I can’t help but to love Wolf Children. It’s partly a Ghibli-esque story about a young woman overcoming the challenges set on her by a demanding life. But it’s also a very un-Ghibli film about a single mother and the bittersweet experiences she has raising two children alone. The 117-minute run time seemed to cruise by as I got utterly wrapped up in the characters and their daily lives.
If A Certain Magical Index is a wild, unfocused exposition of superpowered fantasy, then its spin-off A Certain Scientific Railgun is a slightly more grounded work that mixes in character development and an actual plot. I’ve always preferred Railgun to Index for that reason – superpowers are more fun when you care about who’s wielding them. The continuation, A Certain Scientific Railgun S, takes the same approach as the first season but moves away from the mostly lighthearted feel of the original.
Thanks to a chance encounter with a vampire, high school student Koyomi Araragi became aware of ghosts, spirits, and other aberrations. Bakemonogatari tells the story, from Araragi’s viewpoint, of five girls who have been possessed (or cursed) by such spirits. Each story arc has Araragi getting involved with a new protagonist. Out of a sense of duty, he takes it upon himself to rid each girl of her curse.
As a spinoff of A Certain Magical Index, A Certain Scientific Railgun follows the daily life of Mikoto Misaka in Academy City. Being a self contained environment for the study and advancement of espers, life in Academy City is rarely mundane. The excitement picks up as a string of crimes breaks out, all involving espers abusing their powers for whatever reason. Being the roommate of a Judgment member, Mikoto gets drawn into their investigations and peacekeeping activities.
December 16: the S.O.S. Brigade is being dragged around as usual by a spirited Haruhi, who decides to hold a Christmas party. Kyon dreads the inevitable trouble that will arise. December 18: Kyon awakes to what he thinks will be another day full of Haruhi’s mischief. To his shock, he finds that things have changed. Everyone’s memory of the last few weeks has been altered. More importantly, no one in his class has heard of Haruhi Suzumiya. Kyon goes to seek answers from the S.O.S. Brigade members, only to find that they don’t know who he is. At wit’s end, Kyon siezes upon a clue that could unravel the universe itself.
When war breaks out in Europa, the small nation of Gallia is targeted by the East Europa Imperial Alliance for its large reserves of Ragnite. Despite the superior industrial and military capabilities of the Empire, Gallian citizens take up arms to fight off the coming invasion. Welkin Gunther and Alicia Melchiott are two such citizens, whose hometown of Bruhl was an early casualty of the war. As Welkin secures a series of victories for Gallia, the Empire turns to more and more drastic means to defeat him, eventually seeking out the power of a legendary race of superhumans known as the Valkyrur.
While working a summer job as an admin of the online universe Oz, Kenji Koiso gets asked by his senior, Natsuki Shinohara, to go with her as a hired hand to an important family function. While dealing with the rowdiness and drama of Natsuki’s extended family, a malevolent presence in Oz begins to cause real world trouble. Suddenly, Kenji and the Shinohara family find themselves at the focal point of Oz’s problems – and it’s up to them to put a stop to the chaos before anyone gets hurt.
5 Centimeters Per Second consists of 3 short stories, “Oukashou,” “Cosmonaut,” and “5 Centimeters Per Second.” They each show the life of a young man, Tohno Takaki, at different stages as he deals with his feelings for a childhood friend. As time passes, they drift further apart, but Takaki seems unable to move on.
The invention of the DC Mini, a device that allows someone to enter another person’s dreams, was meant to revolutionize psychotherapy. However, just before its review for approval by the government, three prototype units are stolen. Soon after, people begin to randomly go insane, and it is suspected that whoever stole the DC Minis is using it to attack the victims’ psyches. Three of the original developers of the device begin an investigation to find the stolen units, assisted in the dream world by the agent “Paprika.”
Makoto, Kousuke, and Chiaki are three inseparable friends who are about to get out of school for the summer. On one unlucky day, Makoto trips and falls on a strange walnut-shaped object. On her way home, she finds that the brakes on her bike have failed, sending her right into the path of an oncoming train. But just before the moment of impact, she wakes up to see that it’s suddenly a few seconds before her impending doom. Eventually, Makoto realizes that she has somehow gained the ability to travel through time to the past. This opens up a new world of possibilities and opportunities for her, blissfully unaware of the consequences it has on the people around her.
Kyon thought he was going to have a normal, uneventful high school life. Then he meets Haruhi, who claims she has no interest in ordinary people. She chooses him on a whim to be her partner in creating the SOS Brigade, her own after-school club to search out everything mysterious and wondrous in the world. They are joined by three peculiar people: the taciturn Yuki, the shy Mikuru, and the gregarious Koizumi. Although Haruhi never seems to acknowledge the strange events happening all around her, Kyon is let in on the secret, and discovers that he plays a pivotal role in the preservation of the world.