The Boy and the Beast: Heart Of Sword

hisui_icon_4040 One of the problems with success can be that it sets a baseline that can be very hard to live up to. That makes sense. When you have a big hit audiences often don’t just want what the liked with a twist. They want your next work to be bigger, better, deeper, broader, and richer. Anything less can be seen as a failure or step backwards. It can also lead to sequels and follow-up works that overreach their bounds trying to outdo their simpler predecessor. It often leads to big bloated affairs that are merely a pale imitation of what worked. J. D. Salinger and The Catcher in the Rye or Dave Chappelle and Chappelle’s Show are prime examples where an artist was so successful that they run away from the spotlight out of fear that they could not follow-up their big profile success.

Mamoru Hosoda has a lot of high-profile successes. I actively have to rack my brain to think of negative reviews for The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and Summer Wars and all of his films are practically magnets for awards. He is a name that often get brought up when people ask who the next Hayao Miyazaki will be. Heck, even we brought up that idea on the blog. That means lots of eyes are all over whatever he does comparing it what he has done before, what all the best animators in Japan are doing, as well as just putting up his work against the best animation from around the world. You don’t really get that sort of critical analysis if you’re doing the latest Jewelpet movie. This can put a lot of pressure on a director and a movie.

If anyone can live up to that heavy burden it would be Mamoru Hosoda. The real question is not if Hosoda has the potential to overcome this wall of expectations. It is rather can this particular movie do it?

narutaki_icon_4040 The Boy and the Beast marks a departure from Mamoru Hosoda’s other original theatrical releases. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Summer Wars, and Wolf Children were written by or co-written with Satoko Okudera in which Mr. Hosoda worked on the concept and helmed the director’s chair. In the Boy and the Beast Mr. Hosoda also became its sole writer.

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Anime Mirai 2015: Music, Mothers, and Mulch

The biggest problem with Anime Mirai is the titles are rarely streaming. What’s the best known short to come out of this project? Little Witch Academia which earned a great deal of critical acclaim, and became an Internet phenomenon and general darling of fandom. It was streaming on Studio Trigger’s YouTube page. And look at how well-known Trigger is now.

Take another project which gained praise and was even turned into a TV series: Death Billiards. Many people had never even seen the original short that turned into the Death Parade TV series.

Exposure for a project like this makes a huge difference and really isn’t that the point of the project?

All the help in the world would not have made Mechanical Fairies or Ryo mega-hits but they might not have slipped into utter obscurity if they had been streaming. And that seems to be the fate of a lot of these shorts. The Anime Mirai 2014 entries were strong enough to be superstars if they only could have been seen by more people.

Sadly, the Anime Mirai 2015 anime are still not streaming anywhere either. Like last years titles we have decided to draw some attention to these anime as they are usually a unique treat for fans looking for self-contained stories, new talent, and experimental ideas.

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NYICFF 2015: Satellite Girl and Milk Cow

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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