Reviews written by registered user
|8 reviews in total|
Sick of stereotypical anime? No need for big robots, big chests, lots of
yelling and immature humor? Check out Haibane Renmei. In my opinion, it's
a class by itself.
HR begins with a young girl 'hatching' from a cocoon, unable to remember her name, her life, or anything else. She is greeted by 5 other females (looking to be between 10 and 25) who have wings and a halo. She is given a name, based on her dream in the cocoon (Rakka, which means "falling), as are the others. Soon she grows wings and is given a halo as well. The winged creatures are called "Haibane."
The first 5 or so episodes are intentionally slow going, as we are given a view of Rakka's adjustment to life as a Haibane. However, as slow going as they are, the episodes are very engaging. By episode 6, Rakka suffers a major loss, as she spends the rest of the series dealing with the loss and trying to answer the question: What are the Haibane?
This series was created by the same person who created Serial Experiments: Lain. Rakka even looks a little like Lain. However, HR is a bit more straight-forward than Lain. It is an especally quiet series, the use of classical and baroque music add to the feel of the show. We're told a little about the Haibane, the rules they must follow, and the world they live in.
The animation is intentionally not very flashy, however it is detailed and quite immaculate. We get the feeling that the Haibane live in a quaint little town which hasn't changed much over the years. The show is much the same in its feel of timelessness. It could take place now, 100 years ago, or even 100 years from now.
In short, this is a show to show off to non-anime fans who have stereotyped all of it as either Pokemon or porn. Hopefully, this is the beginning of a trend...
I'll admit my biases up front: I loved the animated series "Boogiepop
Phantom." It's mix of time shifted story telling, characters over action,
and weirdness won me over. When I saw the Live-Action Boogiepop movie on
Ebay (with English subtitles!) I jumped at the chance.
For the most part, "Boogiepop and Others" takes place before the anime series. If you left BPP confused, there are a few more things we learn here: Boogiepop's origins (and her relationship with Toka), more about Saotome and the Manticore, Suema and Nagi's relationship, Echos' quest...and possibly the most intriguing questions: How Nagi knows what is going on, and what happened on the night the column of light appeared. A few more characters appear this time, including Takeda (Toka's boyfriend who is given a one line reference in the animated series), Kei, Naoko, and we learn more about Yurihara.
As the story goes, it is much like Boogiepop Phantom, but a little more easy to figure out. It is still told from the viewpoints of minor characters' interactions with the major characters, so we see some scenes a few times. Things slowly start to make sense and by the end, we have a good idea of what all is going on. The production values aren't Summer-Hollywood by any means, but for the most part they make due - although there is a scene of Boogiepop in the air that is a little laughable. The acting is a bit varies, with Echos, Toka and Nagi probably being the strongest and Saotome probably the weakest.
So, if you're a fan of BPP and want to learn more about the backstory, seek this out. Or, if you want a little Sci-Fi/horror film high on plot and story (if a little weak on production), go for it. I'd rate it a PG-13 leaning R...little language, no nudity and almost zero "mature themes," and a fair amount of blood, killing, and violence.
This is one of those movies that is more interesting to watch than to listen
to. The lead character wanders through life asleep, at first not aware he is
sleeping. Then, as the movie progresses, he realizes that he cannot wake up.
During the movie, he wanders into people who speak their philosophies to
him. At certain points, he wakes up in bed unable to read his clock or turn
off the lights -- signs he is really dreaming.
The movie is rotoscoped: there is a live action film taking place but we are seeing artists' rendition of the movie. This is the highlight of the movie...even if they seem to get a little too clever for their own good. The lead character (Wiley) changes shape and hue as do the people he comes across. At this point, most every scene in the film is suitable for framing.
However, what doesn't work as well are the long scenes of philosophy and "ironic" scenes of violence. Time after time, we are presented with people spouting out pop-philosophy. At best, the ideas presented are worthy of a second thought (How much of our lives are on auto-pilot, and why are we content sleep walking through real life while trying to attain more realisitic dreams?). At worst, this is what represents the worst about pop-philosophy: say something that sounds deep on the surface to get people impressed with your mind. The movie provides no one to counter the people giving their opinions; it just allows them to speak their contradictaroy minds with no one to call their bluff. In addition, one of the features on the disc is a running text commentary. This again is a mixed blessing: it gives us a list of who is who on the movie and explains the thinking of the director. However, it gets too cute with itself telling us to think about the ironies of two people gunning themselves down, or the 'irony' of a man setting himself on fire with gasoline while in Texas (with all of it's oil, get it?)
But overall, this is worth a rental. You'll have to sit through a lot of people who like to hear themselves speak, but there's enough to the movie to recommend it.
I must admit I giggled when I heard the name "Boogiepop Phantom" at first.
It had the sound of a cheap 60s cartoon that combined Scooby Doo's ghosts
and Archie's bad music. Nothing could be further from the
BPP is an anime, but much more than that. It is a show that is rather difficult to describe, but I'll try. "Boogiepop" is something of an urban legend, like the Boogieman, a being that takes people at the end of their life, or something like an angel of death. However, people living now claim to have seen Boogiepop. In addition, there was an unexplained column of light that appeared, people missing, a serial murderer that suddenly stopped years ago, and an abandoned Amusement Park that is suddenly coming to life. That just scratches the surface.
What is impressive about BPP is the way the story is told. The 4th episode happens before the first three. We are introduced to major characters in the first episode who do not appear again for a few episodes. Things happen on screen out of time with the rest of what's going on. Overall, the show should be one that fans of X-Files, The 6th Sense, or the Twilight Zone should enjoy. That's a challenging show that will make you use your rewind button more than once.
The Fonz is Limbaugh. It was an entire show dedicated to ripping off and mocking Rush Limbuagh. The problem is, it looked like a show made by somebody who never listened to him, and assumed all of those stereotypes about conservatives (racist, sexist, homophobic, ignorant) were true. So, cue the black woman sidekick, because that must be funny. It was just another mismatch comedy with predictable result, except that the main character was a Limbaugh wanna be. That may be funny for a sketch or two on SNL or MadTV, but not an entire half-hour - let alone week after week. Within a few weeks it was the least watched TV show in America, and then thankfully yanked. Don't expect the show to be out on DVD anytime soon. Making fun of something you don't understand is going to fail everytime.
When a movie is made from a popular series (anime or otherwise), we can
always except some letdown and some changes. The bad news is that Cowboy
Bebop holds true to this. The good news is that is survived much, much
better than others.
What survives is the original formula that made the TV show so great, and opening scenes show it perfectly: Jet and Spike foiling a robbery while arguing, Faye chasing the guys around the ship in disgust, and Ed and Ein off in their own little world -- all set to the fantastic music of Yoko Kanno.
This time the bounty is set a 300 million, and the 4 Bounty Hunters go into action. We see each one take their own way to find clues, while they reluctantly share info. But, the whole thing seems to go awry as Faye is kidnapped, and Spike -for the first time we've seen- shows himself to be truely afraid.
What seems to be the problem for me is that much of the movie lags with character we don't care about (Vincent, notably) and rather talky scenes with main and supporting characters -- but the main 4 never seem to be in the same room for more than a few scenes, and the 4 main characters are the main draw for the movie. Even more, some of the best scenes in the show were when Spike, Jet, and Faye were arguing about something or calling a short truce. Also, without giving much away, Spike sleeps more in this movie than the whole series, which makes Jet comment -more than once- that Spike "sure does sleep a lot." This foreshadowing is like a ton of bricks.
I've seen both the English dub and a "fan" subtitled one, and I can happily say the English people do a wonderful job. There were very few changes (an idiom here or there), and I think almost all of the actors own their parts in a way that rivals the Japan originals.
People in the US keep talking about an "anime going mainstream" or something like that....and this movie supposedly is supposed to help pave the way. It won't. In general, it's for those people who love the TV show, or those who want to are a little interested. While not totally alien to new people, it won't entice them as much as those who have seen the show. It's not going to rival Spirited Away, for example, as the best anime movie of the time, but the fans of the show will love it.
Overall, if you like the show, see the movie while you can in the theathers - there's nothing like Kanno's music coming at you from all sides. But if you're looking to show how good anime is to people who are skeptical, show them the TV show instead.
I will admit, I've only seen the MST version of this movie. However, as MSTed movies go, this had one of the better ideas for script and a decent lead lady (who also wrote the script, which is another positive for her). I'll also even give Joe Estavez credit for looking the part of a creepy afterlife Angel-of-death type person. Unfortunately, the other actors gave rather unmemorable and wooden performances, which brought it down to B-Movie status. Still, this is one of those movies I thought could have been a hit if it had been given the right treatment.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is a film my anime guru Miyazaki. That'll take care of the first
1,000,000 people who scramble around looking for it. The for rest, read
The music is nothing special, but that may just be my personal tastes. Then again, the video more than makes up for it. The somewhat confusing video plot deals with two policemen who free a strange angel-like girl.
The short video contains three of Miyazaki's traits: The sweet-looking but strong girl (but never in a lewd, creepy way that so many try), scenes of flying, and that mixture of strange but beautiful animation and storyline.
There's a lot to catch in this little flick, and it'd be too much of a spoiler to give it all away. Even more, it's probably not a movie that you'd expect to make a lot of sense. That's okay, just sit back and enjoy the ride.