By Tom Wilmot.
As three caramel companies, World, Giant and Apollo duel for market share, fresh-faced World employee Nishi (Hiroshi Kawaguchi) assists his ambitious boss, Goda (Hideo Takamatsu) in making a star out of the rotten-toothed tomboy Kyoko (Hitomi Nozoe), who is to be the face of their space-themed campaign. As each company’s marketing drive escalates to the point of lunacy, friendships, sanity, and health are all lost in a bid to win the sales war.
A prolific director in his day, Yasuzo Masumura was hot off the back of releasing four films in under a year when he took on what stands to be one of his most important projects, Giants and Toys. The movie, which is overshadowed to an extent by the filmmaker’s more erotically charged works in the sixties, is comfortably one of the most unorthodox Japanese films of its era.
By Jonathan Clements.
Released as part of a Routledge series of translations of Chinese scholarship, Sun Lijun’s two-volume History of Chinese Animation is the largest work yet published in English on the subject, boasting 572 pages on a century of innovation, tribulation and entertainment in the Chinese cartoon business.
The book is unforthcoming about its original incarnation – no chapter is assigned to a single contributor out of the seven credited, nor is it made all that clear when the book was originally published in Chinese (2011), or what is missing from this “selected” translation. But it appears that this is a relatively complete English-language version of a comprehensive account of animation in China.
London, UK, 16th June 2021
Oscar®-Nominated Director Mamoru Hosoda’s Latest Animated Marvel May Be His Most Stunning Yet
We are no longer limited to a single world.
Anime Limited, Europe’s premiere distributor for Japanese animation, announced today that it has acquired all distribution rights in the United Kingdom and Ireland for Mamoru Hosoda‘s upcoming animated feature from Studio Chizu, BELLE. The film is written, directed, and produced by the celebrated filmmaker Mamoru Hosoda whose previous works include Mirai, The Boy and the Beast, Wolf Children, Summer Wars, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, among other classics.
Anime Limited previously distributed Mirai, the previous film from Mamoru Hosoda and Studio Chizu, in the UK, France, and Ireland. After debuting at the Director’s Fortnight in Cannes, Mirai went on to receive a nomination for “Best Animated Feature” from the 2019 Academy Awards and for “Best Feature - Animated” at the 2019 Golden Globe Awards. Mirai is the only Japanese animated film to have received a Golden Globe nomination in the history of the event.
The all-star team at Studio Chizu is joined on BELLE by an impressive roster of talent from around the world, many of them new to the world of anime. The striking character designs for the character of Belle come from character designer Jin Kim, best known for Disney features including Frozen, Moana, and Tangled. The Oscar®-nominated team of Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart, who previously have worked at Cartoon Saloon on Wolfwalkers, Song of the Sea, and The Secret of Kells, contributed gorgeous artwork that enriches the fantasy of BELLE. As with previous films, Hosoda also collaborated with an architect to help design his films, this time joined by British architect and designer Eric Wong, who was tasked with designing the virtual world of “U”. Ludvig Forssell makes his theatrical debut as a composer with BELLE, having spent the last decade as a composer and audio director at Kojima Productions and scoring critically acclaimed games such as Death Stranding and Metal Gear Solid V.
“Mamoru Hosoda is one of the greatest directors alive, and his film The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is not only a personal favorite, but was the catalyst for the founding of this company,” said Andrew Partridge, CEO and Founder of Anime Limited. “BELLE represents a dream team of talent from around the globe to create - this is a big screen extravaganza. Perfect for this time as we welcome people safely back to cinemas once more - I can‘t wait for people to see it!”
From the celebrated Oscar®-nominated director Mamoru Hosoda and Studio Chizu, creator of Mirai, Wolf Children, Summer Wars, and more, comes a fantastical, yet beautiful and contemporary thematic story of one girl’s growth in the age of social media.
Suzu is a 17-year-old high school student living in a rural village with her father. For years, she has only been a shadow of herself. One day, she enters “U,” a virtual world of 5 billion members on the Internet. There, she is not Suzu anymore but Belle, a world-famous singer. She soon meets with a mysterious creature. Together, they embark on a journey of adventures, challenges and love, in their quest to become who they truly are.
For further information, please contact Fetch Publicity | Lisa DeBell | email@example.com
About Anime Limited:
Based out of Glasgow, Anime Limited is Europe’s premiere distributor for Japanese animation, renowned for bespoke collector’s editions of fan-favorite anime and soundtracks, connecting Western audiences with creators across languages and oceans, and helping to bring anime front and center in cinemas. Anime Limited proudly produces releases from the biggest franchises in anime including Cowboy Bebop, Attack on Titan, NEON GENESIS EVANGELION, Mobile Suit Gundam, Tokyo Ghoul, Your Name, Weathering With You, Mirai and JUJUTSU KAISEN.
Asei Kobayashi, who died on 30th May from a heart attack, was an unlikely candidate for musical composer, or actor, or game-show champion…. Pushed by his parents into studying to be a doctor, he transferred without telling them to the department of economics at Keio University, where his classmates included another future composer, Isao Tomita. His parents did not discover the deception until his graduation ceremony, and were not amused.
Kobayashi continued to disappoint them by finding a job in a finance company and then quitting after only a few weeks to study music with Tadashi Hattori. Success eluded him at first, until he found a new and lucrative niche writing advertising jingles for literally hundreds of clients, in everything from shampoo commercials to Suntory whisky.
He also found multiple contracts awaiting him in the new field of animated TV cartoons, writing music for Wolf Guy Ken, Dartanius and Tekkaman, among many others. His most memorable compositions in his 1970s heyday were the two opening songs used in the anime show known abroad as Battle of the Planets. The first, “Down with Galactor”, featured a children’s choir hoping to smite cosmic enemies. The second, which began as an ending theme but was eventually moved to the front was “The Gatchaman Song”, a stirring anthem sung by Masato Shimon, with lyrics provided by the “Tatsunoko Production Committee”. It was much parodied among school-children of the day, but also fondly remembered – thirty years later, a Japanese film would feature two middle-aged ladies bonding over their attempt to remember the lyrics in a Helsinki bookstore.
The surprisingly poetic “Gatchaman Song” has since become a staple of anime karaoke:
Who’s that? Who’s that? Who’s that?
Shadows dancing at the edge of the sky.
White wings of the Gatchaman!
Flying out to risk their lives
Phoenix of the Science Ninja.
Although the songs were excised from the English-language release, Kobayashi’s music remained in multiple arrangements and reprises throughout the soundtrack.
In 1974, Kobayashi became a TV star, taking on the role of the titular portly stone mason in Kantaro Terauchi and Family, a drama notorious in its day for confronting burning social issues. He claimed that his already ballooning bodyweight was the clincher – few actors were obese at the time, ironically narrowing the field for him and beating thinner, better established actors to the role. The following year, he would win an award for his music for “From a Northern Inn”, a weepy tune about a girl knitting a sweater for a boy who will never wear it. The song twice entered the charts and also a later anime – in Isao Takahata’s film Chie the Brat (1981), the leading lady belts it out at her father, in a passive-aggressive way of accusing him of paternal neglect.
Behind the scenes, Kobayashi was also instrumental in the formation of a musicians’ union to fight corruption within the Japanese licensing industry, and would write a book about his struggles with his weight. In later years he became a multiple-winner on a Japanese game show not unlike Only Connect, where he developed a reputation for impossibly guessing the answer after seeing only a single clue. The memorable theme song to Turn-A Gundam, assumed by many fans to be the work of the series composer Yoko Kanno, was actually one of Kobayashi’s later career triumphs.
By Jeannette Ng.
Alice in Wonderland remains a towering influence on fantasy, both in English and in Japanese. Europe-inspired fantasy lands can take on new meaning in a Japanese media fascinated with the strange and exotic West, where even Paris and London can sometimes seem like alternate dimensions. Anime adaptations of English children’s classics, often with undertones of portal fantasy, are plentiful enough to be their own subgenre, including well-known works like Mary and the Witch’s Flower and Howl’s Moving Castle.
Alice’s effect on Japanese portal fantasy does not merely come through the popularity of its translations or adaptations. It, along with Mary Poppins and the Narnia books, has been cited as a huge influence on the works of the author Sachiko Kashiwaba, who packed her heroines off to parallel worlds in the 1970s and 1980s including the titular Birthday Wonderland (pictured above). Kashiwaba’s other-worldly adventures, which came to dominate the Japanese field, set the tone for much traditional fantasy… until a new generation reared on videogames and manga swarmed in to take over. And many of these younger writers didn’t get the memo about the need to come home again. They wanted to stay in their fantasy world for ever and ever.