Just over a week ago, on a Sunday, my wife and I binged the entire season of this series in one day. It’s based on a mystery novel by Hiroshi Mori, one of Japan’s celebrated mystery authors, and it’s one of my wife’s favorites novels, and so when we found out that there was an anime adaptation (dating to a couple of years ago), we decided to check it out, and were hooked on watching the whole thing. It’s a great mystery, and the solution was quite interesting, and one I didn’t manage to guess. Highly recommended if you’re into mystery.
I mentioned last year really wanting to see the movie Hirune Hime (seems that the official English title is now Ancien and the Magic Tablet), and here’s a review of the film over at Time Out Tokyo. Considering that it’s directed by Kenji Kamiyama, who was behind Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex and Eden of the East, two series I quite like, I’m definitely in for this.
I already wrote about checking out the Onihei series, but after watching the first two episodes, I’d fallen behind — I wasn’t watching a lot of anime in general these past two months, probably because of my 1985 movie marathon — and over the past few days I’ve been catching up on the season, and have really fallen in love with the series. I’m not usually that into straight up jidaigeki stuff, but this show has really gotten my attention, and I’ve been enjoying each self-contained episode. This winter anime season has been pretty light for me, and this is the only show that I’ve been engaging with (I’m still debating whether I want to watch more of ACCA, beyond the first few episodes I already watched).
I finally watched Your Name (Kimi no Na wa), the biggest film in Japan last year, and I loved it. When the movie came out and was breaking box office records, I started looking into its director, Makoto Shinkai, and really enjoyed everything I watched. Just like the rest of his work, this movie is a visual treat, with the amazing colorscapes you tend to see in all of his movies, and environments that feel so familiar if you’ve spent time in Japan. It’s a great story too, and more complex than I was expecting — and I’m glad I never got spoiled on most of it before watching it.
I’ll start by saying what I didn’t like about this movie, and that’s the distracting breast animations on the two main female characters. But other than that, I had a blast watching this. The animation is beyond slick, and it makes all of the action incredibly stylish to watch. Definitely some of the best CG animation I’ve seen. I also like that the entire movie feels so self-contained, that it all takes place on one of the Gantz “missions.” But I think my favorite thing about the movie are all of the alien designs — inspired by traditional Japanese yokai, they’re really a joy to watch on the screen. I’m not that familiar with the entire Gantz storyline — I’ve seen the live-action movies, which were fine — and this is making me want to get back to reading the manga (I’ve only read the first couple of volumes).
I ended up watching a bunch of anime yesterday, starting with the “Mobile Police Patlabor Reboot” short, which I hope is going to lead into a new series of some sort. It’s only a few minutes long (about 5-6 minutes), but acts as a really great segment to re-introduce the concept of the series, and to show off some awesome mech action inside a city environment. And let me just remind you of this great Patlabor zine, if you want to read more about the series.
Looking at the lineup for the Spring 2017 season of anime, I gotta say there’s nothing much that seems to be for me — even less than the winding down Winter 2017 season (the only series that really grabbed me this season was Onihei).
Of all the regular series debuting, the only ones I’m interested in watching are GranBlue Fantasy The Animation, which I though was starting during the Winter season, but they just released the first 2 episodes, with the series proper starting next month, and Atom: The Beginning, a prequel series to Astroboy. I am very happy to see that on the OVA front we’re getting a sequel to the Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt — the first series was really fantastic, with super slick animation, and a jazz-heavy soundtrack. On the movie front, there’s of course Masaaki Yuasa’s Yoru wa Mijikashi Arukeyo Otome and Yoake Tsugeru Lu no Uta, as well as the Blame movie, and maybe also Biohazard: Vendetta.
I know next to nothing about JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure — despite it celebrating a 30th anniversary this year, I’ve never been particularly interested in checking out the series, although I have a few friends who seem to enjoy it quite a bit. One of these friends is Daniel Feit, who has written a really fun piece for Anime Now about a night on the town in Osaka, checking out three JoJo-themed bars. Even if I’m not a fan of JoJo‘s adventures, Daniel’s guide has made me want to check out these spots if ever I’m in Osaka again.
“Miyazaki – An Art Show Tribute” was an exhibition held at San Francisco’s Spoke Art gallery this past month, and luckily we can browse through all of the pieces (and even buy them) on the gallery’s site. Pictured, Justin Hillgrove’s “Miyazaki Totems.” Found via Booooooom.
It’s not the first time he “retires,” and who knows if we’ll see the same thing happen again, but it was officially confirmed by Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki that Hayao Miyazaki is working on a new feature film for the studio. To be honest, I’m much more interested in hearing about other future plans for Ghibli, as I would certainly love to see other creators continue to make films for the studio.