films seen
average score
Alive and kicking


Spirit of Wonder: Miss China's Ring

Spirit of Wonder: China-san no Y√Ľutsu
1992 / 42m - Japan
Comedy, Sci-fi - Animation
Spirit of Wonder: Miss China's Ring poster

This was a very nice surprise. Miss China's Ring is a lo-fi sci-fi tale with some pretty cool animation and an attractive art style. I hadn't heard about the film before, which is a tad surprising considering its relatively broader appeal, but it's always cool to bump into a hidden gem. It's not grand enough to be a true anime classic, but that's about the only negative I can come up with.

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Miss China is the owner of a small tavern, she also rents out one of her rooms to an old inventor. The inventor is often late with the rent and his inventions are so outrageous that he can't get proper funding for them. Miss China has a crunch on his apprentice though, and she decides to give the inventors a chance to prove their worth.

The plot is pretty simple and the comedy a little crass, then again this is a short 90s OAV, so what did you expect? I did like the detailed art style and the love that went into the animation, a clear step up from similar projects of the time. The slight sci-fi elements are a nice touch and there's a sweetness and lightness to the film that makes it a very easy watch. Fun.

Sakura Wars: The Movie

Sakura Taisen: Katsudou Shashin
2001 / 85m - Japan
Action, Fantasy - Animation
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.