demographic: seinen

See in chronological order

'A-JIN': Live, Die, Repeat 
After 'Knights of Sidonia', Netflix and Polygon Pictures aim -- sucessfully -- for darker and harder-hitting territory
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'AKIRA' At 25 
How the anime that created an English-speaking audience for anime still divides those very same audiences decades later
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'Angel's Egg': Mood Indigo 
Mamoru Oshii's enigmatic meditation on faith is an emotional work, not just an intellectual one
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Patreon 'Aoi Bungaku: Kokoro': The Heart Of The Matter 
Natsume Sōseki's unsentimental, heart-wrenching classic still hits hard a hundred years later; its Aoi Bungaku anime adaptation restructures it to intriguing if unsuccessful effect
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Patreon 'Aoi Bungaku: No Longer Human': The Man Without Qualities 
The first of the 'Aoi Bungaku' animated adaptations of classical Japanese literature is a keen, well-devised adaptation of Osamu Dazai's novel of downfall and decadence
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Patreon 'Aoi Bungaku: Sakura No Mori No Mankai No Shita [In The Forest, Under Cherries In Full Bloom]': The Heart's Filthy Lesson 
Ango Sakaguchi's classic story, a mix of 'farce, fable, and mystery' (and horror) is brought to life with outlandish style and color -- and always with one eye cocked towards its heart of darkness
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'Attack On Titan': Titanic, In Every Sense 
One of 2013's best shows, which manages to both shoot itself in the foot and not be limited by that
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'Barakamon': The Problem With Getting Away From It All Is You Always Take It All With You 
Having a city slicker hit the sticks isn't an innovative story by itself, but 'Barakamon' has heart, humor, and some surprising insight into what makes creative people tick
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'Berserk' (2016): What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted? 
The return of Kentarō Miura's violent fantasy epic to the little screen brings with it a fidelity to its strong characterization and powerful story -- and a renewed appreciation of all that was problematic the first time
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'Berserk': Rebooted But Not Yet Reborn 
For all its flaws, the original 'Berserk' anime had a gritty power the remake somehow lacks
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'Berserk': War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning 
Limited and fragmented as it is, this brutal fantasy still achieves wonders, thanks to the sheer strength of its storytelling and the force of its vision
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'Berserk: The Golden Age Arc III: The Advent' 
The third of the 'Berserk' films brings us to the long-awaited end of the beginning, and reminds us the TV series still did some things totally right
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'Blade Of The Immortal': But That's The Way I Like It, Baby, I Don't Want To Live Forever 
With the first of the three-in-one reissues of Hiroaki Samura's epic fantasy about a nigh-unkillable assassin, there's never been a better time to rediscover one of manga's high points
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'Bungo Stray Dogs': Six (Or More) Authors In Search Of Some Character 
'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter' for the J-lit set; a show that has one great creative invention and then spends its entire runtime doing nothing of consequence with it
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'Captain Harlock: Arcadia Of My Youth': Paradise Lost 
Leiji Matsumoto brings his mythmaking style to the origin story of his legendary space pirate, a showcase for both the best and worst instincts in the man's storytelling style
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Patreon 'Carried by the Wind: Tsukikage Ran': Crouching Tigress, Nitwit Dragon 
It looks at first to be a mere genderswapped spoof of the samurai genre, but underneath it's actually a loving and observant homage to all the great things about those stories of lone wolves vs. corrupt power
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'Claymore': The Beautiful And The Damned 
Rare these days is the series with an all-female cast where character, story, and drama are the goals, not titillation or eye candy
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'Concrete Revolutio': They Could Be Heroes 
A sprawling anime answer to 'Watchmen', with all of the ambition -- and all of the shortcomings -- implied by such a thing
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'Cowboy Bebop': Bohemian Rhapsody 
Under 'Cowboy Bebop's rollicking humor and sassy action lives a question borne from the long dark night of the soul: are you living, or just existing?
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'Darker Than Black': What They Do In The Shadows 
With pieces borrowed smartly from across other entertainments, the 'X-Men meets X-Files' 'Darker Than Black' holds up well after nearly ten years
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'Die Wergelder': A Taste Of Blood Money 
After his samurai body-horror epic 'Blade of the Immortal', Hiroaki Samura now gives us a Nikkatsu-style, pulp-inflected action fable
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'Dimension W': One-Dimensional 
Competent but ultimately tame, 'Dimension W' squanders an intriguing premise on a story that's more off-the-shelf than off-the-rails
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'Empire of Corpses': Dead Man's Party 
Label anything 'steampunk' and the label tends to take over, but this fantasy from the late lamented Project Itoh is about more than just clockworks and longcoats
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'Ergo Proxy': I Think, Therefore You Are 
Few anime intended for mainstream consumption are this avowedly experimental; fewer still pull it off to the degree this one does
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'Flowers of Evil': O Rose, Thou Art Sick 
An overwhelming experience, and a finely crafted one, but also harrowing and unpleasant from beginning to end -- even if that's supposed to be the idea
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'Fusé: Memoirs of a Huntress': The Beauty Of The Beasts 
A gorgeously-designed surface isn't all that's beautiful in this compelling reworking of elements from the classic tale of 'Hakkenden'
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'Ghost In The Shell 2: Innocence': Farewell, My Lovely 
Everything that was both grand and frustrating about Oshii's original 'Ghost In The Shell' film is redoubled in its follow-up, a visionary work that neglects to give its characters their own voices
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'Ghost In The Shell' (2017): The Americanization of Motoko 
The most fascinating thing about the Western remake of 'Ghost In The Shell' is how what seemed most problematic about it -- Scarlett Johansson in the lead role -- is leveraged as a thematic element in the film itself
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'Ghost In The Shell: ARISE: Border 1: ghost pain' 
Even if 'ARISE' falls short of the heights of 'Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex', it's still a model of ambition and vision for anime
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'Ghost In The Shell: ARISE: Border 2: ghost whisper' 
The second installment in the 'Ghost in the Shell: ARISE' series eschews insight and thematic complexity for straight-up action
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'Ghost In The Shell: ARISE: Border 3: ghost tears' 
Part three of 'ARISE' is an improvement on the first two installments, but the ineffable alchemy we saw before in the franchise still hasn't quite manifested itself
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'Ghost In The Shell: ARISE: Border 4: ghost stands alone' 
With all four installments of 'ARISE' in place, the whole of it adds up to a breathless but superficial ride, lacking the soul and personality that dignified its predecessors
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'Ghost In The Shell: The New Movie': Only New On The Outside 
In the end, all the 'Ghost in the Shell: ARISE' continuity has done is lead us right back where we started
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'Ghost in the Shell': The Dreaming Machine 
Twenty-five years on, one of anime's seminal groundbreakers remains as alluring, intriguing, confounding, and problematic as ever
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'Giganto Maxia': A Future Gone 'Berserk' 
This one-shot side project from Kentarō ('Berserk') Miura promised an entirely different universe from that magnum opus. It's a shame we probably won't ever seen any more of it
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'HAL': Are 'Lovers' Electric? 
Even while this love story between a human and a robot is sincere and affecting, it's up to the audience to tell if it has one too many twists for its own good
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'Harmony': To Extreme Remedies, Extreme Sickness 
Project Itoh's 'medi-pocalypse' dystopia is all the more poignant in the wake of the author's untimely death, with a glossy (if also icy) anime adaptation now to accompany it
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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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'Ikki Tousen': Another One Bites The Dust 
It's dismaying when a show like this can barely even deliver the action and titillation it promises
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'In This Corner Of The World': Life During Wartime 
A masterwork, not just of period reconstruction and attention to the details of daily life, but also for the ways it navigates through the tricky issues of a story about WWII Japan without stumbling
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'Izetta: The Last Witch': All This And World War II 
A promising opening, an intriguing spin on an alternate version of recent history, a classy-looking production -- but it all crumbles no thanks to abysmal characterization and storytelling decisions
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'Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade': I Therefore Am No Beast 
The best Mamoru Oshii film that Oshii never directed remains affecting and relevant fifteen years later
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'Jormungand': A Bullet In The Head, Or Two In The Feet? 
This poor man's 'Black Lagoon' embodies many of the problems inherent in a show about antiheroes and gray areas
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Patreon 'Kill la Kill': The Empress's New Clothes 
Studio Trigger's rip-roaring follow-up to 'Gurren Lagann' embodied its intentions, by wearing a suit of style as gaudy and theatrical as the ideas it entertains
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'Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV': The State Of One Of The Arts 
As an introduction to the newest FF universe, it's perfectly adequate; as drama and storytelling, it's serviceable; as a technology demo, it's a triumph - much like the other FF films before it
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'Knights of Sidonia', Season 2: Once More Into The Breach, Dear Pilots 
The best parts of 'Sidonia' remain its visuals and its gut-wrenching combat sequences; it's a shame its human elements aren't quite as strong
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'Knights of Sidonia': For The World Is Hollow And He Has Touched The Sky 
The first anime to be distributed exclusively on Netflix is dazzling and enjoyable enough to feel new, but plays it safe enough to go mainstream
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'Lady Snowblood': Revenge, Best Served Cold 
A pivotal inspiration for Tarantino's 'Kill Bill', this violent revenge tale brings us an anti-heroine who's as much of an outsider for being a woman as she is for being an assassin
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'Last Exile: Fam The Silver Wing': Fly Me To The Moon 
Steampunk, science fiction, fantasy -- does everything need a singular label? This show freely spans all those things, somehow without contradiction
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'Lone Wolf And Cub': The Boy And The Beast 
Kazuo Koike's perennial manga classic was adapted for the big screen in this cycle of six pop-pulp masterpieces, where father and son slash, stab, shoot, and slice their way through hell
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'Miss Hokusai': An Incomplete Portrait 
With a potentially fascinating story about the daughter of the fabled artist Hokusai and some beautiful production design, it's a shame this unfocused and aimless film isn't better
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'Mononoke': To Extreme Sickness, Extreme Remedies 
Long unavailable in anything but fansubs, this psychedelic horror-fantasy anthology is bewitching and intoxicating
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'Neji-shiki'/'Screwed': A Peek Into The Pit 
How to film Yoshiharu Tsuge's landmark work of surrealist comics? Leave it to master of weirdness Teruo Ishii, albeit with mixed results
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'Ninja Scroll': Faster, Shinobi! Kill! Kill! 
Sleek, stylish, violent, and sleazy, the visual flair of this '90s gateway title remains unmatched -- but it's a child of its time in ways that aren't all positive
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'Noir': Killing At Their Own Pace 
The deliberate pacing of this fantasy thriller is both its most important attribute -- and the one thing about it most likely to give pause to today's viewers
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'Nyaruko: Crawling With Love!': In Her House At R'lyeh, Cute Cthulhu Waits Giggling 
Plenty of laughs ooze forth from this 'cute Cthulhu mythos' comedy, but it's most intriguing for how something so dark is made fodder for something so silly
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'Ocean Waves': There's Something About Muto 
A trifle of a film, but it doesn't overstate its importance or overstay its welcome, and it shows how Studio Ghibli gave as much care to stories like this as they did for any of Miyazaki's fantasias
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'Oh My Goddess!': Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel 
Lightweight and frivolous as 'Oh My Goddess!' may be, those qualities might well also be what guarantee it can be reissued across the years and find an audience
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'Only Yesterday': All The Things I Was 
Unseen in English since its original 1991 release, this Isao Takahata/Studio Ghibli production was more than worth the wait, and not just for its name recognition
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'Opus': Satoshi Kon's Unfinished Symphony 
Never finished and lost to time, Satoshi Kon's mini-epic about a manga artist caught in the interpenetration of reality and his imagination works both on its own terms as an adventure -- and as an unintentional metaphor for its creator's own career
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'Osamu Tezuka's Metropolis': Little Robot In The Big City 
In the hands of 'Akira' creator Katsuhiro Ōtomo and 'Dagger of Kamui' director Rintaro, Osamu Tezuka's early manga became a wide-gauge spectacle that retained its childlike innocence and soul
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'Otaku no Video': Geeks4Life 
GAINAX's satire/mockumentary is fascinating as a time capsule from its moment in fandom history, but most of its insights are inadvertent -- that is, when it's not just being downright cruel
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'Outlaw Star': Once Upon A Time In Outer Space 
A poor man's 'Cowboy Bebop'? Maybe an anime 'Guardians Of The Galaxy'; either way, 'Outlaw Star' has its share of pulp-space-opera-sitcom delights
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'Paranoia Agent': We Have Met The Enemy And He Is Us 
The real monster in Satoshi Kon's genre-defying black comedy of horrors is human nature itself
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'Patlabor: The Movie': A Lesser Oshii's Labors 
Before Mamoru Oshii bent our minds with the likes of 'Ghost in the Shell', he tickled our ribs with this lively entry in the action-comedy mecha series
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'Peepo Choo': Turning Japanese 
Felipe Smith's 2010 manga did more than show a Western creator could make use of the form; it provided a riotous critique of the very audience that might seek it out
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'Ping Pong The Animation': Tennis, Anyone? 
Calling this a 'sports story' falls so far short of describing how its seething visuals tell a story that'll hit home with most anyone, ping-pong players or not
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'Planetes': (Inner) Space, The Final Frontier 
Before there was 'Gravity', there was 'Planetes', as significant for its psychological insight as for its vision of garbage haulers in a spaceborne future
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'Prophecy': Watching Big Brother Right Back 
On the face of it, a techno-thriller in the Michael Crichton vein; underneath that, a meditation on the way society is shamed into doing the right thing
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'Psycho-Pass': Do Androids Dream Of The Silence Of The Lambs? 
Somewhere between 'Blade Runner' and 'SE7EN' lies this show, which sees its dangerous ideas all the way through to the bitter and brilliant end
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'Queen Emeraldas': Our Lady Of The Sea Of Stars 
Leiji Matsumoto's pulp action / space opera stories are really a kind of SF-tingled mythology; his 'Captain Harlock' successor, now out in English, is a fine example
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'REDLINE': Faster Than The Speed Of Love 
Even if the story's little more than a placeholder, 'REDLINE' seethes with visuals so propulsive and uninhibited, they alone guarantee it a place in anime history
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'Rampo Kitan: Game of Laplace': Darker Than You Think 
Edogawa Rampo's 'erotic-grotesque' horror stories are remixed for the (post)modern day in this sinister, surreal, and colorful adventure
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'Robotics;Notes': Hey, Gang! Let's Put Together A Giant Mecha! 
Next to its cousin 'Steins;Gate' this sunny robo-fantasy bulks small, but it still supplies an entertaining ride
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Patreon 'Rurouni Kenshin': For The New Age, A New Man 
When the first film in this live-action trilogy is among the very best adaptations yet of an manga/anime property, we can forgive any weaknesses in the whole
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'Seraphim: 266613336 Wings': Oshii And Kon's Fragment 
An unfinished but tantalizing collaboration between two of anime (and manga's) most idiosyncratic creative personalities, Satoshi Kon and Mamoru Oshii, this book inspires a close reading -- and no end of wonder about where one man's imagination began and the other one's ended
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'Shiki': Human Monsters, All-Too-Human Monsters 
The horror at the heart of this horror story lies in how it toys so adeptly with our understanding of 'human' and 'monster'
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'Space Dandy': The Cosmic Jester 
This colorful slice of cosmic slapstick only looks dumb from the outside; it's one of the slyest fusions of comedy and science fiction anime has produced
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'The Boy And The Beast': You'll Be A Man, My Son! 
Mamoru Hosoda's new film starts as a predictable story of irreconcilable opposites forced to work together, but becomes something more ambitious and challenging -- and worth sticking with despite its narrative bumps
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'The Fake': Closer To God 
The follow-up from the director of 'King Of Pigs' is both more artistically accomplished and more emotionally scarring, an attempt to get us to care about someone who would otherwise never warrant our sympathy
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'The Ghost In The Shell': Motoko Kusanagi, The Early Years 
If you're a first-time reader of Masamune Shirow's manga, progenitor of a whole name-brand cyberpunk franchise, the original will be as striking for its slapstick and satirical jabs as it is for its vision of a future still coming true today
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'The Ghost In The Shell: Five New Short Stories' 
A spry, classy set of riffs on the 'Ghost In The Shell' universe, drawing on characters we know and extrapolating from the setting at large, but newcomers to the franchise shouldn't make this their first outing with it
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Patreon 'The Tatami Galaxy': Have I Been In This Room Before? 
When the director of 'Mind Game' and the author of 'The Eccentric Family' got together, they created a comedic masterpiece that plays like 'Groundhog Day' fused with both of those visionary projects
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'Time of Eve': Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto 
The modest scale and gentle touch of this fantasy about androids with a human side are what make it work so well
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'Tokyo Tribe': Last Night A DJ Kicked My Ass 
Sion Sono's freeform rap-stravaganza adaptation of the hip-hop turf-war manga splits down the middle between being silly fun and being too mindless for its own good
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'Vampire Hunter D': Wanted, Undead Or Alive 
There's little question 'D' helped open anime to the West, but its status as an artifact of its moment in time has only become more stark over the years
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'Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust': Beyond The Pale 
Adapted from the third novel in the 'D' series, 'Bloodlust' tops its source material, the earlier animated 'D' film, and a good deal of the competition that's come along since
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'Wolf Children': A Mother's Work 
Mamoru Hosoda's story about two of the greater agonies a mother and a wife could endure is impeccably observed and emotionally true
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'Wolf Guy': Bark At The Moon 
A truly strange specimen from Sonny Chiba's filmography, and an illuminating early example of how manga adaptations were a perfect fit for 1970s exploitation cinema from Japan
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'[C] - CONTROL': Money Is Not Our God 
As money becomes increasingly abstract, from Bitcoin to bubble-bursting financial derivatives, this series becomes all the more prophetic and fascinating
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Gō Tanabe And The Hounds Of Love(craft) 
If the rest of Gō Tanabe's manga adaptations of H.P. Lovecraft's horror classics are as good as this first volume, we're overdue for seeing more of one of manga's thus-far hidden treasures
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Let's Animate This: 'Dune' 
Twice filmed, and twice flawed in the filming, maybe the wise way to bring Frank Herbert's space (and spice) saga to the screen would be via an anime adaptation
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Netflix's 'BLAME!': Killy Walk With Me 
Recast into a two-hour movie, Tsutomu Nihei's metamorphic cyberpunk hellscape manga emerges all the more as a graduate of the 'Mad Max'/Man With No Name school of drifter/loner heroes
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Short Takes: 'Witchcraft Works Vol. 1' 
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
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Short Takes: 'Witchcraft Works Vol. 2' 
Second verse of this fantasy-comedy, a bit less interesting than the first, as coincidence and contrivance take precedence over invention and storytelling
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Tsutomu Nihei's 'Blame!': Sisyphus In The Labyrinth 
Tsutomu Nihei's debut manga is all industrial hellscapes, sudden violence, and science-fiction gloom -- and in those few things it's everything it needs to be
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Usamaru Furuya's 'No Longer Human': The Downward Spiral 
Osamu Dazai's despairing novel galvanized postwar Japan; Usamaru Furuya's modernized manga adaptation does justice to all its hearts of darkness
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Patreon Ways To The Heart: Four Manga Adaptations Of Sōseki Natsume's 'Kokoro' 
Four manga adaptations of Sōseki Natsume's classic novel range from mere Classics Illustrated versions to a radical modern-day reinvention that rediscovers the story's heart of darkness
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