Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind Review: Pants or no Pants?

4 stars
Made before the creation of Studio Ghibli, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind is one of Hayao Miyazaki’s first films, and foreshadows many of the themes that would appear in his future ones.
The story takes place on a post-apocalyptic earth where humanity is in a state of constant war, either with the giant bug-like Ohm from the Sea of Decay, or with each other.
Nausicaä (Sumi Shimamoto) is a princess living in the Valley of the Wind who hopes for peace, communicating with the Sea of Decay and the Ohm in search of a solution.
However, her attempts for peace are quickly shattered by an invading army that gets her peaceful valley embroiled in the wars that plague the landscape.
From here, the story kicks off with Nausicaä trying to put an end to the fighting, interacting with numerous characters on all sides of the conflict, revealing the films themes about the horrors of war and environmentalism.
These would later become staple themes for Miyazaki.
Nausicaä herself is a pretty great protagonist with some especially enjoyable moments towards the end of the film.
My favourite character though would have to be Lord Yupa (Goro Naya), a wise and respected warrior and adventurer who, although serving a minor role, steals every scene he is in.

Yupa
Lord Yupa is a cool character and I wish he had got more screen time. 

As for the animation of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, it is great for 1984, laying a template for what Studio Ghibli would go to create.
The film does have a couple of issues though, mainly with the Giant Warrior and the Tolmeikan.
The Giant Warrior is hyped up for quite a bit of the film and, while it does serve a role thematically, its presence at the end is incredibly minor, despite all of its buildup.
As for the Tolmeikan, their actions during the credits scene left me pretty confused, especially in how some of the crimes they commit in the film is never really addressed again.
Also, the film makes a point of introducing an animal companion for Nausicaä but it has no point other than being cute.
And then there is Nausicaä’s character design, oh boy.
I remember my jaw dropping in the first twenty minutes of the film when the wind blew her skirt up to reveal her bare bottom for all the world to see!
Thankfully, after doing some research, it does appear that Nausicaä is actually wearing pants.
They are just the exact same color as her skin and have a butt impression, so, whenever we get a low angle shot of her, it appears she is wearing nothing under her skirt when she actually is.
However, I had no idea about this when watching the film so there were numerous times when her skirt flew up that left me feeling pretty uncomfortable.

butt pants
See? Her pants look exactly like her skin!

Why they didn’t change the coloring of her pants is baffling to me because, even knowing this, it ruins some scenes because of what it looks like.
Despite these issues though, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind is still a very well done anime film that laid the groundwork for the fantastic films Miyazaki would make in the future.

 

Westworld Season Three Review: A Fall From Grace.

3 stars
Created by Jonathon Nolan and Lisa Joy, Westworld is a series that I have been invested in right from the beginning.
As soon as it started airing I was hooked.
I loved season one and, even though season two gets a lot of criticism, I personally think it is just as good as the first with some of the show’s best episodes.
And now we have season three, which was… okay?
I put a question mark there because I am genuinely unsure of how to feel about this season.
It certainly wasn’t bad but, unlike the other two seasons, there were very little standout moments that had me on the edge of my seat.
Season three honestly feels like an entirely different show and that is not exactly a good thing.
The story picks up with the setting changing from the titular Westworld park to the outside world, where Dolores Abernathy (Evan Rachel Wood) is beginning her plans to take over all of humanity with a Host Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thomspon) at her side.
Enter Aaron Paul’s character, Caleb Nichols, who is recruited by Dolores to help with her revolution.

Caleb
Aaron Paul does a good job as new character Caleb.

However, at the same time, the mysterious Engerraund Serac (Vincent Cassel) revives Maeve (Thandie Newton) with the intention of using her to take down Dolores… oh, and Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) and William (Ed Harris) are in this season too but they really don’t matter.
I’ll start by saying that I liked the roles Dolores, Charlotte, Caleb and Maeve had in this season.
While their stories aren’t anything spectacular they are still enjoyable, with Caleb being a welcome addition to the cast.
There are also a few surprise returns from minor characters that are well used.
But then there are Bernard and William who, as I said, don’t really matter.
They honestly felt like afterthoughts this season, which is such a shame because they are among the series’ best characters.
I especially don’t like how William’s story appeared to end.

William
They did William dirty with his screen time this season.

Thankfully, there is one great scene with Bernard in the final episode, although I wish this scene had more build up to it happening.
Then there is the action, which seems to fluctuate in quality across the season.
For example, there are some fights that are very good in the final few episodes.
However, there is a fight with Ashely Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth) in the second episode that was just atrocious in quality.
One thing I can definitely praise the season for though is Ramin Djawadi’s score because it is amazing, as always.
Along with this, the CGI is also well done.
The season is surprisingly short too, with only eight episodes compared to the original two seasons’ ten each.
I actually got to the final episode not realizing it was the finale so I was pretty surprised when I learnt that it was over.

final episoe
The finale does leave some characters’ fates in question though so here’s to hoping we get satisfying answers in season 4.

All in all though, season three is still pretty good overall.
But, with its story having almost no epic moments, some characters being mishandled, and a few action sequences being laughable, it does fall miles short of the first two seasons.

Grand Blue Review: 90% Nudity, 10% Diving.

3 and a half stars
The opening scene of Grand Blue, directed by Shinji Takamatsu and based off the manga by Keni Inoue, is quite the bait and switch.
As Iori Kitahara (Yuma Uchida) heads to his uncle’s diving shop, we expect a light hearted slice of life story as he learns to dive… only for us all to be met with the sight of a bunch of naked men (with their privates thankfully covered) drinking like there’s no tomorrow, revealing Grand Blue for the racy comedy that it is.
This was quite the shock for my Anime Club, which burst into laughter at the reveal.
I’m pretty sure the person who chose this show deliberately mislead us about what the show was about so we could make the most out of the surprise.
I thought Grand Blue would be 100% about diving going in but it’s actually only about 10%.
The other 90% is spent on nudity, alcohol and sexual jokes that never fail to get a laugh.
Following the opening scene, the anime follows Iori’s misadventures with the diving club.

alcahol poisoning
And, by misadventures, I mean drinking to the point that these characters have to develop alcohol poisoning at some point.

Among these characters are the practically nudist Shinji (Hiroki Yasumoto) and Ryujiro (Katsuyuki Konishi), and Iori’s cousins Nanaka (Maaya Uchida) and Chisa (Chika Anzai), who is both Iori’s and Nanaka’s crush.
Speaking of, incest seems to just be an accepted thing in this anime but it is thankfully played for laughs most of the time, so, whenever Nanaka is shown to be in love with her sister, it gets a laugh rather than a cringe.
Along with these characters, there is also the extreme anime nerd Kohei (Ryohei Kimura), who Iori drags into friendship kicking and screaming.
Their antics are of special hilarity, with many of the faces they pull reminding me of the Titans from Attack on Titan.

titan face
Tell me this face Iori pulls doesn’t look like Eren Jaeger’s Attack Titan.

However, although these characters are hilarious, they can be especially hard to root for at times, considering the things they do.
From exposing Chisa to a crowd to try and win a beauty pageant, to trying to get one of their friends’ girls to break up with him so he will be single like them, Iori and his friends are first rate jerks.
If the way that they went about doing these things wasn’t so hilarious, I would probably despise them.
Thankfully, the humor saves them.
As for the animation it is solid, being nothing spectacular but serviceable.
The music is the same, except for the opening that shares the name of the anime, which I would always find myself singing to.
The best thing about it though, as I have already stated, is definitely the top notch humor.
The rest of Grand Blue is serviceable but the jokes will have you laughing so hard that your sides hurt, which makes it definitely worth a watch.

Usagi Drop Review: Wholesome Fun… Unless You’ve Read The Manga.

4 stars
With Covid-19 still at large, the university anime club that I belong to has been forced to meet on Discord to watch and discuss shows.
One of these anime was Usagi Drop, directed by Kanta Kamei and based off the manga by Yumi Unita, and, boy, is this a wholesome one.
Usagi Drop follows Daikichi Kawachi (Hiroshi Tsuchida), an everyday guy who, upon arriving at his grandfather’s funeral, learns, much to his surprise, that his grandfather had a six-year-old illegitimate daughter named Rin (Ayu Maatsura).
With most of his family scorning Rin and wanting nothing to with her, Daikichi decides to take care of her.
But, with little to no experience in handling children, he is in for one heck of a struggle.

daikichi has his work cut out for him
Daikichi had his work cut out for him with the adorable Rin. 

From here, the anime kicks off, expanding on the growing relationship between Rin and Daikichi.
Their bond is great and they grow so much from it that, at times, I wondered who exactly was supposed to be the parent here, Rin or Daikichi?
Like them, the other characters are also good, with Daikichi’s family slowly coming to love Rin, and the two befriending a mother, Yukari Nitana (Sayaka Ohara), and her son, Kouki (Noa Saki).
Daikichi and Yukari’s friendship is especially great, with the two having fantastic chemistry to the point that I actually wanted them to end up together.
Backing up these characters are the constant adorable and funny moments, along with the animation, which in every episode, before the opening, takes on a unique style.

kouki and rin
Adding to the hilarity is the use of animation, particularly on some of the faces Rin makes.

The music is also good, delivering many cheery and feel good moments for the anime.
Overall, Usagi Drop is a heartfelt show that any aspiring parent would enjoy watching… just don’t read the manga.
No, seriously, DON’T.
I heard about the manga a few episodes in and looked it up after finishing the anime.
It was the worst decision I could have made because it taints the entirety of Daikichi and Rin’s father-daughter relationship.
Spoilers for the manga (you shouldn’t read it though), but the story actually ends with Rin, now 16, admitting her feelings for Daikichi after the two learn they actually aren’t blood related and the two enter a romantic relationship.
That’s disgusting.
It makes Usagi Drop feel like a grooming story and I honestly don’t know what Yumi Unita was thinking.

daikichi yuralki
There was perfect set up for a romantic relationship between Daikichi and Yuraki so I have no idea why the author went with Daikichi and Rin.

Thank god the anime didn’t adapt the ending and left Daikichi and Rin’s relationship as a father-daughter one that we can all love.
It is because of this that the anime remains great, just so long as you don’t think of the manga’s ending while watching it.

Tokyo Ghoul: Re, Anime Review. Declining Right Into The Dumpster.

two-star-rating
Coming into the Tokyo Ghoul anime adaptation, I knew I was pretty sure I was going to be in for a rough time, given its infamous portrayal of Sui Ishida’s original manga.
Thankfully, I found season one and √A to be good adaptations.
Granted, they both had a lot of problems but, overall, I think they are both be pretty decent.
This was not the case for the Tokyo Ghoul: Re adaptation, this time directed by Odahiro Watanabe.
Studio Pierrot really dropped the ball here.
There is so much wrong with this anime that I do not even know where to begin.
How about I start with how they packed 179 chapters into just 24 episodes?
This was a phenomenally bad idea because of much they had to cut or outright skip just to get to the end.

eto ghoul
Some of my favourite moments from the manga, like Kaneki’s up close reaction to Eto revealing she is a ghoul, are completely gone.

Events from the manga that had such an impact came and went so fast that they left no impact at all.
Not only this, but the anime adapts Re as if √A never happened, so the people who only watched √A would have been thoroughly confused watching.
Along with this, it’s clear that the people adapting the manga had only a surface level understanding of the manga.
Key traits of characters that deliver hidden messages, like Kaneki rubbing his chin when he lies are missing entirely.
The animation is also terrible, with the fights lacking any substance whatsoever.
To make matters worse, it’s not just the fight animation that sucks but the regular animation as well.
Just compare how the characters look when comparing Re to the first two seasons.
The characters in Re just look so bland and lifeless.
Something is also wrong with the color, which just looks dreary, and not in a good way.
Coming back to the characters though, they are terrible adaptation as well, with much of their development cut or changed for some reason.
When Kaneki realizes he killed hundreds, possibly thousands of innocent people when he became the dragon he barely reacts to it, unlike the manga where he breaks down.
How are we supposed to get attached to a character who shows no emotion after they learn they have accidentally become a mass murderer?

2020-05-14 (1)

awful adaptation
Look at this comparison between the anime and manga of Kaneki’s encounter with a hallucination of Rize. Manga Kaneki clearly has more emotion compared to anime Kaneki.

And then there’s Tooru.
Even though I didn’t like Ishida turning him from a likeable character into a psychopath in the manga, I can at least admit that it was done well.
In the anime, it’s awful.
Tooru is normal one moment and completely sadistic the next.
His transformation was obviously cut for censorship reasons, as was much of the violence to the point that characters who look barely injured die, when in the manga they died from extensive injuries.
Probably the worst part about this anime, though, is not the stupid changes, awful pacing, or terrible animation, but just how boring it all is.
I really had to struggle to get through the second half of the adaptation, which just shows how bad it is.
Whenever I read the manga, I often feel exhilarated but, when watching the same scenes in the anime, I feel nothing but boredom because of how poorly adapted it is.
Almost every single aspect from the manga is downgraded into dumpster quality.

furata
I was genuinely glad when the last episode finally ended because I no longer had to watch this terrible adaptation.

However, there are a few saving graces that stop the adaptation from being a complete disaster.
The music and the voice acting are still good, and there are some funny moments (although this should be credited to Ishida and not the anime).
Also, the two openings, “Asphyxia” and “Katharsis”, are actually very good, showing way more effort than √A’s opening “Munou”, which was just bad.
And that’s it.
The music, voice acting, a couple of funny moments, and the opening.
Those are the only good things about this anime that stop is from being the worst.
Everything else about it is a spectacular failure.
People say Tokyo Ghoul should get the Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood treatment and their right because Tokyo Ghoul deserves so much better than what Studio Pierrot gave it.
Sadly, if we ever do get another adaptation, I doubt it will be anytime soon.
And until we do (if we ever do), we will be stuck with this awful adaptation of Tokyo Ghoul: Re as its anime sendoff.
Well, on the plus side, Ishida recently revealed he is working on a new manga so we have that to look forward to, at least.

Richard Jewell Review: Shockingly True.

4 stars
On July 27, 1996, a pipe bomb resulted in two deaths and injured over a hundred people in the Centennial Olympic Park.
An investigation was quickly launched but the man who discovered the bomb, Richard Jewell was hailed as a hero for his actions… until he wasn’t.
When news that Jewell was the FBI’s number one suspect leaked to the media, they jumped on it and, soon enough, Richard Jewell was number one on everyone’s suspect list.
Just one problem: Jewell really was a hero.
He had nothing to do with the bombing and his actions probably saved the lives of hundreds of people.
Yet, his life was destroyed by flawed, one-track mind FBI investigating and media reporting that both threw integrity out the window.
This is the true story that Clint Eastwood’s 2019 film Richard Jewell tells, and it is incredibly compelling.
I had heard of Jewell’s story before but I only knew the basics.
After watching the film, I looked up how much of the story was true and most of it is.
The finer details are shocking, with the efforts the FBI and media took to prove Jewell’s guilt being, quite frankly, disgusting.
This disgust that I felt was helped by the extreme sympathy I felt for Jewell, who is played brilliantly by Paul Walter Hauser.

jewell
Hauser knocks it out of the park as Richard Jewell.

I recently watched interviews with Jewell and it is a spot on portrayal that is right up there with 2019’s best performances.
He is not the only one because Kathy Bates, as Jewell’s mother, Bobi, and Sam Rockwell, as Jewell’s lawyer, Watson Bryant, are both fantastic.
The structure of the film is also great, with it admittedly starting out a bit slow, but picking up in momentum once the bombing occurs.
All of this combines to create a shocking and great film, but one with a very big problem that holds it back from being one of 2019’s best.
This is the portrayal of certain characters, specifically Kathy Scruggs (Olivia Wilde) who plays the journalist who breaks the story about Jewell being a suspect.
She is portrayed in the most negative light possible, with her appearing to not care about the bombing deaths, only wanting a good story out of it, and trading sex for information.
While it is true that Scruggs was part of the media that slandered and demonized Jewell, her initial portrayal as irredeemably cruel feels a lot like the media’s initial portrayal of Jewell and thus hypocritical.
Thankfully, the film does go about showing she later regrets her actions, but the film’s message of not painting someone out to be a monster is slightly tainted by it doing this very thing.

repoter
Wilde is portrayed as villainous for most of the film, making it seem like the film is demonizing her the same way that Richard Jewell was demonized. 

Despite this, Richard Jewell is still Clint Eastwood’s best film in a long while.
With fantastic performances and a gripping true story, it raises good questions about the morality of certain parts of the media and authorities.

Tokyo Ghoul √A Review: The Decline Begins.

3 stars
The first season of Studio Pierrot’s Tokyo Ghoul adaptation was a solid season, but one that had a few issues.
Despite this, the final episode of the season was incredible and a great ending for the next season, √A, once again directed by Shuhei Morita, to pick up from.
Yet, coming into √A, I had a lot of concerns because this is the point that many fans say that the Tokyo Ghoul anime began to decline in quality.
And right from the first episode, “New Surge”, I knew this was going to be the case.
To put it bluntly, “New Surge” is easily the worst Tokyo Ghoul episode of the first two seasons because of how badly it both adapts the manga and tries to add new scenes.
For example, the emotional goodbye Kaneki (Natsuki Hanae) has with Touka (Sora Amamiya) in the manga is replaced in this first episode with Kaneki just being a silent edge lord, which he unfortunately remains for most of the season.

edge lord kaneki
Kaneki barely says anything to Touka when he leaves Anteiku, compared to the manga where he talks a lot, showing Pierrot couldn’t be bothered to write a different conversation.

Then there is Kaneki joining Aogiri Tree this episode, which is also atrociously done.
The anime decided to change the story in √A from Kaneki forming a resistance group to stop Aogiri to him joining them.
Sui Ishida, the creator of the series, envisioned that Kaneki would do this to secretly find and kill the One Eyed King but Studio Pierrot threw this, and his other ideas, out in favor of Kaneki joining Aogiri Tree to get stronger, which makes no sense at all.
This confusing plot line is on full display in the first episode with the scene that I think is supposed to show Eto (Maaya Sakamoto) convincing Kaneki to join Aogiri, which instead just has her giggling at him and then disappearing, without either of them saying anything.
Why would Aogiri Tree decide to let Kaneki join them anyway, when he is responsible for the death of one of their executives?
Not only this, but many important scenes like Kaneki breaking half the bones in Ayato’s (Yuki Kaiji) body are completely removed in this episode.
Unfortunately, the dip in quality of √A continues, with Pierrot trying to work in characters from the manga that just do not translate well to this new story.
The biggest example of this is Kurona (Aoi Yuuki) and Nashiro (Haruka Tomatsu).
In the manga, these two show up because both Kaneki and the CCG are actively chasing them down, forcing them to fight.
In the anime, however, they deliberately pursue Kaneki for absolutely no reason, making it feel like they were written in just because they were in the manga and not because they had a story based reason for being there.

twins ghouls
Kurona and Nashiro should not have been in √A. Without Kaneki pursuing them it made no sense for them to be in the season.

These problems with the anime original content continue throughout √A, with even censorship being a problem.
Tokyo Ghoul is a dark manga so it should have been a dark manga.
Characters that lost their limbs just break bones here.
Studio Pierrot should have listened to Ishida’s ideas for the season or just followed his original story.
Sadly, the anime only events are not the only issues with √A because the animation and soundtrack are issues too.
While the animation isn’t awful, various fights in the first half of √A feel slow and more static than the first season.
As for the soundtracks, songs are repeated constantly to the point that I actually tired of hearing even the great ones.
I lost count of how many times “Glassy Skies” played.
Not only this, but the opening, “Munou”, is flat out terrible, with barely any effort put into it.
However, despite the many problems I have mentioned, I still do not consider √A to be a bad season.
It almost is but there are a few redeeming qualities the season has that cause it to miss the title of bad by the skin of its teeth.
For starters, even though I didn’t like many of the changes that were made to the original story, there are actually some good ones.
For example, there is an interaction between Kaneki and Naki (Hiro Shimono) in the first few episodes that I really enjoyed, and I liked some of the little quirks Eto was given, along with her interaction with Juuzou (Rie Kugiyama) and Shinohara (Yutaka Nakano), which explained some of her later actions.

eto bang
Despite all interactions between Kaneki and Eto being a complete waste of time, instead of interesting changes as they should have been, I still liked the little changes and quirks her character was given in the anime.

Along with this, when the anime actually adapted parts of the original story correctly, it did them quite well.
The raid on Anteiku was excellent, for the most part, with the fights being very enjoyable, especially Yoshimura’s (Takayuki Sugo).
Speaking of which, I really enjoyed the change of having Yoshimura hallucinate Ukina during this scene.
The animation of these fights was also a lot better than they were earlier in the season.
Not fantastic, but good.
The voice acting also remains solid and, even though I had problems with how repeated the soundtrack was, I liked the final, slower version of Unravel that was played at the end.
I may have not liked the four minute walk that accompanied it but it’s still a fantastic version of a fantastic song.
So, despite its plenty of faults, Tokyo Ghoul √A is saved by its redeeming qualities, barely making it a good season.
Unfortunately, this is not the case for Tokyo Ghoul: Re, which I am currently struggling to get through.
You can expect a review for that train wreck soon.

 

Howl’s Moving Castle Review: Strong Beginning, Confusing Ending.

4 stars
Hayao Miyazaki obviously has a strong liking for steampunk films, as shown by Castle in The Sky, and fantasy stories, as can be seen with his films My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away.
Well, with his 2004 anime Howl’s Moving Castle, he merges these two genres to create an interesting tale about a young woman named Sophie (Chieko Baisho) who, while living in a steampunk world, is cursed to look like an old woman by the Witch of the Waste (Akihiro Miwa) after encountering the mysterious wizard, Howl (Takuya Kimura).
Searching for a cure, she is reunited with Howl, his apprentice Markl (Ryunosuke Kamiki), a demon named Calcifer (Tatsuya Gashuin), and a living scarecrow, and goes on numerous adventures with them in Howl’s titular moving castle.

sophie and howl
On her journey, Sophie encounters many weird and magical things, with Howl at the center.

The beginning of Howl’s Moving Castle is strong, with the characters and world being introduced well, and the inciting incident of Sophie being turned into an old woman set up as being essential to the plot.
Not only this but the combination of fantasy and steampunk in this world is fascinating because of how it shows the magical and the technological interacting.
The animation that shows off these various technologies and magic spells is incredibly well done, as I was in awe at the first shot of Howl’s Castle.
Along with this, the characters are also likeable, although I will say that the romance between Sophie and Howl does not exactly feel right.
The setup for it is there with their first meeting but their following interactions never really gave me the feeling that they were falling in love.
Despite not really getting a romantic vibe though, I still did like Sophie and Howl’s interactions, along with a lot of the other character interactions, especially Sophie’s conversations with the silent, living scarecrow.

scarecrow
The friendship between Sophie and the scarecrow was something I enjoyed, which was surprising because the scarecrow doesn’t talk.

However, I will say that the way the scarecrows story ended felt extremely abrupt.
And this is really my big problem with Howl’s Moving Castle, the third act.
Many of the plot points in this act left me thoroughly confused.
For example, as I said, the inciting incident of the film is Sophie being turned into an old woman.
But, she seems to change between old and young across the film and this is strangely never addressed by the other characters or the plot.
By the end, I assumed it had something to do with love, or night, or a combination of the two but I don’t really know.
Not only this but the direction the story goes gets really confusing as well with, of all things, time travel being introduced and it is never explained how that happens.

time travel
I don’t know how time travel became a plot point in this story but it was very abrupt.

Howl’s Moving Castle also has a villain problem, what with the main threat being setup as the Witch of the Waste, before this is undermined and a seemingly new villain takes the stage, only for this new villain to be absent for the rest of the film.
From the midpoint to the end, the film slowly devolves to the point that I was dissatisfied with the ending.
This is not to say I disliked Howl’s Moving Castle, on the contrary I still think it is a very well done film what with the way it begins, the brilliant way it mixes steampunk with fantasy, and the animation.
But, the plot slowly begins to unravel as the film goes on, until it gets genuinely confusing to the point that I thought the story could have been handled better.
I would still recommend Howl’s Moving Castle though because of its numerous good qualities.

Tokyo Ghoul Season One Review: A Rush to a Killer Finale.

4 stars
Before watching Tokyo Ghoul, many people suggested I should read the manga first because the anime was a bad adaptation.
In reading Sui ishida’s manga, I found a fantastic story and a solid yet flawed experience in its sequel Re. 
Well, after watching the first season of the anime adaptation, produced by Studio Pierrot and directed by Shuhei Morita, I can see what people were talking about.
This is not to say that season one is a bad adaptation but it falls quite far from the successes of the manga.
The reason for this mostly comes down to how rushed the story is and the switching around of arcs.
Take the first episode, for example.
I was pretty surprised by how much was adapted in so little time.
Honestly, I expected the first episode to encompass the first chapter, with it ending when Kaneki wakes up, revealing his ghoul eye and noting that his life is a tragedy.
But the episode went ahead of this moment and adapted much more for the first episode, resulting in scenes going by much too fast to be as impactful as they were in the manga.

tragedy 1
I feel like the first chapter should have been extended to make a single episode that builds to the final reveal of Kaneki being turned into a ghoul.

This rushed quality persisted right up until the end, and was not helped by the removal of entire scenes.
Season one should have been around twenty episodes instead of twelve.
The second big issue is the switching around of arcs with the Gourmet Arc happening before the Doves Arc, which came first in the manga.
The Doves Arc being moved behind the Gourmet Arc made certain things not make a lot of sense in the anime.
However, despite these problems, I still found the first season of Tokyo Ghoul to be a good adaptation.
Even though much of the story is rushed and some story arcs happen sooner than they are supposed to, certain scenes are adapted fairly well and the characters are all wonderfully brought to screen.
Kaneki (Natsuki Hanae), Touka (Sora Amamiya), Rize (Kana Hanazawa), Amon (Katsuyuki Konishi), Tsukiyama (Mamoru Miyano) Jason (Rintaro Nishi), and many characters are all done justice with their portrayals and voice acting.
The best example of this is Juuzou because both his Japanese voice actor Rie Kugimiya and his English voice actor Maxey Whitehead all do an incredible job as the character.
I remember hearing Juuzou speak for the first time in both sub and dub and thinking both were perfect.

crazy little s we know and love
Juuzou is perfectly adapted into the anime, with both Japanese and English voice actors doing an amazing job.

Along with the great voice work, another quality of the anime that I enjoyed were some of its original scenes.
The anime hyped up Jason a lot sooner and that made the build up to his torture of Kaneki in the finale a lot better.
Speaking of that finale, I was considering this season an overall average adaptation, what with the rushed nature and switched around arcs of the anime but then, “Ghoul” happened.
“Ghoul” is a fantastic season finale that perfectly adapted Jason’s torture of Kaneki and their epic fight.
The only problem I had with the episode was its censoring of numerous violent scenes but it makes up for it in the symbolism, voice acting, and amazing final scene.
Watching Kaneki take on Jason to the spectacular theme of Unravel made the entire season feel worth it and was the best way to end it.

kaneki unravels
The Kaneki vs Jason fight is the highlight of the season.

As for Unravel, it is already one of my favourite anime openings of all time.
Everything from the music, visuals and symbolism is just incredible.
Unfortunately, the few incredible aspects of this anime, like Unravel and the final episode, would not be continued in the follow up season of √A, which has a lot more problems, but we’ll get to that later.
All in all, the first season of Tokyo Ghoul is a solid adaptation.
Sure, it has its problems, like the rushed story, switched arcs, and missing scenes, but the adaptation of certain scenes, voice acting, final episode, and Unravel make up for it.

Cats Review: Cat People Aren’t Sexy!

1 star
Today is my sister’s birthday and she decided that, to celebrate it during my country’s lockdown, we would all watch the Cats movie.
It’s safe to say that by the end of it we were all regretting her choice.
You want to know how bad the Cats movie is?
It’s so bad that all the terrible bad cat puns that could describe this eye cancer of a film have already been used and there are none left.
I can remember the first time I saw the trailer for the film and wondering what the people making this were smoking for them to think this cringe fest was going to be a hit.
Although, I suppose what with the stage production being one of the most successful musicals ever, there was no doubt in their mind that it would be.
Still, this unfortunate misreading of the situation could have been mitigated if the movie used practical effects and makeup for the cat people.
But nope, they had to go full CGI with it and make the cast of Francesca Hayward, Jennifer Hudson, Judi Dench, Idris Elba, Laurie Davidson, Robbie Fairchild, Ian McKellen, Jason Derulo, and many more look like mutated cat monsters that want to eat our faces, great.
And, to top it all off, the original stage production has barely any plot, with the only story element being that all of the jellicle cats (whatever jellicle means) are meeting to decide who will get a new life.

nnoo plot
Cats is just one creepy, boring musical number after another with barely any plot.

Director Tom Hooper tried to add a plot with Macavity serving as the overarching villain but this was incredibly forced and lacked any investment.
So, the majority of Cats consists of these creepy, one note cats introducing themselves in musical numbers that definitely do not match in tone.
There’s comedic numbers (none of which are funny), dramatic numbers (none of which are dramatic), and even horror numbers (I’m pretty sure they aren’t meant to be interpreted that way though).
I will give the movie some credit though, because some of the songs, like “Macavity” and “Beautiful Ghosts”, are actually pretty well sung, with Jennifer Hudson doing a fantastic job with “Memory.”
You just have to close your eyes so you can actually enjoying these songs by not having to see the fur demons.

Jennifer Hudson cat
Hudson admittedly does an amazing job with her musical numbers but the visuals ruin what feels like was supposed to be a powerful performance.

Sadly, for every decent musical number there is a bad or horrifying one, like Rebel Wilson and James Corden’s songs.
However, it is not the creepy nature of the cats that I found to be the films worst attribute.
If anything, parts of the film can be watchable if you are expecting to be creeped out by these CGI abominations.
No, I found the worst part of the film to easily be how boring it is.
As I said, Cats is basically scene after repetitive scene of characters introducing themselves and then never being important again.
By the time the third cat had sung about themselves, I was already bored and just got less and less interested at each new cat’s introduction.
Occasionally the cats would do something that would make me cringe, which would temporarily get my interest back, but then it would just go back to more introduction musical numbers and I would lose interest again.

railway cat
The railway cat number was the moment I realised just how much I was zoning out because of how bored I was.

The best way that I can explain Cats is that it feels like it is walking on a tightrope.
If it falls to one side then it lands on creepy visuals that make you cringe, however, if it falls on the other side then it lands on boring scenes that have no investment.
Oh, and the film has absolutely no coordination so it is constantly falling to one side of the tightrope every minute, only for it to fall again when it tries to get back on.
Cats is easily one of the worst films of 2019.
It has almost no plot, the cat people are unnerving, and it’s boring.
Definitely not “the most joyous event of the holiday season” as the trailers advertised, although did any of us honestly expect it to be?