Monday, June 7, 2010

MEMORY FRAGMENTS


Due to her father's work, Tsubasa Kirihara has to move often. It has been 10 years since she left Chibamachi, a place where she met her first friend 10 years ago. This tme she was back, she hoped at least to see him once again. Tsubasa entered Chiba Koukou and was approached on her first day of school the first playboy she has ever seen... Was he her childhood friend? Or was that another classmate from the next class?
(From the SmackJeeves description of Memory Fragments)

Manga-Ka: Ki Hiwatari
Distributor: Online exclusive
Format: Right-to-left
Rating: Not Rated.
~*~Click Here To Read~*~

{I, the reviewer, give "Memory Fragments", 10 out of 10!}

COMMENTS

Ki Hiwatari is an independent Chinese manga-ka. You may have seen Hiwatari-sama's Contradiction on Kidjutsu or SmackJeeves. Hiwatari-sama is also the the manga-ka of another ongoing series, and several one-shots, including this one, Memory Fragments.

"Memory Fragments" is about a 15-year-old girl named Tsubasa who moves back to a town she's lived in before. She never had a steady home because of her father's job, and she is glad she's returned to this town, because 10 years ago before she left, she met a boy who became her friend. They only met once, and she doesn't know his name, but he made her an iron ring that she still has today. Upon arriving to school, she meets a boy, who instantly "likes her" always hanging around her. Later, she almosts loses her ring, and another male student picks it up, and Tsubasa automatically assumes he's the boy she met 10 years ago. Is he really the boy she's been looking for all these years?

This was a really cute, 40-page one-shot. The artwork was fantastic, I especially loved the toning and the detail in the eyes. It's a really sweet story about childhood friends (I really love those kinds of stories! <3). As far as I may concerned, it is not yet published, so you have to read it on SmackJeeves. What's also nice is at the end, Hiwatari posted up some rough drafts (1 page in Japanese, the other drafts were in Chinese), and also some beautiful colored artwork for the story.

At only 40 pages, it was a lovely story, and an enjoyable read. Plus it's REALLY clean! So if you like the childhood friendship relationship, you'll love "Memory Fragments"! Hopefully it'll be published soon so we all can buy a nice physical copy to enjoy everywhere, but for now, enjoy reading it online.

Recommend?
I so recommend this manga! It's really cute and sweet, with amazing artwork, and the best part is that it's REALLY clean!

I certify this *MANGA NEWCOMER WORTHY* because it is a very simple story to understand, since it's a slice-of-life shoujo manga.

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
There was one use of "h" but that is all.

[TABACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
None.

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
When Tsubasa first meets Narumi at the high school, he kisses her. But that's all, it's pretty harmless.

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
There was an instance where they both fell down somewhere, and Narumi gets hurt, but no serious injuries, just some scratches. No blood.

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
Nothing here.

*CHAPTER LIST*
(This is a one-shot, so it is one chapter long)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Spirited Away


Spirited Away is a wondrous fantasy about a young girl, Chihiro, trapped in a strange new world of spirits. When her parents undergo a mysterious transformation, she must call upon the courage she never knew she had to free herself and return her family to the outside world.
[Excerpt from the backcover of "Spirited Away" 2-disc edition]

Original Japanese Title:
Dubbed by: Disney
Animation: Studio Gibli
Manga adaption?: No
Rating: PG


{I, the reviewer, give Spirited Away, 10 out of 10!}

COMMENTS

This has to be one of my favorite anime movies of all time. If I were to compile a list of my favorite anime, this would rank somewhere in the top 5. I remember when this movie came to DVD, it was advertised LIKE CRAZY!!! And then one day, when we were at the electronic store, Dad decided to buy it. He was curious since he kept hearing about it. And out of the 4 of us, I was the one most blown away, and it instantly became a favorite of mine the first time I watched it.

One of the reasons I think I loved this movie so much is back when I first watched it, I was the same age as Chihiro, 10 years old! Any kind of story about kids doing amazing things....I just fall in love with that concept, even today, even though I am 17.

The story begins with Chihiro looking at a farewell card from a friend as their driving in the car. They were moving to a new house, until the father decided to take a "short cut". That is where we see them at the entrance to where Chihiro and her parents would be "spirited away". They find alot of restaurants at this place the father assumes was an abandoned theme park. They find one place with alot of food (mostly meat) and start eating. Chihiro is the only sensible one, saying they should leave, and she doesn't eat the food. It's interesting to see a film where the parents are stupid and the kid is the smart one. Her parents just keep stuffing their faces, and so Chihiro leaves to explore, where she sees a bath house. On the bridge is a boy, and when he sees her, he tells her she has to get out of there before it gets dark. Chihiro rushes to her parents, only to be horrified to find they have been turned into pigs! And now....there's water where the green fields used to be, she's stuck here! Haku, the boy she met before, comes to help her, and tell her to go to Kamaji and beg for a job at the bath house so Yubaba can't touch her. Of course, Kamaji doesn't need any workers, so he has Lin take her to see Yubaba herself! And upon Chihiro signing her contract, Yubaba takes her name and changes it to Sen. So now she works there, a bath house for the spirits.

So it's just about a girl working in a mysterious world at a bath house for spirits? Oh, there IS more to it than that! Chihiro is in for alot of intensity, as a polluted spirits comes to be cleansed, a spirit called "No Face" goes crazy in the bath house, visiting Yubaba's twin sister Zaniba, and finding out Haku's real name. And in all this, find a way to return to the human world safely with her parents.

This is Miyazaki-sama at his best. It's one of those anime I like to call "very Japanese" 'cause there's alot of the culture in it. The film's storyline is enchanting, the animation stunning, and the voice cast for both audio tracks amazing. In the English dub, you will recognize Chihiro's voice as the girl who played Lilo in Lilo & Stitch, and the one who voices Haku I swear I heard him before (perhaps he's the one who voiced Static's friend in Static X?). You will also recognize one of the bath house workers as the piggy bank in Toy Story. In the Japanese version, I only recognized one voice, Haku's voice, Miyu Irino (Syaoran in Tsubasa). All in all, I highly recommend this film! It is an epic masterpiece! What more can you expect from Miyazaki-sama?

Recommend?
EXTREMELY RECOMMEND THIS MOVIE!! It is a breath-taking masterpiece that all anime fans should experience!

[VIEWING PLEASURE]

[MUSIC]
The music for it was perfect! It fit the show very well, giving it a mystical feel. And the song at the end credits is really beautiful and emotional, be sure to turn on the subtitles so you can read the lyrics!

[SUB VS. DUB]
I liked both audio tracks. I do like the English track better, but it was amazing in it's original Japanese too, plus one of my favorite seiyuu (Miyu Irino) was in it, and he did great as Haku. I highly recommend watching it in both languages.

[MOVIES/MANGA]
This is a stand-alone movie. I heard there is a cine-manga for this, but that's all.

[RELATED TITLES]
This is a Miyazaki film, so be sure to check out his other (unrelated to this one) films such as "Kiki's Delivery Service" and "Castle In The Sky".

[DVD EXTRAS]
Original Japanese audio track, Art of Spirited Away, The Nippon Television special "The Making Of...", Original Japanese trailers, and more. (These are the features for the 2-disc edition).

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
There is no objectionable language in either audio.

[TABACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
There was a couple of scenes where you saw smoking (one of the frog-like spirits blowing smoke out a window, Yubaba when Chihiro first met her). After the River Spirit leaves the bath house, Yubaba says "Sake's on the house tonight" ("Sake" is rice wine).

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
It appears that Chihiro really loves Haku, because she refers to him as someone very important to her, but that can also mean a close friendship. Nothing to worry about, the relationship between them is harmless and cute. You do see Chihiro and Lin's bare backs, but that is because the shirt they were wearing was low cut in the back.

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
When Haku is in his dragon form, he is being attacked by these paper birds. There's a bit of blood. Also, when Chihiro gets him to spit up what was killing him, you also see some blood spat with it. When "No Face" is in the bath house, he swallows alot of people (but it is not graphic). That's practically the worst of it.


[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
Whoa....well. This is a bath house for "the gods", but in the dub they are referred to as "spirits" and not those of dead people. These "spirits" are of living things, such as plants, rivers, and so forth. Chihiro's parents were turned into pigs for eating the food for the spirits. Yubaba is known as a witch and uses magic, and Haku can use magic as well and can turn into a dragon. Kamaji mentions casting a spell on soot, that is why he has all the workers he needs.

*EPISODE LIST*
(No episodes, this is a movie, only chapter selection)