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"Appleseed": The Fantastic Tale of a Girl and Her Cyborg. And Lots of Bullets.

In contrast to American animated films, a large percentage of anime features are adaptations of popular Japanese comic books, or manga (and they say Hollywood has run out of ideas). Such adaptations make perfect sense, of course, because they supply a powerful brand name, loyal fan base and plenty of material for possible sequels. On […]

"Full Metal Panic FUMOFFU" Vol. 1: Jokes That Blow Up Real Good

Many people imagine the Japanese to be quiet, unassuming, and earnest, hardly words to describe the life of the party. Those assumed traits are accurate often enough, but not in the case of Japan’s rich comic tradition. Largely unknown to the rest of the world, Japanese TV is full of goofball comedians who ham it […]

"Pocahontas 10th Anniversary Edition": A Brave New World for Disney

In 1995 the world lay at Disney’s feet. The studio had amazed worldwide audiences with four critically acclaimed blockbusters in a row, and with no significant competition they were free to pursue any project they pleased. And so Disney surprised pundits by doing what they had never done before, a historical romance. Pocahontas featured no […]

"Lupin the Third: Island of Assassins" The Suspense May Kill You

If you’re one of the casual fans who don’t quite yet grasp the massive scope of the Lupin the Third franchise, this should give you some idea: the series has produced a TV special every single year from 1989 until today. These typically air during summer vacation, I suppose to maximize the young audience. With […]

"Lupin Dead or Alive" Something Old, Something New, Something Stolen and Good Fun Too

I will presume that the exploits of Lupin the Third, world’s greatest thief, no longer need much introduction. Lupin is probably one of the most famous and longest-running anime franchises in Japan, and thanks to the TV show’s recent run on Cartoon Network it is now known stateside as well. Of the many Lupin films, […]

"Hello Kitty's Once Upon a Time": Kitty Does Aesop (Proud)

Today Pikachu seems to be the spokesanimal for anime cuteness, but for decades cuddly feline Hello Kitty ruled the roost (litterbox?). She still presides over a vast merchandising empire, and her likeness is ubiquitous the world over. Why, even I can remember owning a pair of Kitty-chan’s scissors way back when. No, I’d prefer you […]

"Elektra": The Lady in Red is Boring

And they just keep on coming. Determined to leave no potentially profit-concealing stone in their universe unturned, Marvel Comics has begun to crank out films about characters that even casual comic readers would stick in one of Hollywood Squares‘s dustier corners. Apparently falling victim to the Titanic fallacy (audiences love Titanic, audiences must also love […]

"Porco Rosso": That Magnificent Pig in His Flying Machine

One wonders what Hollywood studios would have made of animated leading man Marco. He’s a short, fat, mustached Italian bounty hunter who just happens to be a pig (literally). Comical hijinks ensue, right? Yes, and fart jokes, thank you DreamWorks. But hold on a moment. Marco’s no comedian, and he’s not even all that sociable. […]

"Bambi Platinum Edition": Cuddly and Sweet But A Bit Obsolete

These days, among all the wildly eccentric characters, dazzling special effects, zany wisecracks, and grandiose musical numbers, it’s easy to forget the innocence and simplicity that marked the early years of Walt Disney’s career. In fact, it’s hard to imagine modern filmmakers letting audiences sit still for more than a few minutes without hitting them […]

"Harvie Krumpet": That Fantastic Adventure Called Life

These days animation is enjoying something of a golden age, expanding its audience, winning Academy Awards, and earning hundreds of millions. However, for all the hoopla that inevitably surrounds the latest rendering technology, it’s important to remember that CGI is not the only fish in the sea. Though nothing on the scale of Shrek or […]

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