Wednesday, January 8, 2020

"Vinland Saga"

Just finished watching "Vinland Saga." I had started watching it earlier, but stopped in the middle. While waiting for the new winter season to start up, I picked it up again on Amazon Prime Video. I ended up finishing the show in almost one day. It's a brutal show mainly about Thorfinn, a young Viking boy, who is out for revenge for the death of his father. It's a sad story really, of a boy who grows up learning to survive on his own in order to kill the man responsible for his beloved father's death. There are many more characters who are equally or even more compelling than Thorfinn, mainly Askeladd, Thorfinn's nemesis/strange mentor. Askeladd has some issues that involve his sad boyhood as well. There is political intrigue, lots of sword fights, lots of flying limbs and blood, and two plot twists I didn't see coming. It actually all reminds me of "Game of Thrones" actually, without the nudity. The end had me hankering for another season, which looks like should be in the works. Sidenote: "Stars Align" was my favorite show last season. But, it had a terrible ending! Basically no ending because, according to Twitter, the studio had to abandon the second half of the story because the show was cancelled! But the creators didn't have time or want to wrap up the show in a rushed the end of the show is a real cliff hanger. Arrghhh! This was an original anime story, so no manga to look up for the ending. I think it would be a miracle for the show to come back, which is a real shame because it had so much potential.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Stars Align -- my favorite anime this season

"Stars Align" is a show I did not expect to enjoy so much. It's about a high school boys soft tennis club (had to look up what soft tennis is). The team basically sucks and the student body president threatens to disband the club if they don't start winning. The captain, Toma, gets his old acquaintance, Maki, who is naturally athletic, to join the team to inject some needed mojo. Maki revitalizes the team with his natural talent at the game and some much needed shaming of the heretofore lazy team members. The tennis is not the most interesting part. It's the backstories of all the team members who all have some type of family situation going on, even delving into some serious issues like child abuse. The animation is really fluid and all the characters are cutely drawn. Although I did find it hard to tell the boys on the team apart since they all have such round faces, but after watching for five episodes I can tell them apart now. It is heartening to see the relationships between the club members blossom as they confide in each other. The subtle expressions and mannerisms that are animated really take this show to another level. Don't forget to watch after the ending credits, there is always an shocking scene. Also, the ending credits have had some press because it turns out some the dancing was "copied" from some dancers on Youtube. The dancers are now credited. I still enjoy watching the ending credits even so. Hope all the show ends well because I look forward to watching this every week.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

"The Poe Clan" by Moto Hagio

Just got this in the mail! I love Moto Hagio's style of drawing and bought her other manga available at Fantagraphics.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Utada Hikaru on Netflix!

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Natsume Yujin-cho the Movie: Ephemeral Bond Extended Trailer

Hope to see this soon as I can. US premiere at Anime NYC on November 16, 2018 according to the video info.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

"Run with the Wind" anime

"Run with the Wind" is an anime about a group of guys at a college "forced" to enter the track and field team and race a prestigious marathon in Hakone. Fourth year Haiji is scrambling to create a track and field team so he can fulfill his dream to run the Hakone Ekiden which is a two day relay marathon. He needs ten members to make a team and he uses free room and board and some psychological pressure to convince the reluctant students to join. One man is especially hard to recruit, Kurahara, who is extremely talented, but carries some type of baggage from his high school track days. It's refreshing to see a show about people older than high school age. The banter between the guys is funny and the character design looks like the guys from "Haikyuu!" It is well animated and at the end of episode four I was hooked on the show. Give it a try.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Off Topic: "Crazy Rich Asians" and other Hollywood Asian movies

Just saw this movie yesterday.  I remember watching "Joy Luck Club" in the theater (so long ago, the theater is demolished now) and crying my eyes out at the end and being embarrassed because I ran into an old high school teacher all red-eyed walking out.  That was the last big Hollywood "Asian" movie with an all Asian cast except for one guy, the guy from "Pretty In Pink."  I remember my mom talking about "Flower Drum Song" and "Sayonara" and "Love is a Many Splendored Thing" which are other Hollywood "Asian" themed movies.  I don't think Jennifer Jones qualifies as Asian though.  "World of Susie Wong" is a movie I never saw.  I did watch "Better Luck Tomorrow" which was great and "Fast and Furious Tokyo Drift" (lol) also made by the same director Justin Lin.  I know Justin Lin directed one of the new "Star Trek" movies.  I also remember watching "Dim Sum" in a super tiny theater in San Francisco when indie movies were a thing.  Oh yeah I remember watching "Wedding Banquet" in a small SF arthouse theater as well back in the day.  I miss all those indie movies that the old "Siskel and Ebert" movie review show would recommend.  Anyway, I don't know how to process watching this movie.  It was an entertaining rom com which is a genre in a bit of a decline in the age of Marvel movies.  Everyone is gorgeous.  Michelle Yeoh is a queen.  I do admit crying twice in the movie a little bit.  The theater had quite a few Asians in it who laughed and responded at the correct times when you have lived as an Asian in America.  That was a nice experience.  It's not a deep movie, but it doesn't have to be.  It's a fun romance and it doesn't have to be THE ASIAN movie that describes every facet of being Asian American.  Need more Michelle Yeoh though in SOMETHING.   Hmm, do i HAVE to shell out for CBS streaming to watch the new "Star Trek?" Jeez I already have Netflix, Amazon Prime, Crunchyroll, Funimation...

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Off topic: "Jane Eyre" 1983 BBC miniseries

I ran across this little gem on Amazon Prime video.  I recall watching bits of this version while I was a kid in the 80s on PBS but never catching the whole thing.  "Jane Eyre" is one book I had to read in school that I genuinely enjoyed reading (besides "Pride and Prejudice").  I am one of those people that is a big fan of the "Pride and Prejudice" miniseries that ran on A&E channel back in the day with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle.  I think this miniseries ranks close to that in my enjoyment of viewing.  The actress who plays the young Jane, Sian Pattenden, is fabulous in her outrage and passion.  She reminded me of Eleven from "Stranger Things" in her looks and acting.  It took me a while to warm up to the quiet acting of Zelah Clarke who plays adult Jane, but when she is onscreen with Timothy Dalton, the quintessential Mr. Rochester, she really lights up the screen.  I think Timothy Dalton nails playing Rochester.  He may be too "good looking" but that doesn't bother me a bit (haha).  He burns up the screen when he rants about his "secret" hidden upstairs when the jig is up and when he tries to convince Jane not to leave at a pivotal moment.  They actually have a popping chemistry together.  Jane's interlude with her cousin St. John Rivers (well played by Andrew Bicknell) and her long consideration and answer to his proposal is also a well done segment of acting.  Anyway, this was an eleven episode (just 30 minutes each) series was a joy to watch.  It may not be in widescreen or high definition, but the acting and writing is a must see for any fan of "Jane Eyre."  Now to watch that adaptation of "A Little Princess" from the 80s...