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Mar 9, 2023
In recent months, I've watched "Spirited Away" and "My Neighbor Totoro", two of Miyazaki's most celebrated films. Yet, the less acclaimed "Kiki's Delivery Service", released directly after Totoro, is superior to both.

The main difference between "Kiki's Delivery Service" and its predecessor is the existence of a story. While Totoro was a collection of enchanting, hyperreal moving images of the Japanese countryside and fantasy creatures with no further point, "Kiki" follows a more conventional structure. There is a clear premise, with Kiki coming of age and needing to live independently as an adult for a year. This larger narrative is interspersed with small adventures throughout ...
Feb 7, 2023
Mixed Feelings
I decided to watch this movie to entertain my 3 year-old, which it accomplished. However, this simplistic cartoon inspired more thoughts in me than almost any anime or movie I've ever seen. Wave after wave of insights washed over me, a few of which I wouldn't have realized even a year earlier. If nothing else, that's an impressive accomplishment, and something that none of the previous Miyazaki flicks I've seen ("Princess Mononoke", "Castle of Cagliostro", and "Spirited Away") managed.

Now, let's begin with the most obvious observations into the picture and work our way to the buried treasures;

MOST SHALLOW: This is an achingly gorgeous ...
Nov 25, 2022
Mixed Feelings
"Spirited Away" is an excellent Rorschach test to determine what a viewer values most in a picture. On the one hand, this is an absolutely gorgeous film, full of amazing, inspired animation. From the bizarre yokai to the sumptuous bathhouse to shots of the forest and blue sky, this is a memorable, utterly beautiful film. Although even here, my brain reminded me that certain visual motifs from the only two other Miyazaki films I've seen, "Castle of Cagliostro" and "Princess Monoke", were reused. Still, one can't say enough good things about the ingenuity and majesty of the animation. The music, a wistful, classic score inspired ...
Oct 6, 2022
Mixed Feelings
My initial reaction to Cyberpunk: Edgerunners was confusion. Who was this made for, exactly? On the one hand, you have a simple, predictable story with every character being cliche to the point of parody. Any popular 80's shounen you can think of had more nuance and complexity. So it's an anime for kids, right?

Well, on the other hand, there is a bunch of nudity, sex, drug consumpion, and endless amounts of gory death, with mangled body parts and pieces of brain scattered everywhere. So is it for adults?

I recall back in the 90's when critics would dismiss anime as "children's cartoons ...
Jul 24, 2022
Super Crooks (Anime) add
The series actually starts well. The first episode is a genuinely entertaining, funny satire on a superhero origin story. It's got the standard elements of a Mark Millar comic, including high school geeks discussing comics, but ends in spectacular fashion, with earnest Johnny inadvertently hurting (killing?) dozens of people and causing millions of dollars in damage, thus deciding to become...a villain.

Unfortunately, it's all downhill from there.

The next episodes consist of generic supervillain capers with very little humor or ingenuity. Moreover, the entire universe (or "Millarverse" as he likes to call it) is poorly conceived. None of the abilities or battles make a lick ...
Jul 1, 2022
Mixed Feelings
"Nightmare Hakusho" is a neat bonus OVA for fans of the series. It features four different dreams that Yuusuke experiences, all featuring the rest of the main cast wildly out of character, in bizarre scenarios. Genkai is a confused, timid elevator operator and Hiei is friendly and smiles at something other than the prospect of killing a foe.

It's not hysterically funny nor tremendously creative and picturesque, but it's amusing enough, and doesn't wear out its welcome at a mere 8 minutes long.

Fans of YYH and its iconic characters will enjoy this, as I did, but don't expect anything remotely as good or memorable ...
Jun 22, 2022
I'm a huge fan of the Yu Yu Hakusho series that ran from 1992 to 1995, which I consider one of the finest shounen ever, possessing many unique qualities rarely seen in the genre to this day. The various spin-offs and side stories from that time weren't bad, either. The first movie, "Golden Seal", was a solid, action-packed, if unspectacular OVA. The second movie, "Fight for the Netherworld", was feature-length at 94 minutes and didn't know what to do with all that extra time, ending up mediocre but not outright bad. Even the 8 minute side story "Nightmare Hakusho" about Yuusuke's crazy dreams was amusing. ...
Jun 21, 2022
Occasionally, one comes across anime so lame and cringeworthy, it makes one embarrassed to like anime at all. The Yu Yu Hakusho Picture Drama, a slideshow released 15 years after the show ended, with none of the original voice actors, certainly qualifies. To add insult to injury, I'm a big fan of the main series, which I consider one of the finest examples of shounen ever.

YYH was many things, and even had very brief moments of silly humor and chibi animation between all the occult horror and bloody torture and death, but it was never cutesy, cloying, nor juvenile, and treated its characters seriously ...
Jun 17, 2022
Dragon Ball Z (Anime) add
Crappy popular anime can be split into two categories. Those whose appeal eludes me, and those where I perfectly understand the reason for their success. DBZ falls firmly in the latter category. Hell, I loved the series when I was a dumbass 14 year-old!

The premise is practically catnip for a male that age. Martial arts battles for the fate of the Universe against increasingly more powerful foes, with showdowns that destroy literal planets in their wake. As simplistic as it is, what could be fucking cooler than that? It's a young male teenager's power fantasy in anime form. Complete with over-the-top transformation sequences with entire ...
Feb 17, 2022
Netflix is by far the biggest streaming platform in the world, with 222 million subscribers to second-place Disney+, which has 130 million, and adding more every financial quarter.

With all this money, they have been buying up the rights to countless movies and series, as well as producing ones of their own. And since they want an ironclad monopoly, they are doing so for every genre and medium, including anime.

"Bright: Samurai Soul" is an example of a Netflix original, and if this is a sign of the future, anime is doomed.

Even from someone who typically dislikes Netflix productions, I had decent hopes for this, since ...

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