Anyone enamoured with the colourful visual teases from the trailers for Unicorn Wars by Alberto Vázquez will get more than an anti-fable presented to them. That’s how this filmmaker describes his work. Here, his animated work looks at the conflict for power at the Magic Forest, where the teddy bears here are taught a myth where if one can kill and drink the blood of the last unicorn, they will be king. The idea is a nastier spin on what Lord Voldemort believed in the Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, and the cost looks worse!
The rivalry between these two species is age-old, and as for who is truly pure, we’re not meant to really know for certain. I don’t want to side with either given how horrible the depths of hatred runs deep.
Inu-oh can be religiously enjoyed for the experience that it is not only in cinemas but also at home with this release.
The home video release of Inu-Oh is here! Not only can I finally learn about Masaaki Yuasa‘s thought process, but also learn more about the elements I didn’t notice in my early viewing. Instead of reviewing the entire film again (it can be read here) with this additional knowledge, what I’ll explore is the bonus material. This filmmaker has been on my radar since discovering Lu Over the Wall; on television, he directed Devilman Crybaby.
After he named one of my favourite bands, Queen, as a key influence, I knew I was dead on with one musical montage in this film. He also explained why American and the history of music’s greatest moments are important to the crafting of this film. From The Beatles to Jimi Hendrix to Michael Jackson, a signature moment was actually snuck into the work, and that alone is enough reason to watch Inu-Oh multiple times. Not only can fans seek these frames out, but also they can listen for it too. Although Hendrix’s moment is with an action and we are told where it is, I have to search for the other easter eggs.
New Gods Yang Jian not only ups the ante in what Light Chaser Animation can do with the animation medium but also update a traditional tale to the science fiction medium.
Playing at Select Theatres Beginning Jan 20
Coming to Digital on April 11 and Home Video April 25th, 2023.
Light Chaser Animation‘s New Gods cinematic universe has another hero, and his name is Yang Jian (voiced by Wang Kai). He’s also known as Erlang Shen, a god with a truth-seeing eye, but in this film it has even greater power which can’t be defined.
Thankfully, no prior knowledge of who he is or the prior film are needed (Nezha Reborn) is on Netflix and my review can be read here), but it’ll help explain the surprise bits found in this tale. In this second film to this franchise, titled New Gods Yang Jian, he gave up his godhood to become a mortal, a bounty hunter, and for much of the tale, he has no regrets over this decision.
Despite everything we know about how the Divine World fell apart, nobody in this new utopia is truly at peace. The introduction talks about an averted civil war, but all is not well. In Penglai, a futuristic neo-feudal tech city located upon a mountaintop, the people live in relative peace. But this home of the gods may well become a target should a boy assemble the pieces of a destructive lamp. The beauty this location represents is just one of many places this film visits. The look of Ancient China juxtaposed with the industrial age looks wonderful. When the adventure moves to the countryside, the landscapes look like they’re straight from a bamboo tapestry. The softer use of colours is not always pronounced, and that helps with giving this movie a better richness than those highly saturated works other CGI films, like Kung Fu Panda, prefer to emphasise.
loundraw’s Summer Ghost is now on home video, and has quite the draw as a Autumn release.
GKIDS & Shout! Factory
Even though Halloween is over, Summer Ghost (サマーゴースト) is here to stay. The home video release the day after feels appropriate to show how those emotions can linger on. This Japanese animated short film is about what it means to be alive instead of the opposite. Each of the heroes here are seeking the spirit of a girl and hope to “get advice” on how to carry on.
This short animated film produced by Flat Studio and directed by loundraw is wonderful. The home video release has two documentaries included which look behind the scenes of this anime, and an interview with the director himself. They help expand what’s already known, assuming viewers watched the film first, and perhaps learn something more. It’s terrific to revisit this anime I saw during Fantasia, and to see how close I was to understanding this director’s vision. That review can be read here.
The former focuses on the team discussing how they look up to the loundraw. They often say he’s like a big brother, which is a touching gesture. This individual made his debut as an illustrator for Gara Nagata’s Hoshi no Nemuru Mizuumi e -Ai wo Sagashi ni- before spreading his wings and now becoming a director. If the dialogue is any sign, there’ll be more stories to come.
With the second piece, loundraw reveals where his idea came from, the type of colour template used and much more. It’s definitely worth the watch after the film, and it certainly made me appreciate Summer Ghost a lot more. Despite the title of this work and when it’s been released to home video (and theatrical), it’s quite the post-Halloween treat. In fact, this work is very appropriate to release during the week when Día de Muertos takes place! Both this anime and celebration honours the afterlife, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s the reason why this release was timed for this week.
Deji Meets Girl is a novel romp because of the soft, surreal moments.
Coming this fall from GKIDS is Deji Meets Girl. After its latest screening at Fantasia Film Festival as a compiled film presentation, anime fans who haven’t seen this high school paranormal romance will get a chance later this year. To note, this anime made its debut at the last year’s event, before being shown on Japanese TV as shorts, and getting another round this year.
The story takes place over the summer, making this appropriately timed debut even more appealing, and there’s nothing wrong with having an innocent fling, ala Summer Nights (Grease). Where this series shares a similarity to the musical is in how the boy (Ichiro) admits to taking an interest in a girl he meets at a beach (Maise). As for whether she’ll change her approach to winning his heart–we’re not certain. In the episodes I’ve seen so far, they aren’t officially dating.
Ichiro isn’t a greaser. But he does have that John Travolta charm to make me think of this analogy. In what we learn about this stranger is that he’s running away from responsbility. Beneath that cool exterior hides a scared interior. What he’s fleeing from isn’t exactly made clear, either, until the later acts.