Category Archives: anime

Your Name Movie Review

Your Name is the story of a Taki Tachibana and Mitsuha Miyamizu, two teenage students in Japan who for unknown reasons switch bodies at random points in the week. What seems like a unique happy go lucky romantic comedy takes a striking turn in terms of genre and tone to science fiction and time travel.

Spoilers from this point on, something tells me your memories may or may not be erased from this experience.

As mentioned above Taki and Mitsuha are two teenagers who switch bodies. While the initial concept of a boy and girl switching bodies is already fairly entertaining with obvious physical differences between boys and girls (gotta love boobs and peeing with a penis for the first time), the personality differences between the two adds more to the story.

Mitsuha comes from the near rural town of Itomori and feels isolated from the rest of the world with no bookstores, no malls, and her go to ‘cafe’ being a outdoor vending machine. Mitsuha is a shy girl who feels trapped in her town and in the traditions of her family longing to escape the simple life shouting ‘in my next life I want to be born as a boy in Tokyo’.

Taki is a loud boy with typical boy ways of being into older women and each time he woke up would take time to grope and appreciate Mitsuha’s breasts. Despite these typical traits of a teenage boy Taki does have depth; on the days that he is in Mitsuha’s body he stands up for her own sake calling out bullies who normally pick on Mitsuha and her friends and genuinely growing to love Mitsuha’s family and friends (he even builds a table and chairs for Mitsuha’s go to cafe).

On the other side of things Mitsuha enjoys time in Taki’s body, but is still fairly respectful to Taki’s life (outside of spending a large amount of his earnings on giant pastries). It’s actually pretty humorous to see how the friends and family of Taki and Mitsuha slowly begin to piece things together on their own concerning the two switching bodies.

I was actually a little disappointed to see that Mitsuha’s sexuality wasn’t really explored. It’s very brief, but there is a scene where she sets up a date for Taki with an older woman hoping she would be the one going on the date rather than him. Taki still has a strong attraction for girls in Mitsuha’s body gaining Mitsuha large amounts of attention from female classmates.

The twist halfway through the movie actually did shock me significantly with the revelation that Mitsuha’s life was happening in the past while Taki’s life was taking place three years in the future. Taki then discovers that Mitsuha and most of the population of Itomori were killed in a accident via a piece of a meteorite falling off and hitting the town.

In an effort to change the future Taki drinks sake from a shrine (I don’t know the Japanese religion of Shinto well enough to go into depth about it, forgive me). Contrary to what one would expect, instead of choosing to save just Mitsuha, Taki takes time to formulate a plan with Mitsuha’s friends to prevent the catastrophic event from taking so many lives and getting the town to evacuate in time.

I really did like the film and feel the hype surrounding Your Name is well deserved. The film takes time to explore both big and small elements of life like the relationships among friends and family are still important to each person while in the grand scheme of things are very miniscule in the grander scheme of things and life would easily continue on for the rest of the world while a whole city were to be destroyed. It’s also very heartwarming to see that although Taki seems like a generic guy who’s more interested in girls, keeping his part time job, and saving money, grew to genuinely love the people in Mitsuha’s life putting the effort to save her town rather than being selfish and choosing to just take Mitsuha to a safe area area from disaster.

I give the film four sharpie messages on a hand out of five.

Your Name is produced by CoMix Wave Films and is distributed by Toho.

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Pokemon I Choose You Review

Pokemon has been here for a very, very long time, so in celebration of the twenty fifth anniversary of the franchise a new Pokemon movie was released to celebrate the yearly tradition of releasing a pokemon movie. Unlike previous Pokemon films which are made primarily to advertise the newest pokemon, give sneak peeks to pokemon coming up in the next batch of games, and show one of the new legendary Pokemon, Pokemon I Choose You is a retelling of the first season of the franchise.

Initially many fans (myself included) thought that this was the movie version of the first three episodes or so. We were slightly wrong.

Spoilers from this point on, I can’t Mewtwo these spoilers outside of your head

There was some controversy surrounding the movie over discrepancies between what happens in the film, and what happened in the first season of the anime. The main controversy being that Misty and Brock are nowhere to be seen during the film and Team Rocket having little to no influence on the plot of the film. Another controversy is the inclusion of many pokemon not seen in the first generation of the game series.

However is this actually a good film despite what many other fanboys on forums and reviewers on YouTube say? Well it’s not the worst movie I’ve ever seen, but it is better than Destiny Deoxys (gosh that movie is so dull).

As mentioned above the film is an alternate telling of the first season of pokemon, but it borrows some plots from the first season and despite being a ninety three minute film, a decent amount of what occurred the first half of the season made it into the film without it being a horrible mess. The plots borrowed from the first season include Ash catching a caterpie that would eventually evolve into a butterfree and be forced to part ways with, and Ash’s relationship with a abandoned charmander Ash rescues. Elements from the second generation of games are also brought into the film concerning the plot of the legendary pokemon Ho-oh.

Although I was a little annoyed with the approach taken for this film, I do like the alternative storyline. I feel it handled some of the aesops presented in the first season a little better with Ash learning that sometimes you can’t win them all in the film despite being a good person and the opponent you’re fighting being a bad person.

The antagonist in the film was a shocking revelation that the main antagonist was the pokemon trainer who abandoned charmander to die in a rainstorm and only desired to become a stronger trainer only catching strong pokemon. Instead of being just a jackass trainer featured in the initial episode featuring charmander in the pokemon anime, Cross (the villain for the movie) is a talented trainer, but only views his pokemon as tools to achieve his goal of catching Ho-oh rather than establishing a friendship with his pokemon.

Of course it wouldn’t be a pokemon movie without advertising one of the new legendary pokemon in the series and this time around it’s Marshadow who acts as an observer for Ho-oh to make sure Ash is indeed a worthy pure hearted trainer (I guess he functions as a PR advisor for Ho-oh or something). Unlike previous films, the plot is not focused on Marshadow and the pokemon is only featured the last ten or so minutes once again challenging the human characters and their pokemon to see if they are indeed worthy of battling Ho-oh.

I do like that the film breaks tradition and only focuses on Ash’s relationship with pikachu and his other pokemon captured in the film. I like that Ash’s relationship with his caterpie is deep, even if some parts of it were a montage, I like that caterpie was useful in each stage of his evolution. I like that charmander didn’t become a jerk as soon as he evolved into charmeleon and so on into charizard. There is even development from both pokemon as they evolve with caterpie evolving into butterfree, but wanting to stay loyal and stay with Ash despite also wanting to go and mate (contrary to a mistranslation, butterfree do not die when mating). We also see just how loyal charmander is to Ash in each stage of evolution and how this trust benefits Ash’s team in the long run of the movie.

New characters to replace Misty and Brock are also featured in the film, they are Sorrel, a young pokemon trainer who wants to become a professor of pokemon (don’t they have college in this universe? Or do all researchers and professors go through the Jane Goodwill approach?) and Verity, a young girl from the Sinoh region exploring the Kanto region for unknown reasons. They’re not too shabby.

As with many of the pokemon movies, the art and animation is beautiful with a beautiful mixture of 2d and 3d animation. The end of the film also has a piano rendition of the pokemon theme song at a slower temple that may or may not touch the hearts of long time fans of the pokemon anime.

While the film isn’t amazing, I feel it’s a pretty decent movie and there are things to like about the film despite not sticking exactly to the source material of the anime. I give Pokemon I Choose You three Pokeballs out of Five.

Pride Month: Yuri On Ice

It is LGBT Pride Month, and each week I will have discussions about LGBT media through entertainment. This week’s topic is the anime Yuri on Ice. Yuri on Ice is a figure skating themed sports anime that ran from October 6th 2016 to December 22nd 2016. The story follows Yuri Katsuki who after performing poorly in a national figure skating competition as a result of mourning the loss of his pet dog and performance anxiety. Despite his intentions to retire from figure skating Yuri’s idol Victor Nikiforof approaches him stating he will coach Yuri and turn him into a figure skating legend (completely naked when doing so too).

During the series Yuri grows in both his abilities as a figure skater, and a person as he slowly grows closer to Victor having his feelings towards Victor evolve from a crush/admiration to genuine friendship eventually leading both of them authentically falling in love with each other.

Watching this anime was a very wonderful for me, unfortunately I did not watch the anime as episodes premiered on Crunchyroll due to being unaware of it at the time, but a few months ago I watched and loved every moment of it. Even with the relationship between Yuri and Victor aside the story is very interesting and well told with Yuri frequently questioning if he should continue to be a figure skater despite gaining a considerable amount of skill with Victor as his coach.

The scenes where Yuri and the other skaters perform and compete are very intense and pulled me (and probably other viewers) closer to their tv’s and computer screens with heartbeats intensified. Despite the series being animated I did feel nervous watching Yuri and his rivals skate cringing when the performers had flaws in their routines. In addition to these routines sympathy and backstory is given to each character that aren’t Yuri, Victor, or Yurio (a third protagonist that I’m ignoring because I want to concentrate on Yuri and Victor) in the series. I consider the fact that all of the following was accomplished in the anime within twelve episodes very impressive.

Besides figure skating the main part of the story is the relationship between Yuri and Victor. Despite the original intentions of writer Mitsuro Kubo of having the relationship between the two be one of coach and student where at the end of the anime Yuri would retire so Victor could return to skating and the two could be separated once again, the two fell in love. I truly enjoyed seeing the two begin to synchronize their affection for each other, especially after later episodes hint that Victor was attracted to Yuri and chose to become his coach based on these feelings and emotions alone.

The voice acting in both Japanese and English are very good with parts of the Japanese dub giving the possibility that the voice actors were indeed crying while recording and some parts of the story possibly improved upon with the English adaption. The art and animation can be a little weird at times, but the figure skating scenes are amazing. The music compliments the skating scenes very well, and I rather like that Yuri and his friends tend to be social media junkies at times.

There is some criticism over the fact that there are no homophobic characters in the series despite two other figure skaters being hinted at Christian faith. Although I do understand the criticism over the fact that Yuri On Ice appears to be a world with no homophobia for Yuri and Victor to encounter (Victor is from Russia as well), I prefer the anime to be this way. If said two minor characters are indeed of Christian faith, then that makes things better in my opinion since at this current time Christianity is being hijacked by a bunch of assholes that are making all of us look like monsters that want to lynch anyone who disagrees with them. In my own opinion I think the show could be a form of escapism and provide an example of a happy gay relationship for lgbt viewers.

I highly recommend this anime to both hardcore and casual anime fans and give Yuri On Ice four out of five Katsu Pirozhki buns. Yuri On Ice is produced by MAPPA studio and has been dubbed in English by Funimation and is available on the Funimation website and for free on the Crunchyroll website.