During the course of March 2019, many folks, and I mean many, were getting geared up for a huge social event across the United States of America. It’s something we like to call March Madness. If you haven’t heard of it before, March Madness is a huge tournament, like a really big one. It pits the top competing men’s basketball teams in college universities all across the country. It’s definitely a sight to behold, as each and every person who partakes in watching it also does one more thing. They delve into guessing who will come out as the top dog, amongst all the competitive teams, in a month of madness and games. Well, this year I decided to borrow the idea, but instead of a tournament, and instead of a focus on a winner, I just wanted to consume a large chunk of one type of media. That media being of course anime films!
Anime movies are well-known as the big budget premier method of telling a grand or focused story. Everyone knows the big names like: Studio Ghibli, Satoshi Kon, and more recently Makoto Shinkai, but they aren’t the only ones making anime feature-length movies. So, over the last 31 days of time, I decided to watch a dozen or so anime movies from widely different genres, times, and exposure. Every year, I tend to do a week of anime movie watching to really get my chunk of new content for that part of the medium. However, I wanted to go big this year, so this is my experience with these wondrous pieces of art that I saw with my sister over the past month.
Year Released: 1993
Produced by: Madhouse
Directed by: Yoshiaki Kawajiri
Composed by: Kaoru Wada
Genre: Adult Oriented Chanbara
Length: 94 mins.(1 hrs. & 34 mins.)
Thoughts: More often than not, when you hear someone chat about Ninja Scroll, they praise how it’s the best of the best in the samurai genre, and how it’s an anime not for kids. Which of course, a lot of anime is not for children, so this renders that type of compliment mostly useless. On the other hand, Ninja Scroll is really more than just a little mature at points. This fantasy samurai flick is explicitly extreme in the way it goes about depicting violence and sex. I would say at times the film even goes too far for its own good with the nature of how gratuitous it wants to be to show instead of tell. There for example, is a rape scene that goes on for a good 45 seconds or so. If you think to yourself, well that isn’t long at all, then you would be wrong! I want you to stare at your screen for that long and count down the length of that uncomfort and feel how it drags on and on. Ninja Scroll goes for broke with how it wants to be an adult-oriented story.
I will say the animation is super clean for this older movie, and the fight scenes have some truly memorable choreography though. This story thrives off of the conflicts the main hero comes up against. Whether it’s an army of poisonous bees, or a blind swords-master in a tightly packed bamboo thicket. Each fight creates unique and vivid set pieces for the clash to shine as much as possible. Not all of them get equal screen-time though, and you will be waiting for the high points rather than riding a coaster of pure thrills.
General Recommendation: If you aren’t easily squeamish or shocked by strong sexual content, Ninja Scroll will more than likely be a good time for you. While it has a rather straight forward plot that hinges on very little viewer investment, the fight scenes carry the flow of the movie along well enough. If you like hyper violent sword fights, this movie is a must for you. If rape really discomforts you in any media, maybe stay away.
Personal Recommendation: I think I would only suggest this to specific people if it were me. This movie was not all that interesting, and most of the cast is completely one note. If I were to go out and recommend a stronger candidate for best anime samurai movie, Sword of the Stranger would take it before this one. There are a lot of fights in Ninja Scroll pushing the plot forward, and not much else.
Unico: The Island of Magic
Year Released: 1983
Produced by: Madhouse
Directed by: Moribi Murano
Composed by: Nozomi Aoki
Genre: Child friendly fantasy
Length: 90 mins.(1 hr. & 30 mins.)
Thoughts: In recent months Tezuka has finally been noticed by modern anime fans thanks to his older work Dororo getting a revival.(Here’s to hoping Phoenix does well too!) Few anime fans know much about the legendary work repertoire he holds outside of the super huge Astro Boy and Kimba the White Lion. Well he also made “child” friendly films about a magical unicorn who seems to run into the wackiest of situations. Unico, is in all regards a kid’s designed world. What is not kid friendly are the themes of Unico. It’s interesting to see a movie about a magical Unicorn who wants to befriend everyone be so….perturbed. The second movie of the franchise follows Unico trying to save the world from a maniacal wizard who will stop at nothing to build an island out of people.
A few years back, I had watched the first film of the two made for Unico. On the recommendation of one of my oldest friends on the web Feethebunny. He told me straight up that both movies were bizarre nightmare fuel, and that I had to see them ASAP. Which I of course dug into one right away, and took years to see the follow-up! The first movie was a complete genre mash-up of multiple stories, and it goes weird…fast. The second movie is a lot more coherent, yet it still manages to succeed in being a very strange movie to be marketed towards kids.
General Recommendation: I don’t think most anime fans would take the time to watch this. I mean they haven’t if we are being honest. Most people ignore these movies. I think they are rather interesting, and show things you wouldn’t see elsewhere. On the other hand, I feel most anime watchers wouldn’t give it a proper sit down, so you might as well keep pretending it doesn’t exist unless you are a fan of old, obscure, and weird Japanese animation.
Personal Recommendation: I feel you should totally give it a go! This movie is one that covers loneliness, abandonment, servitude, and existence and yes it really still is a kids film. Unlike the first movie, this one is a lot easier to follow the string of events, but don’t let that fool you into thinking this one isn’t dark and strange as well.
Year Released: 2015
Produced by: Production I.G.
Directed by: Keiichi Hara
Length: 90 mins.(1 hrs. & 30 mins)
Thoughts: I was chosen to watch this movie by a user on Kitsu named Haitaka. Miss Hokusai follows the day-to-day life of the daughter of one of the most famous artists in Japanese history. They eat, live, and breathe for their art. If it doesn’t have some connection to it, well it isn’t worth their time. There isn’t a lot more to get caught up into in this one. Miss Hokusai is a time period story that doesn’t stray too far away from the history books to tell us about one of the many faces of the past.
Instead of one long plot line that connects the world from beginning to end, Miss Hokusai is basically a collection of short stories that intertwines the lives of a few people. Just about everything is focused on the progression of either Miss Hokusai’s artwork or, her relationships in her life. Those include her father, sister, and a few suitors.
General Recommendation: Despite my own reservations with this movie, I do think most people will like it simply for the taste of history it brings. A decent chunk of people like this movie, including the person who recommended I watch it, so there is definitely some Japanese flavor to take from it. I do think it will be a strong hit or miss though.
Personal Recommendation: I’d say skip it! This was easily one of the worst films I saw this past month. No one in this movie, nor any of the stories are particularly engaging nor are they noteworthy. The pacing of the movie is all over the place with some sections being super short, and others being overly long with nothing really connecting them but the characters themselves. This is not the first time this month where I will question why this movie wasn’t a series instead. As a film it’s messy, unfocused, and has no over arching goal it is moving towards during the run time.
Year Released: 2016
Produced by: A-1 Pictures
Directed by: Shouko Nakamura
Composed by: Koutarou Oshio
Genre: School Based Shonen Ai
Length: 60 mins(1 hr.)
Thoughts: A criminally unused genre in anime is that of Shonen Ai & Shoujo Ai. They are basically romance stories that revolve around homosexual partnerships rather than the typical heterosexual ones most anime tell. We live in a time where there aren’t enough stories that simply are about representing the genre without being extreme just to sell it. A lot of time they fall in pit falls of being romance built on non compliance or force, instead of nature progression of love like most people are in real life or other stories focused on couples. This doesn’t mean I want all stories being built around these type of things for the sake of it, but I know plenty of them exist, so lets adapt some for goodness sake!
This Shonen Ai does fall in the common territory of anime romance by being school based. Two boys who share classes together, meet, practice music together, bond, and one thing leads to another. It’s a very fluffy type of love story that is mainly geared at hitting all the right beats to satisfy an end goal. And what is that end goal? Watch it to find out of course!
General Recommendation: As long as you aren’t an intolerant homophobic git, and you enjoy romance between two people in any way, you should have a nice time with this film. If you are the former, then maybe you should become a bit open-minded or skip out on this one.
Personal Recommendation: It’s certainly not perfect. This 4 section movie doesn’t have a lot of run time, so it tries to cram in as much as it can in 60 mins. And for the most part it succeeds. I feel if it was expanded by maybe even just a half hour, this movie would be far better though. It goes for cliché and not much more. So, it will bring the fluffy feels if anything.
One Piece: Movie 6: Baron Omatsuri and the Secret Island
Year Released: 2005
Produced by: Toei Animation
Directed by: Mamoru Hosoda
Composed by: Kouhei Tanaka
Genre: Battle Shonen Adventure
Length: 91 mins(1 hrs. & 31 mins)
Thoughts: To explain One Piece would be silly at this point. Similar to Naruto or Dragon Ball, everyone knows the name, and knows why fans enjoy it. This was my first journey into the films of the franchise though! Mainly to see the unique take the now famous anime director Mamoru Hosoda decided to take with this long-established universe. If the creator of Wolf Children has taught me anything, it’s that he likes to get really emotional with his narratives if given the room to stretch.
But, what about the feel? Does this feel like a Hosoda movie, or a One Piece movie? Possibly neither? Actually it manages to execute both of those distinct flavors with expertise. We get a silly, action filled romp with the early Straw Hats that feels very much like Oda’s goofy bunch of lovable pirates. However, we also get a story that takes the darker tones of your typical One Piece storyline, and pushes the envelope a little to see what can be made of it all. This movie takes a very interesting turn in the last quarter that most folks won’t fully have expected to get going into it.
General Recommendation: Do you like One Piece? Watch it then. I feel you will love this movie a ton, and if you like the darker parts of the series, then this movie will satisfy that same craving just fine.
Personal Recommendation: One of the highlights of the month for me. I could feel the creative mastery of Hosoda, and the bombastic characterization of the shōnen cast both oozing out in this tightly made stand alone movie. This is what I wish the quality was for more franchise based cinema in anime.
Fuse: Teppou Musume no Torimonochou
Year Released: 2012
Produced by: TMS Entertainment
Directed by: Masayuki Miyaji
Composed by: Michiru Oshima
Genre: Fantasy Action
Length: 110 mins(1 hrs & 50 mins)
Thoughts: If there is a genre that always creates a simple level of intrigue for me, it would be fantasy. In Japanese story telling, I especially get easily convinced to go watch something in either feudal or pre-Meiji era times. Something about the time of the sword, and folklore gets me instantly giddy with anticipation. Fuse is set in that time, so when my sister chose this one for the month, I was more than ready to give it a solid go. It even has a few nuances all its own to set itself apart in the slew of stories told in that time period through anime.
Fuse is a story of a girl told to come to Edo to live with her brother after there is a death in the family. She gets caught up in a battle between two feuding parties in the meantime. We have the government, and we have the titular Fuse. They are a group of people who can also shape-shift into large wolf-like creatures who slay humans for their own protection and survival. Both parties hate one another, and neither understands each other either. Everything else leads straight up to the climax of the fallout between the two in this colorful, and surprisingly graphic movie.
General Recommendation: I think the simple plot, cast, and romance with the bright colors will be enough to entice the average anime fan. It may have some gaps to fill, and more blood than you would expect, but I think the average watcher will be less than bothered by these complaints.
Personal Recommendation: This movie is a hot mess of condensed storytelling. Originally this was a massive collection of stories that made one large narrative. Then it got adapted and shortened, and then once again as a movie. It’s a several thousand page story crammed into 2 hours of bloated, poorly paced narrative structure. It definitely stumbles more than it finds its stride with the paper-thin plot and characters.
Fate/ Stay Night: Heaven’s Feel: Part 1
Year Released: 2017
Produced by: ufotable
Directed by: Tomonori Sudo
Composed by: Yuki Kajiura
Genre: Action Dark Fantasy Mystery
Length: 120 mins(2 hrs)
Thoughts: The Fate franchise is one of the most established and well-beloved anime worlds to be created. Many popular character archetypes exist because of Fate/Stay Night and the incredible influence it ended up having. The characters of Shiro, Saber, Tohsaka, and many more are often quoted, cosplayed, and brought up in daily anime conversation thanks to their lasting appeal. I personally have never really had a full home run experience with the overall scope of it all. The spin offs really don’t appeal to my taste for the most part, and Fate/Zero, and Unlimited Blade Works, while impressive in so many technical ways, fell flat in their narrative delivery and closure. However, as the trilogy of one of the major arcs of Fate/ Stay Night was to be made, I had to see once again if Fate could possibly sway me. How did it all go this time around?
Before watching this movie, I should give a pretense that you need prior knowledge of Fate/Stay Night to appreciate this movie fully. A large chunk of the beginning after the prologue sort of skips a significant amount of story that they assume you have already seen. The one hour special attached to Unlimited Blade Works that sets up its anime is basically the special that you would want to go see before diving into this one. Not too surprising, this hits all the same beats of any other Fate story. A lot of high-octane combat mixing physical and magical arts, stunning animation/music, and tons of mystery used to set up for larger events to come. This is no rehash, but if you have never seen Fate before you may want to try something else first so not to get overwhelmed with the assumption this is a movie for fans. If you have seen the series, well you will be right at home then.
General Recommendation: Outside of the folks who hate the Fate franchise, or just simply hate dark fantasy, this anime will blow away the average viewer. It has easily some of the most impressive work ufotable has done from a production level, and it really feels like another dive full of love into the Fate lore. Action junkies, and Fate fanatics will adore this I’m sure.
Personal Recommendation: I think it’s a fun movie, and similar to my time with all other Fate works, it definitely has some high points. I really find myself drawn to seeing Sakura’s story despite not being overly invested in anything else happening. Thank goodness this arc seems to mainly focus on her. I shall return for the future installments, but I will keep my expectations lows, and will be surprised if I finally get won over by them to become a full-fledged Fate fan.
Lupin the III: Castle of Cagliostro
Year Released: 1979
Produced by: Tokyo Movie Shinsha(Now TMS Entertainment)
Directed by: Hayao Miyazaki
Composed by: Yuji Ohno
Genre: Heist Comedy Adventure
Length: 100 mins(1 hrs & 40 mins)
Thoughts: If there are two things the anime world doesn’t see often anymore that once dominated it, it would be Hayao Miyazaki movies, and the comical thief Lupin. Way back in the late 70’s neither had really made a name for themselves, and this was the first feature-length movie for Miyazaki and the second for Lupin. A newer director, and a fairly fresh character in the anime world. To say this movie is iconic, and important would be under selling it by a vast margin. This kickstarted the career of the most well-known anime movie director of all time, and helped pave the way for one of the most memorable characters of anime’s earlier days who remains known to this day, if only a little less relevant.
Lupin in Castle of Cagliostro feels like other movies in cinema that you would consider a classic. You know that feeling when you sit down and watch something like Singing in the Rain or 12 Angry Men, and as you make your way through it, you say to yourself” Ah this is what everyone is talking about!” Yeah, Lupin is most definitely one of those type of movies. It has classic gags, action sequences, cues to early Miyazaki directing flair, and is just so influential feeling. Characters like Kaito Kid feel like they are so heavily inspired by this version of Lupin. He is a bit more of a gentleman thief in this caper than his other works, but all in all it makes for a classic crime thriller that I could see anyone having an enjoyable time with.
General Recommendation: Most folks call this, Akira, Ghost in the Shell, and like Princess Mononoke “mandatory” films that you see. I hate that mindset, but it is hard to disagree against it this time. This is something I feel any anime fan could whole heartedly have a blast with.
Personal Recommendation: A marvelous movie. It’s something that you don’t see very much today. The amount of charm, and little detail work in a movie from 40 years ago compared to movies of today simply astounds me sometimes. I can find more things to point at in the movie like this as impressive than lets say Your Name, which is a great film in its own right. It just helps show how much Lupin has to offer.
My Neighbor the Yamadas
Year Released: 1999
Produced by: Studio Ghibli
Directed by: Isao Takahata
Composed by: Akiko Yano
Genre: Slice of Life Family based Comedy
Length: 104 mins(1 hrs. & 44 mins)
Thoughts: Most folks remember the works of Isao Takahata well enough. The recently departed landmark director, and co-founder of Studio Ghibli was known for his signature attention to realism even if the art style didn’t always match. My Neighbor the Yamada’s is a story of family life. Which to most of us, is as relatable and familiar as possible. The day-to-day ins and outs of the wackyness of family life is hard to sum up, but if one movie could be accurate enough to do so, it would be this one.
My Neighbor the Yamada’s really is just a collection of family events for one small Japanese family. Culture put to the side, I feel most people will get a kick out of this. It doesn’t really have a large goal in mind, it just wants to show you how dysfunctional a family can be, and normally is on the daily. It’s short, sweet, and often to the point with how real most of the situations are. Like being excited about snow, but everyone else only cares about what is on the TV. We all know how great TV or the silly cellular phones of today are with capturing our attention from the beauty right in front of us.
General Recommendation: I do think this movie is something that will have a variety of interest garnered from it. Some people will love it to bits like my friend did. Some people will like parts, but not all of it, and some folks will find it too “slow” or “boring” because of how mundane the focus is. Altogether though, I think most anime fans will get a little something out of one of Takahata’s least watched works.
Personal Recommendation: I feel all of Takahata’s works should be watched. This isn’t my favorite of his by any means, but I would much rather giggle at this again, then feel like an empty husk from Grave of the Fireflies. He really knew how to make stellar anime stories about real life ideas, and I do hope as time goes on, more people go out and seek his art than need to be told about how they are missing out on greatness.
In this Corner of the World
Year Released: 2016
Produced by: MAPPA
Directed by: Sunao Katabuchi
Composed by: Kotringo
Length: 129 mins( 2 hrs & 9 mins)
Thoughts: A time period we see many many movies cover is World War 2. Which is none too surprising when you consider how big of a deal the whole ordeal was. It is one of the most historically important events to ever occur in modern times. Japan is of course one of the countries were it played a massive part to their culture. It mainly is on account of two massive bombs that forever changed their people, but it was the war itself that did it too. In this Corner of the World is a story of one girl, and the family she marries into, living a life of civilians during this troubling time.
Rather than get into the gritty warfare part of WW2, this movie decides to hard focus on how people lived in spite of it. The simple ways of rationing food, staying clean, and avoiding the turmoil around them. It’s a slow-paced 2 hour venture that chooses to stay in the world of mundane life, rather than fantastical exploits of gun fights and many explosions. If you are wanting a war movie this is not the one for you. If you want a period drama set in Japan during a major war, or find that premise enticing, well this might be for you.
General Recommendation: Most people are going to love this. They will get caught up in the emotions of things, and the struggle the main cast has to go through. It’s pretty much standard fare, tissues required for the average anime watcher.
Personal Recommendation: Skip this hot mess as soon as you can. This movie is dreadfully slow, incredibly dull, and the art style really hampers any emotional weight it wants to create. I had super high hopes for this one, but this movie really makes it hard to care about people in WW2, which really shouldn’t even be a challenge. If you see this movie, and see the absolute muted reaction of the main character when she hears about the atomic bombs that hit her home city, then you will know where I am coming from.
Year Released: 2004
Produced by: Wao World
Directed by: Akio Nishizawa
Composed by: Makoto Kuriya
Length: 99 mins(1 hrs. & 39 mins)
Thoughts: Edutainment is really a rarity in anime. You don’t normally get anime cinema or television series aimed at educating the audience first, and entertaining second. Every now and then though, you find a needle in the haystack and discover some obscure piece of work that does just this. Enter Nitaboh, a movie about a blind shamisen player who helped create an entire genre under that instrument. It’s a real story, and is as far as documentation shows, the origin story of a long forgotten part of Japanese history.
This movie is largely about the life story of the shamisen player Nitaboh, and how he learns to play the instrument, and what leads him to the path that would change his life so much. It’s a very steady paced build up of just getting to the next important point of his life. It doesn’t really pull too many punches to surprise the viewer, and it moves along without worrying if you aren’t shown what the story wants from you. It’s almost like watching a documentary more than anything else. Let me say though, the music is worth entry alone if you are a fan of classical string tunes.
General Recommendation: Most people will probably ignore this for the basic animation, and very simple premise. I wouldn’t judge them too harshly for it, but it is a shame because this more than anything is a film for fans of Japanese history and culture so as anime lovers, you really should give it a go.
Personal Recommendation: Very few people will think this, but I feel this is the type of anime we need more of. It’s so focused on exploring a part of the culture, that it brims with artistic passion and love for it. The music is superb, the story is worth knowing, and it’s always fun to get a bit of a history lesson.
Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms
Year Released: 2018
Produced by: P.A. Works
Directed by: Mari Okada
Composed by: Kenji Kawai
Genre: Fantasy Adventure Drama
Length: 115 mins(1 hrs. & 55 mins)
Thoughts: One of the finest modern animation studios in my eyes is clearly P.A. Works, they make such refined looking pieces of anime, that sometimes I truly have trouble believing it. I also am a pretty big fan of Mari Okada, the mastermind behind works like Anohana, and key parts of Hanasaku Iroha. Last year, one of the biggest anime films to come was surely Maquia. The directorial debut of a well-known writer backed by the power of a megatalented animation studio. It was lauded to all high heaven, and most people agree that it was the highlight film to come out last year in the medium. As most anime films tend to be, it was vastly over-shadowed by larger entities like My Hero Academia. Instead of the bombastic, and cultural phenomenon type, Maquia is a much quieter story.
Maquia is about motherhood, which anyone who has seen a chunk of Okada’s work won’t be surprised to hear that. She has a long history with her own life, and complicated relationship with her mother, so she tends to reflect that in many of her works. This is a story that blends medieval fantasy with themes that many of us can relate to. Things such as a parent’s purpose, adoption, bloodlines, and sacrifice are covered in this movie all through a larger scope of how time is ever so fleeting. Maquia is absolutely breath-taking from a production stand point and will grab almost anyone from the get go with the sweeping vistas, and crazy attention to detail bolstering a personal story of family bonds.
General Recommendation: Out of most of the films I got to see this past month, I feel this one has the most going for it for commercial interest. I can’t see many anime watchers not loving this, or getting teary eyed by the dramatic melodrama that PA excels at so much. Okada is a master at tugging on the heart-strings, and I could see your standard viewer desperately searching for tissues during the climactic portions.
Personal Recommendation: It was good, but not great. One thing I’ve noticed from Okada is that she really thrives when she has more time. Movies rarely do her work proper justice. This and Anthem of the Heart both have janky pacing to advance the plot because the run time is so limited. While in television she has so much room to work with she usually hits all the beats like a DJ master. This is a good film with strong messages, and animation, but it jumps around so often and quickly that I felt myself often uninvested in the world with how little building was done to support it.
Kuroko no Basuke: Last Game
Year Released: 2017
Produced by: Production I.G.
Directed by: Shunsuke Tada
Composed by: Yoshihiro Ike
Genre: Battle Shonen Sports
Length: 90 mins(1 hrs & 30 mins)
Thoughts: I really dig sports anime, and I’m also a real life sports fan too. Baseball is my number one love, but growing up I watched a lot of basketball and played it for a few years too. One of my first subbed experiences was the anime Kuroko no Basuke. This is basically basketball if you gave people superpowers. It is stupid, and wonderful for how much it commits to this idea. Kuroko is stupendous over the top, and makes the sport an absolute treat to watch as the powered up players try to best one another in games that last longer than real games do sometimes. So, when they said a movie was going to be made with the best of the best against USA I was like….sure bring it on!
This is easily out of all the movies the most layered with fanservice. Kuroko wants to service the fans for their investment, and it allows all of the biggest names to get a big moment or two in this clash of titans. If you have ever read the magnificent football manga Eyeshield 21, this is the basketball version of the final game of it. It was a super fun, and non serious game with Team Japan versus team USA. This is the same concept just a bit smaller since this is a 5 man on the court team sport instead of 11. Regardless though, this movie is popcorn material in the best of ways for those who love Kuroko. It is a true send off for the 75+ episode investment the series gave us all.
General Recommendation: If you like sports, and especially if you have seen Kuroko, I implore you to take the time to watch this. It’s just solid fun, and the best way to say goodbye to one of the most prolific anime sports series to ever be made.
Personal Recommendation: This was a god damn blast. So many highlight reel moments, and the ending was actually more emotional than I expected it to be! This is the real ending to Kuroko, and I highly recommend it to all fans.
Favorite Character of the month:
Arsene Lupin the III
Runner up: Monkey D. Luffy
Now, I don’t know how different Miyazaki’s Lupin is from standard Lupin, but I know I’m a huge fan of gentleman thief types. He is just charming, hilarious, and the voice work of the seiyuu is just so amusing. Lupin is a strong lead character who makes his film brim with pure charisma.
Least Favorite Character of the month:
Runner up: Mr. Hokusai
What a lifeless, and emotionless woman she is. And when she does exude her emotions she rarely follows through. I debated between her and her dad, but being the lead character and just so unlikable made her win him out just an edge. If she isn’t with her sister, she is normally quite cold and mean, and otherwise she is just quiet. She is a hard woman to like.
Runner Up: Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms
Now we had a lot of contenders for this, but I feel not giving it to the movie about a music playing character would be silly. The final performance alone is jaw dropping with how the real life artist they hired behind the character pulled off what he did.
Fate/ Stay Night Heaven’s Feel
Runner up:: Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms
Screenshots do not do justice to the work ufotable does on Fate. It really is stunning work to behold. The lighting is one thing, but their attention to small things like red knuckles from the flushness in skin during cold weather, or the slight flicker of a light bulb that is older before it properly turns on is what made me chose them despite how great some films like Maquia also prove their animation quality.
In this Corner of the World
Runner up: Ninja Scroll
Man before going into this, I was ready to go and disagree with my friend Fee for being an old grumpy man on a film for being popular that didn’t sit with him. However, he really was right about everything he said. I went and read his thoughts afterwards, and I can’t disagree with his sentiments, about how this type of story has been done, and better so many times over. This is a slog of a watch, and didn’t hit any chords within me.
One Piece Movie 6: Baron Omatsuri and the Secret Island
Runner up: Nitaboh
I mean I know I love One Piece, but daaaaaamn, this movie gets interesting in the last third. The first chunk is very in line with what you love about One Piece. It’s funny, it has a few fights, and it’s just a jolly good time. The last third of this film is serious food for thought, and matches the gravity of some of the series’ best backstories. I was blown away with how talented Hosoda was even back then.
Worst Movie of the month:
Runner up: Fuse: Teppou Musume no Torimonochou
I could go on and on about how this movie just is a mess, but I don’t want to rip on movies people like for too long. The disjointed narrative, unlikable cast, and lack of any semblance of theme makes Miss Hokusai an arduous watch at best.
Best Movie of the month:
Lupin the III: Castle of Cagliostro
Runner up: One Piece Movie 6: Baron Omatsuri and the Secret Island
Classics never die! Lupin was the perfect type of movie for what it aimed to do. It was light-hearted, yet tense. It was funny, but also quite serious. It was a grand time, and easily the movie I would say everyone who reads this should go give a watch. It’s one of Miyazaki’s best works, and that is comparing a body of work like none other in this medium.
Well that hereby ends my ramblings on anime movies from the past month! Which films have you seen?! Any movies you would recommend for future watches? Did I upset you with my opinions?! Let me know somewhere your thoughts on this post, and any feedback you would like to see implemented in the future! Otherwise…I thank you all for reading, and wish you all safe travels my little wanderers!