Sub vs Dublin

Back now from Dublin, where I’ve been at the Irish Film Institute Anime Weekend. Festivities kicked off for me before I was even off the plane, when my neighbour turned out to be a man from Ghana who wanted to know about intellectual property rights. On Saturday morning, I taught a workshop on the way that anime are constructed, with special reference to the Introduction to Anime Screenwriting by Jinzo Toriumi. This is just one of several books by old-school anime writers that are used to teach the next generation in Japan how it all works — they make for very illuminating discussions with an audience of marketers, curators and students curious about what makes anime tick.

The rest of the weekend was taken up with screenings, including the European premiere of Gundam Unicorn, and the Irish premieres of Summer Wars and Evangelion 2.0. I found myself on panels talking about, among other things, the career of Yusaku Matsuda, the uses of a naginata, the corporate structure of the Yomiuri Group, and the history of “breast dynamics” at Studio Gainax. And I found myself signing copies of the Anime Encyclopedia, Schoolgirl Milky Crisis, and even Beijing: The Biography of a City. In a very 21st century touch, I also got to sit in the bar and watch the Manga UK Twitter feed as Jerome Mazandarani explored Tokyo for the first time. Me in an Irish bar, reading live about the adventures of an Australian man on a Japanese toilet.

Meanwhile, Dublin was full of people who had come to watch rugby, which is apparently one of those mainstream situations where cosplay is considered acceptable, so although a number of anime fans had dressed up as cartoon characters, if I walked out of the cinema, I would find a street full of men in kilts and/or painted blue, to the extent that Temple Bar often looked like a low-budget sequel to Avatar.

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Unicorns & Cannonballs

I’ll be in Dublin on the 20th-21st March for the second Irish Film Institute Anime Weekend, which will include screenings of Evangelion 1.11, Evangelion 2.0, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Summer Wars, Gundam: Unicorn, and Blood: The Last Vampire. I’ll be introducing some of the films and doing a panel or two, one of which is sure to involve Hugh David (ex of ADV Films), Andrew Partridge (Beez Entertainment) and I smacking chairs over each other’s heads and arguing about the future of anime. I’m also conducting a seminar about the way Japanese animation is put together, using the ideas employed by the late Jinzo Toriumi in educating an entire generation of anime screenwriters. If you are an Irish anime fan (or a student who wants to book one of the limited places available on the seminar), you might want to keep that weekend free. And yes, I am always happy to sign copies of Schoolgirl Milky Crisis — someone in Glasgow last week asked me if I’d mind! Good God, I can’t sign enough of them.

Details of the weekend and/or seminars aren’t up at the IFI website yet, but I know they’re printing their March brochure, so they should be soon. Watch that space.