Anime

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Michael Kerpan
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Re: Anime

#326 Post by Michael Kerpan » Mon Mar 02, 2020 6:04 pm

Girls' Last Tour (Ozaki 2017)

A 5 hour (12 part) story set in the future, with earth as a totally devastated wasteland (albeit with various facilities here and there still running on autopolot -- until they run out of resources or break down. Two sisters in a motorized vehicle travel through this terrain, meeting almost no other living beings (even animals and plants seem to have disappeared). The environmental designs and music are excellent -- and the girls' very cute character designs helps lighten the grimness of the overall story (thoughts of death are never far away). The best analogy for this would be -- it's like something by Samuel Beckett, but with cute girls. Almost surely the most "philosphical" anime since Haibane Renmei back in 2002.

One of the loveliest moments occurs when the girls take refuge from a rain storm in a leaky shelter -- and discover they can make "music" from the dripping water. One basic motif throughout is finding joy even when faced with the (objectively) direst of circumstances -- having a warm bath, washing clothes, finding packets of C rations, watching the still working street lights at night -- or a full moon.

Unfortunately the version of this on Amazon Prime, suffers from disastrously bad syncing of sound and image on numerous episodes. This is also available on VRV with proper synchronization (and on BluRay).

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Re: Anime

#327 Post by Michael Kerpan » Sun Mar 08, 2020 6:33 pm

Kaiba (Yuasa 2008)

Retro-looking character designs (Astoboy, Future Boy Conan-ish) only temporarily mask the weirdness of this science fiction adventure story (written by Yuasa himself, I believe). Our young hero starts out the movie with no memories, a hole through the middle of his chest, and a picture locket. Bodies are commodities for the rich in this universe -- and memories/personalities can be saved, swapped and edited (and inserted in newer bodies, if needed). Our hero goes through a number of transformations throughout the 12 episodes. The story is confusing and apocalyptic -- but the visuals are usually pretty striking. Without a doubt, Yuasa is the least Miyazaki-esque of Japan's new star animation directors (thoiugh it took him a LONG time to get more than token recognition). I would rate him along with Hosoda as the most consistently interesting. (seen on Crunchyroll)

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Re: Anime

#328 Post by Michael Kerpan » Sun Mar 08, 2020 6:35 pm

No Matter How I Look at It, It's You Guys' Fault I'm Not Popular (Oonuma 2013)
An interesting, generally well-done 12-episode animated series about a very socially maladroit first-year high school girl. Retrospective scenes suggest she was always a bit weird and geeky -- but she seems to have totally decompensated going into high school. Hardly able to talk to others, even teachers. No friends (other than one from middle school -- who seems to have bloomed upon entering high school, becoming cuter and more popular). She makes one shastly social mistake after another (causing even her little cousin -- who once looked up to her -- to pity her). As cringe-inducing (in its way) as Austen's Emma -- but at least Tomoko mainly seems to hurt herself when she makes her blunders. The anime doesn't quite make it though the first year of school -- and our "heroine" has made only minimal progress at best by the time it ends. Apparently, however, she does improve her social skills (and courage) somewhat as the manga continues. Not going to rank at the top of my anuime list -- but worth watching once.

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Re: Anime

#329 Post by Michael Kerpan » Sat Mar 14, 2020 7:39 pm

Laid-Back Camp (Kyogoku 2018) (seen on Crunchyroll)

A delightful, slow-paced animated mini-series about a high school outdoors activity club -- whose members are making their first foray into winter camping. Lovely characters, beautiful scenery -- mostly form Yamanashi Prefecture (in and around Mt Fuji), with some forays into the even more mountainous Nagano Prefecture. Lots of camping (and camp cooking) tips. Little or no "action". Just about perfect for my taste. ;-)

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Re: Anime

#330 Post by colinr0380 » Sat Mar 14, 2020 8:15 pm

Glass Reflection also recommended Laid-Back Camp very highly recently too. Neo magazine has also been highly recommending the rather lost in cultural translation titled I Want To Eat Your Pancreas too, which is apparently actually a Love Story-style terminal illness romance than anything zombie-like!
Last edited by colinr0380 on Sun Mar 15, 2020 5:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Michael Kerpan
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Re: Anime

#331 Post by Michael Kerpan » Sat Mar 14, 2020 8:25 pm

In these days of covid-19 seclusion, what could be better than a sweet-natured look at camping in incredibly beautiful locations. There is a live-action version pending -- which doesn't interest me at all...

IWtEyP is a title that sounds hard to swallow... ;-)

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Re: Anime

#332 Post by yoloswegmaster » Sat Mar 14, 2020 9:25 pm

I would also recommend My Roommate is a Cat. It's a nice and comfy show about a reclusive and introverted manga artist who adopts a stray cat (whose POV is also shared) and ends up being forced into social interactions because of it.

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Re: Anime

#333 Post by Michael Kerpan » Sat Mar 14, 2020 10:45 pm

I've just started Tsuki ga kirei (which looks promising) -- but I'll check out MRiaC afterwards.

Anyone else watching the new (and ongoing) Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken (Yuasa's most recent)?

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Re: Anime

#334 Post by feihong » Sun Mar 15, 2020 2:04 pm

I'm watching Eizouken. It's the most exciting anime I've seen in years, maybe since Penguindrum. I was really admiring the cumulative effect of the discreet character development, spread almost at random over the course of the show, especially when the student council member shows up to hang out with the Eizouken. Tons of little character details coalescing across the episodes means we already kind of know the student council member when she appears at the end of the episode, even though she's only shown up briefly a few times previously. I kind of hope she ends up joining the Eizouken. I thought they might be hinting at that at the end there.

I wonder if Covid–19 will delay production on these current shows? I'm not clear on how close to release date some of these shows are completed.

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Michael Kerpan
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Re: Anime

#335 Post by Michael Kerpan » Sun Mar 15, 2020 4:20 pm

Yes. I thought it was kind of nice that the grumpy Student Council officer seemed to be softening towards the film club. ;-)

Looking forward to tonight's new episode.

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Re: Anime

#336 Post by feihong » Mon Mar 16, 2020 4:38 pm

Shoot. It looks like Eizouken is only 12 episodes. So it's almost over. Sunday's episode definitely felt like it was heading towards a conclusion of some sort.

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Re: Anime

#337 Post by Michael Kerpan » Mon Mar 16, 2020 5:52 pm

Only one more...

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Re: Anime

#338 Post by Michael Kerpan » Thu Mar 19, 2020 2:11 pm

Tsuki ga kirei / As the Moon, So Beautiful (Kishi 2017) (tile comes from a story by Souseki Natsume -- and can be used as a way to say "I love you")

A lovely little series about middle school first-love -- played more straight than Teasing-Master Takagi-san -- and adults play a bigger (albeit only supporting) role. The protagonists here are much more goal directed (the boy interested in literary writing, the girl a track star and top student) -- and (both being shy) face more obstacles to their relationship. TgK is set in picturesque Kawagoe (Tochigi) rather than on picturesque Shodoshima (like Takagi) and the location shots are lovely. I actually recognized Kawagoe in the first shot of the first episode. The characters are interesting, well-acted and well-drawn. Only flaws are an annoying recap episode (no. 6) and a pretty minor subplot about a teacher-student (mutual) crush.

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Re: Anime

#339 Post by Keyrek » Sat Apr 04, 2020 5:14 am

Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju and March Comes in Like a Lion are two of my favorite "prestige" anime series of recent years. Both are firmly realist dramas that are ostensibly about unfamiliar (to me) Japanese cultural institutions, rakugo and shogi. Of the two, Rakugo Shinju is more about rakugo than March Lion is about shogi; Rakugo Shinju traces how a craft is passed down from generation to generation as well as the necessity of an artform to adapt to the changing cultural appetites of its audiences. All this is deployed as an extended flashback that is anchored by a juicy love triangle in S1, while S2 shows how a newer generation has to set the course for rakugo in the future as it's stubbornly guided by the older. March Comes in Like a Lion has more of a Jekyll/Hyde personality: there are scenes of intense brooding by its lonely adolescent main character as he awkwardly navigates the professional shogi world contrasted with scenes of overwhelming warmth whenever he gets taken in to the home of his newly found family (though this gets somewhat subverted in S2). March Lion has the heftier production values with bursting, expressionistic flourishes for its more pointed emotional moments and intense metaphor for its shogi matches (even if a layman watching is never really led to understand what made specific moves so effective). Rakugo Shinju, mind, is no slouch either, especially as it pertains to the rakugo performances themselves that are carefully edited and voice-acted to showcase the appeal of these sedentary yet highly theatrical monologues. Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju is a completed series, while March Comes in Like a Lion is a partial adaptation of an ongoing manga.
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Sun Mar 08, 2020 6:35 pm
No Matter How I Look at It, It's You Guys' Fault I'm Not Popular (Oonuma 2013)
An interesting, generally well-done 12-episode animated series about a very socially maladroit first-year high school girl. Retrospective scenes suggest she was always a bit weird and geeky -- but she seems to have totally decompensated going into high school. Hardly able to talk to others, even teachers. No friends (other than one from middle school -- who seems to have bloomed upon entering high school, becoming cuter and more popular). She makes one shastly social mistake after another (causing even her little cousin -- who once looked up to her -- to pity her). As cringe-inducing (in its way) as Austen's Emma -- but at least Tomoko mainly seems to hurt herself when she makes her blunders. The anime doesn't quite make it though the first year of school -- and our "heroine" has made only minimal progress at best by the time it ends. Apparently, however, she does improve her social skills (and courage) somewhat as the manga continues. Not going to rank at the top of my anuime list -- but worth watching once.
Dunno how far you've gotten into the manga, but there is a definite shift in the series where Tomoko's idiosyncratic perversions begin to magnetically attract a social circle of sorts around her that is entirely made up of girls, I'd argue in a not dissimilar way to Chance's unconventional path towards upward mobility in Being There.

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Re: Anime

#340 Post by Michael Kerpan » Sat Apr 04, 2020 11:09 am

I haven't gone beyond the Watamote anime yet. I'll have to see if the manga is online. ;-)

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Re: Anime

#341 Post by Murdoch » Mon Jun 01, 2020 3:32 pm

Anime Limited/All the Anime will be releasing Neon Genesis Evangelion, along with End of Evangelion and Evangelion: Death (True), on blu-ray next year.

No idea what else it will include since the linked page is pretty bare. I'm guessing it will be the original dub rather than the Netflix one. I personally would love both to be included since I think the Netflix dub, will flawed in its translation, had much better voice acting than the original.

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Re: Anime

#342 Post by Michael Kerpan » Wed Aug 05, 2020 12:34 pm

Irozuku Sekai no Ashita kara, (lit. "From the Color-Changing World's Tomorrow") / Irodoku: The World in Color (Toshiya Shinohara 2018) (available on Amazon Prime)

Yet another P A Works mini-series -- and another great one. This one is set in Nagasaki -- in 2018 and 2078. The premise seems a bit exotic a 16 year old apprentice witch who has lost the ability to see colors (and also lost almost all interest in magic) is sent back in time -- where she encounters her grandmother's classmates (her grandmother is temporarily studying magic abroad). But the primary subject matter is loss of faith in oneself (and others) and regaining one's balance through love and friendship and the world around one. P A Works makes some of the most visually beautiful anime -- and this is one of its best. The characters are endearing -- and the series offers lots of opportunities for both smiles and tears. Too bad its acquisition as an Amazon exclusive made it relatively neglected. It deserved a wider audience. Definitely better than any Ghibli film of the last 15 years (other than Kaguyahime, of course).

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Re: Anime

#343 Post by Michael Kerpan » Tue Aug 11, 2020 8:14 am

Sing "Yesterday" for Me (Yoshiyuki Fujiwara, 2020.

This is a rare anime series about (mostly relatively realistic) 20-somethings. In some ways it made me think of Jun Ichikawa's excellent (live-action) Tokyo Marigold. One problem it faced was compressing almost 20 years worth of manga into a mere 12 episodes. Overall, it did a quite good job. The genesis of the manga in the mid-90s is reflected in this adaptation -- the landscapes and the material culture present a strong sense of nostalgia. It is set almost entirely in Setagaya, Tokyo -- so I suspect it invokes extreme nostalgia for folks who lived there then.

It focuses mostly on young men and women who have already graduated from college and begun working (some in careers -- others still stuck in part-time work). A couple of other characters are a bit younger. Romantic issues for the key characters are, shall we say, "complicated". The character's behavior was sometimes quite frustrating -- then again, people are like that. As far as I can tell, the ending of the show (which some anime fans hated) pretty much matches the end of the manga (last couple of chapters not yet fan subbed). Warning" one major character might be classifiable as a MPG (but I like her a lot, regardless)

In comparison to Ghibli films focused on older characters -- Not as good as Only Yesterday (my favorite animated film), perhaps, but probably at least as good as (the woefully under-rated) Ocean Waves

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Re: Anime

#344 Post by Michael Kerpan » Mon Aug 17, 2020 8:34 pm

I started Naoko Yamada's Tamako Market (2013) a while back, but then got distracted by other viewing projects. Partly I was put off by the silliness of its premise. However, the prospect of returning to yet another virtual Kyoto lured me back. (This same Kyoto area gets used in Tatami Gallery and Eccentric family -- we passed through it when visiting Mt Hiei in 2016). The characters turned out to mostly be very delightful and the milieu (in and around a rather old-fashioned shopping arcade street) was nostalgically pleasant. The official story line -- centered around a rather pompous and vain bird searching for a bride for South Asian island prince -- turned out to be less important overall than observing the daily lives of the shopkeepers and their families.

In Yamada's 2014 movie follow-up to this series, Tamako Love Story, all extraneous "adventure" has been removed. The primary focus is on Tamako, the high-school-aged eldest daughter of a widowed mochi shop owner (along with his father), and Mochizo, her classmate (and lifelong friend) who is son of the owners of a more "modern" mochi shop directly across the street. Almost as important, are her four closest schoolmates (all but one of which are in the baton twirling club with her) and her little sister. Everyone knows that Mochizo is in love with Tamako -- except Tamako. And a key aspect of the story is ... can he get through to her? Yamada, working in a shorter form, with a story that perfectly fits the length at hand, is almost as equally splendid as she would later be in her (to-date) greatest acievement, Liz and the Blue Bird. While the aura of bittersweet melancholy is less pronounced here, it is nonetheless present -- and powerful. It is hard to judge how well this movie might stand all on its own -- if one had not already come to love the characters from the preceding series. But it does seem pretty self-contained. Highly recommended.

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Re: Anime

#345 Post by Michael Kerpan » Sat Aug 22, 2020 11:13 am

Hanasaku iroha (The ABCs of Flower Blooming) (Masahiro Ando, 2011)
Haanasaku iroha: Home, Sweet Home (Masahiro Ando, 2013)

A 26 episode miniseries, supplemented by a short (66 minute) movie. A Tokyo high school is sent off to her never-seen-before grandmother, who operates an inn in rural Toyama prefecture (in a town modeled on Yuwaku Onsen). Rather than being treated as a guest, she is promptly put to work as an inn attendant. As it turns out, her mother did not depart on good terms . The series details (in considerable detail) Ohana's work and her co-workers (some of which are her own age) and her entry into a new high school. Along the way, in both the series and the movie, we see the life of both her grandmother and her mother. The roots of this show lie in both old-fashioned shomingeki films (like Ozu, Naruse, Shimizu et al) and stories like Ann of Green Gables (and Little Women). Lots of smiles, but perhaps more tears -- almost all of the earned honestly. The end is bittersweet, not what one might expect (yet fully prepared for).

As a P A Works project, the landscapes, cityscapes (and village-scapes) are excellent. The characters are lovely in looks (and depth). The Japanese voice actors are superb. The story was provided by Mari Okada -- and is, as one might expect, well-written and thoughtful. The muisic is generally quite good.

As far as I can tell, this show is not currently available for streaming. Luckily I found it on sale at Rightstuf. I am working my way through the output of P A Works -- and have yet to be disappointed (even for shows outside my preferred genres) Also working my way through shows to which Mari Okada made major contributions -- also so far so good.

Note: I actually watched the movie at the mid-point of the series -- which I felt actually worked well. ;-)

We visited Toyama only briefly -- but were impressed with its beauty. We are grateful tha P A Works is so devoted to promoting the region in which its studio is located.

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Re: Anime

#346 Post by J Wilson » Mon Aug 24, 2020 12:21 pm

I tried to show my 15 year old daughter, who's a huge anime fan, Evangelion recently. Her typical anime preferences revolve around either her absolute favorites like Love Live and Bang Dream and its ilk, to stuff like Promised Neverland, Assassination Classroom and Demon Slayer. She also likes "traumatic backstories" in her characters, so I figured NGE would be potentially something she'd like. Plus, she rarely watches anything older than the last 5-10 years TV-wise, so I wanted to broaden her horizons. After the first four episodes, she bailed, saying that the sexual elements of the show creeped her out, and that the show felt to her like "torture porn." I guess I can see where she's coming from with the former; the overt fan service stuff with Misato, which always felt like it was pointing out how dumb it was to me, could be taken as just overtly gross, given that it's being done around a 14 year old kid. I wasn't going to show her the movie if we had made it to the end of the show, but it's not a problem now.

We just rewatched A Place Further Than the Universe recently, which remains a favorite of us both. She also got into the remake of Fruits Basket recently for whatever reason, which I was the one to give up on about 5-6 episodes in, as neither the concept nor the characters did anything for me.

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Re: Anime

#347 Post by Michael Kerpan » Mon Aug 24, 2020 3:18 pm

Ride Your Wave (Yuasa, 2019) (spoilers below... -- impossible to talk about this otherwise)

A young woman who is (ostensibly) studying oceanography seems more interested in surfing. When reckless fireworks users set her building on fire, she is rescued by a young fireman -- and love blossoms. He wants to learn to surf, so he can ride the waves with her. While practicing alone, he drowns while successfully rescuing a young swimmer. Our heroine's life is overturned. So far, sounds like a pretty normal melodrama of young love tragically cut short. But this is Yuasa, after all...

Our heroine discovers (or imagines) that when she thinks a favorite song (she shared with her boy friend) in the presence of water -- he can manifest.. And he does so in some quite surprising and improbable ways. Of course, no one else can see him, so her behavior appears (and is) increasingly unhinged and erratic. But she discovers, with the aid of her boy friend's younger sister, that the couple shared a link dating back to her childhood -- and she tries to ween herself from invoking her ghostly lover. The climax is yet another fireworks-caused fire, leading to a hydraulically spectacular set piece.

Visually this is often stunning -- and it is very nice seeing some recognizable scenery around Chigasaki, Enoshima and Kamakura. I still need to ponder the story a bit -- but can definitely recommend this to all fans of Yuasa's work (and of less typical animation).

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Re: Anime

#348 Post by Michael Kerpan » Mon Aug 24, 2020 3:20 pm

J Wilson wrote:
Mon Aug 24, 2020 12:21 pm
She also likes "traumatic backstories" in her characters...
Has your daughter seen Haibane Renmei? It might suit... ;-)

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Re: Anime

#349 Post by Jean-Luc Garbo » Mon Aug 24, 2020 4:28 pm

I'd also recommend Utena, Michiko & Hatchin, Princess Tutu and K-on! (the latter on Netflix)

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Re: Anime

#350 Post by Boosmahn » Mon Aug 24, 2020 4:33 pm

I'll recommend Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (sadly, this is the first mention of this series on this forum). I prefer the 2009 adaptation, Brotherhood, to the 2003 iteration, as its manga-following story is much better to me. I'll also second Michiko and Hatchin!

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