Japanese Journals - Anime

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Re: Japanese Journals - Anime

Postby hengcs » Sat Aug 18, 2007 7:10 am

I have the DVD but I procrastinated watching it ...
Reason: Too many other good films in the pipeline ...

i think justin has written a review on it on this board.

Re: Japanese Journals - Anime

Postby hengcs » Tue Dec 11, 2007 2:09 am

5 cm per second (Bysoku 5 senchimtoru) (2007) (Japan)

Director: Makoto Shinkai

Oh yes, I have recommended his Voices of a Distant Star (2003) and The Place Promised in Our Early Days (2004). And guess what, this animation is EVEN BETTER!

The film in three parts, can be watched and understood either separately or as a continuation ...

"Cherry Blossom Story" tells the childhood story of Takaki Tono and and Akari. Due to their parents' job, they are frequently on the move ... The story is told primarily through all the letters and also, the train trip to meet up with her before he leaves for somewhere further ...

"Cosmonaut" advances to Takaki's high school days. Now, the story is told from the perspective of Kanae, a girl who is secretly in love with Takaki. However, he always seems to look beyond her, to a love faraway ... Will she be able to reveal her love to him?

"A chain of short stories about their distance" tries to wrap up everything ... and maybe you should watch to know the ending ...

My Thoughts

Three things touches ...


Simply breathtaking and amazing, esp. on the BIG screen, with the original print! ... wow ... the colors are correct, the lighting is great, everything looks so picturesque ... * I hope to watch on the BIG screen again * ...


(i) Unlike some Japanese anime that tries too hard (at times) to philosophize or be too cryptic (in its analogies), this film feels so REAL! And I tell my friend, it is very difficult to impress and imprint with a simple story without "dramatic" twists or surprises. And with these restrictions, if the director succeeds in stirring our emotions, he has achieved a great feat!

Yes, the film touches my heart ... if you have been in love before, if you have pined for someone before, if you have prayed the best for someone before, if you are simply a sentimental person, if you are simply an emotional person, the film will strike a chord ...

The film does not "engross" with plentiful plot, but it makes you "feel" for the characters; The film does not "grip" like a thriller, but it makes you "crave" to know what happens next and what happen to the protagonists ...

Although you may NOT feel it immediately ... the film LINGERS ON ... probably minutes to hours after the film ...

(ii) Although I claim that the film is very accessible and easy to understand, you may choose to "philosophize" still ... with its frequent mention of ... time and distance ... love and life ... lost and loneliness ... etc, you can go ahead and marvel at how well the film is executed!


-- One more time One more chance
Apparently, the director has chosen a familiar song so that the audience would feel even closer to heart (i.e., it is a story about their life and people they know) ...

-- I feel like providing the link to youtube. But on second thought, although the music is everywhere on the youtube, I think my accolades for the artwork may be muted by the less than perfect resolution, color and lighting, etc ... Furthermore, without watching the entire film (and the theme song only sounds near the end), one may be less stirred emotionally (i.e., as compared to an audience who have sat through the entire film and be absorbed into the story and characters)

Highly recommended.

It should be watched on a BIG screen because of the artwork ... wow ...
-- on the big screen, with the original print, i am confident that the color, lighting, etc is precise and correct ...
-- i am NOT sure abt the DVD * maybe someone who have watched the DVD version could comment *
-- also, * please do NOT spoil your impression by watching on youtube *

Honestly, I have always wondered why the Best Animation category in Oscar have omitted such great animation. (problem of language?! culture?! or distributor?!)

IMHO, this animation 5 cm per second (Japan) and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (Japan) are clearly MUCH better than Ratatouille, The Simpsons Movie, Shrek the Third, Bee Movie, TMNT, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Meet the Robinsons, etc etc etc

As for Tekkonkinkreet (Japan), I will comment on it next time - it is great, but at the same time cryptic and ambitious ...

Re: Japanese Journals - Anime

Postby arsaib4 » Tue Dec 11, 2007 5:12 am

I attended a screening of The Girl Who Leapt Through Time recently. I thought it was a good film, if not quite at the level of a Miyazaki or a Kon.

I'll wait for your comments regarding Tekkonkinkreet, which I consider to be average at best (I believe I graded it a C+). But I do admire its visual ingenuity.

Re: Japanese Journals - Anime

Postby hengcs » Tue Dec 11, 2007 11:06 am

Oh ... my take on The Girl Who Leapt Through Time ...
Maybe will paste here after a while ...

Re: Japanese Journals - Anime

Postby arsaib4 » Wed Dec 12, 2007 2:28 am

You can, but I think it's better that the film has its own thread. Time permitting, I'll add a few comments there. Actually, you may also want to consider starting a new one for Bysoku 5 senchimtoru. Some of us might get to watch it in the upcoming months.

"Honestly, I have always wondered why the Best Animation category in Oscar have omitted such great animation. (problem of language?! culture?! or distributor?!)"

While language and culture are always a factor, a brief theatrical run in the U.S. is required for a film to be considered for most categories of the Academy Awards.

Re: Japanese Journals - Anime

Postby A » Sat Mar 15, 2008 9:05 pm

You could indeed open a new thread for Makoto Shinkai's "5 cm per second" hengcs. I've started watching anime again, and obtained this title (and many more ) to check out in the future. Your review sounds promising. Last anime I watched was probably the OVA "Last Exile", which was overall a fantastic experience and also my first anime series (that consisted of mote than 3 or 4 episodes) I actually completed. I can honestly recommend it to any lover of anime. Especially the first bunch of episodes are outstanding. I won't write a review now, as I'm not in the mood. Suffice to say, it has shown me what I have missed the last 8 years, when I watched way too little anime (and also animation in general).

Re: Japanese Journals - Anime

Postby A » Sat Mar 15, 2008 11:58 pm

Shin seiki evangerion
Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995 - 1996 / Japan / Hideaki Anno, and others)

"Neon Genesis Evangelion". The title alone is already legendary. It stand for one of the most successful and stimulating anime series ever produced, and has arguably helped to stimulate more interest for Japanese animation throughout the world, than any other movie or series from this genre which came to us during the 90s. My own encounter and experience with it has also become an unexpectedly large part of my (movie-watching) life.

I first came upon the series through a dear friend in shool some seven years ago, who was then already an avid fan of anime and the Japanese culture (and has remained so until today ). At that time I was a budding cineaste and barely knew anything about films from Japan (I had probably already heard of Kurosawa, and seen one or two of his films in edited and badly dubbed German VHS versions), especially not animation. As I was somewhat curious about it (I don't remember the exact circumstances anymore), I asked her if I could borrow some anime from her, The package she gave me consisted of some interesting short films and (short) series of which I don't remember the titles right now, but definitely the most interesting thing she gave me, was a compilation of episodes from a series that involved children piloting giant robots. At first the premise didn't seem very interesting to me (I was a bit too old to appreciate Giant Robots, and a bit too young to re-appreciate them ), and the copies I was able to view, had already been taped from another source, were almost in black and white, with a lot of dropouts, hissing noises, and the worst image and sound problems you could imagine on a standard VHS. And the worst thing (which I only realized months later): the series was incomplete (ending at around episode 20, if my recollection is correct). One positive aspect though was that the episodes weren't cut - as was often the case with Japanese animation during the 80s and 90s that got distributed in Europe and the US - and were presented in their original language with very good fansubs that had begun circulating more regularly at that time. I'm not sure if this helped in my development of watching films and series in their original language, but it surely didn't harm it. As I slowly progressed through the series and several months passed by, I got more and more engrossed in the characters and the world they inhabited. The series seemed to get better and better with every new episode, buliding layer upon layer of a seemingly preconceived plan that was going to be revealed at the end of it. When I had come at the end of the episodes that were available to me, I had become not only an admirer of "Neon genesis Evangelion" and its creator Hideaki Anno, but also a converted believer into the blessings that had arrived in our Western world through the import of anime.

I copuldn't continue my experience with this particular series until a few years later, when I started living in Berlin, and was able to obtain the complete episodes as some sort of gift from my cousin. Imagine my astonishment when I was able to see the colors of the animation for the first time. As I started watching the series anew during the upcoming months (which were also some of the happiest in my life), I discovered that I had grown even more fond of the story and the way it was told, and even the giant robot fights didn't bother me as much as they used to. As my cinematic development had progressed through the years, so had my understanding and appreciation of the mulltifaceted ideas Hideaki Anno had tried to implement into the complex structure of the series. Unfortunately another misfortunate event occured as my Laptop got stolen and with it the remaining episodes I had copied to my hard disk. As this was only the beginning of what would become one of the worst years in my young life, I had other things to take care of, and forgot to seek out the four or five episodes and the subsequently produced feature "End of Evangelion" (1997) which had been produced to finish the series and which were missing in my own experience of the show. Fortunately I stumbled, again by chance, upon the whole series during recovery from a bad illness about two weeks ago, and I have started to watch the series again. So far, I have managed to see the first four episodes, and if fate isn't going to intervene once more, I will be able to finish this series during the upcoming months. It's been a long time coming, and I doubt I'll let anything come between me and my enjoyment of "Neon Genesis Evangelion". Anyways, I'll keep you posted on any further developments.

As I see it at the moment, I have again come to appreciate this incredible creation even more, and I have also noticed how carefully Anno and his fellow screenwriters have interwoven the many threads of the story and its implementations from the very beginning of the first episode. It isn't too bad that I am already familiar with most of the upcoming events and developments, as it gives me the opportunity to reflect on the deeper meaning of what I have seen in a way that isn't possible for anyone new to this show. I'm sure many of us have already seen it (I know that especially Trevor is a fan ), but for the ones who are still new to it, my advice is to observe very carefully what is going on from the start. What stood out even more than the last times, was the extremely skillfull pacing and the attention given to every detail of every moment that is shown in the film. Almost nothing occurs without purpose, and will have emotional and intellectual reverberations for attentive viewers in every episode to come. The payoff that gets bigger and bigger in the course of your involvment with "Neon Genesis Evangelion" is due in large parts to the fact that this is one of the best character-driven shows or movies you are ever going to see. I'm not exaggerating when I state this, and I believe that any sceptics of anime (or animated films in general) that are still out there, will lose their doubts after engaging with this highly personal and philosophic but also extremely entertaining work of art. And if nothing else, who could resist giant robots fighting against monsters from space to decide the fate of the human race, if not a cinephil snob. I for once, couldn't wait to set my eyes on the huge Evas batteling the angels, and when the fighting started I could feel the goosebumps on my back.

Re: Japanese Journals - Anime

Postby arsaib4 » Sun Mar 16, 2008 3:31 am

Good review, A. Otomo's Akira was perhaps just as front and center in paving the way for anime in foreign lands (especially the West), but you're absolutely correct regarding the influence of Neon Genesis Evangelion. A remarkable series to say the least!

Re: Japanese Journals - Anime

Postby A » Sun Mar 16, 2008 11:30 am

Thanks. I was really in the mood for a short write-up after watching the fourth episode yesterday.
You are completely right of course. I wanted to include an added "during the 90s", because I think "Neon Genesis Evangelion is for the 90s, what Akira was for the 80s, and "Spirited Away" for the new millenium. I was at first a bit irritated by your reply, because I had thought I had pointed this out in my review, but when I checked it, i saw that I had somehow left out this part of the thought process. But it's fixed now (hope the sentence doesn't sound too convoluted too a native speaker - I didn't want to re-structure it completely).

So you're also enthusiastic about the series? Didn't know that, but it's great to hear. I guess now we only have wpqx left. I'm already trying to convert R6dw6C to a fan of animation (in general) and anime. I've lent him "Spirited Away" and am anxiously awaiting his reaction.

Re: Japanese Journals - Anime

Postby arsaib4 » Tue Mar 18, 2008 3:11 am

I'd be surprised if R6dw6C didn't become a Miyazaki fan after viewing Spirited Away.


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