Castle in the Sky (1986)

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Castle in the Sky Movie Review

Castle in the Sky is a 1986 animated adventure film directed by Hayao Miyazaki. It is the first Studio Ghibli feature and one of their best in my opinion.

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There’s nothing worse than having your pigtails shot off!

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Castle in the Sky Movie Review……………………………………………

The plot is so good here. The film is a fantasy, but above all one grand adventure film and rarely have I seen this spectacular an adventure before. Such an amazing experience this movie provides. As is the case with most Miyazaki films, this one features a strong ecological theme and message to it which was great. The film is admirable for being very long, clocking in at two hours which is quite a lot for an animated film, but here it was worth it as the story is so majestic and big that it needed this much time to be told.

The beginning is intriguing and I liked how it started briskly and with an action sequence. Then the rest of the first act was a bit slow, but that was essential for providing character development, atmosphere and build-up. The second act is very good and that is where we get some of the best moments from the pirates. And of course the third act is the highlight as we finally see Laputa. It was fascinating to see the entire island and city on the sky. The details are remarkable, but more on that later. I loved the ending with the spell of destruction being used. It was dark, tragic and yet necessary.

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Castle in the Sky Movie Review……………………………………………

The character development in Castle in the Sky is solid, but not the greatest. To me Sheeta is a typical protagonist, but an interesting case of a strong female character and sort of a Studio Ghibli princess. Pazu is a bit boring and too good, but he serves his purpose. The two are too heroic and sometimes bland, but the relationship between the two is sweet and they got some charming moments together.

As for Colonel Muska, he is a typical over-the-top and power-hungry villain. However, the fact why I liked him quite a bit lies in the twist in his background which was well executed and in his actions which were capable and he actually was a very competent, strong villain who posed some serious danger for the protagonists.

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Castle in the Sky Movie Review……………………………………………

But Captain Dola is easily the highlight. Her entire pirate team is a lot of fun and I love her dynamic with her sons and husband. But she is so interesting and unforgettable not only in her looks – pink pigtails is a refreshing look for an old woman – but also in her character as she is good, but still treasure-hungry and she ended up taking a lot of treasure from Laputa in the end. She is simply hilarious and all of the film’s humor comes from her and her many funny lines. She is certainly one of Ghibli’s best and most endearing creations.

The animation in Castle in the Sky is something extraordinary. As I said before, the world building here is simply amazing and the attention to detail is unprecedented. But the animation is so great that it managed to give us all of this world in the best way possible – through old-fashioned hand-drawn style. The character designs are good, the use of color is great and Laputa is breathtaking to witness. I loved its original look, those robots also have an authentic look to them, the nature is beautiful here and the city and its magical properties are so well explored. Everything looks gorgeous in the titular castle, but Pazu’s village is also beautiful to witness and very cozy. This film honestly has one of the best animations ever, that’s how powerful it is. Not only wonderful and detailed, but also stylistic and even artistic. It’s certainly miles above anything Disney produced during this time.

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Castle in the Sky Movie Review……………………………………………

Castle in the Sky sometimes has overwhelming action for sure, but still that action is surprisingly well executed and it is in fact one of the best action oriented animated films. A lot of the set pieces such as the train scene and the final confrontation on Laputa are instantly recognizable and so well done. The movements are polished and the action is as exciting as the story is engaging.

And the score, oh how wonderful the score in this movie is. It is honestly breathtaking and timeless in quality as it lifts the material and animation to even greater heights and having in mind that both were excellent to begin with, the end result is nothing sort of astonishing. A perfect, well rounded package this film is. The entire score is great and I loved the song in the end, but naturally its theme is the standout here – simply gorgeous and unforgettable. Whenever it appeared in the movie, I was mesmerized.

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Castle in the Sky Movie Review……………………………………………

So it has its problems such as the protagonists and the dialogue should have been stronger as the script demanded it, but the message is great and this is an ecological movie done right. To me this is one of Hayao Miyazaki’s finest movies and a proof of how strong his direction could be. It is also one of Studio Ghibli’s best and such a phenomenal first feature for this amazing studio.

Castle in the Sky has weaker main characters, but the villain is solid and Captain Dola is one of Ghibli’s funniest and most endearing characters. The story here is excellent, so well told and with a great ecological message. The score is simply beautiful, the world building is extraordinary and the animation is artistic, meticulous in detail and simply mesmerizing leading to one of the best animated films ever in my opinion. It is such an epic, grand adventure that is one of Miyazaki’s best and such a terrific first feature for wonderful Studio Ghibli.

My Rating – 4.5

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ReLIFE (2016)

ReLIFE Review…………………………………………………..

ReLIFE Review

ReLIFE is a 2016 drama anime series directed by Tomo Kosaka. It is a pretty good and funny, albeit ultimately disappointing show.

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If someone always follows the perfect path without ever facing hardship…

Is it really what’s best for that person?

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ReLIFE Review…………………………………………………..

The anime follows a 27-year-old man who is unemployed and joins a scientific experiment where he gets rejuvenated by ten years and is sent back to high school as a student. Now obviously this is a high-concept idea which I really liked as it is pretty unique and simplistic, but provides great, emotional drama in the process. And because I myself am not employed and I am already 25, this story was very relatable to me personally.

I will talk about the problems of the show later, but now let’s talk about its characters. Arata Kaizaki is a very relatable, realistic and ultimately satisfactory protagonist. He is likable without being too likable or too boring. Ryo is solid, but not as interesting. Chizuru Hishiro is a great love interest and I just loved her socially awkward persona. They are such a great, wonderful couple and I loved them all the more as you get my personality when you mix these two together. They are such great characters that all of the others are lacking in comparison. But the voice acting is excellent for sure.

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ReLIFE Review…………………………………………………..

So the problem with ReLIFE is just that it loses its steam in the second half of its run. At first it was basically a comedy, but then it became too much of a teen romance to me personally and I would have liked for it to have stayed in the comedy genre throughout its whole run as it was so funny and fun that way.

The humor is excellent and its first couple of episodes made me laugh for more than a couple of occasions. It was the perfect mix of relatable and awkward humor with many great and highly amusing situations so well mined for laughs.

But the romance itself, although good, is overly emphasized and ultimately not as epic as it should have been. The series just lost some of its luster in the second half as it was rarely as funny there plus the drama was also lacking. Mixing drama and comedy was what its first episodes did so well, but then they decided to go full teen romance angle and that hurt it tremendously.

The animation in ReLIFE is excellent and the kind of modern anime animation that is very pleasing for the eyes and not too colorful. I liked how the characters looked and I loved their school and how well the interiors were designed. The school setting was so well utilized here.

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ReLIFE Review…………………………………………………..

The final episode was excellent and the first couple were great, but the middle parts were honestly disappointing. And the choice to focus on more supporting characters and volleyball bored me as I did not care for those characters and of course I have no interest in any sports whatsoever. As for its score, I liked it quite a bit and its opening theme is quite solid and very catchy. The show is also well edited and directed, but rarely as emotional as the script demanded and rarely as dramatic, though it was still rather relatable to me as I cared for and found myself in the two main characters.

In the end, ReLIFE is disappointing in its second half which relied too much on romance and not enough on humor, but the first half is great with excellent humor and many great situations. The character development is solid and I loved its main characters, the story was relatable to me personally and it is quite a good concept and it is ultimately a good anime that could have been great but ending up being just good.

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Worst Episodes: Revenge and Everybody’s Selfish Desires.

Best Episodes: Kaizaki Arata (27) Unemployed and Confession.

My Rating – 3.9

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Puella Magi Madoka Magica (2011)

Puella Magi Madoka Magica Movie Review…………………………………………………….

Puella Magi Madoka Magica Review

Puella Magi Madoka Magica is a 2011 magical girl anime series directed by Akiyuki Shinbo. It is such a competent emotionally rewarding series.

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There’re awful, horrible things in this world, I know that now.

But there’re a lot of things worth protecting too

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Puella Magi Madoka Magica Movie Review…………………………………………………….

The story follows a group of female middle school students who choose to become magical girls and must battle surreal enemies called witches. However, they consequently learn of the anguish and perils associated with their newfound roles. I truly admired how strong the storytelling here is. The script is very stellar and very sophisticated. And that is even more admirable having in mind that this is original work and isn’t based on either manga or any other previously published medium.

I will later talk about some of the flaws, but let’s first touch upon the themes. You have the darkness and evil that exists in the world and it will always exist. You have self-sacrifice and it is even touched upon how unfortunate and simply unfair life is. Some people grow up happy whereas some are bound to live a sad life owing to a number of predestined circumstances. And the entire concept of magical girl is turned on its head here wonderfully. They accept the role without thinking it through and eventually realize how terrible that role is and what serious and tragic circumstances it may bring with it.

But Madoka’s path from weak and scared to brave and sacrificial is what propels this show to greater heights. She truly is a superb main character and a rare one who isn’t brave from the beginning and who had to become courageous and to learn to make her own choices. That was beautiful to witness and so relatable. She is one anime protagonist for the ages.

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Puella Magi Madoka Magica Movie Review…………………………………………………….

Sayaka is excellent as her best friend and her story is also quite strong. Homura is superb and the relationship between her and Madoka is simply beautiful. I wasn’t such a big fan of Kyoko, but Mami is sweet. Kyubey is great and I loved learning about the Incubators and their relationship with magical girls. Really well written story with well tied explanations.

Puella Magi Madoka Magica has one problem and that is the action. I thought that it had way too little action sequences and I do realize that this is above all a drama, but it still needed more action to sell those fantasy scenes. To me those scenes featured quite interesting designs, but the world building is still pretty weak here and the anime suffers from having way too short running time. Twelve episodes just wasn’t enough for this story and it needed more time for sure.

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Puella Magi Madoka Magica Movie Review…………………………………………………….

But the score is good and the animation is quite commendable. I loved the animation in both dramatic and those fantasy scenes and even though I wanted more action and more witches, what I got was still pretty good. I liked the Incubators’ look and to me the character designs are stellar across the board. The pacing is sometimes rushed, but for the most part it is well handled and the show is very entertaining. It features excellent dialogue.

Puella Magi Madoka Magica is a magical girl anime done so right. Yes, its fantasy elements needed more work and the show is too short, but the drama is so well written, the character development is actually fantastic and the series is rich in themes, admirably dark in tone and with deadly consequences and many heartbreaking moments. Such an emotional, sophisticated and ultimately original take on this genre.

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Worst Episodes: That Would Be Truly Wonderful and I Won’t Rely on Anyone Anymore.

Best Episodes: This Just Can’t Be Right and My Very Best Friend.

My Rating – 4.2

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The Rose of Versailles (1979)

The Rose of Versailles Review……………………………………………………….

The Rose of Versailles Review

The Rose of Versailles is a 1979 historical shōjo anime directed by Tadao Nagahama and Osamu Dezaki. It is such a fantastic, beautiful show that I just loved.

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For twenty years you were the only one that I saw and thought about.

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The Rose of Versailles Review……………………………………………………….

The Rose of Versailles focuses on Oscar, a girl raised as a man to become her father’s successor as leader of the Palace Guards. Oscar is proud of the life she leads, but becomes torn between class loyalty and her desire to help the impoverished as revolution brews among the oppressed lower class. We also follow her conflicting desires to live life as both a militant and a regular woman as well as her relationships with Marie Antoinette as well as her best friend and future lover Andre.

In terms of storytelling, the series is phenomenal, so well written with such a stellar and sophisticated script. In terms of the themes, it isn’t as rich, but it deals with an interesting subject matter and a variety of interesting storylines and tones. Firstly, it is a historical show that examines France before the Revolution and it ends with it in its final couple of episodes. The only problem I’ve had here is that the series in my opinion didn’t focus as much as it should have focused on the poor and the ordinary people and sometimes it seemed to justify Marie’s actions a bit too much, but other than that, it succeeds thoroughly as a compelling historical drama that perfectly made me acquainted with this period and battles. The action was great and I really liked the conflicts, the battles and especially the politics in it, so well done.

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The Rose of Versailles Review……………………………………………………….

But The Rose of Versailles succeeds as a tragedy and a romance just as much. It is so purely romantic at times that it was just beautiful to witness. I loved how it explored what it means to be a woman and the conflicts that arose with Oscar and her entire story was just magnificent to behold. The series is so brutal, so heartbreaking and just striking more frequently than it is just dramatic that is should be classified as a tragedy more than anything else. The final two episodes are probably my favorites. A lot was crammed in there, but watching Andre’s death followed by Oscar’s was just heartbreaking and it almost made me cry. But the conclusion to the story with the deaths of all the nobles felt was so powerful to watch and stupendously well executed. The finale itself felt elevated because of its emotion and a sense of closure. Rarely does a show manage to do the finale well and this one does it just right and then so.

Now let’s talk about the characters. The character development is absolutely amazing in this anime. There is literally not a single character here that was underdeveloped or annoying. Everybody serves its purpose and all of them are mostly either perfectly sinister or very likable. Oscar Francois de Jarjayes is just splendid. She is a rare protagonist that steals the show as I usually do not like main characters as much as I like the supporting ones. But Oscar is a one of a kind personality. She wants to be a soldier and she is one meaning that her character is probably the first tough and feminist character in anime as she dates back to the seventies, but she is also surprisingly well developed and real. Watching her conflicting nature was emotionally rewarding and dramatic. And the couple of womanly displays that we got to see from her felt all the more rewarding. Interestingly androgynous, yet beautiful, noble, powerful and yet flawed and caring, she is a perfect example of how to do badass female characters right.

Andre is almost as good. It was a great twist to see that he had been seeing Oscar as a woman the whole time and whether as friends or as lovers, their relationship was truly something special. His blindness was very well handled and his eventual death was just as heartbreaking as her death was. The two are such a fantastic, wonderful couple and I just adored them.

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The Rose of Versailles Review……………………………………………………….

Fersen was quite solid and I liked his role and of course Rosalie is terrific and her story was epic, moving and you just root for her the whole time. I cared for her a lot and her relationship with Oscar is another strong one. Truly all of Oscar’s interactions were great. Marie Antoinette is a memorable person. I admired that they stayed true to the historical figure, but I also liked that they humanized her as that made her brutal end tragic, yet justifiable. I would have liked to have seen more from Louis XVI as he was ridiculously underutilized, but Madame du Barry was such a strong presence during the first half of the series. A terrific, memorable villain who got her powerful and quite emotional conclusion as well. I loved their ability to make the most of even the most despicable people and that they made you care for them and either pity or feel sorry for their terrible faiths. Duchess of Polignac is another terrific villain and her daughter Charlotte’s story was beyond tragic and it left me heartbroken. And of course Alain is such a sweet soul and a great, important character from the second half of the anime.

The Rose of Versailles is amazing in its technical aspects as well, it truly is a great show and one of the best anime series I’ve seen so far! The animation is splendid to behold. The character designs were realistic and admirable for it, but the imagery is memorable and sometimes even powerful. But where it succeeds the most is in its freeze frames. Whenever the action froze in the most important sequences, we got truly accomplished images that were just beautiful and even artistic in style. It is groundbreaking looking for its time and so polished, yet almost poetic in nature at times and with greatly choreographed movements and action as well.

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The Rose of Versailles Review……………………………………………………….

The score is just as great! I love the opening theme which is catchy and with great lyrics, but it also has excellent sound effects and some truly wonderful and fittingly moving themes and pieces of music accompanying the more important parts of the episodes and story. I found the editing to be mostly great as well as the direction and voice acting. Truly an accomplished series. The only flaw is that sometimes the more political episodes weren’t as strong and some episodes are weaker than others leading to an uneven in terms of investment show, but both in terms of the technicalities and in terms of emotion and plot, it succeeds in spades. It will probably remain one of my favorite anime shows long after this time.

The Rose of Versailles is such a great anime. It is uneven at times, but it is accomplished in score, gorgeous and even artistic animation and excellent direction, scenery and editing. It succeeds both as a historical drama as well as a tragedy and romance with such raw and heartbreaking emotion, many truly powerful scenes, a great and investing story and terrific characters with Oscar being one of the best protagonists of all time.

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Worst Episodes: Fly! An Austrian Butterfly!, Fersen Departs for the Northland, Suddenly, Like Icarus, The Necklace Shines Ominously and The Watchword is “Au Revoir”.

Best Episodes: Oscar, the Destiny of a Rose, Sun Sets, Sun Rises, The Secret of the Angel, Now the Time of Encounter, Farewell, My Sister!, A Minuet of Unrequited Love, On the Night of Passionate Vows, His Smile is Forever Gone! and Adieu, My Beloved Oscar.

My Rating – 4.6

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Your Name (2016)

Your name Movie Review…………………………………………………………….

Your Name Movie Review

Your Name is a 2016 romantic fantasy anime film directed by Makoto Shinkai. It is his weakest film so far without any doubt.

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Your name is…

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Your Name Movie Review…………………………………………………………….

It tells the story of a young man living in Tokyo and a young woman living in the countryside who suddenly start switching bodies on a regular basis. The premise itself was awfully weird. Odd actually as it isn’t particularly appealing. It led to a lot of overly sexual and typical teenage humor which I did not appreciate at all.

But the major problem here is most certainly the romance. We’ve seen this type of romance countless times before as Makoto Shinkai is basically repeating himself here. We’ve seen the theme of star-crossed lovers and beautiful, distant romance before and done much better, especially in his ‘5 Centimeters Per Second’. This is basically a rehashed idea with only the switching of the bodies part being new. But because I found that aspect to be too odd, I ended up not really liking the overall story.

But there are some exceptions to that. Certainly some scenes were way too good that even a non-fan like me has to admit their greatness. Some of the dreams were quite moody and intriguing and the last sequence in particular is very charming and a sweet and romantic way to end the movie.

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Your Name Movie Review…………………………………………………………….

The characters are solid, but not as great as the script demanded them to have been. The supporting characters are all forgettable, but the central duo is likable and their romance is sweet and emotional, albeit not nearly as well developed as I would liked to have seen.

The animation in Your Name is definitely its strongest aspect. The overall animation is so polished and professional, but the scenery is the highlight. Some of the imagery at display here was just gorgeous to behold and I loved the use of both country and city in its settings. That was important for the story and really well utilized visually too. I especially liked its pleasing color palette and a couple of sequences were even jaw-dropping in their beauty.

The soundtrack is pretty solid. The songs aren’t well incorporated whatsoever into the story, but they are catchy and memorable. But they added to this movie feeling like a TV show instead of a film and that feeling I just could never shake and it really bothered me.

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Your Name Movie Review…………………………………………………………….

The voice acting is good and the directing from Makoto Shinkai is pretty good as usual. He does repeat himself here, but at least the film flows well and is well directed as a whole. I found the film’s structure to be naturally important for the film itself, but it was still awfully annoying at times as I strongly dislike the dream structure as a whole. That is why I just could never connect and get into this movie and even some scenes felt boring to me. I definitely can see the appeal here as some scenes are very strong, the romance is pretty memorable and it can be quite sentimental and epic at times, but neither of those aspects were particularly well developed to me personally which is why I found the movie to be just solid and nothing more than that. It is certainly his weakest film so far.

Your Name is by far the weakest film from Makoto Shinkai so far. Yes, the animation is beautiful, its romance is memorable and a couple of sequences are certainly charming and moving, but even though I can definitely see its appeal, I could never get into it personally. The film is way too derivative of his previous works, the dream structure is annoying, the plot as a whole is pretty uninspired and it never felt like a movie to me, but rather like a rushed anime TV show. In the end, it is one seriously overrated anime film that hugely disappointed me.

My Rating – 3.5

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Heidi, Girl of the Alps (1974)

Heidi, Girl of the Alps Review……………………………………………………..

Heidi, Girl of the Alps Review

Heidi, Girl of the Alps is a 1974 anime series directed by legendary Isao Takahata. It is a very good, wonderful adaptation of the classic book.

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“Is it all right with you that you’ll never be able to walk?!”

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Heidi, Girl of the Alps Review……………………………………………………..

Because I loved the book, I naturally enjoyed this show a lot. It has its differences, but most of the book was faithfully adapted which I immensely appreciated. To me the anime is so good that it is almost of the same quality of its literary predecessor which just goes to show how great a director Isao Takahata is and certainly one of my favorites when it comes to anime.

I will now talk about each and every character in-depth and thus I will also comment on the storyline as a whole through those characters. Heidi is as great as she was in the book. Her look got me some time to get used to, but I liked her personality and I admired that she was more flawed than she was in the novel. Clara is also very good and the relationship between the two is expectedly touching and wonderful to witness.

As for Peter, I was so disappointed that they excluded his terrible treatment of Clara and how he threw her wheelchair. That was one of the highlights of the novel as it made him more human and relatable. But even though they got rid of that point, he is still pretty good and memorable here and I loved his interactions with the two girls.

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Heidi, Girl of the Alps Review……………………………………………………..

The grandfather is also very good and faithfully imagined, but I wished to have seen more of his spiritual rediscovery as seen in the original. Miss Rottenmeier is excellent and one of the rare characters that is actually improved here as she is less theatrical and more realistic and I loved that. The voice acting is pretty good and mostly very professional.

The animation is excellent for its time period. I loved its pleasing colors and I especially adored some of its imagery. It wonderfully recreated the mountain scenery as the Alps are wonderful here. And I liked the use of the animals too. Frankfurt was also very well depicted.

The soundtrack is one of the show’s greatest accomplishments. The sound effects and the score are great, but the closing theme is pretty good and of course the opening theme is just amazing. It is so immensely catchy, perfectly fitting in tone to its country origin and filled with wonderful imagery. That whole opening was one of the standouts of the anime.

Heidi, Girl of the Alps has a pretty solid structure in that most of the episodes work as standalone stories, but they still are coherent and lead to an overall firm storyline. I liked that and even though that meant that some episodes were less interesting than the others, that was expected for a series with the high amount of 52 episodes. But they covered most of the storylines and subplots of the book and I was eventually pleased by it. The anime is emotional, wonderfully childlike, always endearing and sometimes even pleasantly humorous.

In the end, Heidi, Girl of the Alps has its problems, but it is overall a stupendous anime series that is one of the best from the seventies without a doubt. It is also one of the best children’s anime with wonderful characters, a faithfully adapted plot, charming animation and such a good score with a catchy and fun opening theme.

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Worst Episodes: One More in the Family, I Want to Fly and Clara Walks.

Best Episodes: To the Mountain, A Visit to Grandmother’s House, Another Grandmother, In a New House, The Doctor’s Promise and Until We Meet Again.

My Rating – 4.5

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Parasyte (2014)

Parasyte Review…………………………………………………………..

Parasyte Movie Review

Parasyte is a 2014 science fiction horror anime series directed by Kenichi Shimuzu. It is one of the best anime shows I’ve seen recently.

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Actually, you shouldn’t even think that you’ve figured

out another species based on your standards.

I think it’s human arrogance to think we understand how other life forms feel

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Parasyte Review…………………………………………………………..

It follows Shinichi Izumi who one day gets a parasitic creature inside his right hand. But because it didn’t reach the brain, both are alive and start a symbiotic relationship along with fighting other parasites in the city. Now, the show is both derivative and original at the same time. It is familiar as we’ve seen sci-fi horror movies like this where the creature looks like a human and is parasitic and actually disgusting etc. ‘The Thing’ is basically all of that.

However, the anime is authentic for going much further than most movies of this type as it introduces a conflict between the two species as well as some very intriguing action. What I loved about its story is not only the huge entertainment factor to it, but also its brain. It is a very smart and sometimes even thought-provoking series as it explores humanity or “humanity” and how humans are actually pretty selfish and only look for themselves and are putting every other Earth’s species on risk.

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Parasyte Review…………………………………………………………..

That is something that I adored about it. It at first showed parasites as these cold-blooded murders and humans as being great, but eventually started taking a more gray approach to both species and the relationship between them. How it ended was amazing and particularly its last couple of episodes were incredibly clever. Some of the middle parts were lacking and the big problem here is the pacing. Those parts were slower and not much happened in them. But the fist third is so riveting to watch and so exciting and entertaining that it puts many other anime to shame. And, as I said, it ended remarkably well.

Shinichi Izumi has some character choices and developments that are typical for this medium, but is mostly a very good, pretty realistic hero. Migi is fantastic and I just loved the relationship between the two. Who would have thought that you would care so much about a friendly relationship between a human and his parasite? That whole premise sounds so silly, but the execution is so good that it surprisingly worked. And their farewell sequence was pretty sad to be perfectly honest.

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Parasyte Review…………………………………………………………..

Satomi Murano is a solid love interest and how they finished their arc I found fantastic. Kana is also pretty good and such a tragic character. Uragami is very memorable as a dangerous serial killer, Mamoru Uda is very realistic and likable as Shinichi’s companion with the same problem, Reiko Tamura is so fantastic and how they concluded her story was incredibly emotional and powerful and Gotou is of course pretty terrific as the show’s biggest baddie.

I loved Parasyte on technical grounds too. Its pacing is problematic, but the voice acting is great, the character development is terrific, the emotional investment is pretty strong and the anime has a very serious, dark tone which I loved. It has excellent world building and terrific attention to detail. It explains us everything we need to know about these creatures, but smartly leaving out some details for us to think about on our own.

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Parasyte Review…………………………………………………………..

It totally succeeds as a horror series. It isn’t as scary or as gross in its later episodes, but in its beginning, it was surprisingly intense, dark, creepy and sometimes delightfully disgusting without going too far. But it succeeds as a science fiction tale even more so than a horror one again owing to that thematically rich storyline. The action is also exceptionally well choreographed and executed and always being exciting and very fun to watch with particularly high stakes. I’ve always felt danger which was necessary for it to work. The dialogue is sometimes too on-the-nose, but is mostly satisfying and sometimes pretty clever. And I liked its realism a lot as it was for the most part grounded in reality.

In the end, even though its middle parts weren’t that great and the pacing is off, Parasyte is one of my favorite anime series so far as it is such a terrific sci-fi horror tale that is thematically rich and even emotional. It has a lot to say about the human race, but without sacrificing its action which is always exciting and its characters which are incredibly well realized.  Such a great anime.

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Worst Episodes: The Blue Bird, Hello Sadness and Something Wicked This Way Comes.

Best Episodes:  Metamorphosis, Devil in the Flesh, Feast, Quiscence and Awakening and Parasyte.

My Rating – 4.4

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Ronia the Robber’s Daughter (2014)

Ronia the Robber's Daughter Movie Review……………………………………………………………

Ronia the Robber’s Daughter Movie Review

Ronia the Robber’s Daughter is a 2014 anime series directed by Goro Miyazaki. It is such a pleasantly childlike show that I liked quite a bit.

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Life is something you have to take care of – don’t you realize that?

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Ronia the Robber's Daughter Movie Review……………………………………………………………

It is based on the titular novel written by Astrid Lindgren. It is about a girl who befriends a boy from a different clan and the adventures the two have in the forest and how eventually the two clans learn to co-exist. Obviously it is about a girl growing up but, as Miyazaki said himself, it is also about the bond between a parent and child as well as friendship.

Now obviously this is a children’s show and I for one really liked that about it. There aren’t a lot of anime shows that are made for children which is why this one is so refreshing. Its quality is also evident from the beginning. It isn’t really deep and is overly simplistic and familiar in its plot points, but it is certainly moving and sweet at times and I just loved its adventurous spirit.

The characters are really well developed and all are very likable. Ronia is quite good and I loved her relationship with Birk. The two were wonderful together. Lovis is a bit one-note and Mattis is goofy, but wonderful and a complex character. All of the others are solid,  but not individually and rather as a team they shine and work well together. The voice acting is pretty good as well.

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Ronia the Robber's Daughter Movie Review……………………………………………………………

I loved its mythical and fantastical elements. Gray Dwarfs were so funny and amusing while Harpies, on the other hand, were very creepy and served well as the series’ major and sole villains. Even though I really liked the familial drama here, I actually found its adventure elements much better and more entertaining, at least they were to me. Whenever they were in the forest, I was bound to have a joyous time.

Speaking of the forest, I simply adored it. The animation here is so strong and absolutely fantastic to behold. I just marveled at its sheer polished strength and it was admirable to see such strong work on a TV show no less. The forest is lovely, the creatures have good designs and some of the scenery was mesmerizing to behold. I also really liked the castle and that we got to explore its many sides.

But there is one flaw in the animation and that is the character design. It is odd watching the show have awesome natural animation and yet have such terrible looking human beings. The animation overall is 2D and traditional, but the characters are 3D and CGI. Needless to say, it was distracting and they looked cheap whereas the scenery looked professional.

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Ronia the Robber's Daughter Movie Review……………………………………………………………

Another problem in Ronia is the pacing as it’s quite slow at times. The show could also become typical and rather repetitive in certain episodes and even though the conclusion was great, I would have gone with less of those over-the-top fights near the end. Ronia definitely has too much goofiness and typical anime trappings in it, but other than that, the humor is actually quite sweet and solid. It can also be quite dark and serious at times while also being poignant in some episodes.

Adventurous and spirited yet also filled with good familial and poignant drama, Ronia has all of the hallmarks of a good children’s show and even though it can be quite goofy at times with not that great pacing and pretty awful character design, the natural animation was just beautiful to behold and the characters were both likable and well developed. Such a good, charming Studio Ghibli offering and I hope they will make more TV shows in the future.

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Worst Episodes: Fall Descends on the Forest, A Thing Done in Secret, Our Summer and One Strong Band of Robbers.

Best Episodes: The Forest, Stars and Dwarfs, Song in the Fog, A Whistle in the Basement, The Endless Dispute (Part 1) and The Shout of Spring.

My Rating – 4.1

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Angel Beats! (2010)

Angel Beats! Review……………………………………………………………………..

Angel Beats! Review

Angel Beats! is a 2010 fantasy action anime series directed by Seiji Kishi. It is one of the most disappointing anime shows I’ve seen thus far.

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Let me tell you something.

Humans don’t even have the patience to wait even ten minutes for something!

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Angel Beats! Review……………………………………………………………………..

It focuses on a boy who dies and he doesn’t remember his previous life in the afterlife and enrolls in the afterlife school and joins the organization that fights against the student council president, a girl with supernatural powers. The genre diversity of the show is its two-edged sword. On the one hand, it is original and sometimes even quite inventive. On the other hand, it creates a jarring shift in tone and it doesn’t balance its different tones and plot points well at all. It is basically a mix between fantasy, action, comedy, drama and even musical. But the problem is that it only succeeds as an action show because the fights are really well executed and as a comedy because some episodes were really funny. But it fails in other areas unfortunately.

The characters are all really underutilized which is a shame as they are actually quite solid on surface. Of course Tenshi is one of the highlights, the protagonist is pretty good himself and the standout has to be Yurippe who is such a highly capable, tough and yet human and really well developed female character. The voice acting is pretty good as well.

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Angel Beats! Review……………………………………………………………………..

The animation in Angel Beats! isn’t the most memorable, but it is pretty polished and memorable in its surroundings. The world building is actually pretty commendable. But the use of the weapons is so inventive and the sound effects as well as the special effects are some of the highlights here.

But unfortunately, I just never was invested in this anime, rarely actually. The highlight was that action packed episode where they attacked Tenshi and had to go through her traps in order to get to her. That was not only extremely entertaining, but also funny and quite adventurous to be honest. But most of the other episodes are lacking and the ending itself never moved me. I got that it was supposed to be very emotional and even heartbreaking, but because I didn’t connect with the characters and because it felt jarring in tone and way too abrupt, it left me feeling cold. The entire show is very abrupt and packed with too many characters and different plot points. Something different is always happening here and unfortunately not a lot of it is effective or memorable.

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Angel Beats! Review……………………………………………………………………..

In the end, Angel Beats! disappointed me a lot. I respected its world building, some of the humor, the originality and the diversity of genres, somewhat strong characters and some impressive action scenes, but it is tonally a very uneven anime with jarring shifts in tone, overly emotional but not actually moving finale, rushed pacing and it was just rarely genuinely involving or exciting to watch. It succeeds as an action comedy, but not so much as a fantasy musical and it was overall immensely disappointing.

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Worst Episodes: Change the World and Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door.

Best Episodes: Guild and My Song.

My Rating – 3.5

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The Anthem of the Heart (2015)

The Anthem of the Heart Movie Review……………………………………………..

The Anthem of the Heart Movie Review

The Anthem of the Heart is a 2015 anime drama film directed by Tatsuyuki Nagai. It is a disappointing movie.

It follows the girl who is a chatterbox and her parents get divorced because of her. As a punishment, her mouth is sealed and she eventually manages to speak her mind through singing. The premise is solid and it provides some great emotional moments. Yes, the ending is sweet and triumphant and overall the film had some pretty strong drama in it, both family and teen.

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Dont tell people to disappear like it’s nothing!

Words can hurt people!

You can’t ever take them back.

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The Anthem of the Heart Movie Review……………………………………………..

The animation in particular is the highlight as it is so beautiful to watch and polished. Both the scenery of the city as well as the designs of the characters are great and everything looks really professional and pleasant.

The score is also really well incorporated and some songs are quite solid. Having in mind that the score is essential for its narrative, they thankfully managed to make some solid use of it with a couple of great musical moments.

So why is The Anthem of the Heart then so disappointing? Well, mostly because it is overly emotional and too long. The film went into overly maudlin territory from time to time and I don’t know if that’s earned as I just wasn’t that invested in its characters or its plot for it to work fully. The characters are solid, but far from great and the same can be said about the plot.

But an even bigger problem if the film’s annoying emphasis on love triangles and relationship dramas. The film would should have focused on just one thing and that should have been the protagonist and her problem with speaking, that would have been great. But this way, it becomes overlong, convoluted and it lost focus more than a couple of times.

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The Anthem of the Heart Movie Review……………………………………………..

And I’ve had a big problem with the premise itself. Somehow I was under the impression that the movie favored loveless marriage and cheating over divorce and I just could not shake that feeling. I liked that the fantasy element proved to be just in her head and not real in the end, but I still found her suffering to be overly excessive and not that needed as she never did anything truly horrible. That is my major gripe with the movie and why I found it solid, but disappointing. And even more disappointing given the fact that it was done by the creators of ‘Anohana’ which is one of my favorite shows.

The Anthem of the Heart has some resonant scenes, an interesting story and terrific animation, but it is disappointing for its overlong and unfocused narrative, sometimes excessive emotion and a couple of problematic elements in the script and its logic.

My Rating – 3.5

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