Anime Review Roundup

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One new anime review this week, but three things to catch the eye of anime fans... Non Non Biyori Repeat is the second season of one of my favourite slice-of-life shows, 12 more episodes following the lives of four cute girls doing cute things in a rural setting. These episodic short form tales, adorable adventures in the countryside aren’t exactly big on narrative, but Non Non Biyori Repeat’s little trick is that the episodes slot in between the episodes of the first season, ostensibly occurring in that same year. Not that it really matters, as Non Non Biyori is one of the most enjoyable, relaxing, and heart-warming shows that I know.

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Way back when, I reviewed the anime version of Golgo 13 from the early eighties, but ten years before, the manga got a live action adaptation starring Ken Takakura as the eponymous anti-heroic assassin. I took a look at the Blu-ray expecting the worst (I was never a fan of the anime), but there was enough redeeming quality to the movie to make it worth a watch. At the very least, you get to see what Iran looked like before the revolution, and it’s a cinematic education to say the least.

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Anime fans will know Katsuhito Ishii as the writer/creator of Redline, the insane racing anime feature film that took the world by storm a few years ago. But Katsuhito Ishii is an acclaimed director in his own right, and Third Window Films bring six of his films to the UK in the Katsuhito Ishii Collection. These are six very different, yet equally entertaining films, and anime fans will love the opening sequence to Party 7, which TWF has posted on Youtube in its entirety, and I’ve linked to below. But you should also find time to watch the film Sorasoi, which is as close as you can get to a live action slice of life movie. It’s about a college extra-curricular club at a summer camp after all, which is such an anime trope!

This Week I’ve Been Mostly Rewatching...

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Blade of the Immortal. I think I’m losing touch with current trends in anime. I hadn’t even realised that Blade of the Immortal had got a 2-cour remake back in 2019, although I have reviewed the live action movie from 2017. But this time I’m talking about the first anime version from 2008, 13 episodes of immortal samurai combat action. A girl looking to avenge her family acquires an immortal warrior as a bodyguard. But things are never black and white in this feudal world, and the bad guys aren’t necessarily bad, while the heroes don’t always have the most heroic of motives. I recently reviewed a samurai movie called Revenge – Adauchi, and its cynical worldview certainly informs subsequent stories like Blade of the Immortal.

MVM released the original Blade of the Immortal series across 3 DVD volumes back in 2010, and there were subsequent collected releases as well. Here’s my review of volume 1. The series is deleted now, so you’ll have to go sleuthing for a second hand copy. Of course Arrow Video’s live action movie release is available, and if you can spin Region A you could try importing the 2019 anime series which was released by Sentai.

MVM released Non Non Biyori Repeat Season 2 on Blu-ray on July 10th. Eureka Entertainment released the Golgo 13 Blu-ray on July 17th, and that’s when Third Window Films released the Katsuhito Ishii Collection as a Collector’s Edition Blu-ray.

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