By Jonathan Clements.
Masami Toku and Hiromi Tsuchiya Dollase’s newly published Manga! Visual Pop-Culture in Arts Education is one of the most pleasant surprises of 2020, sneaked out mid-pandemic by a Portuguese foundation that is literally giving it away. It is by no means the first publication to grapple with the joys and miseries of using manga in the classroom, but does so with some impressive heavy-hitters, starting with Fusanosuke Natsume, the guru of manga studies, who provides the opening chapter.
Tucked at the back is a piece by CJ Suzuki about problems inherent in the way that manga is studied. He loves that manga gets taught as an element, and even as a course topic in its own right, but regards it as a growing epistemological problem that manga “belongs” to Japanese Studies. Manga, he argues, need to be read and seen, and he offers some handy tips on discussing it in the classroom. In the process of doing so, however, he concedes that manga is still “under-historicised” – in other words, a lot of people write about it without understanding it in the context of its production and reception... for which it really helps to have some grounding in Japanese Studies. Continue Reading
By Shelley Pallis.
I confess, I didn’t really remember anything from the soundtrack to Wicked City until this album turned up on the in-tray. In my defence, it has been more than 20 years since I saw it. Whereas there are snatches of Masamichi Amano’s score from Return of the Overfiend that I can still hum 20 years later on, Osamu Shoji’s soundtrack for Wicked City might as well be from a film I had never seen before, although it all soon came back to me.
His directives for the iconic movie were plainly to be a little bit spooky, although the music he has delivered remains oddly upbeat. There are moments in “Awakening”, a poppy little sting, where I thought it might suddenly segue into the theme from Bewitched. “Wicked Beast”, meanwhile, has a chill-out, lounge-jazz theme that belies its title. Other notes on the soundtrack are oddly prophetic of the theme from The X-Files, which would similarly take synthesisers into the thriller soundtrack world a few years later.
Doubtless for reasons to do with the tangle of rights, neither of the two songs from the original anime are on this vinyl version. So if you wanted to hear “It’s Not Easy”, a snog-and-shuffle number right out of a school disco, or “Hold Me in the Shadows”, evocative of a last-ditch beer-goggle salaryman serenade in a late-night hostess bar, neither of them are present. Instead, the vinyl release winningly curates the very best of Osamu Shoji's music, dropping some of the super-short stings from the complete soundtrack, as well as the irritatingly jaunty comic-relief "Giuseppe Mayart", which stuck out like a sore thumb anyway. The result is a carefully curated disc that truly preserves the best of the Wicked City score, while discarding much of the filler.
Wicked City, the original soundtrack by Osamu Shoji, is distributed in the UK by Anime Limited.
By Jonathan Clements.
It didn’t matter that some of the accused had already died in prison. When they were sentenced in 1829, the survivors were marched through the streets of Osaka, along with the salt-preserved corpses of their fellow believers. Then all, dead or alive, were crucified as devotees of the “pernicious creed” that worshipped Jesus Christ. As discussed in the new book Christian Sorcerers on Trial, the “Osaka Incident” scandalised samurai-era Japan. A forbidden foreign cult, long thought to have been wiped out, had popped up again in the middle of Japan’s mercantile metropolis, in the shadow of Osaka Castle itself. Continue Reading
Following the recent news of us releasing the Attack on Titan Season 1 Official Soundtrack vinyl later this year, and us taking orders for the Cowboy Bebop Vinyl Soundtrack from Milan Records, today we're excited to share the news that we'll more anime soundtrack vinyl is coming to the All The Anime shop, this time a selection of titles produced by Tiger Labs Vinyl.
Starting today (Friday 21st August) we're taking pre-orders for the vinyl soundtracks of the classic series Death Note, as well as soundtracks from the old school titles Demon City Shinjuku, Golgo13: The Professional, Urotsukidoji II: Legend of the Demon Womb and Wicked City!
Click on the link below to order them from our shop
with each set to begin shipping around late September time. Read on below for details. Continue Reading
By Alex Dudok de Wit.
The filmographies of Isao Takahata and Hayao Miyazaki, the two geniuses of this book’s title, stand as monuments to their creativity. But how do we weigh the achievement of Toshio Suzuki, the third man at the head of Studio Ghibli? Suzuki’s influence on Ghibli is hard to summarise because it is all-pervasive, at once macro and micro: he has overseen the studio’s operational side, devised its marketing campaigns, produced most of its films, provided calligraphy for their posters, and even helped Miyazaki shade and texture his manga Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind.
Lately, as Ghibli slips into what may be its autumn years, Suzuki has devoted much of his copious energy to the orchestration of its legacy. A theme park here, a global streaming deal there. Less visible, at least outside Japan, has been the publication of various memoirs and anecdotal accounts of his forty-odd years in the company of Miyazaki and Takahata. Only one of these has come out in English to date (as Mixing Work with Pleasure: My Life at Studio Ghibli, a somewhat digressive set of portraits of the studio’s main players). Here’s another that should.
How Geniuses Think: Isao Takahata and Hayao Miyazaki is structured as a chronological walk through Ghibli’s catalogue, each chapter offering a production history of one film, presented against the backdrop of the studio’s circumstances at that time. These texts originally appeared in Ghibli’s marvellous “textbooks”, anthologies of critical commentaries and staff reminiscences about individual features. It makes sense to package them together: How Geniuses Think effectively functions as a linear history of the studio, or at least Suzuki’s version of it. In detail and with remarkably little repetition, it tracks the evolution of Ghibli’s practices, of its directors’ careers, and – most vividly – of Suzuki’s own talents. Continue Reading