Exploring The Past – Neon Genesis Evangelion (Shinseiki Evangerion, 新世紀エヴァンゲリオン) (1995)

TL;DR – An ambitious series drawing inspiration from multiple religious and mystical frameworks that while pioneering in many respects, completely fails to stick the landing

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

Neon Genesis Evangelion (新世紀エヴァンゲリオン, Shinseiki Evangerion). Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

Today I get to finally explore the third pillar of 1990s sci-fi anime with the massively influential Neon Genesis Evangelion. For me, this was almost a form of closure given how much I have watched the other two pillars Cowboy Bebop and Ghost in the Shell but I never got to see Evangelion. It was also interesting to see a show that has been massively influential to the genre but watching it with 20 years of extra context on top of it. Well if nothing else, the ending stinger to last year’s Desert Bus now makes sense. With that in mind, let’s dive in and explore Hideaki Anno’s work of gods, and angels, and science, and man.

So to set the scene, in the year 2000 a great calamity arouse across the world when the second impact occurred in Antarctica blasting the icy continent to ruin and melting all its ice causing extensive flooding across the world. The UN authority declared that the cause was a giant meteorite impact, hence common term of it being ‘the second impact’ (okay sort of, but also sort of not, it gets complicated). However, this is all a cover, because what really happened is that a creature of great power was discovered under the ice, this Angel was called Adam and something the researchers did trigger him destroying everything. 15 years later, Shinji Ikari (Megumi Ogata/ Spike Spencer/ Casey Mongillo) is running through deserted streets to a pick-up location. The whole area has gone into emergency lockdown for some unknown reason, and that reason turns out to be a second angel that everyone kind of expected was coming. Just before he is crushed, Shinji is rescued by Captain Misato Katsuragi (Kotono Mitsuishi/ Allison Keith/ Carrie Keranen) and taken to Tokyo-3 where a secretive organisation Nerv has their headquarters. The leader of Nerv is Shinji’s father Gendo Ikari (Fumihiko Tachiki/ Tristan MacAvery/ Ray Chase) who is at best distant, but a more fair description would be icy or even abusive. However, Shinji does not have time to process that because he is announced to be the Third Child, and one of only a few people that can pilot an Evangelion which he has to do like now.

Continue reading
Advertisements

Exploring the Past – Your Name (Kimi no Na wa, 君の名は) (2016)

TL;DR – Beautiful and yet also a bit melancholy. It takes what is a quite tired trope of cinema and breathes new life into it.

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Your Name (Kimi no Na wa, 君の名は). Image Credit: Madman.

Review

Last week I managed to catch a showing of a new anime film Weathering With You. It was beautiful, bittersweet, visually stunning, and emotionally resonate. Well after having such a profound experience with that film I had a look back at director/writer Makoto Shinkai’s filmography and came across Your Name. I had missed it when it can out in cinemas, so I made sure to check it out as soon as I could. Well one week later and what would you know, here it was live on the SBS Movie channel here in Australia and boy was it worth the watch.      

So to set the scene, Mitsuha Miyamizu (Mone Kamishiraishi) lives in a quiet village in the mountains of Japan’s Hida region. Itomori is a town with a long history of tradition but also of tragedy with fires destroying much of the town’s history. Mitsuha is a Miko (shrine maiden) in the Shinto temple that her family runs under the watchful hands of her grandmother Hitoha (Etsuko Ichihara). Mitsuha is frustrated with her life and where it is going and dreams of leaving her small town and moving to the big city in Tokyo. Well one day she gets her wish, but when she wakes up in the body of Taki Tachibana (Ryûnosuke Kamiki) a high school boy living in Tokyo, things don’t quite go the way she plans.     

Continue reading

TV Review – Cannon Busters: Season 1

TL;DR – This is a well-made animation, with an interesting story, world and characters. Full of interesting juxtapositions like magic and technology. 

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Cannon Busters. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

I was thinking the other day of my joy at the old Monkey Magic stories. It had me wonder that it has been a long time since I have seen a good travel story where a group of disparate people are brought together through fate and then discover all their flaws and joys in the face of shared adversity. Well as fate would have it just a couple of days later a little surprise dropped on Netflix which was everything I didn’t know I wanted.  

So to set the scene, we open in on a desert wasteland on an alien (maybe) planet with a disintegrating moon floating in orbit. Our first clue that this is an interesting place is the image of a giant bull trampling across the plains in search of a toilet. We cut to a town on the frontier full of dust, wood, and a casual disregard for life. There are humans and other creatures, and all sorts of robots, mechs, and mechanical augmentations. In the streets walks Sam (A Special Associate Model) (Kamali Minter) from the faraway kingdom of Botica. She does not seem to fit the tone of the local area, making friends in a land of gunfights and wanton murder. But she is on a mission to find a lost prince and the one person who can help her do that Philly the Kid (Kenn Michael). One issue is that he does not really want to help, also he is cursed and can’t die, also he had a large bounty on him that everyone is trying to collect. So Sam, Philly, and Casey (Kamali Minter) a maintenance droid head off on the mission in their pink coin-operated Mustang that can transform into a bull. Now from here, we will be looking at the season as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.

Continue reading

Movie Review – Enter the Anime

TL;DR – This is a film that blends the idea of an advertisement with the presentation of a documentary and works about as well as you would expect    

Score – 2.5 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Enter the Anime. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

Growing up, one of the touchstones in my early cinematic life was anime, you would get it in the morning on TV, which I had to tape on VCR for watching later. Indeed, I think every one of my generations loathed those opening sounds of the first episode of Pokémon because it meant that Cheez TV had run out of new episodes and was starting it from the beginning again. As I grew up, it was a part of my cinematic world that I just couldn’t keep up with, and every time I go to conventions I see an array of cosplayers showing my just how many shows I have missed. Well when I saw that there was a new documentary about anime on Netflix, I was really interested because it would be nice to walk down memory lane and to explore the future again. Unfortunately, that is not quite what we got.

The premise for this documentary is that Netflix set the director Alex Burunova of working out the answer to a question ‘What is Anime’? Alex, having no experience with the genre other than a tangential understanding of its influence decided to throw herself into the world of anime and manga and the sub-cultures that consume and make it. This, of course, meant going straight to the source and talking with the directors and animators where it is all made in Japan. It is good that right from the start, they make it clear where the genesis of this project came from, it was a Netflix project and Alex was hired to make it. So when the documentary goes to Adi Shankar the creator of the Castlevania Netflix series as its first interview it feels like the right jumping-off point for the show. Well instead of jumping off from there, this is where the show stayed.

Continue reading

TV Review – 7Seeds: Part 1 (セブンシーズ Sebun Shīzu)

TL;DR – This is an interesting premise and it is playing with some interesting themes, even if it doesn’t quite always come together.  

Score – 3 out of 5 stars

7Seeds. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

In recent years Netflix has been starting to make a big push into the anime arena possible as a way of holding off some of its competitors. Well in the same week that Neon Genesis Evangelion finally made its way on to the streaming service we get an adaptation of one of the most famous manga series 7Seeds. Well, you have animation, set in a post-apocalyptic world, and add a growing mystery, well count me in.

So to set the scene, one day Natsu Iwashimizu (Nao Tōyama) wakes up in the middle of the ocean on a sinking ship. The last thing she remembers is having a big dinner of all her favourite things and then she wakes up all alone. But before she has a chance to process what is going on Mozu (Kazuhiko Inoue) is screaming for her to get into a life raft. The two of them, along with Arashi (Jun Fukuyama) and Semimaru (Katsuyuki Konishi) find themselves on an abandoned island filled with odd creatures and plants. Is there anyone coming to help them? Where are they? Is there anyone left? Well, the answer to that is a large no because a cataclysm has happened. Now from here, we will be looking at the season as a whole so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead.

Continue reading

TV Review – gen:LOCK – The Pilot

TL;DR The Pilot combines a great story, with fascinating animation, and a voice cast that is here for it, so much fun to watch.

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

gen:LOCK – The Pilot. Image Credit: Rooster Teeth.

Review

A while back there was some mention of Michael B. Jordan staring in an animated mecha series from Rooster Teeth, and you have to believe that this immediately caught my attention. This of course was added to when we got the little hints as to what the series is going to be about and the sheer bonkers voice cast that was coming on board. Well, today we get to see the final product, and well it does not disappoint.

So to set the scene, in 2068 the world is a very different place with a totalitarian government The Union rising up and slowly taking over the world with their nano-tech. There are very few governments left to stop them and all attempts to find a diplomatic resolution have failed. As The Polity trains for the coming war, Julian Chase (Michael B. Jordan) and Miranda Worth (Dakota Fanning) take some time away from The Anvil, their base of operations, to visit Chase’ mum Roberta (Shari Belafonte) in Brooklyn, New York. However, they are not visiting in person but through VR Holograms. After the prerequisite embarrassing stories about Chase’s childhood, the pair leaves just as The Union start their main attack on New York. The team race to defend the city but sometimes the only option left is a sacrifice. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.

Continue reading

Movie Review – Mirai (Mirai no Mirai, 未来のミライ)

TL;DR – Mirai is a film that ricochets from one emotion to the next, from joy, to despair, from excitement, to an existential crisis, but at no point does it lose its heart, and that is such a tough act to get right.

Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Mirai. Image Credit: Studio Chizu/Madman

Review

Have you ever walking into a film with absolutely no idea what it was going to be about? No TV ads, no trailers, no opinion peaches, a complete blind experience. For me, it has only truly happened once with The Forbidden Kingdom. Well, today I have another entry for that list with Mirai. Not only did I have no idea what it was going to be about, I had no idea it was about to hit me in the feels in a very complex way.

Continue reading