Tag Archives: Manga

Special Features presents: Anime Con 2018, part 1

Hello everyone! I just came back from an exhausting, but incredibly fun, three day weekend extravaganza called Animecon 2018. This annual event took place in the city of The Hague, and is a convention centered around all things Asian. This means there is a lot of anime, manga, workshops, food, games, in short all the good stuff. In order to not make a post that is so long you will get bored by it, I decided to split it up into two different parts, where I will talk about all the things I have seen and done in this fun filled weekend. So, let’s get started!

image

Just like last year I stayed at a castle  hotel. It was conveniently about a 3 minute walk from the convention itself. Which means that after buying some loot (more on that in part 2) you could drop it off at your hotelroom and get ready for buying more loot….erm, yes, moving on. As you can see from the pictures below, the hotel was pretty luxurious and a nice way to spent some time resting after running around all day at the con. Especially as my room had a very nice view. They also provided a terrificic breakfast in the morning with enough food on offer to cater to everyone’s needs.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

image

Now that we are on the subject of food, let’s talk about that for a bit. Oh, and you will get hungry after this, so you have been warned. What is a convention without food? No idea really, but there was certainly plenty to eat and drink here, and everything was just absolutely delicious. I ate a lot of cup ramen in all kinds of flavors, all of them very tasty. But the highlight certainly was the Japanese version of a Dutch dish called “poffertjes” (hey I never said or language was easy). Best way to describe poffertjes is a kind of mini pancakes, that are very sweet. However this variant was totally different and more of a salty snack. I also very much enjoyed the melon bubble tea which tasted soooo good, as well as the Japanese Crepes and Dango. All in all there was so much food there, that you had to be careful not to spend all your money on all these mouthwatering dishes.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

image

One of the floors of the convention was turned into a true video arcade. But instead of paying for these games like you normally would, you could play them all for free. With classics like Time Crisis, Monkey Ball and Tetris to name but a few, you could relive the golden age of videogames. Besides the arcade machines, you could also play games on a great variety of different consoles with both modern games as well as golden oldies, enough to satisfy your gaming addiction. If you would like to play oldschool, you could also spent time playing an amount of boardgames at the boardgamenights (which I didn’t attend myself). Many games were anime oriented, like the Attack on Titan Deckbuilding Game, but you could also play classic Asian boardgames like Go. I did play one round of Go, but as it was my first time playing that game (yeah I like to make up excuses) I lost miserably (but still had fun playing it anyway).

 

 

image

Just like last year, besides anime there were also a great number of Asian movies to be seen. I ended up seeing two of them, back to back and both were very much worth it.

Going the Distance (Japan, 2016)

image

Going the distance is a movie about friendship and how much you would give to maintain that friendship. Asahi is a boxing trainer in Tokyo who is about to get married to the girl of his dreams Kaori. When his childhood friend Hiroto shows up asking him for help, he is torn between his soon to be wife and his friend. Time is running out for Kaori as she wants to get married before her ailing grandmother who suffers from dementia, forgets who she is. Things soon spiral out of control though, and Asahi finds himself in increasingly more trouble. This drama was very unique in the way that there was absolutely no music that accompanied it. It was an immensely beautiful film, that once again proves how precious true friendship really is, as well as the hard fact that you can’t always get what you want in life.

Her love boils bathwater (Japan 2016)

image

This beautiful and heartwarming drama was sent in for a contender as the best
foreign language film at the Oscars of 2017. Sadly it did not make the cut and one has to wonder why. The film tells the story of the woman Futuba who has just been diagnosed with cancer and hears she only has a few more months left to live. Instead of giving up, she is determined to finish a few things before she dies. One is finding back her missing husband and get him to resume the family bath house. Another no less important thing is getting her daughter Azumi, who is being bullied at school, to stand up for herself. With time running out, will she be able to accomplish these and other goals? A movie like this could become an enormous tearjerker. While I won’t deny that you won’t shed a few tears it is mainly a film that fills you with hope and an incredible feel good feeling. I was especially astonished by the high level of acting in this movie. In particular by lead actresses Rie Miyazawa who plays the terminally ill Futuba and Hana Sugisaki who played her daughter Azumi. Both were absolutely amazing in their admittedly very difficult roles. This was a powerful film that stayed in my head long after I finished it.

Well, that’s it for part one. Tomorrow I will bring you part 2, which will feature the anime that I watched, as well as all the stuff that I bought. And, last but not least I will also tell you what was the highlight of the convention for me, and suprisingly that wasn’t any anime or a movie. But more on that tomorrow, as I have to keep some suspense up right? Thank you all for reading, and now I am going to try and make up for some lost sleep lol!

Advertisements

Erased, Japanese Tv series (2017)

Last year I saw an anime that ended up being one of the best that I have ever seen to date in my life. It was called Erased and I gave it a perfect score at the time. Having not yet revisited it I don’t know if I would give it the same score today that I gave it back then. The review for it was written in the early days of my blog, but I do know that I absolutely loved it. So when I heard they were going to be producing a live action series based on the manga/anime, the first thought that went through my mind was “Oh God, please not this again”. As most anime fans will know, the reputation for these kind of shows/movies that are based on our beloved animated series isn’t one to be very proud of. In fact, it’s downright abysmal if you look at it closely. But, since I loved the anime so much I decided to at least watch the pilot for this one and give it a chance……So, I guess you are all waiting for what I eventually thought of it huh? Okay, I will get to that after I present the plot, but how about when I say that this might just be the best live action anime adaptation ever. Did that catch your attention? Right…as I was saying let’s start with the plot first.

image
Hey! No pictures please!

The aspiring manga artist Satoru has a gift. Or a curse depending on which way you look at it. With the ability called Revival he is able to travel back in time to prevent bad things from happening. He always experiences it just before some kind of calamity occurs, and he usually has a short time window to stop it. But Satoru is always able to save the day just in time. But then one day he arrives home and finds his mother dead on the floor with a knife sticking out of her back. With his hands covered in blood Satoru becomes the prime suspect for this grissly deed. Just when he is about to get caught by the police his Revival ability kicks in. But this time it takes him back farther in time than ever before. To his childhood to be exact, 18 years in the past. Now with his adult mind in the driver’s seat of his 11 year old self, he has to find a way to prevent his mother’s death and that of three of his classmates. Most notably the young girl Kayo Hinazuki who he has grown very close to. But his opponent is a very cunning and brutal serial killer that will stop at nothing to achieve his goals…….

image
Are you going to eat that cake?

One of the things that live action adaptations, or any adaptations as a matter of fact usually get wrong is that they stray too far from the source material. Or don’t even use it at all. And that’s where Erased really shines. This 12 part Netflix series captures the heart and soul of what made the original so great in the first place. Things like friendship, never giving up, but also it’s darker themes such as child abuse all make an appearance. In the first 6-7 episodes the people who have seen the anime will find it follows the storyline very closely. They throw a few other things and twists in the mix but other than that it resembles it’s anime counterpart almost exactly. In what can be called the second act, it diverges it’s story into other directions without going completely off the rails. In fact I liked that they also devised some original storylines as well, because else the outcome would have been very predictable.

image
Did I mention there were some heartwarming moments in this series?

Another thing you will notice when you start watching this is how gorgeous everything looks. The cinematography is stunning in this series. From the bleak factories, to the snowfilled landscapes and beautiful sunsets, everything almost looks like a painting. It really helps in setting the overall tone and atmosphere for this. The acting for this is also pretty good with one noteworthy exception. The children especially are extremely well cast, particularly the girl who plays the young Hinazuki. Just as in the anime she really is going through hell in this show, and the tv series doesn’t shy away from that subject either. Even though Hinazuki appears to be a little bit older than her anime counterpart, the actress that portrays her does a great job making us care about her character. In fact the only actress I didn’t like in certain scenes was the one who plays Airi, the girl who has a crush on the older Satoru. There were a couple of moments that were a bit cringeworthy in the way she portrayed them, but they don’t cause enough trouble to really become a problem.

image
Erm, I would change my shirt if I were you. It looks like you had an accident with the ketchup bottle.

If I want to be nitpicking I can also point out that there is a certain character that at one point has a fake beard that looks so stupid it is almost laughable. In fact I found myself wondering who on Earth came up with that. But that’s a relatively minor issue in what is otherwise a truly awesome show. With the episodes being only 30 minutes long, Erased has the name bingewatch written all over it. If you have not yet seen the anime I think you are going to enjoy this series even more than those who did. As the show basically tells the same story there are not many surprises in store for the fans of the anime. But as a fan I can say that I still enjoyed this one immensely. This is without a doubt the best anime live action adaptation that I have ever seen and I highly recommend this series. It is not as good as the anime, in that I can be honest, but it does come very, very close. Erased is a really terrific series that tells a heartbreaking, exciting and sometimes downright chilling story. I dare you not to finish this one in one go.

I give Erased a 9 out of 10 score.

 

Special Features Presents: First trailer for Alita Batle Angel

After a bit of a strange week of blogging, and my recovering from a rather nasty flu (you can read all about that right here), today marks the first day that I hope to get back to normal blogging operations. Erm, yeah I don’t quite know what that means either. I’m at least going to try and make an effort to catch up on some posts that I have missed, and try and write some stuff myself again as well. They say there is such a thing as not believing in things that are a coincidence, but I sometimes beg to differ. I literally acquired the first volume of the Deluxe Edition of the Battle Angel Alita manga, this weekend. For those of you not familiair with it, Battle Angel Alita is a long running manga series. It features a young innocent looking cyborg woman called Alita, that is found and rescued at a Scrapyard by a cyber doctor where she was dumped. Floating above this Scrapyard is the floating city of Zalem. While the people at Zalem seem to enjoy a life of luxury, the people at the Scrapyard live in poverty and try to get by as best they can. It soon becomes apparent though that Alita is no ordinary cyborg, and is in reality a deadly assassin skilled in the legendary martial arts of Panzerkunst.

image
The first volume of the Deluxe Edition of the manga. Expect a review for this one next year. 

Now getting back to that coincidence, friday the first trailer for the live action movie of Alita seemingly came out of nowhere. It was a movie project that has been rumored for ages now, with director James Cameron having said that he has always been interested in making a film for this. It seems that plan has now finally been put into motion. Although Cameron doesn’t direct, he is quite involved in the project. And I have to say that what is on display in this trailer is really awesome. Not only does it look rather unique, we also get a pretty good cast that bring the characters to life. I for one can’t wait to see the final product, which will make an appearance in the theatres next year. For your enjoyment I have provided the trailer for you to watch, and judge by yourself. Let me know what you think of it in the comments section below.

 

Blogwarming Party!

Hello everyone, and especially you new anibloggers! Huh, what’s this I can hear you all thinking right now. Well this is a post directed especially at new anibloggers, but it’s also meant to give a bit of shameless promotion to one blogger in particular, but more on that later. For all you veteran bloggers out there, do you remember what it was like when you started your own blog, weeks, months, or maybe even years ago? I know that I do for sure. I had literally no idea what I was doing. One sunday morning I got this crazy idea to start a blog about one of my greatest passions: movies and television series. When I published my first post, I was amazed that there were people that even read it. What was even more fun, is that eventually people even started commenting on later posts. At first I felt a bit like the character above this post: shy as hell. But eventually I got over my fears and started commenting on other people’s posts and it was a lot of fun. Blogging has since then become one of my greatest hobbies, and it has grown into a part of my life that I can’t live without anymore.

image
Let’s get this party started!

But before this turns into a post about me, let me tell you what the real point of this one is. Remember that shameless promotion I was talking about for a particular blogger? Well here it comes. Ever since I started blogging my love for anime has returned, and I keep stumbling across new blogs for this wonderful medium every week. Most recently I discovered Irina’s wonderful aniblog called I drink and watch anime (the title alone is just reason enough to start following her). Seriously though, her blog has skyrocketed for the past few weeks, and deservedly so. She has awesome reviews, but is also a very kind person to talk to, and always takes the time to respond to a comment you left for her.

image
Really, no need to start blushing !

Today though, she came with an absolutely wonderful idea, that I just had to promote. She is reaching out to any aniblogger that has just started out by featuring some of their new posts. In other words she is creating a platform to showcase your work if you have just started blogging. Now if that isn’t awesome and enormously kind, I really don’t know what is. You can find out more about this by checking out her own post for this right here . Now if you haven’t already of course go and follow her blog as well, and I promise you won’t regret it. So on a personal note: I think it is an awesome and seriously cool idea you had here Irina, so I wish you all the best with the execution of it. If you ever need more help for this: let me know!. Well I guess that is enough shameless promotion for one post lol, but I definitely meant every word of it. Well, all you new anibloggers out there: best of luck, and remember this: blogging is awesome, as you will discover soon enough!

A post called “D”

Helly everyone! When you come across the title for this post I can almost imagine the expressions on most of your faces. A post called “D”, what the heck is he talking about? Well….let me explain things, and hopefully it will become clear. I have been blogging for over a year now, and I almost can’t believe it’s been that long. It has been an incredible journey, that had it’s ups and downs, but there is one thing that has made it all worth it. And that is meeting a lot of cool people along the way. Some of them have become very good friends, even though we might never meet in real life. When I first started my blog I was incredibly shy, and also afraid to make a comment on someone else’s blog. (Why would someone be interested in anything that I have to say, right?). Well, I am glad I got over that initial fear, and started doing that, because that is the best thing about blogging: sharing thoughts with other people and becoming part of this community.

image

And that brings me to the reason for this post: it is the 8th of October (Well, at least it is right now over here in Holland), and that means it is someone’s birthday today! Now, I know they hate me for writing this post (lol😂), but they are also worth it, so that is why I am doing it anyway. The person who’s birthday it is today should be familiair to most of you that write about anime. And that is “D” from Dtalksanime. ( So, that explains the title for this post: DUH ).And they are just simply put awesome! Not only are their reviews incredibly fun to read, but they are also very kind and always have a nice reply ready for anything you comment on. Not only that, but they also offer cool comments on posts that you write yourself, and it always amazes me that people take time from their busy lives to comment on anything that you write in the first place.

image

So why this post? Well “D” has not only become a very good friend, but as some of you have read on their blog they have been going through a rough patch the past few weeks and are currently on hiatus. Life can sometimes be really tough, and make us feel like crap. So I thought it would be a nice idea to write this post, and to let the comment section serve as a happy birthday wishlist for them. In other words: use the comments section below to wish them a happy birthday, and let them know how much we miss their posts. And if you are not yet following their terrific blog, use the link above to subscribe to them! Let me kick this off with saying : “D, my friend, have a terrific day! I know you usually don’t like things like this, but I do hope that this has put a smile on your face. And if not, you can always sent Mei from Another to my house to scare the living daylights out of me! 😂😂 Happy Birthday! 🎉🎉🎉🎉 ”

image

Alita Last Order Omnibus vol.1, A Japanese manga book (2011)

The Japanese manga Battle Angel Alita, or Gunnm as it is known in Japan, has been praised by none other than director James Cameron. He is a huge fan of this manga, and has been wanting to direct a live action movie based on it for quite some time now. I doubt it will ever get to see the light of day though, as it has been announced so many times that is almost becoming laughable. For those of you unfamiliair with the original manga let me tell you quickly what the story is about.

image

Battle Angel Alita is set in a post apocalyptic future and is centered around the character of Alita, a female cyborg. She was originally found in a junkyard, robbed of all her memories. The cybernetics doctor who finds Alita, decides to rebuild her, and when she awakens she discovers that there is actually one thing she does remember. It is the ancient legendary martial art of Panzer Kunst. With this deadly skill she eventually takes on the profession of  bounty hunter. The world she lives in is an interesting and very unique one. The floating city of Tiphares is the cause of a massive scrapheap on the surface which surrounds the aptly named city of Scrapyard. As the city of Tiphares is off limits to surface dwellers, they are forced to make a living amongst the junk, a very hard life indeed.

image

Alita Last Order continues the storyline of the original manga, but does pretty much ignore the original ending, or so I have heard. While I did read a few chapters of the first Battle Angel Alita series, I have never completed it. But so far I have been able to follow the storyline along just fine without all the knowledge of the original manga. Alita Last Order starts off with the resurrection of Alita by her enemy/ally Desty Nova. Their relationship has always been a complex one, and it continues to be so in the new series. The story this time takes place on Tiphares, on which quite a number of things have changed. The city has turned into complete chaos, and numerous rebellions are underway. Amidst the chaos Alita tries to find out what happened to her old friend Lou, but at the same she also searches for more answers to her own forgotten past. Both things are incredibly hard to do, as Alita is about to find out…

image

While I still prefer anime to manga, this series was just to good to resist. I fell in love with the character of Alita quite a few years ago, when I first laid eyes on her in the original manga. While visiting Animecon 2017 last month, I was amazed to find out that the series had continued in this new form, and as such I bought all five omnibus editions. The first installment certainly did not disappoint. The art for this is absolutely breathtaking, and at times I just kept staring at certain panels to admire them. Alita contains enough action to keep your attention throughout the entire 650 page count, but the story itself also is worth every minute of your time. The theme that keeps returning the most is the question of what it is like to be human. But even though that has been featured so many times in other media, Alita turns it upside down, and still manages to be original too. I simply have nothing negative to say about this series. If you love dystopian post apocalyptic science fiction stories, featuring great art, and enough action to leave you gasping at air, I highly recommend you check this manga out.

I give Alita Last Order Omnibus Volume 1 a 9 out of 10 score.

 

Special Features Presents: Animecon 2017, part 2

Hello everyone, welcome to the second part of my report from Animecon 2017, which I attended this weekend. You can find the first part right Here. Without further ado let’s gets on with the second part.

The food

Ofcourse it would not be a good thing to go without food for three days, and luckily the con as well as the hotel had plenty of great things on offer. I especially enjoyed the tasty udon flavoured cup noodles. They were absolutely delicious, and I helped myself to these twice. There was a lot of variety to choose from, ranging from homemade ramen to hamburgers and vegan food. There was something tasty for everyone.

Too much stuff to buy

I knew going into this con that this would definitely not be good for my wallet. And it really wasn’t, lol. I bought way too much stuff, but it was all definitely worth it. Besides the entire manga series of Battle Angel Alita, I got a lot of Animeseries on dvd, some new, some old, but all of them pretty cool. Yes I know, as if I did not have too much stuff to watch already. I also got a great modelkit for a Mobile Suit Gundam Wing classic guntank, which will be great to put together. All in all I have really gotten soms terrific new stuff, and I could not be happier with it.

What I saw: movies

Besides anime there were also a lot of Asian movies to watch. Just as with the anime on offer I had to make a choice as to what to watch, and these three films were the ones I eventually ended up seeing.

imageTrain to Busan

This was the movie that I was looking forward to the most, and it did not disappoint. I had to stay up till three o’clock at night in order to see it, but wow was it worth it. This Korean zombie movie was a blockbuster back in it’s homeland, and it also became a huge succes worldwide. Suffice it say that for me it has been the best Korean movie that I have seen, and you can expect a review for this movie on my blog very soon.

 

 

 

imageGood Stripes!

The description for this movie said this was supposed to be a heartwarming  movie, that would leave no heart untouched. Well, I don’t know if whoever gave that description saw the same film that I did, but it was one of the most depressing movies that I have seen in quite a while. It tells the story of a couple that were about to break up, but end up staying together because the woman got pregnant. This film was really boring, and a great disappointment. Definitely wished I had avoided this one.

 

imageKen and Kazu!

The last movie I saw was Ken and Kazu! , which I highly enjoyed. This was a seriously brutal crime movie, but one that had a great storyline and some terrific acting. Ken and Kazu are lifelong friends, that make their living by drug smuggling for their boss. One day Kazu decides to start making money for himself, without their boss knowing this. This is the beginning of a violent spiral, that can only end in bloodshed. The two leadactors did a great job, and this film definitely stood out in the oversaturated Yakuza movie genre.

 

Final notes

To say that I had a great time this weekend is pretty much an understatement. I ended up seeing a lot of great films and anime, highly enjoyed all the things on offer, and the atmosphere was just terrific. My only regret was not attending any of the workshops that were organised. I decided to go for the movies and anime this year, but next year I’m probably going to turn this around and go to some of the workshops as well. My hats off to all the organisers of this con for making this such an entertaining weekend. I will leave you with a couple of pictures I took to give you an impression of this great weekend. As always thank you for reading and see you at the next post !

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Special Features Presents: Animecon 2017 Part 1

Hello everyone. As most of you that have been following my blog know, I have attended Animecon 2017 this weekend. To say that Animecon only focusses itself on anime would be selling it short. If I were to give a description for it, I would say it is more a celebration of all things Asian. Besides being able to watch a lot of anime, there are also all kinds of Asian movies to see, workshops to participate in, games to play, and a whole lot of other stuff. I have made this post to give you an impression of my weekend, and I hope you will enjoy reading it.

The Hotel

Animecon took place in The Hague, which is about a two hour drive from where I live. So in order to not travel back and forth the entire weekend, I decided to stay at a hotel. Normally this would be pretty expensive, but because of the con taking place, a special discount was granted. It was one of the most luxurious hotels that I have ever stayed at, and as you can see from the pictures above, the room itself as well as the view was pretty amazing.

Busy, busy, busy….

It was a very busy weekend with a lot of people attending. Checking in at the hotel took me almost 40 minutes, and getting in to the con itself also took me just about the same time. At least everyone was in very good spirits, and I got to admire a lot of cosplayers. The weather outside was luckily very good, so I honestly did not mind the wait.

What I saw: Anime

Ofcourse with a title like Animecon one should not be surprised that there was a lot of anime on offer. With four different movie theatres playing all kinds of different shows and movies at the same time, you had to make a selection. Down below is an overview of the anime that I chose to see.

imageMagic-Kyun Renaissance Episodes 1-4

This was a pretty fun series to start off with. For some reason it reminded me a bit of Harry Potter. It tells the story of a girl called Kohana who attends The Magical Arts High School. Upon her arrival she meets a number of people there, that throughout a variety of different arts can produce sparkles, a kind of magical effect. I don’t exactly know why, but I found this series to be quite enjoyable. It was beautifully animated, the characters looked great, and the story was pretty unique.

imageChaos;Child Episodes 1-5

This series seriously creeped me out. It was too bad they only showed the first 5 episodes because I could have continued watching this the entire evening. A massive earth quake destroys the city of Shibuya. Six years later the city has been rebuilt, and the survivors continue with their lives. But then a series of mysterious deaths begin to occur that happen to coincide with a string of murders that also happened six years ago. With genuinely disturbing imagery, and a very scary atmosphere, I absolutely loved this one.

imageThe Piano Forest

The Piano Forest was a very beautiful movie, that focussed on a young boy called Shuhei who moves from Tokyo to a smaller city. Shuhei’s dream is to become the best piano player in the world, but because of that he at first doesn’t fit in with his classmates at the local school. But then he comes in contact with the young boy Kai, who lives in the Red Light District. Kai also plays the piano, but in a nearby forest on a mysterious piano that only he seems to be able to get to work. A friendship is soon formed between the unlikely pair, but one that does not come easy. Although this movie was pretty slow, the story was very engaging, and just a great watch from beginning to end.

imageBubblegum Crisis OVA 1-3

This was old school anime at it’s best. A series that was made back in the 80’s, it has influences from classic movies like Blade Runner. It tells the story of four girls who make up the Knight Sabers, who fight crime in a future city in high powered exo suits. With blasting 80’s rockmusic, a great atmosphere, and a classic animation style, this was great to see back again after all these years.

 

 

And that’s it for the first part of this report. Join me again on the second part, where I will talk about the Asian films that I have seen this weekend. Also I will be showing you some of the great food on offer as well as the new things that I bought (and trust me when I say that my wallet was pretty empty after this weekend lol). As always thank you for reading, and I hope to see you back for part 2, that will be published later today.

 

Blame!, Japanese (animated) movie (2017)

The Netflix original animeseries Knights of Sidonia, I had kind of a love/hate relationship with. On the one hand it has some very cool concepts, and definitely quite a few interesting episodes. On the other hand it also featured some very bland characters with little to no development of those said characters whatsoever. It is hard to get attached to a series in that way. I have done reviews for both Season 1 and Season 2 which you might want to check out if you are interested. This week Netflix has released a new animated feature made by the same people responsible for Knights of Sidonia. It is based on a 10 volume cyberpunk manga that was released in 1998. Has this movie been able to avoid some of the mistakes that were made in Knights of Sidonia ? Let’s find out shall we?

image
Hi, my name is Killy and this is my gun. 

Blame! takes place in a very dark future, but it never becomes quite clear exactly where this story is taking place. A gigantic city that continues to expand and self replicate has been infected by a virus in the distant past. Because of this, it has decided that people should be wiped out. Pockets of humanity that are still alive struggle daily, scrounging for food and trying to avoid Watchers that are hellbent on killing everything. A small enclave of humans known as the Electro-fishers, are close to extinction. One of them, a girl named Zuru is out on a patrol trying to find food, together with a few of her companions. Unfortunately they are soon discovered by a Watchtower of the gigantic city, that unleashes a stream of enemies to kill them all. But then a mysterious stranger appears that manages to save them. Introducing himself as Killy, he says that he is human and is looking for people that have the Net Terminal Genes. With these, he might be able to stop the expansion of the city, and rescue humanity. But the question is if Killy’s motives are entirely noble, or if there is some darker purpose that he is working for….

image
It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to. 

Blame! has quite a few things that it does right. For one thing I really like the premise for this one. The story of an ever expanding city, that is totally focussed on wiping out humans is pretty cool. It created a very dark atmosphere that at times reminded me of the sci-fi classic The Matrix. The background designs, and animation are also pretty good. Even though at times it looked a bit like I was watching Knights of Sidonia, I thought it looked better than that series. Action wise there is a lot to enjoy as well. Killy has some pretty cool fight scenes, especially towards the end of the film, and those were highly entertaining.

image
These people sure like to take every opportunity to show off their guns. 

Sadly though Blame! features characters that I really could not relate to at all. The only one that was remotely interesting was the main hero Killy, who looked very cool, but also had a dark and mysterious vibe to him that somehow worked. The rest of the cast though I could not care less about. In a post apocalyptic future, with people struggling daily, I think it would be very important to create a background for  your characters. But pretty much everyone in this movie seemed to made out of cardboard, without any kind of depth to them. And that for me was a major flaw that  made the movie at the end a bit of a forgettable experience. It was not a total waste though. As mentioned the concept itself is very cool, and there are enough scenes that are definitely worth watching. I just felt that this movie could have been so much better, and as such it was a wasted opportunity. Still, if you like dark cyberpunk science fiction movies, you might want to give this one a try. Just keep your expectations for it low.

I give Blame! 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.

image

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…..

image

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.

image

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”.

image

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.