Blog Archives

All-Round Appraiser Q: The Eyes of Mona Lisa (2014)

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One of the joys of the Japanese Film Festival every year for me is discovering the unexpected gem. Film festivals are of course great for those films that you’ve heard about and been dying to see that will likely never make it to your local cinema, but I always make a point of picking a few random films as well — films that I’ve heard nothing about; often films that I don’t even bother to read the synopsis for. Without … (read more)

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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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Princess Blade (2001)

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This live action manga is enjoyable in a low key way: no flashy sets, a fairly thin plot, but if sword fights are what you’re looking for, then look no further. The lead actress (Shaku Yumiko) apparently did many of her own stunts, and comes off surprisingly well for one who looks so soft and young. Life in her neck of the woods is clearly a lot more difficult than most of the tribulations we have to endure.

I particularly … (read more)

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