Get ready for an entirely different type of anime film. This one
has no giant robots and no space
battles. Instead, this mind-bending psychological thriller takes
place in modern-day Japan and is chillingly realistic in its portrayal
of a pop-idol turned
actress losing her grip on sanity as she is stalked by a fanatic-turned-killer.
The director does an outstanding job of blurring the lines between
her delusions and the TV role that mirrors her real-life problems so
much so that you begin to suffer from the same problem she does which
is that you cannot tell what is real and what's not.
believe us, you won't be prepared for the ending well,
we don't want to give it away. Let's just say that we
were shocked. This is fantastic example of how anime
can be used to tell an adult, dramatic story that doesn't
have to involve a toy tie-in. Groundbreaking and innovative,
you'll definitely find this film to be far above the
usual fare. Attention, Anime Studios in Japan - please
make more films like this one!
Big O (DVD)
The Big O has been often described as 'What if you combined Batman and Giant
Robo?' But it is way more than that. It is pure, hardcore, literary-quality
science fiction wrapped in style and sophistication, referencing
everything from Isaac
Asimov to Kurt
Vonnegut. Meet Roger Smith, a man who fights crime in a double
breasted all black suit, and he's got a giant robot (but does he
control it, or does it control him?). Roger's companion is a female
android who is more like MTV's
Daria than anything else. She's like nothing you've ever seen
in anime before. Be in awe of Dorothy, her power, her magnificence,
her improbable size to mass ratio, her sardonic monotone comments,
and her hidden, but deeply felt emotion.
put, The Big O is everything that we admire about Anime.
It has taken American pop culture references and made
them its own. Then it augments satire with some brilliantly
executed scripts that actually make you think. Combined
with one of the most intense, dramatic and downright
gothic soundtracks ever recorded, (and one of the most
hysterical opening theme songs ever), The Big O is both
parody, homage, and something unique all it's own. It
may be one of the best anime series ever made, and at
a mere 13 episodes, it ends with you screaming for more.
Macross Saga Legacy Boxed Set (DVD)
Robotech exploded onto the American scene and inducted entire legions
fans into our ranks. Next to Star
Blazers, it may be the single most relevant TV series in terms
of how many people call it the first "true" anime they
ever experienced. Combined from three different TV series in Japan,
given a makeover in terms of script and a whole new soundtrack, the
producers at Harmony Gold blended together some of the best anime
had to offer at the time.
included in this set is the best of the best - Macross,
which spawned imitations, sequels, and really gave us
the entire 'transformer'
craze in the first place (thanks to the ever-popular
mecha - still one of the most convincing concepts
ever designed). And then there's the Macross itself,
certainly the most giant of giant robots, using aircraft
carriers as arms and holding an entire city inside of
it. Macross proves that excess is success, and very few
have ever done it this well on this scale.
Seriously, how can you go wrong with Phil
Hartman voicing the cat! For that alone, this is worth watching.
Plus, Kiki is voiced by none-other than Spiderman's sweetheart, Kirsten
Dunst. Overall, this is one of the best dubbing jobs ever done
for an anime film that has come to America. And of course, the
film itself is pure Miyazaki.
Beautiful execution and animation, enchanting Jo
Hisaishi musical score, and the subtle, slow-burning to boil
story that is the trademark of every film from Studio Ghibli.
master storyteller weaves a magical world where witches
are part of the community, and Kiki, a witch in training,
has to start using her broom and flight powers in
a delivery service role to help make ends meet. Through
this premise, he builds a girl-to-woman coming of
age story, with all the requisite problems of life
on your own, and learning to rely on yourself, and
learning about self-confidence. The struggles Kiki
deals with are the sames ones we deal with every
day, they are just a little bit different - because,
after all, this is a Miyazaki film. There's something
for all of us to learn from Kiki, and what it teaches
us are the things we should carry in our hearts forever.
Scarlet DVD Box Set
Of all the Gerry
Anderson Supermarionation shows, Captain Scarlet has the most
realistic looking figures, the most imaginative scenery and equipment,
and it's just generally the coolest looking of all of them. The
Japanese have a serious love-affair with Thunderbirds,
but Captain Scarlet has a special place in our hearts - the show
is just so damn bizarre and with those South Park overtones (the
main character dies every episode - except that he comes back -
because he cannot be killed!), you'll see here where everyone else
stole their great ideas from.
the episodes contain a veritable whos-who of British
cinema behind the scenes. Both Derek Meddings (special
effects guru) and Barry Gray (musical genius) went
on to contribute to the James
Bond films, and of course, Gerry and Silvia went
on to produce epics like Space:1999 (best
art direction - ever!). But every episode is not
to be missed. Like some kind of GiJoe doll heaven
come-to-life, action figures in action, toys that
go boom, this is every 7 to 70 year old boy's dream
Bebop Complete Anime Guide Volume 1
If you loved Cowboy Bebop on the Cartoon Network the only problem
you will have with buying Volume 1 of this series is that you
will want to buy the next five. The book is packed with basically
anything anyone would want to know about the first five episodes
of the series, from basic information about the characters
to tidbits about seemingly minor incidents and the lyrics of
the songs in English and phonetic Japanese. There's a small
section after the overview of the episodes which gives bios
of Spike, Jet, and the rest of the gang (even Ein gets his
own character bio). Of course our favorite feature was the
pull-out poster of Spike! By the way if you are a Faye Valentine
fan you may just want to skip to Volume
Three in the series.
Kong Comics : A History of Manhua
Most Anime fans know everything about Manga (Japanese comic
books), however very few fans know that much about Manhua which
is the Hong Kong counterpart to Manga. Like Manga, Manhua covers
a wide range of genres. While there are a few good English
books on Manga, there hasnt been much coverage of Manhua
- however author Wendy Siuyi Wong is off to a good start with
this voluminously illustrated book which examines the history
of this genre from its beginnings in the early twentieth century
to its most influential contemporary practitioners, and in
the process traces the origin of a unique Hong Kong style.
Over one thousand color manhua (each with English annotation)
introduce the reader to this rich and varied form of Chinese
popular culture. Wong examines a wide range of comic types,
from political cartoons, to "lighthearted" humor
comics, children's stories, and violent kung fu fighting works.
Emperor and the Wolf: The Lives and Films
of Akira Kurosawa and Toshiro Mifune
At first you love Anime, but then you take the next step exploring
everything related to Japanese culture. It doesnt take
one long to stumble upon the powerful samurai films of Akira
Kurosawa which feature the actor Toshiro Mifune. The Emperor
and the Wolf is a great book about these two cornerstones of
Japanese cinema. Kurosawa and Mifune made sixteen feature films
together, including Rashomon, Seven Samurai, Throne of Blood,
Yojimbo, and High and Low -- all undisputed masterworks of
This book is long overdue: a well-researched study of how a
great director and a great actor fired each other up; an informative
history of how high profile Japanese films were received at
home and abroad; a surprising genealogy of the modern action
hero; and a fresh look at sixteen Kurosawa movies-at least
six of them all-time classics. Kurosawa has been the subject
of numerous critical works, but no English-language biography
predates this book. Furthermore, most of Mifune's 126 features
remain unseen in the U.S. As one of world cinema's leading
figures, Kurosawa is the more important subject here, but the
information on Mifune is most welcome, too.
Castle In The Sky - Soundtrack
Statement of Bias: We think the music
for every Miyazaki film is perfect, astounding, beautiful,
majestic, and awe-inspiring. There aren't enough superlatives
in the English language to describe the works of Jo
Hisaishi. But even within his collected works are stand-out
selections and Laputa is, by far, his best work.
film has a strong link to the experiences
and emotions of flight, and the sountrack
enhances those feelings, with an air to it
that lifts you up and makes you feel the
wind rushing around you, while at the same
time, wrapping you in the softness of a cloud.
The title track alone will bring you to tears
as you experience it's magical ability to
make you float.
But the overall soundtrack is a mixture of styles and influences,
smoothly flowing from one to the next, using a variety of instruments.
The electronic "flapter" music is a far cry from
the classical sound of the title, and the action music is complemented
by the softer tracks of piano which echo the main theme. The
variety of emotions and the clever ways these emotions are
presented through the composition and orchestration make this
soundtrack more impressive than any other we have ever heard
for any film, of any genre, ever.