The End of Madlax and Pizza Royale 2004

Well, it's Tuesday the 23rd. That means that this year's Pizza Royale has come to an end. And I'll be the first to say that it was disappointing. As you may or may not know, each year to celebrate the Fall I import Chicago-Style pizzas to wherever I am in the world and share them with my friends. Thanks to the hard work of my parents, my director, Tarik and Jim, this year's PR was achieved last night. Now, traditionally, we eat pizza and watch the fantastic Japanese film, "Battle Royale" (2000). For the last 4 years, I've had enough significant changes in friendships to allow the same film to be shown over and over again, each time to a new group of people. But this year, being in Amsterdam again, I had to make a choice.

What movie would we watch, since everyone had already seen Battle Royale? I bought Zatoichi and Casshern. Zatoichi was really good, but a little too slow for a mob of improvisers and their girlfriends. Casshern was the single most beautiful movie I'd ever seen, but it made absolutely no sense. And so ...

It was decided: Battle Royale 2: Requiem.

I've only read bad reviews of this movie. And as a result, I'd never seen it. It was like I was standing at the red carpet for Matrix Reloaded and someone appeared in a sphere of light, naked, to tell me that they had come from the future to save me from ruining the original Matrix for the rest of my life. I had walked away from BR2 for 2 years. Every review, save the one in Time Magazine (which recently featured Boom, by the way!), had been resoundingly negative. The entire world was saying in one voice, "Don't Watch Battle Royale 2".

And then last night, I broke the seal on the DVD, and watched 15 glorious minutes of The Battle Royale Sequel. For 15 minutes, this movie shined and surprised. We even broke into clapping and cheering as the film stylishly disposed of its first child in a burst of blood. But then ... but then ...

Then I was tortured by 2 hours of unbearable cinema.

The movie was so so bad. So bad. It was a confused and juvenile response to America's War on Terror. It was mixed and overlong. It was confusing and poorly shot. And worst of all: It was Boring.

The pizza was good. The company was better. And I'm happy we all sat through it.

But Christ, that film sucked.

Yesterday also marked the end of Madlax. Kaijura Anime always disappoints in the end. I mean, what the hell are some anime directors thinking? "We can make this really vague and not explain anything, and that will satisfy?" If you're going to be obtuse, at least make choices in your obscurity; choose to be incomplete, as opposed to simply not finishing. Like Eva - not all questions are answered, but there are choices made throughout that force the viewer to think, and that call to contemplation is in itself satiating.

Thankfully I don't watch Kaijura Anime for the plot. I watch it for the atmosphere and the specific mediocrity of much of Kaijura's music. It's like hanging out in a familiar cafe - not my favorite place in the world, but a pleasant kitchen and not too much smoke.

I gave Meine Leibe a try this morning, and though it may be produced by Bee Train, it doesn't seem to have any of Kaijura's music in it, and her melodies are the first and most important element of Kaijura Anime. (For example, I don't think Petit Cossette was produced by Bee Train, but the presence of her soundtrack makes it fall under the category Kaijura Anime). The character designs are nice (I'm a sucker for Bishounen, strangely), but I don't think I'll be watching the show through to the end. Thank you very much for the recommendation, though, Fub. I hope you're not upset that I didn't take to it.