Category Archives: Anime

Japanese hand-drawn or computer animation. Yeah, we watch and review anime- there is NOTHING wrong with that.

Your Name Review | visually stunning, emotionally stimulating

Makoto Shinkai’s (5 Centimeters Per Second, 2007, and The Garden of Words, 2013) latest offering, Your Name, is a stunning piece of animated film.  It takes you on a whimsical YA body-swap adventure that somehow manages to be grounded in reality in spite of the sheer imagination required for such a storyline. Despite pulling on your heartstrings, Your Name doesn’t exactly break it and leaves you satisfied but still wanting more.

Mitsuha and Taki are two total strangers living completely different lives.

But when Mitsuha makes a wish to leave her mountain town for the bustling city of Tokyo, they become connected in a bizarre way- somehow connected to the meteor shower we see at the very beginning of the film.

Mitsuha finds herself in dreams of being a boy living in Tokyo while Taki dreams he is a girl from a rural town he’s never been to.

What does their newfound connection mean? And how will it bring them together?

In its exploration of the line between the beginning and the end, from minute things to the heavier questions of life, the film juxtaposes new and old, the urban sprawl and rural life alongside their male and female counterparts while allowing the audience both healthy doses of laughter and poignant moments of heartache.

It’s almost like being a daydream yourself, however everyone is speaking Japanese and of course it’s animated, not live-action.

The J-Pop soundtrack is lit, drawing you into the film straight away and complimenting the visual brilliance of the landscapes and forces of nature quite brilliantly.

Check it out when you can, it’s great to see on a huge screen I tell ya. Find out where, in NZ, and go see it! The film opens for a limited screening run on Dec 1st.

I’ve heard people compare Shinkai to Hayao Miyazaki, calling him Miyazaki’s heir apparent, but I can’t say the comparison is fair. Shinkai’s work is its own beast, and Your Name has a quality to it that isn’t Miyazaki but that’s a good thing in that we should be allowed quality work that isn’t cut from the same stone, or that follows a similar kind of format.

You’ll be thinking about the film’s plot and trajectory long after the vividness of the the painted cityscapes have faded from the screens, they become etched in your mind along with thoughts of ‘what next’ after that final scene.

Watch the trailer below, beyond the trailer are our honourable mentions RIFE with spoilers so continue at your own risk!

Honourable Mentions:

  • Just one because I’ve talked enough: Taki, you had ONE job just before twilight hit and Mitsuha disappeared. Write your name on her palm but instead he writes “I love you” and as cries and smiles before saying, “Idiot…I can’t remember your name with this…” I’m sitting in the theatre trying not to yell out TAKI YOU HAD ONE JOB. ONE JOB!
  • Huh and who’s have thought it was also a time travelling tale on TOP of the the body-swap?
  • Every time they’d wake up in each other’s bodies and Taki kept getting snapped fondling Mitsuha’s boobs was always a crack up- each time you think… nah he won’t this time, zoink the door opens he’s like: mdvdrif

The Boy and the Beast | Review

The Boy and the Beast Studio Chizo’s latest, by filmmaker Mamoru Hosoda (Summer WarsWolf ChildrenThe Girl Who Leapt Through Time), is a visually stunning hand-drawn animation, that is equal parts action-packed coming-of-age buddy film and semi-realistic but spectacularly fantastical epic.

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Released in Japan last year, and killing it domestically at Japan’s box office, it’ll finally be released to New Zealand theatres on March 3rd 2016- with both subbed and dubbed versions available.

The Boy and the Beast is set between both current day Tokyo and a parallel world – called Jutengai – that resembles feudal-era Japan populated by humanoid beasts. And follows a nine-year-old boy named Ren, who runs away from home and accidentally finds himself in Jutengai, where he becomes the apprentice of a prickly bear-man-beast named Kumatetsu- who renames Ren ‘Kyuta’ according to his age.

We see the progression of their relationship, and Ren’s time in Jutengai, through a montage of hilarious moments where the two clash constantly. These moments become poignant as you see their relationship move from antagonistic apprentice and irritable teacher who don’t mesh well at all, to antagonistic teenaged apprentice and irritable teacher who still don’t seem to mesh well but work nonetheless.

The film is visually stunning, however what makes it worthwhile are the characters. They fill the worlds up nicely and the development of the ‘master and apprentice’ relationship is not one-dimensional, there are layers to the friendships and bonds which the film allows the audience to discern for themselves. 

Granted there are moments where cliched life-lessons are thrown at you left, right and centre, however when you look beyond the usual ‘fight bad with good’ and ‘you can do it’ cliches there are heavy issues addressed tastefully. Notions of depression and abandonment, as well as the effects these can have on a person, and how different people deal with these issues are juxtaposed against a fantastical world where humans are more or less banned because of these issues and their effects- which residents of Jutengai refer to as ‘the darkness’.

Action and battle scenes are just as epic as the lighthearted bickering scenes are hilarious, and poignant moments are both heart wrenching and heartwarming.

The film is equal parts hilarious, heartwarming and well executed.

Hosoda’s not one to tie everything up nicely, however. There are a few twists you may or may not figure out before they’re revealed, and just like in real life not everything is prettily resolved and easily sorted.

If you like a good epic, with funny bits and well-developed characters give The Boy and the Beast a shot.

You can catch The Boy and the Beast in NZ cinemas from March 3rd onwards at any of the locations below:

Academy Cinema Auckland

Event Cinemas Albany

Event Cinemas Manukau

Event Cinemas Queen St

Event Embassy Theatres

Hoyts Cinemas Wairau Park

Hoyts Metro

Hoyts Riccarton

Hoyts Sylvia Park

Tokyo Ghoul Season 1 Collection Uncut – Review

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Just finished binge watching Tokyo Ghoul season 1 collection uncut, 300 minutes of blood, gore, a number of story lines- most of which are kind of hit and miss- and a tiny smidgen of character development, woohoo!

Remember when I reviewed the first episode after it premiered on Anime Lab and said I would review each ep as it came out? Yeah I lied, but only because I got extremely busy and couldn’t watch weekly. I’m so sorry.

But the kind folk at MadMan sent us the season 1 collection, which was released in December of last year, for our viewing pleasure.

Serves me right to be left on such a cliffhanger after finally getting around to and binge-watching the 12 episodes. Word of caution, it ends in the middle of the huge showdown, just as something major occurs.

(However season 2 is out and you can catch the episodes on Anime Lab.)

But let’s talk about that first season, which may have been more about that blood and gore and less about a coherent storyline and character development. This doesn’t necessarily mean I didn’t enjoy watching it.

Because although it took 12 episodes for Kaneki to become a badass, and they introduced a tonne of characters in the last 3 episodes that you had to keep up with in a short amount of time, and some characters didn’t fully get developed in that time, the first season made me want to keep watching.

Whether this was because of the cliffhanger or whether it’s from genuinely being into the anime, I’m not sure.

But I say give it a go, I started reading the manga and while they kept a few things the same the anime is its own beast as it diverges from the source material heavily.

And yep, season 3 has also been confirmed.

Stray thoughts contain spoilers so read ahead at your own risk:

  • Ken gets a hundred times more attractive once he accepts the fact that he’s a ghoul and metaphorically eats dead Rise who’s inside him- yeah I know how that sounds.
  • Touka’s still my favourite, even if she’s currently getting her ass kicked by her younger brother.
  • Best lesson to learn, if you try to be kind to everyone- you might die.

The Collected Works of Hayao Miyazaki Are Epic

Miyazaki Set

Hayao Miyazaki, one of the founders of Studio Ghibli, one of the most famous directors in his field and a renowned artist has a box set of 11 of his feature films. At age 73, Hayao Miyazaki retired after stating that 50 years is a long time in his industry. So his films like Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro released in 1979 to The Wind Rises, his latest to date in 2013 can be found in his collection, which can be purchased here.

As expected of Hayao Miyazaki, one of the most admired animators ever, all his films were great with strong female characters that develop throughout the film which contrasts in comparison to other animated females who too often portrayed as weak, and one-dimensional with no character development.

And the absence of the typical “bad vs good” plot in his animations is replaced with ones that show characters surviving among the “bad” as realistically, the “bad” is not something that can be so easily gotten rid of.

The animations themselves were well done with it’s characters moving with human-like movements, and drawn either by hand with the use of water colours with little computer graphics used.

The environment in his films are always so detailed and they’re so beautiful, especially the sky. The sky in Hayao Miyazaki’s films are absolutely amazing.

And of course I’m being completely biased when I say that Spirited Away was my favourite film as it was the first animated film I ever remember watching. It made me want to be just like Chihiro, a strong and kind girl. I was in love with the colours and I never really understood a lot of the characters until now. The themes are so well thought out and carefully shown throughout the film. Hayao Miyazaki’s films always leave a strong impression and he more you think about the meanings of his films, the deeper they seem.

The Collected Works of Hayao Miyazaki is a box set that I’m super happy that we have and I’ve grown so attached to the characters with well thought out storylines. I highly recommend it and they’re never boring.

 

Attack On Titan Live-Action Coming To NZ Cinemas

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Holy Wall Sina, Madman Entertainment have announced that the ATTACK ON TITAN live-action movie will screen in New Zealand theatres this year.

Director, Shinji Higuchi, confirmed that there will be two films and that with the supervision of Hajime Isayama, the story will be based on the world and characters of the manga, while incorporating new characters and new formidable enemies.

Check out the subbed trailer below:

What do you think?

Read the film’s synopsis:

100 years ago, titans suddenly appeared on Earth. Soon, human civilization veered on collapse due to the titans. Humans then built a giant wall to defend themselves. Within the giant walls, humans lived in peace, but, 100 years later, the giant wall is broken.

Black Butler – “One Hellish Butler”

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I’m going to be straight with you, I haven’t seen the anime or read the manga which the live-action Black Butler film is based on. I know next to nothing about the anime or the manga, save for fanvids I’ve watched on YouTube, and will be basing this review solely off the movie alone. So leggo!

Black Butler is a film that I’ve been wanting to watch for a while now after stumbling across a fanvid of it in my search for kdrama fmvs. After witnessing some badass action scenes in the fmv, I was hyped for some kickass fight scenes with scary, brooding characters and a whole lot of blood. But here’s the trailer, which definitely (okay, probably) contains less spoilers than this review.

Directed by Kentaro Otani and Keiichi Sato, it’s a live-action adaption of the manga Kuroshitsuji by Yana Toboso, with Ayame Goriki as the female lead Shiori Genpo and Hiro Mizushima as the demon butler Sebastian Michaelis. Set in the future, year 2020, the plot follows the story of a young girl out for revenge after witnessing the murder of her parents. She disappears, and returns later as a boy with an entirely new identity, and alongside her, a butler. In exchange for help in her plan to take revenge against those who killed her parents, she offers her soul to the demon, Sebastian, which he’ll consume after aiding in Shiori’s revenge.

Sure, it has a pretty cliche and overdone storyline, but it was well executed and didn’t come across too predictable. The gore was okay, it freaked me out a little (especially the scene where that guy gets mummified), but it wasn’t so bad that I was afraid to leave the room without all the lights on. What originally sparked my interest in this film were the fight scenes, which were very nicely choreographed and edited just as well.

Especially in this fanvid, which omfg slaaayyyyssssssss!

Although this is my absolute favourite fmv for this film!

But on a very serious note, I TOTALLY LOVED THIS MOVIE AND THOUGHT ABOUT IT DAYS AFTER WATCHING IT. Hiro is bae (hella), Ayame is bae (double hella and she looks like my other bae, D.O Kyungsoo), and although I’ll forever have nightmares about being mummified, I’d rewatch this without a doubt. Also considering this is based off the manga and anime, I think I’ll be checking those out, too!

He’s so attractive. She’s so attractive. This was actually one of my favourite scenes, and I just think they’re precious little babies who need to take over the world and consume a bunch of souls and rid this universe of all evil while at the same time being the most evil (and sexy) beings around.

Attack On Titan – Live Action Character Pics

Haruma Miura as Eren

 

Japanese film news websites Eiga and Sanspo unveiled the first character visuals (including new film-only characters) for the upcoming live-action Attack on Titan films. And holy colossal do they look legit. The 3D Maneuver Gear and swords are ON POINT. Be in for some surprising weaponry, however. And a lack of a certain Survey Corps Special Operations Squal Leader, Levi. WHERE IS LEVI?! Ahem.

In regards to cast selection, producer Yoshihiro Sato advised he didn’t pay as much attention to whether or not the cast members looked like the original characters- I guess that means they’re not going to dye Hongo’s hair blond- although I do believe they nailed Mikasa’s look. Kiko Mizuhara is so damn pretty, so here’s to hoping she’s also a badass. According to Sato, through many a discussion with Hajime Isayama (the original creator of Attack on Titan), they went with actors who could act out the “characters’ spirits.” I dig it, here’s to hoping Miura plays Eren with a little less whining though.

Director, Shinji Higuchi, confirmed that there will be two films and that with the supervision of Isayama, the story will be based on the world and characters of the manga, while incorporating new characters and new formidable enemies. Interesting. Yuusuke Watanabe (Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods, live-action Gantz, Gantz II: Perfect Answer, 20th Century Boys, Gatchaman) is writing the script, along with Tomohiro Machiyama, friend of Isayama. Surely any friend of Isayama is a friend of ours?

Both films are slated to open next summer. YAASSSS Attack on Titan 2015!!

 

Check out your favs (Hanji looks amaze tbh) below:

Kiko Mizuhara as Mikasa

Okay, so I’m hearing a lot of hoo-hah about ‘isn’t Mikasa supposed to be the only Asian left in the SNK world? She’s the only one who looks the least Asian’. Sure, the manga makes it a point that she is but guys this is a Japanese franchise- find me some white actors who can speak fluent Japanese to play the other characters before you start critizing the casting.

Kanata Hongo as Armin

 

Satomi Ishihara as Hanji

Hanji’s RPG tho’. Wut? Do you reckon (especially with what looks like a tank in one of the photos below) they’ve upped the technology a bit? They still use swords because it’s the easiest to slay a titan with, but perhaps they also have the use of other heavy artillery?

Nanami Sakuraba as Sasha

 

Takahiro Miura as Jean

There are also seven characters that are new to the film versions of the story. According to Sanspo reports Hasegawa’s character Shikishima holds the key to the film’s story as “humanity’s strongest man.” Hmmmmm, check them out below:








Hit us with your thoughts below! Like, love, loathe? If you haven’t read our reviews of the first season check them out here: Part 1 | Part 2.