Tag Archives: movie

The Observation Deck: Everything, Everywhere, All at Once

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations


(SPOILERS AHEAD…if you’re looking for a yes or no as to whether the movie is good, its yes an infinite multiverse amount of times).

So…covering movies can be kind of difficult. Not for lack of interest, mind you, but mostly because talking about anime/manga by itself takes up a lot of time. However, the seasonal offerings this Winter felt pretty lack luster or generally did not seem appealing, and on top of that, it seems like a good idea to leave a bit of downtime before jumping into covering another big manga series on a regular basis. So, after watching one of the most critically acclaimed movies of the last year, let’s talk about Everything, Everywhere, All at Once.

Without giving away anything major, the film focuses on a Chinese immigrant mother named Evelyn, who feels her life slowly falling apart as her laundromat business fails and her relationships with her daughter and husband falter. However, things begin to change when she finds out about a conflict that spans the multiverse and her divergence within them.

Finding Love in All Universes

Basically everything about this movie is great but what makes it really special is the way it focuses on the relationship between Evelyn and Joy as its primary plotline. In the main universe where the movie takes place, Evelyn’s life is a total mess. Every bad choice that could have been made has led her to a life full of regret and emptiness, including trying to appease her own father by hiding the fact that Joy is gay.

What at first feels like it is going to be a minor plot point ends being indicative of the entire movie. The alphaverse version of Joy feels emotions of all her various timelines, which end up being largely negative due to the choices of Evelyn. The dynamic works really well for a number of reasons.

First, Evelyn comes to understand throughout the course of the movies that her relationship with Joy very much mirrors her relationship with her parents. The two are united not just in their eventual mutual desire to make up but also in their shared experience as women without familial support. Second, actresses Michelle Yeoh and Stephanie Hsu are immensely talented, leaning into their characters at every available opportunity. Yeoh, in particular, does a great job at expressing on her face the utter chaos of her situation, from watching her daughter beat up a cop with dildos to slamming a Pomeranian into a fridge.

Ke Huy Quan, played by Waymond Wong, adds to this dynamic by playing the part of the detached husband and also the mentor for Evelyn’s new powers, a man who no longer feels the same about her as he once did versus one who desperately needs her to save all of reality…well, her reality, anyway. Again, the two have great on screen chemistry, both in their happier celebrations as well as their downfallen resentment.

Though the movie ends on a happier note than it started, no one should go into the film thinking it will be a cut and dry, linear narrative. It warps, teleports, and often vanishes expectations in the blink of an eye. Every time it seems like the plot is clear the movie adds another layer just to mess with everyone. A big part of the reason it is able to do this, though, is


Visual Storytelling

It feels weirdly derogatory to call pieces of art “conventional” for not reinventing the wheel every time they turn on a camera or open a visual effects program. Not every piece of media that involves looking at something needs to do so. That being said, there is a way to balance the two, and Everything, Everywhere, All at Once proves that in the way it does its visual storytelling.

A good example of this actual comes in the first scene of the movie, where the main family of three is reflected in a desk mirror doing karaoke, when Joy looked to be a lot younger. After about 20 seconds or so, the film then cuts to the same scene only now with a dustier atmosphere and noticeably darker room. Now, mirrors are not at all revolutionary when it comes to literary or cinemographic history.

The same shot concept could have been done by just pointing to the actors doing karaoke in a room. However, by focusing the actors in a mirror, the rest of the camera space can be used to do visual storytelling with objects on and surrounding the desk. The filmmakers did not do any crazy experimental stuff, but rather just more efficiently used the time and space they were given.

That being said, there definitely are some more out there parts of the film. One of the biggest draws of the film is the idea that Evelyn and Joy’s lives are playing out over an almost infinitesimally large number of realities where lots of things can change. In one universe they are both martial arts masters, sure, but in another they are drawings on a page or even rocks on a planet earth where no life ever formed, talking only through subtitles. It manages to create the perfect blend of conventional movie elements and more experimental visual effects.

A Soundtrack Which Fits Every Timeline

Music is very much outside my wheelhouse when it comes to having an informed critical opinion, and as such, I try not to comment on it too strongly or with any degree of authority. However, it would be a mistake not to at least briefly mention the amazing work done by Son Lux and the various other artists who contributed for their work on this soundtrack.

What is there to say about such an incredible collection of music, other than reinforcing the idea that it is incredible? Not only are many of the songs enjoyable to listen to in their own right, they also elevate and enhance the emotions of the film in a way that not many other soundtracks manage to achieve. From the largeness of feeling millions of other versions of you at the same time to the smallness of being trapped in an apartment, only do walk down the stairs into a sterile, failing laundromat.

It is beautiful in just about every damn way possible.


If someone was going to be picky, not me of course, but someone, they might say that James Hong Harry Shum Jr’s characters feel a bit underutilized, or that the powers feel a bit underexplained, but really that is just missing the point. Everything, Everywhere, All at Once is powerful precisely because it does not feel the need to explain itself. It lays the emotional spectrum bare and asks “all or nothing?” while simultaneously giving you some of the most hilarious and out of pocket fight choreography of just about any movie ever. I did not see most movies in 2022, but it does not take a half-assed film critic like myself to see why this topped everyone’s lists.


How did you all feel about Everything, Everywhere, All at Once? Let me know down the the comments.

If you are interested in reading more from me, check under blog to read my most recent stuff, or look below for some related posts. Also, if you would like to support Animated Observations, consider donating on Ko-fi or through paypal, or pledging on Patreon. You can even support by just liking and sharing this post.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Special thanks to Jenn for supporting the blog on Patreon.

If you can’t, or just don’t feel like it, no worries. Thank you all for reading, and goodbye, for now, friends!


Final Thoughts: Demon Slayer Movie Mugen Train

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

I apologize again for the uncharacteristic break in content, this semester just ended up being incredibly stressful for no reason. On the bright side though, we’re almost at 400 followers on WordPress! That is absolutely insane and I just want to thank everyone whose followed me up until this point, especially those in the last month or so. With that being said, man the “Demon Slayer” movie was really good, huh?

I know I am extremely late to the party, but it really only became safe to actually go and watch the film in theaters where I live recently, and I had a lot of other priorities in the mean time. However, I managed to catch it with a couple of friends, and after watching it in the original Japanese, here are my final thoughts.

The Animation is Great…duh

I talk often about how my approach to criticism is trying to go into any piece of media with fairly neutral expectations, if any at all, because I feel as though things should be judged on individual. With that being said, I would have been quite surprised to find out that the animation ended up being subpar. One, because its UFOTABLE, and two, because movies generally tend to have a higher overall production value than TV anime.

Luckily, though, those higher than usually expectations were met and exceeded over the course of the film. Not only do the action scenes stand out as being incredibly expressive, but the slower moments are handled with care as well. One scene in particular that represents this fairly well is the part where Tanjiro begins to realize he is in a dream, and his clothes become surrounded by flames as his demon slayer costume comes back. While their isn’t much action here, the flames create a sense of realization and urgency, both in Tanjiro and the dream versions of his younger siblings, that feels both powerful and also frightening.

The Story Continues


While I have yet to read the “Demon Slayer” manga, this film definitely feels like it did the arc justice in a narrative sense. One of the things that I really enjoyed is that the movie really put a pretty big emphasis on Rengoku, who was left as being a kind of looming figure at the end of the first season. Admittedly, he did come off as being kind of annoying in the first 15 minutes or so (certainly and interesting directorial choice). Ultimately, though, I would say that he was one of the best parts of the film. His backstory was definitely sad in a way that I think is relatable to a lot of people. Not to mention, his fight with Akaza was raw as hell.

A lot of the film also focused dreams and looking back to the past, which I think makes sense given where “Demon Slayer” is at in its storyline, as far as the anime goes anyway. Mugen, whose power gives him the ability to control people’s dreams, buts Rengoku, Tanjiro, Zenitsu, and Inosuke. For Tanjiro, of course, this is cathartic, given what happens to him at the very beginning of the series. Rengoku is forced to live out the rejection of his father when it comes to becoming a Hashira.

As weird as it might sound, the only thing I did not like about this part of the film was Zenitsu and Inosuke’s dreams. Look, I get it, they are supposed to be the comic relief, so it make sense to use their dreams to alleviate some of the heaviness coming from the other two. Still, it feels like there was a real opportunity to grow them as characters. After all, they spent the first 30 minutes of the movie acting like idiots.


I don’t know if this is entirely fair to say, but as far as villains go, Mugen felt…meh. Like, the whole fusing with the train things was cool and all, and the action scenes that resulted from it were some of the best in the series, no doubt. Still, I feel like his motivation is a little underwhelming. Given that his options were “succeed in killing the demon slayers” or “die,” I guess it kind of makes sense.


Most importantly, I do not want people to come away from this post with the impression that I think the movie is bad, far from it. In fact, I would be willing to say that it is among the best anime films to come out in the last few years. Absolutely, 100%, no question. However, I do think there were some odd choices as far as story and character writing goes, and a few things that could have been cleaned up to make the film that much better. Also, next time can we maybe not concentrate all of the screaming at the very beginning and end of the film. It got really annoying really fast.

Regardless, fans of “Demon Slayer” who have yet to see it should absolutely do so.

How did you all feel about the movie? Let me know in the comments.

If you are interested in reading more from me, check under blog to read my most recent stuff, or look below for some related posts. Also, if you would like to support Animated Observations, consider donating on Ko-fi or through paypal, or pledging on Patreon. You can even support by just liking and sharing this post.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

If you can’t, or just don’t feel like it, no worries. Thank you all for reading, and goodbye, for now, friends!

A New Teaser for Mamoru Hosoda’s “Belle” Dropped. Here’s My Reaction

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

By the time this post comes out it will probably already have been about a week or so since the last teaser for Mamoru Hosoda’s newest feature film “Belle” has come out. However, being the fan of his that I am, I still wanted to react to it and give my initial, albeit ill-informed take on what has been released so far.

The reason I say ill-informed is cause, well, as far as I can tell, there is still relatively little information about the movie as a whole, outside of a general plot layout. The addition of a few more frames in a thirty second teaser does not really add much more to the equation. However, I will say that from the amount that we got, I am incredibly excited.

In terms of modern directors, I feel like Makoto Shinkai gets a lot of credit, deservedly so, for the visuals of his movies. Yet, it feels like Hosoda never really gets that same credit even though his works are all also visually stunning. “Summer Wars,” for example, not only had an incredibly diverse color palette, but had tons of Sakuga in the final act of the movie. The same can also be said for “Boy and the Beast” which had a number of great fight scenes even down to the final minutes of the movie.


I mentioned this in my last post about the movie, but the limited knowledge we do have implies that movie is not going to be unfamiliar territory. The film’s plot is about a young girl from a rural village who one day joins an online world called “U” and ends becoming a famous singer. People who are familiar with Hosoda’s work might recognize that this is very similar to the plot of “Summer Wars.”

The difference, though, is that “Summer Wars” came out during a time when the internet still felt like a novelty to some people, whereas now it is infinitely more important to communication and daily life. There have also been a lot of burgeoning political movements to come out of the internet in last 10 years, some innocuous, some much more harmful *cough cough* literal nazis *cough cough*

Regardless, this is still all speculation at this point, and nothing concrete can really be said until we see the movie, or at the very least get a longer trailer. However, given the consistent quality of Hosoda over the last decade and half, it would not be surprising to see this movie be another excellent addition to his catalog.

What do you guys think of this latest teaser for “Belle?” Let me know in the comments below.

If you are interested in reading more from me, check under blog to read my most recent stuff, or look below for some related posts. Also, if you would like to support Animated Observations, consider donating on Ko-fi or through paypal, or pledging on Patreon. You can even support by just liking and sharing this post.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

If you can’t, or just don’t feel like it, no worries. Thank you all for reading, and goodbye, for now, friends!

That Which is Lost: The Joy of Watching Anime in Theaters

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

It certainly has been a rough year for just about everyone, huh? So much so, in fact, that the holidays did not even really feel like the holidays. Yeah, I exchanged presents, watched Christmas movies, and had a nice dinner, but it still did not feel like a normal Christmas, because it was not.

As I was reading Yumdeku’s thankful tag post the other day, I was reminded that I never really thought about what I was thankful for this year. I thought about it for a while, and came up with some pretty common answers: friends, family, the stuff I have. However, something that hit me like a brick was: Theaters. Specifically, I am thankful for the ability to watch anime in a movie theater, even though that’s not really possible right now.

I am not sure how it is for other countries right now, but at least in America, all of the major theaters, and even the smaller ones, are closed down right now. You know, for good reason. I honestly cannot imagine how much worse things would be if people were allowed congregate in theaters…yikes.

Movie theaters are gross. Like, gross as hell. Still, the one good thing about them was the fact that, at least pre-COVID, I could go pretty much every week and expect to find some sort of anime being shown. Whether that be the newest Shinkai or Hosoda work, a re-run of old Ghibli movies, or something completely new, it would be there.


This is pretty much solely due to the increase in popularity of anime in the west. Because companies like GKIDS and others have now found it profitable to air certain movies and shows in theaters, they did, and since then a whole new market has been opened, despite the fact that many see traditional theaters as dying. For me, going to watch an anime on the big screen instead of just on my laptop or tv at home is one of the things I have missed a lot in the last few months.

Part of it is just due to the viewing experience itself. The surround sound audio combined with the comically large screen makes for a much more enjoyable watch. This goes doubly true for shows and movies with particularly good animation and/or sound design, as these extra features make big moments, like the end of “Your Name” hit that much harder.

A lot of it though, is also to do with getting to go with other people. At least from my experience, the majority of the people in the anime community prefer watching shows alone. However, having someone there with you in a theater, for the occasional glance over to say “this is amazing” or even “this is awful” is a really nice feeling and one that I would like to have back.

I know this post was a bit more rambley, and that’s mainly because I wrote the majority of it on the spot. Still, it is my honest feelings.

If you are interested in reading more from me, check under blog to read my most recent stuff, or look below for some related posts. Also, if you would like to support Animated Observations, consider donating on Ko-fi or through paypal, or pledging on Patreon. You can even support by just liking and sharing this post.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

If you can’t, or just don’t feel like it, no worries. Thank you all for reading, and goodbye, for now, friends!

Violence Voyager, Horror, and Bold Artistic Style

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

So, a little while ago on Twitter I hinted at having a cool project in the works:

Now, after a little bit of a buffer period, and having the time to sit down and watch it, I can finally talk about Violence Voyager, a strange and yet incredibly interesting horror animation film.

For the sake of immediate transparency, I will say that someone from the studio handling the movie’s distribution, Tricoast, did allow me to watch the movie for free in order to review Violence Voyager, so take that as you will. The film will be available for streaming on October 21st on these platforms:

  • Amazon
  • DirecTV
  • FlixFling
  • Vimeo on Demand
  • Vudu
  • Fandango
  • AT&T

Also, minor spoiler warning, cause for this movie its is kind of hard to avoid.

With that being said, though, Let’s get into the review.

It is not often I come across a media entity that intrigues me immediately, but Violence Voyager managed to do just that. At first, It was kind of hard to believe it was even real. However, as I did more research on the film I found out that it is plenty real, and it is a movie much more unique than most. Its approach to horror as well as storytelling more broadly is enough to get anyone interested, even from just the trailer.

The movie focuses Robert, aka “Bobby,” a boy from America who moves to a small village in Japan, where he meets Akkun, the friend he plays with the most. One day, the boys decide to make a journey over the mountain to another nearby village where there friend Takaki goes to school. While making their journey the two come across a strange amusement park in the woods, called Violence Voyager, and it is here where they learn that it might have been better to stay home, as soon they become trapped inside, while being hunted down by a strange alien.

It would frankly be an incomplete review without talking about the movie’s fascinating animation style. Known as “Geki-mation,” the film blends 2-D paper drawings and cutouts with 3-D special effects. Director and Writer Ujicha has employed the style before, most notably in his 2013 film The Burning Buddha Man. While the 2-D drawings encompass most of the film’s characters and backgrounds, the 3-D affects range from simple liquids representing blood and throw-up to actual fireworks being used to for explosions. The result is a film with a much more amateurish feel, but also a more uneasy one, which greatly amplifies the movie’s horror elements.

It is often hard to judge children as characters in media, because kids usually have different ranges of emotions compared to their adult counterparts, but despite not being particularly interesting main characters, Bobby and Akkun also were not bad either. In fact, as far as main characters in horror go, Bobby is actually quite unique, in that he does not succumb the madness of the situation like many other characters do, and as such he provides a more sober view of what most would consider a terrifying situation.

Akkun on the other hand, is a bit more steriotypical. He mainly serves as the generic worrywart who still ends up dying anyway. More importantly, though, he serves as an introduction to old-man Lucky Monkey, a character who becomes much more important in the later half of the film. Toike, the man who greets the two boys at the entrance of Violence Voyager, becomes the movie’s main antagonist, and is a pretty good one at that. While initially coming off as one-dimensional and obvious, he grows to be a much more relatable and compelling character later on, even despite his grotesque actions. Takashi, the alien who abducts the boys, also becomes an important part of the film’s plot. The rest of Violence Voyager’s cast is either not as important, not on screen long enough, or too important to talk about without more spoilers.

One of the places where I think the film does slip-up a bit is in its voice acting. For reference, I watched the show in its English dub, and so I cannot comment on the Japanese voice acting with much confidence. Something that was present across the entire movie was voice actors talking over each other even when the subject matter of the scene did not necessitate it. Now, it could be that this was a purposeful, stylistic choice that plays into its more amateur feel, but it still felt largely unnecessary.

Another part of the voice acting that I think potentially hurt the film was the delivery of a lot of lines. A good example of this comes in Derek Petropolis, the voice of Bobby’s father, who, despite his character being in many different situations which would facilitate different tones of delivery, continued to speak in a more monotone voice. This came through in many, if not all, of the characters in Violence Voyager. Again, it is hard to tell if this was a purposeful stylistic choice, or just a mistake they just did not feel like fixing.

This is not to say the talent of the voice actors did not shine at all though, because when they did do a good job, it was enjoyable. It was also delightful to hear a familiar voice in the form of Xanthe Huynh, whose has voiced characters from a variety of different anime and video game franchises.

Despite its strange style, the horror elements of the movie do well in creating a scary atmosphere, and do so without the reliance on jump scares that many horror franchises, movie, anime or otherwise, have often come to lean on consistently. I mentioned before that the mix of live action effects with 2-D animation enhanced the horror elements a lot, and I meant it. There were many moments where a streak of blood or vomit across the page induced a pretty visceral reaction, whether intentional or not.

All in All, despite a few minor quibbles I have with how certain elements of the production played out, I found this to be an incredibly entertaining film. While it is not something that looks appealing to everyone at first glance, and certainly should not be watched by kids, its unique brand of animation and horror is enough to make it a great film if you’re in mood to watch something much different than the norm.

If you all are reading this after the film has been released, then what did you all think? Let me know in the comments below. I know Scott from Mechanical Anime Reviews also talked about the film on his blog, so I’ll leave a link to his post as well.

If you are interested in reading more from me, check under blog to read my most recent stuff, or look below for some related posts. Also, if you would like to support Animated Observations, consider donating on Ko-fi or through paypal, or pledging on Patreon. You can even support by just liking and sharing this post.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

If you can’t, or just don’t feel like it, no worries. Thank you all for reading, and goodbye, for now, friends!

The Make it Anime Tag!

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Its been a while since I have done any tags or really anything in the blogging community. So, I thought I would change up my regularly scheduled program in favor of something new. Recently, Average Joe Reviews came up with an awesome idea for a tag, so I thought I would participate. Here are the rules:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog post.
  • Choose 1 Book, Movie and TV show of your choice that you think could work as an anime. (A series of books or movies is allowed e.g. Lord of the Rings, Hunger Games)
    • If you want to pick more than 1 from each section that’s fine. Or if you can’t think of one for a specific category that’s fine also.
  • Explain why you think your choices could work as an anime. Maybe the advent of animation would enhance it, maybe the different anime genres could help expand and improve the story. Just go crazy with it.
  • Link back to the original post (this post) so I can read people’s suggestions, I’d love to read everyone’s ideas.
  • Include Make it Anime in your tags so everyone including myself can find them all easily.
  • Nominate around 5-10 bloggers.

With that out of the way, here are my choices for the tag:

Book: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

If I were to ever to start doing book reviews on The Aniwriter in any series capacity, I would probably make a lot of comparisons to this book, because Never Let Me Go is by far and away one of my favorite books of all time. However, not only is it a great book, it would also make a great anime. Never Let Me Go’s story centers around an alternative version of Britain in which cloning has been discovered, and in order to keep everything going smoothly, cloned children are kept and taught at separate facilities. The story follows Kathy, who reminisces about her life growing up as a clone, and the many adventures that she went on with her friends Tommy and Ruth.

The main reason I see Never Let Me Go working as an anime is that of the love triangle aspect of the story. Much of Never Let Me Go focuses on Kathy’s experience with relationships, and how Tommy is the first boy that she feels like she has an actual connection with. Growing up in an environment that teaches kids that it is ok to have sex with anyone because clones have no way of reproducing leaves Kathy confused on how she should feel.

Movie: The Breakfast Club

I think one of the major things that Breakfast club would have going for it is its main cast. For those who do not know, Breakfast club is a movie about five teens from very different walks of social life when it comes to high school. There is Andrew, the jock, Claire, the popular girl princess, Allison, the weird one, Brian, the smart one, and John, the outcast. The five of them are forced to sit together in detention for a whole Saturday. Initially, they are all at each other’s throats, highlighting the differences between their social standings and using them as insults. However, the five of them are able to come together, smoke some weed, and realize that all of the differences between them are extremely artificial and pointless.

If there is one thing anime does right, its Slice of Life. the genre is incredibly diverse and knows how to make emotional moments between characters even more important than they really are. Breakfast Club seems like a great setup for a Slice of Life anime, especially considering subject matter. I can see it being relatively similar to something like Oregairu, the only difference being is that there is five of them, and they are all just as cynical as Hachiman.

TV Series: Riverdale

Riverdale works as an anime for the same reason that I feel like Breakfast Club would: the strength of its main cast. However, the strength of Riverdale’s main cast comes from a slightly different place. Because Riverdale has much more of an overarching story rather than just being an episodic series, the constant drama between characters is what makes the show that much more interesting.

In this way, Riverdale would absolutely work as an anime. In this case, I would compare the show to something like Orange, where the slice of life aspect is still very much there, but there is something of a thriller-Esq twist to make its core story much more appealing.


Well, I am required to nominate people, so here we go. Feel free to ignore this if you don’t have the time or just don’t want to.

One Sad Boi

Lynn Sheridan

Terrence Crow

Mirror Purple

That Baka Blog

What kinds of media do you think would do well as an anime? Let me know in the comments below. Also, if you would like to support The Aniwriter, or are just feeling generous, consider donating on Ko-fi:

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

If you can’t, or just don’t feel like it, no worries. Thank you all for reading, and goodbye, for now, friends!

This Week in Anime: 12-14-17

Sorry guys, you might end up seeing this a day late because I had a lot going on. School is just about done, and then I am finally on break. Yes! Anyway, here is this week’s important anime news. Oddly enough, a lot of movies were announced this week.

My Hero Academia Movie to Premier in Summer 2018

Along with the series’ third season, It has been announced that My Hero Academia will be receiving a movie. Mangaka Kohei Horikoshi hinted at the movie’s plotline, specifying that the movie will focus on a certain character’s background. Many fans have taken this to be a hint at a movie focused around All Might, who has been left mysteriously undeveloped. There are currently no other details about the movie.

Live Action Battle Angel Alita Trailer Released

Based on the 1990 manga by Yukito Kishiro, Alita Battle Angel will be coming to theatres in 2018. The movie is set to be produced by famed director James Cameron, responsible for Alien and Avatar, and will be directed by Robert Rodriguez, who was chosen by Cameron because of his similar love for the series. Rodriguez is mostly known for his direction of From Dusk til Dawn and the Spy Kids films. The movie will follow the story of the original manga, about Alita, a cyborg who has lost her memories and is rebuilt by Dr. Daisuke Ido after he found Alita in a scrap pile. She spends her time hunting down cyborg criminals and playing the fictional sport motoball.

Trailer for Mamoru Hosoda’s Mirai no Mirai Released

Another new trailer was released this week. This time: Mamoru Hosoda’s next film. The acclaimed director is responsible for film’s like Wolf Children and The Girl Who Lept Through Time will be directing this film which is set to air in July of next year. On the home page of the movie’s website, Hosoda left a message for viewers about the story of the movie, saying:

One house and one garden. I would like to draw out a huge loop that is made up of a large circulation of life and human life through only one family that
is everywhere . I want to talk about the biggest theme using the smallest motif . I would like to open up new expressions for new family members using entertainment methods . It seems calmly at first sight, in fact, it has a great ambition.

A lot of exciting news for me this week, but what did you guys think? Will any of these movies be good? Will they all be bad? Let me know in the comments down below. Thanks for reading and bye for now, Friendos!

Fullmetal Alchemist Movie: Whitewashing Works Both Ways

Whitewashing has been a contentious issue in film making for a while, especially recently. Adaptations of popular anime franchises like Ghost in the Shell have drawn heat for casting white actors for rolls that are set in Japan and who’s stories are specifically influenced by Japanese culture. It is true that it doesn’t make much sense for white actors to play what should be Japanese rolls, but that standard applies when you reverse the situation as well.

It was announced last year that a live action Fullmetal Alchemist Movie was being made, and we now have multiple trailers and a full cast list. Here’s the problem: the whole cast is Japanese. All of the actors, both main and supporting cast, do not match the race of their original characters.

Just as Ghost in the Shell took a uniquely Japanese story and replaced any cultural influence with white actors, The live action Fullmetal Alchemist looks as though it is going to take the unique commentary of the original series and replace it with Japanese actors. 

The reasons that this such a problem in the first place is because much of Fullmetal Alchemist’s story revolves around the conflict of the Amestrian government and the Ishvallan people. Amestris is a country that draws large parallels with Western Europe in the 1940’s, but more specifically it is meant to represent Germany, with Fuhrer Bradley being a direct reference to Adolf Hitler. Of course, the Ishvallans are a reference to the Jewish people in Germany and the Ishvallan War of Extermination is a reference to World War 2 and Concentration Camps.

Race, in this case, plays a large part of the show. Most of the characters being white represents the predominantly white Western Europe, and the ethnic discrimination of Ishvallan people from both the Amestrian government and the people of Amestris serves as huge arc in Scar’s character. 

Having both Edward and Scar be Japanese eliminates any theme of ethnic resentment from the original. It would be taking away heavily from the character of the story.

Even the director of the original show thought the all Japanese cast was a bad call. It’s not wrong for their to want to proper representation for different races in different stories. In Fact, I agree completely, but let’s make sure that standard is applied across the board.

Netflix’s Death Note: A Misunderstanding of Source Material

Netflix’s live action adaptation of the popular anime and manga series “Death Note” became highly controversial among the anime community when it was announced. Fans of the original speculated as to whether or not the project’s director Adam Wingard could bring justice to a series that to many is considered the pinnacle of animated storytelling. The trailers released several months prior to the movie’s release gave many fans hope that the movie could bring one of the most famous stories in popular culture to a live action medium, but the finished product has given fans of the original, including myself, much to criticize in the way of a good adaptation.

Adam Wingard’s vision of “Death Note” was different from the original, and that is a detriment to the film. In an interview with The Verge, Wingard admits, “I grounded it by taking this complicated story, and rooting it in this idea of a coming-of-age teenage tragic romance.” This, however, is the main problem with the movie. “Death Note” is not about a romance or a tragedy. “Death Note” is the story of a kid who gains the power to kill anyone by simply writing a name in a book and picturing a face. This power corrupts him and he slowly transitions from a hero of justice to someone who kills without hesitation. Netflix’s adaptation ignores this transformation entirely in order to appeal to a more mainstream audience, and the movie suffers because of it.

This is not to say that a different interpretation of “Death Note” would be a waste of time. In fact, it’s setting in America might actually make it a more genuinely interesting film. As an article by Rebecca Sun in The Hollywood Reporter points out, “America’s greatest storytelling strength isn’t its high production value. It’s multiculturalism – access to a wide array of backgrounds and identities, and an ability to find out what happens when they collide.” An interpretation of “Death Note” where themes of racism and racial injustice, or one with even more focus on the idea of America’s identity as the world’s policemen, as the movie briefly hints at, would have been much more interesting. Instead, Wingard chooses to focus mainly on a romance that has zero chemistry, and little relation to the original story.

Aside from Wingard’s inability to find a strong thematic direction for the film, there is plenty to like about the live action “Death Note”. The casting of the movie was generally phenomenal. Willem Dafoe’s voicing of Ryuk was the perfect choice, as he precisely captures the creepiness and looming danger that Ryuk’s presence signals for Light. Keith Stanfield’s performance as L was also an enjoyable addition to the movie. Even though L’s quirks like eating sweets and sitting on top of chairs were seen by many as not easily transferable to a live action film, Stanfield manages to bring his character to life without coming across as awkward.

The soundtrack is also worth mentioning, as it does a lot to hold up the movie. A considerable amount of thought was clearly put into the music and music placement in the film. It is especially visible during the final third when tensions between Light and Mia grow, and the two become visibly more insane. The fast and heavy music during the scenes where L confronts Light also add to the intensity during the movie’s best moments.

Unfortunately, it does not seem possible to call this movie great, and to some, it might even be a stretch to call it good. Wingard’s decision to depart from the core themes of the original while leaving nothing but a half-baked romance in its place takes away a lot from its standing as an adaptation. Wingard may have done well with casting and music choices, but trying to compare Netflix’s adaptation of the original anime series leaves a lot to be desired.