Guaporense and Zotis Review Animation

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38) Kemonozume (2006)



One of Yuasa's TV series, Kemonozume is an horror/experimental series that is actually very hard to describe. It's a series with an art style typical of Yuasa, but still quite distinct from his other works. The most similar in terms of art style would be perhaps the movie Mind Game (2004). It's also very similar to that film in terms of atmosphere. It's a fantasy but a type of fantasy that feels more like an artistic animated short rather than the typical atmosphere of animated fantasy (for instance, that you get from a movie like Children who Chase Lost Voices).

The plot is pretty brutal, to be blunt, it's strictly adult but not without those elements that make something specially attractive to teenager and young adult males: lots of blood, a bit of gore. The fanservice, as western animation fans call the use of erotic imagery, is pretty controlled and the art style doesn't particularly favor it and the character designs are not very "pretty" to begin with: Yuasa's style can be even called "anti-otaku" because it is diametrically opposed to otaku art style, even when they became increasingly popular among manga artists during the 2000's.

The universe of the series is pretty "weird", since it's a fantasy where there are creatures that look like humans most of the time but have those clawns and feed on humans. There exists a school/clan of samurai in Japan (apparently those creatures might only exist in Japan) which is trained in the arts of how to kill those creatures. So, as it's possible to guess, the plot is, at the beginning, based on a forbidden romance between one of the main members of that samurai clan and one of the flesh eating monsters, which happens to be a woman. Then the plot evolves into something more ambitious as conspiracies involving these two groups (samurai and monsters) are orchestrated by a third party.

It's not one of Yuasa's best works, those are IMO Kaiba (2008) and Ping Pong (2014), but still has the flavor of Yuasa and it is another piece that shows how great an animator Yuasa is, perhaps the greatest animation direction of the 21st century so far.



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



Okay, so I didn't read your review yet Guap because I didn't want anything to be given away. But I just watched episode 1 now, and I'm sure I've already seen it. I may have watched 2-3 episodes of this several years ago. I know I haven't seen more then that though. I can't remember why I stopped watching it, because I do remember liking it. Anyway, I'm going to watch some more now. I'll read your review when I'm done.



39) Frozen (2013)



I generally dislike current Disney stuff. So I was pleasantly surprised by this movie. It is also the highest grossing film in Japan since Spirited Away in 2001. It's a very simple and cute movie. What i liked about it was that the princesses were cute and lovable and the movie itself was cute and lovable but still had hints of darkness in it, thus making it more interesting.

The animation in CGI with 200 million dollars budget is fantastic, a problem I had were the cartoony character designs though. I would prefer more gritty designs for other stuff besides the cute girls. But the level of detail of the CGI animation these days is amazing.

Also I understood why this film is so popular in Japan: it's because it deals fundamentally with social alienation and this is a severe problem in Japanese society. Another factor for it's popularity is that cute moe girls are the movie's main characters. Otaku love that kind of stuff.

A main problem of the movie for me was the musical pieces. But people who read the "rate last album you listened too" will certainly notice it's not my type of music. Anyway, it's a well executed Disney film, in fact, the best animated Disney film in the past 15 years, perhaps even more.



40) Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou: Quiet Country Cafe (2002)



The great manga, Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou ran from 1994 to 2006. It's one of the best manga I ever read, powerful atmospheric, contemplative manga about the joy of daily life. Kinda like an Ozu film but better and cuter since it's manga. This manga was adapted into two OVA's which adapted certain chapters of the manga. The first OVA from 1998 adapts some of the early chapters of the manga such as when the main character was struck by lighting. While this OVA adapts chapters when the main character Alpha had to survive a hurricane and also planned to travel outside of her cafe. Given it portrays a post apocalyptic world its a considerable venture.

One of the things that I loved about this OVA and also about the 1998 OVA was the atmosphere of contemplation of the small joys of daily life. Something that I find incredibly attractive but also very hard to communicate/convey in a convincing manner in film. Animation I think is the ideal medium for more engrossing cinematic experiences and so ideal to evoke this kind of sensation. Too bad I only know about a few of those animations, so far.




Gunbuster (1989)

Well, first of all I'll say that I did enjoy it. That being said I don't think I can give it the same praise as you, Guap. I found it to have many flaws. For one thing, why did the robots need to exercise? There were a lot of scenes with robots doing push-ups, jumping jacks, sit-ups, jogging, and things like that. Realism and implausibilities in the plot were probably the biggest flaw. It didn't really make much sense for the two best pilots from Japan to be high-school students. The story was quite strong though, and there is a lot of charm in the characters and animation style. It was pretty exciting to see them go off into space and fight aliens. I didn't really understand the whole time jumping thing, the way large amounts of time would pass when they went into light speed, but it was an interesting concept. Overall I would say that it was good, but not a masterpiece.




Nice to read about Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou, I watched the two OVAs recently and they are really something, a slice of life without conflict, comedy or tragedy, some kind of poetry of the mundane that is truly mesmerizing, contemplative and minimalistic narration that grows a feeling of chill and serenity. I need to read the manga at some point, but the OVAs are, if not great adaptations, wonderful as standalone pieces. Quiet country cafť is directed by Tomomi Mochizuki who made the -according to my blurred memories- rather underrated Ghibli film Ocean waves; I prefer the first OVA but this one is gorgeous as well and has the added element of being a journey and following a linear narrative through its two episodes.



Quiet country cafť is directed by Tomomi Mochizuki who made the -according to my blurred memories- rather underrated Ghibli film Ocean waves
I didn't know that. The animation world is a rather small one.



I've been really wanting to see Ocean Waves. The video store I usually go to, and the comic book shop I frequently buy anime from don't have it.



Well, first of all I'll say that I did enjoy it. That being said I don't think I can give it the same praise as you, Guap. I found it to have many flaws. For one thing, why did the robots need to exercise? There were a lot of scenes with robots doing push-ups, jumping jacks, sit-ups, jogging, and things like that.
I think it served as more of a sarcastic comedy style of boot camp but with mechas. Kinda of a way to say how ludicrous the concept of giant robots are.

Realism and implausibilities in the plot were probably the biggest flaw.
It's not supposed to be realistic to the least. It's supposed to be an exercise of unbounded imagination. I love that kind of over the top stuff. Gurren Lagaan was heavily influenced by Gunbuster as well. If one like Gunbuster one will probably like Gurren Lagaan, though in the second case it's even more over the top and also done in a macho style, while Gunbuster focus more on cuteness.

I didn't really understand the whole time jumping thing, the way large amounts of time would pass when they went into light speed, but it was an interesting concept.
That's the theory of special relativity: when you approach the speed of light time passes by at slower rates. Gunbuster used the concept to create drama.



41) Wreck it Ralph (2012)



I was extremely impressed by this film. I also loved the way it references classic videogames as well as some more modern videogames (it's perhaps one of the first American animated films to have a sexualized female character representative of modern violent/adult action videogames).

The plot is pretty complex and full of interesting twists and turns and this is specially impressive in light it's a Disney movie. Indeed, a very different kind of Disney movie. Modern American animated films are spreading from it's cradle of fairy tales (though Frozen (2014) shows the genre is still alive) to span a increasingly broader spectrum of tastes.

In particular this film appealed to me a lot. Since I grew up on videogames so "identification bias" was working at 11! Still, it's a very well constructed movie. The only think I disliked was the art/animation style which I found a bit that, I don't know, felt too cartoony and the movement doesn't feel really "solid", a common issue I have with CGI movies in general (they still haven't figured out how to make cartoons move in a more "attractive" way). But I liked the cutesy designs of characters of the racing game. And all the characters were very charismatic overall. The only character I didn't find interesting was the villain which was a bit cookie cuter, but the rest was pretty creative, perhaps the most complex Disney animated film I ever watched.



42) Robot Carnival (1987)



An impressive collection of nine animated shorts directed at during the golden age of animation, when Japan's economy was in a bubble that allowed directors to experiment freely. At the time science fiction dominated Otaku culture to a degree that was never before or after attained. In this film, they asked all the directors to make shorts about robots, however, they didn't specify anything else so this was essential a collection of short films made for the directors and by the directors, auteour cinema at it's purest.

Another great element of this anthology film is the soundtrack which was composed by none other than Joe Hisaishi. While I typically don't love music that is not metal by sort of a miracle I love Hisaishi's music.

The opining is pretty interesting exhibition of Japan's fascination and fear of technology/robotization. Japan in slightly more than a century between 1875 and 1985 was completely transformed from a medieval society where 80% of the labor force worked in agriculture into a superindustrialized society where less than 5% of the labor force was employed in the primary sector. This radical transformation has never occurred before of after in a large country (though China now is roughly where Japan was in the 1950's while India is more like Japan in the 1920's).

After the opening we have Morimoto's short film. This short was not very impressive besides it's technical and atmospheric aspects, which were amazing. Still, one could see it's from the same director of Magnetic Rose. The following short was pretty good and featured some incredible animation but it felt short of what I was expecting, being a very simple story about an android rescuing a girl from a gang of robots. The short following this one was perhaps the most powerful one and involving robots is typically about artificial intelligence and love between a human and a machine. Cliche but powerful and very well executed, also had the best soundtrack of the while film. Another very interesting short featured a girl being saved from a giant monster robot but a man disguised as a robot.

Overall, this is anime at it's best in showing the possibilities of imagination and the work done by all the directors is of phenomenal quality (even if I disliked the particular style of some shorts). One of the best anime anthology films I watched.



Awesome animated movie my kid love this movie.



I think it served as more of a sarcastic comedy style of boot camp but with mechas. Kinda of a way to say how ludicrous the concept of giant robots are.
Well, I didn't sense any actual criticism or satire in the portrayal of giant robots exercising. It didn't seem to be showing how ridiculous it was, it just seemed to be ridiculous. For example, none of the characters talk about it, and the act itself doesn't break down in any way. It functions and all of the characters accept and embrace it. So that tells me that it's not saying the concept is ludicrous, it's actually embracing the concept of giant robots exercising. To me it looks like the film makers decided they wanted to do that, and either didn't put thought into it, or wanted to do it despite how silly it was. Perhaps they found it charming?

It's not supposed to be realistic to the least. It's supposed to be an exercise of unbounded imagination. I love that kind of over the top stuff. Gurren Lagaan was heavily influenced by Gunbuster as well. If one like Gunbuster one will probably like Gurren Lagaan, though in the second case it's even more over the top and also done in a macho style, while Gunbuster focus more on cuteness.
Perhaps you misunderstand me. I'm not criticising content here. I'm talking about the plot. The plot was unrealistic in the sense that they do what they want to do, and they don't portray events unfolding the way they would actually unfold if they were real. The way realism in fantasy/sci-fi/fiction works is you portray your fictional component as close as you can to how it would operate if it existed. So, if there was a space fleet, and academies of mecha pilots, would they be teenagers, or would they be adults? If the two best pilots in the country were selected to go to the war fleet, would it be likely that the two best pilots in the country be teenagers, or adults? If you look at the closest example in real life, it would be fighter pilots. Teenagers at cadet camp train in flight simulators, but the professional pilots in the air force who actually are Ace pilots, are all adults. A teenager might excel at something like a video game, over an adult, maybe ten years ago. Nowadays though that isn't the case anymore. Adults play video games and over 90% of the best players in the world are adults who have been playing since they were teenagers. I'm not saying that the movie should have been as realistic as reality. But it was very far from portraying it's subject matter in a believable way. Which is fine. It's not that serious of a movie (or series technically). But I consider it a flaw unless it's done in a very intentional way, and I didn't get that impression. To me it seemed like they wanted to do what they wanted to do. There was no deeper meaning to it being unrealistic. It didn't carry some inner criticism or satire that I could detect in the way it portrayed things unrealistically.

See, the way I look at it, the content is that there are two teenagers who are the best mech a pilots in Japan, and they study at an high-school level mecha academy. That's fine. But how that content is presented is where realism in a qualitative sense separate from the content itself comes into play. There should also have been adult academies, and they should have demonstrated why these teenagers were better than adult pilots. Instead they took their premise completely for granted. Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying the anime was bad at all. It was good. I'm just saying that those things hold it back, in my opinion, from being exceptional.



Patlabor 2 (1993)
Directed by Mamoru Oshii


This was my second time watching Patlabor 2. I saw it years ago, and I just bought it recently. It's a great Anime, and I wanted to add it to my small collection. I like Patlabor 2 much more than the first one, but the first one is good too. The animation quality is vastly improved over the first one, and the plot flows much smoother. The only thing I actually liked more about the first Patlabor was the complexity of the mystery that the characters uncovered. This one follows a similar formula, but the mystery is not quite as strong. Still, overall I feel like it's a better movie. Set in a futuristic war torn world, Japan is one of the few remaining peaceful countries, if not the only one. When a mysterious fighter jet blows up a bridge a series of events begin to unfold involving a mysterious manipulator pulling strings to cause chaos, confusion, and possibly war. The police force are at odds with the military, and the higher ups are all playing right into the manipulator's hands. Can a few police officials and their loyal comrades uncover the plot and stop it before it's too late? Mamoru Oshii is a great director whom I very much admire. He did superb work with Patlabor 2.




Kemonozume (2006)
Written and Directed by Masaaki Yuasa


I finally finished this 13 episode series. Of Masaaki's work besides this I've also seen Mind Game and Cat Soup. His style and creativity are amazing. Even the most insignificant minor character has clearly identifiable unique attributes. The characters he goes into more depth with are beautifully flawed and reveal a tremendous understanding of personalities and human nature. His plots reveal a lot about life. In both plot and character types there are some incredibly deep criticisms and profound emotional and philosophical connections. In particular Kemonozume deals with an a powerful love; a love so strong that it's protagonist, Toshihiko, abandons his duty. This duty which he is ready to discard without hesitation is not something foolish or trivial like fighting for a corrupt government out of blind patriotism, it's a deep family heritage and a noble cause of battling evil and protecting humanity. His duty is contrasted with a harsh criticism of a character type, his rival Kazuma, who is short-tempered, arrogant, and delusional. Kazuma holds to his notion of duty with blind fervour, and is himself harshly critical of Toshihiko's abandonment of duty. The love that Toshihiko has is a sort of Romeo and Juliet affair. There are a lot of criticisms, and criticisms of the typical ignorant criticisms that many people have. Criticism of the criticisms of the romance, and the duty. The animation style is excellent with much more motion than is commonly seen in animation. The drawing style is quite unique and creative.






Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
Patlabor 2 (1993)
Directed by Mamoru Oshii


This was my second time watching Patlabor 2. I saw it years ago, and I just bought it recently. It's a great Anime, and I wanted to add it to my small collection. I like Patlabor 2 much more than the first one, but the first one is good too. The animation quality is vastly improved over the first one, and the plot flows much smoother. The only thing I actually liked more about the first Patlabor was the complexity of the mystery that the characters uncovered. This one follows a similar formula, but the mystery is not quite as strong. Still, overall I feel like it's a better movie. Set in a futuristic war torn world, Japan is one of the few remaining peaceful countries, if not the only one. When a mysterious fighter jet blows up a bridge a series of events begin to unfold involving a mysterious manipulator pulling strings to cause chaos, confusion, and possibly war. The police force are at odds with the military, and the higher ups are all playing right into the manipulator's hands. Can a few police officials and their loyal comrades uncover the plot and stop it before it's too late? Mamoru Oshii is a great director whom I very much admire. He did superb work with Patlabor 2.

You say you prefer 2, so I would like ask, is it necessary to watch the first, or are there integral bits of info that need to be experienced by watching the first?



You say you prefer 2, so I would like ask, is it necessary to watch the first, or are there integral bits of info that need to be experienced by watching the first?
It's a direct sequel, so I would recommend watching the first one first.



I watched the first Patlabor movie in cartoon network when I was 12 or something. In the Brazilian cartoon network they aired adult animation mixed in with the children's stuff so I was exposed to really complex animation at an young age so I was always well aware of how vast a field anime is. I watched the second Patlabor movie recently (last year) and I was so impressed that I included it in my top 100 animated movies list. I am thinking of nominating it for the next HoF.