By Andrew Osmond.
The second season of the gay-themed comedy-drama Junjo Romantica comes to Blu-ray this week. If you need a catch-up, then check our previous article introducing the characters and explaining the significance of this “Boys’ Love” series, which was one of the first TV anime to centre on homosexual relationships. Continue Reading
by Paul Browne.
If you’re unfamiliar with the ‘idol pop’ tag, it’s a genre of popular music that’s found its heart in Japan. Often put together by talent agencies, most idol groups feature young women keen to develop their performance and singing skills. Meanwhile, a devoted fanbase fill concert venues swirling their glow sticks (often in the colour of their favourite member) while urging the group to do their best. Groups such as AKB48, Momoiro Clover Z and Babymetal perhaps show the dizzying heights that some idol outfits can aspire to. Continue Reading
Fred Patten, who died yesterday aged 77, was one of the foundational pillars not only of anime fandom in America, but of American anime fandom’s sense of its own history. Graduating with a Masters in Library Science in 1963, Fred was already active in American science fiction fandom when he entered the job market. For much of his career, he led a double life, writing for professional and amateur fanzines and running a comics shop, while also working as a technical manual archivist in El Segundo for the Hughes Aircraft Company.
He first saw Japanese comics at an American convention in 1970, and was hooked. “One of the exhibits had the Japanese manga version of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. by Takao Saito,” he told Jason Thompson, “which was totally different from the American comic book. It went on for about three or four volumes and was very cinematic, and even though I couldn't read Japanese, I could pretty much follow the plot through the pictures....So I went to the Japanese community in Los Angeles, and I not only found that but I discovered all the other manga they had on the shelves.” As early as 1973, he was advertising untranslated manga for sale in the Wonderworld mail order catalogue he ran with Richard Kyle. Continue Reading
By Gianni Simone.
It’s tough being an animator. While Japanese animation is currently having a lot of success both at home and abroad, many anime studios don’t seem to be enjoying the benefits. It is hard to churn out one hit after another while working on a tiny budget, and although most studios manage to barely survive the harsh business conditions and fierce competition, a few of them end up going down for good.
That’s what happened to Manglobe, which filed for bankruptcy in September 2015 after going 550 million yen into the red. At the time, the Tokyo-based studio was working on Genocidal Organ, an adaptation of Project Itoh’s famous SF novel. Genocidal Organ was part of a Project Itoh trilogy, but while the other two films were released on time (by different studios), this one was delayed indefinitely.
Eventually, the film was rescued by producer Koji Yamamoto’s newly founded Geno Studio. For many years, Yamamoto had served as the producer for Fuji TV's famous late-night programming block noitaminA (showcasing such cult anime series as Eden of the East and Anohana) before going independent and establishing Twin Engine in 2014. All the Anime caught up with Mr Yamamtoto at the Toyop International Film Festival. Continue Reading
by Jeremy Clarke.
Despite the bloody implications of its title, Bloody Spear At Mount Fuji (1955) is more like a period road movie, introducing a series of offbeat characters, each in their own unique situation. Whilst Mount Fuji puts in an appearance in the opening frame and in one of the many scenarios on the road, it’s only towards the end that we get a seven-minute fight scene involving a spear and a great deal of blood. Since the fight takes place near barrels of sake which get punctured during the mayhem, a good deal of wine is also spilled. Continue Reading