Vampire Knight Wall Scroll (31 x 43 in): Guilty
Recent reviews of titles here:Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie -Rebellion- DVD (Hyb)
Michael Hayes - Apr 13 2015
Beautifully presented, but infuriating character writing dooms this movie
PMMM: The Rebellion continues the story of an anime that had one of the most perfect conclusions ever, which is the foundation of most of this film's problems.
In this film, the main characters from the series, including some that shouldn't be present according to the previous series, find themselves having a grand old time hunting 'Nightmares', indulging in lavish, extended 'magical girl' transformation sequences, and having tea-time children's song parties (yes, seriously), with nary a hint of darkness in sight, until Homura starts to notice that something isn't quite right.
To be clear, if you haven't seen the original show (or the 2 compilation films, there's no real difference between the two), you will get nothing out of 'Rebellion'; this movie is clearly intended for fans of the original story and does not stand on its own. However, as i'll explain in non-spoiler fashion, this intended love letter to PMMM fans could only conceivably infuriate those very fans.
The first hour is decidedly jarring, leaving those coming directly from the original series wondering "Why is this character here all of the sudden? Why is nothing consistent with the ending of the series?" This is eventually explained, but the film takes its sweet time in doing so. The middle hour of the film is easily the strongest part, where Homura investigates why the world suddenly feels wrong, and comes to suitably shocking conclusions. The setup for this situation feels slightly contrived, but it works. The themes that Urobuchi, the original PMMM writer, put into the original series are on full display here; self-sacrifice, friendship, and solitude, and at this point the writing should leave even the most cynical of hearts with moist eyes. However, there are 25 infuriating minutes left to go.
Despite having a perfectly adequate ending to this movie 90 minutes in, it continues for 25 minutes of an inexplicable and completely out-of-character personality twist bordering on character assassination, all for sequel bait to a film that I earnestly hope never comes. I can honestly say that the ending to this film had me more angry than any anime I've ever watched before; it feels like the producers locked Urobuchi in a closet, dug up the corpse of PMMM, and tried to replicate the emotional twists of the series, but failed so spectacularly that my memories of the original are now tainted. I honestly don't know how this draft was approved; it's hard to believe anyone who understood why anyone liked the original series had a say with how this movie ended. I won't spoil the twist i'm referring to, but let's just say this film could have been titled 'PMMM: The Heel Turn'.
On a more positive note, this film is absolutely gorgeous. The animation is fluid and inventive, and replicates the inventive animation of the original series' labyrinths. At times, this almost feels like an arthouse film, which is not a criticism. The dub is excellent, just as in the original show, and the soundtrack is solid without being distracting (which is what every OST should be). Writing aside, Rebellion is never uninteresting or boring to look at.
I find it difficult to recommend this film to people who loved the original series. The movie is beautiful to look at and the middle act has some good writing and emotional highs, but the ending is absolutely maddening. Watching this has honestly hampered my enjoyment of the original series, now that i know what the canonical continuation of its perfect conclusion is. True PMMM zealots will likely buy this anyway, but consider yourself warned.
Naruto Illustrations Art Book (Color)
Savanna D. Kivimaki - Apr 13 2015
Very beautiful and intricate art, often exploiting the relationships of the characters. Fantastically done.