Tag Archives: Mystery

Chaos; Child, Anime tv series (2017)

Throughout history there have been many serial killers that spread a wave of fear amongst the general population. A lot of them were luckily caught, but there were also some cases that have never been solved. Imagine being a detective that has been given the job to catch such a killer. Where would you start with? And also think of the pressure you would be under if the bodycount keeps going up. Serial killer stories have been the subject for many movies and tv series. For some twisted reason, people just keep enjoying that subject, and admittedly they have provided a couple of great and classic movies. Anime has also had it’s share of serial killer stories, like for instance the terrific series Erased. And now we have Chaos;Child, but to call this a show just about a serial killer, is selling it short and doesn’t even begin to cover it. It is a blend of a lot of different genres, that is both it’s greatest strength, but also at the same time it’s greatest weakness. But lets first start with the story itself.

image
Yep, sometimes it can be quite tough to be a murder investigator. 

The city of Shibuya has been struck by a massive earthquake, an event that happened six years in the past. It is now the year 2015, and the survivors of that terrible day are trying to get on with their lives, after the city itself has been completely rebuild. One of those survivors is a young man called Takuru Miyashiro, who is a member of his school’s newspaper club. He is currently investigating a string of grissly murders, that leads him to believe that a serial killer is currently active. But soon he begins to realise that the murders bear an uncanny resemblance to a case that was known as The New Generation Murder Madness, which happened right before the earthquake struck. Even more frightening is the fact that the people that are getting killed now, are dying on the exact same dates as the killings that took place six years ago. Soon Takuru gets sucked into a mystery that will have dire consequences for himself, but also for the people that are close to him….

image
The new commercial for tomato ketchup had gotten quite out of hand. 

Chaos; Child is a series that is a cocktail of so many different genres, that it’s pretty hard to describe in which category this one falls. So I am not going to even attempt to try and do that. But I for one quite liked this series, despite it having quite a few flaws as well. But let’s first start with the positive notes. One thing this anime does very well is create a very creepy and intense atmosphere. That’s where the horror elements come in. The murders that are taking place in this series, are honestly quite brutal and disturbing. Which means this anime is certainly not for the faint at heart. Another thing that I loved in Chaos;Child, is the mystery elements and numerous twists. Your mind pretty much went into overdrive with each episode in trying to figure out what was going on along with Takuru. Certain revelations and events sometimes really came as quite a shock, and left you breathless.

image
I would cry too if my presents got trashed like this. 

 

However the series also had quite a few flaws. The amount of information that was sometimes thrown at viewers during an episode was staggering, and at times made it hard to follow along. This anime was a sequel to Chaos;Head, which I haven’t seen, and the first episode did a recap for that series. That in itself is a good thing, but it showed a lot of the information in the form of an internet forum, with numerous texts appearing at the same time. I actually had to pause the series at certain times during that episode just to read everything. The characters in Chaos;Child are also introduced very rapidly, and in that way it was hard to form an attachment to them. Most of them, with a few exceptions, just are not that interesting, and when some of them eventually end up getting killed, you don’t really care enough about them to be bothered by it.

image
I did mention this series was quite disturbing at times right? 

As mentioned earlier this series mixes together a lot of different elements. Horror, mystery, supernatural, psychic powers and even science fiction elements are all in this series at some point. It made it a very interesting show for me, but I can also see how people might not like that fact. Chaos;Child is not an easy watch. The first episode alone is a hard one to get through, but it does eventually pay off to continue with this series. The storyline, despite it’s many elements, is quite clever and has been put together very well. When you reach the final episode, your brain might already have exploded in trying to figure out what it is you just watched. I for one found it a series that kept on going in my mind, which is usually a good thing. I am definitely going to track down Chaos;Head, if only for the fact if by seeing that one, certain things in this series might start to make more sense. If you like horror and supernatural series, and are not one to quit on a series after just one episode, this series will provide enough entertainment for you.

I give Chaos;Child a 8 out of 10 score.

Advertisements

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.

image
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……

image
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.

image
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.

image
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.

Steins;Gate,Anime tv series (2011)

Timetravelling. From movies such as Back to the Future and The Terminator, it has always been a concept that is endlessly fascinating. And why not? Would it not be incredibly awesome if one day the concept would become a reality? And where would you go? Would you travel to the past and correct certain mistakes that you have made ? Or would you head into the future and see what your life would be like there? Whatever choice you make, it will never be entirely without consequences. Who is to say that correcting a past mistake might not end up resulting in a future that is even worse? And when you already know what might happen in the future, would that not take the fun out of living your life? A lot of movies that deal with timetravelling deal with questions such as these. The highly rated and fanfavorite Anime series Steins;Gate is definitely no exception to this rule.

image

When Steins;Gate starts we meet up with the strange and pretty goofy character Rintaro Okabe. He sees himself as a “mad scientist” and pretty much can’t stop talking about that fact. Seeing conspiracies everywhere, he also runs a labarotory in his appartment together with his friends the loveable Mayuri Shiina and Itaru Hashida. One day Rintaro attends a conference about time travel, a subject that has become a complete obsession for him. A firm believer in the fact that this can really be achieved it is not long after that he and his fellow lab members find out by accident that there definitely is a truth to this fact. Unfortunately however, Rintaro and his friends are about to find out that playing with time has it’s consequences. Ironically enough the imagined conspiracies Okabe has been afraid of all his life, will soon become a reality. And the lives of everyone he loves, as well as the fate of the world itself will hang in the balance….

image

Steins;Gate has been recommended to me be my so many people that is was a very hard show to resist. Featuring time travel, one of my favorite science fiction concepts, already had me interested in it. Seeing the very high ratings this show has received over the years, I expected a lot from this series. And…..I am sorry to say that these expectations were not met. The first half of this series is just incredibly slow. I don’t mind slow series at all, but with all the quirky and crazy things happening in the beginning it was at times hard to stick with it. But I already knew that, as everyone kept saying that the series would redeem itself in the second part. By the time I had reached episode 12 the series really did change. It became very dark, and it was almost as if you were watching an entirely different show.

image

Although the second part certainly had a lot of amazing twists, and some very clever timetravelling concepts, I still could not get into it enough for me to truly enjoy the series. One thing I did enjoy though were the characters. Rintaro reminds me a lot of Mel Gibson’s character from the briljant movie Conspiracy Theory. Completely nuts at times, but still a lot of fun to watch. The same goes for his childhood friend Mayuri, who is simply adorable, and one of those characters that you just instantly care about. The animation style and music also really fit this series. Even though there are certainly shows out there that have a higher level of animation, it just seemed right for this show.

image

The plot of this series is clever, but because of the sometimes weird humor in the series, I often had a hard time wondering what this series wanted itself to be. As a comedy it certainly worked at times, and there were also quite a few episodes in the second half of the series that had me on the edge of my seat. Overall though the series was a bit too slow for my tastes. I have no regrets watching this, and it really is one of those series that does keep sticking around in your mind, which I guess is a good thing . Maybe in a few months time I will rewatch this series and might even rate it somewhat higher. For now though I can not help but feel slightly disappointed by the show after the incredible amount of hype this has received. As with everything, this is just a matter of opinion, so certainly don’t take my word on it alone. Go and judge this series for yourself, but do take your TIME for it though…..

I give Steins;Gate a 7 out of 10 score.

Special Features Presents: My five favorite Superbowl trailers (2017)

Earlier this week one of America’s biggest events was held: The Superbowl. Now I pretty much don’t care about sports. Yes I admit it, I am lazy that way. I at times get tired just by thinking about sports. For me the Superbowl is just about one thing: the release of some cool new trailers for upcoming movies and tv series. Following below, counting down from number five to one, are the trailers that I was excited about the most this year. Enjoy!

5) Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Now, actually I was pretty surprised that this one ended up on my list. The movies for this franchise went downhill pretty fast after the first one was released, but admittedly this trailer looks like the films might finally be heading in the right direction again. The trailer features some very cool looking stuff, and honestly I am cautiously optimistic for it.

 

4) Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 2

The first Guardians of the Galaxy was one of those movies I went to not knowing what to expect from it. And in the end I was completely blown away by it. It was fun, pure and simple fun. This new trailer promises more of that same fun, and I can’t wait for it’s release later this year.

 

3) The Fate of the Furious

Yes, I know, the Fast and the furious franchise is getting crazier with each installment that is being released. The action is so over the top though, that I can’t help but enjoy these movies for what they are: big budget popcorn movies. And there is nothing wrong with that. This new trailer shows that the action will be even more insane this time around.

 

2) Ghost in the Shell

From all the trailers featured in this post, this movie is the closest to being released. And I can’t help it, but I think it looks awesome. The trailer really captures the spirit of the Anime in so many ways. Ofcourse I have no idea if the movie itself will do the same, but I do know that I am looking forward to it immensely. Keeping my fingers crossed for it.

 

1) Stranger Things Season 2

This was the trailer I was looking forward to the most, and it did not disappoint. For those of you who have yet to see this series, you can read my review for it right here . This was the best tv series I have seen last year, and this short teaser let me have goosebumps all over again. It will be very hard to even reach the same level as the incredible first season, but this teaser already has me excited that they might actually pull this off. The only downside? We have to wait until Halloween for the release.

 

So there you have them, my five picks for the best trailers of the Superbowl. Ofcourse there were numerous other trailers released. So let me know in the comments section below what your favorite trailers were. Thank you for reading, and see you at the next post!

ARQ, American/Canadian movie (2016)

I have very fond memories of the classic movie Groundhog Day. In that film, Bill Murray keeps reliving the same day, over and over again. It was a fantastic concept which also resulted in a very wonderful movie. Ever since Groundhog Day, timeloops have appeared in numerous movies and tv series. If done well, it can make for a great watch, for instance the recent animeseries Erased. Netflix has released a lot of great movies and shows this year, and they really seem to be on a roll. The sci-fi movie ARQ is Netflix’s attempt to create a new spin on the timeloop story.

ARQ takes place in a post apocalyptic Earth where something has gone drastically wrong with the world. The human race is the only species left, electricity is scarce, and the very air is hard to breath. Every day seems to be a struggle. One day the young man Renton wakes up in his house next to the girl he loves Hannah. Only seconds later a group of masked thugs break down the door to their appartment, and drag the bewildered couple straight down to the basement of the house. Renton has been working on a mysterious device called ARQ that is situated in the very same basement. He assumes this is what the masked men are after, and he desperately tries to find a way to escape. However, something goes horribly wrong and he gets shot while attempting to flee. But then something weird happens. Renton wakes up seconds later, right next to gis girlfriend. Caught in a timeloop from which there seems to be no escape, Renton and Hannah desperately try to find a way out. However time itself will be their greatest foe…

image

This is one of those movies that just doesn’t do anything wrong, but also feels like you have seen this all before. Which is pretty funny, considering this is a movie about a timeloop. One of the things this movie does very well, is create a dark and tense atmosphere. The calamity that seems to have befallen Earth, never quite gets explained, and that somehow works for this film. It only adds to the sense of mystery that surrounds this movie. Robby Amell who plays Renton, and Rachael Taylor playing Hannah both do a pretty good job in their respective roles. The story of ARQ is one of the weaker points of the film. There are a lot of questions in the movie, that in the end will unfortunately not all be answered. Sometimes that works, as in the aforementioned disaster that devastated the Earth. But too many things are left wide open, and will leave you with a bit of a hangover at the end of the film.

That said, this is not a bad film. If you like scifi thrillers with a bit of a darker edge, there is enough to enjoy in this movie. Unfortunately though, as too many things are left unresolved, it will leave you wondering why you have invested all your precious time in it. And not even a timeloop can change that fact….

I give ARQ a 6 out of 10 score.

Bokurano, Anime tv series (2007)

“Your eyes can deceive you, don’t trust them”. This quote from the famous Jedi Knight Obi Wan Kenobi, can be applied to a lot of things. Take Anime for example. With the enormous amount of shows on offer, there are definitely going to be series that might on the surface look like another familiair or even classic show. It might even seem that it would try to cash in on the succes of such a show, instead of being original. However, that this might not always be the case, and that sometimes you just need to look a bit further, is definitely proven by the anime Bokurano.

It is summer vacation when a group of 15 children go to the beach in order to enjoy themselves. Not before long they discover a strange and mysterious cave, where they meet a man called Kokopelli. He tells them that he is a designer of videogames, and that he is currently working on his latest game. In it, a giant robot will take the role as defender of the Earth, against 15 other enemy robots that will appear. Kokopelli asks the children if they might be interested in testing the game. All they have to do is place their hands on a device, and with that they sign the contract as exclusive gametesters. Ofcourse thinking this is a truly awesome chance, they are more than happy to agree. Soon after though, they discover that this “game” is the real thing, and they become locked in a struggle for the very survival of Earth….and themselves….

image

When Bokurano first started, I found it to have more than a striking resemblance to a certain classic animeseries called Neon Genesis Evangelion. However as the series progresses, it became something completely different indeed. This is without a doubt one of the darkest animeshows I have seen to date. Without spoiling things, let me just say that the stakes in this series are very high, and that you at times might not believe what these young children are put through. The cast of characters is awesome, but besides that being one of the shows greatest strengths, it is also one of it’s greatest weaknesses. Because the cast of characters is so large, it is at times hard to keep track of who everyone is. Stick with it though, because that definitely improves with each episode. The mecha in this show are pretty oldschool, and not as sleek as for instance the robots in a series like Gundam Wing. These are giant lumbering behemoths, as shown in the picture above, where the ground shakes with every step they take.

Speaking of oldschool, the animation of this series has a bit of a classic feel to it. As I highly enjoy the classic Animeseries such as Macross and Starblazers, I found this only added to the dark tone of this series. The opening music is one of those songs that pretty much will stick around in your head all day after you hear it. I have included it here for your listening pleasure (and to make sure it will stick around in your head as well). All kidding aside, this series will not be for everyone. It’s dark tones, and sometimes truly depressing episodes, will not be enjoyed by people who at least would like to have a few bright points in a show. That said, overall I liked this series. It certainly had a few episodes where the pace slowed down a bit, but this also served to shed a good background on some of the characters. Before I give the final grade, I want to thank Karandi from 100wordanime , who recommended this series in the first place. If you have not yet discovered her amazing blog, do so. It is truly awesome!

I give Bokurano a 8 out 10 score.

Erased, Anime tv series (2016)

What if I asked you the question: “Would you like to go back and relive your childhood,  if you were able to?” I think everyone would probably have a different reason to maybe go back, while others would not go back at all. For myself, the answer would maybe surprise you, as I would answer with no. One of the main reasons my answer is no, is that especially in the early schoolyears I got bullied…a lot. So I don’t really have particular fond memories of those days. One of the things that helped me get through all that, were my parents. I am really, really blessed with them, and on that front I really have no complaints whatsoever. As I grew older, things definitely improved, and I have enough happy memories to look back on. Hmm, why this pretty dark and sad opening you might wonder? Well, the Anime series Erased also deals with childhood, but treads the path of something even more terrible than bullying.

Satoru Fujinuma is a 29 year old Manga artist, who has trouble getting the right things on paper. However, he also has a very unique and special power: travelling back short periods in time to prevent death and other tragedies from happening. One day Satoru becomes the suspect of a terrible crime of which he is innocent, but while escaping from the police, his power activates and he is sent back farther in time than ever before. When he wakes up he discovers that he is 10 years old again, but his memories are still those of his 29 year old self. When heading to his high school he meets up with his old classmates including a girl called Kayo. Satoru remembers that Kayo is heading for a very sad and terrible fate, and now he has a chance to maybe change it all in this new timeline. But things become more complicated as he finds out that Kayo’s fate might be tied to his own in the future…

image

Erased is simply put:a masterpiece. It is almost impossible to mention everything that is great about it, but here are some highlights. People who say that animation is just for kids, will hopefully be silent after seeing this series. One of the subject matters the show deals with is child abuse, and it doesn’t shy away from it either. There were some truly heartbreaking scenes that were at times very hard to watch, but made the story all the more powerful because of it. The story was put together in a very clever way, and is maybe best described as The Butterfly Effect, meets Groundhog Day, with a small blend of the Orange anime series added for effect. Even though the series runs for only 12 episodes you feel an attachment to the characters, that you at times don’t even get from series that have a longer run. Ultimately though, despite the heavy subject matter, what it comes down to is that nobody needs to do things alone. Treasure friends that you have, and be grateful that you have them. Don’t despair though and think that you might need therapy after watching this. Yes there is a lot of heavy stuff going on, but it is also a wonderful, exiting and heartwarming tale, that I dare you to not finish in one run. It really is that good.

Before I give the final grade (which probably won’t be much of a surprise) I want to thank AnnmarieMCQueen for pointing out this gem. She is an up and coming blogger who has a lot different and cool things going on at her blog, so it is worth checking it out, if you haven’t already.

I give Erased a 10 out of 10 score.

Another, a horror/mystery novel by Yukito Ayatsuji (2009)

In the past decades there have been a lot of tv shows and movies based on books. Some of these adaptations have been, to put it mildly, not really living up to expectations. The big problem that usually occurs when adapting a novel to the big or small screen, is that there are deviations from the original story. Characters behaving differently, certain plotlines being omitted, the list can go on and on. Still, that being said, there are also examples of movies/tv shows that have truly done justice to the original, and on rare occasions even surpass the novel. A few weeks ago I have seen an Anime series that totally blew my mind. It was called Another (you can find my review for it here ), and it has been one of the best things that I have seen all year. If you haven’t already, you can check it out on Crunchyroll (which is kind of the Netflix for Anime) for free (if you don’t mind the occasional commercial). Even if you don’t like Anime, I can guarantee that this show might change your opinion. What usually happens when I really like something , is that I become pretty much obsessed with finding out as much as I can about it. And as such I learned that the Animeseries was based on the novel of the same name. Having just concluded it, here are my thoughts on this briljant book.

It is the year 1998, when a young transfer student from Tokyo named Koichi Sakakibara enters class 3 of the Yomiyama North Middle School. From the start Koichi feels a sense of unease around him. The students all seem to act as if they have just been awakened from a nightmare. And it is not only the students, but also the teachers who truly don’t behave like they normally should. And why is there a student in class, Mei Misaki, who everyone treats as if she isn’t there? It is not long when the first people start dying in truly horrific ways, that Koichi is beginning to realise that there is a terrible curse on class 3. A curse that may have it’s origins in an event that happened 26 years ago, at the same school, and also in class 3. Koichi will come face to face with a mystery, that might very well cost him his life…..

If you have seen the Anime, then this novel really does not bring anything new to the table. Everything that happens in this novel, except for one or two minor things is also in the Anime series. In fact the Anime has expanded upon the story in ways that have even improved it. Something that I think is very unique. The novel however is every bit as powerful as the series. It is only because I had already seen the Anime and pretty much knew what would happen, I got a little bit less enjoyment out of it, than I thought I would. So which is better? The Anime or the novel? It really is a tough question to answer. But I do think the Anime wins by a slight margin. Especially the ending is handled in a more spectacular way in the series. If you like mystery/horror novels, or Stephen King, than this novel is well worth checking out.

I give Another (the novel) a 8 out 10 score. If you first read the novel, instead of seeing the Anime you may add a point to the score I have given above.