demographic: seinen


2017


Natsume Ono's 'not simple': Human Ruins
The creator of 'ACCA: 13' and 'House Of Five Leaves' also gave us this haunting story of a young man thrown onto life's scrap heap
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Victor Santos's 'Rashōmon': Edo Noir
A clever and inventive retelling of three classic Japanese samurai-era tales, channeled through detective-noir sensibilities
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'Haibane Renmei': The Kids In God's Waiting Room
An allegory, wrapped in a mystery, served up as a children's tale
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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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'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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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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'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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'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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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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'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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'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 '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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'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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'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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'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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'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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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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'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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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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'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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2016


'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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'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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