This Kyoto Animation film has the same setting as the Sound! Euphonium anime series. However, the focus here is on two other members of the music club, while the leads from the TV series hardly show up at all.
Ultimately it is a simple story, but told with a lot of nuance in the relationship between the two main girls and a lot of detail in the glorious animation. Speaking of animation, the parts recounting the fairy tale of “Liz and the Blue Bird” (the musical piece the band was rehearsing and a story the girls were fond of) had a whole different look, somewhat evoking the whimsical feel of a Studio Ghibli film.
I personally found the movie to be a little bit plodding, which was also my complaint about Sound! Euphonium. But at least here it’s dragged out to 90 minutes instead of 13 episodes. Additionally, Mizore and Nozomi are a more likeable pair than Kumiko and Reina. Therefore I was able to enjoy Liz and the Blue Bird regardless of the fact that I wasn’t crazy about the original series.
Okita’s main story is part of Love 365’s Free Titles promotion until the end of the month, so I decided to check it out. Okita, of course, is a skilled and ruthless swordsman of the Shinsengumi. The MC is a medic girl who is taken in by the Shinsengumi after some bad guys attack and destroy her home.
I thought Chapter 3 was too soon for the MC to be lecturing Okita about the value of life and wrongness of murder. He’d been a killer long before they met and they barely knew each other at this point. In fact, there was a very real chance she could become his next victim at any time. If they were becoming friends or considering becoming lovers, that would be a reasonable time to bring up that impediment to their relationship. Lecturing a stranger just seems cluelessly naïve and frankly dangerous.
Anyway, it was an enjoyable Shinsengumi period-drama even without the love story. As for the romance, their lives were so different; I didn’t see how they could truly understand and comfort each other. But whatever, it was still a decent little fantasy.
One of the titles from Love 365’s otome app, Masquerade KISS features only 3 suitors and a MC who is an undercover secret agent. I recently read Kazuomi’s and Kei’s main stories concurrently; Kazuomi because he interested me, and Kei because his route was new and free to read without wait times. Normally there is a 5 hour delay between chapters if you’re reading for free. Being new to Love 365 and its Love Choice system, I read both stories completely for free just to see what it is like.
Kei, as expected, was not really my type. Guys with a tendency to lock you up are inherently kind of creepy to me, no matter how good looking or otherwise gentle they may be. I did like how he and “Nagisa” sort of became partners in crime. However, the early and middle sections were pretty slow moving, so I’m glad I was able to marathon several chapters at a time while reading his route.
Kazuomi was definitely more appealing to me, arrogant on the surface, but actually a good guy deep down. I found it believable that “Arisa” gradually came to admire him and feel reluctant about her assigned mission.
The same jazzy soundtrack was used in both routes, and it set a distinctive mood for these stories of love and deception. I particularly enjoyed the piece used in the ominous scenes; it sounded pretty to me.
The biggest factor that drew me in to Masquerade KISS was the smart and confident heroine. That said, I was a bit surprised that she was never suspicious about being tracked or bugged, even though it seemed strange to her that her boss always knew where to find her. Well, these are stories that are told in 26 very short chapters. They probably needed to keep the narrative moving and there was no time to make things more complicated.
I might go back and read the third guy, Yuzuru’s route eventually.
I have not read the original manga series, but I did enjoy the 11-episode INUYASHIKI LAST HERO anime from 2017. This live-action INUYASHIKI movie features a great cast, including Noritake Kinashi and Takeru Satoh in the lead roles. The acting is good too. The ending is a departure from the way the anime went. I don’t know which version is more faithful to the original.
I’m not fully convinced that there’s an anti-ageist agenda going on, but the movie is certainly an effective illustration of how wonderful or frightening great power can be, depending on who wields it.
Released 2017 and 2019, respectively
Prerequisite: Fate/stay night original series and/or Unlimited Blade Works or other familiarity with the franchise prologue.
Strongly recommended: Fate/Zero.
The Heaven’s Feel movies offer no recap of the events that start the story, including the initial attack and introduction of Saber, other than a brief montage in presage flower that’s more artistically evocative than explanatory. It is assumed that you have seen it all before, and will make no sense if you haven’t.
Heaven’s Feel is Sakura’s route. We had a glimpse of Sakura’s traumatic childhood in Fate/Zero, and her story definitely needed to be told. Unfortunately, Sakura’s quiet personality makes her kind of weak as a main character.
As expected, these films (parts I & II of a trilogy) are stunningly gorgeous, the best-looking rendition of Fate/stay night yet. While presage flower provides some set-up, lost butterfly features extended battle action scenes. By the end, a lot of troubling revelations come to light. I’m definitely looking forward to the final film, although I don’t really see how this can end well.