its just another investigation in the vein of the iffy Arise series, and is much more investigation and action focused than the first two much more philosophically based Mamoru Oshii films.

The most telling moments of this film are that things continually keep getting pulled back to internal political wrangling over budget allocations for the Major's assault force team (even for the final coda, that seemingly intentionally replays beat for beat the 'called away from the cherry blossom vigil' scene as a nod to the Stand Alone Complex TV series). The issues of the outdated older model military cyborgs getting betrayed or of the main characters existing on the edge of the cop-criminal divide are the focus here, allowing for lots of gunfights (which become rather boring here, and interchangeable, though I get the sense I'm meant to be costing out the price of all of the bullets expended before the sequences runs overbudget, like the admin staff in THX-1138!)

That seems to be where the priorities of the Arise series and this film lie (and even to some extent the older Stand Alone Complex series had those pro-militaristic approaches too, though I think it worked well there and could overlook it more in that series when it got undermined occasionally), not quite so much in the mind-body split, even though lip service is paid to it.


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PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2016 2:59 pm 
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Is there an English dub for GITS The New Movie yet?


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PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2016 3:53 pm 
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Yes, there is one on the Funimation Region A Blu-ray that has just come out (which the disc defaults to), although I went for the Japanese track instead on the first viewing. I haven't checked it to be entirely sure, but I'm relatively certain that both tracks are done by same voicecasts carrying over from the Arise series.

I've just watched through the couple of fun making of and history of the series shows on that release and came away feeling a bit guilty that I didn't like Arise and the film more! I'm generally not too interested in prequels or origin stories anyway so that is probably also factoring into why I'm not as taken with this new show, along with the acknowledgment in the features that this is all really taking place before Motoko is thinking too philosophically about things, hence the more all-in militaristic angle, but I like the idea they were going for in these TV series of trying to capture a bit more of the original action-focus of the manga. It will be interesting to see which direction the live action film opts to take.

EDIT: By the way, I just casually took a look at the cast list for the live action film on imdb and was interested to note that Juliette Binoche is now in there! And Takeshi Kitano in the role of the big boss of the organisation, Aramaki! Which, despite cautionary flashes of Binoche being one of the few successful yet quickly lost elements in the recent Godzilla film and Kitano being in Johnny Mnemonic, is still sending an excited shiver down my spine! It looks from early reports that this film version is going to be based on the first season of the Stand Alone Complex series (the Laughing Man case), which makes sense as that seems the most commercially viable aspect of the Ghost In The Shell universe to adapt.


Last edited by colinr0380 on Sat Nov 05, 2016 7:03 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2016 11:05 am 

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feihong wrote:



Love Bullet has a very fractured narrative. Towards the end, entire episodes consist of flashback after flashback after flashback, as the show jumps forward and backward in time, trying to explain a very large chronicle in a short amount of space. The show seems to be a bit trapped: It seems as if it needed two or three episodes more than its 12 in order to tell the story comfortably. But a full 24-episode order would be intolerable, if the non-linear style of the show was perpetuated throughout. .


I just finished the show, and in fact the flashbacks come hard and fast right from episode 1. Adding to the complexity is the fact that many flashbacks are red herrings or half-truths. I believe for the most part the effect is deliberate as the story was still compact enough to reorder into a more linear fashion within 12 episodes, but Ikuhara simply chose not to. Could it have used an extra episode for more elaboration? Perhaps, yes. At the same time, the show has a very compact cast roster, and this is a story I could have seen playing out as a 2 hour film as well.

I remember, many many years ago on an anime message board, I suggested that Utena reminded me of Last Year at Marienbad, with its baroque set designs, repetition, cryptic dialogue and a sense that the characters are stuck in some weird limbo between life and afterlife. Of course, I was laughed off :P . But Love Bullet/Yurikuma Arashi has many similarities to Utena thematically and visually, and plays with time and memory even more, which again reminded me Resnais. I wonder if Ikuhara is a fan?


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2016 3:10 am 
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While this may not be "new" but anime news worthy:

Funimation acquires rights to first feature length anime film "Momotaro" (1945)


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2016 12:05 am 
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jojo wrote:
feihong wrote:
Love Bullet has a very fractured narrative. Towards the end, entire episodes consist of flashback after flashback after flashback, as the show jumps forward and backward in time, trying to explain a very large chronicle in a short amount of space. The show seems to be a bit trapped: It seems as if it needed two or three episodes more than its 12 in order to tell the story comfortably. But a full 24-episode order would be intolerable, if the non-linear style of the show was perpetuated throughout. .


I just finished the show, and in fact the flashbacks come hard and fast right from episode 1. Adding to the complexity is the fact that many flashbacks are red herrings or half-truths. I believe for the most part the effect is deliberate as the story was still compact enough to reorder into a more linear fashion within 12 episodes, but Ikuhara simply chose not to. Could it have used an extra episode for more elaboration? Perhaps, yes. At the same time, the show has a very compact cast roster, and this is a story I could have seen playing out as a 2 hour film as well.

I remember, many many years ago on an anime message board, I suggested that Utena reminded me of Last Year at Marienbad, with its baroque set designs, repetition, cryptic dialogue and a sense that the characters are stuck in some weird limbo between life and afterlife. Of course, I was laughed off :P . But Love Bullet/Yurikuma Arashi has many similarities to Utena thematically and visually, and plays with time and memory even more, which again reminded me Resnais. I wonder if Ikuhara is a fan?


I can see the Resnais connection immediately when you say that. All the details you mention stick out, but especially the shared fetish for repetition between the two directors. The way Ikuhara expands thematically in Mawaru Penguindrum beyond what you might call his more signature concerns reminds me of later Resnais, like Life is a Bed of Roses. Both directors take in contemporary themes in really imaginative ways.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2016 5:35 am 
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This one might not work as well for people who are strictly locked in to the anime world. I just saw Shunji Iwai's "The Hana & Alice Murder Case." "The Case of Hana & Alice" is another title I saw for the film, but the "Murder Case" title made a bigger impression. This is a prequel to Iwai's 2004 live–action film, "Hana & Alice." Iwai wrote and directs this prequel, which is his first foray into animation. The look of the film is very unusual, and some anime fans might find it off–putting. Alice and the other characters (in this prequel Alice is unquestionably the main character, with Hana appearing only much later on in the story) appear to be done in a mix of hand–drawing and rotoscoping, allowing them very realistic body–language which is comfortingly reminiscent of the live–action film. The backgrounds appear to be photographs of real locations, treated with a Photoshop watercolor filter. That's the part I think hardcore anime fans may resent, but I found I didn't question that artistic decision at all as I was watching the film. One thing it allows for is very realistic light to fall on scenes. The animators supplement that light with their own very subtle lighting effects, and the whole of the film is colored in a way that reflects the magenta/green/blue color scheme of the original live–action film.

The plot is quite charming, and it is without the more lugubrious supporting performances in the original film––Hana's fake boyfriend in the first film was a terrible wet noodle, and there is no one like that in this follow–up film. Instead, the animated picture follows Alice's adventures in middle school, moving to town and meeting Hana as she investigates what seems to be a murder mystery in her new classroom. Alice is a little more spunky and aggressive in this picture; there was a wistful quirk Yu Aoi gave the character in the initial film, and in this prequel Alice is a gritty and defensive spitfire, in addition to her generous helpings of quirk. Yu Aoi and Anne Suzuki reprised their roles from the original film, giving the new picture a lot of continuity. They both seem to have developed as actresses as well, because they deliver quite a lot with their voices and their pantomime. Just as before, they both seem lost in their roles, as if they were born to play these characters. As for the story itself, the "murder case" title would indicate a shift into darker territory than that of the first movie, but what really happens is a lot more subtle, sweet and encouraging. Alice is trying very hard to get along in a new school. She is thrown into the classroom of the damned, it seems. All her new classmates are certain their former schoolmate was murdered. Alice gets into investigating the mystery seemingly out of curiosity more than anything. Iwai is without his late, great cinematographer, Noboru Shinoda (the original Hana & Alice was Shinoda's second–to–last movie), and the look of the animated film is much more sedate than his live–action pictures (I should say I haven't seen the Vampire picture). This is probably a necessary change; Iwai's previous style, all restless, handheld camera, wouldn't have worked in a drawn medium too easily. There are still some graceful, drifting shots here and there, but on the whole, this new picture is to the more visually adventurous Hana & Alice what April Story was to the more stylistically audacious Swallowtail Butterfly; the new picture seems a terse, tidy affair after Iwai has been on a more stylish tear. The joys of April Story were in the tidy, compact sense of life in the picture, even while the film's ambitions remained very measured (whereas Swallowtail had been freewheeling and all over the place), and the joys of the new picture are the same. It almost seems as if Iwai went back to his original material and thought of a cleaner, more straightforward way to tell the story of Hana & Alice's friendship. It's great to see Iwai back in action, and the animation is actually a promising direction for him. Obviously, drawing the characters enabled Iwai to make a prequel, where the same actresses could play as if their younger selves were making the movie. The story does seem a lovely companion to the first movie. I think I might actually enjoy the new story a bit more––as with the change in visual style, there is a more level–headed approach to story that still manages to involve humorous hijinks, even as it abandons some of the weirder stuff about the first film (the whole fake memory loss scenario, for instance, which felt just a bit thin in the original film). This prequel seemed almost Rohmeresque in a way; this time Iwai's big suspense climax involves Hana & Alice marooned in a part of town they don't know, and has them sleeping under a 16–wheeler for a night. It's exactly the amount of measured tension the slice–of–life story merits, and the payoff is very rewarding.

All that said, I wonder if the film would carry the same weight for someone who hadn't seen the first picture. The thing that movie did best was give us Hana & Alice themselves, their friendship and their funny and warm shared world. I definitely felt that in this sequel, with its "origin story." I think it would come through to most viewers, but I wonder if the poignancy of the new film stems in part from my exposure to the characters in the original movie? I can't really tell. Anyway, I'd recommend the new movie. To me it's quite gorgeous, modest, clever and fun. And if you loved the Hana and the Alice parts of the original Hana & Alice, then get ready: this film is entirely that, without any dull boyfriends to get in the way.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2016 11:25 am 
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feihong wrote:
Iwai wrote and directs this prequel, which is his first foray into animation

Technically not, as there was "BATON" (2009) written and produced by Iwai and directed by Ryuhei Kitamura - for both their first time working at that level in animation.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2016 1:31 pm 
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Oh, that's interesting. Never heard of Baton. I got the "1st time in animation" info from Wikipedia. They must have meant first time directing an animated feature, since Iwai produced rather than directed Baton.

At any rate, The Hana & Alice Murder Case, or The Case of Hana & Alice, is quite lovely and delicate. There's just the right amount of rotoscoping to make the film look lifelike, and enough free–flowing animation for the film to feel very free. Like other Iwai pictures, the mood and tone are very special things, and Iwai is able to invest scenes with a sense of anticipation that is paid out in terms both pleasing and oblique. I would recommend it less for people exclusively into animation, because the film does seem to have a lot of rotoscoping, and it is predominantly a delicate psychodrama. At the same time, for fans of Shunji Iwai, it's a promising new direction that retains so much of what there is to like about Iwai. And if you liked Hana & Alice, it's a very welcome follow–up.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2016 5:13 pm 

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The project sounds pretty similar to what they did for TV's Flowers of Evil, a strange atypical anime work that was pilloried by anime fans for its rotoscope animation technique. Gonna have to check out this Iwai.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2016 7:59 pm 
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The same actresses from Hana and Alice reprise as voice actresses which is a plus too.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2016 8:09 pm 
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Just watched director Makoto Shinkai's latest "Your Name." (Kimi no na wa) in a completely packed theater. Yet another masterpiece by Shinkai. I thought the trailers would give away too much with the whole male/female body switching plot, but there was much much more unexpected events that played with the audience's train of thought with its non linear structure. Absolutely amazing.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2016 9:02 pm 
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manicsounds wrote:
Just watched director Makoto Shinkai's latest "Your Name." (Kimi no na wa) in a completely packed theater. Yet another masterpiece by Shinkai. I thought the trailers would give away too much with the whole male/female body switching plot, but there was much much more unexpected events that played with the audience's train of thought with its non linear structure. Absolutely amazing.


Any word about a US release?


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2016 9:38 am 
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Looks like Funimation got the US rights.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2016 8:50 am 
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"Your Name." was the #1 movie theatrically over the weekend with a US$9 million opening. Very surprising that it had a much higher opening than huge movies like "Zootopia" or "Shin Godzilla" this year, and that Shinkai's previous works barely made anything theatrically. Huge word of mouth buzz and packed theaters in wide release.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2016 11:14 pm 
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"Your Name" has become an unstoppable phenomenon. It has stayed at #1 every consecutive week at cinemas and has surpassed US$100 million - becoming the only non-Studio Ghibli anime film to cross that mark and it is not slowing down at all.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2016 10:44 am 

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Looking forward to it. Shinkai's sensibility should in theory work for me, but I usually found him a bit cloying. Hopefully this one gets released soon.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2016 12:23 pm 
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roujin wrote:
Looking forward to it. Shinkai's sensibility should in theory work for me, but I usually found him a bit cloying. Hopefully this one gets released soon.

Ditto


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2016 9:38 pm 
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The Vision of Escaflowne series has arrived on blu ray, courtesy of Funimation. It looks great. There's a 2.0 Japanese TrueHD Dolby Digital soundtrack, as well as 2.0 and 5.1 TrueHD English sountracks. The picture quality looks really sharp, and there's actual depth in the multiplane camera effects. As a recommendation, I mean, if you haven't seen it, it's still a great series, with really unusual character design, a fast-paced story, and a mix of action and romance uncommonly vivid in anime––even in spite of the overwhelming predilection for fantasy tropes in anime. The soundtrack is one for the ages. All moving, exciting, beautiful.

I've also been watching the Sentai Filmworks blu ray collection of Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water, and while I haven't seen the entire series yet, I would recommend it. It's very entertaining and clever, kind of a proto-steampunk story with a lot of Jules Verne influences. There are lots of mysteries in the story, and a set of plucky heroes who are able to find bright sides in some extraordinarily frightening and miserable situations.

A company called Anime Limited is releasing a ton of great anime in the UK in the next few months. In the past they have released great English subtitled blu ray sets of Baccano! and Durarara!!! Series One, but in upcoming days and weeks and months they'll have released The Case of Hana & Alice, Miss Hokusai, the Outlaw Star series, and The Tatami Galaxy, amongst a host of others. Anime is suddenly a going concern on UK blu ray, which is pretty great.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2016 7:17 am 
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Location: Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, UK
I've just had a very strange serendipitous experience. Back in 1996 I pored over Helen McCarthy's Anime Movie Guide for recommendations of particular anime titles to pick up. At the time I focused mostly on the titles that McCarthy strongly recommended as essentials such as Grave of the Fireflies and Barefoot Gen, the great Terminator-but-with-a Ripley main character Black Magic M-66, and the ravishing The Sensualist. Another great recommendation from the guide was the nihilistic post-apocalyptic stratified society piece Grey Digital Target, and the wonderful (and still pertinent decades later!) elderly healthcare-meets-rampaging robot film Roujin Z. (Though one title that I have still yet to get to is Nights On The Galactic Railroad)

However at the time I was curious about but never had the opportunity to pick up any of the really low rated titles listed in the book! Well, twenty years later I've finally found the opportunity to order the 1983 film The Professional: Golgo 13, which has just received a Blu-ray release and which McCarthy describes as a film tailored towards Western audiences (though its a little more complicated than that!) with a violent, amoral worldview. Though its also one of the earliest anime films to, briefly, integrate computer graphics in a scene. And the Golgo 13 series had previously had a live action Sonny Chiba film in the 1970s (and recently had a revival in the form of a 2008-9 anime television series). It's also apparently one of the influences on Kill Bill Vol 1's hitman assassination scene in that film's anime sequence. In addition to that I also picked up the two OVA series Violence Jack (a three part ultraviolent post-apolcalyptic series from the late 80s) and Mad Bull 34 (which is a 1990 Japanese take on a cop buddy-movie, seemingly very influenced by Lethal Weapon, though set in New York).

The most bizarre thing though was finding out that the director of The Professional: Golgo 13 was Osamu Dezaki, whose brother Satoshi Dezaki directed the Mad Bull 34 series! (And Satoshi Dezaki also previously wrote and directed Grey Digital Target!). That was a strange connection that I'd not previously been aware of before going into detail on their various credits, but I guess it goes to show how small a world it can be at times! (Also interesting to me was finding out that the first 1986-made episode of the three part Violence Jack series was directed by Ichirô Itano, who decades later would direct the similarly nihilistic 2004 Gantz anime series!)


Last edited by colinr0380 on Fri Jun 23, 2017 1:19 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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