Anime at the Theaters: My “Your Name” Experience! | Blogmas 2017 Day 10

Hey everyone, welcome to (a very belated) day 10 of Blogmas (whoops)! I know today’s topic isn’t necessarily “new” for 2017 (nor is it for years prior), but this was the first year I was able to attend a theater to watch anime on the big screen!

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Anime at the Theaters!

From Funimation’s screenings of films for Project Itoh, Dragon Ball, Fairy Tail, One Piece, Black Butler, Attack on Titan, Psycho-Pass, The Boy and the Beast, and In This Corner of the World, to live action films like Tokyo Ghoul, Rurouni Kenshin, and Shin Godzilla, anime has been on the rise, as most of these titles were indeed screened this year. And they’re not stopping at 2017; they’ve already lined up the beginning of 2018 with theatrical releases for the widely anticipated first Eureka Seven Hi-Evolution film!

Heck, even Viz Media had joined in on the fun with its grand premiere of Sailor Moon R: The Movie this past winter (which was, by the way, promoted with the red carpet treatment, complete with a voice actor/pro-cosplayer meet-up, AND a spotlight on Snapchat—FREAKIN’ SNAPCHAT). The same goes for Aniplex of America and their latest (successful) efforts with Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale and Fate/stay night: Heaven’s Feel. Oh, and we can’t forget Sentai Filmworks with the big debut of the No Game No Life: Zero! Though Aniplex has been in the game much longer, it’s only now that their publicity has reached far enough to include theater screenings not just limited to the California area. And this trend will likely increase for all of these companies as the years go on, which is awesome because when more anime goes around, we get more of it!

I unfortunately wasn’t able to see this film (or any of the ones listed above, for that matter), but I did try, I did! ;_: Now I own the DVD. :3

It’s not often that anime “strikes rich” with U.S. audiences, though. The fan base and popularity expand, sure, but the monetary gain from screening anime films in the U.S. is nothing compared to what Warner Bros., Sony Pictures, Walt Disney Studios, or even some indie films earn. But every bit helps, and seeing as how screenings of our favorite niche titles keep popping up, we can only imagine that it’s all helping the anime industry in Japan. Anime News Network wrote an article during the film screening boom awhile back, so you might want to check that out if you’re curious to know the “science” behind it all.

As I was saying, very rarely do anime films earn household names thanks to theater screenings: Akira, Ghost in the Shell, and most Studio Ghibli films are pretty well recognized thanks to their unique artistic styles and of course, classic nature. Just this past spring, Funimation streamed a little title called Your Name.—ever heard of it? Yeah, I’m sure you have, and you’ll probably already know that it’s now the world’s highest-grossing anime film, finally beating out Ghibli staples like Spirited Away (2nd), Howl’s Moving Castle (3rd), and everyone’s favorite fish-girl with the round tummy, Ponyo (4th). No, it’s not a competition, but credit should be given where it’s due, and Your Name. IS one incredible, breathtaking film. While Japan is still loyal to Spirited AwayYour Name. did manage to climb all the way up to become the fourth highest-grossing film in the nation. If that doesn’t speak volumes about the film, I’m not sure what will.

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My “Your Name.” Experience

(This is not a review. That will come out in early 2018, fingers crossed >.<)

Have you ever been to a Warren Theatre? They’re apparently prominent in the big midwestern cities, but essentially, they are luxurious movie theaters heavily decorated and inspired by Hollywood during the Roarin’ Twenties. Very Gatsby-esque and decked out to the extreme, one wearing athletic shorts and a t-shirt (me) would feel very out of place. EVERYTHING is gold in that place—no, literally, there are tall pillars embossed with shiny gold-colored plating. Exquisite paintings hang on the gorgeously patterned walls, and the staff are finely dressed in slick black suits. Even the bathrooms are paved with solid ebony marble flooring with rows upon rows of ridiculously clean stalls. There are several open little outlets that line the curtained walls, each containing waiting rooms with comfortable maroon leather couches and, wait, yes, a fireplace.

 

[Pictures from Google]

All-in-all, my mom, dad, and sister and I were very shocked. Very shocked. The place was simply stunning, and I couldn’t recommend it enough. The Warren is an experience, not just another place to watch movies.

 

[They even had this cool giant promotional poster for the Ghost in the Shell live action, which I was absolutely enamored by! You can bet I took pictures posing by this, haha!]

So the Warren was hella lit, but what made the three-hour journey to see Your Name. all the more worth it was the meet-up. (Woah, Taku has friends that like anime IRL?! Yup, you bet.) If you didn’t already know, music was my thing from basically birth up through high school (and even now, too). I play the cello, and on my second year with the All-State Orchestra, my sister made friends with her fellow stand partner. He was also Asian, so there’s kinda that instantaneous bond right there, and we all kept in contact after that fateful encounter.

Flash forward, and he starts talking about this film he saw on his way back from Japan, a title that, though unfamiliar with my sister, was screaming at me because of all the recent hype: Your Name., Makoto Shinkai’s latest creation. He recommended the film because he’d seen it, I knew how to get us to see it, and my sister was the glue that held us all together. The only problem—he lives across the state, over three hours away, and while it might not seem like much for the average traveler, you can’t forget that we’re youngins, and that distance was enough to keep us apart.

So we agreed to meet halfway. He chose a conveniently located place where we’d meet up to eat (which was a really awesome and tasty Japanese restaurant similar to how Qdoba or Chipotle are fashioned—how fitting, I know), I found the Funimation-approved theater, and my sister kept us all excited (well, more than we were, at least)! Several laughs later, it was time to make our way across the parking lot, and before we knew it, we were ushered into the theater balcony where we were seated before a giant red curtain. That’s right, this movie theater opens and closes its screenings with the grand red curtain. God, did I mention that I love this place??

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So the great curtain raised and the great curtain lowered. The film was over, and it was admittedly hard not to cry. So many things had led up to this one moment:

  • Hearing about the rapid success of Your Name.
  • Attending All-State Orchestra and meeting a new friend
  • Funimation announcing a theatrical release
  • Reconnecting via technology and setting up a reunion
  • Traveling the distance, meeting the other halfway
  • Walking into the Warren
  • Reuniting for a delicious lunch
  • Seeing one of the greatest films ever created
  • Feeling the emotions of the characters, together

I mean, all this considered, it was so very difficult to believe that this dream of mine would quickly come to an end. It was not only a bittersweet ending for Mitsuha and Taki, but for the three of us, too. Honestly, bidding farewell to a friend had never been harder. But we agreed to meet again, and sure enough, just this past weekend, we met halfway once again to have fun at the city’s mall. We were going to ice-skate all together, but he had a piano competition coming up and his mom didn’t want him risking his wrist—perfectly understandable, and we had fun nonetheless. (Our family did go ice-skating, though :P)


Thoughts on Life, Transience, and Memories

It’s not often that an anime film gets screened here in the states. And it’s also not often that said movie becomes the highest-grossing anime film in the world.

Similarly . . . 

It’s not often that we get to have perfect long-distance friendships. And it’s also not often that we get to cross that seemingly great distance to have our own Your Name. experience. Little did we know it, we, too, traversed the state in search of the other and promised to meet up again someday. And when someday finally came, we were all just so, so happy.

We have to take advantage of the fleeting opportunities that life presents us with. Not every moment will be magical, but when you make the most of what you have—pouring all your heart into what you want most—sometimes chance grants you that picture-perfect moment . . .

Only for it to quickly fade into a memory. 

Cherish the friendships you currently have, relish in the art that entertains you, and I cannot express this last one enough: Take as many photos as you can. I say it all the time, but the reality is that life goes by quicker and quicker with each passing day. Don’t let thinking about the “could have beens” before they even happen stop the “can be” that you can make possible. There was a point where I considered not reaching out to my sister about the film because I thought it wasn’t going to work for some reason. I was wrong. We can make beautiful memories to last a lifetime, and we can take risks to pursue happiness.

It’s all a matter of taking the first step and hoping that it leads you to enjoying the step after that.

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Wherever you are in the world, I’ll search for you. – Taki Tachibana


Maybe now you understand why getting to see Your Name was one of my highlights of 2017. Did anyone else have the opportunity to visit anime in theaters this year? If so, what did you see, and how was your experience? I’d love to know! I’ll be logging this as a “Cafe Talk,” so feel free to let your thoughts loose on this post or anything else related to it!

I’m on a bit of an odd schedule now thanks to the holidays, but this concludes Blogmas Day Ten of the 12 Days of Anime. Thanks for reading, and I’ll catch you shortly with another belated post!

– Takuto, your host

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TAKING A WEEK OFF | End of June Update 7/5/16

Helloooo cafegoers, ’tis I, Takuto, and it would appear yet another month has slipped between our fingers. Seriously, what’s up with that? Summer is going by way too fast! U-PUPUPUPUPU

Have you noticed my presence gradually increasing behind the scenes with this past week? Yup, it’s not just your imagination. Inspiration just kind of hit me smack dab in the face and, well, here I am! I think most of that natural high can be contributed to all of the Anime Expo announcements made, my favorites of which I’ll list later. However, it wouldn’t have been possible for me to keep tabs on AX if it weren’t for all of you pressing me to get a GODDAMN TWITTER. So I did, and it’s great! I already feel at home, though I’m not sure if I should drop the “Anime Cafe” part on Twitter and just leave my name. Let me know.

Being on Twitter, I noticed that if I had anything brief to say, I said it there rather than in a blog post. That’s a good and a bad thing. Good because hey, whatever stupid in-the-moment things I have to say usually don’t require a full-on post. I’d like to keep the blog a little more cleaned up, so having a Twitter for small talk and catching up with you people is great.

The bad is obvious — Everyone now knows that I’m alive and kickin’, so why leave comments? I’m sure you all noticed that waaay before I did, but now instead of discouraging me, it’s done quite the opposite. I feel like I’m a part of the community that’s on the edge of excitement and new things coming out, but I also feel like I’m pumping out my own material with a blog. In other words, I can be social on two planes now, one is just for ‘work.’

But you all wanted an update right? Sounds good, I can deliver!

Recently Finished:

Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann – WHAT A SHOW! Watching this one was not only fun, but it felt educating in a way to see where KILL la KILL, a huge favorite of mine, sort of got its roots. It’s often wacky, and the battles are quite frequent, but that’s just shounen action anime, right? I could ramble on about its ups and downs, but why clutter the update when I did a whole review on the series RIGHT HERE!

The Lost Village – So I watched only 4 of the 2016 spring anime, and of those this was my  least favorite. Bad? Not necessarily . . . just a bit of an odd egg. It’s along the lines of “setting was awesome, concept was solid, but the execution of it was a bit rough.” There’s a good chance I’ll be writing a review on this one here soon, so stay tuned.

My Hero Academia – Last time I updated on this one I was about half way through. Having watched the last three episodes last night, I can confirm that this is indeed a fantastic show — And the prospect of a second season so soon makes me even happier, cause this first one just sort of ends. It’s a pleasant ending nevertheless, and it doesn’t fail to provide a solid story with quirky characters and exciting fights. Really happy with how this one turned out. Review on the way!

Absolute Duo – If you’re not familiar with FUNimation Entertainment’s YouTube account, then you might not know that they’ll frequently post episodes of shows that (I presume) didn’t do so hot in their airing phase, yet the plan to release anyway to make some greens. This was one of those shows and, oh my lands, was probably THE WORST anime I have ever seen!!! Loaded with tropes, bad animation, chicks that endlessly follow a shallow guy, and a story that is so unbelievable that it retracts the viewer from even calling it fiction, Absolute Duo is Absolute Shit. I’m not even going to dignify it with a review.

Seraph of the End: Battle in Nagoya – So I’m a huge Seraph fanboy. ‘Nuff said. I know this franchise is kind of stupid and that its first season in particular is pretty trashy, but after picking up on the manga series from the beginning, it has at least rocketed itself up into being one of the more entertaining franchises I have played with. Once I got my hands on the volumes that this sequel covers, I squealed like a girl when I also got to watch it play out in anime format, like pawns on a board, muahahaha! This second season was much more exciting than the first, having fixed many of the animation and soundtrack glitches that were omnipresent. It’s a series riddled with darkness at every turn, and that sometimes, we have to muddy our hands in that darkness to fight bigger nightmares. That ending though…It makes me so excited, yet so scared. Guess I just need to order volume 10 to find out if they did it right! Review might come your way, but don’t be surprised if it gets sidelined for a while.

Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair (PS Vita game) – No, I didn’t play the game, nor do I even own a Vita. As several know, this summer season we’ll be getting TWO Danganronpas!!! One continues where the first series left off, the second being a prequel to the franchises second game, Goodbye Despair. So, in preparation of tangoing with despair once again (and having rewatched the first season with my siblings), I decided to flee to the YouTube game walkthroughs where 44 freakin’ hours of “NO, THAT’S NOT QUITE RIGHT!” stole my evenings. During this period, I decided to put the simulcasts I had been previously watching on hold, which is why I was missing for a while there. But it’s done now, and holy God is this the MOTHER OF ALL PLOT TWISTS. Seriously, the last three hours of gameplay are mindf*ck after mindf*ck until I couldn’t even see straight. Totally worth it though. I only wish they decided to adapt this instead of making a prequel. I mean, I’m not complaining — more Danganronpa is definitely a good thing. So hyped!!

Kizumonogatari (novel) – Having dabbed around in several different medias this past month, I can officially report that Kizumonogatari is my new favorite book!!!! Thanks to Seraph, my vampire phase couldn’t just end with manga, so it spread to light novel. And the Monogatari franchise of all things! This book is a thrill ride from beginning to end; a story of tragedy playing out on a school ground lit by the light of the moon; a tale of wounds inflicted, one onto her by him, the other done to him by her, both sharing this incredible burden and twisted fate. Brilliant tale, a masterpiece of supernatural-meets-school done right! Also, Vertical’s matte finish copy of it just feel so damn good in my hands, mhmm.

Currently Watching:

Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress – It’s interesting how sick people probably are about hearing the spring titles being mentioned, but hey, I still got three episodes to go! While I still think that episode 6 was the series’ highest point, the latter episodes were starting to pick up the pace a bit. Biba is simply an incredibly annoying character, manipulating Mumei like she’s some fodder of his. I already know that the series will end with a bang of beautiful animation thanks to ANN’s ‘reliable’ reports, but I want to explore that for myself. More exciting than the actual series though, did you all here that it’s getting released — and by Crunchyroll no less??!! I’m getting ahead of myself. Kabaneri still feels a bit lost, and I’m sure the end will not cover everything, but it’s been a hell of a ride — One clustered with glorious animation and music that’s hard to beat!

Kiznaiver – For me, nothing has changed much with this show. I still want to call it one of my “Top ten favorites,” even though I know it’s just a tad bit behind the others. With three episodes to go, it has reached lowest point so far, one where everyone has felt the pinnacle of their pain. Or at least it has me believe. I actually plan to rewatch this one from beginning to end BEFORE I give my final thoughts on it, for simulcasted isn’t the best way to watch Kiznaiver. The others just aren’t as sensitive as this one is. Loving everything that Trigger has done so far, and hoping that everyone pushes just a teensy-weensy bit more so that I can indeed let it go having watched a fantastic series.

2016 Summer Movie Theater Shows – We’ve gone through A Lull in the Sea, Girls und Panzer (recently wrote 5 reasons you should watch it here), Danganronpa, ef – a tale of memories and melodies, and Baccano! Currently about to start Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya. Being one lucky enough to show anime to his siblings, I am thankful that everything has gone fairly smoothly thus far. Everyone loved Nagi Asu, and Panzer seemed A-OK by the end. What really got the riled up was Danganronpa — Oh my, how they were thrilled by this one!! AGH, it makes me so happy! My sister even decided to, right after finishing, to recommend it to a friend and watch with them. It’s nice to know I’m doing my job, heh heh. While it was all well and good, they only thought ef – memories was fine, and they really didn’t care for melodies at all, which is sad, considering that they hold such a dear place in my heart. I guess not everyone will like everything you will *sighs*. Baccano! just sort of happened. They thought Isaac and Miria were the best part, haha, me too!

I’ll be starting up the summer anime soon after everything is finished and reviewed. There will be a separate post for that, so if you’re curious to see what I’ll be following, keep your eyes peeled. Same goes with my favorite announcements from AX 2016. I may not have gone, but everything was reported here on the home front, and boy, there are a lot of good things coming our way soon!!

Let’s see, what else . . . ah, home life. I’m not sure if many of you knew this, but I don’t blog on my own computer. During the school year, I get a rental one to do all of my posts, which is why you’ll actually see more of my reviews then. What am I typing on now then? Why, it’s our bomb-ass family laptop — The one that: can’t be unplugged without it shutting off, frequently overheats itself, has lost Google and instead uses some sketchy browser (we got Chrome tho), and finally, that half of us need to use all the darn time.

So life is stressful in that regard. If my dad decides to upgrade to an iPad soon (because he is starting to pick up on its convenience), I’ll graciously be inheriting his mini laptop, which is leaps and bounds ahead of what I currently use because it EHERM, ACTUALLY WORKS. Also, for WP’s privacy sake. Fingers crossed that this all goes down soon because, uff, I’m not sure how much more I can take.

I’ll be away from the 10th to the 16th of July

Lastly, I’ll be taking a week off due to a music camp that I really don’t want to go to, haha. You see, you can enter to win camp scholarships by recording a solo and the people picking yours. There’s only one rewarded to a camper who gets in for free, however . . . AND I’M THE FREAKING ONE WHO GOT IT. Damn my rotten luck! So now I’m out a week of pay from work AND a week of blogging, and instead I’ll be sitting in a stupid classroom like a domesticated animal being forced to re-audition to get a spot. Then, of course, there’s the whole week of activities that I didn’t want to do in the first place. Why, kami-sama, why?

That pretty much wraps up this lengthy update. I wasn’t expecting 2,000 words, hah! Sorry about that. I’m hoping that all of us Americans had a wonderful Independence day with lots of tasty food, good company, and explosions! Summer is hot as balls here, and being a lifeguard for 7-8 hours in a day doesn’t help that. I got a nice tan already though, so I guess entrance fee was paid for. Until my seasonal line up, favorite AX announcements, spring anime review, or whatever comes next, I hope you’re having a great day! See ya~!

– Takuto, your host

More Summer Movie Theater Madness!?

Welcome ladies and gents to another Cafe Talk, a segment where I record my ramblings–

I know, I know. I’m supposed to be catching up on comments and posts. Well—this kinda came up first considering that we’re already almost done with the second title. *gasps* Where did the time go?

For those unfamiliar with our Movie Theater nonsense, click here for the full backstory and last year’s line up. Essentially, since I am the self-acclaimed Otaku Pioneer for my siblings, I gather my cash each year and blow it all on a list of shows that we can watch together. For me, I’ve seen all of them, and merely want them to watch them too since they’re curious. Unless they’re exceptions to the rule (necessary sequels or prequel material), the shows I pick are not only favorites of mine but also highly rated titles by myself and the community. Here is how this season will be divided:

Act One: A Lull in the Sea, Girls und Panzer, Danganronpa, ef – A tale of memories and melodies.

Act Two: Baccano!, Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA ILLYA, Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works, KILL la KILL.

You’ll notice that I’m currently missing the second season to Fate UBW and the other four volumes of KLK.

Budget cuts. But I have a job now, no sweat :3

You’ll also probably see that the first and second acts greatly differ – That is done on purpose. The order I selected for this set of shows, I believe, is the best order to achieve each title’s maximum potential without blotting out the others. Feel free to argue against my madness below.


BUT YEAH. More shows. More great content. I’m hella stoked to rewatch all of Danganronpa with them now, as that is what comes following today’s girls-meet-tanks finale, haha! If you have any sibling/anime stories, let’s talk in the comments. I’m dying to know if I’m just the weird one running my own business here XD. ‘Till next time!

– Takuto, your host

PS: Did anyone recognize the Nagi-Asu upgrade from DVD in my past birthday haul to that blu-ray monster collection you see above? We’ll talk about that in the next post, kyu kyu kyu.

Cafe Talk #1: Movie Theater Madness!?

Mina-san, konbanwa ~

Welcome to the first Cafe Talk, a new segment to my Anime Cafe where I pretty much chat about anything that I want to – hopefully interesting and engaging conversation, though! Unlike my reviews, I literally have no structure for this bit, so here we go! 😀

Every summer, my siblings and I like to get together and do lots of fun, youthful activities, whether it’s playing cards, games, drawing, etc. Two years ago, our little games were starting to get old, and it seemed like there was absolutely nothing else to do but browse the web – a rising pastime. Now, a year prior to this, I stumbled upon anime, and was slowly yet secretly watching some in my free time – my greatest private haven!

Without knowing how the others would react, I bravely proposed that “I have a couple of shows I think you guys would like, are you interested?” We’re all teens that had lived up Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh, and Sailor Moon, so I thought, “What the hell, ya know?” What’s the worst that could happen?

I printed up a schedule, lined up the shows, started my first anime collection, printed posters of each show, “advertised,” and finally, the day came – the first showing of the 2013 Summer Movie Theater. How would they react? Was my secret hobby too much/not worthy of them? *Gulp, sweat beads*

They loved all of it. Every single show.

Since then, I have been showing them more and more anime through my seasonal theaters, summer being a slew of shows with fall and winter receiving one overly-hyped title each. As silly as it sounds, it was successful, ridiculously fun, and most of all, I stepped out of the looming shadow of my love for anime – I was accepted by others, sure, siblings, but for nobody knowing to now my whole family – whew!

Now marks the third summer movie theater, and though budget problems arise, I’ve managed to pull together a pretty solid set:

Act One – Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions!, Yamada’s First Time, Log Horizon, and The Devil is a Part-Timer!

Act Two – Psycho-Pass, Rebuild of Evangelion 1.11 & 2.22, A Certain Magical Index II (with Endymion movie), and Puella Magi Madoka Magica (with Rebellion movie)

The Raildex universe is always featured towards the finale of our theaters, as it just feels like a great way to end the summer. But otherwise, what do you think? Is that a good lineup or what!?

Did you ever bond with your siblings like this? Yeah, we’re dorks with our business-like format and all, but hey, we have a great time! How did you “come out” as an anime fan? Was it just a small hobby of yours or did you come out with a bang like I did? Also, what do you think of Cafe Talk? Comment below – I love hearing from you guys! Tickets are on sale now :P, and until next time, this has been

– Takuto, your host