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.

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.

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.

The Trouble with Budori Gusuco

Over at All the Anime, I write up the path to the screen of Kenji Miyazawa:

“It is difficult to overstate the impact of the author Kenji Miyazawa (1896-1933) on Japanese literature, and anime. He was still in his thirties when he died, a largely unknown poet living in provincial obscurity, and only really read outside local newspapers after the publication of a Complete Works a decade later. In the post-war period, which saw most of the Japanese school curriculum bleached and purged of any authors with wartime associations, Miyazawa’s gentle, pastoral tales, suffused with Buddhist imagery, swiftly took root, becoming the set books of an entire generation of schoolchildren.”

Scotland Loves Anime 2018

I’m back home from ten days of guest wrangling, crowd control, film-pushing and jury slapping at Scotland Loves Anime, which had a wonderful ninth year. As is becoming traditional, a round-up of the jury deliberations has been released as a podcast, in order to give the public an insight into the kind of arguments and positions involved in selecting a single winner. Jurors Roxy Simons, Kim Morrissy, Callum May and Almar Haflidason had to deal with the trade-off between immediate, gut reaction (which snagged the Audience Award for the weepy I Want to Eat Your Pancreas), versus a more objective, considered assessment (which left Penguin Highway with the Golden Partridge, controversially beating Mamoru Hosoda’s acclaimed Mirai).

Trainspotting

Ahead of the European premiere of Eureka 7: Hi-Evolution 1, director Tomoki Kyoda pokes at his posh-nosh gnocchi with a fork. The Michelin-recommended hotel is a far cry from the Scotland he saw in certain movies, one of which supplied the name of his lead character.

“Originally Renton was a place-holder name I just lifted it from a film I liked. I figured I would go back and change it sometime. But then the production got so integrated into rave music, and people kept calling him Renton. In fact, the working title for a long time was Renton 7. Eureka just kind of stuck.

He confesses to me that he is worried he should admit such things to a Scottish audience. “Won’t they be insulted that I have stolen something from them?” he frets. No, I say, they will love it. This is, after all the same Scotland Loves Anime festival that was once celebrated in a notorious cartoon that pastiched the “Choose Life” speech from Trainspotting, delivered by a figure in a kilt backed up by a Braveheart-era Mel Gibson riding a giant mutant haggis.

Ten years on from Eureka 7’s original airing in Japan, Kyoda is overseeing a film trilogy that re-cuts and augments the original, taking it off in a very different direction, much like the Evangelion movies. Some things, however, remain the same. “In the original, I wanted to give 2D animators the chance to do fighting robots. Everyone only ever wanted 3D work, and I felt that the industry was losing a particular skillset.” A decade later, he is more concerned about the disappearance of a different echelon of talent.

“The thing that amazed me about the Tohoku Earthquake was how little it affected the business. The studios managed to keep running. We outsource so much work these days that Japan can suffer all sorts of issues and just keep rolling. But we rely so heavily on the overseas in-betweeners that we couldn’t function without them. If you want to know what shuts down the Japanese animation industry these days, it’s a national holiday in China.

“So, anyway, the first thing I did when I got to Scotland is I dragged everybody down to Edinburgh. I got them to take my pictures as I ran along Princes Street, and down those steps (they’re not where you think they are, you know), and banged into a car. I went and found that bridge from the film. I was like a Trainspotting tourist.”

“Did you try and score any heroin?” I ask.

“No,” he says.

This article first appeared in NEO 170, 2017. Eureka 7: Hi-Evolution 1 is released in the UK by Anime Limited on 27th August 2018.

Hear Me Now

I feature in two podcasts up recently on AlltheAnime. One is the pre-Scotland Loves Anime interview, in which I talk about the politics of hosting Japanese guests, and libel a bunch of industry figures while discussing their peccadilloes. Then, a week later, I appear at the jury chairman in the big jury hoedown, when festival judges Amelia Cook, Rayna Denison and Elliot Page discuss the four films in competition.

Hear Me Now

silent-voiceOver at All the Anime on their monthly podcast, I appear in my role as jury chairman on the awards committee for Scotland Loves Anime, in discussion with members of this year’s panel: Eric Beckman from Gkids and the New York International Children’s Film Festival, Anna Francis from the distributor National Amusements, and Miles Thomas from Crunchyroll. The fourth and final juror, Shelley Page from DreamWorks, was off climbing a hill in Edinburgh.

Discussion includes the four films under consideration: Kingsglaive, Momotaro — Sacred Sailors, A Silent Voice and Your Name, alongside the likely damage that Mods can cause to international sales, the rise and rise of Makoto Shinkai and the tropes of “disability” drama.

Listeners with an interest in what goes on behind the scenes at film festivals can also check out podcasts from earlier years. Highlights include Justin Sevakis and a NSFW digression on hentai in 2015, Gemma Cox on writing about women in anime in 2014, and Hugh David on film and video restoration in 2013.