• Céline

    Céline

    ★★★★½

    I woke up today not wanting to be alive. I'm feeling a little better now.

    More thoughts on this to come.

  • The Island Closest to Heaven

    The Island Closest to Heaven

    ★★★★½

    The Island Closest to Heaven - a place where no one has ever died. The souls of our loved ones drift through the air, making themselves just barely visible through the soft light of the setting sun. You can hear their words in the waves, telling you to live on in their spirit. Make friends, find love, and above all, be kind. You can't forget the past because the past hasn't forgotten you. Live with it, move forward, and make…

  • Hunch

    Hunch

    Neat!

  • Kenya Boy

    Kenya Boy

    ★★★½

    Kinda awesome ngl. I had my reservations going in considering this is the only animated effort from Ōbayashi, but it ended up being a lot of fun! First and foremost, the animation is soooooo good. I didn't know what the production quality was going to be like beforehand, but this didn't disappoint in the slightest. I don't think there's a single frame you could skip to here that isn't visually appealing in some way. From there, everything clicked into place…

  • The Deserted City

    The Deserted City

    ★★★★

    Almost feels like you're drifting down one of the various canals of Yanagawa until you slowly find yourself submerged underwater. Only once you get out do you realize that swimming around wasn't too bad, but the cold air has set in, and you know it'll get worse if you jump back in. Fortunately, though, you still remember what it was like to be there, even if you didn't really enjoy it. It might not matter to you now, but it'll…

  • The Little Girl Who Conquered Time

    The Little Girl Who Conquered Time

    ★★★★

    Kinda unbelievable in the way it glides through time, handpicking moments to focus on purely based on their emotional and sensorial qualities. The smell of lavender, the vague nostalgia of childhood, the desire for a love that transcends time, etc. Here, all of Kazuko's memories, ongoing experiences, and hopes for the future exist on the same plane, slowly overlapping onto one another and forming new, intangible connections at every turn. It's difficult to put into words since it relies so heavily on the viewer to form a sort of ineffable bond with it, so I'll just say that it made me really happy :)

  • Lovely Devils

    Lovely Devils

    ★★★½

    Don't really have much to say here, but it's astounding how consistently effective and competent Ōbayashi's films are. Even for a relatively minor work (which I'm only labeling as such because it's a TV movie), it's so goddamn audacious in pretty much every way. The premise is insane, the visuals are phenomenal even if they're a bit subdued by comparison, and the darker angle it takes is really moving, revealing an emotional core that's more blatantly tragic than anything he…

  • I Are You, You Am Me

    I Are You, You Am Me

    ★★½

    Ehhhh kind of an odd case here. While the goal is obviously to create a tender depiction/satirization of gender politics in youth, the perspective this commentary comes from is an antiquated one, which kind of leaves a sour taste when viewing it through a modern lens. It's largely meant to be about the emotions that both of these characters experience once they've been forced to live in another person's body, but only one side seems to have any negative feelings…

  • School in the Crosshairs

    School in the Crosshairs

    ★★★★

    That moment when you watch a movie and smile :)

  • The Adventures of Kosuke Kindaichi

    The Adventures of Kosuke Kindaichi

    ★★★★

    Simply one of the most fun experiences I've had watching a movie. There's a certain point (and I don't think I could pin it down if I tried) where this essentially becomes a purely emotional and borderline euphoric experience. The plot points blend together, all of the comedic moments land way harder than they ever should, and every bit of personality - every touch of surrealism or insane visual flair - floods your brain with a truly absurd amount of…

  • Ritual

    Ritual

    ★★★★★

    I woke up today feeling the need to watch this. I'm not sure why. I haven’t even been thinking about it recently. I'm not sure what this meant to me the first time. I couldn't even remember all that much about it. Some things just call out to you sometimes, and I know I would've felt awful if I didn't answer. I had this feeling sitting in the back of my head that it was important. It is.

    I haven't…

  • Take Me Away!

    Take Me Away!

    ★★★

    Not much to say here since this is pretty standard and unusually conventional for Ōbayashi, but I had a good time! The narrative is kinda incohesive at points (especially towards the end), but it never actually bothered me that much. Some scenes just feel like they were added in for the sake of it, but they're all cute/fun enough to get a pass from me. Has enough of that Signature Oba Vibe to make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, and that's all that matters tbh.

    Also, the lead actress has some of the best hair I've ever seen jfc