Once thought lost, then found intact, this rapid-fire sendup of/homage to anime tropes is fitfully funny, but better in its pieces than across its whole
Critically maligned, a financial disaster, and dramatically murky -- but dazzling nonetheless, and as a milestone for how CGI functions as its own storytelling medium
Not some genteel life-lessons story, but the quiet plea of a man resisting the growing militarism and reactionary violence of his world
After all the speculation, all the worries, all the delays, and all the hype, the mere fact Netflix's live-action Cowboy Bebop exists at all is cause for celebration. As live-action anime adaptations go, it's at the high end of the curve, with a game cast, lavish visuals, and all the fun byplay and background details we expect. Its main problem is twofold: it doesn't always know how to translate the underlying material; and it makes explicit much of what was only once implied about its people, thus paradoxically lessening its emotional power. But what does work -- the look of it, the jocularity, the anarchic energy -- is quite nice. If this hasn't raised the upper bound for anime-to-live-action, it sure has raised the lower bound.
Stop me if you've heard this one before: A grizzled police detective works in a town where the dangers of a new age run rampant, due in part to an influx of outsiders. He loses his partner in a shootout, but gains a new one, a member of that new population, and the two of them form an uneasy alliance against the crimes of the future.
Out of all Sōseki Natsume's major works, I Am A Cat has always struck me as being the cruelest and most cynical, doubly so for being in the guise of a comedy. It's ostensibly about human foibles as seen through the eyes of an outsider -- in this case, the cat of the title -- but its real subject is the irredeemability of human nature. It starts lightheartedly enough as a comedy of manners and errors, and then by degrees turns darker until it reaches a conclusion of such breathtaking nihilism you wonder if it was the last thing Sōseki ever wrote.