Peek in the Shell
The opening scene (or at least a major slice of it) from Ghost In The Shell (2017) has been released. Unfortunately, I'm getting more of a Johnny Mnemonic vibe from this than a Ghost In The Shell vibe:
It's not like they don't have the look of the thing down; that part is easy. But without some idea of what this is like on the character and story level, this reminds me that a lot of the imagery and concepts Ghost In The Shell seeded into popular culture 25 years back are starting to border on the clichéd and hokey.
On the plus side, what hints we can hear of Clint Mansell's score are pretty spot-on. This is the same fellow who gave us the soundtracks to Darren Aronofsky's π and Requiem For A Dream, among others. Not a total swap-in for Kenji Kawai or Yoko Kanno, but a good choice all the same.
Outlaw Star and The Big O are back at ya
When Bandai Entertainment closed its U.S. division, a great many titles issued domestically under that imprint fell into limbo. Some were rescued fairly quickly; there was no way Cowboy Bebop was going to remain out of print for more than a couple of years at a time.
Two of my favorites from that cache that didn't immediately see the light of day were Outlaw Star and The Big O. For the uninitiated, the former is a rollicking space opera — very Guardians of the Galaxy, come to think of it — and the latter, its cringe-inducing title aside, somewhere between Dark City, Batman, and your favorite mecha show.
Now both O and Outlaw are coming back, by way of Section 23/Sentai and Funimation, respectively. Both are absolutely worth the time, and both will absolutely get discussed here. (Preorder: The Big O, Outlaw Star.)
Unfortunately, that leaves a great many other worthy Bandai titles still stuck in the middle of nowhere: FLAG, Kaze no Yojimbo, Tsukikage Ran, Yukikaze, Fantastic Children (yet another case of a great title camouflaged behind an awful, unevocative title), Geneshaft (which plays like a mashup of most of Larry Niven's works), and others.
Keep scouring those discount bins.
Faces of Death (Note)
Our first actual in-motion peek at the live-action Death Note project from Netflix:
Most of it looks like a standard-issue "dark YA" story, origins notwithstanding — although, when you get down to it, that was what Death Note was, for better or worse. The one thing that really sells it for me is Willem Dafoe's voice for Ryuk; Dafoe, I will see (well, hear, in this case) in most anything. And have.
The part that made me smirk the most, though, wasn't the casting. It was the line Based on the International Phenomenon — the kind of thing used to tag material like The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, to keep people from pre-emptively dumping on it because it's from Somewhere Else. Eh, whatever works.