Category Archives: Movie

Tekkonkinkreet

Type: Street Rats. Well, Street Cats technically.

Synopsis: It’s basically about orphans beating up gangsters.

Pros: Well, there’s like more to it, but yeah. There are two orphans, Kuro and Shiro (black and white). They get into trouble with some Yakuza, and Kuro gets targeted by assassins. For his own good, Shiro is sent with the cops for protective custody, which throws off their whole Ying-Yang/Co-Dependent relationship. This gets explored in their senses of reality being distorted and what not. Real emotional stuff handled well via animation. Outside of this, we get spliced-in stories of life in an inner city. Frought with crime, tragedy, and a never ending cycle of violence. Kinda like if Elvis’s In the Ghetto was an anime. Though I do appreciate the more street level urban story.

Cons: It can get kinda messy. There is a lot of imagery thrown at you, and you may not get the significance of it all. That’s not me being pretentious. I don’t what half the weird stuff I saw meant! The cuts between the Kuro/Shiro plot and the Yakuza plot can be a bit confusing. And like a lot of anime movies, some of it’s scenes hang around a little longer than they should for the sake of “mood.” There also not a “happy ending” resolution to the stories. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with that, but Kuro/Shiro are basically in the same boat they were in at the start. You could argue that because of certain actions in the film, they’re home free, but are they? Who knows. The whole film is a very “International Anime” film, if you catch my drift. It’s not solidly Japanese (hell, the director was American). It’s made to appeal to a broad audience of film buffs. It’s more of a “Film” than a “movie.” Of at least it wants to be.

Watch it: Pretty nifty story about children beating up adults.

MVP: Kuro

Angry. Angry young man.

Best Moment: Kuro flying out of the sky (for some reason).

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Trigun: Badlands Rumble

Type: Mostly a story arc

Synopsis: In this story, Trigun saves a bandit whom he crosses paths with years later. The bandit wants revenge on someone, but an innocent village is in the way, so Trigun and his new lady friend have to try and stop him. Then Trigun saves the day and walks into the sunset.

Pros: This “movies” is really just a long Trigun story arc. That’s a good thing, because Trigun is great. I didn’t remember how much I liked Trigun until this film reminded me. It’s got this old anime vibe that’s been lost. It’s a little slower, a little quieter, a little more lived in. The gang’s all here, and their roles make sense. The insurance girls are working a job, as is Wolfwood. The main theme is “revenge” and “living in the past.” The main character of the film, Amelia, wants revenge on the antagonist for the death of her mother. The antagonist, Gasback, wants revenge on the partner’s that betrayed him. Gasback’s an example of revenge’s pitfalls and costs, and Amelia’s struggle with revenge is the film’s emotional focus. Overall, a fun return to Trigun’s universe. (p.s. This movie was made is 2010, so good for Trigun fans!)

Cons: This “movies” is really just a long Trigun story arc. That’s a bad thing, because it’s largely forgettable. Movies adapted from existing anime tend to fall under a few different categories. There’s a film adaptation of a story arc. There’s a side story exploring a supporting character. There’s an origin story or prequel. There’s the rare film sequel. And then there’s the expendable side story. Trigun: Badlands Rumble is the latter. It has a movie only villain, a movie only protagonist, it neither adds or detracts from the source material, it ultimately didn’t matter. Trigun doesn’t learn anything from this. Hell, he doesn’t even do much. He was kinda just there. The film had the audacity to imply that Trigun died in this, but we all know he didn’t. And worst of all, the film doesn’t try anything new. The setting is still a desert and Trigun is still Trigun. There’s a few things you could have done, like explore Trigun’s early years, do a movie from Woofback’s perpective, or Trigun’s brother’s perspective, or put Trigun is a jungle or city or something. As it stands, this is a serviceable movie, but not must-see.

Watch it?: Maybe for that Trigun inch.

MVP: Amelia

I would also get goosebumps if creepy Trigun tried to touch me.

Best Moment: Gasback’s booby-trap walk (some pretty fancy animation there)

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Black Jack: The Movie

Type: Real medicine doesn’t work this way…

Synopsis: Except in E.R. But E.R. is good.

Pros: I’m be honest. I’ve never watched E.R. I just wanted to sound smart for all of you. But we’re here to talk about Black Jack: The Movie. This was my first introduction to Black Jack, created by Osamu Tezuka, who also made Astro Boy. I didn’t make this connection until about 30 minutes into the movie and though “boy, these guys sure look like robot children.” According to the Wikipedia, Black Jack is a medical mercenary who charges an insane amount of money for his services, despite not having a medical license and wearing a garish opera cape. And hes allowed to do this in a world and legal system to is fully aware of his existence as an illegal surgeon. In this story, he’s hired to deal with a string of superhuman who seem to be dying for no reason. Most of the film is just an excuse to draw highly detained medical procedures, but it’s a serviceable medical drama.

Cons: Also according to the Wikipedia, Black Jack’s face is explained as a skin graph from his half-african best friend. So I don’t know if he’s “Black Jack” because his face is half black (which is therefore racist), or because of his reputation as a cold hearted doctor. But he’s evil in the whole “he’s actually a kind doctor” kind or way. That being said, this movie is really just a basic medical drama. It looks nice, but nothing about is is super special. The only real element that rising above being average is Joe Carol Brian, how hires/blackmails Black Jack to help fix the superhuman death problem. She was interesting because she was the total opposite of the Black Jack character. Outside of her brilliance, she was a corporate puppet who used human experiments to further her ambitions, and was a prisoner of her own making. There was also magic bacteria found in desert stand. But that’s about it.

Watch it: It’s Fine.

MVP: The animation

People love to draw medical agony. They love it!

Best Moment: The brain surgery. (gross).

 

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Armitage III: Dual-Matrix

Type: A sequel no one asked for

Synopsis: A know that a lot of people complain about entertainment industry giving us sequels to decade old franchises that no one asked for, but this ain’t a new thing. Case in point, this anime movie is a sequel to a at best serviceable cyber punk anime. The first time around, Armitage III has the unfortunate luck of coming out the same year as Ghost in the Shell. But will this new movie revive the franchise!? No. No it will not.

Pros: And surprise, surprise, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex also came out in 2002. And AGAIN, Armitage was released earlier in the year, but was overshadowed by Ghost in the Shell’s first anime series. You just can’t win, can you? It’s like when Civil War came out before Batman vs Superman. Except that Civil War ended up making a billion dollars, while BVS didn’t. I mean, it made it’s money back. The critics didn’t like it, but I think they were being overly harsh. And as a DC fan, I enjoyed it. It set up the characters well, Ben Affleck as Batman was awesome, and that scene at Lex Luther’s party? Amazing. Plus, we got to see Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman for the first time. Weirdly enough, BVS has become a bit of a cultural touchstone, though usually with negative connotations. But no one really talks about Civil War anymore. I mean, that airport fight sure. Still, given time, I think people will begin to appreciate BVS more. I’ll freely admit that Superman was a downer, but that a bigger issue with the entire franchise (though they did fix Superman in Justice League, another misunderstood film). Yet as a whole, BVS told a story about what happens when a man defined by fear gives into it, and a man defined by hope starts to lose it. Apart their dangerous, but together they’re the World’s Finest….Oh s#$t, right, Armitage. Her kid was cute.

Cons: Hey, don’t get me wrong, I’ll call it like I see it. Suicide Squad was not good. It had a good aesthetic, but that don’t replace competent writing. The thing is that–alright, the bit’s gone far enough. Anyway, Armitage Dual-Matrix takes place seven years after the original. Armitage has a kid, but goes to Earth to stop more Third Type androids from being created. The villains master plan is to use the Third Type androids, androids that can reproduce, to make a slave race. Stuff happens and the day is saved. Here’s the thing, on the one hand I liked that Armitage seemed more mature, which was reflected in her less revealing outfit. One the other hand, she was less fun. Her character seemed to be reduced to angry or sad. All the conflict about her being android seems to have been resolved. There was an interesting bit when her daughter is scared when she find out that her mom’s an android. Maybe if this had happened earlier, as in being the catalyst that shattered Armitage’s idyllic life, then we’d be talking. But with what it got, it’s yet another attempt that was overshadowed by Ghost in the Shell, only this time with it’s personality lost.

Watch it?: Give Batman V Superman another shot. It’s better than it’s reputation.

MVP: Armitage’s outfit

Shorts and crop top. Easy, attractive, but not over the top. Though the clevage was a little much.

Best moment: Armitage’s daughter’s reaction to her mom’s metal arm (My mother’s a horrible robot in a forgettable series of stories!!)

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Dragon Ball Super: Broly

Type: HD Remake

Synopsis: A long time ago, the author of a popular fighting manga made fun of super buff/macho characters to take the wind out of his fanbase. Years later, that same author decides to take on that same character archetype to pad out his retirement fund. The result? A pretty good interpretation all things considered.

Pros: Let’s address the Elephant in the room. Yes, Broly has been a fan favorite ever since his inception. He’s been in every non-anime release for Dragon Ball since his debut movie. And no, I don’t think the original Dragon Ball writers knew exactly why he was so popular, which is why all his subsequent animated portrayals were bad. Just the worst. Remember Bio-Broly? Because I DO. Anyway, in this movie the writers for Dragon Ball Super give something to Broly he was sorely lacking: a personality. You see, the original Broly movie was more of a Pegasus film, with Broly sorta just being there for the fight. But in this, Broly is given his own supporting cast and backstory, while staying true to the original film. The start of the film also works to canonize a few Saiyan story lines into the main continuity. Frieza is there. Bardock is there (and yes, he does the thing). Flippin’ Tarble gets a mention! Later in the movie, the fight between Broly and Goku/Vegeta is set up well enough, and the resolution worked well to protect everyone’s status. And hey, Gogeta joins the fight!

Cons: This movie is far and away better than the original. That being said, no one really explains why Broly is so strong. He just is. This would be find, except that this movie happens after the tournament of power, where Goku and Jiren surpassed the levels of gods with the multiverse at stake. So having some random dude push Goku to his limit created a bit of dissonance. And the fusion stuff reeked of fan service/marketing. Don’t get me wrong, it was cool that Gogera became cannon, but still. The movie also does retcon a few small details from the Story of Bardock, but honestly, it was nothing too controversial. And hey, Goku’s mom is here!

Watch it?: Best Dragon Ball hyperfighting you’ll see

MVP: The first half hour

Someday they will join you in the Sun Kal–I mean Kakarot.

Best Moment: The POV fight segment (I personally liked the early story stuff, but let’s be honest, everyone should watch the POV segment).

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Robot Carnival

Type: Animation showcase

Synopsis: This movie is a collection of animated shorts revolving around robots in some way.

Pros: Since this is a collection of different mini-movies, it’s a little hard to pinpoint what’s good and what’s bad. It all depends on your perspective. But overall, this is a fun little group of experimental films. A lot of the films are also lack a lot of dialogue, so almost everyone can watch this. And if your a fan of robot centric fiction, or films like the AnimeMatrix, then this is the film for you.

Cons: If you need a plot, then this isn’t the film for you. Again, you might end up liking some of the shorts more than others. I personally liked “Star Light Angel” and “Presence.” The films do vary in tone, but most lean towards to dramatic and serious. Don’t go looking for something super funny every ten minutes.

Watch it?: If you got an afternoon to kill, or like animation (4/5)

MVP: Old school animation

It just feels more real, ya know?

Best Moment: The girls having fun in “Star Light Angel” (I thought they were having fun gay times!)

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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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