Den-noh Coil: Anime Review

Sometimes you stumble across an anime that makes you realize that if more people had watched it the genre it’s a part of could have become tremendously different. Den-noh Coil is one of those anime series. If this show had gotten a better release when it came out, if it had gotten better exposure, this could have been a show that redefined the perception of the cyberpunk genre the same way that Bubblegum Crisis, Ghost in the Shell, and Akira did. Sadly, because of the issues with its original release, it hasn’t really hit an option for mainstream visibility until now. Hopefully the authors who need to see it will get a chance to, and will be equally inspired.

Continue reading “Den-noh Coil: Anime Review”

Eternals: Film Review

When various titles were being announced for Phase 4 of the MCU, one of the titles announced was Eternals, based on one of Jack Kirby’s most gonzo concepts that he contributed to Marvel comics (outside of maybe his expanded comic series based on 2001: A Space Odyssey, which lead to the introduction of Machine Man). With the announcement of Chloe Zhao as the director, the film felt a lot like this was going to be the much more odd and out-there film in the MCU, in ways that were different from how Thor: Ragnarok was. And, well, yeah, it is.

Continue reading “Eternals: Film Review”

Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Die Neue These – Season 1: Anime Review

A while back I reviewed the previous 100+ episode Legend of the Galactic Heroes anime (after reviewing the novels in turn). After a short break, I’ve figured now is as good a time as any to check out the Season 1 of the new series – appropriately subtitled “Die Neue These” or “A New Thesis” and see how this new adaptation of the show fared in comparison to the original series.

Continue reading “Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Die Neue These – Season 1: Anime Review”

Ultraman Season 2: Anime Review

Several years after the first season of the Ultraman anime came out, we’ve finally gotten our second season of the show – this time only half the length of the first season, with a second season the same length coming out next year (giving a whole new meaning to the concept of the “Split Cour”). The question becomes “how well does a shorter, tighter narrative handle the series.

Continue reading “Ultraman Season 2: Anime Review”

Shikimori’s Not Just A Cutie: Quick Thoughts

Moving on to the next of the anime series of the Spring Season that I’ve been watching – as of this writing I’m about 4 episodes into Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie – one of the new rom-com anime of the Spring 2022 Season that caught my interest. I’m about 4 episodes in so far, which is far enough to give me a pretty good feel of the show’s dynamics.

Continue reading “Shikimori’s Not Just A Cutie: Quick Thoughts”

Spring 2022 Anime: Season 2-s

Outside of the shows that carried over from the Winter Season (like Requiem of the Rose King), there were a couple earlier series that I reviewed that are getting second seasons, that I feel like giving some quick thoughts on – partly to cover for time on the blog (because, again, work wrapping up) and partly because honestly, I haven’t done much with the “As They Air” thing for ongoing series before and this might be worth doing for the long term. So, here are the two Season 2-s of anime I watched from earlier seasons that I’m checking out in the spring.

Continue reading “Spring 2022 Anime: Season 2-s”

A Wrinkle In Time: Film Review

Back when I was in grade school, I read Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle In Time for the first time. I found myself drawn not only to the character of Meg – the main viewpoint character of the novel – but also, as an autistic kid, I latched onto the character of Charles Wallace as well. That and the visuals the book evoked in my imagination made me hungry for an adaptation. Indeed, one of the first stage plays I went to in a theater (and in downtown Portland no less – on a field trip) was an adaptation of the book. While I enjoyed the play, its minimalist presentation had a mixed response from me.

When I learned Ava DuVernay was doing an adaptation of the book, I very much wanted to see it in theaters – and then life happened, in ways that ultimately meant I missed its fairly short theatrical run. However, the trailers looked promising, and I did want to see it at home – and they also made me think that DuVernay would be great for the New Gods movie she was slated to direct – before that was canceled. Well, now after a significant delay, I have finally watched the movie on streaming, and have my thoughts.

Continue reading “A Wrinkle In Time: Film Review”

Spy X Family: Quick Thoughts

Unfortunately, with my current work wrapping up, this has played hell with keeping things caught up on my daily blog posts – so I’m having to grab some ideas more or less off of the cuff. In this case – with my regular anime viewing, I’ve gotten about 3 episodes into one of this new season’s most popular shows – Spy X Family, and I figure it’s worth breaking from my usual tendencies to give my thoughts on the first 3 episodes of the show.

Continue reading “Spy X Family: Quick Thoughts”

No Time To Die: Film Review

When it was determined that, no really, No Time To Die was going to be Daniel Craig’s last outing as James Bond, we then had the question of just how his Bond was going to go out. Most of the previous Bonds to date ended at the status quo at the end of their last outing – each film having an ending like all the rest of the bond movies. However, Craig’s bond films, however, have generally never quite been like any of the other Bonds. Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace were films setting up the start of Bond’s career, and Skyfall and Spectre were very much about changing up the status quo (changing of the guard for M and the re-introduction of SPECTRE, respectively). So, there was a real question here of whether Craig’s departure would be about continuing the plot thread with a new actor picking up the baton from the last, or doing a mostly fresh-start of the continuity, as was done with Casino Royale.

Continue reading “No Time To Die: Film Review”

My Dress-Up Darling: Anime Review

I’m a sucker for an anime that has an element of instruction and education to its premise, and as someone who also appreciates cosplay, but who does not cosplay himself, I’m interested in the craft behind it. So going into the Winter 2022 season, I’d already suspected that My Dress-Up Darling would be my jam on that front. What I wasn’t expecting was to get a tremendously sweet love story along the way.

Continue reading “My Dress-Up Darling: Anime Review”

Boogiepop Phantom: Anime Review

Boogiepop Phantom was an anime that came out in 2000 that very much served as a counterpoint to Serial Experiments Lain in the eyes of American anime fans. Both works are dark psychological suspense works containing conspiracies and supernatural elements. Both works are heavy on suspense, and depict their high school-aged protagonists dealing with a heavy weight of intense personal dread, psychological pressure, and often with that trauma based on the burdens of society and how they play on their peers.

Continue reading “Boogiepop Phantom: Anime Review”

Rasputin: The Mad Monk: Film Review

While Sir Christopher Lee was generally closely associated with Hammer films, his career there was often tied with three main kinds of roles. There was his stint as Frankenstein’s Monster and the Mummy, where in The Mummy’s case you couldn’t tell it was him, and in case of the Monster, the character was not as well spoken as his literary counterpart. There were a variety of genteel, semi-posh aristocrats who were calm and reserved, even if they had their own forms of menace (and I’m including Fu Manchu in this). And then there was Dracula – arguably his most famous role, full of animal magnetism, elegance, and menace, but quite frequently very little dialog to sink Lee’s teeth into (pun intended). Rasputin: The Mad Monk gave Lee a character with all the magnetism of Dracula, but with an incredibly solid script to work with.

Continue reading “Rasputin: The Mad Monk: Film Review”

Lupin The Third Part 6: Anime Review

Lupin The Third: Part 6 is, unfortunately, a mess. Unlike previous Lupin series, this one neither has a serialized focus (like with Woman Called Fujiko Mine) or a primary episodic focus (like Parts 1 through 3). Instead, the series tries to be a hybrid, sort of like Part 4, but instead of the stand-alone episodes fitting in the overall continuity, they go off on their own directions in ways that are very hit-or-miss. This is all aggravated by splitting the show into two different serialized plots – one per cour.

Continue reading “Lupin The Third Part 6: Anime Review”

Bakemonogatari: Anime Review

Bakemonogatari is my first introduction to Nisioisin and to Shaft as an anime studio. I had tried to watch the show in fansubs when it first came out, as it hadn’t been licensed, and I remember being struck by the visuals of the series and the level of visual style – I could tell that the show was doing something – but I couldn’t tell yet, and I ultimately decided that I’d get around to it once the show had finished. And then I forgot about it entirely until this past year, when I decided it was time to finally get around to watching the damn thing – and I’m glad I finally have.

Continue reading “Bakemonogatari: Anime Review”

Santo & The Treasure of Dracula: Film Review

I have a soft spot for the El Santo movies. They are corny and campy, but universally sincere. No one in the films has any doubt that El Santo has the Doc Savage skill set he demonstrates over the series. There is no question that a professional wrestler can be a detective, an occultist, and a science hero. That said, the films are not without their flaws, and sadly Santo & the Treasure of Dracula is no exception.

Continue reading “Santo & The Treasure of Dracula: Film Review”

Guns of Navarone: Film Review

It’s interesting looking at Guns of Navarone in the context of the World War 2 genre of films. It’s contemporaneous with movies like The Longest Day, which I mentioned in my review of that movie that it’s something of a last hurrah of old Hollywood. Guns of Navarone feels like a middle ground. On the one hand, most of the film’s cast fit in that general age range (and also has Gregory Peck). On the other hand, it’s a little more cynical than that film – but it is not as cynical as a Bridge Too Far was (and considering the historical context, than this film could be). However, it still makes for a very solid film.

Continue reading “Guns of Navarone: Film Review”

Tekkonkinkreet: Anime Review

Tekkonkinkreet is an anime that I’ve been meaning to watch for years, but just never gotten around to it. It’s a film from Studio 4*C and fits a sort of middle ground between their more art-for-art’s sake films like the Genius Party anthologies and Mind Game, and the more clear-cut adaptations like their Berserk trilogy. It’s also an outlier in that it’s an anime film that is directed by an American (and not a Japanese American either) who didn’t come up through the industry.

Continue reading “Tekkonkinkreet: Anime Review”

The Princess Bride: Film Review

When re-watching a beloved childhood film as an adult, there is a worry that the film won’t stand up. That characters you loved will actually be grating, a story you thought was deep was paper-thin, dialog you thought was clever was trite. What you saw as a lake turns out with time to have only been a puddle. I will say upfront, before getting into the meat of the review, The Princess Bride does not have this problem.

Continue reading “The Princess Bride: Film Review”

Blade Runner: Black Lotus – Anime Review

Blade Runner, as a franchise, has had a lasting impact on anime, particularly in the Cyberpunk genre. In the lead-up to Blade Runner 2049, an OVA – Black Out – was released to expand the setting. As a further part of those efforts after 2049’s release, Adult Swim & Crunchyroll collaborated with Shinji Aramaki & Kenji Kamiyama to put out a CGF animated series set between the Black Out OVA and 2049 – Blade Runner: Black Lotus. Crunchyroll & Adult Swim’s last collaboration – Fena: Pirate Princess, was somewhat mixed, and unfortunately, this series, Blade Runner: Black Lotus, is much the same.

Continue reading “Blade Runner: Black Lotus – Anime Review”