Tag Archives: amazing

AnoHana: A Title Too Long, An Anime Too Sad

The characters of AnoHana

Okay, the title is far too long. Ano Hi Mata Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai. Roughly translated, We Still Don’t Know the Name of the Flower We Saw that Day. (Probably actually translated) I’m no expert in the Japanese language, but… Why? Anyways, that’s besides the point. This was a phenomenal show. It was also phenomenally sad. With angst and tears in hand, this show could do no wrong. For the most part.

First recommendation about this show. Watch this by yourself. No groups

The Haunting by Menma.

allowed. Unless you and another few people really wanna attempt to cry and connect with your emotional side, then do so by yourself. It’s well worth it. Second, watch this subbed. The dubbed version is not out, may take a while, but make sure this is watched subbed. The Japanese voice actors in this show give a whole new meaning to emotional acting. And third, whatever you do, love Yukiatsu. He is the most fantastic character in this anime. Not a jerk.

The cute children of AnoHana!

To the plot. This show is about a group of friends who, when they were children, called themselves the Super Peace Busters. Slightly strange, but they were for justice and peace, not for busting it. (Or were they?) Jintan, Menma, Anaru, Yukiatsu, Tsuruko, and Poppo would hang out all the time playing Nokemon and playing in the forest in their amazingly built clubhouse for a bunch of small children. One day tragedy strikes and Menma dies. This horrific accident separates the group forever.

Until one day, Jintan starts seeing Menma and what appears to be her poltergeist apparition form. Menma is now older and has aged like all the others to their high school age. Acting  just like she did when she was younger, she now stands in stark contrast to those who lost her so many years ago.

Unconrtrollable tears!

Jintan has become a shut in who no longer attends school, Anaru has become what appears to be a snobby slut, Yukiatsu and Tsuruko have become cold hearted people, and Poppo is the only one who has remained the same.

Giving Menma appearing to him as an illusion of the summer heat, Jintan continues to go about his usual life. Having lost his mother, his father and him have seemed to grow apart to a superficial level. But, slowly but surely, Jintan begins to connect with Menma and starts to remember the emotions and feelings of his childhood. With Menma not knowing what exactly is her purpose on “haunting” Jintan, Jintan must try and grant her wish and send her to Heaven.

Yukiatsu, my love.

There is one thing and one thing only to say about this show. Tears. This show trys in every capacity, every episode, to make you cry. Not even the frequent intermissions of comic relief can attempt to dry your eyes of the sadness. The ending song itself functions as a key to emotionally end every episode on a revelation/sadness scene. And it is so damn effective. You become entirely attached to all the characters and want them to come to terms with Menma’s death and become friends again. And it doesn’t look possible. The alienation of growing up and high school, coupled with traumatizing death seems to leave them all hopeless. You wish the best for them and cry when things turn out all right. Just not in the way you’d think.

The comic relief needs to flowww.

With all the emotion and revealing scenes of twist and turns, this show just deliver and delivers. It spares not a minute of its short 11 episode run. The story is told and you’re left with a feeling of warmth beside a feeling of loss inside. And that makes it worth it. But you know what? I don’t want to cry every episode. I don’t mind spilling my man tears, but when you’re beaten over the head and told to cry, does the act of emotion and sadness really become an effective anime in the end? With the characters, I would say yes! Please for the love of God, Yukiatsu is the person I wanna be! (Wink wink) But with the plot and short period of time it has to function, give me a break every other episode. Let me dry my eyes and not feel this is kind of stupid in the heaviest melodramatic Lifetime movie way possible. Don’t try to make me cry for the sake of crying. Make me happy to shed tears for those I care about. Not unecessary tears of circumstance.

That being my only contention with this show, it takes it down heavily from the 10 out of 10 category and down into the 8 out of 10 category. But based solely on Yukiatsu, give it the 10 out of 10. Final verdict, 7.9 out of 10.


Creation: The “A Beautiful Mind” of the 1800’s

So I just finished this movie and, I have to say, I was blown away by its simplicity. I’m pretty sure this movie had about 5 shooting locations, and this simplicity alone was touching and dramatic. This film about the entity that is Charles Darwin and the theory that changed the world through conflict, was one of anguish, inner turmoil, and alienation. This movie may have been pure speculation about the life of Darwin and his quest to write “Origin of the Species,” but it is rare to encounter a film that makes you believe that the actor who is Darwin must have known Darwin. Must have been Darwin.

I had heard about this movie a year or so ago and have always had an affinity for Paul Bettany. All of his

Paul Bettany as Darwin with his Wife Jennifer Connelly as, well, his wife.

work is top shelf stuff. And Creation is no exception. Another amazing piece from across the sea, and it kept me entranced in Bettany and those around Darwin. The 1850’s was a time of religious dominance and this film portrayed that quite clearly. It is this conflict between science and religion (still ongoing) that frames the film. It is not all encompassing of the purpose, but gives substance to the interactions between work, family, and the past.

Martha West as Emma Darwin. What a relationship they had.

There are two amazing relationships that also frame this movie. The first is between Darwin and his daughter Annie (Martha West). The conflict between the live Annie and the memory of her past self haunts Darwin throughout the film. Annie loves her father and his dedication and fervor for life. And at the same time, she loves her mother and the devotion she shows to her religion. As Bettany says ever so touchingly, “I thought we were making the perfect child.” But it is this child that causes the loss of faith as well as the devotion to his soon to be world changing book. And, with every painful interaction, Darwin is forced to face the demons of his past and the issue that this creates with his family, most importantly his wife. And therein lies the second best relationship portrayed in the film. Between Darwin and Emma (Jennifer Connelly), there is an ocean. Emma’s religion and Darwin’s science seem to be the issue at the heart of the problem, but in a surprising and touching twist, it is the daughter that causes the rift. And the resolution is worth the watch in itself. It is rare in films that a leading man and lady would be married in real life. This is one of them. And I give that credit to whoever cast a married couple in a role like this. It’s absolutely amazing to watch two people with chemistry that is based in life to interact on film. Every scene with their interaction is so fluid and natural that I was blown away by how wonderful it must be to be those two in love. Quite literally the best part of the film.

Quite similar.

And there are a few notable mentions to make about minor acting parts. Freya Parks does a great job as Etta, the oldest of Darwin’s children, fighting for the attention of her father who is perpetually focused on the memory of his dead daughter. Her scenes are touching and tragic in the way that she tries and seems to flounder without any affection from her father. The last scene, something to see. Benedict Cumberbatch (BBC’s current Sherlock) gave a great minor performance as Mr. Hooker, one of Darwin’s confidantes and emotional support in his hour of need when it comes to writing his book. And Martha West, bless her heart, gave it her all as Annie, the focus of Darwin’s obsession and past regrets. Having to play a protagonist and antagonist simultaneously must be quite hard for a child, and she pulls it off with aplomb.

You may have noticed the title of this blog. And I would have to say this plot reminds me of A Beautiful Mind, the great Ron Howard award winning story of another theorist who could see figments of his imagination, John Nash. All of the dramatic elements are there and its done with the same grace. I gotta give credit to Jon Amiel, a director who I’ve not seen do anything like this before, directing with all he has. Throw in some scenes straight out of The Fall with their exotic nature, and you have a recipe for a great movie. 9.5 out of 10.


Death Note: Simply Amazing

So this is one of the best anime I’ve watched. Ever. I mean hands down ever. I think this should be a mandatory requirement for all anime fans to watch. In one sitting. I had to load episodes from the internet, but I loaded them 1o at a time and would site for 3 hours watching al 10. This show blew my mind. It has the most intricate plot with twists and turns. It’s one of those pieces of art that you watch and you have to choose a side. (Clearly there’s only one side to choose in this anime.) But it’s harder than that. It’s about morality.

Light vs. L. Who will win?

Ethics. The worth/cost of a life. And whether or not it is just to take a life in the pursuit of justice and goodness. And if humankind can itself be gods.

So this anime is about Light Yagami (Brad Swaile). One day this 17 year old student, top of his class, suave, genius prodigy finds this notebook. And in it are instructions. If a name is written in this book with the persons face in mind, that person will die of a heart attack in 40 seconds. If a cause of death is established in those 40 seconds and the

Light Yagami. God of the New World.

details written in 6 minutes and 40 seconds, then the person will die that way if the means of that death can be accomplished. This is basically disregarded by Light as some ridiculous joke. Until he tries it. Then Light is thrust into a world of possibilities no one before could possibly imagine. And, using this Death Note, Light will become the God of the New World.

There is some baggage that comes with the Death Note. A Death Note can only be found by a human on Earth if it is dropped by a Shinigami. These quite strange, queer, funny creatures come from “limbo” as best I can figure. Their world is dissolving and Ryuuke

Ryuuke. He likes apples.

(Brian Drummond) has grown tired of the days of gambling bones and sleeping. He hungers for intrigue and excitement, and nobody better than Light can give that to him. Light’s attitude towards the power to kill brings surprising results. Light only kills criminals. Ryuuke follows him around, unseen by humans other than Light, for only humans who have touched the notebook can see Shinigamis. And it is Ryuuke’s duty to remain on earth with Light until it is his time to leave Light upon his death.

And from there the show picks up. Light soon becomes Kira (the Japanese pronunciation of Killer. Stereotypical right?) and creates a following. But the justice system won’t stand for that shit. They’re gonna put a stop to him right? So L(Alessandro Juliani), the greatest investigator/crime solver in the world, better than the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew combined, will do just that. And the chase begins. From here, the twists and mind games that’re played throughout the show display the amazing mind behind Tsugumi Ohba, creator of the manga.

I love Light Yagami. Thank you Brad Swaile.

Let me just say that my explanation/review of this anime comes nowhere near doing it justice. Although this anime was picked up by a Canadian company for dubbing, this doesn’t detract from the quality. Canadian voice actors are just as good as American voice actors. Case in point: Light Yagami’s voice actor, Brad Swaile. This guy must rock the mike when he’s recording. His manical laughs, his brilliantly intelligent air about him, it all fits the character. To a tee. Forget watching the subbed version, this guy brings this show home himself. Also of notable mention is Alessandro Juliani, the voice of L. Although his noises when interacting with food may seem off-putting, it enhances the strangeness that is L. L’s character is quirky and cold, intelligent and funny, but, to me, altogether annoying. And that’s why I chose the side of Light. Okay, not just because of the voice acting. To put my own opinion out there, Light’s sense of justice and genius mind are completely superior to L. In every way. Besides that, yes, L is respectable. But altogether inferior. But that’s where the dichotomy of the show comes from. And that’s why I enjoy the battle of the minds so much.

Also of notable mention in the voice acting department is Brian Drummond, ¬†the voice of Ryuuke. All these Shinigami have sort of a grating, holier than thou, tone of voice to them and Ryuuke is no exception. Although he may play the part of jester, Brian Drummond brings an almost threatening aura to Ryuuke that makes him seem capable of anything being a God of Death. Chris Britton also gives a great performance as Soichiro Yagami, Light’s father. (I’m not gonna go into details about him, you must watch!) The grave, business air of Soichiro is what gives a respectable dignity to himself. Chris Britton’s caring and

Soichiro Yagami. Badass Dad.

intelligent voice lends itself to the character and really helps to envision a father worried for his family. Vincent Tong gets my honorable mention as Touta Matsuda, the goofy, caring, blundering police investigator of the Kira case. (This is inevitably what develops from Light’s mass killings of criminals.) He cares about the case, but he’s young at heart and this comes through strong and clear from Vincent Tong’s performance, making him an endearing character.

Teru Mikami. You'll see...

Another boss character from Death Note with a great voice actor is Kirby Morrow as Teru Mikami. (Now I can’t go into detail about this character, but look out for him!) Kirby does a great job of a devotional character willing to do whatever it takes for justice. Take that explanation as you like it. This show’s also great because there’s a culture crossover with Americans involved as well. And this shows itself in Raye Penber, voiced by Michael Adamhwaite. Adamthwaite (although a minor character) gives a great performance being an English speaking actor doing a English speaking character (not having watched the subbed, I don’t know exactly how this crossover works) and is quite the interesting character with a humble background.

But enough about voice actors. I could go on for far too long. The art is great too. It’s subtle dark colors mixed with flickering lights and dark corners gives it that seedy underbelly, nobody is who they say they are, investigation feel. This show is dark. I mean, come on, it’s about death. Characters are messed up in this show. But it’s all about the intelligence, it’s about the wording, and, most importantly, it’s all

Oh, did I mention there are live action movies?

about the deductions. The Shinigami, although otherworldly, become believable in this setting that seems it could never happen. I was never surprised or in disbelief by this anime, because it makes the impossible, possible. And that’s where the magic comes from.

So watch this show. Please check it out. It’s well worth its weight in gold. This show sets the bar unbelievably high for anime, and I think could make the jump into pop culture. Or, I wish it would. Love it, love it, love it. 11 out of 10. (Because I can.)

Oh, and this anime has one amazing intro. Check it (if you’re a metal fan).