By Andrew Osmond.
Five years ago, I wrote the saddest article of my career, an obituary of the great Japanese director Satoshi Kon. Naturally, I mentioned his slasher-film debut Perfect Blue, and said it was “perhaps the only effective horror film in animation.” It was a generalised, rash claim to make; yet Perfect Blue is still a landmark both of animation and horror.
If you haven’t seen Perfect Blue, it could be called a psycho-thriller or a slasher film. But perhaps it’s best just to call it a mindf***, full of non-linear storytelling. The set-up, though, is clear and specific. It’s set in what was the present day when the film was released (1997), and tells the story of a woman, Mima, performing in an ‘idol’ singer group in Tokyo.
As the film opens, she announces she’s leaving the group; her sleazy manager hopes to make her into an actress. Her first role’s in a gruesome crime thriller serial that’s being written on the fly. Suddenly she’s told to act in a scene in which her character is raped. She gets anonymous threats, and starts to have visions of a doppelganger, a ghost Mima mocking her as a ‘filthy adult woman.’ Then people start dying violently, and Mima enters a mental Moebius strip, where reality and delusion fuse into an endless nightmare. Continue Reading
By Anthony Thomas
I’ll always remember Outlaw Star as one of the essential anime to watch from my youth – I’d argue it’s essential now too, but you might think I’m being paid to say that. It was pre-Y2K and my main source of anime knowledge came directly from message boards courtesy of the one computer connected to the Internet in my school’s library. Its 28k modem struggled to load the image-heavy threads where American friends were raving about Outlaw Star, along with the likes of Cowboy Bebop, Perfect Blue and Trigun.
I remember Perfect Blue being released from Manga Entertainment on VHS, and buying it immediately because of the online recommendations. It was every bit as awesome as everyone said. I waited patiently for something like Outlaw Star related to materialise in the UK, I knew it must be excellent as well. In 2002 my prayers were answered, kind of. Brit cable channel CNX began broadcasting the series, except no one I knew had cable, so I still couldn’t watch. Flash forward more than a decade and I can finally grab a legit region 2 DVD or Blu-ray of the complete series! Teenage-me would be proud. Continue Reading
We're at the end of the May so it's the perfect time for the latest Anime Limited Podcast~! On this edition of the programme you join Team AL hot on the heels of having been at MCM London Comic Con this past weekend. Topics discussed (but limited to) include our thoughts on the event as a whole, details on the announcements of Sword Art Online II, Durarara!! x2, Fusé: Memoirs Of A Huntress and Aldnoah.Zero, plus many a random tangent both relating to MCM and some with nothing to do with MCM!
A fun show as always and it's available now.
(To download the podcast as an mp3, click on the arrow pointing down in the top right corner of the player above.)
We look forward to hearing your thoughts.
By Andy Hanley.
As its WIT Studio anime adaptation picks up the pace with an eye towards its return for a second batch of episodes in the autumn, this seems like a opportunity as any to discuss the source material for Seraph of the End, available in print in English from Viz Media.
A look through the four volumes currently available in English shows how close an adaptation of the manga WIT Studio’s animated effort is – it manages to bring over the frenetic pacing and frequently shifting setting of the early part of the story perfectly, and captures the main cast of characters with just as much assured confidence in terms of voice, mannerisms and character design.
Perhaps the biggest change in the source material so far comes in the opening scenes of the first episode – while the anime puts its full focus onto the apocalyptic events which kick off the story, evoking the sheer horror of the virus that wipes out huge swathes of humanity, Seraph of the End’s original manga prefers to look at this event from a more personal perspective, spending most of its time with Yu, the new arrival at an orphanage. It’s a change that makes sense given the increased visual impact of which animation can be capable, but it does mean that the manga grants a better sense of why Yu’s drive for revenge against the vampires overwhelms every other facet of his character.
That aside, the manga and anime iterations of the series make for fine bedfellows, both offering the entertainment, action and occasional moments of humour, while the manga also allows us a glimpse of events yet to come in the anime. In fact it has to be said that the artist for the manga, Yamato Yamamoto (whose previous major work was illustrating both the light novel and manga versions of Kure-nai), does a stand-up job of breathing life into Seraph of the End’s intense bursts of action in particular – many a manga has turned into a confusing mess when things get “busy” on the page, but this series manages to remain clear, concise yet kinetic when swords or axes clash with the terrifying speed and power of high-ranked vampires. It might not be able to match the intense presentation of a TV anime series, but it has plenty going for it. Indeed, you could probably argue that ink and paper has the advantage when it comes to illustrating the dark magnificence of the demon-infused Cursed Gear, the usage of which often serves as one of the visual centrepieces of the series.
If you can’t get enough of the setting of Seraph of the End, then both its manga and anime outings will keep you equally sated, while this December will also see the prequel story to Vampire Reign - named Guren Ichinose's Catastrophe at 16 – arriving in English courtesy of Vertical Comics. This story, also penned by author of the main story Takaya Kagami, is set nine years before the manga and focuses upon the formative years of Moon Demon Company leader Guren Ichinose to provide further insight into the events which shape Seraph of the End’s world and characters. All in all, this should provide plenty for you to get your teeth into, if you’ll pardon the pun.
Andy Hanley is editor-in-chief of the UK Anime Network. Seraph of the End –Vampire Reign– can be viewed in streaming form on Viewster. The Seraph of the End manga is available in print from Viz Media, and prequel light novel series Guren Ichinose's Catastrophe at 16 is being published by Vertical Comics from December 2015.
This past weekend was a very big one for Anime Limited at MCM London Comic Con, and this weeks newswire will bring you up to date on what we announced over the weekend, include an important update to anyone who purchased Kill la Kill Box 3 from our booth at the event and more! Read on below for all the details.
~ First of all we want to extend a big thank you to everyone who visited our booth at MCM London Comic Con this past weekend and attended any or all of the panels we were involved with during the event. You have no idea how much your passion helps fuel us throughout the weekend.
~ In case you missed what we announced over the weekend, we kicked things off on Friday morning with an announcement that made a lot of people to a double take as we revealed we'll be releasing Sword Art Online II in the UK in Blu-ray and DVD. (You can read find our SAOII announcement HERE.)
This was followed up later in the day with the news that we'll be releasing the film Fusé: Memoirs of a Huntress on Blu-ray and DVD. (See our announcement HERE.)
On Saturday morning, hot on the heels of us releasing the first season a few weeks ago, we revealed that we will be releasing the series Durarara!! x2 on Blu-ray and DVD in the UK. You can find our announcement HERE.)
And finally on Sunday morning we announced that we will be bringing the series Aldnoah.Zero to the UK on both DVD and Blu-ray. (Announcement HERE.)
~ Following up on those announcements, we wanted to address a few of the frequently asked questions here on the Newswire that came up over the weekend. Continue Reading