Sunday, January 30, 2011

Winter Streaming Season: Thoughts, part 2

[Note: I forgot to mention this in my last post, but I will not be discussing Fractale or Mitsudomoe 2. The reasons for not discussing Fractale are obvious, seeing as I've already written two reviews of the show, and Mitsudomoe 2 is a sequel to a show I haven't watched, making it not so fun to talk about.]

Level E

Style! Sci-Fi! Buddies.

Level E is one of this year's thankfully plentiful examples of good anime. Based on an obscure manga from the '90s by the author of Yu Yu Hakusho and Hunter x Hunter (that will hopefully be translated), Level E isa buddy comedy with shades of serious science fiction, and vise versa. After moving into a new apartment located near a UFO crash landing, high school student Yukitaka Tsutsui enters his new home to find... a man with long, blonde hair and bishonen looks by the name of Prince sitting in his apartment room wearing Yukitaka's clothes and claiming to be an alien. An incredibly fresh sci-fi romp ensues, with perhaps the most stylish opening credits since Cowboy Bebop's "Tank!". Prince is a remarkably ridiculous character who plays off straight man Yukitaka in a remakable fasion, and yet, as casually hinted several times, there is an elaborate alien plot behind it all. Studio Pierrot's cg animation is also quite remarkable and (mostly) meshes with its 2d surroundings, which should be commended too. And really, how could I hate a show with this promo? Now, here's what the commenters on Crunchyroll had to say:

now this is more interesting than i thought from reading the text..
i laughed my @$$ off at the puppets ahaaha XD
Not a bad start to this series, love sci fi anime, will continue to watch 
Wandering Son

And now I present to you, the best anime of winter '11

Cross-dressers have been the subject of manga and anime before, but never before has it been handled so tenderly. Based on the manga of the same name being released in english later this year by Fantagraphics, Wandering Son airs on Noitamina (try spelling it backwards) the excellent animation block that gave us last year's Princess Jellyfish and this year's Fractale. Wandering Son is about two first year middle schoolers, Shuichi Nitori and Yoshino Takatsuki. Last year, Nitori confessed his love of Takatsuki, but what keeps them close friends is not romance, but a shared secret that no-one can ever know. Takatsuki likes wearing boy's clothes, while Nitori likes wearing wigs and dresses. This initial description, sadly, would not be enough to inspire confidance in Wandering Son, as many jaded otaku will think, "Great, another forgettable fanservice show with gender confusion," but the content of this show is dead serious. Nitori and Takatsuki must confide in eachother in a world that does not understand them. It is not funny at all when Nitori is caught by his sister while trying her new dress, and runs off wailing still wearing the skirt. This is an upsetting and delicate moment when a side of himself he had never shown to anyone but himself and his most trusted friend is shown to the last person he wanted to know. In short, this show is amazing. Now, here's what the commenters on Crunchyroll had to say:

Absolutely every moment of this episode took my breath away. If this keeps up, it will be a gorgeous show about a rarely touched-upon subject. I'll be sure to tune in for the rest!

OMG!! this show is PERFECT for me

interesting i love the art work its so... different
Hrm! Very stylish and mysterious.... Hrm!

This looks good. GOSICK is in fact probably Studio Bones' (Fullmetal Alchemist, Rahxephon) most visually satisfying entries to date. In a very gothic looking 1924 in the made-up english country of Sabure, at the prestigious St.Marguerite's Academy, Japanese (of course) student Kujo Kazuya, aka the Dark Reaper because as we all no nobody in Europe has dark hair (??), encounters, as Crunchyroll's description puts it, "a girl who is as beautiful as a doll..." who is a genius and some dude with a ridiculously cool pompadour (I am beginning to doubt this show's historical accuracy) and stylish gothic mysteries ensue! This is very good. However, I ran into the problem I have had with many adaption shows, particularly light novel adaptions, before. This show is WAY to faithful to the original, and it makes the show boring, despite the aforementioned style, and this is one show that really suffers from that due to the fact that the mystery is ludicrously over the top. Oh well, it's still good.Now, here's what the commenters on Crunchyroll had to say:

I think some foundation or backstory is missing here. Seems there are a number of elements of these characters and why they are doing things not even hinted at yet. Confusion has many friends.
Also, hopefully the cases get more complex. Otherwise I'll just stick to Detective Conan.
run bunnies run!!! O-o
In Our Final Installment: Moe Blobs and Mutilation

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Winter Streaming Season: Thoughts, part 1

Moe. Moemoemoemoemoemoemoemoemoe. Momomomoe. Moe! Mo-ay. Moe? Moe.

For a long while, this has been what the otaku discussion has looked like. Mountains of cute little ones with voluptuous proportions to match the eye size have been dangling around this gorgeous medium far too long, and if the new shows on Crunchyroll and Funimation are any proof, it's over. Not to say that moe has gone away for good, as two purely moe shows, Dragon Crisis! and Kore Wa Zombie Deasu Ka?, are present this season, but the two shows are of two completely different schools of moe (Dragon: let's pander! Zombie: Let's be absolutely out of our freaking minds!), and let's face it, only two shows is certainly proof that american otaku are fed up with the identical harems of the past few years, and may want to return to the quality of the good ol' days- and the crap as well.

Rio - Rainbow Gate!

Rainbow Groan

Let's start with exhibit A: Rio- Rainbow Gate! Rio is a pandering fanservice show based on a slot machine mascot about a popular casino dealer named Rio whose very presence makes everyone win, and yet is somehow still employed, and her adventures at the Howard Resort a.k.a. revealing outfit land using her magic gambling powers (her skill at cheating) to beat bad guy gambler dudes who like teddy bears. OK what the heck. However, it should be noted that both the animation and the fanservice are well done; every breast has a certain shimmer to their surface, and they bounce in real time. Also, to see some adults, that is, non-four year olds, getting time in a fanservice show must indicate a positive trend in otaku intrests, if a minor one. Not that this makes the show any good. Now, here's what the commenters on Crunchyroll had to say:

what the f@#$

wait.......the owner likes a dealer that gives their customers luck? Isnt that a little backwards? LOL
8:52 Oh, no. It's Michael Jackson. 14:16 Hollywood actresses who speak Japanese? 18:04 I have no idea what's going on. In conclusion, I find this boring.

Cardfight!! Vanguard

Rio is not the only returning favorite in this year's set of bad anime types. We also have the commercial tie-in, the show made to sell the newest Yu Gi Oh or Pokemon type card game. Most of these shows are stinkers, but none have been so actively awful and forgettable as Cardfight!! Vanguard. I already had a sinking suspicion this show would be abysmal when I saw the grotesquely bland character designs, and the feeling only grew as I progressed through the first episode. It would be unfair to blame this show for being another card game show, so lets compare it to ones of its kin that came before it. Looking at just about any card show, be it Pokemon, Yu Gi Oh, Beyblade, or even Hikaru no Go (that one's based on an ancient chess-like board game but still) you will notice that whether the series was good, bad, or in between, they had an adventure, or at the very least a story. There was some fantastical element, and the heros could be related to. Not this one. They are just playing cards. Nothing else. THEY ARE JUST PLAYING CARDS. Apparently they "visualize" the game, or somthing, but they barely show (or animate) that at all! And the show is not going for realism like Hikaru no Go ended up doing, seeing as VANGUARD IS TAUGHT IN SCHOOLS ACCORDING TO THIS SHOW! Now, here's what the commenters on Crunchyroll had to say:

Unfortunately, the game this show is centered upon does have monsters whose attacks are really just math problems which is a big turn-off to me. Although, judging from this episode and the first episode of Bakugan, Vanguard is better.
Im sorry..I called it lame on the intro video...its much worse..come on..I couldnt last 4 minutes...a hobbit main charater..they made an alt shorter then yug..I mean the main character..a chic..god so sad..last moment I waste on this
(smacks head against the wall repeatedly)
Next Time: stuff that doesn't suck!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Review FOLLOW UP: Oreimo and Fractale revisited

Okay, I am starting to get sick of writing about anime. This is not because I am sick of anime itself, but I am primarily a manga fan, so it can grow tiresome chatting about a secondary interest, even it is one I could rant about for hours. So, aside from my ongoing review/analysis of Evangelion, this will be my penultimate post on anime for a while, with the final being some thoughts on the winter streaming season later this month.

She sure looks happy about something.

Once upon a time there was a little otaku. This otaku was also a blogger, and was really bored. He was on vacation in New Jersey, of all places, where the gods of destiny had dumped a ton of snow outside, leaving the poor little otaku with nothing to do but fart around Anime News Network, looking for something, no, anything to do. Then he noticed something in the videos section with the little "new" logo on it. And that was how he found Oreimo.

He loved it. It was funny, the characters were cool, and it reminded him of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, a really fun show. Minutes after finishing the twelfth and final (for now) episode, the little otaku rushed to his blog to write a detailed and glowing review of whatever that show's name was again, never looking back in the month's that followed except for one update saying that he may have exaggerated a bit. Then, bored again, the little otaku decided to watch the show again. Oops.

Not only was Oreimo, a horrible, disgusting show, it was also stupid. The main character, after all, is a little sister who plays sister complex ero-games (self-explanatory, I think). EEEEEWWWWWWWWWW! However, it was entertaining, so the little otaku placed it under his mental file of brain-melters. Here is another example of a brain-melter:

The little otaku thinks you get the idea.

Fractale Episodes 2 and 3

Flying machines? In anime? That is soooooo new!

After a brief fansubber scare, Fractale is back, and better than ever. In my previous review, I was mainly positive, but noted the criminal robbery of Castle in the Sky and other classic Miyazaki films. This has yet to change, but it should be noted that it now reminds me of another show, and in this case, it's a good sign.

The show in question would be Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water, a show that Hideaki "Evangelion" Anno made before he got depressed and stuff. At the beginning Nadia is a straight forward and fun tribute to Miyazaki (There are aero-planes! AERO-PLANES.), who Anno once worked with, but as the show progresses, Anno begins to flex his creative muscles and show of his unique directorial skills. More on this show another time.

Anyway, the same happens with Fractale. Not only does the show begin to display director Yamakan's unique love of eye-catching bizarre antics, but something deeper, within the Fractale system, a communist technology religion, to put it bluntly. It seems that ripping of The Master made Yamakan feel quite self-important, and through that began to tell a really cool story, and then killed everyone. I mean, the mysterious girl may be the villain! This has a lot of potential, and I can't wait to see where it goes.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Zyword of the Week episode 5:The Manganime Conundrum

Naruto Uzumaki, Naruto
I'm sure you know this guy up there. I'm not recalling his name at the moment, but he's kinda famous. This boy ninja has had an incredible amount of success over the years, with plenty of well deserved fans, and wouldn't you know it, they made an anime! Oh yes, now I remember his name. Ramen. Anyway, the anime is more popular than the manga OK moving along...WHA?

Monkey D. Luffy, One Piece
I have never understood this, and likely never will. Manga adaptions of anime or video games are often overlooked, and video game adaptions of popular series are often hyped heavily, but are soon forgotten. But an ANIME? Stop the presses! This is big and historic! Who give a sh** about the manga now! This is...

Haruhi Suzumiya, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
I don't want to be a prude, but most anime adaptions are boring if you've already read the manga of played the game or read the novel or whatever. The problem is that with some exceptions (Fullmetal Alchemist, Akira, Ghost in the Shell), nearly every adaption follows the original to the letter, except for when they want to cram in ten episodes of boring filler arcs that are easy to skip.

Son Goku, Dragon Ball
The fact of the matter is, these shows are made for TV. It's fun to tune in once a week with your friends to see Goku come to life in gorgeous animation. But the problem is, that is not what happens here. Nothing is shown on TV. Rather, we are given DVD box sets and simulcasts to watch alone. I don't wish this didn't exist, exactly, but it's kinda too bad.

Conan Edogawa, Case Closed
I think the answer to this issue is more anime movies. This seems to be the general path that the anime industry seems to be going in anyway, but the fact remains that nobody ever takes the risk of changing the original to create something new unless it's a movie. Plus, no filler. I'd say that's a pretty good deal.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Review: Neon Genesis Evangelion-part 5 and a half: TV ending and Death & ReBirth

This is a bit of an odd post this time 'round, as I actually wasn't planning on talking about this part of the series. However, I am an hour and a half away from seeing You May (Not) Advance at my local cinema, so I figured to get in the mood, I'd rant about Eva on my blog. So, here we are.

First, some history. Both the TV ending and D&R (not to mention the director's cut episodes) are basically a product of Studio GAINAX running out of money halfway through production, making it necessary to replace the epic conclusion Anno had in mind with a new, funky ending made entirely out of reused footage. However, as you can imagine with the most popular anime of all time, the fans REALLY wanted to see the real ending, and as we all know, anime fans always get what they want. And so, the outlandish masterpiece End of Evangelion was produced, made with such care and patience that they needed to produce a clip show recap, Death & ReBirth, to keep the fickle public interested. Anyway, they exist, so therefore I better say some stuff about them.

TV ENDING (Episodes 25-26)
Quickly cut animation sprinkled with philosophy and random words flashing past the screen. If you love Evangelion as much as I do, you are likely to be drooling at the moment. I know I am. Joking aside, this is really great. Though it's annoying how this whole thing lacks any context with the rest of the series (Uh, is instrumentality happening? Did it already happen? Why were the big robots important again?), it can very much be said that this is what made this show unique, if not what made it great. Lots of vibrant imagery and characterization is at play here. However, I take issue with one thing.
It is the happy ending. Part of the reason this is here in the first place is the TV ending's fundamentally different portrayal of The Instrumentality Project of unifying all the souls (Movie = be alone, TV = be with others) but that does not change the fact that a happy end contradicts the very nature of Evangelion's narrative. The whole moral of this story was that life can be harrowing, life can be terrible, but life is still necessary. Seeing everyone smiling while stating "CONGRATULATIONS!" just cheapens everything. And why is the last shot of Penpen? I mean, we all love Penpen, but he does not deserve those final moments! I feel terrible... :)

Death & ReBirth
OK this is a clip show recap, and some work-in-progress footage of End of Evangelion. That's is, guys. The editing's good, I guess. Cover art's nice. Death and rebirth is a major theme in Evangelion, so that's there. But really, since I am not a Japanese otaku in 1996 waiting patiently for EoE, there is nothing here. Don't fall for Manga Entertainment's cruel trap of advertising this as part one of two in the conclusion of Evangelion. Ignore this.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Zyword of the Week episode 4: Five Dubs I Will Never Watch

The dub industry rocks. I respect what they do, and everyone in the dub industry seems to love what they are doing. However, when the dub is butchered, there  may be no going back. I raise my fists to the sky and wish a plague of locusts on everyone to ever english dub an anime EVER. Okay, that was an exaggeration, but you get the picture. Here are five dubs in no particular order that made me fume.

1. Naruto
Come on guys, one...two....three..."SAAAAAAASUUUUUUUKEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!" Of course, Naruto was already annoying in the first place, but somehow, the good folks at Viz made the Naruto anime UNWATCHABLE. Naruto, our hero, was so annoying I actually could not root for him, which, despite the fact that he never made sense to me as protagonist in a "train-to-be-the-best" Shonen, was something I was able to do before.

2. Fullmetal Alchemist
Man, if someone were to actually read my blog, I would get so much sh*t for saying this. The dub of Hagaren is generally agreed upon as Best. Dub. Ever, and indeed, it's quite good. But I just cannot STAND the voice actor for Ed, and since he's the main character, that is a problem. Also, I do not mind the butchering of the english names in the Japanese, because right now I am learning Japanese and find this fun. However, if I were to watch this with a friend (the best way to watch anime in my opinion), I'd watch the dub. I don't hate it so much not to give it a second chance, but that is certainly not true with...

3. End of Evangelion

I don't mind the TV series dub so much, though I prefer the japanese track, but after getting the license from under ADV's nose, Manga Entertainment proceeded to create a big eff you to every Evangelion fan ever. Though some of the performances are good, great even, everything is wrong about this. Serious scenes are turned into "jokes." Words are intentionally mispronounced. The video quality is crud. Recast side characters sound totally different from the TV show's dub. The commentary track reveals the AV director's total lack of understanding of what is going on, while the normally down to earth Tallison Jaffe natters on about a book he read about the Kabbalah. I happen to be against fan subs and scanlates, but you know what? Go for it, dudes. They deserve it. Fan dub it, too.

4. Dragon Ball GT
GT itself is not a great show, seeing as not even the manga dared to keep the undead franchise rolling on THIS much, but at the end of the day, it's fun to watch and soothes my soul from the troubles of the world. This cannot be said of the dub. It is so lazy production-wise, not to mention performance-wise, that I could literally make a better one with Garage Band. Even worse is the re-dub of the theme song, that sounds like it was done in five minutes.

5. Every 4Kids Dub Ever
While I like the Pokemon theme song, which is basically every shonen ever set to music, that's about it. How dare they do what they did to the anime version of Cardcaptor Sakura, to Shaman King, to (oh god) ONE PIECE! WHY GOD WHYYYYYYYYYYYYY!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! I wish this didn't exist.

Review: Fractale Episode 1

Thank god for streaming. Without it, I would not get the immense joy of watching Fractale, a new show directed by Yutaka "Yamakan" Yamamoto (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya) and from a concept by famous otaku  scholar Hiroki Azuma, ONE HOUR after it aired in Japan. I've became curious about the show after reading this article in witch the director spoke out against the moe symptom that has infected all otaku products lately. It shocked me that the director of Haruhi would be the one to be saying these things about moe, seeing as Haruhi was basically the moe show that worked. Needless to say, I was intrigued by the idea of a show that "will target non-anime fans and one-time fans who have shifted away from the genre," and I was not disappointed. This is good, nostalgic fun with a nice hint of the demented bent I can expect from a Yamakan production.

 This show does absolutely nothing new. Not an ounce of originality. It is a rehash of many things we have seen before. But these things are things that have not been seen for a very long time, so I welcome this show like a friend who has been on vacation for months. This show contains no moe, no pushy-in-more-ways-than-one breast shots, no "sexy" helium voices. Here's what the show does contain: A youthful, wide eyed hero. A mysterious heroine. A unique setting. A leisurely storytelling pace. Incompetent, bumbling, but still plenty dangerous initial villains. Miyazaki-inspired (okay, rip-off) aircrafts. And a hint of that WTF that only Japan is capable of crafting. Now if this is not enough to make you immensely curious, then there is nothing I can do to make you watch this show. However, unless your heart broke the moment I said no moe, then you are probably immensely curious about this show. However, this show needs more than that. Only moe gets produced with a list of guidelines and nothing more. And sadly, this show may be like that. Because what I just described basically IS the plot at this point. And really, why watch this when I could just watch Castle in the Sky, which this show dubiously resembles. There are two reasons.

First of all, the fanservice in the first episode was handled carefully and tastefully. At this point, fanservice (which, if you don't know what this means by now, I will just say that it fairly obvious when most of the fans to service are male) is a necessary evil of anime (and manga), and it was refreshing to see one that left things to the imagination, something that I think/hope otaku still have, and did not shove panties at the screen every ten seconds. After all, when you are creating something that fans can probably already find mountains of doujin based on the minute it is publicly available, is stuff like fanservice that needed?

Secondly, the weird sci fi setting. The world of Fractale at first looks like the bajillionth calm countryside to  grace an anime like this, but in reality, it is much more sinister. Other than the protagonist and a handful of other charaters, everyone is hooked to the Fractale system, the "twenty second century god", which makes life more convenient, and allows everyday life to be handled by bizarre avatars called "Doppels". It's like if The Matrix was also based on Castle in the Sky as well as Ghost in the Shell.

Anyway, the first episode was actually kinda light, so I can't say the quality will hold up, but as you can see by my feverish praise, I'm happy with what I see. And I haven't even mentioned the rad opener.

UPDATE: The Fractale simulcast has been shockingly put on hold by Funimation after a bunch of illegal torrents and streams of the first episode were put out by some @$$#*!#$.

Fractale is currently streaming via Funimation

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Review: Neon Genesis Evangelion-part 5-directors' cut episodes 21 thru 24

(note: Though it is unlikely to specifically matter within this review, I am specifically discussing the director's cut versions of these episodes because they feature much more content than the cheaply-made TV broadcast version. I suggest you skip them in your viewing as well.)

In the last set of episodes, we watched as Shinji's world fell apart, and now the world crumbles around him. Shinji's closest friends lose themselves in a sea of depression, and those who dare to be stable are met with death.

Episode 21"The Birth of Nerv/He Was Aware That He Was Still A Child" is an extensive flashback of Gendo's backstory, and features lots of cryptic info on the MYSTERY of the series. This episode is actually my favorite of the entire TV series, giving Gendo and many other characters the element of pathos that defines their roles for the final act of the story. We see Gendo in his prime, friendly and happily married, and watch as he falls apart, morphing into the monster of a man who calmly traumatizes his own son. We soon realize the Gendo is what Shinji might become. At the end of the episode, someone dies and someone else falls apart, and the very idea of Eva being a normal robot show falls apart. Now the series progresses to show Rei die bravely in combat, replaced by an emotionless doll calling herself "the third one", Ristuko revealed to be psychotic, and Asuka literally get mentally defiled. Truly great merchandise fodder.

At this point, Shinji is, of course a wreck. It is only natural he find someone to turn to. By the way, that sound you hear is a million fangirls squealing. In Episode 24 "The Final Messenger/The Beginning and the End, or "Knockin' on Heaven's Door"", Shinji meets Kaworu, the new pilot of unit 3. Kaworu tries reaching out to Shinji, and pretty soon the two boys are very much in love. But this is not BL. This is so BL it is not even funny. Kaworu is the one bright light left in Shinji's crumbling world, and their love for each other is perhaps the one optimistic thing left in Eva at this point. However, Kaworu is actually the last angel (not exactly true, but I won't bore you with details), and Shinji is sent to stop him. One would think that would be traumatizing enough, but in this show, NOTHING is traumatizing enough! Standing in front of the giant Adam, now revealed not to be Adam, but another giant beast (remember that embryo thing on Gendo's hand? THAT was Adam), Kaworu is left with a choice: Destroy the world, or kill himself. He decides the latter option, and in fact, has Shinji kill him. For five minutes there is no animation but a single shot of the Eva clutching Kaworu's body. Then a brief shot of Kaworu's silhouetted head falling to the ground. And with that, the story enters its final phase.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Zyword of the Week episode 3- Get Off My Lawn

OK, so I have begun watching Mobile Suit Gundam, currently streaming on Crunchyroll, and I love it. Cool robots, expert plotting, smart protagonists, and some neat military flourishes to boot. It's only available in dub, but it's okay because the dub is good. However, there is one thing that bothers me, or rather, three:

Those dang kids! I HATE them! They are ugly. They are dated. They are completely out of place. Every time they appear, it runs the show into the ground. It's as if Yoshiyuki Tomino had some great plan with the characters, (apparently one of them has a big role in Zeta Gundam) but decided "Eh, whatevs," and made THIS instead. I am aware that Tomino was trying to avoid the Super Robot tropes as much as possible, so this really begs the question: WHAT THE HELL WAS HE THINKING!?!?!?!?!? Oh, well. Great show otherwise.

Review: Summer Wars

 This is a review of the new anime film Summer Wars, but before I get to the real "review" part of things, I must describe my experience of the act of watching the film itself. In a push to get the movie an Oscar nomination, Funimation has decided to release the film in a larger number of theaters than normal for one week and two week screenings. I went to a screening at the IFC Center in New York, and it was amazing. It was in a larger theater than I'd expected, and though it was not exactly a full house, it was quite full. This impressed me, as the last non-Hayao Miyazaki anime at a movie theater I'd been to was an art-house screening of Tales from Earthsea that two other people went to. Very impressive. The review will now begin.

There are two people currently considered the Masters of Anime, Hayao Miyazaki and Satoshi Kon. Satoshi Kon recently passed away while working on his planned final movie "Dream Machine", and while Miyazaki is alive and working, he is technically retired and his post-Mononoke and work is a bit epilouge-y. Obviously, the new generation of anime fandom needs a new genius. And we have one in director Mamoru Hosoda, whose new film Summer Wars is a masterpiece.

There are many ways I could describe Summer Wars. I think Wikipedia describes it best as a "Japanese animated science fiction romance film". There are elements of bang-zoom action and blush-swoon slice of life, combined to create an engaging, somewhat surreal movie that Scott Pilgrim wishes it was. The movie tells two stories: one, a charming hand animated coming-of-age story about Kenji, and his visit to his friend Natsuki's family, the other, an computer generated action-packed adventure with a nice moral about the danger of over reliance on the internet, jammed with the amazing visuals I have come to expect from a Studio Madhouse production. The two stories often intersect in fascinating (and necessary) ways, creating an adventure full of heart that everyone can get something out of, be you a fan of the restrained thoughtfulness of a Miyazaki film, an admirer of the wild visual flair and psychology of Kon, or a family looking for something fun to watch.

Aside from the film itself, I was really impressed by the dub. Funimation has once again done a sublime job with the dub, with strong performances and natural dialogue. I am not even curious to see this in original Japanese.

If this film does get the Oscar nomination as I hope, there is a good chance it will get a wider theatrical release. The film certainly deserves it, for being both a crowd-pleaser and intellectually enjoyable. Good luck, Summer Wars, I hope you get that nomination.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

My Christmas Present

I have long been put of by Tokyopop's logo, so out of date and ugly looking that it made me avoid their titles.

This bad boy can be seen running intrusively along the side of just about every title they've put out, breathing a foul curse on all their titles...until NOW.

Happy New Year.