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Added on: 23/11/2020 17:01
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    Anime Review Roundup

    New Licences Incoming

    This time of year is where the UK anime scene gets together for an MCM Comicon, only for obvious reasons, that’s all been put to one side. So for the second time this year, Anime Limited put together an online anime festival, Cloud Matsuri, virtually gathering guests and holding events celebrating the best of anime fandom. They also managed to announce more than a few new licenses and titles coming in 2021, with a hefty emphasis on film and cinema presentations. Given recent news about vaccines, that looks more and more like a certainty than a hopeful ambition. Titles announced over the Cloud Matsuri weekend included...

    Mawaru Pengindrum Blu-ray
    Your Name 4k UHD
    Black Lagoon
    Ascendence of a Bookworm
    Lupin the Third: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine

    Lupin the Third: The First
    Violet Evergarden the Movie
    The Deer King
    Josee, The Tiger and The Fish
    Love Me, Love Me Not
    Evangelion: Death(true)2 and The End of Evangelion

    The licence rescues are interesting. Both Mawaru Penguindrum and Black Lagoon had releases in the UK from Kazè Entertainment. Like all Kazè releases, they were pretty limited runs, and the Black Lagoon Blu-rays were OOP within a couple of years (it’s probably easier to find MVM’s DVDs at this point). Penguindrum on the other hand only got a DVD release in the UK, and Anime Limited have intimated that they will be re-authoring the release for the UK Blu-ray. Given the US and Australian releases were 1080i, hopefully we get a progressive transfer for the show, and more importantly, better subtitles. It’s a logical pick up given the way that Anime Limited have been championing Kunihiko Ikuhara’s filmography.

    They are also fans of the Lupin franchise (we’re still waiting for the Part V series), and while Manga did release the Woman Called Fujiko Mine using Funimation’s discs, it was a strangely limited release from them that quickly disappeared from shop shelves. It’s a nice pick-up to go with The First movie. News gleaned from Twitter, Anime UK News and the other usual places.

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    The anime reviews are still trickling out, which gives me something to write each Monday. This week it was After the Rain that got reviewed. After a long gap, titles from the noitaminA strand of programming are being released again, and After the Rain promises something a little different from the usual anime. This time it’s a romance about a seventeen-year-old girl who falls for a 45-year-old divorcee restaurant manager. It’s not what you expect, a thoughtful and considered romantic comedy that is more about character than the usual rom-com anime silliness. Click on the review to read more.

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    It’s not anime, but it is animation. My second review is for Escape From Planet Earth, a 3D CG family film from Hollywood that has no surprises whatsoever. It’s about bickering aliens that come to Earth, and get captured by Area 51, and wind up having to work together to escape. It’s a script that writes itself, by the numbers comedy, and mid-budget animation, the kind of thing that entertains a bit while it’s on, then flushes itself out of your brain the minute the end credits roll. On the bright side, William Shatner’s in it.

    Do you remember this song from the Love Hina TV series?

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    Then do yourself a favour and watch Mothra, the kaiju feature film from the director of the original Godzilla movies, and which inspired that scene in Love Hina. It’s probably the weirdest giant monster movie that you’ll see; kind of a new age King Kong with a moth instead of a monkey. On an island untouched by nuclear testing, an unscrupulous promoter discovers telepathic singing fairies, just a few inches tall. Seeing fame and fortune in his future, he kidnaps the fairies to put them on stage so that they can sing to packed audiences. What no one knows is that they are singing to Mothra to rescue them.

    This Week I Have Been Mostly Rewatching...

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    Space Dandy. Normally if I like a show, I will continue to like it with each re-watch. More rarely however, my opinion of a show can alter with subsequent viewings. If I’m lucky, it’s a positive change, but that hardly ever happens. This is my third time watching Space Dandy, and it’s not the positive experience that it once was. Space Dandy comes from the creator of Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo, and once again featuring a hunter in space, fans were understandably put in mind of the original Cowboy Bebop. Dandy is an alien hunter though, who aboard his ship the Aloha Oe alongside the robot QT and the Betelgeusian Meow go looking for unregistered aliens. It’s another anthology show with different tones and stories each week, and more so because once the format was established, Watanabe got other directors to handle each new episode. What results is wildly variable in tone and style, with continuity in design, and even narrative not a necessity. There turns out to be a story reason for that, but you have to wait till the second half before your quizzical “Huh?” is sated.

    The first time I saw Space Dandy as it streamed, I lapped it up, desperate for some Watanabe brilliance. The second time I saw it was when I reviewed the UK Blu-ray release and it felt entertaining, but nowhere near as special as Watanabe’s other shows to that point. And now this third time, I am having a hard time keeping my eyes open. The characters are so over the top, and the tendency for each episode to just take one joke and kill it to death is dispiriting. I just can’t find a hook into the series any more, can’t find a reason to want to watch it other than momentum. Cowboy Bebop was Cool, Samurai Champloo was Cool, Kids on the Slope was Cool, even Terror in Resonance had its moments. Space Dandy feels like my dad trying to be cool. Some things just don’t age well. All the Anime released Space Dandy on collector’s editions and standards, DVD and Blu-ray. Here’s my review of Season 1. If my first time with Space Dandy was a 10, and the reviews get 8s, you can guess that my grade today if I were to re-review the show, would be a 6.

    MVM will release After the Rain on Blu-ray on November 30th. Entertainment in Video released Escape From Planet Earth on 3D/2D Blu-ray, 2D Blu-ray and DVD in 2014. Eureka Entertainment released Mothra on Limited Edition Blu-ray on the 15th of November.

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