Jonathan Clements reviews a book on Japan’s landmark censorship cases.
It began with newsboys in the Tokyo streets with stacks of a racy foreign book, wearing jackets that proclaimed “WARNING! CHATTERLEY.” For the first big test of Japan’s new free-speech constitution was the publication of the unexpurgated Lady Chatterley’s Lover in 1951, when the country was still under the American Occupation. Japanese censors had originally hoped to nobble Norman Mailer’s The Naked and the Dead, but it had a pacifist message that chimed well with the Americans. Instead, they went for DH Lawrence’s book, in part because of its naughty language and the suggestion it might be corrupting, but also for its depiction of Lord Chatterley, an impotent war hero liable to ruffle feathers among Japan’s defeated veterans.
As recounted in Kirsten Cather’s book, The Art of Censorship in Postwar Japan, the Chatterley case soon assumed absurd proportions – if you put it in a novel, nobody would believe it. One psychologist tried to argue a statistical case for corruption, by counting the number of orgasms. Another wired witnesses to a lie detector and read them pornography, trying to show a correlation of arousal in response to paragraphs from the book. Some of the arguments rested on the words themselves, with translator Sei Ito offering fascinating testimony about his decisions to be blunt and direct, and not to make any of the localising euphemisms often employed in translations of foreign books into Japanese. There is plenty of food for thought here for the Japanese linguist, as lawyers debate the best way to translate rude words – as direct Japanese, as medical terminology, as poetic imagery (a “chrysanthemum seat”, apparently, is an anus) or as direct transliteration of the English terms, which would be unintelligible to the average Japanese reader, and frankly wouldn’t be a “translation” at all. Continue Reading
By Jeremy Clarke.
Sion Sono's wonderfully insane, four-hour art-house epic Love Exposure (2008) made great waves on its UK release with its heady brew of father-son relationships, Catholicism, sin, teen gangs, martial arts stunts, up-skirt photography, violence, swordplay, castration, porno movie production, religious cults and more. Nothing in his prior directorial career had made quite the same impact on these shores. Subsequent Sono films to receive a UK release such as serial killer outing Cold Fish (2010), heartfelt post-tsunami drama Himizu (2011) and earthquake nuclear crisis epic The Land of Hope (2012) may have been impressive but they never quite reached the same dizzying heights. His demented rap musical about warring gangs Tokyo Tribe (2015) didn't quite hold the audience's attention in the same way. Happily, however, the extraordinary Love and Peace (2015) is a welcome return to form. Continue Reading
It has been a very long time since we revealed we would be bringing the series Ping Pong The Animation to the UK. But the wait is (finally) nearly over as this coming Monday (11th July) we release the series a Limited Collector's Edition Blu-ray/DVD set and today we bringing you a full unboxing of this.
But before we show you what you can expect a quick note that you can pre-order this right now from the likes of Amazon UK, Zavvi, Base, HMV Online, Anime-On-Line and our own web shop. HMV stores across the UK will be stocking this from day of release too!
SYNOPSIS: From the acclaimed director Masaaki Yuasa (Adventure Time, Space Dandy) comes an innovative new series with stunning animation, memorable characters, and impressive footwork.
Smile and Peco. Peco and Smile. Besties from the beginning, both with a badass backhand. Peco is known for his arrogance on the table tennis court, and Smile for his silence. But with a new school year and a new high school table tennis team, both boys are in for a challenge, on--and off--the court.
Peco's slacker ways are hurting his game, and after getting crushed in a tournament, he decides to quit. Smile is finally learning to harness his natural talents, but can he squash his sympathy for his opponents enough to beat them.
Check out the trailer for the series below.
If you want to read more about Ping Pong The Animation, have a read of this post here at our blog by Andrew Osmond.
Our release comes all packed with a rigid case. Inside that case is a digipack to store all four discs, 2 x Blu-ray discs and 2 x DVD discs, and you also get 4 art cards included as well.
On the disc themselves, with the content being identical on each version, is:
By Paul Browne.
Sogo Amagi is a denizen of the world of Gift whose primary hobby is excavating rare crystals from abandoned mines. Sogo’s quiet life of intellectual pursuit is, however, put into disarray when he encounters the mysterious blue-haired Felia deep within the ground itself…
If you like your anime to be everything from mecha action to screwball comedy, then Comet Lucifer is right up your street. The bright and breezy opening theme for the series comes courtesy of Fhána – a musical outfit that have established a definite knack for composing pop/rock tunes that engage the heart and get the feet tapping. Continue Reading
By Jonathan Clements.
Although the title of Sean Macdonald’s new book is Animation in China: history, aesthetics, media, it keeps largely to an account of the group of animators and facilities that formed the nucleus of the Shanghai Animation Film Studio in 1957. He has plainly realised that a little coverage of the pre-war Wan brothers, and a little more about the animation output of animators in Manchuria, allows him to spend his 272 pages essentially writing about a single company, as SAFS dominated the Chinese industry until 1992. Thereafter, events of the last generation are crammed into a single closing chapter, which is still informative but necessarily brief.
Many writers on Chinese animation cut it far too much slack, but Macdonald pays it the compliment of treating it with critical objectivity. He’s not afraid to describe the voice-over in the iconic Where is Mama? as “precious, even grating.” But he is ready to argue the case for Chinese films that have been largely overlooked, even by the animation community, such as the stop-motion Princess Peacock (1963), the Oscar-nominated Dreams of Jinsha (2010), and the online serial Miss Puff (2012). He also reveals why Tsui Hark’s animated Chinese Ghost Story is so often left out of Chinese accounts – released in 1997, just 26 days after the Handover, it wasn’t “Chinese” when it was in production, because at the time Hong Kong wasn’t either!