As you have probably already guessed from the title, Sword of the Stranger is a Samurai action (or chanbara チャンバラ) movie, and the feature film debut of Masahiro Ando, who’s previous directorial work includes the TV series Canaan as well as being a key animator on projects such as Cowboy Bebop, Ghost in The Shell and Planetes. It’s an impressive CV, no doubt about it, and one that means expectations from both the industry and fans are high.
Some interesting news that could feasibly affect the future of
Japan’s the world’s greatest animation studio – Ghibli colour designer Michiyo Yasuda retired last week. Responsible for picking the palettes of just about all of the studio’s output for the last 20+ years and a close personal friend of Miyazaki and Takahata, Yasuda-san has obviously been a massive and important player in the creation of the Ghibli look.
(Note: This is the second part of a review of Freedom. The first part can be read here.)
Sad news: Hisayuki Toriumi (1941 – 2009) passed away on Friday, and his funeral will be held today in Hachioji City, Tokyo.
Although his name may not be familiar, his work certainly will be to millions of my generation – not just in Japan – but also in the UK, the US and across the world where series like Gatchaman (known outside Japan as Battle of the Planets and G-Force), The Mysterious Cities of Gold and Speed Racer became huge childrens TV hits in the 1970s and 80s, and for fans like myself were our first introduction to the world of anime.
Not that I expected him to win, especially in the year that Academy darlings Pixar released what is arguably their finest work to date, but I have to say I was surprised and disappointed he didn’t even get a nod when the nominations were announced today. It’s especially confusing when only three films where put forward, and one of them was the decidedly average Kung Fu Panda (I haven’t seen Bolt, and can’t honestly say I’m that bothered either).
(Note: this is the second part of a review of Denno Coil. The first part can be read here.)
It was slightly embarrassing last week, when I sat down to write a post about the Denno Coil art book I picked up in Tokyo, when I realised I’d never actually finished reviewing the series. In fact, it had been so long since I penned the first part, that I had to go back and re-read it to see exactly what i had said:
In order to celebrate the works of Makoto Shinkai we’ve decided to throw a Global Shinkai Day. We’ll spend 24 hours watching Shinkai’s films, chatting during the movies and having discussions and contests along the way. We hope you will be able to drop in and join the party/conversation 🙂
Here we go – the final set of art books I picked up in Tokyo, and by far my favourite purchases from there.
One thing I knew for sure when I started hitting the shops in Tokyo: there was no way I was coming home without something Denno Coil related. Didn’t see anything in the way of toys, but I did grab this pretty DC artbook in a manga store in Shinjuku.
Some of you might remember my concern back in June when I first reported on Production IG’s planned visual update to Oshii’s 1995 classic Ghost in the Shell. Well, the Blu-ray of GiTS 2.0 (not to be confused with GiTS 2: Innocence, which will also be referred to a lot in this piece) hit Japanese stores a few weeks ago, and via sources that I’m not at liberty to identify I have managed to get my hands on a preview copy – months before the (still yet to be confirmed) UK release. So it was that I found myself, on the first morning of 2009, sitting down to watch one of my favourite movies of all time again, but instead of being filled with the usual satisfying feeling of anticipation, I was gripped with something nearer to dread.