Last Friday night, after some thinking and consideration (plus I didn’t feel like trying to catch up with the current series since they just didn’t fit the mood for me, which was dark late night), I finally decided to watch REDLINE to see what all the hype was about. I know that this is late, but better late than never. One word to describe my experience: wild, scintillating, exhilarating, adrenaline-pumping, awesome action! Ok, that was actually six (or seven?) words, but one word just doesn’t do justice enough to describe this amazing, beautiful, visual movie.
Redline is about the biggest and most deadly racing tournament in the universe. Only held once every five years, everyone wants to stake their claim to fame, including JP, a reckless dare-devil driver oblivious to speed limits with his ultra-customized car – all the while, organized crime and militaristic governments want to leverage the race to their own ends. Amongst the other elite rival drivers in the tournament, JP falls for the alluring Sonoshee – but will she prove his undoing, or can a high-speed romance survive a mass destruction race?
MASSIVE SPOILER WARNING! As this is a review on a movie (particularly one that has become one of my top favorite movies of all time), this post will be longer than usual, chockfull with pictures, filled with spoilers, and plenty of my impressions and thoughts. So, my recommendation and advice for watching this movie for those who shall stop here for fear of being spoiled, go into this movie with the intent of just purely enjoying the entertainment. No need to over-analyze anything the first time watching this movie. It’s awesome. Go. Watch it now if you haven’t yet. Then come back when you’re finished and read on ahead for my impressions!
First, an update: I have now added some annotations to the Links page. I’ve been meaning to take care of that as I’m somewhat of a perfectionist, but at least that’s taken care of. Next, we finally come to an underrated series that I’ve always wanted to review, but never quite had the time to do so due to a long forced hiatus and the breakdown of my laptop. This will also be my first post pertaining to yuri, which I am a big fan of, and I would like to introduce you to Aoi Hana (or Sweet Blue Flowers in English). Aoi Hana is a short, sweet 11-episode series, and it’s rather unlike most typical yuri series.
In the original manga’s story, Fumi and Akira were close childhood friends until Fumi had to move away. Ten years after losing touch with each other, the two girls meet again as high school freshmen. The two struggle to reconnect after so much has changed, and both deal with the trials and tribulations of high school — sometimes independently and sometimes with each other’s help.
As I’m busy packing up for Seattle, here’s a quick review of a recently concluded anime series that endeared many fans with its characters, IS: Infinite Stratos. Here’s the synopsis:
Japan engineered an armed powered exoskeleton “Infinite Stratos” (IS) and it became the mainstream of weapons. Since only women can operate IS, women dominate the society over men. Orimura Ichika is a 15 year old boy and accidentally touches an IS placed in the IS pilot training school. He is found to be the only man who can operate IS and forced to enter the training school. Ichika’s busy school life surrounded by girls has begun.
Hello, everyone! Next review up is for Clannad, another well-known Kyoto Animation series. Note: This does not include Clannad: After Story, which I will follow up on sooner or later.
Okazaki Tomoya is a delinquent who finds life dull and believes he’ll never amount to anything. Along with his friend Sunohara, he skips school and plans to waste his high school days away.
One day while walking to school, Tomoya passes a young girl muttering quietly to herself. Without warning she exclaims “Anpan!” (a popular Japanese food) which catches Tomoya’s attention. He soon discovers the girl’s name is Furukawa Nagisa and that she exclaims things she likes in order to motivate herself. Nagisa claims they are now friends, but Tomoya walks away passing the encounter off as nothing.
However, Tomoya finds he is noticing Nagisa more and more around school. Eventually he concedes and befriends her. Tomoya learns Nagisa has been held back a year due to a severe illness and that her dream is to revive the school’s drama club. Claiming he has nothing better to do, he decides to help her achieve this goal along with the help of four other girls.
As Tomoya spends more time with the girls, he learns more about them and their problems. As he attempts to help each girl overcome her respective obstacle, he begins to realise life isn’t as dull as he once thought.
Hello, a new spring series that I have taken a major interest in Hidan no Aria, or otherwise known as Aria the Scarlet Ammo. The synopsis of this new anime series is thus:
The story takes place in Tokyo Butei High School, a special school where armed detectives — “Butei” — are trained to use weapons. Kinji Tooyama is a second-year-student who has a special ability, but he keeps it a secret to maintain an ordinary, peaceful life. However, when he gets caught in a bombing on the way to school, he encounters H. Aria Kanzaki, the most powerful S-Rank Butei student in Assault Studies.
Ugh. I’ve still been busy for college studies, but I’m starting to see the light at the end of the long tunnel. Alas, I shall not arrive there for a while (after maybe 4-5 days). For now, here’s another very good work of Shinkai Makoto: She and Her Cat ~ Their Standing Points.
She and Her Cat is a bittersweet short anime about a woman, her cat, their lives, and their lives together. Told from through the cat’s point of view, we can see that the cat is very fond of the woman. Their days together pass by contentedly in a small apartment. Through the cat’s eyes, we see the woman’s story of love and heartache. The whole short is done in black and white, giving it that film noir effect just like the previous short that I just recently talked about, Tooi Sekai ~ Other Worlds. The animation is well done, and the camera angles are panned over scenes frequently giving us a glimpse and sight into the life of the cat and the woman. Details are very nicely done, such as the raindrops and the objects scattered around the apartment. Music is used sparingly; there is almost no background music, yet this achieves a melancholy atmosphere with the highly contrasted dialogue.
As for the characters, there are three: the woman, the cat named Chobi, and the female cat named Mimi. Chobi is a very nice charismatic narrator, in fact I think he’s one of the best narrators I’ve seen in anime so far. Mimi is a young child who is in love with Chobi and wants to marry him, but Chobi does not see her as a fully-matured woman and says that it’s a false promise and prefers the woman. The woman we see reacts and reflects on what’s happening around her just as typical of human nature, and note that Chobi is so endeared with the woman that he doesn’t seem to care for anything around him.
She and Her Cat is a very nice, sweet animation short with several poignant themes: innocence, love, heartache. This is Shinkai Makoto’s first well-known work that propelled him to fame and onto his next work, Voices of a Distant Star.
Hello, as I was far too busy today, I haven’t been able to complete a decent blog post. So, I decided to show off a anime short that I think you will like (especially if you are a fan of Shinaki Makoto!). The short is Tooi Sekai ~ Other Worlds, created in 1992 by Shinkai Makoto.
You can intrepret it however you like; it’s definitely an unique short. My interpretation is that Tooi Sekai ~ Other Worlds shows the brief relationship of a couple, and this short leaves us to speculate about the complexity of human relationships. Also, film noir (at last, one thing I learned from college to apply to anime!) is used here, with the short in black and white. There is no dialogue and the subtle atmosphere was greatly accomplished by the use of film noir. Also, the sound is superb, invoking emotions that of romanticism, melancholy, and a sense of a distant world. The only aspects lacking are the characters; we get a glimpse of the characters and they are not fleshed out, rather we are left to wonder what will become of them. Despite this, I love this short so much as there’s a feeling of romance to it and great music as well.
Shinaki Makoto’s talents are clearly being developed at the time of this short’s making, and now he has come this far with his famous works, Voices of a Distant Star, The Place Promised in Our Early Days, and most notably, 5 Centimeters Per Second.