Archive for the ‘Family/Childrens’ Category


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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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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Anime Mirai 2014: Don’t You (Forget About Me)

February 2, 2015

hisui_icon_4040 I thought that 2014 would be different. The first two batches of the Young Animator Training Project came and went with little fanfare. When the project was initially announced there was a lot of praise as it seemed exactly the sort of initiative that a good deal of the commenters wanted the anime industry to do in hopes of promoting new talent. But in the time between when Anime Mirai titles are revealed and when they are released is long enough that most people in the English-speaking world have forgotten about them. Add to that the simple fact that they are not streaming as another barrier. If this was started five or six years ago it would be a different story. Enough people still regularly downloaded fan-subs so they might have gone to their favorite aggregator site and downloaded a peculiar one shot out of mere curiosity. But now that streaming is so prevalent that if a title is not legally online it practically becomes invisible unless it has some insane amount of hype or a legacy behind it. Overall the animation made for the Anime Mirai came and went with little fan fare. Certain titles may have been important to individual fans but overall they never made a noticeable splash.

Little Witch Academia seemed like it would have changed all of that.  It was the first title that really grabbed people’s attention and became a phenomenon. It got to the point where Trigger officially put it on Youtube and that snowballed into a fevered pitch that launched an insanely successful Kickstarter. While Death Billiards did not get that same momentous level of success it currently has its own TV series so the general halo effect can’t be ignored. Ryo and Alv Rezul – Mechanical Fairies did not get to share in that rising tide but they were also inferior productions (in my humble opinion). Still it seemed like Anime Mirai had finally come into prominence.

Then in 2014 the next batch of titles came and went with absolutely no celebration or hoopla. They have not been totally ignored. There are a decent number of reviews of all the titles. But the level of interest fell back to the same blasé disinterest that it had been before Little Witch Academia. I only knew that this years titles were out because a fan-sub of Harmonie appeared as a recommended title on YouTube after watching an unrelated Loading Ready Run sketch. I feel like that is a real shame since this was a pretty strong selection this year. So I hope that this post might get a few more people to check out this year’s batch.

narutaki_icon_4040 Remember when it was thought the Anime Mirai project would go away? I am so glad it didn’t, because as Al said, it really has come to be something special despite the lack of fanfare. While Little Witch Academia and Death Billiards are clearly the best known from the project, there is a lot of other fantastic work on display. It is nice to also see short films that are purely created as short films in which they can play more and try different things. It is amazing how much you can communicate within 30 minutes.

I’d really love to see Anime Mirai work shown here in the U.S., it would be perfect for film festivals or special, limited engagements. Come on Gkids, make this happen!


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