ANN Ryutaro Nakamura page

My average ranking: 7.50

Director Pantheon: Ryutaro Nakamura Rating
Colorful (TV) Decent

Sixteen six minute piss-takes on the male gaze and other male fetishes. The content is actually quite mild, if repetitive so, thankfully, it comes in six minute bursts. Whether you think the satire works depends in large part on how funny you find it. Sometimes its hilarious - the godzilla-esque school girl with legs akimbo in Shibuya (pictured above) is the pick of the series - and these moments, along with the rapid-fire format made it, on balance, worthwhile for this viewer. And sometimes I can sympathise with my hapless counterparts sneaking a peek - the sportsgirl Yamamoto, for one, is very sweet.
Ghost Hound (TV) Good

Disappointingly, only stretches of Ghost Hound are as good as Ryutaro Nakamura's best. Certainly, the atmosphere is creepy, thanks especially to the soundscapes. At its very best it gave me goose bumps. The main characters aren't presented simply as types, as happens all too often in anime. They are revealed slowly and grow as the series progresses. Great stuff and very refreshing. On the negative side, long sections of the series give the impression that the story was being stretched out to fill the 22 episodes. Ironically, the ending seems rushed and the outcome just a little too pat. There's a good story here about kids growing up and adults living with past errors, but it too often fails to live up to its early promise or the expectations raised by those earlier series
Kino no Tabi: The Beautiful World (movie) Good

Kino's Journey (TV) Excellent

Stories of various sorts collect around Kino and her motorrad Hermes as they travel from city state to city state. In some ways the series is reminiscent of Mushi-Shi where Ginko travels within a rustic Japan. But the issues that confront Kino are broader social questions rather than the personal crises that afflict the people of Ginko's world. With some exceptions Kino is not a part of the stories that unfold - she arrives, observes as events unfold then continues on her way. It's almost as if she is the manuscript upon which the tale is written. Indeed, Kino's Journey can, on one level, be understood as a sort of post-modern rumination on the art of story telling. Even the artwork, with its prominent horizontal lines suggesting watercolour on paper, is drawing our attention to the constructed nature of what we are viewing. That's not to say the that the dilemmas of the various nations aren't interesting - some episodes are very poignant - but, for me, the series has a dry feel that isn't helped by unengaging characters, including Kino herself. Nevertheless this is a thoughtful and thought provoking anime that deserves its reputation.
REC (TV) Decent

A sweet, sentimental but unremarkable romance: boy and girl meet; sexual tension develops and eventually admitted; rival appears; misunderstandings develop; apologies are given and accepted; love is acknowledged. Just like a squillion other romances. Nice for the soul but there aren't any twists or moments of originality to elevate this above its rating. Which is disappointing because Ryutaro Nakamura has directed some very individual titles.
Serial Experiments Lain (TV) Masterpiece

Although startling first time round Serial Experiments Lain loses its strangeness, but not its charm, once the viewer grasps the correct point of reference and steps through to the other side of the screen, so to speak. (And it's not as if the opening doesn't give enough hints!) Of course, the science behind the connection between humans and the "wired" is a bit dodgy, to say the least, but full marks to Serial Experiments Lain for going somewhere else, somewhere that anime doesn't often try to go. And Lain, herself, is a memorable, split, multi-bit character. In particular, the range of expressions that her animators can manage with the merest changes to her face is remarkable. The overall tone of menace and confusion make this a first rate horror tale without resorting to gore or cheap shocks and Lain's final sacrifice makes for a surprisingly satisfying conclusion.
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