Stephen reviews: New Kimagure Orange Road: Summer’s Beginning (1996)

summersbeginning_1New Kimagure Orange Road: Summer’s Beginning [新きまぐれオレンジ☆ロード ~ そして、あの夏のはじまり Shin Kimagure Orange Road – Soshite, Ano Natsu no Hajimari] (1996)
AKA New Kimagure Orange Road: And Then, The Beginning of That Summer

Starring Tohru Furuya, Hiromi Tsuru, Eriko Hara, Kenichi Ogata

Directed by Kunihiko Yuyama


I’ve never been a huge fan of Kimagure. Its humor always struck me as bland and uninspired, but its first movie, I Want to Return to That Day, was such an odd and compelling title that I have wanted to delve into the series more. Summer’s Beginning tries to do what IWTRTTD did by losing the comedic tone and making it a more straight-up romance. But it doesn’t really have the nerve to go all the way with it, and it leaves in a lot of the sillier elements of the series. I’m not too fond of this approach as it only serves to dilute both aspects of the story without achieving the depth of emotion that IWTRTTD had. This may just be that I never really did care for the humor of Kimagure, but hey, at least it’s still better than an American sitcom.

Summer’s Beginning is not a sequel to IWTRTTD; it’s actually a sequel to the later series New Kimagure Orange Road, though I’m not exactly sure whether the second series is a sequel, a remake, or something else entirely. Summer’s Beginning starts off after IWTRTTD ends, and as far as my fading memories go, there are no contradictions to the story. There are even several flashbacks to events that happened in IWTRTTD, making it seem like Summer’s Beginning might well be a sequel to it. What Summer’s Beginning does differently, however, is keep all the psychic powers that IWTRTTD conveniently forgot about. In fact, those powers form the crux of the entire plot in Summer’s Beginning.

Continue reading Stephen reviews: New Kimagure Orange Road: Summer’s Beginning (1996) →

Stephen reviews: GoShogun: The Time Étranger (1985)

goshogun_1GoShogun: The Time Étranger [戦国魔神ゴーショーグン 時の異邦人(エトランゼ)  Sengoku Majin Goshōgun: Toki no Étranger] (1985)
AKA Time Stranger

Starring Mami Koyama, Daisuke Gouri, Hideyuki Tanaka, Hirotaka Suzukoi, Kaneto Shiozawa, Shojiro Kihara, Funio Matsuoka, Yumi Takada

Directed by Kunihiko Yuyama


40 years ago Remy Shimada was part of a team that saved the world from destruction. Now she is old and dying. She’s only got two days left to live. And as she lays unconscious in a hospital bed, her comrades stay with her, hoping that she will recover. In between these hospital scenes are spliced a story from the days when Remy and her friends were adventuring around the galaxy, and a smaller story from Remy’s childhood. Or perhaps they are really just fever dreams as Remy comes to terms with her impending death. This movie is very metaphysical; what is real and what is illusion will largely be up to the viewers to decide for themselves.

The bulk of the story takes place in an unknown city on an unknown planet at an unknown point in time. Remy and her pals were just passing through, but while staying at a hotel they all receive letters that predict their deaths. Mirroring the frame story in the hospital, Remy is scheduled to die in two days. The team naturally decides this is all a bunch of bullshit and tries to prove the predictions wrong. The townsfolk, however, are greatly offended by these foreigners ignoring the city’s traditions, and form massive lynch mobs to put the heroes in their place.

Continue reading Stephen reviews: GoShogun: The Time Étranger (1985) →

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