Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

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NYICFF 2015: Satellite Girl and Milk Cow

March 16, 2015

narutaki_icon_4040 One day, a satellite crashes to earth colliding with a walking incinerator which is chasing a cow. That satellite transforms into young woman Il-ho. And that cow is actually a young musician named Kuang-chan who has been transformed by his broken heart. The incinerator monster is trying to gobble up all the sad people who have been transformed. Thus Satellite Girl and Milk Cow meet.

The film is mostly 2D animation, and a lot of it looks like Flash, with moments of CG thrown in. The film has a good grasp of timing and physical comedy even if it can’t execute it with a lot of beauty. While the animation is not much to look at, SG&MC has other qualities that make it special.

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Manga of the Month: Mobile Suit Gundam The Origin

March 7, 2015

Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin
(機動戦士ガンダム THE ORIGIN) by Yoshikazu Yasuhiko

hisui_icon_4040 While several series might have been laid the foundations Yoshiyuki Tomino’s anime Mobile Suit Gundam is the father of the real robot genre. The anime brought an unpredicted level of realistic politics, warfare, and characterization to a genre that was previously filled with near magical (or is the case of Brave Raideen actually magical) giant robots fighting monsters. The idea that mecha could be mass-produced machines of war like tanks or planes changed the way those stories are told in a myriad of ways.

But there are two things to remember. The first was while Gundam was revolutionary it still had its feet half way in the genre that spawned it. There series still has some major super robot elements. The MA-04X Zakrello sums that up perfectly. The second is that Tomino is an odd duck. The good luck charm section of the Gundam novels is a prime example. While Gundam has been memorialized as a game changing series it is hardly perfect.

Jump ahead to June 2001. Yoshikazu Yasuhiko starts the Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin manga. It is pretty much proof that hindsight is 20/20. It is a retelling of the original story twenty-two years later. As the original character designer for Mobile Suit Gundam Yoshikazu Yasuhiko was intimately involved with the orignal production of the series. Therefore he knew the ins and outs of the series including what worked, what they had to cut, and what had not aged well with the original production. Overall the story is the same but this time Yoshikazu Yasuhiko has had over two decades of criticism, analysis, experience to make an updated version of one of the most famous Japanese science fiction stories of all time.

Could this remake live up to the original?

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NYICFF 2015: When Marnie Was There

March 6, 2015

narutaki_icon_4040 This year’s New York International Children’s Film Festival started off on a pretty high note, especially as an anime fan. The opening night premiere was the latest film from an anime production team that needs no introduction: Studio Ghilbi.

When Marnie Was There (pronounced: MAR-knee) begins with one of the classic setups for children’s stories: moving from the city to the country and discovering a bit of magic in the process. Tween Anna is living in the city but after another bad attack of her asthma her mother decides to send her to the country. Anna makes her way from the bustling streets of Sapporo to a small seaside village to stay with relatives she barely knows.

Once Anna arrives, she falls in love with a beautiful foreign mansion overlooking the marsh. I understood her because I too wanted to paint the house and walk its halls. Anna spends most of her days exploring the area, drawing, and playing with the little girl who lives there, Marnie.

At the same time, reality starts to get blurry.

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Lupin the 3rd VS. Detective Conan: The Movie—Turbo Engine Skateboard VS. Walther P38

March 2, 2015

(Watch for free on Hulu)

narutaki_icon_4040 It is rather hard to believe that we have only recently seen an official team-up of Detective Conan and Lupin the 3rd considering both have been mega-franchises for so long. Detective Conan movies are already known for their splashy, high-stakes situations and a penchant for putting in as many characters from the Conan universe as they can. So doubling up by adding the all-star cast of Lupin the 3rd just sounds so right.

Despite the obvious love that Japan has for these characters, they have both only had middling success stateside with the exception of something like The Castle of Cagliostro. To say that seeing the Lupin the 3rd VS. Detective Conan: The Movie streaming was a shock would be a huge understatement. This film is not licensed by an American company and probably won’t be. Plus, unlike TV series, theatrical anime is still a lot less likely to be streamed so we are constantly missing out on titles.

hisui_icon_4040 If you pay attention to any sort of comic book news you will notice people endlessly debating the merits of a Batman VS. Superman movie. I mostly bring that up not so the comments can be a quagmire of angry nerds but because it shows a desire for fans to see their favorite characters interact. That is the reason that comics crossovers sell so well, people makes games like Super Robot Wars, and odd things like a SuperWhoLock fandom exists. Anime and manga is no exception. CLAMP and Go Nagai have often done this with their own series. One Piece and Toriko as well as Fairy Tail and Yankee-kun to Megane-chan have had joint adventures. There was even a Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha and Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA crossover but the less you think about that the better. The characters of Nisekoi and My Love Story!! have even officially met at one point in time. And this is all outside of fan-fiction which breaks any and all barriers.

But rarely have two properties has an almost gravitational pull like that of Lupin the 3rd and Detective Conan. They are practically designed to fit together seamlessly. Lupin is the world’s most notorious thief and Conan is secretly the world’s greatest detective. Ever since Sherlock Holmes Arrives Too Late there has been a rivalry phantom thieves and detectives so it is only natural for them to clash. While Conan already has Magic Kaito (or considering the order in which they were created maybe I should say Magic Kaito already has Conan) it hardly diminishes the excitement over this clash. Like the old saw of who would win in a fight between Superman and Goku I think fans of either franchise would be curious to see who would come out on top.

Is Conan smarter than the thief with many-colored jackets or is the Lupin’s Walther P38 more dangerous than the boy detective’s wit?

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