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Muramasa (1987)

Directed by Osamu Tezuka


This is a short film running 9 minutes. The artwork was very good, but the animation quality was poor. There was virtually no motion except for a few shots where only small things moved a little, like a person's hand shaking back and forth, or a bird flying by. There was no dialogue, only eerie music. A samurai finds a sword, and the sword slowly makes him go insane. It was very interesting for an old short film. The subtle message was quite potent. This text was the intro:

"A man with arms which can kill people like puppets is not aware that he himself has already become a puppet."



"Money won is twice as sweet as money earned."



Digibro's videos

I have watched a fair amount of videos by Digibro, I find his opinion on many subjects very agreeable.

For example,



About an overlooked genre in the west. I think I will watch his K-On!! Review at some point.

And his video about the medium in general is pretty cool:




I liked the way Digibro talked and analyzed. Those videos were surprisingly easy to watch and enjoyable. I don't agree with everything he says, but most of it was pretty solid. I subscribed to his channel.



One thing he apparently is not aware is the fact that most of these series are manga adaptations and what he calls anime are TV manga adaptations, hence, the innovations he attributes to animation were done first in manga. Also, since there are lots of live action manga adaptations many of these innovations he attributes to anime are also present in live action Japanese TV shows.



Gasaraki (1999)


After watching six episodes of Gasaraki I stopped watching it. The pacing is slow to the point of being boring because it lacks the grace of skilled directing and writing. The drawing and animation of vehicles is probably it's strongest point, but by contrast most of the drawing style and animation quality are quite poor. Some characters are drawn better than others, and the occasional unconventional angles are interesting when they show up, but the bulk of it has this distasteful "filler" characteristic that's a bit of an eye sore. The characters' mouths move as if the original language isn't even Japanese. The trope of characters' being surprised constantly by the slightest things is exceptionally annoying. In episode seven, by the five minute mark the main character had been surprised a dozen times. When other characters move, he's shocked. When they speak he's startled. When someone else enters the room he's caught off guard. It's excruciating. There are a lot of typical money saving aspects to the animation where it's just obvious that they didn't go all out and were suffering from budget constraints. Lots of stills and reused scenes as "flashbacks." The same flashback was used repeatedly, two or three times an episode for three or four episodes. I finally couldn't take it any more. I would not recommend this anime.






One Punch Man (2015)

Directed by Shingo Natsumi
Written by Tomohiro Suzuki


The origin of One Punch Man was a web comic by an anonymous author. It was very popular and spawned a manga illustrated by Yusuke Murata. That was also very popular, and hence they decided to make an anime. I'm told the manga is much better than the series. The series is quite entertaining and decently animated, but there are plenty of filler moments where the animation quality is lackluster. The plot reuses the same gimmicks continually. Enemies ramble about how powerful they are, and then he cuts them off by killing them in a single punch. I found it quite amusing for the first couple of episodes, but the novelty wore off pretty quickly. Another repetitive gimmick is the way that he doesn't get credit, is despised by the general public, and is ranked low on the hero rating system despite being the most powerful being in the universe. All kinds of mid level heroes mock him and boast about being stronger than him, but then after they are easily defeated he in turn easily defeats the monster that defeated them. It happens every single episode, and it often happens several times within each episode. It was funny at first, but then it was just rehashed to the point of being a little boring and predictable. I did somewhat enjoy the series, and I did want to see what happened next as the plot built up, but I did find myself getting a little bored by how repetitive it was. Initially it was really captivating because it's quite different from anything else out there, but the main problem is that there is not enough depth overall.




77 - Non Non Biyori (2013)



Another example of the slice of life genre of cute girls doing cute things. There is no plot and nothing of consequence as well as nothing related to the development of the charcters psychological "problems". Like Seinfeld it's about nothing but this time I wasn't very entertained by its relatively subtle comedy.

Unlike Is the Order a Rabbit?, Non Non Biyori is more realistic and less "cute". The characters behave more like children as opposed to completely unrealistic constructs aimed at its adult male audience. However, because of that I was mostly bored by it. As well as one of the issues I have with film as opposed to Manga is that it heavily taxes the viewer's attention, in this case the attention didn't pay off most of the time for me, it was just too boring to see jokes about these girls from rural Japan not understanding that people in Tokyo don't own a mountain each.

Also the music, the direction and the animation were pretty bland and not interesting.



78) Girls und Panzer: Das Film (2015)



Now, this is entertainment. Real entertainment, not pseudo entertainment like a bland generic blockbuster movie Hollywood that I watched recently (Man of Steel). Indeed, this movie is worth watching just for the tank warfare. Although it's not just because it's 80 minutes of tank-on-tank!! We see a lot of tanks in the movie, almost every model that fought the second world war and even some early post war tanks are featured in the film, like the Centurion and the Pershing tanks.

The movie does not consist of only tank battles, it also features some drama. Although the plot is a bit forced and cliche, it does not hold the movie back, instead because its so well executed and intelligent in subtle ways I found it quite amusing. The movie also features a lot of cuteness mixed in specially in the middle parts, including some parts that are amusing to watch because the cuteness is so, so forced it becomes hilarious.

The art and animation is also pretty conventional but excellently made. Mizushima is a master of conventional animation and his work is not experimental or very creative but it's passionate and expertly executed, this film is a good example of modern Japanese culture and extremely cool and entertaining stuff.

Its critical reception was excellent in Japan, winning prizes even among the association of film critics (http://jmcao.org/index.html), something rare for a piece of unconventional otaku animation.



Essay - Elitism and Stupidity in Film Criticism



From observing, mostly Anglophone, film's critics opinions regarding movies I came to develop some impressions of the perception of film criticism regarding movies that reflect a profound level of stupidity and elitism which is rooted in the inferiority complex fans of films have in regard to more developed art forms like music and literature. And also reflecting the overall drive of Western art over the past few generations toward novelty and the sacrifice of any aesthetic standards.

What I mean by that is that movie's critics opinions are extremely biased by a sense of elitism that is a manifestation of an inferiority complex and also influenced by trends in painting over the past few generations. It explains why film critics tend to praise movies like Malick's or Kiarostami's movies while they heavily criticize popular movies.

A film critic wants to feel like his life's dedication to movies makes his/her taste superior to the "casual" film watcher. To "prove" to others of his/her superiority of taste the film critic usually criticizes movies that the public likes (or reviews under very high standards popular blockbuster movies) while praises the types of movies that the public usually dislikes or underestimates. For example, personal movies are favored by film critic's opinions while epic movies, which tend to drawn in larger audiences, are regarded as inherently inferior: that's a reaction of the popular audience's perceptions.

This explains why among Western film critics (or even animators), Miyazaki's personal movies like Totoro and Spirited Away are more well regarded than epic movies like Nausicaa and Princess Mononoke (at least they always place higher in polls like Sign and Sound 2012). In Japan these perceptions do not exist, usually in polls (involving film critics, animation critics, animation fans and film fans) the ranking is 1st - Nausicaa, 2nd - Totoro, 3rd - Mononoke, 4th - Spirited Away. This bias against epic films is tremendously stupid and reflects a profound inferiority complex that overwhelms objective critical judgment.

Interestingly, movies that are mainstream in different times or cultures tend to become more well reviewed than movies that are mainstream in our current environment. For example, Hitchcock's movies were not regarded as art when they were made instead were regarded as popular entertainment just like Dragonball is today, after he left the popular spotlight, his movies acquired the status of great art of timeless significance. Same applies to Akira Kurosawa whose movies were popular entertainment in 1950's Japan but in Western countries today are "arthouse" masterpieces.

Another example is that while a Japanese director Mizoguchi whose most famous films are from the 1950's, which are simple films, are described as "pure and intense", while a modern mainstream guy like James Cameron, whose films, which are also simple, pure and intense, is called a simpleton's director. Maybe in 50 years, The Terminator will show up in the top 50 of a Chinese poll (which then will probably be the dominant cultural power in the world) like Ugetsu shows up in critics polls today.

This is more of a Western film critic thing as well. The opinions of critics from other cultural spheres and other mediums appears to be less biased against current mainstream stuff. For example, in Japan its common to see popular and simple mainstream manga rated very highly in polls involving professionals in the industry or critics. And in Iran, the highest rated films are not as philosophically pretentious as Kiarostami's, whose films do not register in the country's top movies lists.

Why directors like Kiarostami and Malick are so praised by film critics? Well, I believe that the most important factor in explaining why critics love them is to note that a randomly picked normal person will almost certainly hate and feel it's like torture to watch a movie from these guys. Therefore, critics "love" it because it shows how superior their taste is from "casual" film watchers. I know that feeling of "superiority" because I also feel good when people feel it's like torture to listen to my favorite metal albums. This feeling exists and its a powerful element in understanding the opinion of movie critics and "serious" fans.

Another factor is that movies that are explicitly philosophical in content, even if they are not good, like The Tree of Life, "prove" that film is a serious "artform". Since film critics need to show off that their art is "serious" because they just cannot accept film for what it is (which is escapism, 99% of the time), they feel the need to praise movies that prove that, even when they are not exceptionally good. Another reason is the lack of explicitly philosophical films so the few that are explicitly philosophical are praised to heavens for being novel. While novelty is important in art since consuming the same thing over and over will get boring, it's also overrated by many, because "new ****e is still ****e". Although new bad stuff has to be made so that hundreds of new things will eventually culminates in a new masterpiece.

One good example of the profound stupidity of film critics is their hatred for Gladiator (2000). Gladiator is one of the best blockbuster movies ever made and it's Hollywood at it's best, it's even perhaps the best original blockbuster movie (i.e. not adapted) made since. It's a movie based on visceral impact and is characterized by a deep emotional intensity created through a relatively simple plot and it's its simplicity its perfectly executed. Also, by recreating the ancient world in all it's glory (even if not historically accurate in some cases) it's a movie that allows viewers to "travel" to another world. Movie critics hate simple and intensely emotional narratives because they are insecure of their passion for film and for the same reason they hate well executed world building because it's "escapism", instead they look for "intellectual" movies that are "difficult" to watch. As a result, movie critics (and pretentious film buffs) eventually hated Gladiator precisely because of the factors that made it a great movie. Which is an example of the great stupidity of movie critics and which makes their profession really problematic as well.

Genuinely smart people, when they want to engage in intellectual stimulation, they become mathematicians or philosophers. Trying to find what you can find in a textbook of algebraic topology or in an academic journal of philosophy in a movie is stupid and reveals more about the person than about the movie: it shows that person wishes his/her hobby to be serious intellectual enterprise instead of accepting it for what it is. Movies are primarily an entertainment/artistic medium and not an intellectual medium and there is a profound difference between "artistic achievement" and intellectual or scientific achievement. This difference escapes the grasp of most movie critics and "serious" film buffs.

A difference that's often forgotten by movie critics. I like Roger Ebert's opinions because he transcended these limitations present in many film critic's minds and was more able to see greatness in popular stuff while criticizing "high art" movies. I remember agreeing with almost all of Ebert's opinions. That guy was really good in understanding movies even stuff like Japanese animation which most western critics are absolutely ignorant, his opinions were not that ignorant although he sometimes revealed ignorance when reviewing Spirited Away and being impressed by the level of detail on the backgrounds as if that wasn't standard in Japanese animation.

While there exists a difference between "art" and "entertainment" it's hard to poinpoint and it's not correct to say that "art" is superior to "entertainment". Many times people say that Kurosawa is art while Star Wars is entertainment when in fact both are similar: popular entertainment that happened to be art as well.

Finally, this reminded me of Kino's Journey, an animation that shows a town where all people are addicted to books and that literature critics are kept in a tower in isolation from society for their snob opinions to not perturb the enjoyment of books which is by itself a personal thing: it's the interaction between the individual and the artwork, since each individual is different then each individual will have a distinct experience and so there is no way for film critics to truly evaluate something and their arrogance makes it even more difficult for them to truly understand movies.



I think you mean Hunter X Hunter. And no, that anime is annoying.
Many people really liked the (2012) Hunter x Hunter. I don't know it myself, it's 150 episodes make watching it a rather time consuming experience.



It's just your typical mainstream anime series. I found it extremely boring, but lots of people are into that sort of thing, that's why it's popular. Maybe I shouldn't criticise it, because I have friends who are into that sort of thing, but I think it's lame.



One of the best reviewers in animation in English is a big fan of HxH:

http://wrongeverytime.com/2014/03/31...s-of-all-time/

Entry 22:

As the only long-running shounen on my list, HxH’s a bit of an outlier. But HxH is not your typical shounen – directed by Madhouse (likely my pick for the best studio of all time) and adapted from a source by the writer of Yu Yu Hakusho, Hunter x Hunter is basically a master class in what makes adventure entertaining. Though it starts off “only” demonstrating it knows how to make challenge-based television entertaining (in lieu of actual fights, it generally sets up compelling puzzles of all shapes and sizes for its heroes), it ends up jumping from genre to genre, dabbling in crime thriller, tournament shounen, and even war drama. And through it all, the show’s fantastic aesthetics elevate it above almost everything out there – in direction, in sound design, in pacing, in animation, in basically every relevant aesthetic metric, Hunter x Hunter triumphs. That it’s been maintaining this level of quality for well over a hundred episodes is nothing short of astonishing – in fact, I’d say Hunter x Hunter has only gotten better over time.
Overall, it appears that it's considered to be very good stuff. I just read a mainstream shounen manga recently as well (Assassination Classroom) and I though it was great.



79) High School Fleet and Military Moe (2016)



Over the past 8 years or so in Japan emerged a new genre that I like to call Military Moe. What's that? Welll, it's basically little cute girls and military stuff. In animation the first series of the genre was a mecha-Musume called Strike Witches (2009):



All shows of the genre feature character designs copied from a Ken Akamatsu manga:



After Strike Witches which was a very bland offering, the genre evolved into something more special with a masterpiece, Girls und Panzer (2012), is still the gold standard of the genre. GuP is a more complex show that incorporated the talents of Tzutomu Mizushima, who had just directed an adaptation of a baseball manga, and was suited for making a sports series that consisted of little cute girls competing in tank warfare as a highschool sport for girls.



The show was a tremendous success of public and critical acclaim and as a result a clone was made, this time featuring cute little girls running second world war warships. Overall the show was a success but it had very little meat in terms of themes and plot, it's mostly a nerdy treat that people who like animation as a sophisticated storytelling medium will not like. In fact my favorite scene of the show was when the ship ran out of toilet paper and the girls had to organize themselves, find a port get money to buy more.

Also it features very realistic naval warfare, only thing is that nobody dies because that wouldn't be cute!




80) Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya 2wei! (2014)



Really cute stuff. It's rather similar to High School Fleet but this time features magical girls instead of battleships. It's not, however, a show driven by action and plot, instead it chooses to focus more on slice of life stuff. Overall it's a pretty good show with some flashes of brilliance in the dramatic heights it reaches at some points. In those senses it's a more successfull show than High School Fleet, which I found unconvincing in its drama. Here I was significantly invested in it.

I was also a bit impressed by the degree of detail in the art and aniamtion. Although the animation is not very good for most of the time at some points it's really amazing stuff. The contrast between the level of detail of Osomatsu and this was also very glaring. That show is set for my next review here.



81) Hunter X Hunter (2011-2014)



I resisted watching this highly popular show because of it's long episode count and the fact that it was based on a shounen manga published in shounen jump. That was a severe mistake and represents my own prejudice against certain lines of manga. It's a great show indeed that is characterized by the cliches and the aesthetics of mainstream 2000's boys' manga applied to TV in all it's glory.

It's cliche? Yes, it is indeed. However, it's a great cliche. While I though I had watched the vast majority of animation worth watching I sometimes find a title that transcends the lower expectations for cinema (in general) that I have these days. While it's not a cinematic achievement of any kind: it's style and direction are quite safe, it's still masterfully executed and the timing is really well done, to keep the viewer entertained at all times. It's in fact safer entertainment than even the most carefully refined Hollywood product.

The reason is that it's highly dense plot is structured in a fashion that makes me watch it without ever stopping. Indeed, it's more addictive and entertaining than video games because it lacks the repetitive qualities of games and it's very hard to find anything else that I have read of watched to be as entertaining as this.

A-grade quality entertainment product and also very diverse, as the reviewer I cited before says: it's essentially a pack of about 10 novels that is animated into an short film series. Some of the stories, however, are more interesting than others. The one about the giant ants eating the humans was really boring but most stories were great. Overall it's an excellent example of entertainment in the form of adventure and it's a textbook example of contemporary mainstream Japanese popular culture.



You guys should totally watched an anime of Key Animation . I loved Angel Beats and Charlotte!! They also made Clannad

(Seeing the part were you said is a cliche made me want to argue with you, but I realize you are absolutely right I couldn't prove it wrong, I guess sometimes you want people to think the same way that you do, but everyone is different I guess )



Key is a videogame studio not an animation studio. However their videogames have been adapted into animation by Kyoto Animation. I think I watched all their adaptations, they are really cute.