Anime Review Roundup
Okko’s Inn is a current release. It’s a film from a studio Ghibli alumnus, and it tells in its wonderful, sweet and charming story, although it starts in a dark place. A little girl is orphaned in a car accident, and moves in to live with her grandmother at her inn in the country. She’s shy, and out of place, but she’s quick to make friends, with the ghost that lives in the inn. When he persuades her to help her grandmother run the establishment, it sets her on the path to heal from her trauma. Okko’s Inn is a magical film that impresses on every level, even if it bears a passing resemblance to the Hanasaku Iroha TV series.
The Case of Hana & Alice, released in the UK back in 2017. It’s the prequel to a live action film made some fifteen years previously, and given the aging process, it makes sense that this film was animated instead, although they did use the kind of rotoscoping and CG modelling that made Flowers of Evil such a unique series. The Case of Hana & Alice is a lot easier to watch, a gentle comedy drama chronicling the first meeting of two friends. Alice moves to a new town, and gets caught up in a strange mystery in her school, a mystery to which her shut-in neighbour Hana holds the key.
Puella Magi Madoka Magica Movie 3: Rebellion, I did what I so often do these days, I went and got the film on Blu-ray. In this case it’s definitely worth it to best appreciate the stunning animation from Studio SHAFT, and Akiyuki Simbo’s singular direction. The re-invention of the magical girl genre in Madoka Magica was a landmark event, a stunning series, which also gave us two compilation movies. The third movie was a genuine sequel, but one which had to reinvent the wheel a bit in terms of the story. Caught up in the hype for the series, I didn’t like it at the time for this reason. But that hype has died down, and I get to re-evaluate the film purely on its merits... almost.
This Week I Have Been Mostly Rewatching...
I recognise that I’m an outlier with this show, and it has many more fans than detractors. Gurren Lagann was released here originally on DVD by Beez, and a subsequent DVD re-release, and Blu-ray Ultimate Edition from All the Anime. You can get the standard edition TV series and movies on Blu-ray from them now (the movies are almost out of stock), but I do recall that this was the first time I was disappointed by an All the Anime release. Here’s my review. Not only were they unable to get all of the HD assets (there are little snippets of up-scaled SD in the series), but they got the audio wrong as well, with out of phase stereo and mono on some discs. As far as I know, there was never a disc replacement scheme for Gurren Lagann. It’s far better, if a lot more expensive to import the Aniplex US version.
Manga Entertainment will release Okko’s Inn on Blu-ray and on DVD on October 7th. All the Anime released The Case of Hana & Alice on Blu-ray and DVD in 2017, while Manga released Puella Magi Madoka Magica The Movie: Part 3 on Blu-ray and DVD in 2015.