By Kambole Campbell.
Reading the words ‘Penguin Highway’ together might feel like a hint towards a simplistic and joyous journey – after all, who doesn’t like penguins? It’s certainly the most straightforward title of any of Tomihiko Morimi’s novels – the most well-known are a little more illusive, namely The Tatami Galaxy, and The Night is Short, Walk on Girl.
Directed by Hiroyasu Ishida, as an adaptation of a Morimi novel, Studio Colorido’s Penguin Highway shares a little bit of common ground with a couple of Masaaki Yuasa works – the aforementioned Tatami Galaxy and Night is Short. Like those two works Penguin Highway flirts with the surreal, mysterious objects (and flightless birds) built into a very human tale. Unlike Yuasa’s take on the material, however, Ishida builds the film with more photorealistic detail, all characterised by soft linework and gentle colours on the characters, as also seen in the studio’s Netflix release from this year, A Whisker Away. Continue Reading
By Jonathan Clements.
In his new book Popular Music in Japan: Transformation Inspired by the West, Toru Mitsui repeatedly returns to the idea that multiple evolutions in Japanese tunes and songs have spurred directly from foreign influences. The examples he cites are from an impressively broad range of categories, spanning everything from leitmotifs, to subject matters, to instrumentation to timings – apparently, Japan had no such thing as a song in triple time before the 1850s. His timescale, reaching from the mid-19th century to the first decade of the 21st incorporates multiple changes in the nature of music – from the performances of bards, to clap-along “dormitory songs” sung by students, to the sheet music that allowed for amateur performances at home, and the huge sea-change brought about by the rise of mass media. These include not only the national hits fostered by radio airplay, but later songs with TV tie-ins, including those that began as advertising jingles. Continue Reading
The autumn (fall) anime season is officially underway and with that we're excited to bring you the news we have licensed the latest series in the Love Love franchise, Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club in the UK & Ireland!
We're also happy to confirm that the series is now streaming weekly through our good friends at Crunchyroll, with new episodes being available available every Saturday at 3pm.
You can watch the first two episodes right now!
By Andrew Osmond.
Broadcast in 2012, The Woman Called Fujiko Mine presents a very different vision of Lupin III from the one that audiences were used to seeing capering around in anime, and not merely because it placed the serial’s femme fatale, Fujiko Mine, front and centre. Creator Kazuhiko Kato (Monkey Punch) cited many an inspiration for her – he saw her as part Bond girl, part Marianne Faithful, but largely as Milady de Winter, the unstoppable secret agent of the Three Musketeers stories. There was also a little scrap of personal emotion, with the artist admitting he had invested a little of his depiction of his leading lady with his own unrequited schoolboy crush on an attractive classmate. Continue Reading
By Jonathan Clements.
The “Three Musketeers” are the toughest kids in Chiku High, although with a typically Japanese sense of rebellion, they still put on their uniforms in order to go in and bunk off. Quite possibly, nobody else knows how tough they are, since a planned rumble with the rival Marutake High is called off when the Three Musketeers can’t find it. They are, in fact, three impossibly thick teenage boys, dead losses in the school system, but not quite smart enough to find anything to do beyond playing at being outlaws.
Their lives are transformed, suddenly and wonderfully, when a chance encounter on the street convinces their leader, the rat-moustached skinhead Kenji (Shintaro Sakamoto) that he’s going to start a band. Music unexpectedly opens up a new world for the Chiku High delinquents, introducing them to new friends, experiences and ideas, in On-Gaku: Our Sound, a relentlessly upbeat indie film from director Kenji Iwaisawa. Continue Reading