It’s the end of the week and we have some exciting news to share with you are happy to announce that we (Anime Limited) will be releasing Genius Party and Genius Party Beyond in the UK.
Genius Party is a series of 7 short films released by Studio 4°C in Japan in 2007 that featured different creative minds from all sides of the anime spectrum coming together for each film. A popular tag line at the time was “7 Impacts by 7 Directors.” The followup Genius Party Beyond featured new 5 short films bringing more creative minds together.
"At Anime Limited we’ve always been big fans of unique film projects and Genius Party is no different” says Andrew Partridge, President of Anime Limited. “When you look at the directorial personnel involved Shinichiro Watanabe, Mahiro Maeda and Masaaki Yuasa, combined with the varying experiences working in anime from all involved this really is a wonderful project and I’m delighted we’re getting to bring this to the UK.”
At this time we can confirm that we will be releasing these on Blu-ray and DVD. We will have more details for you soon about our plans but in the interim you can watch the trailers for both and find a the complete list of films below.
By Hugh David.
One of the all-time great modern Japanese multi-media franchises is finally getting a re-release of its animated incarnation in the UK, which also includes the previously-unreleased and much-anticipated The Second Raid. Full Metal Panic!’s manga adaptation of the best-selling light novel series is a textbook example of how to balance action, romance and comedy in an expert blend of high-school and mecha shows, and the first anime incarnation managed to carry that over brilliantly. In fact, the only thing the production studio, former powerhouse GONZO, really did that noticeably separates the two versions was to extract some of the most comic vignettes and moments, which then later found their way into the spin-off series Full Metal Panic? FUMOFFU! from Kyoto Animation. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves here…
You wouldn’t look for an elite anti-terrorist commando undercover in a Japanese high school, would you? Yet Sergeant Sosuke Sagara of the PMC MITHRIL is young enough to take on the role, given he was raised a rebel fighter in an unspecified part of Asia. Eagle-eyed viewers will understand quickly the English-language downplays this part of his background for maximum sales impact in Western Anglo-speaking territories; it’s pretty clear nonetheless that Sagara is a mujhadeen child soldier plucked from his home to work for MITHRIL. Having never been to high school, however, and being far more conversant with piloting mechs and handling firearms than with human interactions of most kinds, hilarity inevitably ensues as he seeks to protect beautiful orphan and Student Council President Kaname Chidori against a very real threat. For Kaname has special powers that make her a prime target for a very special bunch of criminals…
FMP! is arguably Studio Gonzo’s perfect storm: a show that blended modern-day mecha combat, American-style action sequences, high-school comedy and romance with a first-class mix of traditional and CG animation. Every episode ends with some sort of beat that acts as a cliff-hanger of sorts, be it emotional, action-based or a plot twist, engendering the ideal propulsion for binge-watching. Coupled with a first-class English dub and a musical score that nods slyly to The A-Team and you have a show that was as much a gateway for a new generation of Western fans as it was beloved by older ones.
However, some fans of the source material did feel some of the more outrageous humour and fan-service was missing from that first series; cue FMP?FUMOFFU! and its mostly-high-school-focused high-jinks. Then-new studio Kyoto Animation gave the visuals a more traditional, more fun makeover, and turned school mascot giant bear Bonta-kun into an action-comedy hero complete with catch-phrase “Fumoffu!” For those interested this series even included the traditional excuse for fan-service, the beach trip episode.
And then times changed, the industry changed, and FMP! The Second Raid never made it to the UK. Now that it’s finally here fans can see for themselves Kyoto Animation’s take on the darker, action-based tone of the first series, carrying on the main storyline to tell us what happens to all of our beloved characters when faced with the actions of a rival PMC Amalgam and their mechs. It’s been a long wait, but fans will find it’s been worth it, especially to experience all three series in high definition with new extras.
Full Metal Panic! is being released as an Ultimate Edition Blu-ray set including all three season from Anime Ltd. next week.
By Andrew Osmond.
An upcoming Anime Limited release, Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad, has a brash title rock song, proclaiming in English: “I was made to hit in America!” In many ways, J-pop faces the same challenge as anime in the world market. Do you customise yourself for the foreign audience? Or do you sell yourself on your “exotic,” Far Eastern qualities – like, for example, Korea’s PSY, who got the world trotting to “Gangam Style”?
The female J-pop band Perfume has gone all-out for the second course. Interviewed by Reuters, the Japanese Managing Director of Universal International summed up Perfume: “Mysterious, futuristic, robotic doll-type girls, well-choreographed with laser beams… I think with Perfume it’s all about that futuristic Japanese image.” Continue Reading
By Jonathan Clements.
Shigeru Mizuki, who died today, was one of the most enduring and influential creators in the manga tradition. His career arguably pre-dated manga itself, in the chaos of the post-war period, when the young Mizuki arrived back in Japan with the world’s most unimpressive CV. Maimed in an American attack on a South Sea hospital, and cursed with an elder brother undergoing trial for war crimes, the one-armed Mizuki struggled to find work, and slummed it as a cinema projectionist. Despite his injuries, he somehow managed to get jobs drawing kamishibai, show-and-tell picture shows that were rented to travelling story-tellers, and which formed a vibrant part of Tokyo media in the days before television. Continue Reading
By Meghan Ellis.
“Films sure are organic”, quips Hayao Miyazaki, legendary anime director and 72-year-old man in a bear apron. It’s this quote, and the meaning behind it, that explains just why The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness works so well. An all-access documentary following the staff of Studio Ghibli during the production of The Wind Rises and The Tale of Princess Kaguya, it’s a story about who made the films, not how they were made. Following just about everyone from Miyazaki himself, to the local Yakult saleslady, to the ever-present atelier cat, this thoughtful feature explores the great collaborative effort that produces films of Studio Ghibli’s calibre.
But does it paint an accurate picture of the creative process behind the likes of Academy Award winning Spirited Away, or Grave of the Fireflies?
In a word: no.
But watching it, I found I didn’t care. From the beginning, director Mami Sunada delivers a sensitive, measured tribute to the studio’s own cinematography, with her gentle narration and frequent shots of the atelier’s garden pure Ghibli in their execution. What it does show – and actually shows very well – is how the different teams work together to create, market, and make a success of the films. Sunada’s clever juxtaposing of animators and admin staff explores the gentle relationship between the two departments: often, you’ll see the animators, Miyazaki included, playing along to radio calisthenics while the admin staff discuss merchandise sales figures, revenue and promotional activities for The Wind Rises. There’s something almost childlike about the animation staff, who are shown painting clouds, drawing planes and getting Japanese etiquette lessons from a joking Miyazaki, while next door there’s a fierce discussion on whether or not Marketing should create more products catering to adults. Continue Reading