Tsunacon 2015

While the entire bottom half (no actually, bottom 1/3 or 1/4) of the Netherlands is dressing up as idiots celebrating Carnaval, I, for the first time in my life, attended a convention without cosplaying. Yes, on the only occasion (well, except Halloween probably) I can walk on the street in cosplay without everybody staring at me, I’m wearing my normal clothes. Why? Well the most important reason is that I didn’t have any inspiration and I didn’t feel like wearing my older outfits. Another one is that I just wanted to enjoy this relatively short convention, the dealer room, the shows and the lectures without worrying about my skirt, fake ears, sore feet, face paint, etc. The result is that I wasn’t as hyped as usual (but maybe that’s also because this is my 7th convention and it’s in my own university building), but attending the convention itself was a much more relaxed experience. I did wear a PeanutButterGamer fan T-shirt though. He’s an awesome youtuber who does game… stuff. Go check him out.

https://i2.wp.com/41.media.tumblr.com/c3d90281d8fe7420cee01e690d99041e/tumblr_neye06cjke1rg4rgmo1_500.png

So Tsunacon 2015. This was the 7th edition of Tsunacon. You know what they did? They took all the experience they’ve gathered in the past 6 years and they didn’t use it. The first half of the day wasn’t all that bad though. We came after the crowd, so we didn’t have to stand in line, but we were just in time for the opening of the dealer room. The dealer room is actually the same every year, and a lot of dealers also attend the other Dutch cons, but that’s not bad at all. You get to know the dealers, which ones have the best offers, what you can get and where, so that’s great! My pro-dealer-room-tip #1: When you see something awesome but they still have enough in stock, go check the other dealers first before you buy it! I found a Wind Waker Link Nendroid for €60,-, but I later found another dealer was selling exactly the same thing for €40,- (which I obviously bought).

Another tip: Go check if there’s a Bring and Buy! They basically sell second-hand stuff but most of the time the boxes are still sealed, and it’s so much cheaper than when you’ve bought it new! They also sell stuff in damaged or opened boxes (=even cheaper), without box (=even more cheap) or slightly damaged or easy-to-fix figures (=absolute bargain). I also bought super awesome-looking figures of Eren and Levi from Attack on Titan, and my boyfriend bought 2 Monster Hunter Nendroids and 2 Monster Hunter figures. I’m going to spread the pictures of our loot throughout this post because I don’t have any other pictures…

Because Tsunacon also included a part of the building next to the usual building this year, we were able to sneak into my boyfriend’s office (he works at the university) so we could dump our loot there. It was Sunday, so that part of the building was actually off-limits. I felt such a criminal (I loved it). Anyway, after dumping our loot we attended a panel of American-Japanese voice actress Lisle Wilkerson. I also attended her panel at Abunai, and I absolutely adore her. It’s a funny experience to hear her talk about Japan through an American perspective (you have to pay for extra ketchup at McDonald’s in Japan!), while we are of course looking at her American perspective through a Dutch perspective (well, duh, we’d be happy if ketchup is even included in the menu). Sadly, this is the fist occasion where I noticed that the organization could be better. Lisle probably came over from the US to attend Tsunacon (or am I being to egocentric here?), and the panel was held in a huge lecture room, but there were only, like, 20 people attending. I only came because I already knew who Lisle Wilkerson was because of Abunai, but Tsunacon didn’t promote her attendance at all.

After another round in the dealer room and a quick visit to the game room, we attended the cosplay competition. That… was not good for my mood. Because it was held in a lecture room, and not an actual theater, they were struggling with the lights a bit. You know what they did eventually? They turned off the lights above the stage and turned on the lights above the audience. I was staring at the dark corner the entire time. The announcers couldn’t possibly be more disinterested and they had trouble pronouncing literally everything. I get that you don’t know how to pronounce every Japanese name, but they even had trouble with simple English names. Before I go on, I want to say that I respect anyone who makes their cosplay themselves. It requires skill, patience, time, and those are all things I do not have. But when I go to a contest, I want to see quality. There were two contestants that didn’t even match their hair to their character (which is okay if you’re just casually cosplaying, but not when you’re entering a freaking contest!), one costume was just plain simple (a shirt and dungarees), and the majority of the acts were just bad (this is actually something I notice at a lot of cosplay contests/fashion shows). I have 10 years worth of acting experience, so it may be a bit unfair for me to say this, but when you stand in front of an audience, look into the audience, don’t turn your back at the audience (unless you’re showing off the back of your costume of course), use your entire body, make big gestures, radiate energy! Most of the contestants were just awkwardly moving at the music while staring at the ground or the ceiling, showing more of their side and the back than the front. They didn’t introduce the judges to us, so I kinda have the idea that they were just random people of the organization, and I absolutely did not agree with the winners. The only contestant I was really impressed with got an ‘honorable mention’. Again, I do respect people who make their cosplay themselves, but I blame to organization for not putting any effort in ensuring quality in this contest.

The only reason I sat through the cosplay competition is because the AMV (Anime Music Video) competition was afterwards. I love good AMV’s! I got introduced to so may good anime trough AMV competitions, and the previous years were good, so I was looking forward to this. But you guessed it, it was an ‘anyone can enter’ contest again. There were video’s with blurred subtitles (and even that failed sometimes), multiple video’s were so pixelated I could almost count the pixels, one used material ripped from Youtube, scenes were so context dependent that no-one could understand them unless you knew the anime… This wasn’t fun to watch! I once went to an AMV-101 kind of thing, and there are a few basic rules for making a good AMV: use raws (NO SUBTITLES), make sure they’re HD (unless your material is from before the HD-era), make sure that anyone gets what your video is about. This is kinda common sense right? But Tsunacon didn’t even apply the first two rules as minimum requirements! And there were 2,5 hours worth of video’s! That’s too long! They also told us that they wouldn’t be able to announce the winner in the end, because then it would be closing time. The winner would get his prize send to his house afterwards. They obviously had enough contestants, why didn’t they make a selection? And you know what you can do with AMV’s? Judge them beforehand! And you know who the judges were? The contestants themselves! Just like the Eurovision Song Festival. Because there is absolutely no nepotism (I googled that word) there. Oh wait…  On top of that, all the video’s were mashed behind each other on one huuuge video, and they gave no information on which anime was used as source material, which song was used or who the creator was. I left the room after 10 video’s. It just felt like the organization didn’t put any effort in this.

So I was very disappointed in this year’s Tsunacon. I’m not even sure if I want to attend next year. On the other hand, it’s too close to ignore (it’s in my city) and the dealer room is awesome. Let’s just say I’m happy I didn’t cosplay.

Advertisements

Goodbye 2014, hello 2015!

Hello everyone!

Another year has gone by! Time goes so fast! And what a year it has been. I’ve learned one thing: I’m terrible at New Year’s resolutions. I had 4 last year, and I failed at all of them. YAAAAY.

1) Participating at NaNoWriMo – Well, I did participate. I went to meetings. But I failed miserably when it comes to wordcount. But it was fun, so I’ll try again next year!
2) I didn’t set a goal for how many books I wanted to read, but I wanted at least to be reading a book at any point in time. I could take as long as I wanted to finish the book, but when I finished it I wanted to start reading another one instantly – I failed so hard at this one. I’ve finished one book this year. ONE. I’m a terrible person.
3) I wanted to follow at least 1 anime every season – This one worked out pretty well actually. Until the fall season started that is. I was way too busy with university and watching other series to also follow an anime. That said, I did continue watching ongoing anime, so I didn’t fail 100% at this one.
4) I wanted to visit the cinema at least once a week – That didn’t really work out too. Sometimes there are a lot of good movies at once, and sometimes none. I did go to the cinema frequently though.

That said, I am not going to make New Year’s resolutions for next year. You’ll understand why by now. But enough about what I didn’t do last year! Now it’s time for what I did do!

A lot of things changed in my personal life. I finished my internship and I finished my first master, after that, I started on my second master which I just finished last week. Go me! I went to Paris with Mendy and I went to the Azores with my boyfriend. Life is hard.

https://hotcutegirlygeek.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/dsc_0169.jpg?w=376&h=212

2014 was also a good year for gaming. We *coughmyboyfriendcough* bought a Playstation4, on which I played Infamous Second Son and I’m currently playing Dragon Age Inquisition. This year Nintendo released Mario Kart 8 (+ awesome DLC), Hyrule Warriors (+DLC), Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, Smash Bros for Wii-U and 3DS, and Bayonetta 2 (they released more actually but this is what I’ve played). And don’t forget the introduction of the Amiibo’s! I’ve also played Shovel Knight (which was multi-plaform) and I got a bit into pc gaming (Minecraft and Left 4 Dead).

As for anime and manga, I’ve caught up with the Naruto anime (I skipped the fillers tough), and the manga has finished after 15 years! I don’t read the manga though, so I’m waiting patiently for the anime to end. I am watching Dragon Ball Z Kai (I didn’t watch Dragon Ball Z in my childhood, so I was lacking some basic anime knowledge) and I’m watching the remake of the sailor Moon anime (Sailor Moon Crystal). I’m not going to name every anime that I’ve watched this year, but some honorable mentions are D-Frag! Gin No Saji 2, Toaru Hikuushi e no Koiuta, Bokura Wa Minna Kawaisou, Isshuukan Friends, Mekaku City Actors, Soul Eater Not!, Ao Haru Ride, and Barakamon. Hayao Miyazaki released his last movie, The Wind Rises, and Studio Ghibli went on a break. But I got Mendy into Ghibli movies! And sadly, the legend of Korra came to an end. But what an ending it was! I’m planning to write a review of the Aang series and and Korra series next year. Oh yea, I went to Tsunacon and Abunaicon again too!

So that was last year. On to 2015! Having finished my studies also has a downside, because I’m sitting at home without a job now, *sort of*. I’m having a job in my field of study but I’m not getting payed for that and I have a job which has nothing to do with my field of study for which I do get payed. Both are part-time and temporary. So the next challenge is to find a job in my field of study for which I get payed! But I have a lot too look forward to, because I’m going to Zelda: Symphony of the Goddess in London in April, I’m officially graduating in May, and I’m *probably* going to Malaysia in June! I’m also planning to visit Tsunacon, Abunaicon and the first Dutch Comic Con! The New 3DS is probably releasing in Europe in 2015, and Majora’s Mask 3D, the new Star Fox, and Zelda U are being released next year too!

I wish you all a very very great and awesome and nerdy and geeky 2015! See you next year!

5 anime that make you scream: ‘JUST KISS HER/HIM!!!’

Hello everybody!

I know I promised to write a review about Hyrule Warriors, but I just started my second Master and I have to read A LOT. That means I have to fill my few free hours after dinner with Hyrule Warriors, catching up with anime and having a social life. As a result, I haven’t played Hyrule Warriors enough to write a proper review about it. It’s awesome though, I can say that! So in stead of a review of Hyrule Warriors, you guys get this random post.

I’m sure you guys know that some series that have those ‘almost kiss-moments’. Where the lead character wants to say ‘I love you’ but doesn’t. Where there is so much romantic tension your chest literally hurts. This blog is about anime that are about just that. When you watch these anime, prepare for sobbing, screaming and face-palming! Note that this is not a top 5, but just 5 anime I watched in random order.

Suki-tte Ii na yo (Say ‘I love You’)
https://i2.wp.com/img1.ak.crunchyroll.com/i/spire2/269cc152d4b60c67d8041496077106731351189427_large.jpg

Summary according to Wikipedia:

Quiet and unassuming Mei Tachibana has spent her high school years without making friends or getting a boyfriend because of a childhood incident that left her believing that people will betray each other sooner or later. When she encounters a popular boy named Yamato Kurosawa, he becomes interested in her, and it is through their tentative friendship and blossoming relationship that Mei ultimately begins to branch out and befriend others.

My thoughts
I like this anime because unlike many others *minor spoiler* the main character gets in a relationship pretty quickly. The anime is more about figuring this relationship out than actually getting the relationship. We also get to know other character’s motives and problems. Really lovely anime!

Ao Haru Ride (Blue Spring Ride)
https://i1.wp.com/cdn.myanimelist.net/images/anime/8/64813.jpg

Summary according to Wikipedia:
Futaba Yoshioka wants to “reset” her life. In junior high, girls ostracized Futaba because too many junior high boys liked her. The only boy Futaba liked, Kou Tanaka, moved away before she could tell him how she felt. Now in high school, Futaba is determined to be unladylike so her new friends will not become jealous of her. While living her new life contentedly, she meets Kou again, but he now uses the name Kou Mabuchi and has a cold attitude. He tells her that he liked her too in junior high, but feels differently now.

My thoughts:
I finished this anime yesterday. And wow, a ride it was! The  beginning of the anime focuses on Futaba’s ‘reset’, but soon after it’s more about Kou and his personal issues. I don’t think there has been an anime that my chest hurt more than this one! Small set-back: this anime was obviously made for having a second season, but as always with anime, you don’t know when that season is going to come or if it comes. So expect an open ending! If you can’t stand the wait, go read the manga (like me!). The manga is still on-going.

Chihayafuru


Summary according to Wikipedia:
Chihaya Ayase is a girl who has spent most of her life simply supporting her sister in her model career. That changes when she meets a boy named Arata Wataya, a talented karuta player. After becoming friends, he believes that Chihaya has potential to become a great player. As Chihaya takes on a new dream of becoming Japan’s best karuta player, she is soon separated from her karuta playing friends as they grow up. Now in high school, Chihaya is reunited with her childhood friend, Taichi Mashima. Together, they form the Mizusawa Karuta Club. With her teammates and friends supporting her, Chihaya strives to become the best karuta player in the world and to one day be with Arata again.

My thoughts:
Chihayafuru! My favourite anime of all time! All right, not your typical love-story anime, since it’s more about karuta. Actually, I believe it actually is a sports anime (but it’s not your typical sport’s anime either). But we get to see so much of the character’s personal stories an motives! Chihaya is wonderfully oblivious about the love triangle that’s going on, which sometimes makes you want to scream. Chihayafuru currently has 2 seasons, airing date of the 3rd is unknown. I’m still patiently waiting, trying not to read the manga to find out what happens next *self-restraint* . The manga is still on-going.

Natsuyuki Rendezvouz (a Summer Snow Rendezvouz)


Summary according to Wikipedia:

A young man named Hazuki decides to work at a flower shop after he falls for the owner, Rokka. Unfortunately, Hazuki can see the spirit of Rokka’s dead husband, Atsushi, who has made a point of sticking around and interfering with any relationship Rokka may find herself in. What Atsushi didn’t count on was being visible to Hazuki.

My thoughts:
If you’re some kind of masochist and you love the feeling of crying your eyeballs out, watch this anime. This anime is also a bit artsy, so prepare for surrealistic-stuff. But really, it’s an awesome anime with a great story, can’t say anything more.

Isshuukan Friends (One Week Friends)

Summary according to Wikipedia:
High schooler Yūki Hase notices that his classmate Kaori Fujimiya is always alone and seemingly has no friends. After approaching her and becoming acquainted, Kaori reveals that she loses every memory of her friends each Monday. Despite learning this, Yūki endeavors to become her new friend every week.

My thoughts:
This anime is a bit different than the other anime that I mentioned because the main characters are a bit younger. As a result, this anime is incredible innocent and cute. And the art style is amazing! The only bad points are that the characters are sometimes a bit too oblivious, and that the ending feels rushed. But I just found out that the manga is still on-going so the anime-ending is probably not the canon-ending.

Did you watch any of these? Or are you planning on watching them now that you read this post? What are your thoughts on this genre? Let me know in the comments!

Report: Abunai! 2014

Hello everybody!
As promised here is the report of Abunai! 2014. Note: I didn’t really feel like taking too much pictures, if you want to see some awesome cosplay pictures made at Abunaicon, visit http://www.nozlan.com (although pictures of Abunai 2014 are not online yet at the moment of writing)

Friday
After a 2 hour drive (I only got lost twice!) we arrived at NH Koningshof. There was a long line for the entrance, but that was a good opportunity to take in the atmosphere. We changed clothes at our hotel room (Sander (my boyfriend) as Animal Crossing Villager (sorry, no pictures! You can check my Abunai blog of last year!) and me as FemLink (again, no pictures, you can check my Tsunacon 2013 blog!).

Outside NH Koningshof

We walked around for a while until the dealer room opened. I was hoping to find a stand where I could buy a yukata (a summer kimono, lighter and easier to wear than a normal Kimono), but for the past 2 years, I didn’t manage to find one. This year, I was lucky! I found a small stand, but unfortunately, the yukata’s were a little out of my budget. But the nice seller told me that she would sell (relatively) cheaper ones tomorrow. Yay!

the dealer room

After dinner, we attended the cosplay fashion show and the EuroCos preliminary’s. Again, sorry no pictures! You’re not allowed to use flashes and it was really to dark to take good pictures otherwise. But I advice you to look for pictures of Him (from the Powerpuff Girls). He/She was amazing!!! Because it started one hour (!) late, we didn’t stay until they announced the winners because we wanted to attend the Masked Cosplay ball.

The Masked Cosplay Ball was kind of a set-back. There was the opportunity to learn how to ballroom dance, but they forced everyone to listen, which didn’t work. But I think I can do the quickstep now… Also, the music ranged from classical Ghibli songs to Mambo no. 5. After that, time for bed!

Saturday
Saturday morning I wanted to go to the dealer room as fast as possible to buy a yukata. And yay! I bought one! I’m so happy with it! After I bought my yukata I got changed to my Great Fairy Cosplay (Twilight Princess). It looked quite awesome, but I took the liberty to forget that I have apparently an extremely large head, so the wig was killing me! We took some pictures and played Mah-Jongg (maybe I’ll write a blog about Mah-Jongg in the future) but after 1,5 hour my headache became too strong so I changed into my yukata.

After that we attended the Cosplay Act Competition, which sadly wasn’t as good as last year, but still amusing (also, about 50% of the acts was a dance act). Again, we didn’t stay until they announced the winners because we wanted to attend a panel of Lisle Wilkerson, a American/Japanese voice actress (Hello Kitty, Tekken e.o.). She was born in the US, but moved to Japan when she was 5 and moved back when she was 35. She told us some funny and interesting anecdotes the differences between living in Japan and the US. She’s a really fun, nice and interesting person!

After dinner we attended to the Cosplay In Japan panel, where 2 professional Belgian Cosplayers told us about the differences between European cosplay culture and Japanese coslplay culture. There was a really nice and informal atmosphere and we learned about some interesting events we want to attend in the future.

Finally, we went to Otaku Millionaire, where you were able to win tickets for Animecon. Sander even managed to get to the preliminary’s but the questions were so hard that nobody won. It was fun though!

Sunday
Sunday we both didn’t cosplay because we had to check out of our hotel room, so we didn’t have the chance to change back. After some last rounds through the dealer room, we attended to the AMV (Anime Music Video) competition, which was excellent this year! Usually, there are some bad ones, some average ones and some great ones, but the majority this year was great and only a few were average. As alywas the AMV competition inspired me to watch some anime I’ve never heard of (White Album 2 and Kyoukai No Kanata). After the AMV competition it was already time to go home.

our loot

Overall Experience
This year was amazing! Because we had a hotel room at the location itself we could change multiple times a day and we didn’t need to drag a bag everywhere. The panels where really fun and intrusting and I’ve never seen such a good AMV competition. And I’ve finally bought a yukata!

Oh, I almost forgot! I found W.I.T.C.H. cosplayers! W.I.T.C.H. is my guilty please, expect a blog about it in the future!

This Weekend: Abunaicon!

Hello lovely geeks! This weekend I will be attending the Abunaicon in Veldhoven, the Netherlands. This is one of the biggest anime conventions of the Netherlands and this will be my third time attending and this time we were able to get a room at the location itself instead of a hotel close by! This will be short review of my preperations!

I will wear my Link cosplay on Friday, and I will ware my newly made Great Fairy (tLoZ: Twilight Princess) on Saturday and Sunday.

Since I’m still an amateur cosplayer with no sewing skills whatsoever, I thought the Great Fairy would be easy to make. I found the right fabric at a market. It turned out a lot more difficult that I thought! Here are some pictures of work in progress. Also, yay for double-sided tape! And for those who want to know: I bought my wig at FM-anime.com 😉 . And yes, I know I have to comb my bangs back.




This year there will be a masked ball at Abunai. Because I don’t really have ball-gown cosplay, I figured I would just wear the dress I wore to prom at high school. Actually I’m kinda happy I can wear it again! But since this is of course an anime convention, I wanted to add a little Zelda-touch to my outfit. So I decided to decorate the masks! Also, the Majora’s Mask mask helped me to convince my boyfriend to attend to the ball as well 🙂




I’m really looking forward to the con! Expect a report one or two weeks after this weekend! Do you live in the Netherlands or Belgium and want to visit a convention too? Here is a list with (also other fantasy related conventions and events)

-Abunai
2014 – August 29-31 augustus – Veldhoven, the Netherlands
Elfia (Elf Fantasy Fair/EFF)
2014 – September 20 – 21 – Castle Arcen, Arcen, the Netherlands
FACTS
2014 – October 18 – 19 – Flanders Expo, Ghent, Belgium
MGC Experience
2014 – November 1st – Utrecht, the Netherlands
Nishicon
2014 – November 15 – 16 – Zoetermeer, The Netherlands
Tsunacon
2015 – Februari – Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Made in Asia
2015 – March – Brussels Expo, Brussel, Belgium
Imagicon
2015 – Unknown – Ede, the Netherlands
YaYCon
2015 – around the start of April – Amersfoort, the Netherlands
Tomocon
2015 – around the start of April- Oss, The Netherlands
Elfia (Elf Fantasy Fair/EFF)
2015 – April 19 – 21 april – Castle de Haar, Haarzuilens, the Netherlands
Animecon
2015 – June – The Hague, The Netherlands
Japanfestival 2015
2015 – June – Amstelveen, the Netherlands
EpiCon
2015 – July – ‘s-Hertogenbosch/Den Bosch, The Netherlands
Moshi Moshi
2015 – July – Amstelveen, the Netherlands

Bye everybody, and maybe I’ll see you at Abunaicon!

Studio Ghibli announces closure

Hello everybody!

First, I want to apologize for not posting very often lately. First, there was my thesis, other university stuff, then I went on vacation, and now there is my thesis and other university stuff again… Ugh, no relaxed summer holiday for me 😦

But on to the reason of this post: Studio Ghibli announced that it will stop producing anime and will only focus on managing trademarks. The source is a quite poorly translated interview (http://oh-totoro.com/post/93700803450/studio-ghibli-announces-closure-toshio-suzuki), but the general message is clear.

If you read my review of The Wind Rises, you know how BIG Studio Ghibli is/was. Hayao Miyazaki stopped after The Wind Rises, but no-one could’ve guessed that the studio itself would close too. I made the comparison before and I will make it again: Studio Ghibli is like the Disney of Japan. Imagine Disney announcing to close. Devastating, yes? And unreal. Like Disney, Studio Ghibli feels like a constant factor. It will be always there, like the sun and the moon.

But unfortunately, Studio Ghibli will not always be there. But it will always be remembered. Remembered as the biggest and most successful anime-movie studio ever. Their movies are legendary and I recommend everyone to watch at least a few of them.

I cannot give much more information because there is none available at the moment, but I will post an update as soon as I know more.

Love,
Tekira

Anime Review: The Wind Rises

 

Imagine Walt Disney would still be alive and making movies. Imagine his LAST movie would be in cinemas right now. That would be quite a thing right? Well… That’s what happened last year in Japan. Hayao Miyazaki, the man behind Studio Ghibli says farewell with his last movie The Wind Rises. Studio Ghibli is often called the Disney of Japan (technically Disney is responsible for releasing the Ghibli movies worldwide but let’s look past that).The titles My Neighbour Totoro, Grave of the Fireflies, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Spirited Away (Academy Award for Best Animated Feature and a Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film) or Howl’s Moving Castle must even ring a bell with non-anime fans, right? Riiiiight…? Anyway. I’m going to write more about Studio Ghibli in a future 101. All you need to know is that Studio Ghibli is huuuuge in Japan and that Hayao Miyazaki just made his last movie.

The Wind Rises was released in Japan in July 2013, but it hit the cinema’s in Europe this month. The Wind Rises follows the life of Jiro Hirokoshi who dreams about building planes. We follow him from his teens to his adulthood. The movie is an adaption of Miyazaki’s own manga of the same name. The manga is based on the real Jiro Hirokoshi and the short story The Wind has Risen of Tatsuo Hori. It is mainly set during the interbellum. This movie proves once again that anime is not only for children. This movie deals with dreams, disappointments, death, cultural differences and war. It gives a good view of that specific time period in Japan, where I as a foreigner didn’t know much about.

As with every Miyazaki movie, the art of this movie is simply stunning. A simple still of the background would belong in a museum. No 3D animations and sh*t. Just beautifully (mainly) hand-drawn 2D pictures. *sigh* This is what I miss in Disney so much. A really nice touch is that a part of the sound-effects is done by voice acting. So when a car rides by you hear a voice saying: ‘prrrrrrrrrrr’. It’s hilarious.

Spoilers are coming here! So, watch the movie first and read further afterwards! There are two things that make this movie so great for me. The first one is that this movie is based on real events, which does not happen a lot in Ghibli movies (I believe only Grave of the Fireflies is not set in some kind of fantasy world, and that one is not made by Miyazaki). The movie starts at the ending of WW-I, we see the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 happen, we witness the pre-WW-II crisis, and we even get a glance of the situation in Germany during the interbellum.

Talking about Germany, they did a good job solving the ‘we speak our own language but we actually speak a foreign language now’-problem. The voice actor begins speaking German and that changes to Japanese quite quickly, so you know they’re actually speaking German. And I was surprised how good the voice actors speak German, since I know how ‘great’ their English pronunciation usually is…

Back to the subject. Not do we only see real events happen in the movie, we also see real persons and real companies. The main character works for Mitsubishi, they name the German aircraft manufacturer Junkers, the main character often has dreams about the Italian aircraft designer Caproni and the main character itself, Jiro Hirokoshi, was a real person. In fact, he is the inventor of the Mitzubishi A6M Zero, a plane that’s responsible for many kamikazes in WW-II. Which brings me to my second point: this movie is incredibly sad.

The movie starts with Jiro realising he could never fulfill his dream of becoming a pilot because he wears glasses. He builds aircrafts that are going to be used of war, but he actually wants to build aircrafts for people transportation. He knows Japan is going into a war that cannot be won (the sentence ‘Japan will burn’ is repeated a few times during the movie) and he marries a woman of which he knows is going to die of tuberculosis sooner or later. You know from the start that everything the main character does is going to end bad. And the main character knows that to, but he’s doing it anyway because that’s what he wants to do. We see someone pursuing dreams that cannot come true. The movie ends with Jiro realising that his great invention only brought pain and destruction, and he’s alone because his wife died. But hey, he achieved his long life dream of building planes and he married the girl he loved! Yay?

What’s also special about this movie is the critical acclaim that it received. It has a strong anti-war message which caused Miyazaki being called a traitor. Anti-war organisations also dislike the movie because it sets the inventor of Japan’s WW-II death-machine in quite a good light. But that’s maybe also what’s good about this movie. It shows two sides of the same coin and it shows that people who do evil stuff are not necessarily evil themselves.

So, If you’re a Ghibli fan, you MUST see this movie. It’s an instant classic and it’s Hayao Miyazaki’s last movie. Try to catch it in theatre if it still in theaters in your county because a tv or computer screen is not worthy of the beauty of this movie.

Final Rating: 10/10