I feel that evil does exist. Just as a tiny snowball picks up momentum and grows larger, evil sets off chain reactions. Johan just set loose little bit of evil in the town, and it turned into an uncontrollable monster. The larger case seems to have been solved, but perhaps it was only that the evil has left the town. Perhaps the giant snowball of evil is still rolling ever larger, elsewhere.

– Jan Suk (Monster)

Aoi Bungaku (Blue Literature)


bungaku

“The Masterpieces are Blue”

A compilation of literary masterpieces from Japan. In the form of Novels by their respective authors which the directors tried to put forward through this series was actually to upheld the point of whether television or film can match the artistic genius and greatness of Novels or Poetry.

The series adapts 6 different stories by different authors, also each differs from one another in terms of the animation… Which is no doubt wonderful as it is by the Mad House studios. The stories also differ from the social or moral value they impart. It’s Dark and tragic at times then again enlightening values like friendship and trust, also few topsy turvy situations with frequent fluctuations from a moment of warm comedy to cold murders.

I’ll break the review in parts from here on in order respective of the stories.

No Longer Human
written by Dazai Osamu, and later was uncovered/related somehow as the biography of the author himself. The story is a dramatic character study of the troubled protagonist suffering from mental trauma and psychological horrors, at a stretch it is tragic and emits an aura of despair… The valuable part is how it portrays Japan and it’s society from the time of World War, wonderfully handled. ‘No Longer Human’ is personally my favourite from among all the stories in the series.
The story ends abruptly as the author left it incomplete and perhaps talking further might end up in me spitting out some spoilers so will move on to the next one…

Under Cherries in Full Bloom
By Ango Sakaguchi is another story from the series with a whole different aura, it starts off with a comical situations which had me stunned for a moment, but as the story progressed it started showing it’s true nature following through a series of cold murders and. I don’t know how to react in respect of this story… laugh or grief… it is one of the most bizarre ones i’ve ever seen, so will let people to decide on this one. xD

Kokoro 
written by Natsume Soseki who is as considered the Charles Dickens of Japan for good reason. This story was adapted twice times from the perspective of two different characters. Is a romantic tragedy with the moral theme of trust. Each episode reveals two men’s unique perspective on a life-changing event, creating a discrepancy in narration. Whose side of the story is true? Who is the man to blame?……… won’t go any deeper.

Run, Melos! 
Might be one of the most straight forward and touching stories among the lot with a satisfying ending. Once again written by Dazai Osamu, is based on a wonderful theme : ‘friendship’…. The story is about an author in itself writing scripts for plays, dramas and one of which is shown in the story is also intertwined with the theme itself. One of the strongest arcs in the series, I personally quite liked it.

The Spider’s Thread
By Ryunosuke Akutagawa starts off quite brutally with blood and gore following through a series of Heinous crimes and having the main character end up in a death sentence. The story was aimed at entertaining children. My verdict : It would’ve been better if it were a bit longer.

Hell Screen 
By the same author as “The Spider’s Thread” and also set on the same world but unlike ‘Kokoro’ this one doesn’t foretell the same story from the perspective of a different character, rather it’s a whole different one. About an artist who is commissioned by his lord to paint images of burning hell, but is unable to because he cannot draw something he has never seen himself, so is prompted to produce images from scenes of cruel tortures of his country men… and then it goes further into a psyched and twisted ending.

In conclusion I will say it has been a good vacation for me and was glad that I picked up this series although I had once avoided it. Won’t keep it as ‘must recommended’ for all, because it might not be everyone’s cup of tea and I don’t want to exaggerate over my verdict .

9/10

Reviewed by Rahul Ghosh

Casshern Sins


casshern coverBack home for vacations at the end of the year, having hit some major shocks in my first semester exams I was in pursuit of refreshments. And well, Vinay  introduced me to this wonderful series.
Casshern Sins is not pretty much what it looks like if you’re seeing this picture for the first time. It is not the usual action adventure shounen-esque series you watch, but a very deep psychological series.

The plot – The world is in ruin. Robots are rusting (dying) everywhere unable to repair themselves. Signs of Human are rarely seen, which ensure their extinction. As despair consumes the heart of everyone there is one who is to blame for all the happenings : Casshern, who killed Luna, the Sun that was named Moon. Struck with amnesia as seen in the beginning of the series, Casshern walks into a journey remembering the sin he committed….

Each episode, for the most part, explores a different aspect of humanity, usually regarding hope and despair. They end up giving away moments of vain hope, enraging emotions transformed into love, rarely having scenes of unfettered rage. The first fair half of episodes are quite dull regarding the number count and how long they tried tried dragging it, makes more reasons to why it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Whereas the second explores a mystery about how even the most unlikely chance at life can bring out the ugliest in anyone, the emotional impact creates such unrelenting momentum that these roadblocks do nothing to deter anyone from the end.
Fight scenes, at first it’s not hard to expect a depressing setting with some above average, albeit grizzly, fight scenes. However in the very next moment it turns into an introspective piece, symbolical. Just as how the very emotional depth that can be drawn from a single blue flower (As seen in the series) is uncanny, especially as it becomes an unusual personification of death, and as the glimpse of rust on the cheek of a Robot or the emptiness in their eyes bring out the terror of death as a monster which devours on every being.
In my personal opinion, this is one series hard to categorize. It is stands in it’s own as a masterpiece of artistic integrity. But then again tastes may vary, as this definitely is not everyone’s cup of tea.

P.S. I recommend this to every hardcore Evangelion fan.

8.9/10

Reviewed by Rahul Ghosh

Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou


“Today will be tomorrow’s yesterday”

The time is set in future where rising sea level has flooded most of the costal areas. The story of Alpha Hatseno, an Alpha 7 M2 series robot left by her owner at a countryside coffee shop, she acts fully like a human being running the coffee shop named ‘Cafe Alpha‘. The story surrounds as Alpha is getting in with behind the backdrop of a futuristic country-side Japan. The story begins with Alpha making a shopping trip to Yokohama. Marionette but yet like an elegant woman Alpha’s character is able to captivate the heart of most of the male readers. 

ykkAbout the manga in General, YKK is a ‘mono no aware’, a Japanese concept that awares us of the transience of things and describes beauty. The fragrance of the country side and it’s transcending charm, sober warmth of long scooter ride through desolate streets, a coffee shop in the country side with entertaining customers, the sober country people, scenes like the setting sun and mysterious essence of the ocean gives it a color blooming atmosphere evoking overwhelming feelings of nostalgia, reminding us how time is fleeting.
Ashinano is one of those few mangakas who can make you feel the warmth through his pages, the warmth as if a blurry reminiscence to those days when you were light headed and comfortably numb, those days you still long for, a nostalgia drive. Very much unlike the usual mangas where you find string of events with cliches and other elements to stew it up. This in fact exhibits more the traits of a country novel and short stories, with simple events and colloquial monologues. It is a piece that syncs with readers of all ages though only for people with a certain desire for this warmth. Most amusing part is the characters, how natural they are and able to blend through progressing events with just simple acts and that again captivates the readers, it’s as if the readers can relate them to their daily lives. To say it is as simple as amazing it is.

Recommending it to fans of series like : Wandering Emanon, Yotsubato

9.8/10

Reviewed by Rahul Ghosh

Spring and Chaos


spring and chaos cover

This is the tragic story of one of Japan’s most beloved poets, ‘Kenji Miyazawa’. Born at the end of the 19th Century. Kenji, like many artists, did not receive recognition for his tremendous literary contributions until after his death at the tragically early age of 37. The movie portrays people as cats, a homage to the stories Miyazawa wrote. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know about Kenji Miyazawa, or for the matter of fact anything about Japanese Literature, as director Shoji Kawamori does an admirable job of giving the viewer a sense of who Kenji Miyazawa was by attempting to show the world as he might have seen it, his own perspectives and perceptions. Miyazawa loved the beauty of the world and the science behind it. When something in nature catches his eye, Kenji freezes and intensely writes about what he sees in a notebook while seemingly entranced. At the same time we learn he could be captivated by modern technology as he stares hypnotically at a light bulb as it burns out, Kawamori carefully provides these scenes with the proper stipulations of cinematic artistry. The visuals in conjunction with the narrative are also to be cited. Scenes of starry or cloud-filled skies give way to amazing sequences that explore a sense of something greater in the world and the possibility that Kenji was closer than many of us ever have or ever will be to understanding it. Also, at times the visuals can give way to violent and disturbing images as Kenji wrestles with his inner torment. Spring and Chaos may not be able to turn you into a poetry connoisseur but it will definitely make you lean from the window and view the world a bit differently.

All said, I would recommend people not to look up at Kenji Miyazawa’s biography as of yet before watching this piece, for what I felt that this movie is more entrancing if one is oblivious about the author.

Reviewed by Rahul Ghosh

Miura to resume Berserk after his 6-chapter mini series


gigantomachiaKentaro Miura is supposedly starting a 6-chapter original manga mini-series titled, Gigantomachia. The story is set in a world 100 million years in the future and it’ll begin with a 44-page chapter with a color opening page.

In Greek mythology, Gigantomachia was the symbolic struggle between the cosmic order of the Olympians led by Zeus and the nether forces of Chaos led by the giant AlcyoneusHeracles fought on the side of Olympians, who defeated the Giants in accordance with Hera‘s prophecy that the gods’ victory would not be accomplished without the participation of the son of a mortal mother. Pallene was regarded as the Giants’ home ground during the Gigantomachy; their leader Alcyoneus could not be defeated in his homeland, so Heracles picked him up and carried him over the border out of Pallene, and slaughtered him there. The attempt of the Giants Otus and Ephialtes to storm Olympus by piling Mount Ossa upon Mount Pelion is linked with the Gigantomachy in some sources, and treated as a separate, adolescent attack upon the power of Zeus in others.

After the Titanomachy, the goddess Gaia, seeking revenge, brought forth the Giants, including Enceladus and Porphyrion, telling them to “take arms against the great gods”. Hesiod describes them as “glittering in their armour, with long spears in their hands.” They could only be defeated by a god and a hero working together.

Source: ANN, Wikipedia