Girl Utena - The Movie (DVD)
Ikuhara takes the entire
TV series plot and streamlines it to 80 minutes, while at the
same time, giving the fans an entirely new alternate universe,
all new action, and produces a film unlike anything you've ever
seen before. The opening sequence alone makes this one worth watching
-- again and again. And watch it many times you must -- in order
to peel away the incredible number of layers of dense metaphor.
Much like TV's first true masterpiece The
Prisoner, Utena's surface action is really just symbolism for
a deeper, thought-provoking and somewhat incomprehensible plot.
sorry, but your brain must be ON while you watch
this film. Taking everything at face-value will leave
you confused and disappointed. But those of you that
can see the lines of the story between the written
words will be in for a real treat. Simply every scene
is loaded with allegorical imagery
and the film is loaded with jaw-droppingly beautiful
artwork. However, a warning: instances of lesbianism,
murder, incest, child molestation, and suicide might
make this movie inappropriate for children's viewing
(or may make your parents squeamish!). So watch in
Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack (DVD)
This 1988 feature film continues the
Gundam saga of Earth Federation mecha pilot Amuro Ray and Char
Aznable of the Zeon (now Neo-Zeon), and was one of the first blendings
of computer generated images and cel animation. The foundations
of peace are once again threatened by a new Neo Zeon army, their
ultimate goal is to initiate a nuclear winter upon Earth, thereby
forcing a new age of mankind into space. Armed with the state-of-the-art
Nu Gundam mobile suit, Amuro Ray and the Federation forces are
all that stand against Neo Zeon. Torn between vengeance, duty,
and love - the final battle between rivals Char Aznable and Amuro
Ray is finally at hand!
Counterattack is essentially a two-hour space battle,
and, although Yoshiyuki
Tomino had only limited technology at his disposal
(the computer animation is somewhere between the
levels of Lensman and Cowboy
Bebop), the choreography of the mecha duels is
effective and exciting. It's the best-looking Gundam
movie we've ever seen and the film was certainly
one of the most eagerly awaited ever made. No Gundam
collection is complete without this crowning
achievement of Sunrise.
Bonuses of this DVD include: Original Theatrical
Trailer, Gundam Model Music Video, Creator Filmography,
a 12 Page Collectors Booklet, Reversible DVD Cover
and Embossed Collector's Slipcover.
Hunter Yohko Collection 1 (DVD)
Supernatural forces are once again threatening the world. High
school teachers are being possessed by demons. The blood of the
innocent needs to be protected, and a cute, high school girl is
once again called upon to save us all. And like other fighters
of her breed, she can't seem to keep her clothes on.
Hunter Yohko, a 1990 Toho release
(the studio responsbile for notables like Godzilla),
is a fun, fast-pace entry in anime of the Cutey
Honey persuasion. The character design, toilet
humor, and fight scenes are well done rather than
overdone. Nudity and adult siuations don't get too
graphic. Funnier scenes are somewhat reminescent
of dear Lum, and her antics featured in Urusei Yatsura.
The American dubbing job in this 1995 ADV release
is painless and faithful. Beware, while this DVD
collection is definitely NOT extreme hentai, it also
can't be confused with Sailor
Moon. Devil Hunter Yohko, with its violent scenes,
talk about virginity, and soul searches on "giving
boys what they want", is definitely not for
Experiments Lain - Boxed Set (DVD)
We can only describe it as "David
Lynch goes anime!". A weird, provocative, entertaining
and etherial trip through a halucenogenic nightmare. It's really
a "what if David Lynch directed anime written by William
Gibson" kind of thing, as there's plenty of cyberpunk influence
as well as noir sense
and plenty of paranoia,
all twisted and intertwined inside of a you-can-never-quite-understand-it
plotline. Kind of like the
independent film "Pi".
who like anime just for the cool
explosions and lazer battles aren't going to
find this their cup of tea. This is anime that has
a deliberate slowness, building up, layer upon layer,
until you can feel the suffocation of the characters.
This is anime you'll either love or hate. And if
you don't hate it, you'll discover that it's very
likely your favorite anime series of all time. Yes,
it's weird. Yes, it's different. And that's why anime
Love Hina - which won a prestigious Kodansha Manga of the Year
award for its creator - is Akamatsu Ken's 2nd major manga series.
His earlier AI Ga Tomaranai - a sort of cyber love comedy -
ran for 8 volumes in the early-to-mid-90's.
The focus of this manga series is romance, and this manga is
somewhat R rated - but done in good taste. In this first issue
our hero Keitaro's dream is to attend Tokyo University with
his childhood sweetheart, a girl who he hasn't seen in years.
Now he's failed the entrance exams and is in danger of losing
his dream again if he doesn't stay focused. In a desperate
effort to go into seclusion and study for his entrance exams,
he volunteers to take over running his grandmother's hotel.
Yet, Keitaro is about to get motivated when he discovers that
one of his tenants is his childhood crush! This manga is 200
pages of fun in glorious black and white.
The Japanese Cult Film Companion
There are quite a few books out there if you want to know a lot about Godzilla or Akira Kurosawa, but if you want to know about yakuza films, or great actors like Sonny Chiba and Bunta Sugawara, or Kinji Fukasaku, one of the greatest filmmakers of all time, thenTokyoScope is worth adding to your collection.
One of the cooler facts we found in this book was that Samuel L. Jackson's Biblical speech in Pulp Fiction was borrowed from the brain-damaged Sonny Chiba karate flick "The Bodyguard". TokyoScope is a densely packed and illustrated volume full of trivia, biographies, poster art, and reviews of some 100 of the top films to see. It provides an attractive and accessible introduction to the world's most notorious movies and is an indispensable reference that belongs in the library of any true cult film fan.
Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
Haruki Murakami, Jay Rubin (Translator)
In this book bad things come in threes for Toru Okada. He loses
his job, his cat disappears, and then his wife fails to return
from work. His search for his wife (and his cat) introduces
him to a bizarre collection of characters.
Haruki Murakami is a master of subtly disturbing prose. Mundane
events throb with menace, while the bizarre is accepted without
comment. Meaning always seems to be just out of reach, for
the reader as well as for the characters, yet one is drawn
inexorably into a mystery that may have no solution. The tropes
of popular culture, movies, music, detective stories, combine
to create a work that explores both the surface and the hidden
depths of Japanese society at the end of the 20th century.
Nightmare Before Christmas:
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
If you've ever seen the
movie "The Nightmare Before Christmas", then
you know that the entire movie is just Tim
Burton and Danny
Elfman having a blast producing a music with fantastic
songs. Indeed, the songs are the best thing about the film,
and here you can play them in the privacy of your headphones
or while driving to work.
Elfman, who has scored films such as Beetlejuice, Edward
Scissorhands, and Batman,
(to name a few), is one of the musical geniuses of out time
it seems -- that he can bring such emotion to this listener
with the bare minimum of notes, and make no mistake, this collection
from the film may be his finest work.