Your girl Inskidee returns with another anime review after a month or two hiatus of ARs. It’s 1AM and I just had a very delicious cup of coffee so i’m pretty pumped up to write this review.. I took a two-hour nap in the middle of the day also so you’re witnessing Nocturnal Inskidee in action. Not quite the rare sight since literally every post I do is by Nocturnal Inskidee but I guess this post is special since now you’re aware its by Nocturnal Inskidee?
Sorry, one paragraph in and i’m already off-topic. A very interesting movie, BLACKFOX, came out sometime ago in the beginning of Fall 2019 and it’s taken me this long to get up and review it. Let’s begin shall we?
Also, this review will be in sections and hopefully following reviews will be in sections. This section thing is kind of a WIP so don’t hesitate to tell me your thoughts on it in the comments be it negative or positive. I’m open to changes!
Kay, before we address Story and Characters and all that good stuff, we need to talk about the art and animation.
Now listen here, I seriously don’t understand why this movie has been getting shade for its art style and animation. In fact, this is probably one of the most visually appealing and clean Movies I have ever seen aside from Makoto Shinkai movies. They don’t count. The character designs are so addictive to look at; especially the noses and eyes. The background art is always detailed and I mean always. There is shading pratically everywhere and intense melee scenes aren’t budgeted to a blur moving around the screen in simple colors. Action scenes are beautiful, solid, clean and just goddamn gorgeous and intense. If you have an argument on why this movie doesn’t look good, please tell me. I’m in the mood for a pleasant debate.
Individual Art Rating: 10
Sure, the art gets shade but the story? Add even more shade.
Most people dislike the story becausse of it’s high predictability and simplicity. Especially for a Revenge Story and they’re right. BLACKFOX uses a simple story to get it where it is however most people forget to pay attention to the runtime of the movie which is only a small 90 minutes. Runtimes need attention too friends!
Now I get it, complex storylines are cool. I like them also but if you’re expecting an Evangelion-level storyline crammed into a small 90 minutes, imagine the scarfices that would have to be made for such a complex storyline. Yes, you’ll get an anlytical, intense, brain-smothering storyline but things like pacing and strong character work would be thrown straight out the window. Let’s take Promare for example. The storyline is much more complex than you’d expect of it -which is cool and all- but because of that, pacing went at a breakneck speed to where if you weren’t paying close attention for a minute, you’d miss an explanation on quantum physics or even entire resolution because a large amount of time was spent on building up the complex storyline. Promare didn’t really have to sacrifice character work though…Promare’s just a really well-handled movie.
The simpler revenge story of BLACKFOX is fitting for a movie of its length and because of that, BLACKFOX never felt exceedingly rushed or slow except for small exceptions which were more character-based. That’ll be in the next section! BLACKFOX was in some sense, an anti-Promare. Promare had a more detailed storyline in exchange for steady pacing while BLACKFOX had steady pacing in exchange for a detailed storyline. Both have their pros and cons but I personally don’t prefer one over the other.
The movie never stopped for a 5 minute explanation on something unnecessary and the small moments where the action stopped to build characters didn’t feel prolonged or boring (party because I was admiring the art hehe). BLACKFOX had a simple plot layout but that simple layout promoted the steady pacing it had which i’d say is a fair sacrifice since the pacing was done very right.
Plus, the anime is one to explain things through visuals. The first five minutes of the movie of Lily fighting her Grandpa easily depicts the extent of Lily’s fighting prowess and style along with the setting of their situation. It also sets the tone for the rest of the movie as well with all its Ninja-themes and what not which most anime would have taken 10 minutes of explaining to do. Thankfully, the movie doesn’t stop to explain unnecessary details like how the clan came to be or how Lily knows what she knows. It subtly gives us just enough information to make us not question the story which is something I wish all anime could do instead of having to stop mid-battle to explain how a gernade works.
I personally loved how fast the anime was able to explain the drones without it feeling breakneck or unnecessary. In fact, the explanations of the drone’s functions ties in with future events in BLACKFOX which viewers will be able to recall when the time comes since the anime explains the drones in an entertaining, quick fashion like their skin mechanism and the Chipmunk’s holographic ability that is put in the limelight various times throughout the movie.
Characters were pretty meh. Although the storyline was simple, characters were even simpler. Especially Lily who basically had Disney Princess-level development. Normally to accompany a simpler storyline, you can expect a bit more complex characters but sadly, the characters also progress at the standard, simple rate as shounen protagonists would which is a bit of a bummer since the basic storyline promises (slightly) more complex characters.
The only thing that felt rushed in this movie was Melissa’s character. She was introduced in the beginning, than re-introduced midway seeming like a set-up for her playing a major role for the remainder of the movie and then all of a sudden, she disappears and we have no idea where tf Melissa’s character went and then she re-re-introduces herself in the ending minutes with no purpose as promised by the first re-introduction. Oh yeah, she’s also some crazy-ass lookin’ nun by the end which may need a little explaining…It seems although Melissa was a character introduced just to be introduced and really, nothing went into her at all unless you count her moving the plot along in the middle and end of the movie. Assuming this movie doesn’t get a second movie to accompany it, Melissa was the only real failure with this movie and she frankly wasn’t necessary. I’m sure the anime could’ve found other ways to move the plot along without her presence.
I also kinda wanna talk about Mia’s dad, Lauren’s, decisions.
For a bit of background, the primary antagonist is Lauren. Lauren has always been one-up’d by Lily’s father, Harold, in engineering thus making Lauren seem like a shadow of Harold which makes Lauren suppeeer angery and jealous. So jealous to where Lauren sees it fit to freakin’ murder Harold using his supernatural experimental daughter, Mia.
That’s the end of his so-called ‘revenge’ right? Nope! Lauren wants to get rid of all of Harold’s relatives so he even kills Lily’s Grandpa and hunts Lily down for the rest of the movie which seems a bit too far but hey, he’s an evil shounen dad, what can you expect?
The part that bugs me the most about this guy is that he never stops until he gets his ‘revenge’ which starts as an evil character trait of his and then spirals down into a simple illogical action just to induce plot. Quotes on ‘revenge’ because all it is is him throwing a supernatural tantrum because someone is better than him. You’d expect more maturity from a scientist of his status wouldn’t you? His constant crave to kill Lily and his constant betrayals on his naive daughter (who, for some reason, keeps trusting him despite his frequent betrayals…) starts becoming illogical and nonsensical as it goes around in a repetitive circle throughout the movie. It becomes the only thing he stands for and before you know it, his character only exists to chuck plot at us. We know nothing about him at all except that he likes betrayal and throwing extreme tantrums. He didn’t feel as messy of a character as Melissa but gosh darn, he sure was all over the place!
Other than that, characters are meh. Their actions were Diary of a Wimpy Kid level simple (if Diary of a Wimpy Kid was a revenge story) along with their development. That sole factor alone doesn’t make this entire movie horrible though.
I liked this movie. It was fun to watch and I would certainly watch it again for the art, clean action and pure enjoyment. Granted, this movie had many flaws but despite those flaws, it’s not hard to enjoy this movie. If you’re well-aware that this movie will be the epitome of simple, you’ll no doubt have a fun time watching this but if you’re going in expecting it to be some Oyasumi Pun-Pun level deep or Vinland Saga level of intense then yeah…you’re not going to like this movie with that mindset.
All I have to say is to embrace the inner shounen fan you have inside of you and become the shounen-crazed stan you once were! Its a bonus if you are still one like me. I know there are some people who can’t do this but if you can possibly turn your brain off and just watch this for the pure enjoyment factor, that’d be the best way to go about watching this movie since its blatantly obvious this is a flawed movie. Looking at the flaws even further would only be for naught and further stunt your enjoyment.
Enjoyment Rating: 9
Thank you for reading! I hope the sections thing didn’t come off as poor transitions and if they did, i’d love to here your thoughts on how I could fix them. I’d like to create the best viewing experience for all of you. Also, lesson well learned from this AR: Never drink coffee in the middle of the night and write a review.