Ten Years of Scotland Loves Anime

Over at the All the Anime website, I chronicle a decade of faces and happenings at the Scotland Loves Anime Film Festival, including all the things that press listed it as more interesting than: Snoop Dogg, the Abu Dhabi camel races, and a porridge-making competition in Aviemore.

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Mamare Touno

Over at the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, I write up the author Mamare Touno, whose work is catnip to any reader who enjoys watching attractive redheads enact policies of social reform.

Maōyū… begins where most stories end with the confrontation of a human hero and a demon overlord at the culmination of a fifteen-year war. The characters, however, recognize that they have more in common than a simplified account of their conflict might allow, and join forces in to remove the inequalities that led their peoples to fight in the first place.”

Glasgow Loves Anime

Here in Glasgow for the first leg of Scotland Loves Anime, which kicked off for me last night by talking myself hoarse at the Hogwarts-like university, detailing some of the gossip and scandal from the Japanese fantasy scene. For those who were there and interested in following up some of the strands discussed, I spoke about some of the machinations at Studio Ghibli, the very different careers of Motoko Arai and Hiroshi Yamamoto, the uses and abuses of the work of Kenji Miyazawa, as well as the Persian diversion of Yoshiki Tanaka, the Martian sidequels of Hitoshi Yoshioka, and Tomihiko Morimi‘s love of Kyoto.

Thank you to Rob Maslen of the School of Critical Studies for inviting me along, and for all those students who laughed along with me at some of the misfortunes of Japanese authors, particularly as regarding discovering that all their characters had been turned into cats. And for those of you in the audience who wanted to look at my doctoral thesis, you can read it here.

Kugane Maruyama

Over at the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, I write up Kugane Maruyama, creator of the Overlord series, which “…artfully captures the mindset of the generation raised on Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games, not merely in its distraction from the everyday, preoccupied with dramatic events in unseen online worlds, but the risks and hazards to an individual’s moral compass presented by the prospect of power and riches in a realm seemingly devoid of consequences.”

Human Lost

Over at All the Anime, I write up Fuminori Kizaki’s Human Lost, a distaff sci-fi adaptation of Osamu Dazai’s No Longer Human.

“The year… is ‘Showa 111’ – playfully extending Emperor Hirohito’s imperial era as far as the year 2036. But does this mean that this anime takes place in a world where the Showa Emperor has been ruling for 111 years? Is Hirohito still on the Chrysanthemum Throne, a wizened, cyber-emperor in his thirteenth decade, sustained by dark technologies and underhand upgrades?”

Birthday Wonderland

“The story is famous, not only for its critical acclaim and awards nods, but because it was considered by Hayao Miyazaki as his next movie project in 1998. When Miyazaki put the idea aside and went on to make the thematically similar Spirited Away instead, Kashiwaba’s illustrator Kozaburo Takekawa publicly accused the Studio Ghibli director of plagiarism.” Ahead of Birthday Wonderland’s UK premiere next month at Scotland Loves Anime, I write it up for All the Anime.