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Mar 28, 2019
THE PROMISED NEVERLAND has little pretension of being anything other than a brisk roller coaster ride. Forgoing atmosphere and mystery, the show immediately establishes the situation our happy-go-lucky orphan children find themselves in by the shocking conclusion of the first episode. Unlike FROM THE NEW WORLD or MADE IN ABYSS, this isn't a story that's interested in framing precocious innocence against a strange, hostile, and morally complicated world. Hell, the age of the characters is almost incidental considering they are geniuses with technical knowledge and observational skills surpassing most adults I know. Instead, this is purely an exercise in watching a group of people escape read more
Dec 18, 2018
HERO MASK is the second Netflix original that attempts to merge elements of Western action/crime thrillers with sci-fi shenanigans after B: THE BEGINNING face-planted itself into a bizarre cliche-ridden mess of disconnected ideas and hollow characters. The best and worst thing you can say about this bit of double dipping is that I now appreciate B just a little more for at least making an entertaining albeit drunken stumble of it. By contrast, HERO MASK is joylessly sober in almost every moment.

The possible clandestine offing of a prosecutor in quasi-futuristic London gets the inquiries of her colleague Sarah Sinclair and elite Special Service of read more
Nov 29, 2018
Even a giant like Studio Ghibli is bound to have a few duds in its filmography. TALES FROM EARTHSEA marks the debut of Gorō Miyazaki, son of Ghibli's legendary co-founder who's name requires no mentioning. This fact alone generates a narrative offering some explanatory power as to why EARTHSEA feels like such a dispassionate product even compared to other lesser Ghibli works. A lot has been said of this matter, so for the purpose of this review I will focus on a purely descriptive picture of why EARTHSEA falls short.

The story is based on American author Ursula Le Guin's beloved fantasy series, particularly the read more
Nov 16, 2018
LAND OF THE LUSTROUS is a gorgeously realized tale about identity, self-worth, and what one is willing to do to change their circumstances. Set on a small crescent-shaped island in a vast sea, the story concerns a cast of anthropomorphic gems that are ostensibly female in character and attire, but actually genderless. Of course, gems are things that hold high value in the context of our own lives, so the audience is already primed to think of the characters in terms of their worth.

But every gem has its flaws.

Phosphophyllite, the protagonist, has become all too aware of their own (everyone refers to themselves with singular read more
Nov 6, 2018
I'm split on how to feel about BLUE SUBMARINE NO. 6. There's a lot to like about it. The premise and inundated setting are unique. The character designs are great. An all-star lineup of animators, graced by the likes of Kōji Morimoto and Toshiyuki Inoue among others, put in some good work. Mahiro Maeda's direction is appropriately reserved, distant, and atmospheric for what is an otherwise ludicrous story. Sounds like a home run, right?

But this is Gonzo we are dealing with. BLUE SUBMARINE is the studio's first production and essentially serves as their mission statement. Ergo, all that aforementioned good work is buried under mountains read more
Oct 23, 2018
Japanese animation had forever left it's footprint in the world of science fiction by the late 90s. Works like AKIRA and GHOST IN THE SHELL were just the kind of stylish, cool, violent, dystopian, and thoughtful visions of the future that would land them squarely within the favoritism of American pop culture, impressing Hollywood titans like James Cameron. Nowhere are these influences more noticeable than in the Wachowskis' hit trilogy THE MATRIX. The merging of stylish action, philosophical themes, and a futuristic setting provides a unique cocktail that is heavily indebted to anime. It only makes sense for the Wachowskis to give it back to read more
Oct 21, 2018
"Misato, let's just call this a win for now."

Whatever you say Ritsuko. Does anything of significance even get accomplished over the course of EVANGELION 3.0 QUICKENING/YOU CAN (NOT) REDO (good lord!) that justifies itself in the grand scheme of the franchise? Not particularly. The movie ends the same way the last one did, without giving us much more insight in the process. Director Hideaki Anno's Rebuild series has been an interesting gamble. 1.0 and 2.0 are more or less an abridged retelling of NEON GENESIS's story up through Zeruel's devastating assault on the GeoFront. The ending of 2.0 came with the promise read more
Oct 17, 2018
If anime is notorious for anything, it's the the jigsaw puzzle plot. And BOOGIEPOP PHANTOM is the ultimate puzzle plot. That's saying something considering the show doesn't even give you all of the pieces. Set against the backdrop of Kouhei Kadono's larger multimedia project of BOOGIEPOP (of which I cannot claim any familiarity with beyond this program), one can be forgiven for coming away from PHANTOM feeling like they are missing the bigger picture. The context for the events within the show and many of its characters, especially those named in the OP, is at best merely hinted at and clearly can be made sense read more
Oct 13, 2018
How does one even properly begin a review of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood? By discussing its legendary status? By laying out the tricky relationship with its 2003 sibling? One thing is for sure, Hiromu Arakawa created something special when Enix began publishing her manga back in 2001. Brotherhood's top rating here MAL is not difficult to understand in the slightest. It is arguably the most accessible anime program to ever grace the world. The characters are indelibly likable, with strong personalities, distinct appearances, and well-defined goals. The setting is both immediately familiar in its parallels to early 20th century Europe and intriguing with its underlying mechanics read more
Oct 8, 2018
"Made in Abyss" drops its young, precocious protagonists in a bizarre and fascinating world with undercurrents of mystery, danger, beauty, and subtle horror, placing it in a similar class of shows like "Shin Sekai Yori" and "Hōseki no Kuni" (along with the much anticipated "The Promised Neverland" I suppose). Unfortunately, MiA has yet to use its mysterious world to tease out personal growth and themes of ignorance/revelation from its innocent adventurers like the aforementioned shows. The plot is catalyzed by way of amnesia after all, so it has mostly just been a generator of intrigue thus far.

But oh how intriguing it is! Right of read more