Archive for Anime

Anime Review: Appleseed (Blu-Ray, 2010 Dub)

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

Bringing the classic 80′s manga into the world of CGI animation, Appleseed tells the story of Deunan Knute, a tough chick and veteran war hero in the post apocalyptic cyber-future world of 2131. While in the middle of an epic battle against many big machines, Knute is sedated and taken away to the utopian society of Olympus, where humans and human clones live together in peace. As it turns out, the war is actually over, and she is asked to join Olympus as the protector of their city.

But of course, just like any utopian society, something goes horribly, horribly wrong. A terrorist organization wipes out the facilities needed to keep the clones alive, and the only thing that can save them is the Appleseed, a bit of data created by Knute’s late mother. But as Knute dives deeper into the search of the this critical piece of information, she uncovers that the conspiracy runs far deeper than anyone had anticipated. Many powerful enemies stand between her and the survival of the artificial species.

Fans may have remember that the movie was originally released in the US by Geneon Entertainment in 2005. However, the company did not last much longer after that and the film’s sequel, Appleseed Ex Machina, was later released by Warner Brothers with a completely new dub cast.

Well now Sentai / Section 23 has rescued the original movie, and they redubbed it with the Ex Machina cast for better consistency between the two films. And for the first time ever, they’re releasing the computer generated anime film on Blu-ray disc.

And oh god, does it look freaking sweet!

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Anime Review: Strike Witches (Season 1)

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

Okay, I guess I need to say a little more about this series than what I posted earlier

In a fictionalized World War II era world, Earth is being attacked by a mysterious alien race known as the Neuroi. When traditional military forces come up short in combating the threat, the world turns to the girls of the 501th Joint Fighter Wing, the Strike Witches, as their last hope for humanity.

The Witches are an ensemble team of young women from around the world with magical abilities, which periodically manifests itself in the form of animal ears and tails. By attaching the special machinery known as Striker Units to their legs, the girls’ magical powers are enhanced and they also gain the ability to fly. With the Striker Units in place, the girls take to the sky to do battle with the Neuroi in high altitudes.

The first season of the Strike Witches TV series centers around Japanese school girl Yoshika Miyafuji. Because of her magical healing ability, she is recruited by Mio Sakamoto to join the girls of the 501st. The pacifist Miyafuji is reluctant to become a fighter in the war, but when she discovers that her missing father is the inventor of the Striker Units, she goes along with Sakamoto in search of him.

It is no secret that I love Strike Witches. For the past few months, I have been heavily promoting the series on my twitter and blog as FUNimation has been embarking in their tongue-in-cheek “War on Pants” campaign. But my love for the show has been there since it first debuted in Japan nearly two years ago. I named it my #1 anime release of 2008 because it was the first commercially successful anime to be legally available online for a global audience.

However, there is a reason why this became such a big seller in Japan. In a market that has been overflowing with moé titles for years, Strike Witches manages to take the science of fan pandering and make a goddamn masterpiece out of it.

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The Daily Almanac: Obligatory Summer Wars Review

Monday, March 15th, 2010

So after a huge mix-up  regarding my coverage of the NYICFF this year, I was finally able to catch a screening of the highly anticipated new film from Mamoru Hosoda, Summer Wars, last weekend. Well, pretty much everyone and  their mother has seen the film and have written a review of it, and for the most part, the film has been unanimously praised by everyone.

However, I wasn’t quite as wooed over by the film as everyone else was, and when I tweeted this out, I got some peeps asking me to do a review on it. Well, I wasn’t really planning on doing this, so here’s my brief review of Summer Wars using as little spoilers as possible.

Summer Wars is a good movie, it might even be a great movie. But is it as amazing as the hype makes it out to be?

Far from it.

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Anime Review: Kenichi the Mightiest Disciple (Season 2, Part 1)

Monday, March 8th, 2010

Kenichi is on the quest to become the world’s mightiest warrior by training in a dojo with six – that’s right, six – different masters teaching him six different fighting styles. And now that he’s gain so much skill in the martial arts, he is being targeted by the leaders of rival gang Ragnarok, who pick fights with him on the streets. But with the help of his female classmate and training partner Miu, the two of them take on any opponent that dare to challenge his six different styles.

The first season of Kenichi: the Mightiest Disciple completely flew under my radar last year because it did not really look all that interesting with a plot like that. However, it ended up becoming a sleeper hit for FUNimation. In fact, the company has said that the reason why they are releasing this second season is because the fan support has been so huge for this series alone.

So I decided to finally give this series a shot with its second season to see what all this hype could be about. But needless to say, I did not find it all that appealing. If Soul Eater was a throwback of all the awesome anime series I remember watching while growing up, then Kenichi is certainly a throwback to all the mediocre ones.

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NYICFF 2010 Review: Oblivion Island

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

Review originally posted on November 6, 2009.

What ever happened to all those old toys and doodads you had when you were a kid? Doesn’t it feel like they have just simply vanished off of the face of the Earth?

That is the premise behind the latest anime movie from Production I.G., Oblivion Island: Haruka and the Magic Mirror. As a child, Haruka heard an old Japanese fable of how all the items that have gone unnoticed and forgotten by people eventually get picked up and taken away by nature’s most sneaky creatures, foxes.

Now your typical rebellious teenager, Haruka wonders what ever happened to a mirror given to her by her late mother. She happens upon a Shinto shrine and makes an offering to the gods to return the mirror to her. There she encounters a tiny fox-looking creature named Teo carrying an abandoned toy plane.

While following him, she is suddenly swept away to Oblivion Island, a secret world inhabited by Teo’s people and built entirely out of the objects that humans have long forgotten about. So now she teams up with Teo to explore the island and find her long lost mirror.

The movie is making its official debut this weekend at the New York International Children’s Film Festival, but Fuji Television was generous enough to invite me to an exclusive screening of the film last October. What I saw was an absolutely delightful children’s film filled with more imagination, heart, and wonderment than the last two Miyazaki films combined.

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