Blackfox is a Japanese anime film produced by Studio 3Hz.
The movie feels more like an OVA quality production than a full theatrical release. The animation uses 3D CGI to save costs on any scenes with a crowd, which is very obvious. The directors also seem to be saving expenses by replacing artists with robots. Some characters don’t quite look right, like how long Mia’s neck is. The length is about the same height as her face. The dog and eagle animation are clunky and a little off. It’s as if the robots (I mean artists) have never seen a dog or eagle before and drawing them from text descriptions.
The narrative is confusing and disjointed, which is not a good sign if your demographic audience is children. The opening account has two time-jumps, where the first was when Rikka was a few years younger, and the second was 6 months later. There were no transitions of the jump so it was a little disorienting seeing Rikka suddenly look older or just be in a completely different situation she was in just a scene before. The first jump is just there to set up the scene for the second jump that sets up the story revenge premise, which I feel is unnecessary.
The film feels like a cash grab more than a labor of love. It wants to cover as many tropes and generic themes as possible, including ninja, revenge, detective, robot, “magical” girl, and friendnemy. The friendnemy part feels incredibly forced and contrived as Mia and Rikka met only once (If you don’t count them meeting as enemy 6 months earlier) and instantly became friends. Understandably, Rikka didn’t recognize Mia (Mia was in her super-villain outfit), but for some reason, Mia didn’t recognize Rikka.
I will end my review and complaint here, though I still have a list of issues with this movie. The action sequence near the end is decent, which is the only good thing I can say. The movie ending is already setting itself up for a sequel.
There is a live-action version being released in 2019 also, known as Black Fox: Age of the Ninja. The trailers show these characters to be older and in the feudal Japan period rather than the modern age as depicted in the anime.
I will only recommend this for those wanting a different take on the magical girl genre and don’t mind the incoherent story. Blackfox contains graphic violence and is intended for young teens.
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