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  • Project A-Ko

    Project A-Ko

    ★★★★★

    A-Ko's very near and dear to my heart. It was the first anime I saw with explicit knowledge of it BEING ANIME. I'd seen some of those localized shows from the early 80s (Voltron being my favorite), but that was no different from Muppet Babies or Superfriends in my mind-- it was all goofy stuff I absorbed at an impressionable age. But THIS was the first thing I rented knowing full well that I was getting into that weird shit…

  • California Crisis: Gun Salvo

    California Crisis: Gun Salvo

    ★★★★★

    Just realized I never posted a link to my review of this thing over on my blog.

    I will champion this strange, apparently unfinished (yet still commercially released in Japan) OVA oddity until the day I die. If anything, it works better NOW than it likely did then, because it's playing with a whole bunch of filtering of nostalgia and foreign pop cultures in ways that feel very much in the vein of more recent trends. It does for 50s…

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  • Vlad Love

    Vlad Love

    ★★★★★

    This is about as Mamoru Oshii as you can get.

    It has moments of military fetishism, particularly during an episode when Mai, the main vampire girl, turns into a dragon and the episode turns into a military drama as we follow the pilots and commanders making hard, cliched decisions.

    It will grind everything to a halt so characters can discuss movie and book references at great lengths. One of the characters is the head of the school's film club, and…

  • The Leopard Man

    The Leopard Man

    ★★★★½

    A man witnesses a brutal killing of a young woman by a wild animal. The image of that death lingers in his mind, compelling him to kill when he finds himself in the same position of predatory-like power two times over. There's certainly something within this guy to compel him to act as such, but it wasn't unleashed until he saw such violence first-hand. It says something about how those we see as good or righteous may only be such…

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  • Scooby-Doo! and the Curse of the 13th Ghost

    Scooby-Doo! and the Curse of the 13th Ghost

    ★★★★

    As far as long-running cartoon franchises that take old, apocryphal entries and loosely work them back into the "canon" go, I dug this more than Dragon Ball Super: Broly.

    It's a far more herculean effort to take a character like Flim Flam and make him bearable than it is to do something similar with a character like Broly.

    Also, there's some genuinely fascinating stuff going on in here with the character dynamics of Fred and Daphne, given that Fred was…

  • La La Land

    La La Land

    Gosling's character makes a big huff about jazz-- a dynamic art that has changed and morphed many times over the years-- and how it's dying. Never mind that the notion that jazz being on the verge of dying is fatalistic bullshit, despite this supposedly lingering fact, his character is also staunchly bound by tradition, despite the people he holds up as idols NOT sharing that sort of attitude. He cares more about who sat on a stool than he does…