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Worthy but flawed

Sakura Wars: The Movie

Sakura Taisen: Katsudou Shashin
2001 / 85m - Japan
Animation, Action, Fantasy
Sakura Wars: The Movie poster

Sakura Wars is part of a popular video game franchise that branched out into different media. Maybe this film makes more sense if you're familiar with the games, but from what I gather it's mostly just a bunch of random anime tropes thrown together, turning this film into a pretty incoherent mess.

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In an alternate version of the past, steampunk-like mecha can only be controlled by young women. Hence, we're stuck with a bunch of pesky anime girls disguised as a theater group, who are called upon to save the world using their fancy mechs. It sounds like a premise made up by a couple of drunks, but maybe I'm just not too used anymore to the commercial anime franchises. Whatever the case, it didn't really work that well.

The character designs look rather plain, but the mechs are nifty and the cel-shaded animation is pretty cool. The music on the other hand is extremely cheesy and once the crew is out of battle, the comedy/drama is just unsightly. Lots of ups and downs in this film in other words, the animation saves it from being a complete failure.