Batman Ninja (2018)

Whether you love or hate “Batman Ninja,” you have to admit DC is at least going for something completely different and radical this time around. With a different crew and approach toward the mythology, “Batman Ninja” is a unique time traveling tale that finds Batman at his most godlike, worshipped as a near invincible warrior in Feudal Japan. Beautifully directed by Junpei Mizusaki, “Batman Ninja” puts the entire aesthetic of the DC character in to some of the wildest anime filters, and it works most of the time. Some concepts land with a thud, but when “Batman Ninja” soars, it’s quite spectacular.

Continue reading

Napping Princess (Hirune-hime: Shiranai watashi no monogatari) (2017) [Fantasia International Film Festival 2017]

Kokone escapes everyday life by dreaming about Ancien, a princess in a land ruled by a car-obsessed king.  In her real life, things take an odd turn when her father is arrested at the start of her last summer before graduation and just a few days before the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics.  This leads Kokone to use skills she didn’t know she had and come into her own.

Continue reading

Ghost in the Shell (1995)

Mamoru Oshii’s “Ghost in the Shell” is the natural successor to “Blade Runner,” it’s an anime masterpiece that works both as an action film and a very evocative and thought provoking science fiction thriller. Through very engaging characters and still incredibly stunning visuals, “Ghost in the Shell” approaches themes like the idea of consciousness and existence, and what living is, and how it’s fairly impossible to prove what sentience is or isn’t. In 2029, law enforcement has been enhanced to the point where human beings can transport their consciousness and memories in to cybernetic shells that grant them amazing abilities used to keep law and order.

Continue reading

Yu-Gi-Oh!: The Dark Side of Dimensions (2017)

The new two hour+ installment of “Yu-Gi-Oh!” is an adventure set six months after the original series. While it definitely won’t convert new fans, it will likely act as a good book end for hardcore fans of the series. Especially in the way that it resolves a lot of character back stories, and ends every plot thread as best as it can. With Anime though there’s never a huge guarantee these characters will be gone for long, but “The Dark Side of Dimensions” is a new and unique adventure with Yugi Muto fighting a new villain alongside his friends, dueling against old grudges, old scars, and hopefully save his loved ones so they can pursue their futures.

Continue reading

Princess Mononoke (Mononoke-hime) (1997)

Returns to theaters across the nation for a 20th Anniversary celebration, complete with a new 4K restoration. Premiered in theaters Thursday, January 5 in Japanese with English subtitles and will screen Monday, January 9 with an English dub at 7 p.m. local time. Tickets are available now. The event will also feature a screening of the never-before-released music video directed by Hayao Miyazaki, On Your Mark!

Back when “Princess Mononoke” hit the states in 1999, I literally had no idea who Hayao Miyazaki was. My teacher in high school kept a poster of the movie up on her bulletin board and I thought the movie looked amazing. Years after the Oscar buzz, I discovered “Princess Mononoke” and the brilliance of Studio Ghibli. The great thing about Studio Ghibli is there is no wrong way to enter in to their universe.
Continue reading

Ocean Waves (2016)

Another very rare Studio Ghibli film is finally coming to the states as director Tomomi Mochizuki’s “Ocean Waves” is opening for audiences anxious to visit the lesser known entries in the Ghibli catalogue. “Ocean Waves” is described as one of the very few movies not made by Isao Takahata or Hayao Miyazaki and has rarely ever been seen outside of Japanese television. Adapted from a novel of the same name by Saeko Himuro, “Ocean Waves” is a short (At barely eighty minutes) but very well realized teen drama about two teenage boys hopelessly enamored by a gorgeous young girl named Rikako, who is often given to flights of fancy and adventurousness that allow the two friends Taku and Yutaka a chance to break free from the monotony of their busy school lives.

Continue reading

Yo-Kai Watch: The Movie Event (2016)

yokaiwatchAfter storming the box office in its native Japan, “Yo-Kai Watch: The Movie” comes to America in a very limited run for hardcore fans of multimedia series. If you haven’t had enough of the TV series, the video games, and the toy line, fans will get to watch the big screen adventure of hero Nate, and his friends, the Yo-Kai. For those unaware, Yo-Kai are spirits in Japan that can be good or evil. Nate has a magical Yo-Kai watch that allows him to summon, catch, and catalogue the various Yo-Kai. And they’re a massive variety that stem from nature, the city, and literally anywhere else.

Continue reading

Harmony (2015) [Fantasia International Film Festival 2016]

harmonyHealth and happiness conscious people have found a way to live forever and without despair.  In this utopian future, Tuan Kirie is an investigator for the health agency.  As she breaks the rules at her outpost position, she is brought back to Japan where a sudden wave of suicides happens as she arrives.  Tuan Kirie is dispatched to investigate these and she takes advantage of this to investigate her past as well.

Continue reading