Anime

Discuss films of the 21st century including current cinema, current filmmakers, and film festivals.
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colinr0380
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Re: Anime

#276 Post by colinr0380 » Tue Dec 11, 2018 2:31 am

Adam Grikepelis wrote:
Tue Dec 11, 2018 2:12 am
Anyway, so I just discovered that Star Blazers 2199 exists. Has anyone seen it and have an opinion to offer? I grew up watching cartoons like the original among other Americanised anime, and it sounds interesting if not typically expensive.
Star Blazers 2199 does sound interesting. Apparently it is a 2012 remake of the original 1974 Space Battleship Yamato series. It also came out a couple of years after the live action version in 2010.

Star Blazers was also the name given to the original series (comprising Space Battleship Yamato I, II and III) when it was broadcast in the US in 1979. Presumably that was partly to obscure the Japanese origins a little for its broadcast as a 'cartoon'! Although there might be cultural implications there too since Yamato is named after a class of Japanese battleship used in World War II, which inevitably adds a bit of an added political twist to the material!

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Adam Grikepelis
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Re: Anime

#277 Post by Adam Grikepelis » Tue Dec 11, 2018 8:43 am

Yeah, I figured I’d use the American title given that’s how it’s being sold, and “cartoon” because that’s what it was to the primary school me. I don’t think I’ve ever managed to see the Japanese version, though I have read about it years ago, thanks mainly to the stranglehold the US licensor has on the rights (much like Harmony Gold & Robotech/Macross).

From what little I’ve read, the ‘remake’ is pretty faithful, though tells the tale with a little more depth, along with adding more female characters (thankfully this doesn’t seem to’ve been viewed as a problem, by those who might). Tempted to give it a go, despite only finding info on an anime site & reviews on Amazon - hence my seeking out a more balanced view here.

It’s been a while since I took much notice of anime so I’m completely out of the loop. Just like everything else these days, there’s a lot more of it available than there used to be; there’s only so many things made by others that you can keep up with.

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Drucker
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Re: Anime

#278 Post by Drucker » Tue Dec 11, 2018 12:40 pm


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Michael Kerpan
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Re: Anime

#279 Post by Michael Kerpan » Thu Dec 27, 2018 1:34 am

Our family got to see Hosoda's Mirai -- but it entailed an hour long trip to a quirky newish theater , located in a renovated and re-purposed cotton mill in Lowell. A great family excursion -- and we discovered a wonderful Brazilian restaurant/bakery just a couple of blocks from the theater.

As to the film, it may well be Hosoda's best to date (and I've loved or liked very much all his previous ones -- though his early Digimon one remains unseen as yet). It is also, perhaps, Hosoda's most Kore'eda-esque film -- given its deep plunge into family dynamics. ;-) We saw the subbed version, which was well-voiced -- no idea what the dubbed Gkids version might be like.

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J Wilson
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Re: Anime

#280 Post by J Wilson » Sun Dec 30, 2018 12:39 am

My daughter and I saw the dubbed version of Mirai - it was much better than I expected. The dub itself, that is. John Cho and Rebecca Hall are the parents, which I didn't know ahead of time. We both really liked the film.

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colinr0380
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Re: Anime

#281 Post by colinr0380 » Thu Jan 17, 2019 12:41 pm

I was very glad to hear the news that Anime Limited are going to be releasing the early 90s OVA series Cyber City OEDO 808 on Blu-ray at some point in 2019, which is the ultraviolent cyberpunk series about a group of hardened criminals forced by the use of explosive collars to work for the government in tackling various cyber-crimes of the week. This is the one anime that I would recommend hearing in the English language dub version, and the UK dub version in particular as that has different voice actors (including Sean Barrett with his distinctive gravelly voice swearing it up 'American-style' in the character of Gogul. Barrett amusingly turns up after this as the male narrator on the BBC's People's Century TV series in 1995, did a lot of voiceovers for nature documentaries and is all over the audiobook scene, including reading The Name of the Rose! So its always fun to think back on his role in Cyber City when hearing his voiceover in other contexts!) and most importantly the fantastic Rory McFarlane soundtrack that is completely different from the US and Japanese one.

It is only three episodes (one focused on each of the main characters) and there is a bit too much emphasis on the swearing in the dub to make everything seem a bit more adult, but this (along with Tokyo Babylon, Doomed Megalopolis and of course Akira) was the series that really got me into anime in my teens. I particularly like the second episode Psychic Trooper, with its extended fight sequence in its second half that I have always thought could make for a fantastic live action film!

EDIT: Many of the other videos put up on that "Oldtaku" channel are from great late 80s and early 90s shows too, which is still my favourite era of anime. I particularly love the irreverently destructive take on fantasy worlds with the two Dragon Half OVAs! I really like the use of the pop of the characters into SD form (Super Deformed, i.e. extra cute and cartoony styled) when they have their most extreme moments which is often used for punchlines, both comic and violent! (Making that final exposing celebratory shot in the second episode stand out all the more for being, um, realistically drawn!). And I think I most identify with the evil wizard sidekick to the horrible King, who drags along his own bucket of dry ice to add extra impact to his appearances and then has all of his ingenious plans backfire on him through the episodes! (Plus it has the best wacked-out, mashed-up, gibberish lyriced take-off of Beethoven over the end credits!)

It was also great to see the first two episodes of The Enemy's The Pirates: The Cat's Banquet. I think this was a six part series but I had previously only seen the first two episodes, the same two presented on the channel, but my VHS copy (under the title Galactic Pirates) was of the English dubbed version in which Apollo the cat gets voiced with a rather sassy Eddie Murphy in Beverly Hills Cop-style voice, which only added to the hyperactive nature of the show! I kind of prefer this Japanese language version!

Black Magic M-66 is a great bit of sci-fi action which is kind of best described as Ripley from Aliens battling The Terminator!

And I also have to highlight the amusing Otaku No Video which takes a kind of 'mental hygiene' approach to anime nerds (the titular "Otaku") following the dark descent into anime fandom of a promising tennis ace as his decision to go home early from a party ("he's the only one who takes tennis club seriously" state his other friends about to go off to more bars) leads to him accidentally sharing a lift with a group of highschool dropouts who have dedicated themselves to every possible nerdy interest from wargaming to cosplaying (the soundtrack goes from lighthearted and happy to ominous and foreboding when the Captain Harlock stickers come out!). These anime sections alternate with live action 'interviews' with real-life Otakus about their 'deviant behaviours', who have their faces pixellated and voices altered, as if they were committing some offence so shameful that they need their anonymity! Most of those sections end with a too blunt interview question that leads to the equivalent of many "How dare you ask that! I have real friends and so what if I cosplay! This interview is over!!" moments! (It is interesting seeing your now relatively commonplace cosplay aficionado being given the (obviously satirical and irreverent!) brushstroke of being the equivalent of some kind a sexual deviant here! Ah, it all seems so charming and naive now in the era of Furries having taken everything to the next level!).

The foresaking of the outside world (and actual relationships, sex and procreation) for 2D animated antics gets a section to itself. There's the rather expected take on the 'having to camp out for the big film premiere' situation (in this case for the premiere of Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind) while the more 'normal' friend passes by, girl on arm, to be incredulous about his old tennis loving friend doing something so crazy. That causes a moment of self-reflection, but only a moment as another member of the club arrives with purloined storyboards and character designs from the upcoming Macross movie!

The second episode goes full bore into the hopes and dreams as in response to 'otaku discrimination' our hero fully embraces his nerdiness and decides to become the "Otaku of all Otaku! The Ota-king!", starts a cottage industry, conquers the world through anime, makes a feature film and eventually runs a space programme to go off for space battles in the stars for real, whilst the live action segments start turning even more bluntly into reality television police chase style tracking and shaming of 'cell thieves' and vigilante justice meted out in hand-held style! Its quite a fun and complex piece of work, as the two worlds split apart - the anime becoming sci-fi fantastical and literally out of this world, the 'reality' becoming more bluntly, crushingly cruel - in such a way that makes unashamed fantasy seem like the only true response to petty and mundane day to day prudishness!

Anyway in twenty or thirty years time I fully expect to be interviewed about our criterionforum.org days and I demand the same pixellation and voice altering tactics used here to be fully employed as I talk about the way I meticulously order my shelves, and so on!
Last edited by colinr0380 on Sat Apr 13, 2019 6:16 am, edited 3 times in total.

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colinr0380
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Re: Anime

#282 Post by colinr0380 » Mon Feb 11, 2019 5:22 am

I have progressed a bit further with the Fist of the North Star TV series (up to episode 33). After thinking that the series might have to deal with its repetitious nature soon, it both does this in an extreme way, as well as somehow staying exactly the same! 22 episodes in Ken finally battles his way through wave after wave of enemy clans that his nemesis Shin has put in his way (the variety of clans is the main focus of interest, with some goofier than others, though it always takes the form of fighting through the lower tier guards first, then up through the ranks until the clan leader) in order to reach the hidden city and reclaim his lost love Yuria, only to find that despite her promise to stay alive for him she threw herself from her tower in a suicidal plunge seemingly just moments before he arrived (oops!). Ken has the showdown with Shin but after the deathblow punch and before his body rips itself apart, Shin himself commits suicide in the same manner to both ‘cheat’ Ken of his victory and tie himself with Yuria forever.

“Yuria Forever…As Well As Shin!” is quite a surprising episode, as I had assumed that this conflict over a lost love would last the entire span of the series and instead it is over in a moment in an episode that leaves the nominal hero frustrated and aimless! At the beginning of the next episode the two child companions, Bat and Lin, are trying to move on but Ken is left at a loose end, having brief flashes of memories of recent events.

But this is both where convention reasserts itself and things get very strange, as in “Stormy Times, Titanic Battles! Is Battle All That Awaits Me?!” we get introduced to the new ‘enemy clan’ for the next arc terrorising a new village (the Fang clan, modelling themselves after wolves with lots of howling, who are quite goofy for the longest time and seem to have a strange bond as ‘brothers’ with their clan leader as their ‘father’) and then immediately to two doppleganger replacements for Yuria and Shin, with Mamiya and Rei. Mamiya is a feisty warrior with red hair compared to Yuria’s purple-haired princess locked away helplessly in a tower playing a harp; and Rei is very like Shin in hot-headed temperament and also matches Ken’s skills (in slicing people up into pieces rather than punching pressure points however), while being suggested to be pretty much a villain himself.

Rei is psychologically damaged by the loss of his sister (to a ‘man with seven scars’, which raises questions of what he will do when Ken reveals his own scars) and that causes him to perform some really villainous acts that mostly go uncommented on by the other characters, seemingly just because he is on their side. The most concerning moments involve Rei telling Mamiya to not get involved with fighting because she is a woman, including walking in on Mamiya and Lin bathing and ogling her, as well as a gobsmacking moment later on where as Mamiya is walking off to avenge her just murdered brother, Rei intercedes rips her clothes off and lets a wedding veil flutter onto her head, saying that it suits her better before walking away! Those are both somewhat iffy moments, though the emphasis is much more on Rei being psychologically damaged enough to be doing dastardly things like that, rather than endorsing his actions. More they go uncommented on, but Mamiya still insists on accompanying Ken and Rei into the Fang territory to wipe them all out.

Weirdly the Fang clan end up, still being murderous, but also a bit more sympathetic perhaps because they are not as complex as a character like Rei. They are simpler foes, who perform villainous acts and have terrorised the towns around them, but still mourn for the waves of their ‘brothers’ who have been killed by Ken and Rei (around a hundred by the time of the actual final conflict!) into having their anger and need for revenge seeming justified, which is probably the first time I felt more on the side of the villains than the heroes at a certain point! Ken, as with previous gangs he encounters, usually gives any lower tier bad guy the opportunity to run off (which they often do not take and end up being punched and exploding) as he is more focused on taking out the head of the clan. Here as Ken is confronting the clan leader as his minions run away, Rei takes great (perhaps too great) pleasure in cutting every last one of the fleeing clan members into pieces.

So Rei is pretty much teetering on the edge of villainy throughout, if not already over that line, though it is all implied to be because of the loss of his sister who reappears as a hostage during the final battle and pushes him into an almost uncontrollable rage. Mamiya pretends to be Ken’s fiancé and becomes a hostage to let Boss Fang wrongly think that he also has a hold over Ken, but does not entirely realise that the taciturn Ken sees her as almost a reincarnation of his lost love, so she kind of does have that power.

Lots of punching and slashing ensues (after a quite neat double bluff of both Ken and Rei seeming to have killed each other after being forced to fight to the death) and everyone comes out of it fine except for the completely annihilated Fang clan. But another one will be along soon, I’m sure! Interestingly the last few clans have moved away from being totally composed of Mad Max style post-apocalyptic punks to having a number of mutated figures, from ten or twenty foot tall bosses to the Fang clan actually having a kind of werewolf mutant in their number, which sets against that gothic vampire-zombie villager episode from slightly earlier in the series. Maybe even the super-punching powers of Ken himself are meant to be less a supreme form of martial arts than a slightly more benign and positive form of mutation?
___

Anyway, the Fang clan are dealt with, Rei has his sister back and Mamiya is able to slip out of battle gear and into a flowing red dress to match her hair. Ken reveals his scars to Rei but he is not the one who kidnapped Rei’s sister. Instead in another moment of doubling we find that someone else has been pretending to be Ken and turning him into a terroriser of villages as a method of flushing Ken out of hiding.

This turns out in flashback to be one of Ken’s ‘brothers’, or one of the other people who were being taught the martial art of the North Star. Only one can be taught fully and Ken was chosen, which caused the other three contenders to lose out, and especially make Jagi, the current terroriser, jealous. Ken makes pretty short work of Jagi and at the point I have reached so far has left his two child charges with Rei and Mamiya in that previous town to go and track down his other brothers and put and end to them. So after the loss of Yuria and saving this latest town, Ken is off on a new quest all alone.

___

I really love the idea of dopplegangers that is coming up at this point. As if Ken, Yuria and Shin were never really special in themselves, but their archetypal characters and conflicts are occurring over and over in different forms elsewhere. There are new starts offered by both Mamiya and Rei, but Ken foregoes these (and the new hope represented by the two children) to dive even deeper back into newly uncovered unresolved issues of his past. Ken seems defined by conflict both as a character and by the very nature of the show in which he is the main character. The iteration of the conflicts are both repetitive for TV series budget reasons and feel as if they are integral to the character just going from battle to battle, and I get the impression that this is a big structuring element similar to even longer running later anime series such as Naruto, Dragonball or even One Piece. Different but very similar arc after arc.

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Boosmahn
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Re: Anime

#283 Post by Boosmahn » Wed Mar 13, 2019 8:35 pm

UK company All the Anime is releasing an "ultimate edition" of Perfect Blue for those who want something more than the standard GKIDS variant. It includes the soundtrack, 384-page storyboard (Japanese only), and a 48-page booklet (translated), in addition to lectures and interviews on the disc. The only drawback: it's £90.

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Boosmahn
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Re: Anime

#284 Post by Boosmahn » Tue Mar 26, 2019 10:21 pm

Adam Grikepelis wrote:
Tue Dec 11, 2018 2:12 am
Original SD Version of Feature (Japanese mono Dolby Digital 2.0 with English subtitles)
I wonder what this might mean for the film’s presentation, though... :-k
Screencaps are out and it looks like the new restoration features some heavy DNR.

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Michael Kerpan
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Re: Anime

#285 Post by Michael Kerpan » Fri Apr 12, 2019 11:43 pm

Koe no katachi / A Silent Voice / The Shape of the Voice (Naoko Yamada 2016) (Shout Factory Blu-Ray)
Another recent, very fine non-Ghibli animated film from Japan. This focuses on a deaf transfer 6th grade student and her classroom tormentors. When the chief tormentor goes to far, and our heroine transfers, his classmates (also complicit -- actively or passively) ostracize him in turn. The film then jumps to high school, where our deaf heroine and her adversary (now drawn into his own shell) cross paths again. While a bit melodramatic at times, this is mostly effective and moving. While the animation is not quite at the level found in Hosoda's films (or, a fortiori, Studio Ghibli's), it is always decent and sometimes quite lovely. The Japanese voice cast is good, I didn't sample the English dub.

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