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| The Anime
Akira - Dubbed Video (***1/2) Subtitled Criterion Collection Laserdisc (*****) - First and foremost is the most ambitious, most exquisitely animated movie of all time, Japanese or American. Although over ten years old, Katsuhiro Otomo's cyberpunk epic has animated scenes that absolutely shame the best that Disney has to offer. Although the story does not measure up to the comic it was based upon (you try compressing 14 years of an ongoing story without and ending into a two-hour feature), it is still engrossing, complex, and if viewed enough times to comprehend, satisfying. The crown jewel of all anime.
Ghost in the Shell (****1/2) - The most expensive and ambitious animated movie since Akira, Ghost in the Shell almost achieves the immortal status of Akira. Unfortunately, the story is perhaps too deep for its own good and the character animations would have been really cool if they had stayed closer to the original Masamune Shirow Anime.
Ninja Scroll (*****) - Yoshiaki Kawajiri's (Wicked City) ninja epic is third among the theatrical anime releases, but it is certainly not least. Beautifully animated from start to finish, Ninja Scroll is the only theatrical anime reviewed here that was not based on a prior work. The story of a ninja named Jubei and his adventure has some of the most beautiful action scenes to ever be animated. I may be a little biased because I'm a sucker for ninjas jumping around slicing each other to shreds. See for yourself and judge it on your own.