meta: History


2020


'Gojoe': The Demons On The Bridge 
Twenty years later, Gakuryū Ishii's revisionist samurai legend still dazzles and jolts like few other movies of its kind
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2018


'The Book Of The Dead': Illusions Of Life 
A classic historical novel, in English for the first time, has a dazzling stop-motion animated adaptation to go with it from one of Japan's masters of that art
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'Animerama: Cleopatra': God Of Manga Meets Queen Of Nile 
The second of Tezuka's 'Animerama' productions for adults works best as a showcase for Tezuka's imaginative visuals, less so as a story or even as a spoof of Hollywood excess
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2017


The 'Silence' Of Shusaku Endō, Masahiro Shinoda, And Martin Scorsese 
On two film adaptations, entirely dissimilar but equally fascinating, of a Japanese novel about the persecution of Christians in Tokugawa-era Japan
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'Miss Hokusai': An Incomplete Portrait 
With a potentially fascinating story about the daughter of the fabled artist Hokusai and some beautiful production design, it's a shame this unfocused and aimless film isn't better
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2016


Let's Animate This: 'Musui's Story' 
This riotous 19th-century memoir of a ne'er-do-well samurai's life and times, available in English, would lend itself wonderfully to an anime treatment
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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


'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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'The Tale of the Princess Kaguya': Her Life To Live 
So much more than just a lavish Classics Illustrated story, Isao Takahata's brush-painted picture scroll of a movie asks where the real meaning of any of our lives lies
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'Porco Rosso': A Red Pig On The Wing 
With this pre-WWII adventure, Hayao Miyazaki gave audiences young and old both a rollicking romp and a thoughtful drama, both in complement and not conflict
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2014


'The Wind Rises': The Man With His Head In The Clouds 
Hayao Miyazaki's final bow as a director is a down note -- an aimless, shallow, and all-too-fictive biopic that never engages with the moral questions at the heart of its own story
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