By Raz Greenberg
Back in the beginning of the 21st century, there was a short period when people believed anime was on the verge of breaking to the mainstream audience in the west. People beyond the limited circles of anime fans started talking about anime productions, and science fiction and fantasy fandom in particular began listing certain anime shows right next to live-action modern classics (a list dominated, at the time, by Babylon 5, The X-Files and Buffy the Vampire Slayer). Shinchiro Watanabe's Cowboy Bebop would come up frequently in this context; indeed, it is considered by many to be one of the finest examples of science fiction television, animated or otherwise. The buzz it created was so strong that the Wachowski siblings invited Watanabe to direct not one but two short films in their Animatrix anthology.
What was it that made Cowboy Bebop such a fan favorite and critical darling? Geeks drooled at Watanabe's skill in piling up one familiar genre on top of the other, while still keeping the show 's futuristic world wonderfully coherent and believable. Sure, space westerns were nothing new when Cowboy Bebop debuted (in fact, the idea is almost as old as both genres), but a space western crossed with neo-noir… and blaxploitation film… and the Hong-Kong action cinema… well, that was something new.
By Anthony Thomas
Eir Aoi is an odd one. She exploded onto the anime scene in 2012 by unleashing a full tribute album to Fate / Zero. Two full studio albums later (both making the top ten), and her career’s burning brighter than ever, and not just in Japan. If her English language Facebook account is anything to go by, she seems to be performing at a different festival or comic convention somewhere in the world every other weekend.
She’s odd, because despite being one of the leading voices of contemporary high energy J-pop, Eir Aoi is vocal about her love for heavy metal music and Slipknot. She also isn’t shy about telling interviewers how she spends her spare time; usually sat in front of an Xbox, murdering online noobs at Call of Duty. Yeah, she might look innocent and sing sweet pop songs, but she’ll happily pistol whip you in the face while head banging along to The Negative One.
In one panel she gave, at an American convention, a member of the audience asked if she ever felt connected with any of the characters from the animes she’s worked on. Without hesitation she said Ryuko Matoi, the kick arse scissor-blade wielding schoolgirl from Kill la Kill. “I like her attitude, she can do anything! She has a real tomboy side to her, but she occasionally shows her feminine side too”.
Coincidentally, Eir Aoi also supplies two songs for Kill la Kill, the series Kotaku calls “a rare breed of anime” that “perfectly mixes comedy and action while revelling in taking everything to the extreme”. She’s the voice behind its upbeat first opening theme, Sirius, as well as an album-only track featured throughout the series called Sanbika. Continue Reading
It's time for another edition of our weekly newswire. Today we have changes to our upcoming release schedule to note. Read on below for details.
It's been a very busy week here at Anime Limited HQ which has involved a few scheduling changes needing to be made for our upcoming releases. Below is breakdown of what has moved and why it has happened. (Then at the very bottom of this update you will find the latest version of our release schedule.)
Please note that all of the changes noted below will be updated with retailers shortly.
By Eija Niskanen
Mention Studio Ghibli, and everybody starts raving about Hayao Miyazaki. But Ghibli was established by two talented animation professionals with a long, and often shared career already behind them. And now, with Takahata’s last film, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, nominated for an Academy Award there is a chance for him to get the recognition he deserves. But will he – the obvious choice for me – return to Tokyo with the statue in hand? The Locarno Film Festival had no trouble dishing out a Lifetime Achievement for him in 2009 (pictured), but will the Oscar crowd be quite so accommodating?
Both Miyazaki and Takahata share influences from French, Russian and Canadian animation and a belief in old-school leftist politics. Takahata entered the Toei animation studioas as a trainee in the early 1960s, to be joined by Miyazaki soon after. Their career paths, if they had stayed at Toei beyond the early 1970s, would have evolved into Takahata becoming one of Toei’s animation directors, and Miyazaki as a lead animator. Takahata has always started with the story, while Miyazaki usually starts with a scene or a visual image. Takahata directed his first animation feature, Little Norse Prince, for Toei in 1968. The film features both themes and characters typical for the later Ghibli oeuvre – a youngster managing a balancing act against greater powers. After leaving Toei, they made the landmark children’s series Heidi (which birthed the World Masterpiece Theatre franchise) and the cinema hit Panda Go Panda.
It's Tuesday and that means it's time for our latest newswire!
~ First of all we know you've been patiently waiting to see what it will look like and this past Friday on our social media channels we revealed how the Blu-ray version of Kill la Kill Box 2 will look. Check it out below.
You'll start to see this image appearing on retailer sites this week. As a note the only difference between the Blu-ray and DVD versions is the disc colouring. The DVD discs haave a red background and black text. You can pre-order your copy today from Amazon UK HERE.
~ We're hoping to be able to show you all what our other March releases will look like soon.