I'm a prepubescent bookworm with a miniscule group of friends. I watch cartoons every morning before school with my sister, who is in kindergarten. We're dorks, and we watch all the good stuff -- Duck Tales, Darkwing Duck, Gargoyles, etc. One morning, there's something different on after Gargoyles.
This new cartoon is something we've never seen before. The cartoon is about a human girl. She has huge eyes, brightly coloured hair, and loooooong legs. There's a talking cat. An evil queen and an army of generals named after precious gemstones. And, for some reason, the story is set in Japan and everyone has a Canadian accent.
Of course, by now you must know that I'm talking about Bishoujo Senshi Sailormoon. The fad infected the US when I was in middle school and actually managed to keep its hold well into my high school years. I was the first person I knew to start watching the show, and I introduced all of my friends to it as well. Soon we had designated ourselves as characters and were drawing and card-collecting frantically. It was a lot like the Pokemon craze that just ended here. I had already been interested in Japanese culture for some time, and this only fueled that interest.
Somewhere in my seventh grade year, I realized that there was more out there like Sailormoon. It was part of this whole genre called anime and there was tons more where that came from. I dug up everything I could get my hands on: Akira, Ghost in the Shell, Fatal Fury, etc. The staples of the genre. From then on, I was on the path to glory.
Nowadays, years and years later, I'm much pickier about my anime. I can't stand to watch anything dubbed (unless it's absolute top-quality), and I don't concern myself with the frivoloties of passing fads. I do, however, still own all 200 episodes of the original Sailormoon cartoon in Japanese with English subtitles. I guess some things will never change.
I have to say that I agree with the review on most counts. If you take the movie from an objective standpoint, you can see it not as a sequel to the television series, but as an independent project. It doesn't devalue the experience when you see it from this perspective, although I have to admit that I wanted more from the film. I think I was more or less expecting a shortened replay of what happened in the series. Instead, I was rewarded with a completely unique look into the world of Gaea.
What I most agree with is this: Its primary failing is the lack of characterization given to the lesser figures in the film. Allen, Millerna, Merle, Folken, Jajuka, Dilandau — all are reduced to foils of Hitomi and Van. It's true -- characters that were so well developed in the series are left to surface studies in the film and I was quite disappointed by this. Moreso in Dilandau's case than anyone else's. He was so complex and beautiful in the series, but was left to be simply an incoherent madman in the film. The film was limited in time and thusly in development, but I wish they'd found a way to portray him fairly. (Also, semi-spoiler: Why was he so insane through the duration of the film, and then completely normal at the end??)
What made the whole film turn around for me was the deciding battle between Van (in the legendary Escaflowne) against Dilandau. I'm not a big mecha fan, but the Guymelefs are so cool and the connection between the mecha and their pilots is amazing. The emotional battle that took place for Van (and Hitomi) is what brought me back into the movie. And from there, things just kept looking up.
The music in the film is, of course, absolutely beautiful. My favourite part, to be honest. Yoko Kanno and Sakamoto Maaya are musical geniuses. Kanno has done music for the likes of Sharon Apple in Macross Plus and Sakamoto has lent her voice in both seiyuu and songstress form for so many anime. Her solo career hasn't been too shabby either. The theme "Sora" is so gorgeous.
In all, once I stepped back and looked at the bigger picture, I enjoyed the film quite a lot and would recommend it to anyone who likes Escaflowne but can keep an open mind.
i finally got around to watching crying freeman (the anime) yesterday. it's known as one of the staples of the sub culture, along the lines of ninja scroll and la blue girl. to be specific, i watched the first two "episodes".
crying freeman was hilariously very 80s. large chins, crazily muscular and thick men, and characters so damn eager to take their clothes off. apparently, a lot of them don't believe in underwear.
despite it's tendency to make my eyebrows shoot up towards my hairline every few seconds, i had a great time. but i'm the same girl who loves 80's music and crazy sense of fashion that came with it (hence my addiction to MTV's classics).
i couldn't help noticing the female protagonist of crying freeman to be incredibly strong and independent, extremely different from the average japanese woman, and even the average female anime character. i wondered if this was a result of the feminism rage during the time.
this was, after all, around the time ranma 1/2 came out and rumiko takahashi created the complete antithesis of the japanese woman. akane tendo was loud, violent, couldn't cook and was a martial artist. and that's just scraping off the surface, really.
nowadays, female anime characters simply aren't like that anymore. oh sure, they may be vessels of some sort of earth-shattering power, or placed at the center of some very elaborate plot. we even have contract killers like the female duo in noir or highly capable police women like in you're under arrest. but this sort of thing is taken for granted nowadays.
but there was just a certain way emu hino was treated in crying freeman, how praises of her were so often sung. how even though she couldn't kill 8 men with nothing but a dagger between her toes, she still possessed an amazing skill and sense of character that i found simply fascinating.
so while i did find myself groaning and slapping my forehead during some truly unbelievable scenes, i couldn't stop watching it at the same time. i'm glad i took the time to watch it (and doubly glad that matthew got his hands on the DVD -- he is slowly turning me into a DVD whore). so if i ever have the chance, you can be sure that i'll grabe more episodes as i find them.
plus, who'd want to miss out on the chance of hearing japanese voice actors mangle the chinese language? hilarious!