Tag Archives: Asian

Steins;Gate:Fuka ryouiki no déjà vu, Japanese (animated) movie (2013)

A few months ago I reviewed the anime series Steins;Gate. (You can find it right here). This series is considered by many to be one of the greatest animes ever created. I myself however was less enthusiastic about it. Even though the characters in the series were great, and I highly enjoyed all of their antics, I found the series itself very slow. The storyline was quite clever, and did really stick in my mind well after I finished it, but for some reason I could not really get into it. What I am going to do is give this series another try later this year, to see if my opinion for it changes. Browsing through Netflix, I came across the Steins;Gate series as well, or so I thought. Actually it was a movie that was made two years later, and chronicles the further adventures of Rintaro Okabe.

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Hey! I am talking to you, it is not polite to turn your back on me. 

Steins;Gate: fuka ryouiki no déjà vu (which roughly translated means Load Region of Deja Vu), picks up the events after the animeseries. Rintaro believes himself to be safe, seeing as the time machine and the threat of SERN is gone. But is that really true? Lately he has been getting strange flashbacks to the terrible things that have happened to him in the past. As he is the only one that knows these things, the rest of the members of the Future Gadget Laboratory have no real clue what is going on with him. When Kurisu arrives in Japan for a press conference, after having been gone for a year, she ofcourse reunites with her friends. Kurisu is beginning to notice Rintaro’s strange behaviour, but when she is right in the middle of a conversation with him, he disappears before her eyes. Even more disturbing is the fact that nobody seems to remember who Rintaro was. Kurisu will have to find a way to get Rintaro back, but in order to do so, she might have to pay a very high price……

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Sorry, just have to scratch my ear for a second. 

So a few of you might have already noticed the grade I gave this one below my review. I’m probably going to be hated on, seeing as so many people enjoyed this movie. But I am sorry to say that I was not one of them. Let me start off by saying that I really understood what the goal was that they set out to do with this film. The story for this was heartbreaking and it really shows what someone who really cares for another will go through in order to save that person. So that was really a good thing. But seriously, I thought the series was slow, but this movie took it to a whole new level. It started off okay, with the funny and enjoyable banter between Rintaro and the rest of his labcrew.

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Trust me, this scene is not what you might think. 

But the last hour of the movie was just too slow for me to appreciate it. As I stated in my review for the series, I really enjoyed the characters, and thought that was the best thing of the series. But in this movie, except for the first half hour, the entire mood was very dark and quite depressing. And that also affected the behaviour of the characters themselves. Yes ofcourse the second part of the series had a very dark atmosphere as well, but this movie went more down the line of being very sad. But this is how I feel about it, and seeing as so many viewers have enjoyed this movie and the show in general, this might just be me. As stated in the beginning, later this year I will give the animeseries a second watch, and see if I might have a change of heart for it. So, probably if you have liked the animeseries, you will enjoy this movie (even though it’s tone is different). But if you are like me, and were not too impressed by the series, you had best avoid this one.

I give Steins;Gate fuka ryouiki no déjà vu a 5 out of 10 score.

 

Macross Zero, Anime tv series (2002)

Prequels. It is a concept that the past few years has been introduced in novels, movies, and tv series. The question I have always asked myself is what is precisely the point of a prequel ? Sure it is nice to find out some backstory about certain characters, or some kind of clarification about events that were not fully explained in whatever the prequel is based on. But because a prequel can ofcourse not change the events of the established story, I always find that it lacks excitement. You know the story of what comes after, and ofcourse which characters will be in the original so they can’t be killed off in the prequel. If done well however, it can occasionally be fun to find out what led up to certain events happening in the original story. Honestly though, I am not a big fan of prequels. I do watch them,especially for franchises that I really enjoy like for instance the anime series Macross. Just like Gundam Wing it has now had so many different shows, that it is hard to keep track of it all. I might do a post for the entire Macross saga in the future. For now, all you need to know for this one, is that Macross Zero is a prequel to the series that started it all.

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I believe I can fly….

It is the year 1999 and a gigantic alien spacecraft crashlands on Earth. At the time the world is engulfed in a global war, but with the realisation that mankind is not alone, an uneasy peace is established. Nine years later, a lot of new technology has been realised with the help of what is found within the bowels of the alien ship. Most notably the transformable Valkyrie fighters. Even though the war has pretty much died down, there are still a lot of skirmishes between the new U.N.Spacy and Anti-Un forces. During one of these fights, we meet up with the young pilot Shin Kudo, who gets shot down by a strange alien craft. Crashlanding on a Mayan island he manages to survive. When he meets up with the inhabitants of the island, he soon realises that they have a secret that ties them to the alien ship. Deep under the ocean there resides an alien weapon that has been buried for over 10.000 years. A weapon that may result in the end of mankind when released……

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Nothing can keep us apart, except maybe a pink bubbly thing.

One thing that Macross has always been good at, is showcasing transformable fighter planes that beat the crap out of each other. And in that regard Macross Zero certainly does not disappoint. This 5 part series showcases some of the coolest Mecha fight sequences in this franchise to date. This being a prequel it was nice to see a lot of the old craft from the original series returning, most notably the Skull One. But there were also some new Mecha that we did not yet see in any of the other series. These fights were definitely the highlight of the show.

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Kind of gives a new dimension to the word overkill.

Another thing that has always been a trademark for this series is the love triangle arc. This time it is between the hero of the story Shin, and two sisters from the island on which he crashlands, Sara and Mao Nome. The characters in this franchise are usually one of the strong points, but in this prequel I found them to be rather dull. I did not establish any kind of attachment to them whatsoever, and that usually is a bad thing. What I did like was the return of the tragic hero from the original series Roy Focker. Even though he played he a small part in the events for this series, it was an important one. As Roy has always been a fan favorite character, many will enjoy seeing his return.

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Yep, that really is Roy Focker.

The story for this prequel was rather confusing. It contained a lot of mythical mumbo jumbo, that I at times could not make heads nor tails of. This being a prequel it does ofcourse contain some interesting ties to the original series, and I guess that makes it somewhat worth it. Has it changed my view on prequels though? Nope, I can honestly say that it did not. Macross Zero is worth the watch for the incredible Mecha fights that are contained within these five episodes, but ultimately I found it to be a rather disappointing entry into the Macross mythology. If you like Macross though, this is one you at least want to watch once, if only to see a few classic things make a reappearance. If you have yet to discover Macross, I would recommend starting with the original tv series from 1982, which is still every bit as groundbreaking as when it was first shown on television.

I give Macross Zero a 6 out of 10 score.

Akira, Japanese (Animated) movie (1988)

It has been called one of the most influential films of all time. A movie that many feel is responsible for causing Anime to become popular in the Western world. Based on the Manga of the same name that consisted of more than 2000 pages, a lot of people still find this one of the finest anime movies ever created. I am ofcourse talking about the masterpiece called Akira, directed by Katsuhiro Otomo, the man that also created and wrote the manga. So why is this movie so incredible, and still after all these years a classic that has withstood the test of time very, very well? I will get to that question shortly, but let me first start with describing what this movie is about, for those that are not yet familiar with it.

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In the year 1988 a strange psychic event occurs that completely obliterates the city of Tokyo. Soon after, World War Three starts, and Tokyo is rebuild into a new city called Neo Tokyo. The movie itself picks up the story right after these events. It is now the year 2019, and Neo-Tokyo has become a city with wide scale riots and motorcycle gangs that rule the streets. One of these gangs led by the young Kaneda, one night gets into a fight with another gang called the Clowns. During the fight one of Kaneda’s best friends, Tetsuo Shima, nearly runs over a strange boy who is right in the midde of the street. Crashing his motorcycle, Tetsuo is seriously injured and is taken to the hospital. Once there it soon becomes clear that the boy he nearly ran over, was no ordinary boy but someone who possessed strange psychic powers. And it appears that Tetsuo has now somehow also received these powers. Meanwhile Kaneda desperately searches for his friend, while being pursued by secret government forces. However Tetsuo’s powers soon begin to grow out of control, and the event that destroyed Tokyo so many years ago might repeat itself…..

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It had been a very long time since I had last seen this movie, but seeing it appear on Netflix was enough to make me rewatch this film. And it is still every bit as powerful as when I first saw it. The animation for this movie is simply amazing. In every scene there are so many things that are going on in the backgrounds, that you will probably see new ones every time you watch this movie. With so many details presented in each frame, the city of Neo-Tokyo truly feels like it is a character itself.

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And speaking of characters, that is one of the other highlights of this film. The young and somewhat cocky Kaneda, the hero of the movie, is someone that is incredibly hard not to like. He provides most of the comic relief in this film, something that is very much needed as this movie can at times be seriously depressing because of it’s dark themes. Kaneda’s quest to find his friend is at times heartbreaking, especially during the final parts of the movie where he is forced to make some really tough decisions. Tetsuo is a character a lot of people might relate to. A person who has always stood in the shadow of someone else, and now comes into possession of something truly incredible. The powers change him entirely and it comes down to that age old saying: “power corrupts”.

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The story of Akira is very dark, and it certainly is not a movie for everyone. There are some very brutal and graphic scenes throughout the film, and it definitely established at the time that animation certainly was not only for kids anymore. It is amazing that a film that was made almost thirty years ago now is still such an incredibly powerful movie. It’s fantastic animation, thought provoking storyline and dark and tense atmosphere make this an absolute must see for every anime fan out there. Akira is a timeless classic and will still be worth seeing even after another thirty years from now.

I give Akira a 10 out of 10 score.

 

Boiling Point, Japanese movie (1990)

Those of you that have been following my blog for a while now, know that my taste in movies and tv series is pretty diverse. As long as the film entertains I am willing to tackle any genre. Recently I received a movie on dvd for my birthday that I had heard much about, but have never actually seen. Directed by the infamous Takeshi Kitano,that was pretty much enough to get me excited for it. Recently he had a minor role in the new Ghost in the Shell movie (you can find my review for it Here ), but he is well known by all lovers of Asian cinema. He has starred in and also directed a lot of (at times pretty controversial) movies. Most of his movies contain acts of violence, but also some dark humor, and Boiling Point is definitely no exception to this rule.

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In the beginning of the movie we get to meet the rather simple man Masaki. He plays baseball for a local team, but is not very good at it. In fact the guy really comes across as someone who has definitely not got all of his marbles straight in his head. When his coach is threatened by a local Yakuza member, he travels to Okinawa together with a friend, to buy a gun. Once there they are befriended by a psychotic gangster called Uehara. Now this guy has his own score to settle with the Yakuza. Masaki soon realises that he is in way over his head. With Uehara going off on a rampage, the simple Masaki has to find a way to stay alive, while at the same trying to find a way to protect his coach. But the crazed Uehara is definitely not making this job easy….

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Now if I would get only one word to describe this movie, it would be the word weird. The movie starts off fairly normal, and at that point is pretty much a comedy. Masaki comes across as a complete idiot, and this supplies a couple of really funny scenes on the baseball field. As soon as the Yakuza enter the movie though, the tone of the movie shifts, and is beginning to descend into complete madness. Uehara, played by director Takeshi Kitano himself, is an absolute psycho, and a very chilling figure. His natural charm makes him only more terrifying. And that comes across in the movie itself. Some seriously disturbing scenes make this at times an uncomfortable watch, as you often wonder who comes up with stuff like this in his head.

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This movie has the word cultfilm written all over it. Even though the film has a pretty straightforward storyline, there are often strange jumps in time, and this really makes you question your own sanity at times. But ofcourse this is probably what Takeshi’s goal was in the first place. I did really enjoy Masaki’s journey however. It is always a really fun thing to see a local idiot turn into a hero, allthough even that fact is questionable by the end of the film. It is hard to recommend a movie such as this. The acting in the film is fantastic, but the sometimes weird imagery certainly won’t make this a movie that everyone will enjoy. I for one was definitely entertained by it, even though this certainly isn’t a perfect movie. If you like to watch the occasional cultmovie however, this one is certainly worth checking out.

I give Boiling Point a 7 out of 10 score.

Kishin Corps, Anime tv series (1993)

Ah, classic anime. Sometimes it can just be nice to rewatch something that you vaguely remember that you enjoyed at the time, but most of the details for it have become a distant memory. Kishin Corps was a series that I owned on videotape (you know, those black boxes that contained tape and that you put into a machine called a VCR to show videos). A couple of weeks ago I visited the Dutch Comic Con, where my eyes fell on the dvd boxed set for this 24 year old animeseries. I could not believe my eyes to be honest, and I decided to buy it. I just simply could not resist. But is this series still as great as when I first saw it, or has age caught up with this one?

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Kishin Corps takes place during the Second World War, albeit a very different one from the one we read about in the history books. We first meet up with a young boy called Taishi who is entrusted with a mysterious black box by his father. The train on which they are travelling together suddenly gets attacked by the Kanto army. While fleeing for his life, a second party appears, but this one of extraterrestrial origin. A furious battle ensues, in which Taishi only just manages to escape, but then gets cornered. Just when things become extremely desperate, the heroes of the series appear: the Kishin Corps. Taishi then gets caught up in the middle of an adventure the likes of which he has never experienced before in his life. The black box that he has in his possession, contains alien technology, that becomes the focal point for a power struggle. With both the Aliens and the Nazis trying to achieve world domination, the only hope lies with the members of the Kishin Corps and their powerful robots. Will they be able to stop the tides of war?

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Kishin Corps is a very unique series. While this anime is set during the WWII era, we get a very different take on it. This is a Mecha series, but we don’t get the fast robots that you might be used to. No, instead we get towering robots that move slowly, and let the ground shake with every step they take. The robots are seriously cool and gorgeously designed, and those alone make this anime well worth watching. Most of the characters are very colourful, and one of the highlights of this series. It is really fun to see how Taishi grows from a very innocent young boy, into a more mature man by the end of the show. The members of the Kishin Corps themselves also each have their own unique traits. I do have to say, that I would have liked to have seen some more background for them. There are real life figures that also make an appearance, like Albert Einstein and even Eva Braun, Hitler’s mistress. Although most of them are completely different in the way that history remembers them.

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This being a 24 year old series, the animation style is pretty dated. This is old school anime and it shows. It did not detract me in any way from the series itself though. The soundtrack for this anime is very cool, and often reminded me a bit of Indiana Jones if I were to make a comparison. As far as the storyline goes, it starts off pretty well, but towards the end, things were rushed a bit. As such I felt the ending was poor, and honestly was not as good as I remembered it. It is funny how your mind can play tricks on you, with things such as this. Still, if you like classic anime, and also enjoy alternative history storylines, this series most certainly is a treat. With a cast of cool characters, high speed action, and big robots that smash the life out of each other this classic is still worth the watch. If you prepare yourself for an ending that could have been handled better, you might get a kick out of this 7 episode series.

I give Kishin Corps a 8 out of 10 score.

Ghost in the Shell, American movie (2017)

So, it has finally arrived. A movie that has been covered in controversy ever since it was announced that the lead for it would be played by Scarlett Johansson. Accused of whitewashing, this movie was doomed right from the start. Most diehard fans  announced they would be avoiding it like the plague, and it has already received quite a few negative reviews. But the question one really needs to ask oneself is can you keep an open mind after a movie has received such a bad reputation before it even appears in theatres? Everybody is saying it, so it must be the truth right? Well….wrong. I think a movie of any kind is a personal experience. I always judge a movie for myself, no matter how many reviews say it is good…or bad. And so it was for this live action version for the anime classic Ghost in the Shell.

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The future. A young woman almost gets killed in a terrorist attack. Her original body is all but destroyed, but her brain survives and is transferred into a new high tech prostethic body. Henceforth she is known as the Major. Seeing the value of her and her new capabilities, the Major is transferred to the mysterious organisation called section Nine, by the people who rebuild her. Section Nine takes on a variety of missions to protect the society from dangerous individuals. It is not long before a new and mysterious cybercriminal appears known only as Kuze. It is up to the Major and the rest of section Nine to stop him. But just what does Kuze want? When a number of people get killed by him, Kuze soon begins to focus his attention on the Major. But she has her own struggles and is constantly questioning her humanity. When the truth comes out about Kuze’s real motivations, her whole world is turned upside down. A truth that is so horrible, that it might destroy her very soul….

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Now let me just state for the record that I am a massive Ghost in the Shell fan. The Major has been and always shall be my favorite alltime animecharacter. As such I was very anxious about this film. Did the movie succeed in capturing the ghost of the original? Or would it just be another empty shell? Well I can say that it definitely succeeded in the first. The first thing that I really enjoyed about this film were the visual aspects of it. Director Rupert Sanders has created a hightech world that in many ways borrows and improves upon the world created in the scifi classic Bladerunner. It all is a true visual feast for your eyes, and it is one of those films in which you will discover new aspects of the fantastic CGI world they made, every time you watch it.

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The original Ghost in the Shell anime had a multilayered storyline, with heavy underlying themes contained within it. This version has been stripped down and as such is easier to follow. It still has a few of the themes remaining, such as what really makes us human, but the best way to describe it is Ghost in the Shell light. Hardcore fans of the classic anime might be put off by this. I was not bothered by it in the least. I think it still manages to recreate the atmosphere of the original anime, while also putting a twist of it’s own in it. Many keyscenes of the animated version were recreated, and that was another thing that I really enjoyed.

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And now ofcourse to adress the issue that has made the film so controversial. Has the casting of Scarlett in the role of the Major damaged the film? First off I have to say that she did a fine job of recreating this beloved character. She manages to recapture a lot of the aspects of the Major that make it such a great character in the first place. I do think that if the part had been played by an Asian actress, it would have captured the essence of the character better. Even though the film tries it’s best to feel Asian, it’s American roots do shine through in the movie. But to simply call it a failure because of that is just too harsh. As for the rest of the cast I felt they were a bit underdeveloped. Most of the rest of section Nine had minor roles, except for Batou played by actor Pilou Asbæk. This was pretty much the Major’s movie, and I was fine with that.

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Needless to say I highly enjoyed this live action version of Ghost in the Shell. Was it perfect? No, there were definitely aspects to the film that might have been done better. But all in all this was a highly entertaining science fiction movie, that fans of the original anime will enjoy, except for maybe the real hardcore fans. The gorgeous visuals, a couple of truly spectacular action sequences, paired with a pretty good storyline make this a great movie for every science fiction lover out there.

I give Ghost in the Shell a 9 out of 10 score.

 

 

Pandora, Korean movie (2016)

It is really cool that Netflix is expanding their movie library with international movies as well these days. Being a great fan of Asian cinema, it is very nice to see that a growing number of these movies can now also be found on Netflix. A lot of disaster movies have been made throughout the years, and it is always a moviegenre that I enjoy watching a lot. Not because I like to see disasters happening. Just to make sure you don’t get the wrong idea, mind you. But it usually means that ordinary people are put into situations that let them become heroes. Browsing through the Netflix library I came across this movie that has just been added, and is both an Asian film as well as a disaster movie. Well, this is bound to be winning combination I would say. Let us find out if that is true or if this movie is erm, a disaster.

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Jae-Hyeok lives with his mother and some other family members in a small Korean town. Near this town is a nuclear plant, the same plant where his father lost his life as a employee a few years back. He is working there himself now, following in his father’s footsteps, but it being a very old plant, he is very worried about the conditions there. Ofcourse as is so often the case, nobody listens to him. Unfortunately mother nature strikes and an earthquake hits the town and the nuclear plant. It is not long thereafter that Jae-Hyeok finds himself in the middle of a nightmare. A large cloud of radiation has already been released, and there is a further disaster threatening in the form of a nuclear meltdown. With the lives of the entire Korean country hanging in the balance, some daring men must find a way to stop the meltdown. But time is running out, and with everyone who is helping getting more and more exposed to the radiation, certain doom seems almost unavoidable….

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Now this movie is ofcourse a very grim reminder of the Fukushima disaster that happened in Japan. When watching this movie, one can certainly imagine how horrid those conditions must have been in 2011. If there is one thing this movie does right, it is in showing how a disaster of this magnitude can cause a panic. I was very impressed by the way the crowds were filmed in this movie, that try to flee from the horrible radiation cloud that is coming down upon them. That said, the entire movie was shot very well, and has a very good mix of special effects and beautiful cinematography.

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The acting in this movie was pretty decent. Jae-Hyeok played by actor Kim Nam-gil, is a character that you instantly like, but I do have to say that most of the characters in this film lack depth. There is not much room for character development,which in a movie such as this is pretty important. Especially if you want to care about the people that are going through this horrible event. And ofcourse, this being a disaster movie, it is filled with the usual cliches. We get a government that is not listening despite certain warnings, and try to cover up things along the way. People that make heroic sacrifices, and ofcourse a few (at times overacted) tearful moments. Still, there is very little wrong with this movie. There is certainly enough tension throughout the film to keep you on the edge of your seat. The movie has a pretty good pace, and despite it having a length of over 2 hours long, I was not bored by it for a single moment. If you like disaster movies, you certainly might want to give this one a try.

I give Pandora a 7 out of 10 score.

Knights of Sidonia Season 2, Anime tv series (2015)

I watched the first season of Knights of Sidonia quite a while back. (You can find my review for it here). While the series started off pretty slow, and was definitely not without it’s flaws, it eventually started to grow on me. Now recently D from Dtalksanime has started on this show, and I thought this would be as good a time as any to start watching season 2. First though, if you have not yet subscribed to the fantastic blog of D, do that first. They have great reviews on anime, post that are always a joy to read, and not only that they are great to talk to, so seriously what is there not to like: subscribe….now. So for those of you who are not exactly up to speed as to what this series is about I will give a very short discription. Obviously this anime takes place in the future. Humanity is on the brink of extinction fighting an alien race called the Gauna. A gigantic colony ship called Sidonia, is pretty much all that remains of the human race. Think Battlestar Galactica, but with subtle differences.

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The second season of this anime continues the story that began in season 1, and picks up almost right after the end of the first season. Garde pilot Nagate Tanikaze is out with his group about to engage a new and gigantic Gauna, that threatens to destroy the Sidonia. But just when the fight is about to start a new enemy enters the scene. As if one Gauna is not enough, two are more than a handful. It is right at that moment that something strange happens. The second Gauna engages the first one, and destroys it completely. Utterly baffled by this strange behaviour, the crew of Sidonia don’t know what to make of this. Is this new Gauna friend or foe? The answer to this question lies within Sidonia itself, and might hold the key to winning the war against the Gauna once and for all.

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So…Knights of Sidonia season 2. Where to begin? The first season of this anime was often criticised for it’s lack of character development. You never quite felt an emotional attachment to them, and that makes it hard to get invested in a series. With this second season it almost seems like they are trying to remedy that flaw, as the series spents much more time with the characters themselves, and focusses less on action. This would not be a bad thing were it not for the fact that this often resulted in a few pretty boring episodes, where not much of anything happened. I don’t mind slow, if it is going somewhere, but often there were just some things in the series that I felt could have been left behind.

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The series shines in the episodes that featured action, and it was during those episodes that I really enjoyed it. There were a couple of very cool Mecha fight sequences, especially during the last few episodes of the series. In the end though I found this second season not quite as good as the first one. The pacing was at times simply to slow, and I felt my mind starting to wander off, which is usually not a good sign. I had hoped that this season would answer every question that was still left unanswered, but the series ends without a resolution. There is still no official confirmation that this series will get a third season. But I honestly wonder if I will even bother watching it when it does get a release. I was pretty disappointed by this second season. Still, there are enough moments that do make it a worthwhile watch, especially if you liked the first season. Just be prepared to not see anything really surprising though.

I give Knights of Sidonia season 2 a 6 out of 10 score.

Blood-C, Anime tv series (2011)

I think horror can roughly be categorised into two parts: psychological horror, and the often not very subtle gory horror. I like both genres, it often depends a bit on my mood, but I do have to say that I am more of psychological horror fan myself. It is usually more scary as well, and I do love the jumpscares that are almost always included within those movies. That said, there are also a lot of horrorfilms out there, that have buckets of blood in them, and are very enjoyable in their own way. In Anime enough examples can be found that contain enormous amounts of graphic violence and gore. But I don’t think there has ever been a title that described better what the show is about than Blood-C.

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Blood-C tells the story of the young girl Saya. At first glance she seems like a pretty normal girl who lives with her father in a shrine in the woods. She goes to school during the day, and occasionally visits the small town located near her home. But as is so often the case, things are not always what they seem. Because during the night, Saya transforms into a fearsome monster slayer. Fighting creatures called Elder Bairns, the only one who knows about this side of Saya is her father. But when the attacks become more frequent, and the lives of everyone in town are threatened, Saya’s secret is becoming increasingly harder to protect. But just who is Saya? With strange memories beginning to surface in her mind, Saya is beginning to wonder if everything that she had been told is really the truth. The real horror might be more than Saya can handle….

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To say that Blood-C is gory, is an understatement. This series contains more blood than 10 horrorfilms mixed together. Literally entire fountains of the red substance are shown in every episode. It contains absolutely incredibly graphic and violent death sequences, and as such is not for the faint of heart. Blood-C is a follow up to the (pretty amazing) anime movie Blood: the last Vampire, which in turn was followed by the series Blood+. Now as you might have guessed, this series is not very subtle. Every episode is basically Saya fighting some kind of new creature, and as such a storyline is almost non-existent. I do say almost, because a very interesting twist in the story that occurs during episode 11, saves it from becoming a really predictable show.

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As for the characters in the series, they are very forgettable. Except for Saya, the rest of the cast in this series is very dull, and contain little to no depth at all. This also makes it hard to become attached to characters, and even when they die (and there are a lot of deaths in this anime), you could not care less. The animation style is very good though. The fight sequences, which are the highlights of the show, are cool and amazing to look at. The last thing worth mentioning is the musical score, which sounds epic, especially during the many fights that Saya gets into.

Now, I don’t know exactly why, but there was something about this series that I liked. Yes, it is bloody, and basically every episode is more or less the same, but the series is just very easy to get into and highly enjoyable to look at. If you get put off easily by graphic violence or squeamish at the sight of one drop of blood, you had best avoid this series. When you like action, gory horror, and don’t care if the story is almost not here, you might give this one a try. There will be blood though….oh yes…

I give Blood-C a 7 out of 10 score.

The Stolen Years, Chinese movie (2013)

What does it mean to truly love someone? I think the real test of love might be standing by your partner, no matter what happens. To not only be there when things are fun and games, but to also stand by someone’s side when things might take a turn for the worse. Some people might go into a relationship not really expecting anything to happen, to think everything will always be the same. But what happens when the person you love, turns into someone completely different. Would you still remain by his or her side? In the movie The Stolen Years, it is this premise that is the heart of this movie.

He Mann is a woman who is happily married to the true love of her life Xie Yu. All seems to be going well, but then tragedy strikes. After a terrible accident He Mann wakes up in a hospital only to find out that her memory is partially gone. All she remembers is her love for Xie Yu, but then she finds out that the both of them have been divorced for quite some time. Not knowing what happened she eventually turns to her former husband, who has since moved on with a new girlfriend. However, it turns out that not all of his feelings for his ex wife have disappeared. Will the former two lovers be reunited, or is time running out?

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Now for those of you that have been following my blog for quite some time, you know that I am an enormous lover of Asian cinema. As such I am open to pretty much everything, be it martial arts, or a drama movie. This movie was recommended to me by a very good friend of mine (you know who you are), and I am glad that she did. This movie isn’t perfect, and honestly won’t win any movie of the year awards. But what it does do right, is quite a lot. A movie such as this can only work when there is a chemistry between the two leads. And that chemistry is definitely there between the two actors Bai Baihe and Joseph Chang. Both of them play their roles very well and deserve a high amount of praise.

I won’t lie to you, this movie can only be classified as a tearjerker. At the end of the movie things become really sad and quite depressive. However the strength of the story is what saves it from ultimately becoming too heavy. It will make you think a lot about what you would do when someone you love more than life itself becomes ill, or even changes from the person who you once knew. I think everyone would probably react differently were such a situation ever to arise, but I think what it all comes down to in the end, is that love can pretty much conquer everything. This might sound like an incredible cliche, but I do like to believe that this is usually the case.

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As I said in the beginning this movie isn’t perfect. Certain scenes feel just a bit too dramatic for their own good, and a strange musical scene towards the end of the movie feels a little awkward. All in all though, this movie is well worth watching, even though I would probably keep a box of tissues right next to you. You might need them. If you are a fan of Asian cinema, decent acting, and a strong story, you might want to check this one out. If the thought of a lovestory or tearjerkers makes you want to run away, than this movie will not change your opinion on that, and you had best avoid it.

I give The Stolen Years a 8 out of 10 score.