Anime Marathon Premiere

The last day of the 2-week Japan! Culture + Hyperculture event comes to a close with 3 back to back anime movie premieres: "5 cm per second," "Piano no Mori" (Piano Forest), and "Appleseed: Ex Machina."

5 centimeters per second
Makoto Shinkai is very well known for his one-man work on "Voices of a Distant Star" followed by "The Place Promised in Our Early Days." His style of animation, as well as his themes are very recognizable and his newest work, "5 centimeters per second" is no different. It carries the definite stamp of Shinkai. "5 cm per second: A Chain of Short Stories About Their Distance" is made up of three short films interconnected together to create one beautifully cohesive story. Five centimeters per second is the rate at which a cherry blossom petal falls loftily to the ground, and this little known fact serves as the focal point of this emotional and depressing love story. Takaki and his friend Akari are unexpectedly separated as Akari prepares to move into the country. As a reunion is underway, Takaki is confronted with obstacles, quite literally. As he gets closer and as time passes, he wonders if he will really ever see her again. The somber and depressing ambience Shinkai is so adept at producing is done eerily perfect as the movie also touches upon the unknown and isolation. "5 cm per second" is a must-see for all, especially Shinkai fans!!!

Piano no Mori
Next on the program was "Piano no Mori" (Piano in the Forest" and as an added and rather unexpected treat, the movie's director, Masayuki Kojima, joined us for the screening. "Piano no Mori" blends classical music and embeds it as the central factor of the anime. Based on the original manga, the story focuses on a pair of friends who later find each other competing head to head at a piano competition. The ideas behind this film is unique, but execution falls a tiny bit short. That is not to say, however, that it was a failure. In fact, "Piano no Mori" was a nice treat. The overall movie definitely made up for the small flaws. This seemingly understated anime, delivers a nice story, and should not be passed up. Regardless of your preferences, "Piano no Mori" could potentially be another classic and can stand on its own. One thing is for sure, the comedic elements of "Toilet Princess" are not to be forgotten.

Appleseed: Ex Machina
The sequel to the 2004 Appleseed film, "Applessed Ex Machina" directed by Shinji Aramaki, makes it to the east coast and serves up an interesting continuation. Set in the post-apocalyptic era, a utopian metropolis stands following the non-nuclear war that wiped out half of the world's population. Half of its current population is made up of Bioroids, genetically engineered humanoids.

Deunan, a young female warrior, and Briareos, a veteran cyborg-soldier, are both members of E.S.W.A.T., the elite special forces that maintain the upkeep of Olympus. Their partnership is put to the test as a new member arrives.

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