Anime Roundup: December 10, 2014
Shot, and stabbed, in the back: The Saratoga Springs, Utah cops who shot and killed cosplayer Darren Wilson will not face any charges. Kickstranger: The Osamu Tezuka Kickstarter that's been re-started by Digital Manga Publishing has some mighty strange ideas...

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© Ryu Mizunagi

Short Takes: 'Witchcraft Works Vol. 1'

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Magical hijinks in high school are the jumping-off point for this enjoyable story with no small amount of potential, but also unnecessarily confusing visuals

Confessions Of A Not-So-Former Anime Crate-Digger

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How the near-disappearance of physical stores has transformed one of the classic pleasures of anime fandom: stumbling across hidden treasure

©1989 Eiko Kadono • Nibariki • Tokuma Shoten

'Kiki's Delivery Service': Little Witch In The Big City

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At the heart of Hayao Miyazaki's most effortlessly charming film is a character of equal charm, learning her magic alone isn't what is most important about her

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'Hellsing Ultimate': Or, The Dracula-Vs.-Nazi-Vampire-Burning-London-To-The-Ground Blues

Looking back over this legendary and now-concluded OVA series, it's striking to realize how it all amounted to a great deal less than it might have seemed

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Now that Hellsing Ultimate has finally been released in its entirety, it's a strange experience to look back over it and realize it's all been about a great deal less than it seemed at the time. When Hellsing was still eking its way out in fits and starts, it was easier to have unbounded expectations for it, because an unfinished piece of work is only limited by one's imagination. But now that it's out and done, it's easier to see how it was more flash and filigree than actual substance, more notable for the fact it took so long to reach its audience than because of the story it set out to tell. Not that this will change the minds of the fans who love it in all of its gory glory, god love 'em. But to look in from the outside of this particular fandom is to see Dracula fighting Nazi vampires, and then wonder why that spectacle was more interesting in theory than in practice.

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© Kouta Hirano • SHONEN GAHOSHA Co., LTD./WILD GEESE.
© Yasuhiro Yoshiura / Sakasama Film Committee

'Patema Inverted': The Gravity Of Love

Its story may be straight out of the tattered young-adult dystopia playbook, but 'Patema Inverted' boasts a central visual metaphor so dazzling it begs for IMAX

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One test of creativity is not in how well you can execute an original idea, but what new life you can breathe into a shopworn one. If you can take something that's been on any number of shelves any number of times, and look at it in such a way that it seems new and adventurous, that's the hallmark of a real artist. Patema Inverted makes hay out of a premise that's been done to a thousand deaths in any number of young-adult dystopia stories: young people living in a gloomy and dangerous future rebel against their repressive (and repressed) elders, and discover their world is nothing like what they've been told it is. It's not the ideas on display here that win our attention and our fascination, but the clever and dazzling metaphors used to express them.

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'Welcome To The Space Show': The Kid-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy

When five kids get whisked away on an interplanetary adventure, the splashy and spectacular results walk a line between a movie about kids, a movie for kids, and perhaps even a movie by kids

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What's the definition of a "kid's movie" -- one made for kids, or one about kids? Most of us would tilt towards the former, but Welcome to the Space Show cuts a path about halfway between those two poles. It's got the form and the format of a kid's movie -- albeit one of staggeringly wide gauge -- but it also sports some of the ambition and the ingredients of a movie aimed at their parents, or the kids' older siblings, at least. It also serves, perhaps unwittingly, as an example of how many films from Japan that are aimed at younger audiences walk that line, and may give pause to parents who aren't entirely aware of what they're getting into. If said parents wrinkle their nose at this, I say they're missing out.

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© A-1 Pictures / Welcome to the Space Show Committee
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