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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The culmination of Shinkai's entire career up until this point - Collectors Edition Review, 31 Mar. 2013
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This review is from: Journey To Agartha [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
The film itself is excellent entertainment. I wont go into too much detail as it will spoil the movie. Makoto Shinkai proves he can do more than just amazing visuals (I don't feel he needed to anyway...) I thought all the main characters were compelling and believable - you want to experience their adventure, both physically, and perhaps more prevalent - emotionally. The story itself has many underlying levels. But if I were to pick a overall theme, it would be coming to terms with life and death. It doesn't portray 'good' and 'bad' conventionally (or even at all to be honest) or try to shove down your throat any one repeated message. An important thing to note is that not everything will be picked up upon on first viewing. It gets better every-time I watch it. It's just a solid 2 hour Journey...to Agartha (pun intended). The films presentation is excellent, the stand out being the visuals - just a treat to the eyes. You can tell a lot of effort was put into this (I know from watching the bonus content, more on that down below). Even everyday life is portrayed so aesthetically pleasingly - You just notice little things all the time. The style isn't solely photo realistic as his previous works but a mix, and works very well.

The bonus content is quite good overall. The stand out clearly being the 'making of' and interviews with the actors and creator. I wasn't expecting both of those to be a minimum of 45mins each! One reason I'm doing this review is because, after watching both of those features, I feel Makoto produced exactly what he intended (the other reason is because some people have given this 1 or 2 star and have not even watched the damn thing... the forums/comments are below people) The bonus content is well worth a watch if you enjoyed the film. I was surprised how knowledgeable and genuinely proud of the film and their characters they portrayed the actors were. Very likeable indeed. It isn't a standard set of interview questions regarding the process of voice acting. (though that is covered). The art book is nice and gives further insight into some of the scenes visited - the small town for example or just early character concepts. The box itself opens upwards and cannot stand straight on it's on due to this. The artbook isn't secure in the box either.

I've watched it twice, both in Japanese with subtitles. I do intend on watching it one day with the English dub. But I feel, after watching it with subs, that the English cast just don't reflect how the characters should sound like when I briefly switched audio track mid way through second viewing. I'm sure it's adequate and accurate, but not my cup of tea on this occasion so far.

Overall; Buy this film. If you're reading this review it's likely that you're not new to anime and perhaps want to broaden your horizons. Competition is good for everyone in business, especially for the consumer. I highly doubt you'll feel or wished that you hadn't purchased and watched this film when the end credits roll. It will most likely leave some impact :)

Nigel out.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 20 Dec 2013 22:32:56 GMT
E. J. Brown says:
Hi Nigel, thank you for your wonderful review, I really enjoyed this anime and your comments :)
I adore visually pleasing animes and a meaningful storyline, I think this fits the bill. It's so special. I wanted to ask if you have any other suggestions that are similar to this, or similar to Moribito Guardian of the Spirit (another beautifully designed anime and story). I really value your thoughts and ideas, many thanks, Emma

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Dec 2013 11:43:17 GMT
Nigel says:
Hi Emma,

Did you watch this because of my 'review'!?? I Also adore visually good looking anime with meaningful story so I can recommend a few movies (but it's likely you've seen them already!)

EVERY single Ghibli film is worth a watch - my favourites are the slice of life ones, so; my fav is Whisper Of The Heart, Ocean Waves, Only Yesterday, Poppy Hill, Porco Rosso. I made a video on the real life locations video of whisper of the heart as it spoke so much to me; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XrRifdYs-mk

You should definitely check out Shinkai's new film The Garden of Words and his previous work; 5cm per Second and before that The Place Promised in Our Early Days!

My other favourite director is Mamoru Hosoda; Check out The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Summer Wars and Wolf Children!

That's pretty much the scope of my anime knowledge. I wouldn't know where to begin with TV series as I've not seen one yet!

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Dec 2013 23:37:13 GMT
E. J. Brown says:
Thanks Nigel! The list you've compiled is absolutely wonderful. Yes, you're right, I have seen quite a few of the ones you mentioned :)
I have all the Ghibli collection (except for Ponyo, didn't like that as much as the others), I adore Miyazaki's work, and Whisper of the heart is one of my favourites, along with Totoro and Spirited Away. Poppy hill is next on my list :)
I'm going to take a look at the video you made, thanks for the link!

I've just finished watching all three of Mamoru Hosada's films -Summer wars, Girl who leapt through time and Wolf children (loved the last one!)
I'm going to start with Shinkai's films next, all the three you mentioned as I haven't seen them yet (I know, too shocking! Please forgive me).

If you ever start on the anime tv series I can definitely give you some good ones to start you off - Moribito Guardian of the Spirit is absolutely stunning, Romeo x Juliet is another good one, along with Kanon and Sword Art Online.

Let me know how you get on, and yes, your review inspired me to watch the film by Hosada, so thanks again! Have yourself a super Christmas! Blessings, Emma
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