Windaria Anime Movie Review

Title: Windaria

Alternative Title: Once Upon a Time

Genre: Romance, Fantasy, Action, Adventure

Release Date: 1986 (Japan initial release), 1992 (US, (VHS) first US release), 2004 (US re-release (DVD) with title change)

Where to Watch: I don’t support piracy here, but as a heads up, ALL of the “US Releases” of this film are very severely edited. And YES, that includes even the subtitled versions! I highly recommend that you watch the original Japanese version at least once before passing judgement on this beautiful movie. Of course, I grew up with the VHS in the 90s, and I STILL loved even the heavily edited dubbed version of the film way back then. Last year, I finally got the chance to watch the original Japanese version. A lot of content was cut from the English version, including significant amounts of story content. They change the order of certain scenes, remove most of the violence (and drugs and sex) and have completely re-written the script of the original film to better suit an American audience (where cartoons were (and still are) primarily intended for children). Also all of the music is different in both versions, although it’s very good in both versions as well. Still the overall theme and plot and moral of this heart breaking anime remains the same in both versions. That’s why I really recommend you to try to watch the original film – and then still go ahead and buy the English DVD or VHS to support the creators :). I’m not going to tell you where to find the original online, but you can find it if you look. And then you can purchase the Windaria North American DVD here.

Geeky: 3/5 The music is beautiful, but the artwork is very outdated (losing 1 point). Interestingly enough, the Japanese DVD includes 2 versions of the film, 1 being a “pilot film” where the animation and coloring style is different. (I have never seen this version). Despite the outdated artwork, the character designs are cute and memorable, I often think someone working on Pokemon drew inspiration (perhaps even subconsciously) for fan-favorite Eevee from the little pet squirrel/cat like creature in this film. The story is dark and full of action (and sex and drugs and gore in the original Japanese version). Therefore I feel this film would appeal to all geeks regardless of their genders. I’m removing one more point for the heavy handed editing of all of the US versions of this film. It’s been almost 15 years since the film has been brought to American audiences (for a 2nd time) – so perhaps some day we will see a company pick up the license for this film and do it justice with a more faithful English adaptation.

Sweetie: 5/5 – The story is soul crushingly sad. If you like sad anime, this is for you. Both versions of the film, even the mangled US version(s), still show the tender love stories of the central characters, and demonstrate the costs of war and greed. I happen to be a fan of sad love stories, and this particular anime reminds me of almost a Romeo and Juliet type of fairy tale, 2 lovers who can never be together, and 2 other lovers who have everything but still manage to mess everything up in the end. It’s also a story of regret, love, and greed. It imparts morals to the viewer, to value the love you have or else it may slip away. And that even if you are poor, if you have love, you can be happy. Or you can overlook the happiness you have right in front of you and only realize what you have once it has slipped away. The emotionally engaging story is also heightened by a fantastic music score which further draws the audience into the film.

Overall: 33/45 73% C “Good Anime for Girls”

Story: 9/10 – I removed a point again for the poor handling of every commercially available North American release of this film. Otherthan that small complaint, I give the story 10/10. Even the badly edited version. I loved the anime back in the 90s, and I still love it today. It’s a tale that withstands the tests of time. Universally relateable to anyone who has loved and lost.

The story of Windaria intertwines the fates of 2 very different couples. One couple is a princess and prince from neighboring kingdoms. As tensions mount between the kingdoms, and war seems inevitable… Can their love survive? The other couple lives in a small farming village caught between both warring nations. Their village has remained neutral for years, but as war descends around them, can that peace last? The people of the neutral village are poor, but live happy lives not knowing the tragedies of war, and protected by spirits who live in a giant tree. But can people be influenced to take a side when wealth and adventure knock on their door? How will the war change the lives of the people in this tiny village?

Everything is connected, and you cannot escape war. You can’t remain neutral. You must make a decision and take a risk. What will you risk? Will you risk your life? Your love? Your Home? And how will the war change you? Can you return to your old life after the war ends? Will there even be anything left to return to?

Windaria examines all of these heavy hearted deep thinking questions.

The setting of the story is also very intriguing. We have 2 nations at war. The haves and have nots. One kingdom has plenty of water and wealth and prosperity. They control the flow of water to the neighboring nations. The other nation does not feel they have enough water. They are not nearly as wealthy or powerful as their political neighbor. The lands between the two nations are full of magic and mystery. There is a river where people go crazy and see horrors which are merely reflections of their own fears and feelings, there is the giant magic tree which protects the neighboring farming village, and there’s the ghost ship which takes souls to the other side.

Interestingly enough, although the setting and time of this anime appear to be fantasy based, there is no magic or “fantasy”, instead we see a strange blend of technology in a fantasy world. Airplanes, motorbikes, guns, grenades, tanks, etc.

Characters: 7/10 – I’ll be honest here, it is REALLY hard to like the main character of this film. He is a giant D-bag. Not even gonna lie. You’re going to hate him. He rather have drunken sex and spend all day exploiting his power to get more drugs and wealth and concubines, than return to his girlfriend even after the war ends. It’s not until his own life is in danger that he flees and comes back to his village… or what’s left of it anyways. – Maybe at the end, he has a change of heart, but that doesn’t make up for what a huge D he is in the majority of the film.

The first 15-20 minutes of the film, they build this character and his love up to have this idealistic beautiful love. Everyone in the village recognizes the love between this pair. They are utterly adorable together. They have it all. But that’s not enough for our main character.

In stark contrast, his lady love waits patiently for his return, even when the rest of her village leaves and tries to get her to come to safety with them. This made me hate the main character even more. And when she forgives him for everything, that too amplifies my anger at this character.

But I suppose this is the point of the entire movie. It still isn’t easy to watch or to like, sympathize, or side with the supposed main character of the film.

Our other 2 main characters are considerably more likeable. They are victim of circumstance. They never get a choice in the events happening to them. They are bound by duty. They don’t get to choose a peaceful life of love – which puts into perspective even more, the stupidity of the main character for never realizing the happiness he had back in his own village.

The relationship of the prince and princess is doomed from the start, however, they often dare defy the duties and responsibilities forced upon them, and meet in secret anyways to profess their love and promise each other that one day they will be together. I have never really been 100% sure about the end of their relationship. I can’t tell if what she did was intentional or accidental like perhaps she was playfully chasing and playing with his gun / flirting around. Or if perhaps, she felt the weight of her duty, and decided to put her kingdom above her love and pull that trigger to once and for all, end the war. Either way, their relationship ends in spectacular Romeo and Juliet fashion.

 

There are a number of minor characters too with very intricate and detailed back stories, including a “crazy” woman who never talks to anyone as she waits for her love to return. Her love chose to become a captain of a ship taking souls to the other side. The captain cannot leave his ship for a specified number of years. (I believe it was 10 years? I can’t recall right now).

At the end of the film, we see that our main character wishes to become the captain of this ship to follow his lady love to the other side. (This is more clear in the Japanese version of the film). The crazy woman and main character both meet in the end (I think maybe the main character was contemplating jumping off the cliff) and he sees the crazy lady still there, waiting for her husband to return. So he resolves also to wait for his love as well. (although I’m pretty sure she can never come back – although a lot of Asian religions believe in reincarnation and so perhaps it is that which he is waiting for, or for his own life to end so then in the afterlife, they can be reunited.) This shows how much thought went into even the most minor of characters to make them have heavy plot focus.

Art: 2/5 – The artwork is dated, because this anime is from the 80s. On almost every website I’ve visited in the past, this anime has horrible reviews. I feel it’s not judged fairly and people are overlooking the beautiful love stories and tragedies and focusing solely on the artwork and animation quality. The character designs are still cute though, and some of the background environments are very pretty. But overall, I’d tend to agree the animation is not clean enough and the character styles are outdated by today’s standards. That still never detracts from my enjoyment of this film.

Music: 5/5 I love the music in Windaria. Both the Japanese and English tracks fit perfectly with the themes and scenes of the film. The music carries much emotion and helps tell the story, complementing the action scenes, and especially painfully highlighting the sad tragic scenes of the anime. I especially love the vocal tracks.

Voice Acting: 2/5 I really dislike both the original Japanese, and the English voice acting of most of the characters. I guess it’s typical for how old this anime is, but almost all of the performances were cringe-worthy. That’s even more reason why someone should pick this license back up and bring in a fresh English cast. The story is so good, and the performances here just do not do it justice at all.

Overall: 33/45 73% C “Good Anime for Girls”

Windaria Anime Movie Review was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

Sailor Moon R Movie Promise of The Rose Subtitled Theatrical Release Review

A few days ago, I got a chance to go see Sailor Moon R in theaters, again for the 2nd time. The first time that I saw it, they were showing the Sailor Moon R English Dub, which I reviewed here. The dub was good, but I always prefer to watch my anime subbed, because quite often so many things get changed when they dub an anime. Even though, this time it was “uncut” there were still some changes that I noticed.

This review is going to be a little bit different. I’m going to start by pointing out the changes between both versions, some thoughts on the overall experience of each version, and then, my more traditionally formatted review near the very end. Hope you enjoy my review; and if you get a chance, go watch this at the theater. It’s a once in a lifetime experience for you as a fan, and it may help to bring us more Sailor Moon movies, series, and merchandise!

Onto the changes between each version.

For starters, there’s a scene where the girls are sitting around planning their next move and Usagi is feeling nervous about the nature of Mamo and Fiore’s friendship. In both the Dub and the Sub the girls begin to tease Usagi. However, in the Sub, they also begin to tease Ami and it’s a very cute moment. In the Dub that Cuteness is Lost. Here is an overview (from my memory) of how it goes in each version.

Dubbed Scene:

Usagi: “Am I overthinking things?… But they sure seemed like more than friends to me”

Ami: “I guess Mamo is popular with the guys too”

(I think it was ) Mako: “Well I guess it’s fine if you’re born that way”

(I think it was) Rei: “There’s even a few couples like that at my school”

(I think it was) Mina: “What, Really?!”

Subbed Scene:

Usagi: “Am I overthinking things?… But they sure seemed like more than friends to me”

Ami: “I guess Mamo is popular with the guys too”

Rei: “Ami! I can’t believe you just said that!”

Mako: “That’s not like you Ami”

Ami: “That’s not what I meant.. Just…”

Mina: “Ami, you’re blushing!”

Rei: “There’s even some couples at my school who are like that”

Ami: Nervous Laughter (and she is blushing) “Guys come on, that’s really not what I meant!”

Ami was really super cute in this scene in the Subbed version. Ami rarely breaks from her serious character, and she said this without thinking. Immediately, you can see the look on her face when she realizes what she has said; even SHE can’t believe she just said that either. Then she shyly tries to backpedal on what she meant. And the other girls have playful fun teasing her for it too.

Although the scene in the dub is very similar (They kept 3 or 4 of the lines verbatim), for some reason they chose to just have the other girls agree with Ami and add their own thoughts, instead of being so shocked that she of all people would bring up a topic like that. It loses some of the cuteness by changing or removing just those few lines.

The other big change was that in the new dubbed version, Sailor Jupiter swears about 4 to 5 times during the fighting scenes. Now, I was watching for my own enjoyment, and not super analyzing things for this review since I’m just a hobby blogger, so maybe I just missed it, but pretty sure this was not part of the subtitled version. It’s possible it was there, and just didn’t stand out as much since I was “reading” and not “hearing” what was being said.

As I mentioned in my review of the dub here, hearing swear words in Sailor Moon was so shocking that it stood out like a big sore thumb; so in the dubbed version, I began counting the number of times she swore. I feel they could have done without this. It adds nothing to the film. It could have been replaced with a Haaa or Yaaaaaa fighting sound or a simple click of the tongue like Tch sound to replace the 1 syllable swear word.

Did they do it to make Mako sound tough? Or to make the anime “cool” and “edgy”? The thing is though, yes, Mako is a bit “rough” but she’s also extremely concerned with being feminine, so she wouldn’t swear. The reason she wears her skirts so long and her rose earrings, and probably the reason she curls her hair, is because she’s self conscious of her height. Yes, she has a bit of a temper, but she’s always trying to appear more feminine, which is why she begins cooking, etc.

So by making those seemingly “small” changes like that to the dub, they somewhat changed the basis of her character, by ignoring the fact that Mako is actually very feminine, despite being physically the strongest, and tallest, of the girls.


The other big difference in watching it subbed was the interaction from the audience. The dubbed audience had way more FUN! While watching the dub, the theater was more crowded AND filled several times with UPROARIOUS laughter so loud that you couldn’t even hear parts of the film.

In the subbed version, there was some hushed chuckles here or there, but largely, the movie went by with almost no reactions from the audience.

This in part, was because the dub was cheesy, and some of the voice actors were unbelievably over dramatic, turning suspenseful, touching, or sad scenes, into comedy gold.

The one part that both audiences laughed at though was when Chibiusa was trying to wake Usagi after being saved during a fight. Watch for this near the first fight sequence. It’s one of the best jokes in the film lol.

In the dub, Fiore’s voice actor, and the lines he had to read, combined to create some rather cheesey dialog in the final fight. Also I did notice an odd choice in translation here as well. In the sub, Fiore says “My flower’s seeds shall rain down on the earth”. In the dub I believe he says something closer to “My seeds shall rain down on the earth” — which of course, people’s minds went to the gutter with that one. Que more laughter.

In BOTH versions he does say “It’s all over now, Mamo has thrown a flower at me” — For some reason, only in the dub did people laugh… and laugh… and laugh… and laugh…. To where I was glad I did get to see it again cuz I couldn’t hear the next several lines. In which he asks Mamo if he intends to leave him all alone again. (aww so sad 🙁 ).

There were many more instances within the dub where the audience would just burst out laughing. Actually I’ve only been to maybe 2 other movies where people have laughed this much. I liked the “energy” of the audience a lot more at the dub.

I also think maybe it’s because of the “types” of people who prefer dub, vs the “types” of people who prefer subs. Most people who want to watch it subbed are older, more mature, more artsy, intellectual types, compared to the younger, more loud, outgoing, off the cuff types of otaku who watch more mainstream stuff.

The “experience” of seeing Sailor Moon on the big screen was more fun during the dub because of the audience’s reactions.  Of course, I know plenty of people who don’t want to join anime clubs, or even watch anime with their friends, etc, because they dislike comments/laughter/remarks etc from the audience and just want to focus on watching their anime.

So this just comes down to a personal opinion. Either way, seeing Sailor Moon on the big screen is a once in a lifetime, unforgettable experience!

The final difference, was that the English dubbed version was prefaced by about a 15-20 minute exclusive interview with the English dubbed cast asking about their characters and how they feel the characters have grown or evolved from season 1 to the start of the new film, whereas the Subtitled version jumps directly to the Mini-Cartoon after the previews end and then follows directly to the movie.

Now, finally, onto the review – You will notice some things are the same in both my reviews for the dub and sub, and a few things are different! :). You’ll see our score for the Sub ranks only very slightly higher than that of the Dub. It moves from a B- to a B+.


Title: Sailor Moon R the Movie (Subtitled Version)

Release Date: January 2017

Publisher: Toei Animation, Eleven Arts, and Viz Media

Geeky: 5/5   High points for Nostalgia, and excellent animation for the date/time of the film.

Sweetie: 4/5  I gave the dubbed version 3/5, but the subbed version 4/5. Both are weaker on character development than the TV Series; however, in both versions, seeing Mamo, Fiore and Usagi as little kids, as well as the comedy and certain romance scenes, earn it 3 hearts. The additional 4th heart on the subtitled version comes from different (cuter) dialog choices, such as the scene I pointed out where the girls are teasing Ami.

Overall: 48/55 87% B+ Very Good Anime for Girls

Concept: 8/10 Seeing Sailor Moon on the big screen is awesome no matter how good or bad the movie itself is. It’s something I’ve literally dreamed of doing ever since I was a child. And, as the English cast points out, rarely do you see anime in a US theater, especially anime that is now, nearly 30 years old. It was truly a once in a lifetime experience… and judging by how many tickets the theater sold, perhaps Viz and Eleven Arts will treat us to re-releasing the other Sailor Moon movies in theater format in the future as well. I had given the dub 10/10 here, but the interaction from the audience also weighed heavily on that experience. Without the cheesiness that the series is known for, and a more straight forward, literal translation, it loses a tiny bit of the “overall experience” here to me. (but makes up for it in other ways!)

Story: 8/10 There is a lot of action and almost no character development in this film. Also, unless you’re a fan of the series (but then again, who isn’t a fan of Sailor Moon?), you may feel a little lost or confused even with the inclusion of the Mini-cartoon that re-introduces the scouts and explains their strengths and weaknesses and about the silver moon kingdom and their rebirth on earth. — And although Chibiusa is included in the Mini-cartoon and actual movie, her past and history and relationship to Usagi is actually not explained at all.

The story gives you a unique look at Mamoru’s childhood. Also, in this uncut version, they more clearly explain Mamoru’s relationship with the new villain. I remember when the movie was announced a few months ago, I got into an “argument” with someone on facebook who made a comment when I shared the news post. They argued that the relationship was more than platonic, and I counter argued, that they were just close childhood friends… but after seeing the uncut version, I have to concede, and agree, the relationship is definitely 100% romantic.

The Sailor Scouts even joke about the questionable nature of the relationship, quipping things such as “I guess Mamo is popular with the guys too” “There’s even a few couples like that at my school” and Usagi is stressed/worried and says to herself “It sure seemed like more than friends”. Which comes as no surprise, because by the next few seasons, almost everyone in the Sailor Moon universe is openly exploring their sexuality, with Uranus x Neptune, Uranus x Moon, and Chibiusa X Saturn… and that’s not even mentioning Sailor Stars, which are essentially gender-neutral, or transgendered Women who were born in Men’s bodies when they re-incarnated and transforming back to female when they take their Sailor forms. So Sailor Moon is no stranger to dealing with these topics. It was actually quite revolutionary for its day and time, back in the 90s, when even live-action TV shows were still shying away from tackling such relationships.

If your favorite part of Sailor Moon is the action and fighting scenes you will probably really enjoy Sailor Moon R the Movie. It is way more action heavy compared to the TV Series. It opens right away with a lengthy and fairly violent fight sequence within the first 10 minutes or so of the film.

The story is also full of comedy… Shortly after that fight sequence, there’s a scene with Usagi and Chibiusa that builds and builds the same joke for what seems like forever, but it was effective. I don’t laugh out loud easily… and even that elicited a chuckle from me.

Despite, at the core, the story being about Mamo and Usagi and the new Villain, it’s actually not very Romance laden. They are on a date at the opening of the film, but once again comedy comes in to foil any chance of romance for the two of them. We do get a little taste of romance at the end though.

Characters 9/10: I had given the dub 8/10 here, but I think the Subbed version comes much closer to capturing the true character of each scout, showing Ami in an unusually vulnerable light, and removing some things that felt off to me about Mako’s dialog in the dub throughout the final fight.

As mentioned, character development is really pretty much non-existent. You could easily skip watching this film and not miss anything earth-shattering in developing the scouts or Mamo as characters. You’d miss out a lil on Mamo’s backstory but it’s mostly stuff that’s been glossed over briefly by the series anyways.

The scouts are featured heavily in the film and so if you’re the type who complains that one of the weaknesses of Crystal is how it’s all about Mamo x Usagi, (this seems a common complaint), then you’ll like how prominent each of the scouts are in this film, and a decision that Usagi makes near the end of the movie, showing how much she loves and cares for the other scouts. Though this too is not surprising if you’ve seen the 90s TV series you know the focus was more on Usagi and the Scouts and less on the Reincarnation / Romance bits.

If however, one of your primary draws to Sailor Moon is the character development or romance, this movie may very well disappoint you.

But you should still go see it, because it’s Sailor Moon :). How long have we waited to see this cast of characters on the big screen? And if we want to see the other movies, a re-run of the dub, or airing of the new Viz dub, or a new season of Crystal, or perhaps a continuation of the series even beyond Stars, or more Sailor Moon merchandise and collectibles, then, you know as they say “Money Talks”.

Also, as you know, the characters in Sailor Moon are very diverse, with almost someone for EVERY girl out there to look up to. How many TV shows or Movies can claim such a wholesome cast full of role models for young women?

Sailor Moon teaches us about friendship, love, respect, and kindness. Moon is the quintessential loud/ditzy/friendly outgoing girl, Mercury is the smart/brainy/shy girl, Mars is the mysterious/quiet/serious/beautiful girl, Jupiter is the “tomboy” type girl (who also secretly has a soft side and loves to cook, and falls in love easily), Venus is the “best friend” or “girl next door” type of girl.

With so many different personalities, there’s bound to be a superhero that your kids can look up to, which I think is one of the reasons for the series continued success and popularity.

Artwork: 4/5 This is the old 90s style animation, and it shows… There’s some really bad CG effects later on in the film… and the characters have that unique 90s style to them… However, I was surprised by how bright and vivid the colors were and how crisp, clean, and clear all of the animations looked. There are also some lovely backgrounds too.

Music: 5/5 I had given the dub 4/5 here for some scenes where the Japanese music didn’t fit and caused a strange mismatched and disjointed feeling (like when it was actually the characters themselves singing). But that problem doesn’t exist in the sub, because the characters are both speaking and singing the same language now.

The music in the film was quite enjoyable, adding to the suspense, action, and drama of the film. The soundtracks to Sailor Moon have always been among my favorites. I owned many of the imported Japanese CDs, as well as some of the English cassette tapes and equally loved both the Original Japanese music, as well as the old 90s stuff too.

Voice Acting 5/5 –The Japanese voice actresses and actors just sound more cute, energetic, youthful, and emotional in their performances. Also as mentioned throughout this article, several creative liberties were still taken with the dub despite it being so-called un-cut. These changes ultimately changed some scenes, or even characters’ personalities. So it was definitely nice to see the sub and the original dialog and scenes. The changes were VERY slight, and understandably done to appeal more to an American audience, but there were still differences none the less, which is why I still prefer watching subbed anime. We’ve come a long way from the rampant censorship of the 90s, but still, I prefer the little nuances and charms of the original voice cast.

Overall: 48/55 87% B+ Very Good Anime for Girls

Overall, the experience of seeing Sailor Moon on the big screen, the hundreds of moonies who turned out for the event, and the movie itself, made for an enjoyable and nostalgic night of entertainment.

Both the dub and sub are worth going to see on the big screen. Depending on your own personality and preferences, you’ll clearly enjoy one version more than the other. If you enjoy a lot of audience interaction, fun, laughter, and a little bit of over the top cheesiness, the dub is the version you should see. If you’re more reserved, quiet, or just want to enjoy the movie in peace and quiet OR if you prefer a more literal translation that’s more “accurate” to the original script, then go see the Sub.

Either way, you do not want to miss this once in a lifetime experience to see Sailor Moon in theaters.

Sailor Moon R Movie Promise of The Rose Subtitled Theatrical Release Review was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

12 Months Anime Review

Title: Twelve Months

Studio: Toei

Release Date: 1978

This was a joint production with a Russian studio and is based on a Russian Fairy Tale. – The only one I could find online was dubbed in Russian and had English subtitles. There are also Japanese and English voiced versions. The Russian one is not terrible though since the anime is “Set in Russia” and the characters themselves are supposed to be Russian.

Story: 10/10 I enjoyed the story immensely despite the age of the film and having watched it in Russian language. I think it’s an under rated and obscure anime. It is older than me, and probably older than most of my readers.

The story is about Anna, a young orphan girl whose step mother and step sister treat like a servant. One day, she meets a soldier sent from the palace looking for a Christmas tree (it’s called a new years tree, but similar to the western tradition of a pine tree at Christmas). She helps the soldier who tells her about the queen in the palace. It turns out the queen is just a child, and an orphan as well. The queen is very spoiled by her subjects and demands Snowdrop flowers even though her guards tell her it is impossible. The queen offers a basket of gold coins to whoever can find these flowers in the snow. Hearing this news, Anna’s stepmother sends her out to search for them. Cold and lost in a blizzard, Anna collapses. When she awakens she comes upon a bonfire with 12 strange cloaked figures. These figures represent the 12 months and each of them have a gift for Anna as they say she is a good girl and that they have been watching over her. In exchange Anna promises to keep their secret and returns home with her flowers. No one believes Anna and demands that she take them to the location where the flowers were picked. Anna bravely keeps her promise and as a result, magical things begin occurring within the forest.

Characters: 5/10 – The characters are very simplistic and basically cut/paste from nearly any children’s fairy tale. Wicked step mother and step sister, enslaved “good” child, woodland animals, princesses, and palace guards. Nothing terrible original or unique. The characters are charming but lack any depth beyond their stereotypical roles. This is not a very deep anime.

Artwork: 2/5 The artwork is cute in its own way but this anime is 40 years old now. This shows in both character style as well as animation techniques and even color palettes chosen throughout the film.

Music: 3/5 The music is just rather average and not bad nor amazing. It seems to fit well with the mood of the anime.

Actually both the artwork and the music are reminiscent of other animated films of the times back then, including the Lord of the Ring animated films.

Voice Acting: 3/5 – I watched the Russian version, I am sure the Japanese version is better – however, it wasn’t bad in Russian since it is based on a Russian fairy tale in the first place. The step mother and step sister had annoying voices, but I think that was intentional maybe since they were wicked.

Overall: 23 / 35 66% D “Average Anime For Girls”

12 Months Anime Review was originally published on Geeky Sweetie

Only Yesterday Anime Review

Title: Only Yesterday

Genre: Slice of Life, Romance

Release Date: 1991

Studio: Studio Ghibli

Overall: 23/35 66% D “Average Anime For Girls”

Story: 5/10 A young woman goes to spend a summer on her aunt’s farm. While helping out on the farm and around the house she is reminded of her childhood. She also meets a young man working on the farm and must reconcile her feelings of her childhood in order to become a woman.

The story is told through numerous flash backs that take place 17 years prior to the current events. The flashbacks are of other people, friends, family members, former romances, etc that she has encountered thus far in her life and how they’ve shaped her outlook on life and her experiences.

It is very slow moving. If I were just grading about the last 30 minutes of this film I’d give it a 10 lol. One of my favorite endings I think of any Ghibli film. It was very heart warming, as most Ghibli films are.

The fact that it’s told through flashback and that it features different people not related to the current events kinda disconnects the story a bit for me.

I also feel like the pacing and timing of several of the flashbacks was a burden to the film overall. I kept anticipating and thinking perhaps the two characters had met before and/or that there was some significance to the flashbacks – beyond just showing the lead character’s progression etc.

Or if the flash backs had been more spread out over the period of time – instead of focused all on one year of her life – It would have been more interesting in my opinion to see her grow and evolve through the flash backs instead – Although there are some significant events which clearly did contribute to her backstory and character development.

Overall – the story is just kinda meh to me. A little too slow and dull – though not as bad as Up On Poppy Hill or I can Hear the Ocean Waves.

I did think that it was interesting to see a very detailed account of what growing up in the 70s in Japan was like, and I enjoyed seeing the cultural aspects and history of farming and agriculture told in the movie, as well as seeing more of what elementary and middle school is like for young Japanese students. Their student council meeting was really interesting to me.

I didn’t love the story, but I did find myself caught up by the end and found the ending immensely satisfying which felt like pay off for sticking with a rather lackluster overall story.

Characters: 8/10 – The characters were very likable in this film. Unlike “I can hear the Ocean Waves” (in which the main female is a downright bitch lol) and they had significant progression unlike “Up on Poppy Hill” which never seemed to go anywhere at all. The old 90s style character designs were pretty ugly though which did prevent me from connecting as well as I would have with more “kawaii” (cute) designs. Still I felt their emotions and their pains, hopes, dreams, etc.

Artwork: 3/5 The colors used and character designs created are very drab. The main character is only 27 but she looks much older. The backgrounds are really pretty however, especially the countryside and lush landscapes. Studio Ghibli films strive for a realistic touch – and even their newer films have that hallmark Ghibli styling in the way the faces eyes hair etc are drawn. I found this film in terms of both story and design to strive even further for realism. Laugh lines, wrinkles, and round cheeks are prominent on all of the characters. Not my cup of tea but not deducting points just because of personal preference. Being from the early 90s the animation is not as clean or crisp as more current animation.

Music: 2/5 – Music majorly missed the mark for me in this film. While I appreciate being exposed to new or interesting things, and I equally appreciate Ghibli daring to do something “different” The music just really didn’t apppeal to me, nor did I feel it suited most of the scenes. The score consists of “Hungarian Folk Music” and a few Japanese “covers” of popular 70s-80s pop music and ballads. For a film that is so distinctively Japanese, it seems like an odd musical choice.

Voice Acting: 5/5 On the other hand, the voice acting was quite brilliant. I especially liked Toshio. But Taeko’s voice actress was also very convincing. Their performances conveyed a lot of heart and emotion which was key to telling the story.

Overall: 23/35 66% D “Average Anime For Girls”

Only Yesterday Anime Review was originally published on Geeky Sweetie

Kodocha Child’s Toy Anime Review

Title: Kodocha

Alternate Title: Child’s Toy

Genre: Romantic Comedy / Slice of Life / Drama

StudioStudio Gallop, NAS

Length: 102 Episodes

Release Date: 1996

Based Upon: “Kodomo no Omocha” manga by Miho Obana

Where to Buy: Amazon.com/Kodocha.. – This is a pretty old and rare / obscure series. At time of writing, there’s only 2 copies of the Kodocha Season 1 DVD box set available – for about $45. I’d encourage you to snap them up now, rather than later, as it will become harder and harder to find as time goes on. The Season 2 Kodocha DVD boxset is even more rare, with only 1 copy for $135 at time of this review.

Overall: 30/35 86% B “Very Good Anime For Girls”

Story: 10/10 The story in Kodocha is very unique. I can’t think of any other anime that 1.) Deal with child stars or 2.) Focus on a romantic relationship in elementary and middle school (most romantic comedies are set in highschools or universities). The main story centers around an elementary student named Sana who is a child star, she does acting, modeling, and singing for movies, tv series, and commercials. It’s about how she balances her work with her school, family, and personal life. Of course being famous gets you sometimes unwanted attention, such is the case for the main love interest, who comes from a broken home and troubled past. He is jealous of Sana’s “perfect” life and innocent child-like qualities. But it’s also her youth, exuberrance, and innocence that draws him to her. Like most little elementary boys, he doesn’t know what to do about his feelings towards Sana, which leads to him teasing or picking on and bullying her. Because of his actions, Sana of course hates him in the beginning. But over the course of the series, she too begins to have feelings for him as well. The first half of the anime focuses on their time spent together in Elementary school, while the second season continues on through middle school.

Characters: 10/10 In addition to our two young love birds, there’s a slew of really quirky, unique, outlandish characters. For example, Sana’s mother is very eccentric; she is an author and often late with her deadlines sneaking around trying to avoid her publisher who’s pressuring her for her next release. Sana’s mama hires a manager to help her daughter’s young career. Sana is confused by this since she is so young and she tells everyone that her incredibly handsome manager is actually her boyfriend or even her pimp (because she is aware that her parents pay him to spend time with her.) Besides just helping in her career, he often chauffers her to and from school and to and from her modeling and acting appointments. He also cares a lot for Sana and treats her as a good friend. Although all of the characters are eccentric, they are very warm and heart felt and endearing too and a good deal of time is spent focusing on character interaction, back story, and development.

Voice Acting: 2/5 I didn’t really enjoy some of the voices in this anime, I found them to be rather grating on my nerves at times. I understand they were doing their best to sound cute or child like… I just really found some of the voices to be like nails on a chalk board at times :( Not all of the voices are that bad, but a few definitely stand out as being over dramatic or just their tone of voice put me on edge at times.

Music: 5/5 The music is really as zany/crazy as all the characters in this show. Most is very youthful, energetic, fast paced, featuring a lot of tracks which are more along the lines of JRap and JHiphop (if that’s even a thing) as opposed to “pop” or “ballad” like arrangements. This works well however for this series as it gives it a young feeling to match the setting and energy of the anime – It also differentiated itself in this choice of music which is definitely a departure from other 90s anime themes.

Art: 3/5 As far as 90s anime goes, this artwork is not too bad. I find the character designs to be cute, and even cleaner looking than many of their 90s counterparts in other similar series. Still of course, the animation techniques look dated by today’s standards as the anime is now 20 years old!

Overall: 30/35 86% B “Very Good Anime For Girls”

Kodocha Child’s Toy Anime Review was originally published on Geeky Sweetie

Aishiteruze Baby Anime Review

This review, like the one published today for Peach Girl, also first appeared on my Anime-Planet.com profile. (and these are the only two reviews I’ve written over there (so far). Both these reviews are quite older, and don’t completely jive with the scoring system here, but both these anime are among my top 5 :).

In my original anime-planet.com review, I reference the similarities between this anime (which is not very popular on anime-planet) and Usagi Drops, another similar anime about a young man who finds himself suddenly raising a little girl, which is immensely popular on anime-planet (at time of my original review, it was in the top 50 anime on anime-planet). I’ve removed the paragraph comparing the two anime for my reblog over here because, it wouldn’t make since to complain about their scoring system on anime-planet and people’s “poor choice” in anime haha. But what follows is the rest of the review after that initial paragraph. If you like Usagi Drops, please give Aishiteruze Baby a chance. It’s a lot better than Usagi Drops. Not that Usagi Drops is bad, but Aishiteruze is just a better anime :).

Once again, I’ve changed the scoring system to make story and characters more weighted when compared to sound and animation. Story and Characters are worth 10 each, while sound and animation are worth 5 each. And when converted to the scoring system in place here, it results in a rating of 37/40 93% A- “Excellent Anime For Girls”. To find out just why this series is so great, you’ll have to read on below, or watch it for yourself. 🙂

Enjoy my Aishiteruze Baby Anime Review 🙂

The fact that this is a complete story, gives the characters time to grow and explores the issues of what really is a family, and the lengths that we go to for our family. It showcases exponential character growth as the very immature lead character suddenly finds himself having to care for a small child. He goes from being a playboy without a care in the world, to suddenly realizing the importance of being there for someone who truly loves you and needs you, both in terms of the young child, but also a classmate / love interest that slowly begins to develop throughout the story. In the beginning the female love interest, hates the main character, but as she begins to notice his incredible transformation as he cares for the young child, her opinion of him changes.

If you enjoy watching characters grow and evolve in a series, this anime’s for you.

This drama is full of cute sweet moments, but also a lot of pain, suffering, and sadness. It is very well balanced, and not overly sugary-sweet like many anime in this genre.

The family dynamic and extra supporting cast are also very funny and unique.

Because of all of that, Story and Characters both get 10/10.

This anime is a bit older, which I’m assuming is why it’s so severely under-rated. The animation and character designs show their age. When I first started watching, I was not too keen on the character designs, but I quickly got over that when I realized how good the story was. The animation is probably about a 3/5. It’s not as “clean” or “streamlined” looking as modern animation tends to be these days.

Voice acting is excellent, especially the 3 main characters, who really convey their emotions and set the tone for the series; and music is good, but not memorable to me. I give the sound 4/5, losing some points for music, but making up for it in the voice acting.

Overall, 10/10 because Yuzuyu is fricken adorable, and so mature for her age. I really super enjoyed the relationship between her and the main character and watching how she changed him and made him into such a better person. ❤


Story: 10/10
Characters 10/10
Sound: 4/5
Animation: 3/5
Overall: 10/10

When converted to our scoring system on Geeky Sweetie, this results in a rating of

37/40 93% A- “Excellent Anime For Girls”

Aishiteruze Baby Anime Review was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

Aishiteruze Baby Anime Review

This review, like the one published today for Peach Girl, also first appeared on my Anime-Planet.com profile. (and these are the only two reviews I’ve written over there (so far). Both these reviews are quite older, and don’t completely jive with the scoring system here, but both these anime are among my top 5 :).

In my original anime-planet.com review, I reference the similarities between this anime (which is not very popular on anime-planet) and Usagi Drops, another similar anime about a young man who finds himself suddenly raising a little girl, which is immensely popular on anime-planet (at time of my original review, it was in the top 50 anime on anime-planet). I’ve removed the paragraph comparing the two anime for my reblog over here because, it wouldn’t make since to complain about their scoring system on anime-planet and people’s “poor choice” in anime haha. But what follows is the rest of the review after that initial paragraph. If you like Usagi Drops, please give Aishiteruze Baby a chance. It’s a lot better than Usagi Drops. Not that Usagi Drops is bad, but Aishiteruze is just a better anime :).

KB-728x90_pink

Once again, I’ve changed the scoring system to make story and characters more weighted when compared to sound and animation. Story and Characters are worth 10 each, while sound and animation are worth 5 each. And when converted to the scoring system in place here, it results in a rating of 37/40 93% A- “Excellent Anime For Girls”. To find out just why this series is so great, you’ll have to read on below, or watch it for yourself. :)

Enjoy my Aishiteruze Baby Anime Review :)

The fact that this is a complete story, gives the characters time to grow and explores the issues of what really is a family, and the lengths that we go to for our family. It showcases exponential character growth as the very immature lead character suddenly finds himself having to care for a small child. He goes from being a playboy without a care in the world, to suddenly realizing the importance of being there for someone who truly loves you and needs you, both in terms of the young child, but also a classmate / love interest that slowly begins to develop throughout the story. In the beginning the female love interest, hates the main character, but as she begins to notice his incredible transformation as he cares for the young child, her opinion of him changes.

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If you enjoy watching characters grow and evolve in a series, this anime’s for you.

This drama is full of cute sweet moments, but also a lot of pain, suffering, and sadness. It is very well balanced, and not overly sugary-sweet like many anime in this genre.

The family dynamic and extra supporting cast are also very funny and unique.

Because of all of that, Story and Characters both get 10/10.

This anime is a bit older, which I’m assuming is why it’s so severely under-rated. The animation and character designs show their age. When I first started watching, I was not too keen on the character designs, but I quickly got over that when I realized how good the story was. The animation is probably about a 3/5. It’s not as “clean” or “streamlined” looking as modern animation tends to be these days.

Voice acting is excellent, especially the 3 main characters, who really convey their emotions and set the tone for the series; and music is good, but not memorable to me. I give the sound 4/5, losing some points for music, but making up for it in the voice acting.

Overall, 10/10 because Yuzuyu is fricken adorable, and so mature for her age. I really super enjoyed the relationship between her and the main character and watching how she changed him and made him into such a better person. ❤


Story: 10/10
Characters 10/10
Sound: 4/5
Animation: 3/5
Overall: 10/10

When converted to our scoring system on Geeky Sweetie, this results in a rating of

37/40 93% A- “Excellent Anime For Girls”

Aishiteruze Baby Anime Review was originally published on Geeky Sweetie