films seen
average score
Japan - 68 years old
Alive and kicking
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2015 / 119m - Japan
Sci-fi - Animation
Harmony poster

Michael Arias made a name for himself when he joined Studio 4°C to direct Tekkonkinkreet, one of the landmark animtion features of the 00s.

A fine selection of shorts. There are one or two flukes here, but the rest is so unique and special that they're easy to forget. It's one of those animation anthologies that gives you a wide variety of styles, moods and stories in a very short span of time, exactly why I love these types of films. Robot Carnival is a classic, deservedly so.

A Tree of Palme

Parumu no Ki
2002 / 130m - Japan
Drama, Adventure - Animation
A Tree of Palme poster

A beautiful and imaginative fantasy film that takes a surprisingly dark turn. The premise sounds a lot like Pinocchio and there are some jolly sidekicks accompanying Palme on his quest, but this is more fantasy Akira than it is Japanese Disney. It's a film that requires some effort, but the payoff is fully worth it.

Catnapped! The Movie

Totsuzen! Neko no Kuni Banipal Witt
1995 / 77m - Japan
Fantasy, Adventure - Animation
Catnapped! The Movie poster

Aimed at younger kids, but with enough creativity and vibrancy to please a more mature audience. It's one of those films I wished I'd seen when I was younger, though considering its release date that would've been impossible. I can still enjoy a good fantasy adventure, especially when the fantastical elements still feel fresh and original.

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Toriyasu's dog has been missing for a week, and nobody knows where he has gone. Then one night, Toriyasu and his younger sister are taken from their beds by cats. They take the two kids to their kingdom. Their dog ended up there and fell into the hands of a princess who wants to seize control of the Kingdom. It's up to Toriyasu to try and calm down his dog.

The art style is cute, and the animation is splendid. The designs are interesting too and the film is bursting with creativity. The story is very simplistic though and the film is clearly aimed at younger kids. It's a shame Nakamura wasn't able to find a better balance, but I still had a pretty good time with Catnapped. This is an easy recommendation for animation fans.