chaostangent

Posts with the “movie” tag

Tamako, catch!

A review of the Tamako Market and Tamako Love Story anime

Tamako Market was always a bit of a mongrel when put up against other Kyoto Animation productions. Coming after the first season of otaku targeted Chuunibyou and before the first season of the, one presumes predominantly female targeted, Free!, Tamako Market certainly didn’t set the world on fire like K-On! did, Naoko Yamada’s previous directorial role, and it seemed to sink without a trace after airing early 2013. So the series sat forlornly in my “Watched” folder, awaiting some kind of spark that would elicit more than a disinterested shrug whenever I considered writing about it.

this is an endless summer with deep ocean skies and flesh pink sunsets

That spark came with the movie, Tamako Love Story, set after the series and deals with… well… Wait, rewind. Tamako Market is about a girl called Tamako: daughter of a family of mochi makers and the much loved teen of a Kyoto municipal shopping arcade. A talking bird named Dera arrives from an unspecified distant land, apparently searching for a bride for his country’s prince, and proceeds to ingratiate himself with Tamako’s family. However, he becomes fat and complacent from eating so much of the mochi they make, until it becomes increasingly imperative he complete his original mission.

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Attentive

A review of the movie Hal

There’s a point about two thirds of the way through Hal (Haru) where, during a festival, two fan-bearers are just out of sync with one another during their routine. It’s obviously intentional and though a small touch, it’s indicative of this short, one hour, film as a whole: detail orientated.

Set in the near future, Hal’s plot concerns a care robot taking on the guise of a deceased person in order to help their partner overcome their all-encompassing grief at their passing. The detail then is not only in the sumptuous backgrounds and animation work by Production I.G. but also in the very subtle portrayals of the characters. So every furtive look, every motion is crafted to be as effortless and as natural as possible and to ensure that you’re never drawn out of the delicate story being told.

Please note: the remainder of this post contains very small spoilers for the film.

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Dancing princess

A review of the three Puella Magi Madoka Magica films

Six hours. That’s how long all three Puella Magi Madoka Magica movies run for, eclipsing the series run time by over an hour. You could just playlist all the series’ episodes and still have runtime spare to put up screens full of text describing what Gen Urobuchi ate for dinner when he was writing the series. A series that accumulated so much credit with so many fans that such a production would probably still be enough to line studio SHAFT’s pockets for years to come.

forsaking all normal laws, forcibly rewriting the universe and wreathing herself in hellfire

The backlash of course would be immense and it’s perhaps of a good thing that the three movies don’t do this lest we never hear the end of such entitled scorn. Of course when I say three movies, in reality it’s the first two movies which do this and it’s left to the third one to justify the movie franchise’s existence. I was not the greatest of Madoka’s fans when originally watching it as it aired; certainly there is a lot going on in terms of theme, pathos and direction and the pedigree behind it is obvious to see, however it was fundamentally a magical girl show regardless of its subversions or contrary tonal juxtapositions. That’s not a denigration of the genre as a whole, just a matter of taste and it not being to mine.

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Foresight

A Kara no Kyoukai: Mirai Fukin review

Kara no Kyoukai is a bit like the suit I use for job interviews. It’s not especially well worn, nor does it sit either end of the comfort scale, but by wearing it there are certain expectations. It seems that for ufotable, now the de-facto steward of all Type Moon’s animated properties, the same can be said. It has been almost four years since the last Kara no Kyoukai (Boundary of Emptiness) film was released, three if you count the punctuation mark that the OVA in the limited edition box-set represented. Since then of course the studio has put out the well-received Fate/Zero and is on track to release a new chapter in the Fate/stay night mythos.

like an appendix to a book, stuffed with obvious fan pleasing points of note

That contextualises where the studio sits with the release of Kara no Kyoukai: Mirai Fukin (Future Gospel), but doesn’t really adequately convey just how assured and confident this new movie’s execution is. There is a knowledge and appreciation of the characters that populate Kinoko Nasu’s work but also of the roles played by the location and themes underpinning them. It is still arrestingly beautiful and quietly unsettling that perhaps only an intrinsic understanding and time could produce.

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Witch time

A review of the Bayonetta: Bloody Fate anime movie

I’m not the best person to be objective about the Bayonetta anime movie, Bloody Fate, or anything to do with the franchise to be honest. The amount of time I spent on the first game was more extensive than any other I have ever played and I was halfway through a ridiculously difficult challenge (a Pure Platinum run) when either through circumstance or willpower I dragged myself away from it. I can’t look at the movie with fresh eyes and comment on the blatant ridiculousness of it all because for better or worse, it has lifted the game’s style, attitude and story directly from the first game.

How about a muscly tattooed guy in shades playing the organ?!

The former two of those points are where the meat of a debate is, the latter though will undoubtedly be the biggest issue for newcomers. The titular Bayonetta is a witch with guns strapped to her high-heels and clothing made out of her own hair who fights against masked angels. Having been awoken from a centuries long slumber without any knowledge of her life before her torpor, she is strangely drawn to the reclusive leader of a religious order while being pursued by the tenacious journalist Luka. That’s the set up, the execution involves a motorcycle chase, a chainsaw three times longer than Bayonetta is tall and a whole lot of incongruous, barely censored nudity.

Just like the game then.

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