Ponyo Wallpaper & Review

As excited as I was about Miyazaki’s latest movie when it was first announced, I let it conjure in the back of my mind only vaguely knowing it had a goldfish like character adorable though it was. Anything by Miyazaki already has a pedestal in my book. No theaters by me was showing it for the US release sadly. By the time I got impatient enough to find a download of it online I was already pre-ordering the double-disk DVD on Amazon.

The more I learned and saw of Ponyo online the more eager I was to finally see this movie. A movie by Miyazaki inspired by Han Christian Anderson’s The Little Mermaid? That’s a win win situation! This wallpaper was on my desktop at work for months and I still like to use it on occasion. So after much waiting I received it on it’s release date and have since watched it twice, once with family and once with friends and now I can officially spaz over Ponyo.

This movie is beautiful and adorable! You cannot watch Ponyo and “not” feel happy in the eyes of these five year old characters and this charming port town and the magic of the sea. I found it odd that I heard people commented over the over-simple animation of Ponyo but I find it everything but in the effect. The animation of the ocean is stunning and the lack of detail of lighting and depth helps show the stunning creatures of the ocean that it all feels alive. I will quote from this article as I love how the movie is described though I do not agree with everything he says.

“The beginning of the film is inspired – utterly silent for nearly 30 minutes as the wonder of a lush undersea paradise unfolds before the viewer. Here especially but elsewhere in the film as well the warm and fuzzy feeling of hand-drawn animation is demonstrated to the fullest, and the screen looks like a living, breathing storybook. From clouds of jellyfish to monstrous fish forms to miniature character fish in dresses that look like 1920s Disney characters with black eyes and squeak like Mickey Mouse, the classic Western “The Little Mermaid” animation simply pales by visual comparison.”

I think I will cry when there are no more new Miyazaki movies, but I cherish each one and Ponyo is no different. The world’s he creates make me long to jump into them and live there. I love that Ponyo was traditionally created. I don’t think it’s an art form that should ever die and no 3d or action-packed movie can ever take its place. Some have complained that Ponyo is too simple of a story. In the behind the scenes, Miyazaki himself says he wanted to make a movie the five-year-olds stemming up around him could watch and enjoy that wasn’t Totoro. I think he did transcend audience groups and created a movie a five year old to a 85 year old could watch. Many of us are children at heart and I think this movie caters to that. Forget life, sit down and enjoy the experience!


Halloween Anime Style: Top Ten Picks

Shinigamis, Zombies, and Witches, Oh My! Err yeah, it’s occurred to me there are a lot of great series out there very fitting to watch around Halloween time. In the past I’ve hosted an anime club and still have friends over and it’s been in our habit to celebrate Halloween anime style! So following are some of my top recommendations. Feel free to suggest your own 🙂

SOUL EATER Number #1 Pick: What better Anime to watch around Halloween? Crazy style, great animation, and characters in an inventive world of shinigamis, death sythes, witches, demons and more. One of the best anime I’ve seen in a long time, if you haven’t had a chance to check it out now is the perfect season for it (though granted, it’s a good series all year round). The characters alone such as as Soul Eater, Death Scythe, Shinigami-san, Death the Kid, Blaire the Magical Cat, Franken Stein, and Medusa is enough to warrant this series befitting for Halloween. Fun and awesome series, this is one you might even show to non-anime friends.

ANN Summary: Set in the Shinigami technical school for weapon meisters, the series revolves around 3 groups of each a weapon meister and a human weapon. Trying to make the latter a “Death Scythe” and thus fit for use by the Shinigami, they must collect the souls of 99 evil humans and 1 witch. Soul Eater is an anime that centers around meisters and their weapons and their mission to collect 99 evil souls and 1 witch soul. Upon doing that the meister’s weapons will become a Death scythe, which is the highest title for a weapon. Maka, Soul Eater, Black Star, Tsubaki, Death the Kid, and Patty and Liz Thompson are the characters Soul Eater revolves around. Besides taking the time to gather souls these students of Shibusen defend Death City from some of the most powerful of creatures while still attending school and trying to become stronger.

D.Gray-man Number #2 Pick: Exorcists, Akuma, and the Earl and his Black Order is enough to put this series on my Halloween list. Or forget Halloween–this is a series you should watch any way. I also will highly recommend the manga version though the anime is complete at just over 100 episodes. Great plot, great characters, dark and quirky feel splattered with humor and angst.

ANN Summary: Allen Walker, a young man with a cursed eye, lives to destroy a weapon known as Akuma. These weapons created by the Millennium Earl are sent out by his command to purge the world from humans. Allen Walker uses an anti-akuma weapon, Innocence, to counter the Earl’s attempts at destroying humanity. He travels to the Black Order by his mentor’s directions. There he meets with others who also fight against the Milleneum Earl’s plans. But more questions start to appear as Allen and his friends move further along to reach their goal. And these questions that seem to connect to Allen’s past.

Zombie Loan Number #3 Pick: Short and complete series perfect for Halloween. Come on, isn’t the title itself a give away? Very cool anime that’s also a very fun to watch.

ANN Summary: Michiru Kita is a special girl who possesses Shinigami Eyes, which allows her to see a dark ring around a person’s neck. This ring symbolizes the person’s impending death; once they are marked to die, a gray line, which is invisible to normal people, appears on their neck, and once the ring turns completely black, the person dies. Chika Akatsuki and Shito Tachibana, two boys in her class, both have black rings around their necks, but to her surprise, they are not yet dead. It is revealed that after a tragic accident that was supposed to kill them both, the two boys made a deal with a secret loan office called the Zombie-Loan. In return for keeping them alive, the two have to hunt zombies for the loan office. When Michiru gets involved with them, she finds that her life has just become more complicated.

Jigoku Shoujo (Hell Girl) Number #4 Pick: Creepy anime with a concept that truly makes you think, what would you do? When is revenge worth your soul? This anime is for the most part episodic, with the main characters changing and the main constant being Emma Ai… the mysterious dark girl who appears if you make a request for revenge at midnight on the website, Hell Correspondence. The choice is yours to make, and the price is your soul after you die. Every circumstance is different and a few twists and many more questions arise.

Kuroshitsuji (Black Butler) Number #5 Pick: What can I say? Awesome series from what I’ve seen so far. Ciel Phantomhive (the boy who I consider to be the anime impersonation of Artemis Fowl) has acquired a demon to be his butler. Dark and humorous with plenty of fan service for girls and action for guys.

Summary: In Victorian-era Europe, a young boy loses everything he once held near and dear to a vicious plot. In his moment of death, he strikes a deal with a demon: his soul, in exchange for revenge. Ciel Phantomhive is now the head of the Phantomhive corporation, handling all business affairs as well as the underground work for the Queen of England. His new partner is a demon butler, Sebastian Michaelis, whose powers as a butler is only surpassed by his strength as a demon.

Vampire Knight Number #6 Pick: For the shoujo at heart, who wouldn’t want Bishie vampires for Halloween?

ANN Summary: Cross Academy is different from other schools. It has a Day Class and a Night Class, with different uniforms and no interaction between these two classes. Secretly, students of the Night Class are all vampires, led by Kuran Kaname, a noble vampire who 10 years prior saved Cross Yuki from the attack of a stray vampire. Now a Guardian of the Night Class vampires, Yuki works along with fellow classmate Kiriyuu Zero, a young man with a hatred for vampires deeper than anything she could imagine. Together, they protect Kaname and the Night Class vampires from having their identities revealed, as well as protect Day Class students from any vampire attacks that occur due to a vampire’s natural thirst for blood. Based on the manga by Hino Matsuri.

Wallflower Number #7 Pick: Sunako’s character alone fits with Halloween–imagine the girl from the ring. Forced from her rich aunt to become the “project” of a gang of pretty boys to turn her into a lady in lieu of rent, Sunako is different than your normal shoujo protagonist. Horror loving, creepy, she’s terrified of light melting her and would much rather hide in the dark and play with her skeletons. Sometimes homical, from chibi to kick-ass, Sunako balances out the sparkly bishonen to make this a very funny anime.

Tweeny Witches Number #8 Pick: I’ll be the first to agree this series doesn’t have an amazing plot (I don’t know if it even has an interesting one), but the visuals are a treat for the eyes. I love the quirky dark witches and feel of this series, trust me it’s not as cute as it title sounds. Flying contraptions and brooms out of a mind I would expect from Miyazaki, this is an interesting world of witches worth checking out around Halloween.

Sugar Sugar Rune Number #9 Pick: I admit I adore this series. If you find the anime too candy sweet, however, try the manga – no magical transformations, cute fillers, and a great plot that moves much more quickly not to mention very cool art style. I bought the entire 8 books and don’t regret it for a minute. Despite the very cute premise there’s actually a very interesting plot, nice romance, and inventive magical world with its rules and politics.

Summary: Two little witches in training, Chocola (Shocola) and Vanilla (Vaniya), arrive in the human world to compete over who’s to be the next queen of the magic world. They have one important rule in mind: “Hearts are to be picked up, but never let anyone get yours!” While humans can produce hearts over and over again, based on different emotions, witches only have one – and losing it can mean death. Now, the witch who can manage to pick up the most hearts from human boys will win! But will they manage to stay friends while at the same time being rivals? As it turns out, not all witches and warlocks are friendly and the bad ones have been outcasted to the human world.. Trouble begins to brew as Pierre, a cold and mysterious boy, begins to win Chocolat’s heart and starts to use both her and Vanilla to his own use.

Bakemonogatari #10 Pick: Perhaps this one can be placed higher on the list, but it’s a last minute addition as I have only seen two episodes thus far. First impression? Stunning animation and presentation. I would only recommend for a slightly older audience. Back story is so far interesting but I’m still early into the series and quite bedazzled by the look of it. Check it out and let me know what you think!

ANN Summary: Although there are still traces of the brief period he became a vampire, third year high school student Koyomi Araragi is human again. He happens upon others with their own supernatural problems and finds that he can empathize. Koyomi becomes involved in their lives, seeking to help them and occasionally asking for advice from Meme Oshino, the homeless man who helped him become human again.

Other Suggestions: Death Note and Bleach (you know, assuming someone actually hasn’t seen either… ) Pandora’s Hearts, Hellsing, Blood the Last Vampire, xxxHolic, Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei

Fairy Tail Anime!

Ever since I began reading this awesome manga I knew it could follow in the footsteps of great series like One Piece and Naruto and now… the long awaited anime is out! I just finished watching the first two episodes last night and will probably end up re-watching them with friends. So far they’ve lived up to all of my hopes. Here is a brief summary of Fairy Tail:

“Lucy is a 17-year-old girl, who wants to be a full-fledged mage. One day when visiting Harujion Town, she meets Natsu, a young man who gets sick easily by any type of transportation. But Natsu isnt just any ordinary kid, he’s a member of one of the world’s most infamous mage guilds: Fairy Tail.”

Here is the opening song!

Just imagine what the One Piece world would have been life if instead of an era of pirates, it was an era of mages. The world runs on every day magic, charms sold in stores, and any decent mage a member of guild of varying respectability. Fairy Tail is among the most notorious of these guilds–filled with powerful (but sometimes trouble-some) mages. Full of life and good humor and intentions, it’s easy to love this guild and it’s members.

While easy to compare to One Piece, it stands solidly on its own. Very memorable and easy to love characters, it’s full of humor, action, drama, magic, and heart. While I find Natsu’s expressions as endearing as Luffy’s, I think his personality’s a bit cooler (at least when he’s not suffering motion sickness which is just funny). I adore Natus’ rival, Gray, and find is unconscious habit of stripping a constant source of amusement… Even more amusing is when these two fight. I suppose fire and ice just were never meant to get along. 🙂

From what I remember, the first two episodes are following the manga very closely. Nothing to gripe about. Characters translated well and are fun to see come to life. I’m really enjoying the color pallet and animation.

If you’ve put off reading the manga, now’s a great time to start watching the anime! So what are you waiting for?