Breakfast At Tiffany’s Review

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It’s time to look at a classic romance film from back in the day. Like many iconic titles this one doesn’t hold up well though and instead serves as a cautionary reminder that you should always be careful when leaving the friend zone. Holly appears to be a rather suspect individual who is a bad influence from the start, but Paul is intrigued and determined to learn more about her. This begins the roller coaster of emotions for both characters leaving the viewer wondering if Paul would have been happier if he had stuck to his novels.

The film starts with Paul moving to New York. He is ready to hit it big in the city, but has unfortunately forgotten his keys. Fortunately, he is able to get into the building and decides to try his luck with the neighbor downstairs. Holly lets him in, but her house is a mess and she’s half asleep. Paul immediately loses interest in making a call to get his keys and just follows her around the house listening to her life story. Fortunately his decorator shows up to save him. That night Holly shows up from the window at the dead of night and Paul fortunately wakes up in time to prevent himself from being robbed since she made a lot of noise. Still, she wants to be friends and Paul sees no harm in that. Can this pair really get things to work or are they doomed?

Right away Paul should have seen the numerous red flags. For starters, Holly is used to using men for their money. All she cares about is being rich and she doesn’t mind doing just about anything to get higher social status. He learns this through her huge parties and how many crazy acquaintances she has. Holly even got married to someone in the south and he has come back to bring her home. He hears her insulting everyone behind their backs and reveals her true nature to him since they’re friends, but he somehow doesn’t think she does the same about him once he leaves. He gets pretty upset multiple times, but always comes back for more since she manages to apologize the next day.

This is why the romance never works from the start. It’s really just him following after her the whole time when she simply isn’t interested. She does say she would be interested if he was rich, but he isn’t. You think there could be a twist where he is rich, but that would have made Holly look even more suspect if they had gotten together after that. As it stands, even in the final 5-10 minutes of the film she wants nothing to do with him and is constantly trying to push him away. She just has a change of heart in the final 2 minutes since she simply doesn’t want to be alone. This is not the basis for quick a quality romance is created.

Furthermore, Holly is just a terrible character. Well, I’ve already explained most of the reasons. Her violent mood swings make her blame everyone but herself as well and this includes her cat. She leaves the cat stranded in a back alley while there is a downpour going on. Paul heads back for the cat after stopping for a few minutes to deliver a “harsh” but fake speech as he still immediately accepts Holly once she returns. They find the cat so at least that’s good but it can’t forgive that act of cruelty. Holly would not have gone back for the cat if Paul didn’t stop so her character was utterly irredeemable by this point.

Holly’s supposed to be rather scatterbrained, but it’s taken to an extreme. She also appears to be very naive while also being portrayed as street smart in other aspects which doesn’t mesh very well. I can’t say Paul is a good character either though. For one, he’s quite nosy. He is ensnared by Holly way too quickly and even against his better judgment. Paul should have just left well enough alone instead of getting involved in her affairs. I still think more warning bells should have gone off when she broke into his house and this is exactly why you should bolt your windows if you have a fire escape. It’s just not safe.

The film also juggles quite a few plots and background elements that don’t really go anywhere. We have the whole mafia angle where they are tricking Holly into delivering drug routes and secrets across the border. We’ve got this rich guy from Brazil who is interested in Holly although the film consistently hints that he isn’t actually serious and she would have been disappointed by arriving. He just sends a letter that the cops were too much for him. Then there’s also the case of land lord living upstairs. He’s definitely an intriguing character although one who certainly isn’t very smart at all. He should probably remove all of the safety hazards if he is going to constantly bump into them when he wakes up. At least he actually did call the cops and it wasn’t all a bluff. The guy just isn’t a likable character though and while he gets a few good lines and moments, it’s not really enough to sell me on him. The ex husband from Texas was also really random and out of nowhere. Maybe it was just there to set up the other relative dying later on, but we never even saw the guy so it’s hard for it to really come across as a very sad scene. If anything the whole situation just continues to make Holly look worse and worse. Particularly if the ex wasn’t lying and they did have a few kids (Adopted) waiting back home when Holly just ran off without a word. So much for maturity and responsibility eh?

I suppose the writing isn’t bad. The dialogue is technically good even if the characters speaking the lines aren’t bad. The New York backdrop is nice to see as well. The library has certainly changed quite a bit over the years and I think I would have liked the old system of grabbing books quite a bit. Naturally it wouldn’t work in modern society with how many people are around and it would take forever to get all of the books but it’s pretty fun. That’s one of the fun parts about old films, getting to see what NYC was like back in the day. The parks certainly haven’t changed much.

Overall, Despite the title, the characters never have breakfast at Tiffany’s. Just thought I should mention that in case you were waiting for a scene like that. This is a romance film where the romance isn’t handled particularly well at all. Holly just seems like a really terrible person who just causes a lot of grief for everyone and I can’t feel sympathetic for Paul because he absolutely knew what he was getting himself into. The scene where he fires his decorator was also rather odd as she didn’t even seem like a bad person. Maybe she was a little too friendly with him all the time, but he could have simply said something instead of just letting it happen the whole time. She seemed like a reasonable boss so the fact that he was so harsh with her the whole time seems like it comes out of the blue. I’d recommend staying away from this film. It’s not the quality entertainment that you will be looking for. Good romance films are hard to find but it’s worth grabbing those as opposed to seeing the dime a dozen ones like this title.

Overall 2/10

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Bonnie and Clyde

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It’s time for another film based on true events. For once, it’s not about a moment of great importance in history or even about a heroic protagonist who helped reshape the rules and standards of life as we know it. Instead, this film is about two outlaws who were not heroic in any sense of the words and got their thrills out of robbing and committing other crimes. As such, you can imagine that it was not really my kind of film as I never care for villains as the protagonists.

Bonnie was originally a waitress who wasn’t involved in a life of crime. That changed when she met Clyde who tried to rob her mother. Bonnie was intrigued and decided to join in. While the pair initially committed small crimes that didn’t involve murder, they eventually grew bolder and bolder. Once they crossed the final line for the first time, it was relatively easy to keep going as they grew worse and worse. Ultimately this would be their undoing as they made too many enemies and got caught in a trap. You couldn’t feel any sympathy for them at this point since they were completely evil and it was a good way to remind the audience that crime never pays. You end up paying for the crimes..with your life!

I’m sure that the film is fairly faithful to how the pair acted back in the old days. Neither character is likable in the slightest. You just feel bad for their victims like the guy who was shot in the face. It’s why working in a bank isn’t exactly my favorite job in the world. It’s tough to deal with robbers and you never know how it’ll turn out. The film puts a lot of emphasis on how sketchy the two main characters are. Aside from breaking the law and all, they also smoke, drink, and do everything you’d expect two villains to do. The “romance” if you can call it that is fairly prevalent as well. The leads have all the wrong priorities the whole time.

The film certainly was on the gritty side. It had that old grainy look to it that most early color films had. It automatically helps a film appear to be more gritty and especially if that’s how the film is trying to be. You can especially see this in horror films and it’s why the modern ones are usually more chuckle worthy than anything. It’s the one time Indie can try to shine as their films are usually low budget and can still attain that grainy feeling. It’s not as if I’ll like a horror film anyway, whether it be grainy or clear, but definitely something to think about. Of course, an old grainy wild west film with two villains as leads…that was never going to end well.

I mostly don’t take too many shots at historical/documentary films like this one since they’re usually uplifting stories with good morals. As long as the adaption is on point, it’s all good. This one’s a bit of an exception since their are no good morals or stories to take from this one and I don’t even see why this story had to be adapted. Why should we honor criminals with their own film? I definitely don’t understand it and so even if this film is fairly accurate to how they would have acted, I can’t say that I’m a fan. This just wasn’t my kind of film.

As a side note, it’s always interesting to see the old style of cars that everyone uses here. I sort of like the design, but at the same time the colors always seemed faded. It’s like colors just didn’t stand out back in the day, but I don’t see why that would be. Had we not developed shiny colors at this point in history? It seems like something that would be fairly easy to do. I can see not having bullet proof windows and all of that fancy stuff, but shiny colors had to have been one of those easy inventions that just hit someone like a bolt of lightning someday. It just seems like walking around in those days with faded out colors made everything else seem fake as well. In theory all of the colors should still be sharp so maybe we had sharp colors and films just couldn’t properly see them? Like I said..it’s something to think about and you should think about it during the film since it’s more interesting than the actual movie.

Overall, You should avoid this Bonnie and Clyde film. I don’t see how any film could manage to make them likable anyway since the story is just about how they’re evil and kept on shooting people and stealing money. Switch out the names and you just have two very generic criminals in the olden times. There were many criminals in the Wild West as you can see from any old film. True, this might not be quite the same Wild West as it wasn’t that old and uncivilized compared to other eras, but it’s old enough where I just generalize and call it that. If you really want to learn more about Bonnie and Clyde, then this is probably a decent way to do so. At the same time, you could probably just watch a documentary instead and in this case it may work better. We don’t need to learn all that much about their friends and personal life. A documentary will just stick to the facts and probably be more concise about the whole thing.

On the state of the movie: Why Madoka Magica Rebellion’s ending was brilliant

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It’s time to look at an underrated movie. Madoka Magica Rebellion’s ending was a very controversial one that had so many hidden meanings and subtext within each action that the fan base has written many theories on it. They were all pretty fascinating and it’s great to see everyone add more and more depth to the film. The reason they can do that is because the ending was so good and it was very unique. This editorial will naturally have heavy spoilers for Madoka, but also for the movies Bridge to Terabithia, The Amazing Spider Man 2, Batman V Superman, Don’t be Afraid of the Dark, Pay it Forward and several others so prepare yourself!

Rebellion takes place after the original Madoka Magica show. The title character of the series ultimately decided to ascend to a higher realm and became a concept of life itself. She became a living embodiment of hope who erased the cruel fate of magical girls that forced them to turn into a witch once they ran out of energy and despaired. Unfortunately, quite a few of the magical girls had already died and now Homura was the only one left to deal with the hordes of enemies that had been left. Witches were gone, but they were replaced with a form of demon.

The average franchise would have left things like this. Homura would gradually accept the reality that Madoka is really gone and help to protect the world until she ultimately died someday. Once she died, she would be able to be with Madoka to an extent since she will be past this realm, but maybe not. Now that Madoka is a force of nature, her fate is eternal and she will never get to have any rest as she constantly absorbs the evil nature of Witches so that they never exist. The world may be a Utopia, but there is still one person who didn’t get a happy ending…Madoka. In Rebellion, Homura decides that this isn’t acceptable.

So, Homura created a prison within her own head thanks in great part to Kyubei and didn’t even realize it. After escaping from this, Homura was finally granted an audience with Madoka. The whole episode had such large ramifications that even a cosmic entity was summoned. That’s pretty impressive eh? Now Homura has the ultimate choice, take Madoka’s hand and join her in the eternal beyond or drag her back down to reality and shift the fabric of the universe once more. Obviously, Homura has to choose the former option right? It is a metaphorical necessity as it is the only way Homura can truly move on. She must accept her friend’s death and then go back to living normally. Bridge to Terabithia believed in this message wholeheartedly and had the viewers say goodbye to the main heroine by the end as she plummeted to an unfortunate (Film wrecking) fate.

That’s the popular way to deal with this kind of film. It’s a great way to end the film on a sad note and remind the audience that they shouldn’t have bothered to go see it at all. It’s like offering someone a nice bag of chocolate chip cookies for after dinner, but then dumping the bag into a box of salt first. You may need to eat the cookie anyway because it’s the nice thing to do, but it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Other films like The Amazing Spider-Man 2 have done this as well with the main heroine dying towards the end and the hero having to get past this. It always happens a little too fast though, but when should the hero get over it? Obviously, you have to move on at some point…or do you? Homura was in a unique position to actually get a second chance and decided that she wouldn’t simply wait around and accept the fact that Madoka could never rest. That’s why, bringing her back down to reality was in fact…the right move!

Have you seen the light yet?

Think of it this way, how can you not save someone when you have a chance to do so? Think of any classic superhero film where the hero decides to risk everything just to save one person. It’s true that you may be endangering hundreds of people just to save a single individual, but is it not still worth it since 1 life is worth just as much as 100? Madoka didn’t have a happy ending so even if everyone else was pretty happy, it just couldn’t fly. Just to add salt to the wound, Homura’s Utopia also seems to be a little better than Madoka’s. Now, this could be temporary as Witches should theoretically return without Madoka’s new concept, but what if Homura found a way around that? It’s unclear how since Homura shouldn’t have as much power as Madokami. Most likely, Homura’s chance is going to have a lot of bad side effects, which will get dangerous.

Of course, there is no sequel yet so maybe not. We are free to theorize at leisure now and I think I have a reasonable solution. Madoka still has her Kami powers as seen in the end where she starts to regain her memory. Since she still exists as a concept, the witches are still kept at bay. The only difference is that she’s still allowed to have a school life as well in the mean time. Then, Homura has really done it, she’s made a perfect world. Then why isn’t everyone happy about that? Well, there is one big problem which keeps you from seeing this as a good thing.

Homura is really doing this against everyone’s will. She got rid of Madoka’s memories so that everything will play out once more although Homura herself will have a different role this time. Controlling others is never a good thing no matter what the reasoning (excuses) are. You can never spin that into being the right thing so Homura definitely went off the deep end here. She started out with good intentions, but throwing in unlimited power to the mix clearly unhinged Homura and started her down a dark path. The original action of dragging Madoka back to the Earth even though she clearly didn’t want that? I can actually buy into this.

One common misconception is that you always have to follow someone’s wishes even if they clearly aren’t good ones. Just look at Attack on Titan where Levi and friends told Eren not to help his comrades so they can be eaten. They wanted Eren to run away so the Female Titan could eat them first while the hero escapes. Eren listened for a while before finally going into action, but it was way too late by then. Dragon Ball Z is another good example. In one scene, Vegeta is getting pummeled by Cell and Trunks decides not to help because Vegeta’s pride would be injured if he had to get saved. Well, better that his pride gets hurt than his life gets lost eh? I mean, it worked out, but what if Cell had destroyed Vegeta? I guess they could write “He died with his priiiiiide!” on the tombstone.

Nah, sometimes you have to go against someone’s wishes in order to save them. It’s like restricting cigarettes and beer from a teenager or making sure that a kid doesn’t get to play with sharp objects while he/she is too young. Even once the individual becomes an adult who can make his/her own decisions, you may have to help keep that person on the straight and narrow. That’s why we have laws and regulations. Madoka’s a nice kid and it’s cool to see her want to help everyone out, but heroes like that don’t typically think about how to protect themselves. That’s why you need a friend who’s got your back. In this case, Homura was the only one in a position to do anything about this. Madoka definitely didn’t want to come back to Earth since it could put her friends in danger, but how can they really enjoy this perfect world if they know that she didn’t get to partake in it?

Going to any and all lengths to help a friend is what really defines their bond. A big trend in many movies is to have the hero abandon the friend in a Flee or Fight moment and it’s praised as the right call. Even Dragon Ball Super recently had a moment like that where someone stayed behind to get massacred so that the hero could run. Luckily, he chose not too, but he was too scared to actually help so that’s nearly as bad. There are numerous examples of this, but I’m struggling to recall any at the moment. It’s the curse of the writer! I’m sure that many of you can think of times like this though, where a friend is alone against terrible odds and tells the main character to go off to stop the main villain anyway. This dooms the friend in the process, but at least the world is saved so it’s all worth it. Well, I’m here to tell you that this is the wrong call. Prioritizing the friend’s safety over the world’s definitely comes first. If you can’t manage to save your friend, then does the rest of the world really matter? Most characters come to grips with the opposite reality and justify their move by saying that the Earth was saved and that the friend would have wanted it that way. Sure, the friend is typically a noble character who is okay with dying, but as a friend to that person, you have to save him/her. At the very least, Homura made sure to keep this priority in mind.
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So, that’s my spiel on why Rebellion’s ending is actually pretty fantastic. It broke the usual norms of the average film and decided not to be content with having Homura pat herself on the back for getting over Madoka’s death and going back to her day to day life. Way too many films do this and having a major/likable character die towards the end of a film is not a good way to end things. It may work for Oscar bait and it may make people appreciate the character more in retrospect, but it also runs the risk of damaging the entire film. The Forest, Don’t Be Afraid of The Dark, Bridge to Terabithia, Pay it Forward, and many other films decided to end with one of the main characters dying and they handled it horribly. Dooming those films to really low scores when they could have been semi decent. Don’t even get me started on Marely and Me or the Old Yeller. If these films had ended with the character living in the end, it could have made a big difference. At the very least, Bridge and Marley would have had positive scores in the end. I can’t really vouch as much for the others. Can a hero’s death towards the end of a film be handled well? Of course, but it takes skilled writers.

Batman V Superman is a great example of this. Superman died (for around 30 minutes) and it didn’t destroy the movie. Part of this is due to the fact that Superman knew the risks and the death wasn’t pure shock value. It wasn’t there to be super sad and emotional, but just to remind us that Batman’s the money factor in the DC universe, not Superman. In the comics, Batman semi recently went to great lengths to try and bring Damien, one of his new sidekicks, back to life once he died. In a universe where people are constantly bringing people back to life and there are many individuals who can do so, I would expect nothing less. If you have a really good friend and don’t try to bring him/her back to life in the comics universe, then I’m definitely going to doubt that bond.

Homura decided to change things even if it put the rest of the world in a dicier spot. Granted, she also turned evil by the end and completely cracked so now it’s going to have to be Madoka’s turn to try and save her once more. This circle should theoretically continue to repeat over and over until both of them are dead. An ending can make or break a film and this has always been the case. It’s a crucial element to any title and it’s important to get it right. What defines a good ending? That may be a topic for another day as there are many variables. One thing’s for sure, Rebellion gets my seal of approval and will go down as one of the better endings in a film. It was unexpected, it was hype, and it shattered the tropes!
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Air Review

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It’s time to look at an anime that’s a little different from the average title that I review. For starters, this is not an action anime. This is a tragedy mystery story where a guy must try to repair the lives of 3 girls and their respective families in the process. It’ll be tricky and the show will take you on quite the roller coaster. It’s definitely a solid title and a show like this can be a nice change of pace, but unfortunately it is hurt by the terrible ending. I had to slash away a full 2 stars on account of that and was tempted to take more away, but the rest of the show had been consistently good and the ending, while dark, could have been darker.

Yukito, a homeless guy with no possessions or money, finds himself in a small town after walking for a very long time. His mission is to find a girl with wings that his mother told him about. He doesn’t stop to question if this was literal so he continues to search. The main problem is that having no money really limits his options so Yukito tries to put on little shows with his telekenetically controlled puppet for the kids so they can pay him. As you may expect, this isn’t his greatest plan and he never makes any money off of it. Luckily, a nice girl by the name of Misuzu shows up and offers him a home and 3 square meals in exchange for being her friend for the summer. Yukito grudgingly agrees and so begins his adventures in this crazy town.

The show really has 3 main arcs, one for each dilemma so let’s take a look at each one individually. First up is Kano’s plot. Yukito was given a job by her mother (or if not mother, a close relative) Hijiri. His job is to do odd jobs around the house and to entertain Kano at times. Unfortunately, it turns out that Kano has been cursed by a feather and has a split personality. This new personality shows up once in a while and tries to destroy herself. If she is not cured soon, Kano will end up being gone for good. As you would expect from Air, there are quite a few fakeouts and even a scene where you’re led to think that Kano’s other side may have succeeded. It’s definitely tricky to stop Kano when she’s always vanishing and her alter ego has super strength as well. One grab was nearly lights out for Yukito…permanently. The arc went over smoothly though and the resolution was good. It definitely had its share of sad moments, but had a happy ending in the end.

Next up was Minagi’s plot. Her mother suffers from forgetfulness and has been unwilling to accept that one of her daughters died at birth. As a result, she believes that Minagi is actually her dead sister. As a result, Minagi’s been forced to assume this identity for years, resulting in a very awkward dynamic in the house. Things get worse when the mother finally realizes that the sister is dead, but then goes to the other extreme as she forgets that she ever had any daughters. Distraught, Minagi is forced to move out and live at an abandoned train station. Now she’s finally in Yukito’s home turf so he decides to help out a bit. He gives her the option of leaving the town with him or finally confronting her mother about who she is. There is also a plot twist about Minagi’s friend Michiru who happens to have the same name as the dead sister. Makes for an interesting dynamic although it leads into the arc’s sad ending. It’s sad, but at least it’s not tragic and all of the characters still had a good time in the end. Minagi is also given a nice epilogue as she leaves this mysterious town and gets to go to a happier place and meet up with some relatives. It was another solid ending to the arc.

Next was the big final arc and unfortunately, it was the one that didn’t go over so well. Misuzu has a unique condition, derived from a curse and a fate of an infinite time loop of very limited possibilities. She can never get a friend as she suffers from painful spells and seizures whenever someone gets too close. The curse also gets partially transferred so if someone wants to be friends with her anyway, then they will both die. There is no way to break the curse and Misuzu is even given the extra discomfort of knowing when she will die. As the show repeatedly states on this tale being the 1000th summer and how this show is essentially about having the best summer ever, it is also her deadline. Misuzu will not outlast the summer, try as she might. She will also have to continue to die every summer, forever and ever. Meanwhile, her aunt Haruko has decided to never get too close to Misuzu. She inherited Misuzu when the girl’s mother died and her father decided to run off. The problem is that the Dad could reclaim her at any time so Haruko didn’t want to get attached. As a result, they’re on good terms, but you couldn’t really call them great friends. They each lead their own lives.
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As a result, Misuzu’s been all alone right from the start. Nobody even wants to be her friend no matter how much she asks. Well, Yukito’s helped out a few people already so this shouldn’t be a problem right? Well, unfortunately this is not the case. In fact, he just adds to her troubles by helping her emotions seesaw all over the place as he leaves and returns multiple times. In the end he realizes that this was a mistake and wishes for a do-over, but things don’t go as planned. Now, it should be made clear that Misuzu did get to have some fun in the end and you’re supposed to be content with the fact that she finally got to walk and go to the beach. If there was never any hope given for her to avert this fate of death then that probably would have been okay. It would have been a little more somber throughout, but so long as the core anime was not really changed, it may not have affected the score all that much. Unfortunately, the show keeps on giving you hope that the powers of friendship will be able to free Misuzu. There are dozens and dozens of fake outs that keep occurring and the viewer is left to think that we have finally made it past the darkness and into the light. Over and over again until you finally realize that the anime has just been toying with you from the start. Yes, I’m still irritated at the ending and just thinking about it makes me annoyed.

It doesn’t help that this infinite loop of 1000 summers will never end. If you decide to believe that the kids at the end are the final reincarnations of the two main leads, then it’s possible that this was the final death Misuzu had to endure and now she’s free. It’s a bit of a stretch if you ask me though and either way this version of Misuzu will keep on dying. If Yukito had found Misuzu’s winged form after being given a random speech in the final minutes of the show, then that would have helped to clear things up quite a lot. Instead, it turned into another fruitless search for the guy.

Still, as a lead, Yukito is a good protagonist. I found him to be a lot more enjoyable than the guy from Kanon as he was nicer and more understanding. He did his best to help all of the characters out and did so without having to flirt with everyone. He helped the other characters out as a good friend and he got a pretty sad fate in return. Ah well, he was never looking for a reward in the first place. He’s not too smart though as trying to earn a living by entertaining little kid in exchange for their pocket money will never work. Not to mention that his show was rather lackluster since he could only make his puppet walk back and forth in a straight line. In his second reanimated form, he lost all of his personality so he couldn’t really add much to this.

Misuzu’s a solid heroine as well. I found her to be more likable than any of the other girls. As we get to see her events twice, once from an outsider’s point of view and one from within, she does a good job of keeping up a brave face even when she’s feeling down. She’s had a rather miserable life after all, but always does her best to make the most of it. She turns sad ending into a happy one for herself. The only time I found Misuzu to be annoying was when she lost her memories as she suddenly became a mean person. I don’t think memory loss should change your core personality and subscribe to the Medaka Box theory instead. I feel like Misuzu would still be super polite even if she had no idea what was happening. Regardless, her likable personality is why I was hoping she would have a happier ending.

Kano’s not bad either as she would love to fly, but real world physics don’t allow it. Her dog, Potato, is pretty cool and Kano’s nice as well. She just never got a whole lot of personality besides being a nice person. I guess the split personality counts, but luckily she grew out of that. Her mother, Hijiri was good as well even if she never actually got to even try and help out Misuzu. She’s a doctor so it would have been nice to have seen her make an attempt even if Misuzu claimed that it would be of no use.

If there’s a character that’s a little weak in this series, it would be Minagi. That’s more due to the fact that I don’t really care for soft spoken characters though. There’s really nothing concrete to dislike about her and she has a lot of things to deal with as well. She’s always glad to help out someone in need with free coupons and a place to stay. Air doesn’t just give characters annoying gimmicks to make them different. The show did a really good job of making everyone very nice and sincere even if they end up being pretty similar at times as a result. Michiru was more entertaining as she was very over the top. She constantly beat up Yukito and the two of them were always getting into fights until Michiru became super serious towards the end. She certainly had a lot of energy and I was glad that she channeled it into productive things like blowing bubbles as opposed to constantly accusing Yukito of stuff that he wasn’t guilty of. That would have gotten old very quickly if she hadn’t stopped.
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Haruko is Misuzu’s aunt and she gets a very large role in the last 2-3 episodes. She started out as a supporting character and quickly replaced Yukito as the main character once he died and reincarnated the first time. The new scenes gave her a lot of extra character development and ultimately turned her into the best character in the show. She drinks a lot and certainly isn’t the most responsible parent. It took her a while to realize that she should be more helpful, but was better late than never. The ending is particularly rough on her since she will always have some regrets as a result, but at least she’ll have a few fond memories from the last days. As for Misuzu’s dad, the show tries to make him seem like a reasonable character, but it’s hard to buy it. He completely ditched her for 10 years and shows up out of the blue to take her back. If she hadn’t gotten amnesia at the time, his offer would have completely been rejected. He never even has any defense to explain why he left. I’m glad that he didn’t appear as a super evil character or anything like that, but there’s no way that you can root for him by this point.

There was also a random flashback mini arc that happened after Yukito died. It involved three new characters which included the original winged girl, Kanna, her friend, Uraha, and her bodyguard Ryuya. They decide to flee the land so they can have some happy adventures, but they’re caught and Kanna is destroyed. The other two decide to have a kid so that he can keep on being reincarnated to protect her future versions. It’s a very flawed plan at best. This episode gives you some extra context I suppose, but honestly I’d call it total filler. These guys will never show up again after all and they weren’t useful in the fights. Kanna and her Mom could level mountains with a single slash and yet they die to a casual arrow? That was probably the worst showing that I’ve seen from such a powerful being in some time. Not to mention that the Mom could have mentioned that she was cursed before Kanna made contact with her. It would have been more effective than simply saying “Don’t touch me” for no real reason.

The show did do a good job with the following episode though as it played out like a bit of a mystery. Why are we reliving the first episode? Has Yukito been given a chance to change everything? At first it seemed like that, but instead he gets a double take in addition to his original version so there are now two of him living in the same place and time as each other. It’s a pretty novel concept and as mentioned earlier, it’s interesting to see everything again from a new angle. If only the ending hadn’t spoiled its efforts.

The animation looks good. It’s not particularly awe inspiring, but it does look a little retro. (In a good way of course) We do get a quick action scene that is good and the character designs are all solid. I enjoyed the soundtrack to an extent as well. The themes in the actual episodes are all forgettable, but the opening is good. It’s an emotional theme that fits very well with the episodes. As a result, it’s not something that you are likely to listen to for fun at any given time, but if you just saw an emotional movie, then it’s a fitting theme to look up on Youtube.

As for negatives, there really isn’t much here. There is a little fanservice as characters dramatically shed their clothes to embrace the sky as they fly around. The aunt is also very casually dressed so she isn’t wearing much most of the time. Luckily, this show isn’t a shonen so the camera angles never really focus on it. I am still of the opinion that a risque costume does not necessarily have to be fanservice as long as the camera handles it appropriately. Air is a good example of this. There’s certainly no problems with language or violence here. This is something that you could easily show a kid although he/she would likely get bored due to the limited action scenes.

In the end, how does this compare to Kanon? Well, Kanon takes the definitive win here, but it’s not a lopsided contest by any means. Air has the better characters including the lead and has a better resolution to most of the plots. Kanon counters this by having the far superior ending and much better animation. Kanon was a lot sadder than Air despite the ending, but I’m not sure if I’d really call that a good thing per say. The soundtracks were more or less equal. I think “Ugu” beats “Gao” as a character gimmick as well. Really, the only thing separating these two series is the ending. Without it, Air actually takes the solid win here. After all, with better characters and better arcs, how could it lose? Kanon does have less filler though so that’s something to consider. Both deal with amnesia plots, but Kanon’s was more enjoyable.
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Overall, Air is a solid title, but the ending really saps the joy out of it. As they say, an ending can make or break a title. It breaks this one, but it still makes for a good ride to I’ll recommend it to you all. If anything, just watch the final episode until the initial commercial break and you should be okay more or less. It’ll have ended on a much better note for you or even just ending on the second last episode although I forgot exactly what the cliffhanger there was. The town’s certainly very deserted so it makes you wonder how living there would be. I doubt the wifi signal would be all that good so you could forget about online gaming for the most part. With this title down, it’s back to action titles. Still, we’ll see if the next tragic title can beat this one. It’ll likely all ride on the ending rather than the journey, but you never know.

Overall 5/10

Puella Magi Madoka Magica Rebellion Review

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All right, it’s time to look at the movie that followed the TV show for Madoka Magica. I’m assuming that you have already seen the TV show so I will be mentioning the ending since we have to connect how it leads into the film and what happened. While the movie isn’t quite as amazing as the TV show, it’s still great and gives us some epic fight scenes while still dealing with deep themes. The ending is not as satisfying as the TV show’s end, but it is fairly original.

As you remember from the TV show, Madoka used her unlimited magical powers to recreate reality and add another rule to the books. The Law of Cycles was created and when magical girls are filled with despair, Madoka takes them to the afterlife so that no witches are born. Sayaka was taken so the rest of the magical girls were on their own and Homura was the only one who was allowed to keep her memories of Madoka. The witches were gone, but in their place came a new evil, the Wraiths.

That should have been the end of everything, but Homura wakes up one day in a world that seems to have forgotten this. Witches are still gone, but so are Wraiths. Nightmares have taken up their place and Sayaka, as well as Madoka are both alive once again. Kyubey acts like he cannot talk anymore and Mami is friends with the witch who ate her in the show. This world seems messed up and Homura has to find a way to make everything turn back to how it was. This labyrinth cannot hold her forever!

There’s a lot to say here so where to start right? Let’s go into the technical parts of the film first. The soundtrack is not quite as good as the TV show’s since we’re missing the incredible end theme that was present over there. Nonetheless, it’s still quite good and the songs definitely give the film the feeling that the heroes are always in danger. You can tell that the very city is sinister the entire time and it helps to create a good atmosphere for the viewers.

Animation wise, the movie likes to be very abstract so it doesn’t show off the animation very often. For the most part, you won’t notice much of a difference between the show and the movie. That being said, there is one scene where the film uses its animation seriously when Mami fights with Homura. That was certainly the highlight of the film and the action scene is quite good and we get to see why you have to fight very carefully when time control is being used. The two heroines shoot hundreds of bullets at each other so when time moves again, it gets very chaotic. These two are also likely the strongest of the magical girls so seeing them fight was epic.

The fight wasn’t very short either so we really got to see what they could do. Obviously, Homura could win in an instant with time control so Mami intelligently placed a thread on Homura so that Mami wouldn’t be stuck in time. That move’s what makes the fight so even. Homura was confident that she could win the fight, but she was also trying not to destroy her friend in the process. Both of them were holding back and due to the circumstances, I’m fine with Homura not winning. With her time mastery, she is virtually invincible, but take that away and Mami should in fact have the edge thanks to her incredible offensive capabilities.

I liked her as a character much more here than in the show. Of course, Mami didn’t crack here like she did in the other version and even tried to stop Homura from shooting herself. I’m actually glad that Mami defended Bebe since they were friends for quite a while so she shouldn’t betray the creature just for a transfer student. Protecting one’s friends is what a magical girl does after all so while I was rooting for Homura to win, Mami made the right decision in fighting at that point.

Kyoko’s still ahead of the other Magical Girls for me (Aside from Homura) and she gets a decently good role here. She’s the first to be told that the world isn’t real and she backs Homura up the whole time. By the end of the film, her role quickly begins to grow smaller, but she is a little outmatched against the heavy hitters. She has been surpassed by all of the other magical girls, but she still tries hard and is a nice friend to have.

Madoka is an interesting case here because some twists make her look a little bad and possibly weak considering that she’s all powerful. All right gang, spoilers for the film are coming up now so skip the rest of the paragraphs to avoid them until the final one. I do recommend just checking out the film before reading the review so you can have your own thoughts on what just happened and your views on Homura’s decisions. Before going into the characters, I should really talk about the timeline here so that it all makes sense. As you remember, Homura was still fighting Wraiths in the after credits scene of the show. She was not fighting to save the world, but she did it because that’s what Madoka would have wanted.

Well, at some point, the Incubators found her. It’s hinted that it may have been willingly, but even if it wasn’t, the Incubators trapped her soul in a prism so that nothing could interfere with it. This allowed Homura’s despair to turn her soul into a witch since the Law of Cycles cannot breach the barrier that the Incubators had put around her soul. If you think about it for a minute, this means that the Incubators were able to defy one of the fundamental laws of the universe. It’s been hinted that these cosmic beings can do just about anything, but their limits are very vague so it’s still hard to quantify. They cannot end entropy on their own after all and offensively, they don’t seem to have a lot of power, but maybe it’s all just an act. They have no emotions so they may not even care what happens to their physical selves.
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Back to the timeline though, as a witch, Homura recreated the city where she used to fight with the other heroines. Her soul lured in Mami, Kyoko, Sayaka’s friend, and the violin player among others. It was impossible for anyone to free Homura from the outside and once the heroes were tricked into entering her labyrinth, they could not get out again and they also forgot their memories rather quickly. It was like the old days of entering a witch’s labyrinth, but Homura is much stronger than an ordinary opponent. Homura even erased her own memories so that she could have fun with her friends. It was created to be a perfect world after all so she would have infinite happiness here.

In the end, her illusion was too good and Homura sought out the truth. There were 3 people in her labyrnth who didn’t belong. Madoka realized that her friend was in trouble so she assumed a physical form once more and entered the labyrnth. Realizing that there was a lot of danger here, she gave her powers to a creature known as Bebe and gave Sayaka her memories. They are essentially Madoka’s bodyguards and have ascended with her to the next plane of existence. Naturally, this means that they both got a big power boost, which explains why Sayaka was so quick in her brief scuffle with Homura. Madoka forgot her memories, but the two bodyguards didn’t lose theirs.

The heroes were able to defeat Homura’s witch form and made it back to the real world. Homura’s despair had still covered her soul so Madoka reached out to take her to the afterlife, but Homura had actually been tainted more than the heroes had realized and literally ripped out the human Madoka from her godself and altered the laws of reality once more. Homura essentially became evil to counter Madoka being good. If Madoka became a god then Homura was essentially a devil. (The word demon is used in the film) She decided to recreate the universe and now Homura is the ruler of it all. Madoka still has her limitless power and could overthrow Homura in time, but she has lost her memories again.

The film ends with Homura stating that the heroes will remember at some point and they will try to fight her. With Homura’s abilities are great as they are now, it’s hard to see how they can pose a challenge. Only Madoka can hope to defeat Homura and she will need to get her memories back first to do that. Sayaka seems to recall some parts of what happened even after Homura erased her memories so she will likely be the key if the film ever gets a sequel.

A sequel really isn’t needed, but I would like one. We know that Homura will either keep them under her power for eternity or they will eventually defeat her, but what will the heroes do then? Madoka can recreate the universe a third time or bring things back to the way they were. If Madoka does the latter, the Earth is not in a good state. From what we saw of the present, there aren’t many inhabitants anymore and the whole world is like a large desert. It’s easy to see how the heroes succumb to despair so quickly and it’s what ended up breaking Homura. If Madoka ends up just recreating things from scratch, it will be like Terminator where the cycle will never end, but at least then the heroes get to have more adventures.

By the end, I thought that the film did a pretty great job of explaining everything. Now, the whole film works well into a linear timeline and the show also made a good amount of sense and it’ll probably feel even more grim when you watch it since you know that Homura ultimately ends up turning evil and wasted Madoka’s wish. The one really iffy part here is how Homura was able to grab infinite Madoka and pull her down from the heavens. She is now a demon who is evil incarnate, but that should not be enough power to grab Madoka even if the heroine was surprised.

As I mentioned earlier, the ending is very original because evil actually won in the end. There was no happy ending to be found and the powers of love and friendship lost to a twisted version of those that Homura used. Whether you decide that good wins in the end or not, the film ends with evil having the clear upper hand and it’s really 50/50 as to what side will ultimately claim victory this time. Madoka can’t count on any of the other characters to help her aside from Sayaka so it will be tough.
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So, I still like Madoka a lot like in the show, but the one thing that makes her look a little bad is that she lost her memories when she went into the labyrnth. It’s okay for the mortals to lose theirs, but Madoka is literally a concept who is above everything in the universe. She should have had enough power to have stopped Homura without putting in any effort. I’m glad that she stepped in unlike most cosmic deities, but it did make her look a little weak. It’s a good thing that she has two bodyguards by her side. This will likely give One Above All fans from Marvel some breathing room for debates since Madoka clearly has some weaknesses now. Personality wise, she’s definitely still a lot of fun though. Even without infinite power, she’s a good fighter.

Sayaka is no longer mortal and she can now use her witch form to fight, which makes for a pretty good power up. She’s a solid character as you would expect and still backs Madoka up whenever they get into a tough situation. She has moved on from the violin player, which is great character development if you ask me. That guy certainly wasn’t adding to the story so I’m cool with him being gone from the main focus. The power up was also very good for Sayaka and I’m glad that she was able to keep her memories and personality since she had been dead.

Kyubey is still as sly and crafty as ever and his plan here is really ambitious as he wants to control Madoka and her unlimited power. I don’t think that the plan should be very plausible, but I suppose that if Madoka had destroyed Homura while inside of the gem, then they would be able to steal her power, but it’s all assuming that Madoka couldn’t break out of the barrier and with unlimited power, I feel like she should be able to easily bust free. Those cosmic beings definitely have some good tech to be able to stop her. His chase scene with Homura was a lot of fun and it was like a high budget version of what happened in the first episode of the show. It’s impressive that he was able to last so long when Homura was really out to get him.

Homura’s story is the most tragic like usual and she totally went off the deep end. At the start of the film, she was the Homura that we all remembered as she tried to escape this fake world. She was willing to fight her friends and get into a lot of trouble to restore Madoka’s vision because she’s always done everything to save her friend. That being said, the revelation of being a witch and the temptation of being able to keep Madoka in the world was too much for her and she ended up being a total villain by the end. Homura’s sharp change in personality was definitely drastic and she is now a complete demon and definitely not a magical girl. Her abilities have risen tremendously and she can now erase memories and do what she wants with the world. While her abilities aren’t unlimited like Madoka’s, she seems to have gained a fraction of them. She mentions that she took the Madoka part of the Law of Cycles while the other two are still around with their powers intact, but all three have lost their memories now. (Sayaka may have some though)

It’s too bad that Homura is a total villain now. I also don’t fully understand why Homura made her final decision. If she had gone with Madoka to the afterlife, they would have been together forever like with Sayaka, who is always by Madoka’s side now. That would surely be better than trapping her in the new Earth while repressing her memories. I don’t fully understand Homura’s rationale for doing this, but since she has become a demon, she may just prefer it this way.

If you ignore the moral implications for a second, Homura’s world is actually a lot better than Madoka’s. Everyone is essentially back to life and the world is how it was before everything was destroyed. The Kyubey race can no longer hurt them and while villains are still around, the heroes can defeat them with ease. Everyone gets to live and Madoka doesn’t have to be a cosmic entity who can’t hang out with her friends anymore. On the surface, it’s a perfect world. The problem is that Homura had to alter everyone’s memories so they wouldn’t object to it. Madoka simply erased her existence from everyone’s minds, which is different from Homura deliberately altering her friends so they wouldn’t try to stop her.

If she had willingly gotten everyone to agree to her plan, then it would be completely okay. She just went about it the wrong way. For her, it’s likely a deal that is worth it since she gets to hang out with Madoka again. (I don’t get why Madoka had to be the transfer student this time though. Wouldn’t that change so many things that Homura should be a little concerned?) As always, Homura is just doing things for Madoka. Now, the heroine won’t have to be a cosmic deity who is forever alone. That being said, Homura is also looking out for herself this time and now she gets to have the life that she always wanted. I feel like I would sympathize with her wish a little more if she didn’t act so creepy/evil in the final scenes. For some characters, their bond is stronger than their desire for justice so protecting Madoka at any costs is something that I wouldn’t necessarily disagree with especially with how well the world turned out to be. Seriously, if Homura hadn’t been so over the top at the end, I wouldn’t have minded the ending nearly as much. Homura’s still a villain, but she’s a very likable villain at this point. Who knew that one character would end up being the best hero and the best villain in this franchise!

When you think about it, friendship is still the main theme here. The main difference with this compared to other shows is that the powers of friendship actually hurt the main characters. Madoka sees that Homura is in trouble and decided to enter the labyrinth in a human form, but it was her undoing. Homura’s friendship for Madoka turned into something sinister and led her into the road of evil. Everyone believed in the power of friendship, it just turned out badly for the characters.

Naturally, the series got even higher in the tier lists here thanks to Homura’s big power boost. Not to mention that Sayaka was also a lot stronger as well. This series really does blow the rest of the magical girl series away with how strong the heroes are. Mami could likely take down the group of sailor scouts on her own if you ask me. The Wraiths and Nightmares weren’t particularly impressive, but they have a lot of minions, which will help to distract the opponents. In a possible sequel, I’m sure that the characters would get even stronger!

As with the show, we get a lot of random abstract scenes during the show, which are always intriguing. The cotton balls with mustaches are still around and we get to see them fight the new villains at one point. The magical girls also have a weird transformation scene for each of them, which are all odd and likely have deeper meanings, but it’s good to just take them at face value sometimes. One really entertaining scene was the cake song where the heroes took on the nightmare. It was fairly creepy, funny, and entertaining at the same time. Talk about high stakes!

With the battle between good and evil, the film reminds you that it can be very easy to cross that bridge. Madoka allowed her friend to pull her back from her ascension and Homura turned evil. One must be strong and know when to hold steady so that you do not end up being led astray. Saving someone else is always a top priority and you must make every endeavor to complete that mission, but you must also not allow yourself to become weak enough that you are dragged to the dark side yourself. It’s something that Madoka probably wishes that she had known earlier.

It should be quickly noted that the original ending was actually Homura ascending with Madoka, but it was altered before the film came out due to the company pulling rank. That’s too bad because that ending would have been perfect. It even felt like the film could have ended there so there was definitely some behind the scenes action going. The extra content isn’t bad per say, but this ending would have been superior!
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Overall, Rebellion was a fun movie and it was still really great. I wasn’t crazy about the ending, but it was a very thought provoking film like I expected and the characters were still all likable like in the show. The soundtrack and animation are strong and the film was around 2 hours so it had quite a lot of time to develop. The Mami vs Homura scene is the one to look out for and the film nearly ends at one point, which was a great fake out. It’s also slightly regrettable though since that ending would have been vastly superior to the true one that we got. If you enjoyed the TV show, then you should definitely enjoy this film and it’s cool to see the main characters finally get to fight as a team for a change since they all got to be alive in the fake world. I do hope that the film gets a sequel at some point so that we can have a more positive ending for the heroes. Particularly for Homura since she’s still my favorite character in the series so I’m hoping that she’ll see the light and realize how far she has come from being the noble hero that she used to be. I’m confident that she would become a hero again in the next film. While her new personality is still pretty epic as the villain, it’s just not the ending that I had envisioned for her. Madoka has always been a layered show and Homura’s final actions are much deeper than your average villain’s. I don’t believe for a second that she should not be considered as a villain by the end because her wish was selfish and altering someone’s memories is always immoral, but at least it’s a decision that I can understand. The whole concept of helping someone through whatever means possible is always an intriguing one and something that I can sometimes agree with. It’s a concept that I’ll probably try to discuss more in a future review that deals with the subject. It shouldn’t be too long until something has this theme again since it can be quite prevalent at times. Almost forgot, make sure that you stick around for the after credits scene. It is fairly vague, but you get to decide what just happened. I like to think that someone is protecting the world from Kyubey and doing it in a way that Madoka would object to, which will raise some tension for the next film.

Overall 9/10