It took me about 40 years and seven valiant attempts to finally enjoy anime. Whether I grew into it or the stories got better, things have been percolating along since 2004.

“Comic” Relief

Rakugo is a performance art that I really don’t fully understand. The closest we would have would be a stand-up comic who tells a long and involved story, potentially exploiting the foibles and failures of people. Possibly the best example would be Arlo Guthrie’s “Alice’s Restaurant”. But rakugo is done in a very specific way, telling very specific stories with almost no variance from one telling to the next.

“Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū” (“Shōwa Era, Genroku Era, Comic Storytelling, and Double Suicide”) is a double story. The first few episodes tell the story of Yotaro. He was recently released from prison and wants to become a rakugo performer (no, you don’t see him up there). In this time and place, being a barista might be a better career choice. Anyway, he tracks down the best rakugo performer, Yakumo Yurakutei (the one on the left, when he was younger; he was also known as Kikuhiko). Well, Yurakutei does NOT take apprentices, but the man is so earnest, and annoying, he takes him on, but with a lot of provisos. Continue reading

Warriors of the “Wasteland”

I have often said that if a show can’t decide on what the title should be, that is an indication of troubles. Although “Shōjotachi wa Kōya o Mezasu” (“Girls Beyond the Wasteland” or “Girls Aim for the Wasteland”, often abbreviated as “Shokomeza” and also known as “Girls Beyond the Youth Koya”) somehow avoids this problem, the story it tells is one that I have already seen. Continue reading

Red “Letter” Day

I don’t think my life is that big of a mess, but I constantly check what I have seen and what I have reviewed and when I find something that I haven’t reviewed, I wince, for I need to be doing a better job of this. Kind of like having GPS directing you to the Chipotle at the bottom of the Hudson River, it’s not all that helpful. Fortunately, I can recover and pass along to you an interesting movie, Momo e no Tegami” (“A Letter to Momo”). Continue reading

Mary, “Mary”, Where You Goin’ To?

I never do Fathom Events. I find that they charge more for the activity than they need to, like $15 or $30 or $50 (and for that sum, I’d better be sitting in a hot tub of soda!) and it is usually in some out of the way venue at some godawful time, so I would have to drive to East Powdermilk, Wisconsin, to catch a 2 am showing of “The Incredible Stinking Blob from Galaxy X”….with director’s commentary! But when they did a recent offering of the latest anime movie, it wasn’t too costly, at a convenient location and at an acceptable time, so I grabbed it. But, before we can go into the review, a bit of history about the production house.

Studio Ghibli closed its doors in 2014, but a lot of the talent there felt they had more to give, so they started a new company from the ground up. This is Studio Ponoc. Hmmm….’Ponoc’ is not a Japanese name, and you are right. It’s Croatian and means ‘Midnight’. So why not use the Japanese term for it? Well, Studio Mayonaka sounds too much like ‘mayonnaise’, so that is out. But why Croatian? I guess Studio Minwi or Studio Phakathi Kwamabili just didn’t have the same ring. Then, why Studio Midnight? Aside from it being the witching hour, it is also the demarcation line between the end of the old day and the start of the new day, and everyone felt that they were on the cusp of a new day in what they wanted to do and show, so we have their first offering “Mary and the Witch’s Flower” (“Meari to Majo no Hana”). Continue reading

Hair “Trigger”

I have a problem with long-format shows, as I am not certain where to break it and give a review. A long-format show is any offering with 50 or more episodes, things like “Monster” or “Toriko” and certainly “One Piece” or “Detective Conan”. Should I wait until 52 parts are in the can and do it then or should I wait for it to ‘end’ and give the overview at that point? Such is my dilemma with this one.

A show about world domination and interplanetary protection, “World Trigger” (“Wārudo Torigā”) has as much working for it as working against it. But I get ahead of myself. Perhaps too far ahead. I started writing this in a mistaken belief that it would end fairly soon, but I guessed wrong and here we are, loads of episodes in and possibly more on the horizon. Continue reading

Like a Blazing “Comet”

This is an curious entry in the mecha category. Yes, I know that I’ve mentioned that I don’t like Giant Fighting Robots shows and mecha usually evolves into it, but this is done with a bit of a different take on things.

“Comet Lucifer” (“Kometto Rushifā”) takes place on the planet of Gift. (Is there a planet called “Returns”?) On this planet are glittering blue crystals known as Giftium, which are buried deep underground. A young boy named Sōgo Amagi (on the right) lives in the prosperous mining town of Garden Indigo. Sōgo, whose hobby is collecting rare crystals, becomes involved in a dispute between his classmates, including Kaon Lanchester (on the left). He wanders deep into the ruins of a mine and discovers an underground lake. There, Sōgo meets a mysterious blue-haired girl with red eyes named Felia (in his arms) who is looking for something that takes them to the edge of their planet and into the adventures that follow. Continue reading