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Sekaiichi Hatsukoi OVA

Note: This is a very special guest post by friend of friend of (so clarity’s friend) the site, nervousneko>ª~ª<
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The Sky Crawlers Review – The Earth is Not a Cold, Dead Place

August 31, 2010 Leave a comment

Before we begin, I should make something clear: I don’t like Mamoru Oshii.

Sure, Ghost in the Shell was brilliant, but with source material like that, how can you go wrong? And the weakest parts of the film—namely, the meandering and unnecessary philosophical conversations that went nowhere and contributed little to the film—were pure Oshii excess. The second Ghost in the Shell film, Innocence strayed even further from the source material, and was even worse in terms of tedious philosophizing (and, it should be said, I generally enjoy philosophizing, however pointless, in films).

That said, I really wanted to like Sky Crawlers. It might have something to do with my love of powered flight and fighter planes, a love that got me hooked on anime in the first place (through mecha anime, descended in many ways from the tales of ace fighter pilots and their beloved machines), and the lure of World War 2-era dogfights gorgeously rendered in CG.
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Perfect Blue – Celebrity Virtue

August 29, 2010 1 comment

Satoshi Kon passed away on Tuesday this past week, of pancreatic cancer. He was 46, which is far too young for anyone to die, but his death is made all the more painful by the fact that he was one of the greatest directors working in animation today.

Kon’s films frequently contain the kind of surreal, dreamlike imagery and nonlinear storytelling that characterize the films of directors like David Lynch, but with a more animated, fantastical approach. He’s the kind of director that is a perfect fit for the anime medium, although Perfect Blue isn’t the best example of that.
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Genius Party Review – Coloring Outside the Lines

August 20, 2010 Leave a comment

I like anthology films. Well, I should say I like the concept of them, because in practice, they’re always somewhat of a mixed bag. Some creators are really strong with short form pieces; some clearly aren’t; and there’s rarely enough work out there for short form films for anyone to be able to specialize.

Anime anthologies, in particular, are even more uneven. The only ones that ever get a Western release are license tie-ins with popular American science fiction/superhero properties. They’ve produced some interesting work, for sure (particularly the Matrix’s tie-in, the Animatrix, which started the trend), but for the most part they haven’t been havens for the kind of creative freedom and experimentation that anthologies typically allow.

Genius Party, however, is an anthology film with a simple concept: get the best directors and animators you can find and let them make whatever crazy nonsense they want. Studio 4°C is the perfect studio for this. They specialize in short films that push the boundaries of: whether for anthologies, video game cutscenes, or OVAs. Even their movies tend towards an experimental bent, like Mind Game, their collaboration with Tatami Galaxy director Masaaki Yuasa. In short, they’re the closest thing the anime industry has to an arthouse studio (although Madhouse, despite also making more mainstream fare, is just as devoted to experimental work).
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