Utena 13-14: Not going anywhere

Revolutionary Girl Utena episodes 13-14 review

Utena 14

Episode 13 was a recrap episode, so nothing new there. Episode 14 added a very confusing plot with Anthy’s big brother, and another obligatory Utena duel. The problem with these duels is that neither character even knows why they’re fighting, and once the fight is over, nothing is resolved. Look, I’m not trying to be pessimistic here, but so far Utena is going absolutely nowhere, and this is supposed to be something legendary like Evangelion. It still has a while to go before the final verdict, but at the moment it’s spinning its wheels.

Episode 13 rating (out of four stars): *

Episode 14 rating (out of four stars): **

Spiral 20-21: Too slow

Spiral episodes 20-21 review

Spiral 21

Again, Spiral suffers from moving so slowly that we’ve creeped up on the end of the entire series and we still have no idea what the Blade Children are. We’ve found out that there are Hunters who want to kill them, which is nice, but why they want to kill them is beyond the scope of what we know.

Episode 20 includes one of the Blade Children battling a Hunter and trying to escape getting killed, while episode 21 has lead character Ayumu getting involved. Both episodes seem to lead to something bigger, but we’ve been waiting for something bigger for a while now and it just doesn’t seem to be coming. Hurry up, Spiral – time is almost up!

Episode 20 rating (out of four stars): **1/2

Episode 21 rating (out of four stars): **1/2

Wolf Children review

Wolf Children

At a Funimation panel at Ohayocon 2015, I was introduced to this movie called Wolf Children. The preview made me remember this movie for later, when I bought it at the Otaku Flea Market at this year’s Colossalcon. I paid maybe $15 for the Blu-ray of it. Upon further review, I probably should have had to pay $50 for a film this good.

Here’s the most amazing thing about Wolf Children: there’s constant conflict, yet there’s no antagonist. How is that even possible? You can’t have a good show without any conflict; even a slice-of-life show has some conflict, and those without conflict of any sort are the rarities like Lucky Star. Here in this movie, you constantly are feeling the struggles of each character, yet there’s no one to hate. That’s what makes this movie amazing in my mind.

Wolf Children is the story of a woman named Hana, who falls in love with a man who is actually a wolf. The pair procreate two children who are half-human and half-wolves, and then the real meat of the story happens. I don’t want to spoil anything more than that. And the reason for me not spoiling is a good one. In truly great shows or movies, I never want to spoil a thing, because I want my reader to go out and see it.

The only flaw I see in Wolf Children is that it takes a long time for the plot to get moving. But once it does, your eyes are going to need windshield wipers, because scene after scene will make you tear up. The struggles of Hana trying to raise two half-wolf children are so touching and heartbreaking. The movie doesn’t ever stop, either. Every struggle produces a solution, which produces another struggle, another solution, another struggle, and so on.

Maybe Hana is a little too perfect of a mother. Maybe the plot drags a bit at the beginning. But that moment at the top of a mountain at the very end of the movie… that’s the moment I couldn’t stop the tears any longer. It’s a story about family, a story about community, a story about coming of age, a story about getting older. It’s utterly fantastic. I highly recommend it to all anime fans, especially those who are looking for something touching. This film will not leave you apathetic, that’s for sure!

Overall rating (out of four stars): ****