Scotland Loves Anime 2015

miss-hokusaiPacking my suitcase for this year’s Scotland Loves Anime, which begins on Friday in Glasgow. Keiichi Hara is in town to introduce the UK premiere of his Miss Hokusai, while I shall be fronting the UK premiere of Ryotaro Makihara’s Empire of Corpses, the steampunk epic based on the novel by Project Itoh and Toh Enjoe. I’m also looking forward to Production I.G’s latest Ghost in the Shell (another UK premiere) and the studio’s own self-inflicted competition over the same genre ground in Psycho-Pass: The Movie (which is, in case you hadn’t guessed, a UK premiere).

Behind the scenes, I shall be speaking about the state of the anime industry, both at the Edinburgh Education Day and in a pop-up lecture in Nottingham next Monday. I shall also be chairing the jury in Edinburgh as four opinion-formers argue over the conferral of this year’s Golden Partridge Judges’ Award. Shunji Iwai has a film in competition, and almost everybody is liable to be distracted by the Attack on Titan quadruple-bill (two anime movies and two live-action), but I’ll make sure the jury is in the right place at the right time.

Claudius Bombarnac

002 bombarnacTo the Reform Club on Pall Mall last night, legendary location of Phileas Fogg’s famous bet that he would travel around the world in 80 days, to speak about the Silk Road. I found myself talking about a much less well-known creation of Verne’s, the titular hero of Claudius Bombarnac (1892), a French journalist who travels across the south of the Taklamakan desert on the fictional Transasiatic Express, attended by intrigue, scandal and desert bandits.

Just as Fogg was a celebration of the British Empire in the 1870s, Claudius Bombarnac was a love letter to the orientalist romance of the 1890s, with the Russians and the British duelling over Central Asia and the newfangled concept, introduced only in 1877 by the geographer Ferdinand von Richtofen, that there was such a thing as a “Silk Road” trade route connecting east and west through the deserts of Xinjiang.

To The Light House


I’m off to Dublin this weekend for the Japanese Film Festival at the Light House Cinema, which will be showing the first two Berserk movies, Kenji Kamiyama’s 009 RE: Cyborg, Goro Miyazaki’s From Up on Poppy Hill, the game-based Ace Attorney and the manga-based Thermae Romae, among many others. I shall be introducing a few of the films and interviewing Anime Ltd’s Andrew Partridge onstage after the 009 screening.