Carole and Tuesday

(Welcome to Ani-time Ani-where, a regular column dedicated to helping the uninitiated understand and appreciate the world of anime.)

Shinichiro Watanabe has made some of the most iconic and influential anime of the past 20 years, with some of the best soundtracks in the industry. His first show, Cowboy Bebop, was the perfect midpoint of anime storytelling and Western pop culture influences, resulting in an exhilarating sci-fi western with a killer jazz soundtrack. He followed that up with Samurai Champloo which combined Japan’s Edo-era samurai road trip story with a hip-hop soundtrack and visual style. Even his thriller anime series about a terrorist attack, Terror in Resonance, was heavily influenced by the music of Sigur Rós. 

All this is to say, if you watch a Watanabe anime, you’re bound to get a blending of genres and visual styles, plenty of references to Western pop-culture, and a fantastic soundtrack – and Carole & Tuesday may have his best musical work yet. The series follows Tuesday, a runaway rich girl who, taking a page out of Cyndi Lauper’s book, runs away from her privileged life with nothing but a guitar and a dream. After finally making it to Alba City, a metropolis on Mars that attracts those who want to become somebody, she meets Carole, an orphan and refugee from Earth who plays the piano and works many part-time jobs. Soon they’ll move in together to start making music and try to make it as singer-songwriters in a world where life has become entirely automated and all art is being made by AI.

From there the show becomes a sweet and optimistic exploration of the power of music and creativity that feels like it could very well be set in today’s New York despite it being set in Mars in the distant future. Oh, and of course the soundtrack has some of the catchiest songs you’ll hear all year – including what should become an anthem for frustrated people everywhere.

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weathering with you oscars

For the first time in 22 years, Japan has selected an anime film as its best international film entry at the Oscars. Makoto Shinkai‘s romantic fantasy movie Weathering With You is the Japanese entry for best international feature film category at the 2020 Oscars, marking the first time since Hayao Miyazaki’s Princess Mononoke in 1998 that Japan has thrown its weight behind an animated film for its foreign-language category contender.

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Digimon Adventure

(Welcome to Ani-time Ani-where, a regular column dedicated to helping the uninitiated understand and appreciate the world of anime.)

If you were a kid in the ‘90s, chances are your first anime show was either Pokémon or Digimon, and your parents would likely mix-up one with the other. To be fair, it isn’t hard to see why. For years people thought of Digimon as just a Pokémon knock-off, as both had similar names, started as video games, and had trading cards and TV shows starring young kids with weird monsters as friends. 

While Pokémon became a global sensation that culminated in a live-action movie this year, Digimon was kind of left on the sidelines. Pikachu became a pop-culture icon while Agumon was left to become just a cheaper version of Charmander. 

With the show’s first season, Digimon Adventure celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, it is time to finally set the record straight, Pokémon may be superior in many ways, but Digimon was king when it came to anime shows. 

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promare trailer

Firefighting has never looked so visually exciting as it does in Promare, Studio Trigger’s highly anticipated inaugural feature film. Kill la Kill creator Hiroyuki Imaishi directs this eye-popping visual bonanza, which is like if Fire Emblem had a gonzo mecha baby with Gundam Wing. GKIDS is debuting the first full U.S. trailer for Promare, and the movie arrives in select U.S. theaters this fall. Watch the Promare trailer below.

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spirited away collector's edition

If, like me, you have watched your DVD copy of Spirited Away so much that the disc is scratched to the point of being unwatchable, you’re in luck. Hayao Miyazaki‘s Oscar-winning animated classis is getting a long-deserved collector’s edition that will be available in limited supply this November. Studio Ghibli is teaming up with GKIDS and distributor Shout! Factory to issue this Spirited Away collector’s edition, which includes a new 40-page book filled with beautiful art and essays, in addition to hours of special features and the film’s soaring soundtrack composed by longtime Miyazaki collaborator Joe Hisaishi.

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Planet With

(Welcome to Ani-time Ani-where, a regular column dedicated to helping the uninitiated understand and appreciate the world of anime.)

Now that Neon Genesis Evangelion is finally widely available for anyone to see and lose their minds to, newcomers will join in asking the question anime fans have asked since the ‘90s: what will fill this Evangelion-sized hole in my heart? There isn’t a clean and simple answer for this, as no show has been able to replicate what made Evangelion so special, but there have been anime shows that have taken one of the many elements of that show and done it well. While many say that Tengen Toppa Gurren-Lagann is the closest one in terms of plot and character development, last year’s criminally under-seen Planet With is best spiritual successor to Evangelion’s themes of the futility of violence, self-acceptance, love and compassion, all while still featuring giant robots fighting monsters.

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shin ultraman

Hideaki Anno, whose anime masterpiece Neon Genesis Evangelion recently made its streaming debut on Netflix, is reteaming with his Shin Godzilla co-director to direct a new Ultraman movie. Titled Shin Ultraman, the live-action feature film is based “on the iconic 1966 tokusatsu TV series about a giant alien that battles space monsters to save the Earth.”

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My Hero Academia

(Welcome to Ani-time Ani-where, a regular column dedicated to helping the uninitiated understand and appreciate the world of anime.)

With Spider-Man: Far From Home already in theaters, and Joker seemingly not following anything from the comics, we don’t have any superhero movie to look forward to for half a year, until Birds of Prey comes out in February. This will either make people jump for joy or look for the next big superhero property to fill their craving, but if you find yourself among the latter group, here’s a secret: the next big superhero thing has been here for a while already, and it is fantastic.

Remember the Kurt Russell superhero movie Sky High, the one about superheroes attending high school? What if it was an entire TV show, and a really good one at that? Welcome to the world of My Hero Academia, where 80% of the world’s population has some kind of superpower which they call “Quirks.” It’s like a reverse X-Men where instead of super-powered individuals being outcasts and an oppressed minority, they are the ruling class and the overwhelming majority. We follow young Izuku Midoriya, a kid who is part of the 20% of people born without a quirk but still enrolls in the top high school for aspiring heroes in the hopes of becoming like a superhero after receiving a great power from the number one hero in Japan.

It is a fast paced, action-filled coming-of-age show about finding your place in the world, all while posing interesting questions about the practicality of a world with superheroes. Now let’s get to why you should be watching My Hero Academia. Read More »

zack snyder anime series

Zack Snyder is trying his hand at anime. The Justice League director is teaming up with longstanding creative partner Jay Oliva (The Dark Knight Returns) to create an all-new anime series for Netflix that will be set “in the world of Norse mythology.”

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mewtwo strikes back evolution trailer

The second-best Pokemon movie is getting a CGI remake and a fancy new title in the upcoming Mewtwo Strikes Back: Evolution. The CGI remake of the simply-named Pokemon: The First Movie celebrates the 20th anniversary of the Pokemon Company’s very first feature film, which marked the beginning of the franchise’s ascendancy to global phenomenon status. Watch the Mewtwo Strikes Back Evolution trailer below.

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