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Bleach 4: Hell Verse (2010)

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The Original Video Animation, or OVA (or, alternatively, OAV depending on your tomayto-tomahto standpoint) has gone the way of the Dodo. It’s dead. Defunct. It has rejected cumbersome technologies and eliminated redundant markets and evolved into the Movie; as in Naruto the Movie, or One Piece the Movie, or for the purposes of this review, Bleach the MovieHell Verse (also known as Hell Chapter), to be exact.

It used to be that your typical … (read more)

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Bleach the Movie: Memories of Nobody (2006)

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BLEACH has followed the well-travelled path that has been taken by many other anime franchises. It started off as a manga, then became an anime series, and with increasing popularity, has been made into movies. It is well known for its interesting characters, spectacular action and supernatural themes. So how does Memories of Nobody, the first movie based on characters from BLEACH, compare with the successful manga and anime series? Here is what I think.

The Soul … (read more)

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Hellsing Ultimate (2006)

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Alright, look. I seriously give up. I relinquish my official anime fan card. It’s taken me two volumes to work out exactly what it is about Hellsing Ultimate that makes it, well, ultimate. I kept waiting for it to be… different, more, but I’m starting to suspect I might be waiting a very, very long time, because the only thing that seems to be ultimate is the ‘ultimate violence’ maybe — there’s a hell of a lot of blood and … (read more)

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Millennium Actress (2001)

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Satoshi Kon once described himself as, rather than an animator, a filmmaker who just happened to work in an animation, and if anything at all could be considered hard evidence towards this statement, it’s the director’s 2001 feature film, Millennium Actress. An ode to the history of cinema as much as it is to memory, it’s a finely and deeply crafted work, toying effortlessly with metafictional devices like the division between reality and fiction and the linear concept of … (read more)

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RahXephon (2001)

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Any similarities RahXephon has to another character-driven, mecha-orientated anime are, I’m relieved to say, purely cursory. Of course, commonalities in both theme and execution are there if you look for them, but as I might have argued in other reviews, one of the greatest strengths present in genre is not the likenesses between series, but the key differences. In RahXephon, Ayato Kamina might, like Shinji Ikari, be victim to a mysterious and impersonal system, might find himself piloting what … (read more)

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Scrapped Princess (2004)

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Scrapped Princess has all the hallmarks of a fairly standard fantasy adventure with a drizzle of comedy. There’s the perky blonde princess with the prerequisite obliviousness to danger, the somewhat dour older brother and the gormless knight-wannabee hanger on.

What sets Scrapped Princess way above the usual action comedy fare is its silences, a theme established early in episode 1. When the siblings are attacked by bandits, there is an extended cut of Pacifica watching from the safety of the … (read more)

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She, The Ultimate Weapon (2002)

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Based on the manga, Saikano by Shin Takahashi, She, the Ultimate Weapon’s design is faithful to its comic origins. Takahashi’s distinct facial designs are here. Present are his noses that barely register as nasal speed bumps as are the series of scratchy red lines for cheeks that seem to leave the teenagers in a permanent state of embarrassment. The backgrounds have a washed out, pastel palette that reflects an oppressive Indian summer that shows no signs of yielding to autumn.… (read more)

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Gad Guard (2003)

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First off, don’t be misled by the kiddie visuals of Gad Gard’s box art. It is actually quite sophisticated with some overt sexuality from the female players.

Gad Gard stitches together a retro patchwork of influences from sixties mod chic: short, pleated mini-shirts, sweater vests, mopeds, a jazzy saxophone in the title sequence straight out of Cowboy Bebop, to nineteenth century Dickensian street urchins armed with jet-powered skateboards and Faginesque villians. Patch this all into a Euro steam-punk future … (read more)

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