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J. Snook "Ichigo_2020 - Anime Buff" (Wales)
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Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence [DVD]
Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence [DVD]
Dvd ~ Akio Otsuka
Price: £4.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Innocence, 6 Nov. 2009
The much anticipated sequel to the classic Ghost in the shell has been regarded as a bit of a mixed bag since it reached our screens for the first time in 2005. While Innocence is still admired as a beautiful work of art and philosophy, it somewhat lacks the original flair that made the first movie so memorable.
This time round, Batou and Togusa take centre stage and investigate a company called Locus Solus that maunfactures Gynoids (sexual robots). When the gynoids are the cause of eight murders, section 9 have to take things into their own hands and get to the bottom of the mystery; only this time, without the help of Motoko Kusanagi. To top things off, things are complicated further when they discover that the gynoids have developed ghosts of their own.

First of all it is quite obvious that the visuals in innocence are nothing short of breathtaking. Each frame of the movie has been exquitely detailed to produce a feature that oozes quality from every orifice. Eye-candy aside, Innocence is certainly an intellectual film that is going to challenge you and really get you thinking. However, at times it goes a bit too far and becomes too confusing. Furthermore, this movie isn't without it's philosophical monologues. In fact, they are littered throughout the entire movie. So much so that the overall pace is affected. Whereas the first movie has a smooth flowing plot with a great sense of pace, this second installment often feels as if it is dragging it's feet.
However, like the first installment, there are some nice philosophical ideas on display here as well as some nice imagery. Innocence is certainly a fascinating watch and well worth seeing if you enjoyed the first movie. This movie poses some great ideas, but it is often marred by some poor execution and bad pacing. However, if you look past this, Innocence is definetly an fantastic and imaginative work of science fiction.


Ghost In The Shell Innocence [Blu-ray]
Ghost In The Shell Innocence [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Mamoru Oshii
Price: £12.45

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Innocence, 6 Nov. 2009
The much anticipated sequel to the classic Ghost in the shell has been regarded as a bit of a mixed bag since it reached our screens for the first time in 2005. While Innocence is still admired as a beautiful work of art and philosophy, it somewhat lacks the original flair that made the first movie so memorable.
This time round, Batou and Togusa take centre stage and investigate a company called Locus Solus that maunfactures Gynoids (sexual robots). When the gynoids are the cause of eight murders, section 9 have to take things into their own hands and get to the bottom of the mystery; only this time, without the help of Motoko Kusanagi. To top things off, things are complicated further when they discover that the gynoids have developed ghosts of their own.

First of all it is quite obvious that the visuals in innocence are nothing short of breathtaking. Each frame of the movie has been exquitely detailed to produce a feature that oozes quality from every orifice. Eye-candy aside, Innocence is certainly an intellectual film that is going to challenge you and really get you thinking. However, at times it goes a bit too far and becomes too confusing. Furthermore, this movie isn't without it's philosophical monologues. In fact, they are littered throughout the entire movie. So much so that the overall pace is affected. Whereas the first movie has a smooth flowing plot with a great sense of pace, this second installment often feels as if it is dragging it's feet.
However, like the first installment, there are some nice philosophical ideas on display here as well as some nice imagery. Innocence is certainly a fascinating watch and well worth seeing if you enjoyed the first movie. This movie poses some great ideas, but it is often marred by some poor execution and bad pacing. However, if you look past this, Innocence is definetly an fantastic and imaginative work of science fiction.


Ghost In The Shell 2.0 Redux [DVD]
Ghost In The Shell 2.0 Redux [DVD]
Dvd ~ Mamoru Oshii
Price: £6.03

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars When the Line Between Human and Machine Blurs, 5 Nov. 2009
In a world where cybernetic and computer technology have expanded far beyond our reach the line between human and machine is becoming increasingly blurred. In the GITS universe, it is uncommon for humans to undergo cybernetic enhancements. Many of which include having a working computer installed into their brains as well prosthetic body parts. Like computers today, Ghost in the shell sees internet virus' spread from person to person and people being literally computer hacked. Posing some of the greatest questions from an anime ever, Ghost in the shell is one of those movies that stays with you after you've watched it. It isn't just the intriguing concepts and philosphical questions, but also the beautiful and often hauntingly beautiful imagery that has been brilliantly created that sticks with the viewer. The complex subject matter means that not everyone will 'get' this movie, however, it is one of those that you will want to watch again and again.

Often hailed as one of the most influential animes ever. The movie that inspired the Wachowski Brothers to go off and make the matrix and an experiece that changed alot of peoples views about anime. Never before had an anime so intellectually challenging and thought provoking been released to a western audience. As it approaches it's 15th anniversary the effect that this movie had on the anime industry can still be felt today. This is truly a landmark title. Not just for anime but for all cinema. This is Ghost In The Shell on DVD...but wait, isn't it already out?

Depending on how much of a fan of Ghost In The Shell you are will determine how much you appreciate this DVD. The feature of this disc is the newly enhanced movie with brand new CGI effects. Remember the opening scenes where Motoko Kusunagi stares down over the city metropolis? This scene is now totally rendered in 3D CGI, as is the scene where she is floating in the sea. While this may not be an essential release of Ghost in the shell, it is still as fascinating as ever. Casual fans like myself will love seeing this classic movie with a few new tweaks, but not enough to buy it again on DVD. However, the original cut of the movie is included in order to compare the two versions. So if you don't already own this classic film on DVD, this would be a good choice. Ideally, this is a movie that should be bought and experienced on Blu Ray. Why they released it on DVD as well as Blu Ray completely baffles me because you might as well just stick with your original cut on DVD and hold out until you fancy upgrading to blu ray. Regardless of which version you go for, Ghost in the shell is a fantastic sci fi classic that needs to be on everyones shelf, anime fan or not.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 23, 2012 8:26 PM GMT


Ghost In The Shell 2.0 Redux [Blu-ray]
Ghost In The Shell 2.0 Redux [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Mamoru Oshii
Price: £8.00

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars When the Line Between Human and Machine Blurs, 5 Nov. 2009
Often hailed as one of the most influential animes ever. The movie that inspired the Wachowski Brothers to go off and make the matrix and an experiece that changed alot of peoples views about anime. Never before had an anime so intellectually challenging and thought provoking been released to a western audience. As it approaches it's 15th anniversary the effect that this movie had on the anime industry can still be felt today. This is truly a landmark title. Not just for anime but for all cinema. This is Ghost In The Shell released for the very first time on Blu Ray...but with a twist.

In a world where cybernetic and computer technology have expanded far beyond our reach the line between human and machine is becoming increasingly blurred. In the GITS universe, it is uncommon for humans to undergo cybernetic enhancements. Many of which include having a working computer installed into their brains as well prosthetic body parts. Like computers today, Ghost in the shell sees internet virus' spread from person to person and people being literally computer hacked. Posing some of the greatest questions from an anime ever, Ghost in the shell is one of those movies that stays with you after you've watched it. It isn't just the intriguing concepts and philosphical questions, but also the beautiful and often hauntingly beautiful imagery that has been brilliantly created that sticks with the viewer. The complex subject matter means that not everyone will 'get' this movie, however, it is one of those that you will want to watch again and again.

Depending on how much of a fan of Ghost In The Shell you are will determine how much you appreciate this blu ray disc. If you are expecting the original movie in full High defintion glory, then you will be dissapointed. The feature of this blu ray disc is the newly enhanced movie with brand new CGI effects. Remember the opening scenes where Motoko Kusunagi stares down over the city metropolis? This scene is now totally rendered in 3D CGI, as is the scene where she is floating in the sea. While this may not be the grand blu ray debut of Ghost in the shell everyone was expecting, it is still as fascinating as ever. Casual fans like myself will love seeing this classic movie with a few new tweaks re-mastered in HD. However, die hard fans who were expecting the original cut of the movie may be sorely disappointed. Regardless of which version you go for, Ghost in the shell is a fantastic sci fi classic that needs to be on everyones shelf, anime fan or not.


Naruto The Movie Collection [DVD]
Naruto The Movie Collection [DVD]
Dvd ~ Tensai Okamura

22 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Naruto Times Three, 5 Nov. 2009
With most popular anime franchises, the need arises to make spin off movies. Some of which have relevance to the shows original story (like Fullmetal Alchemist) and others that have little to no relevance and are typically cash ins of the shows success (like all 13 Dragon Ball Z movies). The Naruto movies fall under the latter category and serve to just create an extra special, feature length episode to add to the shows evergrowing list of merchandise. This boxset contains Naruto movies 1 to 3. These are the three movies made during the first part of the Naruto story before it goes onto Naruto Shipuuden for movies 4+. What we get are two decent movies and one disasterpiece...Here we go.

Naruto - Ninja Clash in the Land of Snow

Naruto and the group travel to the land of snow to in order to protect famous actress Yukie Fujikaze while she is filming her new movie. However when they get there they discover that there is more than meets the eye and that there is something about Yukie Fujikaze that she's hiding. With every good slice of Naruto, this movie combines great action, a moral ridden story and the likeable antics of everyones favourite ninja in training. This is probably the best of the three movies and is actually a decent movie in it's own right. The bad guys may be unoriginal, but this movie delivers enough ninja action to keep you hooked. Furthermore, the special features include the Konoha sports festival OVA which sees Naruto and his friends competing in a sports event to try and earn a week off from missions. This 10 minute short is actually really funny and is the perfect compliment to the movie.

Naruto - Legend of the Stone of Gelel

While on one of the most boring missions of their lives (chasing a missing ferret), Naruto, Sakura and Shikumaru are attacked by a mysterious warrior clad in armour, who calls himself Temujin. The young ninja soon get mixed up in struggle over the powerful stone of Gelel. With the help of Gaara and Kankuro from the sand village, Naruto and co strive to stop the stone of Gelel ending up the wrong hands. Like the first movie, this is a decent enough attempt at bringing Naruto the big screen, however, it lacks the cinematic quality and memorable flair of the first outing. Nonetheless, this is still one essential movie for Naruto fans, but newcomers should really watch the show first as no real explanations about chakra or jutsu are given.

Naruto - Guardians of the Crescent Moon Kingdom

Now they say leave the best til last, but that doesn't really apply to this movie. This time, Naruto and Sakura are joined by the loveable Rock Lee as they go about protecting a wealthy Prince and his spoilt son on the way to their home - the crescent moon kingdom. However, when a vicious rebellion thratens the wellbeing of the entire village, Naruto and the gang once again dust of their jutsu's and do what they do best by kicking some bad guy butt. This third installment of the Naruto movie collection is best ignored as it is definetly the worst Naruto movie yet, but is probably one of the worst animes I have ever seen. The story jumps and jolts at a crazy pace and takes forever to get to the point. And when it just starts to kick in, the movie ends. This movie feels like it was made by a completely different team as the other two as the much loved character of Rock Lee is reduced to a boring sub character who has about 40 speaking words in the whole movie. I feel that the makers of this travesty have butchered the fun, likeable and entertaining idea of what Naruto is and have created a really hollow and uninspired movie. Avoid movie 3 like the plague.

So there we have it. Two decent movie transitions and one complete train wreck. For Naruto fans, this release is a good purchase to add to your collection, but if you take my advise and avoid the third film, you will probably be able to find the first two for a cheaper price.


Blood: The Last Vampire [DVD]
Blood: The Last Vampire [DVD]
Dvd ~ Gianna Jun
Offered by Discs4all
Price: £4.42

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Where Evil Grows, She Preys, 5 Nov. 2009
Unbeknownst to the majority of mankind, there has existed a war between humans and vampires since the beginning of time. Haunted by the face of her fathers killer, Saya lives to destroy all vampires and to one day come face to face with her nemesis, Onigen. When Saya, covertly infiltrates a US military base as a Japanese transfer student, she discovers that the place is crawling with 'bloodsuckers' and she unwittingly discovers that her nemesis is closer than she thought.

The Blood anime was never one of my favourite animes so I didn't really have any expectations about this movie. Good thing really because this live action adaptation doesn't live up to the legacy that the anime left behind. In the movies favour, the original anime didn't have a great plot, but is mainly heralded as a superb CGI visualisation, so the movie is somewhat restricted in what it can do. Admittedly, it does start quite well with a true live action re-creation of the clasic train scene from the anime. In fact, the movie remains pretty faithful to the anime yet diverges enough to deliver some surprises along the way. However, the story suffers with some erratic pacing and uninspired characters. While the action scenes are incredibly well choreographed and look absolutely stunning, the way the story is brought across doesn't really work in it's favour.

So, like the anime, Blood - the last vampire the movie is undeniably attractive but is certainly lacking in depth. In the movies defense, it may be worth watching purely for the stunning Gianna Jun. Hot chicks with big swords always = great guy flick. Watch this movie but don't expect to be challenged intellectually. If anything, just enjoy the excellent visuals and switch off your brain for 84 minutes.


Blood: The Last Vampire [Blu-ray]
Blood: The Last Vampire [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Gianna Jun
Price: £8.16

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Where Evil Grows, She Preys, 5 Nov. 2009
Unbeknownst to the majority of mankind, there has existed a war between humans and vampires since the beginning of time. Haunted by the face of her fathers killer, Saya lives to destroy all vampires and to one day come face to face with her nemesis, Onigen. When Saya, covertly infiltrates a US military base as a Japanese transfer student, she discovers that the place is crawling with 'bloodsuckers' and she unwittingly discovers that her nemesis is closer than she thought.

The Blood anime was never one of my favourite animes so I didn't really have any expectations about this movie. Good thing really because this live action adaptation doesn't live up to the legacy that the anime left behind. In the movies favour, the original anime didn't have a great plot, but is mainly heralded as a superb CGI visualisation, so the movie is somewhat restricted in what it can do. Admittedly, it does start quite well with a true live action re-creation of the clasic train scene from the anime. In fact, the movie remains pretty faithful to the anime yet diverges enough to deliver some surprises along the way. However, the story suffers with some erratic pacing and uninspired characters. While the action scenes are incredibly well choreographed and look absolutely stunning in high definition, the way the story is brought across doesn't really work in it's favour.

So, like the anime, Blood - the last vampire the movie is undeniably attractive but is certainly lacking in depth. In the movies defense, it may be worth watching purely for the stunning Gianna Jun. Hot chicks with big swords always = great guy flick. Watch this movie but don't expect to be challenged intellectually. If anything, just enjoy the excellent visuals and switch off your brain for 84 minutes.


Blue Dragon - Series 1 [DVD]
Blue Dragon - Series 1 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Rita Majkut
Price: £32.73

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Awaken the Power Within, 5 Nov. 2009
This review is from: Blue Dragon - Series 1 [DVD] (DVD)
Shu is a young boy from the peaceful Talta village. He dreams of a more interesting life filled with magic and adventure. As if by fate, the village is visited by two mysterious travellers known as Zola and Jiro who have the ability to summon powerful shadows to do battle for them. And when the evil forces of Grankingdom and their evil leader Nene start terrorising the village, Shu soon discovers he has his very own shadow powers within and summons the powerful and incredibly bad tempered Blue Dragon. After the bad guys have been temorarily defeated, Shu persuades Zola and Jiro to let him and his childhood friend Kluke tag along on their journey. Along the way the small band of heroes come across countless foes of all shapes and sizes as well as a few new allies. The group is soon joined by the perverted devee creature known as Maru Maro and the ditsy and busty Bouquet.

Even though Blue Dragon is based on the hugely popular and best-selling game, this anime version manages to stand on it's own two feet in terms of entertainment and story. However, the cutesy look of the animation and character designs gives the impression that this is primarily for younger viewers and this potentially may deter people from this series. Thankfully though, the lovely people at manga entertainment have released the episodes in this set (1-24) in their totally uncut form. So we get the full-on perviness of Maru Maro and the uncensored fanservice from Bouquet.

The story of the series is undeniably simple and some of the new characters are quite unoriginal and forgettable. However, the small group of main characters prove to be enjoyable to watch if unashamedly simple. Action scenes look Okay, but the best aspect of the show is the kooky comedy and the way the characters bounce of eachother. As far as music goes, fans of the game will recognise a few familiar tunes such as the battle theme and the boss theme. Furthemore the discs in this set come with the option of whether to watch in Japanese with suubtitles or English. Unfortunately, there are no real special features on offer except for some trailers.

Overall, Blue Dragon is a fun and entertaining ride that people of all ages can enjoy. While this may not be up to the standard of story and action seen fellow shonen animes such as Naruto, Bleach and One Piece, there is still enough here to keep the viewer entertained. I must admit that the quality dips slightly towards the end of this set due to a repetitive and over-long story arc, however, hoping that it picks back up soon, the next release should be one to look out for.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 18, 2013 5:26 AM GMT


Devil May Cry [Blu-ray]
Devil May Cry [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Shin Itagaki
Price: £16.10

8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Cursed To Live As Both Monster and Man, 26 Oct. 2009
This review is from: Devil May Cry [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Following the success of the games, Devil May Cry has brought back to life in anime form. This release sees the entire 12 episodes of everyones favoutite demon slaying, cool dude trying his luck in the anime world. The result - A bit of a mixed bag. Alongside other game to anime transitions, Devil May Cry isn't as good as Street Fighter II, yet it is no where near as bad as Tekken. Instead, it occupies the middle area with Blue Dragon. On paper, a devil may cry anime should work. As long as it captures the spirit of the game, yet remains original and unique in it's own respect then there should be no problems. However, this wasn't going through the mind of the creator.

Considering the game series is heralded as a landmark in jaw droppingly stylish and innovative action, the anime series is surprisingly tame in comparison. Gone are the intense, adrenaline soaked, multi-combo fight scenes only to be replaced with a lot of dull and totally unoriginal action scenes. Many of which involve static shots of our demonic hero in some sort of cool pose. But no matter how cool his posing is, this doesn't make up for the boring and uninspired action. This is one of the reasons why I wouldn't recommend it to hardcore fans of the game series. That along with the fact that Dante is portrayed as a lazy bum who is a bit down on his luck and is in debt to just about everyone he knows...A bit of a contrast to the cool, wise cracking character many have grown to love from the games. Finally, the anime progresses through a series of stand alone episodes that involve Dante reluctantly going on some kind of mission and ending up crossing swords with the numerous devils that have it in for him. This simplistic formula, works well to some degree, but it soon becomes repetitive, and predictable. Any trace of gothic flair or chilling atmosphere has been removed and we are given the annoying little brat that helps out at Dante's shop and does nothing except add some pointless moe and cuteness to the show... The ultra cool characters and intriguing story concept that the games created have been abused and violated to create this spin off series that just reeks of average.

I know that up to this point, I've just compared this to the game. This is mainly because the majority of people who watch this are going to be fans of the game hoping to experience the excellent video game story in animation. The minority of people who watch this on a whim without actually playing the games, are likely to get more enjoyment out of it. This anime may not be as bad as Tekken the animated movie; but it is more of a let down. The episodes are predictable but easy enough to follow and there is a decent soundtrack including an awesome metal track on the disc menu.

For any game to anime transition; as well as other transitions, there is always going to be high expectations; and unfortunatly, Devil May Cry doesn't live up to it's original video game greatness. The best thing to do is to try and forget that you are watching Devil May Cry and try to imagine it is an original series; then and only then may you get maximum enjoyment out of it.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 31, 2010 11:55 PM BST


Devil May Cry [DVD]
Devil May Cry [DVD]
Dvd ~ Shin Itagaki
Price: £11.10

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Cursed To Live As Both Monster and Man, 26 Oct. 2009
This review is from: Devil May Cry [DVD] (DVD)
Following the success of the games, Devil May Cry has brought back to life in anime form. This release sees the entire 12 episodes of everyones favoutite demon slaying, cool dude trying his luck in the anime world. The result - A bit of a mixed bag. Alongside other game to anime transitions, Devil May Cry isn't as good as Street Fighter II, yet it is no where near as bad as Tekken. Instead, it occupies the middle area with Blue Dragon. On paper, a devil may cry anime should work. As long as it captures the spirit of the game, yet remains original and unique in it's own respect then there should be no problems. However, this wasn't going through the mind of the creator.

Considering the game series is heralded as a landmark in jaw droppingly stylish and innovative action, the anime series is surprisingly tame in comparison. Gone are the intense, adrenaline soaked, multi-combo fight scenes only to be replaced with a lot of dull and totally unoriginal action scenes. Many of which involve static shots of our demonic hero in some sort of cool pose. But no matter how cool his posing is, this doesn't make up for the boring and uninspired action. This is one of the reasons why I wouldn't recommend it to hardcore fans of the game series. That along with the fact that Dante is portrayed as a lazy bum who is a bit down on his luck and is in debt to just about everyone he knows...A bit of a contrast to the cool, wise cracking character many have grown to love from the games. Finally, the anime progresses through a series of stand alone episodes that involve Dante reluctantly going on some kind of mission and ending up crossing swords with the numerous devils that have it in for him. This simplistic formula, works well to some degree, but it soon becomes repetitive, and predictable. Any trace of gothic flair or chilling atmosphere has been removed and we are given the annoying little brat that helps out at Dante's shop and does nothing except add some pointless moe and cuteness to the show... The ultra cool characters and intriguing story concept that the games created have been abused and violated to create this spin off series that just reeks of average.

I know that up to this point, I've just compared this to the game. This is mainly because the majority of people who watch this are going to be fans of the game hoping to experience the excellent video game story in animation. The minority of people who watch this on a whim without actually playing the games, are likely to get more enjoyment out of it. This anime may not be as bad as Tekken the animated movie; but it is more of a let down. The episodes are predictable but easy enough to follow and there is a decent soundtrack including an awesome metal track on the disc menu.

For any game to anime transition; as well as other transitions, there is always going to be high expectations; and unfortunatly, Devil May Cry doesn't live up to it's original video game greatness. The best thing to do is to try and forget that you are watching Devil May Cry and try to imagine it is an original series; then and only then may you get maximum enjoyment out of it.


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