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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Sleepy Hollow

Sleepy Hollow Movie PosterSo here’s a podcast about Tim Burton’s 1999 version of Sleepy Hollow starring Johnny Depp and Christinia Ricci… only a month after Halloween is over! That’s nearly on time! Right? Right? Well, it was recorded on Oct 30th at least.

Tim Burton’s version of Sleepy Hollow is vastly different from the original short story but for the better. It has a great cast, special effects that hold up pretty well, and some top notch spooky atmosphere. Is it great? Not really, there are several plot holes, shortcuts taken with characterization, and Johnny Depp and Christinia Ricci don’t have fantastic chemistry together. It’s still a solid film though, that’s enjoyable to watch every few years on Halloween.

This fills a request from Monica G. I hope you enjoyed the episode.

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Legend

Legend Movie PosterLegend is a 1986 fantasy film directed by Ridley Scott of Blade Runner and Alien fame. It stars Tom Cruise, Mia Sara, and Tim Curry. The plot of the movie is that there’s an evil red demon dude who wants to destroy all goodness and light in the world because he’s evil and that’s what evil dudes do. He gets his chance when a young girl taints a unicorn by touching it, allowing darkness and his minions to kill one of the unicorns and plunge the world into eternal winter.

I’m surprised we haven’t done this movie yet. Its one of the quintessential eighties fantasy films alongside Black Crystal, Labyrinth, and the Neverending Story.   It’s a film that holds up pretty well as long as you watch the director’s cut.     Unlike most director’s cuts, the theatrical version and the director’s cut of legend are drastically different.   The latter even makes sense! If you’ve never seen this movie definitely check it out and if you’ve only ever seen the theatrical version, you should try the vastly improved director’s cut.

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The Last Unicorn

The Last Unicorn DVD CoverEpisode  18 is here and it’s infused with UNICORN POWER! We’re reviewing the 1982 animated classic The Last Unicorn. This film was produced by Rankin/Bass for and animated by Topcraft who would later become Studio Ghibli.   The film is beautiful to look at and really shows its pedigree, especially in the hand painted backgrounds.   There are some really beautiful pastoral scenes in this film.

The Last Unicorn is the story  of a unicorn who one day finds out that she may be the last unicorn in the world.   She goes on a quest to discover if this is true and if it is, to free the rest of the unicorns.   It’s a fairly simple setup but the characters are very well developed and bring a depth to this animated film that isn’t often seen in english produced productions.

Thanks  for requesting this  episode  Doe and Monica!

Links:
Buy a Signed Copy of The Last Unicorn novel by Peter S. Beagle!
History of Topcraft/Studio Ghibli
 

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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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