Blog Archives

Harmony (2015)

Better living through technology. But at what price? In the best tradition of classic speculative science fiction, Studio 4°C’s animated film Harmony, based on the novel by Project Itoh, examines this question through a mirror darkly. In the future, the world has been reduced by nuclear war and illness into sterile country states complete with regulated borders. Inside those borders, the Admedistration (not a typo) and a militarised version of the World Health Organisation ensure that all good citizens … (read more) “Harmony (2015)”

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Empire of Corpses (2015)

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copyright Madman Entertainment

So, I’ve discovered a concept more disturbing than a zombie apocalypse, and of course it’s all thanks to anime. Well, anime and maybe Mary Shelley, and at a guess, cancer. Empire of Corpses was science and speculative fiction author Project Itoh’s (aka Satoshi Itoh) last, unfinished novel. He died of cancer in 2009 at the very young age of 34, and it’s perhaps no surprise that what he was writing immediately before his death was a somewhat hauntingly desperate, slightly … (read more) “Empire of Corpses (2015)”

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Initial D First Stage – Collection One (1998)

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Despite being a fan of anime, from its late-nineties breakthrough into the mainstream, with Evangelion and Cowboy Bebop, I never got into Intitial D on its early release. With the change in rights from Tokyopop to Funimation, the Initial D series is being released and in some cases re-released in specific stage formats (first, second, third stages etc.) I finally decided to give the D a chance and see what the hubbub was all about.

Takumi Fujiwara is a … (read more) “Initial D First Stage – Collection One (1998)”

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Mobile Suit Gundam 00 (2008)

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I’m yet to work out whether this is a good thing – on one hand, there’s a long, respected convention in art reflecting life; but on the other, if life is made superficial in order to be represented through art, is it really a good thing? Watching the opening episodes of Gundam 00, it’s not like you can miss the commentary on the state of the world after all, so it’s not like the show is shying away from … (read more) “Mobile Suit Gundam 00 (2008)”

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Strait Jacket (2007)

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Strait Jacket is an anime that tells the story about demon hunters. It features demons on killing rampages, fierce battles between demons and their hunters, and one particular demon hunter with a dark past who is constantly looking for ways to atone his sins.

It is a world where people make use of magic in every field. As a price for doing so, those who use magic thoughtlessly lose their minds and have their bodies transformed into demons, either through … (read more) “Strait Jacket (2007)”

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Angel Sanctuary (2001)

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This OAV, based on a 20 volume manga by the gothy, inestimable Kouri Yuki (currently being published in English by Viz Communications), is as you might expect from anything based on a 20 volume story – totally epic and yet not nearly epic enough. Yuki’s original work is so rife with violence, angst, messy relationships existentialism and gender-bending on both sides (just for starters), that it kind of makes your average Aaron Spelling soapie look like an episode of … (read more) “Angel Sanctuary (2001)”

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Tenjho Tenge (2004)

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Tenjho Tenge is a fan-service wonderland. Or at least, that’s what I’d like to say, but the manga it’s based on actually makes the anime look like material suitable for kindergarten story time. Which kind of makes me – a fan-girl and not terribly impressed by the classic shounen fan-service cues so carelessly and frequently applied to fighting anime titles – want to respect it just a little bit. After all, it’s got to be hard to live up to … (read more) “Tenjho Tenge (2004)”

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Samurai 7 (2004)

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It would be hard to argue that any other film in Japanese film history has had more influence and impact than Akira Kurosawa’s epic 1954 film, Seven Samurai. Even if it could be argued that the director made better films in his half a century career, Seven Samurai stands as a unique and uniquely positioned landmark work, held dear in the heart of an entire country, and highly respected by not a few people outside of it, for reasons … (read more) “Samurai 7 (2004)”

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