Oshii’s Fast Food Grifters to Show at British Festival

From ANN:

Tachiguishi: The Amazing Lives of the Fast Food Grifters, Mamoru Oshii’s “superlivemation” mock documentary, has been selected to compete in the 15th annual Raindance Film Festival, which will be held in London from September 26 to October 7. During that time, some of the films shown at the festival will be available for viewing online, but it is not yet known whether Grifters will be among those. Full details about the festival, including showtimes and information on purchasing tickets, are available on the official website.

The Vault 04: Jin-Roh


Explanation of the Vault series

Originally published on March 9, 2003. The review originally said that Mamoru Oshii directed the film, which is incorrect. It has since been corrected. This is another “short review” where the first paragraph is summary and second paragraph evaluation.

directed by Hiroyuki Okiura; written by Mamoru Oshii (1998)

In an alternate post-WWII scenario, Japan is on the brink of social chaos. The occupation has failed to turn Japan into a stable society by the late 1950s. Anti-government protesters and terrorists regularly battle with the authorities, setting off napalm cocktails and bombs. To combat the disorder, a storm-trooperesque division of the police–the Special Forces–is formed. This force is decked out in Nazi-style helmets with glowing red infrared eyeholes, and they are as ruthless as wolves in hunting their prey. But one day, Fuse, an ordinary member of the Forces, encounters an innocent Little Red Riding Hood-like girl clutching a backpack full of explosives. He survives the blast, but she does not. In the aftermath, Fuse goes on a soul-searching journey to discover why he didn’t have it in him to shoot her first, all while poltical forces conspire to get rid of the Special Forces altogether.

Jin-Roh is a deeply intelligent, mature animated film that seems to belong in a seperate category from most Japanese anime. The dystopian 1950s Japan depicted in the film is bleak, but believable. Oshii’s reflective, meditative style serves him well this time, unlike in the pretentious Ghost in the Shell–by keeping the focus on the main character’s self-discovery and on the theme of the effects of violence on the human soul, as well as the deft parallels to the original Little Red Riding Hood tale, the film achieves a kind of resonance and significance rare in anime. Sometimes the political relationships between the two different police forces are confusing, but the dramatic core of the story–the budding relationship between the suicide bomber’s sister and Fuse–is strong, and is a vehicle for character exploration. Also, the memorable soundtrack by Hajime Mizoguchi (with a little help from Yoko Kanno) shines, accentuating some deeply powerful and unsettling scenes. The film may not be for everyone, as its pacing is deliberate and its politics are tangled. But for those with the patience to look under its surface, there is a rewarding amount of depth to discover. The Special Edition DVD, with a soundtrack CD and an extra disc included, is highly recommended for purchase.

Michael is on hiatus for the remainder of August. The Vault series resurrects entries from his personal blog about anime, written from 2002-2006. Entries will appear in the series every other day.

God-approved manga?

“On the 8th day, God created manga”

From anime news network:

Tyndale House Publishers announced that it is launching a yearly series of Christian manga drawn by Japanese artists in September, as well as a Manga Bible with three manga sections in November. Amazon lists Hidenori Kumai as the author, with Kozumi Shinozawa and Atsuko Ogawa as the illustrators, of the first manga book, Manga Messiah. The Manga Bible will include the entire New Living Translation of the text with three 32-page manga tip-in sections that summarize the narrative.

Christianity has been covered in the SuperBook anime series, and “The God of Manga,” manga pioneer Osamu Tezuka, worked with the Vatican on the In the Beginning: The Bible Stories anime series just before he passed away. Gundam character designer Yoshikazu Yasuhiko created a manga series about Jesus and another about the Catholic saint Joan of Arc. A recent ANN review of a Christian world manga started a discussion on this field.

For more information on this, see the “Nextmanga” website.

Good news for Singaporean anime lovers.

From the Zel on the MAL news team

Odex’s court order forcing Pacific Internet to give names of people who have downloaded anime illegally has failed. Judge Ernest Lau ruled that
Judge Ernest Lau said:
Only copyright owners – that is, the studios that made the anime – or an ‘exclusive licensee’ for the anime being downloaded, can take legal action under the Singapore Copyright Act.

Odex is a sub-licensee and had letters from rights owners authorising it to take action on their behalf, but the firm was neither a copyright owner or an ‘exclusive licensee’.

An exclusive licensee has the sole right to distribute a product in a certain market.

By the sounds of it, Odex does not have the right to sue downloaders

Source: The Straits Times

ADV to Sell Geneon Products.

From ICv2

August 24, 2007

ICv2 has learned that ADV will take over sales, marketing, and distribution functions for all Geneon titles effective October 1st. Geneon will continue to license and produce anime content for the North American market;

The extensive Geneon catalogue will continue to be available through ADV, making a formidable combined title roster from the two companies.

Geneon rids itself of a sales, marketing, and distribution function that is servicing much lower volume than it did in the days when Geneon was distributing Viz (Pokemon) and Bandai titles. ADV gains the economies of scale of servicing larger volume on a similar expense base.

Anime Diet Radio Episode 10 – The Big Date

Hey, it looks like this weekly release schedule (audio column-podcast-audio column) is actually starting to work! This is the last podcast we recorded a couple of weeks ago (as opposed to nearly a month ago). We have a lot of fun discussing, as far as anime goes, Code-E, Mononoke, and laughing at English phrases from the Moetan workbook. News items include Thai police officers forced to wear Hello Kitty armbands and a bunch of international cosplayers partying with the Foreign Ministry of Japan.

We wrap up with a Roundtable discussion about otaku dating: how to get a date, and what it has to do with the horrid relational skills of Makoto in School Days! Here we have to give a shout out and reference to otaku dating posts by Riuva and Marmot (sorry I definitely butchered your name the first time, and possibly every other time)! If it sounds like we’re making fun of the posts, we’re not. At least not too much. :) It was just great discussion fodder and there’s actually some valuable advice in both. Seriously, we love y’all and appreciate it.

Anyways, it’s been another fun episode. Look forward to another audio column from one of us next week!

Show Notes

  • OP: “Guns & Roses” by Paradise Lunch (OP to Baccano!)
  • ED: “Stardust Tears” by ACKO (ED to Top wo Nerae 2!)
  • Riuva’s post about dating is here. I wasn’t kidding about the post number! (http://www.riuva.com/?p=666)
  • Marmot’s response to that post and her own tips are here. (http://tinyurl.com/3xou6n)
  • The BBC story about Thai police and Hello Kitty is here. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/6932801.stm)
  • A picture of the Vice Foreign Minister and the cosplayers is at this site. (http://www.sponichi.co.jp/entertainment/flash/KFullFlash20070801053_p.html)

My tribute to a character in Claymore after ep. 21.

Once she was just a friend;
Now a worthy comrade.
Once she was steadfastly strong;
Now brutally slain.
Disregarding rank and class,
She followed me onward.
Not caring for common principles,
She protected me from harm.
I now weep, for she is gone.
I could not do a thing, and she is no more.
I only pray that she rests at the side,
Of the one and only comfort,
That a noble warrior deserves.
May her soul rest well,
And may her spirit live to guide me,
As I trudge forth,
Through endless paths,
Endless days of agony,
And go on without you, my friend.
May you rest well.
Your journey is at an end.
But I shall celebrate our time together
On this land,
With a strong drink that will not make me forget,
But to remind me,
How you were like a tonic to a hurting soul,
And a comfort,
To a journey-wearied mind.
Let not a thousand warriors stop their wailing,
Let not a hundred noble men stop their cries.
For one of the bravest soldiers,
Has been slain and left us.
Her tales shall remain in our malnourished hearts.

[EDIT: Thank you so much, Mitsuishi Kotono sama, for doing a great job playing Jean - ジーンを演じるすばらしい仕事をするために、三石琴乃様、そんなにありがとう.]

The Vault 03: Mahoromatic (S1) 1-5


Explanation of the Vault series

Originally published on December 31, 2001. I have, of course, seen the rest of the series as well as season 2 by now. But this is a look at what I was hoping for.

Heh, I just managed to snag episodes 1-5 of the new Gainax TV anime series, Mahoromatic. I wanted to see what the crack animation studio, the makers of some of my most beloved anime ( Evangelion first and foremost, as well as Karekano and the recent FLCL), were up to this time. This show is directed by Hiroyuki Yamaga, a veteran and founder of Gainax studios we haven’t heard from since he directed their very first feature, The Wings of Honneamise.

Briefly, this show is about Mahoro, a battle android who has only a short time left on her lifespan. To extend her life, she goes out of battle mode (she has been fighting aliens) and instead applies to be a maid for Suguru, a junior high school boy who is an orphan (his father was killed in the alien wars and his mother also passed away). They go through wacky adventures together, at least so far. You never know about Gainax and how they end their shows, though Hideaki Anno isn’t in charge this time. :)

Speaking of Anno, the iconoclastic director of Eva and once the head creative honch at Gainax has decided to return to the anime industry (YAY!). He directed the opening sequence of Mahoromatic, and it shows. His love of trains, seen in Eva, Kare Kano, and various other shows he’s directed, is again evident in the beginning of the sequence. There is also one very telling shot which is quoted from the outstanding second half of Evangelion, which I take as a big hint about where this show is going. There are also very fluid flight sequences very akin to his early years as a key animator for SDF Macross and the Daicon IV short–so it looks like he’s gone back to his roots. Yay Anno! Let’s get another anime going, shall we?

The show itself: the budget is obviously not as high as that of their last production, the OAV FLCL, but it’s more than acceptable. This is a very cute show! Mahoro is very sweet and kind, very motherly, perfect for a lonely young orphan like Suguru. Suguru is shy and unsure of himself, but he’s no Shinji (not yet anyway) . . . in the very first episode he stands up for himself. The voice actors and actresses do a charming job of conveying their emotions, and while the story is really not all that original, it is executed well. Note: there is a LOT of fan service in this show–suffice to say that after a long hiatus since the second half of Evangelion, the “Gainax Bounce” is back. I thought it was a bit overdone in spots, especially with the disturbing 25 year old female teacher.

This is especially disappointing since there actually does appear to be a serious subtext to this show, even in these early episodes where it’s relatively light and happy. One scene dealing with Suguru’s late father is handled very well, and it is becoming clear that one theme present in the grim Evangelion–the longing for parental care, especially for that of Mother–might be a big theme in this show too. The more I think about it, the more Mahoro seems to be a mother substitute for Suguru. There is also a military conspiracy plot brewing in the background, which I expect will be played up in later episodes. Certainly all is not as it seems, and it doesn’t look like this show will be sweet forever; at the end of every episode, a stark black screen with white kanji informs us: “Time until Mahoro shuts down: xxx days.” How poignant and disturbing after such a light, happy episode. Video Girl Ai was another show that used a similar idea to great emotional effect.

This is the studio that gave us such great catharthic anime like Evangelion and Kare Kano, and I am prepared for some emotional trauma down the line. It may not necessarily be as brutal as it was in the hands of Anno’s Evangelion but if it can match the emotional intensity, then Mahoromatic may end up being yet another Gainax show that starts as fluff and ends up being valuable. Perhaps a show about an android maid with a lot of fan service can join the ranks of a show about kids piloting giant mecha in being about much more than it seems.

I look forward to finishing this series on fansub, and perhaps purchasing it when it is released in the US.

Rating so far: 3.5/5

Michael is on hiatus for the remainder of August. The Vault series resurrects entries from his personal blog about anime, written from 2002-2006. Entries will appear in the series every other day.

Gunslinger Girl Season 2.

Taken from Anime News Network

Gunslinger Girl’s Second Season Officially Announced
The October issue (on sale August 21) of Monthly Comic Dengeki Daioh has officially announced that a second season of the Gunslinger Girl anime series will be produced. The Japanese magazine runs Yu Aida’s original manga about cybernetically enhanced girl assassins that inspired the anime. The production company Marvelous Entertainment had revealed that a sequel was in the works in its 2006-2007 financial report on May 30, but the company then edited the report to remove the Gunslinger Girl reference in early June. Source: Ultimatum

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