meta: Analog Animation

See in alphabetical order

2017


'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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'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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'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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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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'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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'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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2016


'Thunderbolt Fantasy': Master Of Puppets 
This wild, stylish marriage of Gerry Anderson-style marionettes, wuxia cinema, and gnarly anime plotting may be tough to take in at first, but we all complained about big eyes and small mouths once upon a time
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Patreon 'Belladonna of Sadness': Satan Met A Lady 
Restored to its original psychedelic glory, this mad masterwork from Osamu Tezuka's studio goes from chic porn to feminist parable and everything in between
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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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In Defense Of 'Berserk', Both Old And New 
The new 'Berserk' is a welcome extension to the original TV series, but it doesn't come at the expense of the '97 original -- what could?
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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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Patreon 'Night On The Galactic Railroad': We Are All Made Of Starstuff 
The animated version of Kenji Miyazawa's fable isn't just a Classics Illustrated; it finds a voice of its own with which to tell its story of eternity and afterlife
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2015


'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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'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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'Robot Carnival': Machines Of Loving Grace 
Back in print at last, this anthology of robot-themed shorts is a delight, and also serves as a time capsule of anime's state of the art in the mid-'80s
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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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Making A Case For The Old School 
Is there any way to get around the prejudices of a modern audience that looks at a classic show and just sees something 'old'?
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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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'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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'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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'The Tale of the Princess Kaguya': Her Life To Live 
So much more than just a lavish Classics Illustrated story, Isao Takahata's brush-painted picture scroll of a movie asks where the real meaning of any of our lives lies
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'Porco Rosso': A Red Pig On The Wing 
With this pre-WWII adventure, Hayao Miyazaki gave audiences young and old both a rollicking romp and a thoughtful drama, both in complement and not conflict
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'Pom Poko': An Imitation Of Life 
It's easy to overlook how many layers of meaning there are in Studio Ghibli's bawdy, raucous tale of shapeshifting raccoons holding out against human encroachment -- especially when you're laughing this hard
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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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'Bubblegum Crisis': Yesterday's Tomorrow, Today 
How well has this vintage 1980s homage to action-oriented SF held up? Better, perhaps, for its use of female main characters than for its technology or plotting
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2014


'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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'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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'The Wind Rises': The Man With His Head In The Clouds 
Hayao Miyazaki's final bow as a director is a down note -- an aimless, shallow, and all-too-fictive biopic that never engages with the moral questions at the heart of its own story
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'Princess Mononoke': The Blood Of Eden 
Let's not shy away from calling this not only Studio Ghibli and Hayao Miyazaki's greatest achievement, but one of the finest of all films, animated or not
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'Kiki's Delivery Service': Little Witch In The Big City 
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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'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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'Cardcaptor Sakura': (Re-) Release! 
After a wave of successors and deconstructions, the sweetness and directness of one of anime's most-beloved magical-girl shows still holds up
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If These Be The Last Days Of Studio Ghibli ... 
... then at least let the industry learn the right things from its passing
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'Ranma 1/2': Love Runs Hot And Cold 
After twenty-five years, this seminal anime comedy is still both funny and a reminder of how shows like this are harder to make than it might seem
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2013


'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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'My Neighbor Totoro': Miyazaki's Arcadia 
On seeing My Neighbor Totoro's childhood paradise on earth through adult eyes
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