I had forgotten that Satoshi Kon directed Millenium Actress until his name rolled across the opening credits. Even if one had missed his name, the quirky Satoshi Kon method of transitioning from scene to scene would have tipped me off. Millennium Actress reminds me of Perfect Blue. The two movies have many points of comparison; yet, their treatment of living in a fantasy world are very different. You might call Perfect Blue‘s treatment of fantasy and delusion via negativa, while Millenium Actress stands as a via positiva. I’d love to read any blog posts comparing and contrasting the two. Send such a blog my way if you’ve written one, dear reader. I’ll reblog the first three of you!
Millennium Actress covers the life of Chiyoko Fujiwara from her teens in WWII Japan to her old age in contemporary Japan. The movie is a framed story, with Chiyoko’s life being the center and the interview of Chiyoko conducted by Genya Tachibana, a very avid fan, with his assistant in modern times framing the tale. Amusingly, Genya and his assistant–in the fashion of how Satoshi Kon mixes reality and fantasy–appear to film her life as if they were right there beside her. I won’t spoil just how much Genya participates in Chiyoko’s life, but there’s not another movie which uses quite the same idea.
The Boy and the Beast was a fun movie–even a great movie. I loved the animation, which excelled both in the action sequences and when depicting the backgrounds. Some of the scenes in Tokyo do a remarkable job of making the viewer feel like he is right there with Kyuuta. The soundtrack melded seamlessly with the action of the story.
My biggest complaint might very well be the dub. I watched it in English, and actresses were selected to voice the boy characters. The Japanese do this all of the time. However, when the Japanese actresses take on the roles of boys, I never find myself thinking: “Well, that’s an unnaturally sexy voice coming out of that kid.” It might very well have been better to have used some young male talents for these parts. The voice talents of John Swasey as Kumatetsu and Ian Sinclair as Tatara stood out as the two best performaces. I do not think that I have heard the latter gentleman before. Sinclair’s voice sounds very similar to Steve Blum’s (Spike Spiegel of Cowboy Bebop and Makoto Shishio in Rurouni Kenshin).
About every two years I add one hundred anime to my Watched list. (Not too impressive when you consider that shorts, OVAs, and movies also count as separate titles and that I stay away from series with over twenty-six episodes.) Also, as usual every two years, I want to let my dear readers vote upon what I watch to finish out this new hundred. Since I ran into Ex-Driver and Submarine 707 Revolution the Movie at my local 2nd and Charles bookstore, you will get to vote on eight of the last ten. (I think of 2nd and Charles as an earthly paradise of sorts. Book, manga, and anime lovers who live nearby such a store know what I mean.) Below is a list of thirty-two movies from my Want to Watch list arranged by production date, please select eight choices. I intend to review each and every movie in the final lineup.
Thanks for your input on which movies will be in the new series of posts! Be sure to pass the poll onto your friends so that they can throw in their two cents also. The poll will remain active through January 23rd. If a group of movies require a tie breaking vote, I’ll hold another such poll afterwards. Thanks again!
EDIT: I notice that one title did not come out properly in the poll. Where you see “(2015),” it ought to read “<Harmony> (2015).”
Don’t ask me how I forgot to review Girls’ Last Tour yesterday, for this oversight is a mystery even to me. If anything can explain it, it’s the fact that I dropped the anime for a while until some commentators convinced me to give it another try. (Yours truly ought to more frequently apply the three episode rule.) Reading Infinite Zenith’s “Girls’ Last Tour (Shōjo Shūmatsu Ryokō): Full Series Review and Recommendation” reminded me of the fact that I had both watched the show and not reviewed it on my blog. Infinite Zenith features very detailed posts with plenty of screenshots, and I highly encourage all my dear readers to read the post linked to above.
What first attracted me to this anime was how unique the setting was. As a lover of snowy settings and post-Apocalyptic tales, I had to give this show a try. As the series unrolled, one could see that the mangaka essentially explored what makes life worth living. Each episode provided one possible answer, and overall the mangaka simply answers “friends.”
The time has come for my season review. The seven anime I watched rated from two to four and a half stars with only two shows receiving the same rating. This is to say that my shows run the gamut from disappointing to near masterpieces. Fall 2017 well rounded out a good year for anime: the quality of the shows were generally good even if nothing truly spectacular came about. I’ll write more about this when I write about my top five shows of last year. The shows below rank from least to greatest.
Without further ado, let’s begin!
7) Dies Irae ★★
As a cross between Fate/Stay Night and Hellsing, this show boasted a unique atmosphere–one of the most unique of the season. It also boasted some likable characters, and one really roots for the hero to overcome the immortal Nazis trying to massacre his city. The above makes me sad that I cannot in justice give it more than two stars. Though the plot eventually becomes discernible, the events in the anime tend to be scatterbrained and the tale descends into bloody and disturbing violence. The flashback to Sister Liza Brenner’s past as the mother of Lebensborn was probably the most disturbing part of the anime.
I found this pretty interesting. Isuna Hasekura has contributed to a new Medieval European Studies journal published during autumn of last year. The acknowledgements read: “We gratefully acknowledge a generous donation from Mr. Isuna Hasekura and Mr. Nobuo Matsuki which made the launching of Spicilegium possible.” Cytrus, a dear reader and fellow blogger, once sent me a reading list of what Hasekura studied in order to write Spice and Wolf, but I had no idea that his passion for the Middle Ages was great enough for him to sponsor a historical journal! Spicilegium is run by the Japan Society for Medieval European Studies, and I hope to read their first issue soon. As of now, it only contains three articles, but I hope that the journal will grow in the future.
On another note, I hope to be publishing blogs more regularly in the near future, so look forward to that!