Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

I won’t go so far as to say that there’s nothing that can prepare you for Tekkonkinkreet, the 2006 film that, among its many traits, was the first significant Japanese-produced animated feature directed by a non-Japanese person (the man with that honor was Los Angeles-born Michael Arias, who got his start in visual effects and […]

The 2001 animated feature Metropolis, a science fiction parable about robots and class struggle in an incredible Art Deco super-city, has its work cut out for it twice over. First, it’s living in the shadow of that other science fiction parable about robots and class struggle in an incredible Art Deco super-city titled Metropolis, the […]

The 1983 animated feature Barefoot Gen has the bad luck to suffer from being overshadowed from two different directions. First, it’s an adaptation of one of the most important manga of the 1970s, Nakazawa Keiji’s very loosely autobiographical story about a six-year-old boy living in Hiroshima at the time that residents of that city became […]

It’s rare to come across a movie so very difficult to prepare for as Dead Leaves, a 2004 animated film directed and designed by Imaishi Hiroyuki and made by the studio Production I.G. The film’s style isn’t completely sui generis, and there are films that have come out since its premiere that openly borrow from […]

Rain, trains, sunlight peeking through the rain, a disaster of an ending: I do not know if 2013’s The Garden of Word has the most Shinkai Makoto of any film, but at just 46 minutes long, I do know that it has the highest density of Shinkai Makoto of any film. In a sense, it’s […]

As we all know (and like many of the things we all know, it’s only partially true), Japanese animation got through its “this is just for kids” phase much earlier than the animation industries of every other country. And once it got out of its “this is just for kids” phase, it very quickly arrived […]

When I have in the past talked about Isao Takahata, a man who’s certainly in the conversation about my favorite animation directors of all time if he’s not indeed #1, it has usually been to reflect on how, to a degree unseen in Japanese animation prior to the ascendance of Yuasa Masaaki, most of his […]

Hyperbole is a dangerous thing, but even so, Redline is one of the most striking-looking animated movies I have ever seen. The film’s style feels like it should be easier to pin down than  it is; there’s a clear indebtedness to ’60s pop art and  ’90s and ’00s digitally-colored comics in the bold swatches of […]

Animation and surrealism – and I am here referring to surrealism in a narrower sense (though not the strictest sense), as the attempt to visually reconcile dream-reality and waking-reality into a single state, not as an intensified word for “weird” – have a difficult relationship. On the one hand, since surrealism is, in its way, […]

In a decade that was great for rich-looking animated features from Japan, 2016’s A Silent Voice is one of the richest. It’s a small-scale human drama, with a main character who has become so pent-up and insular that he can barely interact with the world around him, taking place in a reasonably small number of […]

To translate Belladonna of Sadness into an American context, imagine that Walt Disney, after building his empire, got bored, quit the company that bore his name, and went off to make Fritz the Cat. That’s basically what happened with Tezuka Osamu, who is often (reductively) called the father of manga, largely on the basis of […]

A review requested by STinG, with thanks to supporting Alternate Ending as a donor through Patreon. Do you have a movie you’d like to see reviewed? This and other perks can be found on our Patreon page! 2008’s Love Exposure is 237 minutes long, and it somehow manages to need every one of them. In […]