Howl’s Moving Castle [Movie Review]

Movie Review: Howl's Moving Castle | Anime | DoublexJump.com

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For some reason, we’re on quite the anime kick. This was another movie we picked up at Comic-Con this past summer and we finally had a moment to sit down and give it a watch. I didn’t bother looking at the movie up or reading the back of the cover. I went into this movie having no idea what it was about.

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I remember watching Howl’s Moving Castle once before years ago, as it had been an assignment for one of my college classes. I watched it in parts on YouTube — which was vastly different from 8 to 9 years ago when I saw it — and remembered a scene here or there and a vague concept of the movie, but not much else. I remembered that it was a good enough movie to pick up a copy of it for ourselves back at Comic-Con, anyway!

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The movie began showing off the protagonist, Sophie. She doesn’t get out much, is shy, and doesn’t seem to have too many friends. She works in a hat shop owned by her mother and father, who is now deceased. As everyone leaves for work, the other employees gather out the window because they can see this big, moving, machine that looks like a monster. They were all amazed and it took a second to realize – oh, it’s “Howl’s moving castle” and totally not a monster.

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Howl is known in the movie, as is the other witches and wizards that are employed by the kingdom. Sorcery and magic are normal enough. While magic is still amazing, it’s common knowledge that it exists. The hat shop women giggle about how Howl only likes beautiful women, and Sophie — despite how plain she believes she is — encounters him when he helps stave off some unwanted men. Due to her encounter with Howl, however, Sophie is cursed by the Witch of the Waste to look like an old hag. The Witch of the Waste has been after Howl’s heart for quite some time.

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The Witch of the Waste, however, is often shown at unflattering angles so we’re to believe she’s ugly and can’t see it herself. I loved Grandma Sophie though because she just embraced her old age and made the perfect old woman. Sophie sets out on a quest to find the Witch of the Waste to change her back as she doesn’t want to be looking that an old woman in front of her customers and family.

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Grandma Sophie instead finds herself at Howl’s Moving Castle as the new cleaning woman (with the help of a scarecrow with a turnip for a head). With her influence, Howl and his apprentice Markl start to appreciate their home a bit more, even as they constantly switch locations to avoid joining the king’s army for the war going on around them all. Howl at one point convinces Grandma Sophie to go see the king and his head sorceress herself to let them know that Howl is too much of a coward to join the war, and Sophie meets up with the Witch of the Waste, who was answering her own summons.

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And… that’s where I’ll stop due to spoilers. I enjoyed all the characters in this movie (even the bad guys). They all had a purpose and contributed something worthwhile to the plot. The setting, especially the house, was great as well. There was a deeper message hidden along the way about beauty and loving yourself as you are, which was nice too.

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Well, as spoilery as we can be with a movie that’s about 15 years old, haha! Everyone does seem to learn self-love and acceptance that is then extended to their family members. The animation was beautiful, and I enjoyed the music of the movie as well. The voice actors were fun to hear, with the English version having plenty of familiar actors to us, such as Christian Bale, Jean Simmons, Lauren Bacall, and Billy Crystal. If you ever get the chance to watch the movie, we recommend it!

Have you watched this movie? What did you think of it? If you liked this post, please share it around!

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Kiki’s Delivery Service (Movie Review)

Movie Review: Kiki's Delivery Service | Anime | Anime Review | DoublexJump.com

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We spent a day at Fan Expo when it was in town, our first time going to it, and we had a great time! We spent way too much money, mostly on vendors at the Artists Alley, but it was worth it. There was also a booth that had tons of anime and video game-based movies, most notably ones from Studio Ghibli. Considering we’re a bit lacking when it comes to movies from such a beloved studio, we picked up a couple of titles, with one of them being Kiki’s Delivery Service. I believe I had remembered bits and pieces of the movie from eons ago, but it could have simply been memories of a commercial for the movie as well.

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I didn’t know much of this movie. However, I had heard of it and I’m pretty sure I watched it just once with an old friend a long time ago. If I remember correctly, she loved Kiki’s Delivery Service and wanted me to watch it. Well, Kris and I watched it together the other night and I remembered nothing of what happened in the movie. It was a fun watch though and I enjoyed it.

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It was a simple movie, one that had me scratching my head while trying to figure out the plot, so to speak. Granted, the last movie we watched was Marvel’s Endgame with a friend, which is all about the plot of 22 movies put together, so it was interesting to turn to a movie that’s more about enjoying the music and animation. I enjoyed it as well, of course, finding it refreshing and charming.

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The movie, overall, was charming. I too enjoyed the music and thought everything about it was relaxing. For the majority of the movie we figured there wasn’t much of a plot, but then a character swooped in and changed the whole dynamic and meaning of the movie.

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Kiki training as a witch takes her on a journey of self-discovery, trying to figure out her place in the world as a witch and as herself. She had romantic idealisms about her training year and had a rude awakening in the form of uninterested and snobby people, as well as trying to figure out her skills. She met some kind people that urged her to figure out herself, even if she hit rock-bottom before doing so.

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It was a nice message, especially towards the end when she hit rock-bottom and things shortly fell into place afterward. But also, Kiki is only 13-years-old. According to the movie, when a witch turns 13, she can leave at midnight on the full moon and begin her year away training. We often felt bad for her because, well, she’s a baby!

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Yes, the poor child! But she met some wonderful people and it’s a good message for viewers in that it’s okay to get down on yourself but it’s also okay to let others in and help you. One of the characters in the movie was an artist and she compared her painting ability to Kiki’s witch powers, talking about how sometimes you just get burned out and it’s okay to take a break, to recharge your creativity however you can. And, honestly, after the summer we had, the message hit close to home.

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We certainly weren’t expecting such a deep message to come through that movie. Of course, we don’t do it justice just talking about it. However, with us being creatives ourselves, there were definitely a couple of quotes to be typed up, printed, and plastered on the wall in our office.

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Of course, like Ursula the artist telling Kiki, “We each need to find our own inspiration. Sometimes it’s not easy.” The majority of the characters were great, actually. The baker’s husband had maybe two lines, but he showed his support for Kiki by baking a little bread wreath to advertise her delivery service. One of my favorite characters was the servant woman for the older lady called only Madame. The servant totally loved the idea of Kiki being a witch, trying out the broom herself, and was just amusing at her reaction to the blimp causing such a chaotic scene in the town.

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I think that’s really what made the movie was the side characters. I totally agree with that. Kiki is but a child, young and naive, and all these adults or older kids surround her with so many different interpretations of the world – some good, some not. However, most of the adults she crossed paths with – like the bakers and Madame – were like parent-figures to Kiki. It’s definitely a movie that everyone should watch, especially if you have a soft spot for anime and are a creative yourself.

Have you seen this movie? What did you think of it? Let us know about them in the comments below! If you like this post, please share it around.

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Pokemon The Movie: The Power of Us Tickets

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There’s yet another Pokemon movie coming out in the next couple of months.

(How many movies is this? Twenty-one? Twenty-two if you count the live-action Detective Pikachu, but I digress.)

Pokemon the Movie: The Power of Us is actually the sequel to the latest I Choose You movie, and continues Ash and Pikachu’s journey in the rebooted film series. We enjoyed I Choose You for the most part (despite a few dark and sad turns) and The Power of Us seems like it’ll stay on par for the animation and, hopefully, the music and story as well. The movie originally aired in Japan at the end of this past July and reception seemed to be positive, so hopefully the dub will do just as well.

Tickets for The Power of Us are actually available for the US when it comes to select theaters for a couple of dates at the end of November and December 1. We’re contemplating seeing how close by these select theaters are to us and if we want to spring to see a Pokemon movie in the theaters again. We missed seeing I Choose You in theaters, so maybe we’ll see if we can catch — pun certainly intended — this one on the big screen.

What about you? Interested in seeing Pokemon the Movie: The Power of Us?

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Building our Pokemon Mega Construx Collection

Despite our love of video games, sometimes you just need a break from staring at the screen. About a year ago, Rachel and I discovered Pokemon Mega Construx at our local GameStop and we’ve enjoyed building them whenever we each have a couple of hours to kill. Gyarados had been our first masterpiece, and we’ve built a few more since then.

Last night, we started building Blastoise and Charizard, two Construx kits that Rachel had gotten for her birthday earlier this month.

Blastoise had almost 100 pieces more than Charizard, so Rachel was also going to build Wartortle — which we’ve had for a few months at this point — when Charizard was finished, but we didn’t have the time to break open the Wartortle box (don’t worry, Wartortle, we will build you one day!).

We both really enjoy these puzzles and Lego-like building kits, so with Twitch’s Pokemon anime marathon playing in the background, we got to work. Initially, I think we started building like a race, but that didn’t last too long, especially since I needed Rachel’s help in finding certain pieces among my pile of blocks and Rachel needed my help in snapping some pieces together.

With the Construx, the pieces all come in several bags, and Rachel was smart to keep the pieces all in piles according to the bags. I just dumped them all out together, because that’s how organized I am. Luckily our cat Chase didn’t appear to try to “help,” since he tends to pounce on the puzzle pieces.

We’re definitely looking forward to growing our collection!

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Have you built any Construx? Do you enjoy puzzles or building kits like these?

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ANIME

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Twitch is running a marathon of all 19 seasons of the Pokemon anime, including the movies, and it’s going to run well into 2019. While Rachel and I enjoy the Pokemon anime, especially the earlier seasons, we never really watched too much anime in our lives. We recently watched and enjoyed the Ace Attorney series, and we used to watch Sonic X more for nostalgia for the older cartoon rather than actually liking it, anime was never really our thing.

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Yes, we really only cared for the Pokemon anime because it’s… well, it’s Pokemon. However, we have seen a couple of other anime shows in our lifetime, while we didn’t watch anything other people watch. Fruits Basket being one of them.

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Fruits Basket wasn’t too bad at all, although I remember more of the manga from borrowing it from an old high school friend than I do the anime. Every once in a while on Saturday mornings I’d catch an episode of Cardcaptor Sakura too. That wasn’t a bad show at all, if I remember correctly.

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We borrowed the DVDs from your friend too, I think. I remember watching it in the basement with you. I never read the manga, though I plan to… eventually. I’ve never seen Cardcaptor Sakura, though I do remember you mentioning it to me one time.

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It wasn’t too bad at all, and I would like to try to revisit it, see what became of the show. I’m sure you want to watch more of the Fruits Basket anime, too. Yu-Gi-Oh doesn’t seem too bad either, but all I’ve really seen of that show was the original theme song. There are so many other anime out there… We should definitely try to find more that we’d be interested in, see if there’s any others we’d like to watch.

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If we got into Yu-Gi-Oh then I’m going to need more room to collect even more trading cards. I want to watch Ouran High School Host Club again too. That was a really good show.

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Oh, the trading cards… We should probably figure out how to play all those card games, especially with all your Pokemon cards! Sword Art Online is another anime that I’d be interested in seeing. It’s based in a virtual MMORPG and players cannot log out of their avatars until they defeat the final boss. Apparently the anime is set in 2022 which isn’t too far from now!

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That’s sounds really cool! Though totally creepy because of how close it is… it’s funny how shows are set to the “future” and it’s like, well. Here we are. But that definitely sounds like a good one too.

Are you into anime? What are some you watch? Let us know in the comments below!

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Friday Favorites: Pokemon Regions

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday everyone!

Recently, we found out that Twitch will be marathoning all of the Pokemon seasons and movies. Considering I used to watch the show when I was in elementary school twenty or so years ago, I’ve only seen a handful of the seasons before losing time and interest. I may use this 10-month marathon as an excuse to revisit the anime.

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Kalos

Kalos was a breath of fresh air after Unova, which is probably my least favorite region. Kalos went back to Pokemon’s nature roots, filling the region with forests and smaller towns with plenty of secrets to find and explore. While the story wasn’t anything special, in my opinion, I did find the little friendship circle that your character has with the other beginning trainers to be adorable.

Kanto

Kanto will always have a special place in my heart because it was where my love of Pokemon began. The layout and adventure around the region was a treat, with something new around every corner when I first played Pokemon Yellow. I’m ridiculously excited for the Let’s Go titles, looking forward to seeing how well they updated the Kanto region.

Hoenn

Hoenn probably has some of my favorite Pokemon to date, and the layout of the region isn’t bad at all. While I’m not thrilled with most water levels in games, the Dive mechanic was interesting, as was using it to head toward the last gym in the game. The mountain and story was also a favorite of mine, especially in Emerald.

Johto

Johto was fantastic in that it was a successful sequel, if you will, to the Kanto region. Both the games and the anime were awesome with their new Pokemon and adventures. Instead of being saturated with new mechanics, the Johto games simply had a new region to explore, a new story with the legendary Pokemon, and a couple of new types to help balance the roster. The Johto anime theme songs were also some of the best.

What are your favorite Pokemon Regions?

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Friday Favorites: Pokemon Theme Songs

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday, everyone!

With the 1000th episode of the Pokemon anime here in the US, the official Pokemon YouTube channel has recently been creating videos that show off all the theme songs of the anime throughout the years. Rachel and I watched them, the nostalgia coming in full force.

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Born to Be a Winner (Pokemon: Johto League Champions)

I think that the Johto region of the anime series had some of the best theme songs. The anime was still fairly young, and the theme songs gave such a strong sense of the journey and doing your best along the way. Lyrically, it also borrowed from the original theme song, which I always thought was a nice tribute.

Unbeatable (Pokemon: Advanced Battle)

Unbeatable was from the Hoenn leg of the anime, another favorite time frame of mine from the anime series as a whole. It was just a fun theme song about confidence and never giving up.

Stand Tall (Pokemon: XYZ)

I’ll be honest, I haven’t really watched the anime since some of the Sinnoh episodes. Once Brock left the show, I tuned out too. However, we have seen some of the other movies that were set in the later regions, like Volcanion and the Mechanical Marvel. That movie had a full-length version of “Stand Tall,” the theme song to the XYZ season of the anime. I really enjoyed the beat and low tones of the song, as well as the message. It definitely made me want to return to the games to battle again!

Original Pokemon Theme Song (Pokemon: Indigo League)

C’mon, how can you not put this on a favorites list? The original theme is a classic, evoking the original sense of adventure and journey that comes with the Pokemon games and anime.

What are your favorite Pokemon theme songs?

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Ace Attorney Anime [Episodes 1-4]

Ace Attorney Anime: Episodes 1-4 | Phoenix Wright | Capcom | DoublexJump.com

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Ace Attorney is one of our favorite video game franchises, with the original trilogy being some of the best games. And, while neither Rachel nor I were ever really into anime except for Pokemon, we were both interested in hearing that Ace Attorney got its own anime series.

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It’s been a long time coming, but we finally got a chance to sit down and watch it. Of course, we were going to get Crunchyroll when I noticed the website sells DVDs of Ace Attorney. I checked on Amazon, it was cheaper, and BAM! Impulse buy. We got it just in time too because the season one, volume 2 DVD set comes out in less than a month.

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Anime is definitely more dramatic or over exaggerated, if you will, than the American cartoons that I grew up watching, and Ace Attorney wasn’t an exception. It was great, of course, and we’re really enjoying it so far. We’ve watched the first four episodes which mirror the first two cases from the original game.

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We’ve played through the games a couple of times, so, for the most part, we remember what happens in each case. There are a couple of times we forget something here and there, but watching the anime we knew how everything was going to play out. Since each episode is only about 20-30 minutes long, the cases go by pretty quick. A few hours of gameplay is squished into 2 or 3 parts of 20-minute episodes. But it’s enjoyable all the same.

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Seeing the game scenes and characters come to life is so much fun. Phoenix and Maya tend to act as we always pictured they would, and we’re enjoying all the voice actors so far — the English voice actors, of course. It’ll be interesting to re-watch the episodes in Japanese to hear how the characters sound.

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Yeah, watching it in Japanese is something I want to try. Maya’s voice sounds a little young for her age, but it’s easy to get used to. Detective Gumshoe is more serious than he is in the games, but I enjoy his character all the same. And then there’s Edgeworth… his voice actor and animations are all sexy. I love it.

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I was actually really impressed with Redd White from the Turnabout Sisters case. His voice and mannerisms were spot-on, with his narcissism and arrogance. I do hope that the later episodes will show more of the scenery outside of the courtroom. While the trial portion of the episodes are fun, I would like to see a little more exploration.

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We’re starting to see a little bit more investigation as the episodes go on. That’s how they did it in the games too, which is pretty cool. I’m sure as the cases get longer we’ll start to see more. I love the show, but I would also love to see a movie. I know they do have a movie in Japan, but even if it’s anime, that would be amazing.

Have you ever seen the Ace Attorney anime? Let us know in the comments below!

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Pokemon Anime

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During this month, Rachel and I have been watching some of the Pokemon anime that’s available on Netflix, especially the original series. The anime is over 20 years old, having first aired in April 1997. I remember first watching the series when I was only in fourth grade and eventually coaxing Rachel into watching it with me when she was old enough to understand most of it. I was definitely more into the games themselves, but I enjoyed most of the characters and the battle sequences of the anime as well.

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We used to watch the anime religiously every Saturday morning. It was part of our weekend routine and it was a sad day whenever we missed an episode for whatever reason. Re-watching the show now brought back a lot of memories, not just of watching the show, but remembering the show itself.

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I remembered how Ash was a bit of a dope, haha! He was a decent character, one that I didn’t mind following, but Brock and Misty, along with Team Rocket, were the best characters in the show! My favorite episodes were the ones that focused more on Brock’s ambition, Misty’s own growth as a trainer, and Team Rocket’s wayward friendship.

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Ash is a doofus, everyone knows that, but we all love him just the same. I do have to agree with you though. I loved the episodes where they had to work together with Team Rocket. One episode sticks out in my mind, “Island of the Giant Pokemon” I believe it was called. There were giant Pokemon (of course) and they all got separated from their Pokemon. Pikachu, Charmander, and company could even talk so the audience could understand them. It was cute.

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That was a good episode! Seeing the Pokemon work together without their trainers really helped them all be their own characters as well. My favorite episodes tended to be the ones with epic showdowns, like the Pokemon League battles. One of the best movie openings, in my opinion, was for Pokemon 3: Spell of the Unknown, where Ash and a local trainer battle with the Johto theme song playing. The cinematic for battles were always my favorite aspect of the show and movies.

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The battles are amazing, which is why I wish they could do more like that in the games, though I know that would be difficult to pull off. The games still do a great job! But yes, that theme is the best and I have to say, that movie is one of my favorites out of all the Pokemon movies.

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It definitely was! I think there was an improvement in the anime for the animation and battles if you compare the episodes from the original series to the XY and Z series. We stuck a couple of those episodes on after rewatching some of the Indigo Plateau, and I was definitely impressed at seeing the differences in the battles. The music, of course, helps make the series! Most of the theme songs were some of my favorite guilty pleasure songs to listen to while growing up!

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Overall, the anime can be ridiculous at times, but it really is a great show to go along with one of the biggest gaming franchises there is. I’ve been trying to decide what show to binge while I work and I’m thinking I may watch Pokemon.

Do you, or have you ever, watched the Pokemon anime? What are your thoughts on it? Let us know in the comments below!

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