Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time


Based on a successful media franchise starting in 1965 and encompassing 2 books, 3 TV series, 5 films and a manga, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time was originally authored by Yasutaka Tsutsui, with a 2006 anime film adaptation by Mamoru Hosoda. Hosoda would also later bring us Summer Wars and Wolf Children. The voice actress who played the main character would also later go on to play the protagonist in the 2010 live-action film.

'Twas born into a Tasty legacy.

Makoto Konno is your average teenage tomboy. She has 2 best guy friends, an annoying little sister, and likes to play baseball. The chronic oversleeper wakes up late on a school day in mid-july and rushes right out the door into one of the worst days of her life. After school, while performing some classroom chores, she slips in the science lab and falls onto a walnut-shaped item, then proceeds to hallucinate from the resulting head trauma. Shaking it off as a dream, she runs out of school and onto her bike to deliver some peaches to her aunt as a favour to her mother. But as she speeds down the hill, her brakes have stopped working...sending Makoto flying right in the path of a commuter train. Or did it? As she wakes up on the pavement next to her toppled bike, she sees the train that just killed her speed by further down the street, leaving her unscathed...
Well, PHYSICALLY unscathed, if not mentally.
From the start, the premise of this movie was interesting. Obviously it's been interesting enough to carry it in various forms for 50 years now. But this Girl Who Leapt Through Time is actually a spin-off of the original book, leaving this as technically a standalone. With Hosoda and Madhouse behind the wheel, however, there was never any doubt that this was going to be good, and they definitely did not disappoint (mostly).
She's wearing her Important Hat.

Right from the start you can tell this is a Hosoda work because of the art style. The facial structure, much like any artist (say, for example, Ghibli or Tezuka), stays the same in all of his movies (sans One Piece, but there isn't much room for flexibility there....though he seems to have relaxed them to his pace a LITTLE bit), from the Digimon Adventure movie (1999) to Wolf Children (2012). His style is somewhat close to Ghibli, with roundish eyes and more realistic noses, but has a wider colour pallet and more variety. His relationship with Madhouse was well-suited, since their animation is also quite fluid. Both make for a relaxed film, which is nice in this context since it's part sci-fi, part slice-of-life.

Yuuup. this is DEFINITELY a Hosoda film.
Given that this is a standalone in the Time franchise, one can't expect much characterization from previous works to be present. However, in this regard we should be thankful that Hosoda is the director since his characters never suffer from a lack of personality. Makoto in particular reacts just as one would expect a teenager to react to certain tough situations, such as changing intra-personal relationships. She also uses her newfound time powers for completely frivoulous reasons and cries when she loses her friends. An interesting point is that, while this is a spin-off and these are all new characters, they're not ALL new. Makoto gets plenty of counsel and advice from her Aunt, the original "Girl Who Leapt Through Time".
Don't Do Drugs, Children.
The only major beef I can find with this movie is the ending. Sure, the music's passive and the plot can be hardish to follow, but the ending almost made me flip my laptop. (Almost.) Even with the rest of the franchise propping it up, the creators should ALWAYS assume their work to be a standalone, in that the viewer either may not have access to or have the will to seek out any sort of additional work. The loose ends they leave are not just sloppy, but a slap to the face of the viewer. One could argue that the ending "wrapped up nicely" with a simple smile and "I'll Be Waiting!", but this viewer is not satisfied without some kind of resolution.

On the upside, sometimes she gets to look like a stupid badass.

Despite that rude ensnarement, the movie was still quite enjoyable and long overdue on my part. I'd expect no less than this from Hosoda, a director I greatly enjoy, and though being frustrated with the outcome, was pleased with the middle. This is typical anime fare, but unlike other typical anime fare there's no fanservice. Sure, there's theoretical death, but no gore (and actually, no real images of anyone striking any trains) is shown. The closest it comes to being "inappropriate" is a few harsh words. Ergo, show this to almost anyone you want. As long as they get it, it'll be fine.

This and maybe a few swears. That's all.

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is licensed on DVD and Blu-Ray in North America by Bandai Entertainment. It's seen TV and theatre airings in the US, and some theatre airings in the UK. Though it was not expected to be as popular as it was (and indeed, only recieved limited theatre distrobution in Japan at first), word of mouth increased its popularity exponentially and it eventually went on to several international film festivals, winning most of the awards it was nominated for. Wikipedia is hazy on other releases, but the copy I had (which was a Blu-Ray rip) had a Spanish subtitle track, so it stands to reason that there will be other language sub tracks if you search for them, too.

#TheStruggleIsReal

2.5-3/5

Metropolis


Metropolis was originally a German silent film from 1927. At the time, it was the most expensive movie in the world, and the first feature-length science fiction film. Though some of the content was questioned at the time and it recieved mixed reviews, it was widely regarded as a classic and a massive leap forward for the genre. This inspired Osamu Tezuka to make his 1949 manga based off the movie, which in turn was made into the movie we have today in 2001.

Even disconnected from the parent work, the movie is beautiful.

Metropolis opens with us seeing daily life in the massive city of Metropolis, a city where humans and robots live together, with one above and one below. One of the city's elite, a real estate magnate and engineer named Duke Red, is about to unveil his latest and greatest addition to the city's architecture, the Ziggurat. Elsewhere, PI Shunsaku Ban and his nephew Kenichi arrive in the city from Japan, tracking an international criminal named Dr. Laughton. Later on, Duke Red goes to see this exact criminal to inquire about a secret project he was commissioning, a made-to-order robot girl named Tima. However, after a moment of sabotague, Laughton's lab burns to the ground. Shunsaku was on the scene to arrest him, but unfortunately fails, leaving Laughton dead and his work gone. But where is Kenichi? And what happened to Tima?

DON'T JUST STAND THERE, BOY

Like its predecessor, the 2001 movie was a juggernaut for the sci-fi genre, so much so that it was actually played on the old Sci-Fi channel in the US several times. However, Tezuka never actually saw the movie, so the plot of both the comic and the animated film differ greatly from the 1927 version. The two share the name, art style and genre only; beyond this, they're more of standalone works.

SO MUCH CG

The art style, keeping in line with the original film, was quite retro for the period (a delight for someone like me who's into that), and vaguely reminded me of a 3-way combo of the 00's reboot of Cyborg 009, The Big O, and Kaiba. It holds to the original era in that the buildings are all very art deco and modernesque, while the characters scream out Tezuka's classic style of big, rounded characters, eyes, limbs, and hands, something very typical of anime and manga of the 50's and 60's. The result is a weird sort of future-nostalgia, nouveau-retro, though it works beautifully.

Not all of it was done in CG. It appears mainly the surface was, due to the detail it had.

Keeping along with the 20's theme, every track on there was some form of jazz, be it smooth, freeform, or swing. It evokes in me an excitement of the period I get when I listen to Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, which in itself would fit in fine on this soundtrack.  It compliments the background nicely, however given the plot I'd say that were it not for the buildings almost any sort of music could have fit. It seems a bit like a colouring book in that regard. The music would have been influenced by what the writers decided to draw in the background.

The Picture of Excess~

The movie was a touch long, but was otherwise quite engaging and worth the watch. I really felt for the characters and their plight (except for that psycho Rock), unlike some sci-fi themed works where the characters are all just stock red-shirts that can be changed out like socks. I will say that, due to some shootouts and a possibly disturbing image or two, you probably shouldn't show this to little kids, but children over 10 should be fine. There isn't really much to understand here (nothing to make it quintessentially "anime", such as a schoolgirl plot or giant robots or anything), so there shouldn't be much problem showing to almost any demographic.

I'm not sure which series influenced which series (Tezuka to Cyborg 009?), but they all look like each other.

Metropolis saw several US showings and releases, including airtime on both Sci-Fi and Adult Swim. It was released on VHS , and is currently available on DVD in the US as well. Elsewhere, you can easily find torrents with a google search.

Ded

4.5/5

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Perfect Blue


The late Kon Satoshi brought us many widely-acclaimed films and shows such as Paprika and Paranoia Agent. However, in 1997 he made his directorial debut with Perfect Blue, adapted from Takeuchi Yoshikazu's novel of the same name. Though originally intended to be a longer, live-action film, the 1995 Kobe earthquake leveled the studio where it was being made, and reduced the budget of the film enough to make it into an OVA instead. Madhouse was hired to animate it, and after an international promotion campaign, it became quite successful.

Things started off so well...

Mima Kirigoe is the sweet, successful centre of the pop idol group CHAM!. However, in a shrewd career move on both her and her agents' part, she leaves the group to be an actress, much to the disappointment of her fanbase. Some become so upset by her image change that they abandon her altogether, but when people around her start turning up dead, it becomes obvious that other fans have other plans....

Scary shit right here.

Though it deviates from the book, Kon received the author's permission first and it turned out quite successfully. A live-action follow up movie, Perfect Blue: Yume Nara Samete, premiered in 2001 and stayed much closer to the book. The subject matter, despite starting off lighthearted and charming, gets dark VERY quickly, earning this movie a solid R for Rape.

BEWARE THE PERILS OF THE INTERNET, CHILDREN

The animation was, as to be expected of Madhouse, lovely, though it shows its age slightly. Kon's style choices (pouty lips and rounder, more realistic eyes) are showcased in full here, bringing back mental images of Paprika and Tokyo Godfathers. Kon also does the dead inside image quite well, making him tailor-made for the psychological thriller that this movie is.

Seriously, she looks like a shell here.

Given that she's originally from a pop idol group, music is a major element in this movie, and they did it well. The action scenes had a lovely overhyped electronica track to go with the quick movements, and the pop musical numbers were cute and fun. The dub was excellent as well, and they even managed to translate the songs into english and have them work out beautifully. It came as a surprise when most dubs just leave the original song in and sub it. (This may be due to the timeframe.)
This is what anime looks like in a Satoshi Kon movie.
I wasn't expecting it to wow me, and it sure as hell did. This may be because i went into watching it with the wrong mindset, but by the end of it i was literally on the edge of my seat. I never saw the twist coming, and it really proves Kon as a director, since from what i can tell the ending likely wasn't the same in the book. He also managed to play up the disassociation with reality through Mima's dream sequences and her internal conversations. You really start to see her mind unravel.

Pleading won't rid you of the demons in your head.

With that in mind (hah, pun), you reeeeally can't show this to anyone under 18. There are only two versions out there rating-wise, and the lighter of the two is R. There's a rape scene and several murders, shown in graphic detail, along with a few full-frontal shots, so don't show this to anyone without a strong stomach. This would also make a horrible introduction to anime, much as parents of the early 90's had their tastes coloured by the likes of Ninja Scroll and Ghost in the Shell.

Just as bad as the internal turmoil is the external. Acting or not she's got a tough row to hoe.

Perfect Blue has been distributed by Manga Entertainment on VHS in 1999 and on DVD in 2000, so both are likely out of print. Torrents are easy to come by on google, but do yourself a favour and quality-check before you commit (as in, before showing this, watch and re-download as necessary). The copy i got suffers from major artifacting issues and some colour problems as a result. :\

KIRA KIRA~

5/5

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Night on the Galactic Railroad


Based off a novel written in about 1927 and published in 1934, the movie version of Night on the Galactic Railroad premiered in 1985. The writer, Miyazawa Kenji, was a childrens' author who died in 1933, seemed to be quite into existentialist themes and became more popular in the years following his death. Railroad is no stranger to these themes, and also makes use of a lot of other elements, such as foriegn languages and religious imagery.

On the upside, it's educational.

The plot follows Giovanni, a young catboy living in a small village. He is rather poor and is ridiculed by his classmates for having a semi-absentee father who's away working in the north, and having to work at the local newspaper to help his sickly mother. The only friends he has are his teacher, and his classmate, Campanella. After school one day, the teacher tells the class of the Star Festival in town. Giovanni heads off to his job at the paper, and after he leaves at night and doing some chores at home, he encounters the school bully, Zanelli. Zanelli proceeds to mock him for something his dad promised to bring him, and in a fit of rage and despair he runs away from the town and up a hill, where he decides to stargaze. In the midst of his dreaming, a train pulls up in front of him, seemingly from thin air. Giovanni decides to get on, being joined by Campanella. The two then proceed to explore the mysteries of the cosmos together.

This seems like the beginning of a beautiful Yaoi.

The novel has proved to be quite influential in Japanese pop culture as the years have gone on. Between spinoff series, references in other works, music, (Including a Vocaloid Song) and the animated movie based off it, Railroad is definitely a Japanese classic. On the other hand, it's a bit hard to gauge how popular it is elsewhere. It has been dubbed, but the most prominent language feature is that all external signs are in Esperanto. Miyazawa was quite interested in the language, so the signs appear to be a tribute to him.

I should have studied on Lernu more...

The music was just lovely. Thankfully, the soundtrack was rather easy to find (a lovely little wordpress post located here), which was a bit of a relief after the headache of trying to track down Belladonna's. It utilizes mostly piano and strings to convey a mood of both elegance and perplexity. One of the composers was a member of a famous Japanese band; the other went on to compose almost all the music for Studio Ghibli.

Keeping with the uber-religious overtones, a Hymn features prominently along with the background music.

The imagery in this movie was, frankly, confusing. It makes for interesting discussions and philosophy but horrible for a childrens' movie, which sort of makes me question the author's life choices. I suppose it could have been made with the "you're never too young to think" idea in mind, but should a child really be contemplating questions like the finality of existence? A great story, indeed, but I question the choice of intending this for children. Adding insult to injury here is the amount of Christian imagery in the movie/book, especially given the author was a devout Buddhist. This isn't to say that religious material can't be given to kids (not trying to insult any of you Christians out there), however, to be presented as a very general movie, it seems wise to not put a heavy amount of specific religious references within it.

Religion!? IN *MY* ANIME!?

Railroad was released on DVD in 2001 by Central Park Media in North America with an english dub. Otherwise, it's on Bakabt, from Nakama Subs, Citadel of the Raven (with subs in English, Spanish, Japanese, and Russian) Tanoshii Fansubs (Spanish), and Lasden Subs (Hungarian).


ARE YOU A WIZARD

3?/5

Monday, December 22, 2014

Barefoot Gen


On December 7th, 1941, 353 Japanese aircraft flew over the US Base at Pearl Harbour and bombed it in an effort to keep the US from interfering in Japan's plans for Southeast Asia. This would be the catalyst that would drag the US into World War II, on two fronts. Less than 4 years later, on August 6th, 1945, the US would bring the first of two decisive blows to ensure their victory at the end of the war. The implications of this act stretch beyond the political or the physical into almost all facets of being, and while we are not here to debate such an act, it is crucial to remember that there were innocents abound at the time. Not everyone in Japan supported the conflict, and close to 250,000 people were killed as a result.

A family stands tall to face an uncertain future.

Hadashi no Gen (Barefoot Gen) is one man's semi-fictionalized account of his own experience on August 6th, 1945, and the days after. Nakazawa Keiji, the author, was just 6 years old when Little Boy reduced his hometown to rubble and killed off most of his family. The only thing that saved him from harm was his bending down into the shadow of a stone wall when the bomb hit. This small act would keep him in good enough shape to survive and persevere despite all the adversity he has to face.

Hiroshima before...

Gen began life as a non-fiction account known as Ore wa Mita (I Saw It), a one-shot manga in which the author described the events he saw and his life after. Following the success of this, he tweaked the details a bit and released the semi-autobiographical 10-volume work Barefoot Gen in 1973. At a time when most Japanese were reluctant to talk about the events of the war, this manga was a bold choice to stand tall and face what happened. It became a huge success in Japan and elsewhere, being translated into English (three times!), Esperanto, German, Swedish, Norwegian, and Finnish, though only the English and possibly Esperanto versions made it all the way to the end.

...And after.

The first of the two animated films arrived on the scene in 1983, being made by Studio Madhouse. It shows its age slightly, but still remains relevant and poignant due to subject matter and Madhouse's animation quality. The images are graphic and disturbing at certain points, and light and refreshing at others, as a tale of that time should be. The contrast is not only striking, it's true, and evokes great emotion. I cried the first time i saw it.

The lighter, happier moments are rare, but they take the tension off a bit when they're there.

Having seen both the Dub and the Sub, I can point out that both are equally good, at different points. Gen's performance in Japanese seems to fall a little flat, as if the actor were just parroting off lines without even knowing the context. On the other hand, other characters have more emotion in Japanese than they do in English. The result is a toss-up; watch what you prefer, and it won't really make a difference.

This is literally the only thing that saves him.

The audio, like the video, shows its age a bit, but the opening and ending themes are particularly nice. The opening especially fills me with heartache at the urgency and panic in the instruments, followed by the nostalgic ballad tone. I had a hard enough time tracking down ANY semblance of a soundtrack that eventually i gave up, downloaded the first 9 minutes of the movie, and clipped the opening audio myself.

I believe this is an artists' rendering, but it still demonstrates the enormity of it all.

On the whole, Gen is and always will be a masterful tale of the ravages of war. It is something we should take care to never forget about, as only by learning from the past can we ever hope to get past it. Despite the graphic imagery, I would have no problem showing this to children, not to scare them, but to show them what anger, hatred, and fear can do.

We today can't even imagine what these people had to go through.

Barefoot Gen is a bit tricky to find; though an English Dub exists, it was made only for the VHS version from 1999. Geneon put out a DVD of it in 2005, however, this only contains the Japanese version. (Image Entertainment also put out a DVD; i'm not sure when it was released.) It's also available on DVD from Madman Entertainment in Australia, and from a website known as Zakka Films.

Gen shows a vast amount of courage beyond many 6-year-olds.

5/5

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro


Premiering in 1979, Hayao Miyazaki's directorial debut is part of a long-running Japanese series known as Lupin III. Lupin began in 1967 as the classic manga by Monkey Punch. The series is based off of the Maurice Leblanc novel series about Arsène Lupin, of which Lupin III's title character is supposed to be the original's grandson. Keeping with it, the movie seems to have been loosely based off of Leblanc's La Comtesse de Cagliostro.

Always the Charmer~

Like his grandfather before him, Lupin is a master thief, and The Castle of Cagliostro is no exception. Whereas we may not be so keen on the idea of a thief being marketed at kids and adults alike, Lupin acts as a Robin Hood of sorts, always ending up the hero--even if he's not on the right side of the law. Despite Miyazaki's tweaking of the characters' personalities a bit, it works perfectly.

At the very least, this part of Lupin's personality didn't change.

Cagliostro is a tiny little country of just 3,500, settled into a nondescript location in Europe. Lupin, having stolen a large amount of counterfeit bills from a casino, decides to track down the bills' origin, finding the root in the tiny populace. In the midst of it all, he goes on an adventure to save a princess and reunite a nation.

FEAR THE WRATH OF THE CHURCH

Despite its age, Cagliostro survives as a classic not just because of plot, series, or content, but because of Miyazaki. His world-renowned attention to detail is ever-present in this movie, from the tiniest background flower to the leaps, bounds, and flourishes of action the characters engage in. Early earmarks of his art style (the ovaly round, doll-like eyes and semi-realistic noses) tie this into Ghibli like a big brother figure.

Miyazaki Sr. NEVER disappoints.

Never one to disappoint, the music and dialogue of the movie was classic Lupin. Jokes flew, laughs were had, and surprises were sprung. One of the lasting appeals of Lupin is that it never takes itself too seriously, and it holds true here as well (I cracked up at the rooftop grappling hook scene). I watched the dub, which was, honestly, a touch awkward given that i was used to the dub released on Adult Swim (Geneon, mid 00's), while this one used different actors (Streamline Pictures, 1993). Further removing me from the action was the name choice; due to legal disputes with Leblanc's estate, Lupin is referred to as "The Wolf" throughout the whole film. Combine these two with some poor dubbing towards the end, and it made for a slightly laughable experience. (According to Wikipedia, however, the Streamline dub made efforts to match up to the mouth movements, so perhaps they just did a really crap job of it.)

Adding insult to injury, had I decided to go with the Japanese audio, the subtitles were patchy at best, meaning understanding the dialogue would have been nigh impossible.

I had been meaning to watch Cagliostro for a very long time now, and though i had a chance once before, i'm glad i took the time on my own to sit and watch through. It melted by with the laughs and the action. Given that Lupin was never one to put emphasis on fancy electronic gadgets anyway, it remains timeless.

Lupin has always put more emphasis on the action than what's CAUSING the action.

I would recommend this to anyone! There's no swearing, no nudity, and not really even that much bloodshed. There's a super-skeevy uncle, but then, that's something a lot of people have in real life, too. The action and the comedy make it an ideal family film you could show to quite any age group, and there aren't even that many subtle references (so, if you show this to a kid, they wouldn't miss things they would if you had shown them a more adult-leaning series).

This is probably the worst of what happens, and any kid above 6 oughta be able to stand this.

The Castle of Cagliostro is available from Optimum Releasing/Studio Canal in the UK, and Discotek Media in the US announced in early 14' that they had picked up the rights (as they were previously held by Manga Entertainment, who had lost them) and were planning to release both DVDs and Blu-Rays in 2014, with both dubs (Streamline's from 1993, and Manga's from 2000). Whether or not these have hit shelves, i don't know. However, picking up torrents is quite easy, as well (a simple google search should do it).

SEDUCTION

5/5

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Kanashimi no Belladonna


1973 brought us a lot of things. Aerosmith released their first album, Roe v. Wade was ratified into law, and the movie Kanashimi no Belladonna ("Belladonna of Sadness" or "The Tragedy of Belladonna" in english) was released in late June. The third and final film in the "Animerama" series by Mushi Productions, Belladonna is loosely based off of both historical accounts from the book "Satanism and Witchcraft" by Jules Michelet and the mythos of Joan of Arc. It uses a rather wide range of art mediums and is based heavily off of western art, as well as psychedelic and erotic imagery.

There are A LOT of phallic images in this movie.

The film opens on the wedding day of two young French peasants, Jean and Jeanne, in the 1400's, happy and in love. However, the film soon takes a sad, dark turn as Jean is too poor to pay the local baron the marrage pennance....so he takes it out in trade on Jeanne. Returning that morning, broken, bloody, and bruised, a terrified and ashamed Jeanne collapses into Jean's arms, who tells her that they should "Forget the Past" as he comforts her and the two try to move on from the attack. However, despite their fortunes looking up once in awhile, Jeanne is more often than not the receiver of misfortune to the point where she makes a pact with the Devil for any semblance of power.

Jean is, by all accounts, a really shitty spouse.
Belladonna is little-known but should be regarded as a cult classic due to the risks it took and the stylistic choices it made. It has little in the way of plot; it's there, but seems to be a rather thin veneer for what amounts to the love child of an art film and a porno, however even without much of a consistent narrative the film stands strong, if not proud. Perhaps it was a product of the time, or perhaps it was because the Animerama series was an attempt at making animated 'Pink' films (a genre of theatre in Japan geared toward adults, featuring either heavy violence or sexual content), but I could easily picture someone in this country strolling into a seedy back-alley theatre in the 70's and sitting down to watch this while tripping on acid and stale popcorn.

Woah, man...

Even if it shows its age (if not in art, then in content), the movie was still an engaging watch. I will admit that this was partly due to it being quite a disturbing movie, but engaging is engaging, regardless of context or content. Ignoring the repeated phallic imagery you are left with what amounts to a level of tragedy not seen again until Barefoot Gen (coming soon!) or Grave of the Fireflies, capped off with what seems to be a justification and defense for Jeanne's actions. You really sympathize with Jeanne, regardless of gender. She had the crappiest of crap lots in life.

And no one would blame you, dear.

The music also shows its age slightly, but that's mostly due to the 'funky' bass guitar riffs present and the occasional string movement, saxophone and soulful singing. However, it makes it feel more classic in that case (nostalgic, maybe?), and fits with the piece rather well, meshing it with the idea of it being a vintage adult film. It compliments the art, which is excellent given that, even if you don't like the plot or the actions, it's worth watching JUST for the art. The visuals were stunning (when they weren't being stupid), and though they fit with the art styles of the 70's (plenty of linework, thick eyelashes, lots of shines in the eyes), seem to be rather timeless and are still seen even today. Jeanne is gorgeous, and though the world around her is filled with ugly actions, it is presented as a pretty picture.

The artwork is so romanticized that i'm waxing nostalgic for this movie 4 days after seeing it.

I should warn you now that this film may produce seizures in those with epilepsy. That's not even rhetoric, I'm being serious with the amount of flashing effects they use. This was during a time when i doubt the connection was known, so they use it HEAVILY. In addition, you really, REALLY shouldn't take acid before watching this movie. Or any other mind-altering substance. It may seem like a good idea at the start, but shit gets kinda freaky towards the middle, so i don't want anyone freaking out. I don't have a personal frame of reference here, but call it a gut instinct.

Really. Please don't do drugs. Or at least not during this movie.

More important than both of those, however, is that UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCE are you to show this to children. People seem to be naked in some form for at least 75% of the movie (and indeed, it was kind of weird seeing Jeanne in clothes by the end), so this is NOT something for kids. It was NEVER marketed at kids, was never shown in environments with kids, and was never subject to a grey area regarding kids (unlike Cutey Honey, which came out in the same year). I wouldn't even show this to most adults, unless they can approach it with an open mind and a grain of salt (ie, adult anime fans). It's really quite a graphic movie, and that's coming from someone who grew up watching Trigun, Bebop and Gantz.

This isn't even the worst image i could have shown you...

There was no DVD release of Belladonna in North America, but it is available in Japan from Columbia Pictures and I don't know what in Europe. Otherwise, it's not terribly hard to find a torrent of of it online. The copy I found is from fong, but it's also available from Nemisis Anime (French), TntVillage (Italian), and AniMugen Fansubs (Spanish). It's easily found on BakaBT, Nyaa Torrents and Kickass Torrents.

I think we should all admire the courage Jeanne manages to hold onto in the face of adversity.

3.5-4/5