meta: Alternate History


2018


'Like The Clouds, Like The Wind': From Country Girl To First Concubine 
A real treat: a made-for-TV historical fantasy, by way of some Studio Ghibli regulars, that starts lighthearted and in time becomes genuinely ambitious
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'Violet Evergarden': Words From The Heart 
Netflix's coproduction with Kyoto Animation is gorgeous and has a story worth telling, but maybe melodrama wasn't the right mode for it
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2017


'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


'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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2015


'Fullmetal Alchemist': The Road Not Taken 
Placed side by side with its anime and manga brother incarnations, 'Fullmetal Alchemist' deserves more to be seen for where it rethinks and reinterprets, and less for how it deviates from the playbook
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'Nobunagun': Shooting Blanks 
Trippy visuals and a throw-it-all-in-the-pot narrative style fall victim to incurious storytelling in this oddity
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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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'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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2014


'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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'Brave 10': History, Repeating Itself 
It's always fascinating how Japan does mutant fantasy versions of its own history, even if the results aren't always worth the effort
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