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Added by: Jitendar Canth
Added on: 15/1/2018 16:55
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    Anime Review Roundup

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    Another week and I get to review the first UK retail anime release of 2018 to cross my path. But more of that in a couple of paragraphs. First, I address a glaring vacancy in my Blu-ray collection of Ghibli films, as I belatedly take a look at Studiocanal’s first Blu-ray Ghibli release in the UK, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. It’s the feature film that really put director Hayao Miyazaki on the map, and enabled the creation of Studio Ghibli. It’s a political tale with a rich ecological message, but what is surprising in this modern age of eco-consciousness, is that Miyazaki made this back in 1984, when the biggest consequence of pollution that we had to deal with was acid rain, and maybe lead in our petrol.

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    Explaining Kyousougiga in the space of a paragraph is a challenge that I’m not worthy of. It’s an anarchic, visually spectacular animation. It blends mythology and mysticism and gives it a 21st Century twist that makes it feel stunningly original. And it’s all about family. And none of those sentences seem adequate, either by themselves or in combination, to adequately convey just how spectacular an achievement Kyousougiga is. It’s one of my favourite anime, and despite the fact that I can only spin the DVDs in this combo release, not importing it was never a question. The only question is why hasn’t any UK distributor picked this show up?

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    And finally we come to the UK retail release of the week, Matoi the Sacred Slayer. Last year, MVM released Nurse Witch Komugi-R, a bland, by the numbers, plodding entry into the magical girl canon. Matoi the Sacred Slayer is how to do the magical girl show right, although you won’t believe that at first. The animation is rough and of low quality, while the first episode is bad enough to make you want to ditch the whole thing. But the second episode redeems the first, and it only gets better from there. Appealing characterisations, heartfelt storytelling, and an engaging pace makes sticking with it to the end well worth it.

    This Week I’ve Been Mostly Rewatching...

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    Nurse Witch Komugi. You wait ages for a Nurse Witch Komugi-R comparison and two come along at once. As the fates would have it, the original Nurse Witch Komugi OVA series topped my re-watch pile the same week that I was reviewing Matoi the Sacred Slayer. Two magical girl shows in one week isn’t a good idea in anyone’s book, and the Nurse Witch Komugi OVA series is a pretty poor anime, with annoying characters and a weak sense of humour, the typical nineties wackiness associated with shows like Excel Saga, but without the chops to really carry it off. But it’s better than its younger namesake in one major respect. Nurse Witch Komugi-R played it straight, a dull retreat of the magical girl genre that peaked with Sailor Moon, apparently cashing in on the revival of that same Sailor Moon franchise. The original Nurse Witch Komugi is an out and out parody of the genre and of geek culture too. It rips the magical girl premise to shreds, and while most of the gags fall flat, it does have enough moments to at least keep you awake while you watch it.

    Nurse Witch Komugi was released in the UK by ADV Films, and ten years after that company closed up shop, you can still find the 2-disc collection on sale second hand. Here's my review.

    MVM release Matoi the Sacred Slayer on DVD and on Blu-ray today. Diskotek released Kyousougiga as a BD/DVD combo release back in 2017, while Studiocanal released Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind on Blu-ray back in 2010.

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