Japanese Journals - Anime

This is the place to talk about films from around the world.

Re: Japanese Journals - Anime

Postby hengcs » Sun Aug 07, 2005 7:50 am

Hmmm ... I am not sure how to follow up the post (i.e., after the film) ...
So, I hope everyone is ok if I just post here ...
I like the song, and it is always good to know what they are singing ...

Howl's Moving Castle Theme Song
-- Sekai no Yakusoku / The Promise of the World

Re: Japanese Journals - Anime

Postby Sara » Sun Aug 28, 2005 3:22 pm

So what would be your top 5? (I've only seen Spirited Away and Grave of the Fireflies - both were wonderful, though very different in tone.)


Re: Japanese Journals - Anime

Postby A » Sun Aug 28, 2005 3:53 pm

Besides the two you mentioned, my Top 5 would be:
1. Ghost in the shell (Mamoru Oshi / 1995)
2. Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade (Hiroyuki Okiura / 199
3. Princess Mononoke (Hayao Miyazaki / 1997)
4. Angel`s Egg (Mamoru Oshi / 1985)
5. Perfect Blue (Satoshi Kon / 1997)

Re: Japanese Journals - Anime

Postby trevor826 » Sun Aug 28, 2005 6:45 pm

Grave of the Fireflies would definitely be there along with My Neighbour Totoro, Kiki's Delivery Service, End of Evangelion (but onlyfor those who've seen the series), well that's 4 already, there are far too many great ones.

Nausicaa valley of the Winds
Ghost in the Shell
Spirited Away
Perfect Blue
Princess Mononoke

and more.

I haven't seen Howl's Moving Castle or Steamboy and if you notice, most of the ones I've listed haven't even been commented on yet. I am hoping that "A" will do a review or comment on Ghost in the Shell.

Cheers Trev.

Re: Japanese Journals - Anime

Postby trevor826 » Wed Sep 21, 2005 11:52 pm

Appurushdo (2004) Appleseed

Directed by Shinji Aramaki

An anime film of a new generation with fully realised 3 dimensional backdrops, rendered on computers and cel shaded characters based on the movements and characteristics of live actors.

First the good news, this is an improvement over the original Appleseed anime in every department, the landscapes, buildings etc are beautifully rendered while the cel shading for the characters is very stylistic. The action scenes are outstanding with terrific sound and visual effects. The story makes sense and is easy to follow (unlike the original) and all in all this is a positive step.

Now the not so good news, while the action scenes are riveting and astounding, the plot is a little too simplified, adapted and compressed from a long running manga, the double crossing and politics are taken to base level. You get the feeling that all the time and effort was put into the look of the film rather than developing a more complex story which is a shame because its basically ended up as mouth watering but vacuous eye candy that at times feels as though you should be playing it as a game instead of watching it.

The story picks up after a series of long wars have wiped out most of the human race; the plot follows one of the survivors, female soldier Deunan Knute. She is recruited to help protect a utopian society which is a mixture of humans and bioroids (clones) in a form of futuristic police force. Problems arise because of mans inability to trust each other and the bioroids in particular, the regular army forces plan a revolt that will oust the governors of the city and wipe out the clones. The plot twists and turns as you realise that most people have their own agenda and are busy double crossing each other with Deunan Knute caught in the middle unsure who to trust.

Its only a shame that the plot is dealt with so lightly, films such as Ghost in the Shell and series like Evangelion prove that you can have more depth and still entertain the masses. Its not a failed experiment but it could and should have been so much more.

See it for it's visual styling (though hopefully this type of anime will never replace the hand drawn beauty of a Miyazaki film) but don't expect a deep storyline.

Cheers Trev.

BBFC rating 12.

Re: Japanese Journals - Anime

Postby trevor826 » Fri Sep 23, 2005 11:52 pm

Appurushdo (1988) Appleseed

Directed by Kazuyoshi Katayama

Although this was made in 88 the storyline follows after (for the most part) the 2004 film, it has taken parts of the original manga and has tried to make a cohesive plot that ultimately fails to deliver.

You are dumped into the story without any idea of who the characters are, what their relationship is with each other and there is scant information as regards the history of the Utopian society that is Olympus. There is also little background as to what has happened to the rest of humanity, this may seem picky but all this info and a lot more was related in the later film.

The story itself is easy to follow (at least easy if youve seen the 2004 film) but for some strange reason, they changed the Bioroids clones, into Biodroids cybernetic creations. That is an important point of the story and makes a big difference to the overall mood.

The animation is poor, there is no excuse because films like the wonderful and beautiful My Neighbour Totoro were produced the same year. It looks and feels like a rush job and even the action scenes are lacking in any sort of dynamic, also because so little info is given about the characters, you get to the point where youre not bothered whether they succeed or fail in their quest.

As with the later film, too little time is given to plot development, the lack of background makes it even more obvious with this film, who, why, what? In the end it's more a case of who cares?

For the latter incarnation I said See it for it's visual styling (though hopefully this type of anime will never replace the hand drawn beauty of a Miyazaki film) but don't expect a deep storyline. Unfortunately I cant even say that much for this version.

Cheers Trev.

BBFC rated 15

Available on Region 2 dvd from Palm Pictures/Manga in the UK.

Re: Japanese Journals - Anime

Postby trevor826 » Tue Sep 27, 2005 2:14 pm

Hauru no ugoku shiro (2004) Howl's Moving Castle

Directed by Hayao Miyazaki

A Miyazaki film adapted from the book written by Diana Wynne Jones, the plot has a very different feel to any other film from Miyazaki. There's not a huge amount I can add to arsaib4's comments and I'm pretty much in agreement with him on the film so all I really want to do is try and encourage everyone to go and see it, preferably on the big screen.

The castle is brought to life beautifully and is a character in itself, it's breathtaking in its design like some large mismatched lumbering beast. It reminded me of Terry Gilliam's animations that he did for Monty Python, I was also reminded of the mad inventive designs of Heath Robinson.

The adventure is set in an imaginatively stylised mid to late 19th Century French/European town full of foot and horse troops and steam? powered vehicles. We meet the selfless heroine of the story Sophie, a young girl who has settled into a rut working at her familys millinery. She is rescued by a dashing stranger after being accosted by two soldiers, Sophie discovers that her saviour has some potent magical powers and is himself being tracked by strange blob like creatures.

Her adventure begins in earnest after crossing paths with the Witch of the Waste; it was her creations that were tracking the stranger. The witch turns her into an old woman withered and hunched, forcing Sophie to leave her home and family to head out into the barren wasteland to try to find a remedy for the witches curse.

A friendly scarecrow whom she helps leads her to Howl's Moving Castle, which is the last place she wants to go (because of all the rumours she's heard about Howl, kidnapping girls and eating their hearts). It turns out that Howl was her rescuer but is in need of rescue himself, the castle is in such a mess that Sophie takes on the job of cleaning it and looking after everyone.

Calcifier, a fire demon literally powers the castle and provides some comic relief although there was a moment (at least in the dubbed version) where he goes a little too much into Robin Williams Genie from Aladdin territory.

Meanwhile, a prince from a foreign land has disappeared and war has been declared, enormous flying machines bomb towns and villages on both sides with neither side gaining ground, there is a strong anti-war element to the film. The castle itself has a magical door with portals that open into wizard's shops in towns either side of the confrontation, so we witness the stupidity and effects of the war from both angles, another portal opens into the wasteland while another leads to somewhere that only Howl can access.

The story runs along at a good pace with quite a few interesting characters along the way until the final few minutes, it then feels as though everything is brought to a head and dealt with providing a happy ending for everyone far too swiftly. So if I have any complaints, it would be that it could have done with a little more time towards the end.

The animation is gorgeous as you would expect and the film gets a definite recommendation, this can't compare with Spirited Away or Kiki's Delivery Service but it is head and shoulders above most films you'll see whether animated or live action. For the best experience, try and catch it in the cinema, it's well worth it.

Cheers Trev.

BBFC rated U.

Re: Japanese Journals - Anime

Postby trevor826 » Tue Oct 04, 2005 8:03 am

Sennen joyu (2001) Millennium Actress

Directed by Satoshi Kon

Wonderful anime covering 100 years of Japanese cinema and a 1,000 year period of Japanese history and future as well as uncovering the driving force behind the life of an invented actress Chiyoko Fujiwara.

Love; unfulfilled love in particular can make or break someone, a minor accident involving Chiyoko and a stranger during her youth set events rolling that will affect the whole of her future. Her whole life is spent trying to find this mystery man who came into and out of her life so abruptly leaving a key in her care which he claims is very important.

We follow Chiyoko through her film career and life as she determines to find this stranger with whom she has become obsessed, along with her life, we follow the paths of those that criss-cross it. Anyone who has read Memoirs of a Geisha will recognise the character of the overbearingly jealous older actress who realises the spotlight has passed from her onto the new model. Even the documentary maker who is interviewing Chiyoko in her old age has his part in her past as he worked behind the scenes on several of her films and is aware of things that could have changed her life had she known about them.

This is an excellent anime and very different from Satoshi Kons other work, it covers several big subjects with broad strokes but pulls us in with its intimate look at life, love and the little things that can mean so much.

The only thing I'm not happy with is the glorification of Japan's imperialistic (early 20th Century) past, still the British or Americans are hardly in any position to comment on this!

All in all a definite recommendation, an inventive storyline with good rewatch value.

Cheers Trev.

BBFC rated PG

Region 2 dvd available from Manga Entertainment.

Re: Japanese Journals - Anime

Postby trevor826 » Wed Oct 19, 2005 5:07 pm

Puni Puni Poemi (2001)

Director Shinichi Watanabe

Two-part spin off series from "Excel Saga", its pointless looking for a plot, this is just in your face, off its trolley all out comedy. A parody of several anime series and films including "Excel Saga", "Evangelion" (probably the most parodied series ever!) and "Star Wars" amongst others.

Its short, its crude and often outrageous and its jam-packed full of anarchic humour, it speeds along at a terrifying pace taking no prisoners. You need to watch it several times just to catch the majority of the gags.

The art work is clean, the character designs are fine if cliched (which of course theyre meant to be) and it is just as entertaining whether watching it subtitled or dubbed (and just as manic).

If you enjoyed "Excel Saga", "FLCL" or any of the "Burn Up" series then you can pretty much guarantee youll like this, if your easily offended then steer clear. Apart from parodying particular series, this is also a satirical view of anime in general including the obligatory Fan Service shots, it also takes pot shots at Japanese culture and society most of which hit the mark but all done in good humour.

Recommended for anyone who enjoys self deprecating humour or fans of any of the series previously listed.

Cheers Trev.

BBFC rated 18

DVD available on R1 ntsc and R2 Pal from ADV films.

Re: Japanese Journals - Anime

Postby trevor826 » Mon Nov 07, 2005 12:58 pm

Kkaku kidtai (1995) Ghost in the Shell

Directed by Mamoru Oshii

1995, a truly groundbreaking year for anime, on one hand you had a series that broke all the rules and set the standard for virtually every series that followed it, Neon Genesis Evangelion and you had this anime film, Ghost in the Shell a huge influence not only on other anime films but on film and "Cyberpunk" in general.

Would the film The Matrix exist at all if it hadnt been for this film? I really doubt it, from the designs and visual imagery to the existentialism, philosophy and psychology, take 70% Ghost in the Shell and 20% Alice in Wonderland then throw in a little religion and bits and pieces from many classic Sci-fi films and you have The Matrix.

Back to the film, the plot is pretty complex and at times difficult to hang on to but this film has such re-watch value, I know Ive seen it at least 10 times over the years. When it came out there was nothing else like it, CGI was used but was toned in to fit perfectly with the standard animation, and the physical dynamics are still breath taking. The script is deep at times and although it pertains to the characters and their circumstances, in some ways we have all felt the need to question ourselves and our place in the world.

Set in the future, the film revolves around a team of Government agents (Section 9) trying to trace a hacker known as The Puppet Master who has been manipulating people by interacting with their brains through the net, the team led by Major Motoko Kusanagi are for the most part, Ghosts within a shell, human brains and souls within a partial or totally cyborg body. Fairly standard material you may think albeit pretty complex as the plot twists and turns. But (and for once a very positive but) its the depth of the characters and their discourse with each other, the reality of the world they exist in, the whole tone of the anime and the absolutely outstanding soundtrack that makes this still rank as a classic of anime and science fiction.

I could go on for pages proclaiming my love for this film, instead Ill just say, watch it, soak in its atmosphere, get lost in the complexities of its plot and the intricacies of its central characters, appreciate the quality of the artwork and the soundtrack and you too will find a great deal to appreciate and enjoy.

Highly recommended, a stunning piece of work.

Cheers Trev.

BBFC rated 15.


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