AMV of the Day: You Can Be King Again (Hotarubi no Mori e)

hotarubi no mori e

In my absence, Lisa Marie did quite a great job picking up the slack when it came time to put up a new anime music video. She had quite the eclectic choice of videos that ran the gamut from comedy, space opera, ecchi to drama.

As I continue my return back I thought it was high time to put up a new AMV and this time from an anime I haven’t even seen. It’s actually an anime that even the site expert pantsukudasai56 hasn’t seen but had heard of. The anime in question is the supernatural romance anime film Hotarubi no Mori e.

Just from researching what the anime was about I knew this was going to be one of those shoujo fares that I would need to find time to watch. It helps that the video’s creator, youlazybum, did such a great job pairing scenes from the anime with one of my favorite songs these past ten years, Lauren Aquilina’s “King.”

So, here’s my latest AMV of the Day, “You Can Be King Again.”

Anime: Hotarubi no Mori e

Song: “King” by Lauren Aquilina

Creator: youlazybum

Past AMVs of the Day

AMV of the Day: Fidelity (Wolf Children Ame and Yuki)


I posted just recently a new anime that people should be watching. I mean watching like this very moment if they find a copy of it. The anime I speak of is Ookami Kodomo Ame to Yuki (or known to those of us who don’t speak Japanese as Wolf Children Ame and Yuki). It’s from this anime that the latest “AMV of the Day” comes from.

Over this past weekend was the annual anime and otaku gathering in the Northeast called Anime Boston. Site writer pantsukudasai56 attended the con and had himself a King of a time. As part of the yearly con ritual would be the viewings of AMV nominees and the announcement of which videos won which categories at the con’s closing ceremony. This year one particular AMV caught the attention of pretty much every attendee who saw the video. It won in the Best Drama and Editor’s Choice category. Just watching the video I can see why it won in these two categories and was surprised it didn’t win Best in Show as well.

“Fidelity” was created by AMV editor Xophilarus and pretty much does a great job of emphasizing the dramatic aspects of the anime. It’s not difficult to do so since this anime is quite the tearjerker. What really puts the video into great level is the song choice. “King” by Laura Aquilina is such a beautiful song and fits very well with this anime. I could describe in more detail why this song fits this anime perfectly, but it’s better to just watch it and try and keep the waterworks from leaking.

Anime: Wolf Children Ame and Yuki (Ookami Kodomo Ame to Yuki)

Song: “King” by Laura Aquilina

Creator: Xophilarus

Past AMVs of the Day

Review: A Dog Called Vengeance (dir. by Antonio Isasi)

I’ve always felt that a truly good movie should inspire the viewer to seek to confess something about themselves.  So here’s my confession.  When I was a toddler, I was mauled by a stray dog.  I don’t remember it, of course but I still have the small scars on my left arm as proof.  As a result, I’m scared of dogs and I always have been.  I jump when I hear one barking and the sound of one growling can easily set off a panic attack.  Whenever I see one nearby, regardless of whether it’s on a leash or not, my heart starts to race.  

For that reason, I suppose it was inevitable that a movie like the 1976 Spanish production A Dog Called Vengeance would get to me.

The film opens in an unnamed South American country.  Political prisoner Jason Miller escapes from a jungle prison.  As he flees, Miller runs into a tracker and the tracker’s dog, a German Shepard named King.  Miller kills the tracker and then continues to run.  King, after a few rather sad scenes in which he tries to revive his dead master, gives chase.

And that, in short, is pretty much the entire 108-minute film.  Miller runs and King chases.  Whenever Miller thinks that he’s safe (whether he’s taking a bath in a river or making love to a woman who has agreed to hide him), that relentless dog shows up and tries to kill him.   I have to admit that this movie did little to alleviate my fear of dogs because King is truly viscous.  The scenes were attacks both Miller and other assorted humans left me cringing and I don’t think it’s just a coincidence that Miller looks to be truly scared during some of the attack scenes.  King easily dominates the 1st half of this movie.

The 2nd half of the movie feels like a totally different movie from the first.  Jason Miller, having reached the city, is reunited with his comrades in the revolution.  Whereas the first half of the movie was almost wordless, the movie suddenly become a lot more talky as Miller and his associated debate the merits and morality of revolution.  Personally, I prefer the second half if just because a nice element of moral ambiguity is introduced here as it becomes pretty obvious that the “revolutionaries” are just as corrupt as the country’s dictator.  In the city, Miller finds himself still being pursued by his enemies but now his friends want him dead as well.  And, of course, that dog shows up again as well…

Anatonio Isasi’s direction is, for the most part, strong and Jason Miller (best known as Father Karras in the Exorcist) gives a good, low-key performance as the film’s lead.  But, of course, the real star of the movie is that damn dog and, despite not being a doglover, I have to admit that it did a pretty good job.  Not only did I believe that dog wanted to kill Miller but I believed that he easily could as well.  However, at the same time, it hard not to feel a little bit of admiration for King.  He was just so compellingly relentless in his pursuit.  It’s probably one of best unacknowledged canine performances in film history.

A Dog Called Vengeance is the epitome of the type of flawed yet oddly compelling film that could only have been made outside of the Hollywood system.  By refusing to shy away from showing either the full savagery of the dog’s attacks or in man’s response to those attacks, director Isasi manages to craft a political allegory that also works as a simple thriller.  By refusing to paint either Miller or the dog in purely black-and-white terms, he introduces a moral ambiguity that most Hollywood studios would never have the guts to even attempt.  Tellingly, the most shocking and disturbing scene in the film is not one of King’s many attacks on Miller.  Instead, it’s a scene in which our paranoid “hero” guns down an innocent dog while its 10 year-old owner watches in horror.

Unfortunately, A Dog Called Vengeance isn’t an easy film to find.  I saw it as part of the Grindhouse 2 DVD compilation and the transfer — taken straight from a VHS release — was terrible with frequently blurry images and terrible sound.  To a certain extent, this did give an authentic “grindhouse” feel to the experience of watching the movie but it doesn’t change the fact that it took a while to get used to just how bad the movie looked.  Luckily, the transfer seemed to improve as the film went on and, by the end of the movie, was no longer an issue.