meta: Comedy

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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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'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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'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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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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2016


'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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Let's Animate This: 'Musui's Story' 
This riotous 19th-century memoir of a ne'er-do-well samurai's life and times, available in English, would lend itself wonderfully to an anime treatment
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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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'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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'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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'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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2015


'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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'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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'Inari Kon Kon': 21st-Century Fox 
What could have been a dreary slog through a predictable plotline is instead made sweet, sincere, and unexpectedly thoughtful
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'Noragami': God For Hire. Cheap. 
Having gods tussle with each other in the middle of the modern world isn't a new idea, but 'Noragami' finds ways to be enjoyable rather than shopworn
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'Soul Eater Not!': Not Soul Eater 
A side-quel that only makes the audience long all the more for the original, instead of cutting its own path
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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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'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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'The Eccentric Family': Tanuki & Sons 
One of the very few shows that gets it all right: funny, dazzling, charming, thoughtful, and sporting a cast of characters that never fail to enlist our sympathy and fascination
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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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'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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Let's Film This: 'The Dirty Pair' 
After the slam-bang cosmic comedy of 'Guardians of the Galaxy', why not a live-action adaptation of the misadventures of those two interstellar troubleshooters?
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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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'Paradise Kiss': There's More To Love Than Boy Meets Girl 
Far more than just a 'romance' or a 'love story', this is a story about becoming worthy of being loved -- and a sprightly, funny story at that
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2014


'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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Short Takes: 'Hanasaku Iroha: Home Sweet Home' 
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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'WataMote': No Matter How I Look At It, It's My Fault If I Find This Show Funny 
This jet-black comedy about a social misfit is either one you laugh with -- or a test of an audience's limits of tolerance for truly mean-spirited humor
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'Toradora!': No Paper Tiger 
Under the clichéd surface of this lively romantic farce run undercurrents of something smarter and deeper
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Monkey Punch's 'Bōtchan': Laugh, It's A Classic 
When the creator of 'Lupin III' decided to revisit a feisty Japanese literary masterwork, the results were as uproarious as they needed to be
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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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'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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'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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'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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2013


'Sankarea': My Little Corpse Bride 
Comedy and horror; oil and water
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