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#1 Post by colinr0380 » Thu Jan 06, 2005 6:21 am

I'd also say to give Ghost In The Shell a try, I really enjoyed it and was worried about even seeing the sequel, as I was sure it wouldn't live up to the original. I didn't need to worry - it was just as good if not better. A real continuance of themes rather than a rehash of the original plot.

I'm not sure if we should start another thread for anime suggestions but the ones I would highly recommend would be:

Macross: Do You Remember Love? (1984) - Space battles and a love triangle between two pilots and a singer. Can a love song really save the Earth? You bet it can!

Macross Plus (1994) - An updated version. Love triangle between two pilots and the female creator of an artificial pop star Sharon Apple. Did the creators of S1mone see this for the idea? I would try to see the four part mini-series rather than the re-edited film as the series manages to build its own rhythm and ends on magnificent cliffhangers that don't seem to play as well to me in the film version.

The Wings of Honneamise (1987) - A beautiful story of attempts at space travel. Just the opening voiceover with the hero as a child having his dreams of flying planes shattered is very moving.

Grave of the Fireflies as mentioned in the other thread - but be prepared for a harrowing experience! I was also wondering if anyone had seen Barefoot Gen (1983) - I read a review of it in Helen McCarthy's Anime Movie Guide and it was described as a similar harrowing war story. I was wondering if anyone knew of it?

Roujin Z (1991) - A film by Katsuhiro Otomo, director of Akira. Much more of a comedy and the animation is not as fantastic as Akira but in what other film do you see a prototype robotic bed going on the rampage because the old gentleman inside it wants to see the sea!

Patlabor: The Mobile Police (1991) - I've only seen the first film but was amazed by it - a great detective story, a fully realised world, beautiful animation and all tied together with a well-motivated race against the clock ending. It was directed by Mamoru Oshii, who directed the Ghost In The Shell films (spot the Bassett Hound that makes an appearance in all his films!). An amazing film - I keep planning to see the sequel and try the OVA series.

Jin-Roh - The Wolf Brigade (1998) - A very interesting, slowly paced film that uses the Red Riding Hood story as a metaphor for terrorism.

I've also heard very good things about the Neon Genesis Evangelion OVA series which resulted in two films, one which summarises and completes the story, and a more action-oriented finale. I've only seen the first couple of episodes though so I can't really comment too much on it.
Last edited by colinr0380 on Sat Apr 14, 2007 6:55 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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#2 Post by NoHayBanda » Sat Jan 08, 2005 11:47 am

Nice suggestions. Barefoot Gen is well worth seeing, but I never really felt it was even near the level of Grave of the Fireflies.

Neon Genesis Evangelion seems to fall in the love-it-or-hate-it category with people who've sat through all 26 episodes and the two films. What starts out as standard giant mech anime turns into a very cerebral, philosophical, and allegorical series at the end. Most people complain about the last four episodes not making any sense (and, I admit, after seeing the series three times and reading explanations by critics, they still leave me scratching my head) but the visuals are amazing. I'm horribly biased as a hardcore Eva fanboy, but watch it if you get the chance. There are more memorable moments than any other anime OVA I've seen.

As far as films go, I feel I need to add Satoshi Kon's work. Perfect Blue and Millennium Actress are two of my favorite anime. Perfect Blue still really, really creeps me out. His old series, Paranoia Agent, is just now getting released, and I really need to get around to buying it.

As far as OVAs go, that would really need another whole thread. Boogiepop Phantom and Serial Experiments Lain are two gooduns, though.

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#3 Post by Gregory » Sat Jan 08, 2005 3:46 pm

Does anyone have an idea when Barefoot Gen might be available in R1 again? Does Image still have the rights? I could probably track down a used copy of the previous release but I read that the audio and video transfer was mediocre, so I'm thinking I'll wait for a new release.

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#4 Post by Poncho Punch » Sat Jan 08, 2005 3:49 pm

Any opinions on Kite?

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#5 Post by tristan » Sat Jan 08, 2005 4:04 pm

The Barefoot Gen DVD was hideous. It had fucking purple subtitles.

Kite is pretty neat. I've only seen the cut (non-porn) version of it. However, any version available in the world is likely to be cut. The two version available in this country are cut. The "cut" version cuts out the porn scenes. The "uncut" version cuts out the underage sex scene that was in the Japanese version. However, in the Japanese version, all the genitalia is blurred out. Just FYI, because I'm sure none of you are interested in seeing those scenes. :lol:

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#6 Post by Fletch F. Fletch » Mon Jan 10, 2005 5:43 pm

One of the most haunting anime I've ever come across is Serial Experiments Lain. Imagine David Lynch directing anime and you're half way there. Very moody and atmospheric. Great stuff to watch late at night.

Also, for sheer fun try Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro. The opening action sequence with Lupin being chased is worth the price of purchase alone. Good stuff.

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#7 Post by The Fanciful Norwegian » Mon Jan 10, 2005 6:05 pm

Everybody buy this when it comes out. The dub sounds awful, though. SURPRISE

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#8 Post by javelin » Mon Jan 10, 2005 9:21 pm

This is probably pretty obvious but Cowboy Bebop is entirely worthwhile. I found the Perfect Sessions box set when it first came out and picked it up after seeing one episode. I've watched the series 4 or 5 times now.

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#9 Post by Nihonophile » Tue Jan 11, 2005 11:25 am

Furi Kuri is only 6 episodes and has a good dub and original voices. Most people exclaim it makes no sense, but if you consider it as the Sigmund Freud show then it all falls into place (at least for me).

The original R.O.D. (haven't seen the tv show) isn't bad. The plot twists are obvious but a bookworm hero who controls paper really makes for an entertaining hour.

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#10 Post by Michael Kerpan » Tue Jan 11, 2005 12:25 pm

I can't be any use to fans of action anime, but if one likes Ozu AND _some_ anime, I can recommend.

"Haibane Renmei"

My favorite animated series ever (written and designed by Yoshitoshi Abe, who did the character designs for ""Lain). An essentially theological (usually very low key) anime on sin and redemption. Abe admits being more influenced by the films of Angelopoulos and Kore'eda than by other anime.

"Azumangah Daioh"

A show based on a series of comics about a group of girls (including an underage, pint-sized genius) making their way through high school. Silly and sweet -- mooving and inspired. My second favorite series.

"Kino's Journeys"

A show based on a series of short stories, assembled in multiple volumes. More inspired by Borges, Marquez and Lem than manga. Not as visually compelling as the two shows above, but always effective because of its thoughtful presentation.


A successor to "Lain. Dreamed up by Lain's originator, scripted by Lain's writer and visually designed by Abe. I think this show is visually more stunning overall than the high-budget features that have garnered so much press recently. Violent and downbeat and yet beautiful below the superficial ugliness. 5 of 6 volumes released so far, and only getting grimmer and more hopeless-looking. Not a show for those subject to clinical depression.

General comments

I hated FLCL -- and so did 2 of my 3 teens.

I recommend "Lain" (obviously) -- but be warned that this (like "Boogiepop") requires at least two viewings to (begin to) understand.

Everything released by Ghibli (and earlier works by Takahata and Miyazaki). My top favorites, Takahata's "Goshu the Cellist", "Grave of the Fireflies", "Only Yesterday" and "Our Neighbors the Yamadas"; Miyazaki's "Nausicaa" and "Totoro"; Kondo's "Whisper of the Heart".

Strongly disrecommended -- "Junkers Come Home" -- this story of a young girl coping with parents planning to divorce starts well -- and then cops out outrageously.

What makes it worse is that this came out after Shinji Somai's extraordinary (non-animated) film covering a similar story. Somai's film seems to include some clear homages to prior Ghibli films -- and in a way blends the best of Takahata and Miyazaki. Anyone willing to brave unsubtitled fare should not pass this film up. (The Japanese DVD is the only one there is -- and it is not subtitled).

A brand new film Kore'eda's "Nobody Knows" also references the Ghibli canon -- with numerous visual invocations of "Grave of the Fireflies" and a discussion by its young characters about Totoro.


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#11 Post by lord_clyde » Wed Jan 12, 2005 9:14 am

I might as well throw in my recommendations:

Gungrave - The best anime I've seen since Trigun, Gungrave is also probably the best anything I've seen about gangsters. Ignore the dvd covers and the videogame it's based on though, as the whole man returning from the grave for vengeance makes up less than a third of the series. Brilliant storytelling.

Old School Gundam!!! - My favorites are War in the Pocket, Stardust Memory, and 008th MS Team (the original series is a little too old school for me) if you like realistic giant robot shows (I use realistic loosely) as opposed the the ridiculous cartooniness of Gundam Wing, then you'll enjoy these shows. Plenty of humor and romance throughout as well as some freakin' cool robots!

Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind - The best Miyazaki film nobody has ever seen. You can find a fansub or a allregion engsub dvd on ebay quite easily, but I'd wait for the special edition Disney is releasing later this year along with Miyazaki's Porco Rosso.

Ninja Scroll - I'm sure anybody who loves anime has come across this one by now. The blind swordsman fight in the bamboo forest is the best part, but the botched ninja strike at the beginning and the beehive guy battle are worth noting as well. In fact, this is a movie that is stronger in its parts than its whole, like a great cd. The various warriors the hero comes across reminds me of villains from a Metal Gear Solid game.

Samurai X - I personally don't care for the Ruroni Kenshin series, but the Samurai X series (two 'episodes' or 'movies' or whatever) is a masterpiece. Trust and Betrayal is one of the bloodiest animes I have ever seen. It begins with Kenshin as a child, saved by a traveling swordsman who teaches him everything he knows. The one thing Kenshin fails to learn, however, is the value of life, and so begins the tale of one of Japan's most ruthless killers. Kenshin is saved by a woman who falls in love with him. The problem is that she was the fiancee to a man Kenshin killed earlier, forcing her into a life of servitude. Trust and Betrayal (and to a certain extent, the finale, 'Reflection') is part history lesson, part kickass swordfights, many parts beautiful imagery and still one of the only animes capable of making me shed a tear. I strongly recommend this to everyone, and last time I checked you can pick it up at Wal-Mart of all places.

Hope this helps!

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#12 Post by neuro » Wed Jan 19, 2005 1:01 am

While we're on the topic, here's some good R1 DVD news:

Astro Boy!

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#13 Post by Michael Kerpan » Wed Jan 19, 2005 11:38 am

For those who can't wait (and have multi-region players), there are four legitimate English-subtitled versions already -- from Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong. We got the Japanese (because it came out first) -- and it looks wonderful. No English dub, obviously. (Since I love the original voice actors so much that I wouldn't be able to listen to "substitutes", it doesn't matter a bit to me).

I think the only Ghibli films available only from Japan (and thus expensive) are "Yamadas" and "Ocean Waves" -- both of which are very much worth acquiring.


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#14 Post by dekadetia » Wed Jan 19, 2005 2:04 pm

Another recommendation for Perfect Blue: I remember being turned on to it by a review in Video Watchdog from 2001 which detailed its stylistic antecedents (Hitchcock, DePalma, Polanski, Argento) better than I might here. Compared to other anime I've seen, Perfect Blue seemed uniquely aware of the language of European cinematic language and popular culture; its quite accessible to someone who's not so into anime, particularly if they have a thing for Euro-horror.

Also, the underwater shot of Jennifer Connelly screaming in the bathtub in Requiem for a Dream seems to have come from this film.

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#15 Post by Lino » Wed Jan 19, 2005 2:25 pm

Mind Game, one overlooked gem of a film that failed to make an impression at the box office last year is apparently winning a lot of praise and prizes this year. The DVD has just come out and I'm thinking of buying it blind. ... on-videos/

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#16 Post by leo goldsmith » Wed Jan 19, 2005 3:07 pm

Michael Kerpan wrote: I hated FLCL -- and so did 2 of my 3 teens.
FLCL is pretty overwhelming, the most ADD-addled experience I've had without espresso. But speaking as someone who likes but is relatively disinterested in anime (and who also likes Ozu!), I thought it was astonishing. It's got an interesting story (from what I can decipher), some hilarious and eye-popping sequences, and a rockin' indie-pop soundtrack. That said, it's best taken in small doses (i.e. one 22-minute episode at a time). It's definitely recommended to any fans of anime or animation in general, as it jumps between dozens of different animation styles without warning (there's even a few seconds of South Park-style animation!).

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#17 Post by Pinback » Fri Jan 21, 2005 12:42 pm

Has anyone seen or know anything about Satoshi Kon's series Paranoia Agent? I've loved all of his films, and it seems that he directed every episode of the 13-episode series. I'm sorely tempted by the Australian release...

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#18 Post by Arn777 » Fri Jan 21, 2005 1:07 pm

I just got the US vol 1 and will get Vol 2 shortly, but haven't had a chance to start watching it and will probably wait for all 4 DVDs to be out. I started to watch the interview with Satoshi Kon, and it seems that the project came to life from the many ideas he had left over from Perfect Blue, which is not a bad thing really considering how good Perfect Blue is. It seems closer to Perfect Blue in style and tone than his subsequent features. Go for it!

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#19 Post by Pinback » Fri Jan 21, 2005 1:12 pm

Thanks for the info...I hadn't realised that there was a US release. I'll definitely check it out...

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#20 Post by feihong » Fri Jan 28, 2005 9:45 pm

My recommendations are the fringe ones--for people who like the weirdness.

FlCl is the best. Period. An inspired, vigorous coming-of-age story that is perfectly paced, with a unique and awesome sense of humor. When Mamimi freaks out in first scene, and then the fuzzy trailer cam comes on and the anime characters are commenting as if they were actors in the scenario, I was floored.

Evangelion is great as a mind-fuck. Director Anno's His and Her Circumstances is a lot of fun, too, and almost as deranged at times.

I've always liked the movie Galaxy Express 999. Pretty dated, but real schlocky fun. Always loved Akira, also, and My Neighbor Totoro.

The great one I'm going through right now is Revolutionary Girl Utena. An enigmatic and wonderful show.

Another favorite of mine was Vision of Escaflowne. The series was involving and romantic, part a mystical soap opera and part a great adventure. Truly thoughtful and well-done, with a classical story-sense.

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#21 Post by King of Kong » Sun Jan 30, 2005 8:20 am

Last week I bought the Grave of the Fireflies DVD on a whim, having never seen the film. I have viewed the film once so far (Japanese dub), and I'm rather impressed. It astound me in the way Spirited Away did on the first viewing, but I'll certainly return to it in the future. The second disc is well-endowed with extras, and old Ebert's discussion was rather nice.

Did anyone else notice a similarity between Grave of the Fireflies and Tarkovsky's Ivan's Childhood?

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#22 Post by Pinback » Sat Feb 05, 2005 6:38 pm

Ocean Waves was made for television, right? I can understand its rarity on DVD, where as My Neighbors The Yamadas was a full theatrical release, making its international unavailability more baffling. Anyone know why it's the least seen Ghibli film?

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#23 Post by Michael Kerpan » Sun Feb 06, 2005 1:41 am

Ocean Waves was made for older teens -- not children. And it is about 20 minutes too short (at least). Other than that, it is absolutely wonderful. It is the same sort of film as the (realistic parts of) "Whisper of the Heart" and "Only Yesterday" -- but dealing with seniors in high school. Also rather like Jun Ichikawa's (non-animated) "Tokyo Marigold".

Oh -- where did you find the Taiwanese DVD, spooncivicR? I have never yet found any online retailer with an English language website who handles the Taiwanese Ghibli DVDs.

Last edited by Michael Kerpan on Sun Feb 06, 2005 2:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#24 Post by Steven H » Sun Feb 06, 2005 1:16 pm

I'd like to second the positive comments for Haibane Renmai (thanks for the recommendation Michael, and I'm going to look into the other series you mentioned as well). I just finished watching it last night and enjoyed everything about it. It has this mystery to it, the sound design is fantastic. I even enjoy the theme song (I think it's a waltz, or at least 3/4 which I'm a sucker for anyway).

I thought FLCL was funny as hell, but mostly because I enjoyed seeing Evangelion (which I liked) lampooned so well.

All the Myazaki and Takahata (Only Yesterday, Pom Poko, and Nausicca are favorites) is amazing stuff thath has already been recommended, but I would like to add Flight of the Cockroaches. I've always really enjoyed that one.

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#25 Post by Michael Kerpan » Sun Feb 06, 2005 2:56 pm

Always glad to see the hatching of a new haibane fan. You might want to check these sites out:

Since I'm not an anime fan, I'm afraid I don't get much out of parodies of anime. ;~}

The soundtrack album for Haibane Renmei is out in the US (but lacks "Blue Flow" -- one can order the CD of "Blue Flow" from Japan, however).The Japanese DVD series also had a bonus CD of extra music.

One of the people who wrote Blue Flow (Masumi Ito) also was part of the team that did the opening and closing songs for Azumanga Daioh (with Yoku Ueno). O'otani Ko, who did the rest of the HR music, also did the scores for the three 1990s neo-Gamera films (directed by Shusuke Kaneko). The music for the last of these films is especially striking (as is the film itself).

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