Weathering With You / 天気の子 (2019) – Movie Mini-Review

Loved this! Weathering With You is *almost* as good as Your Name, but I think I need to watch it again just to be sure. 😊 The storyline was fun and combines fantasy and reality in an original way, and seems timely considering the changes in the climate.

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 19mm, f/2, 1/125 sec, ISO6400
“Beautiful Background” Austin, 2019

Just like in Your Name, the background artwork is amazing. Some of the scenes with cloud-scapes are breathtaking! But what I really enjoyed about Weathering With You was that there was a bit more action, which was refreshing for a Makoto Shinkai film. I’m still in love with the Honda Super Cub, so seeing chase scene involving one was awesome. ❤️

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 19mm, f/2, 1/125 sec, ISO5000
“Supercub Scene” Austin, 2019

Although Weathering With You didn’t have as many moments as Your Name that gave me “the feels”, I enjoyed it quite a bit. There were a few laugh-out-loud moments as well, so I’d say it’s a very well-rounded movie. It’s got a bit of everything: artwork, story, romance, action, and humor. It’s definitely a movie I’d like to watch several times. Highly recommended!

Watching Episode IX

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 19mm, f/2, 1/125 sec, ISO5000
“Episode IX Display” Austin, 2019

Tonight I went with my two sons to see the 1:25 am showing of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. It was a late showing (Sunday morning actually) because we didn’t think to get the tickets earlier, however it worked out okay for me because I had a mild migraine in the afternoon so I slept from 3 pm until 11 pm and was well-awake to see that late-night show.

*********** SPOILER ALERT ************

I enjoyed Episode IX a lot and thought it was great! I’m in the camp that thought The Last Jedi was an okay movie, but had some really cringey scenes. And when I saw “THE DEAD SPEAK!” come up on the screen for the final movie, I literally rolled my eyes and was prepared for the worst.

But I was pleasantly surprised and pleased with the story, pacing, action, dialog, and humor of the movie. There was plenty of fan-service of course, and the plot wasn’t very complex, but all-in-all it was a satisfying end to the Skywalker saga for me.

One thing I liked about the JJ Abrams movies was the quick bits of humor that were thrown in. For instance, in Episode IX when Ben Solo lands hard after jumping from a high surface, he lets out a little, “Ow” which I thought was brilliant. In the same vein, when Finn is rescued from the Rathtar by Rey in Episode VII, she just says, “That was lucky!” and the scene moves on, without skipping a beat. I loved those types of lines! In contrast, in Episode VIII, Poe’s “can you hear me?” scene with Hux was only mildy funny to begin with, but went on for far too long, and to me it was really lame that a huge part of their battle strategy was based on a silly Verizon joke.

Anyways, just like with Episode VII, I’m ready to see The Rise of Skywalker again on the big screen. And I usually enjoy the second viewings more than the first so I really looking forward to it.

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 19mm, f/2, 1/125 sec, ISO500
“Episode IX” Austin, 2019

Love Live! Sunshine!! The School Idol Movie: Over the Rainbow (2019) – Movie Review

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.2, 1/100 sec, ISO2500
“Love Live! Sunshine!! Movie” Austin, 2019

こんばんは。How’s it going?

Tonight I went with my friend Mikey to watch Love Live! Sunshine!! The School Idol Movie: Over the Rainbow at the local Alamo theater. I mentioned in a previous post that I was watching the first season of this anime in preparation for tonight’s movie, and I am so glad I did, otherwise I would be super-lost!

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.2, 1/100 sec, ISO2500
“Yohane” Austin, 2019

The story starts with the girls moving to a new high school since their previous one was shut down, and it looks like they will have to use their “school idol” charm to win over the other students. But then the plot takes a wacky turn and the girls all end up in Italy. Although it was a weird direction for the story to go, it was a really fun setting and gave my favorite of the group, Yohane/Yoshiko, plenty of screentime, so I was happy with that aspect of it. 😄

The plot was not very cohesive, the songs and performances were great. You can tell the animators took a lot of care during these sequences as the dance moves are really well-done and realistic. I wouldn’t be surprised if they motion-captured real dancers for all the dance sequences in the movie (and the tv anime for that matter). They looked amazing!

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2, 1/100 sec, ISO400
“Love Live! Sunshine!! Movie” Austin, 2019

I often go to special screenings of anime with my friend, and we enjoy seeing what the audience is like. For Love Live! Sunshine!! The School Idol Movie: Over the Rainbow, the crowd was small but more passionate than the ones at regular anime films. Some people wore Love Live!! t-shirts, others brought in backpacks full of stuffed toy characters, and one girl was wearing what looked like an idol-inspired outfit. And during one of the last songs, the people next to us broke out their glow-sticks. It was fun, and now I’m a Love Live! fan. Time to catch up on Season 2 and also the original series. 😊

As of this writing, Love Live! Sunshine!! The School Idol Movie: Over the Rainbow is showing for two more nights, so if you have a chance to see it, why not? It’s a lot of fun, even if you don’t know the characters!

またね~

The Farewell and Being Mixed-Race Asian

Photo info: motorola moto g(6), 3.95mm, f/1.8, 1/120 sec, ISO194
“The Farewell” Austin, 2019

I went to see The Farewell today. Loved it. Seeing a movie from a Chinese-American perspective was interesting personally because it’s something that I can relate to, although not fully since I’m a generation or two removed from any family connection with China. However, I know a fair bit about Chinese culture so the movie felt special and the situations were familiar. Come to think of it, Billi is somewhat removed from China as well and is the same generation as my Mom, whose parents emigrated from China.

Billi is 100% Chinese-American (both parents are from China), but I’m mixed-race Asian-American, which is why I couldn’t more closely relate to her. On one hand, I’m a bit envious that Billi can identify as Chinese. On the other hand, as a mixed-race Asian-American, I am proud of my mixed heritage since I can identify with Japanese culture, Chinese culture, and to a lesser extent, Hawaiian culture. But I am not able to be 100% committed to one, and that is somewhat unsatisfying. It makes identity complicated. Hanging out with Chinese-American, Japanese-American, or Korean-American friends growing up, I felt like a mutt (albeit with a bit of pride) inside. My last name meant that people (at least other Asians) saw me as Japanese-American even though I am over 60% Chinese. I’m also 6% English, but honestly, I’ve never identified with that part of my heritage. Why not? Well, I’ll have to think about that… Anyways, it’s complicated!

Back to the movie, the character Aiko was one of the most intriguing for me. To most viewers, her role was kind of throw-away, but I kept thinking about her and Hao Hao and their future kids (if in fact they are getting married) since they will be mixed Chinese-Japanese like me. What will their lives be like in Japan? What will their family visits back to China be like? How much Chinese culture will they be taught while living in Japan? What kind of discrimination will they face there?

Aiko’s situation was actually the most palpable to me. I’ve been in similar situations where I was at my girlfriend’s family gatherings in Hong Kong, and could only smile and be polite. And of course in Japan to a lesser extent, I have to do the same. So when Aiko is at the dinner table and banquet, I could feel her awkwardness! I also know how isolated and lonely you can feel when in that kind of situation for days on end. Gambatte, Aiko!

I was also thinking about POC representation in Western movies – with so many different kinds of mixed-race Asians in the world… would it be possible to depict the cultural complexities for each combination? Is it worth it? Too niche? Or must mixed-race Asians pick and choose where to find their on-screen representation? I wonder what Awkwafina‘s thoughts are about it since she is Chinese- and Korean-American… 🤔

The Farewell has given me plenty to think about. But if I didn’t mention it earlier, go see The Farewell. It’s a great film! 👍

I Watched Two Anime: Fireworks and A Silent Voice

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/3.2, 1/125 sec, ISO2000
“Anime Nite” Cedar Park, 2019

こんばんは。How’s it going?

I recently visited my local library to renew my card and decided to browse the DVDs to see if there was anything good. I was in luck because I found a couple of movies that I have wanted to watch!

Fireworks / 打ち上げ花火、下から見るか? 横から見るか? has the same producer of the amazing Your Name which I loved, so I had high expectations for it. Unfortunately, the story was confusing and not very interesting. The animation was excellent, however, so it wasn’t difficult to keep watching. The little scenes of life around the sea-town were absolutely gorgeous. It was a shame though that the time-travel aspect was too difficult to follow otherwise it could have been great.

My rating for Fireworks: 6.5/10

On the other hand, A Silent Voice / 映画 聲の形 was excellent, with a compelling storyline, interesting characters with complex relationships and several thought-provoking messages. The animation was also good, although not as crisp or vibrant as Fireworks. But the film held my attention throughout the entire movie and I would love to see a sequel that continued the characters’ story arcs. I wonder if something is in the works…

My rating for A Silent Voice: 8.5/10

I hope you had a nice day!

またね~