Reviewing All of Oshii’s Movies Simultaneously

Oh look, a Basset Hound, now there's something I've never seen in an Oshii movie before.

I recently decided that I must be a masochist. Not a masochist in the traditional sense, but a masochist in subjecting myself to mental anguish time and time again. What I am referring to are the films of Mamoru Oshii. It seems like I am constantly tricking myself into thinking, “OK, now this Oshii movie is going to be good.” No matter how many times I do it, I always walk away feeling ripped-off and dejected, having wasted away 90+ minutes that could have been spent constructively on projects, studying, or masturbating.

Having watched so many Oshii movies, I have come to realize that essentially they are all the same. There is no need to review them separately, because they all have the same themes, animation style, acting, music, and basset hounds. Essentially, all Oshii movies are interchangeable. If you replaced the music from Ghost in the Shell with the music from Patlabor would anyone really notice? Perhaps only the most hardcore Oshii fan. If you were to watch The Sky Crawlers side by side with Jin Roh, you would see that they both sort of meander around and the plot is only advanced when two people start talking at one another for significant(ly boring) amounts of time. After years of in-depth analysis, I have made a shocking discovery…

Way to dress up for The Sky Crawlers premiere, Oshii

…There seems to be something amiss whenever Oshii helms another movie. And that thing is the fact that Oshii continues to make THE SAME movie over and over again. He changes the setting and updates the animation style, and no one else seems to notice. Naturally, the Oshii fanboys are quick to disagree, stating that each film is entirely different and extremely complex. (And that I didn’t “get it.”) The thing about Oshii fanboys, however, is that they are a rabid cult. To them, Oshii can do no wrong. He could film himself taking a shit and they would declare it to be a cinematic masterpiece.

However, filming himself taking a shit would show too much direct action for Oshii. He would need to show himself talking about needing to take a shit, discuss the philosophical implications of doing so, wander the streets of Tokyo sullenly to a minimalist Kenji Kawai soundtrack, show a Basset Hound sniffing around another dog’s ass (because that’s what dogs do), and then finally the next day Oshii would return to the screen to discuss more philosophical implications now that he has taken the shit (albeit off-camera). Let’s face it, every single Oshii movie has scenes exactly like those described above. In fact, I imagine Oshii during pre-production would sound something like this:

Oshii: I have found a novel I would like to base my next movie on.

Executive: Oh really, which novel?

Oshii: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

Executive: Well, the books made a lot of money, and the live action movies did, too, so I guess we can’t go wrong!

Oshii: I would like to change a few things.

Executive: Like what?

Oshii: First of all, I’m not sure about the setting. It would probably be better taking place in the near future, in Tokyo.

Executive: Oh…well, as long as you keep all the stuff people like about it, like the magic, I’m sure it will be great.

Oshii: Well, those magic scenes are so dreadful. I would rather have the characters discuss the morality of using sorcery instead of showing it. Or perhaps the magic could be a metaphor for the angst and turmoil of adolescence. Before Harry uses any magic he could silently wander the streets of Tokyo. You know what might be better than magic? The characters piloting realistic robots.

Executive: …

Oshii: And Harry’s owl would have to be changed to a Basset Hound.

To further illustrate my point, I have compiled this handy-dandy chart. What you’ll notice is that all Oshii movies, past, present, and future are identical. There is now no longer any need to watch new Oshii movies. Instead, consult the chart, and you will realize that you have already watched every new Oshii film! Incredible! When it comes to Oshii movies, the old adage is true, if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen ’em all.

Oshii Movie Comparison Chart

Verdict: Shitty

11 Responses to “Reviewing All of Oshii’s Movies Simultaneously”

  1. 1 chee
    April 3, 2010 at 10:05 am

    Protip: He’s an auteur, auteurs do that.

  2. 2 chee
    April 3, 2010 at 10:07 am


    At least he doesn’t go back and needlessly revise his best wor-



    • September 18, 2011 at 1:26 pm

      Personally I thought while ghost in the shell had awesome directing , its his most overated movies, Iike some of his lesser known films such as urusei yatsura beautiful dreamer better.

  3. April 24, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    HILARIOUS yet again. Have I ever mentioned how much I love your reviews? I’ve only seen Ghost In The Shell (the movies and the show) and wasn’t too impressed but know I know not to expect too much.

  4. 5 O-chan
    June 17, 2010 at 5:43 pm

    I said it to you before and I’ll say it again here: marijuana.

    Some of Oshii’s films are simply enjoyable in the same way a sunset is enjoyable. Knowing ahead of time how plotless Angel’s Egg would be, I got as sky-high as I could and just let the imagery flow over me. God knows I’d have struggled through that in a state of lucidity.

    I think art (films, books, paintings, everything) is best approached when in a certain mindframe. People usually don’t watch porn AFTER the come, for example. I wouldn’t want to listen to dance music on my ipod, lying in a field staring at the clouds, but in a sweaty dance club it is perfect.

  5. 6 Tarnsman
    September 19, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    I think Oshii’s works would work a lot better in a non-visual medium. Like novels. The only thing that benefits him from having a visual canvas is his visual style…but that’s wasted because he rarely does anything with it beyond having it sit there are look pretty.

  6. March 10, 2014 at 11:52 pm

    your review is a shitty review .all you write about mr Oshii is what you sure do if you have to imitate Oshii´s movies. the theme you had choose here is “taking a shit” because is the only theme you can elaborate in your mind. this critic about your review I leave here is not a rabid reaction is just a pale mirror of your rabid shitty review.There are many ways to do a movie, and not all are in the mood of “fast and furious”. the fact you know you “don´t get it” not means that you are safe to not get it, and in this case you “don´t get” in which consist another ways more subtles to storytelling in other level of focusing the actions and speakings than HP or other basic entertaining movies.
    if you take the repetition of an element as a specific dog as a defect itself and not as a significant element inside the interrelations of images and meanings on a movie, then you are saying that Hitchcock movies are shitty because he appears in all of them doing some cameo in the background,not taking some minutes in notice that repetition have some meaning that is related with the movie itself, if you take philosophical speech as sign of shittyness and not as a element of analysis fusioned with the actions of the plot developed, then you think that The Name of the Rose of Umberto Eco is a excuse to talk too much meanwhile some monks kill other monks in a forgotten abby on some point of the middle age who makes you yawn because is a place so far of your couch and you think that moment was no decisive influential in the way actual ages decodificate information and perception of nature and contents of texts or beliefs and the actions inspired by these perceptions and beliefs, it is, you are not interested in throw your nose and squint your senses to try catch what the hell is happening in a movie if that movie is not screaming directly in your face what is the theme and what mean every thing you are viewing in the screen. It means you need a clear explanation or a guide helping you to catch in which things consist a movie when it is not done at the basic storytelling level of “lethal weapon 3” or so. With all the respect possible for “lethal weapon” in his own level of a simple, effective and honest entertaining piece of storytelling.
    ( Lethal Weapon have another virtue: also a guy capable to call shitty a Oshii movie can understand it.)
    The more wrong fact in your way to take Oshii´s movies are that you believe they are complex. Error.
    they are simple, the only complexity is in the interrelation of visual and verbal elements, all their plots are simple and easy to catch scene by scene. But if you only expect from a movie something to watch while you eat pizza or pop-corn, you will be deceived.This movies, as many classic movies ,paintings, books or beautiful landscapes or scientific misteries wants of all your attention possible,if not, for sure you cannot get the solid,rich and strong thing they are. if your mind only can make an enumeration of elements as if they are arbitrious and isolated, you have serious problems to became a serious and accurate critic of movies. let´s do no talk about depth on critics.
    You can enumerate elements of many directors same as you made with Oshii:
    Tim Burton: Spirals, gothic stuff, Danny Elfman, Johnny Depp (instead a bassethound), scarecrows, pumpkins, circus and carnival imagery, conflicts between rational and magical thinking (basically all his movies are about magic vs. reason)
    Steven Spielberg: Nazis, aliens , Norman Rockwell based estethics, archaelogists, kids, dinosaurs and sharks taken as monsters. Heroes solve all with a familiar object of their own they recognize as useful or meaningful in key moments or danger situations.
    Alfred Hitchcock: Staircases, windows, birds (dead and alive), old houses, himself (instead of Johnny Depp or some dog)
    Billy Wilder : travellings, characters from back, mute close ups with off-talks from another character, people in dilemmas about two directions on possible actions, involuntary glimpses of information, etc.
    Luc Besson: Outsiders, guns,yellowcabs, accordions, proffessionals of whatever, naive damsels turned living weapons, Gary Oldman instead chihuahuas or other type of dogs, etc.
    Hayao Miyazaki: magic, nature vs man, kids, airships, clouds, silent scenes, wind, strong women characters, idealized ” Europe” scenery , Totoro in every opening since Totoro, pigs, food in caps lock size, charming houses, bright sunny days, etc.
    Katsuhiro Otomo: supernatural powers, metal spheres everywhere, bikes or monobikes, young people vs status quo cities, ghosts, rferences to Kubrick everywhere, etc.
    Stanley Kubrick: white colour, symmetry, morphologic comparisons ( maze in, maze out in Shinning, bone-spaceship in 2001, astronaut- fetus same movie,) untamed forces vs reason (Clockwork orange, Shinning, 2001, Full metal jacket) frozen or long staging camera angles, etc.
    Ridley Scott: baroque palette, smoke, neon, superdetailed close ups, claustrophobic scenery, gothic sense of scenery, irises, dusks, japanese labels, fire, violence in an almost documentary and neutral sense of image, slow cameras, Vangelis, epicness, unicorns, etc.

    Now apply on them your formula of the “taking a shit” interesting plot you imagined in your rich and subtle mind and you can say this directors are same shitty as Oshii.

    I know nothing of the exposed here will change your mind, because as Batou says in Gits 2: “no matters how much a donkey will travel , he nver became a horse”
    but about rabid reactions and shitty critics,your level of understanding is just product of your basic level of interest, the less you are interested to see, the less you can see.

    “do not blame the mirror if you see something you don´t like”

    c u in every mirror you will find.

  7. 9 tamerlane
    March 15, 2014 at 6:20 pm

    i know this article is old as sin and noone is going to read this comment but let it be noted that the author:
    *likes elfen lied
    *thinks oshii films are pretentious and overwrought

    your article sucks and you are a baby-man?? the answer is yes

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April 2010


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