Kimetsu no Yaiba: The Movie – Mugen Train Review

Demon Slayer – The Mugen Train Arc

The Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba manga was first published in Weekly Shonen Jump from February 2016 until May 2020. The series was written and illustrated by Koyoharu Gotoge. Demon Slayer tells the tragic story of Tanjiro Kamado and his sister Nezuko, who become orphans after their family is massacred by a demon. Nezuko herself is turned into a demon. Driven to return his sister to normal, Tanjiro embarks on a journey to find a cure. The series became a hit especially after the anime adaptation in 2019. As of December 2020, the manga had over 120 million copies circulation and surpassed One Piece as the highest-selling manga of 2019 and has gone on to sell over 82 million copies in 2020. 

Kimetsu no Yaiba: The Movie – Mugen Train is the first film from the series. A direct sequel from the anime series, the film retells the Mugen Train arc. In the anime, Enmu was given Muzan’s blood after the demon leader disbanded (and killed) the lower Twelve Kizuki. Meanwhile, Tanjiro, Zenitsu, and Inosuke are sent to join the Flame Hashira, Kyojuro Rengoku. The Hashira is investigating disappearances on the Infinity Train. Enmu is the cause of these disappearances. Enmu’s demon ability is dream manipulation. He can enter and control someone’s dream, it’s possible to kill them if he can destroy their “Spiritual Core.” Zenitsu, Tanjiro, Kyojuro, and Inosuke all get trapped in vivid dreams. Tanjiro dreams of his family, Zenitsu dreams of dating Nezuko, Inosuke dreams of being a “cave explorer” with Tanjiro, Nezuko, and Zenitsu as animal helpers, and finally, Kyojuro dreams of his family, particularly his father and brother. 

Kyojuro’s dream

Kimetsu no Yaiba: The Movie – Mugen Train has the task of humanizing Kyojuro. At this point in the series we only just meet him. It’s important to make us care about him, especially considering how this movie ends. His father, Shinjuro Rengoku, was the previous Flame Hashira. Shinjuro seems nihilistic, responding to Kyojuro’s announcement that he became a Hashira, with “it was pointless.” It unclear what made Shinjuro this way but it’s obvious that Kyojuro wants his approval. As the four children enter the dreams and locate the spiritual core’s they’re attacked by Kyojuro, Tanjiro, Zenitsu, and Inosuke. After everyone awakens, Tanjiro heads to the roof of the train to face Enmu. Tanjiro attempts to cut Enmu’s head off, but the demon keeps putting him to sleep. However, Tanjiro can wake up almost instantly each time. 

Eventually, Tanjiro decapitates Enmu using Water Breathing 10th Form: Constant Flux. However, Enmu is still alive because he’s merged with the train. The concept of a demon changing its form and therefore its anatomy is interesting. I wonder if the series will explore this further or if this is a one-off. However, the following fight between the demon slayers and Enmu wasn’t interesting. The use of CGI was distracting and I found the repetitive hacking of Enmu computer-generated flesh boring. Only when Inosuke and Tanjiro worked together to defeat Enmu did it become enjoyable. After the train crashes the most exciting fight begins. After Kyojuro teaches Tanjiro to stop his internal bleeding, something lands behind them creating a dust cloud.

Akaza, the Upper Rank 3 was revealed in the first Demon Slayer movie.
Akaza is the Upper Rank 3

Upper Rank 3 Akaza verses Kyojuro

It’s revealed that the Upper Rank 3, Akaza was the cause. He instantly tries to attack Tanjiro, however, Kyojuro uses Flame Breathing: Second Form – Rising Scorching Sun, splitting Akaza’s arm in half. The demon attempts to recruit Kyojuro, asking him to become a demon. Kyojuro refuses and Akaza attacks with his Blood Demon Art: Technique Development – Destructive Death – Compass Needle. Akaza and Kyojuro move so fast that Tanjiro can’t follow them. Throughout the battle, it becomes clear that demons have a natural advantage over humans in battle. No matter how much damage Kyojuro delivers to Akaza, the demon simply heals and does so quickly. It’s still possible to win but it must be done quickly. Until Kimetsu no Yaiba: The Movie – Mugen Train, those of us that only watch the anime was told that Hashira’s and Upper-Level Demons are at another level. 

Akaza and Kyojuro’s fight is a good display of the difference between the lower demon’s like Enmu and lower slayer’s like Tanjiro. Furthermore, the Upper Six can fight recklessly since the loss of limbs isn’t a concern, whereas, Demon Slayers much pace themselves, be disciplined, skilled, and cautious. Akaza and Inosuke note that Kyojuro’s form is flawless. When the fight reaches its climax, Kyojuro uses his Flame Breathing: Ninth Form – Rengoku verses Akaza’s Destructive Death: Annihilation Type. Kyojuro wounded both externally and internally is at his limit. After the dust clears, it’s revealed that Akaza has stuck his arm through the chest of Kyojuro. Undaunted, Kyojuro swings his sword into Akaza’s neck, Akaza tries to punch him but Kyojuro grabs his forearm. Akaza can’t break free and the sun begins to rise. After the blade digs deeper into Akaza’s neck he finally pulls free tearing his limbs off. He flees into the forest, as Tanjiro calls him a coward. 

Demon Slayer is about heart

Anime movies are often non-canon, creating lore that doesn’t impact the main series. In a lot of ways, this allows for more creative freedom. However, because Kimetsu no Yaiba: The Movie – Mugen Train is adapted from an arc in the main story it has an impact on the story. This movie feels more “real.” This movie’s central themes focus on the “beauty of being human,” and “the sorrow of death.” Kyojuro argues for humanity’s value. He says that “growing old and dying” is beautiful and humans are only “loveable and precious” because of this. He notes that the strength in humans isn’t based on the body. The film opens with Ubeyashiki and his wife, Amane walking through a graveyard for demon slayers. He laments all the death and hopes that it will end with the next generation.

It’s a foreshadowing of Kyojuro Rengoku’s death. I expect that Demon Slayer is going to kill off more of the “good” guys, Tanjiro and Nezuko might be safe but I’m not sure anyone else will be. What has set Demon Slayer apart from other shonen series has been the emotional maturity of Tanjiro Kamado. He is willing to sacrifice himself to protect others, however, unlike other shounen protagonists, he does pursue power for power’s sake. Tanjiro’s heartbreak at the end was probably the most impactful part of the film, he barely knew Kyojuro but was devasted as he knew him for years. Kimetsu no Yaiba: The Movie – Mugen Train tells a story that emphasizes that it’s not strength that matters, it’s the heart. 

Sonny Boy & Dewdrop Girl Review

Sonny Boy & Dewdrop Girl promotion artwork

Sonny Boy & Dewdrop Girl is an anime short from Studio Colorido Co. The story centers on Hinata, an artistic boy with a crush on his classmate Shigure. He’s eager to talk to her but inside imagines that they’re together. It’s his imagination and art is the source of the most impressive animated scenes. One day Shigure sees Hinata drawing and is amazed. Hinata is embarrassed. I was reminded of my experiences as an artist in school. I would love drawing projects, but initially hated the attention it got me from teachers and classmates. Hinata is more dramatic than I was. He runs out of the classroom. Shigure comes to find him talking to himself on the roof. 

It’s at this point Sonny Boy & Dewdrop Girl vers into juvenile fanservice. Hinata accidentally sees up Shigure’s dress. He then trips and falls, resulting in his head being up her skirt. The following morning Hinata arrives and greets Shigure, but his pants zipper is open. I have had similar experiences as a child, particularly the zipper thing. However, this scene made me roll my eyes. Regardless, the friendship between Shigure and Hinata continues to grow. Later, Hinata learns that Shigure will move.

Hinata surrounded by imaginary birds

Sonny Boy & Dewdrop Girl’s animated run

Hinata is understandably upset. Running out of time to she Shigure off, Hinata springs into action. He begins to run at near superpowered speeds. It’s not enough to reach Shigure in time. Hinata sees her as she’s on a train. At this point, Studio Colorido Co. animation takes flight (pun intended). Hinata envisions his artwork of him and Shigure riding on a swan. The swan comes to life, erupting from the page. It shoots off into the sky with such force that it destroys the birdcage, ripping through the sky. The cloudy sky turns bright, as Hinata mounts the swan.

It’s a beautifully rendered scene, even though it’s largely a figment of Hinata’s imagination. When Hinata finally catches Shigure he gives her another drawing and wishes her “Good Luck”. Sonny Boy & Dewdrop Girl is a sweet story, with magnificent animation. I could do without the accidental pervert moment, but it’s an imaginative short. 

If you want to learn more about Studio Colorido, check out Sagukabooru.

Made in Abyss: Dawn of the Deep Soul, Recap and Review

Made in Abyss: Dawn of the Deep

Made in Abyss Movie 3: Dawn of the Deep Soul is the third movie, following the two recap movies. Dawn of the Deep Soul focuses on the Ido Front Arc, which covers chapters 27 – 38 of the manga. Made in Abyss Movie 3: Dawn of the Deep Soul opens with Reg, Riko, and Nanachi exploring the “Garden of the Flowers of Fortitude”. Reg and Nanachi hear the screams of some Delvers. When Reg goes to investigate they encounter an Umbra Hand. The man explains that he caused the scream and returns the Blaze Reap to Reg. Made in Abyss quickly gets into the dark tone it’s known for when Riko notices an insect that resembles a leaf. The “Amaranthine Deceptors” disguise themselves as Flowers of Fortitude, they attack any organisms and lay their larvae inside.

Made in Abyss illustrates this with the semi-living corpses of delvers. The Deceptors feed themselves to these corpses so they may survive longer. These corpses reflexively scream and repeat the word “who”. It’s a gruesome scene that reminds you of how unforgiven nature can be. As the Umbra Hand begins to burn the deceptors and the delvers, Reg accepts that he can’t do anything to help and returns to Riko and Nanachi. The Umbra Hand tells him that the “Sovereign of Dawn” awaits. 

Bondrewd, welcoming Nanachi, Reg, and Riko in Made in Abyss: Dawn of the Deep Soul.
Bondrewd, welcoming Nanachi, Reg, and Riko.

The Fifth Layer, the Crossing Sea

Nanachi explains the location of Ido Front, the “final point you can return from while remaining human”. Inside is the “Last Dive” where the Sixth Layer can be accessed. She anticipates conflict with Bondrewd. As they approach the Ido Front, they’re spied on by a mysterious young figure. She turns out to be the “daughter” of Bondrewd, Prushka. As they introduce themselves, Bondrewd arrives with several Umbra Hands. He is weirdly polite, telling Nanachi that her “hat suits her” and congratulates her for “releasing” Mitty. Sensing Reg is going to erupt with rage, Nanachi quickly asks Bondrewd to let them pass. He’s willing, but they need a white whistle to activate the Altar. Such a whistle can only be activated by the original owner, so Riko’s mother’s whistle won’t work. While in the room Bondrewd prepared for them, Nanachi and Reg realize that Reg has a limit on the number times he can use the incinerator. 

Nanachi and Bondrewd

Restless, Nanachi leaves the room in the middle of the night. She encounters Bondrewd on the way. He tells her that he’s glad she returned and they have much to talk about. When Riko wakes up she’s alone. Panicked, she rushes to find her friends only to discover that she been locked in. She attempts to climb the forbidden steps that climb through the curse and is overcome. Prushka saves her and with the help of her pet Meinya, she escorts Riko through. By inhaling Meinya’s scent, Riko is able to visualize the trail with her eyes closed. Meanwhile, Bondrewd asks Nanachi to work for him again. She agrees only if he doesn’t harm, Reg or Riko, and permits them to reach the Sixth Layer. Unfortunately, Bondrewd has already taken Reg. His men have Reg strapped to a chair naked. They sever his arm off resulting in blood gushing, have a tube attached to his penis to collect urine, and subject him to pain to test his receptors.

The Umbra Hands

Before they can cut open his stomach to see inside, Nanachi arrives to save him. The Umbra Hand’s surround her, but Prushka orders them to stop. With her help, they escape on a boat. However, Bondrewd follows their footsteps. He offers to repair Reg, but Nanachi, Reg, and Riko spring a trap. Using the ax, Riko begins setting off explosions. As Reg and Nanachi escape, a nest of violent insects called the Kasshou-Gashira (Stingerhead), eviscerate Bondrewd’s Umbra Hands. They don’t harm Bondrewd as he has his weapon the Sparagmos. Unphased, he applauds Nanachi’s efforts. Riko, Reg, and Nanachi spring into action. Reg attacks with a bomb. When that fails Riko shoots him in the side with an arrow that releases some Amaranthine Deceptor larvae into his body. Then Reg unleashes a barrage on him, knocking him into the water, and finally exposing him to the Sixth layer. Finally, he crushes him with a bolder. 

Bondrewd, Prushka, and the blessing

Despite all this, Bondrewd survives. He knocks out Reg with his tail and shoots Riko with “shaker needles” that only “slightly turns viscera”. Bondrewd reveals that each Umbra Hand is another version of himself. He tells Nanachi that she received what he calls the blessing. The key to this is “love”. He leaves Nanachi devastated. Later, he is shown experimenting with Prushka. Riko wakes up, recalling an artifact called Zoaholic that allows you to “plant yourself within another person”, but you may go insane. They plan on blowing up the Zoaholic. Reg heads to absorb the power plant’s energy reserves, causing a blackout. Elsewhere, Bondrewd discovers Nanachi and Riko again. During their discussion, he tells them that the substance necessary to create a white whistle is a human being. Riko actually deduces that Bondrewd used his original human body to create his white whistle. 

Riko fighting against Bondrewd

Reg attacks Bondrewd, who wishes to test his power. However, Nanachi interrupts the fight, and Reg returns to normal. During the second part of the fight, Bondrewd reveals that he turned Prushka into a cartridge, curse repellent created from humans remains. We get a flashback from Prushka’s early life. She was caught in an accident while traveling through the fifth layer. Subjected to tremendous pain, she is saved by Black Whistle Gueira. However, all attempts to help her failed, leaving Bondrewd to save her. He gave her the name Prushka, the creature Meinastoirim (Meinya), and her mind back. Bondrewd is defeat, for now, having many other bodies. Riko cries while holding the cartridge of Prushka’s remains. The cartilage turns into stone, becoming the Riko’s white whistle. 

A movie for the fans

Made in Abyss Movie 3: Dawn of the Deep Soul is everything that one would expect from the series. All the hallmarks are there. The stunning animation, lush environments, the horrifying creatures, and creative lore. Made in Abyss is still full of body horror, that can shock, but never seems overdone. This movie played with my emotions, much like the main series. I was always on edge afraid of what would happen. Made in Abyss still has it’s creep sexual aspects. Prushka is a child but her breast are large. The weird penis contraption Reg was in during his torture and Riko’s explanation of Reg’s penis and what an erection is. This results in Prushka creepily saying “you mean like Papa’s rod”. I don’t know what she actually referring to but it definitely sounds like she has seen Bondrewd naked. 

Speaking of Bondrewd, he’s a fascinating villain. Manga and anime are full of horrible villains, but Bondrewd feels different. No matter how much the heroes destroy his lab or harm him he never gets mad. The always calm and weirdly cheerful. This is in contrast with how violently he fights. Bondrewd is a character that you both look forward to seeing but regret it later. The main trio remains the same dynamic from the anime series. Nanachi is the stoic, highly intelligent, and cute victim of Bondrewd’s cruelty. Reg is still brave, tough, and really shows how he can handle himself in a fight. Riko can come across as the weak link, often having to be rescued and protected. However, she ultimately proves her worth. Riko has knowledge Made in Abyss: Dawn of the Deep Soul requires you to have watched or read the manga to understand. Overall, if you love the series this movie has everything that makes Made in Abyss so great. 


Anime Movie Review: Little Witch Academia: The Enchanted Parade

Dragon Ball Z Movie: Lord Slug

Dragon Ball Z: Lord Slug promotion images

Dragon Ball Z: Lord Slug opens where most Dragon Ball movies do, with Piccolo meditating in front of some natural environment. This time its a waterfall. At this point it clear that Dragon Ball movies follow a template. Open with Piccolo, enter the villain set on finding the dragon ball’s, he gets his wish, then the Z fighters get defeated (especially Krillin), and Goku battles the main villain. That said, Lord Slug makes some alterations to the model. When Lord Slug gets his wish he doesn’t seek immortality, but eternal youth. Thus he returns to when he was the strongest. 

Dragon Ball movies always have continuity problems, Lord Slug is no different. During the battle between Goku and Lord Slug, he goes into a form of Super Saiyan. According to the timeline, Goku became Super Saiyan in chapter 317 of the manga, which came out ten days later. In the film, the Super Saiyan form doesn’t have the gold/yellow hair and green eyes. Fans considered this form to be a “False Super Saiyan”. Regardless, it’s clear that Goku wasn’t meant to be a Super Saiyan at least officially. One difference in this film is Goku isn’t the primary reason Lord Slug is defeated, Piccolo is the more responsible. 

Namekians take center stage

The Namekian physiology takes center stage in this movie. Generally, Dragon Ball only really cares about the Saiyans. What sets Dragon Ball Z: Lord Slug apart is that it centers more on Namekians. Lord Slug is a “Super Namekian” that gained this power by “unlocking a higher consciousness within”. Having become intoxicated by their power they were banished by other Namekians with the dragon balls. Piccolo eventually becomes on as well, however, he does so by fusing with other Namekians. In Lord Slug, Piccolo exposes an auditory weakness that Nameks have. High-pitched sounds, particularly whistling, is extremely painful. Lord Slug becoming a giant making his ears even larger, he then becomes incapacitated by Gohan’s whistling. Goku delivers the final blow with a spirit bomb powered by the sun. 

Dragon Ball Z: Lord Slug is in many ways predictable. However, the movie does add some new twists, even if they’re minimal. Despite the cliche elements of the movie, the film is enjoyable. The animation is fluid and consistent. Other than some Namekian lore, you won’t find If you enjoyed the previous movies, Dragon Ball Z: Lord Slug is the film for you. 

Dragon Ball Z: The Tree of Might, Recap, and Review

Anime Movie Review: Little Witch Academia: The Enchanted Parade

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Little Witch Academia: The Enchanted Parade is the Kickstarter-funded sequel to the acclaimed “Little Witch Academia”, released in 2013. This sequel has proven to be a worthy heir to its predecessor. The story continues to follow the story from the previous movie. Akko Kagari, the nerdy Lotte Yanson and the gothic Sucy Manbavaran, continue their magical education at Luna Nova Magical Academy and appear to be performing inadequately.

They create a monstrosity out of “brownie and a poisonous mushroom”, poisoning their classmates. They are punished (again) for their poor behavior and are tasked with organizing this year’s “Witch Festival”. Joined by thief Amanda O’Neill, Constanze Braunschweig Albrechtsberger manufacturer and seller of illegal high-tech devices and Jasminka Antonenko food thief.

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Akko takes Charge

Akko decides that she will take charge and change the narrative of the tradition festival, showing witches in a positive light. She shows that she is immature and self-centered. She ignores the opinions of her friends and alienates them in the process. Feel down and out after a series of setbacks Akko becomes inspired by her idol Chariot. She heads to the library and begins to study magic in preparation of the festival. Akko invites her friends to join her, she along with Amanda use a rod to steal some magic for the festival.

During the festival, things start off well. However, several of the towns boys harass them and steal their magical rod. The stolen rod’s magic awakens a sleeping giant that attacks the townspeople. Ursula, the teacher of Akko uses her magic to distract the townspeople and include the attack into the festival itself. Together the witches come together to subdue the giant and improve the perception of the Witches.

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Predictable but well done

Overall, Little Witch Academia: The Enchanted Parade takes what made the previous movie in the series so exceptional, and expands on the world and the characters. Studio Trigger continues to impress with their animation style that made other series like Kill La Kill, Gurren Lagann and Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt stand out Anime. The fluid nature of the animation with the muted color gives a lively feel. The series alludes to the “history” of witches being persecuted.

I think it should have expanded on this aspect of the universe, instead it was glossing over it. Finally, the rules of magic haven’t been explained. The series doesn’t leave the viewer completely ignorant of the magic system, but adding more depth would have been appreciated. While the story was predictable and the characters were formulaic, LWA remains a standard for good anime.

Little Witch Academia Episode 1 Review


Dragon Ball Z Dead Zone Review

The first Dragon Ball Z movie

Garlic Jr. returns for revenge

Piccolo and Goku prepared to fight Garlic Jr. in Dragon Ball Z Dead Zone.
Piccolo and Goku prepared to fight Garlic Jr.

Dragon Ball Z Dead Zone opens with Piccolo training in the wastelands. He’s ambushed by Garlic Jr and his men, Ginger, Nicky and Sansho. Their goal is to kill Kami by killing Piccolo since their connected. However, Kami is merely weaken, meaning they failed to kill Piccolo. Later Gohan is studying when his grandfather (Ox-King) arrives with presents. Suddenly, Ox-King is attacked by Ginger. He collapses. Chi Chi tries and fails to protect Gohan, who’s kidnapped for his dragon ball. Goku sensing something is going wrong, rushes home but is to late. Chi Chi tells him what happened to Gohan. With 5 dragon balls in his possession, Garlic Jr reveals that he hopes to wish for immortality and “plunge all living creatures under misery and despair.”

Goku comes to rescue Gohan

Goku uses the Dragon Radar to locate Gohan. Garlic Jr’s henchmen final the last two dragon balls and he summons Shenron. Now blessed with immortality, Garlic Jr. plans to punish humanity and rule over Earth. Goku and Kami arrive to stop Garlic Jr. and rescue Gohan. Kami explains that Garlic Jr’s father was passed over for the position of Guardian of Earth. However, the evil intentions of his father was his undoing. He rebelled against the previous Kami, but was sealed away. Anxious to find Gohan, Goku rushes past Garlic Jr. Ginger, Nicky and Sansho give chase. To confront Goku the three power up, increasing their size and strength. Overwhelmed by the three, Goku is aided by Krillin. At the same time Piccolo arrives to get his revenge against Garlic Jr’s henchmen.

Gohan’s rage

While Krillin takes care of Gohan, Piccolo defeats Sansho and Goku kills Ginger and Nicky with a Kamehameha. Now only the immortal Garlic Jr. remains. He battles Goku and Piccolo together after transforming into a more powerful form. Goku and Piccolo have no choice but to work together. The “defeat” Garlic Jr. but he can no longer die. He opens a portal to the Dead Zone. Gohan awakens, enraged he overpowers Garlic Jr. knocking him into the Dead Zone. Dragon Ball Z Dead Zone is dated but the animation still holds up. That is all that really does however. The plot is uninspired and while there are always plot holes, I noticed several. Maybe, it just because I’m older and it’s easier to spot, but a lot of the conflict could be avoided if Gohan had just given Garlic Jr. his hat.

Plot holes and traditional martial arts

Obviously, Garlic Jr. still would need to have been stopped, but Gohan didn’t need to be kidnapped. Actually, if Gohan wasn’t kidnapped Garlic Jr. would have succeeded. Garlic Jr. wanted to kill Kami through Piccolo but if they had succeed the dragon balls would have disappeared. Krillin apparently took his sweet time leaving with Gohan, it seemed like there was enough time for him to leave. The fight between Goku, Piccolo and Garlic Jr. is just like the fight between Goku, Piccolo and Raditz. I did like the action that centered more on the martial arts than simply power ups. Goku had to be more clever in battle, even using his famous Power Pole. I loved when the non-saiyan characters, like Piccolo mattered in battle. Overall, Dragon Ball Z Dead Zone is entertaining, but largely mediocre.

I will be reviewing all the Dragon Ball Z Movies in order. Having not seen them in years, I think that I would have a different perspective. Have you seen Dragon Ball Z Dead Zone? Did you like it? What series or movie would you want to re-watch with fresh eyes?

Anime Movie Review: Kimi no na wa

Anime Movie Review: Kimi no na wa, one of the best Anime Movies

Taki Tachibana and Mitsuha Miyamizu from kimi no na wa.
Taki Tachibana and Mitsuha Miyamizu

Your Name (Kimi no Na wa) is a romantic drama, released in 2016. It became the highest grossing film in Japan that year ($190 million) and the second highest grossing anime film of all time ($361 million). The film has received critical acclaim, earning 97% on Rotten Tomatoes and 79 out of 100 on Metacritic. Your Name is from the director Makoto Shinkai, who created Distant Star and 5 Centimeters Per Second. It’s based on the novel of the same name, it premiered during the Anime Expo 2016 convention on July 3, 2016. Your Name was animated by CoMix Wave Films and distributed by Toho.

The story centers on a high school girl named Mitsuha Miyamizu who wishes to be a handsome Tokyo boy in another life. A boy named Taki Tachibana, wakes up and realizes that he is now Mitsuha. Taki and Mitsuha switch bodies, they communicate through leaving paper notes and memos in their phones. They begin to interfere in each others lives, Mitsuha helps Taki being a relationship with a coworker, Miki Okudera. Taki increases Mitsuha’s popularity in high school. Suddenly, Taki and Mitsuha return to their previous bodies. Taki begins searching for Mitsuha, without having the name of her village, he uses sketches that he created by memory.

The comet

He is finally told by a restaurant server that he’s looking for Itomori. However, he is informed that a fragment of comet fell to earth three years ago, killing a third of Itomori population. Taki searches through the names of fatalities and sees Mitsuha name listed. He realizes that Mitsuha existed on the completely different timeline. Taki drinks an offering that Mitsuha leaves behind and returns to her body. He attempts to save the town, managing to convince her friends to help her evacuate the town. Eventually, they finally meet, Taki tells Mitsuha to convince her father to evacuate the town. Their memories begin to fade and Mitsuha begins to give up on Taki.

However, after inspiration from Taki’s “I love you,” she begs her father to evacuate the town a second time. The comet crashes into Itomori, destroying the town. It is revealed eight years later that Mitsuha succeeded in convincing her father to evacuate the town. Both Taki and Mitsuha forget each other. Taki moves on, living his life, he graduates from university. However, he does have a fondness for items from Itomori. Finally, while riding on parallel trains they see each other and finally ask each other their names.

I generally don’t gravitate towards anime outside of the typical Shonen genre, however, the critically acclaim of this movie made me curious. I’ll admit that I really liked this movie. I cared about Taki and Mitsuha, their relationship and was sad when I found out she had initially died. Even with it’s heartbreak, Kimi no Na wa does have some humor. The tendency of Taki to fondle Mitsuha’s breast when inhabiting her body, while juvenile, was still funny. Finally, the animation is some of the best you will ever see. Even if your not a fan of romance (like me), any anime fan will enjoy this movie.

Read my review of Steamboy.

The Dragon Dentist Film Review

The massive dragon

From the creator of Evangelion, Hideaki Anno, The Dragon Dentist is an odd anime at first. Released in 2017, Dragon Dentists story takes place in Dragon Country. The main character is Nonoko, a new dentist, who’s job it is to protect the dragon from tooth cavity. She’s tasks with entering the jaws of the dragon keeping them clean from plaque and decay. Dragon Dentist is a retelling of World War 2. Japan uses dragons to support their troops. These gargantuan Dragons have one weakness, their teeth.

Bell and Nonoko

Nonoko finds a young boy from an enemy country named Bell, that appears to have been resurrected by the Dragon. Together they battle against the bacteria. There’s clearly a divide between the Military and the Dentist. They come into conflict many times in this movie. The first thing you notice about the Dragon Dentist is it’s animation. I was originally, drawn to the film when I saw some clips on a YouTube video. With former animators from Gainax and creators from FLCL, Tsurumaki Kazuya and Enokido Youji, The Dragon Dentist is well done.

The Wisdom tooth. LOL. Get it.

While it excels at animation it lags in story. The Dragon Dentist has a more significant story to tell than clean the teeth of Dragons. For example, when someone dies they go into an afterlife that is on the “other side of the teeth.” The higher message was lost on me. It may not be an issue with the story telling but my comprehension of the message. Furthermore, the existence of dragons isn’t explained. In addition to that a character named Salvatore Bianco is somehow immortal? He can’t be killed by weapons, it’s never explained why. Regardless, even with all it faults I like this anime, I think you will too.

Steamboy Movie Review

Steamboy is the second film from the legendary manga artist and director, Katsuhiro Otomo. Known for the classic anime and manga series, Akira. As a result, Steamboy was always going to be held to a very high standard. Steamboy is a 2004 anime film produced by Sunrise, written and directed by Katsuhiro Otomo. The film took a decade to produce and is one of the most expensive Japanese movies ever.

The movie is set in an alternate nineteenth century Europe. Scientist Lloyd Steam and his son have discovered a pure mineral water in Iceland. This water is believed to be a potential unlimited power source for steam engines. While experimenting, Edward is engulfed by freezing gases, as the pipes burst. Ray Steam the son of Edward receives a package from his grandfather. It’s a metallic ball, along with instructions telling him to guard the ball. Two members from the “O’Hara Foundation” try to steal the ball.

Ray escapes with the ball on his monowheel invention, a one-wheeled single-track vehicle similar to a unicycle. However, he’s eventually captured. Ray has dinner with Scarlett O’Hara, the granddaughter of the foundation’s head, Archibald Simon the companies administrator and his father Edward that has been given mechanical parts after his accident. Ray is asked to help complete the “Steam Castle,” a facility that is powered by three steam balls.

Lloyd later informs Ray that the foundation intends to use the new technology to manufacture weapons. Ray escapes with a ball again and this time manages to give it to Robert Stephenson, who then uses it to power his tanks. The steam castle becomes mobile and then goes off course. The castle then becomes unstable and is about to explode near the city. Lloyd, Ray and Edward manage to divert it away from the civilians. The ending shows that Ray becomes a superhero named Steamboy.

This movie was boring. The action was repetitive, Ray steals a steam ball THREE times and his grandfather gets arrested and escapes twice. It was predictable, everyone lives. The concept that a evil corporation uses science to make a profit while making the world worst off is a common narrative. The only thing that’s great about this movie is it’s spectacular animation. The CGI and animation work well together and Otomo hard work paid off resulting in amazing detail. However, it doesn’t save the movie.

Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos Review

Fullmetal Alchemist – The Sacred Star of Milos is an animated move adapted from the manga and the “second anime movie“ from the Full Metal Alchemist series. It’s based after the evens of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. Basically the Elric brothers find themselves in conundrum. After they have a brief altercation with an escaped convict named Melvin Voyager. Capable of using ice and lightning from alchemy from circles drawn from blood from his hand, they learn from Roy Mustang that Voyager escaped with only six months remaining on his sentence.

They decided to head towards Table City to investigate further. While on the train the brothers are further accosted by a Chimera and a terrorist group called Black Bats. The brothers meet Julia Crichton, a 16-year-old girl that was arrested, then rescued by Melvin and the Black Bats. Confusion ensues, Julia turns out to be a Milosian in search of a way to save her people. The power she seeks is the “Sanguine Star”, Ed and Al quickly realize that she’s referring to a philosopher stone. Set on preventing blood shed that will likely result, they decided to help.

Overall, I loved the movie, the story itself while enjoyable wasn’t particularly interesting. Most of these anime movies are not really meant to be anything more that a fun outing for familiar characters to fight new villains you’ll never see again. The animation was without a doubt is spectacular, and with connection to thrilling action sequences is really what makes the movie shine. If there’s any downside to this movie is the fact that popular characters like Col. Mustang, Hawkeye and Armstrong were absent for most of the film even though they do appear briefly in the movie. Fullmetal Alchemist: Sacred Star of Milos can be skipped. It’s fun enough to anyone that loves anime, but not really essential viewing for fans of the series.

Director Kazuya Murata, Script Yuichi Shinpo, Running Time 1h 50m Box Office $7,579,282, Screenplay Yuichi Shinbo, Cinematography Yoshiyuki Takei


Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos (Blu-ray/DVD Combo)