We recently finished watching Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit (aka Seirei no Moribito), which is the best new-to-me anime of 2014, and probably on my list of Top 25 Favorite Anime, too. It doesn’t seem to have gotten a lot of attention in America, but if you liked Scrapped Princess or The Story of Saiunkoku, this should be right in your wheelhouse. A professional bodyguard (yojimbo) from a warlike mountain kingdom returns to the prosperous rice-growing country in the plains, and fortuitously saves a ten-year-old prince at some risk to herself. As is soon revealed to her, the young prince has been possessed by a mysterious spirit, and advisors to his father the mikado, while not actually using a vulgar word like ‘assassination’, have determined it would be better for the kingdom if the boy happened to not be alive any longer. The boy’s mother, the second queen, asks the bodyguard to protect her son — specifically, ‘to guard the mikado from the disgrace of killing without cause’, which is a key to the feudal authoritarianism of the ruling dynasty.
Because it’s based on the first of a series of fantasy novels, and not on an ongoing manga story, the pacing of Moribito is unusually deft; there’s no padding, no rushing, no side-steps. Every detail of the animation, starting with the first few minutes, builds to the final climax of a rich saga quite different than the usual European quasi-Tolkien fantasy worlds. All 26 episodes are available, with subtitles, on Hulu.
And, yes, we’ve already got the next series from this production team, Kemono no Sōja/Beast Player Erin queued up for our next round of anime-watching.
I love recommendations for new anime. It is my secret passion.
This happened eight miles away from where I went to college. It’s a very small sleepy college town with such an extremely low crime rate that this is beyond shocking. They didn’t lock down campus because the guy got caught, but it was still a shock to my system.
Who wants to argue with me? Any subject. Pick a side and I will argue the opposite.
Okay, I will get it started,
The greatest movie ever made is The Godfather.
Why isn’t Paranoia Agent on a streaming service?
Titles to look out for: Eccentric Family and Norigami were ones I enjoyed recently.
Kids on The Slope is a nice retro series about misfit kids clinging to Jazz as Rock n Roll sweeps Japan.
Wrong. There is no such thing as “the greatest movie ever made”. The great movies are all great in their own way.
@Amir Khalid: Nope. The great movies are all great in certain scenes but I contend that from the start of the movie (the extended wedding) until the end (Michael taking revenge), The Godfather is the greatest movie ever made.
I dispute your assumption that a great movie is a collection of great but somehow discrete scenes. If those scenes make up a story when put together, they can’t really be viewed or considered in isolation from each other. One must always consider the movie as a whole.
AL, it is indeed a very good series with great storytelling properties and the animation (even if its a few years old) is quite good, but then again, I find that a really good story really helps you overlook any production flaws as long as they’re not egregious.
If you’re looking for something new…. I would heartily recommend Yowamushi Pedal with great characters and a great story line.
Plus, if you haven’t seen it yet Gin No Saji also known as Silver Spoon (as the translation goes). Something else I really enjoyed, although the look is rather old school, was Nazo No Kanojo X otherwise known from the manga as Mysterious Girlfriend X. In other words, there’s something from roughly each category, sports, slice of life and romance, depending upon your tastes.
Also have heard very good things about the second season of Mushishi….
Moribito is so good. I’m really a shame it didn’t get more attention in the states.
@Amir Khalid: I did not mean to give the impression that I considered a movie great based on discrete scenes.
Rather my contention is that the greatest movies are seamless and on that point, The Godfather is the best. Every scene builds on the next even during the sojourn in Scilly. So confident is Coppola, he lays down sequel bait with the murder of Apollonia.
@piratedan: Thanks! We’re looking forward to Mushishi: Second Passage — the first series is in my Top Ten — and both Gin No Saji and Yowamushi Pedal are in the queue, too.
And, just skimming Hulu, now I’m interested in World Trigger and Barakamon as well. If only there were more hours in the day…
Okay. But I still maintain that movies are different enough in what they set out to do and how they go about that it’s hopelessly subjective to pick one and call it the greatest ever made. I agree that The Godfather is a great movie, but I’m not sure it’s meaningful to declare it a greater movie than, say, Toy Story 3 or the Les Misérables musical.
@Amir Khalid: Of course all art is subjective but like every facet of life, art can be reduced to a scale, a ranking. If we say 5 categories with a 1-5 scale where the categories are acting, direction, script, art direction & sound, Godfather scores 25.
Thanks for indulging me, Amir.
@Amir Khalid: Toy Story 3? Les Misérables? Wha…? Some cat pulls out the big guns and you quickdraw a frickin’ musical?! Step aside, Amir. Seriously. Step aside.
I really like Mushishi from the few episodes that I’ve watched. It is visually quite beautiful.
Just got up to take the new puppy, Korra, out to go pee. She is very sweet. The woman who rescued the mom and litter dropped her off (so we wouldn’t have to drive!) and since then we have done nothing but snuggle, play, and just watch her. We are all completely in love with her. She yawns and we all just melt.
AL, thanks for your kind words last night. I got up to get ready for bed and felt very achey and needed to take some advil and try to sleep.
I stand by those two. They are among my favourite movies of all time.
Plus, if anyone was really entertained by The Big Bus, then they’re entitled to call it a great movie.
I loved Toy Story 3–actually loved all three movies. I have watched many movies for kids and those were actually very enjoyable for the parents. When She Loved Me can still make me teary.
When She Loved Me is among the great movie songs for me, up there with the very best from the Disney songbook like Baby Mine and Beauty and The Beast.
@Amir Khalid: That is a very kind and generous thing to say, Amir. (I was going to also add “completely nutso”, but I decided to go out on a high note.)
Heresy, I know, but much as I enjoy animation anime has always left me cold. Something about the general design just rankles and creates an urge to leave the room as quickly as possible so as not to have to look at it.
Yes, Baby of Mine is another great tearjerker of a scene and Beauty and the Beast is perfection. How can you not love a song with the lyric “I’m especially good at expectorating”.
@MomSense: Disney is one of the Sources of Evil in this poor benighted world, and those who watch and fill the coffers of the beast are running dogs of one of the worst capitalist exploiters of the modern age.
Taking into account the technical achievements (110 anchor points for each eyebrow!), Toy Story 3 is indeed a great movie.
In terms of the “conditions” defining a great movie, I’d say there are plenty of greatest movies. I’d put The Best Years of Their Lives and Grapes of Wrath up against Godfather any day. And I’d bet Coppola would too.
I’m sorry you got in before me. I would have agreed with anything tsquare said just so he could not get an argument. It was the opposite of this:
@wasabi gasp: ROFL!
That’s hilarious, at least with the sound off.
The folks at Bad Lipreading need to do a version of that… :-)
(Who recently learned that Hilary Farr (of “Love it or List it”) was in the Rocky Horror movie.)
It’s raining really hard here. Woke me up.
Won’t argue about what movies are good but there sure are some bad ones out there. One of my favorite categories of movies is “so bad they’re good.”
There is no such thing as “The Greatest ________ Ever.”
I think the New York Times REALLY wants a Jeb Bush presidency. I see another admiring article about him, how he doesn’t “flip flop” he LEARNS and GROWS. It read almost like someone from his own campaign wrote it.
At the end, I almost found myself wanting to vote for him. Then my cat jumped on my lap, gave me a good swipe with her paw, and I realized I’d been hypnotized.
Thread needz moar puppeh!
The greatest movie ever?
Toss up between “The Bank Dick” (W.C. Fields) and “It’s A Gift” (W.C. Fields)
@Violet: In that category, it would be tough to find a better example than Dr. Otto and the Riddle of the Gloom Beam from 1986. But it’s kinda prescient in a way – a villain (in Cincinnati, no less) tries to destroy the world economy, among other things…
(Who should watch it again.)
@Buddy H: Maybe the Obama administration has been saving some charges against the Bush administration as security in case Jeb decided to run.
@Violet: It’s more likely that Hillary will do the dirty deed, than the President.
The President still believes he can work with the opposition for the betterment of society.
@I’mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet: I’m partial to ridiculous fluff like “From Justin to Kelly.” Watch with friends. Laugh.
And then there are those for which the terms “bad” or “good” are neither of them properly descriptive. A couple of trailers:
#1 – #2
@jeffreyw: Sooooooo Cute.
“Capital L, small a. Capital F, small o, small n, small g. LaFong. Carl LaFong.”
At some point, I have to finish that series. Just don’t have the time right now. But it was good.
Abbas and Netanyahu in the march.
ABC news co-anchor Dan Harris always reminded me of that character. I always imagine him trying to sell something to W.C. Fields.
France 24 is carrying the unity march that is occurring in the streets of Paris. It’s amazing to see so many world leaders gathered in solitary. Part of me thinks about the security planning that needed to be in place, for the march to occur.
@raven: It’s an amazing picture. The Guardian mentioned that only 19 leaders went to the celebrations at Normandy.
Political media are going to love him.
“Solutions!” “Opportunity!” It’ll be a love-fest.
It’s tragic to watch because they’ll do the same thing they did with his brother- “the Texas Education Miracle” which was 90% bullshit. They’re doing the exact same thing with the Florida Education Miracle, which is also 90% bullshit.
The Texas Education Miracle fell apart fairly quickly after Bush II was elected, but damn. They’re doing it again? Same last name, same bullshit, different state? Wouldn’t you say to yourself “you know, this sounds vaguely familiar, I should check on his claims?”
I realize it was unintentional, but that’s an award-winning malapropism.
@jeffreyw: How Bout That Dawg!!!
@NotMax: Great catch. Eluded me, but LOL.
Glad that AG Holder representing; surprised it’s not Biden. Did anyone say why he’s absent? (Understand Eric Holder is there for talks on security and legal issues; all to the good, but since other nations sent their leaders …)
Gin & Tonic
@JPL: It is fucking obscene to see who is represented: Russia, Bulgaria, Egypt, Turkey — all bastions of free speech. Like the guy from Charlie Hebdo said yesterday, we vomit on you.
Someone should ask Lavrov why Anna Politkovskaya couldn’t join him in honoring dead journalists. Or why two people were arrested in Moscow yesterday for holding up #JeSuisCharlie signs.
Half the leaders marching would eagerly have jailed the dead cartoonists.
I sometimes think maybe the reporters are younger so they really don’t remember Bush I and Bush II? That’s a possibility.
In 2008 we had younger people who didn’t understand why Republicans thought comparing Obama to Jimmy Carter was bad. They only know Carter as the nice man who builds houses for poor people. They were stumped: “do we all hate him? why?”
Yeah, slavering over Jeb Bush, and once the narrative is set, it’s hard to change.
I get so tired of people who don’t like Republicans, or realize how incompetent they are, and STILL won’t support Democrats. It’s always “both parties suck — let’s look at libertarians. Third party!” When they like Democratic policies, when they aren’t presented as “Democratic policies.”
Have great respect for people like John Cole and others who have the courage to step up and change.
@jeffreyw: Gorgeous puppeh. Gonna be a big dog, you think?
@Kay: Agree about some of the reporters being younger.
But that’s why we study history. Hello out there?
Speaking of movies, RIP Anita Ekberg.
Gin & Tonic
@Amir Khalid: What a beautiful woman she was.
You’d have to be well over 50, like me, to remember much about Carter’s presidency, I think.
How ’bout dat dog’s bro!
@Elizabelle: He’s a Great Pyrenees x German Shepherd so the chances are good!
“He Tweets in Spanish!” Ugh. There’s just so much longing among them for a “Republican Party” that hasn’t existed for 30 years. I don’t envy Clinton, I really don’t.
@NotMax: hah. I didn’t catch it, so thanks.
@Gin & Tonic: this
From Amir’s BBC item on Anita Ekberg:
That is a dame.
Time to watch La Dolce Vita. Never saw it. Article says fountain scene was filmed in March, it was freezing, and that Marcello Mastroianni says he drank a bottle of vodka to get through the shooting.
I don’t know- does it even count as “history” if it was 15 years ago?
Rod Paige, the big crazy lies, all of that? Just gone.
I don’t envy us! And that kind of reporting makes me wonder why I have a digital NYTimes sub.
(Answer: I love the nonpolitical reporting.)
This false nostalgia for a past that never existed (see “Tea Party Patriots”) and for a major political party that no longer exists (see Villagers refusing to point out the obvious about Republicans, now soundly conservative) is killing our political present.
I guess the NYTimes is fellating Jeb because the other Republicans (except Mittster) are too horrible to contemplate.
And what might lead to that, NYTimes?
They know. They just don’t want to say. They got a paper and advertising to sell.
Jeb’s East Coast establishment, doncha know?
Howard Beale IV
Moribito was actually shown on Adult Swim many years ago.
@jeffreyw: Those pics are so good for indicating parentage. Each pup takes after a parent. How cute.
@jeffreyw: Another cutie. Love his coloring.
My brother and his wife just got 2 Great Pyrenees (brother and sister). Very cute now at 8 weeks, but…
There is no way in hell that Hillary would go after the Bushes if she became president. She’s the most risk adverse major candidate we ever had and her hands are dirty there since she voted for Bush’s illegal war. As much as I can’t stand the real Hillary, the fantasy Hillary that her supporters have where she stands up to Republicans and fights for what she believes in seems pretty awesome. Then, I remember the only people Hillary stands up for are herself and her family and the only people she fights are fellow Democrats who get in her way.
One of my worries with Hillary as our candidate is that the media narrative is already written for her and the public knows her so well that there is nowhere for her to go but down in polls. Jeb gets this puff piece in the NYT because he isn’t that well-known around the country yet. There just isn’t anything left for the public to know about Hillary and judging from her poor book sales and People cover, people just aren’t interested in knowing any more about Hillary.
@jeffreyw: A knucklehead!
Haven’t read the NYTimes article on Jeb!, but the reader comments are amusing. And they haven’t forgotten W, the 2000 debacle, or Terry Schiavo.
And here’s another reader take:
ETA: Damn. The word “Schiavo” never appears in Michael Barbaro’s NYTimes article. Not once.
The series I’m watching right now is Wakfu which is not strictly an anime (because it was produced by the French) but has very similar sensibilities. It’s aimed at a young kids demographic (around age 8), but it’s still thoroughly enjoyable. And I get to work on my French while I watch.
Gin & Tonic
@JPL: Here you go:
Egypt’s Foreign Minister is marching in Paris today.
Fucking hypocrites, the lot of them.
@askew: Then who? The news media’s motto is all the news the corporate overlords allow us to print.
whoops.. double post
In pop culture news, actor Taylor Negron passed away from cancer at age 57.
So long Mr. Pizza Guy.
a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q)
@jeffreyw: Adorable, the both of them. I thought the white guy looked like a wee Pyr pup, then the brindle(ish) bro shows the cross, since he’s got looks from mom and dad.
@NotMax: I like the concept of anime but the execution leaves me cold; the characters all look like they’ve been to the eye doctor and had those drops put in their eyes.
It’s not, technically, anime but I liked Samurai Jack and was sorry the proposed movie never came off. Jack was on the wrong channel. Its fans were mostly teenage and adult women–not surprising, since the actor playing Jack had the sexiest voice in show business–but it was on Cartoon Network, whose target audience was 2-10-year-old boys. Had it been on A &E or Bravo it would probably have lasted much longer.
@Kay: Jeb felt obligated to become fluent in 2 languages since his brother couldn’t even master one.
@debbie: These are 6 or 7 weeks old, per Mrs J. Here’s a girl from the same litter.
We are nearing the end of our umpteenth viewing of Full Metal Alchemist, which is as good as Moribito in a lot of ways. We have Moribito, and have watched it, but not several times, as we have the FMA series. Our oldest is here (leaving tomorrow to go back to Vermont), and has requested her own copy of this. The series in its entirety is available only as a Region 2 (UK) set, but we gave her a multi-region player long ago, so it will work for her. She and I were just discussing the lines between one of the characters and Dante. It has hidden depths. Check out its wiki pages.
Mushishi is a good series as well, but not as easy to watch for our youngest, quite serious. Today I ordered the Claymore series. We are up to our eyes here in Anime, every one of us watch it quite happily, but we have very different tastes in movies that are not anime.
@cosima: FMA and Death Note are the only anime series I could ever get into. I don’t know why. But you can add me to the list of people who like animation but who are relatively estranged from anime. It probably has to do with the coding.
the anti bob
Yes. Moribito was great. My daughter dressed as Balsa for Halloween a few years ago. This year it’s Korra. Mushishi was excellent and beautifully drawn. Too bad Monster doesn’t seem to be available for streaming anywhere. Watched it on Netflix a few years ago. An exceptional story for grownup anime fans.
@jeffreyw: @jeffreyw: Oh, my gosh! Each one you show is cuter than the next! I am sure they will all live happily ever after.
@Anne Laurie: World Trigger is just okay. I’d give it a miss if I were you. Mushishi (both seasons) is one of my favorite Anime of all time – so calm, such great pacing – it’s a great change of pace to the typical over-the-top anime madness!
I recommend Steins:Gate and Samurai Champloo if you haven’t seen them!
Bob In Portland
Apparently, terrorists have small pockets because they are always losing their IDs. Anyone remember the story of Mo Atta’s ID turning up on the streets of NYC?
Gin & Tonic
@Bob In Portland: Yay, Pepe again. Is he writing his own material now, or still plagiarizing?
Don’t understand the fascination for anime. It is just cartoons. I gave up cartoons when I was 12. However, I do enjoy an occasional Bugs Bunny or Roadrunner cartoon.
There may not be a greatest movie ever (Fight Club? The Big Lebowski? something else? who can tell) but the greatest anime ever is Akira. Just cartoons? And what’s wrong with cartoons? Archer? South Park? Two of the best shows on the air…)
@Porco Rosso: Try this: http://anilinkz.com/series/paranoia-agent
I’m so sorry I saw an anime thread late. There’s some good stuff coming up for the winter season, namely new series of Aldnoah Zero and Tokyo Ghoul. Junketsu no Maria (Maria The Virgin Witch) looks promising, and of course Yuri Kuma Arashi, the new one from Kunihiko Ikuhara. If you are familiar with his other stuff, Revolutionary Girl Utena and Mawaru Penguindrum, you know it’s going to be pretty wild.
Hulu has really gone into anime in a big way- the even have more obscure/edgy titles like Aoi Hana (Sweet Blue Flowers) and Simoun.
Does anybody else like Yamato 2199? I dread what Voyager will do to it since they have the rights to domestic distribution. Luckily, it’s findable on a lot of your free streaming services (like Anilinx). http://anilinkz.com/series/uchuu-senkan-yamato-space-battleship-yamato-2199
@Bonnie: I’m not sure what we’re supposed to do with this incredible revelation, that you don’t understand people liking a medium you know nothing about because you haven’t interacted with it at all since you were 12. Or at all in your whole life maybe even, since you seem to be equating all animation with Tex Avery cartoons, which suggests you might never have watched any anime at all.
A recent anime series I particularly liked was Hozuki no Reitetsu, basically a middle manager of Hell (Hozuki) abusing his erstwhile boss the dimwitted Great Judge King Yama and keeping everything running smoothly despite staffing shortages, lack of capital investment etc. Those souls won’t torture themselves, you know and good help is hard to find.
Such an awesome puppy name!