Princess Mononoke

Princess MononokeFor our 53rd episode we review the Studio Ghibli and Hayeo Miyazaki film, Princess Mononoke.  Princess Mononoke came out in 1997 and is still, in the opinion of this podcast, Studio Ghibli’s best film.  It is Miyazaki’s most adult film that explores deep and often unanswerable questions.  There are no easy answers in this film and the story takes great lengths to explore both sides of issues.  There are strong pro-environmental themes running through this film but it doesn’t disregard the reality.  Sometimes, destroying a forest is vital to someone’s life and livelihood.

We attempt a serious in depth discussion of the film in this episode.  I don’t know how well we succeed.  Neither of us are film scholars or are scholars in general.  However, we gave it our best and hopefully it’s still entertaining.

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SPECIAL: Anime Talk

Funny Anime Fan GifThis episode was original recorded in 2009 as two separate episodes.  When the podcast changed from The Power of Friendship Podcast to The Fantasy Movie Podcast a couple of years ago I took several episodes out.  They were taken out because I thought it was weird that The Fantasy Movie Podcast had several episodes in a row that had nothing to do with fantasy movies.  I had always intended to sporadically rerelease them, but for some reason I forgot all about them!  So here are two of them.  They’re edited together due to their short lengths and similar topics.

– Part I –  Shojo Anime/Manga –

Melanie and Kasey discuss their overall opinion on shojo manga.  It isn’t particularly positive.  Shojo manga is full of wimpy crying heroines and often is disturbingly sexist.  Most disturbingly is the unhealthy relationships they often support.  The jerk often gets the girl even if he’s roughed her up a bit or threatened her life.

They also are almost always solely focused on romance. Shonen titles can have romance too, but they also come in variety of genres.  Romance can be a subplot.   Shojo manga usually doesn’t get the luxury.

Kasey doesn’t hate all romance by the way, despite what this episode may lead you to believe, lol.

Not all shojo manga and anime sucks though.  Kasey highly recommends Basara and Melanie likes the yaoi comic Yami no Matsui.  They both agree that the Josei titles Nodame Cantabile and Tramps like Us are great.

Re-editing this episode made me a little sad.  In one part you can hear my long dead dog in the background…

– Part II – Anime Expiration Date –

Is there an age expiration date for anime fandom? Do most fans drop out of anime fandom in their late twenties and early thirties?  Or do they just stop talking on the internet about it?

We know for sure there is less and less anime made that we actually enjoy and want to watch.  Is that our age showing or are they just not making shows that appeal to a wider audience anymore?

What about you?  Do you think an anime fan expiration date exists?


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Escaflowne

Escaflowne Cast

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We hadn’t done an anime in a long time, and it was apparently for good reason.   It took us forever to watch this!

Escaflowne is an odd mish-match of shojo and shonen elements with genres like fantasy, mechas, and romance all thrown into one big bowl and mixed around to varying degrees of success.   The story follows a typical Japanese high school girl named Hitomi Kanzaki.   Hitomi is fond giving tarot card readings and running track.   One day a mysterious boy with a sword shows up, and she’s suddenly transported to the fantasy world of Gaia.   There her tarot card readings becoming very accurate and she’s thrust into an epic war.

We remembered this show being better, for some reason. It’s not terrible by any stretch of the imagination, but it certainty didn’t hold up to scrutiny ten years after our original viewing.

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Howl’s Moving Castle

Howl's Moving CastleThis episode we  discuss the Ghibli film Howl’s Moving Castle AND the book Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones.   We had two requests from Tora-chan and Monica G for the Miyazaki directed Howl’s Moving Castle, but decided to also include the book in our discussion.   I read the book long before I saw the movie, and its far far superior to the lackluster Ghibli film.   Sophie is a much more fiery and proactive heroine in the book.   She was very much Howl’s equal.   Furthermore, most of the narrative problems with the movie stem from the nonsensical add ons that Ghibli stacked on that were not prescent in Diana Wynne’s book.   There was nothing about the enviroment in the original book, and the war was something that was only  mentioned briefly.

This episode is a little short.   Melanie’s connection was going out so we had to end the discussion about 10-15 minutes early.   The episode is still a half an hour long, though.

So what was your opinion on Ghibli’s Howl’s Moving Castle? How do you think it holds up to the book? Were you even aware there was a book?   Got requests?   Please comment, we love to hear your thoughts and opinions!

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Ranma 1/2

Ranma 1/2 castWe’re kicking it old school today by discussing the 90s anime Ranma 1/2.

Ranma 1/2 is a martial arts comedy about marital artists who fell into magical springs that turn them into different things when cold water hits them.   For instance, the main character Ranma fell into the spring of drowned girl and now turns into a girl when hit with cold water.   So we get things like high flying martial arts fights between a red haired girl, a blind duck, and one badass little piggy… all in the name of love.

I’m not sure why we used to like Ranma 1/2 so much.   It’s a fun enough series, but it’s really repetitive and the animation quality has not aged well at all.   Heck, we even used to wrote fanfics for some unknown reason.

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Haruhi Suzumiya

The cast of Haruhi Suzumiya seriesThe Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya and The Sighs of Haruhi Suzumiya are two seasons of anime about a japanese highschool girl named Haruhi Suzumiya. Haruhi yearns to be special and stand out amongst the crowd.   On the first day of school, she declares that she’s not interested in normal humans and asks that any time travelers, espers, and aliens come see her so that they can hang out.

If you haven’t figured it out already, Haruhi is a weirdo.

Unbeknowst to her, Haruhi’s highschool already has time travelers, espers, and aliens.   And not only that, but she may be more special then all of them combined.

In fact, Haruhi may be God.

I hope everyone hasn’t left us after the long hiatus.   I made this episode nice and long to make up for it.   It’s full of enthusiasm, maybe too much.   I got rather excited talking about this topic and often times drowned out Melanie.   My bad.   There shouldn’t be any more long delays.   I have several episodes already recorded including a request for Howl’s Moving Castle, and a Ranma 1/2 episode.

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Slayers Next

Slayers Next CastSlayers Next is the second season of Slayers, and by far the best. The series improves greatly from Slayers.   The animation quality increases, the humor hits home more often, and the plot can be quite powerful at times.

In this episode, we get into the nitty gritty of the plot of Slayers Next and also some of Slayers Try. As of this recording, however, we had not yet watched Slayers Revolution and Slayers Evolution-R so you don’t have to worry about being spoiled on those.

If you haven’t seen the show and are interested, the series is really easy to obtain. Deep Discount has the first three series (Slayers, Slayers Next, and Slayers Try) for less than $50 dollars. You can also watch all three seasons of Slayers legally for free on Funimation’s official website    and on some of the  episodes are also up on  Funimation’s youtube page.

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Slayers

Slayers castIn this episode, we finally review Slayers! This nineties fantasy anime series is near and dear to me and Melanie’s hearts.   It was the anime series that made me an anime nerd and holds up quite well to this day. It’s still my favorite anime series.

Slayers is the humorous fantasy tale of Lina Inverse badass sorceress supreme who steals from bandits and gives to herself. Her love of money is only equal to her love of food.   Steal Lina Inverse’s ham sandwich and you’ll quickly wish you were never born.   Also, don’t mention she’s short, flat-chested, and has a bad temper; really it’d would be best to avoid her at all costs.   Maybe take a vacation to another city if she’s headed your way?

Lina is joined by a crew of quirky sidekicks all of which are pretty darn interesting in of themselves.   Through various circumstances the Slayers often have to save the world from total annihilation (mostly because they’d be  on  the world when the annihilation would happen).

Slayers is the first season of this totally awesome anime series which is followed by Slayers Next, Slayers Try, Slayers Revolution, and Slayers Evolution-R.   There are also some O.V.A.s where Lina runs around with different characters from the series, but I don’t recommend them.

Definitely check this series out if you haven’t seen it already!   The first three seasons are dirt cheap on Deep Discount.   Look forward to our reviews of the rest of the Slayers seasons on later podcasts!

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Soul Eater

Soul Eater Cast

 

 

 

 

In this installment, we attempt to analyze and review the 2009 anime series Soul Eater.   Soul Eater is a shonen series about a group of teens who fight evil witches and demons and then consume their souls to become stronger.

No wait! Come back! The series is good I swear!

While the series does have many common shonen tropes, it executes them in style.   The art looks as if Tim Burton and Tite Kubo of Bleach fame had a baby and that baby could draw gooooood.   The animation by Bones studio is top notch and very fluid in fight scenes. It also has a wonderfully atypical heroine in Maka. How often are twelve year old girls allowed to be main characters in shonen fighting series?   And said twelve year old girl isn’t used for fan service (in the anime at least)? How often do they have a twelve year old girl who is allowed to fight and win against opponents of both genders, and is even allowed to look totally unattractive when she’s being a scary badass?   It amazes me that more people don’t realize how miraculously rare that is.

The series has been licensed for distribution in the U.S by Funimation and will be available as of 2010.   The manga has been licensed by Yen Press and began coming out in October 2009.   If you’re interested in continuing the story of Soul Eater through the manga, the anime branches off from the manga at chapter 37.

Warning: We analyze the show as a whole.   If you have not seen all 51 episodes, this installment will completely spoil the ending for you.   Please, if you haven’t seen all of the series, keep this episode in reserve until you do. Soul Eater is good enough that you’re really doing yourself an injustice if you spoil the show for yourself.

I’d love to hear your opinions on Soul Eater or our podcast in general. Its nice to know we’re not just speaking into a void, ya know? Please leave a Comment!

Soul Eater Links:
Studio Bones Official Soul Eater Website
Funimation’s Official Soul Eater Website
Yen Press’s Official Soul Eater Manga Website

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