Forum - View topic
What are you watching right now? Why?


Goto page Previous    Next

Anime News Network Forum Index -> General -> Anime
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
ailblentyn



Joined: 28 Mar 2009
Posts: 1552
Location: body in Ohio, heart in Sydney

PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 3:07 pm Reply with quote
I'm rewatching Mai Mai Miracle, which I watched for the first time very recently. I'm curious to see if my first impressions are modified.
On first viewing, I felt it was trying very hard and in a rather calculating way to be a prestige children's film. It has a very prominent symphonic score. (How very improving!) The material involves the past (always classy) in two different ways: the main story is set in the '50s and it's got time travel (sort of) to the Japan of 1000 years ago. (Very educational!) It has a rather out-of-the-blue dramatic climax. (I was on the edge of my seat!) It has children coping with death in a life-affirming way. (How healthy for young minds!)
I still liked it, though, and strangely I liked it more once the completely contrived plot kicked in. Usually I have much more patience for world-building than pointless drama.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Botan24



Joined: 30 Apr 2011
Posts: 684
Location: Northern Michigan

PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 4:22 pm Reply with quote
Finished up The Big O last night. I burst out laughing at the end. Definitely not what I was expecting. Still not sure what happened...spoiler[my best guess is that everyone's memories were reset minus Roger, Angel, and Dorothy.] I already waxed on about how much Big O reminds me of western cartoons. But there is a lot of themes at work here: mecha, genetic engineering, androids, human psychology (always a personal favorite), world war, foreigners, and to a lesser extent - big business. It makes for a fun ride/watch. I'm not sure if I'd rank it on my top anime list. It most likely will get re-watched at some point next year. Then we'll see how it stands up to my (more) mature self. Wink

*Just a quick fan-girl note* Crispin Freeman as Alan Gabriel stole every scene he was in. I just love his psychopath voice. It makes me squirm and giggle. Strange, I know. Embarassed
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message My Anime My Manga
dtm42



Joined: 05 Feb 2008
Posts: 12564
Location: NZL

PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 6:37 pm Reply with quote
ailblentyn wrote:
I'm rewatching Mai Mai Miracle, which I watched for the first time very recently. I'm curious to see if my first impressions are modified.
On first viewing, I felt it was trying very hard and in a rather calculating way to be a prestige children's film.

...

I still liked it, though, and strangely I liked it more once the completely contrived plot kicked in. Usually I have much more patience for world-building than pointless drama.


I thought it was alright as a children's film, and some scenes of the children bonding were good (like spoiler[when they made the dam]). But the spoiler[Yakuza] bit was odd, and the whole sub-plot of the spoiler[governor's daughter from a thousand years ago] was badly integrated into the rest of the movie.

Although it was a pleasant-enough watch I have no desire to ever view it again. Nor would I recommend it to anyone except children.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message My Anime
ailblentyn



Joined: 28 Mar 2009
Posts: 1552
Location: body in Ohio, heart in Sydney

PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 2:41 pm Reply with quote
I'm interested what made it only a children's film in your opinion, rather than the Ghibli-style children's film for all viewers that (I got the feeling) the makers would like it to be?
It's not that I disagree, just that I'm trying to think this film through.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
dtm42



Joined: 05 Feb 2008
Posts: 12564
Location: NZL

PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 4:31 pm Reply with quote
ailblentyn wrote:
I'm interested what made it only a children's film in your opinion, rather than the Ghibli-style children's film for all viewers that (I got the feeling) the makers would like it to be?
It's not that I disagree, just that I'm trying to think this film through.


Basically, to me the actual plot of the film pretty much fails. The connection between the past and present is tenuous at best, and the two sub-plots are badly written. The bit where spoiler[the governor's daughter gives a starving family some toys when what they really needed was bread] was the worst part of the past arc. Meanwhile in the present, the whole spoiler[Yakuza resolution] was left-field and weird.

So because the plot wasn't too good, I really don't see this as a film for adults. It still works for children, because it's got that sort of charm and there were plenty of scenes they'd enjoy. spoiler[The dam-building, the new girl being befriended, the loneliness of the governor's daughter, the scene by the rice paddy at the end,] that sort of thing. Plus, children don't care about plot deficiencies, so it wouldn't bother them. The movie did deal with spoiler[the loss of a father and subsequent dealings with some scary-looking Yakuza,] so that may scare very young children off. But the rest of it was pretty okay.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message My Anime
Maidenoftheredhand



Joined: 21 Jun 2007
Posts: 1790

PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 9:01 pm Reply with quote
Melanchthon wrote:

Also, I have watched half of Ikoku Meiro no Croisée. It's just not working for me. It's odd, because I thought I'd like it. I've been thinking about it, and the problems are threefold.
1) Racism. I'm a university-educated white middle-class male. Sensitivity to racism has been ingrained in me. And while watching Ikoku, it gets uncomfortably close to racist at times. Yune isn't a character inasmuch a collection of stereotypes. Now, most of these stereotypes are positive, but it hangs over this show like a cloud.
2) Yune. Like I said above, Yune isn't really a character. And she has absolutely no personality. She is boring—boring to listen to, boring to watch. It's not even on moeblob levels, Yune doesn't do anything cute, she cleans the place and generally acts like a servant.
3) The setting. The story is set in Paris, the most cultured city in Europe. And the characters spend all their time in a dingy little store front. Setting the story in Paris should be one of the shows strengths. It's exotic and exciting, it should be a feast of sights and sounds. But all this is negated by the spending so much time in the shop. Hell, you could take this story and change the setting to Rostock, Germany, (cold, dour, and unromantic) and you couldn't tell the difference. This is unforgivable.'


I find it amusing when you call Ikoku no Meiro Croisee "Racist" and not a good depiction of France when it was a French/Japanese production.
But apparently you know more than them.

Also I would hardly call Yune a "mail order bride". She isn't going there to get married, she agreed to work at the shop to experience the culture of France. It takes place during the time when Japan was opening its doors to internationalism. She's not a servant but she values her work. There is nothing wrong with how Yune acts, the problem you are putting your own judgement on a different culture of a different time. Which is ironic because in the end Ikoku no Meiro Croisee is a very humanistic portrayal of people coming to understand people from other cultures and classes.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Beatdigga



Joined: 26 Oct 2003
Posts: 1269
Location: Here!

PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2012 12:28 am Reply with quote
Finally found a copy of Paprika. Which, if I wasn't tired from the Chavez Jr/Martinez fight, I'd watch. As it stands, I'll watch it tomorrow.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address
OldCharlieStoletheHandle
Bargain HunterBargain Hunter


Joined: 12 Dec 2009
Posts: 905
Location: Mastic Beach, NY

PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2012 6:12 am Reply with quote
While I've been knocking some series off my huge backlog list I've also taken some time to watch a few old OVAs/movies, with varying results.

While wading through Overman King Goofball I decided to take a break and watch something really bad, namely Dark Cat. Why? Well, I've been a big fan of bad movies since long before anyone thought of Mystery Science Theater 3000; unfortunately, the only way to tell if something will be "so bad it's good" or just garbage is to watch it, and for old stuff like this that means buying a copy.

Unfortunately, Dark Cat turned out to be worthless, boring garbage. Although it's not noted in the encyclopedia, this was apparently based on a long-running (16 volumes) manga, which probably doesn't help as one-shots based on longer works do tend to have non-endings. This doesn't give the feeling of something made to publicize the manga though-maybe because it's so boring the last thing someone watching this would want to do is go hunt down the manga (which I presume has never been published here). Two brothers-the "dark cats" of the title-are trying to find out why troubled classmates are turning into masses of writhing (but well-behaved) tentacles. This leads to an encounter with their former teacher who is apparently responsible and who is eating the creatures. I say apparently because nothing in this cheap-jack piece of junk makes any real sense. The brothers don't seem to accomplish much of anything except watching stuff happen and talking about it. The artwork and animation is pretty poor too. This is by no means the worst anime in my collection; in fact, I would describe it more as "worthless" than "horrible", as in being a total waste of time. I rated this anime as "awful".

Fortunately, the next old show I watched was better. A while back, I had found a vendor on Ebay selling DVDs of anime that had never been released in R1 on DVD. Obviously, this is not legal but I figured since the only other way to get these shows was to buy used VHS or LD (which does nothing for the original makers) I bought several titles. Many were titles I read about in "Buried Garbage" (as with Dark Cat though my copy of that is legit) but some were decent shows. The one I chose to watch this time was Goku: Midnight Eye. The DVD had VHS rips of both episodes in both English and Japanese with subtitles (the latter is what I watched) along with a Japanese "Behind the Scenes" video.

In the first episode, we meet the title character, an ex-cop turned private detective. His former co-workers have been investigating a powerful industrialist suspected of illegal arms trading, among other things. When the cops start commiting suicide under strange circumstances Goku decides to get involved. Encountering the strange woman who has been hypnotizing cops into suicide, he gouges out his left eye with a knife to break the spell. Later, he wakes up in a mysterious place where a voice tells him he has been given a cybernetic eye which will enable him to access and control any computer in the world. He could destroy the world, but instead decides to go after the villain, with the aid of a baton which the voice told him "may be useful". It can extend to any length, allowing Goku to pole-vault around the city (which, I must admit, is a novel means of transportation). Nudity, sex, and lots of good old anime violence ensue. Episode 2 finds our hero hired by a mysterious woman to help find her brother who has been turned into a "super-soldier". This episode has a few more twists and turns in the plotting, along with more sex & violence. The artwork and character designs are strictly old-school, while the animation varies-sometimes it's pretty good, sometimes it's just panning over stills (the "animation" under the end credits is really lame). I rated both episodes as "good" and I think if you're a fan of older anime this is one you'll want to check out (if you can find a copy).

I also watched an old movie, Sea Prince and the Fire Child (aka Legend of Sirius). See, while I was seeking out stuff I read about in "Buried Garbage" (for the reason noted above) I have also tried to get as many of the "Buried Treasure" titles as I can. This one got an R1 release from Eastern Star/Discotek in 2010 and I picked it up when it was on the TRSI weekly specials.

The film starts with a narrator explaining how the God of Fire and the God of Water, who are brother and sister, were once very close. Then the Wind God, jealous of their love, told each lies about the other, causing them to become enemies. Thus, the Fire Children are relegated to the land and the Water Children to the sea. The story proper starts with Sirius, a Water Child who is summoned to meed King Glaucos, who gives him the eye of the wind god and tells him he is to be the next king. While swimming in Forbidden Waters (where the wind god has been imprisoned), he comes to the surface and spots a beautiful (and very naked) girl tending to a fire. When she sees him, he takes off, but she is still fascinated with him. We then discover that she is Malta, the daughter of the fire queen. Despite their relationship being forbidden by the laws of their own people, the two continue to meet. Yes, it's Romeo and Juliet again (what would writers do without old Bill Shakespeare, eh?). This is one of the better retellings of the story, though. Despite a couple of WTF moments and the fact that it is clearly a "family" film, I really enjoyed watching this. For one thing, as noted in the "Buried Treasure" article the movie does not talk down to the viewer. For another thing, it is beautifully drawn and animated, in a style that most viewers would never suspect is Japanese anime. As the trailer (included on the DVD) admits, this film is "inspired" by the works of Walt Disney, and while said inspiration definitely shows, this is not quite a Disney film.

Discotek's release offers the film both in Japanese with subtitles (which is what I watched) and dubbed in English. It's an old film so it's in 4:3 aspect ratio and some scenes looked a bit fuzzy (I watched on a 54" plasma TV); there was one scene where the film juddered briefly (I'm sure it was not a deliberate effect but a problem with the print) but overall it looked and sounded quite good for it's age. The only extras are previews for some other titles. I rated this film as "very good" and definitely recommend checking it out. The DVD can usually be had for about $12-13 online.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message My Anime My Manga
errinundra
Enjoying the time of EVEEnjoying the time of EVE


Joined: 14 Jun 2008
Posts: 2591
Location: Melbourne, Oz

PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:19 am Reply with quote
From Up On Poppy Hill

I saw this at Cinema Nova in Carlton as part of Madman's Reelanime Festival this evening.

Synopsis: Set in 1963 as Tokyo prepares to host the Olympic Games, Umi is a high school student helping out in her grandmother's boarding house while her mother is studying in the US. Her father died when the supply ship he was captaining struck a mine during the Korean War. Each day, in his memory, Umi raises a naval flag message in their garden overlooking Yokohama Harbour. At school, she befriends Shun, a feisty boy who runs the student newspaper. When she joins him in a campaign to save the school's clubhouse from demolition the two find themselves falling in love. Problems arise, however, when they learn spoiler[they are half brother and sister].

From Up On Poppy Hill is Goro Miyazaki's second feature film. If Hayao Miyazaki had expressed his disapproval of Goro's directorial debut then this effort clearly has is imprimatur - Miyazaki senior co-wrote the screenplay. Although a distinct advance over Tales from Earthsea, it shares some qualities with the older film, for good and bad.

Goro Miyazaki has a great eye for scenery, particularly landscapes, gardens and buildings - the interior of the clubhouse is sheer magic, both before and after its restoration. Perhaps this isn't surprising given that prior to being an animator he worked as a landscape gardener. His best scenes are either impressionistic or have a strong sense of grandeur that, I think, even exceeds his father's. Some of the industrial scenes are highly reminiscent of Mamoru Oshii's Patlabor 2, although where Oshii's overall mood is regret visualised through decay, Goro's is a wistful observation on the costs of modernisation. This is enhanced by the nostalgic rendition of 1960s Japan, which is even more successful than Kids on the Slope in creating a sense of time and place. Nullifying this, though, are character designs that are prosaic even by Ghibli's conservative standards combined with facial expressions that, too often, come across as wooden.


Shun & Umi

The film can also be hit and miss in its dramatic flow. The extended opening of Umi preparing breakfast for her grandmother, her brother and sister and the boarders is pure delight in its detail, its activity, and how it establishes Umi's character. The crowd scenes at Umi's school, especially Shun's daredevil stunt from the school roof and the mass meetings in the clubhouse, are written crisply and humorously. The downside is that, like their unexpressive faces, the scenes between Umi and Shun come across as perfunctory. This isn't helped by the way the story moves along in fits and starts, interspersed with some attractive, extended visual tableaux. The developments of the couple becoming acquainted, falling in love, discovering their familial relationship, then learning the truth are never explored or explicated in sufficient detail to make them seem important. As a result the resolution comes across as way too pat. The parallel story of the campaign to save the clubhouse is also hit and miss. The student politicking is marvellously entertaining while the visit to the school chairman's business premises creates some tension missing elsewhere in the film. It's undermined, however, by an outcome that, like the romance thread, resolves the conflict way, way too easily.

As I suggested with Umi and Shun, Goro Miyasaki doesn't do character interactions in any sort of convincing way. He imparts information necessary to the plot but there is never a sense of two real people with real thoughts, real agendas or real reactions negotiating their way through the complications of trying to understand each other. The film entirely lacks the richness of the Jinnouchi family in Summer Wars or the subtleties of the near contemporary A Letter to Momo, with which it shares similarities in its premise.

From Up On Poppy Hill does some things wonderfully well and others poorly. The scenery, whether interior or exterior, is exceptional, as are some of the set piece major scenes, particularly those involving large ensembles of people. Against this, the film lacks tension thanks to its uneven dramatic pacing and the flat rendering of the various relationships.

Rating: good.

Curious observation. Umi and Shun declare their love for each other at the door of a tram in spite of the incestuous implications of their confessions. For several minutes up to that moment, Umi had been drawn in poses and with expressions reminiscent of Nanoka from Koi Kaze. Given the context, I think the allusions were deliberate.

***

On Wednesday I'll be seeing Children Who Chase Lost Voices. I've also finished the first season of Kimi ni Todoke and I've started the second season. I'll post a report when I've finished the second season as I think the two should be judged together.


Last edited by errinundra on Sun Sep 16, 2012 7:40 pm; edited 1 time in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail My Anime My Manga
Botan24



Joined: 30 Apr 2011
Posts: 684
Location: Northern Michigan

PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2012 11:23 am Reply with quote
Another Ghibli down! Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea, this time. I watched the blu-ray version. Every shot looks like it was taken right out of a children's storybook. I could even see the different colors that made up the shading of inanimate objects like fence posts and sides of buildings. One of the things I appreciate most about Ghibli movies is the richness when it comes to scenery. The opening minutes of the film are void of dialogue and heavy instrumentals. There is a light melody and nothing but under the sea action. Fish! Jellyfish! Whales! Sharks! Shrimp, lobsters, crabs, all swimming contentedly to-and-fro. Just fabulous. I love how fluidly Ghibli manages to animate everything. Not just the animals either, but the people and machines. Nothing every looks stiff and unrealistic.

Anyway, Ponyo is a much happier take on the classic tale, "The Little Mermaid". A fish who wants to be human meets a boy. They find themselves mutually attracted to one another, and want to be together, no matter what. Naturally the girl's father is against this. "You can't be magic and human," he warns her. But Ponyo is stubborn. She runs away and causes one of the most awesome typhoons ever. The boy and her end up together, Ponyo becomes human and everyone's happy. It's quite a simple story really. The moral being that to truly love someone you must love every part that makes them who they are. Oh, and humans are disgusting and pollute everything, including the ocean.

While I liked it, Ponyo did not beat out My Neighbor Totoro as my favorite Ghibli. I could see myself showing this to my kids (if I had any) or my nieces when they were younger. Good, but not the best.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message My Anime My Manga
JuniorMintKiss



Joined: 17 May 2007
Posts: 81
Location: Utah

PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2012 11:03 pm Reply with quote
I've been having a Slayers marathon for two weeks now. I just started season 4 today, and even though it's Blu-Ray, I almost prefer the older animation style that was prevalent in seasons 1 -3, you know, with all the pretty cels? And watching it dubbed, I am a bit disappointed that Eric Stuart's Gourry is so much more...polished. I loved how he carried over his Brock vocals from Pokemon into Gourry's voice in the first few seasons. Now, he seems more grounded, almost as if he is trying too hard.

I am *still* trying to finish Linebarrels of Iron, but I can't seem to get back into it.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website Yahoo Messenger MSN Messenger My Anime My Manga
Tuor_of_Gondolin
SubscriberSubscriber


Joined: 20 Apr 2009
Posts: 2133
Location: Bellevue, WA

PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 12:38 am Reply with quote
I actually liked Linebarrels of Iron. Not hugely, but I found it reasonably entertaining.

Lately, I've been watching Crest of the Stars and Banner of the Stars I (II is on order). Crest was really much better than I expected it to be. I would've rated it "Excellent" except the dub quality brought it down a notch (it's pretty stiff). The story elements were interesting and well-executed. As an older guy, I did like the political and military aspects that some have described as "dry". I also liked how it felt like pretty much anyone could die (except the main characters), and some very likeable people *did* die.

And, of course, I really liked Lafiel. Also, this time, I felt that the Action Chick got a pretty decent companion with Jinto. He was a bit unassertive, but NOT particularly so: he could and did stick up for himself with Lafiel, was willing to spar with her verbally, and actually did some things that didn't seem forced or unreasonable. I thought they made a good pair. Banner was, for me, not quite as good as Crest -- the focus was different, for one thing -- but it was still entertaining.

The writing in this series, especially the verbal exchanges, are really pretty good. Yeah, the series is long in the tooth, but even so I thought the visuals were acceptable at the very least, and some of the imagery was very good.

All in all, I'm glad I bought this series. I heard that Banner III is probably never going to make it Stateside, which is a shame. It's annoying when a story doesn't get a conclusion, but as with most anime fans, I've learned to endure it. If old-schoolish Space Operaish SF with multi-ship battles with actual tactics and strategy appeal to you even slightly, I urge you to check this series out. But hurry: it's by Bandai, so it won't be available for much longer.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail My Anime
DuskyPredator
It...it's not like I post for you or anything!It...it's not like I post for you or anything!


Joined: 10 Mar 2009
Posts: 7512
Location: Brisbane, Australia

PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 1:33 am Reply with quote
In anime I have seen moe humanized versions of a squid, guns, and even Cosmic horrors, but this one outdoes those, I just watched the first episode of Gokicha!! Cockroach Girl!, which as the name implies has a moe cockroach girl. It appears to only go for several minutes, the animation is not very good, I think a news article has it down as a mobile phone anime. But I enjoyed Haiyoru! Nyaruani, which seemed to have similar production values, so it might be worth a note. It is interesting in that cockroaches tend to even be censored during a lot of anime.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message My Anime My Manga
classicalzawa
Space CowboySpace Cowboy


Joined: 19 Jan 2008
Posts: 4925

PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 2:27 am Reply with quote
Man, I don't usually feel a need to comment on recap episodes, but Martian Successor Nadesico's recap is easily one of the best, on par with The Ember Island Players from Avatar: The Last Airbender.
So, for those not in the know, MSN has an in-universe anime that the main character watches called Gekiganger III, a clear parody of old school mecha fighting shows. So, for the recap episode, spoiler[it's reversed, and now MSN is an in-universe show for G3.] Also, rather than recap the events directly, it more or less shows you the inside of the Nadesico, all the characters, and the relationship between Yurika and Akito. That's it, it doesn't show you much in the way of story. spoiler[And about a third of it is Gekiganger III stuff (including the OP, and an eye-catch, and a rather large impromptu mecha fight)], thus: new footage. And of course, this recap ep is damn self aware that it's a recap ep and is only there because it's the halfway point of the series.
So yeah, good recap eps appear to exist! I actually ended up not skipping this when my thumb normally goes straight for the skip button. The rest of the series, while often self aware, isn't quite as laugh out loud hilarious as this one was, it's usually of a more subtle parody. But if anything should be overtly parodied, it's a freakin' recap ep.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message My Anime My Manga
The King of Harts



Joined: 05 May 2009
Posts: 6710
Location: Mount Crawford, Virginia

PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 6:08 am Reply with quote
JuniorMintKiss wrote:
I've been having a Slayers marathon for two weeks now. I just started season 4 today, and even though it's Blu-Ray, I almost prefer the older animation style that was prevalent in seasons 1 -3, you know, with all the pretty cels? And watching it dubbed, I am a bit disappointed that Eric Stuart's Gourry is so much more...polished. I loved how he carried over his Brock vocals from Pokemon into Gourry's voice in the first few seasons. Now, he seems more grounded, almost as if he is trying too hard.

I didn't think Gourry sounded more polished, I thought Eric just sounded older and rusty. I don't think he had any voice acting gigs after he lost Brock/James, so he was probably just out of it, at least that's what I thought. He didn't sound bad, but it was definitely not as seamless as Crispin, Lisa, or Veronica.

I know I'm one of the few, but I actually missed David Moo. His Xellos was so sneaky and underhanded while still sounding not-evil (I hesitate to say innocent). I thought he was great (and I loved Crispin's impersonation from Next). Michael Sinterniklaas acted fine, but I thought he was too soft and couldn't pull off the more sinister side of Xellos.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website My Anime My Manga
Display posts from previous:   
Reply to topic    Anime News Network Forum Index -> General -> Anime All times are GMT - 5 Hours
Goto page Previous    Next
Page 722 of 823

 


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group