by Jeremy Clarke.
Yoshiki Takaya’s manga The Guyver was published in 1985. It spawned one anime movie Guyver: Out Of Control (1986), two anime serials (in 1989 and 2005) and two low-budget, US live-action movies. The Japanese title literally translates as The Guyver Bio Booster Armour under which moniker the second anime series is known in the West. In the UK the first series was released by fledgeling distributor Manga Entertainment simply as The Guyver, although the words Bio Booster Armour could be seen in very small print on the VHS sleeves. The second series is easy enough to track down and watch since it’s available to stream here on the Funimation site at the time of writing. The two US movies are The Guyver (1991) which is being released on dual format in time for Christmas 2016 and The Guyver: Dark Hero (1994).
The first live-action movie The Guyver was a labour of love for its co-directors. Japanese-born Screaming Mad George and Taiwanese-born Steve Wang brought the project to producer Brian Yuzna after working on the effects for the big-budget SF production Predator in which an alien warrior hunts Arnold Schwarzenegger through a Central American jungle. Predator’s hunter alien was the perfect candidate for the human-sized, man-in-a-monster-suit approach to realising a creature on the screen. Continue Reading
By Meghan Ellis.
It’s the destruction of Tokyo, but not like you’ve seen it before. Erupting onto screens with an abundance of rayon outfits, rainbows and roundhouse kicks, The Rolling Girls offers high-octane hijinks from Wit Studio, creators of the grisly Attack on Titan and Seraph of the End. But while there’s plenty of the action scenes the studio is best known for, they’ve never quite been so colourful.
In a mad mashup of fighting styles, The Rolling Girls starts with a safety-pin-toting weapons mistress battling a superhero-suited mercenary in a turf war over an indistinct area of Tokyo. Right from the beginning, there’s definite homage to the sparkles and flower motifs of girls’ comics’ finest warriors, with multicoloured detonations (and ridiculously named attacks) aplenty – and of course, a catchy opening theme. However, staying true to the slightly bemusing subtitle of “Rolling, Falling, Scrambling Girls”, there’s no elegance to the fighting to be seen in the show. Rather, it’s filled with the over-the-top punches, wrestling moves and safety-pin swinging we’ve come to expect from shows like Kill La Kill and Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. Add to that the outrageously well-animated attack combos, and The Rolling Girls makes its way onto the list of flamboyant fighting shows for the connoisseur. Continue Reading
By Jasper Sharp.
It has been several decades since Martin Scorsese first professed a desire to film Silence (Chinmoku), Shusaku Endo’s Tanizaki Prize-winning 1966 novel about the persecution of “hidden Christians” (kakure kirishitan) in 17th-century Japan. The story follows the Portuguese Jesuit missionary, Padre Rodrigues, after he is dispatched eastwards from Macao, arriving in 1639 on Japan’s craggy shoreline with his companion Garrpe to search for his predecessor, Padre Ferreira, who disappeared some 20 years previously and is rumoured to have gone native. It is not long before Rodrigues’ own spiritual convictions are put to the test, when their presence amongst the clandestine enclave of Japanese Christians who harbor them in their impoverished rural village is noted by the region’s ruthless overlord Inoue, who sets about trying to torture this ideological interloper into renouncing his faith.
With Scorsese’s long-anticipated passion project finally primed for release across the world, the time seems ripe to revisit the previous film version of the story, directed by Masahiro Shinoda and originally released in 1971. Though it played In Competition at the 1972 Cannes Film Festival, it was not until its UK DVD release on Eureka’s Masters of Cinema label in 2007, when Scorsese’s adaptation first looked like it might become an imminent reality, that Silence was finally made widely available outside of Japan. Continue Reading
By Andrew Osmond.
Once upon a time, maybe ten years ago, if you were talking about anime to a non-fan, you’d have to prepare for the question, “But isn’t anime all sex and violence?” Then Spirited Away and other Ghibli releases changed things, and you could recommend anime to non-fans by saying, “Well, if you liked Spirited Away..” Ghibli films were clearly not sex and violence, despite what theorists would have you believe. (“Spirited Away is a giant metaphor for prostitution, you know…”)
This makes the release of Shinkai’s Your Name particularly interesting. It’s had raves in the mainstream British press from the likes of Mark Kermode and Empire magazine. Many of these reviews start by making up-front references to Ghibli and Miyazaki, which may annoy fans (and make Shinkai uncomfortable), but they’re a sensible way of getting non-fan attention. Effectively, they’re saying Your Name isn’t some cult product for addicts; it’s a movie worth your time and attention.
But there’s one particular way in which Your Name differs from Ghibli and Miyazaki fare and also from Hollywood animation. Namely, it’s a lot more interested in sex. That’s not to say it’s a “sexy” film – that’s a scale where people’s mileages vary enormously – but it does have substantial sexual content. The BBFC made note of this by rating Your Name a 12A, which is higher than any of the Ghibli films except the harrowing Grave of the Fireflies. It’s also higher than Wolf Children, despite that film’s human-werewolf bestiality. Continue Reading
By Andrew Osmond.
The PSYCHO-PASS franchise has returned with the feature film, PSYCHO-PASS The Movie, on Blu-ray and DVD on October 3. After two TV series, the film takes the story beyond Japan for an action-heavy war story. More significantly for fans, it sees the return of former Enforcer Shinya Kogami, who went AWOL at the end of the original series. Behind the scenes, it brings back director Naoyoshi Shiotani, who we previously interviewed here, and Gen Urobuchi, one of anime’s most famous writers, who gave us Puella Magi Madoka Magica. (Spoiler: There are no magic girls in PSYCHO-PASS.) Continue Reading