Credits to the Twitter user who made this tweet, it’s my review for part 2 of the movie as well. It’s a cop out by SHAFT
Part 1 was still awesome, though
Ah yes, the privilege of living in a first-class Asian country where all the famous cons are held. Just so happens that the Goddess Madoka decided to descend on our shores and share her revamped tale with us. Indeed it was a refreshing experience even for one who has watched the series at least twice.
Madoka Magica: Hajimari no Monogatari ( Beginning story ) is SHAFT cum Aniplex’s theatrical take on the series Puella Madoka Magica. With the movie being labelled only as ‘cash cows’ and ‘milking attempts’ by its beloved haters, I went to the screening myself to determine it for myself.
“Hey, i’ve seen these exact scenes before, just that it still feels fresh and even new !” was basically my reaction to the aspect that’s supposed to be ‘theatrical’ about the movie. It is in essence still just a really compressed version of the anime with revised key frames and an assload more of in-betweens. My newbie animator eyes can easily tell. They also neatly replaced a lot of the mattes featured in the original and put in freshly new ones; very commendable effort to make it look polished. Story-wise? It’s the same focused, concise narrative of a struggling main character that goes through the motion while her surroundings tumble and fluctuate – yep, it’s largely only a visual spectacle. ClariS is back to support the production, churning out another opening theme to complement its freshly-squeezed opening sequence ( featuring the oh-so controversial few-second-frames of Madoka and Homura nuzzling with each other ). It’s pretty good stuff.
I was really satisfied with the pacing of the whole movie, it’s as if they finally knew what to do with the air time that plagued the TV version- there was animation every few seconds and it kept the movie engaging that way. With rehashed cinematography, I couldn’t really complain about the well-planned shots. First-time watchers of Madoka will find the story easily comprehensible ( hey, Magical Girls aren’t nuclear science, after all ) and leave long time fans satisfied with the rate of things.
‘So what’s the point in watching a revised version of an anime series ?’ Well well well, i’ve been observing the presentation of the movie and they did something right- including revelations of the human psyche within its limited screen time. The movie shined in such a way that each magical girl, no matter how different and deviant they seemed at first, has their own insecurities and fallacies no matter what. ‘Wishing for happiness brings about an equal amount of sadness- it is required to keep nature in balance’ and that’d be damn right. Oh Sayaka Miki, how long can you keep up that facade of being the ‘hero of justice’ and the ‘defender of the city’ ? It was just a matter of time before you broke down, lamented and reflected upon how much of a burden Madoka has actually been. Mami thought she had a good head on her shoulders and is fine being alone – but jumps with joy upon hearing that Madoka will join her witch-hunting odyssey of solitude. Even magic cannot separate the burden of being human, and the stake of emotions in their roles. This is so realistic that it’s a duality for Magical Girls to exist, because of the way Kyuubey designed Soul Gems to be like – a gem to render the body to be but an empty vessel to host the fragile conscience of the once-human magical girls. That got me thinking beyond the ‘oh i’ve my own issues’ approach to each girl and this is easily an enthralling point of the story – another discovery for me.
As a normal story, it’s probably a mess – a main character who does nothing but become a center of all the downfalls of the universe. but the star doesn’t have to be the heroine all the time right? It’s actually how one changes the environment around him or herself, whether done passively or through palpable actions.
Part 2, let’s go !
p.s Loot will be posted later on
( because I wasn’t fortunate enough to go to Japan to witness it personally )
Six long months after its premiere in Japanese Theatres and finally KyoAni decided to release the DVD and Blu-Ray versions of their flagship anime, K-ON. Being a pretty huge K-ON fan, I would be damned if I missed this movie. So here we go witnessing the adventures of Sakura High School’s Hokago Tea Time.
OP THEME: ICHIBAN IPPAI – Aki Toyosaki
MAIN THEME: UNMEI WA ENDLESS – Aki Toyosaki
ED THEME: SINGING – Yoko Hikasa
-NOT TO WORRY, MINIMAL AMOUNTS OF SPOILERS-
We are treated to a short gig at the beginning of the movie, where the seniors of HTT (Hokago Tea Time) jam in an unusual manner, as if they were dazzled into a Rock-band stature; imitating Death Devil. They then proceed to tell Azunyan that they are going to disband HTT – to Azunyan’s surprise.
That was all a joke of course, then they return to their daily shenanigans.
That was the only spoiler.
The girls of Hokago Tea Time travel to London before they graduate from high school. As usual, wacky adventures unfold in the English Land and there was hardly a dull moment. Not only was the trip meant to be as one the last few moments together as a club, the seniors also ensured Azunyan receives the proper farewell that she deserves.
It’s clear that K-ON has developed a love-hate relationship between its viewers ever since its debut due to its notoriously high concentration of moe and simplicity, which anime viewers often label as the characteristics of ‘bad anime”. Nevertheless, I’m not here to talk about that. Chances are, if you didn’t like this series in the first place, this movie will do very little to change your perception about K-ON, but, on the other hand, will fill its fans with pure glee and delight.
The story ? Was there ever a central storyline in K-ON aside from practising for school concerts and drinking tea everyday [and taking care of each other too] ? Not really. Though, this time, they venture off to foreign lands – England -; something that we don’t see in anime most of the time. It is like a somewhat accurate portrayal of the adventure of adolescent girls outside of their own homeland, but with their very own music to spice it up. This movie largely served as the missing fragment between their last concert in school, and how they eventually decide to say goodbye to Azunyan. One wouldn’t normally required a thousand-dollar trip to do that, but, hey, this is K-ON! we’re talking about.
As usual, it seems that 3 years of English lessons at school didn’t seem to help them one bit in expressing language other than what you expect from a tourist. You will know what I mean when you come across the scene yourself. At least for the girls, it seemed that way. As much as I wished they would include more interactions with the locals of London [because personally that is the most enriching part of every travelling experience), I knew the language barrier would be the inhibiting factor and would just do more harm then good if there were more instances of said interactions. Pity. Am I over-expecting a bit? I don’t know. The girls did get to perform on stage twice, still retaining the K-ON feel even abroad, with a little bit of help from fellow countrymen/women, of course. They managed to pull through, anyway, because, London folks are nice, right ?
KyoAni decided to put their best foot forward and made this their best K-ON work yet. They portrayed London as realistically as they could, and did a pretty good job at it. It didn’t feel like a sloppy London with native Japanese-speaking people at its citizens- they actually got native British speakers to voice the Britons they encounter [ good day mate] and placed its major landmarks [ Big Ben, London Bridge, etc ] as where it should be, while retaining that oh-so unique style of Japanese animation. Commendations for their effort.
The animation for the whole duration of the movie was fluid, more so than the whole of two seasons of K-On combined, don’t know whether I should celebrate or weep. but hey, this is going to be one of KyoAni’s departures from K-ON!, save the best for last, right? Remember how British people looked no different from Japanese in series like Hetalia ? Not in Keion – they also made sure that every citizen had that different look to them, so that they look, well, Caucasian [ not some racist undertone behind its design]. The integration of some 3D space to portray London was successful. and it felt as if the girls were really wandering around in an iconic city called London, not some ‘Japanese’ London.
All in all, that was a genuinely entertaining movie. Fan or not, the adventures of these carefree and instrument-totting girls will entertain almost anyone who’s into a couple of hours of fun and music. For the more hardcore fans ? K-ON! movie can be considered the flagship of the series, and we will see this flag remaining raised for several more years to come.