The adage of “always leave the audience wanting more” is becoming increasingly apt for Studio Bones. Like with Bounen no Xam’d before it, Un-Go’s creativity and, most of all, possibilities make the run-time almost criminally short. Especially when the concept – a detective revealing the truth of disparate then intertwined mysteries – has enough meat to last twice the petite eleven episodes.
“it deals with contemporary issues through a very old-fashioned character and plot”
This isn’t to say it’s rushed. The bite-sized opening mysteries are but a taster for the underlying one which stretches the entire latter half; unfortunately the format doesn’t lend itself well to brevity. All too often the audience has to take events on faith and ride the story out rather than attempt to unravel the intrigue for themselves. Evidence is often scattered conspicuously around however the question of what the mystery is, often eludes just as much as the answer. Read the rest of this entry
This is what happens when you cross effeminate young men with Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. A frenzy of colour and Studio Bones’ deft creative hand is juxtaposed against incongruously suggestive female outfits and canned animation sequences. This is not the same studio that brought out Eureka 7 and Sword of the Stranger, but one leaving the afterglow of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood and on the downspin after the disappointing Darker than Black sequel and the no doubt expensive risk of Heroman. This is Five Star Story style robots, fighting in Gurren Lagann‘s alternate space with Code Geass‘s chutzpah. This is Star Driver.
Opening episodes are always a gamble: bedazzle now and risk a depleted budget later or hold back and aim for long-term, unwrinkled quality. The first three episodes here try and do both with a swift and incomprehensible collection of enigmatic snippets of dialogue followed by a kaleidoscopic mecha battle. The latter is then repeated, down to the vocal song and preceding animation snippet, for every subsequent episode. It’s sloppy and lacks the finesse expected of a Studio Bones production. Read the rest of this entry
In contrast to the earlier showing of Summer Wars, the Cowboy Bebop movie was evidently from a traditional film reel rather than high-definition digital – grain and all it seemed somewhat more fitting, especially when the film itself pokes fun at the low quality, black and white westerns of old. Without any fanfare, there was a brief introduction by Andrew Partridge, one of the festival organisers, and then after a brief wait, straight into the feature. The only other element of note was the translation which unfortunately seemed a little slapdash, continually calling “Ed” “Edo” for instance, or completely ignoring the on-screen descriptions of companies such as “Tortoise Cleaning”. Read the rest of this entry
America has never been best represented in anime, usually portrayed with horrific stereotypes or laughable inaccuracies; on the face of it then, comic luminary Stan Lee and production studio BONES would seem like strange bedfellows. But the unimaginatively titled joint-project Heroman demonstrates that while an entertaining series was never in question, whether the two party’s strengths will marry together is still up for debate. Three episodes is never enough for BONES to reveal anything other than the most cursory information, however what’s here doesn’t even have a scent of nuance. Instead, this is a brash, straightforward romp devoid of subtlety, more akin to the sleepy brainlessness of Saturday morning cartoons than the studio’s usual fare.
“fighting against the affable idiocy shown in the protagonists and dispensing with common sense”
Adolescent Joey Jones doesn’t have it easy: he is frequently pushed around by a brawny jock and has to work a part-time job in a dingy café to provide for his diminutive grandmother. The only silver lining for him is the jock’s lively sister, Lina, who has taken an interest in him and the wild-haired cripple Psy who despite his weakness, remains a true friend. A stray extra-terrestrial lightning bolt changes his fortunes when it strikes a recently repaired toy robot which transforms into the autonomous, battle-ready Heroman. The lightning however was just a precursor to an invasion by alien creatures – Earth’s defences useless against them and only Heroman is able to match their terrifying strength. As the mothership settles in Center City, the battle against their incursion seems to have only just begun. Read the rest of this entry
If part one of Murder Speculation was grisly, Remaining Sense of Pain is abjectly brutal. Rape, murder and torture all feature heavily in this pitch black story where a girl aggrieved slaughters her tormentors in a most barbaric fashion. Unflinching throughout, this entry in the Kara no Kyoukai series of movies explores the meaning of pain – both emotional and physical – and the nature of murder.
“gone are the warm sunsets and delicately cold whites, replaced with streetlight ambers and frigid blues and greens”
Mikiya is older now, Shiki has awoken from her coma and once again someone is murdering indiscriminately. After caring for a girl in pain he finds on the street, Mikiya is asked by an old school friend to track down a junior who has disappeared. Toko, after splashing out on an extravagant purchase, accepts an unsavoury job and assigns Shiki to track down the murderer. The two investigations converge when it becomes apparent the murderer, Fujino – a classmate of Mikiya’s sister Azaka, is after Keita, the classmate Mikiya is tracking down. Regularly raped and beaten by Keita’s gang of deviants, Fujino is massacring them one by one, but wracked by unfamiliar pain and hunted by Shiki, her power grows as her sanity slips.
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