Or “it’s halfway through the new season and I still can’t think of much to say about these shows.”
The final ending card of *Rage of Bahamut: Genesis’ warned us: “I’ll be back”. For a time that seemed to refer to the indefinitely delayed Manaria Friends (not to be confused with your Italian food research group: marinara friends), until that is, Virgin Soul was announced. A direct sequel to Genesis with the same director - Keiichi Satou - and a returning cast of characters, would this new two-cour series be able to capture the same kind of adventuring fun that typified its predecessor?
Picking up ten years after the sealing of the Bahamut, humanity, under the new rule of King Charioce, have enslaved demons and begun to purge angels from their midsts. The fates of both Favaro and Kaisar are unknown and instead the impossibly cheerful and unusually brawny Nina takes centre stage. Unfortunately for her, she transforms into an enormous red dragon when coming into contact with a member of the opposite sex which has a detrimental effect on the buildings and people surrounding her when she does.
Gyo, Tokyo Fish Attack was not the film I thought that would spring to mind while watching Masaaki Yuasa’s Lu Over The Wall. This is a family friendly film after all about a small mermaid who befriends a sullen boy in a sunless town, bringing joy and music to all she meets.
Hinashi (lit. sunless), the setting for the film, has a literal shadow cast over it by an imposing cliff that separates the town’s waters from the bay, populated by mermen and ship wrecks alike. From these waters springs the titular Lu who is attracted by the music that flows from an unlikely trio, one lost in his own malaise, another struggling with the responsibility of inheriting an empire, and another who just wants to go with the flow.
What if? It’s a question that innumerable other films have explored from Sliding Doors to Groundhog Day and now SHAFT have taken their pop at it with Fireworks. A remake of of a 1993 TV film by Shunji Iwai - best known recently for The Murder Case of Hana and Alice - and not to be mistaken for the 1997 Beat Takeshi film, especially so as this film directed by Akiyuki Shinbo.
The setup is that a group of school children including friends Norimichi and Yuusuke argue over the absurd question of whether fireworks are round like a globe or disc shaped. Amidst this is Nazuna, a quiet but beautiful girl that becomes entangled with both Norimichi and Yuusuke over the winner of a swimming race.
Watching a film with an audience, regardless of how big or small, changes that film from being consumed, to having it performed. Many films, anime or otherwise, stand well on their own but The Night Is Short, So Walk On Girl is likely at its best projected large in front of an audience.
It is raucous and bawdy and funny and peculiar in all the ways you’ve come to expect from a Masaaki Yuasa production, but it has a verve and energy that can only be amplified in front of a crowd. This is, after all, a film about the long, involved, drunken night out of several university students.