So I went to MadFest. It was ok (if I’m being generous).
But concurrently there was a series of five films being screened which was on paper part of the event but in practicality was effectively a separate event. Which I had to pay for so I have some skin in this being worthwhile this time XD.
The first film was, as I found out when I went, not actually a film. It was actually a screening of a recorded Love Live! concert. Specifically it was “Love Live! Sunshine!! Aqours First LoveLive! ~Step! Zero to One~ concert”. I hadn’t really paid attention to this one on the ticket info since I don’t like Love Live but since I had got a ticket for it I decided to go along.
I didn’t regret that decision. Per se. I was expecting it to be an anime film since part of the multimedium Love Live! franchise includes anime stuff. So I was quite surprised when (after a delayed start due to a) the line ride and b) technical difficulties that had the sound not working for like 10-15 minutes) some live action singers ran out onto a stage and started performing.
My first thought that is was gonna be one of those interactive shows a la Cheez TV, but with the actors doing bits and pieces live on stage in between segments of an anime film.
Lol no. It was just a recording of the concert. And it was pretty shit (as someone who does not know or care for Love Live). I was bored after about 5 minutes and then spent 15 minutes watching the audience instead as they were going crazy waving around those light sticks and doing moves and stuff. I also wondered why we didn’t have those light sticks at concerts in Australia since they seemed pretty cool/fun. Then I realised that if they were at a convert in Australia, someone would throw them at someone else in about 15 seconds.
But yeah- after 20 minutes I was bored so I left.
The next film was one of the two I was most excited for- the “Fate/stay night: Heaven’s Feel I. presage flower” film. It’s the first in a series of three films animating the Heaven’s Feel route of the Fate/stay visual novel. I have never played the visual novel but I love a lot of the anime related to the franchise- the original Fate/stay anime that was semi-Fate route, semi-anime original “Gold”(and has a bit of a mixed reception in the community), I enjoyed the Unlimited Bladeworks route movie (for being a complete trainwreck), I loved the Fate Zero prequel and Unlimited Bladeworks TV series. Plus I loved all three seasons of the Fate Ilya magical girl spin of series and am currently watching the Fate/Apocrypha alternative reality series that is currently airing in Japan. Oh and the Fate Grand Order OVA was ok.
As you can possibly tell, it’s quite a convoluted franchise with a lot of alternative versions of things. The original game had three options or ‘routes’ depending on which heroine you chose to be the main love interest- Saber (Fate), Rin (Unlimited Bladeworks) and Sakura (Heaven’s Feel).
This movie is obviously based on the Sakura heroine path and previously I didn’t really know much about it. Other than it got super fucked and Sakura gets royally ripped off/mistreated. Based Sakura pretty much gets the short end of the stick in every story and was flat out abused as a child in the Fate Zero prequel so that isn’t too surpising.
Having watched the movie (the first of a trilogy), I am firmly of the opinion that Sakura is the best girl. Sure I thought the same about Saber and Rin in thier routes but fuck me Sakura is awesome. Such a “bae”.
But yeah, the movie. And the screening festival.
Logistically the line ride for the movie was pretty bad. The screening was apparently sold out so there were a heap of people and the line was snaking around the foyer. Normally I wouldn’t have twigged how bad this was being managed but the week ebfore the PAX people had been managing lines for a theatre 5x the size (roughly) and kep the line into a section of the foyer 1/3 as big. Also there was a dude in the line behind me who had never seen any Fate stuff before and it was funny listening to his friend give him an outline of the franchise (shit is fucked up).
Also the build up to the movie by th eorganisers was a bit drawn out. They had a couple of the MadFest guests who were related to the Fate frnahcise talk a bit and the organisers also gave a bit of a talk. But it meant shit started like 40 minutes after the advertised start time (Love Live! delay, massive line, long speeches). Booo!
But I really liked the movie. As someone who has only seen anime stuff I think it did a good job referencing other parts of the franchise for fanservice while still bringing new content and ideas and direction to it’s own story. IN particualr fleshing out Sakura and Shiro’s history and burgeoning relationship was really good to see. As were the fights that happened (and lol Lancer just can’t get a break. Always gets his arse handed to him even when he is overwhelming the stronger fighter XD).
However I do think the movie relied way to heavily on people being familiar with other parts of the franchise to fully get it. For example pre-opening titles we get the fast forward verions of 18 months of Shiro x Sakura developing, then as the title credit play we see flashes of the scene where Shiro is killed and then brought back to life as a Master in the Holy Grail War. And then post titles Saber is running around and they’re all together doing stuff. So it basically skipped past the entire establishing premise and act for the Holy Grail War, Shiro’s involvement and who/what the hell Saber is (and where she came from). Also there was some weird/creepy scene with Skira and the Priest at a spicy tofu restaurant that had half the audience pissing themselves and the other half being generally confused. I think it was a reference to the game.
The ending of the movie felt a bit… dragged? I’m not sure the best word. It was kind of like the last Lord of the Rings movie where there were several points where it felt like the movie had ended and would cut to credits. I did like the spot where it ended though- the stuff that had been happening while different in context was similar in vibe to the other two routes but at the end there is a clear shift where something has gone wrong/different. Only bad thing is that I’m just annoyed I couldn’t immediately jump into the second and then third movie.
Next was a film that I was interested in but not fussed on and considered it a bit of a bonus- JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable 1.
I love a good JoJo meme as much as the next person. But I must confess that I have only seen the 2012 series of the anime (which covered Phantom Blood and Battle Tendency). I absolutely loved it but because I came it it late I marathoned it (which made for an awesome day). When the next part Stardust Crusaders came out I figured I’d do the same thing. Little did I realise it was a fucking 50+ episode arc (actually not sure how long it ended up). And when watching series X will take as much time as rewatching Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood, I’m going to rewatch Brotherhood. And I did rewatch Brotherhood (and it was fucking great).
In any case, Diamond is Unbreakable is actually the fourth part of the story. And judging by the title this is the first movie in a series that will cover this arc (although no other parts of the series have been put into live action movies so it’s an odd place to start)
The movie is fine. Like the first 2/3 were pretty good and then it went fucking mental. Which I guess is classic JoJo. The main A plot was good and the fight scenes were generally pretty good.
But outside that I had literally a list of questions about stuff I was confused about: who was the random person who attacked and killed the ‘bad guy’ of the movie and then disappeared? Why was their such an emphasis on Koichi’s grades? (And how did he go on the test he was studying for all through the movie?) What was with the random serious side jag into a discussion about how Josuke was saved when he was four eyars old? (And who saved him? What was he saved from?) Where the fuck did Jotaro go halfway through the movie after the fight with the water henchman? (And why did he just piss off in full knowledge that some magical madman was running around and Josuke was nowhere near ready to face him?) Why did Josuke’s young mum date and procreate with a married English man who was like 30-40 years her senior? Was Josuke pointlessly lying when he told Angleo he ‘wouldn’t die’ or did Josuke literally sentence him to an eternity of suffering as an inanimate, living rock? What the fuck was with the weird stalker chick going after Koichi/ Was she a ghost? WHAT THE FUCK WAS THE GOBLIN MAN? ARE THEIR FUCKING MYTHICAL CREATURES IN THIS UNIVERSE? (I mean, vampires exist so it is possible) is Jotaro’s hat a visor or is his hair curving under and over the back of the hat??
The biggest problem was that the big final fight (which was a bit dumb thinking about it) ended like 3/4 of the way through the film and then there was a heap of character backstory and development that was fine but really seemed to be dragging out the movie run time. Just chuck it all before the fight and it’d be great. Like it was worse than a DC film is trying to clunkily set up a multi film story arc.
So yeah… 6/10?
The next movie was the othe rone I was really looking forward to- No Game No Life Zero. The TV series is fantastic (if you ignore the incest
undertones overtones)- great idea, great arts, great characters, all executed super well. Unfortunately the series adapted pretty much the entirety of the published novels so the wait for season 2 is a long one. This movie is a prequel set thousands of years before the series and looks at how the premise if the series (no wars, all disputes settled by games) is created.
I was honestly a little disspapointed by the movie. It was fine as a movie but I was expecting the greatness of the series.
There was a tonne of assumed knowledge for this movie-it was borderline incoherent for my friend who was watching it with me that hadn’t seen the series. The fanservice links to the series were a bit hit and miss- I liked the narrative frame of the movie being a story getting told the the TV series characters but I did not like that Jibril was the Flugel who fucked shit up for the movie main characters. Particularly her complete ignorance of this massive event back in the narrative frame which goes against her character of hunting for knowledge (and given fact the movie characters look nearly identical to the TV characters, even though they are unrelated their resemblance should be notable to her)
Also the story didn’t really make any sense- like why the hell did Shuvi want to play games against Riku? There was no reason for this at all given this era is pre-game stuff. And their races were at war with each other.
Also there was some super convenient shit happening- like the humans were getting absolutely smashed in the war but once they decided to go into hiding and be dirt ninjas they suddenly got super lucky and became super successful at everything. And managed to conveniently manipulate the three main fighting races into fighting each other without fucking anything up, getting caught or getting killed. Because apparently eating some ash and positioning yourself makes it possible for them to sneak around undetected and no-one ever wants to touch them.
But the worst things was the pacing decisions- like we skip over the fight/game between Riku and Shuvi and are never told the result of the game or their bargain (like, we can guess) or how Riku ‘changed the rules of the game’. But then we have a stupid marriage sequence that goes for way too long.
The character designs were pretty lame (literally some colour palette swaps with minor design tweaks on the three main characters from the TV series. And Jibril.) But it was cool seeing more of the other races, particular the Ex-Machina who haven’t featured in the TV series. But their cooperation with the humans was another plot convenience that didn’t really make much sense
So yeah… 4/10
The last movie was Mary and the Witch’s Flower. Which in some places was advertised as being somehow related to Studio Ghibli but it didn’t seem to actually be related to Ghibli (I think it was just the Director has worked for Ghibli).
In any case, much like JoJo this was a bit of a bonus movie and I had not real expectations going in. And it was a fine movie.
Fairly typical- young child with not adult oversight find crazy power and has an adventure. they do something dumb and put a peer in danger. Like the main characters name was Mary Smith which highlights the genericness of the story.
The main character Mary annoyed me coz she was an idiot (typical child). Like the big bad is chasing her to get hold of the flower (which is hidden in Mary’s bag) and the bad guy knocks the bag away. So Mary yells out ‘oh no the flower in in the bag’… so the big bad stops chasing her and just takes the bag. And despite seeing how overpowering the magic of the magic berries are (there is like a 15 minute sequence where is makes her a magic pariah in front of the whole school she ends up at), she gets trapped in a magic cell and doesn’t think to fucking use the berries for a fair while. Also at the very end she had one berry left and rather than keep it, hide it or destroy it she just chucks it off into the forest. So some random other person will get to deal with the magic equivalent of a nuclear bomb when they go for a bush walk. Fuck me kids are dumb.
Also the broom wrangler is a random and unnecessary deus ex machina who saves Mary’s bacon like… three or four times. Or rather he is a necessary deus ex machina since Mary fucks herself over so many times and there is no development or progress for any character that has them learn from the previous hours of their life and not fuck up again.
Also Mary looks like a slightly older version of the girl from Ponyo… but doesn’t act any older…
Eh, perhaps i’m expecting too much from a kids/family movie.
But yeah. This five things combined to be, in my opinion, the best part of MadFest but really in hindsight collectively it was a bit hit and miss in an “objective” sense…