Origin: Spirits of the Past aka Gin-iro no kami no Aigot (2006) – 6/10 science fiction fantasy anime movie review

Cast / crew
Director: Keiichi Sugiyama

Origin: Spirits of the Past aka Gin-iro no kami no Agito (2006)

After the Earth is devastated by a cataclysm on the Moon, the survivors struggle to survive as, not only has everything been destroyed, but the forest has become malevolent. Some keep a fragile peace with the forest while others tackle the problem with munitions. Into this world, Toola, a girl from the old world is about to awaken from her StayField-induced sleep and unlock the key to restoring the former balance between men and the forest.


Getting off to a spectacular start over the opening credits as the Moon fractures and devastates Earth, Origin doesn’t build on this but keeps itself just out of reach of the audience. The villains motivation seems entirely just (they are trying to restore balance to nature) and a late attempted misuse of power seems inexplicably unnecessary. The climax also features a volcano which has had feet fitted so it can be moved. As a plot point, it doesn’t work. Presentation, however, is another story. The stunning opening sequence has already been mentioned but the entire production is a class act visually and sonically.

This movie contains violence.

Classified 12 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 12 years and over.

Trigun: Badlands Rumble (2010, Action Comedy) – 8/10 anime movie review

Cast / crew
Director: Satoshi Nishimura
Writer (Original Manga): Yasuhiro Nightow
Writer (Story): Yasuhiro Nightow
Writer (Story): Satoshi Nishimura
Writer (Screenplay): Yasuko Kobayashi
Shou Hayami: Wolfwood
Tsutomu Isobe: Gasback
Masaya Onosaka: Vash the Stampede
Maaya Sakamoto: Amelia
Hiromi Tsuru: Meryl
Satsuki Yukino: Milly

Trigun: Badlands Rumble (2010)

Twenty years after saving legendary robber Gasback’s life, Vash the Stampede returns to the town where the somewhat questionable event took place and where Gasback is intending to gain revenge against a treacherous henchman turned highly successful businessman. The businessman, Cain, has set up a massive $$300,000,000 bounty on Gasback’s head but among the bounty hunters that stream into the town is Amelia, a beautiful young woman who seems to have a more personal beef with Gasback.


Vash the Stampede is one of Japanese animations most brilliant creations: an apparent buffoonish mega-outlaw ($$60,000,000,000 bounty) who is a self-effacing mega-hero completely committed to not killing anyone (good or bad) or letting anyone else kill. If you’ve got the tone of the character (he can take some acclimatising), it’s wonderful stuff and a lot of fun. His buffoonery is jolly, his awesomeness is awesome. Mad House once again spectacularly present his antics, delivering a deceptive plot very well and making sure it’s as stylish and impressive as can be from the opening robbery of world history’s most protected bank vault through to SPOILER Vash making his hero’s entrance for the climax.

This movie contains sexual swear words and strong melee violence, graphic gun violence.


Appleseed: Ex Machina aka Ekusu makina (2007, Science Fiction Mecha CG Anime) – 6/10 movie review

Cast / crew
Producer: John Woo
Writer (Original Comic Book): Masamune Shirow
Producer: Terence Chang
Producer: Hidenori Ueki
Producer: Naoko Watanabe
Producer: Joseph Chou
Writer (Screenplay): Kiyoto Takeuchi
Producer CG: Yusaku Toyoshima
Director CG: Yasuhiro Ohtsuka
Director CG: Yasushi Kawamura
Director: Shinji Aramaki
Luci Christian: English: Deunan
David Matranga: English: Briareos
Illich Guardiola: English: Tereus
Ai Kobayashi: Japanese: Deunan
Koichi Yamadera: Japanese: Briareos
Yuuji Kishi: Japanese: Tereus
Toyoe Sekita: Motion Capture: Deunan
Moki Ogawa: Motion Capture: Briareos
Yoshiyuki Kamata: Motion Capture: Tereus

Appleseed: Ex Machina aka Ekusu makina (2007)

A.D. 2133: as the Bioroid-run Olympus (a utopian city governed by humanoid cyborg’s with troublesome emotions like anger and fear removed) invites the rest of the world to join with its satellite network to usher in an era of global peace, something or someone has plans of their own and is mind-controlling cyborgs to get it.


Once again, as with Appleseed (CG), the strongest scene opens the movie with a notably cool action sequence inside a cathedral sprinkled with neat ideas. The remainder doesn’t make much sense but at least you do know what the heroes are doing and the technical concepts come across clearly. The problem is that the baddie’s plans make no sense at all (SPOILER especially the shooting himself in the head and dying bit) but, as I say, you do know what everyone is doing so you can easily follow events. Technically, this is brilliantly designed (Deunan’s two Prada-designed outfits are impressively eye-catching) and has a lovely look that keeps itself out of the uncanny valley by having a very simple colour style, especially for character faces.

This movie contains a single sexual swear word, mild swear words and violence, brief graphic violence.

Classified 12 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 12 years and over.


Appleseed (2004, Science Fiction Mecha CG Anime) – 7/10 movie review

Cast / crew
Writer (Original Comic Book) Seishinsha: Masamune Shirow
Writer (Screenplay): Haruka Handa
Writer (Screenplay): Tsutomu Kamishiro
Producer: Hidenori Ueki
Producer: Naoko Watanabe
Producer CG: Yusaku Toyoshima
Director CG: Yasuhiro Ohtsuka
Producer: Fumihiko Sori
Director: Shinji Aramaki
Ai Kobayashi: Deunan
Jurota Kosugi: Briarios
Yuki Matsuoka: Hitomi
Mami Koyama: Athena
Asumi Miwa: Motion Actor: Deunan
Takao Miyashita: Motion Actor: Briareos
Tomomi Kato: Motion Actor: Hitomi
Kouko Furuta: Motion Actor: Athena
Ai Kobayashi: Facial Model: Deunan
Yuki Matsuoka: Facial Model: Hitomi
Kouko Furuta: Facial Model: Athena
Copyright Holder: Masamune Shirow

Appleseed (2004)


Yeah, but the last letter of the password? This cool, great-looking Japanese animation features an ambitious scenario and generally superlative animation (occasional facial animation is a little less than outstanding). The English dub is good. Where it does fall down is that the story doesn’t make much sense in how it gets from one scene to another and that the first outstanding action scene (produced and directed as a test before committing to the remaining 95 minutes) is the best of the movie.

This movie contains mild swear words, mild adult dialogue and some extreme violence, strong martial arts violence, gory and unpleasant scenes and mild nudity.

Classified 12A by BBFC. Persons under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult.


Azu Manga Daioh (2002, School Anime, TV) – 7/10 review

Writer Published in Japan by Media Works "Monthly Comic Dengeki Daioh": Kiyohiko Azuma
Series Supervisor: Ichiro Okouchi
Director: Nishikiori Hiroshi
Tomoko Kaneda: Chiyo Mihama
Yuki Matsuoka: Ayumu Kasuga
Chieko Higuchi: Tomo Takino
Rie Tanaka: Koyomi Mizuhara
Yu Asakawa: Sakaki
Houko Kuwashima: Kagura
Akiko Hiramatsu: Yukari Tanizaki
Aya Hisakawa: Minamo Kurosawa

Azu Manga Daioh (2002)

Six friends go through three years of high school together, each has different personalities, abilities, talents, hopes and dreams but the sharing their experiences will make the time so much sweeter.


Relentlessly positive and sweet high school comedy drama which … An assertion that school friends will be together forever is a reassuring lie kept in for the younger viewers but most of the remainder is recognisably human. There’s no mistrust, deception or conniving and don’t we all wish we could always think and see the best in others rather than focusing on their faults.

This series contains mild swear words, mild adult dialogue and mild ‘fan-service’, sexual references.

Classified 12 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 12 years and over.

Tetsuwan Birdy Decode aka Birdy the Mighty Decode (2008, TV, Anime) – 7/10 review

Writer: Masami Yuki
Director: Kazuki Akane

Tetsuwan Birdy Decode aka Birdy the Mighty: Decode (2008)

Birdy Cephon, an intergalactic police officer, finally catches up with her latest quarry after six months undercover as an idol (famous model) on Earth but her attempts to apprehend him result in a major change of plan.


Birdy the Mighty Decode is more intriguing, fun and boasts much better action than expected. Character designs and direction ensure that we are instantly familiar with each major character introduced without confusion. There is a story running through all thirteen episodes and though one (episode seven about a serial killer) feels like padding they are consistently engaging and manage to balance fun with intrigue and sinister goings-on. It all builds to the separation of Birdy and Tsutomu (which surprisingly happens before the last episode) and a battle against the series’ threat, Ryunka, which is resolved entirely fittingly.

This series contains mild swear words and extreme fantasy violence, unpleasant scenes, unpleasant monster scenes, graphic blade violence, silhouetted extreme graphic violence and mild fan-service, mild non-sexual nudity, sensuality.

Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040 (1998, Anime, TV) – 6/10 review

Director: Hiroki Hayashi
Writer (Screenplay): Chiaki Konaka
Writer (Screenplay): Sadayuki Murai
Production Designer: Shinji Aramaki
Character Design: Masaki Yamada
Original Design Hard Suit: Kenichi Sonoda
Production Designer Mechanical and Hard Suit: Shinji Aramaki
Christine Auten: English Voice Cast: Priss
Laura Chapman: English Voice Cast: Sylia
Kelly Manison: English Voice Cast: Linna
Hilary Haag: English Voice Cast: Nene
Yu Asakawa: Priss
Satsuki Yukino: Sylia
Rio Natsuki: Linna
Hiroko Konishi: Nene

Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040 (1998)

A Tokyo devastated by the earthquake has been rebuilt as MegaTokyo in record time thanks to amazing advances in boomer (robot) technology. However, such advances don’t come without a price and sometimes a boomer will go insane, twisting itself into a violent maelstrom of metal death. While the AD Police are the lawfully and commercially provided means of response a team of technologically-advanced vigilante boomer killers called Knight Sabers have exploded onto the scene, dealing rapidly with mad boomers, embarrassing and infuriating the AD Police at the same time.


Though this gets progressively weaker and more baffling as it goes on, it definitely earns itself an above average rating thanks to well-drawn characters that convincingly develop throughout the show both in themselves and their relationships with others. As well done as it is, oddly, it isn’t quite enough to make you care about the characters and so hanging their fate in the balance for the last few episodes is surprisingly uninvolving. Outside of the overall character arcs, episode seven Look at Yourself stood out as getting all the elements of the show (pretty girls, robots, intrigue and relationships) to gel but it was really the only one.

This series contains mild swear words and graphic violence, strong unpleasant scenes and full non-sexual nudity, sensuality.

Classified 12 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 12 years and over.