Illang: The Wolf Brigade

Ungrounded Jin-Roh retread misses the point
by Bolt Vanderhuge

When I heard that there was going to be another addition to the Kerberos Saga, a live-action movie made in South Korea, I was cautiously optimistic. While plenty of my fellow weebs know of Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade, most don’t realize it’s actually the third adaptation of an alternate-history manga written by Mamoru Oshii (Ghost in the Shell, 1995). It’s set before the two live-action films, both directed by Oshii. Thing is, these films are not like Jin-Roh.

These movies are kind of weird to put it mildly.
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Rail Wars!

Now Boarding On Track 12 East: Everything Wrong With Anime
by Gristle McThornbody

Do you like trains? Do you like masturbating? Boy, I’ve got the anime for you.

You’ll probably not read past this point, so the simple verdict is IT STINKS.

In the time it takes an average Amtrak Northeast Regional train to travel from Washington, D.C. (WAS) to Bridgeport, CT (BRP), or the Empire Builder to trundle from Grand Forks, ND (GFK) to Stanley, ND (STN), you can have put in front of you the current state of the anime industry-goddamn desperate.

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What Am I Watch?! – Attack on Titan (live action film)

What Am I Watch?! – United 777-222 IPTE Edition

Attack On Titan – 2015 Live Action Movie

ztitanlive-0This will be closer to (but not entirely) a full review, since in this instance I watched the totality of the “plot” arc of this movie. The background on this is that on my way home, I caught myself a shiny (but really old) 777-200 home on my way to Lost Wages. United’s seatback entertainment selection included this live action adaptation of the anime. I’ve never seen Titan before this in either form, and Chen-willing, I was going to see what the whole hulaboo was about.

In short, I should have seen the anime first…

ztitanlive-1

…and saved screen time for the inflight map

For those oblivious to the lore of this franchise, Humanity walled themselves up in a settlement against giant, humanoid, people eating monsters called “Titans”. For 100 years, the attacks had stopped, but in step our three main characters: Eren, Armin and Mikasa (es su Casa). Eren is tired of living comfortably within the confines of the Walls, and ventures out to see it when *gasp* a big-ass Titian breaks the Outer Wall in to let his buddies snack on the people in the agriculture district. (spoiler, they sound like celery) The plot, much like N771UA’s flight plan, ends up being logically (and laughably predictable) laid out in such that it shows some townspeople being dicks to each other by not letting people into the church, where Erin and Mikasa (holding a babby) gets eaten….or so you think.

In more ways than one, the plot flys by, and we’re two years down the road (and 150 miles closer to SFO). Armin and Eren (A&E) have joined the Scouting Regiment. Their new mission is to find new life, to boldly go where no man has gone before go to the Ag district, kill the Titians, and re-seal the wall, because as it turns out, no farms equal no food (and I don’t need the Farmer’s Union to tell me that twice). Because of this, a lot of the Regiment is in it just to get fed, for glory, or in this case of this baby mama, for the bennies:

And all the Non Revenue Space Available flights a girl could want!


Sidenote: I didn’t see why it was necessary for the IFE to remind us every so often what airline you’re flying.

Enter a generically evil, plotting Military Police Commander, and you find out after they venture out that they were actually supposed to secure some explosives and a bunker. While this is all going on, Eren discovers that Mikasa has not been ate (but was bitten), but rather became a cold, distant Titan killer and is involved with another man, Shikishima. This makes him angry/cry/sad/wishing I had kept watching Whose Line Is It Anyway? Instead.

He also happens to be the squad leader and lead expositionist for this part of the plot, when he tells the origin of the Titans, plan a little coup and whatnot. This meeting also turned out to be a “pump up” meeting as Shikishima gives Eren a sort of reason for fighting the Eljer Titans in the form of some overused, trite phrase.
This happens in time for the naked hungry giants to attack, and this sets in motion what’s left of the plot. Trust me. Things happen.

These things include much of the Squad being eaten despite their flying rope hook things. The BFF Armin almost gets eaten, but is saved by our hero Eren who then gets screentime to be seen going down into the Titans esogaphus and into the stomach. (ewwwwwwwww). This is, of course, after he looses a leg to one of them and hand on the way down. Meanwhile, Mikasa, who finally shows up emotionally again, fights despite the plot demanding that her gas powered flying rope hook thing be low on gas.

By pure rage alone, Eren assumes Titan form and beats the shit out the Titans, scaring them away. Mikasa cuts open the nape of the neck (the preferred location to kill them), and it turns out that’s where a Titan’s human is stored. Basically, they’re giant fleshy mechas. They pull out Eren who ends up healed from all of his wounds.

This movie is supposed to be in two parts, and judging by the length indicated by the PTV, this was part one. It seems rather abridged, and many times over I’ve heard of issues tying to pare down a 26 episode series into a movie (or two). I felt gypped having randomly skipped two years, as the training would have been an interesting aspect to follow, especially given the rag-tag vibe that the crew gives out.

Eren himself remains an interesting , if annoying part of the story. When not crying or whining, or moping, or getting into fights with the preppy kids on the crew, he can actually kick some ass, but even that took the Squad Leader getting him into gear.

Pretty much my face with this plot

Overall, it didn’t seem like this movie earned any of dramatic moments in it. A good movie will lead you on, draw you into a story, this seemed like it was going through the motions (or following a pre-determined flight plan), and not building anything. Coattailing on hype alone, it left an empty feeling, a feeling that much more could have been put into it besides great special effects.

I’m going to return to the franchise, but in the anime form, because I want to fill the empty spot this movie (and the sold out French Country-style bowl) left me on this flight.

 

Ouranistic Experience

by Bob Johnson

Captain Obvious confirms: Ouran High School Host Club is girly

Ouran High School Host Club

Haruhi and Tamaki share a moment

You’re probably already well aware that Ouran High School Host Club is the wet dream of many a socially-awkward gynoid; since having a bunch of guys rotate around a single woman is a day in the life of the average school computer club, I guess there’s a little truth to the concept of a reverse harem, but seeing it play out at any length at all has me ready to develop a virus that targets shoujo writers… Continue reading