Our theme for this year is "The Essentials." We're showing anime that people who have never watched anime before could enjoy, that people who do watch anime should have seen by now, and people who have seen probably wouldn't mind watching again.
Friday 4:00pm Anime Carlton: Fullmetal Alchemist V.1
Funimation; TV-PG for violence, scary images, approx 90 min.
In a world where alchemy has become the main vehicle for scientific progress, the Elric brothers attempt to do what no alchemist has successfully done before: raise the dead. Cursed in their failed attempt, they get caught up in a vast military conspiracy in search of the Philosopher's Stone, which may be able to heal their wounded bodies and souls. Layered characters, moral dilemmas, and a solid balance between comic relief and harsher emotion will have you hooked!
Friday 5:30pm Anime Carlton: The Big O Episodes 1-4
Bandai; TV-PG for violence, approx 90 min.
Roger Smith is a Negotiator in Paradigm City, a corporate state that has suffered from amnesia for the past 40 years. Alongside his butler Norman and android partner Dorothy, he fights crime and monsters in a giant robot known as a The Big O. Episodic yet with an ongoing mystery bubbling beneath the surface, this darkly styled show is like the Japanese answer to Batman.
Friday 7:00pm Voices of a Distant Star
ADV/Section23 Films; PG-13 for violence, 25 min
Two lovers are divided by space and time when one is sent into deep space to fight in a war. They can only communicate through cell phone messages, but when traveling at near-lightspeed, the time it takes for these messages to be received grows longer and longer. Director Makoto Shinkai animated this short film entirely on his home computer; the result is a masterpiece of the digital age.
Friday 7:30 Anime Carlton: Cowboy Bebop V.1
Bandai; TV-14 for violence, language, drugs, sexual themes, approx 115 min
Fifty years after the Earth has been rendered mostly unlivable by a freak lunar accident, humanity thrives in space. A crew of awkward bounty hunters, all running from their pasts, work together on the spaceship Bebop catching crooks for food. Over ten years since its premiere, this beautifully animated, amazingly scored tragicomedy is a modern classic of anime.
Friday 9:30pm Anime Carlton: Gurren Lagann Episodes 1-3
Bandai; TV-14 for violence, suggestive humor, approx 70 min
One day at work in his underground city, Simon the Digger unearths a drill that controls a robot. With the encouragement of his übermacho comrade Kamina, he uses his drill to burst through to the surface, where he will fight in war against the ruling chimera Beastmen and change the destiny of the entire universe. With a striking visual style, extremely over-the-top action scenes, and a cast of hilarious characters, this is a near-perfect tribute to the mecha shows of days past.
Friday 10:45pm Anime Carlton: Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo Episodes 1-3
Funimation; TV-MA for violence, nudity, sexual themes, approx 70 min
It's Alexandre Dumas' classic serial on drugs and in space, and it works a lot better than you may expect. This adaptation keeps the basic story of revenge and complex character histories, but works from a different perspective (Albert's instead of the Count's) and tells its story nonlinearly (the series starts in the middle of the story). The flashy effects animation is not for the seizure-prone, but most everyone else will find something to appreciate about it.
Friday Midnight Anime Carlton: Baccano V.1
Funimation; TV-MA for violence, language, drugs, scary images, approx 90 min
So, the story takes place on a train from New York to Chicago during the 1930s, and also several hundred years before then. There are twenty main characters in all, including Chicago gangsters, New York thieves, and ancient alchemists who have achieved immortality. If you like crazy nonlinear storylines with complex mysteries and intense violent action, this is probably worth a shot.
Saturday 8:00pm Anime Carlton: The Girl Who Leapt Through Time
Bandai; PG for language, 98 min.
Mokoto Konno was just a regular high school girl, kind of clumsy and just trying to spend time with her two best friends, until a lab accident suddenly gives her the ability to leap backwards through time. Confused why she can do this, she uses her abilities to work through various everyday situations before ending up in a romance with another time traveler. If this humorous, heartfelt film is any indication, director Mamoru Hosoda may very well be the next great anime auteur.
Saturday 9:45pm Anime Carlton: The Wings of Honneamise
Bandai; PG-13 for violence, language, sexual themes, 125 min
On parallel Earth, a Cold War is heating up. Shiro, a cadet newly motivated by his religious friend Riquinni, is determined to become the first man to reach space amidst a program filled with conspiracy. This film about realizing dreams realized several in reality: this was the first production of Studio GAINAX, a group of anime fans who would later work on such hits as EVA, FLCL, and Gurren Lagann.
Saturday 11:45pm Anime Carlton: Macross Plus
Manga Entertainment; PG-13 for violence, language, drugs, sexual themes, nudity, 115 min
Isamu, Guld, and Myung were friends in high school. Now, the two boys' hatred of each other threatens the success of the U.N.'s space military, while Myung's the manager of an AI idol named Sharon who just so happens to put the U.N.'s operations in peril. This movie, directed by Bebop creator Shinichiro Watanabe, works fine as a stand-alone experience but is also part of one of Japan's most long-running sci-fi sagas.