Her Blue Sky

“The band’s first performance is sure to put goose-bumps on the skin of Japanese (and British) viewers of a certain age. For old-timers like me, and anyone else who saw the NHK TV show Monkey on BBC re-runs or Blu-ray in the years since, the opening bars of Godiego’s ‘Gandhara’ are unmistakeable, along with its doleful yearning for an unattainable utopia, tying it directly to the concerns of the film.”

Over at All the Anime, I write up Mari Okada’s Her Blue Sky.

Jury Notes

“And thereby hangs a tale, not least the Festival Jury Chairman wondering if he is going to be dropped through the trap door into the piranha tank, after the odds-on favourite, Makoto Shinkai’s Weathering With You, was consigned to second place at Scotland Loves Anime 2019, pipped at the post by an outside contender about a surfer girl and her lost love.”

Over at All the Anime, I discuss the perils and pitfalls of festival jury voting.

Scotland Loves Anime 2020

So the brochure for Scotland Loves Anime 2020 is live online, and includes Works-in-Progress pieces on anime in production, online screenings of Japanese films, two actual screenings in real cinemas (remember them?), as well as me delivering an exclusive feature-length commentary track on Makoto Shinkai’s Weathering With You, not available on the Blu-ray.

The festival is included in the package for anyone who already subscribes to Screen Anime, but there’s still time to sign up for some of the extras available to crowdfund backers, including a full-sized festival poster, a hard copy of the festival brochure, and a package of posh films to watch at home. Note, as well, that two third of the money from the crowd-fund is being donated directly to the cinemas in Glasgow and Edinburgh that would have screened these films for paying audiences if circumstances had allowed.

On-Gaku: Our Sound

“Not since Makoto Shinkai’s debut has there been quite such an emphasis on self-starting, go-getting amateurs. The original manga on which the film is based was a 2005 self-published work by Hiroyuki Ohashi – in fact, the ‘complete’ edition, on which this film is supposedly based, was not released until the film itself was finished last autumn. The creator started a crowd-funding campaign to adapt the work into an animated film, on which director Iwaisawa toiled, often solo, for seven years. Of the 40,000 drawings that span the film’s 71-minute running time, most are Iwaisawa’s work – he is billed as director, animation director, screenwriter and editor, and presumably also made the tea and took out the bins.”

Over at All the Anime, I write up the doggedly indie On-Gaku.

Lupin III the First

Over at All the Anime, I write up Takashi Yamazaki’s CG feature Lupin III the First, which will be having its UK premiere at Scotland Loves Anime next month.

“With its unlikely caper, in which a feisty archaeologist outwits comedy Nazis, Lupin the First owes a strong debt to the Indiana Jones films, particularly The Last Crusade, which similarly finishes with a mismatched team of raiders trying to break into a trap-ridden site with the aid of a cryptic diary, and Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, which also features a booby-trapped American McGuffin…. But Lupin the First remains an incredibly accomplished work of computer animation, prancing along a tense tightrope between live-action and cartoon, and largely succeeding in propelling Lupin III into the 21st century, even as it clings so firmly to the look and feel of the 20th.”

Jury Service

Over at the All the Anime podcast, I appear in my role as the jury chairman for the Golden Partridge award in the tenth Scotland Loves Anime film festival. Tune in to hear judges Freya Allan, Michael Doig, Jack Liang, and India Swift defending their decision not to confer the prize on the festival favourite, Weathering with You, but on Masaaki Yuasa’s outside contender Ride Your Wave.

  • 00:00:00 – Jeremy’s intro before the intro
  • 00:02:18 – Show begins proper, introductions, etc
  • 00:07:13 – Ride Your Wave discussion
  • 00:17:57 – Children of the Sea discussion
  • 00:34:10 – Talk with Andrew Partridge on how the festival has been
  • 00:58:33 – Birthday Wonderland discussion
    01:15:00 – Weathering with You discussion
  • 01:36:33 – How the judges voted
  • 01:44:15 – Experiences of being a judge
  • 01:52:47 – outro, plugs for projects, etc
  • 01:54:14 – Jeremy’s outro after the outro.
  • 01:55:15 [END]

For those interesting in examining the process in earlier years, you can find several previous jury deliberations at the website, including the bunfight over Penguin Highway in 2018, pre-festival discussions in 2017, and the post-festival deliberations in 2017, Your Name versus Silent Voice in 2016, and adventures in filth in 2015. A couple of earlier festival-related podcasts were recorded under the auspices of Manga Entertainment, and no longer seem to be online.

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.