Movies, movies, movies! The reviewing gods have conspired to get three animated movies on my review pile for one roundup. First up was One Piece Film: Red, the latest cinematic adventure for Luffy and the Straw Hat pirates. It’s easy to see these spin-offs blurring into one, as they can get formulaic. Film: Red shatters the template with style. One Piece Film: Red is as close as this franchise will get to a musical. The guest character is a pop idol, the setting of the film is a pop concert, and the film even changes up the protagonist antagonist dynamic compared to the other films in the franchise. Click on the review to read more.
Then it was the turn of Non Non Biyori The Movie: Vacation. Non Non Biyori is the rural slice of life show that follows the friendships between four school girls. Three seasons have been set in the country, exploring the little adventures they get into. For the movie spin-off, the adventures and the friendships stay the same, but the venue changes, as they head off on holiday to Okinawa, where new friends and new places to explore await. I love Non Non Biyori, but the film faces an issue that the TV episodes avoid.
Stepping away from anime, but staying with animation, it was time to celebrate the 30th anniversary of one of my favourite science fiction shows, Babylon 5, with the new continuation/reboot, The Road Home movie. Babylon 5 was that massive space station at an interstellar crossroads, meant to be the best hope for peace, but wound up becoming pivotal in an interstellar war. The new movie is set at the end of the series, with President John Sheridan leaving the station for the last time, and being pulled into a space time warp, sent into the future and the past, and alternate realities, with the fate of the universe depending on if he can find his way home. The movie manages to tell a new and amazing story, while touching on all those things that made Babylon 5 so special, and setting up the potential for new stories in animated form. Not bad for a film shorter than 90 minutes. Click here for the review of Babylon 5: The Road Home.
This Week I’ve Been Mostly Rewatching...
The Adventures of Mini-Goddess. Sometimes I wonder why I do these re-watch bits, given the span of anime licenses, and how quickly discs go out of print. You certainly can’t get MVM’s release of The Adventures of Mini-Goddess from their webstore after 18 years. But to my surprise, I saw that if you search on Amazon, all 4 volumes do come up in the search, and at not unreasonable prices at that. Maybe it’s worth extolling the virtue of this show after all. You see, it’s a rare anime series that you can share with the whole family, not reliant on fan service or more adult elements. It’s based on the Ah My Goddess franchise, and asks the question what Belldandy, Skuld and Urd got up to at the temple while Keiichi was at school. The answer is they shrink themselves, and get into various adventures with the rat Gan-chan. These seven-minute episodes are short, sweet, and delightfully silly, and they still hold up well, even for us middle-aged children
As mentioned, MVM released The Adventures of Mini-Goddess across 4 DVD volumes of 12 episodes each. Here’s my review of Volume 1. It’s worth seeking them out even now, as they are available to be had.
All the Anime released One Piece Film: Red on DVD, Blu-ray, and Anime Limited webstore exclusive UHD on August 7th. MVM will release Non Non Biyori The Movie Vacation on Blu-ray on September 4th. Warner Brothers released Babylon 5: The Road Home on Blu-ray and 4k UHD on August 14th.