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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Thursday, July 10, 2008


The producers of Batman Begins and The Dark Knight team with some of the most respected anime artists in Japan to explore Bruce Wayne's transition from tormented crime fighter to heroic icon of a crumbling metropolis. Separated into six distinct chapters but intended to be viewed as a whole, this stylized look at immortal DC Comics superhero is the result of a collaboration between Shojiro Nishimi (Tekkonkinkreet), Yasuhiro Aoki (Steamboy), Futoshi Higashide (Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack), Toshiyuki Kubooka (The Secret of Blue Water), and Hiroshi Morioka (Chronicle of the Wings).

Released: July 8, 2008 (USA)

Runtime: 1 hr. 16 min.

Rated PG-13 for stylized violence, including some bloody images

Cast: Kevin Conroy, Gary Dourdan, David McCallum, Corey Burton, Jim Meskimen

Directors: Shojiro Nishimi, Yasuhiro Aoki, Futoshi Higashide, Toshiyuki Kubooka,

and Hiroshi Morioka

Genres: Animation, Comic-Book Superhero


Batman: Gotham Knights is nearly identical to the Animatrix, with the same function of bridging the first film with the sequels. Knights contains 6 loosely based anime stories each with varying degrees of success. Each segement feels and looks different and the first 3 (Have I Got a Story For You, Crossfire, Field Test) are mildly interesting if not fully realized works, they just feel unfinished. The final 3 (In Darkness Dwells, Working Through Pain, Deadshot) are far better examples of mini stories, all of them about 10-12 minutes a piece, and effectively capture a great look and feel along with well thought out stories. Kevin Conroy, who's been providing the voice of Batman since 1992 in various animated forms, provided a necessary level of gravity and importance to his work here. His performance is somewhat limited but effective as always. Visually, all the segments are stunning to look at. Some of them vary from cyberpunk techno anime ala Akira and Ghost in the Shell which other have a more gothic feel to them. As a whole the compilation does what it's meant to do, bridge Batman Begins with the upcoming Dark Knight. There are great little bits of tantalizing tidbits that either carry on minor storylines from the first film or establish new ones that will carry over into the sequel. As a whole Batman: Gotham Knights is probably only for the hardcore fans who have a taste for anime.


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