Archive for September, 2011

Lobster Quadrille Anime Review: Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind

Nausicaa Of the Valley Of the Wind

Genre: Sci-fi

Creator/Studio: Hayao Miyazaki/Studio Ghibli

Distributor: Buena Vista/Disney

Running Time: 1 hour, 57 minutes

Recommended Age: 7+

Summary: In a post-apocalyptic future, the Valley of the Wind remains one of the few areas still populated, due to the spread of a toxic jungle.  The story focuses on Princess Nausicaa, who is attempting to protect her people and restore the valley’s original beauty.  But evil forces plot to invade and enslave the valley. Complicating the matter further are giant insects called Ohm, who have been intoxicated by the atmosphere for so long that they have become hostile.

Review: Before I go any further, I must tell you–I love Studio Ghibli! They truly know how to tell a story using every aspect of the medium.  The backdrops are lush and colorful; the animation is fluid; and the story is excellent.

The film has a slight environmentalist feel to it, but is not nearly as preachy as most films with this theme.  My favorite characters are Nausicaa, Lord Yupa, and Lady Tolmekia.

Nausicaa is a heroine who is very easy to admire.  She is a compassionate woman with indomitable courage. Although she has a strong temper, her anger is justified because of the pollution and destruction she has encountered.

Lord Yupa is also an excellent hero.  He is an aged warrior, and his best years are clearly not behind him. He’s the kind of person you clearly wouldn’t want to mess with.

The villain, Lady Tolmekia, is an excellently-written villain. Conquest is her only desire and she feels all her actions are justified. In fact, she is one of my all-time favorite villains.

Sub/Dub: Although the sub is okay, I think the dub truly surpasses it. My main problem with the sub is that Nausicaa sounds too young to my ears. The dub is thanks to its star-studded cast: Patrick Stewart, Chris Sarandon, Uma Thurman, and even Shia Labeouf (yes, that Shia Labeouf) all have excellent performances.

Music/Score: Joe Hisaishi is one of anime’s best composers and here he doesn’t disappoint. He does an excellent job at giving the movie an excellent, haunting score. I love both the opening theme and the leifmotif given to Nausicaa. Give a listen below:

Violence: 4/10 A small amount of blood and some mild shooting scenes. If your children cannot handle intense violence even when it is not graphic, you should be aware of this.

Language: (1/10): none

Sexuality: (1/10): none

Nudity: (2/10): A quick blink and you miss shot of Nausicaa’s breasts when she coaxes her pet fox-squirrel to hide in her dress is all you get.

Religion: (2/10): SPOILER! It is believed that a messianic figure will one day restore the valley. The movie seems to suggest that Nausicaa is that figure. However, it is obvious her people do not worship her, nor does she wish them to.

Related Media: There is also a manga. Although the story in the manga is similar to the anime, there are some distinct differences, or so I’m told. (I sadly have yet to purchase it) I have seen some of the artwork, and it is excellent.

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Lobster Quadrille Anime Review: Rahxephon

Note: This is part of a series of reviews I call Memory Lane. It’s where I look at a title I’ve rewatched more than once to see if it’s really worth rewatching.

Title: Rahxephon

Genre: Sci-fi/Mecha/Action

Distributor: ADV

Creator/Studio: Yutaka Izubuchi/Bones

No. of Episodes: 26

 Summary: This anime focuses on Ayato Kamina, a 17-year old high school student who has been living in a false environment called Tokyo Jupiter. He is guided outside Tokyo Jupiter by a mysterious girl who resembles a classmate and is soon thrust into a war that he does not want to participate in nor understand. He pilots the Rahxephon, a godlike robot that uses sound-based attacks against giant robots called Dolems, which are controlled by human-like aliens called Mu who shed blue blood.

Review: I love this anime! It is one of the most beautiful titles I have ever watched, and one of the best characterized.  Each character is more than he/she appears on the surface. Just when you think you’ve understood a character, another layer is often revealed. For instance, Ayato seems to be someone who’d rather be  a pacifist. But when he discovers someone he wishes to protect, he becomes a good fighter, despite the fact that he clearly does not wish to participate in the war. Another favorite character of mine is Megumi Shitow. She seems like a cheerful teenager, but under the surface is someone who is unsure of her abilities and purpose. Overall, the anime has a mystery feel to it, and you just want to sit back and watch so you can see if you can develop your own theories about what is going on.

Music/Score: Music plays a big part in the story. The music in the show is very pretty to listen to. The opening and closing are among my all-time favorite opening themes.

Sub/Dub: Either way works excellent. This is one of the best dubs ever!

Violence: (7/10) Some bloody moments, but nothing truly graphic

Language: (2/10) Some mild language, but nothing above PG-13.

Sexuality:  (3/10) I heard some suggestive dialog, but nothing above that.

Nudity: (3/10) Some symbolic mild nudity. There are some scenes where a girl named Quon is seen in somewhat revealing clothes, but it’s actually a plot point rather than fanservice.

Drugs/Tobacco: (3/10) Two women are very heavy drinkers.

Religion: (4/10) Some references to the Mayan calendar toward the end.

Related Media: There is a movie and a manga based on the anime.

Rewatch Value: ***** Yes, this is definitely a title that must be rewatched to truly understand its depth. Every time I watch it, I discover something new.  It has various layers.

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