Article Archives


2021


'Blade Of The Immortal': Life Sentence, Death Sentence 
An all-new anime adaptation of Hiroaki Samura's classic long-running manga gets it right at last
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'Children Of The Sea': The Life Aquatic 
Some of the finest animation around, lashed to the mast of a story that goes nowhere
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'Mirai': The Kid Stays In The Picture 
Mamoru Hosoda's weakest film yet, a cloying and sentimental misfire
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'Weathering With You': Who'll Stop The Rain? 
The latest of Makoto Shinkai's gorgeous films that inevitably end up being about so much less than the sum of their parts
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2020


'Birdy The Mighty: Decode': Gimme Back My Skin! 
A raucous fusion of two genres (SF and comedy), and just like its two main characters, it's a symbiosis, not a collision
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'Versus': No Budget, All Ambition, Total Excess 
Twenty years later, Ryūhei Kitamura's pulp-horror gumbo of Lucio Fulci, Sam Raimi, George Miller, and everything in between remains a micro-budget, J-indie milestone
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'Burst City': Punkocalypse Now! 
Gakuryū Ishii's head-on collision between gang-war and punk-rock exploitation pictures still explodes on impact decades later
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'Malice@Doll': The Machine's Last Love Song 
Half adult OVA of the 90s/00s home-video era, half experimental stop-motion art film, and while not entirely successful it's still worth a look for its low-fi digital aesthetic
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'Vital': The Weight Of The Dead, And Of The Living 
Shinya Tsukamoto's dark drama about a medical student obsessed with the cadaver of a lost love becomes a moving meditation on how life and death inform each other
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'A Snake Of June': A Love (And Death) Triangle 
Shinya Tsukamoto's eros-and-thanatos story doesn't always work, but gets an A+ for dazzling effort anyway
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Nisioisin's 'Katanagatari': Adventures Beyond The Language Barrier 
Nisioisin's twelve-novel cycle of a 'swordless swordsman' and 'strategemist' on a weapons hunt is, in its English edition, a gold standard for how to translate cutting-edge cultural properties
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'The Great Pretender': Con Men At Work 
A real delight: a smart, fleet-footed story inspired by classic con-man comedies, and with correspondingly more to bring to the table than other anime
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'Electric Dragon 80.000V': Raw Power 
Gakuryū Ishii's hourlong, warp-speed clash of pseudo-superheroes is still deafeningly good fun after twenty years
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'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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'HUMAN LOST': The Death Wishers 
Why transmute Ozamu Dazai's 'No Longer Human' into medico-punk science fiction? Good question
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'Gemini': Of Self And Other 
Shinya Tsukamoto's seething, psychedelic adaptation of Edogawa Rampo's work remains one of his best films
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'Boogiepop': The Antibody Has A Voice 
Kouhei Kadono's knotty novels walk us backwards through the tangled stories surrounding a being that arises just long enough to right the world when it has fallen out of joint
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'Bullet Ballet': Shooting High, Aiming Low 
Shinya Tsukamoto's grimy underworld odyssey about a man obsessed with the weapon that killed his girlfriend is more potential than payoff
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'BNA: Brand New Animal': Taming The Beast 
Comparison with 'Beastars' is inevitable, but Studio Trigger's story of man-animal hybrids trying to live in harmony plays it safer and more accessible -- and less intrinsically interesting
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'Kiki's Delivery Service': The Witch Returns To Print 
Newly reissued, the joyful little book that inspired Studio Ghibli's equally euphoric film has a fresh new translation to go with it
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See more posts from 2020