Tag Archives: based on a novel

Howl’s Moving Castle: My First Miyazaki

Oh, woe is me for not having seen a Miyazaki film sooner. I’m back again for a few reviews (after vacation back home) and I thought I’d start with a film that, for me, was a revelation and fan-creating film. If only Disney hadn’t have put its grimy paws all over this film and let Studio Ghibli find English voice actors, this movie could’ve surpassed even my expectations. (But Disney is all about them big bones.) But it had Christian Bale, so it’s all good. This wonderful film about growing up

A house with a view.

and finding what you believe in is a more mature answer to the childish wonder we all find in cartoons and fantasy.

In this steampunk-like adventure story, we come across Sophie (Emily Mortimer), a young woman and local hatter in a town ruled by an aristocracy and the army. Magic is an agreed upon phenomenon and witches and wizards roam the countryside. After an encounter with a young, dashing, magical man named Howl (Christian Bale), Sophie finds herself swept away by the man’s charm. After encountering another witch later that night, The Witch of the Waste (Lauren Bacall), Sophie is turned into an old woman (voiced by Jean Simmons) and is not allowed to speak of her curse.

After this terrible twist of “Big”-like events, Sophie travels off into the countryside to escape her mother and what people would think of her. She encounters a wonderfully fun and lovable scarecrow on a stick, and, eventually, Howl and his Moving Castle. Accompanying Howl are his associated fire demon, Calcifer (Billy Crystal), and his apprentice in waiting, Markl (Josh Hutcherson). Acting as a makeshift nanny/homekeep, Sophie attempts to gain everyone’s trust, all the while searching for some way to reverse her curse. It ends up being one wild ride, indeed.

Look at that redonk detail.

I was overall impressed with this film. Like I said, I’ve never seen a Miyazaki film before and my girlfriend owned this one and wanted me to watch it. She was totally right and I wasn’t disappointed. It was a great film. Miyazaki’s style for me is completely original, unusual and quirky. His plot may have been taken from a book of the same name, but it was such a unique and off kilter movie/story/plotline that I loved what was going to happen next. It wasn’t action packed, it wasn’t magic performance filled or anything like that. It was what it was. And I appreciated that immensely.

For the most part, the voices in the film were accurately matched to each of the characters. Christian

Cosplays waiting to happen.

Bale, for the kind of frail character Howl was, was a bit of a stretch. And he wasn’t even allowed to use his British accent! What kind of crap is that when a decent percentage of the rest of the cast was British? Oh Christian Bale, will you ever be able to use your own voice? I enjoyed Billy Crystal and his comedic portrayal of Calcifer. And I was spot on again at recognizing voices when I heard both Josh Hutcherson and Crispin Freeman’s guest voicing of Turnip Head towards the end. Some of the supporting cast and background voices were a bit iffy, but overall I wasn’t disappointed.

Masterful Miyazaki.

I loved the overall feel and message of this film. The style it was going for was just right for the way this movie presented itself. The music was whimsical and the animation is above and beyond a lot of cartoon films that are done here. Why? That’s because of the attention to detail and colorful style that Miyazaki and his animation crew have created with all their projects. The film is beautiful to look at and is a visual journey in itself. Hell, this movie didn’t even need much dialogue did it? I would’ve watched it just as a silent film and enjoyed it just as much. The creative ways in which Miyazaki created a world with unique aspects and inventions left me awestruck. I’m definitely in for some treats with the rest of Miyazaki’s films. I’ll give Howl’s Moving Castle a 8.7 out of 10.

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Eve no Jikan: Time of Eve

Wow, it’s been a long time in the making, but this is my 201st post, just passing my 200th. I am now, after this, completely caught up and ready to go on to new up to the minute update sort of things. What I mean is my posts will be more raw and fresh in my mind because I just watched it. My list of updates/posts is done and it’s time to revitalize this old beast. So strap in for this last amazing little anime review and then get ready for Misfits Season 3 afterwards. You’re gonna have no idea what hit you with that one.

In Eve no Jikan/ Time of Eve, the world has been revitalized by robots. And, most recently, it has upgraded to androids who can act and look like humans. It’s your basic I, Robot issue right here. Right down to the 3 laws that govern robots. This might have taken some cues from the novel I, Robot was based on. Anyways, Rikuo Sakisaka is a

There’s only one rule here in this saloon.

teenage high school boy who has an android at home, Sammy. She cooks and cleans and makes one mean coffee. Upon updating her one day, Rikuo comes across some odd place that Sammy went in his phone. Inviting his friend Masakazu Masaki to come along, they both stumble on something that it taboo for both of them.

All the wonderful characters and images!

Time of Eve, this hip little cafe is made for robots and humans. And the only rule is that you are not allowed to discriminate between them or call the other out. The only real difference between the two of them is that androids have halos above their heads. But in the Time of Eve cafe, it goes away and both become human (in a way).

At first, Rikuo and Masaki are horrified at what they find. They know that treating a robot like a human is a stigma among humans, known as dori-kei or adnroid-philia. To treat or love a robot like a human is wrong to these boys, and that’s what makes this cafe so frightening. Over time Rikuo finds he likes coming to the cafe and a gap is bridged between robots and humans. Analyzing the loopholes of the laws that govern robots and what it means to “protect humans”, Rikuo and Masaki’s lives are changed by the Time of Eve.

Can there be love? Or constant separation?

This anime is very character driven and very touching. It has its funny moments when the music stops and the camera zooms in on an awkward moment or something, but overall heartwarming. The regulars of the cafe are humans and robots, and there’s no need to try to tell the difference. Every episode focuses on a different regular, eventually coming full circle. There’s a wonderful little girl named Chie who thinks she’s a cat. Some wonderfully old school robots who just want to be treated like humans, and Sammy, a robot who just loves her master.

I’m glad to see a movie was created after this anime came out. Found only on the internet as an ONA, this anime has been lucky enough to become popular enough to be made into a full length feature. (I have yet to watch it, but I would probably say the same things about this that I would about the movie.) It’s one of those quick anime that

A touching scene, one right after the other.

passes you by, but leaves a warm spot in your heart that stays with you, long after you may forget the character’s names. This anime sends a message about the future of our world and whether or not it is okay to discriminate now and in the future as well. And I would say that’s an emphatic no.

It’s quirky at the same time that every episode ends on a small tear streak down your cheek. The animation style is fluid and breathtaking, combining 3-D animation with 2-D humans and characters. This technique makes the characters stand out being flat in this futuristic world. The camera rotates around the cafe as if it is a real life scene, speaking to the movie lovers in all of us. Coming from a sci-fi background that has only seen flat and unemotional characters, this future set sci-fi genre anime breaks the rules and makes you feel. There may be hunks of cold metal onscreen, but they have warm hearts. That’s what I found cute and appealing about this 6 episode anime. It sucks you in with these short episodes with a trilling and romantically inclined music score, and leaves you feeling good at the end. Any anime like that deserves an 8.8 out of 10.

And here’s a cool AMV to prove my point.