films seen
average score
Alive and kicking
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2005 / 180m - Japan
Action, Fantasy
Karas poster

Karas took me back to the days when I had to watch anime from Manga VHSs, and yet it's one of the most modern animes out there. Strange blend, not perfect but overpowering and impressive.

Black Butler

2014 / 119m - Japan
Fantasy, Thriller
Black Butler poster

Blatant manga adaptation. Unless you're completely oblivious of the manga/anime scene, it won't take you long to realize that there's an illustrated franchise backing this film. The styling, plot and reveals are all pretty outrageous, but that comes with the territory. The upside to all this is that Black Butler had a pretty sizeable budget to work with.

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I wasn't familiar with the franchise, but no worries, the film gives you a short introduction that should get you up to speed. There's still a lot of nonsense you have to take for granted (demons, French maids, revenge ploys, ...), though that's also part of the appeal. It's nothing too original, but the lore is solid enough.

The action is surprisingly slick, the cinematography looks lush and the styling is on point. The film has some pacing issues, there's a bit too much dialog and there are moments when it takes itself just a little too seriously, but this was a pretty fun and well-made film. I'm a bit surprised this isn't better known, as this clearly wasn't a minor production.


2012 / 76m - Japan
Animation, Horror, Fantasy
Asura poster

Director Kei'ichi Sato (of Karas fame) returns with Asura. The film is an adaptation of a 70s manga that sparked quite a controversy when it was first released, due to some rather graphic cannibalistic content. Don't expect an average tentacles and gore horror anime though, as the story of Asura is surprisingly timid and humane.

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Asura is young kid, part man, part beast. Left behind in the Kyoto wastelands at a very young age, he has learned to survive under barren conditions. He is an outcast of society and doesn't hesitate for a moment when all there is to eat is a passing fellow human being. Until one day he runs into Wakasa, a young girl who is the first to treat him like a real human. Asura has trouble leaving the beast in him behind though.

To be honest, the story is of the yada-yada variation. The film lacks emotional strength and even though it doesn't outstay its welcome with only 72 minutes on the clock, it does drag a little in places. You'll be wanting to see this film because of the awesome art style and the stunning blend of CG and traditional animation though. Sato created another technical marvel, there are a few moments where the CG is just a tad too apparent but otherwise the blend is pretty much perfect and makes for a very moody and grim atmosphere.

It's a shame the film itself isn't as slick as its visuals, but Asura is definitely worth a look if you like your animation a little different.