Surf's up

A review of the first Eureka Seven: Hi-Evolution movie

Everything is a remix, or so the saying goes. The first of the three movie series reboot of Eureka Seven, labelled Hi Evolution, seems to have taken this literally. Starting with a half hour or so of brand new footage, it then switches to retelling a meaty but largely irrelevant chunk of Renton’s escapades during the TV series.

Retelling is perhaps too kind a word for what is some cleaned up, original aspect-ratio footage from the landmark fifty episode TV series, chopped and screwed into the remainder of the film’s runtime.

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Karoshi

A review of the first and second New Game! anime series

Up until New Game! it seemed that P.A. Works held a monopoly on the “earnest girls working earnestly” genre, one it ostensibly started back in 2011 with Hanasaku Iroha and most recently with Sakura Quest. But here’s New Game! with its, admittedly still teenage, protagonist Aoba starting work in the video game production company Eagle Jump, aiming to be a character designer like her idol, Kou Yagami.

Faithfully adapted from the 4 panel manga by Shoutarou Tokunou, the two series of New Game! follow Aoba from a furtive newbie as she navigates both working life as well as commercial creativity. The question then is, can it hold its own in the same genre as Shirobako?

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Scotland Loves Anime

I’m off to the Edinburgh leg of the annual Scotland Loves Anime this week and the festival is important enough to me to drag me out of my self-imposed writing moratorium. So a look back as to why, and some thoughts on the significance of the festival as a whole.

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Storm warning

A review of the Yurikuma Arashi anime series

Lesbian Bear Storm (Yurikuma Arashi). Let that title sink in for a bit because as titles go, it’s particularly on the nose. Especially so for director and writer Kunihiko Ikuhara whose previous directorial works - Utena and Penguindrum - relied on a slightly less blatant approach to themes and tone.

represents only the visible part of this Ikuhara iceberg

Blunt force is the order of the day here though because from the repeated character refrains through to the imagery and structure of each episode, this is a series that will bludgeon you with its message rather than hide it subtext and inference. What it lacks in subtlety then, as has become a trait of the director’s anime series, it makes up for in layers and symbolism.

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April’s fools

A review of the Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso anime series

I felt like a monster after the final episode of Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso (Your Lie in April). The ending was always going to go one of two ways and I was braced for either one: agonising tears or delirious happiness. I certainly didn’t expect to feel nothing. All these other people gushing tears, drowning in hyperbole, and there I was, indifferent. I had cheered Kousei Arima on through the bright lights of stage performances and honey-lit afternoon walks home but in the denouement I realised that all the individual things that irked me about the series had gathered like so much detritus on a beach and was now spoiled.

he is lionised, an indestructible prodigy and a mountain that must be conquered

I knew what I was getting in to of course. Awash with pastel shades and misty eyed teenagers this was a romance series first and foremost with the “musician’s heart” narrative the tempo to the love story melody. Kousei starts out unable to play the piano, supposedly a prodigy from a young age, he is invited on a date by his best friend and serial flirt Ryouta where he meets the series’ poster child, Kaori Miyazono.

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