World War II
The Boy and the Heron was released earlier in the year in Japan by Studio Ghibli, with no trailer and minimal advertising, the point being made that it is a movie by Hayao Miyazaki from Studio Ghibli. Like, if you know, you know, and if you don't, keep mum because the people who know will judge you. In America, GKIDS is the distributor, and they mostly kept to this same strategy, though as it had already been out in Japan over half the year and had it's Western debut at the Toronto International Film Festival, so they did eventually release a trailer. The film is available in Japanese with English subtitles, or English dubbing; both versions were available at my local cinema, so unless you're situated in a very rural area, it shouldn't be that hard to find your preference. This review is based on the English dubbed version; Ghibli films have traditionally had good English dubbing, and this film is no exception.
Did you ever want to play a game with animal people in a World War 2 inspired environment with characters and plots that have anime aesthetic as you drive a literal kaiju tank through the countryside and melt away your opponents in turn-based tactical combat? Well, that request is rather specific, but Fuga: Melodies of Steel is here to fill that void.
You control six youths who find themselves piloting a powerful weapon of unknown origin after they are forced to fight back against the Berman army that has been attacking their homeland of Gasco. As you journey, you'll find others to help along the way, develop friendships between the characters, and power up your machine of death as you move forth to free your captured relatives.
However, things may not be so simple. Aboard this tank there is also a mysterious voice on a radio driving the crew forward, and a strange ghost that seems to haunt the halls. Also this monstrous tank, named Taranis, has a dormant weapon that sleeps, awaiting a desperate hour to arise and unleash its devastation, but at a great cost.
If you like tactical RPG combat with good art direction and an orchestrated soundtrack, you'd do well to play this one. More details and minor spoilers found past the divider.
Jerry Beck at the Cartoon Brew has posted this gallery of sixteen World War II-related funny animal comic book covers.
This goes nicely with my retrospective, “Talking Animals in World War II Propaganda”, published here last January 5th.
Long articles could be (and have been) written on the adventures of Donald and Daffy Duck, Bugs Bunny, Gandy Goose and Homer Pigeon. In the last decade, most American propaganda cartoons have been re-released on DVD, so we can see them for ourselves; they are also on YouTube.
Volumes could also be written of the wartime funny-animal comic book and newspaper comic strip characters who fought the Axis, usually on the Home Front against saboteurs and hoarders. World War II's talking-animal propaganda novels are less well-known. In fact, they are forgotten today except in movie-adaptation credits. That’s too bad, as the books are still enjoyable reading.