Wednesday, July 23, 2014

REVIEW: Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn

It took 4 years, a couple delays, and an additional episode added to the original 6, but the latest Universal Century OVA was well worth the wait. As a familiar story of a boy and his robot, Unicorn is well above average, but as commentary on a franchise's creative rut, it is phenomenal.




Tuesday, July 22, 2014

REVIEW: Ringing Bell

In 1978, a children's book by Takashi Yanase (most famous for the totally unknown in the West Anpanman series) was animated by Sanrio, the company best known for the endless downpour of Hello Kitty merchandise (the company would also go onto animate the Unico pilot the next year). The resulting product might look and sound like your average film for 5 year olds, but give it a chance, and it will reveal a shocking dark side. Directed by Masami Hata (Little Nemo), Ringing Bell is a morally ambiguous 45 minute look at life, and how hard it can be. See that cute little guy below? He won't be so adorable for long.



Monday, July 14, 2014

REVIEW: Amazing Nuts!

This 2006 anthology from Studio 4°C barely qualifies as something worth discussion simply because of how very slight it is. At barely over 30 minutes total, these 4 shorts are the definition of style over substance. 




REVIEW: Short Peace

It's no Memories or Labyrinth Tales (known as Neo Tokyo in the US), but the latest Katsuhiro Otomo headlining anthology still has two strong pieces to recommend it.



Thursday, July 3, 2014

Anime Journal 2014: 6 Months Down, 6 Months to Go

Well, it's been half a year since making the New Year's resolution to write about every anime I watch. In that time I've done 19 write ups of a variety of Japanese cartoons; some really enjoyable, others boring, and a few memorably weird ones. I hope the second half of the year holds even more interesting anime. The idea was, and still is to continue to get better at this writing and expression thing; two things I've never been truly comfortable with. Slowly but surely, the words are coming easier and the thoughts are clearer. At least I think, the progress is at a glacial pace, but it comes with much greater ease than it did in January. If only I could go through this pile faster...



Friday, June 13, 2014

REVIEW: Puella Magi Madoka Magica The Movie: Rebellion

Once upon a time, in the not so distant year of 2011, a little TV show called Madoka Magica began airing and became an instant sensation. For good reason, the show takes the age old magical girl story concepts, goes down a dark path with them, and ultimately emerges on the other end full of hope. It's a modern classic, and deserves to be held up as one of the best works the anime medium has to offer. Madoka also proved to be a massive financial success, selling a record number of Blu-rays and much more related merchandise. Naturally, money was still on the table to be made, so a three part film series was announced about 6 months following the TV show's conclusion. The first two parts, Beginnings and Eternal, cover the same material as the show with enhanced animation and other technical tweaks, while the final part, Rebellion, is a direct sequel.




Wednesday, June 4, 2014

REVIEW: Mobile Police Patlabor (TV)

About six months have passed since this little exercise of writing about anime to better my (nonexistent) skills began, and I think I'm improving little by little. The goal remains to be at least less awful. If nothing else, the words are coming more naturally and comfortably. But there is something I've not done that must be rectified immediately—not one of the 20 pieces I've written is about a robot anime. This simply cannot be, because robot related Japanese cartoons are near and dear to my heart. Big dumb punchy smackdowns full of explosions like Gurren Lagann or serious war stories about human nature from Mobile Suit Gundam—I love all kinds. Surely more will follow, but today, the television version of the most down to earth and well realized robot anime of them all. But it's not really about the robots.




Thursday, May 29, 2014

REVIEW: Lupin III: Bye-Bye, Lady Liberty

Okay. This ever growing pile of DVDs and Blu-rays is getting out of hand. Some of these have been here since January. Now and Then, Here and There and The Princess and the Pilot have languished while I over think entries about the terrible First Squad or This Ugly Yet Beautiful World. This might be worth it if I could say those reviews are interesting or insightful, but they really aren't. Good practice sure, but informative reads? Eh. There really is no reason why I should have wrote so much about the Space Adventure Cobra TV show, it was a very simple and dull experience. It's time to stop taking so long and cut straight to the point in a timely manner*. Summer is a busy time at my menial job and there's a solid lineup of stuff I'm eager to see coming out in July and August. I don't want to let this stack continue to grow. So here we go, written and directed by Osamu Dezaki, the very first Lupin III TV special: boring and uninteresting.



Sunday, May 18, 2014

REVIEW: Space Adventure Cobra (Movie)

This wasn't really on my pile of anime to watch, the one that continues to stare me down and pass judgement, but after watching the TV show and finding it somewhat lacking, I really wanted to revisit the reason why I was interested in Cobra in the first place. It isn't that the show was out and out bad, it had some fun visual stylings and an entertaining sports arc, but the main character and his exploits ultimately weren't interesting enough to support 31 episodes. This film, also directed by Osamu Dezaki, who is going to be popping up a few times in my viewings this year, and also called Space Adventure Cobra,was released in July of 1982, only a few months before the TV iteration. It's a strange beautiful film, kind of a downer, and one of a kind, in essence: great.