They’re here. They’ve invaded. The aliens. They’ve crashed their way into Tokyo and war is surely coming. The government is at a loss as to how to go about preserving mankind, and Japan is thrust into a new and confusing era!
What will happen to the aliens and the people of Tokyo?
Who cares! Inio Asano’s Dead Dead Demon’s Dededede Destruction isn’t really a story about aliens. It’s a story about high school girls.
Kadode Koyama and Ouran “Otan” Nakagawa are bored, and aliens are the only things that can spice their lives up. …But wait, nothing is really happening. The aliens are just…there, weak and hanging around, and everyone in Tokyo is going about their normal lives. How will the girls live an interesting life if impending doom isn’t even exciting?
Trigger warning for sexual assault and rape mention. Not only is Perfect Blue an extremely graphic film, but I will also be relating things in the film to personal experiences with sexual assault and how it affected me, which could be unsettling for some. I’m writing something a little more serious and personal than usual, but I hope you’ll still read along because it’s something that I’ve wanted to write about for quite some time now.
Satoshi Kon’s Perfect Blue had a limited return to theaters just this past week, and I was lucky enough to be able to get a ticket. This mind-bending psychological thriller about an idol and her obsessive stalker(s) is considered to be an anime film classic for good reason, and seeing it on the big screen reminded me of how great a film it truly is.
Though it seems like Perfect Blue has a relatively simple premise, the movie itself is far from simple. It has many twists and turns, and does an excellent job of placing the viewer in the muddled mind of Mima as she struggles to figure out who she really is versus the person society/her manager/her fans want her to be.
To be completely honest, Perfect Blue is one of the scariest movies I’ve ever seen. Though it doesn’t have many stereotypical jump scare moments, the themes tackled in this movie shake me to my very core. The reason for that is, well, I can relate to a lot of the scary situations that Mima finds herself in.
I mean, no, I haven’t ever hallucinated an idol version of myself, and I’ve never had anyone systematically murder people who have come in contact with me. I can’t, like, literally relate. But a lot of the underlying themes of Perfect Blue hit me on a personal level that other horror movies have failed to do.
Warning! Ninja Scroll is notoriously explicit, in case you didn’t know, so this review/rant will have mentions of violence and rape, because that’s what Ninja Scroll is all about.
I don’t really know why, but I love watching all those exploitative, gory horror OVAs from the 80s and 90s.
Well, let me specify: I love watching them, but I don’t actually like them.
Strangely (to me, anyways), a lot of anime like A-Kite or Urotsukidoji: Legend of the Overfiend are hailed as these cult masterpieces that people genuinely consider to be these genius works of art. I do not think they are genius works of art – I think they’re all hot garbage juice. I think these OVAs are generally overly violent, exploitative messes that are trying too hard to be ~mature~. And yet, though I do not particularly like them, I can’t stop watching them. They’re like anime train-wrecks that I can’t stop streaming.
When it comes to the realm of explicit OVAs, it seems that Ninja Scroll reigns king. I had been avoiding it on purpose, specifically because I knew it was well-loved, and it didn’t feel right to purposely hate-watch and unleash my anger on it.
…but, then my boyfriend wanted to watch it, so I was like, >:) okay let’s gooooo!
All that being said, there’s obviously going to be bias here. I’m not even trying to hide it. Please don’t yell at me for being biased. I know I am. And I know that people fucking love Ninja Scroll, but I…well, gee, guys, there’s a lot wrong here. I do love watching people get sliced in half and all that, but…
The summer season has surprised me quite a bit so far. Going in, the only series that really caught my eye was Banana Fish, but I wound up falling in love with Hanebado! (well, the first episode at least) and Asobi Asobasealong the way, as well.
There was another series that’s surprised me quite a bit, though, and it’s one I hadn’t seen too many people talking about: Planet With. This mecha, while not perfect, is doing a lot of really interesting things with its story and its themes, and is gearing up to become one of the more unique entries into the mecha genre in recent years.
The story begins with Souya Kuroi, who has lost his memories and for some reason finds himself living with a maid girl and a giant purple cat. He’s not too worried about the amnesia and weird roommates, though – he’s just going with the flow and trying to live in the now.
I don’t usually write series reviews. I’ll write about a series or do a quick first impression post or something like that, but I haven’t done many full reviews. Part of that is because, well…I don’t finish that many series. If I’m not hooked, I’ll drop it pretty quickly. When I do finish a series, I’m usually not that compelled to write about them.
Another reason I don’t write a lot of reviews is because they can feel really stale. At least, when I write them, they do. It’s hard to write about a series objectively, and I usually get bogged down by boring technical nonsense.
Sound design is often overlooked by the average viewer and critic alike when it comes to anime. Which, hey, is understandable – anime is a visual medium, right? Naturally we’re going to focus more on animation and animators as opposed to sound. Sure, we might take note of voice acting, and we all know that a great soundtrack (or lack thereof) can make or break a series, but we tend to overlook a good, effective soundscape.
One thing I learned during my time taking film classes is that, whether we notice it or not, sound is one of the most important things when it comes to creating a movie or series. Most people are actually more likely to watch something that has bad visuals but sounds okay than they are to watch something that has great visuals but sounds like shit. Despite how important sound is to our taste, though, we’re far more likely to rant and rave about beautiful animation (or shitty animation, for that matter) than we are to praise a good soundscape.
Which brings me to Hanebado!. It seems we can all agree that the series is gorgeous. It’s beautifully animated, the lighting is stunning, and the attention to detail is on-point. You see beads of sweat being flung from players’ bodies, the clench of a player’s thigh muscles when they go for a jump, and even dust particles can be seen floating across the screen. It feels like you could take a screencap at literally any moment & come away with something beautiful.
(…which not only makes it easy on the eyes but also easier for me to find screencaps to put together with my posts…)
There was something else that really struck me about Hanebado!, though. You’ve probably figured out what I’m gearing up to talk about by now – the sound design. Hanebado!’s opening episode crafts a quietly intense atmosphere with its minimal (yet effective) soundscape.
Finished at: 2:27 a.m. Summary: The OVA serves as a bonus stand-alone story for the manga, which follows American cops Dee Laytner and Randy MacLean as they fight crime and flirt on each other. The anime features the two going on vacation to England together. Dee intends to use the trip to get into Randy’s pants, but Randy just wants to enjoy some peace and quiet. Turns out they’re both beat – they end up finding a dead body in the lake by their hotel and have to get back to detective work. …that doesn’t stop Dee from constantly trying to fuck Randy, though. MAL Rating: 6.64 Is this just, like, the gay You’re Under Arrest? I would say yes, except that You’re Under Arrest is already the gay You’re Under Arrest.
Soooo, I decided to take my chances on a yaoi OVA on a sleepless night not too long ago.
Or would you call it a BL OVA? I don’t understand the differences between shounen-ai, yaoi, and BL. Are they all the same? I thought porn was yaoi, and shounen-ai was not porn? But then again, the term shounen-ai is apparently used for weird shotacon stuff. And I’ve seen anime & manga that didn’t have explicit sex in it be filed under the yaoi genre, too… I’ll just go with calling it BL. I think that’s a catch-all term, yeah? Or maybe it’s something else entirely? Shit.