Blog Archives

Ponyo (2009)

(from , dir: )

It may be heresy to say, but quite frankly, Studio Ghibli’s last two outings have been major cause for concern. Howl’s Moving Castle and Tales of Earthsea (the latter directed by Miyazaki’s son Goro) were disappointments, but of more concern was that both suffered from similar issues. To say any Ghibli film suffers from issues let alone repeat them is like suggesting that Shakespeare should work on his characterization. With themes close to Miyazaki’s heart, it is easy to see … (read more)

Comments Off on Ponyo (2009)

Gurren Lagann (2009)

(from , dir: )

Kudos to Madman for posting episodes of Gurren Lagann as part of their free streaming service: Screening Room. While miserly companies would have hosted lesser titles, with prime cuts like fan favourite, Full Metal Alchemist and top shelf work like Gurren Lagann from Studio Gainax, Madman is giving fans a real gourmet selection of titles to taste.

Studio Gainax is best known for Neon Genesis Evangelion and it sure must be one hell of a place to work. Up in … (read more)

Comments Off on Gurren Lagann (2009)

5 Centimetres per Second (2009)

(from , dir: )

Yep, trying to write a synopsis for a new Makoto Shinkai anime is a thankless task. It comes off sounding like a TAFE writing course exercise veering off into high school therapy territory. But in the hands of Makoto Shinkai, a master of creating emotional landscapes, the result is entirely the opposite. There aren’t too many creators like Makoto Shinkai. He is a true iconoclast in the world of anime. He writes, storyboards and directs his projects. The content of … (read more)

Comments Off on 5 Centimetres per Second (2009)

Darker Than Black (2007)

(from , dir: )

I know I go on a bit, but the problem with a lot of anime is how slow they are to show their hand. It’s as if there is some misplaced prevailing wisdom that starting with lazy stereotypes, predictable set-up and a culminating in freak-of-the-week fight sequence of all speed lines and no substance will lull the viewer into a sense of pattern-recognition comfort. Once subdued, five or six episodes in, all manner of aces, kings and queens start appearing … (read more)

Comments Off on Darker Than Black (2007)

Claymore (2007)

(from , dir: )

Have you ever wondered how reviewing works? When a series has shapeshifting demons (Yoma), a Euro medieval setting and a secret society of warrior women from the Joan of Arc finishing school for badass demon slayers with an armour dress code that suggests a feudal Britney Spears – sight unseen that is a (6). When said series is produced by Madhouse, creators of the original and genre-defining demon-slaying fest Ninja Scroll, you’re looking at least a (7) up to (9). … (read more)

Comments Off on Claymore (2007)

Hell Girl (2005)

(from , dir: )

Japan has always understood the value of its folklore. Its cultural subconscious has provided a rich vein that writers continually return to constantly finding new ways to explore, reinterpret and repackage. In the late nineties appeared the Ring, films attaching modern technology to its urban legends creating the J-horror genre. It’s as if Japanese storytellers inherently understood that folk tales required a modernisation pass. Cautionary tales about the dangers of wearing red and visiting grandma in the forest lacked contemporary … (read more)

Comments Off on Hell Girl (2005)

Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad (2004)

(from , dir: )

Beck begins the compelling story of a boy who discovers who he is through music. A teenage boy meets an amazing guitar player and together they form the band Beck. Follow the band’s ever-challenging road to fame, as told through the eyes of the impressionable boy.

As much as I am prepared to dive off the nearest stage in appreciation of Madman releasing the single finest anime of the year, that above synopsis must have been written by a … (read more)

Comments Off on Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad (2004)

Tales from Earthsea (2006)

(from , dir: )

Tales from Earthsea is the latest offering from Studio Ghibli and first from Goro Miyazaki. Yep, that’s right. That surname makes him son to pop Hayao and heir apparent to the visionary and iconoclastic Studio Ghibli.

Light shining through the celluloid of a new Ghibli film is usually grounds for anticipation to pass way beyond safe operating levels with the needle pushing dangerously into the red. Breath is so baited that oxygen deprivation becomes a real risk. It’s strange then … (read more)

Comments Off on Tales from Earthsea (2006)