Your Name is the highest-grossing anime feature ever, knocking Spirited Away to the number two spot. Tofugu has a feature story about Your Name, which includes an interview with director Makoto Shinkai.
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Without giving too much of the twist away, let's just say the film arcs from the careless fantasy of Freaky Friday to the sci-fi esoterica of Sense8 after Taki's impactful revelation. It's a surprising plus that Your Name invites comparisons to such a broad spread of body-swapping, mind-melding fiction at different turns. Even when venturing into stranger territory, it keeps a brisk pace and a spring in its step – exploring deep thoughts without brooding on them.
Tofugu (where my wife Carla is exec editor) has a great article about the 20 best anime movies not made by Studio Ghibli (Totoro, Spirited Away).
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Often times, "anime" is defined by its lack of motion. Redline punches this "limited animation" concept in its motionless face. It's easily the busiest, most overstimulating animated film we've ever seen.
A daredevil speedster named JP enters the Redline, a high-stakes, weaponized space race that nearly took his life. But first, he's gotta get back into racing shape to challenge the best in the universe with pure speed and guts. Along his comeback trail, JP meets Cherry-Boy Hunter, a young female competitor who unearths old memories. Can JP return to form in time for the Redline? Is Cherry-Boy Hunter friend or foe? Can JP survive the intergalactic conspiracy that saturates the race?
Sure, Redline's plot plays like a giant stone soup of anime tropes: space, vehicles, aliens, and giant pompadours. Check, check, and check. The film took seven years and 100,000 hand drawings to create, all that hard work paid off. Down to its pop-art presentation, Redline is anime pulp fiction at its best. What it lacks in depth, it makes up for with an adrenaline-fueled circus of speed and action.
Legendary animator Hayao Miyazaki "fails at retirement again," writes Amid Amidi. He's taking the helm again at Studio Ghibli to direct a new full-length feature film, Boro the Caterpillar.
The news of Miyazaki’s pending return to feature film was the subject of an entire NHK TV special that aired in Japan on Sunday: Owaranai Hito Miyazaki Hayao (The Man Who Is Not Done: Hayao Miyazaki). In the show, Miyazaki not only discussed his current project—a 12-minute CG animated short Kemushi no Boro (Boro the Caterpillar) that will debut at the Ghibli Museum in 2017—but floated plans for a follow-up feature film.
Miyazaki is 76 and evidently far from done; the infamous quote often attributed to him in the image accompanying this post is deliberately mistranslated from a more nuanced, but no less damning statement:
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Almost all Japanese animation is produced with hardly any basis taken from observing real people, you know. It’s produced by humans who can’t stand looking at other humans. And that’s why the industry is full of otaku!.
Drew Mackie's video above, remixing the homoerotic glory of 80's anime Saint Seiya, is your shot. Meg Elison's short story at McSweeney's, "If women wrote men the way men write women", is your chaser. (Previously) Read the rest
What if UNO were rebooted? JelloApocalypse's If UNO Was An Anime gives the mundane classic all the hackneyed tropes and stock characters of card game tie-in toons. Read the rest
Imagine a mix of modern animation and 1960s marionette show Thunderbirds and you still won't quite capture how awesome Thunderbolt Fantasy is. It's an example of glove puppetry, a form of folk art dating back centuries.
Set in an Eastern fantasy setting, Dān Fěi and her brother, guardians of a sword known as the Tiān Xíng Jiàn, are pursued by the evil Xuán Guǐ Zōng clan, who seek to obtain the sword for their master, Miè Tiān Hái. While her brother is defeated, Fěi, who possesses the sword's crossguard, manages to escape off a cliff.
The full series is on crunchyroll. Read the rest
San Diego Comic-Con International has concluded for 2016, but these amazing photos of dedicated cosplayers at the event will live on.
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Mansun, who blogs at Omocoro.jp, constructed an "auto licking machine" to lick cartoon girls. [via] Read the rest
Republican strategist Rick Wilson, appearing on MSNBC, spoke thusly last night of the online contingent of Trump's racist, sexist support base: "childless single men who masturbate to anime".
The growing association between the Alt Right and anime (previously: how anime avatars became a warning) is pretty weird, isn't it?
The "sociology" seems obvious—a generation of angry, badly-socialized adolescent men letting their nerddom and sexuality curdle in public—but that's the too-easy answer.
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Jen Yamato of The Daily Beast describes Belladonna of Sadness (Kanashimi no Belladonna) from 1973 as a "long-forgotten X-rated psychedelic animation gem about one woman’s violation, persecution, and sexual awakening produced over four decades ago by the makers of Astro Boy." Read about the film here and watch the NSFW "psychedelic orgy of sexual liberation explode" in the clip above.
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Now Belladonna of Sadness has been brought to vivid new life by a group of L.A.-based cineastes who have given the 1973 gem a 4K restoration and added eight minutes of explicit footage back in. After its unveiling late last week at Austin’s Fantastic Fest, Belladonna will be released stateside for the first time next year.
The stunning rediscovery, adapted by anime veteran Eiichi Yamamoto more than 40 years ago from Jules Michelet’s 19th century French proto-feminist text La Sorciere, tells the tragic tale of a blissfully happy peasant bride in feudal France.
Having watched Attack on Titan, I enjoyed this video of a live action fight over a slice of pizza at a party, edited anime-style. Every line of dialogue is delivered as a seething throaty whisper or a confused angry shout. There are close-ups of throbbing eyeballs and trembling fists. One second glimpses of complex infographics. Slow camera sweeps over static scenes. They nailed it.
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The opening screen of Capsule Force feels ripped from the intro to an anime series: a series of stars pinging out a catchy melody in the sky like a series of shining bells. It's a retrofuturistic battle game that wears its love of 1980s space anime on its sleeve, inspired partly by the aesthetics of shows like Macross, Dirty Pair and Galaxy Express 999.
The year is 1999, and the human race is embroiled in an intergalactic war where entire galaxies have been captured in capsules, Pokemon style. Bounty hunters hired by various Earth factions are fighting for control of various galactic capsules, and that's where you—and your friends—come in.
The game's 2-to-4 player multiplayer battles pit two teams of anime bounty hunters—Emi and Jet, or Nova and "Z"—against each other to shoot it out with Mega Man-style arm cannons and defend themselves with shield bubbles. The point isn't to kill each other, however, but to successfully ride a tram horizontally across the multi-screen level in your team's direction, and claim a precious galactic capsule.
The battles are fast and chaotic, and there's a sense of lightness to the way you move. Although gravity can still pull you down, this is a game where you spend a lot of time floating; you can fling yourself into the air by shooting your weapons at your feet, or suspend yourself in the air indefinitely at any time by charging it, which also gives you time to aim before unleashing a laser blast. Read the rest
In the anime and cosplay space, fandom and identity intersect for black fans in interesting ways, and a new interview series spotlights their experiences.
My 12-year-old daughter Jane introduced my wife and me to Attack on Titan. It's a Japanese comic book and animated cartoon series by Hajime Isayama about a war between the last few remaining people on Earth and the creepy giant humanoids who want to eat them. I havn't read the manga like Jane has, but my wife and I enjoyed watching the animated series on Netflix. Attack on Titan is coming to the big screen, and a trailer with English subtitles was recently released.
I think it looks good, but Jane and her friends don't like it. They especially don't like the way the character Armen is portrayed. In the manga and anime, Armen is a sweet, brilliant mophead. In the movie, he's a tough guy with a buzzcut. That's a shame, because Armen's gentle demeanor and wisdom is important in the manga and anime. Changing his character into a badass warrior seems like the wrong move, but I'm still looking forward to watching it when it comes to Imax theaters. It'll be released in two parts, with the first installment screening on August first. I don't think it will be too difficult to convince Jane to come with me.
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"The future is not a straight line. It is filled with many crossroads." Read the rest
For years I thought I had imagined this movie from my childhood. But there it is, on YouTube! This amazing piece of work fostered my love of classical mythology and anime.
Originally called "Metamorphoses" in Japan, "Winds of Change" was released in the United States in 1979. An animated retelling of stories from Roman poet Ovid, it is set to music by Joan Baez and Mick Jagger (with supplemental disco from Pattie Brooks), and narrated by Peter Ustinov.
I need offer no further recommendation. Read the rest
Legendary voice actor and artist Sonny Strait spotted this outside the offices of Funimation
in Flower Mound, Texas. Read the rest