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Judge Joel Pearce's Blog

Judge Joel Pearce • Location: Waterloo, ON Canada
• Member since: March 2004
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Some Japanese film thoughts
May 20th, 2005 8:28PM

I promised a blog entry when I had finished Appleseed again. I trash talked it a lot before it came out on DVD. I had the opportunity to see it last fall at a local anime festival, and I came away disappointed. It looked nice on the most part, and had some great moments, but I came away with a bad taste in my mouth.

After a lot of positive reports in the jury room, I wanted to give it another try. I hunted down the DVD, which wasn't easy, and now I do have to backpedal a bit. It looks even better on a digital medium, and this is one of the nicest looking and sounding anime DVDs ever. I like the CGI cel animation, except in the human characters. Any frame paused looks fantastic, but when it moves everything looks plastic and shiny. There are some Barbie films out now if I were to want to see them, and I just don't feel right about the baby oil look.

I enjoyed the story a lot more this time, and I'm not sure why. Maybe my expectations were just lower. This film does have a serious problem, that is shared by most anime films based on Manga series. They are simply too condensed. We have to hit the plot points so quickly in these films that there's so rarely a chance to get caught up, so rarely a chance to build characters or escape the ridiculous jargon (bioroids?) and plot twists (the twisted web of conspiracies).

Still, it was a lot better this time around.

I also saw Casshern this week, and I'm glad I did. It makes sense most of the time, but I don't really mind when it doesn't. More than anything else I've seen, this is a story told through visuals and patterns and imagery. The action sequences are inventive and fun, the CGI is incredible, and it never apologizes for being over-the-top, melodramatic and more than a little cheesy. I wish I had seen this in theaters.

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