Posts Tagged ‘ manga ’

Straight from the DVD: The Sky Crawlers

I picked this DVD up in my local video store. Had won multiple awards and came from the Mamoru Oshii stable of films so I gave it a try.

It was not what I was expecting. And that was not a good thing.

Coming from the man that brought Ghost in the Shell and Patlabor to the big screen. It certainly has his style but the story….

It’s not really there.

Gorgeous CGI, realistic air combat sequences (if some of the maneuvers where a bit much for the aircraft involved) and beautiful scenery, but the story….

In a nutshell the story centers around a young pilot who is a “Kildren” who is stuck in adolescence. All of the pilots of the “corporate” squadrons are stunted youths. That much is clear. Everything else, including the locations, and the relationship between the characters is left unclear.

Somehow the “Kildren” never really die, except in combat, although they appear again days later with no memory of who they where (and with a different name).

According some material I found on the net, the war is fought for “entertainment” which would explain why non of the combatants use modern weaponry, although their aircraft seem to be advance propeller driven aircraft.  Yet the reaction of the people around the pilots doesn’t seem to suggest that it is a form of entertainment as the news people take it very seriously, then again considering recent events and modern “infotaiment” is hard to tell what is deemed serious by media moguls.

To me, the real problem is that as a viewer don’t get enough information. Nothing is really explained about the Kildren who I guessed were clones of some kind, maybe. Nor do we see the real impact of this war. We see some blood, maybe a body covered in a tarp, but that is it. A sharper contrast between the attitudes of the people not directly involved with the “war” and the realities of the war itself might have helped.

Add an alternate Earth of sorts (it looks like the English countryside but the few maps point to it being in mainland Europe as do the snippets of news) where the characters speak Japanese on the ground (and read Japanese language newspapers), English in the air and sometimes English with the locals and you end up scratching your head from beginning to end.

The one thing I will say is that the English title is accurate. It crawled from one barely noticeable plot point to the next.

This movie was not for me or for anyone else expecting furious air combat and a gripping story.

This is an animated art house film.

It certainly has the awards to prove it.

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Evagelion 2.0

Evangelion is an apocalyptic mecha action series which centers around the efforts by the paramilitary organization Nerv to fight monstrous beings called Angels, primarily using giant mecha called Evangelions which are piloted by select teenagers, one of whom is the primary protagonist.

Evangelion was a anime series from the late 1990s that deconstructed all manner of anime/manga based tropes from giant robots fighting (and trampling) in Tokyo to teenage mecha pilots saving the day.

How?

Mid way through the first episode the teenage pilot of the titular giant robot goes unconscious in middle of the battle.

The giant robot takes over.

Beats the crap out of its opponent.

And then eats it!

Then it got worse….

By that I mean it got weird….

Which really means it got way better….

And then it had two endings.

Which can only be described with one compound word.

Clusterfuck!

In a artsy sort of way.

Which both rocked and…

Didn’t….

Confused?

You better be.

After all:

Events in the series refer to Judeo-Christian symbols from the book of Genesis and Biblical apocrypha among others.[6] Later episodes shift focus to psychoanalysis of the main characters, who display various emotional problems and mental illnesses;[7][8] the nature of existence and reality are questioned in a way that lets Evangelion be characterized as “postmodern fantasy”.[9] Hideaki Anno, the director of the anime series, suffered from clinical depression prior to creating the series, and the psychological aspects of the show are based on the director’s own experiences with overcoming this illness.

Yeah, and now four new movies  try to reinvigorate the franchise.  The second installment came out today in Japan although we in the rest of the world will probably have to wait until either reaches a Japanese animation dedicated cable/satellite channel or it hits the DVD rack.  Either way Evangelion is back!

Here is the trailer for Evagelion 2.0:

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