Wolf Children Ame and Yuki (Ōkami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki) is beautiful movie by director Hosoda Mamoru, the director behind The Girl Who Leapt Back Through Time and Summer Wars, which are two other films that are worth watching. This movie is worth watching as well.
I am going to post spoilers about the movie from here on out, it’s just impossible for me to discuss it properly without going into spoilers right from the beginning. But long story short – movie is definitely worth watching.
The movie deals with nature a whole lot. The movie begins as the story of Hana, a young college student who meets a boy whom she discovers is a werewolf, they become a couple, have two kids, and then he dies. From then on out the story becomes Hana raising the children, and then the children’s lives, Hana’s life, and how they affect one another. The children are werewolves too. They don’t really go hulking man-wolf smash mode, but they can choose to be either in human form or in male form, for the most part.
The movie really does revolve about the relationship of its characters with nature; after being uanble to live in the city with the children who can’t control the shape they’re in, the costs, and other hardships, Hana takes the children to an abandoned house in a small rural town next to a mountain, and creates that as her home. Hana “Returns to nature” – she grows her own vegetables, she lives next to a mountain occupied by wildlife, she has to ride her bicycles for 30 minutes before encountering her neighbours, and other classic markings of such an act (it’s also the town where her husband the werewolf had been raised). Towards the end of the film she also joins the wildlife preservation group as a ranger, more or less.
Nearly twenty years ago, I’ve read The Hobbit by John R. R. Tolkien. Some of the thoughts I’ve had with regards to The Hobbit also held when it came to The Lord of the Rings – terribly uneven pacing. You have 20 interesting pages, 20 boring pages, 40 interesting pages, 80 boring pages… the boring parts often have long swathes of travel where nothing happens in plot, and serve more as atmosphere setters.
One of the best things about The Lord of the Rings movies was that the pacing was a lot better, and most of the slower paced things were either story-integral or were done away in the form of a montage with exhilarating music.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journeyu, sadly, had decided to do away with some of these things I think of as improvements. If I remember correctly then The Hobbit had been supposed to be a two-movie deal, but ended up being a three-movie deal. Not only this meant they had been given time to show us things that they could have, well, not glossed over, but given less time to, we’ve also received a lot of “extraneous” content. Things that are part of Tolkien’s Middle Earth‘s world, but which did not appear in the original book.
Unlike some other shows which use someone being shut-in as a comic relief or to show how weird they are (mostly with secondary characters), or as a setup for an uplifting story where the main character learns to overcome their problems and joins the productive life in society without a lot of trouble and effort, Welcome to the NHK stands as a more serious reflection of the issue, where the return to society and the trials and tribulations this puts in front of the characters are serious and hard to overcome. Unlike shows where someone being a NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) and/or Hikikomori (shut-in – someone who doesn’t leave his home) is used as a characterization of a character, here it is the crux of the main character’s story.
One of the things that actually made me think of the show is a recent discussion of Game of Thrones I’ve read after the now-infamous Rains of Castamere episode (As a book-reader, I’ve waited very long for this episode to come out so I could discuss it with people); many stories build heroes – they have them fall only for their inevitable return/revenge later on. Game of Thrones and Welcome to the NHK don’t do that – you fall down because life is tough. You fall down, and the story is allowed to be sad. You fall down, and no one guarantees you will later rise from it.
Welcome to the NHK gives a much more mature treatment of human emotions, especially those who run the negative gamut.
(This is a Things I Like post, it’s not a review, but more a discussion of the show and of ideas that have risen in my mind as I’ve watched it. There will be light spoilers in this post. This anime is based on a novel by the same name by Tatsuhiko Takimoto).
In November I had a birthday, I’ve decided to buy a Sony Playstation Vita for myself as a birthday gift. Amazon had a nice Black Friday sale for the Vita – which might have pushed me to decide to buy myself a birthday gift, rather than going out there looking for a Vita and there happening to be a sale.
Amazon, for those who don’t know, won’t ship electronics to most countries outside of North America, and certainly doesn’t ship them to Israel. So, I’ve decided to use a deputy service, Buy2USA, an Israeli deputy service that has a very handy tool for ordering from Amazon – so long you order from Amazon, they tell you in advance exactly how much you will pay for the product, the shipping, the handling charges and the taxes – you know in advance the full sum you are expected to pay.
The product arrived, and all was well and good, but then I checked, and as part of the order I was supposed to receive codes for 3 months’ worth of PS+, and a code to download Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale, basically Sony’s answer to Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros. – I did not receive these codes. The one downside to ordering via Buy2USA from Amazon directly using the aforementioned method is that the account used to make the orders isn’t your account – it is theirs. So, these codes were supposed to be sent via email, but not to my account, but the deputy service’s.
Steins;Gate is based on a visual novel, which may explain some of the idiosyncrasies that I’ve noticed and which weirded me out while watching the show. Not all of them, mind, since some of them are probably there to keep you off your feet. A visual novel for those who don’t know is a video game which is basically a “choose your own adventure” but with less input/the choices usually being more social in nature – it is a novel told visually with some input from the user. It’s predominantly Japanese, and very often the games are romantic/erotic in nature.
The cast of Steins;Gate
In fact, one of the first things I noticed in the show, but at first I didn’t pay it much mind was that the main character was surrounded by women when the opening song ended, after a few episodes when I’ve realized this is a show about time-travel, alternate realities and conspiracies, this had become somewhat perplexing – why are so many characters of the cast women? Why is there basically one male surrounded by so many girls (the other male is a caricature for “unattractive”) in a non-romantic/romantic-comedy show?
(This is a Things I Like post, it’s not a review, but more a discussion of the show and of ideas that have risen in my mind as I’ve watched it. I will probably spoil major plot points in this post.)