YamiShikiMoon's Blog

Sarcastic girly nerd that talks about anything Anime, Manga, Game related that is of interest.


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Gant:0 Movie Review

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Gantz first started of as a Manga written and illustrated by Hiroya Oku, it was adapted as an Anime back in 2004 and now have also become a 3D CGI Movie that’s specifically covering the “Osaka Arc” from the manga. (The Anime didn’t cover this arc as it wasn’t enough manga material at the time for the show to get there.) I have both read the Manga and watched the Anime and now watched the movie on Netflix.

I have to say its one of the better Manga adaptations out there. It does change some things about Gantz, such as if the timer runs out they die instead of losing their points, and there are less characters than in the manga.

The movie makes use of CGI for the animation, and the result is quite excellent.

The visuals are jaw dropping. They feel like mix of photorealism and next-gen game CG cutscenes. I am grateful they opted to use CGI instead of live actors for the human characters, as it better suits the crazy monster designs without it making them seem out of place. The choice to make a CGI film with this quality of animation was perfect.

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Something also really great is the lighting in this film. Not only does it have excellent effects for all of its lighting but there are also very “film”-esque lighting. For instance, there is eye lighting. In film, this is the act of putting a light on the eyes despite it not likely making sense in the real world. This is something I love. A scene can be crowded and busy but not only are we greeted with someone’s face and their reaction, we’re drawn to it with more focus solely because there’s a light source reflecting against their eyes and skin. It’s so classic noir but it feels great to see this employed in an animated feature, no less.

But alas there are some downsides I found to the movie, which was :

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it feels too small. A lot of the characters was cut out of this movie, so while it has the basic story, it doesn’t feel that big. The story arc the movie covers was supposed to be a full on war, and while there are tons of aliens, there aren’t as many Gantz players running around.

Another problem I have is with the characters. This movie changes a few things from the manga, most of which is good or brings something new, however the characters may be the worst change.

With Kei Kurono dead the last members of the Gantz team don’t want to fight anymore, instead they rather run and hide. This doesn’t make sense as both Suzuki and Reika would want to fight to bring back Kei. Its not that big of a problem but it I could see it would bother fans of the series.

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The last problem was that it’s a little too much like a movie. This has some nice gore, and the CGI makes it feel very realistic. But the problem is there are too many last minute saves in this. There are a lot of people that would have died if not for being saved in the last second, something that Gantz rarely ever does, maybe 1 time every 3 arcs. It feels much more like a movie and less like a Gantz adaptation.

In conclusion, Gantz:0 is an awesome movie that caters to both fans of the manga and new comers. It has some changes from the manga, but most of them are good changes. While it does have some problems that should mainly bother fans of the manga, they seem very minor when the rest of the movie blows you away.

Now only to hope we get the rest of the Manga adapted somehow…


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Hua Mulan: Rise of a Warrior Review

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If you’re like me, the only real experience you’ve had with Mulan in terms of film involves lots of lovely singing and a wise-cracking miniature dragon. Well, Mulan: Rise of a Warrior is nothing like that movie, although I imagine that’s not particularly surprising considering Disney’s penchant for…well, being Disney. That aside, I quite enjoyed the movie which shows what I’m assuming is a more realistic portrayal of Mulan’s story. Though some parts of the story are a bit iffy, Mulan as a character shone, ultimately leaving me more than satisfied with the film.

Warning for spoilers!

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The Story

The basic story revolves around a young woman, Mulan (Zhao Wei), who decides to take her ailing father’s place in the Wei army by pretending to be a man. Despite a shaky start in which she is almost executed, Mulan quickly rises to the position of sub-commander, proving to be both a smart tactician and a charismatic leader. The first half or so of the movie places emphasis on building up Mulan’s character from someone who isn’t quite prepared to face the harsh realities of war to a person who has decided to be the best leader she can be in order to protect as many of her friends as possible. Meanwhile the second half places shifts more of the focus to wrapping up the war with the Rouran tribes, which have temporarily united and become more aggressive with a shift in power. Though Mulan’s final strike doesn’t work out as planned, the war eventually ends as a result of a political marriage (Unsurprisingly, it’s not one you’re going to like). The movie ends on a relatively bittersweet note, but it manages to wrap itself up nicely in a way that stays true to Mulan’s character and is somewhat satisfying in that sense.

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Admittedly, the storyline felt a bit rushed in places and didn’t quite make a ton a sense, but the main bits, which were  typically some of the more emotional ones, tended to be particularly well done. There’s a scene near the end, for instance, where Mulan is forced to watch as the enemy massacres those captured in the recent battle, unable to help without sacrificing those who managed to survive, a sacrifice she knows she can’t make for the sake of a few. Instead, she and the others start singing the song that typically served as a funeral song of sorts for those who had died in battle. The scene is a bit cliche, sure, but it was also one of the most memorable and moving because it had a lot of heart to it. And that’s what I like about those major scenes (and even a few of the smaller ones), they have a lot of heart to them which helps in creating a more genuine or sympathetic tone that works in the movie’s favor considering it’s large focus on Mulan’s character development over the years.

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 The Characters

While the emotional stuff is pretty good, the same can’t quite be said of the rest. For one, most of the characters aren’t nearly as developed as our heroine. The bad thing about this is that when you see people die, you have to rely on Mulan’s tears and agony to make you feel anything; you don’t actually know enough about the characters to care about whether they die or not which sucks, especially when it comes to scenes that seem to rely on you caring about the side characters themselves. Even Wentai (Chen Kun), who plays a major role in the movie, is really just a person who forced more of Mulan’s growth.

Speaking of Wentai, the romance between him and Mulan is one aspect of the story that, despite leaving me with some of the greatest frustration at the end, I ultimately sort of appreciated despite its flaws. Being the romance fan that I am, I dutifully shipped the two the entire movie and enjoyed the more intimate scenes that strongly hinted at the romance between the two (you don’t feed just anyone your blood), but the handling of the romance, in my opinion, wasn’t too swift. A lot of it boils down to, I think, the movie trying to cram as much as it could relating to Mulan in the movie, with some of that stuff, like the romance, being less enjoyable by the end than others which is logical considering the other, more interesting stuff going on.

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At the same time though, I liked the romance for its strengths. Though Wentai makes some iffy decisions here and there, he’s a pretty good guy and never once treats Mulan any differently because of her sex; if anything, he treats her harsher because he wants to make her strong enough to be the leader he knows she can. The various ways he supports her throughout the movie, I honestly thought were quite sweet. Mulan, herself, benefited from the romance in the sense that it allowed her to be a girl again, not the leader, and to find hope in a place that seemed to want to crush it. In a surprising twist, one of the things that I liked most about the romance is that it goes unfulfilled. The two can never be together with circumstances as they are; if they chose to run away and live their happy lives, they would be sacrificing the peace that would come from Wentai’s political marriage which Mulan, at least, knows she can’t do. Though their romance met a sad end, it showed that the two had the maturity to put something greater than themselves before their own happiness which, though bittersweet, makes me appreciate their characters more.

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On the character side of things, if you haven’t caught on yet, Mulan is basically the only character that matters. Sure you may like Tiger (Jaycee Chan) or Wentai or any of the other equally nice male characters, but that doesn’t change the fact that the movie focuses almost entirely on Mulan, which makes sense considering the title. That said, I really liked Mulan. I’ll admit that I think she was a bit overly emotional at moments (okay, one moment in the middle) and cries a heck of a lot, to the point where I wondered why people didn’t question her status as a guy, but she’s not a weak person. The combination of her emotionalism and ability to “suck it up” for the sake of those around her is what makes her a likable character because it makes it easy to empathize with her. Her hesitation when she has to behead her first person; her devotion to her men and her friends; her desire to simply escape her warrior lifestyle and the sorrow it has brought her– all of these aspects and more are used to show Mulan’s development as a person, making her feel real.

One of the most powerful moments in the movie, which really makes you appreciate how far Mulan has come, comes at the end of the movie when Mulan finally returns to her hometown after 12 years on the battlefield; she’s finally freed herself of the warrior lifestyle, but you can finally see how tired she looks as she touches her face with her calloused hands and lets down her hair, something that hadn’t really been apparent before– she is different from the naive girl that signed up for war all those years ago. Mulan’s story isn’t a happy one, by any means, as we see her make sacrifice after sacrifice for the sake of those around her and for her country, but it’s one that also has a strange hope running throughout it. Though Mulan was inevitably changed by the war, in a sense, she never gave up; she kept on marching forward because of her hope which I find kind of touching and makes the ending a slightly less sad.

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As for everyone else? Well, aside from Wentai who was an okay guy but not one that I can say stood out a bunch aside from his status as Mulan’s Helper and as a bit of an irrational guy, there aren’t a whole lot of characters that stand out. There’s Tiger, but his importance comes and goes pretty quickly which is unfortunate because I quite liked him and was sad when he was killed later on. The only other major character is Mendu (Hu Jun), the coldblooded guy who eventually becomes the leader of the Rouran tribes, but he was a pretty uninteresting fellow. From his introduction, you can pretty much tell that with his greedy and violent tendencies he’ll be the one to forcefully take power from his more understanding father. The only surprises about him were that he wanted to bang his sister (almost completely useless, by the way) in order to create perfect Rouran babies and that he was defeated as easily as he was which was a bit anticlimactic. The bad guys, in general, were a pretty bland and predictable group whose single shining moment came near the end and involved them gaining an unexpected advantage over Mulan; other than that, they behaved as you would expect them to. That random white guy hanging around them was probably the most interesting out of all of them simply because I absolutely no idea why he was there in the first place.

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Design and Production

The movie was relatively low key in the terms of action, although the battles that did receive attention were typically kind of brutal to watch which I appreciated in a weird way. The movie also had a pretty grungy look to it with a lot of dreary colors in it; I’m hard pressed to think of more than maybe a handful of moments that had vibrant colors in them them. Not that I’m complaining, though; I liked the color scheme because it gave the movie a more “serious” tone and fit the battleground setting. I also really liked the costumes which were pretty detailed and neat to look at (minus the silly looking Rouran ones).

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Overall

I quite enjoyed Mulan: Rise of a Warrior. I found Mulan to be an empathetic character that I could get behind and whose bittersweet story tugged at my heartstrings, albeit not as much as I was expecting it to. I doubt I’ll be able to look at Disney’s version quite the same way, especially considering how the romance works out, but I’m not necessarily complaining. Despite a story that is a bit flawed and silly at parts, it has a genuine feel to it and is pretty neat by itself. Admittedly, your enjoyment of the film hinges on how much you like Mulan and drama, but I think that most will find something to like in the film, so I’d definitely recommend this to anyone who’s itching for a relatively okay drama.


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Assassination Classroom/Ansatsu Kyoushitsu Live Action Movie Review

Okay. I just finished watching the Assassination Classroom live action movie and …..

was more or less not that impressed since they literally took out all my favorite moments in the series. I was pretty much giggling through the entire thing because of how ridiculous some of the scenes were.

Though I did have a lot of fun pointing out who each character was since I actually could tell who was who from the hairstyle and how they dressed. (They did pretty well matching appearance-wise since I could actually tell who was who despite not having the same hair color)

But what they pulled at the very last second near the end I just started yelling: WHAT?! YOU CAN’T DO THAT! THAT’S SEVERE SPOILERS (as in you don’t get to know that until 100+ chapters in the manga) AND YOU’RE JUST GIVING IT AWAY LIKE THAT?!?! AND NO ONE ELSE IN CLASS FREAKING NOTICED THAT?!?!?! AHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

I wish they focused more on some characters’ background but I understand that filming a live action is really hard and they had only 2 hours.

THE WHOLE CAST SEEMED TO HAVE SUCH A GREAT TIME TOGETHER AND NOW I KNOW WHY YAMACHAN GOT ALONG WITH THE CAST SO WELL

Hopefully October will come and they will get to act together again.

Now for the actual review.

The Story

The movie picks a lot of the noticeable scenes from the manga including multiple arcs such as both transfer students arcs (Ritsu and Itona) as well as everyone’s favourite teacher Takaoka.

I think in terms of content, my guess for the anime it would be up to the first 40-50 chapters and for the live action will be pretty similar. However, unlike 22 episodes, there will only be around 2 hours which is not much. Originally I was hoping that Ansatsu Kyoushitsu would get an 11-13 episode drama instead of a movie, but this ended up like Sukitte Ii na yo and Silver Spoon’s live movies where there was too much content and the movie felt kind of rushed as an result.

The Characters

Okay so I’m going to ignore the common complaints by most anime-only fans when it comes to live action adaptions of manga. I don’t care if you people hate that their hair ain’t blue/red or if they don’t look nearly how the character is in the original content. I’d rather have the characters be able to act the part well than to have them look similar and act the part horribly and ruin the movie.

I was honestly not expecting Yamada Ryosuke to play Nagisa – and no doubt, I know a lot of people didn’t expect it either. Now don’t get me wrong, being a Hey! Say! JUMP fan I love Yama-chan, but I wasn’t 100% on him playing Nagisa’s part. His diverse acting skills can get him playing someone as cold as Ryuu (Tantei Gakuen Q) to someone as goofy as Kindachi (Kindaichi shounen no jikenbo Neo), a lot of people will think he’s overrated and what not and a lot of people who don’t even know AssaClass will watch it anyway because of him, but we’ll leave it to the movie to see if he does Nagisa well.

And I think he did it very well.

I think most people’s complaints at first was about how he doesn’t look “trap”/girly enough. (But even then I’m probably the only person that that doesn’t think the original Nagisa looks like a girl to begin with…) However, I don’t think it will include any of the chapters where Nagisa needs to and will be confused as a girl so it won’t hurt much in terms of story, but more on the original manga fans who want it to stay true to the manga. (But again I think this was a good choice anyway, especially when you think about Nagisa and his horrible mother) I think personally, if he had done the movie a couple years younger he would have suited the appearance of the original content Nagisa more. Not necessarily in his days of Tantei Gakuen Q, but back when his face was still babyish and chubby (them cheeks xD).

Ofc we can just pull out the Risou no Musuko 2.0 and put Yama-chan in some cute girly clothes cause why not xD

And one a side note I laughed really hard at the first Nagisa vs Takaoka fight since he literally just smiled, walked over to Takaoka and went boop to him with the knife to his neck.

The other actors I’m not quite familiar with. I remember Suda Masaki (Karma) from High School Debut, but it’s been a while since I’ve watched that. Haven’t watch it, but I know he’s in Kamen Rider too.

He really does fit more of the delinquent-ness that Karma had and I think I can really take a liking to him playing him – Especially his chill fall of the cliff. I can see a few Karma fans taking a disliking to him just from not looking like Karma.

I don’t understand why they added that OC that interacted with Nagisa to be quite honest …. I mean, do they want to create a sort of menage à trois or love triangle or how do you want to call it!? Did they really have to?!

A lot of the others, I’ve seen them in one or no dramas/movies at all (Takaoka is Ando from Ikemen Desu ne ). Jiyoung is so fucking sexy, ‘kay. Exactly as Irina.

Korosensei

Keeping Korosensei to have his own section. I’ve seen a lot of comments about the CGI being okay or horrible from various people – someone said they should’ve gotten specific people from Weta to do it which is lol because Japan’s films are often way lower budget than your Hollywood ones.

I personally don’t mind Korosensei or maybe I’m just used to the cheaper CGI with watching too much jdramas/adaptations xD He does feel a bit more plastic-y than I imagined.

Overall

It looks like another “too much content into one movie” adaptation and would have been better suited a drama instead.

I watched it anyway as it’s one of my favorite manga and current anime as well as being a Hey! Say! JUMP fan and a fan of Yamada’s acting.

I’m going to say it now, but this movie is definitely not going to please everyone and I can tell a lot of people will be disappointed – especially for the people who will constantly compare original content to the adaptation. (Like me *cough*)

I would stick with watching the anime and reading the manga since it seemed like they didn’t have the budget to really go all out on those really epic scenes in the series (they stuck to one set for most of the movie). But if you’re just a die-hard fan of AC and need to see everything relating to it, I’d say go for it.

It’s not the greatest adaption since the scenes go by really quickly without really having any chance to have the characters in the spotlight. So I felt like I didn’t really have an attachment to anyone. All the epic scenes in the series felt really anti-climactic.

But overall it was interesting experience watching it.

Truthfully I think this will be a fun one to watch if you give it a chance.