Review: DIVE!!

Note: this is a review of the Japanese film about the sport of diving, not the lame US documentary by the same name about dumpster diving.

Height: 10 meters! Speed: 60 kph?! The summer they risked it all on a mere 1.8 seconds has begun!

When I was last in Japan in the summer of 2008, this film had just been released and there were posters for it everywhere. I wanted to go see it in a theater while I was there, but alas, it never happened.

Then I had the DVD in my wishlist forever, but when I finally got around to trying to order it, I found they wouldn’t ship it outside of Japan. But the third time’s the charm, and I ordered a copy off eBay and finally watched it–what a great film!

To tell the truth, even though I study the Japanese language and am a huge anime fan, I find that I don’t really watch a lot of live action Japanese films. The few that I have seen have been a mixed bag of pretty darn good and rather hokey. But this one was surprisingly good. The story was really engaging, the performances of the actors highly believable and the cinematography top-notch. The film is based on the novels by Naoki Prize-winning author Mori Eto (which I have also been reading) which tell a combination coming-of-age/summer/sports story that I thought rang very true to life. I have to admit to enjoying the movie a lot because it’s much easier than reading the novel–attempting a novel of this level with my still fairly rudimentary Japanese language skills is really, really hard!

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Anime: Katanagatari – 刀語

Last Saturday, I took the train to downtown LA and visited Anime Expo—something I haven’t done since the last time it was held in Long Beach. To tell the truth, I wasn’t feeling all that great and only ended up staying a couple of hours. It was a madhouse in the expo hall (I bought a one day, exhibits only pass) but I managed to get what I was most looking for: the limited edition set of Summer Wars Hanafuda cards from FUNimation.

But importantly, I discovered what has turned out to be a great new anime: Katanagatari – 刀語. With its truly unique style and fascinating story, I think it is destined to become one of my favorites.
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