Anime Roundup: November 19, 2014
Anime Web Turnpike goes offline, 'Rin-ne' is getting an anime adaptation, and the 'Sailor Moon' picture quality controversy takes a turn for the worse.

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One Year Of Ganriki, 30 Years Of Fandom

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On the first anniversary of Ganriki.org's launch, a look back at our initial year -- and anime's past thirty years

© Fuyumi Ono · Ryu Fujisaki/Shueisha · SHIKI Committee

'Shiki': Human Monsters, All-Too-Human Monsters

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The horror at the heart of this horror story lies in how it toys so adeptly with our understanding of 'human' and 'monster'

© Hanairo Committee

Short Takes: 'Hanasaku Iroha: Home Sweet Home'

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It amounts to a glorified interstitial episode from the TV show, but one that fills in a vital part of Hana's past, and presents it with the charm and sentiments this franchise delivered so capably

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'A Letter To Momo': I'll Get By With A Little Help From My Ogres

Despite some pacing problems and a few fumbled story elements, the first film from Hiroyuki Okiura since 'Jin-roh' is a good-hearted treat

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Magical realism is a label I don't like to throw around often, in big part because it's so open-ended it could encompass too many things for its own good. Whole swaths of anime could end up under this brand, and we'd be none the wiser for what they actually were. Few people, even those not familiar with the names in question, would confuse the "magical realism" of a Miyazaki / Studio Ghibli production with the "magical realism" of one of Satoshi Kon's lighter works -- or, for that matter, something like Nichijou.

For A Letter to Momo, though, the label does fit, as it describes not only the flavor of the story but its twee attitude and perhaps also its slight flavor. It's not the masterpiece some have called it, and I wonder how much of that is people feeling obliged to say something positive about work by an industry veteran (Hiroyuki Okiura) whose work spans decades and countless titles great and small. But what Momo does, it does with charm and humor, and no small amount of empathy.

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© "A Letter To Momo" Film Partners
© Hajime Isayama, Ryo Suzukaze / Thores Shibamoto

Short Takes: 'Attack on Titan: Before the Fall'

The first of the 'Attack on Titan' prequel novels dives back into the history of the 'Titan' setting, although without the same compelling characterizations that made the original series so worthwhile

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I had the good sense – or the temerity, you choose – to declare Attack on Titan one of the few shows that deserves the kind of roaring rampage of commercial success and fandom mindshare it’s managed to wring out of the current populace. And the only thing that succeeds like success is, well, successors—or, in this case, predecessors. Attack on Titan: Before the Fall is an enjoyable dive back into the prehistory of the Titan mythology, one which answers the question (in the words of the Jack Nicholson Joker), where did they get those wonderful toys? In that respect it’s a standard-issue item for Titan fans: if you like it, you’ll like this.

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'Bayonetta: Bloody Fate': Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

It's as ridiculous, preposterous, and outlandish as the source material demanded, but there are side effects to being slavish to the very attributes that made 'Bayonetta' enjoyable as a game

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They were only being faithful to the material. That was the mantra I kept repeating all throughout Bayonetta: Bloody Fate, a production so ridiculous there's nothing to do but grin at it and shake one's head and invent drinking games. Here is a film where angel-monsters come out of dimensional doorways and get the holy stuffing beaten up by demons summoned from the heroine's hair -- that is, when she's not blowing elephant-sized holes in them with the guns held in her hands and mounted on the heels of her shoes. Against such eye and ear candy, the gods themselves (who make a few cameo appearances here, by the way) labor in vain, especially for fans of the game who most likely are already heading to Amazon.com in another browser tab. 

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© SEGA / BAYONETTA FILM CLUB
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