Some April Quick Takes

Hisashiburi da, ne? Yours truly is going to try to make up for the long gap between now and my last post with some quick takes. I rely on this format too much. One day, you may see some more posts like “Contra Divitias: Kill la Kill’s Opprobrium of Wealth” or, everyone’s favorite, “Shogo Makishima: the Villain who Should be Hero.” Today is not that day, but I hope that you enjoy what I’ve written below.

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Yesterday marked the 9th anniversary of Medieval Otaku. Most blogs don’t last that long, and it’s obvious to me why they don’t: one seldom has the same level of passion for a subject or time to write about it as when one began. The sad thing about that is how often someone finds this blog and tells me how much they enjoy reading these scribblings. This indicates how much certain people still like to read about old anime, which I’m more inclined to write about these days–when I write at all. You also make me guilty, and guilt is the font of productivity–as a psychologist might tell you about conscientious people.

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I have turned more towards reading manga of late than watching anime. Here’s an exhaustive list of the stuff in my collection. (Assume that I own the complete set unless otherwise noted.) Tell me whether you notice some of your favorites below:

  • Full Metal Panic
  • Gunsmith Cats
  • Inuyasha
  • Rurouni Kenshin
  • Gun Blaze West
  • Busou Renkin (vols. 1-7)
  • Geobreeders (vols. 1-9)
  • Full Metal Alchemist (vols. 3-7)
  • Silencer (vol. 1)
  • Samurai Deeper Kyo (vols. 1-26)
  • Claymore (vols. 1-16)
  • Gunslinger Girl
  • Azumanga Daioh
  • Black Cat
  • Chrono Crusade
  • Maison Ikkoku (collector’s edition vols. 1-3)
  • Urusei Yatsura (collector’s edition vols. 1-9)

Most of those are in English, but Inuyasha, Geobreeders, Fullmetal Alchemist, and Nobuhiro Watsuki’s works are in Japanese. My manga collection used to be larger, but I have since pared it down to only include those works which I will read more than once.

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I hope that you have all enjoyed a fruitful Holy Week and a happy Easter Sunday. There is still more of the Easter season to celebrate. This next Sunday is called Divine Mercy Sunday. Catholics who receive the sacrament of penance within eight days (before or after) of receiving Holy Communion on that Sunday and say a short prayer invoking Divine Mercy (e.g. “Jesus, have mercy on me a sinner” or “Jesus, I trust in you”) may receive a plenary indulgence. A plenary indulgence refers to a full pardon from God of all temporal punishments, either on earth or in purgatory, for sin. The qualification “may receive” is added above because a plenary indulgence requires the recipient not to even have an attachment to venial sin. If one is still attached to certain venial sins, the indulgence is partial.

Be that as it may, Christ promised St. Faustina, to whom he delivered the revelation that the Sunday after Easter be dedicated to His Divine Mercy, that the treasuries of His Mercy will be open that day. He intended this feast to prepare the world for His Second Coming. So, be sure that one will receive a significant indulgence on that day even if not a full one!

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The mangaka who most catches my attention now is Rumiko Takahashi. Her work Inuyasha ignited my passion for both manga and the Japanese language. The slow translation of Inuyasha into English inspired me to learn the original language, and VIZ Media finished translating it years after I had read the entire series. Takahashi’s Japanese is pretty easy to read and sure to inspire any neophyte learner of the language that he’s making great progress.

Having said that, I am reading Urusei Yatsura and Maison Ikkoku in English now. Part of me wishes that I did not take the lazy way: Takahashi loves puns, and the translator sometimes really stretches to come up with English equivalents. The complete tankobun edition of Ranma 1/2 only goes for around $50, so that might end up on my shelves in the original. Maybe I’ll pick up Mermaid Forest in the near future.

At this point in my manga reading hobby, I’ve determined that it really is better to read manga as a physical book or in an e-book. Reading manga online often comes with too many ads and slow loading times.

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Kindles are too convenient. A Kindle Paperwhite sits by my bedside as a dedicated e-reader, and it houses a library in a device small enough to fit into a large jacket pocket. Of the twenty-five books I’ve read so far this year, only seven were not on one of my Kindles. I find the Kindle Fire 8 is better for reading manga while the Paperwhite excels it for standard books. Looking at all the books I have lying unread around the house makes me feel guilty about using Kindle almost exclusively. Does anyone else experience a similar feeling?

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Since the CCP Virus has spread around the world, China has made a ton of money selling masks and other medical supplies to afflicted nations. For my part, I’ve decided to boycott Chinese tea until that government pays some kind of reparations for their part in spreading COVID-19 across the world. It’s impossible to cut out Chinese products completely from one’s life, but tea is a different story. I confess that Chinese tea is the best in the world (though the Indians likely produce better black tea), but one can still get excellent tea from Japan, Taiwan, India, Ceylon, Nepal, Kenya, and even South Carolina. I feel as much need to buy Chinese tea as I do to buy Samuel Adams’ Boston Lager.

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I hope that all of my dear readers have watched The Wind Rises. Hayao Miyazaki provides us with an animated biography of Jiro Hirokoshi, the designer of Japan’s famed Zero fighter plane. The movie was very well done. Recently, I came across a book titled Zero, which was written by Jiro Hirokoshi and Masatake Okumiya, a Japanese army officer. It chronicles the introduction of the Zero in the Second Sino-Japanese War, which began in 1937 and lasted until the end of WWII, and continues until Japan’s defeat. I have not come across another book dealing with WWII from the Japanese perspective and find this one fascinating.

May you hear from me again soon!

Watch List for Summer Anime of 2020

It’s been a while, hasn’t it?  Putting pen to paper or fingertips to keyboard can be more difficult than one might think.  Last time–April 29th, I remember promising to write more frequently.  I think that jinxed me.  So, as much as I want to tell you to expect more posts, I shall say instead that you’ll be lucky to read another post from me this side of 2021.

At any rate, one of those posts which I ought to have written was on Spring 2020’s anime.  If you remember, I only watched Sing “Yesterday” for Me, Wave! Listen to Me, and My Next Life as a Villainess.  This season turned out somewhat better in me finding five anime to watch.  (Seven to nine anime used to catch my attention every season, but I must have come to the conclusion at some point that life is too short to watch bad anime.  Or, maybe not: I did watch Sing “Yesterday” for Me.)  Take a look at the following five anime, and tell me whether I’m missing out on anything good.


1) Gibiate

Here is a true masterpiece of the time-traveling, samurai, monster-slaying genre.  Everyone should be watching Gibiate, ready to rate it five stars, and sending Crunchyroll e-mails, postcards, and handwritten letters of thanks for producing this anime.  This counts as a welcome break from your standard fare of magic academies, high school rom-coms, harems, and isekai.

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8th Anniversary Quick Takes

This blog’s eighth anniversary came and went on April 5th without comment. Oops! Hopefully, I blog a little more regularly next month. May these quick takes in some way make up for my lack of posting!

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Finally, Joe says what’s all been on our minds.

I have finally made progress in Ashita no Joe II. Joe Yabuki is almost in position to fight his greatest rival to date: Bantamweight World Champion Jose Mendoza. (It’s funny to consider that most of the strong and tough boxers in this anime weigh 118 pounds or less!) The buildup to this fight has been even more intense than the one between Rikiishi Touru and our hero.

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A Missive to My Dear Readers

Hi, there! It’s been a long time since y’all have heard from me. Since I’m not sure what to write, the following will simply consist of things which have been on my mind. First, I’ve lived long enough in the South to start saying “y’all.” As one who has lived in the North for most of his life, that “y’all” should ever pass my teeth’s barrier save in jest comes as a great surprise. Maybe five years will see me fully assimilated to Dixie. One gentleman did tell me, after I mentioned that Alabama would replace New Jersey as my residence of choice, that I would fit in just fine. That my ancestors originally settled in colonial Maryland and would fight for the South in the Unpleasant Affair of 1861-1865 has perhaps left an indelible mark in my blood.

The second thing which comes to mind is that I would like to post during this time of being cooped up in our homes. To that end, I desire to post once every day until the seventh anniversary of this blog. As an “essential worker” during the Kung flu pandemic, I’ll be out of the house most days for 8-9 hours before hunkering down with my food, supplies, ammunition, and toilet paper. (Who ever thought that people would obsessively buy toilet paper for weeks? I have ten rolls myself and expect them to last a coon’s age. Yet, some psychopaths apparently feel they need a dozen twenty-four count containers of the stuff.) I should have enough time to scribble at least three hundred words on a random topic if not more.

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Happy Yankee Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my dear readers! If you’re not a U.S. citizen, then may you have a pleasant November 28th and a happy Thanksgiving when a similar holiday rolls around for you.

I know an American History professor who refers to today as “Yankee Thanksgiving.” There are two Thanksgivings which took place prior to the one celebrated by the Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony in 1621. You may hear Floridians brag that their state boasted the first Thanksgiving in what would become the United States. On September 8, 1565, Spanish explorers and the Timucuan tribe held a Thanksgiving mass in St. Augustine–the oldest city in America. As for the other one, English settlers in Virginia held a Thanksgiving event on December 4, 1619, beating the Pilgrims by almost two years. But, it is just as well that our holiday hearkens back to the harvest festival put on in Massachusetts: the other two do not give a ready excuse for eating tons of food!

While I thank God for His innumerable blessings, I want to write a Thanksgiving post which rectifies my long, long hiatus. For the first time, I did not participate at all in National Blog Posting Month. So, I thought that I would write blurbs on all of the anime which I’ve watched in the past few months. After all, just because I have stopped writing about anime does not mean that I have stopped watching them! The list is long, but I promise to limit myself to five sentences per anime. If you don’t see a rating, that means that I have not watched that anime until the end.


1) Arcadia of My Youth ★★★★1/2

I love Leiji Matsumoto’s work.  This movie acts as a prequel to the events of Captain Harlock.  An alien race has subjugated the Earth.  Captain Harlock, a new friend, and a resistance network must give the men of Earth hope.  Anime fans with a love of bushido are sure to find this film very moving. (Tubi TV, Amazon Prime)


2) Buddy Complex ★★★

Buddy Complex offers some excellent fights and a plot which keeps you glued to your seat.  We follow a high school boy dragged against his will into a mecha conflict in another world.  The one person connecting him to Earth turns out to be an enemy pilot who wants him dead.  I’m very happy to have watched this anime, but I can’t see myself re-watching it. (Hulu, Tubi TV)

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Sunshine Award 2019

Thanks Jusuchin of A Journey Through Life for nominating me for the Sunshine Award!  It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these award posts, and I have a couple of others which I need to do–including rating Spring 2019 and telling you all what I intend to do about this season.  At any rate, please give Jusuchin’s blog a visit.  He tends follow one or two anime a season.  His choices always have plenty of action and come near to my own tastes in anime.

Here are the rules:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link to their blog so that other people can visit them
  • Answer the 11 questions put to you by the nominator
  • Nominate 11 bloggers of your choosing and provide them with a new set of 11 questions to answer
  • Notify the nominees by commenting on one of their blog posts
  • List the rules and display The Sunshine Blogger Award logo within your post or on your blog site.

Now, let me answer those eleven questions.


1) What got you into anime and how old were you?

My recollection places me at age fifteen around my sophomore year of high school.  Millennials have been dubbed “the Cartoon Generation,” so it seems only natural that I would eventually discover that anime existed as a separate genre of cartoons.  Coming across Vampire Hunter D and Rurouni Kenshin on Toonami kindled my interest in anime and the rest is history.

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7th Anniversary of Medieval Otaku

Wow!  Seven years of blogging!  It’s been fun getting to know all of you out there and hearing about how my posts piqued your interest.  Thank you for your support and your interest!  It seems like I have not really done enough with the present winter season, but I have finished watching all the shows I set out to watch.  You should see a couple of posts soon where I review all eleven shows in two parts.

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Eleven?  That’s right.  I added one more show to my watch list: Karakuri Circus.  This show does not seem to have gotten that much attention, but it’s a very well done shonen.  It excels in both action and characters, making even certain minor characters compelling.  Perhaps the oddest thing about Karakuri Circus, however, is just how much of the action takes place in the past.  I can’t remember the last anime I watched which indulged so much in flashback episodes.  This can be annoying when one would like for nothing more than for the story to advance.  At the same time, it’s fascinating how the action extends from Medieval Europe to Meiji Era Japan to modern America.  The anime is on Amazon Prime, and I highly recommend it.

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Here is a short list of what I want to post in the near future:

  1. Review of Winter 2019, Part 1
  2. Review of Winter 2019, Part 2
  3. Quick Takes on other anime
  4. A post on Karakuri Circus and Charity’s Relationship to Virtue
  5. Finally read Dante’s Divine Comedy to the end
  6. What the anime Caligula was actually about
  7. Spring 2019 Watch List

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If anyone gets what the main theme of Caligula was, feel free to comment on it below.

Look forward to these posts and one which I hope will appear on Beneath the Tangles soon.  Dear readers, thank you once again for all your support!

Five Favorite Anime of 2018

Now comes the post to sum up the highlights of 2018.  Last year did not have the same quality as 2017, which saw every anime in the top five rated 9/10 or 10/10.  Yet, 2018 was still a great year, offering plenty of four star anime to choose from.  It was difficult to choose between them.  In the end, I chose #3 – #5 based on how much enthusiasm I felt for these anime when they came out.  Honorable mentions go to Hinamatsuri and Golden Kamuy.

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5) Isekai Izakaya ★★★★

I cannot imagine giving a short more than four stars, but part of me wanted to make an exception for Isekai IzakayaDagashi Kashi II stands as another example of a well done and hilarious short from last year.  (It’s ironic that the original Dagashi Kashi was too long and the sequel too short.  If only season one had been a series of shorts, and the second season used full length episodes!)  But, where Isekai Izakaya trumps Dagashi Kashi II lies in how the former excelled in more than comedy and lovable characters.  Isekai Izakaya builds a great fantasy world using the Holy Roman Empire of the High Middle Ages as a basis–just as Isuna Hasekura did for Spice and Wolf.  In addition to exploring the world of Japanese cuisine in the anime, it offered some bonus segments alternating between a young chef showing the viewers how to make the dishes portrayed in the anime and an old gourmand touring various Japanese eateries.

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A Samurai Anime You Should Watch: Angolmois

Happy New Year to my dears readers!  You have not heard from me since Christmas, but I’m still around.  My schedule for the near future promises to be freer than it has been for the past several months, so I hope to produce more content.  This content will include my top five anime from 2018, a run down of what I watched for Fall 2018, and what I intend to watch this season.  (So far, Boogiepop and Others, The Promised Neverland, and The Rising of the Shield Hero have caught my attention.)  Two of those posts are late indeed, but better late than never!

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In the current post, I want to encourage everyone to watch Angolmois: Record of the Mongol Invasion.  Angolmois came out during the summer of 2018, but I did not discover it until December of last year.  I love samurai anime, especially those with a strong core of bushido.  Angolmois does not disappoint on this score as it drips with the virtues of the samurai.  Any fan of samurai anime or medieval action would do well to pick up this anime.

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Quick Takes for Old Anime

It’s been a little while, my dear readers.  It looks like the regular anime season is past the mid-point, so I should write something up about what I’m up to.  If you recall, most of my current watch list consists of old anime on my backlog.  I did make an exception for Cells At Work, which was recommended by MIB of MIB’s Instant Headache–an excellent recommendation.

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Most of you are familiar with the idea and the format of Quick Takes, so I’m just going to jump right in.


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Vampire Princess Miyu TV (1997-98) comes pretty close to being a masterpiece at ★★★★ 1/2.  The closest anime to compare with this show has to be Hell Girl.  Both share a female protagonist bound by fate whose closest companions are otherworldly beings–called Shinma in Vampire Princess Miyu.  (The English translation simply used the Japanese word.  “God-demon” is the most literal translation and the most confusing one.  Often, one will see creatures like this just called demons despite the Japanese equivalent for what is usually meant by the word demon is akuma.  Subbers should just borrow the term longaevi from the Latin, as this is the most accurate term for a host of beings in Japanese mythology.)  While Ai Enma is summoned to send usually wicked people to hell, Miyu works by keeping her territory clear of stray Shinma.  She’s often willing to ignore the presence of stray Shinma as long as they behave, but she’ll send them into the demon realm within a fiery inferno should they choose to prey on humans.

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Skip the Summer Season!

This judgment of mine is coming a little late, but here goes.  Yours truly has been browsing through the 2018 Summer Anime Chart and reading the opinions of various bloggers.  At this point, I can honestly say that Summer 2018 looks like the worst anime season I have seen in a long time.  The only show that piqued my interest was Dies Irae: To the Ring Reincarnation, because I wonder whether they can salvage the anime from the train wreck of the original season (★★).  The best news about this summer is that certain good anime from the previous season are carrying over into this one, like Isekai Izakaya.*

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I can’t think of a better opportunity for catching up with one’s backlog.  Surely, you have some anime you’ve placed on the back-burner.  (From casually browsing Anime-Planet, my Want to Watch list numbers 361 titles!)  Now is the time to watch these shows.  Anime is more than the year 2018 after all!  This year counts as the hundred and first anniversary of anime, which began with Namakura-Gatana (1917), which means there’s more anime than the average fan can watch in a lifetime.

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Anime Winter 2018 Season Review: Part 2

Well, I’ve delayed writing the second part of this series of posts enough to have watched Violet Evergarden in the meantime.  As you suspect, I waited until Netflix released it.  I have to say that Violet Evergarden stands head and shoulders above everything which came out in the winter 2018 season.  So, I modified my last post such that it covers #10-7, this post will cover #6-2, and Violet Evergarden deserves a post of its own.

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6) A Place Further than the Universe ★★★ 1/2

Many people have placed this show first for the season.  In my case, this genre is so far from one of my favorites ( my favorites being fantasy, action, and comedy) that A Place Further than the Universe had no chance of rising so far–especially with its standard quality animation.  Kudos still goes to this show for how eager I was to watch it every week.  In a more usual season, where there are more subpar anime, it would have risen higher on the list.

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6th Anniversary of Medieval Otaku

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What a milestone!  The sixth anniversary of Medieval Otaku!  Most blogs only seem to last for two or three years, and so I’m happy to have dragged myself this far.  It’s really no surprise that most blogs are done after two or three years: the circumstances from which one started have changed by then, and one might want to go on to something different.  I have taken quite a few breaks when my own enthusiasm has flagged.  Somehow, I still want to keep up with this hobby, and for that I can only thank my dedicated readers for all their support.

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As we are on the brink of a new season, I just want to briefly list all of the new shows which have caught my eye.  Then, I’ll give a brief program of the kinds of articles to expect in the near future.

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Anime Winter 2018 Mid-Season Review

I should get on with this review before this season gets any closer to the end.  Many anime have already released their tenth episode by this point!  Let me just note that you should be seeing my top five anime of 2017 and a quick takes post on the various anime I’m consuming right now in the near future.  Before I wrote a definite top five list, there were a couple of shows which I wanted to try.  Am I glad that I did: these two anime took the first two places with five stars!

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At any rate, below are my thoughts on the now eight anime I’m watching from the current season.  I decided that I had room on my schedule to add the short Takunomi, which I’ll be comparing to Osake wa Fuufu ni Natte Kara.


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1) After the Rain

Here’s a show which has seen an endless number of bloggers comment on the premise.  Is it right for the 17 year old Akira Tachibana to desire a romantic relationship with the 45 year old Masami Kondo?  How appropriate is such a relationship?  It’s not appropriate at all: Kondo’s wife is still alive.  Kondo would sin if he began another romantic relationship, and Akira likewise if she were to become his partner.

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Days 8 – 10 of 10 Days to 500 Anime: Unlimited Blade Works Movie, Submarine 707 Revolution, & Ex-Driver the Movie

Well, that took twenty-nine days rather than ten!  The last time I completed another hundred anime, it also took longer than ten days, leading me to dub the series “Dragging Myself to 400 Anime.”  (To be precise, I now have 503 anime under my belt.  I’ll tell you about those extra three sometime later.)  On a side note, a few people have sent me questions through “Ask Medieval,” and I hope to get to those soon.  The query I received about Wolf and Parchment, the sequel to Spice and Wolf, might take a little while.  It’s hard to get used to Col and Myuri after spending so much time following the travels of Holo and Lawrence.  But, I’ll get through volume one soon enough.

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Myuri is apparently only ten years old, by the way.  Too young to go adventuring!

Anyway, a lot is on my plate–including mid-season reviews!  For now, please enjoy these brief reviews of the last three movies in this series.  Following the reviews will be the rankings of all ten movies.

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Day 6 of 10 Days to 500 Anime: Grave of the Fireflies

Here’s a classic everyone has heard of, but I only watched it a few days ago.  It’s a very emotional film.  Knowing that, I steeled myself against the tragedy I knew was coming, which was probably the wrong way to watch the film.  Instead of riding the emotional rollercoaster, you might say I watched the ride sitting on a bench somewhere with a soft drink.  The result was that I examined the tragic flaws of our hero rather than grieved over the tragedy of the orphans’ plight.  My focus was on why they suffered instead of the how they suffered.

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In the case of firebombing the Germans and the Japanese in WWII, I can never reconcile myself to the legitimacy of this form of warfare.  With the nuclear bombs, one can legitimately claim destroying industrial parks and dockyards as the main objective, while terrorizing the enemy into surrender as the secondary objective.  Incendiary bombs, especially of the sort used in WWII, have no effect on factories built with steel and cement.  Firebombs work much better against wooden houses–especially houses of Japanese design.  When it comes to firebombing, terrorizing the enemy is still the secondary objective, but destroying civilian homes and killing non-combatants becomes the primary objective.

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Very Brief Update

Hello, All!  It’s been too long since my last movie review, and so an update of sorts seems appropriate.  I should get back to the movie reviews starting today.  From up on Poppy Hill and In This Corner of the World were both very well done, and these two films might be treated in the same post.  After that, I’ll get back to writing one movie review a day–if all goes well.

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Day 3 of 10 Days to 500 Anime: Millennium Actress

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!

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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.

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Day 2 of 10 Days to 500 Anime: The Boy and the Beast

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.

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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).

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Day 1 of 10 Days to 500 Anime: A Silent Voice

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My hearty thanks go out to everyone who voted in the poll in order to pick out what movies I’ll be watching.  As of yesterday morning, these eight movies rank the highest:

  1. A Silent Voice
  2. The Boy and the Beast
  3. Millennium Actress
  4. Up on Poppy Hill
  5. In this Corner of the World
  6. Grave of the Fireflies
  7. Eve no Jikan
  8. Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works the Movie

Following those eight, the two movies I picked out of 2nd and Charles, Submarine Revolution 707 (2003) and Ex-Driver the Movie (2002) will appear on days nine and ten.

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