Favorite Anime

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Re: Favorite Anime

Post by malickfan on Mon Nov 14, 2016 7:06 pm


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Re: Favorite Anime

Post by Eldorion on Mon Nov 14, 2016 7:30 pm

I hadn't heard about Spirited Away being re-released in theatres! I might try to catch it then. It was the first anime movie I ever saw so there's the nostalgia factor there.

I saw a couple headlines about Miyazaki wanting to make another feature film but hadn't read any of the articles. It's exciting news and should be great to see whether it's out in 2019 or later. Nod
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Re: Favorite Anime

Post by Eldorion on Fri May 12, 2017 6:10 am

After about 2-3 years of being relatively disengaged from anime due to being mentally preoccupied with other things (though I still watched a bit of stuff and continued to attend Otakon), I've been getting back into it in a big way over the past several months. I've been watching a lot of shows that I had started but then put on hold for one reason or another, shows that I'd been recommended or told other people I would watch and get back to them on, and stuff that I'd been meaning to get around to for a long time but just hadn't yet. Though I've had several shows that I was previously unfamiliar with catch my eye and I've enjoyed several of those as well.

Tonight I watched Isao Takahata's The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, which was on of the "been meaning to get around to it forever" list. It was released in Japan back in 2013 and then in the US not too long after. Takahata is one of the co-founders of Studio Ghibli, along with Hayao Miyazaki and producer Toshio Suzuki. Not only is he one of the most acclaimed anime directors ever, he and Miyazaki are also two of the last directors working who have been in the industry since it first started to really take off in the 1960s. Kaguya was Takahata's official swan song, as its sister project The Wind Rises (which I saw during its American theatrical release and was not particularly enthused by) was supposed to be for Miyazaki, although Miyazaki is apparently unretiring yet again. I knew that the film was based on a 10th century folk tale and I'd read a little bit about it from people who had seen it (including Forest, who posted about it somewhere in this thread a long time ago), but I wasn't totally sure what I'd be in for.

Anyway, it was fantastic. The film is beautiful to look at; it's minimalistic visual style - somewhere between watercolors and pencil sketches - is reminiscent of Takahata's My Neighbors the Yamadas, though not taken to quite such an extreme. Technically the animation is wonderful. Takahata's writing (he has story and co-screenwriting credits in addition to directing) is top-notch. The character of Kaguya herself was incredibly well-developed and the story ... well, I wouldn't exactly describe it as life-affirming, and it ends on a extremely sad note IMO, but the emotions feel totally earned and very genuine. And there's a slight tinge of ... not exactly hope. I don't really have the right words for it. I've watched plenty of sad shows and movies but this is the first one in several years where I've cried at the end. I've been really stressed out and miserable this week (and today especially) so that probably has something to do with it, but the film really is phenomenal. The voice acting and music are both superb. There are so many little moments and details of shots that seal the deal. Probably my favorite new show/movie that I've watched since starting to get back into the swing of things late last year.

I also just finished watching Mushishi Zoku Shou (Mushishi: Next Passage) earlier this week, which is the sequel series to one of the most highly acclaimed anime series of the previous decade. It's been a fairly long time since I'd watched the original and part of me was unsure if I'd still rank as it highly as I previously did, but the sequel series reminded me just how good the show was and arguably even surpassed the original at certain points. It's an entirely episodic show but its ambition is breathtaking at times. There were multiple episodes that told stories spanning decades (only other show I can remember pulling that off in the space of 22 minutes was a single episode of Avatar: TLA) and made it look easy. There were a number of gut-punch-ending episodes but they were all really well-done.

I watched a couple other movies this week too. When Marnie Was There was, at the time of its release, Ghibli's "official" last film, though that will probably change now that Miyazaki is apparently back to doing feature films. It's based on the novel of the same name by English author Joan G. Robinson and was directed by long-time Ghibli understudy and Arrietty director Hiromasa Yonebayashi (there have been quite a few Ghibli films in the past ~15 years based on English YA literature). It was pretty good but felt somewhat unexceptional and I wasn't especially gripped by the characters. I don't know how much of this is due to the source material since I've never read the book. Like Arrietty it's a very well-made film, but it doesn't quite have the "spark".

I also watched A Letter to Momo, produced by Production I.G and written and directed by Hiroyuki Okiura, which I had been looking forward to seeing for a long time. Okiura is in my opinion super-underrated and he directed one of my favorite anime films, Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade, and has had a distinguished career as a key animator and animation supervisor (he was responsible for the opening credits sequence of the Cowboy Bebop movie, among other things). Momo was apparently a passion project for him that he spent seven years working on and so it really pains me to say this, but I was just really not feeling the characters or story. It's a great-looking film and the fantastic character animation (something of an Okiura trademark) alone is enough to make it watchable, but I just found the story to be pretty uninteresting, which was really disappointing to feel.

Probably the next series I'll watch will be Monster, which I started to watch more than six years ago but ran out of steam halfway through due to mounting stress and depression that ultimately landed me in the hospital for the first time a few months later. It's remained in my "currently watching" category through everything that has happened since, despite the increasing inaccuracy of that designation, and I have always wanted to finish it, though at this point I'm gonna have to start from the beginning. Some of you guys might remember the avatar I had for a long time, starting around the time we moved to the new forum, of the guy with the sport coat and shoulder-length black hair? That's Dr. Tenma, the main character of Monster (a mystery/horror/psychological thriller based very closely on the manga by Naoki Urasawa), and I picked that avatar because I was in the middle of watching the show when Dark Planet Day happened. Laughing So this has been a long time coming, but I've finally watched through enough other stuff that I'd started or wanted to start more recently to finally get back to the show that's been in that category the longest. Rewatching will be an interesting experience I'm sure, but I'm pretty excited about it. Based on the first half alone, Monster became one of my favorite anime series, and I've heard almost entirely good things about the rest of it.

Anyway, apologies for the length of this post, but it's fun to get to ramble about fandom stuff. Very Happy In a week I'll finally make good on my goal of attending a convention other than Otakon, which I've been talking about for the past three years, by going to Chicago to attend Anime Central, another of the largest anime cons in the country. I'm really looking forward to that. Then Otakon itself is in August, and I was able to get a good room reservation for the other major Baltimore/DC area con, Katsucon, for next February. (The best rooms in convention block rates often sell out in a matter of minutes so I was lucky to be able to be online at the right time.) Hopefully things will work out and I can go to that too but it depends on scheduling and just how much work grad school ends up being. Razz
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Re: Favorite Anime

Post by Bluebottle on Fri May 12, 2017 10:23 am

I have not gotten around to Kaguya yet either, although I was overtly enthused by The Wind Rises myself. Smile

I heard Miyazaki was working on a new film, its apparently based on a short he did for the Ghibli museum called Boro the Caterpillar.


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Re: Favorite Anime

Post by Eldorion on Sat May 13, 2017 8:34 am

Heh, I recognize that I'm probably in the minority regarding The Wind Rises. Razz Not that I'd call it a bad film or anything like that. Will definitely be curious to see Miyazaki's next when it comes out.

Honestly, the more I think about Princess Kaguya the more I like it. There is so much to unpack regarding the story and themes. I'm curious to watch it again after having read the original folk tale now. It's too early to tell if it will surpass Whisper of the Heart as my favorite Ghibli film (and favorite anime film in general), but it's at least a close second. I listened to the soundtrack album today as well and it's one of my favorites from Hishaishi. The film inspired me to go on a bit of a Takahata binge and I decided to give Pom Poko a go after having previously written it off as too weird-sounding. It is indeed a fairly bizarre film (though not nearly as bizarre as it would've seemed if I'd watched the film without being aware of the folklore surrounding tanuki) and it's odd just how unsubtle it is about its environmental message since Takahata is not usually so blatant. So not one of my favorites from him by a long shot, but it ain't half bad either.

{{{It reminded me a bit of Over the Hedge, though it's more than a decade older than that film, and darker in tone in many places. Also, during the supernatural parade sequence there's one particular bit of Buddha imagery that was nearly identical to something from the climax of Kaguya, which stirred up some emotions.}}}
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Re: Favorite Anime

Post by David H on Sat May 13, 2017 1:47 pm

Since I saw Whisper of the Heart, John Denver has never sounded the same.

Edit: also since seeing Pom Poko I seem to recognize foxes wherever I go.

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Re: Favorite Anime

Post by Eldorion on Sat May 13, 2017 6:18 pm

I'd never heard the Olivia Newton-John version of "Country Roads" before seeing Whisper of the Heart but when it started playing at the beginning of the film I did a double-take. We used to sing that song at summer camp (in the Blue Ridge Mountains and near the Shenandoah River, no less) when I was little. I don't have a ton of fond memories of summer camp but that's one of them. Laughing And the Orioles still play "Thank God I'm a Country Boy" during the 7th inning stretch.
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Re: Favorite Anime

Post by Bluebottle on Mon May 22, 2017 12:54 am


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Re: Favorite Anime

Post by Eldorion on Tue May 23, 2017 12:42 am

I remember being unclear from various reports whether or not Miyazaki's new film would be based on the Boro short or not, though since I don't know Japanese and can't consult the original I had/have no way of knowing for sure. Razz

Semi-relatedly, I finished watching the last of the Miyazaki films I hadn't seen yet just before leaving for Anime Central. I liked the majority of them, although the final one I watched was Ponyo, which I didn't really enjoy. On the other hand, Porco Rosso was a joy and is probably my second favorite Miyazaki film after Princess Mononoke. In many ways it felt more reminiscent of Cagliostro than most of his films for Ghibli. I really liked the setting and characters, and the flight scenes were among Miyazaki's best.
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Re: Favorite Anime

Post by David H on Tue May 23, 2017 1:13 am

If I had to choose a favorite, Porco Rosso would be a contender. I just watched the Red Turtle, the new Ghibli co-production. No words at all, and yet it never looses it's narrative voice. There's a lot of Suzuki in it. It's not for everybody, and I still haven't fully decided what I think of it, but I'll definitely watch it again.

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Re: Favorite Anime

Post by Eldorion on Wed May 24, 2017 5:50 am

I have not seen The Red Turtle yet, though I've heard a fair bit of buzz about it, most of it positive. Definitely seems like something to try to get to. study
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Re: Favorite Anime

Post by Eldorion on Sat May 27, 2017 10:01 pm

A Silent Voice (Koe no Katachi) finally came out on DVD/Blu-ray this month so I was able to watch a copy. This was the other big anime movie of 2016 aside from Your Name that I was curious to see. I actually liked this one quite a bit more. Both are teen melodramas but A Silent Voice wasn't as dependent on contrivances and its two leads actually interacted with each a lot. Razz The melodrama did get really heightened but all in all the film was more tasteful in its handling of themes about bullying and depression and suicidal ideation than I expected. The cast is IMO a little too big to be fully developed, which seems to be the result of adapting a seven volume manga into a slightly more than two hour long film, but the two leads are well-developed and memorable.

On the technical/visual side of things, the film looks fantastic throughout. Kyoto Animation always brings the goods when they have the budget and they clearly had one here (they also made The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya which is one of my favorite anime movies both for story and visuals). The director, Naoko Yamada, is a great animator and a prodigious rising talent (she got her first series director gig at the ridiculously young age of 24 and is still only 32) but of her works A Silent Voice has the most interesting story to me. The music is good throughout but the stand-out example for me - despite not being at all representative of the soundtrack as a whole - was the opening credits montage set to "My Generation" by The Who.

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Re: Favorite Anime

Post by malickfan on Tue Aug 08, 2017 3:13 pm


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Re: Favorite Anime

Post by David H on Tue Aug 08, 2017 4:36 pm

I saw Castle in the Sky on the big screen in the late 80's in a classic old movie theater in the Seattle University District that played weird double features. I'd never heard of anime at the time, and my head just about exploded when I saw it!
I've been a Ghibli fan ever since :carrot: Cheerleader :carrot:
(I don't even remember the other film I'd actually gone to see...)

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Re: Favorite Anime

Post by Eldorion on Tue Aug 08, 2017 10:20 pm

Castle in the Sky was a really good adventure film. It's very cool that they're showing both the English dubbed version and the original with English subtitles. I've never seen the either of the dubbed versions of Castle, though Disney's dub jobs starting in the late '90s were quality work and I've never heard anything contrary regarding this one.
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Re: Favorite Anime

Post by Bluebottle on Sun Sep 03, 2017 7:09 pm

Original with subtitles is mostly way preferable to me these days. Although, you lose some special things, like Calcifers Voice :/

Would love to see some Ghibli movies in cinema though Nod

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Re: Favorite Anime

Post by Bluebottle on Sun Sep 03, 2017 7:10 pm


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Re: Favorite Anime

Post by Eldorion on Sun Sep 03, 2017 7:37 pm

Laughing
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Re: Favorite Anime

Post by Eldorion on Sat Nov 18, 2017 2:30 am

Responding here so as not to clutter up the LOTR TV thread too much (also gonna stop using spoiler bars though so consider this a general warning if you haven't seen Howl's Moving Castle).

Bluebottle wrote:Simulpost for me too Razz I'll try to get into the non-Howl stuff later. I should go to bed, it is late in Madrid.

Eldorion wrote:
Howl's Moving Castle spoilers:
...Howl being some sort of bird person was pretty bizarre and the war subplot went absolutely nowhere, being resolved with a throwaway line of dialogue at the very end. Razz I wasn't as big a fan of the book as Bain, who recommended it to me, but I thought it was more cohesive. The movie was of course well-animated though and Joe Hisaishi always brings the goods. Nod

Spoiler:
I don't know. I feel this kind of was part of my point this is part of what made the movie its own story. The bird thing is neither here nor there, it is part of what Miyazaki choose to introduce and it has a function throughout the story. And I feel the background of the war actually grounded the story in reality in a way the original never mustered, it was always a bit all over the place in the original. It focused the story and made it coherent beyond the material he was adapting. The worst that can be said for it is that it might be overly anti-war. But can any intellectually reflected person say that anti-war is bad in and off itself, if we make a minimum effort to entangle ourselves from our war based societal system? Not so sure if we are not overly societally biased to be skeptical on behalf of the MIC to be honest, in all our intellectual reflection. :/

I'm not sure what you think was all over the place about the book so I'm not sure if I can respond there. I wasn't a huge fan of it (liked it well enough, but not as much as Bain, who recommended it to me) and it wasn't especially deep, but I think the story was pretty straightforward. The anti-war message in the movie felt pretty grafted on to me. Honestly I find it's conclusion kind of bizarre. There's the climax of Sophie and Howl's personal story and then in the last few minutes we get this exchange (quoting from the English dub released by Disney):

Witch of the Waste: You should go home anyway and tell your king to stop this dumb war.

Prince Justin: Yes, that's exactly what I'll do.

And that's pretty much it. Prince Justin talks about how he'll come back after the war is over, but we don't see anything more. Just from a storytelling standpoint this is an unsatisfying revolution to me, as one of the main drivers of tension in the film is literally handwaved away at the last minute.

There's also never any discussion of what the tensions leading to the war were actually about. Now I'm generally sympathetic to Miyazaki's anti-war sentiments (especially in the context of the Iraq war during which the film was made), but I think that a reading of history or even current events shows that most wars are more complex than just the people in power on both sides being stupid and violent. But that's pretty much the attitude that Howl's takes. It's especially disappointing in comparison to Princess Mononoke, which has a strong environmentalist and anti-war message but acknowledges that there are reasons (sometimes sympathetic ones) why people fight each other and degrade the environment while still arguing that that's not the way to go.

All IMO of course. Smile
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Re: Favorite Anime

Post by Bluebottle on Sat Nov 18, 2017 10:27 am

I mean a bit all over the place in that it did not have a general focus, and for me parts of it seemed disjointed in a way the movie is not.

I have to say, I do think it is that simple with regard to most wars. Of course there are times use of military force is justified, but that is mostly in humanitarian cases, for humanitarian reasons, and in those cases force is often not used, or used insufficiently. It seems like american society, not automatically including you here, has this idea of a just war. A war that justifies itself, but most wars are either made for selfish or stupid reasons, in which context Howl's view is perfectly understandable.

I feel the war drags the story together and makes it coherent, because the whole movie revolves around it. From the first moments in the movie with the army marching in the streets to the last. Perhaps the resolution at the end is a tad simplistic, but perhaps also it is rather poignant, stopping most wars comes down to such easy decisions by the people in charge. (It is good to remember that the war, resolution included, happens off stage in the book.)

It takes the war theme, which is present in the book, but without playing any role above and beyond the mention.

I do miss some things from the book, that Howl is the sleazy guy and not the soldiers at the start of the movie, the Wales angle, with Howl a Cambridge prof of magic I think was charming. But I think Sulliman was a better adversary than the witch of the waste, and the two fire demons always was dragging the story to far for me. It built up a much more straight forward conflict than the one Miyazaki told. And I prefer the latter.


Last edited by Bluebottle on Sat Nov 18, 2017 11:25 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Favorite Anime

Post by Bluebottle on Sat Nov 18, 2017 10:30 am

That said, Howl's Moving Castle is probably my favourite movie, so probably not completely objective here. To me it is a wonderful example of how a fantasy adaptation can take a genuinely brilliant spark of imagination, harness it and make it more than the sum of its parts. It is what fantasy adaptations should aim to achieve, in my opinion. Smile

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Re: Favorite Anime

Post by malickfan on Sat Nov 18, 2017 8:20 pm

I might re-watch Castle In The Sky soon (too many Dvd's not enough time), picked up a cheap copy of it a few months back, seen it just the once but a fantastic film.

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The Thorin: An Unexpected Rewrite December 2012 (I was on the money apparently)
The Tauriel: Desolation of Canon December 2013 (Accurate again!)
The Sod-it! : Battling my Indifference December 2014 (You know what they say, third time's the charm)

Well, that was worth the wait wasn't it  Suspect


I think what comes out of a pig's rear end is more akin to what Peejers has given us-Azriel 20/9/2014
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Re: Favorite Anime

Post by Bluebottle on Sat Nov 18, 2017 9:02 pm

I like Castle in the Sky, parts have Miyazaki still finding his feet as a film maker, but it has got his identity all over it. Nod


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Re: Favorite Anime

Post by Eldorion on Sun Nov 19, 2017 12:45 am

I think I get where you're coming from, Blue. Smile My feelings on war and morality have drifted around a bit over the years, I suppose. I was raised in the (more or less) absolute pacifist Quaker tradition, but I've always been a bit of a military history geek, which bothered my parents when I was younger. Razz I do feel some wars are justified but I tend to think that because even "just" wars will inevitably result in the death and suffering of innocent people, it should be a tool very, very rarely reached for (even bombing, which seems to be no longer considered an act of war in certain circumstances). I tend to think that a black-and-white view of war is too simplistic and not the most effective basis for arguing against it, but I can understand the moral convictions underpinning such a view and I respect that.
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Re: Favorite Anime

Post by Bluebottle on Sun Nov 19, 2017 12:48 am

Thanks, I was afraid my "american view" might have been broad enough to be mildly insulting. Razz I agree war as black and white in the world we live in is hard to argue, but perhaps not if the argument you are making is about the kind of world you want to live in. Smile

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