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Battle of the Planets and Mysterious Cities of Gold director and animator dies

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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.

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Denno Coil 13 – 26 (2007): Review

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(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:

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Tokyo Imperial Palace and Gardens

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If you want to escape from the concrete and steel for a day, bizarrely one of the best places to head to is the centre of Tokyo, and the area surrounding the Imperial Palace. The gardens are huge, and took as a good five hours to fully explore yesterday. You can’t get in the Palace itself, obviously, but the architecture and gardens are beautiful. Even then you’re never far from the corporate futurism; the Palace lies in the middle of Tokyo’s financial district, and is circled by the usual skyscrapers and communication towers. Even though, its nice to have the usual background noise of crowds, traffic and electronics replaced by birdsong for a few hours.

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Real Drive 1 – 6 (2008): Review

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The last 9 months or so has been an exciting time for fans of Production IG and Masamune Shirow – previous collaborations between the anime powerhouse and the manga legend gave the world the unstoppable, stylish and cerebral Ghost in the Shell franchise, and last year they announced that the two giants would be joining forces for not one but two new TV series, Ghost Hound and Real Drive.

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Freedom Project 1 – 4 (2006 – 2008): Review

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To the uninitiated, the Japanese anime industry and the culture that surrounds it can seem perplexing at times, to say the least. In the west, when a film or TV show is released directly to video or DVD, its usually a sign of inferior quality or very limited market appeal. Or, in other words, it’s too shit to be shown at the cinema. Plus usually we’re talking about the sort of unoriginal, opportunist, unnecessary sequels that Disney were famous for churning out a few years ago. Jungle Book Two, anyone? God help us.

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