meta: Drama


2018


'A Shameful Life': Osamu Dazai's 'No Longer Human', All Over Again 
An all-new translation of Osamu Dazai's bleak masterwork brings fresh clarity and immediacy to a staple of modern Japanese literature
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'AKIRA' At 30-Something: The Manga At The End Of The World 
On having a reckoning with the god-emperor of modern manga, in a restored English-language edition at last
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'Maborosi': The Unanswerable Question 
Hirokazu Kore-eda's debut feature, twenty years on, remains an ominous and poignant masterwork
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Patreon 'A Silent Voice': Children Of Lesser Gods 
A gorgeous adaptation of the acclaimed manga, and a story with a hard moral question: Who gets to be redeemed?
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'The Man Who Stole The Sun': I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb. Now What? 
Almost forty years later, this jet-black comedy about a one-man nuclear terrorist ring remains an absurdist masterwork
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'After The Rain': Two (Broken) Hearts Beat As One 
What starts as an unlikely (and potentially squicky) romance becomes a more ambitious story about kinship between those with buried dreams
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'An Actor's Revenge': Improvised, And Served Cold 
It's normally bad to call a movie 'stagy', but Kon Ichikawa's kabuki tragedy revels in it to great effect
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Patreon Kon Ichikawa's 'Kokoro': The Wretched Hearts Of Men 
Kon Ichikawa's 1955 film version of Sōseki Natsume's classic novel adapts it with fidelity, intelligence, and just enough changes to be stimulating
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'your name.': If A Body Meet A Body ... 
Makoto Shinkai's blockbuster is an eyeful and a heartful, but look closely and you'll see the seams
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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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Takeshi Kitano's 'Violent Cop': Contents Under Pressure 
'Beat' Takeshi Kitano's first outing as director remains among his best movies -- and also among his most nihilistic and unforgiving
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2016


'The Fake': Closer To God 
The follow-up from the director of 'King Of Pigs' is both more artistically accomplished and more emotionally scarring, an attempt to get us to care about someone who would otherwise never warrant our sympathy
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'Empire of Corpses': Dead Man's Party 
Label anything 'steampunk' and the label tends to take over, but this fantasy from the late lamented Project Itoh is about more than just clockworks and longcoats
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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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'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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Patreon 'Aoi Bungaku: No Longer Human': The Man Without Qualities 
The first of the 'Aoi Bungaku' animated adaptations of classical Japanese literature is a keen, well-devised adaptation of Osamu Dazai's novel of downfall and decadence
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'Rampo Kitan: Game of Laplace': Darker Than You Think 
Edogawa Rampo's 'erotic-grotesque' horror stories are remixed for the (post)modern day in this sinister, surreal, and colorful adventure
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'A-JIN': Live, Die, Repeat 
After 'Knights of Sidonia', Netflix and Polygon Pictures aim -- sucessfully -- for darker and harder-hitting territory
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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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'Die Wergelder': A Taste Of Blood Money 
After his samurai body-horror epic 'Blade of the Immortal', Hiroaki Samura now gives us a Nikkatsu-style, pulp-inflected action fable
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'Lady Snowblood': Revenge, Best Served Cold 
A pivotal inspiration for Tarantino's 'Kill Bill', this violent revenge tale brings us an anti-heroine who's as much of an outsider for being a woman as she is for being an assassin
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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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'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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'The King of Pigs': Man Is The Animal 
One of the few original animated productions in recent years from South Korea demonstrates just how much nascent raw emotional energy there is waiting to be unleashed from that country's animation scene
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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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Continue reading archives for this tag from 2015