Friday, May 21, 2010

Review | Anime | Kino's Journey

KINO'S JOURNEY : The simple but beautiful story of a young traveler named
Kino, journeying to different countries with her talking motorrad friend,

A simple plot, a simple story, and no particular climax...just the story of a traveler. But yet, a fine example of the fact that a fantastic storyline and a dramatic climax are not always what make a beautiful anime. Kino's Journey may, in fact, be one of the finest animes I've ever seen.

The ratings for this anime were through the roof, and for such an ordinary and seemingly uncreative story. Nothing on the surface is as it seems for this anime, however. Kino stays in each country for three days, no more, no less. Hermes, Kino's talking motorrad companion, notes that Kino has never stayed more than 3 days in a country. Kino's travels take her not just to countries, but to countries with amazing traditions and histories.

The country that opens the series is a country run entirely by robots, with no apparent human life. On top of that, inexpensive prices on everything! Kino enjoys a luxury hotel suite and a grand meal just within her budget, and money to spare. When Kino finally happens upon human life on the outskirts of the country, she learns that the humans of the country volunteered for an experiment that would enable them to read each other's minds. Their initial plan was to eliminate cruelty amongst them; "People harm others because they do not understand the others' pain." By hearing each other's thoughts, there would be no secrets, and no misunderstanding. However, the negatives vastly outweighed the positives. Their ability to read minds enabled them to read judgment and negative thoughts towards others, which enduced havoc in the country. This ultimately drove them to the outskirts, where they live in great distance from each other, so to keep from further reading minds.

This is only one of the many countries Kino will travel to, each sporting an amazing plot twist that simply makes you go, "Wow." The award for the most incredible twist goes ultimately to the country that closes the series; Kino travels to a country rumored to be very inhospitable towards travelers. So why is Kino being treated so kindly? This is for you to uncover once you get to it. I was left breathless by the time the credits began to roll.

I'd say to investigate for yourself before showing this to a child. There is violence throughout. Kino finds three starving men in the snow, and she shoots three rabbits to cook for them (we see her shoot the first two, which is startling and somewhat bloody.) As a person who values life, she clearly shows remorse for having to kill these rabbits. There is a war scene where men, women, and children are fleeing from soldiers and are seen being killed (it is not graphic as their actual deaths are not shown, but can be disturbing to some.) Kino kills several characters in self-defense throughout the series.

Kino's Journey is for everyone. This is from the mouth of a fantasy fan, who wants anime as far from reality as you can possibly swing it. Its closing song, "Beautiful World", sung by Kino's seiyuu herself, blends wordly sounds to create a perfect song to match its anime. This anime is simply beautiful, and I deeply encourage any who pass through to humbly obey the ratings and tune in.

Overall Rating:
/ 5

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Friday, April 9, 2010

Review | Manga | Uzumaki

UZUMAKI : High school student Kirie lives in the small town of Kurozu-cho, which has become strange lately. Kirie's boyfriend, Shuichi, notices that the strange occurrences throughout town have all centered around spirals. At first, the spirals appear in little ways, such as manifesting in the form of seashells, plants and small whirlpools in the water. But when they begin to show themselves in much more disturbing ways, from the unhealthy spiral obsession of Shuichi's father to growing spiral marks on the bodies of the citizens, Shuichi and Kirie begin to suspect there is much more at work in the town - and it may be too late to escape it.

You can list me in the book of avid horror fanatics any day of the week, so further investigating of the story of Uzumaki and its all-around high ratings made me jump right on it. I have to say, it's been a while since I've had the privilege to read such a perfectly disturbing and haunting story.

Several months later, I discovered that a good friend of mine had picked up the story as well, and unless you plop down your collection of yaoi manga in front of him, he's not an easy man to disturb. Now that Uzumaki has entered his life, however, all you need is a spiral if you want him curled upon the ground in terror.

A horrible mystery, a small's how most horror tales begin. Kirie Goshima's childhood friend Shuichi has been acting strangely, and insists to Kirie that spirals are overtaking the town. Of course, Shuichi is met with the usual, "How can that be possible?" response of disbelief, but Kirie's eye slowly begin to open to Shuichi's suspicions, as she herself begins to notice strange happenings all revolving - quite literally - around spirals. Our first prime example is Mr. Saito, Shuichi's father, who has developed an unhealthy obsession with spirals. He will do anything, even steal, in order to collect every spiral possible to add to his ever-growing collection; he will even use his chopsticks to create whirlpools in his soup.

So, imagine his reaction when the missus throws his precious collection in the trash! At first, you can't think of anything else that you could possibly turn the page to other than a violent crime scene. However, he eventually calms himself for the most parts, and expresses to his terrified wife and son that material spirals are not needed to enjoy the uzumaki to its fullest, because after all, you can make your own.

And he certainly does, when his eyeballs begin to rotate in entirely different directions. Sounds like you've got a spiral problem in your town, Mr. Shuichi.

Creator Junji Ito has got a great plot going for him here - he's about to send a menacing army of spirals to swallow an entire town. He does just that, and his readers watch helplessly as the inhabitants of Kurozu-cho are slowly devoured by the unexplainable events that happen around town: The beam of an abandoned lighthouse suddenly activates, the straightest of hair suddenly becomes extremely curly...and why ever does Kirie's classmate have a large spiral growing on his back?

Unless your child is Chucky, this is probably not the book for story time. Your friendly neighborhood spirals are not above spilling some guts to get themselves in the spotlight, and they do enough of it. I know college students that could read nothing past chapter 3.

If you're a horror fan looking to find a run for your brain's money, look no further than Uzumaki. You'll swear that ceiling fan is watching you, you won't want to touch that curling iron for some time...and as if you didn't hate mosquitoes enough before, that summer camping trip may be as good as canceled.

Overall Rating:
/ 5

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Preview | Movie | Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni Chikai

Sequel to the Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni live action film, "Chikai" continues the story of the mysterious murder cases in a brand new cycle of time as new mysteries begin to unfold about the small town of Hinamizawa, the terrifying god Oyashiro-sama, and the horrors that befall Keiichi and his friends.

We are in the process of watching this film for the first time; the subbers are half-way through subbing the film and we have only been able to watch the first half, and will hopefully be able to complete the final chapters shortly. Our expectations are high; we like what we see so far!

Preview :

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Preview | Anime | Ookami Kakushi

16-year-old Hiroshi Kuzumi moves to the peaceful village of Jogamachi, separated by from the "old" Jogamachi by a river. He adapts comfortably and soon befriends many of his classmates, who take a quick liking to him, with the exception of class president Nemuru Kushinada, who warns Hiroshi to stay away from old Jogamachi.

This anime is nearing its completion, set for March 25th 2010, and has been compared by many to the popular slasher horror Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni. Already boasting theme songs by the talented and renowned FictionJunction, this anime has fired up our curiosity, and we look forward to reviewing it as soon as possible!

Preview :