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Added on: 13/3/2023 19:20
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    Anime Review Roundup

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    Anime, Animation, and anime style live-action comprise the reviews this week, beginning with My Hero Academia Season 5 Part 2, the anime. Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood was the long-running shonen anime that was the exception to the rule, good all the way through, although helped by adapting a completed story, and complete in under a hundred episodes, so not really that long. Most long running shows hit a point of diminishing returns, as the story goes off the boil, or the filler mounts up. I’ve always been looking for another exception, and had high hopes about My Hero Academia, which has been impressively free of filler, animating by season rather than to a set schedule. But Season 5 Part 2 is where the story shifts away from the main characters, and concentrates on the villains. And contrary to popular belief, villains aren’t always more interesting than the heroes.

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    Then it was the turn of the Hollywood feature animation Minions: The Rise of Gru, which as you would expect, is a 3D CG animation, and what’s more the fifth in a movie series. There are three Despicable Me movies, which introduced the wannabe supervillain Gru, and the bright yellow mascot minions that serve him, and the two Minions spin-offs that focus more on the help. The Minions is where the bulk of the comedy is, so the spin-offs are actually more satisfying. The second Minions movie moves the action to the seventies, and is rich in nostalgia. It also has a stellar cast, including Oscar winner Michelle Yeoh. Click on the review to read more.

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    The live action comes from Punk Samurai, the Gakuryu Ishii film that does what it says on the tin, infuse the samurai era of Japan with a punk sensibility. I mention the review here as while it doesn’t have a source manga or anime adaptation, it does remind me of anime, particularly a cross between Samurai Champloo and Gintama. If you ever wondered what a live action version of those anime might be like (and haven’t seen the Gintama live action movies) then you really should see Punk Samurai, a visually imaginative explosion that is hard to summarise, but is really well worth watching.

    This Week I’ve Been Mostly Rewatching...

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    Naruto Shippuden. Talking about long running anime... I’m still giving the old Naruto re-watch a try, and I’m one season into the sequel series, which after a 2 year time-skip sees Naruto growing up, intent on rescuing and redeeming former team mate Sasuke, but facing bigger challenges as the over-arching plot begins to unfold. It turns out that the Naruto series villain Orochimaru was small potatoes compared to the real antagonists of the piece. The first season of Shippuden sees one of the antagonist groups targeting Gaara of the Sand, and Naruto and his Leaf compatriots go to the rescue.

    The first of 38 collections of Naruto Shippuden was released on DVD in half-season sets back in 2010 by Manga Entertainment, although the full season collections quickly followed. Here’s my review of Collection 1. If you’re collecting Naruto Shippuden, the sets are still available at the time of writing, but with Manga now having turned into Crunchyroll, I suspect that the series won’t be renewed the next time the licence expires.

    Crunchyroll released My Hero Academia: Season 5 Part 2 on Blu-ray, DVD and Limited Edition Blu-ray on January 30th. Minions The Rise of Gru came out courtesy of Universal on DVD, Blu-ray and 4k UHD in October 2022, and Punk Samurai comes out on Blu-ray from Third Window Films today.

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