In this age of film, there are few movies that can pull so hard at the strings of the heart. To see something so eye opening, something that makes you reflect on yourself, think about the way that you act and speak towards others. Not many films can have that effect on people, so you would shudder to even imagine that a animated film from Japan could do just that. Koe no Katachi or A Silent Voice, is film straight from the heart of Kyoto. Based on the popular japanese light novel/manga series and produced by animation powerhouse Kyoto Animation, Koe no Katachi is a masterpiece of a film that everyone should see at least once in their lifetime. Whether you’re a fan of the anime world or if you’re just a fan of film, the film is well worth the watch.

For years I have been a fan of Kyoto Animation. They have produced some of my favorite anime such as Inuyasha, Beyond the Boundary, K-On!, Hyouka and Myriad Phantom Colors etc. Kyoto never fails to put their heart a souls into the adaptations of beloved japanese light novel and manga adaptations. A Silent Voice brings us the story of Shoya Ishida, a young school boy whose world is completely changed when a girl named Shoko Nishimiya, who is deaf, enrolls in his elementary school class. You immediately become attached to Shoko because her first scene being introduced to the class, she has to use a notebook to communicate with the other kids and the expression on her face was so innocent and optimistic. She just wants to make friends and try the best that she can to be normal. But that doesn’t happen. She begins to get bullied by Shoya and his friends.

The scenes really resonated with me. I found myself in tears as I watched this little girl, who is doing her best to not let her ailment define her, get bullied and abused just because she’s a little different. I was Shoko growing up. I know how hard it can be to find a place where you belong, trying to fit in even though you’re different from your peers. Wanting so badly to just be like the other kids, when you’re not. Being isolated because of that can be cold and lonely. There was a specific scene where Shoko was sitting at her desk and she was asked to read from the book by their teacher. Now if you’re unfamiliar with how speaking works when you’re hard of hearing, it’s a lot harder and sounds different from regular speech. Her words were hard to comprehend at times and her voice was different from a regular childs. But still, she smiled and read as best she could on her own. Ishida being the bully that he was mocked her when it was his turn to read.

Having the main characters and cast as kids in the beginning of the film made you connect with them easily. Wanting nothing but happiness and success for Shoko as she grew up was something that Kyoto pulled off perfectly. After an incident that ended in blood, Shoko transferred schools and ishida was branded a BULLY by his classmates and was alienated by them. Even though they all did the bullying as well. That label followed Ishida into high school and that isolation and lonely lead him into depression and him attempting to kill himself. But before he could do it, Shoko came into his mind’s eye and he couldn’t go through with it.

The entire second half of the film is Ishida and Shoko reuniting and getting to know each other better. Even chance meetings with old classmates that abused Shoko, even in their high school age made me upset and I found myself yelling at the screen in defense of Shoko. She just continued to give that beautiful smile and simply say “I’m sorry” even though it wasn’t her fault. Then towards the end of the film there was fireworks festival. Ishida had attended it with Shoko and her family. You could tell something was off with Shoko given how little she was communicating with her family and with Ishida, even so she said goodbye to her friend and went home alone. Soon after Ishida went back to the Nishimiya residence for her little sister’s camera and this is probably the most powerful scene in the film.

Shoko was on the railing of the balcony, ready to jump and end her life. Ishida rushes to her as quick as he can and catches her hand just in time. He tells her that she shouldn’t end her life and basically confesses his feelings for her without really doing so. This changes Shoko’s mind about dying and she fights for life. But in the action of pulling her up, Ishida falls over the balcony and into the water at the bottom of the complex and falls into a comma.

Such powerful scenes are what make films hard to turn away from. Hard to forget even days after watching. Koe no Katachi left an imprint on my mind and my heart forever, simply because I related to Shoko so deeply. I cried when she cried, I felt her pain and her need to find strength. I understood how she was simply was trying her best to just simply live, without feeling like an inconvenience to everyone around her. This film touched on the weight of physical ailments and mental health so perfectly. I can see this film opening so many eyes and hearts after just one watch.

So after two watches I can confidently say that this film is a must watch for anyone, regardless of age, gender or personal film preference. So many people in the world need to exposed to things like this. To gain compassion, knowledge and understanding of such issues as these. So please, give this film a watch. Sit down with your family and friends. I promise that you won’t regret it.

Koe no Katachi is available on Blu-Ray & DVD at various Japanese retailers and available for streaming on various anime websites as well!

Score: 10/10

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Boruto: Naruto Next Generations Ep – 15 Review

Boruto: Naruto Next Generations Ep – 15 Review

After the conclusion of the Sumire arc last episode, this week was a bit of a cool down. Sort of a time to prepare us for what’s coming next and what’s coming is something i’ve been wanting for almost two years now. So let’s jump right into it.

The village is now safe in recovery mode after the summoning of Nue. The kids are back in school and the adults are back to running the village alongside Naruto. But boruto and his classmates all keep wondering what is going to happen to Sumire, their classmate and friend. Shino attempts to keep their minds off of it by presenting them with another training exercise, much like the one that destroyed the school in the first few episodes. Only this time the kids are to pick new 3 man teams themselves. This scene got me excited for the upcoming episodes. Mainly because I know whom is going to be paired with each other.

Quickly the first team is assembled and it’s Ino-Shika-Cho of course. Inojin, Shikadai and Chou-Chou group together to continue their family tradition. Mitsuki and Boruto stay as a group and I was hoping that Sarada would join them right off the bat but it didn’t happen unfortunately. So I figure that after the events of the upcoming episodes she’ll be paired with the boys. So another capture the flag game has started and the teams battle it out in order to come out on top. During the exercise Shino receives word from a Leaf Jonin about Sumire and races away, leaving Sarada in charge.

Later on Boruto questions Naruto at home about his friend Sumire but Naruto just gives a rehearsed answer “she got hurt and is in recovery” but Boruto knows better because he was there. So he knows something is up. Injoin spills the details the next day that Sumire might be transferring to another village. During the conversation Shino comes back to the class, following him short after is Sumire. She is immediately welcomed by her classmates, who are all happy that she decided to come back to the academy. She glances at Boruto who is away from the crowd as he quickly gives her the signature naruto smile and thumbs up.

That marked the end of the episode but things get better in the last few scenes. We see a giant tree and Naruto racing up to the top of it. Suddenly we hear a familiar voice. It’s Sasuke! We finally get to see Sasuke after 14 episodes. The two speak about how the seal from Sumire’s back could help Sasuke travel to kaguya’s dimension, which is the place we saw him in during the first scene in Boruto: Naruto the Movie. So we are quickly approaching that content, which is very exciting for me. The final scene shows Toneri on the moon as he speaking about the gods descending upon the land soon, who could he be talking about? It’s none other the Kinshiki and Momoshiki, the two main villains from the Boruto movie. We get a scene with the two of talking as they prepare to travel to Kaguya’s dimension.

During the credits we get TONS of scenes from the upcoming arc, which is by far my favorite in all of Naruto. ‘The Seventh Hokage & The Scarlet Spring’ manga arc. The story of how Sarada met her father, fought the mysterious Uchiha members, unlocked her sharingan and found out where she came from. A story about my favorite next generation character and the Uchiha family. This arc includes so many Sasusaku moments and I am here for it completely. I love this family so much and I can’t wait to see more scenes with Sasuke and Sakura together.

The Sarada arc starts with the episode titled ‘Sarada Uchiha’ which is the name of the first chapter in the manga as well. We have a few episodes before it starts but i’m very excited for the episodes to come. This anime is shaping up to be better than its predecessor. Let me know if you all are excited for the Uchiha arc as well and until next time, I’ll see you guys later.

Score: 7/10

 

Boruto: Naruto Next Generations Ep 14 – Review

Boruto: Naruto Next Generations Ep 14 – Review

In this episode of Boruto, we see the conclusion to the 14 episode arc of Sumire and Nue. This episode showed a lot of good things, so let’s dive right into it.

Continuing from the previous episode, Boruto chases the class rep into the portal, desperate to save his classmate and friend. He’s flung into a unfamiliar place, a place that is void of light and laced in a blue aesthetic. It is the home of the Nue. This is when a fight breaks out between the young shinobi and the chimera like monster. In these shots we see the BEST animation sequences the anime has produced. Chengxi Huang did an amazing job in this episode so if you have not seen this episode, please go and watch as soon as possible.

During the fight, Boruto’s eye activates and here’s where it gets interesting. The eye allows him to see the entire chakra network of the Nue as well as its weak point in its tail. Given this information I believe that this eye that Boruto has is some sort of mutation of the Byakugan. After pinning the Nue down, Mitsuki arrives to deliver the finishing blow. Let me just say, the array of jutsu that mitsuki has up his sleeve is AMAZING. Not only can he use wind style but he can also use lightning style. But before he can finish off the beast, Sumire shows up and stops him.

Another well animated fight occurs between Sumire and Mitsuki. This fight just made me love Mitsuki even more. The way he used his white snakes to defend against the ghost chakra of Sumire was incredible. He was even able to produce blades using his wind style. This makes you wonder what else this kid can do, given that he’s Orochimaru’s son. Once again Boruto breaks up the fight and gives this huge speech about how Sumire is his classmate and that she doesn’t have to follow what her father wanted her to do, she’s her own person and it’s her life to live.

This raises internal conflict with Sumire. Thus making the seal on her back break and disappear. She tries to command the Nue to consume all of her chakra and blow up but instead it acts like a puppy and coddles her. Boruto thinks the reason behind that is because the Nue thinks Sumire is its parent and doesn’t want to hurt her. Crushed by the fact that she no longer has a purpose, Sumire becomes distraught and unable to move as the world around them is crumbling to pieces. Boruto refuses to leave his classmate behind and somehow finds a way to lift Sumire’s spirit and get them all out and back into the real world.

They are met by their other classmates and Sai when they return to the village. Believing that the Nue is dead, Sumire agrees to go and talk with Sai about her future in the village. But before they go Boruto sees a string of chakra flowing into Sumire’s left hand, it’s the Nue. The boys ask where Boruto and Mitsuki where at the entire time but Boruto just shrugs it off and says he’ll explain later. Seeing that it’s so early in the morning, the boys freak out because they know their mothers will destroy them when the return home. Shikadai and Boruto are the first to run home which I thought was hilarious given the fact that their mothers can be scary when they’re mad. Also mitsuki confirmed that the person that he has been speaking to was indeed his father, Orochimaru.

Overall, this episode was great. But I honestly don’t like how they chose to resolve this arc. They kind of made Boruto a carbon copy of Naruto, with all of the ‘you are my friend, so i won’t abandon you’ thing. It was kind of annoying because they did say that Boruto was going to be the complete opposite of his father. I did enjoy the little bit of screentime they gave naruto while he was in sage mode, that really took me back to the early days of Shippuden.

I’m really excited for the next arc, which is going to be covering the Naruto Gaiden content. Can’t wait for all the screen time Sarada and her parents are going to get. SAKUSASU needs some love!

Score: 8/10
Animation: 10/10

Boruto: Naruto Next Generations Ep 13 – Review

Boruto: Naruto Next Generations Ep 13 – Review

Oh man… So we finally arrive at what is arguably the best episode of Boruto thus far. No delay, let’s jump right into it.

I’m not going to spoil anything for you guys, you’ll have to watch this for yourself because it’s that good. But we get a lot of great stuff in this episode. Mitsuki relays to Boruto the identity of the masked shinobi, the one behind the attacks. Refusing to believe this, young Boruto rushes away to find the culprit and reason with them. That’s when Mitsuki receives an order to kill the one responsible. I’m not quite sure that the person he’s been speaking with is Orochimaru anymore, seeing how he’s very short and rude to this person. But when he speaks towards or about his father he’s very respectful.

The fight takes us to Senju park, where the masked villain encounters Sai and his team, leaving no choice but to summon the Nue and carry out their plan. Earlier in the episode Sai finds that the person responsible is a man who was in charge of the Senju experiments in the foundation. The man was entrusted with Danzo’s will to continue the Nue project. The beast is basically a giant chakra bomb. The chakra it steals from people is used to power it up. The user runs into enemy lines, summons the Nue and proceeds to detonate it. Eradicating themselves and the enemy. This man sealed the Nue inside his child and entrusted them with the mission he was not able to fulfill.

While the beast rampages, Kakashi arrives with his purple lightning, which was seen in the light novels. This excited me, it was good to finally see this man in action again! Together he and Sai defend the village against the monster until Naruto can arrive. But when he does he instantly goes Kyubi Mode, stating that he can settle this in one move. It was good to see that even though he’s still and idiot, Naruto is still Naruto. Kakashi advises against it given that the Nue absorbs chakra and if it were to intake the Nine Tails’ chakra then it would damn near impossible to stop.

Boruto and Mitsuki catch up with culprit but Mitsuki is dead set on killing them. Telling Boruto that he told him he’d regret it if he came. As the two shinobi clash Boruto jumps in the middle to stop them. This activates his eye as it sends out a line of electricity and seemingly opens a portal. Through the portal the Nue comes and absorbs the culprit. Unwilling to let them get away Boruto and Mitsuki jump into the portal and are transported to another dimension it seems.

Overall, I thought this episode was amazing. I had feeling that the person responsible was who I originally thought it was so I was happy to see my prediction come true. I apologize if this review was short and to the point but I really don’t want to spoil it for you guys. This is truly and episode that has to be watched with your own eyes! Next week’s episode review will be more in depth.

I’m also putting together a full series review for Little Witch Academia so stay tuned for that! So, as always, I’ll catch you guys next time!

Score: 10/10
Animation: 9/10

 

Boruto: Naruto Next Generations Ep 12 – Review

Boruto: Naruto Next Generations Ep 12 – Review

This episode of Boruto gave us a crucial plot point to accelerate this current arc. It could quiet possibly be that we now know the identity of the masked shinobi from last week’s episode. So, let’s jump right into it.

The episode seemed to be centered around Mitsuki and his relationship with Boruto. In the first scene, we see young Mitsuki speaking with his snake companion, as we’ve seen him do many times before. The person that he is talking to still seems to remain a mystery. But many, like myself, are suspecting that it is none other than his father Orochimaru or possibly a certain someone else (you will know the reference if you read the one shot awhile back). The strange child is fascinated with Boruto and his ability to influence others, bring out the best parts in them.

That was shown during the classes training exercise. The kids had to work in teams of three to complete and obstacle course before the time ran out. Boruto, Denki and Mitsuki were on the same team but towards the end Denki fell behind. Without hesitation Boruto stopped to pick up his fallen comrade but feel short. To much his surprise, Mitsuki reacted quickly and helped denki over the wall with his snake arms jutsu. The fact that he helped Denki instead of finishing the race without him confused Mitsuki and pushed him to find out what exactly makes Boruto so special.

He goes on to question Shikadai, Inojin and other members of the class. Who all say the same thing, there’s just something about Boruto that makes people want to trust and follow him. He cares so much about his friends, at the end of the episode we figure out exactly why he’s that way. The one conversation that made a lightbulb go off in my head was the one involving Sumire. Mitsuki had visited her in the hospital and questioned her about Boruto. But we get a very interesting back story to go along with her response. Sumire is the last of her clan. Her father died in battle and her mother passed away as well. Leaving just her behind. The way she spoke about it made me think about something. It had an odd feeling to it.

Boruto then brings Mitsuki home for dinner. Where he meets Hinata and Himawari, who are more than welcoming to Boruto’s new friend. I always enjoy seeing Hima interact with everyone. She’s always so happy, polite and sweet. Such a sweet little cinnamon roll. Hinata tells the boys that Naruto will be coming and this excites Mitsuki because he has never met the 7th before. Boruto insures him that Naruto is just their good for nothing dad and that’s there’s nothing special about him. But Mitsuki references that his “parent” told him all about Naruto and his accomplishments.

In the middle of dinner, Naruto senses a strange and evil chakra, causing him to leave home and return back to the mansion to speak with Shikamaru. The villains are on the move again it seems. Angered by his father yet again leaving them and not being there for them, Boruto runs out of the house, leaving Mitsuki to follow after him with Naruto’s blessing. Now this is where the arc is about to hit its climax.

Having caught up with Boruto, Mitsuki listens to what his friend has to say. Boruto explains why he dislikes his father. Ever since he became Hokage he hasn’t been there for his family at all. Never there when Boruto needs him the most. So, he swore that he would abandon his friends for the sake of the village or anyone else. He would always be there for his loved ones, unlike his father who thinks of the entire village as his family. This reaction sparks something in Mitsuki, causing him to tell Boruto something he’s been holding back. The fact that he knows who his behind the incidents, behind the chakra harming people, harming their friends. We are then taken to a scene in the hospital room, the one where Sumire was being treated. The bed is empty and window is open, letting in the soft breeze from outside of the blue colored sky.

Could Sumire actually have something to do with this whole thing? Or is it something bigger than that, something involving her clam? After watching the preview for next week’s episode, I can see that the current arc is coming to a close. The beast has been summoned and some familiar shinobi who haven’t been seen in a long time are chipping in to protect the village.

This week’s episode started off very slow but ended with a big bang and next week will be even better. What role do you think Sumire is playing in this whole thing? Let me know your thoughts and as always, I’ll catch you next time!

Score: 7/10
Animation: 6/10

Boruto: Naruto Next Generations EP 11 – Review

Boruto: Naruto Next Generations EP 11 – Review

This was the episode that we all have been waiting for. The one where a good portion of our questions have been answered and the coming climax of the arc. So, with that being said, let’s jump right into it.

We are taken to the hospital. Where we see all of the kids huddled around Sumire and the girls involved in the power plant attack from the previous episode. Sumire herself seems to be okay, aside from a few scratches and minor injuries. The conversation turns to strange attacks going on around the village, more so about the people doing the attacking. Denki and Metal chime in about how they felt when they were being controlled. Saying they didn’t feel like themselves and how it was like someone else was using their body. Boruto rushes into the room suddenly and barrages Sumire with apologies and sympathy.

The young Uzamaki blamed himself for the attack, claiming that if he wasn’t in such a rush and delivered the mail less recklessly, then maybe they could’ve been on patrol and caught the ghost at the power plant. Essentially preventing the girls from ever being hurt to begin with. I really like seeing this side of Boruto. He seems to carry that same compassion for his friends, that same sense of justice just like his father did.

That’s when Naruto approaches the boys and tells them to stay out of it. Sakura also makes an appearance in this scene, which made very happy. She was working so hard to help the man who basically had all of his chakra taken from his body. Naruto claimed that Boruto was just a child and “should graduate from the academy first, then we’ll talk”. Boruto obviously didn’t like that response and that’s when Shino chimes in. Saying that since he is Boruto’s teacher, he knows what he can and can’t do better than anyone. Naruto hasn’t even seen his son train or witnessed any of the ability he has, so he accepts it and leaves the situations in the hands of the kids.

They return to post office to resume their mail duty the right way and also continue their patrol of the village in search of the ghost. To their surprise the manager, Komame, allows them to deliver the mail despite how poorly they did before. So with the go ahead they head out. But another incident occurs, with another trace of the Hashirama cell surfacing. Sai takes the information back to the lab at the Hokage’s Mansion. He tells Naruto that if the culprit really was a part of the foundation, that he wants to help them. Stating that they should no longer be bound by the same ideology that he was once bound to. Seeing how much Sai has grown as character is one of my favorite things to see. He has come a long way since the early Shippuden episodes.

Having missed another incident, the boys come to figure out that somehow their movements are being watched. So Shikadai comes up with an crafty idea that involves all of their classmates (at least the ones we’ve seen in current episodes) in hopes of tricking the ghost and capturing them. They’re told to use fireworks brought in by Iwabe, in order to signal everyone when something weird comes up. Quickly they all set out, leaving behind Komame.

Thinking that everyone has left, the ghost comes for the post office manager. We see someone in what looks like a tan Anbu cloak and a strange mask. But this shinobi is able to control the chakra beast, having it bite Komame and sending him into a rage. Little did the ghost know it was all a trap. Boruto, Denki, Iwabe and Shikadai appear before the ghost and confront him. Faking out the attacker, having them think that everywhere but the post office was being guarded was really smart.

The battle begins, but the masked shinobi escapes during the fight. So, it’s then up to the boys to save Komame. Meanwhile, the attacker thinks they’re getting away but the second group consisting of Inojin, Mitsuki, Metal Lee and ChoCho surround them. But once again the assailant out maneuvers the young shinobi and escapes into the sewers. Metal attempts hit them with a dynamic entry kick but falls right into water. Which was pretty funny because none of them have learned chakra control in order to walk on water yet. The masked villain arrives in the sewers and senses Mitsuki following behind. But it was strange, neither one of them attacked each other, Mitsuki just let the ghost disappear into the shadows. Could he have a connection to them, somehow?

In the end Komame is saved by the boys but they’re still worried that the masked man got away from both groups. The episode ends with someone talking about releasing the beast. Which is now called “NUE”. The negative chakra taken from the people in village is used to open the door created by the Hashirama cell, which in turn can awaken NUE.

This has me thinking. The only people who experimented with the Hashirama cell were Orochimaru who produced Yamato (Tenzo) a wood style user and the foundation. Who were headed by Danzo who was known to use some of the same jutsu as the first Hokage. Given the weird behavior from Mitsuki some might think that Orochimaru is involved but I think that it’s someone from the foundation.

I’m really excited to see how they play this all out. This week was a really good episode and we were given so much information to chew on for the week. I also found it really neat that when Boruto uses taijustu, he uses the gentle fist. It’s very subtle but you can see the shape of the gentle form on his hand if you look closely. Who do you guys think is behind all of this? Where does the masked villain come from and who are they? Feel free to let me know your theories and as always, I’ll see you guys next week!

Score: 7/10
Animation: 7/10

Boruto: Naruto Next Generations Ep 10 – Review

Boruto: Naruto Next Generations Ep 10 – Review

Again, we start this episode off really slow but we also get a lot of nice information to progress the story as well. I actually did enjoy this episode as well. Boruto, Shikadai and Mitsuki are actively hunting the ‘ghosts’, the term Boruto is now using to describe the purple chakra controlling people. The three of them have been skipping school to continue the hunt. Which leads to a funny scene where Mitsuki was in charge of writing the sick notes for them, we all know the guy has trouble with basic human interactions so his note was REALLY bad. Boruto comes home to Hinata with her Byakugan active, asking why he was skipping class. Shikadai returns to school with a giant smack mark on the side of his face. Mama Temari doesn’t play obviously.

But the class receives an assignment to go out into the village and find a place of work or business that might suit their interests and shadow the workers there. Boruto uses the post office or mail delivery service as a cover to comb the village for the ghosts while deliverying the mail, which I thought was pretty smart. Sarada and ChoCho choose the food factory (mainly because of ChoCho) and Sumire (class president) and two other girls choose the water plant, which will be very important for next week’s episode.

While the trio are delivery mail the get an alert that someone began rampaging in Senju Park, so they rush over to the scene quickly. Sai, who was already investigating the area for Naruto, finds a trace of Senju DNA on a park bench and brings it back to the Hokage’s mansion. Shikamaru and Naruto deduct that former members of the foundation may be to blame. Given that the group and experimented with Senju DNA in the past. Sai mentioned that past members may still be at large after the group disbanded due to Danzo’s death in the five kage summit arc of Naruto Shippuden. When the trio of kids arrive at the scene, they’re too late.

There was a really nice scene in the middle of the episode when Naruto comes home for a change of clothes. Hinata walks into the office to find him there and the way he speaks to her is so warm and loving. The go to Boruto’s room, to watch him sleep. Naruto talks about how he doesn’t know how to relate to Boruto that much now, since he himself grew up without a father. He says he can tell that his son senses that. But Hinata reassures him that Boruto knows that he’s trying and that he loves him, he just shows it in his own way. Even saying that Boruto looks just like Naruto when he smiles, which I really loved. It was so nice to see this family so happy. To see Naruto, have everything he’s ever wanted since the beginning. It really warmed my heart.

At the end of the episode the three boys return to the postal service the next day to continue work. But ChoCho is there causing a huge scene because her rare chips haven’t been delivered yet (which I thought was hilarious). In his rush to find the ghosts, Boruto delivered the mail terribly leading to it all having to be redelivered the next day. Suddenly they receive an alert that the something had happened at the at the water plant. The kids realize that Sumire and the other girls had chosen that location has their work shadow and the episode ends there.

Overall, I think the episode gave us a lot of good information. What with the Senju DNA reveling itself and the foundation coming up again. You can tell that the studio is gearing up for the climax of this arc. I would probably give it another 3 episodes before we start getting into the movie arc, which I’m really excited to see. There were tons of comedic scenes as usual that, I feel like combined with everything else that is why this anime is so great. It’s doing really well keeping the viewers engaged and coming back every week. So, until next week, I’ll see you guys later!

Score: 7.5/10
Animation: 7/10