Fantasia Film Festival: Berserk Golden Age Arc 2 & 3 Review by Panagiotis Drakopoulos
If you haven’t heard or read about Berserk you should stop now and pick up the mangas or the first Golden Age Arc film on DVD/Blu-Ray. Berserk is a dark fantasy manga series created by Kentaro Miura in 1989. The premise of the Golden Age Arc films takes place in a fantasy world that might be very similar to our world. It focuses on a vagabond mercenary named Guts, who meets up and later is forced to join a mercenary band called the Band of the Hawk, led by their leader Griffith, who happens to wear an evil Behelit around his neck. These films were awesome. It follows closely to the original source material with some minor changes. Everything from the voice acting to the animation is just stellar all around. The only negative aspects about this is film is the CGI on the character models are a bit off during certain scenes and the ultra violence in these films might make a general audience member/viewer feel uncomfortable. But overall these films most be apart of your DVD/Blu-Ray collection and are highly recommend. Viz Media is releasing all three films on DVD and Blu-Ray. The first film is already available with the second film coming out on August 6th and no release date for the third film, yet. Also, check out the manga series from Dark Horse Comics.
Fantasia Film Festival: The Tiger Mask Review by Panagiotis Drakopoulos
When the Fantasia film schedule was first released and I saw that The Tiger Mask was going to be shown, I add it to my wish list of films to see. The film is based on a popular shonen(boys) pro wrestling manga series of the same name. It was created by Ikki Kajiwara and Naoki Tsuji in 1968. The manga was so popular that Japanese pro wrestling promotions would licensed the character and give the Tiger Mask name to younger talents. I had some prior history with The Tiger Mask before watching the film. I read the first volume of manga through some fan scans, knew what happened to the character in the two anime series, and watched some wrestling matches featuring the different wrestlers portraying the title character. The film follows Naoto Date (Eiji Wentz) as an orphan, who gets kidnapped as a child and is raised by a secret society called Tiger’s Cave, led by the mysterious Mister X (Sho Aikawa). Naoto is trained by the society to be the best underground fighter in Tokyo known as Tiger Mask. But after the death of his close friend, he begins to question his role within the Tiger’s Cave.
The film does a good job following the original source material of the manga. It did change the wrestling aspect of the story to a more MMA style background, but still use wrestling moves during all the fight scenes. The costume is made to look more like a superhero outfit instead of wrestling outfit. This is done to capture more of a modern look and feel of the character. But what makes this film work is all of the awesome fight scenes and the character progression Naoto Date. From a child searching to belong in family to morphing into a man with a new purpose to help the ones dear to him. It’s a enjoyable film that people should check out if it’s playing at your local film festival.
Fantasia Film Festival: 009 Re:Cyborg Review by Panagiotis Drakopoulos
009 Re:Cyborg is one of those films that movie audiences will either love or hate. The plot of the film takes place in 2013, where an unknown group of terrorists have been launching attacks all over the world. It’s up to the legendary nine cyborgs created by Professor Gilmore to reunite and battle this threat. 009 Re:Cyborg or Cyborg 009 is based on the classic manga series by Shotaro Ishinomori, which first appeared in 1964. This film was written and directed by Kenji Kamiyama, who directed both Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex and Eden of the East television series. This film has everything for pretty much everyone. Great action scenes, suspense, a well develop romance, thought provoking story, and a killer soundtrack wrapped around this cinematic tour de force. So, why are film audiences mixed about the film? The ending. I won’t spoil anything, but before the credits rolled on screen I could hear a few members in the audience facepalming. Funimation Entertainment announced they have acquired the film. When or if you see this film available on Hulu or Netflix at least get it a watch.