Animation M-MM
Macross Frontier
Singing is the core of this anime but it can’t decide if it wants to be a giant robot story, love triangle story, political story, space story, or a music story. Yoko Kanno is the primary composer so as you might expect the music is wonderful, the best part of the series. The space battles are spectacular. The political intrigue is not bad. The trouble is the parts that don’t fit together very well. Also music is played up for being too important. Ranka Lee starts singing and it hypnotizes the bug-like Vjara. Ranka Lee starts singing and an insurrection stops because all they really wanted was a j-pop performance. The overriding point seems to be that j-pop music will change the universe, which is ludicrous. The plot simply doesn’t hold together as well as it should. Many parts don’t make sense. The finale feels incomplete and confusing with untied threads all over the place. For much of the last episode I wasn’t sure what was going on. A big disappointment.

Madagascar (Movie)
A lion, hippo, zebra and giraffe who only have known life in the New York zoo get shipped “home” to Kenya. On the way they get washed overboard and end up in Madagascar. The trouble is they have no idea how to be animals, they are city creatures. A quite amusing film. It suffers from “topicality” disease, that is the writers get so busy making references, many quite amusing, that it starts to distract from the flow of the film and in a couple of years the references look dated.

Made in Abyss
In the centre of a large island on the other side of the world is a hole. It is vast in size and its terraced sides go down tens of thousands of meters. In the hole are relics, monsters, and wonders. A little girl Riko, and her friend Reg are determined to get all the way to the bottom, for there is believes her mother is there. Wonderful artwork and superb voice talent, I watched the english dubbed version. The writing is incredible. I don’t think an Anime has literally had me crying before. It is a very intense work. This is the first half of the Manga. The second instalment will be out in 2019, and if needed a third a year or more later. I can’t wait.

A girl who is a talented agent and assassin and another, a forgetful orphan with lots of money are connected by a country in the throws of a 12 year civil war that is being perpetuated by all sorts of outside groups, Anfan, a shadowy mafia/quasi religious underworld group, a corporation that puts profit above ethics or peoples lives, and the mysterious deaths of everyone that tries to solve the puzzle of an ancient book written in an indecipherable language belonging to the orphan, people who’s lives and memories vanish, and around it all the ghosts of the children killed in the war. In this universe women are the good guys and all the bad guys are men. Men keep the war going and it’s mostly men that die. Decent visuals. Nice music. Engrossing writing. A class act.

The Magic Projector (Movie)

In the early part of the last century a boy and his sister go to see the first movie show in Canada. A sweet short film of magic and love.

Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magika
Young girls are recruited to fight against witches. Nice classic and mixed media animation with good music and voice-work. The writing is well done with many surprising twists. The story is an allegory of the cost of going to war. In the end those that fight for ‘good’ become indistinguishable from the ‘bad’ players. All are destroyed. All are damned. All are lost. The only cure is not to play. Reject those that spin tales of why it’s the right thing to do. They are looking to their own reasons and benefits, not yours. It’s not so naive as to suggest that there will never be bad things, but fighting against the real bad guys is different from fighting for someone that profits from the battle.

MAR; Marche Awakens Romance
A kid dreams of a magical sward and sorcery realm. One day he is drawn into the world, called MAR. He has to battle evil worriers, the `chess pieces` who are bent on destroying MAR. Along the way he meets up with others, battles the bad guys and they collect ARMs, magical talisman that increase their strength. The battles seem to be the focus of the show. At first I thought it was similar to One Piece, but there is an increasing focus on the battles over the story. Naruto Disease.

Mary and the Witch’s Flower
Mary to Majo no Hana
Mary is bored. She has been sent to the country to stay with her aunt, until her parents can join her. One day she is in the woods and discovers a blue flower. It is The Witch’s Flower. It gives her magical powers, but only for one day. With these, and a broomstick she also finds in the woods, she travels to a world of magic. At first it seems great, but soon she discovers a dark side to it. A wonderful film with breathtaking animation and great writing. Not surprising as the Director Hiromasa Yonebayashi came from working on Studio Ghibli films like spirited Away, and Directed When Marnie Was There. The style and quality come through clearly. A top notch production.

Megas XLR

A not too bright motor head and video game player in New Jersey named Coop finds and “fixes up” a huge alien battle robot. He is now the only one who can drive Megas so it is up to him, his moron friends, along with Keva, the agent sent from the future to retrieve Megas, to fight to save the world from the Glorft and deal with various other space baddies. Sounds dumb and it is but the humour is savagely cynical and ironic. Watch for tiny details like the names on the buttons and such that are some of the shows best jokes. Think of this as the Anti-Big O.

Merc Storia: Mukiryoku no Shōnen to Bin no Naka no Shōjo

(Merc Storia: The Apathetic Boy and the Girl in a Bottle)
A world of humans and monsters of all shapes and sizes. Most monsters are friendly, but a few are wild. A boy has the power to “heal” wild monsters and make them tame. He sets out to learn how to use his powers accompanied by a floating tiny fairy in a jar of water. A thin plot device, the writing isn’t terribly deep, not a surprise as the Anime is derived from a video game. The character design is uninspired, many of the monsters are not so subtle derivations of Pokémon. Once they tried to do a Disney-esque musical with mixed results. But as lacklustre a production as this is, I enjoyed it. It’s not deep fare, but it is fun.


Comedy is a tricky thing. The show Metalocalypse is a good example. There are so many places Metalocolypse could have gone wrong. It is about the ultimate Death Metal band, Dethklok. Each of the members of the band is a stereotypical emaciated, moody, antisocial, metal rock musician type. They are big, really big, the 12th biggest economy on the planet. They are so big and influential that the powers that be (a creepy group of military, political, and religious types that meet in secret) plot to destroy Dethklok but never succeed. The members of Dethklok live the ultimate death metal life, killing, mayhem, gore, skulls, black and red decor. Even their cell phones have spikes on them. But they never answer for what happens. When I visited the Metalocolypse web site they had a body counter that was up over 72,000 fatalities. They have to deal with the both the results of their fame and power, as well as more mundane things like when their parents come to visit or when they have the annual Dethklok company staff meeting. The show is so far over the top that it revels in its total absurdity. If the writers ever were to back off from the ragged edge it would not be funny. The animation is rather stiff but the writing is great.

Miraculous Ladybug
Two kids are superheroes, but they keep their secret identities from everyone, including each other. Watched about ten minutes of the first episode. The adolescent cringe factor was off the scale, so I bailed. I’ll let others review it.

© 2020 Douglas Aalseth Productions