Barakamon (2014)

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Barakamon is a late addition to the CrunchyRoll library, but one that was well worth waiting for.

Seishuu Handa is an up and coming calligrapher in Tokyo when a major faux-pas results in his exile to a remote island. Once there his growing connections to the locals, including the little girl Naru who is always bugging[1] him, become his muse and inspire him to new greatness as an artist. Continue reading

Your Name (2016) with some spoilers.

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The emotional response that I should have had to Your Name (aka Kimi no Na wa) lies in the gap between the knowledge of a Zeitgeist and the lived experience of it.

Your Name is probably Makoto Shinkai’s best film yet. That it’s visually spectacular goes without saying: if you’re going to see Your Name, see it on the big screen. Don’t settle for anything else.

It’s also one of the best scripted pieces Shinkai has put to film. Overall, cinematically in terms of story, sound, characterisation, and the other technical elements that go towards an excellent anime film, Your Name is simply superb.

But… Continue reading

Farewell Jack (1929 – 2016)

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My uncle Jack Jorgensen (1929-2016) was one of the formative figures of my youth. He was one of the men who taught me to think, who always challenged me mentally to be more.

Jack was the man who nurtured many of my initial interests in IT. That’s no small thing when you consider that I’ve been earning a living for over twenty years now as, essentially, a thinker.

In his later years Jack researched a lot of the family tree, and was always good for a fascinating story or three, the sorts of things in any family that add spice and flavour to the names and the dates.

He passed away this week and I’ll miss him, I’ll miss his stories, and I’ll miss how he always challenged everyone in the family to be more.

Farewell Jack, and godspeed.

Wild Mass Guessing: Chihayafuru Part 3 (2017?)

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The Japanese Film Festival's Poster for Chihayafuru

The Japanese Film Festival’s Poster for Chihayafuru

With Chihayafuru part 3 set to commence filming in 2017, I had some thoughts on possible themes/directions for the plot.

NB: this is a phone post so I don’t lose immediate thoughts, and I may come back to it later to clean it up and add links (and a cut)

NB2: MAJOR spoilers for the movies ahead. Stop now if that’s a problem. Continue reading

Chihayafuru 2 (2013): With Spoilers.

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Chihayafuru season 2 isn’t as strong as season 1, but does still leave me hoping for an eventual season 3.

Alas, and despite[1] the recent live-action movies[2], there’s no sign of that as yet.

Copious spoilers ahead, and I’m more or less assuming that you’re familiar with the premise and characters from season 1 (which I also spoil by way of comparison). Continue reading

Chihayafuru Part 2 (2016) with Spoilers

The Japanese Film Festival's Poster for Chihayafuru

The Japanese Film Festival’s Poster for Chihayafuru

Chihayafuru part 2 is probably not as strong a film as part 1, but is still definitely worth seeing. It is also the film where Chihaya gets her emotional arc. That arc is highly satisfying, but involves substantial compression of material covered in the anime, as well as a significant change in focus.

These are necessary changes due to the time constraints of fitting within movie length, but may be disconcerting to fans of the Chihayafuru franchise, especially fans of the manga[1]. Continue reading

Chihayafuru Part 1 (2016) with Spoilers

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Chihayafuru part 1 is a film that leaves you wanting more. Much more. Fortunately I’ll be able to see part 2 tomorrow at the Japanese Film Festival. There are significant spoilers ahead for both the movie and season 1 of the Chihayafuru anime.

If that’s a problem, the TL;DR is that the Chihayafuru movie is astonishing, and you should go see it when you get the chance. If that’s not a problem, read on.   Continue reading

Space Cowboys (2000) with Major Spoilers of TEH STUPID.

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For all that I enjoyed Space Cowboys, and will probably watch it again, oh dear lord there’s a whole lot of stupid in the set up.

The Stupid isn’t the Premise. Mostly.

I’m not even talking about the core conceit, which is sending antiquated experts up into space to fix antiquated technology. That I can live with, after all John Glenn successfully rode the shuttle when he was 77, and the rest of the core conceit is Artistic License. If you’re not prepared to deal with that on its own terms, why watch Space Cowboys at all? Continue reading

Gravity (2013) with Spoilers

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Gravity is an effective film on an emotional level, with a superb performance by Sandra Bullock, but one that failed to suspend my disbelief on a technical level.

Despite the effectiveness of the emotional arc of the film, I was to some extent snickering at it inside. Continue reading

3rd Quarter Review for 2016

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Is it that time already? I’m probably no more than a couple of weeks from having to dust off the BAH! HUMBUG! post. Anyway, here’s the top 5 posts for the quarter:

  1. Say “I Love You” (2012): Final Thoughts with Spoilers (December 2014)
  2. Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash (2016): First Thoughts with Major Spoilers (January 2016)
  3. The latest anime to flee screaming from: Walkure Romanze (June 2013)
  4. In which @colonydrop and Wil Wheaton (@wilw) make my day (December 2015)
  5. The Additional Words I See in #BlackLivesMatter. You Should See Them Too. (September 2016)

Continue reading