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May 2008 Archives

Lizard Baby
[Watashi no Akachun]

Genre: Embryonic Terror!

review in one breath

In an attempt to overcome writer's block, an aspiring horror screenplay writer uses his wife's pregnancy as the backdrop for a new gripping and well-received tale. As both his story and the subsequent film progress toward their completion, his finds his real-life situation paralleling the more horrifying elements of his imagination, not least of which is his wife's giving birth to a LIZARD BABY! This is tale five in Hideshi Hino's Theater of Horror Hexology.



Tekkonkinkreet
[Tekkon Kinkreet]

Genre: Yakuza-infused Orphan Youth Angst

review in one breath

In the last remaining vestige of an otherwise over-modernized metropolis, two orphaned children have learned to live both freely and violently amongst rival gang intrusion, yakuza activity, and the good-natured help from some similarly-minded, decade-weary citizens. This tale, seen through their own eyes, is wholly about the survival and destruction of these two orphaned youths, not only in terms of their physical safety but also their mental landscape. Childhood dreams and hopes struggle headlong with the reality of urban decay, vicious crime, and the crippling sense of loss.



Dead Girl Walking
[Kaiki! Shinin Shôjo]

Genre: Postmortem Teen Angst

review in one breath

Although young Yuri suffers a fatal heart attack she finds herself unable to play dead. Instead, she lurches around dropping various body parts as she becomes more isolated and ostracized from her family and friends. When all other relationships and physical cohesiveness abandon her, she must decide her own fate. This is the second volume (of six) of manga artist Hideshi Hino's "Theater of Horror" now available in Region 1 release.



Boy from Hell
[Jigoku kozu]

Genre:Manga-based Z-grade Schlock-gore Horror

review in one breath

When her only child is tragically killed, prominent surgeon Chiba Emma will stop at nothing to bring him back. For both audiences and victims alike, this unfortunately entails a gamut of schlock-gore violence and the creepy de-evolution of a loving mother into the MILF from Hell. This is volume one (of six) of manga artist Hideshi Hino's "Theater of Horror" now available in Region 1 release.



Karas : The Revelation
[Karasu]

Genre: Explosive Conclusion to this Kick-Ass Sci-Fi Samurai Epic

review in one breath

This final half to the visually explosive Karas storyline will certainly not disappoint. Rendered in both cell anime and crisp CG techniques, this entire tale of Shinto-esque resurrection and samurai-like vengeance is truly one to behold. Fans of (testosterone fueled) tales of revenge and vengeance will certainly get their fill here. And fans of redemptive, humanistic struggles and triumphs over moral ambiguities and wrong decisions will also be knee deep. If you can, certainly see this.



Karas : The Prophecy
[Karas]

Genre: Fascinating Anime Blend of Traditional and Futuristic Monsters

review in one breath

To the human eye, contemporary Shinjuku seems merely a bustling city brimming with normal human affairs. But as this tale demonstrates, the ancient yokai, supernatural beings of traditional lore, continue to live among and within humanity even in this day and age. Diligently guarding the interaction between these two realms is Karas, a formidable ghost warrior of exceptional skills. This is the first of a beautifully rendered two volume set providing the latest in cutting edge Japanese animation.




Paprika
[Papurika]

Genre: Psychedelic Sci-Fi Anime
Director: Kon Satoshi (2006)

review in one breath

Dreams and Reality collide with devastating consequence in this highly colorful and imaginative anime by director Satoshi Kon. After years of effort, a research team has nearly perfected a device which taps into a subject's dreams. The goal of the project is to use the device to help subjects overcome psychological obstacles and enhance the growth of consciousness. But it the wrong hands and quickly proves a malevolent weapon which not only melts the minds of its victims but soon overlaps objective reality with the subjective manipulation of Nightmare.




Pornostar
[Poruno Sutaa ]

U.S. release tile: Tokyo Rampage

Genre: Psychotically Anti-Social Neo Yakuza Youth
Director: Toyoda Toshiaki (1998)

review in one breath

Here is an absolutely excellent film for fans of the contemporary neo yakuza genre. Director Toyoda Toshiaki may be better known to Western audiences for Blue Spring (Aoi Haru), another excellent nihilistic urban youth tale, which he directed 3 years after this film. Set in the urban youth culture of Shibuya, Tokyo, Pornostar offers its own exploration of the impact of yakuza influence upon youth culture. By creating a truly unique protagonist, which is simultaneously beyond morality yet somehow set against the moral scourge of the yakuza, Toyoda leads his audience into the deepest corners of Tokyo's influential sub-culture of crime.



Sword of Doom
[Dai-bosatsu toge]

Genre: Evil Mind, Evil Sword Samurai Tale
Director: Okamoto Kihachi (1966)

review in one breath

The principles of samurai bushido are in sharp focus here, demonstrating the zen-like connection between the swordsman's mind and his use of the blade. Sword of Doom examines an unruly samurai with ruthless sword skills whose ego and moral deficiencies lead him down a path of ultimate destruction. This is truly a classic samurai film in that it is wholly about the bushido mentality and how one's moral character and discipline ultimately decide one's fate.


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