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Baccano! (2007)

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Sometimes you have to wonder if anime is getting just a little too clever for its own good. After all, its basic function is to entertain, and I’ll be the first to argue that being entertained should not necessarily preclude having to think. But Baccano!, based on an award-winning novella by Ryohgo Narita, is entertainment that not only demands thought, but seems to do almost everything in its power to make that as challenging an undertaking as possible.… (read more)

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Hell Girl (2005)

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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)

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