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Anime DVD Reviews

Revolutionary Girl UtenaRevolutionary Girl Utena - The Movie (DVD)
Director Kunihiko 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.

Thinking Anime!We're 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 private!

Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's CounterattackMobile 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!

Everything for the Gundam fan except the actual full scale working Gundam...Char's 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.

Devil Hunter YohkoDevil 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.

Yohko: Not for the kids...Devil 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 children.

Serial Experiments LainSerial 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".

Lain: Lynch Like Anime!Folks 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 is an art form.


 
 Anime.com Recommended Books:
 Love HinaLove Hina
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.

TokyoScopeTokyoScope: 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.

The Wind-Up Bird ChronicleThe Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
by 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.

Music and Soundtrack Selections:
 The Nightmare Before Christmas SoundtrackThe 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.





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