Sunday, June 30, 2013
:anime: Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick of the Month:: Fuse: Memoirs of the Hunter Girl
Fuse: Memoirs of the Hunter Girl
Official Site: Japanese
Additional Links: ANN Entry, MAL Entry
Video [Free]: Hulu
Usually for June, in which resides HardDoor's anniversary, I like to recommend something particularly special. So, come to think of it, I have never showcased a film before (last year's "HardDoor at the Movies! (Part 2)" notwithstanding, since that was more of a continuation from the previous month), so this month, I have picked a great movie that was only just recently posted.
Fuse: Memoirs of the Hunter Girl is an impressively-animated film which follows a young teenage hunter in feudal Japan as she moves from her lonely mountain abode to the big city where her brother lives, who offers her a place to stay following the death of their grandfather. His offer isn't merely altruistic, however, as he is in need of her hunting prowess in his pursuit of half-man, half-dog entities that are preying on the citizenry. But before she learns of this, she happens to have a chance encounter with one of the so-called "fuse"…
I remember seeing a promo of the film a year ago and was impressed by the pedigree of the staff behind it, featuring the talents of director Masayuki Miyaji (Xam'd: Lost Memories), screenwriter Ichiro Okouchi (Code Geass, this year's Valvrave the Liberator), visual designer okama (Diebuster (Gunbuster 2), Himawari!; and a favorite artist of mine), and composer Michiro Oshima (Le Chevalier D'Eon, 2012-13's Blast of Tempest and this year's Little Witch Academia), as well as its colorful, well-animated artwork. However, information about the movie was sporadic and I almost forgot about it until about a week ago, when I caught sight of it on Hulu.
Thankfully, one now has the opportunity to watch such a wonderful film for free. Not only is Fuse pleasing to the eyes, but it's well-made on all other fronts, from its script, to the acting, and to its score. It may be Japanese lore-centric, but it's easy to follow and not so "Japanese" that it will alienate foreign viewers or leave them clueless. It also does a fine job providing commentary on gender identity and interpersonal relationships, and coupled with its coming-of-age narrative, fluid action scenes, and a mix of dramatic and comedic elements, "balanced" probably best describes the film and what it tries to accomplish.
The studio that produced it, TMS, was even gracious enough to posting something with Fuse's visuals in HD (and this is one of those anime you'll want to see in HD and on as big a screen as possible, though such an option is only available to Hulu Plus subscribers). It is quite fortunate that it is being posted online as relatively quick as it is (opened in Japan in only October of last year), but TMS is plunging itself headlong into the current big streaming movement (not to mention that they have been producing some very high-quality and artistically-inspired work in the last year). It's an excellent film with clearly a lot of effort and thought behind it, and it's certainly worthy of a watch.
P.S.: While Fuse is rated PG on Hulu, it is anything but, with some rather bloody and graphic scenes, as well as some adult content. I'd say it's between a very hard PG-13 to mild R…