By Andrew Osmond
What’s it like to be a commercial animator? Take a furious, crazy-seeming animation like Space Dandy - can the experience of making it ever resemble that of watching it? Most times, probably not. Don’t trust those jolly ‘making-ofs.’ We know commercial animation can be a soul-destroying production-line, as in the “Banksy” opening of The Simpsons, or that Paranoia Agent story where the animators are so exhausted and stupefied that they don’t notice a head-bashing killer.
Space Dandy, though, feels different. It’s a real effort to give freedom to the staff who worked on it, lifted rather than smothered by the show’s big star. That star, of course, is Shinichiro Watanabe, director of the landmark Cowboy Bebop nearly twenty years ago. Since then he’s burnished his reputation with the hip-hop historical Samurai Champloo, and a couple of segments of the bestselling Animatrix. More recently, Kids on the Slope was notable for its vision of artistic creation, where teen musicians jam joyfully together. It’s the opposite of the psychotically competitive jazz battles in the recent live-action film Whiplash. Continue Reading
It' time for our tenth Anime Limited Newswire. (Yes we've been doing this for ten weeks already.)
According to Tom Smith
From bringing the funk to Cowboy Bebop and helping to make it one of the coolest anime, ever; to creating the haunting, cyber-punk soundscape of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex; Yoko Kanno has not only cemented her place into Japanese animation history, the famed composer is also one of the most versatile, influential and biggest names in the industry. Here are seven reasons why.
Step aside Miku Hatsune and chums, long before the famous digital diva was selling out arenas in Japan (and gaining Daily Mail page space), anime fans were introduced to their own virtual idol courtesy of 1994’s sc-fi classic Macross Plus. It featured a computer-generated hologram by the name of Sharon Apple, who, along with supposedly having artificial intelligence, had become one of the biggest names in entertainment in the year of 2040. She could also control minds with her music – a bit like Taylor Swift.
Focusing on the idea of mind control, Kanno set about creating music for Ms. Apple that would have a ‘brainwash’ feel to it, using plenty of reverb, low ranges and a Church-like elements to create an uneasy feeling. Her idea worked so well that it eventually led to her re-evaluating the power of music when fans wrote to her expressing feelings of suicide when listening to Apple’s songs. Listen to this at your own risk. Continue Reading
By Andrew Osmond
Giovanni’s Island is a story of cultures meeting, a meeting caused by war, accompanied by hardship, and yet also a source of new friendships, communities and love. It starts in 1945, as the inhabitants of a small Japanese island hear a radio broadcast of Emperor Hirohito, announcing their nation’s surrender. Soon Soviet boats arrive, disgorging soldiers who march into their streets, their homes, their school.
We see all this through the eyes of two kids, tearaway brothers Junpei and Kanta, who are initially terrified by the invasion. But as the months pass, they begin acclimatising to life with people who may be their occupiers, but who are also their new neighbours. “Even in the middle of war, even in all this confrontation, there were still people getting along with one another,” says director Mizuho Nishikubo.
Comparing Giovanni to Grave of the Fireflies, another wartime anime, Nishikubo said that Takahata’s work was intimate, interior, while Giovanni is outward-directed. The child’s eye-view means that the characters are not simply divided into heroes and villains, aggressors and victims. There’s a pointed scene with a South Korean woman who’s been forcibly displaced from her homeland, thanks to Japan. “If we weren’t talking about kids, I wouldn’t feel the least bit obligated to help a bunch of Japs.”
In a change from what we were planning to post today, we've just had details of the sales charts for February 2015 come through so we thought it was a perfect time to give you the most up-to-date information! Continue Reading