By Jeremy Clarke.
The Lone Wolf and Cub franchise began life as a manga in 1970 by writer Kazuo Koike and artist Goseki Kojima. It proved hugely popular in Japan, where in 1972 the first four of six films appeared. Two more followed in 1973 and 1974. Criterion’s new three-disc Blu-ray release collects together all six films with a clutch of extras. Continue Reading
by Jeremy Clarke. Major (Scarlett Johansson) is the first of her kind – rescued from a refugee boat many years ago and cyber-enhanced to be the perfect soldier. Only her mind remains; the rest of her is artificial, putting her in a unique position as society faces a new threat. Cyber warfare has evolved to a point where cybernetic implants can be hacked – innocent people can be weaponised as terrorists. Their memories can be removed and replaced with new ones. Major, in the front line of fighting such terrorists, begins to wonder if her own memories have been implanted when she was rebuilt. Is she really the person whose past she remembers…? Or is she someone else altogether…?
The first thing to say about DreamWorks’ live-action Ghost in the Shell is that it’s really rather good, despite the long-running media controversy over its “whitewashing” – recasting Asians with Caucasian actors. And ever since the trailer first appeared, admirers of Mamoru Oshii’s seminal 1995 anime version have been wondering what other compromises have been made. Continue Reading
By Andrew Osmond.
The first thing to clear up about this romantic anime released by Funimation is that it’s not a fairy-tale, and isn’t really a version of Snow White. The only brief nods to that story are in the opening episode, where there’s a poisoned apple – but the heroine doesn’t eat it – and someone says “Mirror, Mirror” – but it’s a foppish prince, not a scary queen.
No, Snow White with the Red Hair is better thought of a slice of life romance, albeit set in an imagined medieval Europe. At least in the first volume, there are no dwarves, monsters or magic happenings; indeed, its heroine is effectively a scientist. Our protagonist is called Shirayuki (“Snow White” in Japanese). No princess, she’s a herbalist, a student of herbs and plants to heal the sick and wounded. In the opening scenes, she’s running her own shop, dispensing cures to customers, which would make it fair to call her an apothecary. Continue Reading
Glasgow, UK March 27, 2017 - Anime Limited are excited to announce partnering with STUDIO4°C to help Kickstart the blu-ray home video edition of the hit cult film MIND GAME by award winning director Masaaki Yuasa.
MIND GAME made waves in 2004 to much critical praise, launching director Masaaki Yuasa’s unique creative vision onto the world. As a directorial debut, it doesn’t get much more striking - and now 13 years later, STUDIO4°C are looking to bring you this cult classic on blu-ray with the help of a passionate animation community via Kickstarter.
About MIND GAME
Nishi has always loved Myon since they were little. And now as adults, he wants to pursue his dream of becoming a manga artist and marrying his childhood sweetheart. There's one problem, though. She's already been proposed to and thinks Nishi is too much of a wimp. But upon meeting the fiancé while at her family's diner and accepting him as a good guy, they encounter a couple of yakuza, only to have Nishi grasp a certain revelation. And, with his newly acquired look on life, adventures abound as he, Myon, and her sister, Yan, escape the yakuza into a most unlikely location where they meet an old man...
About Masaaki Yuasa
Masaaki Yuasa is a highly acclaimed director working outside the mold of traditional Japanese animation, slicing open the conventions of Anime on his own terms. Yuasa is known for directing such works as Ping Pong, Kaiba, and Tatami Galaxy, and has worked in many corners of the field as a storyboardist, screenwriter, animator, and co-founder of Science SARU animation studio. Utilizing a vibrancy and a crudeness that liberates, Yuasa’s work is revered for its wildness and invention. His style is infused with a broad variety of influences and his narratives are unapologetically raw, fresh, and bizarre, creating a new form of psychedelia.
STUDIO4℃ is a creative studio consistently producing high-quality film and video work. Its distinctive outputs traverse genre and are highly acclaimed worldwide. Major works are theatrical movies such as “MEMORIES” (1995), “Spriggan” (1998), “MIND GAME” (2004), “Tekkonkinkreet” (2006), “Genius Party” (2007), “BERSERK The Golden Age Arc” trilogy (2012), and more. The latest film “HARMONY ” (2015) was released in theaters in November 2015 (Japan). There are also many co-production titles with international companies such as “The ANIMATRIX”, “BATMAN: Gotham Knight”, game “HALO”, TV series “THUNDERCATS”. In addition, STUDIO4℃ has been creating cutting edge visual works for various media from short films, music clips to commercials.
For their distinctive animation style and quality, STUDIO4℃ has received many awards in Japan and around the world. Taken from the fact that water is at its densest at 4℃, the company name represents STUDIO4℃’s creative manifesto: “Always create works that are dense with substance and quality.”
About the Kickstarter
Anime Limited are working with STUDIO4°C to crowdfund a blu-ray release of this cult masterpiece to come in 2017. While the Kickstarter aims to raise £4,500 in funding, STUDIO4°C will raise and contribute the remainder.
This comes at a very exciting time as MIND GAME has never had a HD release on home video - and with Masaaki Yuasa’s two new films on the horizon for later this year, this is an exciting opportunity to see where it all began for the enigmatic director.
Backers of the Kickstarter will get their hands on a collector’s edition blu-ray release of the film as well as additional rewards. Plus, it’s a great way to support the early works of one of the top directors coming out of Japan and help bring it to home video for fans outside Japan.
The MIND GAME Kickstarter launches on Thursday, 30th March at 12pm BST.
Andrew Osmond pits Ghost in the Shell: Arise against PSYCHO-PASS.
A wise man once said: “We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives.” Anime is especially interested in the future, more than any other kind of animation. The tradition goes back to the Asimov-style human/robot future in Astro Boy half a century ago, the foundation of today’s anime, but you can go back further still. For example, the 1932 Japanese cartoon The Plane Cabbie’s Lucky Day envisaged a future in which planes are used like taxis; it was a touch optimistic, but then it was made when commercial flight barely existed.
The two anime Ghost in the Shell: Arise and PSYCHO-PASS envisage futures in which society and humanity have changed profoundly. They’re very different visions, but with obvious affinities. Both are action shows, with central female characters commanding (largely male) security teams. Both heroines – Motoko Kusanagi in Arise and Akane Tsunemori in Psycho-Pass – start their stories young, inexperienced and all too fallible, developing as people and professionals as their stories evolve. Both heroines have ambivalent relationships with the establishment. Ostensibly they serve the system, fighting criminals and revolutionaries, yet they’re non-conformists themselves, often uneasy with the values of their worlds. Continue Reading