Reviews written by registered user
gjhong

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42 reviews in total 
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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
better in Chinese, 25 July 2008
8/10

I read somewhere that the producers tried hard to come up with a story that viewers outside Hong Kong would enjoy because Gordon Liu had fans in China and Japan thanks to his Shaolin monk movies. "Heroes of the East" was the result. Gordon Liu was in Montreal for the Fantasia Film Festival so local organizers and sponsors got him to come to Toronto to say hello after the show.

I noticed something watching the Chinese version that slipped by me when I watched the English dub years ago - only the Ninja Master and Ah To's wife could speak Chinese! I guess that was necessary for the sake of the story so our hero couldn't tell the other Japanese masters that everything was a big misunderstanding and there was no reason for them to fight.

I have good feelings about this movie because the story held together so well. Nobody was portrayed as a villain and everything was resolved happily with our hero accepting the friendship of the Kendo Master.

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
pleasant horror-comedy, 19 May 2008
7/10

Guren Onna is a live-action horror-comedy that was shown on TV Tokyo earlier this year. It tells the story of Fumiyo Nabekura, a timid high school teacher who gets no respect from her students or the principal. She can barely speak above a whisper and is always apologizing for her clumsiness. She has a crush on a fellow teacher named Kokoro but she can only stutter when he tries to talk to her. Her romantic rival is busty school nurse Rumi. Nakebura's only friend is a virtual pet she named Kokoro.

When night comes she gets her revenge by dressing up as Guren Onna / Crimson Lotus Woman and scaring people using special effects fireworks. The twist is Fumiyo sometimes encounters real ghosts during her escapades.

This is a show that can be enjoyed by all ages. As the series develops Fumiyo becomes less shy and uses her secret identity to help people in trouble.

3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
not quite as good as OVA version, 26 July 2004
7/10

Nuku Nuku TV retells the story of our favourite cat-brain androbot from the direct-to-video 6-part series. They make a joke of this in the opening sequence where Ryu is holding onto the tapes from the OVA series. As before Nuku Nuku is an android with the brain of a cat which means she has trouble adapting to human society. The show is a high-school comedy but seems aimed a younger audience so older fans from before will be disappointed. I have seen all TV episodes and it is not quite as good as the OVA version.

Being a TV show the budget is less so the quality of the pictures is a little inferior to the original series. One plus is the music. I have the soundtrack CD and there are lots of catchy tunes from the show on it. It seems like everyone gets a song to sing not just the lead Megume Hayashibara. The stories are generally about monsters of the week created by Mishima Industries. In this series the head of Mishima is actively trying to cause trouble which is the reason why Mr. Kyusaku created Nuku Nuku. As before the son Ryunusuke is overly mature to make up for the crazy antics of his mother Miss Akiko and his father Mr. Kyusaku. This series is definitely worth a rental if you liked the original series but I would rate it "B" and the first series "A".

16 out of 22 people found the following review useful:
Yoshiki Tanaka's magnum opus, 25 July 2004

Perhaps you've seen this superior science-fiction series on the Net or at your anime club. It looks like a TV show because each episode is 25 minutes long but I understand it is a direct-to-video adaption of Yoshiki Tanaka's 19-book series "Legend of Galactic Heroes". Thanks to that devoted fan-base the 28 tapes finally were completed after 10 years.

LGH tells the story of Reinhard, son of a poor nobleman in the Galactic Empire. Reinhard's father allowed his older sister Annarose to be carried away to court as a concubine when he was a young boy. Because of that Reinhard vowed to topple the Emperor one day. This series is like a soap opera because there are a lot of schemers and schemes and while the plot seems to advance slowly you really can't skip many episodes. There is a big payoff at the end and everything comes to a satisfying conclusion. The writing is very good but I can see people getting bored.

I know there are efforts underway to get an official subbed version to the US but it is going to be a hard sell because there are so many episodes.

"Medabots" (1999)
2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
enjoyable for adults too, 7 February 2004

We are well into the third season of Medabots in North America and I've seen most of the 52 episodes in season one and season two. Medabots is clearly aimed at elementary school kids judging by the simplified character design and storylines but can be enjoyed by adults too. I've watched other kid's shows like Pokemon, Flint the Time Detective and Mon Colle Knights that have the same tone but they seem repetitive and boring. In Medabots the show isn't just about fighting but the distinctive characters in that world and how they interact. Most episodes can stand alone even if there is an ongoing storyline like the Robattle Championship, Dr. Meda-evil or the Kilobots. Check it out and give it a chance. Shown on YTV in Canada. By the way Julie Lemieux does a good job taking over the Ikki role in season three.

9 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
another martial arts favourite, 31 December 2003

I must have seen this Shaw Brothers movie on TV in the 1980s because it seemed very familiar as I watched the DVD. Apparently this is a sequel to Executioners from Shaolin. The movie opens with a flashback to a fight between white-haired monk Pai Mei and a two-man team featuring Gordon Liu and another fellow. The monk is extremely tough so it is necessary to double-team him with Tiger Style and Crane Style. This is the setup for the current story where Pai Mei's brother Pak Mei another white-haired monk is out for revenge. In this adventure there is no partner to use Crane style so Gordon needs special training to make up for it. It was a lot of fun watching Gordon learning woman's style kung fu to get an advantage over Pak Mei the White Lotus. Check this one out at the video store if you get the chance because Gordon Liu will be a white-haired kung fu master named Pai Mei in Kill Bill Volume 2.

3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
top-notch animation, 20 December 2003

I've seen the first eight episodes of this long-running kids' comedy from Japan and find it pretty amusing. The story is about an underachieving elementary school girl named Doremi whose name sounds like the musical notes "do", "re", "mi". The setup for how Doremi turns into a witch is a little shakey but no more than how another magical girl Hime-chan got her magic ribbon. The show seems "toycentric" because the magical devices she uses look like they are meant to be released as toys. Still the program should appeal to people beyond the usual demographic of little girls because the artwork is top-notch and the characters are funny. The backgrounds are beautifully rendered and I would rate the art with an "A". I wonder how they achieve that textured paper look?

Check this one out if you can find it on an import DVD.

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
noticeable improvement over first series, 17 December 2003

As you may know this comedy series is about muscle-head Junpei, military-freak Ritsuko and actress Airi and their attempts to return to Japan from a strange fantasy world by searching for spell fragments that have attached themselves to the bodies of elves. I wasn't too thrilled by the first series because there seemed to be a lot of adlibs and yelling in the English dub. I am sure you will wonder why the elves wouldn't cooperate and look for the spell fragments on their own bodies rather than be humiliated each episode by those who strip elves. I guess there would be no series then. Otherwise you will wonder how Ritsuko manages to get supplies for her her tank in a world without modern technology. At least they came up with a "worlds merging" excuse in the first series to explain how they could understand the local languge.

The English cast is much the same for the second series with the voice of Celsia the elf elder being different. This time around the stories seem better. The writers make it clear that they want the series to keep going because now our heroes must find a thousand spell fragments. There are also a few stories where we learn something of the characters' past which is important since we really don't know anything about them. I rate it "B".

1 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
touching home-made anime with limited animation, 14 December 2003
9/10

You may have heard the story of a Japanese man who quit his job to try to create a home-made anime. I first saw this animated short movie on a Chinatown DVD and then saw the US dubbed version. I was touched by the story of a long-distance love affair that is based on emails sent to the frontline in a war against aliens. The pictures were beautiful and so was the theme music.

It took a few viewings before I noticed the limitations of this anime. When you make a cartoon some people are the background artists and some people animate the characters. CG was used to generate the backgrounds in this movie and that is why the images look great. If you watch the making-of segments you can see real-life pictures that were turned into background art. Unfortunately for the creator animating characters is labour intensive and requires some drawing skill and I noticed he avoided face shots as much as possible. You have scenes where people are talking but you don't see their lips move because of the camera angle. If you look at the few face pictures they look kind of amateurish. Oh well it was an impressive effort even though technically it is a limited animation.

Ariel (1989) (V)
interesting concept that should have been developed further, 9 December 2003
7/10

Central Park Media released this on videotape around 1996 but it is actually a 1989 anime based on a novel. In Japan these novels are mostly text with a few illustrations and many anime shows are based on such novels. The concept here is "girls who pilot a giant robot that looks like a woman". The story is a comedy and seems aimed at a very young audience. Therefore there is zero character development. Kazumi is the enthusiastic high school girl, Aya is the overly serious prep-school girl and Mia is the reluctant leader/university student. Their job is to protect the Earth from attack by the Gedo Corporation. These aliens rely on the monster-of-the-week for world conquest rather than conventional armies so the Ariel robot is the perfect counter. Why Dr. Kishida's grandaughters and niece are the ones chosen to pilot Ariel is never explained.

This show should be done again with a little more care because I think the concept is a good one. And I don't mean the subsequent release called Deluxe Ariel which is pretty much more of the same.


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