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3 of 3 episodes seen
After the 2003 anime phenomenon closed its curtains, Studio Bones released some OVA’s as a little treat to the Fullmetal Alchemist fandom. Let’s check them out shall we? Here’s the Fullmetal Alchemist Premium Collection!
I have no synopsis for this one…
To be technical, this is a Studio BONES production and just for the sake of this review, Studio BONES is going to get a pass on this one for the most part. Except for one of the OVA’s which I’ll explain later. The animation is used well and that’s all I will say about it. The music by Michiru Oshima is recycled in this OVA and I have no complaints over this. Maybe I shouldn’t have mentioned what I just said. Forgive me. When voice acting is concerned, the Japanese cast is the good old cast from the original series, and I don’t feel the need to refer any cast members since this is just an OVA that is not connected to the main series in terms of plot. As with the English Dub, I’ll make just one exception on referring to a cast member. Aaron Dismuke was a high-schooler when he voiced a few lines as Alphonse when in the movie he was going through puberty. His voice is unrecognizable from the original series and Funimation compensated this by having Al telling Ed that it’s puberty which was never in the Subtitled Version. But since this is an OVA, there’s nothing much to complain about that. Both casts are good. Even though this is part of the Fullmetal Alchemist series as well as not being tied to the main series, the characters are treated well in and any of your favorites get some great moments.
Now I should probably go over the OVA’s themselves. The first one we have is Chibi Party which plays like a wrap-up party to the original 2003 series, this is by far the funniest one of the package. And Winry is hilarious in this. If you want a good laugh, this OVA is for you. The second OVA is actually the most interesting one. The second one is called Kids and this is technically the epilogue of the entire show since it show’s Edward Elric has aged and will be 100 years old according to the informative text at the end. This OVA shows Edward’s great-great grandchildren which look like the Elric Brothers and Winry. It’s a nice OVA for the most part, but it very well could be the epilogue of the show. The third OVA is Liveaction which I felt was a little different and not really my kind of thing. Then there came the fourth OVA Alchemists Vs. Homunculi. This OVA is an interactive short where you are the newest member of the military and assigned a mission. I actually don’t like these kind of specials, maybe it’s a cultural thing for Japanese viewers. I will call this a “take it or leave it” kind of viewing. The last OVA is Reflections which is a recap of the entire series with sections narrated by a few characters. This is the only OVA that was excluded from the American release. For those that are completionists, this could pose as a little issue but it is a recap that is quite longer than the rest and it really wasn’t necessary in the first place which I have no issues regarding the last OVA being excluded in the American release. Now that I have mentioned all of the OVA’s of Fullmetal Alchemist, it is time for me to close the gate for Fullmetal Alchemist for now.
The Fullmetal Alchemist Premium Collection is available by Funimation.
With all that said, the Fullmetal Alchemist Premium Collection is a nice little extra with a funny OVA to start with and an OVA that feels like an Epilogue to the series. However, Regardless of animation and music, the last three are pretty optional and not as worthwhile than the first two. The Live-action OVA is odd, the Interactive OVA may appeal to some, and the recap OVA is kind of pointless. This OVA collection is a must have for die-hard Fullmetal Alchemist fans, but it’s not necessarily mandatory.
I give the Fullmetal Alchemist Premium Collection a 6.6 out of 10, it is DECENT!
Feel free to leave a comment.
1 of 1 episodes seen
Traveling through time and space is tricky business, one must be careful and very cautious when dealing with all that wibbly wobbly timey wimey...stuff. This anime film doesn’t really deal with this as much and time travel was never implemented in the show that this movie follows. With that said, Listen up!, Here’s Fullmetal Alchemist: Conqueror of Shamballa! Allons-y!
In Munich, Germany, 1923. Two years have passed since Edward Elric was dragged from his own world into our own, leaving behind his country, his friends and his younger brother, Alphonse. Stripped of his alchemical powers, he has been all this time researching rocketry together with Alphonse Heiderich, a young man who bears a resemblance to his own brother, hoping to one day find a way back home. His efforts so far had proven fruitless, but after helping a troubled gypsy girl, Edward is thrown in a series of events that can wreak havoc in both worlds. Meanwhile, at his own world, Alphonse Elric ventures deeper into the mysteries of alchemy in search for a way to reunite with his older brother.
To be technical, this is a Studio BONES production and this is the sequel to Fullmetal Alchemist as well as the conclusion of the original 2003 series and the animation looks fantastic compared to the show and that’s because it obviously is a theatrical film (meaning higher budget). The animation has a good contrast between Ed’s world and our world. Ed’s world looks bright and vibrant while our world isn’t. This is an interesting aspect of the animation and I can see why Seiji Mizushima went with this visual approach near the end of the series and this film. The animation is very good but it isn’t perfect. This movie does have a little 3D motion in it and it feels a little different than what was seen before the movie. The action scenes are much higher than the show and it has some great visuals till the very end. In the long run, the animation was very good.
The music by Michiru Oshima is a bit different with the movie yet it makes sense, it does compliment the atmosphere in the movie and it is a pretty good soundtrack. It does have some exclusive music to the movie and there is even some themes from the original series. And… even though it’s different from the show, it is still a great soundtrack. It complements the emotional feel of the movie which stayed after the series and Oshima-san does it again. The music is the strongest factor of the entire movie. When voice acting is concerned, the Japanese cast is excellent. Romi Park is great as Edward Elric, Rie Kugimiya is fantastic as Alphonse Elric, and Shun Oguri is alright as Alphonse Heiderich. Some of the cast members that came back are still great as before. As with the English Dub, it is still fantastic as ever with one little flaw. Allow me to recap, In the final episode of Fullmetal Alchemist, there was a german accent to one of the characters. That accent is missing throughout the whole movie which is the only flaw with the dub, but as the movie alone… it’s well performed. Vic Mignogna is terrific as Edward, Aaron Dismuke is also terrific as Alphonse even though we can tell his voice was starting to mature. Jason Liebrecht is also great as Alphonse Heiderich. As for the English cast that were able to make it into the movie, they all performed well. You can’t go wrong with either version just like the original anime.
If there’s one thing that this movie does wrong is that it doesn’t give its characters enough time which the original series did so well with this. Allow me to explain. Edward got a good amount of screentime, and so did Alphonse. There was a lot of time spent on the real world characters and less of Ed and Al’s world. Characters like Mustang, Hawkeye, and Armstrong only get less than a half-hour of screentime. Considering the events that took place before the movie, this is a huge stepdown in the entire series and this is the conclusion. It was nice to see those timeless characters once again but the military characters did feel a little sidelined until the last half hour. At least Alphonse was given proper screentime, and it was a nice touch that he wore Edward’s trademark Red Coat. As for the real-world characters, I didn’t really care for them, so I’ll just stick to looking them up on history articles. Another issue I have with this movie is some of the sendoffs. The main problem I have with the characters is that most of them don’t get a proper closure even though the bittersweet effect does work.
That’s where my main issue lies, the whole entire story is a huge stepdown to the writing after all that the original series was leading up to. The show was well paced despite some questionable chronological choices at the start of the series, and it was well-written even though it has its flaws especially near the end of the series. What Fullmetal Alchemist was able to achieve was take 6 volumes of the manga, and even though they couldn’t keep up with the manga. It took a different path that was actually just as interesting as the manga and just as moving and it had a decent ending. The ending of the show did raise questions which was why Conqueror of Shamballa is made, but the movie adds more questions and they are not answered and the movie makes more plot holes . What made the show so beloved is that it had a balance of animation, story, characters, and music. Half of this is there in Conqueror of Shamballa, the most important half is unbalanced. The story doesn’t feel like a proper conclusion and there isn’t enough balance of screentime with the characters and that’s why I find Conqueror of Shamballa disappointing. But I will be completely honest, I actually enjoyed this movie to a degree. It’s not perfect but it actually was an okay movie. It’s just not the ending this anime deserved, it may be disappointing but at least it was not a terrible conclusion.
Fullmetal Alchemist: Conqueror of Shamballa is available by Funimation.
With all that said, Fullmetal Alchemist: Conqueror of Shamballa has some very good animation and really good music. It unfortunately is unbalanced with some characters sidelined and not appearing much while a few and movie-exclusive characters do. The story is a huge stepdown compared to the show and will disappoint some. It may not be perfect, but it is an okay movie. This movie as well as the conclusion could have been so much better.
I give Fullmetal Alchemist: Conqueror of Shamballa a 5.8 out of 10, it is SO and SO!
Feel free to leave a comment.
51 of 51 episodes seen
Back in my school days, some of my friends were buzzing about this particular anime. I didn’t understand why at the time and I was into Naruto by then. My tastes were kinda picky for some odd reasons. This was during my stupid brain-dead teenage years. This anime was brought up quite often from some of my friends, but when it came to one of my best friends… it was brought up quite a lot, which is why I am finally going to review this anime phenomenon. Today is one of my best friends’ birthday and for obvious reasons, I won’t disclose the name. This is not the first time I’ve done a special review like this. I have been doing these kind of special reviews in response to a birthday of people I know. Last year on this very day, I reviewed Resident Evil: Degeneration and Princess Mononoke (the latter being requested). The anime I am about to review was not requested to begin with this time. The sole reason I am reviewing this particular anime is to write a form of a “Thank You” note to the person that got me into this anime. Out of all the animes that she has recommended, this was the most recommended at the time and I when I finally watched it for the first time. I felt glad that this was recommended that much. What anime am I talking about? Pfft. That’s a no-brainer. This anime phenomenon I was referring to is none other than Fullmetal Alchemist.
Edward and Alphonse Elric attempt to bring her mother back to life after she passed away from an illness by using the forbidden science of human alchemy. However, alchemy operates on the theory and laws of equivalent exchange, however, the alchemy they are attempting is Human Alchemy and it is a taboo art. Breaking the laws of alchemy with humans comes with a heavy price. Ed loses his leg, and Al loses his body. Ed is able to seal Al's soul inside of a huge suit of armor, at the cost of his arm. Years later, Ed (now with two mechanical limbs) and Al (still trapped in the armor) leave their childhood home, each brother concerned with the other's happiness. Ed, who has a natural talent and skill for alchemy, becomes nationally certified and is soon known everywhere as the "Fullmetal Alchemist." Their true objective is to search for any information on the fabled Philosopher's Stone, hoping it will allow them to regain their old bodies. All of their hopes rest with this mythical stone, which may not even exist at all. Regardless of the situation, they are strongly determined to find the Philosopher’s Stone. But the journey they embark will include hardships.
To be technical, this is a Studio BONES production and some of the design choices were well made in this show. The character designs look good, the backgrounds looks great. The animation itself has a few hiccups and there are some scenes that could have been animated better. This anime was made in the same year as Wolf’s Rain which was another BONES production. Wolf’s Rain looked amazing and it’s too bad that Fullmetal Alchemist couldn’t be like this. However, that is not why Fullmetal Alchemist was such a big hit, the animation is mostly good and it looks a little better in progression and this was made in 2003 after all. If the story, music, and characters are so strong…Animation wouldn’t be a huge deal in the long run but that’s not always the case. Fullmetal Alchemist’s animation is still good.
The music by Michiru Oshima is quite interesting, The soundtrack has some electronic music in it and it even has a little jazz in it too. But it does have a mix of instruments that are used terrifically and the genre used in this soundtrack isn’t really orchestral as it seems to be. There’s a few other genres besides Orchestral that is used in Fullmetal Alchemist. What I will say is that the soundtrack plays a huge part in this anime. If the prologue of the show wasn’t obvious enough, allow me to make this clear to you. This is a very emotional anime and the soundtrack helps this immensely. When the mood is energetic, the music is energetic. When it’s intense, the music’s intense. When it’s sad, the music’s sad. Michiru Oshima’s composition is terrific in this anime and she knows how to make even the music tug on your heartstrings. Fullmetal Alchemist has one of the most emotional soundtracks I have ever heard in an anime. The openings are all great, and the first two closing themes are great. The third closing theme is a nice change of pace and the fourth closing is a little unfitting but okay. If there is one theme I do want to highlight, it has to be the song “Bratja”, which is Russian for Brothers. You have probably heard this phrase hundreds of times, but symbolically speaking. Music is considered a universal language because it transcends all races regardless of language barrier. The settings do feel European and even though the song is in Russian, it is just a language after all. The song “Bratja” is a very beautiful song. I did say that this anime has one of the most emotional soundtracks in an anime, well this song will give you so many feels. It is a beautiful song, it may make you cry in joy and/or sadness. But either way, you will probably get a lot of feels out of this song as well as the soundtrack.
When voice acting is concerned, The Japanese cast is well casted. Romi Park is great as Edward Elric and Rie Kugimiya is fantastic as Alphonse Elric. Toru Ohkawa was also pretty good as Roy Mustang, Megumi Toyoguchi was great as Winry Rockbell, and Ryotaro Okiayu was terrific as Scar. Noteworthy seiyus include Kenji Utsumi as Major Armstrong, Hidekatsu Shibata as King Bradley, Keiji Fujiwara as Maes Hughes, Yuuko Satou as Lust, Junichi Suwabe as Greed, and Sho Hayami as Frank Archer. As with the English Dub, the cast is a blast from the past and it’s been 8 years since the dub was in the process of being made. Funimation has been consistent with some decent to really good dubs and there are a few dubs from Funimation that I just flat-out hate. Bang Zoom! Entertainment has a few flawless dubs, Cowboy Bebop was one of them, and so were Wolf’s Rain and Paranoia Agent. The dub to Fullmetal Alchemist was solely Funimation and it’s a damn good dub. Don’t get me wrong, the Subtitled Version is fantastic too but the Dub is also really good because Funimation knew that they were working on something huge that they couldn’t screw this up. Now you fangirls know who I am going to talk about, and the fangasms are mostly likely inevitable. Edward Elric is voiced by Vic Mignogna (pronunciation note: the g’s are silent) and this is probably the most interesting casting choice in the dub. Romi Park was in her mid 30’s, Vic Mignogna was in his early 40’s while playing Edward. Since I am a man, it may be difficult for me to understand why this guy is so popular in the dubbed anime fan community. I will give him credit that he doesn’t always get the big roles most of the time yet he loves what he’s doing and I can tell he loves going to conventions. He probably has one of the funnest jobs in the world. However I think he gets way too much attention. Now hold on a damn minute before you start spamming hate mail, combo attacks, and fatalities. I don’t think most of his minor roles stand out as much and there are some roles that are nice surprises. With Fullmetal Alchemist, he nails that performance as Edward Elric.. I can see why a lot of fangirls love Vic Mignogna as a voice actor. it is very likely that it is his greatest role in his career. Hands down. Another nice thing about the dub is that the younger child characters are actually played by children which leads me to Alphonse Elric. Al was played by a 12 year old boy at the time named Aaron Dismuke and he still does voice acting. Aaron Dismuke also was absolutely terrific as Alphonse. Travis Willingham is also great as Roy Mustang but this was one of his roles in his early days but he does play the part well. Caitlin Glass also has a great performance as Winry Rockbell for pulling off her silly moments and even her emotional moments so well. As for Dameon Clarke, he plays his role very well, Noteworthy voices of the dub include Chris Patton as Greed, Christine Auten as Izumi, Chris Sabat as Major Armstrong, Chuck Huber as Shou Tucker, Cindee Mayfield as Dante, Colleen Clickenbeard as Lt. Hawkeye and Rose Ty…*Ahem* Thomas. Ed Blaylock as King Bradley. Juli Erickson as Pinako Rockbell, Laura Bailey as Lust, Sonny Strait as Maes Hughes. Wendy Powell as Envy, Jerry Jewell as Barry the Chopper, and Mike McFarland as Jean Havoc as well as the ADR director of this fantastic dub. Since this was a Funimation dub in the early days, Funimation added some talent outside of Funimation to avoid double billing with the voice actors. There are some that were known for their work on ADV Films which is also in the state of Texas where Funimation resides and this dub managed to get Greg Ayres and Tiffany Grant but not only few from ADV, but they also got a little more outside their talent pool. This dub has Carrie Savage who has been with Funimation before and since, but Funimation also got Michael Sinterniklaas. Like Carrie Savage, he is part of a number of dubbing companies. If that wasn’t enough. Johnny Yong Bosch is in this show for one episode and that was a real treat. Hell, the dub even has Scott McNeil and this awesome Canadien was Hohenheim. However, the most surprising role in this entire dub is Monica Rial. Her part in this show is phenomenal and outstanding. Casting voices outside of a company’s talent roster is not an easy thing to do, but Funimation managed to pull it off. This dub is a miracle and even though it’s not performed in a top professional manner, from what I can guess… Funimation’s intent was probably to give the dub a natural feel and they damn well succeeded in that. Mike McFarland’s ADR Direction is superb in this one, the only issues I can see is some translation differences from the original Japanese. For example, Ishval was called “Ishbal” in the dub. But in the long run, these translation differences are not something to get worked up about.
One of the most key factors that made this show such a hit are the characters. Edward and Alphonse are such strong characters in this anime. These two brothers are the most important in the story. Roy Mustang is also a great character and his backstory is interesting. Scar is another character that is interesting to stick along to. Then of course we have Winry Rockbell who is a great supporting character, especially her kindness and care towards the Elric Brothers. I will say that there is so much to this show that I find it difficult to talk about the characters. There are so many different kinds of characters that it’s hard to make the topic short. Maes Hughes is an awesome character, especially for the love of his family and his friends. Lt. Hawkeye is a nice contrast to Roy Mustang. Mustang’s subordinates are great. and Alex Louis Armstrong is fabulously awesome. Here’s a nice thing about the show, The good guys are not the only group that have “good intentions” Even the Homunculi have some interesting aspects as well. Lust is actually a fascinating character and much different in the manga, Gluttony…is alright. Envy is mostly hated in this show and Envy was written that way. Greed is awesome for the most part, Sloth’s character kind of doesn’t make any sense, Wrath is annoying, and Pride should’ve been called Wrath. In fact, It feels like they got the two characters mixed up with their names. The way Wrath acts like in this show should’ve been clear that he would be Pride. But oh well. The Main villain in this show is actually written pretty well for the most part…that is until the show is ending. If there is one character that is unfortunately underused is Hohenheim He comes in late in the game but he doesn’t get much development which is kind of a shame to some degree. What makes Fullmetal Alchemist such a hit is not only are the characters written so well, it’s that there are over 30 recurring supporting characters throughout the whole show. the supporting characters support the story and make strong character threads that not many anime could achieve. The Elric Brothers are by far the most important characters and everyone else is part of his journey. What makes the Elric Brothers such captivating characters is their brotherly love and how they are willing to go as far as sacrificing something for the benefit of the other. It is by far the most touching aspect of Fullmetal Alchemist. There is also a great deal with relationships on this show where the show is dealing with family, friendships, relationships, and complicating relationships. it is balanced greatly. But what also hits the mark for the viewer is that not everything is black and white, and what makes this show work so well is that there is a great majority of flawed characters. No one is perfect in this show and that is a very good thing to a fictional story. This anime is very emotional and having the characters not be perfect makes this such an endearing anime. The way the characters interact as well as the bravery they display and the sacrifices they make can really hit the viewers hard. And this is because there is good storytelling in Fullmetal Alchemist.
The story is very memorable as well and what I love so much about Fullmetal Alchemist is its portrayal of the human condition and even though I’ve said enough times that it is a very emotional series. This is an anime that a viewer is given enough time to attach to the character and yet they need to be on guard because there will be some ups and downs. The way this show is constructed is what could make the viewer empathize the character even though they are fictional and you are given enough time to sympathize with them because of what has happened to some of these characters. You will probably get emotional as well if any of the characters get deconstructed whether something bad happens to them or they die. Then the story reconstructs itself after the change that has happened. There is a lot of variety to character as well and these characters are three-dimensional in such a moving story. The reason this show is so big is that it was heavily marketed because Funimation knew they had a big series in their hands and they knew this show would probably be successful. This show is extremely popular and that’s not necessarily a bad thing although the hype can be underwhelming. But there’s no denying that this anime became such a phenomenon in the anime fandom. What this show succeeds on is having a combination of good artwork and animation as best as it could have been, an emotional soundtrack, a great cast of flawed characters, and a moving story that is so touching that viewers can relate to. The show allows the viewer to attach to the character so closely that it makes these characters feel timeless, and that is because of the quality of storytelling. It even tackles themes like family, relationships, life, military, philosophy, and even religion. These are very well synchronized and all the dynamics feel natural and mostly well-balanced. With all the drama, humor, suspense, action, and the twists and turns all involved in this journey. It creates memorable moments that are sometimes unforgettable. However, even with 51 episodes. I do see some flaws with the show that seriously have been overlooked. As touching as the story is, I will say that the first two episodes are terrific, but after that, there were a few episodes that took place before the first two episodes. in a chronological standpoint, it’s a little off. There are some episodes that feel like filler once in a while but they can be enjoyed but despite my nitpicking, there is one major tick I have with the story, and that is “The Other Side of the Gate”. Yes… The Gate. It was built up pretty well but it was revealed near the end of the show and the show as a result was rushed at the end. It wasn’t brought up heavily and it raised a hell of a lot of questions yet the concept behind the Other Side has got to be the most unfitting thing in this anime’s existence, and the fact that it wasn’t explained very well and convoluted everything the show was going for made the series lose its momentum. But surprisingly, it was still emotional regardless. The storytelling isn’t perfect and the ending was acceptable that even Hiromu Arakawa herself approved of. No matter how Fullmetal Alchemist turned out. the fandom to this show is huge and they all have a heart made Fullmetal. The fans love this show because the show looks so good and the story hits hard on the heartstrings because it is so touching and moving and the characters are so timeless that you can relate to these characters, the music also compliments all this very well. This show isn’t perfect, but it tried to be the best it could be. That’s what made this anime so damn beautiful. Most things work out, some don’t. Some good things happen, some bad things happen. Hell, the animation isn’t eye-popping but at least it’s condensed in a good way. There will be strengths to everything and there will be flaws. Personal opinions are just opinions, not fact. Humankind cannot give anything without first giving something in return. To obtain, something of equal value must be lost. That is the first law of equivalent exchange. In those days, fans of the show supported the series with a price… and in return, they were rewarded.
Fullmetal Alchemist is available by Funimation, the Fullmetal Alchemist movie, Conqueror of Shamballa is also available by Funimation, the Fullmetal Alchemist OVA Collection is available by Funimation, the Manga by Hiromu Arakawa is available by Viz Media and I strongly suggest picking this one up if you loved the anime. The series of light novels to Fullmetal Alchemist which seven are part of the series’ universe while the other 3 are novelizations of the Fullmetal Alchemist video games are available by Viz Media, although the first 5 books are available, the last 2 books and the video game novelizations have not made it overseas which is a damn shame. The Fullmetal Alchemist video games were available for the PlayStation 2 but the third Fullmetal Alchemist game was never released overseas. The Fullmetal Alchemist DS game called Dual Sympathy was available for the Nintendo DS. The faithful adaptation remake Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is available by Funimation, The Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood OVA Collection is available by Funimation. The second Fullmetal Alchemist movie The Sacred Star of Milos is also available by Funimation. Hooray! I’m done talking about the extra stuff…
With all that said, Fullmetal Alchemist is a special concoction that manages to ties things well for the most part with a touching and moving story, good animation, a terrific soundtrack, and timeless characters. It does have some chronological issues at the start but at least the stories within them are told well. It does suffer with a rushed ending as well as a momentum dropper thanks to a concept near the end of the show that does not fit in with what this anime was going for. But that’s just one thing that doesn’t work, there are many other things that do work and that’s why Fullmetal Alchemist is such a beloved series.
I give Fullmetal Alchemist a 9.3 out of 10, it is EXCELLENT!
Feel free to leave a comment, One is All, All is One.
1 of 1 episodes seen
It’s been a while since I last had a dream and I really don’t know why. I actually like having dreams when I am asleep. Well anyway…Dreams can even influence ideas for movies and that is not a bad method for using your imagination if you are the creative type. Hell, Christopher Nolan’s film Inception was about going within a dream within a dream within a dream. Talk about complicating. Anyway, the final dream that Satoshi Kon completed is Paprika. Sometime in the near future, a revolutionary new psychotherapy treatment called PT has been invented. Through a device called the "DC Mini" it is able to act as a "dream detective" to enter into people's dreams and explore their unconscious thoughts. But...Before the government can pass a bill authorizing the use of such advanced psychiatric technology, one of the prototypes ends up being stolen, sending the research facility into an uproar and panic. In the wrong hands, the potential misuse of the device could be devastating and disturbing, allowing the user to completely annihilate a dreamer's personality while they are asleep. Renowned scientist, Dr. Atsuko Chiba, enters the dream world under her exotic and beautiful alter-ego, code name "Paprika," in an attempt to find out who is behind the plot to sabotage the new invention. To be technical, this is a Studio Madhouse which means that this movie is promised high production value. And this movie damn well shows it. The visuals look dreamy which is fitting but the animation looks amazing as well as some of the extra detail. This film is well detailed and the amount of imagination in designs in huge in this movie during the dream sequences. The character designs are just as great as Satoshi Kon’s masterpiece Millenium Actress except this is years later and the animation is gorgeous and it really shines in this movie. It is by far the best part of the movie. The music by Susumu Hirasawa is also a terrific score. The main theme is catchy and most of the background music is often eerie which is great because it invokes the feeling of a nightmare which is what fits this movie. The music even fits during the dream sequences too. What is significant about Paprika is that it was the first movie to use a program called “Vocaloid” and it’s pretty effective in this movie. Susumu Hirasawa does not disappoint with the soundtrack and it compliments the movie greatly. Like some of his previous work, he knows how to make the music work in the anime shows or movies he has a part in. When voice acting is concerned, the Japanese casting is excellent. Megumi Hayashibara is terrific as Atsuko Chiba, Akio Ohtsuka is also terrific as Konokawa. Tohru Furuya is pretty good as Dr. Tokita. Katsunosuke Hori is great as Dr. Shima, and Koichi Yamadera is terrific as Dr. Osanai. A noteworthy performance is Satoshi Kon as Mr. Jinnai. Yeah, Kon-san decided to have a little part in this. Which is nice. As with the dub. It is a bit hit and miss. Cindy Robinson is actually pretty good as Atsuko. Paul St. Peter is okay as Konokawa. David Lodge is tolerable as Dr. Shima. Doug Erholtz is great as Dr. Osanai, but Yuri Lowenthal is a little off at times or even out of character from the original intent. I don’t get to hear Yuri Lowenthal all that much in anime dubs and he does alright from time to time. This is one of the roles where he doesn’t really shine. I’ll give him credit for not being unbearable in the dub but he’s a bit hit and miss in this one. The dub is tolerable but if you want better casting, stick with the Subtitled Version on this one. The characters are well-written enough to the point that it’s good enough for the movie. Atsuko is an interesting character and she is a bit interesting. It is nice that her “Paprika” side is more fascinating than Atsuko herself and that I was questioning at first. As the movie progresses, she actually does develop well. Dr. Tokita may be a big guy, but he his a genius (according to this movie) He’s alright for the most part. Dr. Shima is great throughout the movie with his attitude and personality. Konokawa was an interesting case because he didn’t like movies, which I don’t mind but I always found that interesting about him. Then there’s Dr. Osanai who is great along the way, but not what you would expect. The characters aren’t really timeless, but at least they make the dream feel real. Then there comes the story which won’t be easy for me to talk about. I could say that the animation and visuals are the most important part of this movie, but I can’t. I simply can’t. The concept of the movie is what made this movie so interesting as well as it being such a spectacle. Even though it is such a visual feast, you really got to pay attention to this one because it is complicating yet the progression is simple. The mind-fragging visuals do deceive the eye very well unless you are very observant. And this is the most powerful aspect of Paprika and by far what makes this movie work. The story has a few twists and it has a solid plot, however the story isn’t perfect. The Chairman wasn’t as fully developed and he get’s much less screentime than the others. Regardless of all this, Paprika is a unique film that even Christopher Nolan was inspired by this movie when he made the movie Inception which is ten times far more confusing and complex than Paprika and requires full attention while Paprika is a spectacle and can be understood to a degree. Paprika does not sacrifice substance with style, there is a good blend of fantasy with reality in this one, and Satoshi Kon’s final film in his life was one hell of a dream. Keep on dreaming Satoshi Kon. Rest in Peace.
Paprika is available by Sony Pictures Classics.
With all that said, Paprika is a very creative film with amazing animation and imaginative visuals, and a dreamy soundtrack that compliments the movie greatly. Its characters are well-written and the story is unique but has a few hiccups. I strongly recommend this movie if you liked Satoshi Kon’s previous work and if you want to find something unique that can only be achieved in animation and in film. This is a dream worth having.
I give Paprika a 8.7 out of 10. it is VERY GOOD!
13 of 13 episodes seen
To begin, all human beings have a viewpoint of all shapes and sizes. But there are times when someone can be cornered into agreeing on something so he or she can please others. Regardless of the situation, a person will eventually form his or her own opinion and draw a conclusion about something but not everyone will agree. And then...
In the country of Japan, there seems to be an elementary school kid that is known as Lil’ Slugger (Shonen Bat in the Subtitled Version) and this mysterious enigma has been going around attacking people with his bent, golden bat. After Lil’ Slugger’s first attack, two detectives are investigating this case so they can stop this kid from making any more attacks, but they will find out soon enough... that this case is much more than they expected. To be technical, this is a Studio Madhouse production and they really are known for high production values. I’ve said this before in previous reviews when the name Madhouse is brought up. This is to be expected most of the time. With Paranoia Agent, this series looks incredible but there are some hiccups somewhere along the way. This is also Satoshi Kon’s only TV series and even though the budget in this show isn’t enough to make a movie. There were some unused ideas that were never implemented in his movies and he decided to recycle these ideas and put them into Paranoia Agent, and this is quite interesting. Like his previous works, the blending of fantasy into reality really hits in this show (well for the most part). What is also used very well is the show’s foreshadowing and it sure knew when to keep things mysterious. But regardless, the animation is done pretty well and it is even a little mind-screwy with good reasons. The music by Susumu Hirasawa is pretty damn incredible. The electronic and techno beats serve the show well and the soundtrack can be a bit eerie at times as well. And this eeriness to the soundtrack is a perfect way to compliment everything else in the show. Since this show exploits the characters’ weakness and proneness to anxiety and fear, the way the soundtrack compliments all this is pretty impressive. Hirasawa-san struck all the chords when needed and he does not disappoint. If there is one thing about the soundtrack that is awesome, it is the opening theme “Dream Obsessional Park”. This opening theme sounds incredible and the opening looks incredible to some extent. The closing theme does sound calming compared to the opening and it does serve as a nice contrast to the opening theme. Either way, Hirasawa-san made a fantastic soundtrack to Satoshi Kon’s only TV series. When it comes to voice acting, The Japanese cast is really good. Daisuke Sakaguchi is great as Shonen Bat, Mamiko Noto is also great as Tsukiko Sagi. Also, Shozo Iizuka is terrific as Keiichi Ikari and Toshihiko Seki was also terrific as Maniwa. There are a few well-known seiyus and I guess that can be nice. As for the English Dub, it is really REALLY GOOD! Sam Regal is a very deceiving voice to hear as Lil’ Slugger but it works. Michelle Ruff is terrific as Tsukiko Sagi and one of her best roles even though she doesn’t play a “normal” character. Carrie Savage is also phenomenal as Maromi by having a cute voice for the stuffed doll as well as giving the viewer some eeriness. Michael McConnohie was also phenomenal as Keiichi Ikari and even Liam O’Brien lands a home run in this one. Even some voice actors and voice actresses that aren’t big names performed very well in the dub of Paranoia Agent. Not a single voice was off. Paranoia Agent has one of the best English Dubs. Period. Jonathan Klein’s ADR Direction in Hellsing was outstanding, Paranoia Agent is probably the best dub he has directed. You can’t go wrong with either version but I strongly suggest the dub as well before or after you watch the subtitled version. As far as characters go, this may be the hardest thing for me to talk about when it comes to Paranoia Agent. The way the show is being told is that each episode is being told in a specific character’s point of view. For example, The first episode is told from Tsukiko Sagi’s point of view, she does appear in later episodes but these specific episodes aren’t mainly focused on Tsukiko. As the show progresses, we learn more of the people who are involved with the Lil’ Slugger incidents and we even get to see their dark sides which actually make the show thought-provoking. This is a very psychological show and this does feel like a character study, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It surprisingly has a plott that connects even though the episodes are mostly about the character and that character’s point of view and that it feels non-linear in some sort of way. Is it perfect? No. There is one episode that I did find pretty pointless at times but it still wasn’t too terrible I just wish it was told differently than what is being presented in the complete version that is before us. There is a little hiccup with the storytelling and that’s one flaw with Paranoia Agent. When the show brings questions, it’s thought-provoking. When it’s eerie, it may make you feel a little uneasy. When the show reveals things, you will probably be surprised. The show does live up to its name and what I really like about this anime is that it is thought-provoking to the point that it may even make a viewer like me want to question where my weaknesses are before I reach my breaking point. I think everyone’s had some ups and downs, but that’s kind of why I like this anime so much. The psychological aspect is realistic, the whole Lil’ Slugger thing is not… But I suggest you watch the show to get the answers because you sure are not going to get them from me. But if you must insist, I must ask you. Are you sure you want the answers you are looking for and are you willing to hear the truth when you have the answer? Sometimes, it is best that things go their own course without questions. Period.
Paranoia Agent was available by Geneon. It is sadly out of print and this home run slugger really needs to get re-licensed one of these days.
With all that said, Paranoia Agent is an eerie series. The show lives up to its name and it’s psychological elements are thought-provoking. The animation is fantastic, and the music is superb. The characters are very interesting despite a few storytelling hiccups. Despite all this, this is a must-see but it may not be for everyone so be on your guard.
I give Paranoia Agent a 9.5 out of 10, it is EXCELLENT!
1 of 1 episodes seen
Well, the holiday season is here once again and I have yet another review just in time before Christmas, in fact this movie takes place around Christmas. Here’s Tokyo Godfathers!
On one Christmas Eve, there were three Japanese people who are homeless. one is a middle aged man named Gin who happens to be an alcoholic. one is a high school runaway girl named Miyuki, and a transvestite who was a former drag queen named Hana. These three were searching dumpsters and trash bags for possible Christmas gifts for themselves, when cries from a baby drew their attention. Believing this was a gift from God, Hana, who couldn't have a baby of "her" own, vowed to take care of the abandoned baby girl and together they began searching for baby's mother. To be technical, this is a Studio Madhouse production...which means this movie probably has high production values. Madhouse doesn’t disappoint us with this one and this is a real surprise coming from Satoshi Kon. After watching this film, I realized that this was the only movie and work that Satoshi Kon made that has nothing to do with fantasy and reality which Satoshi Kon was known for implementing in his work. Regardless of noteworthy topics, this movie looks amazing while it is composed. This movie doesn’t have eye-popping visuals and “in your face” action. The animation, backgrounds, designs, and visuals are all well-balanced. The music is an interesting topic. The composer for Tokyo Godfathers is Keichi Suzuki who is probably best known in America for his involvement in the soundtrack for the Super Nintendo game EarthBound which is known as Mother 2 in Japan. I have not played EarthBound yet and I plan on doing so someday. But I can say that the soundtrack in Tokyo Godfathers compliments the movie pretty well. It is a bit of a mindfuck to hear a J-pop version of Ode to Joy at the very end of the movie. Come to think of it, the ending credits were a bit quirky. When voice acting is concerned, an English Dub does not exist in this movie and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Toru Emori is great as Gin, Yoshiaki Umegaki is terrific as Hana, and Aya Okomoto is also great as Miyuki. I do have a theory as to why an English Dub wasn't made. It is probably because there is one scene where a minor character is speaking Spanish and Miyuki doesn't understand it. If there was an English Dub to that scene, it would be a bit lost in translation. The casting's great though The characters are what brings the movie home. Gin may be an alcoholic but he is used for humor quite effectively, he may be pathetic but he does have his weaknesses. But at least he’s used for some nice humor. Hana is a sweet trans woman from transex… yeah, that joke wasn’t going that far. I actually liked Hana throughout the whole film. “She” had a pure heart and that’s why I think she’s a sweet trans woman. “Her” orientation was poked around on some of the humor but that’s because of Gin’s nature and alcoholism combined. But even though “she” is fictional and goes through hardships, “she” puts a new meaning to LGBT. Life’s Good But Tough. Miyuki is kind of a brat but has her reasons, her little flashback does make sense as to why she’s the way she is. She’s not really as homeless as Gin and Hana and that’s because she’s a runaway. These three characters are written pretty well with the best that Satoshi Kon could do. The only character that does not need development is the infant Kiyoko even though there is some interesting symbolism on her. In fact, Satoshi Kon added some Christian symbolism in this film and I guess that is a nice touch. The characters are written pretty well. Here’s a fascinating fact about Tokyo Godfathers, the screenplay is not only written by Satoshi Kon, he wrote the screenplay alongside Keiko Nobumoto which she was known for writing Wolf’s Rain and Cowboy Bebop. The story is simplistic but at least it has a heart. The story is also a comedy. What I really like about Tokyo Godfathers was that Satoshi Kon was trying something new since the last two things he made were about fantasy and reality. There may be a little bit of this in Tokyo Godfathers but not as heavily emphasized. I don’t know what else to say about the story of Tokyo Godfathers which I only need to question the title because there’s one male, a transgender woman, and a young girl. Maybe I’m just overlooking things or something.
Tokyo Godfathers is available by Destination Films.
With all that said, Tokyo Godfathers is a nice change of pace from Satoshi Kon. The animation is composed and looks amazing, and it has a complimentary soundtrack. What really brings the movie home is that it has some great characters in it and the story plays out pretty well for being serious and timing the humor just right when it needs to. Satoshi Kon tried something new and it worked out.
I give Tokyo Godfathers an 8.7 out of 10, it is VERY GOOD!
Feel free to leave a comment.
4 of 4 episodes seen
I have played Final Fantasy V before and I didn’t really enjoy that game as much even though many fans of the series thought the fifth installment was a bit underappreciated. What I didn’t like about Final Fantasy V was its story, it just seemed a little disappointing which makes me wonder why there was a continuation of the story in anime form. Which brings me to Final Fantasy: Legend of the Crystals.
200 years after Bartz and his friends saved two worlds from the threat of Exdeath, a threat arises and seeks to take the Crystals for itself. Linaly, a descendant of Bartz, and her friend/protector Pretz journey to the Temple Of Wind to seek the source of this new imminent threat.
To be technical, this is a Studio Madhouse production which means this OVA has high production values, right? Fuck no! The animation looks lackluster and disappointing. But to give the OVA some credit, some of the designs are actually okay. except for the Chocobo design. It looks nothing from the game and the Chocobo in this OVA is pink…FUCKING PINK!!! To be fair, there were colored chocobos in some games, but the only one in this OVA was a fucking pink Chocobo. A normal Chocobo is yellow and THEY COULDN’T STAY TRUE TO THAT. did Rintaro and the staff of this OVA ever do THEIR RESEARCH! The animation looks bad at times and some of the backgrounds make this OVA look uninspired. At least some of the visuals are decent. But the animation is mostly a mess. And this OVA even has a few panty shots which I swear wasn’t needed at all. This is one of the few failures by Madhouse but their resume still holds strong today.The music by Masahiko Sato may not be all that great, but at least there were a few cues to some themes from Final Fantasy V which was originally composed by Nobuo Uematsu. That is not necessarily a bad thing. But this soundtrack really isn’t all that noteworthy and it is pretty generic. and this is unfortunate because Masahiko Sato is best known for the music in the anime film Grave of the Fireflies which complimented that movie well. Masahiko Sato has not done much music compositions in his career but I really don’t know why he was picked to do the music in this OVA, it’s not listenable outside the show but at least the music’s not done by some amatuer. When voice acting is concerned, the Subtitled Version is not superbly casted. Rica Matsumoto was a decent choice for Prettz, but it will take a little getting used to if you’re watching this Subbed because the voice is a bit annoying. Yuko Minaguchi is a fitting voice for Linaly but the performance is only decent. The same goes to Shigeru Chiba as Valkus and Fumi Hirano as Rouge. The casting is pretty much decent. Now there does exist an English Dub but since it’s one of those “Old Dubs”, I had to prepare for really bad dubbing… So I gave the dub a try and… the dub is terrible. Matt Miller was way too old to play Prettz since he looks like a 13 year old. Sherry Lynn sounds off as Linaly. John Demita is cheesy as Valkus and Kate T. Vogt is not all that great as Rouge. Jack Fletcher has done the ADR direction for some of Miyazaki’s movies such as Kiki’s Delivery Service (until it was re-dubbed) and even Princess Mononoke. This is one of the worst ADR directions that he has made in his career and he’s not really a well-regarded ADR director. Stick with the Subtitled Version on this one even though both versions don’t really stand out.The characters in this OVA fortunately show emotion in this OVA but none of the characters are developed anyway. Prettz is a very energetic character but he is reckless and he does not develop as much beyond that. Linaly fortunately isn’t reduced to fanservice even though there’s some panty shots from her, but she is not well developed except she develops a little bit near the end, but that’s too little too late. Valkus is okay, but he actually is developed a bit more than the others. As for the scantily-clothed Rouge, she’s pretty much in this OVA for fanservice and she develops a little but not too much. The characters are pretty bland in this OVA. Oh, but if that wasn’t enough. The main antagonist, Ra Devil… is a fucking joke. His goal is to gain the power of the void (explained in Final Fantasy V) for his own goals and ambitions and become Deathgyunos and what the fuck kind of name is Deathgyunos. And what makes this whole villain a complete joke is that how he ends up getting defeated, That whole moment was bullshit. The biggest problem is the story, if you’re one of those Final Fantasy fans that didn’t like the story in Final Fantasy V, that plot’s successor is much MUCH WORSE. The writing is bad and I don’t even care about the plot to this OVA or its characters. There could’ve been some character development but the characters are not relatable because of the sloppy writing, what makes it worse is that the plot does advance decently, but the characters are sometimes boring and don’t develop much. But with the way the story was wrapping up, I just could not distance my disbelief on this one. Final Fantasy V may have been underappreciated and I sure as hell know that the story did not need a follow up and it somehow did and it is technically the first sequel to a Final Fantasy game, and what a piece of shit it is.
Final Fantasy: Legend of the Crystals was available by Urban Vision Entertainment. and it was only released on VHS since its release in America. It is Out of Print and there hasn’t been a DVD release since.
With all that said, Final Fantasy: Legend of the Crystals has sloppy writing, underdeveloped characters, a generic soundtrack with some cues of the themes from Final Fantasy V, and lackluster animation. This OVA is a mess of a follow up to a game that may have not been big but at least it was okay. Go play Final Fantasy V if it interests you, but after you complete that game, avoid this OVA follow-up if you want to know how downhill the story got according to this OVA.
I give Final Fantasy: Legend of the Crystals a 2.9 out of 10, it is BAD!
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Nov 30, 2013Final Fantasy VII: On the Way to a Smile - Episode... (Anime) add
1 of 1 episodes seen
When Advent Children was released, Last Order came alongside it. When the Complete Version of Advent Children was released, here’s On The Way To A Smile: Episode Denzel
This is the story about Denzel and he aims to enlist in the World Regenesis Organization (WRO) and he leaps back into his past. some parts of this story takes place during the game and even before Advent Children.
To be technical, this is a production between Square Enix and A-1 Pictures and I assumed that Madhouse was behind this and I was wrong. The Animation looks gorgeous but the character designs aren’t perfect but it still looks nice. There isn’t much action in this one but some of the visuals look fantastic and appealing. A-1 Pictures has not disappointed me when they made Black Butler, but they have disappointed me with Fairy Tail. Fortunately, they don’t disappoint with this OVA. The music by Takeharu Ishimoto does surprisingly compliment this OVA unlike Last Order which was forgettable. This OVA doesn’t have too much memorable music that is exclusive to this OVA but there are a few tunes from the game that do fit in. There’s not much said here, so moving on. Like Last Order, an English Dub does not exist. Kazumu Iwata is ok as Denzel, and there are other seiyus like Takahiro Sakurai (Cloud), and Ayumi Ito (Tifa), but they don’t appear that much. Fumihiko Tachiki was a nice little treat to hear however. The casting’s okay though. As with the characters, Denzel is interesting and some of the exclusive characters are okay, but since they get little screentime from 10 to 20 minutes, these characters aren’t as memorable. Reeve is in this one and he’s from the game. And even Cloud gets a moment and so does Tifa, but that’s pretty much it.As for the story, it is an interesting one alright, Denzel’s past is fully fleshed out thanks to this OVA, but I really think this most of the OVA could’ve been used for Advent Children. Another reason I say this is that the disease Geo-stigma (referred in Advent Children) is explained much more in this OVA even though it can be obvious when viewing Advent Children after playing the game. It would have been great if this was computer-animated like Advent Children and reserved as a short prequel to Advent Children. But I guess that wasn’t meant to be. Since this OVA is short, my reviews of these kind of OVA’s tend to be short. I try to mention more stuff but there isn’t anything else I can say about this OVA.
On A Way To A Smile: Denzel Episode is available by Sony Pictures and it is released with Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete, this can only be viewed on Blu-ray. The book that is called On A Way To A Smile that is similar to this OVA has not made it overseas.
On A Way To A Smile: Denzel Episode does give some insight to Denzel’s past that makes his backstory fully fleshed out with a decent backstory in the OVA and really good-looking animation. The characters aren’t much but at least they were okay, and even the music was okay too. I don’t know what kind of caliber this OVA would fall into but I can say that this is optional viewing considering this is within the universe of Final Fantasy VII.
I give On A Way To A Smile: Denzel Episode a 6.2 out of 10, it is DECENT!
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1 of 1 episodes seen
If you have played Final Fantasy VII and remembered the things shaped the events of the game, then this is for you… Here’s Last Order: Final Fantasy VII.
After the destruction of Nibelheim at the hands of Sephiroth, Zack and Cloud are on the run from the Shinra Corporation. As they make their way back to the town of Midgar, they recall the horrible events that happened at Nibelheim, as well as fight for survival against Shinra.
To be technical, this is a Studio Madhouse production and from what I can tell about this OVA is that this is what Final Fantasy VII would look like in Anime form, and this sort of a cool special for the Final Fantasy VII series. This was released as part of the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII however, this is the only entry that doesn’t take place before or after the original game. This entry takes place within the original game, except that it does not count within the series’ canon. This OVA was made as a little special for the fans of Final Fantasy VII. As a production standpoint, this OVA looks fantastic and that’s to be expected by Madhouse, but the animation isn’t perfect even though they could have done much more for something that’s only 25 minutes long. The character designs are okay but not jaw-dropping. Some of the animation does have some slight cheap effects. Most of the time, the animation is pretty good.
The music by Takeharu Ishimoto is the weakest factor of the whole OVA, it is forgettable, it has one memorable tune, and a remixed tune from the original game. Everything else is not worth going over and very forgettable. The soundtrack is just uninspired. Except for the ending theme yet that’s not memorable either.
As with the voice acting, I should point out that an English Dub does not exist in this OVA. Don’t ask me why, it just doesn’t. Takahiro Sakurai is good as Cloud. Kenichi Suzumura is okay as Zack, and Toshiyuki Morikawa is terrific as Sephiroth. The casting is good for the most part.
When it comes to characters, development isn’t such an issue except for some of the members of the Turks who I assume are from the game Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII. I don’t have much to say about characters because this takes place during the game for most of the scenes.
As with the story, it’s pretty much a recap of the events that took place in the game. The storytelling is awful in this special and it was meant to showcase the events in anime form. This may sound questionable for some fans of the game, but if you don’t mind this, then it shouldn’t be a problem. I hate to make this review short but I really don’t much to say about this OVA
Last Order: Final Fantasy VII is available by Sony Pictures. It was released alongside the Special Edition of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. Since there was a quantity of 77,777 copies, my best guess is that it is out of print unless this was only in Japan.
With all that said, Last Order: Final Fantasy VII doesn’t really offer too much except that it is a nice extra treat for the Final Fantasy VII fans. This doesn’t add much to the Final Fantasy VII series, but it does showcase the events from the game well in anime form. It is a little unfortunate a dub does not exist. But with a forgettable soundtrack and the little time that this OVA has, I can honestly say that this is optional viewing.
I give Last Order: Final Fantasy VII a 4.3 out of 10, it is NOT REALLY GOOD!
Feel free to leave a comment.
1 of 1 episodes seen
In 1997, Square Enix released one of the biggest RPG’s for the Sony PlayStation. That game is Final Fantasy VII. To this day, it is a very popular entry in the Final Fantasy series. To me, Final Fantasy VI is my favorite entry in the Final Fantasy franchise. But there is no denying that I was one of the many that enjoyed the seventh installment. This game was so popular that it led to a movie, a sequel game, some prequel games and even a book. Before I talk about the movie, there is something I must do first… *ahem* there will be spoilers about the original video game and ONLY THE VIDEO GAME. The reason for this is so you can understand the movie a little bit better. With that said, Here we go… oh and if you haven't played the game yet, I suggest you skip this upcoming part unless you don't care
Last Time on Final Fantasy VII...Cloud Strife is part of a group called AVALANCHE who is led by Barret Wallace. after the first mission, Cloud meets up with Aerith (or was it Aeris?) who is selling flowers for only 1 gil. Cloud then meets up with the rest of AVALANCHE at the 7th Heaven where we get to see Tifa and her gazongas. Barret then plans the next operation which would turn out almost for the worst when falls down to the church. Cloud then meets up with Aerith once again and she then joins Cloud. Aerith is being pursued by the Turks and Cloud and Aerith escape them and then suddenly they discover that Tifa is being taken somewhere. It turns out that she is being taken to Don Corneo who is pretty much a mix of a Mafia Leader and a pimp. Cloud and Aerith rescue Tifa while this being the only time that Cloud dresses like a woman. President Shinra of the Shinra Electric Corporation sends the Turks to obtain Aerith for specific plans, and they blow up Sector 7. Cloud, Barret, and Tifa set out to rescue Aerith from the Shinra Corporation and they meet up with Red XIII who happens to be a research specimen. Somewhere along that time, Cloud discovers a dark secret known as Jenova, but there isn’t much known about this at that time. President Shinra is seen dead with a long sword still impaled in him and it turns out that the one that murdered him was Sephiroth. After the President’s assassination, his son Rufus assumes the role as President and starts to go with his own plans himself. Cloud and his friends do save Aerith and escape the Shinra building in a crazy yet awesome escape method. Cloud and his companions then set out from Midgar to search for Sephiroth. In a nearby town, Cloud tells his companions about his past and Sephiroth. Along the way, they meet up with Yuffie, who is prone to motion-sickness, a dark and quiet man named Vincent, a (robot?) cat named Cait Sith who is riding a stuffed toy Moogle, and an airship pilot named Cid. Along their journey, Sephiroth as well as the Shinra Corporation are seeking The Promised Land, and Aerith just so happens to be the last surviving Ancient. Aerith heads off to the Forgotten City and Cloud and his companions go there only to witness Aerith getting killed by Sephiroth. Cloud ends up furious after witnessing that shocking death and he and his companions start following shortly after. They end up going to the Northern Cave and they find Sephiroth resting there. Cloud loses control and he ends up giving up the Black Materia they found earlier, After that occurs. Giant Monsters known as the Weapons are unleashed. But it is revealed later that Sephiroth has summoned Meteor which he aims it at the planet. Cloud and his companions then journey some more until everyone discovers Cloud’s true identity. They also discovered that Aerith was summoning Holy before she was killed. Cloud then finds his own self-discovery and resolves to defeat Sephiroth and live his own life. Cloud and his companions then go back to Midgar to stop the Shinra Corporation to end the wrongs they have committed. After they do so, they go to the Northern Crater to prepare for the Final Battle. They go to the planet’s core to confront Sephiroth and they end up victorious. Even though Sephiroth was vanquished, the Meteor was still coming down. Just when all hope was lost, the lifestream pours out and defends the planet. This stops Meteor from destroying the planet. The game ends there.
With all the recap I wanted to bring up has been said, let’s go to the Reunion with Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children
Two years after the end of Final Fantasy VII, the world is starting to get back on its feet after Cloud and his companions stopped the Meteor that was summoned by Sephiroth from destroying the world. The world that has been saved is working towards a new future. However, there is a new threat from a new illness called Geo-stigma, and three men that seem to be seeking Jenova. Cloud and his companions must once again reunite to stop the new threat.
To be technical, this is a Square Enix production and I rarely even talk about Square Enix when it comes to anime. Now, allow me to be perfectly clear. This may be a CGI film and some people may wonder why this is technically an anime. Well, it was from Japan and it is animated…Computer animated to be exact. This is one of those computer-animated films that can be considered as an anime, although I think most people don’t see it as an anime. This is kind of a pointless argument, but it is technically an Anime. It is however not the typical anime that most anime fans (or otakus) are used to. What I can say about this movie is that it looks amazing from start. to. finish. When it comes to animated movies, I am getting really annoyed that the animation I am seeing in theaters is the 3D animation. I really love the 2D animation style that was done for years. I do like some 3D animated films but I do hate it when that seems to be the new running trend. But with Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, that is a completely different story. All the scenes are animated gorgeously and I can see there was a lot of effort put into this film. What also is implemented is motion-capture where the characters move realistically… for the most part and it makes the animation more appealing to look at. Just for this movie, the computer-animation is flawless and this movie should be an example to 3D animated movies these days. I don’t mind 3D animation as long as it’s done right.
The music by Nobuo Uematsu is also a real treat, Nobuo Uematsu is obviously well-known for his compositions in the Final Fantasy series as well as other series he may have been involved in a little bit. Since I am talking about Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, expect some nostalgia when it comes to the music. Some of the old themes are back (in a different sound of course). There’s a mix of classical piano, rock, a little electronic, and even orchestral. Nobuo Uematsu is good for mixing things well and the soundtrack does not disappoint because it seriously kicks ass.
In regards to voice acting, the Japanese cast is pretty damn terrific. Takahiro Sakurai is great as Cloud, Ayumi Ito is terrific as Tifa, Kyosuke Ikeda was great as Denzel in the original cut and so was Kazumu Izawa in the Complete version. Showtaro Morikubo is great as Kadaj. and Toshiyuki Morikawa is fantastic… Noteworthy seiyus include Keiji Fujiwara as Reno, Maaya Sakamoto as Aerith, Toru Ohkawa as Rufus, and Shogo Suzuki as Vincent. Suzuki-san doesn’t have a lot of anime roles, in fact, this is the only anime role he’s played. He’s pretty good. Kenji Nomura is fine as Loz, and Yuuji Kishi was alright as Yazoo. As for Marlene and Denzel, they both have two seiyus. That is because the original seiyus were in fact children, when the movie got the Director’s Cut (Advent Children Complete). These two were re-casted. Kyosuke Ikeda was great as Denzel, and so was Kazumu Izawa when Denzel was re-casted. Miyu Tsuzurahara was pretty good as Marlene, Sumire Morohoshi will take a little getting used to. As with the English Dub, there is one major problem with the dub and it’s not even the cast or its direction. The English Dub suffers with awkward synchronization with the lip flaps in the movie. When I mentioned that there was a great use of motion capture, the lip movements were also implemented. If you can look past this, then the dub should be fine for you. Steve Burton is terrific as Cloud, Rachael Leigh Cook is also terrific as Tifa. Steve Staley is mostly great as Kadaj, but does have a few hiccups. George Newbern is also terrific. As for some noteworthy voice actors and voice actresses. Beau Billingslea is great as Barret, and the casting was perfect too. A black character voiced by a black guy. That sure makes some common sense. Chris Edgerly (even though he doesn’t do much anime roles) is great as Cid. Crispin Freeman is cool as Rude, Quinton Flynn is a lot of fun as Reno. Wally Wingert is great as Rufus, and Mena Suvari is pretty good as Aerith. The only voice I think was over-the-top was Steve Blum as Vincent. Hear me out! Vincent’s Japanese voice was deep, calm, and dark. Steve Blum (as a big name he is to anime and video games) was deep, was dark, but the voice sounds a little too unconvincing for me. I liked Vincent’s Japanese voice because it was just the right balance to make his character sound fitting, Steve Blum sounds like he’s playing a Batman audition. The role is performed well, but the voice itself didn’t sit well for me. Fred Tatasciore is great as Loz, and Dave Wittenberg was alright as Yazoo. As for Denzel and Marlene. Benjamin Bryan was good as Denzel in the original cut as well as Aaron Refven in the Director’s Cut. Grace Rolek is also good as Marlene in the original cut, and Ariel Winter also was good as Marlene in the Director’s Cut. Oh, and even though Red XIII has a good amount of screentime, Masachika Ichimura and Liam O’Brien only got one line. What the hell Square Enix. All the other characters got plenty of lines, you couldn’t give Red XIII more lines than just one? Come on guys! The Japanese cast is great, and so is the English Dub. I already mentioned the synchronization issue with the dub so I don’t need to explain again. Moving on!
Characters like Cloud and his companions are the good same old characters you loved from the game. Except for Aerith, May she rest in peace. Cloud is a pretty good character during the game and this does continue somewhat in the movie. Tifa is like her old self in the game, which is nice and just like the game, her boobs are quite noticeable. Here’s the cool part, she wasn’t reduced to fanservice too much in the movie even and she can kick major ass. Barret makes an appearance and his badassitude is back. Yuffie is not as annoying in the movie compared to the game. Vincent is...well, hell if I know. He does kick some ass but not much. Cait Sith just sits on Red XIII and is just there for the comic relief. Red XIII does kick ass but only says a few words at the very end of the movie. Cid doesn’t do much but at least he contributed in some way. It is nice that the characters are just like how you remembered them. It was nice to see Marlene develop a bit more since the game. That is for a few movie-exclusive characters. Denzel was a little one-dimensional and a little uninteresting, that is until the Complete version came out. There were added scenes and these new additions made Denzel more than one-dimensional. Hooray! He actually is a little more sympathetic than the original version. Then there’s Kadaj and his lackeys. Oh Dear God, where do I start with these three brats. There isn’t much explanation to their personality but it isn’t hard to decipher. Yazoo is uninteresting and is pretty much there for the action, Loz is a little more involved and is a little disappointing in terms of development. Kadaj is heavily involved in the movie and he’s also far more interesting. Less in the original but far more understandable in the Complete version. The characters are mostly good, but there are a few characters that should have been taken care of more.
As for the story of this movie, it is a damn mess. I can see why a sequel was to be made (in the form of a movie). The game was really popular, the story ends open-ended and the game was so successful that this movie was possible. The story is the most disappointing part of the whole movie. And you know what? Half of this can be excused. There is a plot going around half of the movie, and then the rest of the movie is all action-packed and it’s insane that it just keeps going and going with a few breaks as well. At least the plot was balanced. My problem with the story is that it centers around Cloud, but also the 3 silver-haired men who only stay in this movie. This movie also brings back an old memory. What does bother me a little bit is that it feels like Cloud’s “Redemption” chapter. If this was going to be built up to that, then the story should’ve been written differently. The major problem with the story is that it was rushed, this was fixed with the Complete version. The story still could’ve been written much better but it is what it is. But there is a very good reason to watch this movie. Despite the disappointing plot as a sequel to a big game. This movie’s computer animation is awesome and the action kicks a lot of ass. This movie is pretty awesome despite a major flaw with the story. I just don't think Tetsuya Nomura is meant to be a director. He can make good designs for sure.
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children is available from Sony Pictures. Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete is also available by Sony Pictures but it is only for Blu-ray while the original cut is only on DVD. The Final Fantasy VII video game was available for the Sony PlayStation, but now these days, it can be found in the PlayStation Network and even in Steam. Crisis Core was available for the PlayStation Portable and Dirge of Cerberus was available for the PlayStation 2. To my knowledge, Before Crisis is a mobile game and was never brought into America.
With all that said, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children is an animation spectacle with gorgeous, jaw-dropping computer animation. kickass action scenes, an awesome soundtrack, memorable characters, and a plot that is disappointing but can still be enjoyed because of the animation and action scenes. If you haven’t seen this movie, do yourself a favor and do so if you are a Final Fantasy fan. If you are not a fan of Final Fantasy, it wouldn’t hurt to give this movie a try. But you may want to look up the game first to understand because this movie was made for the fans of Final Fantasy VII.
I give the Original Cut of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children a 7 out of 10, it is GOOD! However, I am in more favor of the Complete Version. So with that said…
I give Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children an 8 out of 10, it is VERY GOOD!
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