Voices of a Distant Star Review

hoshinokoe_8597_7851Story:
Mikako is only fifteen years old when she joins the UN’s attempts to keep a new alien species from invading and annihilating the solar system. She tries to keep her childhood friend, whom she loves, updated on her progress through the galaxy, but with each warp deeper into space, the time between when she sends her messages to him and he receives them get longer and longer. Years pass for him, but it is only a matter of hours for her…

Violence:
The alien creatures bleed red and we see this when they are shot and killed by the human robots. It’s not something that lingers on screen for long and because the aliens are giant glob things, it’s not as graphic as it sounds… I will still tag this for YA, to be on the safe side, however.

Language:
Nothing to report here!

Nudity: 
Aside from some shots where Mikako’s skirt is rather short, nothing to report here either.

Theology/mythology:
Aliens are the only things to speak of here and I really don’t think that fully counts…

Personal impression:
I had actually seen this short film years ago, but catching it again on Crunchyroll, I decided it would be a good idea to re-watch it and review it. It was just as powerful the second time.
I’ll be honest here, the art in this is VERY rough. But when you realize every scene was handled by a single guy on his computer, the show becomes outright amazing. Shinkai pretty much single handedly crafted every aspect of this science fiction drama, from the tears floating in zero gravity to the slow, but powerful change in scenes between our lead’s fight against the alien invaders and her old classmate’s ageing life back on earth. This is definitely one of those rare cases where I believe the story is so strong that it’s worth bearing with the odd and very off artwork.
If you’re looking for a watertight science fiction, this won’t be it. But if you want some feels alongside your space fantasy work? This has it in spades. And, yes, this guy got hired after making this and, yes, his other films improved. This one is still worth the time to watch it, however, and I do recommend it for anyone who loves science fiction.

Personal raring: Young adult

Episodes: 1 (25 min)
Languages: sub and dub
Official rating: TV14
Genre: Drama, action, science fiction
Company: CoMix Wave Films
Production: Makoto Shinkai
Official streaming: Crunchyroll

Wolf Children Review

a13862-791722162-1323905458Story:
Hana is a single mother of two… well, wolf children. After losing her husband in an accident, she must learn how to care for these mythical children of hers all on her own, despite being a normal human herself.

Violence:
There are some scenes showing both death and injury. Blood isn’t avoided. This said, the movie’s point isn’t fighting so it only occurs once or twice and isn’t focused on too much. Still, those scenes would likely scare very young viewers…

Language:
Pretty tame stuff. Only a few sh-ts and whatnot here and there.

Nudity:
We don’t really see much in the way of outright nudity, but we do have one scene where it’s very clear that two adults are going to have sex. Nothing is shown and the scene blacks out, but it’s no mystery what’s going to happen.

Theology/mythology:
This show focuses around a family born from a wolf/human. If the idea of creatures (or humans) shifting forms disturbs you, this movie isn’t for you. Especially as one of the major themes for this show is the differences and similarities between man and beast.

Personal impression: 
This is an amazing animation. From the facial expressions to the dialog, the settings and music… all of it was extremely well handled. There’s good reason why this show has been up for so many awards.
That being said, if I had to nit-pick, there were a few instances that were frustrating to watch as someone who deals with children herself. Japan has very different views on discipline than I tend to and thus it can be irritating to see these kids grow up so… well, selfish. We don’t really see them disciplined at all and it shows by the end.
Even so, the main point of this movie for me was the mother, Hana, and her fight to come to terms with both the world she must live in and the duality of her children.
So long as you aren’t allergic to bittersweet endings (or lack of constant action), this is a wonderful film and I quite recommend it.

Personal rating: Young adult

Episodes: 1 (movie)
Languages: sub and dub
Offical rating: PG13
Genres: Fantasy, drama
Production: Madhouse
Company: FUNimation
Official streaming: n/a

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time Review

the_girl_who_leapt_through_time_posterStory:
Makoto Konno loves nothing more than playing some baseball with her two guy friends and generally lazing about. One day she has a near death experience with a train and discovers she can jump from one time period to another. At first she uses her new power to do silly things here and there for fun, such as 10 hours of karaoke and going back and forth to days when her family made her favorite meal for dinner. But after awhile she begins to notice that her actions have painful consequences for those around her…

Violence:
While few people get into fist fights or anything, there are quite a few violent scenes. Mainly when our MC falls and rolls down a steep road, breaking her arm and cutting herself badly. It’s disturbing to see and hear, so be warned.

Language:
Usually kept to a few d-mns. Other than that, I didn’t really hear anything too objectionable in this one (I’ve only viewed the subtitled version).

Nudity:
Nothing much in this one. We have one or two bath scenes, but it’s vary covered and we see nothing of note.

Theology/mythology:
If the idea of what appears to be magic, or those who are considered witches, bugs you, go ahead and skip this (though later it is revealed that technology might be more of a cause than actual magic). We also have a shrine and prayer scene, but as usual no doctrine is discussed.

Personal impression:
I rarely get a chance to review anime films, but I was able to watch this one and let me tell you, it was oddly… good. It’s definitely a slow starter, so be warned on that. The art is also a bit sketchy here and there until you get used to it. The background music is totally forgettable, but overall the script makes up for it. The characters are all believable and the dialog is steady (no sudden personality changes for this one’s cast). I did feel as if the plot twist at the end was a bit… forced, but even so this film closes down leaving a strong message about time behind.
So long as a more melancholy ending is your cup of tea, I think you’ll really enjoy this show. Though you’ll have to get it through Netflix or FUNimation seeing as it’s not streaming at the moment.

Personal rating: young adult

Episodes: Movie
Languages: sub and dub
Official rating: TV14
Genre: Fantasy, slice of life, drama
Company: Kadokawa/FUNimation (previously Bandai)
Production: Madhouse
Official streaming: na