Dragging Myself to 400 Anime: The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya

This enjoyable movie really only suffers from one defect: the presentation of this two and three quarter hour long tale causes it to drag.  It uses the sort of pacing we see in the TV series, but what works for a twenty-four minute segment suffices not for an almost three hour block of time.  One can’t treat the two the same way!  I ended up watching the movie in three sittings and do not think it detracted from my enjoyment.

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The central theme of the movie reminds me of a comment the hero’s father made in Dostoyevsky’s The Adolescent: “Life isn’t worth living without these little annoyances.” My intimate friends know that this is one of my favorite expressions, and Kyon knows this by instinct.  I almost wrote “comes to discover this over the course of the film,” but that is not precisely true.  He automatically sets about trying to restore the world as soon as he realizes Haruhi is gone.  *Spoilers from here on* But, he avoids admitting to himself that life is not worthwhile without Haruhi until the final third of the film. Continue reading

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A Wrap Up of my 10 Days to 300 Anime

Well, my dear readers, remember the short story I mentioned that I was writing here?  Well, it became a novella, and then someone who read the story convinced me to make it a novel; but, I still want one more opinion.  (And I wrote a draft for another novella which should be a novel in the meantime.  Yes, I’m making myself busy.)  And so, much of my time is going toward crafting fiction, but I hope to still have time to write for my blogs.  But, I did want to quickly wrap up my series of movies reviews.  These will be unfortunately short, but I do think that I shall spend time writing a longer article on Sky Crawlers.  Yes, I hated the movie, but it offered some great intellectual fodder.  Anyway, here are the reviews:

Mari's the coolest addition to the original Evangelion cast of characters.

Mari’s the coolest addition to the original Evangelion cast of characters.

7) Evangelion 3.0

This film nearly ruined the Rebuild series for me.  The film felt incredibly similar to The End of Evangelion, a movie which I hate and makes one love the TV series ending more.  The most interesting twist of the film comes when Shinji is ordered never to pilot an Eva again.  (Not a spoiler, this happens in the first five minutes.)  Amusingly, rather than having the diffident nature we see in the TV series, Shinji is shown to have a contrary nature: telling him to do X makes him want to do Y, telling him to do Y makes him want to do X, which actually causes a catastrophe at the end of the movie.  The animation was splendid.  The plot rather confusing, especially in the first half hour.  But, the ending makes me very curious to see Evangelion 4.0.

Chiba & Paprika

8) Paprika

Satoshi Kon worked his magic very well in this film.  The plot reminds one of Psycho Diver, a great 90’s OVA; but, the dreams in Paprika are simultaneously less dark and have more dire consequences in the real world.  The animation is wonderfully surreal, and the characters rather intriguing.  Chiba Atsuko and her dream personality of Paprika presents an interesting example of the Japanese separation of honne and tate-mae personalities.  Chiba shows herself as a perfect Japanese beauty and office lady.  On the other hand, Paprika displays the short red hair common to rebellious Japanese and is much more outspoken than her tate-mae personality.  The plot begins when a terrorist group obtains a dream diving machine, and it’s practically a nonstop thriller from there.

This screenshot adequately conveys the vibe of the movie, I should say.

This screenshot adequately conveys the vibe of the movie, I should say.

9) Sky Crawlers

More than anything else, this film is an intellectual treat, especially if you enjoyed T. S. Eliot’s The Wasteland.  BUT, it fails BIG TIME on the other elements of the story!  Besides Kusanagi, all the other characters strike me as bland, melancholy, and–despite their profession–unmilitary.  The plot moves in a circle, and they commit the unforgivable mistake of being more boring than Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade.  (Or is this an achievement?)  As I said, its connections to The Wasteland deserve a long article, but, reading the screenplay would have been a more enjoyable experience.  Also, some of the dogfights are rather cool, but far too few.

Arrietty

10) The Secret World of Arrietty

This stands as the most heartwarming film of the ten.  The imagination employed for displaying the world from the angle of the Borrowers, a.k.a. the little people, was superb.  The idea of little people is very Western, which is no surprise since the tale is based on The Borrowers by Mary Norton–a novel which had been published in England almost fifty years before the film.  The relationship between Arrietty and the sickly young man (Sho or Shawn depending on the version you watched) is very touching.  In particular, it reminded me of the relationship between God and us.  We’re not useful to Him at all.  We can just take without giving God anything which He does not already have, but God still loves us very much.  What does God want of us in return?  One, to talk to Him sometimes, 2) not to hurt one another, and 3) to be happy.  Likely, the same things we should want if little people took up residence in our homes–unless you’re a stick in the mud.  Anyway, you must see this film!