By Raz Greenberg
It's funny how anachronistic certain science-fiction works can look in the face of modern technology – and when you live in the 21st century, it's plain amazing just how fast they become anachronistic. Take Makoto Shinkai's masterpiece Voices of a Distant Star, for example. It's still every bit a masterpiece as it was when it first came out in 2002, but even while being swept away by the powerful drama of Shinkai's short film, today's audience will find it hard not to giggle at the sight a futuristic society that made it as far as interstellar travel and giant robots but still stuck with old-fashioned cell phones with monochrome screens and numeric keypads . This piece, in fact, is written assuming everyone who reads it is old enough to remember that only a few years ago cell phones actually worked this way. In the not-too-distant future, I suspect, people who will watch Shinkai's work will have to ask someone old enough just what are those strange devices that these character are so focused on…
Paradoxically, it's exactly this anachronism that makes Shinkai's film relevant to this day. Voices of a Distant Star tells the heartbreaking story of two (literally) star-crossed lovers who communicate through text messages across ever-growing distances, as the girl Mikako joins the army and goes to space to fight aliens while the boy Noboru remains on Earth. The film received wide acclaim for the beautiful way that Shinkai visualized it, especially considering the fact that he did it all at home, on his own computer. When I lecture about anime history in front of animation students, I always conclude the lecture with a screening of Voices of a Distant Star, and I always get asked if I'm sure that a single guy did it all, with equipment that's far inferior to anything available for them today. I really think Shinkai's film should be required viewing for anyone who studies animation – its production context makes it such a great motivational piece. Continue Reading
A few days later than normal but for very good reasons as this edition of the Newswire is a packed one. Please read on below for all the updates.
~ To kick things off, Sword Art Online II: Part 1. Late Tuesday evening Amazon UK sent word to customers who have pre-ordered through them that our release had been delayed by a few weeks to 31st August. This date change is accurate and the reason for this is because there was concern from our production house about making sure all the components were produced properly in time for our original date. With this in mind the decision was made to shift the date by a couple of week to allow the time needed.
We're happy to report actual designs have been signed off and this is what you can expect when it's released on 31st August.
~ In other date shifting news, due to a delay in approvals that have impacted the date our Space Dandy Season 2 Collector's Edition release has been also been pushed back by a few weeks to Monday 24th August. (Online retailers will be updating their listings accordingly shortly.)
However now that all has been approved we wanted to share with you the final visuals for our upcoming Collector's Edition Blu-ray and Collector's Edition DVD release. Continue Reading
By Ellis Tinios.
Under the sea a living woman — full-bodied and entirely naked — lies back amid rocks. A large octopus is pressing his beak into her crotch. One of his tentacles has moved under her thigh and up across her belly, parting her pubic hair. He has entwined other tentacles around her arms and right shoulder to draw her closer to him. The woman responds by half-closing her eyes and throwing back her head in pleasure. At the same time, she grasps firmly onto two of his tentacles with her hands in a gesture devoid of any suggestion of resistance. A smaller octopus fastens onto her mouth with his beak, coils the tip of one tentacles around her left nipple while extending others around her neck to embrace her.
When this untitled image — a double-page spread in a colour woodblock-printed erotic book illustrated by Hokusai — arrived in Paris in the 1870s it shocked and thrilled collectors, connoisseurs and writers on the art of Japan. For well over a century it was the subject of intense scrutiny and feverish speculation. Many readings were imposed on it: terrifying nightmare; repellent violation; macabre fantasy; lurid rape. Whatever the interpretation they imposed on it, the commentators all agreed that it was an extraordinary manifestation of Hokusai’s fecund imagination. They praised it as an image without precedent in Japanese or world art. These fantasists were wrong in their readings of the scene and their claims that it lacked precedent. The image represents a woman enjoying exquisite sexual pleasure and has clear precedents in Japanese art. The key to the image lay in the lengthy text that fills the entire background. Generations of Western commentators, confronted with a text they could not decipher, simply ignored it, erased it from their discussion of the the image with which it was inextricably linked. They behaved as thought the scene were being enacted against a blank ground even though artist and author collaborated closely to produce a coherent and satisfying conjunction of text and image. Continue Reading
By Andrew Osmond.
It starts with a grieving girl on a boat on Japan’s Inland Sea, travelling unhappily to a new island home, while three strange-looking raindrops fall on her head. By the climax, the girl is racing against time, rushing through a torrential storm in the company of wondrous magic creatures. This is the story of eleven year-old Momo, a youngster on a tiny island beset by troubled feelings and three mad goblins.
However, its director Hiroyuki Okiura says his family film coalesced from several separate elements. One was a person close to Okiura who lost her father young and had a hard childhood. Okiura was also inspired by Japan’s “goblin” folklore. Both in Britain and Japan, goblins often lurk in old picture books. “About seven years ago, I started to get interested in antique picture books dedicated to Japanese goblins, of which we had a rich tradition here in Japan,” says Okiura. The great British fairy tale illustrator Arthur Rackham would have approved. Continue Reading
It's been a busy week so no better time than now to bring you our latest Newswire. Read on below
~ First of all a quick reminder that Kill la Kill Part 3 and Tiger & Bunny: The Rising are both available to add to your collection now! Kill la Kill Part 3 contains the final 5 episodes of the series plus the bonus OVA episode along with an art book and our UK Exclusive Collector's Box to store the entire series!
~ For those of you attending MCM Manchester Comic Con this month it has been revealed that there will be an Anime Guest Of Honour for the first time at the event. Scriptwriter Kimiko Ueno (perhaps best known to western fans as scriptwriter for many episodes of Space Dandy) will be in attendance all weekend. There will be signing sessions and on-stage panel focusing on how anime screenplays developed. A truly unique opportunity for anime fans! And of course given that the event takes place just few weeks before the UK Blu-ray/DVD release of Space Dandy Season 2 we will be celebrating that as well. Continue Reading