meta: From The Manga


2017


'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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The Soul Of A New 'Ghost'
Very little is known about the recently announced 'Ghost In The Shell' animation project, but the people on board so far are about as good as you could ask for
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The Cracks In The 'Shell'
Whatever my own readings of the film, the 2017 'Ghost In The Shell' is still problematic in ways that are potentially a bad model for other live-action anime
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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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'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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'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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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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'Lone Wolf And Cub': The Boy And The Beast
Kazuo Koike's perennial manga classic was adapted for the big screen in this cycle of six pop-pulp masterpieces, where father and son slash, stab, shoot, and slice their way through hell
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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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'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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In Defense Of 'Berserk', Both Old And New
The new 'Berserk' is a welcome extension to the original TV series, but it doesn't come at the expense of the '97 original -- what could?
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Let's Animate This (Again): 'AKIRA'
A new animated version of 'AKIRA', one that treats the entirety of the original story, would be far more welcome than a misconceived live-action version -- and wouldn't ding the reputation of the original movie, either
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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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Patreon 'Rurouni Kenshin': For The New Age, A New Man
When the first film in this live-action trilogy is among the very best adaptations yet of an manga/anime property, we can forgive any weaknesses in the whole
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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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'Tokyo Ghoul': The Inhuman Condition
It's tough sledding at first due to its focus on a hapless protagonist, but the way 'Tokyo Ghoul' picks up steam to redeem itself is impressive
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'Inari Kon Kon': 21st-Century Fox
What could have been a dreary slog through a predictable plotline is instead made sweet, sincere, and unexpectedly thoughtful
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2014


'Helter-Skelter: Fashion Unfriendly': I've Got You Under My Skin
This caustic satire of the meat-market beauty industry works as both a manga and a live-action production, although it is more concise and less distractingly glamorous on paper than it is on a screen
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'Hellsing Ultimate': Or, The Dracula-Vs.-Nazi-Vampire-Burning-London-To-The-Ground Blues
Looking back over this legendary and now-concluded OVA series, it's striking to realize how it all amounted to a great deal less than it might have seemed
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'Claymore': The Beautiful And The Damned
Rare these days is the series with an all-female cast where character, story, and drama are the goals, not titillation or eye candy
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'WataMote': No Matter How I Look At It, It's My Fault If I Find This Show Funny
This jet-black comedy about a social misfit is either one you laugh with -- or a test of an audience's limits of tolerance for truly mean-spirited humor
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