Article Archives


2021


'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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'Tokyo Fist': The Players Of Bloodsport 
Shinya Tsukamoto's blood-soaked, bare-knuckled psychodrama gives us two men in competition for a woman -- but it's the woman who wins
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'Whisper Of The Heart': The First Draft Of Shizuku's Story 
When they talk about "a film for all ages", this Studio Ghibli masterwork about life on the cusp of adolescence must be what they mean
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See more posts from 2020