Sunday, 25 September 2016

When Bambi Saw the Heart of Darkness: Review of Ringing Bell (1978 anime)

People think so little of children’s minds. When talking of children’s movies, any tone bleaker than perpetual cheer is ‘dark’. Into the Woods is ‘dark’. The NeverEnding Story is ‘dark’. How fragile do they think children are? No, Ringing Bell is dark. Not dark like Pixar – dark like Animal Farm. With a childlike style the movie explores the cruelty of nature.

Chirin’s mother warns him about the wolf. Chirin must never cross their pasture’s fence, for the wolf would gobble up a little lamb like him. True to his promise, Chirin stays within the pasture, but for nothing. The wolf breaks into their barn at night, slaughtering Chirin’s mother, before stealing away. Chirin vows he will train under the wolf, so, one day, he may escape the law of nature which decrees lambs must die. 

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Review: Yona of the Dawn Ep. 1-12 (2014-5 anime)

Yona of the Dawn does not prioritise excitement, nor intrigue, nor even adventure, but the show holds the viewer’s attention. The series front-loads the action and kingdom-rending politics, but those high-stakes keep to the background in the second act. Yona focuses on its growing party of adventurers and their internal struggles, at least for the first half of the series.

Yona is princess of the Kingdom of Kouka. Her two closest friends are her bodyguard, Hak, and her childhood friend, Soo-Won. Sheltered since birth, she is shattered by a coup. Soo-Won kills the King, her father, for the throne. Yona and Hak escape with their lives. To retake the kingdom, they search the Kingdom for four dragon warriors, the reincarnations of their Kingdom’s mythological founders.