Bradley Meek has more interests than he has time. He likes reading about science and politics, playing PC games and discovering new music, reading novels and comic books, playing complex board games and obsessively checking his Twitter feed. But what he always has more time for is his primary love, animation, and for the last three years he has been a staff reviewer on THEM Anime, and has also recently joined the staff of Anime 3000. Old or new, cute or manly, he has no fear and is willing to tackle any anime. Though, as he details below, this one was a “whoozy.”
Fernando Ramos is Editor-in-Chief of Anime3000.com. Hailing from beautiful San Diego, California, his incurable addiction to cartoons has led him to his current residence of Saitama, Japan, where staying up late winter nights editing articles only reminds him that SD would never get this cold. An avid photography and video fan, he also produces occasional videos and he also writes the photography/rant column Japan Jumble for the site. Find him as Saitamarama on Flickr and HelloNavi on Twitter.
More information on Mamoru Oshii’s upcoming live-action flick Assault Girls have emerged, this time via the film’s official Japanese language website. Finally we have a clue to what is going on in that crazy trailer showing girls-with-guns fighting sand-whales, and it’s pretty damn exciting. Based on Google Translate and my most trusted of Japan based operatives Fernando Ramos it seems that the film is set in the same world as Oshii’s sublime live-action movie Avalon – that is to say it appears to be set around another massively multiplayer, virtual reality video game. In fact, the text seems to be suggesting it’s a new, or different, version of the game from the earlier film, known as ‘Avalon (f)’.
There’s been a lot of bad news and vibes around the US anime industry recently – with some rather major players taking a hit – but for once here in the UK things seem to be ticking over quite happily. Sure we might be a few months behind our American cousins, but judging by the amount of screeners and press releases that have been jamming up my mailbox over the last month it looks like the UK distributor’s schedules show no easing up at the moment. It’s certainly more than I can review in detail before they hit shops, so in the first of what will be a regular feature here’s a run down of stuff that’s due to drop next month – keep an eye on the site over the next few weeks for more in-depth analysis of the pick of the crop.
Last month we had the first details of Mamoru Oshii’s new live-action flick Assault Girls – today we have a teaser trailer, courtesy of Nippon Cinema. The site also has some more details about the plot:
In the aftermath of global thermonuclear war, the Earth’s surface has been turned into a desert battlefield. Three beautiful female hunters: Gray (Meisa Kuroki), Lucifer (Rinko Kikuchi), and Colonel (Hinako Saeki) traverse the barren landscape armed with powerful assault rifles to fight a group of deadly sand-dwelling monsters called “sunakujira” (sand whales). When the the epic battle eventually seems to be coming to an end, the sparkle of muzzle flash dies down and assault ship flies overhead. Suddenly, a gigantic super mutation called “Madara Sunakujira” attacks.
Regular readers will know about my fanatical love for the animated works of Mamoru Oshii (Ghost in the Shell, Sky Crawlers), but they might not realize how much I also bug-out for his live action films. His last feature length work Avalon came out in 2001, and became an instant favourite in my household, the film getting played so much by me and my better half that we nearly wore out the DVD. Which is a good thing, considering how much I paid to import it from Japan. Anyway, with that in mind you can imagine how excited I got today when the first details were announced about his latest work, due to hit Japanese cinemas in December.
Anime News Network have a great scoop today – an English language teaser trailer for Oshii/Production IG‘s latest offering Musashi: The Dream of the Last Samurai. As reported late last year, the movie is based on the life and works of the legendary Japanese swordsman Miyamoto Musashi, author of The Book of Five Rings (五輪書, Go Rin No Sho).
If you’ve read this site before, or even just glanced over it’s archives, then my appreciation and admiration of director Mamoru Oshii is clearly laid out. As such it would seem not only redundant but also somewhat self indulgent to elaborate further on my love of his tense political sci-fi dramas Ghost in the Shell and Patlabor, or his low budget, live action masterpiece Avalon. Ever since his latest feature film The Sky Crawlers was first announced I have been gripped with excitement and anticipation – although, as always, resigned to the long wait us western fans must endure before we are granted an audience. This week that wait finally ended, and putting aside my deep rooted fanboy allegiances for just under two hours, I was able to sit down and see if anime’s most esteemed auteur could still deliver the goods.
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).