Little Drummer Girl

Ricchantainakaritsu3045420119201200You might not recognise Satomi Satou in the street, but you have heard her voice. She’s probably got the most attention in the UK as Wendy Marvell, the 12-year-old dragon slayer in Fairy Tail, but Satou has played literally scores of anime roles since her 2009 debut in Kamichama Karin. A lot of them have been kids – she has the kind of voice that still sounds childlike, which is prized like gold-dust in anime voice acting, because producers can get a junior performance from someone without having to worry about making the kids stay up late for that 2am recording session.

She was also Ritsu Tainaka, the short-haired, forgetful drummer in K-On, an anime series about an afterschool rock band. She’s taken the usual anime starlet route of idol-singing and public appearances, so the K-On songs have stayed with her repertoire, alongside her own songs – her solo singing career has taken off in the last year… Now she’s graduated to full-on pop star status, with her very own stalker, 39-year-old Jun Yasumoto from Osaka, arrested on 25th July by the police because he threatened to hurt her at her next concert. On Twitter.

I’m guessing this is why the Japanese media seem to have thrown innocent-until-proven-guilty out the window, and are happy to report his identity before he’s even made it in front of a judge. While Twitter might feel like you’re thumbing around with your phone and mouthing off to your mates, it can be inconveniently public and traceable if you are planning on, you know, making any death threats in a cheap real-life knock-off of Perfect Blue.

Another day, another nutter giving anime fans a bad name, although this one is going to have extra traction over here. Back when the movie was debuting in the UK, I went ten rounds with one of K-On’s producers over the amount of access to the director. We practically had a three-day fight about it, with me demanding Q&A’s with actual questions and actual answers, and him trying to micro-manage every single moment. He wanted every event to be little more than a curtain call with a homily, and had conniptions at the thought of members of the audience actually being able to interact with the guests. I said he was over-reacting and paranoid. Now I’m looking at my inbox every couple of minutes, wondering when I’m going to get the “I told you so” email.

I shall continue trying to make anime events actual events rather than glorified identity parades, but really, fandom, you don’t make it easy for me. Or for Satomi Satou.

Jonathan Clements is the author of Anime: A History. This article first appeared in NEO 141, 2015.

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Festivals and Preserving Film

The Manga UK podcast is back for its ninth episode, in which Jeremy Graves heads for Glasgow to talk with Andrew Partridge of Scotland Loves Anime, Hugh David, formerly of ADV Films, and Jonathan Clements of Schoolgirl Milky Crisis about film festivals, Japanese premieres and the drama of bringing old television shows back to life.

01:00 What does Scotland Loves Anime have to do with swans? The perils of scheduling a film premiere only three days after the Japanese finish making it. Includes the terms: “human playthings”, “community” and “Volkswagen.”

07:00 Last week’s Edinburgh University symposium on soft power and Cool Japan last week, and the controversial revelations of Shinji Oyama. 15:00 The Glasgow Film Theatre and the atmosphere therein. Comparisons with Fright Fest and Sci-Fi London. Takashi Miike and Ace Attorney. Hidden messages in K-on. Includes the words “can of worms,” “transvestites,” and “dog poo.”

egg_of_the_king.jpg27:00 The Judge’s Award and jury management. The long-term effects of Anime UK magazine. The Berserk movies, worldbuilding and fantasy adaptations. K-on the Movie and the spectacle of London. Naoko Yamada and the research that went into the film. Includes the words “bummed,” “balloons” and “retro-Nazi mutants.”

40:00 Hugh David, formerly of ADV Films, discusses the trials and tribulations of film restoration at Network DVD. The phasing-out of film and its impact on archives and retrospectives. Why has there never been a dub of the original Gunbuster? Why do archivists put tapes in the oven? Macross Plus and its unexpected function as an ashtray. Censored footage in Rock & Roll Cop and From Russia With Love. Shooting “day for night” and the colour-timing of James Bond movies. Includes the words “electrodes,” “sympathy” and “Nigella.”

61:00 Ask Manga UK. Twinings Tea adverts and their role in anime history. Hiroyuki Yamaga’s advice on becoming a film director. The unlikely connection between Goodfellas and Schindler’s List. An unexpected appearance by Jeremy’s boss Jerome Mazandarani (or is it…?). The resale value of digital media. Include the words “Hitler,” “iTunes,” and “daggers.”

Available to download now, or find it and an archive of previous shows at our iTunes page. For a detailed contents listing of previous podcasts, check out our Podcasts page.