Glocal Heroes

hb3linruc6cl024irwsmWith a press release cunningly put out in silly season, when all the real journalists are still only struggling back from vacation, August’s announcement that Tom Cruise was going to get a J3C Award managed to make it onto a lot of news sites desperate for something that didn’t involve shootings or revolutions.

The 2nd Japan Cool Content Contribution Awards, to give them their full name, seem to be a Hollywood-based feather-stroking exercise by JETRO and METI, two Japanese government bodies with a vested interest in fostering overseas industry ties. They’re doled out at the Tinseltown consulate, and seem designed to point the eyes of the press at those media splashes that have some sort of connection to Japan. Tom Cruise, of course, has recently starred and produced in Edge of Tomorrow, the inanely retitled but rather fun adaptation of Hiroshi Sakurazaka’s novel All You Need is Kill. Another award is going to Doug Liman, producer of the Godzilla remake.

Wait, there was a 1st J3C awards? In 2013 the gongs were handed out to Tim Heroes Kring, presumably for creating the character of teleporting time-traveller Hiro Nakamura, Don Murphy, the producer of Transformers, and Vicki Shigekuni Wong, who produced Hachi, the Richard Gere vehicle about an abandoned dog.

J3C is an interesting restatement of a topic that this column has monitored for the last five years – Japan’s ever-increasing belief in and, indeed, reliance on the power of its intellectual property to earn money overseas. It’s been eight years since Peak Anime in 2006, but initiatives like J-LOP (NEO #123) continue to push Japanese comics, novels, games and movies as blue-chip rough diamonds, waiting to be honed into globally-locally acceptable jewels.

This won’t come as news to any NEO reader. Media splashes with a connection to Japan comprise most of the content of this magazine in any month, but J3C seems to have a more ardent purpose, to remind Hollywood that Japanese intellectual property is a powerful, world-beating commodity that really deserves their attention. A cynic might suggest that they have been inaugurated just as Hollywood’s attention has turned away from Japan to the potential of a market with one billion pairs of eyes – stop looking at China! Look back at us!

Jonathan Clements is the author of Anime: A History. This article first appeared in NEO 129, 2014.

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The Left Side of the Beast

Gossip galore in Manga UK’s 17th podcast… or should that be ON our 17th podcast

podcastJeremy Graves and Jerome Mazandarani (with Jonathan Clements of Schoolgirl Milky Crisis joining from the interwebs) are on hand to discuss new releases, upcoming releases, behind-the-scenes gossip, and a whole bunch of topics from Tom Cruise to the Tibet Code in our latest podcast, available to download now.

00:00 Jeremy’s grovelling apology for audio issues that probably only exist in his head.

01:00 Reasons why Jonathan Clements is like Jack Reacher, none of which anyone believes. Jerome’s claim that 1990s fashions are coming back, and celebrations of thirteen years married to Mrs Jerome.

03:20 Horizon in/on the Middle of Nowhere, and translation issues arising. So much anguish over one bloody preposition, leading to cancelled printing runs, recalled designs, and a run-in with the BBFC. The politics of advanced information sheets at film fairs, and the dangers of being the poor sod who has to translate them. The bad old days of the “spotting list”.

17:00 Jerome’s interest in the animated film based on George Akiyama’s Asura.

19:00 And we finally, officially start, with news that Andrew Hewson has sold his mum into white slavery in Marrakesh. Shopping recommendations in Perth for all of our… dozens of Western Australian listeners.

21:00 New releases since our last podcast, including Naruto Shippuden Box Set 12, Mardock Scramble: Second Combustion, Code Geass Season 2, FMA Conqueror Of Shamballa on BD, FMA Movie Double Pack on BD, Oblivion Island, Persona 4 Box 2, Redakai Vol.1, Okami-san & Her Seven Companions, Nura Rise Of The Yokai Clan, Loups=Garous, Fractale, King of Thorn and Tiger & Bunny Vol.2. And a shout-out to HMV, still fighting the bricks-and-mortar corner on a high street hopefully near you.

Redakai-1.jpg25:00 Redakai crops up in Asda, and Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn, coming out on the 27th May, and Warhammer 40K: Ultramarines coming soon, and Jerome’s man-love for Sean Pertwee.

28:00 Another plug for Supernatural the Anime series, coming from Warners and exclusive to Amazon UK on 27th May.

31:00 Upcoming Manga UK releases 29th April: Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood Vol.3 on Bluray; 6th May: Penguin Drum Part 1 on DVD; 13th May: Street Fighter II The Movie on Bluray,; Dragonball Z Season 7, Bleach Complete Series 10 on DVD and the sub-only releases of Black Rock Shooter on DVD; 20th May: K-On! Season 2 Part 1 on DVD, Hellsing Ultimate 5-8 on DVD and Bluray, and an announcement of something else. No, wait, it’s not an announcement. As you were.

cat_planet_cuties.jpg33:00 Cat Planet Cuties delayed till 8th July, because of a subtitling issue, with a bonus explanation of the difference between NTSC and PAL. The pitfalls of screening anime without watching them first, as confessed by Jerome.

38:40 Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood Complete Blu-ray box, will now be appearing in a slightly different format, due to matters beyond our control.

44:00 A Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex blu-ray box set – is it possible, and how much would people pay for it? Is £35 too much…?

48:00 Jonathan reports on Dublin’s Japanese Film Festival, and why so many Japanese people turned up to watch the films.

tibet_code_10.jpg53:00 Oriental DreamWorks announces that it’s doing The Tibet Code as its first live-action film in China; we discuss what it is about and why it could be a whole new can of worms regarding author He Ma, and allegations over the casting. Iron Man 3 and Skyfall and their odd Chinese sequences.

63:00 Tom Cruise options Yukikaze; although the anime is not available in the UK, you can order yourself the original novel in English right now!

67:00 Guillermo del Toro options Naoki Urasawa’s Monster.

72:00. Ask Manga UK. A list of titles that listeners would like to see in the UK, and Jerome dodging giving straight answers to a bunch of them.

76:00 What determines which shows get a Blu-ray release? It’s all about commerciability, which is apparently a word.

80:00 What is your favourite special feature on DVDs?

83:00 What’s the chance of seeing Naruto Shippuden Movie 3: The Will of Fire?

84:00 Do you think the time from Japanese air-date to DVD release in English is too slow…?

90:00 And we’re done.

The Podcast is available to download now HERE, 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.