I discovered Shinkai's movies because of 5 centimeters per second. A film that struck me deep, and which I really loved because of it. I bought his earlier works, but didn't like them as much. I had high hopes for his new movie, this one, but seeing the themes and the more magical world it would play in, I was a little disappointed. Still I did watch it, together with my brother, because we also enjoy Miyazaku movies.
The movie is visually very stunning. It's the best animation I have seen, so pretty. I would give it a 10 for that.
The story, like many other Japanese movies, contain a lot of "what the heck ?" moments, where sudden emotional states of the characters are totally not relatable, or feelings seem weirdly suddenly deep. It makes you wonder about how Japanese people/culture handles emotions and feelings, and if Japanese people themselves can relate to the characters in the movie. Miyazaku movies have the seem issue, like protagonists feeling sudden love for someone they just met for a few seconds...
The story itself contains some mythological elements, and it left me wondering if those elements are more familiar to Japanese people or are embedded in Japanese culture. However, it's always nice to see a more unfamiliar story arc. Negative point is that much is introduced without really explaining things, and therefor you are left with a lot of questions about things.
I thought the minor violence in the movie is a bit negative because of the graphical display of it. I don't think that was needed.
It's not as good as 5 centimeters, but bearable. Really hope Shinkai will return to it's non- fantasy setting in his next movie.
We all loved the first Avatar, because of it's characters, that grew and had depth. Zuko's story being one of the most intriguing and redeeming character development. The pacing was slow, but the characters had emotional depth and everything made the story very lovable.
We were excited to finally see a new Avatar Series with Korra. Now, after having watched all episodes, we must conclude that the series main selling point: the character development and depth of the characters is almost completely missing.
Sure, the visuals are great, gorgeous, and the first few episodes really shine. However, things get thrown off track very fast with the "romance" between Korra and the Pro Bender Guy (You see, I even don't know his name after watched the entire book 1... the guy has no depth at all, nothing is fleshed out, we don't know anything about this guy.... Except that he looks good?). This love interest doesn't have any character development worthy of mentioning and I feel it's not worthy of the avatar series. Aang would turn in his grave. ;)
The premise about modern technology in the land of the benders and the equality movement are all very interesting story themes. Unfortunately everything moves at such a pace that there is hardly any time to reflect on stuff, or process things. BAM, this happens, BANG, this happened, BAM, everything is solved. NEXT episode. OK? I understand modern city life has a higher pace, but the stories are a lot weaker because of it, while that doesn't needs to be.
One thing that stood out was the episode about Korra's fear. That was a nice episode with some emotional depth. We wanted more of that, but it didn't come. Also, where is the spiritual side of the Avatar? We really enjoyed the words of Aman, when he proclaimed that the spirits gave him the power. We expected at least one episode about the spirits, where Korra would visit the spirit world, or so. We loved that about the Avatar. But no.
I really don't understand how someone could make a second Avatar series and rip all the good parts out of the first and present it as a successor. It's definitely not a true spiritual successor.
Hopefully this new reincarnation of the series will grow and develop into a great new Avatar, but seeing that the writing is so different then the first series, I am afraid it won't. And that would be a shame.