By Andrew Osmond.
Gundam Thunderbolt: Bandit Flower is the sequel to a previous film, Gundam Thunderbolt: December Sky, which is available from Anime Limited and covered on this blog here. If you’re broadly familiar with the Gundam franchise, then you can enjoy Bandit Flower’s action without seeing its predecessor. However, the film bring back several characters from December Sky, so it’s best to see that first. Spoilers for December Sky follow in the next paragraph.
The first film took place during the One Year War, a terrible human spacewar (as depicted in the original 1979 Gundam series). December Sky focused on a bitter personal feud between two combatants; jazz-loving pilot Io Fleming, fighting for the Earth Federation, and Daryl Lorenz, a paraplegic – later quadriplegic – on the Zeon side, who starts as a sniper but through suffering becomes a full-fledged mecha pilot. In a fiery climactic battle, Lorenz triumphed over Fleming, who was captured by the Zeons. However, as December Sky’s coda shows, Fleming was later rescued, battered but unbroken.
Bandit Flower takes up the story about a year later. The One Year War is now officially ended, with the Federation as the official “victor.” However, many of the Zeons haven’t accepted defeat, seeking any way to continue the struggle.
Whereas December Sky took place in deep space, Bandit Flower is set on or above a scarred Earth; in the clouds, on Arctic snowfields, in icy oceans – which feel very like outer space – and later in tropical jungles. The story continues to follow Fleming’s and Lorenz’s exploits: both men are still committed to the fight. However, a big difference this time is Bandit Flower shies away from having the characters quite meeting in combat, though they’re often in different parts of the same battles. Instead, the film – 20 minutes longer than its predecessor – involves Fleming and Lorenz in new teams and missions, their stories joined yet separate.
Bandit Flower is a more conventional Gundam anime than its predecessor, which emphasized the trauma and madness of war in ways which took it close to the nihilism of Genocidal Organ. There’s still trauma in Bandit Flower – an early scene has a soldier sobbing over a photo of his baby, a casualty of war – but December Sky was so bleak that Bandit Flower is cheerful in comparison. As with more traditional Gundam anime, there are mecha fights over a range of terrains, and cocky protagonists jeering over their enemies’ imminent deaths. Even the Federation carrier Spartan resembles the heroic White Base ship from the 1979 series.
There’s also a new character, a cocksure, red-haired Earth Federation woman pilot called Bianca, who bonds with Fleming over their shared love of jazz. She’s not at all unusual for a mecha anime, but she seems to be from a different reality from the characters who fought in December Sky. She actually enjoys the battles in themselves, rather than as a defence mechanism against trauma. In purely anime terms, it’s hard not to feel an echo of a certain redhead mecha pilot in Evangelion, though Bianca’s far more adult (and Asuka was blocking trauma).
Still, Bandit Flower acknowledges the earlier film. For one thing, we see that the women who went through the events of December Sky, unlike Bianca, were profoundly marked by their experiences, though in different ways. And if Bandit Flower doesn’t feel like a “Vietnam film” in the way December Sky did, then the sequel still has scenes set in an Asian-looking jungle – with, pointedly, a scene where a desperate peasant girl tries fighting back against the hi-tech warriors who light up the jungle like the Fourth of July. Indeed, one guru-like figure who stirs up grass-roots insurrection feels like a cinematic nod to Captain Kurtz in Apocalypse Now.
Bandit Flower ends with the conclusion of a battle, but not the war; the rather abrupt finish plainly implies the story will continue. Both the Gundam Thunderbolt films are based on a manga by Yasuo Ohtakagi which is still continuing as of writing. However, there’s been no announcement of any more Thunderbolt anime yet, probably because there are so many other Gundam anime being made at the moment to tie in with the franchise’s fortieth anniversary. With luck, Thunderbolt will continue in anime before too long. If not, we’ll just have to settle for the manga translations being published in English by VIZ Media.
Gundam Thunderbolt: Bandit Flower is released in the UK by Anime Limited.
By Shelley Pallis.
“The Middle East is great,” chuckles an evil gangster in Eldo Yoshimizu’s manga Ryuko. “It smells of blood all the time. You’ll love it.” There are a bunch of opportunities to be had as the Soviet Union collapses, and cartels from former Communist states duke it out over surplus arms, artificial revolutions and the copious profits from international drugs deals. But that’s all in the past... or is it?
Ryuko leaps ahead to the present-day, as Tokyo gangsters fight to hold onto their turf after an incursion of Chinese rivals. The inheritors of the Black Dragons syndicate are locked in a turf war with the Yajima gang, over businesses both legal and illegal, while the Chinese Triads sneak up on them both. A bunch of long-standing vendettas reach bloody resolution on the streets of Tokyo, but as the bodies pile up, we start to realise that we are watching the end of a long, long cycle of retribution, that chases its origins back a generation or more. Continue Reading
You may recall that in early 2018 we brought the the second season recap movie of the mega hit series Attack on Titan to cinemas in the UK. We appreciate it's been a long time since then but we're finally delighted to say that we'll be giving this movie our AllTheAnime Collector's Edition treatment later this year when Attack on Titan: Roar of Awakening arrives as a Blu-ray/DVD Collector's Edition set in September!
Read on below for all the details.
Japanese title: Shingeki no Kyojin: Kakusei no Houkou
Synopsis: "Join the ranks of the Survey Corps for this big screen outing of the smash-hit series Attack on Titan.
The Roar of Awakening recounts the events of Attack on Titan Season 2 in a thrilling yet concise form, which sees entirely new threats and a fresh Titan invasion test its members to their limits. With incredible action and shocking revelations aplenty, there’s no better way to witness the continuation of this renowned dark and mysterious story."
You can watch a trailer for the film, originally published prior to our theatrical screenings in early 2018, below
It's our first opportunity to give the core franchise of Attack on Titan the Collector's Edition treatment. We're big fans of the franchise ourselves and we wanted to make sure we could offer fans a the best release possible, while still adding our own unique flavour into the mix at the same time.
(NOTE: At the time of writing, the final design for the product hasn't been fully signed off yet, so we can't show that to you unfortunately. However you can see a provisional visual of what we're planning for the rigid case, left, so you can what sort of aesthetic we're going with.)
This will come packed in a rigid case and inside there will be a digipack that will house both the Blu-ray and DVD discs. Additionally inside will be a 68-page Production Sketches booklet.
On the Blu-ray and DVD discs you'll get the film, with a runtime of approximately 120 minutes in Japanese with English subtitles. There will also be a trailers for the film included as an extra.
Just to put this out there now, and also to act as a reminder in general - seeing as it's been a long time since we screened the film theatrically - as per how we screened the film in cinemas, the film will be presented in Japanese with English subtitles only. So this product is a subtitle-only release.
We mentioned there would be a booklet, to expand on that it's a 68-page booklet full of production sketches relating to the second season of Attack on Titan. It's has lots of sketches of characters, settings, props and of course the titans themselves!
The SRP (Suggest Retail Price) for this will be £39.99, but as is par for the course, you ultimately won't pay that once you factor in general retailer discounts and such - meaning it will be cheaper than that.
And of course perhaps the important detail you're wanting to know, when's it released? Set the date for your calendars as this will be released on 30th September 2019.
At the time of writing, pre-orders have not started for this and you won't find it listed with other retailers yet either. However we can tell you that pre-orders for this will begin at our AllTheAnime.com online shop in early August!
And that is everything you need to know about our upcoming release of Attack on Titan: Roar of Awakening! We hope you're looking forward to adding this to your collection.
By Amos Wong.
It’s hard to imagine Nadesico’s Tatsuo Sato practising law, but it was the profession he was originally going to enter. “There’s absolutely no relation whatsoever,” he laughs, commenting on his major at Waseda University and his eventual career as an anime director. Which, in a way, makes him a suitable candidate to direct a series featuring a cook turned robot pilot as the protagonist.
“I was also making movies at the time and wanted to work in the film industry,” he explains, “but animation was easier to get into, so I tried that instead.” After graduation, Sato started at Asia-dou as an animator. “I liked anime so I didn’t have any second thoughts about entering the industry. Hayao Miyazaki’s works, like The Castle of Cagliostro, were an inspiration. I thought that visually, animation could do some things that weren’t possible in live-action films.” Continue Reading
Gundam fans the time is nearly here! We're just under a week from our Blu-ray Ltd. Collector's Edition release of Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counter Attack! So now seems like the perfect time bring you an unboxing of this set! Watch it below.
You can order your copy today from retailers including the following -
Hope you're looking forward to adding this to your Gundam collection!