Moriarty the Patriot by Ryosuke Takeuchi and Hikaru Miyoshi is a manga that presents Professor James Moriarty (nemesis of Sherlock Holmes, here “William James Moriarty”) as a ruthless anti-hero battling class inequality, evil aristocrats and the British Empire itself. He does so through the medium of intricately plotted perfect crimes, all the while grinning enigmatically at the reader through his very floppy fringe.
Caroline Pover did not spend one month in Tohoku. Well, she did, but then she went back again, and again and again. Over the last decade, pandemic lockdowns excepted, she has returned to her “adopted” village of Oshika for a month or so most years, at first as a delivery woman for emergency supplies in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami, and thereafter as a reluctant but much-loved local heroine, raising over £170,000 to help rebuild the shattered community. And with little chance of going there in 2020, she spent a different kind of month, 29 days to be precise, writing up her reminiscences.
So, what happened at the Japanese box office in 2020? The critics lists and industry stats from the Motion Picture Producers Association of Japan, or Eiren, are all now in, so it’s time once more for my annual mull over the figures, trends and top titles of another year in Japanese cinema.
2020 was always going to be a weird one: a year when the film industry was beset by a host of problems due to the coronavirus pandemic. Blockbuster releases were held up, smaller titles pushed onto the small screen, planned productions put on hold or cancelled and cinemas shuttered.
If you were asked which singer comes to mind in connection with Akira, most readers would think of Kanye West cosplaying Tetsuo in his pants in the “Stronger” video. A few of you might remember Michael and Janet Jackson’s video for “Scream,” which samples Akira in its last moments. But in his new book The Impact of Akira, author Rémi Lopez reveals that when Otomo was writing his manga, the artist had a British singer in mind as a model for his truculent biker Kaneda. Otomo was thinking of… Sting.