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This is an anime that is simply so beautiful that even if it didn't have all of the other great elements that make up this wonderful film, it would still be great to watch.
This movie is over 2 hours long, but I never felt like it dragged on unnecessarily. The story isn't amazing, but is above par nonetheless. The movie seemed to flow at a good pace, and never got confusing. The sound is definitely one of the great parts of the film. I watched the dubbed version, with an all-star cast of Claire Danes, Billy Crudup, Gillian Anderson, and others, and the voice acting was simply amazing, and the other sounds, such as bows firing and trees falling were also very well done.
The best part of the movie has to be the art. It is so well done that it gives the movie a magical feel. Not a Disney magical, but an entirely new and more enchanted magical feel. The large open areas, and the close-ups were both beautiful, and the animation was superb. Overall I'd recommend this film, maybe not to people under 12, because it does have some violence and blood. I give it a 10/10, the slight weaknesses are more than overshadowed by the strengths.
Hotaru no haka (1988)
Death is pretty, in a way.
This is one of these movies that make you think, think of how selfish some people are during wars, think of how much it tears them apart. This movie isn't anti-American, or pro-Japanese, it's anti-war. This movie is symbolic. It could've been any nation involved in any war, but the fact still remains that this is the one war movie that stands as the most heartwrenching movie I've ever seen, an Anime, at that.
If you're expecting your standard Anime with violence and sex, you're going to be surprised. This movie revolves around children, a 14 year old and his 4 year old sister. The violence is limited to fire from bombings, there is no swearing or bad language, and there is absolutely no nudity. It doesn't need any of that to be effective.
What you see is beautiful art and animation, and a powerful drive for survival. From the very start, you know what is going to happen. You know their fate before the flashback of their life even starts. Seeing them so happy together further stresses your heartstrings when you know what happens in the end. The symbolism in the movie is exceptionally striking, the fireflies, the kimono, and especially the fruit drops. In the end of the movie, it reverts back to the opening scene to end the flashback. You can't help but think "They're in peace now, nothing can disturb them further. Death is pretty, in a way."
Jûbê ninpûchô (1993)
Simple and well produced
This isn't meant to be a huge epic, or a movie to make you think about the value of your own life and proceed to set goals to improve yourself. This is a very fun movie about ninjas and supernatural beasts. Who doesn't like supernatural beasts? And ninjas? Anyhow, the fight scenes (Of course there are fight scenes, fight scenes without ninjas? Wouldn't dream of it) are very well animated, and have that certain 'magic' to it.
A love story somehow gets into the movie, and it's actually fairly well done, and not something that the producer just threw in for the sake of having romance. The voice dubbing was well done, although I'm sure that the Japanese version was better (everything's better in Japanese!), and I didn't find the liberal use of blood to be all that distracting. Sure, sometimes it seems like their bodies were a geyser, or something, but it wasn't TOO extreme, compared to some other things I've seen.
All in all, I'd recommend you see this movie, it's more of a Jackie Chan flick than a Matrix epic, but they're both good, so why not see some nice and fun action? 9/10.