American computer-animation studio giant Pixar has returned to form with another entry to the pantheon of great coming of age films. Inside Out is a film about the dawn of maturity. Most of the movie takes place in small moments in early adolescence. I would even go so far to say that Inside Out does that “small moments that define us” better than Richard Linklater’s Boyhood. Inside Out is much clearer about how the things that make us erupt out of childhood and into the world of adolescence come. It’s clever enough to know that what makes us grow up is coming to terms with the complexity of our memories and experiences. This is Pixar’s most clever movie since both the Toy Story trilogy wrapped and Ratatouille.
Japanese animation (anime) is as versatile a medium for storytelling as comic books, film, live-action television and the like. Whereas much of western animation is predicated on broad family fare or comedies for older audiences, there’s a variety of content for any and all demographics that is more abundant in foreign, not only Japanese animated productions. A great thing about animation is its ability to portray concepts and worlds uninhibited by the limits of live action and textual mediums. Psycho-Pass is a 2013 22-episode series produced by Production IG (Ghost in the Shell, Blood+) and written & directed by prolific auteur Gen Urobuchi, who was responsible for such cult-classic anime productions such as Madoka Magica and Fate/Zero. Like his other works, Urobuchi is keen on transporting us to a new world to deal with many of the subjects we face in ours.
The Wind Rises by Hayao Miyazaki is the acclaimed animation director’s final film. It is his most personal film, his most audacious; it is also incredibly flawed and has a bit of a moral quandary beneath its gorgeous and sentimental overtones. There has been a lot of talk about the moral implications of the film, which is a traditional western-styled character epic and unlike Miyazaki’s other films, it’s set in the “real” world rather than a fantasy/magic/sci-fi one. The film follows a boy named Jiro (loosely based on Jiro Horokoshi, the designer of the “Zero” WWII Fighter plane) who dreamed of airplanes and flying, and became an engineer to do so. Unfortunately for Jiro, he had that dream during pre-World War II Japan.