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.

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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)

The Seven Deadly Sins the Movie: Prisoners of the Sky Review

  • Streamed on: Netflix
  • Directed by: Noriyuki Abe (Chief)/Yasuto Nishikata
  • Distributed by: Toei Animation
  • Story by: Nakaba Suzuki

The film opens with the Seven Deadly Sins seeking rare ingredients for the celebration of the King’s birthday. Only, Meliodas fails to collect his ingredient the sky fish. He and the pig Hawk end up in the land in the sky. He’s mistaken for Sorada, the winged son of a warrior leader Zoria. The real Sorada, a celestial is mistaken for Meliodas by the Seven Deadly Sins. That doesn’t remain true for long as his wings give him away.

It is revealed that the seal that has trapped the Demon Clan for 3000 years is about to disappear. The great “Oshiro-sama” which is a pig-like deity that Hawk is mistaken for is the key to stopping them. Sorada declines the offer from the Seven Deadly Sins to help him find Oshiro-sama. He flies away and is attacked by a puppet of Gara of the Six Black Knights. She evaporates the spring preventing the Seven Deadly Sins and Sorada from returning to the Sky Temple through it.

The second black Knight revealed, Dahaka attacks the Sky Kingdom consuming the souls of many celestial soldiers. Meliodas faces off against him and effortless defeats him. However, Hawk is given all the credit for the victory. Somehow Master Zoria is still under the impression that Meliodas is his son, after being told he’s not several times. As the celestial’s begin their ceremony the demon clan is released. Personally, I think the character designs of the black knights are terrible.

Regardless, Meliodas faces off against the leader Bellion. While Hawk kinda fights Derocchio in a rather funny encounter. The rest of the Seven Deadly Sins arrive and split off to fight the Six Black Knights. Ban battles Pump, Merlin faces off against Derocchio, King and Gowther fight Atollah. The battles are where the movies is at it’s best. The animation during these action scenes are impressive. All the battles are well done and the main strength of this movie. The plot isn’t really complicated and largely just a set up for the battle between the Seven Deadly Sins and Six Black Knights. Basically if you seen any shonen anime movie, you would be able to predict this one.

Overall, The Seven Deadly Sins: Prisoners of the Sky is a generic shonen anime movie. It won’t reinvent the wheel, but it doesn’t need to. A predictable story doesn’t undercut the phenomenal action sequences or humor. The film is fun and any fan of shonen anime or manga would enjoy it. The villains are forgettable, being reduced largely to cannon fodder. However, you could skip to the action portion and not miss too much.