Category Archives: Movie

Tenchi Forever! The Movie [Tenchi Universe Trilogy]

Type: You’re saying that my grandfather’s girlfriend has the hots for me!?

Synopsis: I’m starting to develop some emotional discomfort due to all these inappropriate advances by female relatives and friends.

Pros: Ok, so Tenchi Forever! The Movie, also known as Tenchi Muyo in Love 2: Distant Memories, is the final movie and story in the Tenchi Universe cannon. So of course it ends with Tenchi finally getting laid. By his grandpa’s dead lover. Yeah. You know, it’s kinda weird that the least sexy Tenchi Muyo shows end up getting Tenchi to make more romantic progress than the original OVA’s. Tenchi in Tokyo shows us Tenchi’s first kiss. And this movie showed us Tenchi’s first sexual experience. I’m focusing on this a little because this movie is fairly melodramatic and mature compared to every other entry in the series. In the story, Tenchi disappears for 6 months, and all the girls separate in an effort to find him. The pairing we see the most of is Ryoko and Ayeka, who become roommates during their search. While they do bicker, this is the best portrayal of their friendship, as they provide emotional support for one another after, essentially, the loss of a love one. Speaking of which, I liked the way that Tenchi was removed from his weird life of aliens into a more intimate life with a girlfriend, something that was NOT handled well in Tench in Tokyo. We see an older and more self-assured Tenchi, who really knew how to rock long hair.

Cons: The instigator of Tenchi’s disappearance was Haruna, Tenchi’s grandfather’s old lover and the reason why he left Jurai in the first place in this cannon. She was fine, and her design was pretty, but I had a though when watching this. The concept of Tenchi being stuck in a parallel world with a lover is great, but I would have changed the girl he was with. Instead of Haruna, it should have been Ayeka. Because despite Ayeka being one of the main love interest, she always plays second fiddle to Ryoko. So what better way to explore her underdeveloped character than by having her take the initiative and create her ideal world with Tenchi. It would have been a great spotlight on her character, and helped develop new layers to the love triangle between Ryoko, Ayeka, and Tenchi…I should probably also mention that Tenchi was basically brainwashed into being in a sexual relationship with a stranger, and that this would 100% not work if the genders where reversed.

Watch it?: No real finality, but an interesting  attempt at a more serious Tenchi Muyo story

MVP: Tenchi’s long hair

I mean, just look at it.

Best Moment: The Reveal that Tenchi was drawing Ryoko’s picture too (true love shatters any illusion!)

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Tenchi the Movie 2: The Daughter of Darkness [Tenchi Universe Trilogy]

Type: My daughter has the hots for me!?

Synopsis: Wait, that wasn’t my idea!

Pros: So this one is about a girl that says she’s the daughter of Tenchi and crashes the Masaki household around Christmas time. So this is really just a Christmas special. The self proclaimed daughter, Mayuka, isn’t all that interesting and can be irritating with her child like antics. What was most interesting what everyone’s reaction to her, especially Ryoko. Ryoko’s often the most reactive to romantic rivals (that was her entire arc in Tenchi in Love) so she’s allowed to act out more by the writers. This eventually culminates in a shocking moment that even had me go “whoa.” And I’ll admit, more a moment I did think that Mayuka really was Tenchi’s daughter from the future or something, and all her scenes with the other girls had me playing “guess the baby mama.”

Cons: Mayuka is annoying. Mayuka is very annoying. She’s got a woman’s body but a child’s mind. I’m not talking about a 17 year old mind. I’m talking about like 5 year old’s mind. Her childish demeanor was meant to be a hint to her real origins, but it didn’t make all the fan service any less creepy. By the way, this is NOT a movie. It’s a Christmas OVA. It’s one hour and doesn’t really reveal or change much. I know that the story implies that Mayuka is reborn as an actual child, but the events of the next film contradict this.

Watch it?: I’d say no, but that Ryoko moment has to be seen

MVP: Ryoko

If you haven’t realized, I really like Ryoko

Best moment: The Ryoko-Mayuka living room scene (Damn!)

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Tenchi the Movie: Tenchi Muyo in Love [Tenchi Universe Trilogy]

Type: You mean my mom has the hots for me!?

Synopsis: Man, this is heavy.

Pros: I mean really, this is just Back to the Future. This is part of a series of movies that I like to refer to as the “Tenchi Universe Trilogy,” or Tenchi Universe Season 2. Sorta how like the Futurama movies are all considered Season 5. The Tenchi Universe series isn’t my personal favorite in the franchise, but it is the most accessible. This one explore the issue of Tenchi’s mother. A bad guy tries to kill Tenchi’s family by attacking Tenchi’s mom in the past, so Tenchi in the gang have to go to the past to make sure that Tenchi isn’t erased from existence. This was pretty cool, and I liked Achika Masaki better than Kiyone Masaki, Techi’s mother from the OVA series. Mostly because Kiyone wasn’t given much screen time. I also really liked Ryoko, as I always do, and she had a pretty slick, if brief, but of fight animation. In fact, since this was a movie, it has pretty good animation in general.

Cons: The movie is fine for what it is, but is doesn’t go far enough. It doesn’t play around with the 1970’s setting. It doesn’t play around with the idea of time travel much. But worse, it doesn’t really explore Achika outside of her early relationship with Tenchi’s dad. She isn’t really a character, she’s a Mcguffin. The only real emotional conflict comes from Tenchi trying hard to protect his mother, who he never really talks to in the movie. Which sucks because we could have gotten interesting interactions with Achika, Ryoko and Ayeka. We could have seen how Teanchi’s grandfather behaved as a father to a young woman. Or we could have just gotten a story of Achika’s daily life. Her status as at least a part-alien living on Earth with a royal lineage strongly mirror’s Tenchi’s life, and we could have seen them bond over their unique situations. Kinda a waste of potential at the end of the day. (p.s. There was also this bad guy that wasn’t really the antagonist who was really there to misdirect the audience and died a useless death).

Watch it?: If you like Tenchi Universe, then sure

MVP: Achika’s brief power ups

She also got the final hit on the bad guy.

Best Moment: Ryoko’s brief fight scenes (Ryoko deserves a killer fight scene!)

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Appleseed: Ex Machina (2007)

Type: At least the title is honest

Synopsis: Get ready for some implied cuckolding! After escaping a hellish warzone in favor of a futuristic utopia, our heroes Deunan and Briarieos must face an even greater challenge: a cute boy! Enter Tereus, a cloned copy of Briarieos before he was turned into a cyborg, genitals and all. Can Briarieos possibly live with the fact that Deunan will probably instantly fall in love with Tereus because her feelings only run skin deep. That despite all their time together in the battlefield, all the trust they’ve built, and the love they share, that she’ll still run off with someone who has his old hair cut. Welp, ignoring the fact that Deunan repeatedly says she’ll only partner with Briarieos as he’s her one and only, let’s trade her off to Tereus. That’s what she obviously wants.

Pros: For a sequel, Appleseed: Ex Machina does a better job at setting up the world right off the bat. It opens with a quick summary of the world, which did a lot better job at explaining the lore than the entire first film. Post Apocalyptic. Utopian city. Cyborgs, clones, and humans. Done. While there is some plot involving collective consciousness or whatever, the real draw is the love triangle the film establishes between Deunan, Briareos, and Tereus. Well, to be honest, the actual high point is the relationship between Briareos and the other two. This is every much a Briareos movie. It defines his feelings towards himself and Deunan very well. This film does a much better job at showing that Deunan and Briareos are in a romantic relationship, which the first film only really implied it. It’s only pretty organic. A quick peck here. A quip there. When Tereus is introduced, we see Briareos insecurities pop up, not only concerning his relationship with Deunan (the whole, “would she love me more if I were still “normal?””) but with himself. This type of thing happens in most relationships, where it’s because someone loses use of a limb, or gains weight, or ages, or just feels that way one day. And like Deunan, a partner could try to reassure them that they love ’em anyway, but like in the film, it’s may not be enough to be convincing. So what happens? The person with insecurities pushes their partner away, the partner finds someone else, and the whole things becomes a self-fulling prophecy. In my opinion, this relationship based story was way better than a conspiracy about computer or whatever.

Cons: I kinda don’t like the fact that Deunan is basically ignored or disregarded when it comes to her relationship with Briareos. Like, no one takes her at her word that she’d rather have Briareos than Tereus. I get that this film is set from Briareos’s perspective, and that his insecurities makes him distance himself from her, but you can’t just give her away, man. She’s not pokemon card. The film does propose that their is some romantic tension between Deunan and Tereus, which is fine. She’s human and he looks exactly like her boyfriend whose being a jerk at the moment. And I do like the fact that she admits that Tereus confuses her, because it demonstrates some ownership of female sexuality. Besides this, the actual plot involving a computer overlord is largely unimportant, and rather trite.

Watch it?: Better than the first!

MVP: Breareos

Why do you have my face!?

Best Moment: Deunan kissing Breareos (the casual pecks do a lot of establish a relationship)

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Appleseed Alpha (2014)

Type: Weird name, cause it’s the third movie

Synopsis: In a story that makes way more sense, two soldiers are traversing the wasteland after a horrible world war. They in the search for “Olympus,” a mythical city said to have escaped society’s collapse. Along the way they must fight those who wish to restart the war that ruined the world. There, doesn’t that make much more sense than cloned robots or whatever?

Pros: I chose to review this movie instead of Appleseed’s direct sequel for two reasons. First, since this was a reimagining, I felt it was prudent to watch it to increase my level of investment in the franchise. Second, I didn’t know that this was the third movie and watched it by accident. Oops! Anyway, being made in 2014 gave this movie some major advantages over Appleseed (2004). Obviously, it’s computer animation improved tremendously. I’d compare it to Red vs. Blue season 10 in quality. The quality of the voice work has also improved, with quips and overlapping dialogue even inserted here or there to give off the sense of realistic  speech. And the story is much more straighfoward, giving you a better idea of Deunan and Briareos as a unit and as individuals. Keeping the story in the wasteland instead of Olympus was a nice touch too, as it kept everything down to Earth. Overall, I’d say watch this version of Appleseed if your curious at all about the series.

Cons: The animation is still janky. Not as janky as before, but you will notice a few lims moving unnaturally. The antagonists aren’t that interesting. They’re your typical fanatics trying to “reinvent the world” by using a big killer robot. In this movie, the real draw are Deunan and Briareos, and the colorful people the interact with in the wastes.

Watch it?: This is probably the only one you should watch.

MVP: Deunan and Briaroes

I finally bought them as a team

Best Moment: The verbal jabs (whoever was the English Voice Over director did good work!)

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Appleseed (2004)

Type: Finally, an anime about Johnny Appleseed!

Synopsis: Thank you. I’ll show myself out.

Pros: Appleseed is a sci-fi computer animated anime movie about humans and their relations with clones, or “Biroids.” A main conflict stems from the old human vs another species troupe. Sometimes it’s androids. Sometimes it’s clones. Sometimes it’s apes. Humanity is just not a friendly animal when it comes right down to it. The idea is interesting, and the movie does show glimpses of the discrimination the Biroids face, such as forced sterilization. To bad the whole story is a mess.

Cons: The whole story is a mess. The movie tends to cut between the past and the present, making it hard to determine what is happening when. The setting is also confusing. From what I gathered, a big war broke out, and some humans managed to build a Utopia called Olympus outside the carnage. One of the last soldiers fighting the war, Deunan Knute, it taken to Olympus becuase…reasons? I mean, I know it’s because her mother created the Biroids and owns the movie’s Mcguffin, but the film doesn’t do a good job at explaining that. Like, how can Deunan be a legendary soldier, but also be like 18? 19? Why was she still fighting a war that ended 2 years ago? Are we just going to ignore those weird mutants at the start of the movie? If everything is in 3 dimensions, then how come everyone moves awkwardly?…At the end of the day this movie can best be described as a starter anime. Ya know? Like, an anime you may find by accident at a video store or Youtube. You watch it because it looks vaguely cool, but later on you discover that Ghost in the Shell exists and just chalk up your previous enjoyment to a rookie mistake. What I’m trying to say is that this is the kind of movie you find at the $5 bin. It’s a movie your Uncle gives you to try to prove he’s with it. It’s the kind of film that low tier internet anime reviewers try to call bad without saying it’s bad because they don’t what to sound mean. Ya know?

Watch it?: Naaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah

MVP: Anime face in 3d

Anime eyes know no dimension

Best Moment?: That time a Bioroid randomly asked Deunan what it’s like to fall in love (those dumb artificial creatures and their feelings)

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Welcome to the Space Show

Type: A movie to surpass Star Wars!...maybe not, but it’s still good.

MANG3081 Inlay

Synopsis: A good rule of thumb for kids is to never talk to strangers. Especially if that stranger is a talking dog alien from space. Because next thing you know, you’ll end up on the moon and have to travel halfway around the galaxy to get back home because somebody reported Earth as dangerous. Personally, this is why I’m more of a space cat person.

Pros: This movie is stunning. It’s got a stylized version of space that sorta reminded me of Space Dandy of all things. But Dandy this is not. This is an all ages movie. In the same vain as a Summer Wars or Miyazaki picture. Is this movie as good? Kinda. It definitely apes the tone and feel of those movie. At least the first half. Basically, this film is about a group of small town kids who went camping in the local school house during Summer Break (because you can apparently do that), and get accidentally stuck in space. The group is made up of the responsible one, the nerd, the energetic one, the girly one, and the little girl. They have good interactions and feel like real kids. The first half off the film is them simply trying to get back home by taking up odd jobs around the space port. This is were the great visual designs come in, as the show uses the Space Cosmopolitan approach. Everything is shiny and futuristic, with cool looking aliens all around. This is one of those rare anime movies that everyone in the family can watch.

Cons: The first half is fun, but the second half doesn’t quite stick the landing. This is mostly because the movie starts to shift from the kids to the dog, Pochi. You see, throughout the movie, aliens have been trying to steal the kid’s wasabi, which is a rare commodity in the universe. Pochi thinks for something big, and the last half of the movie just becomes Pochi fighting against his old friends while the kids save one of their own. The story didn’t really need a climactic fight between Pochi and is best friend over the ethics of gene engineering. A simple confrontation to save the kidnapped girl would have sufficed. Speaking of story, while each of the humans have their one little character arcs, Noriko does not. She just sorta hangs around and doesn’t really do much. Natsuki has to learn humility and empathy, Kiyoshi has to learn to be more decisive, Koji has a love interest, and Amane is mad at Natsuki. But Noriko doesn’t have anything to learn. She feel more superflous than anything.

Watch it?: Yes. It has Pochi, a talking dog.

MVP: Natsuki

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A hero of justice!

Best Moment: Amane passing the Space Exam (so cute, but so wise)

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Persona 3 The Movie: No.4 Winter of Rebirth

Type: Yaaaaaaaaawn

Synopsis: Huh? Wha? Ja? What was I going again? Reviewing…something. Oh [yawn], oh yeah, the Persona 3 movies. Man, they are not that interesting. Anyways, the hero dies at the end. That’s how Persona 3 ends.

Pros: If you’ve stuck around this long, you already know. Good action animation. (p.s. Bless you).

Cons: Why are these movies so BORING!? This movie spends it’s first flippin’ hour with the cast moping around. The characters are told by an annoying character that no one cares about that the world is going to end. They can either-wait, before I continue, can I just say that I have never liked the late addition of Ryoji into the Person 3 story. The game tries to make us like him because he’s a happy go lucky scamp who comedically hits on every girl he sees. But he really just comes off as a third wheel that the game tells us to care about. Had he been a playable character, maybe, yet here we are. I gladly killed him at the end. Anyways, the cast is bummed because they can either erase their memories and live in ignorance of the End, or fight against the inevitability of death. They win, but not without the protagonist dying to save his friends by becoming Jesus or whatever. There. Play the game instead.

Watch it?: These movies were not a good idea. What a disappointment.

MVP: Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 (2006)

Having a game in the middle makes the story waaaaay better.

Best Moment: The End (as in the end of all this time wasting)

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Persona 3 The Movie: No.3 Falling Down

Type: Also known as Flying

Synopsis: Did you know that I just went on my first ever airplane flight! Crazy man. Everything looks like grids and curves in between mountains. It reminded me just how big the world is, ya know?…anyways, this is the third Persona 3 movie.

Pros: Persona 3 The Movie, No.3. Yes sir. The third movie. The big 3. El tercero movie-o. What can I say about Persona 3 The Movie, No.3. Anyone? Anyone at all? Um, it starts off after the events of Persona 3 The Movie, No.2. It has the same cast. Same focus on action quality over everything else. Ah, for the game fans we get cameos from more social link NPCs. That’s neat. The subplots for this movie are Makoto becoming nihilistic and Junpei getting into a romantic relationship with a girl that cuts herself. And a new supporting character is introduced: Ryoji. Yep, that is what happened in this movie.

Cons: Its boring. Well….no, yeah, its boring. This movie covers the least interesting part of the original game story. The problem is that the Shinjiro story in the second movie is such an emotional climax for the characters that this movie has to deal with the aftermath and therefore feels more passive than the other two in the series. Stuff happens in this movie, but you don’t end up caring as much because your still recovering from before. It’s a shame too, because this movie finishes Junpei’s character arc, finally making him more than a comedic duffus. It also sets that stage for the last stretch of the story. But at the end of the day, it’s not that interesting and actually made me question if the Persona games do have good stories or if it’s just reputation talking.

Watch it?: No. Why do I like this series so much again?

MVP: Junpei

I actually started using him after these events

Best Moment: The bathhouse scene (My favorite moment in Persona 3!!)

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Persona 3 The Movie: No.2 Midsummer Knights Dream

Type: Oh, I get it, it’s like wordplay

Synopsis: Because “midsummer” refers to the movies setting, and “Knight” refers to the cover girl Aigis, whose is like a robot knight. I see what you did there Persona 3 The Movie: No.2. 

Pros: Like the title implies, this movie covers the second act of Persona 3 the video game. We’ve established our core characters, so now we have to introduced our auxiliary characters and out main antagonists. Just to keep score, and not counting minor characters, that jumps our cast number from 5 to 12. And while that is a lot of people to keep track of, the film mainly focuses on 2 subplots, namely Aigis’s introduction and Ken/Shinjiro’s relationship. I actually feel that the Ken/Shinjiro story is better off in this condensed version than in the game, which stretched it out between long gameplay segments. You get a better sense of Ken’s youthful admiration of Shinji, of Shinji’s past with the group, and the overall impact that the resolution of the his subplot has on everyone. Plot aside, this is also the movie with the beach scene, festival scene, and love hotel scene, reminding you that Persona is the most anime RPG out there.

Cons: By watching the second movie, I’m starting to notice a few of the most consistent flaw in the Persona 3 movie series. Namely, the disparity in animation quality in dialogue scenes vs. action scenes. This movie was released a year after Person 3: Spring of Birth, and Person 3: Falling Down was released within a year after this one. This quick turn around means that the films were most likely made simultaneously and on a tight schedule, so some shortcuts had to be used. For example, the film used a still image montage for the opening beach segment. And if you noticed, most dialogue scenes involved close ups and little movement. The only parts that seemed to be afforded time and attention were the fight scenes. A lot of the cast is also shunted or minimized in this part of the story, which is fine unless your a fan of them.

Watch it?: Better than the first, but unless you’ve played the game you can skip it.

MVP: Shinjiro

He’s suppose to be 17, but I always thought he was 34.

Best Moment: The opening love hotel scene (it’s funny and I’m basic)

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