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Added by: Jitendar Canth
Added on: 22/1/2018 17:09
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    Anime Review Roundup

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    There are films that are just never allowed to go out of print, the more popular titles, and classics of the medium. When it comes to anime, those titles are surprisingly few. You can count the Ghibli catalogue of course, and then there’s Akira and Ghost in the Shell, but few others spring to mind. Yet Anime Limited are giving Sword of the Stranger another bite at the cherry, despite it already having seen a UK release on DVD and on Blu-ray through Beez. Then again, it might just be the most underrated classic anime film out there, a Samurai movie told with Spaghetti Western sensibilities, which is appropriate given that Spaghetti Westerns were originally inspired by Samurai movies. Click on Stuart McLean’s review to read more.

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    Speaking of classic anime feature films, last week I took a look at a Ghibli title that only recently got the Blu-ray treatment, thanks to a belated English dub from GKids in the US. Only Yesterday is a gentle drama about a woman at a crossroads in her life, a somewhat disenchanted office worker who escapes to the country for a vacation, but memories of what she was like as a ten-year-old girl give her reasons to reconsider her life choices. Only Yesterday might just be my favourite Studio Ghibli film.

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    I don’t know about you, but I hate things being left in the lurch. Alas, as anime fans, we’ve come to expect series being dropped halfway, or never getting past the first volume, due to disappointing sales or company failures. That’s a problem that can usually be remedied by a credit card, an Internet connection, and a multi-region player. I didn’t need the latter to remedy my Chaika deficiency, as Australia’s Blu-rays play on UK machines without modification. It’s a good thing too, as this is one of those rare anime that has an ending, one that tells a complete story without loose ends hanging. Chaika the Coffin Princess Season 2 tells you if Chaika manages to collect all the sundered remains of her father, and what the unexpected result is...

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    You can chalk this one up under ‘I watched this, so you don’t have to’. Black Butler is the perennial popular manga/anime that tells the tale of a boy and his demonic butler, as they solve crimes in the name of the Queen in Victorian England. It’s an appealing franchise, and you can understand why they’d make a live action feature spin-off. Unfortunately Black Butler Live Action does everything wrong, from gender swapping the main character, to retelling the story in the modern day, to some of the worst mugging masquerading as acting ever put to celluloid. And then Warners screwed up the Blu-ray release.

    This Week I’ve Been Mostly Rewatching...

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    Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. Since 2004 I’ve watched this show eight times now. It’s still brilliant, fresh, entertaining, exciting, and thought provoking. The animation still holds up well, and Yoko Kanno’s music is timeless. Kenji Kamiyama offered another adaptation of Masamune Shirow’s manga following Mamoru Oshii’s philosophy driven action sci-fi feature film, this time telling the cyberpunk story as a police procedural, intermingling stand alone episodic stories with an ongoing complex season long narrative. It is still one of the best anime TV shows you can get, a genuine classic of the medium.

    This was released in 2004 by Manga Entertainment in single volume sets, and subsequently as a complete series collection, and we’re getting to that point that the discs are getting scarce, although you should be able to find some copies at retail if not second hand. Here’s my review of the first volume. Since Manga is on the production committee, it’s one of their cash cows, and I’m surprised it hasn’t been re-issued. Actually the question is one of remastering, as not only does it need a Blu-ray release (the show was an early HD one), but what was acceptable in 2004 seems less so now, with subtitle timing and typo issues, as well as odd translations, no signs only track, and the occasional video glitch, plus one episode with the audio out of sync. Anchor Bay released a Blu-ray in the US, but they actually made it worse.

    All the Anime released Sword of the Stranger as a BD/DVD combo on December 18th 2017 (the standalone Beez DVD is still available if you’re not HD inclined, but future-proofing is better). Studiocanal released Only Yesterday as a BD/DVD combo in 2016. Australia’s Hanabee Entertainment released Chaika the Coffin Princess: Avenging Battle – Season 2 on Blu-ray and on DVD in 2017, and Warner Brothers released Black Butler as a steelbook Blu-ray and standard DVD in 2015.

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