By Shelley Pallis.
The Ginza, which takes its name from the old silver mint that used to be there in samurai days, is one of the poshest parts of Tokyo – it’s the most expensive square on a Japanese Monopoly board, making it the equivalent of London’s Mayfair. And in Araki Joh’s 2004 manga Bartender (turned into an anime in 2006), it’s the location of Eden Hall, a pokey, super-high-end cocktail bar.
Eden Hall is home to Ryu Sasakura, a French-trained barman with an encyclopaedic knowledge of the drinks of the world. You take a seat, you tell him your troubles, and he’s sure to come up with the perfect drink to lift your mood. In the anime adaptation from director Masaki Watanabe, we see offering advice and comfort to hoteliers, lawyers, a screenwriter, and... er... a specialist in computational fluid dynamics. No, it’s not quite Cheers, but it does sit at the end of a long tradition of stories in Japanese post-war pop culture that make food and drink the centre of the world. Continue Reading
Glasgow (June 17, 2020) - Anime Limited, the UK and France’s leading independent distributor of anime, is happy to announce the acquisition of distribution rights via Asmik Ace, Inc. for the UK, Ireland and France of the latest Masaaki Yuasa film, “INU-OH”. The film features as part of the Work in Progress Features programme at Annecy 2020.
The acquisition of “INU-OH” marks the addition to the existing slate of Masaaki Yuasa’s films at Anime Limited, including “Ride Your Wave”, “Lu Over the Wall”, and “The Night is Short, Walk on Girl”, to name a few, highlighting the long standing close ties between the distributor and Studio Science SARU.
“Masaaki Yuasa is a unique creative voice in the world of animation, and especially as a director, so we are thrilled to release his latest film, “INU-OH”, theatrically in the UK and France.”
- Andrew Partridge, CEO Anime Limited.
Based on the novel Heike Monogatari: Inu-Oh no Maki ("Tales of the Heike: Inu-Oh") by Hideo Furukawa, the film sees Masaaki Yuasa reunited with “Ping Pong the Animation” collaborator and manga artist Taiyo Matsumoto, winner of 2008 The Will Eisner Comic Industry Award for “Tekkonkinkreet: Black & White”, and celebrated at the 2019 Angoulême International Comics Festival on the occasion of a retrospective exhibition of his work.
Inu-Oh was born with unique physical characteristics, and the adults cover every inch of his body with garments and make him wear a mask on his face. One day, he meets a boy named Tomona, a blind biwa player. Inu-Oh tells him, “Write a biwa song about me”. Tomona makes a song about Inu-Oh’s tangled fate and starts performing it with biwa.Inu-Oh and Tomona become business partners for their survival in society and develop an inseverable friendship. Helping each other unlock their talents, they produce one hit after another and climb the ladder to stardom. And Inu-Oh, who comes to mesmerize his audiences on stage, frees parts of his body one by one and achieves unequaled beauty.
Why is Tomona blind? Why was Inu-Oh born with unique physical characteristics?
It is a story about the friendship of Inu-Oh and Tomona, who dance and sing to get to the truth and break each other’s curse.
The animated feature “INU-OH” is a musical animation about Inu-Oh, a real-life Sarugaku Noh performer and playwright who enjoyed great success in 14th-century Japan. However, he is all but unknown nowadays because very few documents about his life have survived the times. Now around 600 years later, “INU-OH”, full of music and dance sequences, portrays a tale of friendship between the legendary Inu-Oh who vanished from history and a Biwa player he befriended.
ABOUT MASAAKI YUASA
An animated feature director. Debuted in 2004 with "Mind Game". Won Grand Prize at the Animation Division of the 8th Japan Media Arts Festival, Ofuji Noburo Award at the 59th Mainichi Film Awards, as well as Best Film, Best Director, Best Script Awards and a Special Award for its Visual Accomplishment at the 2005 Fantasia International Film Festival (Montreal). The animated feature "Lu over the Wall" won Cristal du long metrage; a prize equivalent to gold at the 2017 Annecy International Animated Film Festival. The animated feature "Ride Your Wave" won the Golden Goblet Award for Best Animation Film at the 22nd Shanghai International Film Festival and the Award for Best Animated Feature at the 52nd Sitges - International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia. Other representative works include "Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!", "Ping Pong the Animation", "The Night Is Short, Walk on Girl", and "DEVILMAN crybaby".
ABOUT Science SARU
Science SARU is a Production company founded by Masaaki Yuasa and Eunyoung Choi in 2013. In the same year, the TV series ADVENTURE TIME was nominated for Annie Award for Directing. An animated feature film NIGHT IS SHORT, WALK ON GIRLwas awarded The Animation of the Year at The Japan Academy Awards In 2017. The second feature film, LU OVER THE WALL was awarded with various prizes. Science SARU has also produced DEVILMAN crybaby, RIDE YOUR WAVE, SUPER SHIRO and Keep Your Hands off Eizouken. Currently, Science SARU is set to release Netflix original series Japan Sinks: 2020 worldwide on July 9, also directed by Yuasa.
ABOUT ASMIK ACE, INC.
Asmik Ace, Inc. was established in 1985. In 2012, Asmik Ace became part of J:COM Group (Jupiter Telecommunications Co., Ltd.), Japan’s largest cable TV conglomerate, enabling it to open up new possibilities in the entertainment industry. Its recent animation line-up includes the theatrical version of Sumikkogurashi: Good to be in the corner which became a smash hit in Japan, and its live-action feature film line-up includes Ora, Ora Be Goin’ Alone directed by Shuichi Okita.
ABOUT ANIME LIMITED
Based out of Glasgow, Scotland Anime Limited brings a fresh approach to distributing the best in anime direct from Japan. As an independent company the emphasis is both breathing new life into much loved classics and introducing the cutting edge of theatrical offerings including the works of auteurs Makoto Shinkai, Mamoru Hosoda, and Keiichi Hara. With a focus on bringing more anime to the big screen, releasing beautifully packaged collector’s editions and trying new ways to reach fans digitally, Anime Limited is committed to offering a wide range of experiences for UK and French audiences.
Director: Masaaki Yuasa
Screenplay: Akiko Nogi
Character Creation: Taiyo Matsumoto
Based on the novel by: Hideo Furukawa
"Heike Monogatari Inu-Oh no Maki"
(aka. The Tale of the Heike, Inu-Oh’s Episode)
Published by Kawade Shobo Shinsha Publishers
Character Design & Chief Animation Director: Nobutake Ito
Production Designer: Hideki Nakamura
Key Animator: Norio Matsumoto
Produced and Distributed by: Asmik Ace, Inc.
Animation Production: Science SARU
©"INU-OH" Film Partners
By Jonathan Clements.
Reframing Disability in Manga by Yoshiko Okuyama is a well-timed integration of the study of Japanese comics and portrayals of the disabled, powerfully conceived as an off-the-peg classroom text. It could readily function as a textbook on a dedicated course, but is formatted in a smart topical manner throughout that would lend itself easily to individual classes, interweaving studies of manga with discussions of Japanese law, culture and society. Continue Reading
By Jonathan Clements.
Matt Alt’s Pure Invention: How Japan’s Pop Culture Conquered the World is a work of startling originality. Like the dozen inventions and creations it profiles, it takes already-familiar technology and repurposes it to new and innovative ends, using everyday objects as springboards to discuss the peculiarities of Japanese culture and the global impact of deceptively simple devices. It is nothing less than a post-war history of Japan, told through its export successes in toys, games and media, hardware and software.
Alt takes as his entry point the 19th century wave of japonisme that gave us The Mikado and Oscar Wilde’s put-down of oriental obsessions, that “the whole of Japan is pure invention,” and John Foster Dulles’ condescending post-war assurance that “the Japanese don’t make anything we want.” But far from being yet another catalogue of fads and trends from the east, this is a serious account of something far more wide-ranging – the story of how Japanese creatives “redefined what it meant to be human” over the course of the 20th century, proving Dulles repeatedly wrong with the invention of “gloriously weird but strangely necessary” items, such as the Walkman, the Game Boy and Hello Kitty. Continue Reading
By Shelley Pallis.
Three teenage girls, from different schools, are on an outing to the Tokyo Tower when they are whisked away to the fantasy land of Cephiro. They are destined to become the Magic Knights, a trio of warriors promised in prophecy, who must save Princess Emeraude from her imprisonment at the hands of her former high priest, Zagato. But there’s a catch...
“You can tell it's not a simple world,” said writer Nanase Ohkawa in an interview in Animerica, “the kind where there's a princess, a villain who kidnaps her, and the main character who saves the day and lives happily ever after. Even if the main characters thought that's the world they got into...” Continue Reading