Yes, it's been done before, but the possibilities of all-new adaptations of Hideyuki Kikuchi's long-running gothic-Western-punk light novel series are wider than ever
These cyberpunk/SF mysteries drawn from the works of Ango Sakaguchi are intriguing for how they adapt a classic author, but grow far too gimmicky for their own good
Masaaki Yuasa's dizzying mini-epic begins as boy-seeks-girl and ends by circumnavigating entire universes of possibility
Here is a project — a pair of projects, really — that I know might well be a difficult sell to casual audiences, but which are such distinct animals I feel bound to speak for them. There might well have been any number of ways to film Shinobu Orikuchi's 1934 elegiac historical novel The Book Of The Dead, but in 2005 Kihachirō Kawamoto chose to realize it by way of a mix of stop-motion animated puppetry and computer graphics. The result is summed up, I fear, by that entirely too precious adjective exquisite; it's a splendid example of how animation as an art form continues to manifest in ways that have nothing to do with the anime projects that commandeer the airwaves and constitute one of its single biggest cultural exports.
Václav Havel once wrote that hope is not the same thing as optimism, that "[hope] is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out." Hirokazu Kore-eda's Maborosi — his first feature film and still one of his finest — is about a woman whose life is disrupted by something senseless and awful, something for which there seems no answer to the question "Why?" What she finds is not an answer to that question, but something greater — a way to make sense of what happened to her, and other things like it, in a new and transformative way.
I'm always going to be grateful that the Animerama productions — the animated theatrical features for adults produced by Osamu Tezuka and Eiichi Yamamoto — have now all been restored for English-speaking audiences. They're milestones, and they deserve to be seen by anyone curious about animation as an art form. But where they excel as milestones or animation-art showcases, they stumble as entertainment or even coherent storytelling. Cleopatra, the second project in the series, is so willfully bizarre that it almost merits being seen for that reason alone. Like A Thousand And One Nights before it, it showcases techniques and design styles that seem fresh and new simply because they've been out of vogue for so long. But it feels like it leaves too many of its best ideas on the table.