By Jonathan Clements.
The kids are not all right. The kids are sickly and enfeebled, some of them barely able to walk, with brittle bones and dozens of allergies. They have been raised on poisoned milk and contaminated food, in a Japan without Tokyo – Japan’s capital city having been rendered uninhabitable by a disaster. Tohoku, Hokkaido and Okinawa are flourishing, after a fashion, but Japan has shut itself off from the rest of the world.
In Yoko Tawada’s novel The Last Children of Tokyo, Yoshiro is in his spry 120s, the beneficiary of modern developments that have extended human lifespans far into three digits. Echoing the centenarians of the recent Human Lost, he represents on older generation whose lifestyle has come to seem like an unfair tax on its descendants. But Yoshiro is at the front line of such karma, struggling to care for his disabled great-grandson Mumei, a child of the 21st century who has inherited little more than poison, climate change, and misery. Japan’s self-imposed isolation includes a ban on foreign culture and even foreign words, leaving Mumei largely ignorant about the world outside.
Not for the first time in her work, Tawada wades hip-deep into linguistics, asking to what extent Japan’s identity requires foreign influences to even function. She also captures the bafflement and confusion of the baby-boom generation, as previously acceptable behaviours are suddenly reclassified as criminal acts or social faux pas, and its head-shaking disappointment with a younger generation that, in all honesty, has had the whole deck stacked against it. Major Japanese holidays are renamed with provocative bathos – Children’s Day is now Apologise to Children Day, and Sport Day, once a celebration of physical prowess, is now merely Body Day when the population of shut-ins and milksops checks for rashes, allergies and spots. Labour Day is now Being Alive is Enough Day.
In an increasingly common element in Tawada’s work post-2011, she also asks about what hellish new disasters might befall Japan and the world. What happens to Japan if, in some deluded sci-fi Brexit like that described here, it declares itself “free” of its neighbours? Well, fresh oranges go up to £70 each, for starters. You can’t buy baby milk anywhere for love nor money. Tawada’s near-future dystopia echoes the 220-year period when samurai-era Japan shut out the world (previous referenced in Vexille), but also the wet-lipped greed of the 1980s Bubble-era, when so much faith was placed in Tokyo real estate. In the future she imagines in The Last Children of Tokyo, land values in the capital plummet to zero after a disaster renders it uninhabitable. This is not the roll-up-your-sleeves can-do future of Patlabor or Weathering with You; it’s a glum and all too believable assertion that this is the way the world ends.
Jonathan Clements is the author of An Armchair Traveller’s History of Tokyo.
By Andrew Osmond.
Anyone interested in world animation, and especially in how it developed in Asia, should check out an upcoming London screening of The Story of Hong Gil-Dong, a 52 year-old animated feature made in 1967. It’ll be shown at noon on Saturday 9th November at East Finchley’s Phoenix Cinema (you can book here; the film is subtitled and there are no trailers before the performance).
It’s not Japanese, being part of the London Korean Film Festival. What makes The Story of Hong Gil-Dong notable is it was the first animated feature ever made in South Korea, decades before the country became an animation powerhouse. Today South Korea mostly provides animation-for-hire for foreign markets, Japan included. But The Story of Hong Gil-Dong was emphatically made for a local audience, and was a massive success; around 200,000 people went to see it in the first fortnight of release. Continue Reading
Kazuya Tsurumaki on his film.
Kazuya Tsurumaki is known for FLCL, Gunbuster 2, and the Rebuild of Evangelion series, among others. He got involved with The Dragon Dentist (streaming now on All4) after meeting the original writer Otaro Maijo on Japan Animator Expo in 2014. Using the short pilot film screened at that time, this new 90-minute feature was created with additional stories and characters. Many people must have been surprised by the fantastic world of the dragon and the depiction of the dentists. We asked Mr Tsurumaki about the world of the production behind the scenes, and the must-see elements that lead into the second half of the film, which was originally broadcast in two sections. Continue Reading
By Andrew Osmond.
Early in Jin-roh, a young girl who’s more child than woman slumps against a wall in a sewer, a dark limbo of brick and water. She’s been running a long time, but there’s no escape. She looks up to see a soldier watching her, with infra-red eyes in a metal helmet. The girl grabs her satchel to her chest; her hand reaches to a metal ring. Jin-roh was released in 1999, when audiences might have been slower than viewers today to realise the girl’s just decided to be a suicide bomber.
The soldier aims his gun, but his voice is surprisingly soft: “Don’t.” The girl’s legs shake; she starts to pull the ring. “Why?” asks the soldier. The girl shakes her head, as if imploring him for the impossible. More soldiers appear. The click of a gun’s catch is loud in the tunnel. The girl stares into the first soldier’s infra-red eyes. Then she pulls the ring hard, snapping the connected twine. She’s clumsy; the soldier has ample time to shoot, but does not. The shadows are obliterated by white light.
Jin-roh is a science-fiction film, technically, at least, set in an alternate-history version of postwar Japan. But much of Jin-roh, like the scene just described, could be set in a great many different places. It could be a story set in the carnage of Iraq in the 2000s, for example, or in cold-war Europe, or in Northern Ireland during the Troubles. Continue Reading
This weekend like many of you will be we'll be making our biannual pilgrimage to London for the MCM London Comic Con event taking place at Excel London!
Today this post will inform you about our activity across the weekend, along with our good friends at Crunchyroll and of course MCM's Anime Guests of Honour!
This post is divided into four sections
Before we go any proceed with any other details, here's a handy map image to help you gauge the locations of certain elements highlighted in this post
In case you missed it last week, MCM announced not one, but TWO Anime Guests of Honour for the event this weekend!
To celebrate the recent release of the Netflix anime, Carole & Tuesday director Motnobou Hori and legendary director Shinichiro Watanabe (Cowboy Bebop, Terror in Resonance), who served as Chief Director on the series, will be at the event taking part in the traditional Anime Guest of Honour Panel on Saturday, along with two free signing sessions across the weekend!
The first of our two guests is the renowned Shinichiro Watanabe, director of the timeless classic Cowboy Bebop (which currently has a live-action Netflix series in development). Born in Kyoto, Japan in 1965, Mr. Watanabe was formerly an employee at Sunrise, where he supervised the episode direction and storyboards of many anime produced at the studio. He made his directorial debut as co-director of Macross Plus.
Mr. Watanabe’s other directorial credits include Samurai Champloo, Space Dandy and Terror in Resonance, before also recently directing an animated short set in the Blade Runner universe, Blade Runner: Black Out 2022. Mr. Watanabe is also the chief director of currently streaming Netflix series Carole & Tuesday.
Also joining us at the event is Motonobu Hori, who serves as the director of Studio BONES’ Carole & Tuesday, where he makes his full directorial debut. His previous roles include working on key animation, animation direction and storyboards for a wealth of anime, including Napping Princess, Berserk: The Golden Age Arc, and episodes of Psycho-Pass.
— 11:30am @ Centre Stage (North Hall)
The Anime Guests of Honour Panel: Shinichiro Watanabe & Motonobu Hori
— 2:30pm – 3:30pm @ MCM Autograph Area (South Hall), Free Signing Session #1
Sunday 27th October 2019
— 2:30pm – 3:30pm @ MCM Autograph Area (South Hall), Free Signing Session #2
We’re anticipating there to be quite the demand to be able to get an item signed by the two Anime Guests of Honour, so the following rules/guidelines will be enforced to ensure as many people as possible can get a signature from the guests!
Following on from previous MCM London Comic Con events, we're happy to say that to celebrate the fact one of MCM's Anime Guests of Honour is the Shinchiro Watanabe, we're going to be have a selection of framed prints (each being 40cm x 30cm) on sale (while stock lasts) at the All The Anime stand (booth #S610) using artwork that's sure to look great on your wall!
What a lot of people have done in the past is purchase a print to then get signed by a guest, which is why we're making this known here first (as it will be mentioned further below in this post as well.)
They'll be available for £15 each, and you can see a preview visual of each below -
Additionally, we'll also have extremely limited quantities of a special 2-print set featuring both Spike & Faye! They won't be available separately and are only available strictly while stocks last for £25 a set. You can see a preview visual of each print below -
We know both Anime Guests of Honour are very excited to meet attendees of the event and we hope you're excited to meet them too!
Crunchyroll return to MCM in a big way with a special event taking place on Friday evening, as well as their own booth space with some cool things you'll want to make sure to experience and take in!
First of all, where do you find Crunchyroll at the event?
Crunchyroll will be situated at stand #S610 in the South Hall, not to far from the Block S3 entrance along the main concourse of the venue. (See the map image above for reference.) At their stand they'll have a selection of brand new Crunchyroll merchandise for the first time anywhere that you can get your hands on!
At the event you'll be able to purchase the first ever Crunchyroll Hime themed water bottle, mug and tea towel! Plus, there'll also be a Crunchyroll Hime themed mugs and there'll also t-shirts relating Dr. Stone, The Rising of the Shield Hero and That Time I got Reincarnated As a Slime available too!
But that's not all that's going on, as there will be the first Crunchyroll Carnival that will bring a variety of activities where you can win some Crunchyroll branded goodies! So come along and test your skills to see if you can win some prizes!
But wait, there's more! We've got free posters to giveaway if you're a subscriber to Crunchyroll's service, and if you can show our the friendly folks there you're a premium subscriber you can get a free tote bag! (Just open up the Crunchyroll app on your mobile device and show us you're subscriber status.)
In case you missed the announcement, on Friday (25th October) at 5pm at the Centre Stage (North Hall), Crunchyroll are bringing the UK Premiere of not one, but TWO new anime that will be coming to their streaming service next year in an event that will be introduced by the one and only Jonathan Ross, a man who has well know for being an anime fan himself!
The two shows that will be getting premiered are In/Spectre from the studio Brain's Base (Durarara!!, Princess Jellyfish) and Somali and the Forest Spirit from Statelight (Cannon Busters, Symphogear XV).
It's a very exciting event that is not to be missed if you're going to be at MCM London Friday! You can read more about this exciting event and the two shows being premiered in the link below
And finally we come to our AllTheAnime shop! This will also be be situated as part of stand #S610 and our shop is back in full force!
We'll have a large selection of our catalogue on hand to add to your collection as well as selection of upcoming and new releases available in limited quantities (while stock lasts) including
A couple notes about the above mentioned products -
The units on offer will literally be some of the very first units that will be completed from the production line! There will only be a very limited quantity available. But obviously if you're not able to get yours at the show, you can order yours from our AllTheAnime online shop and will be shipped as soon as stock is available. (Obviously, if you've already pre-ordered yours, shipping on these will begin as soon as all stock has been produced and has been delivered to our fulfilment house.)
**Gundam Wing: Part 2
The reason I highlighted is all goes well, and to peek behind the curtain of planning here, is that assuming all goes as intended they'll be getting delivered to the show straight from our production house pretty only hours after they've been produced! It'll only be a small quantity too, and we literally won't know until the actual day of the show if we're definitely going to have any available or not. It's the closest example of coming in hot off the production line as it can be! We'll have to wait and see if the hard work of our production is rewarded!
SPECIAL COWBOY BEBOP FRAMED PRINTS
As mentioned earlier, to celebrate the fact one of MCM's Anime Guests of Honour is the Shinchiro Watanabe, we're going to be have a selection of framed prints (each being 40cm x 30cm) on sale (while stock lasts) using some great artwork that's sure to look great wherever you display them.
Additionally, we'll also have extremely limited quantities of a special 2-print set featuring Spike & Faye! They won't be available separately and strictly while stocks last.
Over the weekend we'll of course be having not one but two panels with our own Andy Hanley and Jeremy Graves to bring your some news, fun times and maybe even a surprise two! Plus there'll be the traditional anything goes Q&A, which always brings up some things you can't expect, so be sure to come along to see what happens this time...
The two panels will be at the following times and locations -
Friday 25th October
~ AllTheAnime Panel #1 -- 2:30pm @ Centre Stage, North Hall
Sunday 27th October
~ AllTheAnime Panel #2 -- 11:30am @ Live Stage, South Hall
We also want to bring to everyone's attention that MCM will be having a tribute to Kyoto Animation, following the tragedy earlier this year. We are going to be involved with this too in the form a special panel taking place at the Pop Asia area (North Hall) of the event on Sunday afternoon. Our own Andy Hanley along with authors Helen McCarthy and Andrew Osmond will be reflecting on what makes the studio so special and more.
MCM will also have an exhibition space charting the studio's timeline and we're delighted to say there will also be a chance to experience their critically acclaimed film A Silent Voice in the form of a free screening inside the MCM Cinema Truck at midday on Saturday.
We hope you'll be able to take in some of this tribute over the course of the weekend. Stay tuned to MCM's website and channels for more information. But here are the times and locations for the screening and panel -
~ 12pm - A Silent Voice Free Screening @ MCM Cinema Truck (North Hall)
~ 1:30pm - Kyoto Animation Tribute Panel @ Pop Asia (North Hall)
And that is what you need to know about our and Crunchyroll's activity at MCM London Comic Con this weekend! We look forward to seeing you there. Stay tuned to all our social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) over the weekend for updates!