"It's the ultimate live action film, made by a seasoned animator, a director who fully understands and exploits the power and appeal of an all-enveloping atmosphere."
"Dolls is a tragedy wrapped up in a very stylish and atmospheric cocoon, allowing the audience to be swamped by its sadness, but without ever letting go off the beauty that surrounds it."
"Innocence is a cinematic celebration. It's an audiovisual delight, it's thematically sound and rich and it invites you to watch and enjoy it time and time again."
"As far as realistic drama goes, this is as close to perfection as I've seen. If you're into Japanese dramas and you haven't seen this yet, there is no better film I could recommend."
"Fans of animation and high adrenaline cinema owe it to themselves to check this one out, as long as you embrace its juvenile pleasures, Dead Leaves serves pure and unadulterated bliss."
"Tsukamoto's Tetsuo is an almost perfect cyberpunk endeavor, sporting lush black and white visuals and a superb industrial soundtrack, while providing a nerve-wrecking and overwhelming experience."
"The entire film is an oddly compelling and insanely stylized fever dream that left me completely dazed and fully perplexed, a rare and significant accomplishment."
"Studio 4°C establishes and confirms its title of best and most interesting animation house out there and dishes out a set of short films that challenge the medium in all sorts of ways."
"Symbol is a rare type of film. Extremely creative, laugh out loud funny, artistic yet easy digestible and leaving you behind with a slightly bedazzled but contented feeling. It's an experience."
"A perfect score and absolutely stunning visuals transport you to a different world, only to let go of you 60 minutes later, comforted and touched by the film's protagonist's struggle."
"A-grade Oshii material that should please his fans. It's an impressive tour de force, delivering a perfect mix of intriguing philosophy, intelligent writing and stunning audiovisual stimuli."
"Promare is bonkers, hyperactive, grotesque and madcap, a dream come true for those who chase adrenaline cinema, executed in such a way that it oozes unbridled quality and creativity."
"One of the most unique dramas I've ever seen, keeping me interested from start to finish without even a hint of boredom on the horizon. Make sure you don't miss out on this one."
"Survive Style 5+ is an audiovisual blast, a film that gets better with each successive viewing and one that ranks as one of my favorite comedies ever. A true delight."
"The presentation is gobsmackingly beautiful, with soundtrack and cinematography constantly feeding off of each other. The acting is superb, the story intriguing and the pacing pretty damn perfect."
"It's a very mature, accomplished and delicate film and it may take people a couple of viewings in order to fully grasp all the details, but there is plenty of beauty and wonder to return to."
"Tanaka's gentle and loving approach and Terajima's superb portrayal of his character take you along on an amazing trip, full of endearing, funny and warm moments."
"A film with a very authentic (Japanese) anime feel, yet it benefits greatly from Arias' outside influences. It's superbly animated, sports a terrific score and tells a truly intriguing story."
"A simple screenshot cannot capture the amount of love and detail this film houses. The animation is exceptional, the music a blast and the film consists of one big succession of memorable moments."
"When looking for 100 minutes flat-out entertainment, tailored to be as goofy, crazy and mad as possible, and backed by an amazing technical accomplishment, you'll be hard-pressed to find a better film"
"Su-ki-da is beautiful, heart-warming and extremely delicate. It's a film that puts you at ease and wraps itself around you. One of the dearest and most delicate love stories ever told."
"This is a typical Japanese drama infused and enriched with plenty of Tsukamoto goodness. The result is haunting, morbid, poetic and beautiful all at once."
"If you want a more experimental and serious side of Miike, this film comes recommended. The film has its share of weird moments, but all the weirdness does seem to serve a higher, more artistic goal."
"Not as overly energetic or chaotic as its peers, rather it creates an eerie, claustrophobic atmosphere that drags you deeper into its concrete prison with each successive scene."
"One of Oshii's true masterpieces, dazzling and surprising its audience each chance it gets. If you don't mind the vague narrative, it's a succession of fun, interesting and challenging moments."
"An amazing collection of shorts, brought to life by superb actors and featuring strong and diverse styles. A true sight to behold and without a doubt one of the best Japanese horror projects around."
"You do have to be open to Miike's disturbing sense of humor and forgiving for its technical flaws, but once that is covered Visitor Q is one of the most hilariously funny films out there."
"Playfully poetic, magically serene and pleasantly dreamy, watching this film is a calming experience that puts you right in there with the characters while providing a superb aesthetic frame."
"Oshii's film remains a monument of film making that still knows to impress and entrance. It's a superb sci-fi film, boasting tons of highly atmospheric scenes and a good story to boot"
"Antiporno is a zany, extrovert and anything but subtle piece of cinema with the potential to be very divisive. It's not for everybody, but Sono fans are sure to have a blast with this one."
"There's no weak link here, no bad parts or boring bits. It's a celebration of animation as an art form and it stands in stark contrast to other contemporary feature-length animation films."
"Yakuza Apocalypse is the kind of Miike I adore. The film looks good, sounds good, is stacked with crazy ideas and even weirder characters and dares to cross the line of common sense more than once."
"It's a wonderfully stylized, strongly realized and often completely baffling film that has both heart and brains and lacks any kind of commercial filter."
"Animation-wise this is one of the most impressive films I've seen so far. A creative, stylistic and technical marvel that honors its fantasy elements in the best way possible."
"It's probably a bit much for some, but if you're into more experimental and weird animation and you don't mind a little silliness, this is definitely one to check out."
"There are some very memorable scenes and the acting is spot on, add some nice-looking camera work and a great score and it's clear Sion Sono has another winner on his hands."
"If you don't mind the raging soundtrack, silly storyline, over-the-top performances and stark black and white visuals, this is a film you can watch over and over without ever getting bored with it."
"The film consists of nothing but memorable scenes, contains some genuinely laugh out loud funny moments and slaps on a stylish finish to make the package complete"
"A blast. Energetic, mysterious, fun and wild, it's one big, entertaining mess. The film looks amazing, sounds great and the actors are all on top of their game. Up there with Ishii's best"
"One of the most uniquely satisfying anime ever released. A film that can only be compared with a very concise selection of otherwise incomparable animation projects."
"End of Sky is a seemingly endless attempt at making every moment bolder, bigger and better than the one that came before, the beauty of it is that Kubo actually succeeds in his mission."
"The cinematography is lush and varied, the soundtrack is impressive, performances are great and the story intrigues, but it's the ridiculously perfect editing that left me floored."
"It's original, quirky, stylish and otherworldly, which is quite a feat considering Sono's track record. A tough cookie on the outside, but incredibly rich in taste and texture on the inside."
"A killer ride from beginning to end. It's brutal, outrageous, funny, weird and it has a terrific drive. If you dismiss films that are pure escapist fun, you shouldn't even venture near it."
"It's certain to disappoint a few zombie fanatics who end up watching this without knowing what to expect, but people who've grown tired of the grovelling undead may find a welcome reboot of the genre."
"Chiwawa is a vibrant, confrontational and sincere drama, sporting sprawling cinematography, a great score and lively performances. A confirmation that Ninomiya is on the cusp of a great career."
"This is quirky, over-the-top and outlandish genre cinema that offers plenty of thrills for those who crave the weird and unexpected, or those who relish in superbly executed stylistic prowess"
"The World of Kanako isn't subtle and doesn't offer much in the way of breathers. It's crazy, weird, harsh and fast-paced, piling body upon body and putting Akikazu through increasingly rough trials."
"A lovingly executed ode to laziness, boredom and feeling at ease. The characters do little else but loitering, loving the fact that they have nothing else to do but to sit and enjoy the moment."
"It's far edgier than I imagined it to be. They left Nihei's appeal and style intact, the action sequences are brutal and the mega structure looks as cool as it does in the manga."
"The first time I watched this I was genuinely surprised by the bitter undertones, and even now it still baffles me how icy this film is below its stylish, warm and fuzzy exterior."
"Don't expect a typical horror/mystery flick (despite many claims of Lynch-like scenes), Gozu is a superb comedy meant for people who like their slice of cinema a little crazy and different from the norm."
"When you're in for a prime example of Japanese drama set to a sci-fi background you're in for a real big treat. It lingers, it surprises, it impresses, and it'll leave you in a daze."
"Kitano's humor is simple, somewhat childish and often improvised, but thanks to the typical editing and his superb comical body language it works wonders."
"The perfect showcase for Kitano's versatility. It's funny, poetic, violent and leaves you with a perfect dramatic punch in the gut that lingers long beyond the end credits."
"The mix of drama and mystery is brilliantly executed. The symbolism might lack subtlety, but Sugimori goes a long way in compensating that with strong imagery that will burn itself deep in your mind."
"With a superb soundtrack, two killer leads and some visual panache, Kumakiri delivers a film that has the power to linger. That is, if you can stomach the punches My Man dishes out."
"It bears the same charm and defects as the first Tetsuo and some very minor extra glitches, but the core is still there. An assault to the senses in pretty much every way possible."
"If you're an anime and/or sci-fi fan and you're up for a little Gojira action mixed with hardcore sci-fi, this is by far the best entry in the franchise so far. Bring on the sequels."
"It's an audiovisual masterpiece, bearing an interesting plot, powerful emotions and some poignant social commentary. Nakashima keeps growing with every film."
"The Kizumonogatari experience is impossible to recommend, rather it has to be experienced. Reiketsu-hen provides perfect closure to this film series and conjures up the genius of the first film"
"A fun, varied and classy anthology film where Sogo Ishii allows himself to showcase his more experimental side while leaving room for some softer touches."
"Time is slowly taking away some of the impact of Memories, but there is still plenty of beauty here to keep you amazed for the entire running time."
"The film is smart, looks and sounds great and is filled to the brim with creativity. It is immensely funny, even if you can't catch all the details on the first viewing."
"The animation is detailed, the direction solid and the film avoids any kind of filler, keeping the running time below the 90-minute limit."
"Yuasa delivers a wildly original, splendidly executed and surprisingly emotional animation that defies categorization and comparison. Mind Game is a film that needs to be experienced."
"While Kiriya does his best to make that happen, his approach simply isn't popular enough to turn Casshern into a universally revered film."
"Needless to say, this turns Izo into a pretty tough experience. As the minutes pass and the bodies pile up, the film starts to weigh on its audience."
"It's a tough choice deciding whether it's Air Doll or After Life that ranks as my favorite Koreeda film, but I'm glad he finally cashed in on the potential he showed in After Life."
"A must see this one, if only to marvel at the insane creations and the wacky surreal scenes that come from a silly subject turned serious."
"It's lush looking, well acted, aptly scored and surprising at every turn. It's quirky and giddish, but at the same time it's also dark, brooding and lingering."
"Delivers on its genre premise, is different enough to keep you on your toes and is impeccably executed, with beautiful cinematography, strong use of its score and boasting stellar performances."
"Takahata is one of the absolute masters of animation."
"Here's to hoping we'll ever see Kon's final film (Dream Machine) completed."
"Tokyo Gore Police is gory, fun, funny, weird and insane, but at the same time the realm in which it exists start to grow on you."
"Steamboy is a treat for animation fans everywhere. Simple enough to not alienate Western audiences, superbly animated and spilling over with lush details."
"It seems Tanaka is back where he belongs, after going through some rougher patches in the late 00's. Chasuke's Journey is visually stunning, well acted, original and most of all unique."
"Hoshi creates a wonderfully magical drama, serving just the right amount of drama, geekiness, magical realism and love for his characters."
"Getting Wild With Our Monkey is a seriously demented, yet absolutely fun trip. A film that needs to be experienced rather than understood."
"There are moments of blissful comedy, moments of utter relaxation and moments of simple wonder."
"I used to compare Trava: Fist Planet to Dead Leaves, nowadays I'm not sure if that's a fair comparison."
"The Wind Rises is more than worthy closing act. It's one of Miyazaki's best films, a stunning ode to passion and perseverance in the face of a looming war."
"What Yamaguchi lacks in budget he makes up in inventiveness and creativity. The result is a highly entertaining film that contains plenty of treats to keep you interested throughout."
"That said, I loved every minute of High & Low: The Movie. The action superb, the styling is just insane and the pacing is pleasantly fast."
"Even though the films Kitano made prior to Sonatine aren't bad at all, Sonatine is the first true testament to his genius."
"After Life is about enjoying and appreciating the good things you have. Warmly recommended for everyone who doesn't mind the modest pacing and styling."
"The good thing is that it's not all just an ode to himself, Kitano doesn't mind making some fun of himself or the people around him."
"Sunao Katabuchi crafted a gentle, warm and endearing film, but not without its share of sharp critique and gut-wrenching drama."
"There's enough madness here to fill 3 or 4 separate films."
"Ponyo is a feast for all fans that were wishing Miyazaki would return to his pre-Mononoke era, and for those people it might even reach the same heights as Totoro did."
"The film looks good, sounds great, sports an incredible opening animation sequence and boasts a list of superb actors."
"Sono's latest is another wild experience, full of energetic performances, manic camera work and excessive events. A fever trip that holds you prisoner and dazzles all the way through."
"It's this exact balance that makes Funuke a truly special experience."
"Iwai found the right balance between Japanese live action drama and the magic of animation. The film looks great, the story is moving, the characters quirky but lovable."
"If you still haven't seen enough bodily mutations, strange nose guns or creative ways to slice people in half (or more parts), this is a film that cannot be missed."
"The blend of an explicit and vibrant stylistic signature and upbeat musical numbers with a deeply tragic narrative is impossible to explain, it just has to be experienced first-hand."
"A true fantasy film that betrays I.G's struggle with full-CG animation, but makes up for that with excellent art direction and bucket loads of creativity."
"Watching Why Don't You Play In Hell? will tell you a few things about Sono's dreams and aspirations as a young director."
"Ishii truly reinvents himself here and comes with a film that's just as unique as his previous work, only very different in tone."
"Monsters Club is my favorite Toyoda so far. The film is a beauty, the atmosphere is tangible and the imagery unique."
"Suffering of Ninko is the kind of film that made me fall in love with Japanese cinema all these years ago. It's different, fun, it looks great and its overall very creative."
"Tsukamoto went through his own transformation when the previous millennium ended, A Snake of June is one of the films that illustrates that pretty well."
"Smuggler is an extremely entertaining slice of dark entertainment. Littered with weird and freaky characters, the four chapters play out well and make for an interesting finale."
"The best thing about this anthology is that you really can't do justice to the visual beauty with simple screen caps."
"Tengan's Sekia is a little gem."
"Bunny Drop is a lovely film with lots to smile about. Wonderfully acted, creatively visualized and aptly scored, you can't really go wrong with this one."
"It presents a whole new way of applying cyberpunk aesthetics to a film subject, mixing it with a documentary take on one of the most interesting characters I've ever seen in film."
"Above all though, Kamikaze Girls is a lot of fun. It's a crazy, creative, vibrant film that keeps a pretty strict pace and only slows down a little towards the end of the film."
"Beautifully animated and scored, sporting a strong cast of characters, an intriguing plot and a fair selection of interesting themes, Sky Crawlers is Oshii's most complete film to date."
"Arias' sense of humor is considerably different from Kitano's, but Heaven's Door could be mistaken for one made by a Kitano apprentice."
"Haze is a landmark in Tsukamoto's oeuvre. The possibilities of DV allowed him to go back to his roots."
"My favorite Nakashima film so far. His next project looks more like a regular Japanese drama, but after such a sugar rush that doesn't really come as a surprise."
"Gemini could be considered a good entry-level Tsukamoto since his typical style isn't as demanding as in his other films."
"Porco Rosso remains one of my favorite Miyazaki films. Personally I prefer his softer, smaller films over his big epics, as they are more aimed at atmosphere and less at getting a message across."
"Killing is very much in line with Tsukamoto's more recent work. A little more subdued and in control, slightly more accessible, but in its own way still very punk, very pure and completely unique."
"Quality film making, sporting a superb cast, a solid soundtrack and eye-popping cinematography. A slice of urban fantasy/retro sci-fi that mixes classic and contemporary cinema to great effect."
"For a while Versus was one of my all-time favorite films, but the recent wave of Japanese splatter films changed things a little."
"It's a very sweet, very natural and naive little film that has charm aplenty and feels particularly short for a film that runs well past the 120-minute barrier."
"Cold Fish is a film that will sit well with those who appreciate awkward, cruel and excessive Japanese cinema."
"Hiroki delivers one of the most natural, confident and empathic dramas I've ever laid eyes on. On the outside it appears to be a simple film, but underneath lies a wealth of emotions"
"Death Trance didn't perform very well internationally, possibly explaining why this is Shimomura's only film to date."
"Pistol Opera is not the easiest of films. You have to accept that the story is a mere hook for some cinematic fun while Suzuki takes a little run with his audience."
"It was more than 10 years since I first watched this film and so I wasn't quite sure if it would still hold up after all this time."
"Still, the feeling remains that at times Rubber's Lover could've been just that little bit more insane."
"The real-world setting mixed with slight fantasy elements makes the film a bit more accessible compared to Shinkai's earlier films."
"Those who really want to see the film will be required to be a little adventurous, but fans of Ishii and/or Asano would do good to go through the trouble."
"It's a cute and interesting fantasy tale with a darker edge, never outstaying its welcome and leaving a fresh impression."
"For a 10-year old animation film The Place Promised in Our Early Days still looks and feels remarkably fresh."
"Kotoko is another work of love."
"Strange Circus is a stellar film that still counts as one of Sono's absolute best efforts to date. The subject matter is rather risqué though and Sono's approach is far from subtle."
"Ninja Kids!!! is the perfect example of demented Japanese kids entertainment that's weird enough to appeal to adults, at least those with some memories of their lost childhood."
"The first hour or so provides a solid setup, introducing all characters and factions related to the Yakuza gang, while the final 30 minutes are the icing on the cake."
"It's beautifully shot, wonderfully scored and aptly acted. It scores well in just about every department, showcasing the progress Tran has made as a director."
"Garden of Words is everything you'd expect from a Shinkai film."
"This is not a very happy film, nor is it very subtle."
"Tokyo Fist is somewhat of a forgotten Tsukamoto film, which is weird considering its many qualities."
"Glory to the Filmmaker is one big happy mess of filmmaking, referencing many other directors, resembling many more, but defying them all by making something totally unique and totally Kitano."
"If you think it all sounds rather dull than that's perfectly understandable. The thing is, it really isn't. Breathe In, Breathe Out is a beautiful, pure, subtle and heart-warming drama."
"Somehow Until the Lights Come Back never found its way into the mainstream, even though it's a pretty accessible film. It's sweet, upbeat, feel good, a tad long maybe but never slow or boring."
"Nishimura adepts can rejoice, Helldriver is up there with the best, sporting roughly two hours of madness, hilariously out-of-place social criticism and tons and tons of liters of blood."
"A must for Kitano fans and probably art fans alike (as all paintings were made by Kitano himself and are apparently based on existing paintings)."
"Even though its appeal might be limited to a rather small group of film fans, I still feel 19 is undervalued (and incredibly underwatched)."
"If romance isn't your thing this anthology probably isn't going to persuade you, but within the genre this is definitely one of the better offerings out there."
"The first fifteen minutes where a little though, but once Sumida starts his descent into madness the film never back down."
"The Great Yokai War was Miike's first venture into big budget cinema aimed at a younger audience."
"Goth is a strong film, elegantly transporting its audience to the universe of two unique individuals finding each other in a world that isn't really their own."
"A wonderful collection of shorts, visually pleasing, fun to watch and from time to time refreshingly weird."
"It's one of the few films that manages to have a physical effect on its audiences, something I can truly appreciate. To endure is to overcome, and once the film is finished you do feel somehow reborn."
"Nakajima's first film is not for everybody. It combines the rawness of films like Pornostar and even IrrÃ©versible with the poetry and drama of films like Tokyo.Sora."
" If you're in the mood for action or lots of plot twists, there's little here for you. But if you're up for a little variation on the Ghibli magic, this film might be a pretty good bet to make."
"Gantz:O is brutal, action-packed and a bit mad in the head."
"A film with superb designs, overflowing with creative ideas, more than enough intriguing lore to fill at least three films and executed in a way that hides most of its financial struggles."
"I still need to see Hanging Garden and Unchain, that said I believe Blood of Rebirth belongs to Toyoda's best output to date and could be the start of something beautiful."
"Don't let that hold you back though. Love Exposure is a great experience, offering lots of weirdness, fun and shock while never boring its audience."
"If you like 120 minutes of stylish showdowns, explosive action scenes and over-the-top characters, Eiichiro Hasumi delivers one of the best films in ages."
"Sakuran is a cool film, if only because it gives you something worth looking at for its entire running time."
"Kiriya serves a roller-coaster ride, but one that makes sure that the better moments can be relived late at night while lying in bed with your eyes closed."
"R100 is a crazy film, full of deadpan comedy, weird references and an internal logic that convinces without making any actual sense."
"The Tale of Princess Kaguya is still a marvel to behold and definitely worth your time, but it's also a film that feels like a natural end to Takahata's career."
"With this film he returns to his core style, picking things up right where he left off back in 2004. Strong acting, an intriguing plot and a warm, dreamy atmosphere make this an easy recommend."
"The result is a strong, remarkable drama with no weak points and a few stand-out scenes that linger long after the end credits have faded from the screen."
"It's a welcoming, soothing and comforting drama that's just all too rare in cinema. Hopefully Koreeda continues this upward trend, I'm already looking forward to his next film."
"130 minutes is quite long for an anime feature, but Yamada need every minute of that to tell this story."
"There's quite a lot of quirkiness to get through, but on the other side of that lies a beautifully made, emotionally touching and deeply humane drama."
"After Welcome to the Space Show, The Night Is Short, Walk on Girl is somewhat of a return to form for Yuasa."
"Lu over the Wall is the perfect blend of Yuasa and Miyazaki. A film that feels creative and original, but is also sweet, warm and comfortable at the same time."
"Stylistically slightly more subdued compared to Ninagawa's other films, but all her core qualities are still very much present and No Longer Human is all the more interesting for it."
"As the Gods Will is a typical Miike flick in the sense that it's pretty much pointless to compare it to other films out there."
"Batman Ninja features sprawling animation, an amazing art style and some wacky action, making it a blast from start to finish."
"Wool 100% is a film that you just have to see. You might not like it, but at the least it's an experience worth having."
"The animation is abundant and on point, the voice acting is superb and the plot balances small human drama and wild fantasy perfectly."
"Zebraman 2 is not all that easy to recommend. Depending on what you expect or demand from a sequel, it's either a missed opportunity or a definite improvement over the first film."
"A raw, energetic and wildly entertaining film that felt fresh and unique. The solid dub, booming soundtrack and exceptional animation are the icing on the cake."
"Pink and Gray is a pretty great film, but some familiarity with the director will definitely help you to appreciate it to its fullest."
"Stereo Future is a film that is starting to show its age in places, but Nakano's playful yet targeted direction makes sure it's not just an artifact of its time."
"A damn slick, sexy and entertaining film, sporting great visuals, a strong soundtrack and a solid cast while being edgy and challenging enough to stand out from the crowd"
"Blue Spring is well-balanced, featuring a great cast, intriguing characters and a director with not only a clear vision, but also the ability to execute that vision flawlessly."
"I'm Flash isn't going to become one of Toyoda's best loved films, but it surely is a great experience that is unique to the skills of the director."
"High & Low: The Worst has everything I want from this type of film. Cool gangs, dystopian settings, huge brawls and lots of posing. And for every checkbox, it's best in class."
"JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is commercial cinema done right. It's big, bold and visibly backed by a sizeable budget, but at the same time it also feels original and creative"
"Maybe the soundtrack could've been a little better, maybe the visuals appear a little empty at times, but that's just nit-picking."
"A film like this may not be the easiest sell as it lacks a strong dramatic undercurrent, but Yamashita compensates with lovely characters, a beautiful setting and tons of charm."
"You need to be able to stomach the mix of social drama and daft, absurd comedy, but the flawless execution, solid performances and surprising twists and turns are a sight to behold."
"There are moments of sheer genius here, hidden away in a film that comes off just a little to modest for its own good."
"It's more of the same of course, just 130 minutes of that same fun, entertaining and surprising comedy that makes Miike films such unique experiences."
"Dancing Mary is a beautifully crafted, constantly surprising and joyous little film that entertains and delights, while also offering something extra to chew on for those who care."
"Battle Royale is still an amazing experience. It's dynamic, in-your-face, strange and more than a little bewildering, but most of all it's a hell of a lot of fun."
"A powerhouse performance by Yu Aoi, some rather stylish visuals and a highly atmospheric soundtrack make this a standout entry that highlights Shiraishi's talents."
"The art style is lovely, the fantasy elements feel otherworldly and Palme's journey is grand, without ever feeling cheesy or expected, making this one of the better fantasy epics I've seen."
"Terumae Romae is a film that survives on the comic whims of Hiroshi Abe and the excellent premise cooked up by Yamazaki."
"A film that combines a myriad of crazy ideas and styles, blending black comedy, musical and claymation as if it was the most normal thing in the world. To Miike's credit, he makes it all work."
"The Tale of Iya is a film that comes with a built-in audience."
"If you appreciate Omori's uncompromising and bleak look at our society, Whispering of the Gods is one of the purest films you'll find out there."
"Mr. Long is visually pleasing, it features a fine soundtrack and has a stellar lead actor that carries the film with ease."
"LoveDeath brings a guaranteed 150 minutes of fun if you accept it for what it is. It's all fluff, all style, no substance and utterly weird, but that's what makes these films so much fun."
"It's a stylish, relentless and moving drama, sporting excellent performances, a superb score and some high quality cinematography."
"Shark Skin Man is starting to show its age a little. It's a bit dreary and murky for a comedy and more recent films have improved greatly on the formula."
"This is a film for the typical Miike fan, he who appreciates the weirdness, the comical violence and the cinematic freedom you're unlikely to find anywhere else, especially in genre films."
"The animation is absolutely stunning, the balance between fantasy and romance is perfect and the ending is quite challenging, which makes it, at least in my book, a better film than Your Name."
"Eight very distinct and unique shorts offer plenty of stand-out material, more than enough wow moments and plenty of variety to breeze through this anthology and leave you wanting more."
"Kitano's version is playful and quirky, but also pretty badass and harsh when need be. The film looks great, sports a sublime soundtrack and Kitano himself shines as the titular character."
"It's short, it packs quite a punch and even though I had some minor gripes, the pacing, the visual quality and the kick-ass lead character make it very easy to forget about these minor quirks."
"With a major quality jump in animation and art style detail, a tighter focus on atmosphere and setting and some memorable, stand-out demon fights, this is a must-see for action/horror anime fans."
"Nightmare Detective 2 might be his most commercial work to date, there is still plenty here to scare away the regular movie fan."
"Shady is a film that takes a bunch of familiar elements, rearranges them slightly but deliberately and adds a dash of its own uniqueness."
"Donju brings a special breed of humor, mixing dry deliveries, nonsensical dialogue and random interludes to a strange puddle of laughs."
"Kera delivers a weird, confident and funny film that looks the part, sports some solid comedy acting and has plenty of scenes worthy of a healthy chuckle."
"I do think Night's Tightrope is a film that could please a broader audience, but it's pretty obvious that it's not going to get that chance."
"A film that aptly blends the more serious elements of Japanese drama with some fantastical touches and a slightly more accessible front, without going full commercial tearjerker."
"Call Boy is a very direct, somewhat impenetrable yet beautiful and ultimately touching film that relies on sublime styling and great performances to craft a dark and alluring universe."
"Toyoda made an impeccable sequel to Miike's first two films."
"Aramaki serves a very capable genre flick, making great use of the Appleseed setting and going beyond technological excellence to create a stylish, extravagant action spectacle."
"That said, there is still plenty to enjoy here. It seems that with each new film Miike raises the bar on production level. For Love's Sake looks absolutely stunning, from start to finish."
"The film looks gorgeous, the story is smart and creative and even though there isn't that much actual action, it never gets dull."
"Tony Takitani is one of the finest exercises in balancing style and content I've ever seen. Form, narrative and characters are really one here and feed off each other the entire time. "
"While Yoshida has quite a few stories to tell and quite a few angles to explore, the film still feels like a very tight package, sporting little to no cruft."
"If you don't mind a bunch of 40-year old actors playing 16-year old high school student with greasy hair and no manners to speak of, you're probably fine."
"That said, Paprika is still an amazing film with plenty of memorable moments and a superb finale. If I sound a little negative that's only because his first two films are hard to surpass."
"It all adds up to something quite weird and quite unique, but also quite specific and niche. Going in with a good understanding of how and what the film makes fun of is probably a prerequisite."
"Kawamori presents a worthy and classy tribute to the genius of Miyazawa, a film that may not be your average biography, but is much better because of it."
"A very touching, very dear yet very sad story about a boy that got a lot less out of life than he deserved."
"Uchida delivered this amazing genre bender that may leave the uninitiated a little stunned, but should be required viewing for everyone with a soft spot for Japanese genre cinema."
"If you feel like watching a smooth, agreeable and warm-hearted drama on a leisurely summer day, The Furthest End Awaits is a perfect match."
"The characters are given ample room to thrive, the underlying drama is solid and the film features a stellar concept that intrigues even beyond the scope of its running time."
"Final Mission is a slightly more toned down finale to the series, but it's still an extremely stylish, dynamic and blissfully extravagant film that knows no equal."
"Outrage: Beyond falls just a little short of its predecessor. Because of the fact that it feels like the middle section of a full-blown trilogy the ending isn't as convincing as it could've been."
"Sarusuberi: Miss Hokusai is a much needed entry in the anime feature film segment. It isn't based off of a big, popular franchise."
"Destruction Babies is a great film. It walks a fine line between accomplished cinema and maverick nihilism and succeeds with deceptive ease."
"While it's probably best Takeuchi stops the series here, this second film was anything but redundant."
"Sound & Fury is a fine anthology, with some truly stand-out entries that are executed with the highest level of craft and creativity, but as a visual album there are still a few gaps to bridge."
"In many ways, Strobe Edge is a typical manga adaptation as much as it is a typical romance. But Hiroki builds upon that to make a sweet, cute and genuine little love story."
"There's plenty of variation comedy-wise, Miki keeps it visually interesting and Suzuki Matsuo is a true sight to behold. The result is a very pleasant film with plenty of rewatch value."
"Well acted, beautifully shot and neatly scored, this film is for those who enjoy the more poetic side of Katsuhito Ishii, but can handle this style in a light and undemanding context."
"It's a fun, quirky and silly film that slowly grows on you and leaves you behind with a warm smile."
"Spriggan is a pretty fun and over the top anime feature, but only for those who can handle the silliness."
"It houses a pretty chill, good-natured and dry kind of comedy that felt refreshing and to the point."
"Exte: Hair Extensions might feel like his most commercial film to date, but that is mostly a disguise. It's a fun, crazy and surprisingly eerie film."
"It's a truly pleasant experience from start to finish, but the lack of dramatic events is sure to leave some scratching their heads."
"Miki has a very peculiar sense of humor. The jokes can be pretty absurd and out there, but the delivery is always deadpan."
"Café Lumière held up pretty well, which isn't even that surprising knowing its appeal lies in the mundane."
"It's decidedly cheesy, nonsensical and grotesque, but Kitamura's smart blend of vintage and modern makes it a grand spectacle that honors one of Japan's most iconic monsters in the best way possible."
"The combination of strange plot twists and original turn of events with a warm but deadpan sense of humor is the true winner here."
"He falls back to his regular weirdness and dry, absurd comedy. It all leads up to a rewarding ending, leaving you with a fuzzy feeling and a sense of chill bliss."
"Itsuji delivers a unique, quirky and mysterious little film that knows how to charm."
"Nasu is a great seasonal film. Its summer vibe is tangible, it coincides with the Vuelta and it gives one of the best depictions of cycling ever caught on (fictional) film, let alone animation."
"It's not a film that reinvents the genre, it's not a breathe of fresh air, but it's a beautiful, respectful and endearing film that charms the whole way through."
"It's delightfully and excessively violent, sporting superb creature designs, a bold and expressive art style and brisk pacing. Everything you'd ever want and need in a gory, macho action film."
"The superb cast and impeccable styling ease you into the film while Lee's bold and contrasting touches keep you engaged throughout."
"What Shinjuku Swan may lack in originality, it makes up for in rock-solid execution."
"I was pleasantly surprised to find a very accomplished yet eclectic film hiding underneath the cover of ghosts and suicides."
"Miki has a unique, dead pan sense of humor that pushes the film forward. I can only hope he continues to make films in the same vein as his work doesn't really compare to anything else out there."
"This may just be Iseya's second film, but it feels a lot like the work of a confident, accomplished director."
"Hiroki made a pretty brave move here, incorporating new elements from other genres into his movies without changing anything of his trademark style."
"Crows Zero II will probably appeal to the people who liked the first film and can bear a second, almost identical, serving."
"Even though this film may be a bit too dense and slow for some, once Gojira awakes there's still plenty of massive and all-destructive chaos to look forward to."
"A film that's rich in atmosphere, beautifully animated and with just the right amount of depth, a film that soothes and comforts but is more than simple sentimental fluff."
"If you take the silly premise for granted, there's actually a rather large variety of comedy on display here and even though not every joke will hit, a lot of them do. "
"The film looks great, the actors do a good job and even though the soundtrack is a little inconspicuous the atmosphere is warm and inviting."
"It's hard to say which of Tominaga's films is better. Rinco's Restaurant is definitely more accomplished, illustrating Tominaga's growth as a director."
"Liar Game has a couple of minor flaws and doesn't quite escape its TV background, but it has plenty of positive elements to erase these minor shortcomings."
"Tada, Kimi Wo Aishiteru is a sweet, cute, good-natured and hopelessly naive little film."
"Ace Attorney is a Miike blockbuster. The weirdness is kept to a minimum, but the entertainment value is high and the film definitely has its moments of brilliance."
"Quality across the board with touches of originality sprinkled left and right, in order to keep things interesting. It's a pleasant, easy and slightly challenging watch that leaves you wanting more."
"The animation is superb, the characters are charming, it's fun to explore the fantasy realm and the pacing is nigh perfect. Good, old-fashioned Ghibli quality in other words."
"Kitano's strict visuals and dry sense of humor, combined with Hisaishi's wooly soundtrack and the stoical but affectionate performances make this a wonderful experience."
"Nekketsu-hen is a jolly bundle of weirdness and a breath of fresh air compared to most other contemporary anime productions out there."
"While the Women Are Sleeping is a fine mystery/thriller. The film looks great, sports a good soundtrack, has a perfect cast and handles both its mystery and its audience with the proper respect."
"Solid animation, amazing designs, an intriguing premise, several memorable scenes and a fun set of characters make this a moody, intelligent and slick sci-fi thriller."
"Mirai is lushly animated, features a competent score and above average voice acting , but most of all it has a strong and beautiful heart that keeps the drama both relevant and touching."
"The addition of the fantastical figure gives Orochi a somewhat novel feel though."
"Overall Villain is a strong film with a clear goal in mind. Know that you need to get through the first hour, trusting Lee that the second half will be much richer and better."
"The second time around I was little let down by the acting performances of the secondary cast. For a film that puts more focus on drama than usually the case, that's somewhat of a problem."
"Matsumoto's new film is a little gem, a film that does not impress in spades but focuses on smaller details."
"Ghibli fans will know what to expect when they go and see this film."
"Tezuka's attention to wacky details makes all the difference, turning a moody and creepy thriller into a sprawling, surprising mystery that culminates into a memorable finale."
"With its wonderful cinematography, outstanding score and enigmatic lead, Okuyama serves a puzzling trip through the mysterious mind of one of Japan's most prestigious horror writers."
"This is another upbeat, hilarious and delightfully directed Miki comedy that easily entertains and has a string of memorable scenes that make it well worth the watch."
"Audition will lull you to sleep with its understated, consciously tepid build-up, only to shake you away and leave you stunned and surprised after unleashing its madcap finale."
"Home: Itoshi No Zashiki Warashi is a great film if you don't mind a serious dash of extravagant feel-good."
"The animation is splendid, the setting is original, the characters are golden and the adventure really comes into its own during the second half. At its best, it's pure Ghibli magic."
"Keibetsu turns out to be another strong addition to Hiroki's oeuvre. It's not his best film to date, but it's nice to see him try out new stuff, even when it's not all that radical."
"The presentation is slick, performances are grand, the themes are varied and properly explored and all these things complement each other. 9 Souls is great, nothing more, nothing less."
"The solid cinematography coupled with the nice soundtrack, the fine performances and the pleasantly subdued drama all help to highlight Kitano's talent as a bona fide director."
"An ambitious, raw, vibrant and energetic gem, sporting fine cinematography, a great soundtrack and some stand-out performances that all help to give birth to a unique universe."
"The Kiyosu Conference is good, solid, old-fashioned fun. Mitani has a great cast to his disposal and goes with colorful visuals and an upbeat soundtrack."
"Vampire Girl Vs Frankenstein Girl is entertainment to the max. There is no time for dull moments or dramatic depth, just heaps of blood, gore and silliness."
"Her Granddaughter is a beautiful, serene and heart-warming little drama with no false notes, no overt sentimentality and no obvious tear-jerking."
"Probably one of his most accessible films, though there is still plenty of wonder and authorship to be admired."
"With two spirited actresses, a fun and progressively more over-the-top script, nifty dark comedy and a very economic runtime, 2LDK is a film that made me grin from start to finish."
"Adrift In Tokyo is a rather lovely film. It knows how to blend comedy and drama into a perfect mix of blanket-like warmth, covering the viewer with a world he'd somehow like to inhabit."
"The film looks beautiful, the core drama is intriguing, ambiguous and heightened by minor fantastical elements and the payoff is more than satisfying."
"It's a beautiful film, sometimes alienating, sometimes weird and impenetrable, but always humane and warm, embracing its characters rather than discarding them as outcasts."
"From the actual animation to the behavior of the little kids, running around with their DSes, Summer Wars will come off as surprisingly recognizable"
"Shiota proves himself a gifted drama director and balances cinematography, score and performances to draw the most out of the conflict between the two leads."
"For the slightly more adventurous film fan who doesn't mind a highbrow aesthetic and can handle some arthouse vibes, but also doesn't shun a bit of experimentation and genre influence."
"Thanks to its slightly magical touches and its strong shifts between feel-good and drama, Yellow Elephant rises above the majority of other Japanese dramas out there."
"Dead or Alive 2: Birds is an important step in Miike's progression as a director. It's a well-rounded film, one that works as a drama as well as a crime flick."
"Girlfriend: Someone Please Stop The World is a solid, smart drama that serves as a good entry point to his oeuvre. The film showcases his talent and houses many of his trademark elements."