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Angel's Review: Movies
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Posted 9/15/14 , edited 9/16/14

This Boy Caught a Merman, Kono Danshi, Ningyo Hiroimashita (Nov 9, 2012)
Director: Soubi Yamamoto Producers:
Yaoi, Fantasy, Romance, Shounen Ai,
Key Words:Merman,
Studio: CoMix Wave Films Licensed American Publisher: Sentai Filmworks

Time: 28 mins

Shima was a perfect boy, maybe almost to perfect. When his parents split up, both couldn’t figure out who he would live with so he ended up living with his Grandfather. During his high school year though, his Grandfather passed away. While crying near the ocean, he slips into the water and is saved by a Merman who he names Isaki and brings home. Who knew that it would lead to something a bit deeper though?


My Thoughts: A lonely boy and a lonely merman meet one cold night and soon make a lasting friendship. It’s a pretty sweet story in that regard no matter how choppy the script and imagery was. Shima seriously has an emo sad story which seemed to mess him up badly. It is almost like he wished for someone like Isaki to wash up on shore. Someone to care for him and make him not feel so alone. Someone who was a bit childish himself that could make him smile. Isn’t that what love is all about? In falling in love, it healed a wound that both of them had from being alone.

It made the story even better that they didn’t end up going into a sexual aspect. It stayed in a rather innocent level like two little kids falling for each other. Nothing out of the ordinary, nothing that went to far for a first meeting. It was just a friendship that blossomed into something more.

The animation was surprising not like any of the main stream shows. It would sometimes be choppy in the animation or very surreal with almost cut and past looking characters while other times it was more fluid. The backgrounds were so detailed and even when they went into just pen and ink designs, they would be pretty high detail for the amount of work that was put into them. Shading always had this sort of water color blotched into colors sort of look with other patterns that were like strips of cloth were glued to the art. I love how original the art style was and how different they tried to make it.

The English voices are a bit awkward with sometimes not matching up with the lip sink. They weren’t bad… just… sometimes bland.

Sorry this review is so short but there really isn’t much to talk about with this. The show was short and not much to it. It’s a great watch for how short it is though.

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Posted 9/16/14 , edited 9/16/14

My Neighbors the Yamadas,(July 17, 1999)
Director: Isao Takahata Producers: Seiichiro Ujiie, Takashi Shouji, Toshio Suzuki
Sitcom, Slice of Life,
Key Words:Family,
Studio: Studio Ghibli Licensed American Publisher: Disney

Time: 111 mins

Meet the Yamada family, Takashi the father, Matsuko the mother, Shige the grandmother, Noboru the 13 year old son, Nonoko the 5 year old daughter, and Pochi the family dog. This is the story of there every day life.


My Thoughts: This is a very different show then what Studio Ghibli has done before, talking more about a regular family and not having a continuing plot. In my mind, this could have been a couple of 15 minute shorts more then a actual movie and it probably would of done a bit better since as I watched, I became very confused. They time skip a lot making it sometimes hard to figure out where we are in the story but then there are things that really don’t need a time too.

The characters really don’t have anything that actually makes them stand out. They are just a generalization of a mother, a father, and family. There really isn’t much that goes in the sense of there own personality and that did really bother me. I wanted some substance in them, not grasping at straws to feel closer to the characters. To me, that really felt boring and it became like me trying to force myself to watch the whole thing. Normally I could actually grasp at someone in the story and relate to them like the older sibling but this one just seemed off.

The art style is very different then Ghibli’s work as well, going for pastel colors and artwork that doesn’t really fill up the whole screen most of the time. In fact, most of the border areas feel like the artwork blends off into white. It feels much like a comic strip art piece like in the paper rather then a full film. It stays mostly in the real world instead of going into any crazy ideas yet in the beginning and end has a sort of surreal look about being a family as they talk about a poem that deals with life. That was the most interesting part to me actually and it was pretty cool that they started out that strong and ended in the same manner although it made me feeling like I wanted more of that then the other real life stuff.

The English voices are really well done, adding to the whole feeling of family but I wouldn’t expect less from Disney when they get their hands on a cute little show like this. Nonoko is a very believable 5 year old and sounds so cute. The show itself takes things rather literal and I believe that is because we are in the mind of this little girl and how she sees her life. The English dub really does add to this idea that we are seeing everything from the 5 year olds aspects. Plus the fact that Nanoko does not show up all that often. There are times that it deals with her but then there are many times that it is only the parents, son, and Grandmother.

The show might have been alright but it really isn’t the best Ghibli film in my opinion. It was slow and very slice of life-ish that it was hard to watch.

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Link to Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/My_Neighbors_the_Yamadas

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The Naughty List,(Nov 12, 2013)
Director: Gordon Crum Producers:
Comedy, Family,
Key Words:Elves, Christmas,
Studio: Licensed American Publisher:

Time: 46 mins

After two young brother elves named Winter and Snowflake mess up the Christmas tree, they are given a list of things to do to redeem themselves. Can they get themselves off the Naughty List or will they forever be considered bad?


My Thoughts: : So this has the idea that there are some elves who don’t really fit into the main group. It’s a pretty normal story for a show about Christmas. The sad part though is that there is nothing original about it. We have a storyline that picked up more on the don’t cut corners and keep to tradition which in my mind makes no sense. We are always changing tradition and even finding new ways of doing things. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t. That’s just human nature so when I see a show that is all about doing things only one way, it makes me want to yell. So what if your different, being different makes you you. To have a show that seemed to have the attitude of being different will get you into trouble just makes me wonder what they were trying to teach younger kids. I might be missing something to the show but if I missed it and this was for younger kids, and then they would have probably missed it too.

The animation is pretty general and cartoony in the CG style. Basic textures and almost every other character besides the main characters looked the same. I mean it; all the elves look exactly the same and all the reindeer except for characters used at a special point look the same. It annoys me but since it was made for younger kids, I guess it works.

Voices are very childlike which again works for what they were going for. It’s simple and doesn’t use a lot of ‘large words’ to explain things although the arguing between Winter and Snowflake got on my nerves at times. No matter what they did, they fought. I know siblings get on each others nerves but we don’t have to listen to it all the time.

It was alright but just not my show. It really shows that it was made for younger children.

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Posted 9/19/14 , edited 9/25/14
Mushishi Special: Hihamukage, Mushi-shi Tokubetsu-hen: Hihamu Kage (Jan 4 2014)
Director: Hiroshi Nagahama Producers:
Fantasy, Folklore, Supernatural
Key Words:Supernatural, Occult Detective, Spirits
Studio:Artland Licensed American Publisher: Aniplex

Time: 45 mins

When an eclipse happens in a small town, no one knew that it would blot out the sun for more then a day. Good thing Ginko was there to tell them it was a mushi and explain a cure but is all the villagers happy about it or is there someone who would do anything to go outside in the dark?


My Thoughts: : Let me first remind you what I thought of the TV series. I adored it. The subtle storyline, the calming feeling, the idea of small creatures that are mostly misunderstood taking roles in peoples lives. I love everything about it. It doesn’t go as surprising then that I really love this special then, right? It just felt like a long episode from the TV series. The storyline and soft music was a perfect match to it.

The story followed what happened when an eclipse happened in this strange world of Mushi. Of course the Mushi are misunderstood so when one ends up cutting off the sun for three or four days, it makes life hell for everyone in the town that can’t get crops to grow. Well, I could say everyone but there was one person that was happy just to go outside finally. She had a condition similar to what is called Solar Urticaria, being allergic to the sun. It’s a very rare condition that actually does exsit but in this case, she can’t because of a Mushi. I know right, shocking that it’s because of a mushi in a show all about mushi. Ok I’m kidding but the story of her does become a rather good life lesson about taking things for granted. And I think that’s what I love about this show. It’s about little life lessons that we wouldn’t learn about until someone shows us. In this case, a fictional setting with real life troubles. Whether you want to blame mushi, god, or even your pet, the main question is how do you deal with it? Since you can’t do anything about god or mushi, are you just going to sit and whine about it? If you blame your pet, what has the animal done to deserve the blame? And what will you do about it? These things are stuff I notice while watching such a thoughtful anime like this.

The art style was beautiful, the same as the original. It was a bit different to normal anime out there with their large eyes and comical bright colors. They went more for soft colors. The only thing vibrant was the lush colors of the forest, the soft glows of some almost magical plants and of course the Mushi.

Now this wasn’t dubbed so I had to go for subtitles but I didn’t really care. The way they spoke reminded me much of the Dub. It was soft voices and I was so engrossed in the story that it didn’t bother me non that it was a different language then my own. In fact, I didn’t really have to stop the show to read the subtitles because I could get the basic just of what they were saying. Not saying I didn’t read them but when they went to fast for me, I could get the basics.

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Anime: http://www.crunchyroll.com/forumtopic-755352/angels-informational-reviews-anime-and-cartoons#39493517
Manga: http://www.crunchyroll.com/forumtopic-618443/angels-review-manga-and-comics?pg=5#45369409
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Posted 9/24/14 , edited 9/24/14

Akira, (Jul 16 1988)
Director: Katsuhiro Otomo Producers: Ryohei Suzuki, Shunzo Kato
Action, Adventure, Horror, Sci-fi, Supernatural,
Key Words:Military, Gore, Blood, Future,
Studio:Kodansha Licensed American Publisher: Electric Media, Streamline/Bandai (1988), Animaze/Pioneer-Geneon (2001)

Time: 124 mins

31 years after World War III, a child breaks free from the military with an amazing power. When the military go to retrieve him, they take a gang member who encountered the boy with them back to base. There they experimented on him, altering his mind. The question though, is the world ready for this new power or will it blow up in their faces?


My Thoughts: So I finally got a chance to sit down and watch it, namely the English dub. What do I think about it? It was pretty good for an anime that came out in the 1980’s and it holds up pretty well to this day. I was very surprised that the show was actually directed by the writer of Akira as well. Not many people can write a manga and get to direct it as well when it comes to movie. This means that the show would have come out how he wanted to and not changed around as it went from hand to hand. Just how close is this to the manga? Well as of now, I have not read the manga so I can’t answer that.

Some things do bother me with the story and mostly with the characters though it is more based on my preference of character then anything else. I just think that the biker gangs felt a bit forced. I never been in one, never even been near a gang like that before so I can’t say for sure but I think they wouldn’t be so open with what they were doing for so long without already being caught by the cops. I may just be analyzing it a bit too much but it just got on my nerves. That also goes for Kaneda always trying to get into Kei’s pants.

The main story had a very deep underlining meaning both in psychology and in humanity itself. It’s hard not to spoil anything about this when most of it happens at the end but I do have to talk about this. There is a back and forth aspect that seems to happen of what science could learn but at what price. It’s there when they mess with Tetsuo’s brain and the results that happen after. Let me tell you, the results were not pretty. We are always striving for learning more about ourselves and to push ourselves to the max but at what price do we pay for such an idea? Are we even willing to push us to a point that we ourselves are not considered human anymore? And what would happen if such a power was placed in the hands of someone who didn’t fully understand how to use it? Something that Kiyoko says in the show rings pretty true no matter what you’re talking about. I went something like ‘when you are given this much power, you must chose how you use it.’ Sort of similar to Spiderman’s Uncle telling him ‘with great power comes great responsibility’ but the idea is still the same.

The animation was rather gory and bloody for the most part with a lot of dark depressing textures. The place they lived really did look like a back ally pig sty but I believe that was what they were going for. For the time this came out, the artwork is rather good and I was surprised by just how much detail they put into the background as well as some of the movements. They even placed the streaks from the tail lights of the bikes in. I don’t think I have seen that much detail put into a show that was hand drawn except for Studio Ghibi’s movies. While the design of the characters were pretty realistic as far as anime can go without not looking like anime, they were still rather simple and it is understandable when people have to draw them time and time again. Once in a while, the lighting and shading didn’t work all that well and I don’t remember much shading on the ‘children’ except for the wrinkles.

The voice acting was surprisingly well done for the time it was dubbed. I can understand why this movie was what got anime going in America because the voice acting was what I would of imagined the characters to sound like. Because of the somewhat realistic artwork and the constant yelling that characters did, the lip sink suffered slightly. I can only say slightly because what they did do; they did a damn good job in doing it. One person who stood out really well was Kiyoko’s voice actor (The female little child) Melora Harte. For those of you wondering, I did watch the 1988 release of the dubbing and not the new 2001 version; at least I believe it to be.

I can truly understand why this is called a cult classic, being as a symbol of ‘greatness’ in the anime world. As the years have not been all that kind to it, it may not hold that title for animation and voice acting but its story is still something that should be kept in the minds of those who watch it. If you haven’t watched it, you are missing out even if you don’t like this stuff.

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Link to Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akira_%28film%29

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Castle in the Sky, Tenku no Shiro, Rapyuta, Laputa (Aug 2, 1986)
Director: Hayao Miyazaki Producers: Isao Takahata
Adventure, Fantasy, Romance,
Key Words:Sky Travel,
Studio:Studio Ghibli Licensed American Publisher: Disney

Time: 126 mins

Two orphans find themselves on an epic quest to find a forgotten city floating in the sky. What they find along the way turns out to be dangerous.


My Thoughts:I feel like the studio and Director would be a give away that this would be good. I don’t know what to fully talk about as everything about this show is amazing from the story to the animation to the dub. Even the comedy doesn’t get in the way of the great story that lies within this show. Only one or two things bother me but they aren’t that big, like when Pazu jumps off his house and ends up breaking through bricks into his basement with no broken bones or nothing. Of course, these problems are minor and don’t happen all that much.

Miyazaki seems to always have a moral to his stories, this is no different. I think the moral is that any civilization can fall if they think they are to powerful. Laputa, a place that seemed like it was a perfect place had power, wealth, and even a sense of magic. They had something special but even they ended up falling. The story line is full of spoilers if I try to explain even more but there is a beautiful story that is as mysterious as it is sad and thoughtful.

The animation is so beautiful and stands up even to this day. All hand done with so much detail and the painting of the backgrounds… I could just go on. If you seen others by Miyazaki, you know his style and he never falters. This is one of those times where I just feel speechless to how wonderful his style of art is, the colors just pop even though at times they do end up taking very small short cuts. I also didn’t really notice any times where the characters would just stop moving for a very long time with only their mouths moving. He would have them moving even slightly and it would feel realistic. There are even small things like how a character would eat from the dainty way Sheeta eats to the mess that Dola’s sons make. One thing I did notice (And it’s a slight spoiler I guess) is that his characters sometimes look better with short hair then with long hair. Not telling you what that means but you will find out. The opening is much different then the actual show, feeling more like it was done in a rather old style, highly detailed, even more so then the animation and like they were from detailed renders.

The music is so beautiful, with amazing orchestral sounds that you could just fall asleep to. I love everything about Studio Ghibi’s work and the music is one of those that I wish I had all the soundtracks. They do not let much go past them that isn’t quality controlled. I could listen to it for days without it getting boring. The English dub is spot on, I’m extremely happy it didn’t turn into a flop like one of their first tries for English translation.

If you have not seen this yet, you have to see it soon. It’s a must watch.

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Hal, , (Jun 8, 2013)
Director: Ryotaro Makihara Producers: Jouji Wada
Sci-fi, Romance,
Key Words: Robots,
Studio:Wit Studio Licensed American Publisher: Funimation

Time: 60 mins

In a world where robots can be programmed to do almost anything, one Robot sets on a quest to help someone who lost a loved one. Can this robot heal a broken heart? Only time will tell.


My Thoughts:The show starts out rather strange with a plain suddenly exploding over a quiet little town. Then they suddenly talk about a boy named Hal who had passed away and a girl who seemed to be his girlfriend is taking it pretty hard. To me, this beginning just feels like it was a promo for the show instead of the actual show because we don’t really get any information at all. We can speculate what’s going on, but that’s all. We don’t get a full picture of what is actually happening. And then we have a robot that becomes human in order to help the young girl. I’m actually not sure if we could really call him human right away though as he doesn’t seem to know how to actually act human or feel human. I know this is going to into philosophy but this really does ask the question, what does it take to be human?

Throughout the whole show, we learn a lot about Hal. I mean the real Hal in fact, not the robot one. I like how we learn through Robotic Hal’s way of learning then just being told straight out. It gives us a mystery to solve then just a romance. In the end, there is a point when Hal’s past seems to haunt the two. And then in the end, it really changes around, making things a bit more confusing but making it really fun all the same. It’s not like any other love story between a robot and human. It’s hard to explain because of it being such a big spoiler that it would mess with you. You really should watch it if you are interested in knowing what the hell I am talking about with switch. And even at the end, there are one or two things that don’t seem to not be closed up, things that should but don’t take away from the story.

The artwork is amazing, and the sort of playful toy aspect to this is rather cute. All the vibrant colors and amazing little adornments all over the place. I didn’t really see any problems with the animation being poor, though I didn’t like some of the design aspects they did for a couple background characters. It doesn’t mess with the story but it makes me frown slightly at that. Still, the design of the rest was wonderful and made me happy to even watch the show.

The English dub was so good; I couldn’t believe how wonderful the voice acting was. Of course funimation did give it the dub so I shouldn’t have expected anything less and yet I have seen some that felt like they needed a bit more. Each person sounded like what I thought they should sound like, even the ladies at the adult day care sounded good and those are normally the ones that would of sounded bad if there was a bad voice. The strange thing is that there were not that many names that stood out to me in the cast. I mean, there were people like Todd Haberkorn and Chris Burnett but the rest seemed like they did mostly background characters before this. They may still do background characters in this one too but the characters give a better connection with the world and emotions.

This is one that I definitely think you should watch even if you’re not into sci-fi or romance. It’s not one or the other and it sort of opens up the idea of just what a Robot could be as well as just what a human could be.

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Link to Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hal_%28film%29

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Justin and the Knights of Valour, , (Sep 13, 2013)
Director: Manuel Sicilia Producers: Marcelino Almansa, Antonio Banderas, Kerry Fulton, Ralph Kamp
Adventure, Action, Fantasy,
Key Words: Knights, Medieval,
Studio:Aliwood Mediterraneo Producciones, Kandor Graphics, Out of the Box Feature Licensed American Publisher: Entertainment One, Sony Pictures

Time: 96 mins

In a far off land, bureaucrats rule the kingdom and knights have been ousted. Justin lives in this world with his father, dreaming one day to be a valiant knight like his grandfather. Sadly, his father will not have it and tries to make him a lawyer just like himself. That gives him only one choice, to run away and become a knight but will he find that he might not be cut out for what his grandfather was?


My Thoughts:Well, this is a pretty normal story of a man trying to become a knight but in a different reason for doing so. Although all his life he wanted to be a knight, he lives in a time where it was outlawed to be a knight. His father wants him to be a lawyer but of course he doesn’t want to be one so he runs away to become what he wants. I’m not going to lie, there are a lot of clichés but they still were able to keep it slightly new. We have a boy that goes against his father’s wishes, a love interest who doesn’t actually care about him, a sort crazy wizard (mimicking the dragon from ‘Quest for Camelot’), a cast out knight as the bad guy, and normal teachers for the boy to learn from. Though there are all these clichés, there are some things that stand out such as the laws that were being passed but sadly those are not as prominent. I mostly see a movie that tried to be like every other story about a knight. It’s sad because they could have done so much to make it better and yet stuck with the normal ideas.

The animation is actually rather nice, looking a bit cartoony but overall similar to ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ in some of the detail work. The background is so detailed that it makes the characters look slightly bland. They do fit in with the rest of the world but sometimes they I wish that they had a bit more texture to them. As for the movement, it’s actually very fluid and believable even if slightly overboard. The characters don’t really stand still very long, always using there hands and being a bit over the top in some occasions.

The voices are alright although somewhat hard to listen to at times since our main character has such an overpowering old English voice. This is a voice that I would have thought would be on a person in a romance type setting, not from a pip squeak body like him. Don’t get me wrong, the voice is pleasant compared to what they could have picked for him but it’s not a voice I picture coming out of our main character. When other characters speak in the old English dialect, sometimes I can’t understand what they are saying like the old man in the beginning or the little girl. The voices seem to be muddled together, like they are mumbling. The music really does not fit the show. It’s just to pop starish and not enough medieval tone. I felt like I was pulled out of the story every time they started playing the soft pop songs. Don’t get me wrong, the songs are good but they just don’t fit.

I liked the show but it didn’t stand out for me. It felt as though I was watching similar movies so I can’t give it a very high rating.

Rating:

Link to Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justin_and_the_Knights_of_Valour

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