Tag Archives: Spirited Away

First Annual Reader Awards: And the Votes say…

Okay, everyone. Two weeks ago I said that I’d put up your choices for the awards. So, this week I’m doing that. Keep in mind, those people who did vote didn’t see all the anime I reviewed. So, these are going to lean pretty heavily towards the better known anime that I watched.Now, let’s look at your choices. Whether I agree with them or not.

Moffat Award for worst series/OVA: Corpse Party: Tortured Souls. 

Yeah, this one is bad. As a work of horror, it fails pretty badly, being funny more often than frightening. Not my pick, but I can see why it was yours.

Simone Award for best serious series/OVA: Code Geass: Hangyaku no Lelouch.

This is another one I can understand. Code Geass did a lot right and gave us a compelling story. Incidentally, I will be reviewing the second series in either late March or early April. So, that’ll be fun for all of us.

Abrams Award for worst film: Hetalia: Paint it White.

Here’s one we agreed on. This film was just bad with all of its good scenes being lazily lifted from the main series.

Miyazaki Award for best film: Spirited Away

Here’s another one we completely agree on. This film gave us a grand adventure with strong characters and was just Studio Ghibli at their best.

Macfarlane award for worst comedy: Hetalia: Paint it White.

I guess you guys disliked that film a lot more than I did, because I can think of a couple worse comedies I watched, but this is all about you and your choice was Paint it White.

Pratchett Award for best comedy: Gintama

I can’t really agree on this one. Gintama is not my type of comedy. But, at the same time, this choice isn’t surprising, since the series is popular.

Meyer Award for worst romance: Love Hina.

This one doesn’t really surprise me either. After all, it’s very close to my own pick.

Kanemaki Award for best romance: Yuru Yuri: San Hai.

I’m not really sure which pairing you all liked the most from this series. Maybe it was Sakurako & Himawari. Maybe it was Chinatsu & Yui. Maybe it was a poly-amorous coven. Whatever the case, San Hai was your choice for best romance.

Anno Award for worst cast: Hetalia: Paint it White.

On one hand, I don’t think this series has a bad cast at all. But, on the other hand, the film does kind of make it look like it does. either way, this is your choice I had mine two weeks ago.

Moore Award for best cast: Gintama

Well then… I guess that’s a thing.

Bendis Award for worst conflict: Corpse Party: Tortured Souls. 

In terms of execution, this conflict is pretty bad. I can see why you picked it.

Claremont Award for best conflict: Code Geass Hangyaku no Lelouch

I can understand this one too. Code Geass was really good about setting up both a conflict of ideals and one of this small resistance force against a major power.

Liefeld Award for worst visuals: Corpse Party: Tortured Souls

This was one of my two choices too. With overblown gore effects that are exaggerated to the point of silliness and ridiculous monsters. It just looks bad. Glad we agree on that.

Urbino Award for best visuals: Spirited Away.

Again, we agree. Also one of my choices this year. The visuals in this are Studio Ghibli at their finest. Beautiful details and a fantastically designed world.

Spencer Award for worst acting: Corpse Party: Tortured Souls.

I don’t disagree about this being badly done. These characters were bland and the actors, though they do their best, can’t really make them sound compelling.

Sir Stewart Award for best acting: Yahari ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru.

The series does have some strong performances. Can’t really fault you for picking it.

Perry Award for worst music: Corpse Party: Tortured Souls

This one got a lot of the negative reader awards this year.

Kloss Award for best music: Gintama.

I’m just not going to say anything on this one. After all, this is about your picks.

So, there’s how you all voted. I guess you really liked Gintama, Spirited Away & Code Geass and really hated Corpse Party & Hetalia: Paint it white. I can largely agree on four of those.

Ktulu’s Third Annual Anime Awards & Shaming Ceremony

This year, I thought I’d try something a bit different with these. First off, I’m not going to bother with nominees. It occurs to me that having different nominees is only really helpful if I announce those in advance. Secondly, I’ll be hosting a “reader’s choice” awards. I’ll list every single anime I’ve reviewed this year, sorted alphabetically, in the comments section leave your own choices for the various awards. For those of you who are regular readers from AFT, I’ll be posting a special thread for you to use. You can vote for however many categories you want. They can be anything that actually relates to the award in question, regardless of whether or not I liked/disliked them. To give a few examples, Futari Wa Precure: Max Heart  won’t be eligible for the various film reviews & Corpse Party isn’t eligible for the comedic awards, because it has to be deliberately funny to be in the running for those. For your convenience, I’ve labelled all of the film reviews.

So, here’s our list of anime reviewed:

3×3 Eyes Seima Densetsu, Akuma no Riddle, All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku: Dash, Ankoku Cat, Appleseed (film), Cardcaptor Sakura: the movie (film), Choujigen Game Neptune: The Animation, Choujuu Densetsu Gestalt, Code Geass: Hangyaku no Lelouch, Conqueror of Shamballa (film), Corpse Party: Tortured Souls, Death Parade, Divergence Eve, Dragonball Z: Fusion Reborn (film), Exlorer Woman Ray, Futari wa Precure: Max Heart, Gankutsuou, Ginga Ojou-sama Densetsu Yuna, Gintama, Glass no Kamen, Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu ka, Hetalia: Paint it White (film), Hoshi wo ou Kodomo (film), Ice, Kannazuki no Miko, Kara no Kyoukai 6 (film), Kara no Kyoukai 7 (film), Kekkai Sensen, Kigurumikku V3, Kyattou Ninden Teyandee, Love Hina, Love Hina Again, Love Live, Love Live 2, Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha As, Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS, Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha Vivid, Mars of Destruction, Miyamoto Musashi: Souken ni Haseru Yume (film), Mushishi, Natsu no Arashi 2, Night Walker: Mayonaka no Tantei, Overlord, Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom, Sengoku Otome: Momoiro Paradox, Shigofumi, Shinrei Tantei Yakumo, Solty Rei, Spirited Away (film), Strike Witches, Sunabouzu, Uchuu Kyoudai, Whisper of the Heart (Film), Wooser no Sono Higurashi, X-men, Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru, Yuru Yuri 2, Yuru Yuri San Hai 

Now that that’s taken care of, let’s go over my personal choices for this year’s awards.

The Moffat Award for unbearably awful writing within a supposedly mostly serious series or OVA. Previous winners: Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge & Neon Genesis Evangelion

This year’s Moffat award winner is, from Madhouse, X-men. 

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You’re probably thinking, “really, Ktulu? You’ve reviewed Mars of Destruction, Ice & Corpse Party: Tortured Souls this year, but X-men stands out as the worst?” Yes, yes it does. Don’t get me wrong, all of these are terrible in their own right, but there are two things that makes X-men worse than those other three, for me. The first is that it’s the longest. Which gives it more time for its stupidity. The second is that I have a bigger attachment to X-men than I do those other series. I’ve never played the games that Corpse Party & Mars of Destruction are based on nor have I read the novel that Ice is based on. Maybe they’re good and the anime versions butchered them, maybe they’re just as bad. What I have read are a lot of X-men issues. As written by Chris Claremont, this is easily one of my favourite super hero teams. Which makes seeing them written as badly as they are in this series particularly infuriating.

The Simone Award for writing excellence is a mostly serious series or OVA. Our previous winners were Psycho Pass & Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. 

This year the Simone award goes to Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS.

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This one was tough to decide with StrikerS, Mushishi & Death Parade all in the running, but, in the end, StrikerS is the one I have the most fondness for by a very slight margin.

The Abrams Award for Horrendous film writing. Our previous winners were End of Evangelion & Metropolis.

This year the Abrams Award goes to Hetalia: Paint it White.

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As fond as I am of the series itself, the film was a lazy drudge with recycled gags and basically nothing good that was actually original for the franchise.

The Miyazaki Award for stellar film writing. Our previous winners were Nausicaa & Kara no Kyoukai 4. 

This year’s Miyazaki award goes to Spirited Away. 

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An excellent film from Studio Ghibli and the best I’ve watched this year.

The Macfarlane award for most failed comedy. Our prior winners were OreImo & Kill la Kill. 

This year, the Macfarlane award goes to Sunabouzu.

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A series that treated rape as uproariously funny and consistently found new ways to defy good taste and be genuinely one of the worst things I’ve ever seen.

The Pratchett award for comedic excellence. Our previous winners were Bottle Fairy & Doki Doki Precure.

This year’s Pratchett award goes to Yuru Yuri San Hai.

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It was difficult to choose between this and the second series of Love Live but, ultimately, San Hai came out on top by the slightest of margins.

The Meyer award for worst written romance. Our previous winners were OreImo & Mawaru Penguindrum.

This year’s Meyer award goes to Love Hina Again.

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Have you ever wanted to see a love triangle with a guy, his sister and the girl who abuses him? If you answered in the affirmative, I question your mental health. But that’s what Love Hina Again provides.

Next up we have the Kanemaki award for greatest romance. The previous winners of this one were Btooom & Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha.

This year, the Kanemaki award goes to Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS.

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They had a fantastic budding romance in the first series. In StrikerS, they have a stellar mature romance. Nanoha and Fate are a spectacular couple.

The Anno award for flattest, most uninteresting cast. Previous winners were End of Evangelion & Neon Genesis Evangelion.

This year it goes to Love Hina Again. 

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The only reason that Sunabouzu didn’t take this one is that its characters are supposed to be unlikable. That’s the joke. Love Hina gives us a bunch of characters we’re supposed to like, because… they’re one-dimensional and obnoxious and Love Hina Again lowers the bar by adding in the incestuous sister character.

The Moore award for best cast. Our previous winners were Sailor Moon & Rainbow: Nisha Rokubou no Shichinin.

This year’s Moore award goes to Death Parade.

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Death Parade gives us a  group of characters who are highly endearing and have a lot to them. Both in terms of major characters and in terms of one episode characters.

The Bendis award for worst major conflict. The previous winners were From up on Poppy Hill & Sword Art Online.

This year’s Bendis award goes to Ice.

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Ice is a series where the main conflict really doesn’t work even in concept. We have a future with only women. we have two major factions. One wants to save humanity, but not with the tested, functional methods we have to let two women reproduce with one another. They want to use some convoluted nonsense. We also have another group that hates science because it’s a man’s field (Nothing insulting to all the female scientists out there at all) and just wants to let everything end while they indulge in hedonism. Both of these groups are insufferably stupid and it makes their conflict really uninteresting.

The Claremont award for most compelling conflict. Our previous winners for this one are Psycho Pass & Shingeki no Kyojin.

This year’s Claremont award goes to Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha A’s.

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What makes this conflict so good is that the antagonists are really endearing and have an incredibly sympathetic motivation. You want to see Nanoha & Fate pull through, but you also want the guardian knights to come out okay. You’re legitimately torn between the groups and it makes the conflict really compelling.

The Liefeld award for visual ineptitude. Our previous winners were Aku no Hana & Amada anime Series: Super Mario Brothers.

This year, we’re doing something a bit different and giving two out. One for the film category and the other for the series/OVA category. Our winners are Dragonball Z: Fusion Reborn & Corpse Party: Tortured Souls.

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In the case of Fusion Reborn, the big artistic failing is that the action sequences are weak, which is pretty sad when you have something as action-oriented as Dragonball. In Tortured Souls the big issue is that it looks goofy. The gore effects are overblown to the point of absurd and the monsters just look silly. The artwork takes scenes that are supposed to be intense and makes them unintentionally hilarious.

Next we have the Urbino award for visual excellence. Our previous winners were Nausicaa & Tokyo Godfathers. 

This year, there will be two. One for the film category & one for the series/OVA category. Our winners are Spirited Away & Mushishi.

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Both of these works are really well detailed with some stellar nature scenes and they just look really superb.

The Spencer award for acting incompetence. Our previous winners were the English dub of Sailor Moon & Neon Genesis Evangelion.

This year, the Spencer award goes to Ice.

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Ultimately, Ice suffers from casting several girls who can’t act in major roles and from Ishida Akira’s worst performance. In spite of him being a genuinely good actor.

The Sir Stewart award for impeccable acting. Our previous winners were Black Rock Shooter (OVA) & Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha.

This year’s Sir Stewart award goes to Glass no Kamen.

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What makes this series stand out are the multiple performances from Kobayashi Sanae & Yajima Akiko as their characters don different asks for the stage. They have to play their own characters, plus the characters their characters are playing and they have to do all of it really well for the series to work. Which they do, brilliantly.

The Perry award for ear-splitting awful music. Our previous winners were the English dub of Sailor Moon & Street Fighter II.

This year’s Perry award winner is Mars of Destruction.

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As much as I love classical music, Mars of Destruction uses it in a very shoddy way, not bothering to match the music to what’s happening on screen. That, in addition to the crappy sound mixing, makes it the worst.

Our final award is the Kloss award for loveliest music. The previous winners were Slayers Perfect & K-on: The Movie. 

This year’s Kloss award goes to Love Live series 2.

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The music in this series really is spectacular and the way the actresses harmonise is superb.

So, those are my choices this year. Feel free to leave a comment with your choices from the list or you can e-mail me at ktuluthedarkone@hotmail.com. Thanks for following me this year and I hope you’ll continue to do so in the following year, even when our tastes are very different. In two weeks I’ll post the reader’s choice winners. Have a happy Valentine’s all.

Spirited Away: It has a dragon and adorbs soot creatures

I’ve discussed a lot of Studio Ghibli films in the past, and I’ll probably touch on more in future. Surprisingly one of their best known films, Spirited Away, hasn’t come up yet. It was written and directed by Miyazaki Hayao with production beginning in 2000 and the eventual release in 2001 breaking box office records and winning various awards. Of course, something being popular doesn’t necessarily translate to it being good. Although it’s a Miyazaki Hayao film so the probability of it being ungood is exceedingly low. Either way, let’s take a look.

Story:

Our tale opens with a family driving to their new home. The father gets lost and goes down a side street, eventually coming across a worn down tunnel. They arrive at a strange deserted area and find large plates piled with food at an abandoned stall. Our heroine, the young Chihiro, encourages her parents not to eat it because whoever runs the stall is going to get mad at them, but her parents help themselves because she is the only one in the group with common sense. She wanders off and encounters a young boy who tells her that she can’t be there and to hurry and get across the river before night falls. She finds it strange but does as she’s told. Unfortunately, when she goes looking for her parents all she finds are a couple of massive pigs and by the time she reaches the river it’s stretched out far wider than it was before and she has no way to cross it. She finds herself in a strange land full of spirits with no way home. If she wants to avoid getting turned into an animal like her parents then she has to find work. The main conflict centres around Chihiro’s struggle to save her parents and return home.

As rare as it is for me, I have nothing about the story to criticise. The quiet atmospheric scenes are really effective at establishing information about the world, and helping build tension. It’s a good thing they didn’t do something stupid like throw in narration or chatter because that would have just destroyed the lovely atmosphere. The pacing is spectacular. The narrative itself is highly compelling with a lot of interesting moments. The spirit world is fascinating and the story structure is really good with a very natural progression. I suppose that I could say that the ending is kind of obvious if I wanted to nitpick but in all fairness I can’t really fault a children’s movie for that especially when everything that builds up to it works so well and the ending itself has a lot of really good aspects and works very well. It may be obvious, but it’s still a good ending.

Characters:

Chihiro is a really interesting heroine with a good amount of complexity and she does develop quite a bit over the course of the film. It has strong coming of age elements and it handles them spectacularly. The secondary cast also has a lot of complex and interesting characters. Even the little soot ball creatures have some facets to them. I do like that the antagonist isn’t some stock villain cliché but is more just kind of greedy and self-centred while having some sympathetic traits as well.

Art:

Unsurprisingly, the artwork is spectacular. I’ve never seen a Studio Ghibli film that didn’t look gorgeous. The backgrounds are lovely. The various spirits are really well designed and have interesting looks. I particularly liked No Face and the dragon. The action sequences are really well done.

Sound:

The cast is really good. Irino Miyu, yes the same gent who was in hoshi wo ou kodomo, Hiiragi Rumi, and Natsuki Mari are all really good. And Natsuki voices two different characters who deliberately sound kind of similar but she gives them both subtly different qualities that make them sound believably like different people. The music is really good as well.

Ho-yay:

No ho-yay in this one either.

Final Thoughts:

Spirited Away is certainly a spectacular film. It’s easy to see why it made such an impact and has garnered so much praise. The story is amazing, the characters are complex, the artwork is beautiful and the acting and music are both superb. I wouldn’t call it better than Nausicca or Grave of the Fireflies but it’s certainly a masterpiece in its own right and easily on par with them. As such, my final rating is going to be a 10/10. Tomorrow I’ll finish up film festival week with a look at Miyamoto Musashi: Souken ni Haseru Yume.