A couple weekends ago, Patema Inverted and Time of Eve writer/director Yasuhiro Yoshiura popped along to Scotland for a wee visit and a screening of Patema Inverted at the Filmhouse cinema in Edinburgh. Oddly enough, the weather that Saturday was pretty good as everyone settled in for the screening and subsequent Q & A session afterwards. There was a great showing on Saturday afternoon - especially considering the majority of the audience had already seen the film at the Scotland Loves Anime film festival in October. There was also a handy little signing session in the Filmhouse cafe for fans of Yoshiura-san and his work. I even spied a Time of Eve coffee canister from the Kickstarter being signed! Very cool.
After the screening, we all settled into the Q&A session, headed up by Andrew Partridge - he started off with some questions and opened it up to the audience. There were some seriously well thought out questions from the audience, and I took as many notes as I could in order to share some of the interesting answers with all you who couldn't make it. So kick back, relax and read what the man himself had to say about Patema Inverted! Below are some of the questions and answers given - paraphrased as I was taking notes.
One of the earliest questions from Andrew was: where did the idea for Patema Inverted come from? To answer, the director reminisced about his childhood staring up at the sky and imagining, wondering what it would be like if the sky above really wasn't the sky. What if he was on the 'ceiling' relative to the sky and ground? That's where the idea came from - a childhood fancy that stuck with him to this day.
In terms of the film, for those who have seen it, it deals with a lot of complexity - not only with the story itself but also with the use of gravity. There are rules to gravity applied in the film, how did he manage to keep it all straight? On this point the director was clear, despite the complexity of the story and the narrative, it was important to make the rules with regards to gravity very simple. That way, that thread stays neat throughout the film.
A huge part of the film is the sound design - I'm not sure if many are aware of this but the man in charge of said sound design is Akira Yamaoka, the man behind many an eerie feeling in games such as Silent Hill. Was this Yamaoka's first foray into film and what was it like working with him? Akira Yamaoka has actually worked on other feature films before taking part in Patema Inverted. In fact, he was in charge of the sound design for Silent Hill, the film! Hot tip for those of you viewing: the siren in Patema Inverted is the same siren sound in Silent Hill - pretty cool, huh?
If you've seen the film, or read anything about it, you'll be aware of the fact that there is a lot of Esperanto usage in the film - the text, songs etc. Which is a rather unusual direction for a film, especially a modern anime, to take. Why Esperanto? Why a practically dead language that no one in the audience will understand or appreciate? As with everything Yoshiura-san does, there is a very good reason behind the decision. Using Esperanto, a language that is pretty much dead despite best efforts to re-ignite popularity and interest, was a creative decision: it highlights the fact that the truth is long buried and practically lost - unattainable to the current inhabitants of both the underground and overground worlds. It represents hidden truth and a lost world. Esperanto seemed ideal for this.
One of the first questions from the audience was a bit of a belter if I'm honest. He pointed out the fact that there is an incredible amount of detail in the film - so much attention is paid to even the smallest detail. It's certainly one of the main reasons to watch it on the big screen - and definitely watch more than once! Did Yoshiura-san ever think that maybe there was just too much detail in the film? To which Yoshiura-san laughed (seriously, this movie has an insane amount of detail in it! - Ed) and pointed out his own personal motto: the spirit of the film is in the detail. Too much detail is just the right amount of detail - it helps the film come across to people.
Another interesting question was raised by an audience member questioning the apparent theme of subversive politics - was this the main idea when Yoshiura went into making the film? It didn't start out with any kind of agenda, says Yoshiura. It started out as an adventure story that was meant to be engaging, interesting and exciting. But stories and attitudes evolve over time and over the time it took to make this film, the story itself and grown incredibly.
A final, and I think most interesting question came from yet another audience member who pointed out that Yohsiura-san's characters in Patema Inverted and in Time of Eve tend to suffer from fundamental differences. That is, the two main characters are so fundamentally different they either literally come from different worlds or are human and android. These characters tend to have to find a way of working and living together to bring about a story - which is a great theme to have in a film. Will this theme carry on into the new project, Harmony?
Yoshiura-san's wry smile at this point pretty much gave a lot away. The whole fundamental difference between characters was not intentional - at least not from the start and not a theme that necessarily will mark works, he pointed out. But yes, these two projects are great examples of stories involving different people learning to communicate and work together. It's admirable. Harmony doesn't necessarily follow this theme - it's a bit different. It's more bitter - and it's a 25 minute short.
With that, the Q&A was drawn to a close. Yoshiura-san was then escorted off with his awesome Scotland Loves Anime festival prize of some pretty neat whisky to the Filmhouse cafe for a signing session.
All in all, it was a pretty fantastic screening with a very interesting audience! Great questions were asked and answered - the team from Japan were also pleased to see so many families in the audience as well. If you were one of the many in attendance, thanks for showing up! If you are not Scotland/Edinburgh-based, you still may yet get a chance to see the film in cinematic glory in a theatre near you.
Patema Inverted will be in select cinemas from May 2nd across the UK. Dates and venues are still to be confirmed but you can keep up to date on our Facebook page, Twitter or via the Patema UK website.
We've had a few questions in the last 24 hours over our Kickstarter so I figured we'd cover a few of them here so folks have a centralised hub while we wait for it to launch.
#1: WHERE CAN WE SEE THE KICKSTARTER? YOU DIDN'T LINK TO IT.
The honest point is - we missed that the submission process doesn't actually make the project go live so we'd left that to the last moment. Our bad on that one and of course we're not asking for money until you get a chance to see the pitch in a bit more detail!
#2: CAN WE HAVE A SNEAK PEEK AT THE KICKSTARTER TO GIVE SOME FEEDBACK?
Sure! While we wait we're happy to show you a bit of what we have in store for folks - you can view the preview link here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/alltheanime/1966076526?token=3bc1557d
Play nice folks, constructive feedback is good but don't let it degenerate into dubs vs subs or such!
#3: WHY DO A KICKSTARTER? SURELY RELEASING IT AS NORMAL WOULD BE GOOD?
If it were just the UK, sure. But I'm not one to sit still and since the US rights were still available, we were able to negotiate a good deal to take those on board too - the catch-22 being the risks are a lot higher of course. As a UK-based company Kickstarter is a good way to build interest and make releasing this property viable in a territory we wouldn't normally release in whilst maintaining the quality of release UK fans have become used to.
Without a Kickstarter at best all we could do is a subtitled DVD and BD in standard amaray packaging, with this we have the potential to do some really cool things so it seemed a bit of a no-brainer really
#4: STRETCH GOALS! WILL YOU DO A DUB? WILL YOU DO A COMMENTARY TRACK WHERE ANDREW DRINKS A LOT AND CRIES TO THE KEY OF CARELESS WHISPER?
Probably not the latter*, but of course a dub is on our radar! We're firm believers in not talking stretch goals 'til you've made your baseline though :). So as soon as that point is passed we'll get on talking about what stretches we've got planned and we'll try to get you, the backers, to have a say in that as part of crowd producing!
I think the above summarises most of the points floating around but we'll post more to the Kickstarter itself as soon as it goes live! Watch this space!
Anime Limited is happy to announce that we will be launching a Kickstarter campaign designed to bring Mai Mai Miracle, the beautiful animated film by Sunao Katabuchi, to UK and US audiences.
Wait, what? Why do need you a Kickstarter for doing what you should be doing anyway?
Frankly, this is what you’re all thinking isn’t it? It’s pretty simple actually - Mai Mai Miracle is a film we strongly feel deserves a wider, appreciative audience than it has received in the recent past. Coming at the hands of former Hayao Miyazaki protégé Sunao Katabuchi, Mai Mai Miracle is a sweet film that encapsulates the magic and imagination of two young girls in 1950s Japan.
One of our main mission statements with Anime Limited is to bring new, interesting, niche and not easily available anime to UK fans. We see the overlooked Mai Mai Miracle as one of these niche animated gems that need to be watched. However, we don’t just intend to release this film on blu-ray - we want to give you so much more than a blu-ray disc. We want to give you all sorts of goodies, the kind of beautiful packaging it deserves and we want to open up and bring this film to the US too!
Therein lies the difficulty - we’re a small, independent company from the UK thus making it very tricky/expensive/difficult to distribute a film like Mai Mai Miracle in the US. We would have to throw insane levels of cash at this or in the very least, sublicense the film - which in itself is difficult/tricky/expensive to do with a title that doesn’t have the heavy-hitting cache of a huge studio behind it. So we figure: hey! Why not take it straight to the fans, cut out the middleman and make this as special a release as possible? So that’s what we’re doing.
With this Kickstarter campaign, we hope to raise $30,000 (US) to do the following:
Release Mai Mai Miracle in both the UK and the US on blu-ray
Create and add English subtitles for the film
Produce quality packaging to house the blu-ray disc and make it Collector’s Edition worthy
Share some of the truly beautiful artwork, illustrations and behind-the-scenes goodness that comes with the making of such an animated film
We view this Kickstarter campaign as the best way to bring in and widely distribute a small, charming film that should be enjoyed by as many people as possible. And to say thank you for any help, support and love we will give you as much bang for your buck as possible.
So here’s your chance to support something sweet, unique and magical. We love this film and we hope you will too.
Mai Mai Miracle
Mai Mai Miracle is the story of two young girls, their friendship and their unique magical take on the world around them - a view that is only possible in the minds and imaginations of children. When a young girl named Kiiko moves to a small country town, she befriends Shinko, a bright, imaginative girl who has a special way of viewing the world around her and connecting it to the region’s past. With Shinko’s lead, Kiiko follows her on numerous adventures of imagination and time travel finally breaking free of her shell and learning to let go of the grief she carries for her deceased mother.
Mai Mai Miracle does a great job of converting that magic into art in a way that is unique to the film which very much adds to the overall feel of the story. It is a joy to behold and a great film for kids and adults alike. If this sounds like something you’d love to see, or you would like more information and details on the Kickstarter campaign please pledge on our page!
First off - it's really exciting to be turning this work around so quickly for folks! It's taken a fair bit of work for everyone over a stressful period to make it happen too!
[youtube height="HEIGHT" width="WIDTH"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uR_3mwYl6Q4[/youtube]
Blu-Ray pre-order: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Garden-Words-Blu-ray-Makoto-Shinkai/dp/B00HYYHP26/
Next up - we know some folks have a few questions so pulling the biggest ones off Facebook and Twitter - here we go:
1. The "film" is only 46 minutes long - why should I buy the DVD / BD / Laser-Etched Rock?
Firstly, while it's short it's probably one of Makoto Shinkai's greatest works to date - it takes the essence of 5 Centimetres Per Second and distils it into a really beautiful and tight piece of narrative.
Secondly and more importantly you're not just getting the film itself but a slew of extra content that matches releases worldwide that include:
Interviews (52 minutes with the Japanese cast and director),
The film in storyboard format, narrated (45 minutes),
English production stillls,
The Works of Makoto Shinkai,
English commentary track with cast,
Japanese commentary with English subtitles.
So on top of the film you have at least 100 minutes of isolated extras and 2 x commentary tracks on top of the film itself for you to enjoy as well - giving you more insight into the film than you'd get normally!
2. It's 46 minutes long, why are you packing it into a Manga-esque standard edition instead of an insane deluxe edition?
This one was a painful one for us - but realistically given the length of the show and cost to access the extras it wasn't really viable to do both and even if we'd picked the packaging side it would have raised the price point to £34.99 for a deluxe combi-pack, which for the length of the work did not seem like a proposition we would want to ask people to stick out for initially!
So we prioritised video content for this work as we felt it provided you with the best possible value for money just now while making it available quickly - hopefully that makes sense!
It's not going to be the case for all works - just when you deal with a shorter property, it's a difficult case of price point that will engage everyone vs what you can offer - as ultimately we want as many people to see this film as possible!
3. What about that Shinkai collection you talked about before? Is it cool if I wait for that...*looks for cage to fall down*?
It absolutely is cool if you do wait for that! That said - the issue is we're not far off the 15th anniversary of Shinkai-san's first recorded short - She and Her Cat! We're currently putting together the best possible plan we can based on that and hope to have more information for around June / July about it and realistically a release date for Christmas would be my optimistic guess for it - could be Q1 2015 depending on what extras we can liberate .
It also goes without saying that depending on what extras we can liberate combined with the goal being a complete collection of works to date that it will be a high priced set when settled though too!
If you're cool waiting it's absolutely fine to do so - but I figured it would be good to let folks know how long it may take as this kind of work requires a lot of discussing and negotiating.
Hope this all helps!
El Presidente, Anime Limited
Andrew here again, this time with some clarifications for folks on the Gurren Lagann Ultimate Edition, as Amazon seems to still be inputting some of the detail. The correct link for the Ultimate Edition's pre-order is HERE.
So first off it will comprise of:
- A rigid artbox - think same style of material as Cowboy Bebop's was made of - but bigger.
- Nice Digipack inside - to hold all 6 discs. Artwork TBC.
- A hardback A5 artbook to fit inside the box - currently the page count was set at 50 - see below for more info though.
- Only 2,000 will be printed! You'll get an artcard inside certifying the number in the release you have got :).
What's on the discs though?
- Episodes 1 -27 of the TV series, with English dub and subtitles over 4 BD50s
- Movie 1: Childhood's End with English subtitles, as it was never dubbed in the USA sadly, BD25 or 50 TBC!
- Movie 2: The Lights in the Sky are Stars with English subtitles, as it was never dubbed in the USA sadly, BD25 or 50 TBC!
- Parallel Works - Complete, but will be split in half as everywhere else, half on Movie 1's BD, the other on Movie 2.
- Video extras - Whatever we can get our hands on, we're negotiating now but it turns out the reason a bunch of extras on the US import from Japan weren't translated was they are exclusive for the domestic release we gather. Meaning we may not be allowed to use them on our release.
Here's some answers to the common questions we've received so far too...
1.The Ultimate Edition is not identical to the Japanese import - a lot of the extras are now restricted there and the format would have cost a lot, lot more. This one will fit on your shelf size-wise and feature different designs on the cover and digipack. We'll post some sample pics of the type of packaging as soon as it comes in but think a solid box like old anime titles had - like the Bebop ones we used but bigger and you'd not be far off.
2. The Ultimate Edition is the one listed as June 2nd, we have no idea why both the Ultimate & Regular BD (due in October) are labeled the same just now but we're working on correcting that. Link for it is here: www.amazon.co.uk/Gurren-Lagann-Complete-Collection-Blu-ray/dp/B00HSHDGHW/
2. English dub + subs are there for TV series.
3. English subs for movies 1 & 2 as they were never dubbed.
4. It will be 6 x BDs at least, not 1 as listed.
5. Box art will differ to the Japanese edition imported by Aniplex of America as the artworks used there are exclusives for the Japanese print run. We're working hard to get something interesting though for you though and we'll post more about that in the near future :).
6. Contents are still flexible beyond that and we're clawing to get as much in as we can while still being able to pay the bills in the office*. We've heard a lot of people's requests re: the artbook and we're looking to see if we can double the page-count - depends on assets available and the costs associated.
7. The standard edition will only contain the four BD50s with the TV series in a standard Amaray package - there'll be a reversible cover but asides from that it'll look like any standard Manga UK release. This is why the price point is so much lower as you're literally getting the basic edition.
8. A standard version of the films / parallel works may get sold as a pack later down the line, but right now we've set no firm plans for it. So right now the Ultimate Edition is the only way but we'll see how things play out based on demand though!
Watch this space!
El Presidente, Anime Limited
* I'm reliably informed by my minions that electricity and heating are not optional extras as I had been lead to believe. Rather bothersome but I'll take them at their word on that one!