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Recently in apocalyptic Category

The World Sinks Except Japan
[Nihon igai zenbu chinbotsu]

Genre: Cornball Parody and Political Satire

review in one breath

Due to sudden tectonic shifts which only the half-crazy Dr. Tadokoro can explain, all of earth's land masses have sunk into the sea with the exception (of course) of JAPAN turning the island nation into the global relief center for the world's population. How will Japan handle its new role as the earth's only government? Directed by Kawasaki Minoru, this film is a parody of the widely popular "Japan Sinks" novel and films.



Tokyo Dragon
[Tokyo Ryuu]

Genre: Apocalyptic Emergence of an Ancient Power

review in one breath

Tokyo and the surrounding Kanto area has been under a torrential downpour for weeks and there is little prospect that the rains will stop anytime soon. As the streets flood and general civic services grind to a halt, a sense of panic slowly builds, as electrical and computer systems begin to fail under the persistent humidity. The health hazards caused by the rampant mildew and uncollected garbage have caused even the television news stations to contemplate false forecasts predicting sunny days ahead. But the storm only grows larger, as if it were a living organism, swirling in an increasingly visible spiral pattern directly over the heart of Tokyo. At the same time, very far away at the remote Japanese island of Okinawa, a monstrous presence has stirred deep below the ocean's surface amid ancient religious ruins.



Returner
[Retana]

Genre: Apocalyptic Sci-Fi Action

review in one breath

Simply put, this is a very good movie which again renewed my respect for the ingenuity of Japanese film making. In addition to superb special effects, an excellent cast, and groovy soundtrack, Returner offers a veritable smorgasbord of storyline content.



Malice@Doll
[Malice Doll]

Genre: Computer Generated Sci-Fi Horror

review in one breath

"Let me give you a kiss.
It's the only thing I can do."

Much more akin to the Computer Generated (CG) graphics of Final Fantasy than to a traditional "anime", Malice@Doll tells a dark and surreal tale which conjures up the darkest moments of Stanley Kubrick's vision in A.I.. Although not quite as lavishly realistic as Final Fantasy, which strove to depict such things as the independent movement of hair follicles, the graphics in Malice@Doll are nevertheless meticulously done and its environments are convincingly dismal and nuanced.



Kairo
[Pulse]

Genre: Apocalyptic Ghost Story

review in one breath

Kairo (2001) has been out in the mainstream for quite some time and is already rather well-known in Western circles predominantly due to its being a film by Kurosawa Kiyoshi, a director with a number of films appearing on many j-horror fans' list of favorites. (Kurosawa films which are reviewed on this site include: Cure (1997), Charisma (1999), Kourei (2000), Akarui Mirai (2003), and Doppelganger (2003). ) A characteristic motif of his films is the fluidity of individuality and his narratives almost always consist of a character's inner transformation through extreme situations. For Kurosawa, this transformation is not simply one toward greater maturity or conventional notions of self-knowledge. It often entails what he understands to be a consistent trajectory with the harsh, often cruel realities of the natural world, and so his characters often transform from a state the audience can at least identify with into one which lies outside the bounds of our expectations.



Hakuchi
[The Innocent]

Genre: Surreal Apocalypticism

review in one breath

I really enjoyed this movie. It is imaginative and visionary while grounded in in a few ancient intuitions. Hakuchi blends and evokes images reminiscent of the realpolitik of Salome, the apocalyptic state of Blade Runner and the societal perversity of Clockwork Orange. Its underlying framework, however, is grounded in Japanese (Shinto and Buddhist) notions of renewal, redemption and the end times.



Dragonhead

Genre: Sci-Fi Apocalyptic

review in one breath

Attention fans of the apocalypse! Coming to you live (!) from the FIERY END OF THE WORLD is the visually stunning Dragon Head!

Based on the long running manga series by Mochizuki Minetaro, director Iida Joji has created a thoroughly compelling vision of the decimation of civilized Japan. Dragon Head offers perhaps a thoroughly Japanese perspective of the nature of the End. Unlike most Western apocalyptic films which generally resolve (!) through either human ingenuity pitted against Mother Nature (ie "Armageddon" or "Deep Impact") or the triumph of the Terminator over Satan ("End of Days"), Dragon Head presents a world already utterly overwhelmed with catastrophe and the human race on the brink of self destruction, as the few remaining survivors kill each other off out of panic and hysteria.



Devilman

Genre: Damien Meets the X-Men Meets the END OF THE WORLD!!!

review in one breath

When a freak scientific exploration breaches the underworld, Hell itself soon floods the world of the living, transforming millions into gross demonic creatures and obliterating any remaining global social order. As humans turn against humans in a berserk and violent witchhunt for the demonic mutants, global war and chaos ensue as Satan himself scoffingly watches humanity self-destruct. And yet one frighteningly powerful creature cannot cast off his human heart and thus becomes the Devil/man intent on protecting those he loved. Based on the manga, this is an incredible visual explosion which puts any Western apocalyptic tale to shame.



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