I'd be more inclined to say it was a nice trip if I weren't fairly sure both trips are work related. He's actually local has been around much this year.
Little Witch Academia and Wolf Children were the high points of the night for me. Wolf Children sort of distills a lot of what I liked about Hyouka - the "doing character development in a low key fashion" stuff - and then puts it into meatier (thematically) two hour movie about being different.
I adore the way LWA combined cute girls and "gainax spectacle" (Trigger is mainly ex-Gainax employees in case you didn't know)in one work. Enough said.
Okay, not quite. My friend noted that LWA seems to borrow a lot from Mahou Shoujo Tai Arusu - to the point of pretty much frame by frame homaging a scene. Personally I enjoyed LWA more than MSTA… though I do feel that LWA had an easier job to do here because they had do one OVA and hence didn't really have to hold anything back.
Death Billiards was also great. I generally have mixed luck with the "awesome death game" genre (things like Akagi, Kaiji, etc. - I have friends who love them), but limiting it to one OVA and putting some effort into character backstory really helped this out. Still not quite my thing though.
EVA 3.33… it's been a while since I saw 2.22, but this felt like it had a lot more character development and, uh… angst. My friend , who loves the original and has hated Rebuild so far (both movies, not just 2.22 like Reckoner does IIRC) thought it was a move in the right direction and from the perspective of being an "Eva" movie he's probably right - but as someone who hasn't been as big an EVA fan, I found it far less fun than 2.22. Also, the film has a lot of WTF moments - not in terms of the mindscrew stuff since I'm familiar with the TV series and kind of get that now, but in terms of having a ton of stuff changed since 2.22 that's only gradually explained. I'm curious as to whether this was done to throw the audience out of "comfortable, familiar territory" and hence put them into a position closer to Shinji's - and I'm also curious whether they just did it to troll the audience.
Also: remember Touji talking about his sister? She grows up to be cute.
(Side note: we watched on my dad's 50 inch plasma TV. However, unlike Rebuild 1 and 2, 3 is 2.35:1 widescreen rather than the usual 1.85:1 of regular anime movies and 1.78:1 of TV anime… I think watching it in between regular TV anime made the experience less epic just because of the smaller picture.
I think Muromi-san benefits from only having 12 minute episodes - normally I'm not much of a gag anime fan but I can enjoy them in short bursts. Crazy OP too.
This was actually my second attempt at Aku no Hana - it's not really the best "break from exams" show. I'm actually curious to see where it goes. I don't have a strong opinion on the intentionally "uncanny valley" (IMO) art other than I think it actually benefits somewhat from the big screen experience.
I don't think RDG is a great show, but I happen to like it a lot anyway. Not sure if this or Crime Edge will end up being my favourite "supernatural show with a cute girl" of the season - Crime Edge had a really strong third episode and a really cute female lead, but RDG feels like a slightly warmer show despite having a much colder male lead. Odd.
Hataraku-Maou Sama had a pretty hilarious start but I feel like it's sliding too much towards conventional harem territory. Will see if it manages to live up to its start.
Gargantia is pretty great, and I think I like it more than Valvrave's "This is your Code Geass on Bombast" approach though that's actually kind of fun too. The world and Ledo's interaction with it is the main draw - the action scenes haven't felt dangerous enough to be gripping though I'm not sure they could have really done it any differently given how powerful Ledo's unit is.
So an anime buddy dropped by between a trip to California and a trip to Toronto last night. Seeing as how he was fine with "sleeping on the plane", we watched: Hataraku Maou-sama 1-2, Death Billiards, Little Witch Academia, Namiuchigawa no Muromi-san 1, Evangelion 3.33, Aku no Hana 1-2, Suisei no Gargantia 1-2, and Wolf Children. Oh, and then we reviewed my Sakuracon photos and talked camera gear until 4AM. I feel accomplished, even though we didn't get to Red Data Girl 3-4 as I'd intended (watched them when I finally got up today).
So I did some digging on the Puella Magi wiki and apparently there's quite a lot of minor changes to scenes between the first movie and TV series, just not the kind of things that are going to be that noticeable if (like me) you last saw the TV series two years ago. There does seem to be a consensus that the movie(s) has some significantly improved backgrounds in some scenes.
I saw Part II at the same theatre, and as with Part I the screening sold out. No dakimakura this time, but there were more cosplayers including a few I recognized from local cons.
As for the movie itself:
-no major cuts from what I can see
-many minor tweaks, though less changes than in part I (according to the wiki)
-While I felt that Part I dragged a bit at times just because it never gave the audience a breather like the TV episodes did, Part II's pacing was spot on and I felt the last four episodes benefitted immensely from being consumed in a single 1 hour, 50 minute sitting.
Though I still do wonder what was up with the dual OPs (both movie and TV OPs were featured).
Also picked up a 1/8 scale Matsuri Shihou figure from a nearby anime shop - my brother phoned me up to say he'd wanted to get it for me as a birthday present but it wasn't on sale last time he was there, so I should go buy it if it was on sale and he'd pay me back later.
I'm somewhat amused by the fact my Yuki Nagato as catgirl is still the only figure in my collection that doesn't have a significant amount of pink clothing (the other five: Matsuri Shihou, limited edition Mai Kawasumi in pink version of the Kanon uniform, Nadeko in her iconic outfit from Bakemonogatari 9/10 (the non-swimsuit one…), and Hanekawa and Hitagi in uniform).
Yeah, for something like Madoka, I think that English subs with the original Japanese audio works best. I'm relieved it wasn't English dubs with English subs as that's just awkward - I tried that once or twice, and I ended up spending an inordinate amount of time comparing the dialogue spoken to the sub dialogue.
Good point on the heavy nature of the material. Combine that with how there's few comic relief moments here (Hitomi acting silly a few times is about all you see of that), and I can see how it would feel like a lot to take in for just one sitting.
On the whole, it sounds like it was a big success, and that's great to hear. It couldn't happen to a better anime either, imo.
I might have more to write later, but I'll leave it at that for now.
1) Two people out of those at the theatre. Just surprised since there were maybe three hundred people at the theatre compared to 5100 attendees at Anime Revolution 2012, where I never saw any outside of the dealer's area. I did see a couple outside the dealer's area at Sakuracon in Seattle but that's the Pacific Northwest "regional" con with 21K+ attendee event (For reference, Fanime in San Jose (21K) and Anime Expo in Los Angeles (49K) also attract fans from Vancouver but those people are even more hardcore than I am.).
(BTW, my guess is Vancouver could have hit 8K attendees at it's major con by now were it not for the various organizational issues that have plagued our "scene" since Anime Evolution 2010, which got 6150. Other cons on the west coast have grown significantly in that time.)
3) I don't think I'd cite the lack of action specifically, rather that Madoka is generally a pretty heavy series that was originally designed to be consumed in short bursts - as opposed to packing eight episodes of events into 2 hours, 10 minutes .
4) The theatre I went two was 3124 seats across ten screens, so I'd guess the seating capacity to be about 300 people. And the theatre was actually turning people away too (I'm hoping the one cosplayer I mentioned got in, as from what I recall she tires out easily even when she isn't sick - not the kind of person you want to show up for nothing). Not sure what the turnout was like at the other three theatres showing it.
5) Japanese audio with English subs. Like I said, Aniplex gets it.
1. You said two people bought body pillows. Do you mean that two people from your group bought body pillows, or all you saw buy body pillows was two people period (out of everybody at the movie theater). It's not necessarily a big difference, but if it's the latter, I definitely agree with you. I view that as "Well, that's good. It's only two people out of the most hardcore anime fans in all of British Columbia!".
2. I'm glad to hear that the movie had minimal cuts.
3. I'm not sure what the cutoff point for Madoka's first movie is, but I know that if you were marathoning the first five episodes of Madoka Magica, they're rather dialogue-heavy with only minimal bits of standout action (this is especially true if Madoka's 1st episode dream is cut down on). On essentially a "second viewing", I would think it might seem long-winded, yeah.
4. Glad to hear it sold out. Roughly how many people in total were at the theater?
5. You said it had subs. Was it in Japanese audio with English subs, or did it have both English dub and English subs?
Anyway, glad you enjoyed it! I look forward to hearing back from you on it.