Guaporense and Zotis Review Animation

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Okay, so Guaporense and I were discussing this. We want to make a thread where we review animation together. This means animation in a broad sense, so not just anime although obviously there will be a lot of that. I've been wanting to do something with Guap for a while, so I'm pretty excited to do this.

This is just going to be for reviews, and I'll keep track of what gets watched and the ratings in the first post.

Guaporense's Essays
Miyazaki and Children's Movies
On the Relative Popularity of Comics and Animation in Japan
The Evolution of Taste: Liking and Disliking a Medium
Animation, Live Action and Photography
American Animation fans and Japanese Culture

Guaporense's Top Animation Directors
1st - Hayao Miyazaki
2nd - Hideaki Anno
3rd - Isao Takahata
4th - Masaki Yuasa
5th - Mamoru Oshii
6th - Tsutomu Mizushima
7th - Akiyuki Shimbo
8th - Ryutaro Takamura
9th - Yutaka Izubuchi
10th - Nobuhiro Ishiguro
11th - Kunihiko Ikuhara
12h - Makoto Shinkai
13th - Junichi Satou
14th - Seiji Mizushima
15th - Koichi Ohata
16th - Hiroyuki Imaishi
17th - Mamoru Hosoda
18th - Yoshifumi Kondo
19th - Naoko Yamada
20th - Hiroshi Hamasaki

Zotis' Reviews
A Tree of Palme
Serial Experiment Lain
Blood Tea & Red String
Armitage III: Dual-Matrix
Venus Wars
Rhea Gall Force
Ocean Waves
Ping Pong the Animation
Knights of Sidonia (season 2)
Aquatine Hunger Force (season 5)
Princess Mononoke
The Twelve Kingdoms
Darkside Blues
One Punch Man

Zotis' Obscure Gems
Fight Iczer
Armor Hunter Mellowlink
Iria: Zeiram the Animation
Curse of Kazuo
A Wind Named Amnesia
The Dark Myth
Dagger of Kamui
Blood Reign: Curse of the Yoma
Bio Hunter
Wicked City
The Cockpit
Big Wars
Lensman: Secret of the Lens
Megacity 23
Goodnight Althea
Goku: Midnight Eye
Metal Skin Panic MADOX-01
Battle Royal High School
Lily C.A.T.
Grey: Digital Target
Roots Search
Hades Project Zeorymer
Roujin Z
Silent Mobius
AD Police Files
8 Man After
Psycho Diver: Soul Siren
Bounty Dog
Ninja Gaiden
Devilman: The Birth
Devilman: Demon Bird Sirene
Amon: Apocalypse of Devilman

Zotis' Comprehensive List of Anime Recommendations

1) Expelled from Paradise (2014)

Very nice sci fi animated film with mechas and stuff. Hah, there is even a plot. In the far future most of humanity lives as computer personalities as earth was turned into a wasteland due to a malfunction of nanotechnology (which lead to a self replicating nanomachines "eating up" earth's resources), as result due to depleted resources it was impossible to keep billions of people alive so their minds were downloaded into a massive computer mainframe (which is orbiting earth).

Virtual dystopia:

The film's plot is in part very similar to movies like Dances with the Wolves and Avatar. A element of a supposedly more advanced society comes in contact with supposedly less advanced locals and learns their ways and turns its back on the society which sent him/her. In this case it's an agent of that giant computer mainframe that is sent to devastated earth (with her conscience downloaded into a cloned body made with her dna) to take care of a earthling hacker who hacked into the mainframe's virtual world. It's also has western elements the supporting character is a copy of The Man with no Name from Leone's films.

The plot is a bit creative in the second half of the film,
WARNING: "spoilers" spoilers below
where it's revealed that the hacker wasn't attempting anything damaging to the virtual world, just trying to contact people to help to man the colony ship that is going to another solar system. That virtual world was ultimately created in order to store mankind's consciences in a space ship, consciences which would be downloaded into cloned bodies after the colony ship colonized the alien planet. The hacker was just the colony ship's AI trying to communicate with the orbital mainframe's inhabitants to convince them to be included into the group of colonists (as the colony ship's automatic construction was near completion at the time of the movie). The leaders of the virtual world overreacted to the breaking of their firewall and ordered the destruction of the colony ship's AI.

I watched this film because it was originally conceived and written by Urobuchi who also wrote PMMM and Psycho Pass. Overall his writing here doesnt' feel as fresh and original as in the other stuff her wrote though the short run-time of the film meant that his writing it couldn't be exploited fully if compared to a TV series.

I also found the costume design for the main character to be excessively fetishistic:

At least in Ghost in the Shell, for example, the "male gaze" wasn't as explicit as here.

I lost my respect for Urobuchi after this picture ():

The film's staff singing the movie's theme song:

The fat guy there with bleached hair is the film director, who is also famous, Seiji Mizushima, portrayed in the great TV series Shirobako:

My rating is
because, despite it's flaws, it was an extremely entertaining film and it shows the potential of fully 3D cell shaded animation (to look like hand drawn animation). Though I still prefer hand drawn, by far. Though it's cool the movements allowed by 3D computer animation:

2) When the Wind Blows (1986)

When the Wind Blows is a very nice film. It's one of the best western animations I ever watched and it's very powerful and haunting. Despite the very simple art style and minimalist animation.

I had the impression the movie was filmed in a physical location with the animation imposed over a toy house:

In the 1980's the cold war was still on and there was a very high probability that the US or Russia might start a nuclear exchange which would have possibly left much of the world devastated. This film depicts what would happen to a couple living in a country house in Britain if a nuclear bomb exploded a few (dozen?) miles away. It's not a pretty film, in fact, shocking and very sad.

My rating is

Life as a shorty shouldn't be so rough
Yeah. A good one that is, and very painful when the effects of the radiation start kicking in and the two naively discuss the safety of their adult son. Tough to stomach.

3) Big Hero 6 (2014)

I don't think there is much to say about it, it's as bland as a movie can get. Some of the computer graphics are spectacular but I they they are wasted in the rather cartoony character designs.

Well, they look good though I don't really like 3D animation because it loses it's abstract quality, looking more like plastic dolls:

The first half of the movie was considerably better than the second, where it devolved into a bland superhero film. In the first half it was a cool Back to the Future style of film, which I prefer. Then things went into the wrong direction after the first 45 minutes (which I guess is why I am slightly older than this films target audience).

Now becoming bland superhero characters:

Interestingly, this movie has much more in common with other big budget Hollywood films (besides being more children friendly than typical live action blockbusters) than with traditional Disney. Best thing in the movie was the pet robot.

Still it was a well made highly processed blockbuster product that suffers from the incredibly uncreative script (people who write that are just copying and pasting from other scrips). My rating

4) Watamote OVA (2014)

This short 30 minutes direct to video animation is a "sequel" to the Watamote TV series. However, it lacks the particularly effective elements of Watamote and hence is just a plain mediocre short movie.

It has a very simple plot regarding some school relationship based on encounters on the school roof and problems related with the fact that to get to the roof the main character had to steal/acquire the key. It's a teenager romance.

It's well made enough but not for me apparently. This is those anime that only teenagers "understand".


5) Gintama: Kanketsu-hen - Yorozuya yo Eien Nare (2013)

Pretty confusing mess of a movie. I admit though that I have only watched about 6 episodes of Gintama before watching this film and that might have been to little to fully get immersed into the franchise which consists of over 250 TV episodes and several movies already. I watched this movie because right now it's the highest rated movie in the MAL database with average rating of 9.14. Yep, The Godfather level's of rating there.

So, how good is it? Well I managed to laugh out loud in some parts, which is a great achievement for me since I am a man who very rarely laughs out loud. Though it became quite confusing by the middle as it started to throw too many characters at the same time at me, which are characters familiar to those who watched most of the TV series but I had no previous experience with many of them so that I didn't care at all for the jokes involving them.

Good thing that the other half of the jokes of the film were references to famous elements of Japanese pop culture and hence understandable to me. The movie good relatively weaker by it's final moments when it started to get really serious and I am sorry but I couldn't get myself in the same frame of mind as the movie expected from me, it has to be either serious or comedic, mixing the two to such a degree doesn't work for me.

I give a generous
for now because it was highly entertaining overall.

6) Otaku no Video (1991)

Classic comedy/mockumentary that parodies otaku culture. Divided into two parts, one animated narrative, another live action documentary. The narrative shows the descent of a man who had a job, a girlfriend and a healthy hobby, playing tennis. After he meets a few otaku and starts to get into the hobby of watching animation and reading tons of manga his life spirals out of control.

Main character get's his reading and watch list to become a full fledged otaku:

He loses his girlfriend, gets fired from his job while his otaku addictions consume his life. Later, he decides to take revenge on society and to become the otaking. or the king of the otakus. He opens up a an anime studio and makes billions selling merchandise.

King of otakus:

And brainwash humanity into otakudom:

The mockumentary part is not as funny as the animated part (for me) though one part that I found the most funny was when they interviewned an american otaku, who looked like a pothead hippie who was saying: "I regret not being born in this promised land of comics".

Another excellent part is when the main character and his otaku friends set up barracks at the sidewalk awaiting for the premier of Nausicaa in 1984! Then a guy walking with a girl walks by them and asks: "don't you guys have anything better to do than wait to watch a cartoon?", the reply: "It's not a cartoon, it's ANIMATION!".

Live action otaku:

It's a classic without a doubt,

Glad you saw and liked When the Wind Blows. The homeliness and innocence of the elderly couple brings the horror of a nuclear attack into sharper focus as we know what would really happen. The writer and illustrator Raymond Briggs has written some excellent books. If ever you have children, you have to buy Father Christmas and Father Christmas goes on Holiday, the grumpy Santa is subversively funny. There's also The deliciously disgusting Fungus the Bogeyman, and the famous The Snowman.

When The Wind Blows is just beautiful and haunting at the same time, fan would be an understatement for me. It's one of the best films ever.

Guap, the Gintama movie is strictly supposed to be watched as a continuation to the series. There is a lot of character continuity and in-jokes. Take into account that it talks about a timeskip, and therefore the comedy that is related to seeing the characters in different outfits and attitudes is all missed if you are not familiar with them. For instance with the main trio, if you don't know how Shinpachi and Kagura behave through the series then you don't get the joke about the extremely proficient grown-up versions we have in this movie who try very hard to not reveal their old personality quirks. Or for instance with the appearance of post-timeskip Tama (the robot maid), there's a joke in the series about how she got a huge amount of ridiculously dangerous gadgets for a domestic robot and this movie makes reference to this by taking it to an extreme.

Many people even saw it as an appropriate closure to the series before a new season was confirmed one year and a half later. The last quarter sequences certainly seem to exploit this feeling, when all the regulars join together and fight for some sort of major fight. There's no wonder that so many people join the story, because the movie explores the whole world of interactions the main character has established in 265 episodes. So actually character continuity becomes actively relevant here, as a key point in the storyline.

Mix of comedy and seriousness is a constant in this series, it is part of its appeal. The character interactions are quite screwed up and filled with absurdity, even when they are serious, and the stories can become really crazy and overall nonsensical from a standard point of view (for instance one of the most revered tearjerkers in the show involves a mini-arc where an extraterrestrial supervillain who wants to destroy the Earth adopts the body of a cute dog). This movie was a positive addition to the series because it captured that spirit rather perfectly -sometimes the series tends to become too serious, specially when it wants to add a sense of spectacularity- as it deals with themes of loss and self-search, while having lots of jokes and an incredibly ridiculous premise: the whole story is grounded on an anti-piracy advertisement, after all.

Overall, I'm glad you enjoyed it that much, and more than I would expect for somebody who is not a follower of Gintama, but I think that you missed a lot of key context there.

I watched some of Gintama series before watching the movie (like half a dozen episodes). But you are right that I would have certainly enjoyed it more had I watched more of the series before watching the movie.

7) Mass Effect: Paragon Lost (2012)

As a fan of the Mass Effect science fiction shooter rpg videogame series, I found this particular movie interesting. Being essentially like a Mass Effect fan made mission campaign would feel like, it's like playing the game without having to actually play it. A shooter RPG for lazy people.

And the team is deployed, they have "magical powers" in a sense since they have force fields and shoot plasma using these:

The animation was decent but certainly low budget. Mass Effect was developed by a Canadian company but they hired a Japanese animation studio in order to produce an animated adaptation, the writing was small made by a western english speaking guy though.

So it's a mix between the West and the East. Eastern animation and art mixed with western military science fiction writing. While it can be regarded as junk food type of animation it's right up my alley so I give it

Well, that was surely an interesting point of view, seeing how a movie like Be forever Yorozuya would work to somebody who has little experience on the series. You turned out to enjoy it more than I would predict; the first thing I thought of when I watched it is that it was a movie strictly for fans.

By the way, how is this thread working? Do you and Zotis review your own movies individually? Can I join ?

When The Wind Blows is just beautiful and haunting at the same time, fan would be an understatement for me. It's one of the best animated films ever.
It's a really powerful movie indeed.

I really like Big Hero Six, it seems to be garnering a polarizing response on here.
Even though I am a big fan of animation I particularly dislike the American genre of mainstream children's animated movies though, where the movies are made for small children and everything is simplified/dumbed down (over-explained, too ludicrous at some points), pacing is too fast which doesn't allow for atmospheric buildup (because small children supposedly have ADD) and made "child safe": nobody dies in the movie, not even the pet robot or the scientists daughter, etc. There is also the fact that the plot is extremely cliche and the animation doesn't take advantage of the vast technical possibilities of CGI, opting for a more conservative simple cartoon look.

I think that's essentially a problem with mainstream Western expectations regarding animation, they expect it to be only dumbed down small children's entertainment and so if a movie does everything "right" inside the kiddie box, it wins the Oscar. So expect lower ratings from me for these types of movies compared to a fan of the genre in general, not just this single film, it's a general problem not a particular one.

Well, that was surely an interesting point of view, seeing how a movie like Be forever Yorozuya would work to somebody who has little experience on the series. You turned out to enjoy it more than I would predict; the first thing I thought of when I watched it is that it was a movie strictly for fans.
Yep I could notice that but you can deduce what's expected from the characters in such a movie.

By the way, how is this thread working? Do you and Zotis review your own movies individually? Can I join ?
Yep individually. Of course, you can ask Yoda to change the name to "Guaporense, Jal90 and Zotis review animation".

Hey, I don't mind if you join us Jal90. I was really busy the last few days. I was planning to watch at least one animation, but couldn't get to it despite cutting my sleep short to 2-4 hours a night for three nights in a row. Anyway, I have my first animation lined up for tonight, and I'll post the review as soon as I can.

8) Hajime no Ippo Mashiba vs Kimura (2003)

And again I am watching an OVA that is a follow up from a series, Hagime no Hippo, which I haven't watched (even though I was planning on watching). But it's also a self contained narrative since it uses supporting characters of the series as main characters, so it's supposedly works as a standalone movie.

It's not as heavily based on the TV series as that Gintama movie in the sense that everything that happens here is contained inside the narrative of the film itself. This time it's a boxing series and this movie depicts a match between Kimura and Japan's boxing champion, Mashiba, using his scythe arm style.

It's a great 61 minutes, kinda like a rocky movie but with more over the top action and Japanese style of fight (i.e. the impression is that the fights are going beyond the fighters physical resistance several times over, I got the impression that by the end of the fight both would be dead and buried).

The animation quality is also pretty good, not as good as a Ghibli film but the match itself has some pretty cool animation for it, very low cost but creative in it's use of manga visual techniques to depict dynamic movements.

My rating is

9) Starship Troopers: Invasion (2012)

Like Mass Effect: Paragon Lost, Starship Troopers Invasion is a Japanese film made with a western screenplay and voice cast, this time a continuation of the Starship Troppers' universe.

The original film is a classic of B-movies, this film feels more like a 90 minute long videogame cinematic than a movie, which has good and bad elements. The good is that it doesn't have anything really "bad" because nothing feels quite real, lots of shiny eye candy graphics that looks like from a videogame running a graphics card from 2019, lots of explosions.

Characters are completely boring and uninspired but I expected that and the whole film feels more like a single continuous action sequence rather a film with action sequences. It was fun while it lasted and became more entertaining towards the ending as well.

Lot's of explosions make it have a rating of