Stephen reviews: Urusei Yatsura 3: Remember My Love (1985)

125824464096916322687Urusei Yatsura 3: Remember My Love [うる星やつら3 リメンバー・マイ・ラブ] (1985)

Starring Fumi Hirano, Toshio Furukawa, Akira Kamiya, Mitsuo Iwata, Saeko Shimazu, Machiko Washio, Shinji Nomura, Sumi Shimamoto

Directed by Kazou Yamazaki


I was curious what kind of changes Urusei Yatsura would undergo once Mamoru Oshii left the scene. It turns out, not all that much. Remember My Love has a lot more flare and visual style than I expected from it, and also keeps to a more emotional story than the TV series did, just like the first two films in the franchise. One thing to remember about anime comedies is that they always tend to take themselves seriously at the end. The grand finale of a story needs to have punch, and comedy anime usually tries to accomplish this by turning away from the comedy. I get the feeling that these films were Urusei Yatsura‘s way of doing this. The TV series seemed unending. In 1985, more than four years into its run, Urusei Yatsura was still going strong. So it was the movies where the series could take its break from comedy and tackle the emotions underlying it all.

That’s not to say the comedy is abandoned here. Not by a long shot. But there are a lot of moments where you would normally expect a lighthearted joke, and instead there is only the dramatic tension of the situation. This is actually rather distracting at times and left me in a confused mood where it was difficult to tell whether I should be laughing at a certain point, or actually feeling for the characters. This is detrimental to the film, but at the same time, these moments are also done pretty well, making the story engaging on more than a simple laugh-a-minute level.

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Stephen reviews: Children Who Chase Lost Voices (2011)

children_who_chase_lost_voices_from_deep_belowChildren Who Chase Lost Voices [星を追う子ども Hoshi o Ou Kodomo] (2011)
AKA Children Who Chase Lost Voices From Deep Below, Journey to Agartha

Starring Hisako Kanemoto, Kazuhiko Inoue, Miyu Irino, Junko Takeuchi, Funiko Orisaka, Sumi Shimamoto, Tamio Ohki, Rina Hidaka

Directed by Makoto Shinkai


After watching the luscious visuals of 5 Centimeters Per Second, I just couldn’t keep away from Makoto Shinkai’s latest film any longer. The allure of a fantasy world seen through Shinkai’s visual style was just too strong. I certainly got some wonderful fantasy world visuals, and I loved those quite a bit even if they weren’t the best Shinkai has produced.

Unfortunately, the promotional art that reminded me so much of a Studio Ghibli production proved a little too true. The spunky female lead was certainly reminiscent of any number of Ghibli films, and her jittery cat bore a definite similarity to the squirrel-foxes of Nausicaa and Laputa. Inspiration is one thing, but this crosses that fine line into rip-off. And when the scene from Princess Mononoke of Ashitaka saying goodbye to his sister was copied almost exactly, it was nothing short of depressing.

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