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.

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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.     

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Movie Review – Weathering with You (Tenki no Ko, 天気の子)

TL;DR – There is a lot I could say about this film, but the most important thing is that there were times when I became overwhelmed with its beauty.    

Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars

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

Weathering with You (Tenki no Ko, 天気の子). Image Credit: Madman.

Review

Oh wow, just wow. I have seen a lot of films in my time, and a lot of animated films, but rarely do they have moments that just take my breath away. Today we get to take a look at a film that does just that by exploring a new world and mythology that might not be as familiar to people.

So to set the scene, we open in on Hina (Nana Mori) as she holds the hand of her mother in the hospital. Outside is nothing but rain, with the weather matching her life at that moment. But out of the corner of her eye, she sees one ray of sunshine and she runs to it. About a year later Hodaka (Kotaro Daigo) arrives by boat to Tokyo, he has run away from home and is looking for a new life in the big city. But life is tough and he ends up on the street where he relents and starts working for Keisuke Suga (Shun Oguri) who runs an occult magazine of dubious quality. However, while working he hears of a girl that can bring the sun, which given that it has already rained for a month is something that a lot of people are interested in.    

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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.

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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.

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Movie Review – Dragon Ball Super: Broly (Doragon Bōru Sūpā: Burorī, ドラゴンボール超 ブロリー)

TL;DR – A great step back into this world, and while it fumbles a bit in the middle, it starts and end on a strong note.   

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene, but images play throughout the credits

Dragon Ball Super: Broly. Image Credit: Madman

Review

Back in the day, Dragon Ball Z was one of those shows that everyone in my age group watched almost religiously in the morning. From memory I watched all of the show, all the way to the end of Dragon Ball GT and then it kind of fell off my radar as I entered high school. Well a few years back I stumbled across TeamFourStar creating an abridged version of Dragon Ball Z and that flood of nostalgia came running back. Well today as a new movie dropped here in Australia I thought it was time to re-visit the past, to see who the show has evolved, and of course support the official release.

So to set the scene, forty years ago on the Planet Vegeta a convoy of ships arrive in orbit. Landing in the palace compound King Vegeta (Christopher Sabat) is introduced to Frieza (Christopher Ayres) his new master with a short temper. In his rage King Vegeta checked on his son and was aghast to find a low born baby in a nearby crib had a higher power level. So King Vegeta had the baby shot into space to concur an inhospitable planet (basically to kill the child). His father Paragus (Dameon Clarke) raced of to find his child, but in the process of saving him their ship is destroyed trapping them on the planet forever. Fast forward to today, and Frieza is back and on the march and needs new warriors to take on Goku (Sean Schemmel), Vegeta (Christopher Sabat) and the other warriors of the galaxy and two of his scouts have discovered a high power level off on a planet in the distant reaches of the galaxy.

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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.

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