Further proof that some anime-to-live-action adaptations need to either be done at the right scale or not done at all
Satoshi Kon's hallucinatory, jolting feature film debut still electrifies -- all the more so in light of how its recently translated source novel was a sub-'Silence Of The Lambs' stalk-and-slash thriller
The one great idea to be found in Kenji Kamiyama's new film is stranded in a mishmash of a story that tries to do too many things and accomplishes almost none of them
Land Of The Lustrous is what I call a Microcosm Story, a favorite genre of mine, where we see depicted a whole mini-universe with its own physical laws, biology, history, and all the rest (everything from Texhnolyze to Beanworld). It's also what I call an Under The Door Story, because while it's being entertaining it's also sliding a great many other things under the door that have greater and deeper significance (Utena). On the face of it, there's a lively adventure in the girl's-private-school-of-magic vein, but under that it's an existential meditation on selfhood and the nature of one's relationship to the universe. Each supports the other to create what turned out to be one of last year's highlights, and which raises the bar bigtime for how CGI can be used skillfully and appropriately in anime.
It's not hard to see why your name. has been called a masterwork. It's the most ambitious work Makoto Shinkai has directed thus far, and a huge step up from his last full-length feature, the lackluster Hayao Miyazaki clone Children Who Chase Lost Voices. your name. is easily as good or better than any other animated feature released in its year, and I won't be surprised to see it showing up routinely in best-of lists from here on out. It is absolutely worth seeing, but there was a lapse in its internal logic that held me back from my full enthusiasm for it — a flaw that felt like it was asking me to accept the wrong kinds of suspension of disbelief about its goings-on.
Gō Nagai is nobody's idea of a subtle and nuanced artist. For decades he's been a reliable supplier of broad, outlandish mainstream entertainments ranging from the raucous (the various Mazinger series, Cutey Honey) to the nose-wrinklingly extreme (Violence Jack, Kekko Kamen). Masaaki Yuasa, on the other hand, has worked on the fringes, merging psychedelic imagery with thought-provoking storytelling (Mind Game, Tatami Galaxy, Kaiba). Devilman Crybaby occupies a fascinating space of Venn diagram overlap between the two: its story concept and much of its imagery are Nagai's, but its sensibilities and overall flavor are unquestionably Yuasa's. For a show that goes over the top and beyond it, the net result is not mere anarchy but an embodiment of Oscar Wilde's musings about the road of excess leading to the palace of wisdom. You'll also not want to snack on anything while watching it.