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.
Oh My Ghostess is a Korean Supernatural RomCom/Dramedy which jumps into episode one with a wonderful setup. In the opening sequence, we have the police picking up yet another dead body in a long string of men that appear to have been frozen to death during a heat wave. That’s the only police procedural type action during the initial episode, but we do see the cops again later in a more domestic setting, and it is obvious they will play a major part in the story line going forward. The next scene introduces both our ghost protagonist and our living girl protagonist, their first encounter setting the tone for further interactions. Then we get introduced to all the other characters in their various settings, central to which is a team of cooks running a highly rated restaurant, a foodie blogger, an exorcist, and an entire community of ghosts who do not approve of Ms Ghostess’s approach to being less than alive. We also get to meet a wonderful range of supporting characters, all of them interesting and having the potential of being elevated to the main plot sequence depending on which way the writers decide to go. While I have only seen a single episode of this so far, I think it has a lot of potential, and I can’t wait to see what happens next. The entire series ran this summer and is only 16 hours long, so you should be able to complete it in a single weekend if Oh My Ghostess turns out to be something you enjoy.
For action we have The Purge: Anarchy is the sequel to The Purge, with a simple premise: for half a day all crime goes without punishment. This distopia does allow for some pretty exciting footage on the screen as the various protagonists attempt to survive the night, without having to remake Escape From New York yet again. Which allows them the dubious honor of remaking their own movie instead, which was probably inspired by Escape From LA. If you prefer family friendly animated silliness with your fantasy adventures, Planes: Fire & Rescue might be the choice for you this week. The animation work is quite well done, but somehow the planes/cars franchise hasn’t really engaged me, I think because they are a little too heavy handed with their story lines. If you are looking for a film to share with your kids, this is definitely your best choice. Finally, some theaters will get Mood Indigo, a romantic fantasy about an inventor who finally falls in love with a woman, only to discover she is dying from flowers growing in her lungs. I had to grin at the mouse sidekick to the chef, at the very minimum. If this one is playing near me, it will be getting my money as the best film option available. Strangely enough, although the movie is French/Belgium, the working home page I found for it is in Japan; there is also a US Outlet Home Page. The two other films from this director I really enjoyed were The Science of Sleep and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and this looks like it might be just as good as either of those.