Hiroyuki Nakano’s Samurai Fiction (1998) is a zany samurai comedy about Peace pretending to be a jidai-geki tale of revenge. After a skilled swordsman named Kazamatsuri (Japanese rocker and composer for the film, Tomoyasu Hotei) waltzes off with the clan treasure, the rambunctious and young Heishiro (Mitsuru Fukikoshi) sets off in pursuit, hoping to restore his clan’s honor by retrieving the treasure and slaying the thief; however, Heishiro soon finds that revenge is not so easy and requires the help of Hanbei, a master swordsman played by Morio Kazama, and the affection of his lovely young daughter (Tamaki Ogawa), which ultimately forces Heishiro to make a choice between Honor and Pride or Love and Peace! Review starts at 1:09:47.
Raw, brutal, and dareless, Police Story (1985) showcases Hong Kong superstar Jackie Chan’s formidable talents as action star, leading man, writer, and director. The script written with longtime collaborator Edward Tang, brought to the screen the successful formula of action, martial arts, comedy, and stunt work that would define the rest of Jackie’s career throughout the 80s and 90s. Although, three or more sequels (depending upon whether New Police Story counts) followed, which top the original in various ways, none quite match it for sheer go for broke enthusiasm. Our review starts at 1:04:40.
By sheer happenstance today’s episode is all about American remakes of popular and well regarded Japanese franchises from the 1990s. Grant starts things off with his thoughts on the new American Power Rangers film. Then its off to the Cineplex and back again for our review (at 38:22) of the new live action Ghost in the Shell film starring Scarlett Johansson. Sorry about the crap audio quality during the pre-review part; we didn’t notice my mic problems until after the fact.
Here’s the chart tweeted out by anime designer / director Thomas Romain showing the number of anime series and films being released today compared to years gone by.
Finally, forgot to mention it on the show, but there’s currently a Kickstarter to fund the international Blu-ray release of Masaaki Yuasa’s incredible debut film Mind Game — don’t miss your chance to join the cool kids club!
2006 saw the release of Satoshi Kon’s final film, Paprika, about a group of scientists slash psychotherapists that use an experimental device called the DC Mini to enter into the dreams of their patients in order to solve their problems; however, when several of the the devices are stolen, the dreams of multiple individuals begin to merge, and the fantastic becomes all too real as the barrier between dreams and the real world begins to crumble. Tune in for the full review.
It’s the 30th Anniversary of Bubblegum Crisis so of course we had to talk about it (just a little); also, check out Grant’s article Neon Never Fades: 30 Years of Bubblegum Crisisover at Zimmerit for why the show struck such a chord with older fans like ourselves.Zen gives a follow up to last episode’s review of Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’. Grant elaborates once again on the madness of super sentai. And because suffering is an activity best shared with friends, Heat took it upon himself to watch Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid and shares his thoughts.
Seven years in the making, REDLINE (2009) marks the third collaboration from two of Japan’s best, yet largely underappreciated talents: producer Katsuhito Ishii, known for his quirky, weird, and Tarantino-esque live action films, and director Takeshi Koike, known for his extraordinary animation chops. Their talents combined with the staff of Studio Madhouse result in a film that, while admittedly a little shallow, accomplishes exactly what it sets out to do: BLOW YOU AWAY. Yes, friends, Production IG can keep their shitty CG cars for themselves because REDLINE is all about doing the things the hard way: traditional animation done completely by hand with blood, sweat, and tears — just as god intended! Oh yeah, there’s also enough space aliens to make a Star Wars film blush, cool mechanical designs, off-beat humor, giant-sized pompadours, robo space fascists, kaiju, and a killer soundtrack to go with the oh-so-incredible animation. Did I just give away the tenor of our review? Very likely. Tune in for more slavish REDLINE worship!
Voltron Season 2 has Heat excited. Grant catches us up on the latest Power Rangers shenanigans. And Zen remarks on Moyocco Anno’s comedy manga, Insufficient Direction about her strange marriage to director Hideaki Anno.
After his minions gather the titular wishing stones, everyone’s favorite baddie that won’t stay down is resurrected to enact his revenge upon Goku and friends; surely, this time, he will prevail! As fan fiction as that sounds, Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection of ‘F’also marks the return of series creator Akira Toriyama to the franchise (following 2013’s Battle of the Gods) making this 2015 entry only the 2nd film to earn its place in official Dragon Ball canon. As might be imagined, the story penned by Toriyama, blends equal parts comedy and action, making for a solid outing that neither breaks new ground or seriously offends but is sure to please long time fans.
Two monsters, created by science gone awry, go head to head in the second Godzilla film of the Heisei era: Godzilla vs Biolante.This follow up to Return of Godzilla or Godzilla 1984, which we reviewed in episode 7, arrived five years after the release of the previous film had under-performed at the box office. Looking for fresh ideas to revitalize the somewhat moribund franchise, producers at Toho held a public contest in search of a script. The winning entry, written by a dentist named Shinichiro Kobayashi with a script that largely sidelined the franchise’s typical anti-nuclear bent in favor of a new focus on the emerging threat posed from bio-technology, was heavily rewritten by Director Kazuki Omori to include spies, assassins, and corporate espionage. The resulting film is a truly a bizarre mishmash of ideas: espionage, deadly assassins, fictional middle eastern countries, mad science, ESPers, military super weapons, and, of course, awesome Kaiju action — it’s a hell of a ride!