For the past few years I’ve slowly been collecting all of the mainline Fate entries along with a few other editions in order to finally dive into the franchise in full. With both season 15 and 16 of #AniTwitWatches my chance to start finally came. During this period we watched both of Deen’s adaptations of Fate/Stay Night (2006) and the Unlimited Blade Works film. Rather than do a typical review, I’m electing to instead discuss my expectations with each and my general thoughts on the franchise moving forward as I prepare to continue this journey deeper into the fandom.Continue reading “Fate/Stay Night (2006) & UBW Route 1 – My Fate Journey Begins…”→
Today’s video covers the recent Netflix film, Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop. Originally, I wrote a series of Haiku upon watching the film that summarized the events and gave some slight impressions, but I expanded that into a full video. That’s not all though! I challenge you, especially if you are a #TheJCo member, to introduce a piece of media you enjoy using only Haiku (the rest can be a normal review/discussion). With that, here’s the video:
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For the eighth season of #AniTwitWatches, I decided to host a movie night and the winner of the public vote to decide what to watch happened to be The Princess and the Pilot. Didn’t know much about this film going in, so wasn’t sure what to expect from this film. As you might imagine, the 2011 feature follows a princess as she is transported by a lone pilot in hostile territory during a time of war. It’s a quiet film peppered with moments of action. While not bad, it’s a bit plain.
Really, that’s the long short of things here. The Princess and the Pilot isn’t a film I regret watching, nor is it something I’d recommend you give a pass to, but I find it hard to just outright recommend. It does just enough to be spared feeling totally average, while simultaneously being so obviously constructed that it doesn’t bring much of its own flavor to the table.
The one exception to this is the dogfight sequences, or really any time the plane is utilized in the film. These kind of anime are more rare, so it’s nice to see them. However, the action sequences, though brief as they are, do deliver. The tension is there and the right amount of emphasis is placed on each moment.
As a result, the slower, more intimate parts of the film where our pilot and princess talk to each other feels appropriate. The two characters don’t really part from the “two different worlds” story, which is further contrived with the shared history between the pair, but their interactions are earned with growth felt between both of them. Still, I can’t help but feel there was more opportunity here that went ignored.
There isn’t much else to say about this one. I know I haven’t exactly painted The Princess and the Pilot as the most exciting film, but if you have a free afternoon and are looking for something fairly straightforward to watch, this’ll fit the bill just fine. Likely, you’ll enjoy yourself but find that the film is underwhelming despite the premise. Final verdict, worth the one-time watch on a rainy day.
That’ll do it for this review of The Princess and the Pilot. What did you think of the film? Share your thoughts in the comments below and consider joining me on Twitter @JS_Reviewsfor the next watch. If you enjoy my writing please check out my Patreon or make a one-time donation via Ko-fi utilizing the buttons below. Until next time, thanks for stopping by!
While Black Fox wasn’t the first to receive the simulcast treatment, we got to see this the same time Japanese theaters had it, it is the first time I’ve watched one. Namely because it isn’t tied to an existing franchise and it did look really cool. So when it got a fair bit of hype, I felt confident enough in checking it out. Unfortunately for me, and for Black Fox, the film is the definition of average.
All I knew about this movie coming into it was that it seemed to be about ninjas. When it opened up on a girl being chased by one, and knowing that the girl was clearly the main character, it wasn’t hard to figure out this was some kind of training. The sequence is really good, and in some ways, the best part of the film.
You learn that the girl, Rikka, is expected to take up her grandfather’s legacy and lead the Isurugi clan when she comes of age. However, she has other plans. Her father is a scientist who makes cools stuff like animal drones that have human-like AI. Rikka would like nothing more than to follow in her father’s footsteps.
Flash-forward and Rikka has taken the first major step to achieving her dreams, even if it is to the disappointment of her grandfather, getting into the same school her father attended. Now she’s coming home to share the good news AND celebrate her birthday. Unfortunately, the past has come to haunt Rikka’s father, and I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you where this is going…
In that moment Rikka abandons her aspirations and takes up the blade to seek revenge on the man and all who took her family from her. Which would be cool, except the film abandons this idea in favor of exploring some themes of forgiveness and becoming your own person.
From my summary, you can probably already sense a big problem with the film. It’s predictable. So much so, that it almost feels like a paint by numbers for how to make a successful blockbuster hit. There’s not a single thing you shouldn’t be able to see coming a mile away, and that’s one of the biggest problems I have with Black Fox.
Outside the minor deviation from this just being a ninja movie to becoming something closer to a Spider-Man film, the whole thing is just one trope after another. While none of them are bad or hurt the integrity of the film, the lack of risk or innovation is sorely felt here.
My other gripe is that the whole “revenge” aspect of the film is completely abandoned. It makes sense when Rikka doesn’t kill the first guy she interacts with, but as time goes on, it gets harder to accept that she would give up on it because her robot pets told her to. On the one hand, forgiveness is powerful, and the people she ultimately does forgive, do ultimately deserve it. Though, on the other hand, having it completely removed from the table didn’t feel good, especially as events unfold.
An example is likely needed here. Toward the end of the movie, the bad guy from the evil company (which is so obviously evil it is hilarious) sends an evil drone based on stolen technology from Rikka’s dad after her. It destroys a bunch of the city and everybody can clearly tell the corporation made it. I find it hard to believe that Rikka is going to somehow resolve this peacefully with no casualties.
Furthermore, as an aside, can I just say that it is so stupid that when the people confront the corporation about the evil robots that all the doubts and outrage is dispelled because the corporation says they’ll pay for all the damages, help rebuild, etc… Then the CEO or whatever he is also announces that they are changing the name of the city to be his name. It’s so stupid, I honestly don’t get this part at all.
This is probably an issue more specific to me, but it all felt incredibly cheesy. Perhaps this wouldn’t have stuck with me as such a big deal if Black Fox actually had any resolution. That’s right folks, the film doesn’t have an ending. It “resolves” an arc of a much bigger story, but it also doesn’t seem like the movie will be getting a continuation as one hasn’t been announced (at least to my knowledge).
After doing a bit of research, it seems like this was the product of a failed TV show, which is likely why this occurs. But then, I have to ask, why was this even released? I just can’t help but feel that this is a half-baked product that teases more that may never come. Perhaps the popularity of the film, as it was pretty well received in general, will get it there, though I can’t say I’m looking forward to more.
Look, it’s not like Black Fox is a bad movie. The animation is really good and the story it tells is tried and true. It just needed more, and I don’t just mean the runtime, I mean this in almost every respect. That’s why I can’t ultimately recommend the film. While you may enjoy it, the experience ultimately feels lacking.
That’s it for Black Fox. How did you enjoy it? I know that I wasn’t the only one who felt a bit baffled by this, but maybe you saw something I didn’t. I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you want to support my efforts here, please click one of my donation buttons below as the support is appreciated. Thank you so much for reading and I hope to see you again soon!
With My Hero Academia about to enter its fourth season later this year, I thought it’d be fun to finally get around to watching the film that was released last year in 2018. It was a nice way to get excited for season four that felt like watching an extended episode of the show. However, I can’t help but feel the film had a lot of issues which I’d like to discuss today.
First and foremost, this was a good movie. If all you are looking for is a recommendation, then you’ve got it. I have to spoil some of the movie to talk about some of the things I’d like to, so you’ve been warned.
In case you need a refresher, the film sees Deku and All Might going to “I-Island” in order to visit an old friend of All Might’s, David Shield. The island is known for the technological research that’s conducted there and a big event is also going to be held during the visit. Additionally, the island is very safe, so naturally, nothing will go wrong… right?
I do want to say that it was really nice to see some more backstory on All Might and the time he spent with David Shield during his visit in America when he was younger. The two were a good team, and you can see that All Might really inspired David. Unfortunately, this is also one of my biggest complaints with the film
David is such a big character, along with his daughter, Melissa (who spends a lot of time with Deku) that it is weird for them to not play any roll outside of this movie. This film takes place between S2 and S3 events, yet it is never mentioned in the series cannon, despite being, well, cannon.
Everything that happens in Two Heroes is because David is worried about All Might losing his power, and thus, having the world lose its symbol of peace. Really though, he’s worried about losing this figure that he looks up to. While this makes for a great story beat, it was weird that David’s consequences are not at all explored.
Then there is Melissa. She hits it off with Deku and they really seem to be a great team, mirroring what we see with her father and All Might. To not have her influence things in later seasons of the show felt unnatural and clunky with retrospect. If you hadn’t seen the film, then that works, but if you had…
This is most noticeable in the support item that Melissa gives Deku. It’s basically a power glove that lets Deku use 100% of his power without injuring himself. It had me wondering just how they would explain that away since he couldn’t take it off and it was capable of “withstanding 3x the power of Uncle Might’s punches”. The solution was to just have Deku punch so hard it evaporates, which was kind of lame.
Another thing that bothered me was my chief complaint about My Hero Academia as a series, and that would be the amount of recap it has. The film recaps a LOT, which does hurt the runtime, inflating that 1 hour and 36 minutes.
To the film’s credit, this did make the movie watchable if you had seen none of the show before. A movie should be able to stand on its own, and to that effect, it was successful. It just wasn’t great to have so much recap. Really, there’s probably close to a little over an hour of actual film here, which is basically two regular episodes.
At one point I even jokingly mentioned how there was a spot where the credits felt like they should play, because it was an obvious break where an “end of episode” ED would go. This really could have just been a two-part episode set for the series proper.
Finally, the film had to contrive a way to get a lot of its cast to I-Island, which made some things feel kind of forced. I almost rolled my eyes at how some of it was executed. It does make sense for some characters like Momo, Iida, or Todoroki to attend this important conference, but beyond that everyone else is just kind of there.
Past that, everything is solid. The animation, music, and story is a great time. What I’d like to see moving forward, especially with the announcement of a second film, is having these mean more to the series. I’d like to see more of the Shield family, and the additional world details play a more active role in the story proper. This was a nice holdover until season four finally comes out, and I’m really looking forward to spending more time with Deku and friends!
What were your thoughts on Two Heroes? Did you agree with my complaints? I’d love to hear from you in the comments. If you enjoy my writing, please consider a small donation by pressing the Ko-fi button below. Thanks you once again for reading and I hope to see you again soon!
If there is one person I’ve wanted to talk about for some time now, it’s the late Satoshi Kon. I’ve seen nearly all of his work and it is something that is certainly worth talking about, but finding the words hasn’t been easy. However, you guys voted and here we are today to discuss the 2003 film Tokyo Godfathers. If you are here just looking for a recommendation, you have it in full. This is a great movie to watch whenever, but especially around Christmas time. You can find the film pretty easily and legally, so go out and watch it.Continue reading “Anime ABC’s T is for Tokyo Godfathers”→
It’s no secret that I’m a pretty big fan of Hosoda’s films. I’ve written about Wolf Children at length (multiple times actually) because it has been my favorite standalone animated film for some time. Having seen all of his works, multiple times no less, I can confidently say that this latest entry was more than competent. Mirai draws a lot from the prior films, and in many ways benefits from that as a result. However, it still didn’t manage to exceed any expectations.
If I had to rank this among all of Hosoda’s other films, I’d say this ranks around 3rd place. The reason for this is mainly pacing, the film has some great moments, but how scenes flow into each other just didn’t quite work. Still, there are a lot of wonderful things to be said about this film, which is what I’d rather focus on.
For this viewing I watched Mirai with my mom as a belated Mother’s Day activity. She had enjoyed Wolf Children when we watched it a few Mother’s Days back and I figured we could probably enjoy this. I’ll include some of her thoughts on the film here-and-there as well.
What was impressive about this film was how Hosoda managed to improve on his prior movies. Nothing in Mirai is really original, it feels like a recycling of the other films, but taking mostly the best parts of each. You have the interesting time travel that The Girl Who Leapt Through Time had, various elements of The Boy and the Beast, and much more of course.
This demonstrated Hosoda’s growth in his career and I genuinely believe his next film is gonna be an impressive one if this is any indication. When viewing Mirai from this angle it leaves a better impression than it might otherwise as an isolated film.
The other aspect of the film that was done quiet well was Kun’s character. He is a bratty child who is jealous of his baby sister, the titular Mirai. GKIDS got an actual kid, Jaden Waldman, to voice Kun and that always makes a world of difference. As an audience it is easy to see why Kun behaves the way he does, so you sympathize, but he’s just obnoxious enough that you don’t exactly root for him either.
It’s a good balance that accurately reflects how kids act and think. My mother was pretty impressed with that part but she remarked that he might have been just a little too obnoxious. I can’t disagree, but considering we both have a pretty high tolerance for kids, I can only imagine how others might take to Kun.
Kun being a kid, he blends fantasy and reality together often in this film. It’s neat to see, making everything a kind of metaphysical interaction, but it can cause some parts of the film to feel slightly confusing. Not in a way that you can’t follow it, but in a way that might pull some folks out of the experience.
Both my mom and I were impressed with the time travel concept and how it brought everything together. Kun’s war-era grandpa was easily the best story in the bunch and I low-key wouldn’t have minded watching an entire film about that.
Finally, I just have to mention the train station that nightmares are made of. I saw a review before I picked this up that heavily criticized the depiction of a train station, seeing that this is a kid’s film, and I was puzzled at first. When the film got to that point, I told my mom about it and we both went, “Yeah, not seeing it.” Then… well, we got it. For us, it was very humorous, but it is the only real black mark against the film as something meant for children. It may actually be quite traumatizing for some kids.
All-in-all, Mirai has charm. It’s a solid watch if you are a fan of Hosoda at all, even more so if you are actually. While there were a few times the movie wasn’t at its best, when it wanted to deliver, it absolutely did. As a children’s film, there are a lot of solid messages here, which you ought to know by now I’m all about. You should definitely watch with younger kids, but older ones should be fine. For adults, there are some interesting things to ponder and plenty of spectacle.
Have you seen Mirai? Additionally, what Hosoda film is your favorite? Let me know in the comments! If you want to help me out and support my writing please use my Ko-fi button which you can see below. As always, thanks for reading and I hope to see you back here again soon!