The space pirate Cobra with his android partner Lady cross the galaxy in search of thrills, treasure, and, yes, adventure! Cobra first appeared in Weekly Shonen Jump in 1978 and is old school space opera through and through, of the sort found in old pulps of yesteryear, with a dash of Barbarella, Bond, Star Wars, Westerns, and any bizarre idea creator Buichi Terasawa can come up with, thrown into the mix. The film version followed in 1982. Produced by Tokyo Movie Shinsha with the backing of the studio’s top talent, such as legendary director Osamu Dezaki, character designer and animation director Akio Sugino, and art director Shichiro Kobayashi, Space Adventure Cobra: The Movie is a kaleidoscopic, tripped out, wild and weird ride from start to finish, featuring some of Dezaki’s most satisfingly “out there” direction.
Released in 2016 (a full twelve years after Godzilla: Final Wars), Shin Godzilla marks the third reboot of the franchise as the eponymous lizard stomps his way across modern Japan with the Japanese government racing to stop him. It’s a well worn plot by this point, yet the film’s almost singular focus on the tumultuous bureaucratic response to the crisis — rather than, say, around a few core characters — makes for something that feels fresh and new, while also giving writer and director Hideaki Anno ample time to take aim at the bureaucratic morass that is Japanese government. As for Godzilla himself — courtesy of veteran VFX director Shinji Higuchi and a new design by Mahiro Maeda — probably not since his original outing in Gojira (1954)has the creature looked so terrifyingly monstrous.
In order to bring his vision of the fourth novel in the Crane Iron series to life, Oscar winning director Ang Lee employed the talents of mega-stars Chow Yun-Fat, Michelle Yeoh, and Zhang Ziyi, legendary fight choreographer Yuen Wo Ping, and musical composer Tan Dun. The results speak for themselves. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, an all time classic of the wuxia genre, is still, to this day, the most successful international film, both critically and commercially, to ever hit the states — and rightly so. Tune in for the full review!
The Host (2006), a critical and commercial hit in South Korea and abroad, comes from director and screenwriter Bong Joon-ho and centers around a family’s quest to retrieve their lost loved one from the clutches of a mutant fish-monster.
A four part OVA prequel to the Masamune Shirow manga, Dominion Tank Police stars Leona and her cute, but totally awesome, tank Bonaparte as they fight to take down the criminal Buaku gang. The first two episodes, written, directed, and story-boarded by Koichi Mashimo showcase a flair for slapstick and comedic humor that arguably outdoes even the original manga in sheer wacky absurd-ism; while the later two episodes, helmed by director Takaaki Ishiyama and, I believe, a separate production staff, take a different posture, trading a bit of the over the top fun of the first half, for a more subdued, surreal, and reflective tone. Tune in for the full review!
As mentioned in the pre-review, Koichi Mashimo also worked on the fan favorite Irresponsible Captain Tylor, which is now streaming for free on Nozomi Ent.’s Youtube Channel and on DVD. Arguably, Mashimo’s most famous work and undoubtedly his best, Dirty Pair: Project Eden, is available on DVD (bundled together with Nolandia and Flight 005 Conspiracy); it’s also streaming here on Nozomi’s channel (my god, do modern fans have it good or what?).
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