Sailor Moon S The Movie

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When Luna passes out on the way home, she’s rescued by the kindly astronomer Kakeru Ozora, who she ends up falling in love with. The trouble for Luna, besides him being human and her being a talking cat, is that Kakeru is already love with his childhood friend, astronaut Himeko Nayotake, who is about to become the first Japanese woman in space. After Kakeru finds a mysterious fragment from a comet, the Earth begins experience extreme and unusual weather patterns and mysterious alien beings attack the Earth. Now Super Sailor Moon and the Sailor Guardians are called into action once again to defend the planet, but can they activate the Silver Crystal Power in time to stop these new enemies?

Unlike the first Sailor Moon movie, Sailor Moon S The Movie is not an original anime only film but is based on a special act, The Lover of Princess Kaguya, that the original manga author, Naoko Takeuchi, wrote. What I enjoyed about this movie is that it was focused on Luna, who is mostly a secondary character in the series, instead of the major characters like the Sailor Guardians or Tuxedo Mask.  Continue reading “Sailor Moon S The Movie”

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Revue Starlight

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Karen Aijo has always dreamed of becoming the Top Star in the Takarazuka theater troupe. When Karen’s childhood best friend, Hikari Kagura, transfers into the Seisho Music Academy, Karen finds herself drawn into the world of the Revue Starlight auditions, where there is more to gain and lose than just fame.

Revue Starlight was a show that kind of came out of nowhere that I didn’t expect to be so good during the summer 2018 anime season. When I first heard about it being based on a mobile game, I thought it was just going to be a typical idol anime franchise but with the twist that it’s focused on the all women theater troupe known as Takarazuka. The Takarazuka aspect did have me interested because I already had a curious interest in them due to their involvement with the live action Sailor Moon musicals, but I wasn’t expecting Revue Starlight to be as weird and surreal of a show as it was. Even now after I’ve seen it all, I’m still processing my thoughts on the show and I’m not entirely sure I understood everything or how I felt about all that happened. Continue reading “Revue Starlight”

Harukana Receive

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Haruka Ozora has always been paranoid about her height until she moves to Okinawa to live with her cousin, Kanata Higa, and her grandmother and joins Kanata’s beach volleyball team. Kanata teams up with Haruka to take on her rival, Narume, who she has a complex history with. When they enter the team in the local Junior Tournament, they realize they’ll have to face off against each other to win. Will their friendships be able to survive the tough competition of volleyball?

Based on a seinen sports manga by Nyoijizai, Harukana Receive was a show I initially didn’t think much of going in but I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it by the end. I went in expecting it to be just a silly fanservice sports show and while it was that to some degree, it ended up having a lot more emotional heart to it than I expected. The show found the right balance between having some silly light-hearted moments but also being dramatic enough to be engaging without it being too overly melodramatic either. Continue reading “Harukana Receive”

Dragon Pilot: Hisone and Masotan

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Hisone Amakasu has a habit of always speaking what’s on her mind as bluntly as possible which ends up causing problems with how she interacts with her co-workers. She tries hard to suppress her urge to speak bluntly until she ends up being recruited JASDF Gifu air base to become a Dragon Pilot to a dragon species known as the Organic Transformed Flyers (also referred to as the OTF), which she nicknames her partner as Masotan. Together with fellow Dragon Pilots, El, Mayumi, and Liliko, they serve in the JADF to protect the nation.

Dragon Pilot: Hisone and Masotan is an original anime that brought together several big names in the industry that have become favorits in the fandom over the years. The series is written by Mari Okada, who has made a name for herself writing some of the most popular anime in recent years like Anohana, Gundam Iron Blooded Orphans, and she recently debuted with her own self-directed anime film, Maquia. Mechanical design is by the legendary Shoji Kawamori of Escaflowne and Macross fame with animation by Studio Bones. The director is Shinji Higuchi, who has mainly done live action Japanese cinema before, most recently the live action Attack on Titan films, and was co-director on Shin Godzilla. With so many talented creative voice working on the show, does it really live up to the hype? Continue reading “Dragon Pilot: Hisone and Masotan”

Akame ga Kill

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Akame ga Kill is an entertaining shonen anime that deals with some interesting political themes with a lot of high stakes action. It centers around a young man, Tatsumi, who joins a secret organization of assassins known as the Night Raid to overthrow a corrupt empire. What I enjoyed about the show is that isn’t focused on typical shonen themes of wanting to be the best but it does focus on themes like government corruption and economic inequality. I am aware the anime was made before the manga was even close to finishing and that the anime has an original ending. I have never read the manga source material so I can only judge the anime on it’s own merits.  Continue reading “Akame ga Kill”

Mary and the Witch’s Flower

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Based on a British novel by Mary Stewart, Mary and the Witch’s Flower is a beautiful homage to all the great classic themes and art styles we have come to know and love from the master animators at Studio Ghibli. This isn’t surprising since this is directed by former Ghibli director, Hiromasa Yonebayashi, as the film debut of Studio Ponoc, which is made up of many former Ghibli animators. The story follows a clumsy red head girl, Mary Smith, who discovers by chance an academy of witches when exploring the woods one day, and her adventures to protect a mysterous magical flower. May of the characters and scenes in the movie are direct inspirations from Ghibil. Mary is your spunky heroine who finds herself spirited away to another world, accompianed by a black cat, and has to save the boy she likes from an evil witch. Mary herself feels like a mixture of Kiki, Chihiro, and Arrietty. The scene where the academy headmistress, Madam Mumblechook, introduces herself to Mary, is clearly inspired by Chihiro meeting the river spirit in Spirited Away. Mary’s explorations of the witch academy also draw a certain resemblance from Lin showing Chihiro the way in Yubaba’s bath house.

Continue reading “Mary and the Witch’s Flower”

Pokemon The Movie I Choose You

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Ash Ketchum has just turned ten years old and is about to embark on his Pokemon journey. Late on the day of his depature, he misses out on a chance to choose from three starter Pokemon, and winds up with the reluctant electric rodent Pokemon, Pikachu, as his partner. After Ash saves Pikachu from a flock of angry of Spearow, Ash and Pikachu witness the legendary bird Pokemon, Ho-Oh and form a stronger bond with each other. Pokemon The Movie: I Choose You celebrates the 20th anniversary of the Pokemon anime series that has taken the world by storm. Since it’s debut in 1997 in Japan and a year later for North America, Pokemon has dominated the scene as the most popular children’s anime in the world. The series has been a major influence on children’s anime, jump starting the monster battle genre that influenced later beloved series like Digimon and Monster Rancher. The series has also been a major gateway series for many kids around the world that helped introduce them to the world of anime. I Choose You is an alternate retelling of the events of the TV series, focusing more on Ash and Pikachu’s friendshsip and their journey to find Ho-Oh than on Ash’s quest to become a Pokemon master and win the Pokemon league. Continue reading “Pokemon The Movie I Choose You”