// Cross-posted in French here
2010 turned out to be an interesting year, giving me the opportunity to really explore japanese animation, which has produced this year some amazing stuff you should check (a shame it won’t be mentioned in most Top 10). Anyway, my 2010 favorites:
# Love in a puff
This is how Edmond Pang makes fun of taboos, using the anti-smoking law to build a nice romance about smokers. Not as gory as his other 2010 film Dream Home, but way more efficient. You can’t ban people from… living.
# Summer Wars
Mamoru Hosoda’s anime film successfully deliver an interesting non-cliché message about the Internet. Considering “users” not as dangerous lonely freaks, but as humans with humans interactions. That simple.
# THE MAN FROM NOWHERE
The perfect opposite to Kim Ji-woon’s cynical thriller I Saw The Devil. A classic human & efficient tale of redemption, where extreme violence reflects characters’ reality & pains. A sordid yet touching film depicting the forgotten people of the South Korean society.
# Tatami Galaxy
The best of japanese mainstream animation is brought to you by Mind Game director, Masaaki Yuasa. As inventive & crazy as always, taking us on the path to friendship & self discovery. Ambitious and, respectful of the audience.
# Detective Dee
Tsui Hark is back and he’s playing with our senses & our beliefs through this great inventive and iconic adventure/mystery/period film. Depicting what goes on behind the political scene of Ancient China.
# House of the Five Leaves
A trip to an old Japan filled with sadness, bitterness and melancholy. Portraying seemingly unpleasant characters, only to slowly reveal their deep humanity, their background story. A decent and touching slice-of-life type of story,
# Panty & Stocking
Another unconventional mainstream anime, intended to be provocative, ironic and fun, an exciting roller coaster of action mixing western influences. Sometimes experimental, sometimes crude, but always making fun of fan-service animaton.
# Shaft’s 2010 productions
From Bakemonogatari to Arakawa Under the Bridge, this studio still manages to stay somewhere between experimental, absurd and fun. Creating unique comedies, which play with crazy visual/narrative ideas and fan(service)’s expectations.
With the first 12 episodes of the show, Takahiro Omori proved once again his talent to deal with a multi-character plot, only to generate the mythology of Ikebukuro (one of Tokyo’s downtown district). To step into fantasy (the Headless Rider !).
# Assault Girls
This could have been the Japanese version of Scott Pilgrim, merging one medium into another. But instead of experimenting the fusion of game & film, Mamoru Oshii offers a 70min slow and symbolic trip into boredom.
# 14 Blades
Donnie Yen is so awesomely awesome, he didn’t notice how messy was this love-revenge story. Where the few action sequences are no fun due to poor editing choices.
# Bare Essence of Life
An indie japanese film using excessive cryptic humour, with a dull and slow story going nowhere. One of the idea may be to express our craziness/originality. Or, maybe not. Still nice to see actor Kenichi Matsuyama working on projects like that.
# First Squad
The worst anime film ever produced by Studio 4°C? It looks good, but it doesn’t try to tell a story. It looks interesting but, it doesn’t try to organize and develop some ideas. And why adding useless live-action interviews ala Band of Brothers?
# True Legend
When Kung-fu meets 3D under the supervision of Yuen Woo-ping, the result is chaotic. The technology brings nothing to this mess, the story doesn’t know what to tell, a revenge or a redemption? Which doesn’t help characters to be interesting.
Now, 2010 movies I’m looking forward to watching next year;
# Takashi Miike’s 13 Assassins,
# Sion Sono’s Cold Fish,
# Keiichi Hara’s Colorful,
# Go Shibata’s Doman Seman,
# Tetsuya Nakashima’s Confessions,
# Takashi Koike’s Redline,
# Hisayasu Sato’s Love & Loathing & Lulu & Ayano,
# Ryoo Seung-wan’s The Unjust
# Na Hong-jing’s Yellow Sea
# Kim Gok & Sun’s Anti-Gas Skin,
# Jang Cheol-soo’s Bedevilled,
# Any advice?