All posts filed under: Humble Movie Opinions

Infinity on High – Demon Slayer: Mugen Train Movie – Humble Opinions

It goes without saying that Demon Slayer has proven to be quite the phenomenon, both in Japan and around the world. The fact that a Shonen Jump adaptation film wound up being the highest grossing Japanese film of all time, surpassing the likes of such cinematic greats as Your Name and Spirited Away, is an impressive feat to say the very least. So, does the film live up to the ridiculous level of hype that has surrounded it? Yes. Yes it does. A big part of what sets Demon Slayer: Mugen Train apart from other Shonen Jump anime films is that it actually adapts source material and is canon to the ongoing story of Demon Slayer. Often these anime film takes on anime series either go the abridged format, adapting a popular story from the anime in abbreviated form, or they go for a completely original story that takes place outside of the canon of the main series. Perhaps the crucial element that led to the success of this film is that it is compulsory …

Grandfather Problems – Lupin III: The First – Humble Opinions

The legend of Arsene Lupin is not one to be understated. The classic gentlemen thief has long been a public domain character, so there has been countless takes on Lupin, but perhaps none have proven to transcend the original more than Monkey Punch’s iconic Lupin III. The purported grandson of Maurice Leblanc’s Arsene Lupin, Lupin III is likewise a master of disguise and an expert thief who—along with his frequent collaborators Jigen, Goemon, and Fujiko—travels across the globe seeking his next great heist. The fully CG animated film Lupin III: The First explores the relationship between Lupin and his grandfather in a way the Lupin the Third anime series and manga never has. The film parallels Lupin’s own journey in the footsteps of his legendary grandfather with the emotional discovery of the character of Laetitia. The film’s title, The First, is of course in reference to the original Arsene Lupin, who our hero Lupin III has stylised his life and career as a thief around. We have never seen the impact his grandfather had had …

Gremlin’s Gonna Grem – Shadow in the Cloud – Humble Opinions

In 1963, Rod Serling introduced us to an episode of the Twilight Zone that would become rather ubiquitous to the pop culture zeitgeist. Nightmare at 20,000 Feet has been parodied, retold, and reimagined so much so that the very concept of a gremlin on the wing of a plane feels like an idea that has always existed and permeated pop culture. The New Zealand flick Shadow in the Cloud has taken a while to get off the ground for a number of reasons; but, after at long last taking flight into cinemas, does the latest spin on the Twilight Zone classic soar to heights its predecessors couldn’t or does it crash and burn? I want to start by saying that Shadow in the Cloud was a rather enjoyable film overall. After the 2017 sexual assault allegations were made against screenwriter Max Landis, the film had to undergo several rewrites—which becomes very evident as the film rolls on. There are a lot of ideas and different concepts at play here in Shadow in the Cloud, which …

Live, Die, Repeat – Palm Springs – Humble Opinions

After several months of anticipation, Palm Springs, the latest Andy Samberg vehicle from Hulu, made it’s way to the Prime Video streaming platform in Australia—meaning I was able to finally watch the darn thing after watching the trailer ad nauseum. As someone who loves the film Groundhog Day, I was naturally drawn to what looked to be a modern take on the infinite time-loop scenario. So was Palm Springs worth the wait? Yes, very much yes it was. Starring Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti, Palm Springs takes the infinite time-loop concept of Groundhog Day and flips it on its head. Unlike Groundhog Day which sees Bill Murray repeat the titular day over and over, Palm Springs explores what it would be like to share that experience with someone else. Set at a wedding in Palm Springs, we learn that Samberg’s character, Niles, has been stuck in the loop for an immeasurable amount of time and has completely given up on trying to escape the loop—just embracing the fact that he is in this situation nothing really …

Aye – Robert the Bruce – Humble Opinions

Braveheat—the classic medieval Scottish pride film starring Mel Gibson—was on TV the other night. The film was meant to depict the conquests and campaigns that took place under the legendary Scottish knight, William Wallace, as he fought to liberate Scotland from the rule of England. As entertaining, epic, and charming as the film was—for all the right reasons—the fact of the matter is that it simply was not an authentic depiction of the real William Wallace, nor the events that transpired during his legendary knighthood. Sadly, his legacy has now become synonymous with Gibson’s charming crocodile smile, much to the dismay of the Scots who revere the legacy of William Wallace and his contributions to Scotland’s odyssey towards freedom. In the very same film was the conflicted Scottish king Robert the Bruce, portrayed by actor Angus Macfadyen, depicted as a cowardly and indecisive young king—which ultimately was a disservice to who he really was historically. Still, there was a layered and conflicted nature to his character as someone caught between England and Scotland. Braveheart ended …

Two For All – My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising – Humble Opinions

What can be said about My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising without spoiling the plot in its entirety? Nothing, so buckle up for a slew of words that detail every single thing I found to be cool in this second film outing for the series I love oh so much. Fair warning, I am just going to write this as it pours out of my head; so, literacy be damned, this is about fun…and cool…and cool fun…and punching things really, really hard…with a film budget. As is apparently the case, My Hero loves throwing Class 1-A onto islands when it needs a film set piece. I don’t know why. Maybe so they can wreck shop and not impact mainland Japan? You could argue that it’s so Pro Heroes aren’t as readily available, but that only applies to this film, since the first took place on an island that had literally just called a bunch of extra Heroes to it. Regardless, Class 1-A is on an island, helping out the locals as part of their training. With …

The Love for One’s Own Sound – Sonic the Hedgehog – Humble Opinions

I honestly believe the Sonic we ended up seeing in the final cut of Sonic the Hedgehog was always the original intended design; the shock trailer with the horrifyingly “realistic” depiction of the iconic blue blur was always a deliberate publicity stunt. It worked, and “Gangsta’s Paradise” never made it to the final soundtrack. The question of “what if Sonic was real?” had been asked before, which the 15th anniversary disaster Xbox 360 release of Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) tried to answer with very limited success. I’m certain a large fan  base out there enjoyed the misguided romance of Sonic and Princess Elise. Remember kids, there’s nothing cooler than finding anything you want on the internet but always leave safe search on…always. Jim Carrey ended up playing the part of Doctor Robotnik, mainly because he realised that it was always predestined for him to take on the role since the very dawn of existence itself. A profound existential force may have played a part here, but against all odds and speculation the man once known …

Who’s Eating Who? – Parasite – Humble Opinions

The buzz surrounding Bong Joon-ho’s 2019 film Parasite cannot be understated. The film has just gone on to utterly clean up at the Academy Awards including winning the top prize of Best Picture – the first non-English language film to do so in the 92 years of the awards ceremony. Truly an impressive feat regardless of the films native language and country of origin. Admittedly, going into Parasite I had little to no knowledge of what the film was exactly about. I had only watched two other films by Bong Joon-ho, Snowpiercer and The Host, both of which I thoroughly enjoyed. I know Joon-ho is acclaimed for nearly all of his films, so my expectations were that this too must be at the very least as good as Snowpiercer and The Host. So I rented the film on Google Play, decided to turn down the lights, and got stuck into the film. What awaited me was truly beyond anything I could possibly have imagined. Parasite is at it’s core a film about a poor family …

Fighting Spirits – JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable (Live-Action) – Humble Opinions

In a corner of a world much like our own, anomalies exist. Born of strong spirit, and occasionally aided by a magical Bow and Arrow, these twists of the natural order give birth to great good and evil. Guided by the minds of those who control them, these powers fashion a story of horror and triumph, leaving bizarreness in their wake. Also, death and chaos…they leave a lot of death and chaos in their wake. But, on the plus side, some deserved it. In case you’ve been living under a suddenly creepy-looking rock, allow me to to briefly explain the long-running history of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: It’s a manga that came out quite a while ago and is still going. So concluded the brief history of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. I’d go into more detail, but considering this film jumps into the fourth iteration of the original series, it really doesn’t matter. If anything, I wish I didn’t have my previous knowledge of JoJo going into this film. By knowing where the story was going well …

Syntax Terror – Project Itoh: Genocidal Organ – Humble Opinions

Language is an intriguing concept. Be it the divergence at Babel, or the allowance of internet slang into the dictionary, there is always something to talk about. Yet, irony aside, language is more often than not a means to a different end. To discuss a myriad of topics unrelated and yet only pursuable by the existence of language. It need not even be a complex issue, some moron could prattle on and wax pseudo-philosophical about an animated feature film. Language would even allow said fool to reference themselves in a confusing self-referential tangent that will most certainly end abruptly and in an unfulfilling way. What it means to be human is an incredibly complex and nigh indecipherable question that has plagued society since they first came up with the words to convey it, perhaps even earlier. To this day, intellectuals debate the nature (and even existence) of human morality and the confines in which people live their day-to-day lives. Now, I don’t claim to be one of these intellectuals, but I have noticed a distinct …

A Young Girl’s Heart – Mary and the Witch’s Flower – Humble Opinions

Magic is, for lack of a better word, magical. A five letter excuse for people to forget the limitations of the world and let their imaginations run free. No longer confined by the rules of physics, a single being can fly freely through the air and dance flames across their hands. Of course, the human imagination can only stretch so far, inevitably resulting in the misuse of magic, in the creation of an antagonist. But hey, what’s an adventure without a bad guy to clock in the jaw? Which may or may not be a literal statement…because magic. Unless you have been living under a proverbial, or painfully literal, rock for the past few decades, Studio Ghibli is a pair of words you know. Lauded by many as the pinnacle of animation, their film catalogue has a prominent place in many a fan’s collection and in many a fan’s hearts. But, Studio Ghibli did not make MAry and the Witch’s Flower, so why do I remind you of them? Well, Studio Ponoc is a fresh …

Expelled From Paradise – Review

If there is one thing that life (and many a movie) has taught me up until this point, it is the undeniable fact that humanity will eventually screw up this whole ‘living comfortably on earth thing’. Such is the case for Seiji Mizushima’s Expelled From Paradise where the denizens of our little blue marble in the sky have pulled an Elysium and gotten the hell out of dodge. In lieu of living on the surface the majority of the populace subside within the space station DEVA where all of their many wants and desires are fulfilled. This fulfilment is done through virtual spaces such beaches and malls. Unfortunately, an entity known as Frontier Setter is hacking into DEVA (possible via the ‘mainframe’, don’t ask me I am not a doctor) and sending odd messages through these virtual spaces. These messages vaguely make reference to another space station GENISIS. The message itself seems inherently innocuous but is a clear sign of a lack in cyber security aboard DEVA. Obviously, this leaves the upper echelon of DEVA command, Central …

Chihayafuru Part 1 and 2 – Movie Review

It is hard to imagine how a series about professional karuta, a traditional Japanese card game, could be so exciting, yet it is. Chihayafuru is one of the greatest ‘sports’ anime of all time if you could really classify it as such. The series imbues every moment with genuine excitement and a sense of beauty that is truly incomparable. One of my first thoughts when I heard it had been adapted to not one but two live action films was how would they capture the beauty of the animation, to my surprise they did it by doing something very simple; showcasing the game of karuta in reality for all its true to life wonder. These two Chihayafuru films definitely go hand in hand, as is the reason why we have decided to review them together. The first film follows karuta fanatic Chihaya as she reconnects with friends of the past and builds new friendships over the game of karuta, all in the lead up to the epic tournament finale that closes the first film out. …

Erased – Movie Review

How do you take a complex multi-volume manga or its fantastic 12 episode anime adaptation and translate that into a 2 hour live action film? How do you condense that story in a way that the heart of it isn’t lost in the process? It is a difficult challenge to overcome and for the most part the live action adaptation of the time travel mystery series Erased does an admirable job, until it all falls apart in a baffling final act that betrays the audacious climactic turn of events of the source material in favour for an illogical climax that lacks the same ingenuity and emotional impact. That said, for the majority of its run time Erased is a fine adaptation, as long as you stop watching before the final act. Erased follows Satoru Fujinuma (the always fantastic Tatsuya Fujiwara), a down on his luck aspiring manga artist who works as a pizza delivery driver for a living. Satoru has a bit of a secret however, he has the innate ability to relive events with …

Creepy – Review

General consensus dictates that neighbours are meant to be trusted. You, as a citizen of the area, are to band together with others like yourself to form a small but tight community. You see one another on a daily basis, you interact with each other whenever you can, and because of this a specific bond is formed between yourself and your neighbours that breeds positivity in your local area. There’s nothing safer than your home, but there’s nothing that can put you more at ease than knowing that your general area is too just as safe. Fact is…the people you interact with while mowing the lawn or watering the garden aren’t the same when behind closed doors. That’s not too scary though, it’s a simple truth of this world, the frightening thing however is the severity of that difference. In Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s latest theatrical project “Creepy“, we’re taught that the world’s most dangerous people aren’t only shown on the nightly news…they could be right next door. A special “thank you” must be extended to The …

Wolf Girl and Black Prince (Live Action) – Review

Of all the forces that make people act in unusual and surprising ways, love has got to be at the top of that list. It’s a complex emotion that shifts ones priorities and sees them think of another in a way separate from most. A special, personal connection…if it’s real of course. If we’re talking fake love, then that opens up a wholly different path, a twisting, turning, perilous path filled with speed bumps and potholes, sharp turns and those signs that tell you to slow down because there’s loose gravel and you don’t want to fling that into the windows of other cars. Granted, the more stylised of these shenanigans are relegated to the realm of fiction, but isn’t that what we’re here for? Fiction is the window into which we may peer, witness and walk away when we want. Speaking of walking away… In one specific highschool, in one fictitious version of Japan lies a girl, a nice girl, a normal-ish girl who finds herself in a situation all too common these days; …

Terraformars (Live-Action) – Review

It’s the future. Well, no, it’s currently the present, but eventually it will become the future. In saying that, though, by the time the future comes along it will be regarded as the present, but let’s not split hairs. It’s the future, and it’s time for the more significant citizens of Earth to begin searching for another planet to relocate to and subsequently destroy, so the Japanese government looks towards Mars, the red planet, as our race’s ambitious next step. Do not let it’s colour deceive you though, as it turns out, Mars is incredibly cold! Far too cold to live on! It goes against everything the primary colours stands for and yet we still make the attempt to terraform it. I know what you’re thinking; “Frank, how did we do it?“, well I have the answer: Cockroaches and moss. When I first bought my new car, most people said that black was a bad choice of colour because it absorbs heat far greater than any other. I took that knowledge to Secret NASA and …

Assassination Classroom: Graduation (Live Action) – Review

Throughout the years of trials, tribulations and trigonometry, there is one day that students an look upon with equal parts excitement and fear; graduation. That miraculous day when the school books close for the final time and metaphorical life chapters pen their final period. The fear of what lies ahead, the sadness of leaving behind what was known, it can be pretty intense if one possesses that level of care and emotional development. That being said, fiction is a wanting creature and, this time around, decided that none of that was enough and decided to wrap the fate of the world into this educational finale. Brace yourself humanity, the Assassination Classroom has one final test to pass…and boy do they have to pass. Take your seats and enjoy/hate the obligatory school bell that chimes in the morning, because it’s time for one final lesson in the classroom that tells children to shoot their teacher until they die. Right now is a pretty good time for a disclaimer that nobody should do that in the real …

One Piece Film: Gold – Review

For as long as there has been an event with multiple outcomes, you can bet your sweet straw hat the someone has been there, currency in hand, ready to test their luck. Combining the possibility of victory with the thrill of the unknown, countless characters to this day spin wheels, roll dice and flip cards in the hope of leaving with more than they came with. However, beyond all of the glitz and glamour, the bright lights and loud noises, lies a discernibly darker side to this practice; losing. Though far from a concealed side effect, many are taken aback by this aspect of gambling and wind up losing far more than they ever bet in the first place. Given the path that One Piece has been following, it was inevitable that the Straw Hat Crew would find themselves on a casino ship that was the size of a medium island and considered by the World Government to be its own independent country. Thus, it is not too jarring when exactly that happens and we …

Shin Godzilla – Review

In the same way it takes an organised team of politicians, generals, and scientists to take on the behemoth that is Godzilla, we at SnapThirty felt that the task of reviewing a brand new Godzilla film simply could not be done by one person. Jahanzeb Khan, Frank Inglese, and Luke Halliday had the opportunity to witness the historic event that is the international release of Japan’s reboot of the historic monster franchise, appropriately titled Shin Godzilla to signify a new beginning and the most definitive, truthful, and memorable depiction of the movie icon himself. Shin Godzilla is every bit of a historic landmark release as the original 1954 Godzilla film. Shin Godzilla had a lot of high expectations to live up to, and the limited international release means not everyone will have a chance to witness it. Thankfully, Madman has taken the mantle to distribute the film all over Australia in major cities. It was initially meant to be a one night screening only on 13 October 2016, but thankfully more dates have been added …

Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV – Review

For as long as there has been more than one kingdom, there have been tales of war. Not trying to be glib, just stating the facts. Small disagreements, minute clashes that escalate as populations boon, swirling into a chaos of misunderstandings, conflicts of ideals and simple greed. Now, this is not to say that peace is an impossibility, but that it is a possibility hidden in the depths of the future, one that must be purposefully reached. Additionally, in the world of fiction, war makes for a far more compelling story than peace, especially when said war involves lightning, gods and really, really cool daggers. XV. Those two letters representing two numbers representing over a decade of waiting, a waiting which is still being enacted. No, my friends, this is not the game you are looking for, but a movie based within its world. A prequel of sorts delving into the story of a protagonist unseen thus far. Rather than add to the tale of Noctis Lucis Caelum (as Brotherhood Final fantasy XV does), Kingsglaive …

Yakuza Apocalypse: The Great War Of The Underworld – Review

Takashi Miike is arguably one of the most talented and successful Japanese film directors of all times, standing alongside greats like Sion Sono in the shadow of the legendary Akira Kurosawa. He has proven, time and time again, that he has essentially mastered the art of enthralling filmmaking, but more striking than that is his remarkable ability to adapt Video Games, Anime, and Manga of any kind into worthwhile films the likes of which there is no comparison, apart from perhaps Keishi Ohtomo’s Rurouni Kenshin live-action film trilogy, and Shusuke Kaneko’s 2006 Death Note film, all of which have been received incredibly well the world over. Between faithfully adapting Anime, Manga, and Video Games, Takashi Miike sticks to his filmmaking roots by writing and developing his own original concepts, unafraid to push the boundaries artistically, technologically, and creatively. One of his latest directorial masterpieces is the film Yakuza Apocalypse; an boggling cinematic experience written by Yoshitaka Yamaguchi who is a relatively new filmmaker who you may know was the driving force behind comedy film Samurai Cat, …

The Boy and The Beast – Review

For decades, when it came to discussing anime film, there was no bigger name than Hayao Miyazaki. That was until a visionary by the name of Mamoru Hosoda stepped onto the scene and changed the landscape of feature length anime forever. Whether it be The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Wolf Children, Summer Wars or Our War Game, Mamoru Hosoda has brought heart and soul to anime cinema in this modern day in a way that is unique and poignant. With that all in consideration I approached his latest work The Boy and The Beast with eager eyes keen to see what was next for the famed director. Now here I am having just finished viewing the film and I am pleased to say that The Boy and The Beast is another hit from Hosoda and arguably his finest work to date. Telling the tale of a young boy named Ren who runs away from home following the death of his mother and living day to day homeless on the streets of Shibuya, The Boy and The Beast …

La La La at Rock Bottom – Review

Pain hits us all in different ways. Sometimes it aches slowly over time accumulating as the days go by. Sometimes it hits us with all the force of a baseball bat to the head. Sometimes it hits you without you ever noticing, eating you alive from the inside. When you’re at rock bottom, pain is always a companion. What you do with that pain is what defines you. La La La at Rock Bottom has been on my mind for weeks now since I initially saw it. I just couldn’t put my feelings on this film into words because it all felt so very real. These characters, the lives they lead and the journeys that they take are all a genuine and sincere representation of a side of Japan that is all too often forgotten about it Japanese cinema – the underclass heroes who toil away and suffer under the weight of the world all the while never losing grasp of the glimmer of hope that guides them on in life. Pooch as portrayed by …

As The Gods Will – Review

Life…can be boring sometimes, let’s not kid ourselves. Between work, or study, or just a dreary kind of morning, some days just sort of drag on. Now, films will tell you a million times over that boredom is tantamount to sin in the world we live, with those bowing to monoty simply unable, or unwilling, to see the beauty in every second of existence. But movies, in essence, are fiction, stories born from reality often mired in the extraordinary, or near implausible serendipity. So how about a different approach? An approach that doesn’t so much lay the human condition bare, as it does grab it by the throat and beat you over the head with it. Takahata Shun is your fairly typical student, or at least typical of one sub-section. Less than enthusiastic about everything, Shun drifts through the days at a 1:1 pace, never revelling in excitement to send the hours flying. Heck, he even has procrastinatory plans about one day maybe asking his childhood friend out on a date. The quintessential no rush …

Assassination Classroom (Live Action) – Review

School can be stressful, we know this. Between the tests, memorisation and compressed social experiment that comprises the in-between, the youth of the world are understandably reluctant about the experience. And  that’s talking about a normal school, imagine what it’d be like if your teacher was an alien…and you had to kill them…for the sake of the world…and money. Okay, so it’s a pretty bizarre premise, but not one you have to develop yourself, because it already exists, in manga, anime and now, live action form. Society, whether we like to admit it or not, is often divided into segments. Now, whilst the aim of the righteous minded is to lessen and eventually erase this disparity, there are those who seek to deepen that particular line in the sand. It is from this twisted mantra that Class 3-E was born, and it is in this class that we find our story. Comprised of the lowest scoring children, this class is shunned by student and faculty alike, a living example of what not to become. It’s …

Bakuman (Live-Action Film) – Review

The Manga industry is one of Japan’s largest, and one of the few publications that stands almost at the very top of the popularity ladder is none other than Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump. This weekly collection of new Manga chapters has introduced the world to some of the most popular series’ of all times: Dragon Ball, One Piece, Naruto, Bleach, they have all once called the pages of Weekly Shonen Jump their home. Every Shonen Jump Manga shares common themes, those of which have existed from the very beginning, and those of which continues to burn bright well into the new age of Manga-making. Friendship, Effort, and Victory; these are the key components of any good Shonen Manga, but the positive battle attitude these themes represent aren’t just for the characters, nor are they just for the readers, they also give those behind the scenes the courage and perseverance to continue making the series’ we, more than often, take for granted. Takeshi Obata and Tsugumi Ohba are two names any fan of Shonen Jump should know. Not only …

The Case of Hana & Alice – Review

The Case of Hana & Alice is the kind of film that instantly gains cult appeal because of how convincingly it captures the essence and experience of teenage life at that point in time. Some of the most nostalgic and timeless television series and films are able to stand the test of time not because of how relatable they were to viewers at the time of release, but also how convincingly they serve as a time capsule of sorts, something that is representative of that era. There’s nothing like watching the ordinary lives of young people as they make their transition through difficult and troubling changes that come with growing up. The self indulgent nature of young people can be a blessing sometimes, because of how the small community they live in is pretty much the full extent of the universe in their minds. Which is why their seemingly inconsequential lives and moments turn out to be such compelling adventures and experiences. I suppose the magic of teenage years isn’t so much about the ordinary …

Miss Hokusai – Review

Miss Hokusai is based on the life and times of an artist who went by Tetsuzo Hokusai during the twilight of the Edo era in Japan. The film is set during the 18th century, right before Japan transitioned into the Meiji era. Miss Hokusai doesn’t quite deliver a biographical account of the eccentric artist, but rather places the spotlight on his daughter O-Ei, hence the title of the film. Tetsuzo was particularly known for his erotic illustrations, and this aspect often comes up during the course of the film in amusing ways. However, for the film to focus on the daughter as the protagonist, instead of the famed artist himself, might seem a little strange at first, but that’s exactly what draws the viewer in. History may remember Tesuko more, but this film champions the unsung hero that is his daughter. If Tetsuzo had a rock and anchor that allowed him to accomplish the things he needed, then his daughter O-Ei was surely it. Obviously, the film takes several creative liberties with the historical source material, but it’s all done …

Attack On Titan (Part 2): End Of The World – Review

Attack On Titan; Hajime Isayama’s highly popular Manga series about a bunch of teenagers fighting off the forces of man-eating giants. This Manga, not two years ago, became it’s very own Anime series and from their it’s popularity skyrocketed to heights never thought attainable by a series of it’s kind. Ever since the Anime adaptation, Attack On Titan has gone on to spawn spin-off Manga series, a video game, and now two live-action films, the first of which disappointed audiences the world over. Seen as one of the great Japanese pop culture tragedies of 2015, this film took everything the fans of the series loved and pummelled them into the ground, only to replace them with lacklustre versions of the things that made the Anime so great. Filled with story, most of which was convoluted thanks to it’s unnecessary plot alterations, the first movie made a lot of money but it also made a lot of people angry, stopping many of them from returning to the cinema for the second of the two-part cinematic story …

Attack on Titan (Live Action) Review

The last thing I ever expected from an Attack on Titan live action film was an entire packed cinema audience causing an uproar of laughter at what they were witnessing unfold on the silver screen, let alone did I expect to find myself succumbing and laughing along with the rest of the audience. Attack on Titan is one of the most darkest, epic and deadset coolest anime stories in recent memory. The fact that Shinji Higuchi’s cinematic take on the story proved to be a B-Grade at best schlocky horror comedy crossed with an awkwardly acted softcore porno flick put together with production values that would make an 1980’s episode of Ultraman look like 2013’s Pacific Rim is utterly baffling. How could this have gone so very wrong? It’s tragic. Tonally Attack on Titan is so far from its source material that it is difficult to even make an honest comparison between the two. If you are a fan expecting to see the tale you love so very much on the big screen, you are going to …

Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’ Review

Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’ is the latest feature film of the eternally popular Dragon Ball Z franchise and if this blockbuster release is any indication, then this franchise is nowhere near to losing any steam, and creator, Akira Toriyama, is still laughing on his way to the bank. The great thing about the Dragon Ball universe is that anything and everything can happen, and no matter what happens it’s always plausible and it always fits into the lore and continuity. The glue and pillar that holds the insurmountable mass of ethos together lies within the title itself: Dragon Ball. The seven mythical orbs, upon being assembled, summon the Eternal Dragon that is Shenron, who can make anything happen. This franchise was clearly planned ahead, and the 7 Dragon Balls are the ultimate foolproof contingency plan that can repair any plot hole. No other anime franchise can hold itself strongly with such simplicity quite like Dragon Ball. Honestly, that’s the endearing appeal of the franchise in general… it’s sheer simplicity which allows its audience to …

Lupin The Third (Live-Action) – Review

Dangerous is a man who knows what he wants and knows exactly how to get it, dangerous is a woman greedier and more cunning than that man, dangerous is a team of international thieves each more skilled than the last, and dangerous is the one willing to betray them all. Directed by critically acclaimed Japanese filmmaker Ryuhei Kitamura, the live-action Lupin The Third film follows another of the master thief’s standalone exploits as he joins a syndicate titled The Works lead by one Thomas Dawson; a man well-known in the underground community who was also quite familiar with Lupin’s famed grandfather. Tasked with finding the legendary Crimson Heart, the team is divided when one of it’s members reveals their true motives for collaborating and does something they’ll quickly come to regret. A mission to collect an ancient treasure becomes a journey for revenge as the surviving team members band together, once again, to get back what was once in their hands, and to avenge a life that meant so much to them all. With Lupin now …

Parasyte: Part II (Live Action) Review

The aliens have invaded, humanity is, for the most part, unaware of any disturbance and life carries on much the same. That is unless you are the one person on Earth who has been forcibly combined with one of said aliens, parasitic in nature, and predatorial to your species. Add to that the fact that you are a fifteen year old high school student, an age bracket really not designed to handle such change and trauma. Got that? Cool, now you have a pretty good idea about the events and mindset that have afflicted our protagonist Shinichi over the course of Part I. Poor guy still has to get through Part II. Jumping off from the conclusion of its predecessor, with the aid of a recollective montage, Part II throws us into the more legally appropriate side of the anti-parasite invasion force, otherwise known as the police. Possessing a surprising amount of information and planning, said police/special forces present something that is all too rare in a story that features a singular, powerful protagonist; a credible …

Parasyte: Part I (Live Action) Review

As any environmentalist will tell you, humans aren’t exactly the best a protecting the world on which they live. That being said, I don’t think those same people would welcome an extra-terrestial race of parasites, who just so happen to find humans tasty. But, as is so often the case with an invading alien force, choice is a luxury most are not given. So your day has been pretty normal so far. You’ve gone to school, or work, or wherever it is you go, and everything is routine. Suddenly, a weird little snake/leech thing makes a B-line for your brain and…that’s it. Goodbye, lights out, you’re gone. Pretty bad right? Yes, but it gets worse. Now that weird little creature is controlling your body in the universes most morbid marionette performance, sating their appetite for human flesh. It’s creepy as hell and a fate that many nameless characters in the world of Parasyte have succumbed too. But let’s focus on our protagonist for a minute. You know, the guy who we are supposed to care …

Giovanni’s Island – Review

The people of this generation live in a great time in human history. Yeah, there are wars and, yeah, real struggles are still a reality but, all things considered, our lives could be a lot worse than they already are. We live, day in and day out, with certain expectations. Most people consider themselves entitled to things they have earned, and we’re left always wanting more no matter what it is that we have. Luckily we have an older generation of men and woman whom, if you give them the time, will really put things into perspective for you. Not only that, there are films, books and all different types of media that can teach an individual about the time before their time and it’s only after absorbing that kind of information that, even for but a second, your existence gets put into perspective. It was “Giovanni’s Island” that provided me with clarity…even for just one night. Thanks to Madman Entertainment, I was given the chance to experience this masterful film and follow two young …

Black Butler (Live Action) Review

Revenge. A source of motivation that has led countless people throughout history to commit any number of dubious action to see their fury quenched. Be it deception, violence or even forging their lives down an intended path, those wrought with feelings of vengeance rarely escape the prison they build for themselves. But what of those who lack the means to accomplish their goals? Whilst some may allow their desires to fall away, there are those who would enlist external help. Help from those who reside in a world separate from normal society, from those who forgo their humanity and dwell in a realm of darkness. For the first few years of her life, Shiori Genpo was just your average girl, who just so happened to be the daughter of one of the richest businessmen in the world (toymaking is a lucrative business apparently). However, her life was inextricably altered when her parent were shot before her very eyes. It was then that she promised revenge on those who destroyed her life, going so far as …

Why Don’t You Play In Hell? – Review

In my short life as a pop culture critic there have only been about a handful of reviews I’ve found to be overly difficult to write. While small in number, memories of those hours writing are still very much burned into my mind. Thankfully, it’s not often a difficult one like that cones along. Even more fortunate is that, despite their writing difficulty, most of these hard reviews come with a complimentary funny story that I find I’m always sharing with fellow writers. Madman Entertainment – one of Australia’s leading Anime, Manga and foreign film distributors – has decided that I’ve gone long enough without difficulty and has thrown me one hell of a fastball. A fastball titled “Why Don’t You Play In Hell?”; one of the most convoluted but ultimately brilliant films I’ve ever laid eyes upon! There’s a war going on, but that won’t stop the inexperienced but eager wannabe film crew The Fuck Bombers from following their dreams of making the ultimate action epic. Ten years ago, yakuza mid-boss Ikegami led an …

The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness Review

In this day and age, you’d be hard pressed to find an anime fan who has ‘t heard the name Hayao Miyazaki. Seriously, that person would be an anomaly, and one who has missed out on a pillar of the industry. However, whether you are an anomaly or one who does know the works of Studio Ghibli, you may be interested in seeing what goes on behin the scenes, in the years leading up to a film release. That’s right, i said years. Now that’s commitment right there folks. Set in the distant past of a few years ago, this documentary chronicles the tale of Studio Ghibli’s production of The Wind Rises…though it’s not framed as dramatically as that. I didn’t really know what would be covered coming into this documentary, but I’m honestly glad it was a more contemporary time period. I just found it more interesting to show Ghibli now, with snippets of the past, as opposed to an in depth view into the rise of the studio. If anything, the documentary carries …

Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends Review

The third and final chapter of the Rurouni Kenshin trilogy is aptly dubbed as The Legend Ends, picking up right where the cliffhanger finale of Kyoto Inferno left off. A fair spoiler warning to those who are about to read on, there will be references to the previous films so tread carefully. Kyoto Inferno ended with the frightening unveiling of Shishio Makoto’s ultimate weapon: a battleship equipped with modern warfare. Something that is completely alien to Japan. Shishio Makoto uses this powerful weapon to showcase the true extent of his terror, giving him the ultimate trump card against the crumbling Japanese government. What’s interesting is that this war machine was also introduced in the original anime series, except that Shishio never even got to use it because Sanouske somehow managed to sink the damn thing. Now in this movie adaptation the ship is put to great use as a compelling plot device. This is where The Legend Ends demonstrates a rare instance where taking liberties with the source material, and even executing ideas differently, can lead …

Snow On The Blades – Review

“It is said the warrior’s is the twofold Way of pen and sword, and he should have a taste for both Ways.”, said Miyamoto Musashi in his novel “The Book Of Five Rings”. The legendary Samurai taught that a master of the sword shouldn’t only be a master of the sword. Instead he should strive to master the arts, poetry, philosophy, and anything else that can be used to advance him mentally as well as physically. A Samurai aren’t quite the ruthless killers we’re made to believe they are and if there’s any film that puts that across perfectly it’s “Snow On The Blades”. Featured as a part of the 2014 Japanese Film Festival lineup, spearheaded by the lovely people at The Japan Foundation, us here at SnapThirty have been given to review this new film and we couldn’t be more appreciative. There are many Samurai movies that have been shown at this film but none I’m more thankful to be given the chance to watch than this one. At Sakurada Gate in 1860, the …

Pale Moon Review

‘The more we have, the less we have.’ Such is the notion that Daihachi Yoshida’s Pale Moon embodies. Over a 2 hour journey into the deepest reaches of the human psyche, Yoshida’s Pale Moon proves to be one of the most affecting drama films to come out of Japan since perhaps The Kirishima Thing, which is in fact another one of Yoshida’s works. I think I’m seeing a theme here. Irregardless of that it must be said that Pale Moon is simply a captivating film lead by a phenomenal Rie Miyazawa, who plays the role of Rika with true soul and a true sense of pathos. This is one film that most walking into the 18th Japanese Film Festival will not have great expectations for, but much like The Kirishima Thing, it will shake audiences to their very core. After all it does happens once in a while. Pale Moon follows Rika Umezawa, a young banker who leads a rather routine life until she one day decides to ‘break bad’ and betray her client’s trust …

Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno Review

The pressure couldn’t be any higher for the first Rurouni Kenshin live action to deliver on the unending popularity of the anime and manga. The 2012 self-titled movie debut managed to deliver on all fronts: the cast, the characters’ mannerisms, the beautifully choreographed fight sequences, all of it coming together in a way that left no fan unsatisfied despite some obvious omissions from the original source material and some creative liberties taken with it. Fans could not have asked for a better live action debut for Kenshin, a first of a trilogy that left us looking forward to more. Two years later in 2014, we have been treated to not one but two follow ups within the same year: Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno and Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends. These two films not only serve as a natural continuation to where the 2012 film ended, but they extensively and faithfully cover the most memorable arc of the anime/manga where Kenshin returns to Kyoto to confront his past, and to challenge a new adversary in Shishio …

Tokyo Tribe – Review

I hate musicals. Both the stage kind and the movie kind. I always have and I never once thought I’d ever see one that I’d enjoy, so when the Japan Foundation sent us a screener copy of “Tokyo Tribe” which is playing for a limited time as part of their 2014 Japanese Film Festival lineup you can probably imagine how underwhelmed I was by it. That was only because I knew nothing about this movie apart from that it has a great deal of singing. What I didn’t know about it was that it isn’t exactly singing that takes the spotlight in “Tokyo Tribe”…it’s rapping and it’s freaking awesome. Set in an alternate Tokyo where gangs have risen up and taken rule of most of the capital, “Tokyo Tribe” tells the story of a single night when the tribes of Tokyo drop beats, pick up weapons and fight for ultimate supremacy over a man and his army who threatens to unite Tokyo under his tyrannical rule once and for all. Directed by Shion Sono, this …

‘The Light Shines Only There’ Review

There are dozens of intriguing films on this year’s Japanese Film Festival line-up but none more quietly captivating than The Light Shines Only There, a film that explores the complicated emotional networks that defines a troubled lower-class family and the aimless depressive that becomes entangled within it. The film moves quietly along pondering many questions on the nature of life, love, death, loss, sex, violence and all of the messy stuff that lies between. So what light shines at the end of suffering? The Light Shines Only There follows Tatsuo, a heavily depressed and unemployed slacker coasting by through life on his savings, slowly widdling it all away at a pachinko parlour. One day while drowning his sorrows in pachinko, Tatsuo meets teen delinquent Takuji, befriending him and ultimately finding himself wrapped up in the struggles affecting Takuji’s family. Tatsuo strikes up a connection with Takuji’s sister Chinatsu, another depressive who has been broken and beaten down by the world around her. Being forced to sell her body at the local brothel and serve as …

The Snow White Murder Case Review

Ah, social media. The ever growing online behemoth that allows the people of the world to stay in touch with one another. A conglomerate of fact, fiction, opinion and every asinine thought that drifts through the minds of countless individuals. But the world takes to it with gusto, because humans are by nature social creatures, ones who band together when beneficial. But what happens when the collective focuses their efforts? What happens when suppositions clash? What happens when the truth is lost in the noise? Welcome to the present, a world where Twitter is a near inescapable facet of life. Even if you opt to not take part in  it, you will inevitably hear about it from others. Even television pushes the social media app, utilising it in order to boost audience involvement. This is all well and good for fiction, but the news is another story. When millions of people all weigh in on something they have only a passing knowledge of, accusations fly and facts are lost in a storm of words. Thus we …

Tokyo Refugees Review

Life is tough. In between college and all the partying with friends, there’s barely enough time in the day to get some rest. Though, if you’re smart, you’ll split the difference and sleep through class. Genius. But sometimes life has other plans, sometimes it plays out far beyond your control and decides to give you one hell of a wakeup call. Reality. It kinda sucks sometimes. One day you’re an overconfident, arrogant college student coasting through life and the next you’re locked out of your own apartment. At least that’s the case for Osamu Tokieda. It started like any other day, lazy, reluctant and full of all the enthusiasm expected of a college attendee, not student, “attendee”. But, as is the sad truth sometimes, Osamu’s reliance on others changed his life for the worse. A lack of tuition payments naturally led to an expulsion, which led to a confused and considerably irked Osamu discovering that cash flow is crucial. Sounds obvious enough, but when a parent hands out money like it’s going out of fashion, there children …

Short Peace – Film Review

The very first time I laid eyes upon “Short Peace” was a while ago when I walked into a local video game distributor and its interesting front cover caught my eye. Red and white, like the Japanese flag, this cover featured striking but muddled imagery that forces those looking to take one big step forward just to be able to see exactly what the picture features. I picked it up, I gave the synopsis a read and became somewhat confused by it but it stayed on my mind for quite some time. A video game that’s also a movie which is made up of four mini-movies each telling a wildly different story but each showing a piece of Japanese history and future, fictional or otherwise, that are connected simply by the country they were developed in. Thinking back on it…it’s a little less confusing now that I’ve actually watched the movie. It’s now 2014 and that means the Japan Foundation are spearheading another fantastic Japanese Film Festival with a line up that is just as …

The Tale Of Princess Kaguya – Review

One of the more recent Studio Ghibli films directed by Isao Takahata, ‘The Tale Of Princess Kaguya’ theatrically recreates the Japanese folkloric story originally titled ‘The Tale Of The Bamboo Cutter’. This film tells the story of a childless couple who come across a supernatural apparition which just so happens to be a baby girl smaller than the palm of a hand. Laced with lessons, morals and tender moments, ‘The Tale Of Princess Kaguya’ did not do as well as many other Studio Ghibli films and that, combined with the retiring of Hayao Miyazaki, eventually lead to the ‘temporary’ closing of Studio Ghibli. Such an unfortunate outcome. Thanks to Madman Entertainment in conjunction with the Dendy string of semi-independent movie theaters, Kane Bugeja and I were given the chance to experience the myth on the big screen. ‘The Tale Of Princess Kaguya’ follows a young girl birthed from the heavens who finds herself the daughter of a bamboo cutter and his wife. Unable to have kids, this old couple was eventually blessed by the Gods …

Always~ Sunset on Third Street Review

Nostalgia is a wonderful thing. It shows us where we once were and how far we have come since then. Always~ Sunset on Third Street is a film that shows us where Japan once was and how far it has come since. It is a nostalgic trip into the ‘good old days’ of Japan in it’s post-war boom but that isn’t all that Always~ is about. At its very core, Always~ Sunset on Third Street explores the nature of family and the importance of it. Set beneath the shadow of the Tokyo Tower construction, Always~ follows the inhabitants of the titular Third Street in Tokyo. In particular focus are the Suzuki family with their Suzuki Auto Mobile company and the washed-up writer Chagawa. Through both of these people we see that family bonds can be stronger than blood. Effortlessly weaving two countering plot-lines, Always~ follows two kids who find family in the most unexpected of places – on Third Street. The first of which is the relationship that forms between the has-been writer Chagawa and the …

Rebirth Review

Life is by no means a simple endeavour. Rife with unforeseeable complications and seemingly insurmountable odds, it is no wonder that people develop their own unique methods to cope. However, should one’s attempt to clutch normalcy become a detriment to others, just how far can the ideals of compassion and understanding be stretched? Rebirth tests this within all of us. Forcing us to bear witness to the positives of an inconceivably negative act. Nonomiya Kiwako has by no means lived what would be considered an ordinary life. Having been intimately involved with a married man, she was convinced by her lover to abort the child that had resulted, in hopes of having another at a more opportune time. However, the procedure left Kiwako unable to conceive, shattering her dreams of a family. Compounded by the fact that her love had returned to father a child with his wife, her sadness is understandable, regardless of the ethics of her actions. Gripped by her melancholy, Kiwako visits the house of her love, only to discover that they had …

Key of Life Review

Sometimes life doesn’t play out quite the way you thought it would. Dreams will only take you so far, especially if you lack the resolve to follow through with them. Unfortunately this is something that Takeshi Sakurai knows all too well. Down on his luck and planning to end it all, he happens upon a coupon for a bathhouse and decides to venture out of his apartment. But surely this one simple outing will not be a memorable one…right? Wrong. Whilst storing his “possessions” into a locker, Sakurai notices that a particularly well dressed individual has also decided to visit the bathhouse, placing his noticeably full wallet in a locker near his own. As if the universe itself was mocking him. However, this chance encounter becomes a turning point in both the lives of Sakurai and said individual (henceforth known as Kondo). After an unfortunate accident involving a bar of soap, Kondo is rendered unconscious after a truly spectacular fall. It is during the ensuing commotion that Sakurai decides to perform a little “locker key switcheroo” …

“When The Last Sword Is Drawn” Review

What exactly does a good Samurai fight for? His master? His land? His country, even? I’m sure there’s plenty of reasons for men to take up arms against each other but none more pure than that of Yoshimura Konichiro, a masterful Samurai from a small town who travels inland to join the powerful ranks of the Shinsengumi. The true protagonist of ‘When The Last Sword Is Drawn’, Yoshimura is a man of honour though he comes across as a money-hungry freeloader. That couldn’t be further from the truth, Yoshimura is a family man who has taken up a job as part of the Shinsengumi simply to feed his family. What he does is for love and I truly think that’s what makes HIM a legendary Samurai warrior. Told in a series of flashbacks, ‘When The Last Sword Is Drawn’ follows Yoshimura as he joins the special police force and eventually takes place in a large-scale battle which unfortunately leads to his death. A fellow Shinsengumi member, a man called Saito Hajime, many years after the …

“Confessions” Review

The saying goes; ‘no parent should ever outlive their child’ and for Junior high school teacher Yuko Moriguchi, this was a reality that she must now live in for the rest of her days. Being a single parent in the modern world of teaching, her husband stricken by HIV/AIDS, Mrs. Moriguchi was in constant state of battle. Doing her best to care for her daughter while also continuing to be the outstanding civil servant she has worked so hard to become. Manami, her daughter, was lucky to have been born into a family with a strong matriarch like Yuko Moriguchi. Through tough times and hardship, Yuko stood tall in the hopes that she could raise her daughter in much the same way a ‘regular’ family could. It was hard for the dedicated teacher, having to bring Manami to parent-teacher interviews and late-night work sessions. Manami was a happy young girl thanks to Yuko’s dedication. Because of his disease, Manami’s father was unable to be near her and spent his life with her at a distance. …

The Kirishima Thing Review

What happens when the coolest kid in school one day disappears without a word? How does the school react to his absence? Does the social hierarchy crumble or does life go on unaffected? These are the questions that The Kirishima Thing ponders through its exploration into the very fabric of society and the structures by which we are all bound. Set within an ordinary Japanese high school, The Kirishima Thing explores the school’s social standings from all perspectives, implementing an innovative non-linear story-telling structure, jumping about to different views at different times. All of which highlights the astonishing unraveling of a society without its leader. Kirishima is a character whose presence hangs over the film from start to finish albeit while the character himself may or may not have ever been on screen at all. His place atop the social hierarchy is evident, almost all of the students have some kind of connection with him or rely on him in one way or another, they need him so much that it almost verges on a …