Monday, June 22, 2009

Review: The Place Promised in our Eearly Days

Alternative Title: 雲のむこう、約束の場所, Kumo no Mukou, Yakusoku no Basho
Genre: romance, sci-fi
Release Date: Nov. 20, 2004
  • Hidetaka Yoshioka as Hiroki Fujisawa
  • Masato Hagiwara as Takuya Shirakawa
  • Yuuka Nanri as Sayuri Sawatari
Japan is divided into two parts after the second World War. One part of Japan, Hokkaido, was taken over by an organization named “Union”, while the rest of Japan is occupied by the United States. After the separation, a mysterious tower was constructed at Hokkaido. In the summer of 1996, three high school students make a promise that they would build an airplane and fly to the tower. While the student are preparing for their adventure, the two parts of Japan edge closer to war as the US tries to unravel the mystery concerning the tower.


Animation: Like Makoto Shinkai’s newer movie, 5 Centimetres per Second, the animation in this movie is absolutely breathtaking. It was released in 2004, but the animation is some of the best I’ve seen. The lighting is very realistic and there’s a great amount of detail in just about everything in the movie. Every single frame in this movie is beautiful. Even when the movie shows a torn down warehouse, all the lighting effects and detail make it irresistible to stare at. Just take a look at the sceenshots and see for yourself.

Poetic script: The script in this movie is very poetic and well-thought. Sure, most of it doesn’t really progress the story, but it is sometimes very touching to listen to and it adds a lot to the emotion to the scene.


Sci-fi, romance…scimance: This movie blends sci-fi with romance, but it doesn’t focus of any one genre, leaving me wishing it did. The sci-fi segments were very loosely explained, creating some confusion about the story. The characters rarely mention the conflict between the two parts of Japan and we mostly learn more about the conflict through short TV messages. Some of the technology seen in the movie looked really interesting, but it’s not explained enough to keep your interest. Also, the romance part of the movie wasn’t really completed. I expected a bit more to happen in terms of the romance sub-plot

Get’s a bit confusing 30 min in: After watching about 30 minutes, the story suddenly flashes forward 3 years and you’re pretty much dropped into a setting which you know nothing about. By the end of the movie, you sort of get the main point of the story, but you’ll probably be still confused about some parts of the story, especially the stuff about the tower. In addition, I wish the movie spent more time explaining what happened to the main characters in those 3 years that we know little about.

Slow-placed story: I also thought the story was a bit slow-paced. There are many scenes showing one of the characters just poetically talking to themselves about life. However, the superb animation and the script sort of make up for those otherwise boring scenes.

There wasn’t enough sci-fi to satisfy sci-fi fans and there’s wasn’t enough romance to satisfy romance fans. However, just taking the animation into consideration, I recommend this movie to everyone.

Rating: 8/10

Video Preview
Here’s a short 1 min. spoiler-free trailer. Note that I had to cut out parts from the original trailer because it had some major spoilers. It actually explained pretty much the whole story!

Related Reviews
5 cm per Second

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Announcement: New review format

I previously said that I’ll be making one major change, so here’s it is. I decided that it’s time to change the format of my reviews (for all future reviews).

The new format is designed to be more organized and concise. Also, I hope it will satisfy all types of readers, those who like to skim by reviews and those who actually read the whole thing. I’ve created a new Review Guideline page that briefly explains the new format.

Like my previous reviews, the new reviews will be completely spoiler-free (incl. the screens, summary and video). If there happens to be a section with spoilers then I’ll clearly indicate it.

One last thing: I’ll be posting a poll sometime in the future (after I’ve wrote a couple of reviews in the new format) so that I can get an idea of what readers think of the new format.

Hope everyone likes the new format (^_^)!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

2 Year Anniversary


Today's the day. The Keizou Journal was officially started 2 years ago from today.

Because of this, I've decided to make a few changes to the blog that will take effect over the next few weeks. So far, I'm planning to make one major change and few minor changes.

Note the word "planning" since I'm not too sure yet. However, I hope everyone will like the changes (if they do come).

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Review: LIFE


Alternative Title: ライフ
Genre: School
Episodes: 11
Broadcast: Jun. - Sept. 2007
  • Kitano Kii as Shiiba Ayumu
  • Fukuda Saki as Anzai Manami
  • Hosoda Yoshihiko as Sako Katsumi
Shiiba Ayumu has a terrible past. She receives help from her best friend Yuuko to successfully complete an exam and enter a prestigious high school. However, Yuuko fails to enter the same school and blames Ayumu for her failure. As a result, Yuuko attempts to commit suicide. Ayumu attends the new school but things get worse. She is continuously bullied by her classmates because of the incident that happened to her in the past.

If you thought Nobuta wo Produce dealt with bullying in schools, you’re in for a surprise. LIFE pretty much deals with a ton of issues including bullying, raping and gangs, just to name a few. But after watching the entire series, I have to say that there’s way too much bullying for the first 5 or so episodes. There was almost no progression in the story. It was just about the main character getting bullied with few students or teachers caring about the situation.

However, the first 5 episodes weren’t the biggest issue for me. I thought the biggest annoyance was the music. Most of the background music is this synthesized heavy-metal music stuff. Saying it was dreadful would’ve been an understatement. LIFE has some of the most repetitive, horrible, annoying background music I’ve ever heard. It almost ever fits with the mood of a scene since it’s always fast-paced and repetitive. Out of all the scenes in the drama, there were only a very few that actually had good music. Another thing I disliked was the ending. I don’t want to reveal anything too much about the story so all I’ll say that the ending might leave some disappointed.

In terms of the good stuff, I would have to say the last half was LIFE’s strongest advantage. After episode 5, I saw myself wanting to watch LIFE more than before. The story got more exciting and it wasn’t just about the main character getting continuously bullied. Another plus side is the acting. Overall, I thought every actor did a good job, considering most of them are old teenagers or young adults. The actor that stood out the most was definitely the main character played my Kitano Kii. Lately, she’s been starring in leading roles in more J-movie and J-dramas. I’m certain she’ll be one of the most popular J-drama actresses in the years to come.

  • Acting, epically from main character
  • Second half of the series
  • Deals with a lot of issues not found in other dramas
  • Absolutely horrible background music
  • First half of series
  • Ending might leave some disappointed
I certainly consider the pros to outweigh the cons for LIFE. The music is horrible but the story and acting will make up for it. If you’re a fan of school dramas, this is one school drama that is like no other and you should give it a try.

Rating: 8/10

Video Preview
This a short clip from the first episode. It basically shows what I described in the summary above.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

TopChart: Top15 Slow Motion PVs


This is probably the most interesting TopChart I’ve done so far. I can’t believe I actually found 15 PVs with slow motion footage!

I based this list mostly on how enjoyable the slo-mo was for each PV. ENJOY! (^_^)