Tag Archives: love story

Never Let Me Go (The Film)

I have to admit, this movie completely missed my radar. And its only come up because of an independent study class on dystopias that I’ve learned about movies like this. And let me tell you, this one’s a doozy. A love story and depressing dystopia all rolled into one characterizes Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go.

Let me try to paint a picture for you of the world created in this movie. Kathy (Carey Mulligan), Ruth (Keira Knightley), and Tommy (Andrew Garfield) are three young

An impressive child actor cast.

individuals who live a sheltered life in an alternate reality. It’s the 60’s and all major illnesses have been cured. The last great obstacle is death. And with organs failing, a solution is needed to push people far past their early 100’s.

In what appears at first to be an unrelated issue, young girl Kathy (Isobel Miekle-Small), young girl Ruth (Ella Purnell), and young boy Tommy (Charlie Rowe) are all attending a boarding school that doesn’t seem that odd. Run by Madame (Nathalie Richard) and Miss Emily (Charlotte Rampling), these ominous figures keep a tight grasp

Shaggy and bohemian is the way to look in the 70’s I guess.

on the children. They’re not allowed to leave the grounds, not allowed to break the rules, and must always remain healthy. This may seem odd, and the big reveal doesn’t come until maybe 30 or 40 minutes into the film. It may shock you a bit.

What really impressed me about this movie was the cinematography. It was dreary, and at the same time surreal in the way it looked. And coming from Mark Romanek, a usual music video director, this was quite surprising for a slightly different presentation medium. The music was done hauntingly well on the trilling piano, with a British background landscape that made everything seem desolate, from school to farm, farm to beach.

I don’t want to reveal too much about the plot, but I do have to say I thoroughly enjoyed the naivete of all the characters in the film. The child actors were very mature and experienced for

Oh hey, Peter Parker…

as few productions as they’ve done, coupled with great performances by Mulligan, Garfield, and Knightley. You do have to understand that all of these characters are socially isolated and it reflects well in the acting they all deliver. (More Garfield than anyone else.) His painful cries and Knightley’s haunted witchiness makes for a great combo in comparison to Mulligan’s calm and collected motherly figure.

I’ll leave the rest of the film up to you to see for yourselves, but it is worth a watch because of how well Kazuo Ishiguro’s books translate into films (i.e.  The Remains of the Day). I wasn’t wholeheartedly into it, but it wasn’t disappointing either. It was simply a movie about love and loss, between innocent characters. A love triangle for the dystopian ages. Worth checking out. 6.8 out of 10.

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Mirai Nikki: Future Diary

Mirai Nikki, Future Diary.

From the get go I’m gonna call this the standout anime for 2012. Although it was done back in October through April, it’s the show that got me excited and entertained for hours. I pretty much watched this show in a few days. I haven’t done that since Death Note. And Death Note is my favorite anime, so you can see what that says about this one. Mirai Nikki (known in English as Future Diary) has an interesting concept, a wide array of characters (one for everyone to choose and root for), and great animation. I don’t know where the Japanese come up with ideas for shows like this, but these intricate plot anime are where it’s at.

Mirai Nikki is the story of Yukiteru Amano (Yukki for short) and his apathetic life of recording things around them. He never hangs out with anyone or does anything remotely social. I guess you could

You crazy, ninth…

count hiding under his blanket and speaking with Deus, the god of this world. One day Yukki visits Deus and Deus decides to give him a new phone diary, one that can tell the future of things around Yukki. Using this to his advantage over the next several days, Yukki finds himself being chased down by a serial killer. In the course of running away, Yukki runs into somebody he didn’t expect. Yuno Gasai, his obsessive stalker. Learning that there are other participants in this “game” with future diaries, Yukki must fight against others, even kill, in order to become the next god of this world. The game is on.

Some of the other characters of Mirai Nikki (they’re kinda better…)

Just from that last paragraph’s description of the story, don’t you want to watch this intricate plot to figure out what happens? And, for me, it’s all about exploring and discovering the world of this wide ranging cast of diary owners. I have to say something right here to speak to that. This show is about “dead ending”/killing the other owners of the diaries. Every owner has their own reason for participating, and, I’ll say, to a fault, Yukiteru doesn’t. It seems, throughout the entire show, that Yukiteru is only playing this game to not die. He had no aspirations of becoming god, and I guess that’s a reason for playing. But that is a faulted reason. Yuno on the other hand… is a bit more complicated.

But this is the first anime I’ve ever watched where I liked all of the other supporting characters, and absolutely hated the two main characters from start to finish. Yukiteru is apathetic and weak. He has nothing to fight for and no way to fight for it. Minene Uryu (the 9th diary owner) is a terrorist, and although she may want to make the world better, she goes about it all wrong. Every character I did like and I thought had a good

This is what Yukki sees under his blanket fantasy world.

reason for winning isn’t given enough time to do so or the means to do so. This constantly was thrown in my face and was quite frustrating. Yuno is manipulative and never allows Yukki to decide if he loves her or not. With such flawed main characters, I guess it’s okay to hate them to an extent. They have to redeem themselves after all.

And that’s why I was okay with liking this show, despite hating the characters who got 80% of the screen time. I don’t think any show has to adhere to the good/bad dichotomy between protagonists and antagonists. And they don’t have to be a good person to be a hero either. So that’s well done in itself. Nothing in life is black and white.

Pretty PC for 9th Graders…

But the plot! The plot, the plot, the plot! Every episode ends with a cliffhanger, you have no idea where the story is going or when it will end! The intricacy of everyone involved in the Future Diary game is complex and not so easy to decipher. No one is safe and everyone is at risk, even those people outside the game. Betrayal, complex love stories, murder, this show has it all (and not without a bit of sexuality and boobs you wouldn’t expect on 9TH GRADERS). Everyone is out for themselves and it is up to you to side with who you think is right. This show would function perfectly as a choose your own ending game (point and click, preferably) in which you take each character to their limits. And praise Jeebus that Funimation got ahold of this show for dubbing, although I think a Death Note cast would’ve worked just as well.

So watch this show if it’s the last thing you do. It is well worth it and brings a whole lot of genres of anime together into one storyline. Anyone who enjoys good adrenaline pumping television, great character driven stories, and an all around game of cat and mouse with human lives at stake, watch this. You won’t regret it. And I stand firm in this being one of the best anime of 2012, maybe the last few years. Mirai Nikki, I may not like Ninth, but this deserves a 9th out of 10.

Beware the love triangles…


Saikano… (Strange?)

This anime is a love story. With superweapons. But it’s all about the love. And the possible end of the world. Or something. Not quite sure. But the story is compelling. I’m starting to think this blog might be quite short…

This love story centers around Shuuji and Chise, two high school students who “fall in love.” It all starts one day when Chise asks Shuuji out. Their relationship starts in Animal Club diaries and pretty much moves up from there… sexually… But that’s really not the point… Sort of…

One day after school, Shuuji and his friends decide to go shopping. For necklaces. For one guy’s girlfriend. And then that guy dies. By the way, it was really funny picking out characters I liked in the anime and then having them all die. Not all important characters, mind you. But like, after that first guy, it

Shuuji and Chise. Made for each other?

became a game. (This is just because I have a predisposition to like characters who sacrifice their lives or are more prone to dying. It’s even true in movies.) But after this city bombing the interrupts their man day-trip (one guy’s day trip forever) Shuuji realizes something’s up.

What does he discover? His new girlfriend is a superweapon, made against her will by the Japanese government to protect the country’s borders. From what? We don’t know? From who? We’ll never know. This show’s all about the mystery. It’s also all about the sexy times, non-violent action scenes, and loss of humanity. A true angst-trip if I do say so myself. This girl ain’t got long (13 Episodes) and she’s got a lot of lovin’ to experience. (If you catch my drift.)

Okay, so what is there to say about my likes and dislikes of this anime? Well it has emotion. This anime is run through with tear-jerking moments. This anime has a mecha aspect to it that is never shown. Ever. Okay, once in a while Chise will show her wings or poop out a bomb, but that’s about the extent of the mecha. Her body can literally do things I’ve never seen a girl with a 9 year old’s body do before. Kinda strange. But there are a lot of really touching moments that, in the right mood, there would be quite a wad of teary tissues going on.

The voice acting isn’t bad. Shuuji (Mark Atherlay) isn’t bad and neither is Tetsu (Abie Hadjitarkhani. Wow.). Chise (Melissa Hutchinson) wasn’t all that good, but I kind of found her to be a drag and not really worth Shuuji’s time at a lot of the parts of the anime. That may mean I have no soul, but at this point, Shuuji should’ve cut his losses. The art was fine, shots were okay, nothing really spectacular. Besides the ending. I’m still scratching my head on what the flip happened at the end of this. The second to last episode (no spoiler) sex. The last episode, well, good luck figuring out exactly what happened and why and who and what and all that good stuff. Overall, I’d give Saikano a 5.5 out of 10. (Should’ve watched it subbed and just lost myself in it… How strange…)

Oh, and by the way, there is a live action version of this. Must. Check. Out.