Since attending Otakon in August, this past month has been quite hectic with me making a quick trip to Japan just for Animelo Summer Live 2017 -THE CARD- followed by J-Pop Summit in San Francisco. As a result, I haven’t really had a chance to gather my thoughts to put together a full set of posts I’ve been meaning to write. While the last two weeks have been quieter, it looks like things will be picking up again starting with this weekend so I figured I should give a lay of the land.
About a month ago, CrunchyRoll held their first anime movie night event featuring the two Koutetsujou no Kabaneri (Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress) compilation films. While I personally was not able to attend the event due to the unfortunate timing (it was ~4 hours run time on a Wednesday night), I figured it might be a good time to review the original TV series, which ran back in Spring 2016.
Koutetsujou no Kabaneri takes place during an industrial revolution era where the world is overrun by zombie-like creatures with steel-coated hearts, known as the “Kabane.” The Kabane feed on human flesh, spreading the virus of the Kabane and increasing their numbers, with the only way to defeat one is to pierce their steel-coated hearts. As such, humanity built civilization behind fortress walls to keep the Kabane at bay and traverse from city to city via heavily armored trains. The TV series ran as part of the NoitaminA anime block in Japan between April and June 2016. It was later followed by two compilation films, presumably mostly recapping the series scene for scene given its length, and a sequel series is expected in 2018. Note: This review does contain spoilers of the series
*Note: This review may contain minor spoilers of the Bakemonogatari series and its sequels. This movie will contain spoilers of the Kizumonogatari movie.
Kizumonogatari, the prequel to the successful Bakemonogatari title and the beginning of Nisio Isin’s well-received Monogatari novel series, finally found its conclusion on January 6, 2017 in Japan and later on April 2017 in the US. Kizumonogatari tells the story of how Bakemonogatari‘s protagonist, Koyomi Araragi, received his vampire characteristics and the events that took place during his spring break in his early high school years, which ultimately led him to becoming more involved with oddities. Originally announced for an anime adaptation in July 2010, it was later decided to be a movie instead in March 2011 and expected for premier in 2012. With no news for another 3-4 years, Kizumonogatari ultimately became infamous for its production delays until October 2015 where it finally received a new confirmation that the movie will be split into three parts, premiering between 2016 and 2017.
With almost seven full years of production behind it as well as additional successful adapatations of the Monogatari series, including Nisemonogatari, Nekomonogatari – Kuro, Monogatari Second Season, Tsukimonogatari, Owarimonogatari, and Koyomimonogatari, one must wonder was this movie really worth the long delays? Note: This review will cover all three films
*Note: This review contains major spoilers of the movie. If you do not want to be spoiled, do not continue reading this post
Kimi no Na wa, also known as Your Name, is the mega hit movie in Japan of 2016 created by Makoto Shinkai. Raking in 30+ billion in yen during its impressive run at the box office both domestically and abroad, the movie took the anime industry by storm over the last year. In addition, it also managed to earn the title of highest grossing anime film in Japan’s history, breaking many decade old box office records, including Princess Mononoke, Howl’s Moving Castle, and Spirited Away, though as of time of writing, Spirited Away continues to hold the record for most domestic and adjusted gross ticket sales and unlikely to be beaten. It also became the first major movie to hit standard movie theaters in the US (at least from what I recall) outside of standard Studio Ghibli/Hayao Miyazaki films, which is a rather impressive accomplishment given how niche the anime market continues to be.
Now that I have spent a whole paragraph praising the work and hyping it up for this review, the ultimate question at the end of the day is how does this really fare when one watches it? Is it really worth deserving of a top 10 or top 20 spot on a lot of anime sites? Is it something that’s worth watching 5, 10, 20 years from now? How does it compare with Shinkai’s older works that may have been missed by many people’s radars?