meta: Fantasy


2017


'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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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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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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'Attack On Titan: The Movie': A Dead-Action Film
Misguided, tone-deaf, ugly, and erratically paced, this is one of the rare occasions where a promised Western remake might actually be just the response we deserve
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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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'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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'Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV': The State Of One Of The Arts
As an introduction to the newest FF universe, it's perfectly adequate; as drama and storytelling, it's serviceable; as a technology demo, it's a triumph - much like the other FF films before it
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'Thunderbolt Fantasy': Master Of Puppets
This wild, stylish marriage of Gerry Anderson-style marionettes, wuxia cinema, and gnarly anime plotting may be tough to take in at first, but we all complained about big eyes and small mouths once upon a time
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'Berserk' (2016): What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted?
The return of Kentarō Miura's violent fantasy epic to the little screen brings with it a fidelity to its strong characterization and powerful story -- and a renewed appreciation of all that was problematic the first time
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Patreon 'Aoi Bungaku: Sakura No Mori No Mankai No Shita [In The Forest, Under Cherries In Full Bloom]': The Heart's Filthy Lesson
Ango Sakaguchi's classic story, a mix of 'farce, fable, and mystery' (and horror) is brought to life with outlandish style and color -- and always with one eye cocked towards its heart of darkness
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'Queen Emeraldas': Our Lady Of The Sea Of Stars
Leiji Matsumoto's pulp action / space opera stories are really a kind of SF-tingled mythology; his 'Captain Harlock' successor, now out in English, is a fine example
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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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'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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'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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'Garm Wars: The Last Druid': History, And Oshii, Repeating Themselves
Mamoru Oshii's live-action project is a sad misfire -- ponderous, pretentious, and worst of all, nothing he hasn't done before (and done better, too)
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'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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'Giganto Maxia': A Future Gone 'Berserk'
This one-shot side project from Kentarō ('Berserk') Miura promised an entirely different universe from that magnum opus. It's a shame we probably won't ever seen any more of it
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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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'Astro-Boy': The Kid With The 100,000 Horsepower Heart
Osamu Tezuka's beloved creation was more than just kid's stuff; it was machine-age mythology for young and old alike
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'Kizumonogatari': Came Back Haunted
Freshly translated into English, Nisioisin's novel of vampires and hapless human thralls is catnip for fans of his 'Monogatari' series, but everyone else faces an uphill climb
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2015


'The Seven Deadly Sins': A Venture Into Familiar But Entertaining Territory
Netflix's next venture into anime territory is satisfyingly entertaining and sports a gamboling cast, but don't look for any envelope-pushing here
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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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'Attack on Titan: The Harsh Mistress of the City': Velvet Fist In Mailed Glove
A much better expansion of the 'Attack on Titan' universe than the 'Before the Fall' light novel, but it's still not without its own issues
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'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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