Quiet Country Cafe
A girl runs a cafe in the middle of nowhere. When the cafe is severely damaged in a typhoon, she decided to see what the rest of the country is like. It is a very soft gentle story with nearly no thread. We learn that the girl is an android. She leaves a manuscript called For My Owner, but we never find out what it says or who he is. She runs into a pilot who is the only male android, and then he’s gone. Where did the androids come from? What happened to most of the people. Why is the country so shabby? There are all sorts of threads that are left hanging. It’s a great seed that never really sprouts. The animation is actually quite pretty though.
A bit of computer history. Set inside a computer, Mainframe. It was a very early series completely done in CGI. Over the run you can see how technology advancements improved the graphics. The premise is that inside the computer when the User loads and plays a game a cube of memory is marked off for the game. If the user wins everything inside is killed. It is the job of Bob and the other Guardians to enter the game and play. If they win the inhabitants of the cube are saved. Later the Guardians must fight malware from outside that wants to destroy Mainframe. A lot of geeky references, inside jokes and other 4th wall actions. It’s good, but the primitive CGI make it a little hard to stay with at first. Over time though it grows on you. I’ve begun to like it a lot. Note that seasons 1-3 are the best. Season 4 consists of two 90minute movies. The writing, especially in My Two Bobs is just not as good. Also they changed the graphics to make them more “realistic” but they just came across as uncannily weird.
A kid inherits his fathers position running a magician for hire company. He knows little of magic and learns as he goes. The team is an eclectic mix of magical traditions and he learns how to control his own abilities as well. Average writing animation and sound. There are some surprising twists, and unexpected events. Overall it’s pleasant but nothing special. Average.
Requiem From the Darkness
A writer trying to collect ghost stories travels around Japan. He encounters a group of three characters; a dwarf shaman, a huge muscleman, and a beautiful women with mysterious powers. They form sort of a Karmic Mod Squad that dispensed justice and solves problems. The writer and the group get involved with one horrible Twilight Zone situation after another. Similar in style to Mushishi but much darker and more explicit. The writing is very good with real surprises and twists. The animation is gorgeous. The series does deal with issues such as murder, cannibalism, incest, and on and on in a very matter of fact way. This is without question an adult series.
Restaurant To Another World
On a back street in a business district in Tokyo there is a restaurant, The Western Restaurant Nakoya. It serves western and Japanese food to businessmen all week. But it is closed on Saturday, to its regular customers. On Saturdays its door connects to multiple doors in a D&D world full of creatures and monsters, and elves, and men, and fairies. They come through to enjoy what to them is very exotic cuisine. We get to see the backstory of the characters that stop by for a meal. There are detailed descriptions of the dishes that will leave your mouth watering. The series is light fair, and I liked it a lot. About the only bad thing I can think of is they haven’t put out a Western Restaurant Nakoya cookbook. I really want to try everything.
Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World-
A kid walking home from the corner mini-mart is suddenly transported into a D&D like world. He soon discovers that when he dies he returns to life at a particular point, like a Save Point in a video game. He befriends a beautiful half elf, gets hired on at her house, which actually belongs to a powerful magic user, and befriends a pair of twins who are the maids. He generally messes up, gets into scrapes, and lucks out because at heart he’s a good guy trying to do the right thing. Not an inspired premise but nicely done. The reincarnation bit is not used terribly effectively. Overall it was just too long. It ran 24 episodes, but 12 would have been a much tighter story. As it was it left time for his whining and idiot boasting which just got to be annoying.
Stop motion animation using toys and legos in satirical short vignettes. Obvious writing, crass just to be crass. Painfully strained attempts to be ‘topical’. Overall it is just exceedingly bad.
A young robot in a world populated by robots goes to the big city to make his fortune. He discovers a lot of social inequity and has to unmask an evil plot to scrap all of the older robots. Robin William’s helps this movie a lot. Otherwise it would just be pedantic social commentary.
Cute story about macabre little kids in an old house. It’s what you get when Goth teems grow up and become animators. The stories are simple and pleasant. A bit of a message to them which its sometimes off putting. Overall though, it’s nice and fun.
A samurai, Batosai, The Man Slayer, gets tired of killing and gives it up. He wanders across Japan during the Meiji Era when feudalism is ending and a republic is getting established. He just wants to live a quiet life and takes up residence in a small struggling school where he teaches and generally helps out. Unfortunately, the corrupt and despicable keep intruding and Kenshin is called on to stop them and save the weak and innocent. As an interesting twist I do not think Kenshin ever kills anyone. He may knock them out but I do not believe he sheds any blood.
A short film of a series of conversations with the Canadian Animator Ryan Larkin. Deeply Surreal. The characters emotional deformities, limitations and wounds are visible in their physical forms. The conversation covers creativity, Ryan’s friends, and what it is really like to be a professional artist. A very subtle and fascinating film. See also, Walking, Street Musique, and Syrinx by the subject of this film.