Happy New Year, everybody!
Normally, I don’t post outside of my weekly reviews on Saturday, but I thought I would do a little fun article. In March of Last year, I decided to review things. Not the typical Hollywood schlock that permeates movie theaters everywhere though. I wanted to review things most people weren’t critiquing. Whether it was independent movies, world cinema, anime, non-mainstream Western animation, short films, documentaries, or some art house stuff, I wanted to give my three cents on whatever I watched. Iridium Eye was cathartic for me because I feel that I could be honest while also showing what I know about lesser-known movies or series. Even though this is just a little blog, it did help me in ways I couldn’t have imagined. I met some other reviewers that liked what I did, them telling me that I am well-versed in reviewing obscure films or anime, and them encouraging me to keep working on my craft. Thank you. I felt that I was able to be a better writer (not just in fiction) and to be more open about my honesty with others whether they are online or in real life.
Now, I’m going to have a couple of posts that deal with different aspects of Iridium Eye. For this one, I’ll give you a brief history trip with inaugural reviews and the top ten most viewed posts as of January 1st.
First Review Ever: Theeb
This was the movie that started it all. I remember this being the first film that helped me develop a habit of taking notes on my phone via Evernote while watching a movie so I can jot down all my thoughts. If you would have told me that I would start a film review blog back then and tell me my first review would involve a Jordanian movie, I would have called you nuts. It was a fun movie to watch despite some of the flaws I noticed though. To be honest, I don’t think it was my best-written review, but I’ll keep it up there for posterity’s sake.
First Anime Review: King Of Fighters: Another Day
Yup. There was this little ONA that I found. KOF is also the first negative review I’ve given. It’s a shame because I know Production I. G. is so much better than this despite it being competently animated. I’m sure the very few people who saw the early inception of this blog would think I was an anime hater when that couldn’t be further from the truth if they read that post. Luckily, I’ve reviewed higher quality series. Dang it, KOF deserved better when it came to an animated adaptation.
First Documentary Review: Team 409
This was a film I re-watched since I own the DVD of this documentary. Team 409 also has a couple of other firsts to it. This documentary is the first movie I reviewed that was directed by a woman (Emily Curry) and it was the first self-distributed film I covered. That last fact certainly fits Iridium Eye in so many ways since a majority of the media I’ve talked about are produced, created and/or distributed by fully independent companies. Team 409 was inspirational to watch even though I’m not that much into bicycling.
First Short Film Review: The Garden of Words
What do you know? My first short film I covered involved an anime of all things. The Garden of Words was my re-introduction to Makoto Shinkai and I’m sure it was the first anime I watched that was made in the 2010s after falling away from Japanese animation for years. It was also the first review I wrote where I actually worried about being bashed by otaku for my divergent opinions compared to what most people have thought of it. Granted, I’ve written posts involving films with more controversial content or having an opinion that is contrary to most without being contrarian (there’s a big difference), but I was shocked that it didn’t happen yet. My opinions haven’t changed and I have to stand up for what I like or don’t.
First Anthology Review: Art of the Short Film
I had to try something new and I was happy to have still owned this DVD. Film Movement is great at showing films from all over the world and they always put a short film on all of their DVDs. The fact that they did an entire DVD full of short films was creative of them. I’d really like to see them do another volume or at least have another anthology focusing on one creator for some cohesion.
First Review to get a 10/10: Haibane Renmei
I confess to being biased to this series, but it’s my favorite anime that I’ve seen. Even after all these years, so many things still hold up. The artistry was phenomenal, I really enjoyed the characterization, and I still own the soundtracks on CD to this day. It was one of the few posts that I’ve done where I can just forget about being some jaded and burnt-out Hollywood-loathing cinemaphile and mention something that I’ve enjoyed after re-watching it. Whenever people argue with me that anime or even animation at large can’t be serious and artsy, I show them this and they shut up.
First Review to be Reblogged: Boy and the World
I never thought any of my reviews would be reblogged. Leave it up to this Brazilian animated film to beat everything else. Hahaha! While Boy and the World wasn’t my favorite animated film even though I can see why people would really like this, there was so much creativity going on. I’d like to thank agogo22 for reblogging this and spreading the word about Iridium Eye.
Now without further ado, here are the top 10 most viewed posts on Iridium Eye in 2017!
10: 3 Way Tie between Haibane Renmei, Shamanic Princess, and Song of the Sea
Looks like I get to talk about Haibane Renmei again for starters. I’m glad people have checked out that review and hearing from some people that they want to watch it. I don’t want to reiterate the points in my review, but I couldn’t recommend this series enough if anyone is into seeing anime as a legit art form.
Next is Shamanic Princess. This had been an anime I’ve wanted to see for years, but I never got to until a couple of years ago. I remember seeing AMVs of it and how gorgeous the animation was. I was certainly impressed with most of the story and I felt that this original screenplay fused dark fantasy elements with some magical girl tropes without going full-on shojo. I feel that anyone can find some kind of enjoyment out of this little 90s OVA.
Song of the Sea is a bit of an interesting one since it’s one of the few movies I watched and reviewed where other people told me they saw it (What’s good, Kimchisama and Jon Spencer?). Granted, I still have a bit of that anime snob in me, but this film exceeded my expectations. Perhaps Ireland can have their own animation scene that can compete with America, Japan, or France in the near future.
9: 3 Way Tie between GoShogun: The Time Etranger, Hate Crimes In The Heartland, and Legend of the Last Labyrinth
The Time Etranger was one anime movie that got more attention months after I posted that review. It’s become my 4th most searched review from my research on people Googling or Yahoo-ing or whatever. I didn’t think I would get some viewers that would like 80s anime that isn’t related to the Dragon Ball franchise, Macross/Robotech, or even old-school Ghibli works. This was a welcome surprise as more people checked out this review from a piece of 80s anime nostalgia.
Hate Crimes In the Heartland is easily one of the bravest posts I’ve done here or any other blog. I know the subject matter is quite touchy given it deals with race relations and the horrific Black Wall Street Massacre, but it was something that really needed to be filmed. I felt like I had to be incredibly honest and not sugarcoat things when I wrote my thoughts about this documentary. Also, Hate Crimes In The Heartland has some firsts. It’s the first documentary to get a 10, the first American production to get a 10, and the first film directed by a woman (Rachel Lyons) to get a 10 from me. Hate Crimes is my most viewed documentary review, by the way.
I was shocked that anyone would want to check out Legend of the Last Labyrinth. Seriously, this is a pretty obscure 90s OVA of all things. It still baffles me how people found my blog because of this review. This random fantasy/romance anime even got some search engine traffic that lead to this blog. I don’t know what else to say other than how strange it was with people paying attention to this anime.
8: Patapata Hikousen no Bouken
Funny how an early 00s anime that never got American distribution got some attention. I remember posting this link on another aniblogger’s page wanting links from people and I volunteered. It got some attention from different people. I barely know that many people who know about this steampunk anime with Verne-like elements. No, it’s not a Nadia rip-off. Sorry, Hideaki Anno, fans. Maybe someone should license Patapata Hikousen no Bouken.
7: The Secret of Kells
This review started to get some attention early on and it was my first in-depth exposure to Tomm Moore and his studio Cartoon Saloon. I was also surprised with others online and real life who had seen this Irish animated film. The visuals were simply gorgeous and the fact that this was from an independent company just blew my mind. Granted, The Secret of Kells isn’t on my list of favorite animated films even though I can see why people would REALLY like it. I thought it was a solid debut to show that other nations can produce quality animation.
We’re going back to my first review already, eh? I won’t repeat myself, but I do have this movie to thank to help kickstart Iridium Eye and to really critique the media I watch. This is also the most viewed review of a live action film.
I was so glad to revisit this parody anime series I hadn’t seen since my teenage years when I looked for quality anime. It also made me happy to see people want to check it out in real life. Maybe there’s some generational bias with people who grew up on Power Rangers, but I was surprised by how well the jokes held up. Someone needs to re-license this anime pronto!
4: Key the Metal Idol
For starters, I would like to thank Irina for sharing this review and Haibane Renmei. This review got so much more traffic later on and more people started hitting the like button. Maybe I’m doing something right? Much like Shamanic Princess, I wanted to see this anime for a really long time and I finally got to late in 2016 before getting the re-released DVD box set from Discotek. I think Key is one of those anime series that’s criminally underrated that may have inspired much more famous projects like Serial Experiments Lain, Perfect Blue, and even Neon Genesis Evangelion even for just a little bit.
3: Jungle Emperor Leo (1997 film)
This movie, my #2, and #1 reviews are the most searched reviews via search engines (mostly Google). I know there are some mixed to positive opinions, but I do find this to be a very underrated film that has aged surprisingly well. One can argue that this is one of Tezuka Productions’ best-looking works. It did anger me that Jungle Emperor Leo almost got banned in North America for a completely bogus reason, but I’m so glad that lawsuit didn’t go through. This and my number #2 pick shocked me with how many searches it got. Speaking of #2, it is completely related to this film…
Oh, man. The amount of searches and clicks on it still shock me to this day. Were there seriously people who wanted to check out 60s anime besides Speed Racer and Astro Boy? The fact that this is my most viewed anime review just blows my mind especially given how frequently the newer anime series have been getting attention in the blogosphere. Much like Hate Crimes In the Heartland, I was nervous about putting this review for fear of a major backlash from trolls given the obvious controversy that is associated with Kimba, but I needed to do this. I had to be well-researched and honest, but also objective. The Kimba review was fun to write, but it was also one where I needed to be fearless in my opinions. Hail to the one true king!
1: A Stork’s Journey
A German CGI film was my most viewed post of all time on Iridium Eye? I seriously didn’t see that one coming. I wondered why people were searching this. Were there that many Drake Bell fans wanting to know my thoughts on this flick? Maybe they wanted to see a brand-spanking new movie for once instead of the films and anime that were years or even decades old? Beats me, but I’m glad that there are people who wanted to see my blog while stumbling onto my opinions about A Stork’s Journey.
Now I have some questions for you.
What was your favorite review I wrote?
What movies or anime have you seen that I covered on Iridium Eye?
What did you think of the most viewed posts on here?
I hope you all have a wonderful 2018!
-Curtis from Iridium Eye
All photos property of their respective owners and used under US “Fair Use” laws.
As always I enjoy reading your reviews and breakdowns of movies and anime. Also it is encouraging me to find (that’s the hard part) something different and new to watch. I honestly haven’t heard of the one that made number 1 and I would like to check out the anime that you said made 10/10. I think when I read through your old posts I missed some of these. I hope to see more films that come from Ireland those two movies were just beautiful.
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Thank you very much, KimchiSama!
I’m pleased that you’re open minded enough to check out some new and different things to watch.
Oh, A Stork’s Journey? Yeah, that was a movie I didn’t expect to watch and review. Hahaha! It was temporarily for free on Google Play as a pre-theatrical promo for its US release.
Haibane Renmei is seriously top caliber stuff. Granted, it’s more artsier and contemplative than several other anime series that are flashier and more action packed, but I really liked the characterization and creativity on display. Also, this was the first anime series where I actually bought the soundtracks since I really liked the music there.
Feel free to check out the reviews I mentioned on this post and/or some of the other ones you may have missed.
I agree with your opinion on Cartoon Saloon being Ireland’s premier animation studio. I heard The Breadwinner just came out and I can’t wait until it’s on DVD. That’s their most recent movie from that studio and it does look fascinating.