[One Piece Film Retrospective] #11: Straw Hat Chase 3D (2011)

Strong World was such a step up in terms of One Piece movies, such a big deal that in 2010 they didn’t release any new One Piece film, but that can be – partially – attributed to the fact Strong World was delayed to December 2009 from its original spring release windom that same year.

Clearly it was a bit too good or too much, as for the next installment Toei basically went back to the roots so hard it did a 360°, heck, arguably even more, since this is the shortest One Piece released so far (and probably will forever hold that distinction), just 30 minutes, to the point one would struggle to even consider it as such, despite being included in many One Piece films collection.

Even the first 3 movies were each longer than this, still films, but we’re basically back to that type of dealio, complete with the fact it was a double bill screening, so you would see this and Toriko 3D Kaimaku! Gourmet Adventure, which also marked the first movie for that series, but not the last time One Piece and Toriko would crossover with each other, and some space ape warriors too…

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Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2045 (Season Two) [REVIEW] | To Doublethink Outside The Cage

Yeah, let’s tackle something a bit more challenging before we once again dip our toes in braindead killer animal exploitation crap.

When i reviewed the first season of this new Ghost In The Shell series back in 2020, i wasn’t expecting it would take 2 years before the second part/season would finally air, not because these projects aren’t time consuming (they are), but the general lack of interest in this new 3D CG iteration of the franchise shown by fans and the lack of much news at all almost made wonder if Netflix didn’t consider cancelling.

But then again, in the meantime we saw that it would take a gargantuan dumpster fire such as the live action Cowboy Bebop to make the streaming giant go and actively go “yeah, we’re gonna make more of this trash but we actually decided not to”.

A rare move, given WHAT this company is usually okay with greenlighting in excess, while killing stuff people actually likes.

Still, after a while it became clear this second season wasn’t exactly making anime fans go in the streets to demand it big time. Riots were not made for SAC 2045 Part 2, that much is undeniable.

Eventually, in late May 2022 the second season dropped on Netflix, preceded by a compilation film of the first season, called – fittingly so – GITS SAC 2045: Sustainable Warfare, which we talked about in its EXPRESSO review, and overall served as a good refresher since 2 years had passed.

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[EXPRESSO] Lightyear (2022) | Space Mediocrity

Ok, let’s leave aside the whole “identity crisis debacle”, despite Pixar being outright silly in starting the movie with the premise that THIS is the movie that in 1995 spawned the Buzz Lightyear toy Andy from Toy Story got. Also ignoring the 90’s animated TV series that served as a backstory to the character, because it’s clear this is a different interpretation-canon.

WHATEVER, who cares, let’s move on from this non-sense.

Though i can understand it’s quite tempting to do so since the ludicrous meta footnote is ripe for lampooning, and the actual movie leaves very little to say for itself.

But first, the plot.

I has been described by many as a sort of rip-off of Interstellar for children, and i agree, as we see Buzz and company investigate a newly scanned planet that the ship flew by during their voyage.

This alien world immediatly reveals to be rife with hostile fauna and flora, and in attempt to escape, the ship gets damaged, forcing Buzz and all the other people on board to camp and live there, while they find a way to create the specific fuel need for lightspeed space travel in order to contact base and leave the planet. They do manage to create the special fuel, but things turn for the weird as Buzz keeps failing the lightspeed flight test and returns to learn that his minutes long voyages translate to years of time passing in his absence….

I’ll say that this ain’t bad. I didn’t expect much from the trailer, but sadly despite the plot having some potential to be better, it all comes off as a generic “origin story” through and through, from the action to the characters, everything it’s pretty mild, predictable and – again – generic.

Enjoyable, but sadly quite middling overall.

[EXPRESSO] Ghost In The Shell -Stand Alone Complex 2045: Sustainable Warfare (2022) | Cyborg Cut

I’ve reviewed the first season of Stand Alone Complex 2045 before in detail, but as a refresher for season 2 finally arriving (2 years after the first one, dang) later this month, i’d figured i watch the film-like compilation cut of Season 1, titled Substainable Warfare, recently arrived on Netflix.

Btw, yes, this actually follows the continuity from the older Stand Alone Complex series, being set 11 years after the event of the movie Solid State Society, BUT, in typical GITS fashion, it’s also a separate entity that can be enjoyed on its own… even though in this case you really need to have some familiarity with the Stand Alone Complex series to get the most out of it.

As a very quick primer, GITS it’s about an unit of elite special agents, Section 9, led by Motoko Kusanagi abd working for the Japanese goverment, with its members having various degrees of cybernetic implants and specialized skills used to deal in terrorist attacks, infiltrations, hacking incident, and all that cyberpunk jazz.

Here we have the group mostly disbanded and acting as a mercenary unit in America, until the rise of the so-called “Post Humans” leds to Section 9 being re-formed to deal with the issue.

The recut itself it’s well done (though it does away completely with the “geezers bank heist” episode, shame), in terms of the material… well, it’s still better than Arise, though it tries a bit too hard to update/modernize the cyberpunk themes, and this first part/season ends on a cliffhanger when it starts getting good.

Then there’s the okay but kinda questionable choice of artstyle, going for a fairly good 3D CG that sadly doesn’t feel THAT much improved upon, 11 years after the same animation studio (Sola Digital Arts) curated Applesee Alpha in similar fashion.

Where the on-rail shooter compilations at?

(A review of Mamoru Hosoda’s Belle is coming VERY soon, btw)

As the remake of the first House Of The Dead game is set to release soon on Switch (as a retail packaged release too), i’ve just realized how incredibly really no company before Sega with this remake has tried to bring on-rail shooters to the only current-gen (kinda) popular console that still retains Wii style pointers controls via the Joycons.

Given how the nostalgia market will only grow even larger in time, i’m surprised Namco didn’t dig from its huge backcatalog and pushed out a Point Blank or Time Crisis collection, or made compilations of some of the many others games of this kind that only existed as arcade cabinets.

I named Namco, but heck, even Konami and Sega were quite prolific back in the day, though Konami nowadays it’s better when they just licensed compilations-ports of their older titles to people who care (like Digital Eclipse, also handling the recently announced TMNT Cowabunga Collection), and Sega quite likely simply doesn’t care.

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Nintendo Direct 9/02/2022 | Rites Of N

That time again, time to put on your robe and attend the ceremony with expectations so far out to make worshippers of the Old Gods looks like wannabe zealots!

Especially since all fair criticism of the company is dropped by most people (and publications) when a Direct happens. But again, this is sadly “business as usual”, let’s move on.

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One Punch Man: A Hero Nobody Knows PS4 [REVIEW] | Anonimity Force

Worry not, Namco isn’t removing this from sale this February like Jump Force, just shutting down the online servers for it.. already (game came out in 2020), but i’ve played this this past month, so enjoy this extra anime fighter review of One Punch Man: A Hero Nobody Knows, it’s on the house!

On a conceptual level, i feel pity towards a game like this, based on a popular shonen series that turned heads at the time because of it’s modern attitudine and unique premise of an overpowered superhero that defies his goofy look and can literally one-shot any foe he meets with a single punch.

One Punch Man is also more than a gimmick, but the premise was ripe to do something quite different with it in terms of a videogame adaptations… and instead Namco Bandai did exactly the most obvious, lazy and low effort thing they could with the license, another 3D arena anime fighter, in an overpopulated sea of the buggers, mostly all released by Namco Bandai anyway.

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Jump Force PS4 [REVIEW- FUNERAL] | To The Digital Graveyard With You!

One might wonder why review Jump Force now, as it got “internet spanked” quite enough when it came out in 2019. Aside the fact i don’t need a reason to do so… Namco Bandai gave me a big one, by announcing they would remove the game from digital storefronts, alongside the 2 season passes, the DLCs characters and content by february 8th 2022, with online functionalities and features shutting down entirely by August 24th 2022, this on all platforms.

Now, i know this would be reason for joy to many, but i’m an archivist at heart, and while i won’t miss the microtransaction laden bullshit, i find it silly that they didn’t even managed to make a complete edition of it with all the content on disc, only the Deluxe Edition on Switch with the Season Pass 1 content baked in the cart.

So years in the future you won’t be able to play the Season Pass 2 characters at all, which isn’t exactly a loss given the game wasn’t good to begin with, but it’s even more soon-to-be legally lost content. The loss of the online functionalities was inevitable, to a point, but the rest not so much.

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Resident Evil Vendetta (2017) [REVIEW] | Remote Zombies

As Resident Evil: Welcome To Raccoon City was released in theathers earlier this week (in most countries), let’s take a look at the final Resident Evil CG animated film, Vendetta, which is also technically the last of the “CG trilogy”, as in all three movies have Leon Kennedy as the main character and are set in the same universe of the Resident Evil games, to contrast with the live action film series (as previously said).

The biggest change – but not the most noticeable – is the animation, with this film produced by Marza Animation Planet instead of Digital Frontier, the studio behind all previous Resident Evil CG movies and even the short film Biohazard 4D Executer that we started this little retrospective with.

The name might not say much, but it’s actually a studio that started by providing CGI cutscenes for the Sonic The Hedgehog games, and eventually for both anime TV series and even full lenght features, working alongside japanese animation titans like Toei for the 2012 3D CG Space Captain Harlock movies, even Lupin III The First, and more recently being one of the production companies for the new Sonic The Hedgehog movies, in a kinda poetic turn of events.

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