Kizumonogatari: Beware That, When Fighting Monsters, You Yourself do not Become a Monster…

hisui_icon_4040_round This post is four reviews for the price of one. You can’t beat value like that. Mind you this site is free but I still think the economical nature of this post is undeniable.

I decided that I would review all three Kizumonogatari movies as well as the original novel in one post. While I was given a copy of the Kizumonogatari novel right after I saw the first movie I decided that I would wait to read it until after I watched all three movies. It is a well-known phenomenon that visual adaptations tend to get much harsher reviews if the critic has read the source material first. I wanted to give both versions as fair as shake as I can so that is why I am bundling all four reviews into one review.

As this is a Nisio Isin series that focuses on vampires there is absolutely no chance of Kate participating in this review. Much like crosses and vampires, I’m fairly certain that Kizumonogatari actually acts as a ward against Kate and possibly does 2d6 damage under the right circumstances.

I also wanted to mention that these Kizumonogatari movies have been in a bit of limbo for a while. The films were originally announced all the way back in July 2010. After several delays and the release of later books as TV series, the release of Kizumonogatari became a bit of a running joke among fans of the series as it was trapped in development hell. In fact, Shaft released 2 multi-part seasons of different parts of the Monogatari series before they released these three movies. More and more points of the anime referenced the plot in Kizumonogatari with the assumption that people had read the book so anyone who only watched the anime just had to piece what happened in the third book by inference. That too became a bit of a running joke with English-speaking fans.

I don’t really know why the movies got delayed as long as they did. It is certainly not a Duke Nukem Forever train wreck despite being delayed so long. In fact, it is on par with everything else that has come before it with a bit more theatrical polish. I mostly wanted to mention that as a bit of history especially if anyone reads this post years after the movies come out it would be very easy to not ever realize how much later these movies came out then it was originally scheduled.

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Ancien and the Magic Tablet: Radical Dreamers


hisui_icon_4040_round As I have mentioned several times on the blog and podcast we have been getting anime movies in English far sooner than we have in the past. In the age of streaming in English, an hour after a TV show comes out in Japan movies and OVA are much easier to forget. When a movie comes out a year after the fanfare has died out in Japan it can be easy for it to get lost in the shuffle. Now titles that are part of big franchises or are from certainly noted directors are remembered but everything else depends on marketing. I mean how many people remember that Harmony existed or that The Empire of Corpses got an English release? Now let’s be honest. Not every film would be memorable if it got a simultaneous release. Some mediocre and rotten films were made to be forgotten. But there has been a distinct move with the help of new distribution methods like Fathom Events that make it much simpler to help the great films that would find a wider audience if they come here sooner.

That said the release of Ancien and the Magic Tablet is sort of crazy. It played at the New York International Children’s Film Festival the day after it was released in Japan. When we got Your Name as quickly as we did I was impressed. The fact that Kenji Kamiyama was doing the Q&A in New York not long after the Japanese debut is impressive if somewhat masochistic. I hardly expect such an amazing turns around on a regular basis but it is amazing when it happens. (If they want to do such things with the Heaven’s Feels movies I won’t complain.)

One of the major benefits of the near simultaneous screenings is that I went into Ancien and the Magic Tablet with almost no expectations or preconceived notions. I only really saw the little picture on the NYICFF website and nothing else. I knew it was directed by Kenji Kamiyama but I did not even read the synopsis. I wanted to experience it as pure as possible. Considering how bombarded you can be with trailers, previews, spoilers, and interviews you often have to take a very conscious effort to go into a movie fresh so I decided that I would take the opportunity when it was presented to me on a silver platter.

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Anime Tamago 2016: Post-apocalyptic RYB Time-traveling Seiryu

hisui_icon_4040_round I feel it is best to start with a brief introduction of what Anime Tamago is. If you’re a longtime reader of the blog you will have seen our previous reviews of the Young Animator Training Project films. Since 2010 four short animated films are funded by the project in hopes of encouraging new talent in the anime industry. If you have ever heard about the project it was most probably because of either Little Witch Academia or Death Billiards. They were the biggest titles that the project has produced. Both of them have their own TV series and developed a dedicated fan following. Since then due to a number of factors, nothing else has really taken off like those two shows from 2013. For the last four years the entries for the year were known as the Anime Mirai shorts but this year they were re-branded as the Anime Tamago shorts.

While these shorts have fallen off the radar of a sizable amount of the fandom we still think they are worth examining. Most of these titles either come from either relatively fresh-faced crews or people who have been in the industry for a while but have been promoted to higher positions than they might normally have. Not all of these are spectacular or even good. Actually, some of them have been downright awful. But these titles are a good way of seeing who might very well be an up and comer in the anime industry. Today’s random Anime Tamago director or animator might be tomorrow’s superstar.  

One of the major downsides of this project that keeps it from being well-known in the English-speaking world is that fansubbers have an extremely varied interest in the titles. Some shorts from Young Animator Training Project get subbed near instantly. On the other hand, I only recently discovered that someone got around to subbing Parol’s Future Island despite the fact it came out in 2014. It really all depends on the tastes of whoever is still out there doing fansubs. None of these are guaranteed to ever get subbed. Therefore we watched two of the films without subtitles. We had no subtitles for Colorful Ninja Iromaki and Kacchikenee! and were forced to watch them raw.

So far we have yet to have any Young Animator Training Project films that had a super dense narrative and at the same time was not subtitled. I can’t guarantee we caught all the nuance of the shows we watched raw but I am fairly confident we understood the broad strokes thanks to anime being a visual medium and the stories being fairly simple. I do wonder when we will collide with a show like Kuro no Sumika: Chronus where we would miss major parts of the story without the translated dialog. But I suppose we will figure out how to cross that bridge when we get to it.

narutaki_icon_4040_round This project is always full of surprises and that’s what holds my interest year after year. While these shorts aren’t indie projects, they are still a little off the beaten path most of the time. What I really enjoyed from this time around was that three out of four were more in the children and family category. And even the fourth one wasn’t especially far from that.

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