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!
Grant talks about the Winter 2017 season, while I talk mostly about the Spring 2017 season because I mistakenly looked at the wrong chart… Yep, that happened.
Since the Zatoichi series spans over 26 films and 100 TV episodes, I figured the original film from 1962, The Tale of Zatoichi, was as good a place as any to start with. In the director’s chair for our titular character’s first outing is Kenji Misumi who would go on to direct four more Zatoichi films, the Lone Wolf and Cub films, and many other noteworthy titles in the genre. The real draw of the film, of course, is the irreplaceable Shintaro Katsu, as Zatoichi, an itinerant blind masseuse and gambler, who despite outward appearance, possesses extraordinary sword fighting skills.
On today’s episode, Grant has us watch the 1978, Shaw Brothers, kung fu classic, The 36th Chamber of Shaolin by director and fight choreographer Lau Kar-Leung. The film stars a young Gordon Liu as the iconic San Te, a schoolboy turned Shaolin master in a role that would make Liu famous. This classic of the genre, which went on to inspire — along with a host of other Shaw Brothers films from the era — everyone from Quentin Tarantino to the Wu-Tang Clan, features a tale of revenge, possibly the longest training sequence ever filmed, mystical Buddhist powers, swordplay, pole fighting, three pronged staff fighting, Chinese fisticuffs of every kind, and — oh yes — perhaps the most memorable headbutt ever captured on celluloid!
For this episode, Heat chose for us to watch the 2001 anime film Metropolis.An amalgamation of Tezuka’s manga and Fritz Lang’s original silent film, this Rintaro helmed adaptation, featuring a screenplay by Katsuhiro Otomo and a soundtrack by Toshiyuki Honda, was done with remarkable gusto — listen to the full review below for more!
A few semi-related things: I reviewed Rintaro’s previous film X: The Moviehere on the blog; I wrote a quick review of Metropolis along with lots of screen captures on my Tumblr page here; and, if you have any interest in how the Rintaro film compares to both the original and the manga, the YouTube channel Pause and Select has a great video about that here.