Monthly Archives: October 2014

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

Type: Literal Title

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Synopsis: Really? A girl leaps through time. It’s not that hard to figure out.

Pros: O.K., so I’m a sucker for time travel stories. This has been established. I loved the this movie. It was light-hearted, funny, and used time travel in a very realistic fashion. Basically, it was used for shinanigans. Pass a test. Dodge a hit. Sing kareoke ten times in a row. Everything the average person would do. Because, lets be real here. You might think you’d use time travel to kill Hitler or bet on the 2004 World Series, but you would actually just use it as a redo-button for your life. A lot of the humor comes from Makoto literally leaping though time and fixing various little high school problems. The main conflict, which thankfully isn’t some reality shattering consequence of abusing time travel, arises when Makoto discovers that her two male best friends like her (which I get the feeling happens to a lot of girls). This wasn’t overly melodramatic, at least at the start, and I would highly recommend this film to anyone.

Cons: The film doesn’t quite stick the landing. In about the last 40 minutes, you discover how Makoto was traveling through time, and the movie goes down the cliche love angle. This felt out of place with the rest of the story. The first act had been Makoto using time travel in funny ways. The second act was Makoto finding herself in a love triangle and trying her best to undo it, because screw whoever came up with the term “friend zone.” What bothered me about the third act is that the previous two had been alluding to the consequences of time travel. Not in an earth shattering way, but in a more personal “you open a door but close a window” sort of way. That’s why one of Makoto’s classmates was being bullied, because Makoto accidentally transferred her series of unfortunate events to him. But these consequences never pay off in a tone consistent to the more down to earth plot before hand. Maybe if the film had explored Makoto dating both boys, or giving up both, or something totally different. Don’t get me wrong, the ending doesn’t ruin the movie by any means, it just makes it “good” where it could have been “great.”

Watch it?: Very accessible.

MVP: Makoto

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Keep rolling, rolling, rolling….

Best Moment: Makoto laughing arrogantly over her new mastery over time.

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Queen’s Blade

Type: No, you shut up!

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Synopsis: What? No, really, what!? Look, I don’t care. I was having a rough week and needed something to decompress. Don’t give me that look! Whatever…Exiled Virgin (Season 1) and The Evil Eye (Season 2).

Pros: Queen’s Blade is about a fighting tournament between female warriors for the throne of the country of “Gynos.” Its not as horrible-I’m sorry, I know this time for positives, but for reals, “Gynos?”- as you would expect. I came into this thinking I was going to watch 12 episodes of fan service. What I got was, well it was still 12 episodes of fan service, but also a pretty interesting story about a fighting tournament. Season 1 introduces all the fighters and their reasons for fighting, ranging from revenge, duty, wealth, to becoming the strongest. The themes in the plot are actually a lot more complex than you’d expect. If they ever made a proper fighting game anime, this is kinda what you’d want it to be. Season 2 is the actual tournament, which I’m always a fan of. Every characters is established enough to carry their own episode, which they often do. The main character, Leina, often acts more as a narrative device to introduce the new warriors. Leina herself goes through an interesting, if rushed, character arc on her quest to gain a reason to fight.

Cons: “Gynos?” I mean, come on! Plus, Elina Vance-total bitch. I’m sorry, I don’t really like using that term, but seriously. A super rich aristocrat who hates the lower class and literally drove a young servant to demonic witch craft? You suck Elina! There’s also the issue of Leina getting strong within the span of one training session instead of slowly becoming stronger through loss and experience. That was a bit too shoen for my taste. Now for the elephant in the room. Queen’s Blade is one of the most sexually exploitative anime I’ve ever seen (and I’ve seen Battling Venus). Season 1 isn’t as bad Season 2, where it has a character that literally gets sexually assaulted by her evil staff. That’s some messed up shit right there. The thing is, if Queen’s Blade just covered up their characters by say 30%, and cut out the weird stuff, it would be a perfectly normal anime. Except for the character Nyx, and the two women with ludicrously inflated breasts, Queen’s Blade is not the most horribly sexploitative anime I’ve ever seen. Not by a long shot. The story is engaging and some of the characters are actually pretty admirable.

Watch it?: You come for the fan service, you stay for the story (3/5)

MVP: Elina Vance

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I hate her some much! She’s obviously a good character.

Best Episode: S1., Ep. 11 “Thunder: Struggle to the Death” (sister vs sister)

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Redline

Type: Awesome Pompadour

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Synopsis: Its a racing movie. A space racing movie. A movie about racing in space.

Pros: Obviously, the visuals are incredible. It kinds looks like Gurren Laggan or Kill La Kill, but on speed (puns!). This is especially showcased in the races the open and close the movie, which almost attack you with their use of color and motion. This is the level of animation you expect anime movies to take advantage of. Being a sort of wackier racing story, each of the racers involved are your color mishmash of personalities, along the lines of Wacky Racers, but more adult and made in Japan.

Cons: The story is a little thin. Aside from winning the race, there are three side stories. One is about Sweet JP’s troubled past, another is the love story with Cherry Boy Hunter Sanoshee (Cherry Boy=Virgin), and the third involves the robot planet the race is taking part in. The main reason to watch the movie is for the race scenes, all this extra stuff is just to pad out the time in between. There’s also this one nude scene that felt out of place, but whatever.

Watch it?: A Very Fun Movie

MVP:  The TRANSAM 20,000

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Trans Ams kick-ass!

Best Moment: The race to the finish line (who’s ganna win!?)

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Phantom: Requiem for a Phantom

Type: Repetitive Title

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Synopsis: A Japanese tourist witnesses an assassination from a supposedly god-tier killer and is kidnapped and subsequently trained by the killer for reasons. He’s supposed to be brainwashed into becoming a souless murderer, but he totally doesn’t. Instead, he spends the show trying to figure out how to escape his new life. First he tries to play along, then he runs away, then he plays along again, then the become a high school student…yeah it sounds like a weird path. But dammit, it hooks you in before you even know it.

Pros: This show is weird in that it’s a straight drama. There’s not real humor or crazy action scenes. In fact, except for a few bits in that start and some costume changes, this could have easily been done with real people. It’s pretty low key for the most part, relying on intrigue and plot twists to drive the series. The story is about Reiji, a guy who is forced into the life of an assassin and what that entails, with a continuous criminal power struggle in the background. The assassin stuff in pretty interesting, as Reiji and several other characters often lament their lives in the underworld. The mafia stuff is also great, particularly the parts involving Claudia, a surprisingly well executed femme fetale. Like any great drama, the show gets you to care about what happens in these characters lives (WHY DREI! You know Reiji didn’t play you like that!). It’s a great crime drama, probably the best I’ve seen since the first part of Gungrave.

Cons: So the show is also weird in that is has a so-so beginning and ending, but a great middle. The first part is about Reiji being turned into an assassin, a potential “Phantom.” This honestly felt the most “anime” to me, and I wasn’t sure whether I was going to like it or not. Then the second arc hits, taking place 6 months later with Reiji being a full blown mafia assassin, and that was great. He even take an “assistant,” with clear allusions to Leon: the Professional. The last arc, taking place 2 years after, and has Reiji pretending to be a high school student. This felt out of place (which may have been the point), and beings up a whole mess of questions. How old is Reiji? I though he was college age when this all started. How come Reiji seemed to age more after 6 months than 2 years? To be fair, all the stuff that took place outside the high school was amazing. The time skips gave a great sense of progression and consequence. I just wish it had been a little more consistent. They also never really resolved the fate of the whole evil organization known as Inferno, or how it started, but maybe that’s part of the point as well.

Watch it?: No jokes and I still loved it. (4/5)

MVP: Cal

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Any kid that can quote Taxi Driver gets a Thumbs Up from me.

Best Episode:  Ep. 17 “Truth” (it hurts my soul!)

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