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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:17 am Reply with quote
Children Who Chase Lost Voices

Saw this tonight as the second instalment in Madman's 2012 Reel Anime Film Festival at Cinema Nova in Carlton.

Synopsis: Asuna is a solitary girl who loves nothing more than to listen to her crystal radio set from her secret hideout high on a hill overlooking her town. One day on the radio - a memento from her dead father - she hears a strange melody, both sad and wonderful, that imprints itself onto her memory. After a terrifying encounter with a monster on a railway bridge she is taken to a mystical underworld by a strange boy, Shin, and a sinister school teacher, Morisaki, where she discovers the source of the music along with an altenative human history. There she must face up to the realities of death, grief and loneliness.

What is it with anime films' current penchant for girls grieving over their dead fathers? Last month I saw A Letter to Momo at the Melbourne International Film Festival, last weekend it was From Up On Poppy Hill at Reel Anime, this evening it has been Children Who Chase Lost Voices, and next Sunday it will be Wolf Children. Maybe the Moe era is finally coming to an end? Perhaps we are entering the Decade of the Deceased Dad? Clearly anime dads have a short life expectancy. Perhaps, after all, it's just a metaphor for the missing Japanese company man who neglects his family by spending long hours at work, never taking holidays and spending much of his free time drinking with his work colleagues?

That outburst may suggest to you that Children Who Chase Lost Voices is yet another Makoto Shinkai emotive film about separation and loss. For sure the film is awash with those elements but it breaks new ground for Shinkai in being an adventure story with a heroine who travels to a strange new world - an odd blending of Hindu and Aztec mythologies - full of wonders and threats. The disappointment is that, beyond his signature scenery porn, little else in the film is particularly distinctive.

The central theme is that death, decay and change are a natural part of life. It is right and proper to grieve but the living must move on with their lives. This could be the basis of a moving and profound story but it doesn't manage it because the only half-decent character - the lead, Asuna - is a victim, not an agent, in the film's crisis point while the other characters don't manage to engender much in the way of sympathy.

Asuna is an appealing character. She is the class dux and representative, active and curious. With her mother working long shifts as a nurse she spends much of her free time alone, either doing all the household chores or playing at her hideout, which appears to be an abandoned World War 2 anti-aircraft post. She misses her father and wishes her mother were home more often. Nevertheless she is self-possessed and self-motivated. I have to say it is remarkable how similar she and her circumstances are to Umi in From Up on Poppy Hill, released only two months after Children Who Chase Lost Voices. Her design is also a marked improvement over earlier Shinkai females. The problem is, however, a typical Shinkai failing with his female characters: in the unfolding plot she lacks agency. She enters the underworld of Agartha with Morisaki and Shin because she doesn't want to be left behind. From there on she mostly just follows the two males. Admittedly, she saves Shin and a young girl - Manna - from the terrifying shadow creatures called Izoki, so she is capable of some agency. The big downer for Asuna and this viewer is in the film's climax. Morisaki has travelled to Agartha to spoiler[resurrect his dead wife, Lisa. His wish is granted but his wife's spirit requires a new human host. Yes, Asuna is to become that host and instantly loses any agency she may have had up until that point. She becomes yet another Shinkai female victim. Thereafter the question is not whether Asuna can overcome her limitations but, instead, whether Shin or Morisaki will prevail in obtaining either her or Lisa.] Yes, it all comes down to the old bull and the young buck fighting over the doe. It really is a teeth-grinding development in the film.

If Asuna's character (until the climax) and her design break new ground then the other characters are both retro in design and limited in character depth. Shin is the archetypal heroic young man out to prove himself, Morisaki is an unsettling mix of father figure and villain, and Manna a cutesy giggling child. Both Shin and Morisaki are cut from 1980s Ghibli character cloth. In fact, there are numerous elements in Children Who Chase Lost Voices that owe a large debt to Ghibli. At one point Shin is ordered by his village wise woman to leave the village: he cuts his hair, mounts his steed, farewells his sister at the town gate and rides off into the wilderness. Princess Mononoke, anyone? Asuna has an orange cat thingy - Mima - that travels upon her shoulder. Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, anyone? Agartha itself is an underground analogue of Laputa, complete with a Quetzalcoatl (a supernatural guardian) that brings to mind the guardian robots on the floating castle.

Asuna and Mimi

If the plot, characters and themes are a mixed bag then the images on screen are real treat, as to be expected from Makoto Shinkai. This is the first time I've had the pleasure of seeing one of his films in its proper environment - on the big screen. His gorgeous backgrounds alone are worth the price of admission. Oddly enough he was sparing with his characteristic sunset or storm cloud vistas, although he gives us some sensational starry skies. His best efforts in the film are domestic scenes - inside houses, or daily life in Asuna's town - and topography, whether local Japanese hillsides or alien Agartha plains (though I preferred the Japanese vistas). The opening credits are backgrounded by a rural scene with a large cherry blossom tree. It's as if the tree is filmed in fast-motion: a year goes by during the course of the credits and we see the tree lose its blossoms, become covered in leaves, bear fruit and then lose its leaves; all as the seasons pass by and clouds whiz by overhead. It's Shinkai; it's very pretty. There's a catch, though. The film's prettiness sometimes undermines other things Shinkai is trying to do. For example, the Agartha world is in irreversible decline. Most everywhere that Asuna travels there is evidence of deserted cities and villages. The few people she meets blame the presence of "topsiders" for the destruction of their once great civilisation. But it's all way too pretty to provide any sense of fate or decay. I would also point out that good as the backgrounds are, From Up On Poppy Hill is just as good. (It's interesting that Makoto Shinkai and Goro Miyazaki have similar strengths and weaknesses, although their styles are somewhat different.)

Watching a Makoto Shinkai movie? Expect stuff like this.

An area where Shinkai has definitely improved is in his animation. He even has some notable action scenes - some even have quite rapid movements. I couldn't always follow what was happening in the fight scenes, which might be my eyesight combined with my proximity to the screen, or it could be due to the choreography. Whatever the cause it couldn't be blamed on the animation. One area where the film fails is the dreadful and distracting soundtrack. It's like the worst American film muzak - all loud, lush, tuneless string orchestras. It didn't enhance the film in any way.

On a technical level and in terms of creative ambition, Children Who Chase Lost Voices shows Makoto Shinkai continuing to develop his craft. The results, however, aren't always positive. He remains a master of the landscape or the domestic view, has created probably his best female character yet (though not without shortcomings), and given us his first adventure story, rather than a romance. Yet, beyond the beautiful backgrounds the film seemed mundane and, worse, lacked the emotional impact of his three previous films.

Rating: decent.

Last edited by errinundra on Thu Sep 20, 2012 8:50 am; edited 3 times in total
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 2:50 pm Reply with quote
The Summer Anime season is almost over and I loved it.

Humanity has Declined: This show is weird, funny, thought provoking and unconventional. It had a bit of a sad side to it as well (no teary moments, just a feeling of melancholy or something like it). It's episodes aren't set linear in time. While this is an interesting approach, it has one side effect: the best arc... was the first one (IMO). The spoiler[bread] scene, the spoiler[chickens], the use of spoiler['Ave Maria'] and numerous other aspects of the first arc were brilliant. This doesn't mean the other episodes pale in comparison, not at all. It was a bit sad that spoiler[Assistant vanished] because the series went spoiler[back in time] and we never got to see more of Watashi's spoiler[intelligent hair] or what spoiler[the future] would bring Watashi. The main star in this show remains Watashi with her awesome personality, combined with the fairies and other fun characters. And in terms of absurdity, the series ended a bit like the spoiler[bread] scene with spoiler[ scary stalker Curly destroying a doll] that was meant spoiler[to be a substitute/portrayal of Watashi]. I am a bit sad to see this end. I wanted to know what would happen after the first and second arc, as well as Watashi's childhood.
Rating: Excellent

Kokoro Connect: I didn't agree with the Stream column on this one, I loved the end of the spoiler[unleashed desire] arc. I had some reservations about the spoiler[child] arc, but I trust the series that it'll work out.

Tari Tari: It might be for the first time I have this feeling before a show ends, but I am quite confident that this series will have a fitting ending. I'm also very happy that I continued to watch this, because the series went from 'quite good, but there's something missing' to a touching, inspirational series where the characters develop, face difficulties but where there's still a positive and fun atmosphere.

Sword Art Online: Lots of potential, action and romance, but a bit too many side stories about other girls and the pacing was a bit odd because of it. Nevertheless, it's lots of fun to see the main protagonists, with a girl who can kick ass and a guy who may be too strong - but we've seen enough guys in anime already with no inner nor outer strength.

Natsuyuki Rendezvous: It had a promising start, but no - this isn't a series I'm going to finish. I stopped after seeing episode 7 or 8 (cannot even remember that anymore). The series really went downhill when Shimao spoiler[entered Hazuki's body,] since the relationship that was starting to develop between spoiler[Hazuki and Rokka from then on wasn't real anymore, since she was really talking to Shimao]. It would've been better if spoiler[Shimao was honest] to her, than there could've been some development in spoiler[another way (dealing with loss, saying goodbye to each other).]

Legend of the Galactic Heroes 1-12: The amount of characters that are introduced early on is daunting, but luckily it's my second time watching these episodes. It helps that the names are often shown below characters, just in case you forgot them Wink. I remember that I've stopped somewhere between episode 25 and 35. Why, you ask? Not really a big reason, but I did need some time to come to terms spoiler[with some characters' deaths and maybe the shock was a bit too big Wink]. The series has a very outdated look, but the story has been excellent so far.

RomeoXJuliet: I own this on DVD, so I've been casually enjoying it in the weekends in my father's lazy chair, watching it on a large television with awesome sound.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 3:35 pm Reply with quote
This week it's been nothing but Saint Seiya and Kimagure Orange Road, in a bid to relive my childhood.

God damn the 80s was awesome.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 3:44 pm Reply with quote
The King of Harts wrote:
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.

Pretty much the same way I feel. I actually didn't recognize Eric's voice at first. However, I am glad he came back and voiced Gourry again. No one could really replace that blond and empty headed knight.

The King of Harts wrote:
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.

Well, you've found another David Moo supporter. His take on Xellos is excellent. I was very disappointed that he wasn't in the re-boot. Sinterniklaas did a good job; however, his performance really lacked that "glee" that Moo managed to cram into every single line.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2012 9:13 am Reply with quote
Kimi ni Todoke seasons 1 & 2

Reasons for watching: Enjoyed immensely the first episode during the Best First Episode Tournament; Carl Kimlinger's reviews; had a yearning for a happy romantic comedy

Synopsis: Thanks to her scary appearance, Sawako Kuronoma has never been able to make friends at school despite being a cheerful, friendly soul and actually very pretty. She meets and falls in love with the popular boy Shota Kazehaya when he thanks her for help (most people run away or apologise). Unbeknownst to her he has been equally captivated by her smile. With the assistance of Kazehaya and her new friendship with two savvy schoolgirls, Chizuru Yoshida and Ayane Yano, she begins to blossom, finding ways to earn the affection of her classmates and discovering emotions she had never previously experienced. Standing in the way of Sawako and Kazehaya realising their love is her cluelessness when it comes to social interactions, Kazehaya's diffidence, a rival who schemes to win him for herself and the meddling of various others including an egotistical homeroom teacher and a playboy student. Happily, Chizuru and, particularly, Ayane know when to provide encouragement and when to let things take their natural course.

Sawako could be described, with accuracy, as a do-gooder. Her aims in life are to do well in school, be a normal girl with a circle of friends, and make the world a better place for everyone. When she goes jogging in the morning she takes garbage bags with her to collect litter; she happily takes on all the chores other students avoid; and lovingly tends the school's garden. Rarely has such a goody-goody been so endearing. More often than not such a character will set my teeth on edge: think of Shirou from Fate / Stay Night. Sawako couldn't be further from the Shirou mould. Partly it's the sympathy she engenders thanks to the raw deal she gets but its also thanks to her innate qualities. There's not a whiff of any holier-than-thou attitude about her: she's self-effacing; sees any problem with others as a shortcoming in herself; and she strives to meet people's expectations. Her reaction to her classmates' belief that she can summon ghosts isn't irritation or bravado. Instead she is worried about their disappointment when she can't live up to their expectations. For all that she's anything but a dour character. Her underlying optimism, her comic naivete and her sheer radiance in happy momnts ensure that she is one of the most lovable characters I've met in anime.

Because of her lack of close friendships she understands neither her own nor other people's feelings and motives. As her friendships and her love for Kazehaya grow, the new feelings she experiences are a source of wonder and perplexity to her. Being so guileless with others she can startle them when she says things as she sees them. Her demolition of her rival Kurumi, when the latter's scheming is revealed, is unintended but total. With Kazehaya, as much as she admires him, Sawako just doesn't get what he's on about until late in the second series. This is reflected nicely in the title of the franchise - Kimi ni Todoke. The English Language release translates this as "From Me to You". "Sending to You" or, as Wikipedia puts it, "Reaching You" would be closer. This fits the main theme more appropriately: the difficulties Sawako and Kazehaya have in reaching each other, verbally or emotionally.

Sawako and Kazehaya

As far as appeal goes, Kazehaya can't possibly match Sawako. For sure, he and Sawako totally deserve each other. He's a nice chap too, but doesn't have the range of neuroses that make Sawako so appealing. I suppose it's also because he is the shojo object of desire, as filtered through the eyes of the point of view character. It's a role that, by its nature, sets limits on his character. He also doesn't understand Sawako but he, at least, grasps that she is misguided about him. His consequent forbearance with her is one of his charms, even if it is counterbalanced by his own fear of rejection. Of course, much of the humour of the franchise lies in the viewer knowing what the two protagonists cannot or will not see.

If Sawako is a great creation and Kazehaya acceptably nice, the show has two of the best support characters around in Chizuru and Ayane. Like Sawako, though not as badly, they are outsiders: Chizuru for her tomboyish ways and Ayane for being so comfortable with her sexuality. They immediately grasp her integrity and are then won over totally when Sawako stands up for them. Their individual stories enhance Sawako's. Chizuru's brave handling of her doomed crush on Toru Sanada and her growing acceptance of the right boy, classmate Ryu (Sanada's younger brother), is matched by Ayane's alarming appearance with a bruised face after dumping her emotionally stunted boyfriend. The two young women are sharp, funny and brave. Chizuru's tomboyishness is sweetly balanced by her susceptibility to displays of emotion, while Ayane's romantic savvy means that she is usually the only one who gets the big picture. The two support Sawako to the hilt. Having such supremely likeable and reliable allies adds to the optimism of the franchise. Even when it feels at its most drawn out, they manage to keep things nicely on track.

Ayane and Chizuru

The first of the villains - arch-rival for Kazehaya's affections, Kurumi - is the archetypal conniving woman. Ever popular with students of both sex, she manipulates everyone to make sure that no other girl gets Kazehaya's attention. One of the strengths of the series is that, despite her unpleasant behaviour, she engenders considerable sympathy by the end of the first series. After being caught out in her scheming it becomes apparent that she is as genuine and as anxious in her feelings as anybody else. We also learn that she has her own crosses to bear. In the confrontation mentioned earlier, when Sawako naively tries to understand her motives, Kurumi finds herself crushed by Sawako's raw honesty and by her own meanness. It's a beautifully realised scene. And it's matched by an analogous scene in the second series when a wiser Sawako realises that thanking or apologising to Kurumi is inappropriate, something that even Kurumi acknowledges. Kurumi also, unwittingly, provides a catalyst for Sawako to finally express herself honestly to Kazehaya. Finally, and I know it's unfair, but every time Kurumi opens her mouth all I hear is Haruhi Suzumiya's strained enunciation. I guess it's a major problem for a seiyuu when she is immortalised playing one character.

The villain of the second season - Kento (is he meant to be American?) - is much less convincing. In large part it's because he has a prominent role in the most contrived arc of the franchise, so the plot itself does him no favours. I could never figure out whether he was seriously trying to seduce Sawako, whether he was sadistically trying to create disharmony, or whether he was genuinely but misguidedly trying to help. Perhaps he was doing all three? Whatever he was doing, he didn't enhance the franchise. The rest of the characters were mostly functional, as needed. Homeroom teacher Pin could be funny at times but, just as often, he was annoying, though he did have his moments of unexpected insight.

I haven't decided if it was a good or bad thing, but the franchise sure took its sweet time getting Sawako and Kazehaya to admit and acknowledge their love for each other. I suppose romance and sex is mostly about tension and release but, boy, Kimi ni Todoke is one long tease. I guess it all depends on whether you prefer the build up or the arrival. It got irritating when too many superfluous episodes at the end of the first season and forced conflict in the early parts of the second season acted as a sort of coitus interruptus. The two leads also become unconvincingly and tiresomely self-delusional in the second season. This development doesn't sit well with their earlier guileless honesty. Happily the scene with their final admissions - through a partially closed classroom door - is worth all the wait. This is followed by three ecstatic episodes where the two lovers explore and firmly establish their new reality, and are accepted by their peers. Indeed, the school festival takes on the role of a metaphorical marriage, with its public declaration of vows.

This may be a shojo romance but the truths it espouses - personal integrity and honesty in communication - along with the complexity and appeal of the major characters would do credit to any josei or seinen romance. It drags out the romance far too long, introduces unnecesary complications, forces the two leads into increasingly uncharacteristic behaviour before getting back on track, and has a couple of irritating support characters but with Sawako, Chizuru, Ayane and, to a lesser extent, Kazehaya it has four lovable characters. How many anime can match that? It's like drowning in honey.

Rating: the high end of good.

Last edited by errinundra on Sun Sep 23, 2012 10:21 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2012 11:20 am Reply with quote
That is a very interesting review! CoolVery Happy
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2012 11:41 am Reply with quote
errinundra wrote:
Kimi ni Todoke seasons 1 & 2

I haven't decided if it was a good or bad thing, but the franchise sure took its sweet time getting Sawako and Kazehaya to admit and acknowledge their love for each other.

Imagine what those of us who watched this as it was being broadcast had to go through, waiting week by week. You people who now have the option of watching multi-episodes at a time have it easy!
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2012 4:06 pm Reply with quote
That was a good review/overview, errinundra. The things I like and dislike about the series closely match your own. I rated the series slightly higher (at Very Good) as I thought the absolutely endearing characters and a great resolution made up for the draggy pacing and writing flaws.

Ayane and Chizuru do make great supporting characters. I always thought that Ayane was supposed to be a kogal/gyaru and that Chizuru was supposed to be a yankee, at least in terms of their character designs. Certainly they look and behave as such. The thing is, despite their appearances they are super-nice people who are Sawako's biggest supporters. They're a reminder to viewers that books shouldn't be judged by their covers. When Sawako approached them in the first episode I thought they were going to be horrible bullies to her; boy was I happy to be proven wrong. But Ayane and Chizuru are also a lesson to writers that characters don't have to fit stereotypes.

I've long thought that if Kimi ni Todoke had been a single cour (at the max; it could have easily been an OVA) then it would've been a Masterpiece. Where the story tripped up was the middle of the first season where the pacing dragged significantly, and the entirety of the second season. No, the first season could have been contracted without much difficulty, resulting in a much tighter script. Incidentally this might have helped out the animation budget which was in serious trouble at the two-thirds point. Drop the second season entirely and end the first season (now the only season) with spoiler[a confession during the winter date,] and you would have an amazing twelve- or thirteen-episode show. After all, the major theme was communication, and to have Sawako spoiler[regress at the start of the second season back to her old ways] really got on my nerves (and I wasn't the only one).
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2012 9:21 pm Reply with quote
dtm42 wrote:
...I rated the series slightly higher (at Very Good) as I thought the absolutely endearing characters and a great resolution made up for the draggy pacing and writing flaws...

I'm tempted to rate it as very good. I did say it's at the high end of good. As per our discussion elsewhere, it's a candidate for upgrading.

...Ayane and Chizuru do make great supporting characters... ...When Sawako approached them in the first episode I thought they were going to be horrible bullies to her; boy was I happy to be proven wrong...

So did I. When they found her confession that she couldn't summon ghosts hilarious, I thought they were going to be the series villains. By creating that apprehension the writers cleverly emphasised how good Ayane and Chizuru really are.

Sunday evening edit (Oz EST)

Wolf Children

Saw this tonight as the third instalment in Madman's 2012 Reel Anime Film Festival at Cinema Nova in Carlton.

Synopsis: Hana is a student at a Tokyo university where she meets and falls in love with another student. After he reveals himself to be a wolfman and the last surviving descendent of the Japanese Wolf she invites him to live in her flat where she bears him two children - a daughter Yuki (born on a snowy day) and son Ame (born on a rainy day). Soon after the birth of Ame, the wolfman dies and Hana struggles to raise the wolf cubs / human children without alarming the neighbours, the landlord or the child welfare agency. She figures that the only place to raise two wolf children is to move to a remote mountain village where they can live with minimal interference. In their new home they must come to terms with what the future holds for them.

What do you do if you're a young mother and your wolf child has swallowed something that might be poisonous? Do you take the wolf child to a hospital? Or to a veterinary clinic? Hana faces this very dilemma early in the movie. It may not be apparent from the movie title or the promotional artwork but Wolf Children is a very, very funny movie. Well, most of it is. The film can be divided into three parts: the courting of Hana and the wolfman; Hana the single mum raising two wolfcub children, first in Tokyo, then on a mountainside; and Yuki and Ame choosing whether they want to follow their human or their lupine nature.

The opening courtship and concluding crisis are somewhat more serious in tone but it was the middle section of the movie that won over the audience in the theatre. If Spice and Wolf could be described as fantasy meets economics, then Wolf Children is fantasy meets child rearing with even funnier results. By the end of the film Yuki would be twelve and Ame about a year younger so the section covers about ten years of their lives. The thing to understand is that these children can change form at will. Actually, that's not quite right. It's not until they get older that they have substantial control over their shapechanging. As younger children they constantly flip from one form to the other, particularly when they are excited - not an uncommon thing at their age. And they have a very strong doggy nature combined with the intelligence and resourcefulness of children. Needless to say they shred the furniture, the drapes and any other chewable thing close at hand. Yuki is the over excitable, sociable, communicative puppy, while Ame is timid, quiet and slightly uncanny; Yuki thrives on sensation and activity while Ame is drawn to the natural world; Yuki could be a member of a pack; Ame is the lone wolf. Yuki is quite the mischief-maker - when some elderly visitors arrive she transforms out of sight much to the chagrin of her mother and elicits the response, "Ooh, look. They have matching outfits!" Have you ever seen dogs go troppo and run around is circles? Well, watching a five year wolf girl do it is hilarious.

Sure, they're cute and hilarious, but would you really want children like this?

Not only were the childen funny but they were also extremely kawaii. The audience was university age and upward (the Nova is a couple of blocks from the University of Melbourne). It was also quite vocal in its response to the humour and displays of cuteness. Hearing adult men with loud baritone voices going "dawwww" actually made my skin crawl. Wolf children may be cute, but YOU'RE NOT.

Compared with even From Up On Poppy Hill or Children Who Chase Lost Voices the artwork and animation stands out. I would expect nothing less from Mamoru Hosoda and Madhouse. You see it from the opening image where Hana is lying in a meadow of flowers. Each flower is drawn and moves separately. The fine detail is always sensational: from a bicycle rack at university so real it could almost be live film; to forest scenes detailed down to the grass blades. There's a sequence where Yuki and Ame go racing through snow laden woods then tumbling and flying down a hillside (followed by Hana) that is the most breathtaking piece of Japanese animation I've seen since Paprika about five years ago. The odd thing is that the backgrounds are so realistically detailed that the two dimensional, relatively simple character designs initially look out of place. They almost seem like ghosts in the landscape. I got used to it but it was jarring at first.

The movie has an environmental theme, though it isn't overstated. Like Miyazaki's films it seems to be suggesting that a kind of reconciling of the wild and the civilised is necessary. In Australia the issue is always couched in terms of loss - loss of habitat or loss of economic opportunity. Hosoda, like Miyazaki, stakes no such claims. They simply bring the issue to our attention.

This is Mamoru Hosoda's third major cinema release. While it has no one to match the marvellous Makoto Konno from The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and lacks the complex social interactions of the Jinnouchi clan in Summer Wars, Wolf Children is technically superior to both and much funnier. Like Summer Wars the end seems as if it's being forced on to a thoroughly engaging slice of life tale that doesn't need drama or a message to improve it. Like being a guest at the birthday celebration in Summer Wars, the best part of Wolf Children is just being there with them as they grow up.

Rating: very good.

I'll be seeing the last Reel Anime film, Berserk - The Egg of the King, on Tuesday. After that I should be able to give my typing fingers and your eyeballs a rest. Unless, of course, I whiz through Toradora! quicker than anticipated. Anyway, Berserk will be quite a change of tone - I'm looking forward do it.

Last edited by errinundra on Sun Sep 23, 2012 9:27 pm; edited 4 times in total
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 11:14 am Reply with quote
I'm currently making my way through the original Macross series. I'm 11 episodes in, and I'm considering dropping it in favor of the movie. I assume there are many on here that have seen Macross, so it would be great if someone could guide me in this decision.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 12:25 pm Reply with quote

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 12:39 pm Reply with quote
I've just watched two episodes of Shigofumi. Two episodes full of tragedy. Seriously, I've never experienced such a good character development and their cruel fate in such a short time. Even the first episode of Cross Game wasn't as heartbreaking as this. If Shigofumi will keep it up, then I will definitely rate it as masterpiece. Right now, it's the best first two episodes of all anime I've ever seen. Shocked

Nah,first episode was pretty good for me while second episode was incredibly cheesy and had some really random unrealistic moments.
If I remember correctly third and fourth episodes were the best ones (at least to me). But some episodes have some pretty stupid stuff going on.Overall that was pretty good show glad that people are still watching it.Also have you seen Aoi Bungaku,cause if you wanna have some great realistic character development and tragedy you can't get any better than that.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 12:40 pm Reply with quote

Last edited by Masakaki on Mon Nov 12, 2012 6:46 am; edited 1 time in total
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Location: Where the rain is.

PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 6:06 pm Reply with quote
errinundra wrote:
...Wolf Children...
I've wanted to see this ever since someone used a pic of one of the characters in the Character Guessing Game from the trailer. The trailer gave me high hopes so I'm really glad to hear good things about this movie!

I rewatched Bunny Drop and it was even better the second time around. Rin is so adorable, and I love to watch how mature she is for her age yet still very much a child. I was a little worried I would get different impressions since learning how the manga ends, spoiler[with Rin and Daikichi marrying.] But that didn't affect the heart-warming nature of the show for me at all.
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Joined: 19 Jan 2008
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 7:14 pm Reply with quote
supercreep wrote:
I'm currently making my way through the original Macross series. I'm 11 episodes in, and I'm considering dropping it in favor of the movie. I assume there are many on here that have seen Macross, so it would be great if someone could guide me in this decision.

If you drop the TV show, that's one thing, but don't expect the movie to pick up the slack. The movie is more like an in-universe movie of highly embellished half-truths that they made of past events. Kinda like us making a WWII movie, they'll get the basic story down, but they're still making a movie for the masses. And it's kinda been retconned to be just that within the Macross series as a whole. It looks a lot better, but it's really missing the heart of the TV show if you ask me.
I think the TV show gets better as it goes on, I personally love the trio of Zentraedi spies. The show, as a whole, is simply fugly by today's standards (and there are some scenes which are fugly even by 80s standards), and a lot of its themes have been done to death by today's standards, but I still think Macross does it best. I would say to stick with it past Global's Report (ep 14, an ep you can skip, that ep and another semi-recap ep, #17, came about when the show got extended from 26ish to 36 eps. I wouldn't skip 17, but I would watch it at 1.5 speed), but I can't exactly make you care about the characters or story. The Zentraedi spies come in in ep 12, but don't start their mission until ep 13.
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