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Something to Watch: Discs

Movies have The Divergent Series: Allegiant, which was the final book of the trilogy but only the third out of four films. Like certain other books-into-movies series, they broke the final volume out into two films. There is something to be said for the argument that there was too much going on in the book to tell the story in a single feature length presentation, but the same is true of every book ever converted. Which tends to lend weight to those who argue that it is greed on the part of the movie companies, trying to milk every last buck out of the audience, which causes the last book in a series to be broken in two. I wasn’t able to find any other genre movies or TV shows this week, although Road Games is dystopian enough to be considered (no direct relation to the 1981 Hitchcock classic of the same name, but it was certainly an influence).

We do noticeably better in Anime, beginning with the Osamu Tezuka classic masterpiece Belladonna of Sadness, which has never before been released in the US. The artwork, animation, and soundtrack have to be experienced to be understood, much as the films contemporaries, Fantastic Planet and Wizards, were unique in ways that made them difficult to describe. A bit of caution is appropriate, because this feature presentation is nothing like Astro Boy or Tezuka’s other kid-friendly works. The original Belladonna was not for children, and this release is unrated, but it is probably somewhere between a hard R to a soft X if it is uncut, with a distinctly feminist plot line.

In more current anime, A Good Librarian Like a Good Shepherd is the story of a boy who is the only member of his schools Library Club, until the mysterious Shepherd sends him a text message, enabling him to rescue a girl. Her joining the club is just the first step in what turns out to be a somewhat supernatural progression of events. Speaking of supernatural, Rin-Ne 1 contains the first 13 episodes of the Anime about half-Shinigami Rinne Rokudo. Based on world famous Rumiko Takahashi’s Manga series Rinne of the Boundary, it tells how Sakura Mamiya meets and befriends Rin-ne as he works to help the spirits of the departed overcome their regrets and move on to the Wheel of Reincarnation. The Manga, which has been continuously published since its inception in 2009, hit the 30 volume mark last April, and as of this week the Anime is up to episode 39.

In Yatterman Night, 40 years ago a pair of heroes known as the Yatterman defeated a dangerous gang threatening the population of their country, and went on to rule it and protect them. But their descendants are oppressing the nation now, using that population for forced labor, and the descendant of the gang leader steps up to be this generations hero. This is the latest installment to the anime franchise, which stretches back to its initial episode in January of 1977, and was itself the sequel to the earlier series Time Bokan. Finally, Robotics;Notes: Complete Series is being released in a S.A.V.E. edition, which means you will be able to pick up the whole thing for less than a single season went for when it first came out.

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