By Andrew Osmond.
Midway through Alita: Battle Angel, the cyborg heroine realises she’s provoked the mother of all bar brawls – with a crowd of horribly beweaponed cyborgs – and now must kick an ironmonger’s worth of metal ass. She cautions her human boyfriend Hugo (Keean Johnson) to stand back, way back. This line of dialogue gets one of the biggest laughs in the film. It’s also one of the points where this lavishly spectacular, generally enjoyable, tolerably lunk-headed film catches fire. Continue Reading
By Roxy Simons.
“You don’t fear me?” Ryuhei Matsuda’s Miyakoshi asks council worker Tsukisue (Ryo Nishikido) when he arrives in the sleepy town of Uobuka, his new home for the next ten years. “You and I are humans,” Tsukisue responds, despite his reservations about the sudden influx of ‘suspicious’ people in the town. Miyakoshi is one of six new inhabitants to move to Uobuka over the past few days, not because they want to, but because they must, as part of the Ministry of Justice’s rehabilitation program.
Miyakoshi, Sugiyama (Kazuki Kitamura), Rieko (Yuka), Kiyomi (Mikako Ichikawa), Fukumoto (Shingo Mizusawa), and Ono (Min Tanaka) are linked by one thing: their criminal past. Each served time for murder, though with differing levels of severity, but rather than serve their full sentence they’re forced out of prison to save taxpayer’s money. While their introduction in the town will aid its dwindling population levels, one question remains: Will people be able to accept them, despite their crimes? Continue Reading
By Andrew Osmond.
The family fantasy Destiny: The Tale of Kamakura is at the populist end of this year’s Japan Foundation Film Programme, which tours UK and Ireland through February and March. Released in Japan over the Christmas season in 2017, Destiny is a little like Harry Potter, and a little like Ghibli. It’s also like watching several episodes of a cosy TV drama about characters’ daily lives, though several of those characters happen to be ghosts, reincarnated spirits or non-human beings. Continue Reading
We know a lot of you enjoy watching anime on the big screen, and hot on the heels of the exciting news yesterday that Mirai has been nominated for an Oscar, today we want to talk about another film in our catalogue - a film that will be receiving some limited screenings across the UK very soon as part of the annual Japan Foundation Film Touring Programme, that being Penguin Highway.
Some of you may already be aware the film is screening as part of the touring programme thanks to the blog post we published recently putting a focus on various films in the lineup. In case you missed it, give that a read HERE.
Penguin Highway received its UK Premiere last year and those who saw the film came out having thoroughly enjoyed themselves. The Telegraph's review of the film gave it a 4★ rating describing it as "a heart-warming, hormonal mix of Twin Peaks and Studio Ghibli".
Synopsis: “Aoyama is a serious 10 year-old boy who records all of his day-to-day experiences in his notebook. One day in May, penguins inexplicably appear in his home town, despite being located a long way from the sea. When Aoyama sees “Big Sis” – a young woman who works at a dentist’s office – drop a soft drink can which inexplicably turns into a penguin, he decides to investigate and resolve the mystery behind these strange events.
Together with his classmates, Aoyama happens upon a strange phenomena which is surely the key to these goings-on. Will their investigation bear fruit, and just how is “Big Sis” linked to these occurrences?”
This film marks the first feature-length film from animation Studio Colorido (Typhoon Noruda), produced in conjunction with Fuji Television. The film’s story is based on a novel written by Tomihiko Morimi, who you might recognise as the author of Night is Short, Walk on Girl, The Tatami Galaxy and The Eccentric Family, while the movie is directed by an exciting young upcoming director in the form of Hiroyasu Ishida and character designs are provided by Yojiro Arai (whose animation credits include Napping Princess and Flip Flappers).
You can watch a subtitled trailer for the film below -
If you want to read more about the film, have a read of this piece by Jonathan Clements at our blog HERE.
The Japan Foundation Film Touring Programme runs from 2nd February - 28th March and will be screening the Penguin Highway in the following locations -
(Please note that at time of writing not all ticket links are up, so we've linked to the appropriate cinema website in its place.)
*Update: 4th Feb. 2019 - Above updated with booking links for Dundee & Colchester.
If you're able to get to one of these screenings we hope you enjoy yourselves! Make sure you visit the official website of the Japan Foundation Film Touring Programme for details on the complete lineup of films they're screening.
by Andrew Osmond.
And so, it’s finally happened. For the first time ever, an anime feature film which isn’t made by Studio Ghibli has become an official Oscar nominee – namely Mamoru Hosoda’s toddler’s-view fantasy Mirai. As far as most people are concerned, this is the director’s fifth film, following Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Summer Wars, Wolf Children and Boy and the Beast. Pedants can point to the auteur’s prior work in the Digimon and One Piece universes, though arguably Hosoda’s Digimons only became a “feature” when they were shredded and squashed together in the terrible US Digimon – The Movie. That has a princely 25% on Rotten Tomatoes, by the way. Continue Reading