Posts Tagged ‘Anime’


Afro Samurai tries to blend American westerns with Japanese samurai mythos and a tale of revenge. The series looks good, it does after all have quite a budget (as having Samuel L. Jackson voicing the protagonist proves), but I felt it lacked depth. The series is comparatively short with only six episodes but I felt there was not enough content, even for such a small amount.

Samuel L. Jackson plays the part of Afro Samurai, a man looking to avenge his father. In the center of the story is a contest for the strongest warrior of them all, called Number 1. The one who owns the title can only be challenged by Number 2, who anyone can try to kill. Both Number 1 and 2 are required to wear headbands signifying their status. In the beginning Afro Samurai’s father, who holds the title of Number 1, is challenged and killed by a mysterious Number 2. The tale of Afro Samurai is the age old one of revenge. When it comes to plot you can expect no surprises.

Screenshot Studio capture #158

The style of Afro Samurai is very dark, almost completely black and white with occasional colors, especially in flashbacks from Afro’s youth. I found the bleakness of the animation and the purposefully ugly characters tiring. This may have something to do with Afro’s character as well. He hardly speaks at all, letting his companion do all the talking for him.

Samuel L. Jackson does a good job voicing Afro’s friend. The way he does it purposefully way over the top, which is sadly the case for the rest of the characters as well. For some reason almost everyone overacts in Afro Samurai. Especially some of the old men had me annoyed, mostly because they didn’t sound convincing. This might be something to do with how the characters have been written. Most of them are very flat and one-sided. None of them had my sympathy at any point, I just could not come to care about what happens to Afro or his friend.

As a good side, the action scenes are occasionally fun to watch. But the weakness of the characters and the clicheyed plot dropped the impact of the action as well. In the end I was happy the series only lasted for six episodes, and even they contained a lot of filler that didn’t really have anything to do with the plot. For me Afro Samurai felt like a trail of drudgery.

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I watched Miyazakis movie Spirited Away tonight and thought I’d post on Mr Miyazaki and how certain things seem to reoccur in all or most of his movies.


First off all there’s always a flying scene in his movies. He probably only put a dragon in Spirited Away so he could make Chihiro fly on him. What’s cool about the flying scenes in my opinion is the ground below which is always beautifully drawn. The movement on things in his movies is also superb. Haku looks like he could really fly even though he doesn’t have any wings, well, okay it is magic world.


This isn’t true about all his movies but at least in Spirited Away there’s so many weird creatures that at times you just wonder what just passed across the screen. Also noticeable in the end is the hamster and the bird carrying him. In my opinion their only function is to provide some humour during the more quiet end part of the movie. In the train the little guys lighten the mood a lot by doing pretty ridiculous looking stuff. My Neighbour Totoro also has all kinds of little and cute things. That seems to recur in other anime movies and series also. Hmmm, perhaps the Japanese like cute stuff…


Thirdly what I noticed in Spirited Away was the amount of screen time given to pretty mundane and boring stuff that in another film would probably have been left out. As in the scene where Chihiro goes down the stairs. Miyazaki makes this very exciting. When she actually gets down, her hopping is beautifully filmed, even opening the door is wholly filmed.


Nature and what pollution is doing to it is powerfully pictured in some of Miyazakis movies, especially in his first one. Giving a bath to the River God is my favourite scene in the movie. The filmography in it is simply wonderfull. Chihiro giving a bath is a very brave thing to do and when she succeeds everyone accepts her, hoah, wonderful. What’s troubling the river god is people polluting his river. The amount of stuff inside the god is simply amazing. He seems to be very relieved listening to the sound of delight he makes after all the trash is out of him. Wish all pollution could be dealt with in this fashion. We never are told what Yubaba does with the trash, perhaps throws it into the sea? Wouldn’t put it below the old bitch.

Can you think of anything else that is common in Miyazaki’s films?

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