Blog Archives

Library Wars (2013)

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In a refreshing change of pace (at least lately, it seems) Shunsuke Sato’s (Princess Blade, Gantz 1 & 2) Library Wars looks to something other than terrorism for its narrative inspiration. Based on a relatively recent light novel series by Hiro Arakawa (there’s also a manga adaptation and an anime series produced by I.G.), Library Wars instead addresses the topic of reading censorship.

Censorship is neither an invented issue nor a new one, particularly in Japan. Only … (read more)

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From Up on Poppy Hill (2011)

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While the latest films of relatively young directors like Mamoru Hosoda and Makoto Shinkai feature the supernatural in all its intimate and archetypal forms, Studio Ghibli, in an almost been-there-done-that gesture has instead turned its gaze elsewhere, this time into the imperfect past as opposed to the fantastical present. Based on a girls’ manga illustrated by Chizuru Takahashi and written by Tetsurou Sayama and serialised in 1980, From Up on Poppy Hill is an unabashedly old-fashioned feel-good straight out of … (read more)

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Hold Up Down (2006)

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One of the most popular boy bands in Japan working with Sabu, one of the hottest directors: what could go wrong?

Thankfully, not much, as we see. Sabu’s talent makes a meal of what could have been a simple bank-heist-gone-wrong story, and the six members of V6 apply themselves with much energy and verve to characters that don’t tax their skills unduly. There’s car chases, almost compulsory in a Sabu film. There’s sudden unexpected lurve, that pops up at the … (read more)

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