SD Comic Con is better than Superbowl for movie trailers, so this week we will briefly skip the Saturday night music posts I normally do in honor of showing off a few of them. The first is from the next generation of the Potter franchise, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the second Wonder Woman, and the third from Justice League, which seems to have no official web site quite yet. All three of those were Warner Bros. with the last 2 being DC Comics; we also get some from Marvel and Netflix, including Iron Fist and Luke Cage. There are a ton of other good ones as well, I will be fighting the urge to keep posting them, but I don’t know how well I will do with that.
We are only 3 episodes into the fall season, and already Taboo Tattoo has me looking forward to the new episode each Monday when I get home from work. The Tattoos are technology from an ancient civilization, each with a special power they give the wearer, a specific trigger that activates them, and a price they exact in return for the abilities they grant. The protagonist is a middle school kid who ended up being given his tattoo when he stepped in to defend a stranger from some street punks. He was promptly tracked down by a couple of American Army tattoo wielders. They had been tasked with locating a group of stolen tattoos and were hot on the heels of the man he had defended. There is also a psycho princess who just used her tattoo to murder her parents and take over the government of her island nation, as a stepping stone to world domination. She has agents with powers going to other countries to kill off the gifted and bring their tattoos back to equip her army. And that’s just in the first 2 episodes; it’s going to be a wild ride!
There are a number of good choices this week, starting with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, DC’s first group superhero outing. For a more mundane conflict, the Thai/Hong Kong film Kill Zone 2 is about an undercover cop and the crime boss he is trying to bring down. If you are looking for something noticeably lighter with a positive attitude, Underdogs may be the animated feature film for you (yes, this is a re-release of the 2013 feature animation, but so few people in the US know about it I thought it was worth mentioning again). There is also an interesting documentary: Outatime is the story about how a group of fans teamed up with a movie executive to save the most famous DeLorean ever, the one from Back To The Future. There are even a couple of Music oriented docudramas in the form of Miles Ahead and Elvis & Nixon. If there were regular TV genre releases this week they slipped right past me.
Anime brings Yona of the Dawn: Part 2, with the princess chasing the dragons and preparing to take her country back by force. This is an enjoyable series that throws a few anime tropes on their heads while fully embracing others, and overall I like it. A Certain Magical Index II: Complete Collection brings another 24 episodes of science based magic excitement onto the small screen, with an encoded grimoire containing catastrophic magic stolen by persons unknown, and the Science Society restarting a program to create a generation of people with a range of psychic abilities (see A Certain Scientific Railgun for the details of how that is going).
Plastic Memories Volume 1 is a beautiful trans-species love story about a human and android, but at $10 per 23 minute episode for the first half of the story, it is way overpriced; I will enjoy it on streamy until someone puts it out more reasonably. Likewise, Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie – Part 1: Beginnings / Part 2: Eternal, the first two feature films of the franchise, will require you to pay $1 for every 3.5 minutes that you watch (and that’s at the discounted off of list price), but that is at least a bit better than the previous title.
On the flip side of that coin, Fractale – The Complete Series and Kamisama Kiss: Season 1 are both coming out in a S.A.V.E. edition, so they will be more cost effective than ever to add to your collection.
Ghostbusters is the obvious movie choice this weekend, but not the only one. Phantom Boy is a French animated feature film noir presentation in which a boy with superpowers trapped in a wheelchair helps a policeman (also trapped in a wheelchair) attempt to bring down a mob boss. This is from the folks who made A Cat In Paris, a truly amazing animation; you can expect that same level of quality here.
The 1991 Studio Ghibli classic Only Yesterday is finally being released in North America this week, so our 25 year wait is over. Directed by Isao Takahata and produced by Hayao Miyazaki, everything I have read about this says it is full of the kind of emotional storytelling and beautiful animation Ghibli is famous for. GKids had a hand in getting it finally released here, and they have another one coming out this week: Alê Abreu’s Academy Award-nominated Boy and the World. This is a Brazilian animation which tells its story without a single word being spoken; instead it is propelled with a soundscape of Samba Hip-Hop. It won over 40 awards world wide and was nominated for many, many more, and is often described as the most vibrant and beautiful animation of 2015. There is a live action film this week as well, Stephen Chow’s The Mermaid (Mei Ren Yu), in which a tycoon buys a marine wildlife preserve to develop, not knowing it is the habitat of a Mer colony. He uses sonar to cripple and kill the wildlife, and they fight back by sending a beautiful mermaid who has learned to walk on her fins and pass as human to kill him. Yes, this is another Romantic Comedy from the man who brought us Shaolin Soccer and Kung Fu Hustle, and also it became the highest-grossing Chinese film of all time on February 19th of this year.
In Anime Empire of Corpses is based on an award winning novel by Project Itoh (real name Satoshi Itō), and it is the first story of a trilogy. In an alternate and very steampunk timeline medical student John Watson is trying to duplicate the results achieved by Dr. Victor Frankenstein in order to reanimate his dead friend. In Parasyte -the maxim: Collection 2 humanity has finally become aware of the shape shifting alien invaders, and the shadow war has begun. And while the invading predators may be fearsome warriors one on one, Mankind hunts in packs. Naruto Shippūden Uncut DVD set 27 brings episodes 336 through 348 home this week, I think the episode currently streaming from Japan is 465 or so.
Besides the new releases, a number of previously released titles are coming out with new purchasing options. Sekirei + Sekirei: Pure Engagement puts the entire 26 episodes in a single box set for about the price a single season ran before. Guilty Crown: Complete Collection is also now available as a single box set, but the price I have seen at most places means you can get it for less by buying season 1 and 2 separately; that may change by Tuesday, so do a little comparison shopping for this one. Both Aquarion Evol: Complete Collection and Karneval: Complete Series are coming out in S.A.V.E. editions, meaning you can pick them up for under $20 each if you shop around a little.
Kung Fu Panda 3 almost had this week’s western Movie and TV section to itself, and is coming out both as a stand alone film and bundled either with the first two films, or with them and three other discs filled with all the KFP Short Films they have spun off, depending on where you shop. I consider the Kung Fu Panda trilogy one of the finest animation series ever made, an excellent story self contained in each movie forming an arc that ties them all together, combined with some of the most beautiful animation work I have ever seen. It is in multiple styles, each one used to tell a different aspect of the story, and it was created by teams of animators working in both China and the US. The really exciting part? We are only half way through the project, there are a total of 6 films planned to tell the complete story. The other film coming out this week is Elstree 1976, a behind the scenes look at the teams who have worked on Star Wars.
In Anime, Den-noh Coil: Collection 1 i the first 13 episodes of a story about young people who have spent their whole lives wearing augmented reality glasses, tying them into layers of the world not available to the un-enhanced. But when they end up in Daikoku City, the e-space turns sinister, and some people may have already died trying to figure out what is going on there. Hakuoki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom: Wild Dance of Kyoto takes place in historic Kyoto, where the Shinsengumi battle for control of the country with the vampire-like Ronin, and a woman may hold the key to victory in the form of an elixir that grants superhuman speed, strength, and healing. Selector Spread Wixoss is the next dozen episodes of the Selector series, as Ruko fights for answers and to rescue her friends inside the game. Yurikuma Arashi: Complete Series is a story of love, loss, and bear attacks featuring the heavily armed women who attack them. It takes place in a parallel time line where humans share the planet with sentient bears with a taste for human flesh. Finally we get One Piece: Collection 16, bringing us episodes 373 through 396 of the continuing pirate saga.