demographic: seinen


2020


'Tokyo Godfathers': Three Vagabonds And A Baby 
Satoshi Kon's most "conventional" movie was also his funniest, a coincidence-driven romp through Tokyo's lower depths
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'Dorohedoro': Black (Magic) Comedy 
Blackly funny, rollicking, and spectacularly animated, the adaptation of Q Hayashida's equally off-the-wall manga is another high point for Netflix's anime coproductions
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'Ghost In The Shell: SAC_2045': A Withered Husk 
Easily the weakest 'Ghost In The Shell' project thus far, but with a tease of hope at the end of its first half
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'Beastars': Animal House 
That very rarest of breeds: a truly adult show
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'Giant Robo': The Mecha Opera 
This grand and glorious epic returns to home video for English speaking audiences in a spectacular new Blu-ray Disc edition; it is as essential as it gets
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2019


Junji Ito's 'No Longer Human': No Longer Dazai 
A manga horror icon takes on a classic of modern Japanese literature, and makes it his own in ways both fascinating and baleful
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Gō Tanabe's 'At The Mountains Of Madness': Horror's Human And Inhuman Faces 
Gō Tanabe's two-volume adaptation of Lovecraft's classic novella shouldn't be missed by fans of that writer, by lovers of comic adaptations, or by those who want to see manga at its best
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'Ryuko': International Woman Of Mystery 
A gorgeous homage to everything from Meiko Kaji's femme-violence films to 'Black Lagoon', but it's too top-heavy with plot and not resourceful enough about its own best ideas
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'Izo': Takashi Miike's Death (And Resurrection) Mantra 
Even longtime Takashi Miike fans were alienated by this mix of Miike's fetishes, 'Slaughterhouse-Five', and William S. Burroughs's space-age shamanism, but it deserves fresh eyes and open minds
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'Genius Party / Genius Party Beyond': Visions Of Twelve 
These two anthology showcases of boundary-pushing animation are now at last enshrined on disc for English-speaking audiences, as they've always deserved to be
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'Carole & Tuesday': The Mars Volta 
Shinichiro Watanabe's new series, about two young women trying to make their music their way, either needed more SF or less of it to really work
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Akio Jissōji's 'The Buddhist Trilogy' 
Almost totally unseen outside Japan, these three art projects by a director best known for his 'Ultraman' work are anything but easy viewing, but also seething with vision and ambition
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Tomihiko Morimi's 'The Night Is Short, Walk on Girl': How One Thing Leads To Another 
This newly translated novel, the basis for Masaaki Yuasa's madcap movie, is just as wild as its successor, with the advantage of slightly more insight into its female protagonist
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'Tomie': The Infinite Bad Penny  
Like all great horror, Junji Ito's now-classic series about an undying supernatural siren has something to say other than "boo!"
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Katsuhiro Ōtomo's 'Domu': A Child's Book Of Nightmares 
A shame that any of Katsuhiro Ōtomo's work should still be out of print, especially this precusor to 'AKIRA' that pits psionic warriors against each other in a high-rise apartment complex
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'Unforgiven'/'Yurusarezarumono': From The Wild West To The Deep North 
Sang-Il Lee's Meiji-era remake of Clint Eastwood's now-classic Western doesn't quite eclipse its predecessor, but it doesn't need to; it stands very nicely on its own
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'Steins;Gate': Stand Back, We're Going To Try Weird Science 
How comedic banter, science-fiction mind-bending, and an irresistible cast of characters combined alchemically to make one of anime's best moments in recent years
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'The Face Of Another': Confessions Of A Mask 
Kōbō Abe's novel, and Hiroshi Teshigahara's film adaptation, explore an extreme case: a disfigured man given a new face to present to the world, and thus all the perils of existential absolute freedom
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'Black Lagoon': Boiled Harder 
The animated adaptation of Rei Hiroe's ferocious homage to '80s action and Hong Kong cinema has all the attitude and muscle of its source, and also all its soul and insight
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'Samurai Champloo': The Mix 
At the Venn intersection of '47 Ronin' and 'Cash Rules Everything Around Me' is this glorious jumble of period samurai adventure, road movie, anti-romantic triangle, comedy, drama, and stone cold classic
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'Tetsuo II: Body Hammer': Metamorphoses 
Shinya Tsukamoto's follow-up (side-quel?) to his immortal debut is not quite as arresting or inspired, but it has many fascinating aspects all the same
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'Tetsuo: The Iron Man': Full Metal Mutation 
Thirty years later, Shinya Tsukamoto's frenzied masterwork of cyberpunk body horror still seethes like nothing else on film
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'Punk Samurai Slash Down': Pulp Fiction 
Kō Machida's cult novel about a ronin grifter whose latest grift goes horribly wrong is one strange mash-up of conceits, even for those who like strange mash-ups
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'Cure': The Hollow(ed) Men 
Two decades on, Kiyoshi Kurosawa's mutant serial-killer thriller remains among his very best films, and one of Japan's finest from the 1990s generally
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Bonten Taro's 'Badass Babe! Sex & Fury & Other Stories': The Girl With The Hanafuda Tattoo 
An eclectic collection of manga work from a tattoo artist, folk singer, and quasi-underworld figure until now only marginally known in the West
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Continue reading archives for this tag from 2019