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Angel's Review: Movies
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Posted 11/5/16 , edited 11/25/16

The Little Mermaid, , (May 25, 1992)
Director: Masakazu Higuchi, Chinami Namba Producers: Diane Eskenazi
Fantasy, Romance,
Key Words: Mermaid, Book to Film, Fairy Tale,
Studio: Sunrise Licensed American Publisher: Trimark (1992), Goodtimes Entertainment (1993 – 2005), Gaiam (2005 – Present)

Time: 49 Mins


Lena is the youngest daughter of the King of the sea. She always has adventures with her friend, Vink, a rather careful dolphin. She dreams of the day she goes to the surface and meet her prince even though it is against her fathers wishes. The evil witch Cassandra plans on manipulating her into getting what she wants. She sends her up to the surface to find the prince and fall in love but her intentions will end up hurting her.


My Thoughts: You know, most knock off Disney shows come out pretty close to the original one that Disney put out, but this one was done about 3 years after Disney did their version of The Little Mermaid. In doing so, they also seemed to rip off many aspects of Disney’s version as well as leave out a lot that kept the story actually interesting. Now I have never read the book both of these movies were based off of, so I don’t know what was actually supposed to be in the show, but I do know when one show seems way to close to another.

So the basic plot of this movie is Mermaid Princess falls in love with human prince, goes to sea witch to get a way to turn human, then tries to get said prince to marry her. While the base of this story seems like a very good fairy tale, the way it’s rushed is rather messy. Most all of the show is with Lena being a mermaid and her family. This would be a great idea so we could get to know the world she was giving up for the prince, that is if I could actually remember her sisters or father well enough… but I don’t even think the show had any idea what their personalities were supposed to be let alone names. I feel like most of us getting to know them was a haze of complete boredom.

Then, near the end when we only had about 15 minutes left, we get to a point where Lena goes to the sea witch, Cassandra. She asks for Lena’s voice (though they never explained that her voice was something she actually treasured or was any good with) in exchange for a way to turn human. It is here where I found one very good thing out of this movie, and that’s the fact that Cassandra tells her she will turn into sea foam if the prince marries someone else. It’s a really nice nod to the book and the only charm this movie has as I don’t think Disney really covered that part. I think the closest Disney did was say she would die. Then we promptly forget about Cassandra as she no longer appears for the rest of the movie. That’s it, she has no point left, she isn’t the villain, she isn’t the one trying to kill our mermaid princess, and she isn’t even interested in becoming queen of the ocean. We never hear anything about her after. The 10 minutes after is basically the Prince promising to marry Lena, and then turning to marry a different princess, and flip flop again. If that’s called love, then I want no part of it.

The animation feels very low budget and the characters feel very out of proportion. I know that doesn’t mean much when you are talking artistic license but it just creped me out. Lena has a very big head, but a tiny body, her sisters are all very normal looking, the prince seems almost like he was stretched out, and even the animals just don’t feel like normal animals. You might think I’m a hypocrite for saying the bodies are out of proportion and then say I like the art style of shows like xxxHolic, but this is a tiny bit different. xxxHolic has a style that is consistent throughout its shows, every character has that kind of long, slender design with the small heads. Even if they were to have a bit more mass, they still kept the actual feel. This show… I have no idea what they were even trying to do with the designs. The last thing I’m going to bring up about the look of the characters is the fact that Lena seriously looks like a small child while the prince looks so much older.

The music and voice acting are just amazing… and when I say amazing, I mean I’m amazed how no one thought they were at all annoying. Vink, Lena’s ‘ever so charming’ dolphin has a voice that makes him sound very stuffed up all the time. Most of the music and the sound effects seem to be more generic open domain while the single song that was written for this makes me cringe. It’s like the singer was straining to hit those high notes… and basically the whole song is high notes. I talked about before in my Disney Snow White review how Snow White’s voice was the object of the times with its cutesy high pitched voice, this song sadly has no reason to be that high pitched.

So what do I think of this show? The fact that it was made for kids really doesn’t give it a reason to be done so badly. They waited 3 years after Disney made a killing on its own rendition of the book that I really think they could have done so much better for kids. Both of the movies were made for kids and yet Disney seemed to go for a nice timeless approach, showing how Ariel and the prince fall in love, how they end up going through the struggles together, and don’t leave you hanging with a one screen shot villain. I do give Goodtimes props for doing sort of the careful what you wish for thing but then they fail at keeping that lesson.

Rating:


Link to Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Little_Mermaid_(1992_film)

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Posted 18 days ago , edited 18 days ago


Buta, (Mar 5, 2012)
Director: Kazuhide Tomonaga Producers: Koji Takeuchi
Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy, Historical
Key Words:Anthropomorphic, Pirates,
Studio: Telecom Animation Film Licensed American Publisher:

Time: 24 mins


When Buta was hired by the pirates, he never thought he would end up helping a little child try to find his way home.


My Thoughts: So this was a very short little movie about a sword for hire and his interesting adventure with a small Kitsune. The story is very simple, wealthy family gets attacked by pirates for an item they have and one of the children is taken away, only wanting to get the item back and get a little revenge for what had happened. Along the way, he hires a sword for hire to help him. The reason I didn’t start out with the sword for hire, Buta, was because the show doesn’t start out with him and yet both characters seem to take on the feeling of what a main character is supposed to be for different reasons.

Let’s talk about the main characters now I guess. First we have the little fox boy who is trying to get his map back from pirates. We never get an actual name for him; just that he is the oldest child of his family so will end up getting the map on his birthday. He is just like a normal child who was raised in a loving home; naïve, kind, and knows what is right from wrong. The second main character is Buta, the sword for hire. He is pretty much the exact opposite of the little fox. He is slightly dirty, worried more about surviving then doing the right thing, and is always looking for a way to make money. This doesn’t make him a bad guy though as the show has tried hard to show that. It just shows the difference between the privileged and the not so privileged without demonizing the two.

There is one group of characters that I sort of feel really did not need to be in the show, and that’s Guppi and her group. Guppi is a female thief who just didn’t seem to fit into the story at all. Her and her group just seemed to pop up every once in a while. I think there are only like three or four scenes with them and it’s just like they were there for comedy relief.

The animation is very beautiful; something I would be proud to put next to Studio Ghibli to compare though I do believe Buta was not made by hand. The colors are very bright during the happy points and pushed back slightly when they need to be in order to match the scene that it was trying to portray. The anthropomorphic creatures are very simple but it almost adds to the charm the movie was trying to portray as this is a movie supposed to be meant for all ages. The only problem I had with the design is that the dried fish did not look like dried fish. It’s a very small problem to me but the final part had it as a main point and I just couldn’t understand what they were doing till the fox said they were dried fish.

The Japanese voice acting was really nice to hear surprisingly. I don’t normally say that as it’s a little harsh on my ears being a non native speaker but this show’s tone was actually quite nice. The story was slow enough that I could read the subtitles fast enough without stopping the show and the voice acting had a nice tone that made it rather enjoyable.

Rating:


Link to Wikipedia: http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=15036

Other Reviews:

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