Much of the past two months is spent not only in publishing our own horror fiction, but also in enjoying those of others. Since March, we’ve been enjoying a steady stream of fantasy films and online series: Demon Slayer, Suzume, Attack On Titan and The Mandalorian. The Last Kingdom: Seven Kings Must Die, a historical fiction, is the exception but it’s just as good. Here’s our roundup of the latest releases as we go through the roster of book-to-screen releases on the big and small screens. More to come.
Rotten Tomatoes says Suzume’s director “Makoto Shinkai (is) falling just a bit short of the bar set by previous outings”. We take it they don’t think it’s as punchy as the mystical romance Your Name (2016). But the reviewer(s) probably had never experienced a devastating natural disaster that wiped out thousands of lives in a single moment. We had. It’s called the 2006 Asian tsunami. Some 225,000 people died. Maybe more. So we get this film.
Through Suzume, Shinkai touches delicately on past disasters still etched in the Japanese psyche – the headlines still lingering in our memory. The Kyushu earthquake, the Kobe earthquake, the Tohoku earthquake, and of course, Fukushima.
There’s no understanding why nature, which is so giving, can also be so devastating. The fiery worm or dragon restlessly struggling in the underground is the metaphor for natural disaster.
The anime is being screened in cinemas across the UK. Catch it whilst you can before it gets into DVD distribution or on Crunchyroll.
- Suzume is now the most-attended Japanese film of all time in South Korea (Crunchyroll, 15 April 2023)
The Last Kingdom: Seven Kings Must Die
Is this Netflix film the last of the tale of Uthred son of Uthred, the lord of Babbenburg? The series, based on Bernard Cornwell’s The Saxon Stories, has entertained us for the past five seasons. In Season 1, King Alfred dies before realising his dream of uniting his country.
In this feature film, do we get to see Uthred – born a Saxon but raised a Dane – realise his dream of making Babbenburg free from tyranny? The ending is inconclusive. But let’s just say we gasped at the scene in which Uthred, heavily wounded in battle, hastily reaches out for his sword to get ready for Valhalla.
Have a box of tissues, friends. It’s that kind of movie.
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba – Entertainment District Arc
We watched Season 3, Entertainment District Arc, on Crunchyroll and at the cinema, the latter the precursor to the latest arc. We must say the final battle scene – very much in need of parental guidance – was spectacular on the small screen and absolutely breath-taking on the big screen.
It just goes to show that anime is not an infantilised animation genre – it is craft, design and artistry of the sublime. It’s an art form that utilises many man hours and many, many artworkers. And a few studios.
If you’re into drawing or simply love to watch beautiful animation, try to see the cinematic version as well.
Attack On Titan
A lot of good people got eaten by Titans between Season 1 and Season 4. But then, that’s what this series is about: big, naked, giant people running around eating small, terrified, little people.
By the latest season, we now know that the Titans are weapons of mass destruction (WMD) – biological armours ‘worn’ by human soldiers to kill their enemies. It’s a tale of misplaced patriotism, genocide, fascism, extremism and Year Zero.
Get ready to see familiar faces perish in the latest season. The final episodes will come at the end of the year. Expect the line-up of characters to be drastically reduced by then.
The Mandalorian (Season 3)
Wow. We got to see an underwater dragon in this season. The Jedi Grogu, under the guidance of his adopted father, Din Djarin, is slowly inducted into the Mandalorian sect.
This season reveals that some nefarious people really want to get rid of Grogu and the young Jedi cadets. We’re curious to know if that underwater dragon – supposedly tamed by the first Mandalorian – will come out in the end and snack on the bad people. That’ll be entertaining to watch.