Uzaki-Chan Just Wants To Hang Out: Anime Review

This week I’m covering an anime from last year that I omitted from my 2020 Anime Recommendations list – not because I didn’t like it, but because I wanted to spend a little more time on it – Uzaki-Chan Just Wants To Hang Out.

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A Night at the Opera: Film Review

The Marx Brothers are kind of hard to review. You’re either down for their antics or you’re not. If you’re down for their antics, the question becomes whether the connecting plot of A Night at the Opera is enough to string the bits together. I think it is, but it really depends on your taste in comedy.

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The Akudama of Akudama Drive; Clockwise from Top: Doctor, Courier, Brawler, Cutthroat, Hacker, Hoodlum. Not pictured: Ordinary Person/Swindler

Akudama Drive: Anime Review

We occasionally get new Cyberpunk anime every now and then, though usually, the protagonists of those series have some degree of… license by the establishment. The Major in Ghost in the Shell is a government agent. So are the protagonists of Cyber City Oedo 808. The Knight Sabers from Bubblegum Crisis are superhero mercenaries who contract with the government. Rare are the cyberpunk anime that have protagonists who work for hire, not only outside the law but in violation of the law. Akudama Drive is one of the series that fits that theme, and utterly nails the concept.

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Yuna, the protagonist of Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear

Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear: Anime Review

I’ve generally avoided a lot of the more OP Isekai Anime series – no wish fulfillment shows with characters that have a superpowered cheat ability getting ported into a fantasy world modeled on a MMORPG in my watched list. Oh, there are Isekai shows on there, and even ones with people who have abilities that are somewhat overpowered (Log Horizon comes to mind). However, all of those are ones that are cases where an existing power from the game’s world is applied differently. Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear is the first show with this concept that I’ve ended up watching, and it’s probably the best place to jump in on this idea.

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Iwa-kakeru: Sport Climbing Girls: Anime Review

Iwa-kakeru kind of got a bad break. This year was the year where we were supposed to get the Tokyo Summer Olympics and with it, as one of the new events, Bouldering – or Sport Climbing. So, Iwa-kakeru would have been placed to perfectly strike when the iron was hot, adapting a manga about this brand new Olympic sport, to rise off of the heat of that Olympic fever. And then COVID-19 happened and the Summer Olympics were pushed back at least one year. So, the question becomes whether Iwa-kakeru can hold up without that boost of Olympic excitement.

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Tonikawa: Over The Moon For You: Anime Review

I’ve reviewed most of the anime adaptations of Hayate: The Combat Butler, and reviewed much of the manga that’s been officially released in English to date (in spite of the official US release being several years behind the Japanese release – which has since ended). When I learned that author Kenjiro Hata’s latest manga, Tonikawa, was getting an anime adaptation, that show quickly ended up on the list of shows on my watchlist for that season, and I was not disappointed.

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A Touch of Zen: Film Review

A Touch of Zen is the third King Hu film I’ve watched so far, and the second of his films after he left Hong Kong and Shaw Brothers for Taiwan. The first, Dragon Inn, kept some of the framework of the Wuxia Western while using Taiwan’s more diverse scenery for great visual effect. A Touch of Zen, on the other hand, leans more heavily into the Wuxia side.

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The Vampire Lovers: Film Review

Hammer Films has always had some form of sexual content in their movies, generally in the form of various generic barmaids with cleaving-accentuating outfits being menaced by some form of monster (usually Dracula, but occasionally a werewolf or Frankenstein’s monster. However, due to Hammer’s frequent clashes with the BBFC, never with actual nudity. Similarly, while critical discussion of vampire fiction has discussed a degree of homoeroticism, up until the 70s, much of what you got was male actors staring intensely into someone’s eyes before feeding on them – with probably the distinct exception of Lemora: A Child’s Tale of the Supernatural. The Vampire Lovers crosses both of those lines.

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Scream and Scream Again: Film Review

Amicus Films greatest strength as a studio has been, in their films I’ve previously reviewed (like Tales from the Crypt and Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors) has been their anthology films. Their films were always fairly low budget, but the short form anthology film format allowed them to get good actors in for short narrative works. Scream and Scream Again shifts things by doing a more ambitious narrative, but one which stumbles out of the gate and is fumbled in its execution.

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Memory: Origins of Alien: Film Review

I like documentaries about the making of movies a lot. Empire of Dreams was one of my favorite parts of the Star Wars DVD set, and its lack of inclusion on the Blu-Ray release was something of a bummer. Similarly, each of the making of documentaries on the Prequel movies were great, even if the movies themselves had issues, and I’ve always loved the documentaries on the various Alien series boxed sets. So, when I learned an independent documentary was being made on the origins of Alien, I had to pick it up.

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A cropped portion of the movie poster for Body Bags featuring stills from the first and second stories, along with the frame narrative.

Body Bags: Film Review

One of the genres where horror thrives is the Anthology film, and by “thrives” I mean that pretty much the only anthology films being made these days are horror films. Often, they take the framing narrative from EC Comics and it’s like – horror stories book-ended with a narrative by a ghoulish presenter of some form or another – you know, the classic Tales From the Crypt formula. Well, when HBO launched their Tales From The Crypt anthology TV series and films, Showtime filmed a pilot for their own, to be titled Body Bags. They didn’t decide to go forward, but did take the three filmed stories and turned them into their own anthology film.

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Movie poster for The Haunted Palace depicting scenes from the film with the tagline "What was the terrifying thing in the PIT that wanted women?"

The Haunted Palace: Film Review

The Haunted Palace is, ostensibly, another of Roger Corman’s Edger Allen Poe adaptations, in this case doing a story based on one of Poe’s poems. However, it’s not that at all. Indeed, Poe’s poem barely shows up in the story in the first place. Instead, The Haunted Palace is more of an adaptation of one of the stories of H.P. Lovecraft – specifically, The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, with a screenplay by Charles Beaumont (who I reviewed a documentary about a while back).

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Uzaki-Chan Wants To Hang Out: Anime Review

I’ve talked a bunch on this blog about my having Autism, and how my Autism informs media I consume. Well, one of the things that my Autism does when it comes to shaping what I do with my personal time is it makes me something of a homebody. I generally need to get a push to go out to do some activities. It doesn’t have to be a hard push, but that push has to be there. This lead to me resonating a lot with Uzaki-Chan Wants To Hang Out, one of the slice of life rom-com anime from the Fall 2020 season.

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Super HxEros: Anime Review

I generally end up watching about one fanservice show a season, and for Summer 2020, that show for me was Super HxEros (yes, there’s fanservice in Uzaki-Chan, which I’ll be reviewing later, but that’s not the focus of the show). The show promised a pastiche of the Super Sentai franchise, with a side of risque sensibilities. Ultimately, I’d say the show started out promising, but by the end of the series, I think its thirst overwhelmed its good taste.

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No Guns Life Season 2: Anime Review

At the start of this year, I reviewed the first season of No Guns Life, an hard boiled cyberpunk detective anime that brings the more noir elements of the cyberpunk genre to the fore, while still retaining some shonen action. The first season put a lot of focus on Juzo, the protagonist, working on a variety of cases that built out the world of the setting, but not necessarily the backstory. Season 2 instead shifts the focus back to Juzo, along with some of the supporting cast and their connections to him.

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