This year I was honoured to be asked to contribute to the Anime News Network guide to this season’s new TV shows. Well, I say honoured – it’s going to be quite a bit of work, and will involves me watching a lot of shows that I’d usually avoid like the plague. But hey, that’s what being a critic is all about – no one ever said it would be fun or easy.
This is the first in a few posts making up my – slightly last minute – contribution to Tezuka Month, that was kicked off by Evan Minto and the guys over at Anigamers. Starting with this look at Vertical’s recent paperback reissue of MW, I’ll be posting a few different things up over the next few days.
Six year-old Yuki Tachibana sees and hears things his classmates never do; the bizarre forms and whispering voices of the strange, supernatural creatures that secretly inhabit his elementary school. Despite the fact that this dubious gift has made him an outcast from his fellow students he seems quietly accepting of his place – that is until he finds the always-empty seat next to him occupied by transfer student Makoto Suzuki, whose attempts to befriend him coincide with the arrival of the ‘others’ – a second group of spirits vying for control of the cold, decaying school building.
Ironically, the titular anti-hero takes a bit of a back seat in my favourite Black Jack story to date. Instead it is left to a company president and a construction worker to make the hard moral decisions in High and Low, taken from the first of these three latest Black Jack collections. Set during a recession, and highlighting the disparity in status – but also the common human bond – between corporate fatcats and the working class it can’t help but touch a nerve in today’s economic climate. A stunning example of Osamu Tezuka’s continued relevance, it’s tempting to call it a stand-out story, but in honesty that would be doing the other tales here a disservice.
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.
The name Natsuhiko Kyogoku is probably unfamiliar to most anime fans, but the novelist has already had one of his works adapted – Madhouse’s 2008 series Mōryō no Hako – with a second, Loups-Garous, being adapted into a movie by Production IG and due for release in 2010. An expert in Japanese folklore tales and yōkai, the supernatural creatures that inhabit them, Kyogoku-san is best known in Japan for his award winning mystery novels. Unfamiliar with his work myself until now, I was intrigued when US publisher Vertical Inc sent me a review copy of his debut novel – and the first to be translated into English – The Summer of The Ubume.
stupid lucky enough this Friday to make the 400+ mile round journey up north to the Leeds International Film Festival for the day. Given the length of the journey and the insane price of train tickets here in the UK that might seem a bit excessive to catch a couple of movies, but the festival’s anime weekend was being kicked off by an unmissable double bill. First off was Mamoru Oshii’s lost, experimental classic Angel’s Egg (more on that to follow), being shown in the UK for the first time in over 20 years, but the real incentive for me was to see the UK premiere of Momoru Hosoda’s latest blockbuster Summer Wars.
It’s hard to walk down a street in urban Tokyo without being reminded of the ever-present earthquake threat. Large signs on nearly every street notify you of emergency procedures and direct you to evacuation points. While it is undoubtedly drowned out by the background noise and visual blur for the average Tokyo resident, for a tourist it can seem quite startling or disturbing at first, and feel like health and safety overkill. Until, that is, someone points out to you that experts predict there is 70% or higher chance of an earthquake measuring 7.0 magnitude on the Richter scale hitting Tokyo in the next 30 years. It’s a terrifying situation for an urban population that large, and one that forms the basis for Studio Bones and Kinema Citrus’ eleven part series Tokyo Magnitude 8.0
Someone is killing robots. Not just any robots either; apparently someone is hunting down and killing the world’s most powerful and famous robots. And this is a problem for Inspector Gesicht of Europol, not just because he’s been put in charge of tracking down the killer, but because the list of victims so far suggests he might be a target himself.
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.