Sunday, August 30, 2009

Torrent Picks 8/30/09

Well its that time again, for me to do my torrents for the week, this week I'm gonna do things abit different, going off the idea of theme weeks like I did last week, but this week, its gonna be animation, mostly Anime I think, but animation none the less..

so with that said, lets get right into it...

Grave Of The Fireflies: On the final days of World War II, 14-year-old Seita and his four-year-old sister Setsuko are orphaned after their mother is killed during an air-raid by American forces in Kobe, Japan. After having a falling-out with their aunt, they move into an abandoned bomb shelter. With no surviving relatives and their emergency funds and rations depleted, Seita and Setsuko must struggle to survive their hardships as well as those of their country, which is on the losing end of the war. This film was the first film I watched in film study during high school, and to this day it still blows me away. Its just so good, its so sad, and so moving, and so beautiful that it just makes you cry. It really does give you the idea that no matter what side you're on, war and whats left behind after it, is hell, utter hell. It tells the often forgotten story of what happens after a battle, to those who are left behind, after the soliders move on to something or somewhere else, and the people are left with no help, no relief, no nothing, they're left to survive on just their own abilities and choices. This film is the kind of film that kicks you right in the stomach and forces you to see its point. I love that in a film, I really do.

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time: This is one of those films, that at first you would think looks really silly, but as the film goes on, you discover its not, and it has a really good message, and doesn't just dazzle you with beautiful artwork, as many anime films do. This is the story of Makoto Konno, a high school student who after avoiding a fatal accident at a train stop one day. At first she used her new found power selfishly, so she's not late for school, so she can cheat on tests, and apparently spent 10 hours reliving a karaoke session for about 10 hours straight. She starts to notice that what she's doing, is starting to have effects on everyone around her. Makoto ends up using up more of her leaps to recklessly prevent undesirable situations from happening, including an awkward confession of love from her best friend Chiaki Mamiya. Eventually she discovers a numbered tattoo on her arm which counts down with each leap. She determines that the tattoo indicates that she can only leap through time a limited number of times. With only a few time leaps left, she attempts to make things right for everyone, but impulsively uses her final leap to prevent a phone call from Chiaki asking if she knows about time-leaping. As a result, she is unable to prevent her friend Kōsuke Tsuda and his girlfriend, Kaho, from being killed in the accident at the train crossing that Makoto was originally involved in. As Makoto watches the accident in horror, time suddenly stops. From there you realize the true nature of whats going on in the film and what its really about, and you see it come to its important life changing end. It really is a great film and I seriously think if you are willing, you should give it a try. Its just so beautiful in its own way.

The Place Promised in Our Early Days: I first must beg forgiveness for the large size of this file, but I assure you, it is completely worth it, this is one of those films that makes you realize its just artwork that moves, almost every single shot could be put in a frame and put on a wall, its seriously that good, which is why I hope you don't mind the large file size. Now with that said, lets get into the film shall we? The Place Promised in Our Early Days takes place in Japan during the late 1990s in an alternate timeline. Though it is not directly explained in the film, the world in the anime apparently diverges from Japan's in the decades following World War II. In 1974, Japan underwent the Separation: the southern part, including the main islands of Honshū and Kyūshū, were occupied by the United States, while the northern island, Hokkaidō (or Ezo, as it is called in the anime), was occupied by the "Union" (presumably referring to the Soviet Union). Also in that same year, the Union began the construction of a strange tower on Hokkaido designed by a scientist named Ekusun Tsukinoe. On a clear day, the incredible height of the tower makes it visible from as far away as Tokyo. By the 1990s when the story begins, the U.S. occupation of southern Japan has ended, and the two nations have formed a pact called the Alliance. Hokkaido remains under the control of the Union; contact between the North and the South is all but suspended; and border clashes are common. An underground group committed to reunifying Japan known as the Uilta Liberation Front exists in the South. Covertly supported by some Alliance government officials, it makes incursions into and executes attacks on Union territory. The anime follows the story of three friends living in Aomori on the northern end of southern Japan: two boys, Hiroki Fujisawa and Takuya Shirakawa, both child prodigies; and one girl, Sayuri Sawatari. In 1996, the three are in eighth grade, their last year of middle school, and they are fascinated by the Hokkaido Tower visible across the Tsugaru Strait to the north. On the last day before spring break, one of Sayuri's friends, Kana Matsuura, confesses to Takuya that she has romantic feelings for him, but he does not return her feelings. Takuya tells Hiroki that he should date Kana instead, but Hiroki declines, as he is actually romantically interested in Sayuri. Hiroki stays after school for archery practice while Sayuri stays after school for violin practice; they ride the train home together and get to know each other, and Sayuri becomes close friends with the two boys. The two boys have found a crashed Maritime Self-Defense Force drone plane. Naming it the Bella Ciela, they work on rebuilding the plane, scrounging parts from their workplace, the Emishi Manufacturing factory, with the help of their boss, Mr. Okabe. The three teenagers promise to one day fly to Hokkaido to visit the Tower. However, before they can do this, Sayuri mysteriously disappears during the summer. From here the film jumps ahead three years into the future and tells you of what has happened to these three friends, even explaining where Sayuri disappeared too, and eventually leads to the climax of the film that if i tell you about will really ruin it for you, which I won't do. There is just so much going on in this film and its really hard to not tell you it all, as you can tell by the big write up i did here... hehe. Seriously, this is a beautiful film. One of my three favorites by Makoto Shinkai.

Only Yesterday: In 1982 Taeko is 27, unmarried, has lived her whole life in Tokyo and now works at a company there. She decides to take another trip to visit her elder sister's in-laws in the rural countryside to help with the safflower harvest and get away from city life. While traveling at night on a train to Yamagata, she begins to recall memories of herself as a fifth-grade schoolgirl in 1966, and her intense desire to go on holiday like her classmates. During her stay in Yamagata, she finds herself increasingly nostalgic and wistful for her childhood self, while simultaneously wrestling with adult issues of career and love. The trip dredges up forgotten memories, the first stirrings of childish romance, puberty and growing up, the frustrations of math and boys. In lyrical switches between the present and the past, Taeko wonders if she has been true to the dreams of her childhood self. While mostly realistic in its depiction of Taeko, the expressionistic influences in Takahata's work are often marked by scenes where a character's imagination comes to life on screen. After Taeko encounters her first love, she turns and runs up an invisible staircase towards the sunset and swims in the sky. The scene ends with her gently descending on to her bed, then cuts to an outside shot of her house where a giant heart emerges from her window. These expressionistic sequences run counter to Takahata's realistic storyline, but are consciously used by the director to transition back and forth from reality to the unreal world of animated fantasy, leveraging the advantages of animation in order to develop the character. This film was ment to be one of those odd "lets do an anime aimed at your average movie goer instead of either genre fans or children.." and where alot of times that fails, this, didn't fail at all, infact its done incredibly well and is regarded as one of those hidden gem movies that you don't find unless you really dig for it.

Porco Rosso: I would be hounded by some of the anime fans I know if I didn't include a film by Hayao Miyazaki, most people see Miyazaki as a god in the world of animation, mostly siting films like "Howl's Moving Castle", "Spirited Away", and "My Neighbor Totoro" as the bigger of his works, but I'm not really a big fan of them honestly, I'm actually more a fan of his lesser known films, of which, I find Porco Rosso to be one of the most endearing. The film tells of the story of Porco and his would-be romance with Gina, who runs a sea pilots' club and hotel in the Adriatic Sea. The plot revolves around Porco's friendship with a girl named Fio, who is a talented aircraft engineer, and his rivalry with a hotshot American pilot named Curtis. Porco has been cursed with the face of a pig, though the origin and nature of the curse is never fully explained. Originally a WWI ace pilot in the Italian Air Force, Porco has grown disillusioned and now makes his living as a bounty hunter guarding ships in the Adriatic sea from pirate gangs with planes. Though rivals, Porco and the pirates manage to coexist with a minimum of bloodshed. For relaxation, he and other pilots spend their evenings on neutral ground at the Hotel Adriano, the establishment run by Gina. The film is sort of a toss back to old world hollywood film noir, where films about a renegade pilots that go on to do good and live an exciting life after realizing there is nothing in the war for them to fight for, could actually be seen as believable, plus, its really fun as far as films go. And really, who can't enjoy alittle fun now and then?

Well thats it for now, I hope you all enjoyed my little trip to the far east's world of animation, and hopefully if you've never been much of a fan, maybe i can convert you now :). So, until next week, I hope you all have a great time...




  1. thanks, BC, i am going to check them all:)
    a nice week for you, friend