Battle Angel (OVA)

BattleAngelOVABattle Angel (銃夢 / Ganmu [Gunnm] / lit. “Weapon dream”) compiles two OVAs released in Japan in June and August 1993. An English subtitled version was released by A.D. Vision on VHS in September 1993 and on DVD (with both dubbed and subtitled versions) in December 1999. The first OVA, “Rusty Angel”, introduces us to Gally and Scrapcity, and tells of the combat against Grewcica. The second OVA, “Tears Sign”, focuses on her friendship with Yugo and his dream to get to Zalem. [It was reviewed in PA #27: 37]

For the early 90s the quality of the animation was excellent, but unfortunately it looks disappointing by today’s standards. It still looks good though and offers excellent production value (nice storytelling and music soundtrack). However, one point that really bothers me is the editing which annoyingly and constantly cut the action to switch to scenes with other characters and then to cut back into the action.

The storytelling succeeds to condense the first part of the manga into two 25-minute OVAs and still manage to smooth the story so it is easier to understand. The manga had the advantage to have several graphic novels to tell the story (the first OVA covers the first volume and half, while the second tell the story up to the end of the third volume). The numerous battles  — which felt a little sketchy and tedious on paper — look much more realistic and entertaining in the animation (although the Alita live-action movies does an even better job at rendering the battle sequences). Lastly, the anime has a better success in giving life and expressing the emotions of the characters. It makes the drama much more tangible.

It is a nice anime that deserves to be seen. Unfortunately, it seems to be difficult to find now-a-day. Hopefully, with the success of the movie, it will be released again on DVD.

Battle Angel : Japan, 1993, 2 x 25 mins.; Dir.: Hiroshi Fukutomi; Scr.: Akinori Endō (based on Yukito Kishiro’s manga); Art Dir.: Hidematsu Kaneko; Char. Des.: Nobuteru Yuki; Anim. Dir.: Nobuteru Yuki & Futoshi Fujikawa; Phot.: Hitoshi Yamaguchi; Ed.: Yukiko Ito & Satoshi Terauchi; Music: Kaoru Wada; Studio: Madhouse; Jap. Cast: Kappei Yamaguchi (Yugo), Miki Itō (Gally), Shunsuke Kariya (Dr. Daisuke Ido). stars-3-0

To learn more about this title you can consult the following web sites:

[ ANNAmazonGoogleIMDbWikipedia ]

I have recently also commented on the Gunnm / Alita manga and the live-action movie.

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Capsules

Fantasia 2019

Fantasia-2019-bannerThe 23rd edition of the Fantasia International Film Festival, the top genre film festival in North America, will be held (mostly) at the Concordia Théâtre Hall from July 11 to August 1st 2019. The festival will open with Hideo Nakata latest movie, Sadako. It will also showcase over an hundred feature films & shorts in horror, sci-fi or fantasy genres and many filmmakers and actors will be attending to introduce their production — including Yamamoto Kiyoshi (Director of Brave Father Online – Our Story of Final Fantasy XIV), Yaguchi Shinobu & Kanekoa Ryon (director and producer of Dance with me), Makoto Tezuka (dir. of The Legend of the Stardust Brothers), Takahiro Umehara (dir. & writer for Moon in the hidden woods), Nao Yoshighai (retrospective), Oshiyama Kiyotaka (dir. of the short Shishigari) and Keita Amemiya (dir. of Garo and speaker of the Master Class on Wed July 31, 2019 7:00 PM at the York Amphitheatre). Tickets will be available at Concordia’s box office and online starting July 6th.

Movies from all over the world will be presented (including five from China, five from Hong Kong, twenty-four from South Korea and two from Taiwan), but here we are interested mostly in the forty-five production from Japan:

Anime

Live-Action

This year there’s lots of horror and lots of shorts, many anime and a few titles to watch closely (like Human Lost, The Relative worlds, Garo, Gintama 2, and The island of cats).

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Mirai

Mirai-jpFrom acclaimed director Mamoru Hosoda (Wolf Children) comes a daringly original story of love passed down through generations. When four-year-old Kun meets his new baby sister, his world is turned upside down. Named Mirai (meaning “future”), the baby quickly wins the hearts of Kun’s entire family. Kun becomes increasingly jealous of her, until one day he storms off into the garden, where he encounters strange guests from the past and future – including his sister Mirai, as a teenager. Together, Kun and Mirai go on a journey through time and space, uncovering their family’s incredible story, in this magical and emotionally soaring adventure about the ties that bring families together and make us who we are.” (From Universal website)

Mirai (未来のミライ / Mirai no Mirai / lit. “Mirai of the Future”) is a beautiful story about good parenting and loving our siblings or family. Kun is a young boy who is jealous of his newborn sister Mirai. However, the genealogical tree that sits in the courtyard of their small house in Yokohama shows him scene of past and future life of his family members (his teenage sister, his mother, his great-grand-father, even the family dog!) so he can relate to them and learn to appreciate them better. Or this is a boy with an extraordinary imagination!

The animation is excellent and offers very realistic background illustrations that you would think it’s CGI but they are actually hand-drawn (although there is CGI in the movie). In fact, it is so crisp that it feels a little cold. For such a story about family I would have preferred a style that evoke more warmth. I particularly like the design of the modern house, conceived by the father (who’s an architect), that takes advantage of the narrow space and the hill to build in several level, with lots of steps.

Animated by Studio Chizu and distributed by Toho (GKids in North America), Mirai was created, written and directed by Mamoru Hosoda (The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Summer Wars and The Boy and the Beast), with character designs by Hiroyuki Aoyama, animation direction by Ayako Hata & Hiroyuki Aoyama, art direction by Takashi Omori & Yohei Takamatsu and music by Masakatsu Takagi. The voice cast includes  Haru Kuroki / Victoria Grace as Mirai, Moka Kamishiraishi / Jaden Waldman as Kun, Gen Hoshino / John Cho as Father, Kōji Yakusho / Victor Brandt as Grandfather, Kumiko Asou / Rebecca Hall as Mother, Masaharu Fukuyama / Daniel Dae Kim as great-grandfather, and Mitsuo Yoshihara / Crispin Freeman as Yukko the dog. 98 min., rated PG (for thematic elements including some scary images). It was favourably received by the audience (rating of 7.1 on IMDb and of 92% / 83% on Rotten Tomatoes). It’s a fine exemple of Japanese animation that everyone should see. stars-3-5

To learn more about this title you can consult the following web sites:

[ AmazonANNGoogleIMDbOfficialWikipediaYoutube ]

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Capsules

Haikara-San: Here Comes Miss Modern

My wife read an interview of Waki Yamato in Fujin Kōron (a Japanese women’s public opinion magazine) where she was talking about a recent anime adaption of her manga Haikara-san. My wife, who enjoyed the manga when she was a teenager, told me she would like to see this animation. Therefore I obliged.

Haikara-san_ga_toru-manga

Excerpt from the manga (from Frederik L. Schodt Manga! Manga! The World of Japanese Comics, p. 90).

Haikara-San: Here Comes Miss Modern (はいからさんが通る / Haikara-san ga tōru) is one of those shōjo manga published in the 70s that I wish would be one day translated either in French or English so I could read them. This traditional shōjo style might not be very popular amongst today’s manga reader, but it was beautiful in many ways and their stories were always quite compelling. The manga was serialized in Shōjo Friend between 1975 and 1977 and compiled into 8 volumes by Kodansha. The manga was first adapted into an animated TV series (TV Asahi, 42 eps, 1978-1979), then into several live-action TV movies (on KTV in 1979, on Fuji TV in 1985, by Toei in 1987, and on TBS in 2002) and was even the subject of a Takarazuka revue in 2017. Finally, it was adapted into two anime movies: Gekijōban Haikara-san ga Tōru Zenpen – Benio, Hana no 17-sai  [劇場版 はいからさんが通る 前編 ~紅緒、花の17歳~ / lit. “Theatrical version, Here comes miss modern, first part: Benio, 17 years’ flower”] (November 2017, 97 mins, already available on Blu-ray from The Right Stuf) and Gekijōban Haikara-san ga Tōru Kōhen – Tokyo Dai Roman [劇場版 はいからさんが通る 後編 ~花の東京大ロマン~ / lit. “Theatrical version, Here comes miss modern, second part: Tokyo great romance of flower”] (October 2018, 105 mins). 

[ ¡ WARNING: The following MAY contain traces of spoilers! People allergic to the discussion of any plot’s elements before seeing/reading the story themselves are strongly advised to take the necessary precautions for their safety and should avoid reading further ! ]

Haikara-San-Movie1-bluRayIn the first movie, we follow the life of 17-year-old Benio Hanamura who was raised by her military father. She is a tomboy who likes to practise kendo with the girly neighbour Ranmaru (who was raised to become a kabuki actor). The story is set in the Taishō era, when Japan is trying to “occidentalize” itself. She wants to be “modern” and believes in a woman’s right to have a career and to marry for love. Unfortunately, her father want to arrange a marriage with one of his young subordinate, lieutenant Shinobu Ijuin, because their grand-parents were in love but could never marry and made the pact that the Hanamura and Ijuin families would be one day reunited. Benio refuses and tries to elope with Ranmaru, who is secretly in love with her. She also discovers that her best friend Tamaki is in love with Shinobu. She is nevertheless sent to Shinobu’s household to help and learn the domestic duties of a wife. As she is finally falling in love with him, she infuriates her father’s superior and Shinobu is sent to the front in Siberia. Not long after, he is reported missing in action or maybe dead…

The movie was written and directed by Kazuhiro Furuhashi, with character designs by Terumi Nishii, art direction by Kentaro Akiyama and music by Michiru Oshima. The cast includes Mamoru Miyano as Shinobu, Saori Hayami as Benio, Asami Seto as Tamaki, Yuuki Kaji as Ranmaru, and Unshō Ishizuka as Major Hanamura.

In the second movie, Benio tries to go on with her life and hopes that Shinobu might come back one day. In the meantime, she keeps taking care of his grandparents household and tries to find a job. After many unsuccessful attempts she is finally hired as reporter by a small newspaper headed by Tosei, a handsome but misogynistic editor (he’s literally allergic to women due to issues with his mother). She goes to Manchuria to investigate a band of rebels supposedly headed by a Japanese deserter. She meets with him and discovers he is Onijima, a friend of Shinobu in the army, who tells her how Shinobu got missing after saving his life. Later, back in Tokyo, she is covering the visit of a Russian noble couple in exile, Count Michaellov and countess Larisa. Benio is shocked to see that the count looks exactly like Shinobu. Actually, it’s him but he suffers from amnesia. Larisa saved and nursed him to replace her dead husband Sasha (who was in fact Shinobu’s younger half-brother, because Shinobu’s German mother left to marry a Russian noble—yes, I know, it’s complicated). When Shinobu eventually recovers his memory, he cannot marry Benio because he is now married to Larisa and feels indebted to her as she is dying of tuberculosis. Heartbroken, Benio decides to marry Tosei instead (who has discovered that he actually loves her). But on their wedding day the great Kanto earthquake occurs and Larisa finally dies of her disease. Benio and Shinobu can finally be reunited…

The second movie was directed by Toshiaki Kidokoro, with a script by Kazuhiro Furuhashi, character designs by Terumi Nishii, art direction by Kentaro Akiyama and music by Michiru Oshima. The cast includes, besides the cast from the first movie, Kazuya Nakai as Shingo Onijima, Maaya Sakamoto as Larisa, and Takahiro Sakurai as Tōsei Aoe. 

[ ¡ END of possible spoilers warning ! ]

Haikara-San movies are beautifully animated, with crisp, up-to-date quality animation (quite different from the style of late-70s anime, which tend not to age very well—although the TV series is now also available on blu-ray in Japan). The story offers typical Japanese romantic drama filled with lots of comedy. However, despite the funny antics of the characters, the story tackles very serious subjects like feminism and war. I enjoyed it a lot and I highly recommend you to, at least, have a look. If only someone would translated the manga… stars-3-5

For more information you can consult the following web sites:

[ ANNGoogleIMDbOfficialRight StufWikipediaYoutube ]

 

© 2017 Waki Yamato, Kodansha / “Haikara-san” Partners.

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M.S. Gundam Unicorn (UC)

GundamUnicornLogo

Overview

I have not watch any Japanese animation in a while and I must admit that it feels great. I have never been a big fan of Gundam, but I have always admired the complexity of its plots, particularly its political and philosophical aspects and the variety of its character and mechanical designs. The fact that this is an Original Video Animation (OVA) mini-series — streaming on Netflix — makes it easier to reacquaint myself with the genre and the story. It is also a good way to introduce a novice to the phenomenon. Therefore, as in the good old days of P.A., here is an “Anime Story” (although a little shorter and with links — it’s fun, I should do this more often!).

GundamUnicornPosterMobile Suit Gundam Unicorn (UC) (機動戦士ガンダムUC(ユニコーン) / Kidō Senshi Gandamu Yunikōn) is a sequel to the Mobile Suit Gundam story created by Yoshiyuki Tomino (made famous by its plentiful line of plastic models known as Gunpla). It takes place in the main timeline of the series, known as Universal Century (宇宙世紀 / Uchū Seiki). Earth is colonizing space by putting colonies (big space stations known as “Side”) in stable orbits around the planet (A.K.A. Lagrange Points).

Story

The story begins as the Earth Federation Prime Minister is about to unveil a new era of space exploration as well as a new Federation charter. The current era (A.D.) ends as the Universal Century begins. However, the Laplace space station—where the calendar change ceremony is taking place—is destroyed in a terrorist attack. The young Syam Vist discover a secret in the station wreckage: the Laplace’s Box, which contains a truth so terrible that it must never be revealed as it could destabilize the Federation — it also becomes a source of political power upon which he will build the Vist Foundation.

The story unfolds ninety-five years later, in UC 0096 (sixteen years after the One Year War), as the young orphan Banagher Links is going to school on the Industrial 7 space station. He will encounter a girl named Audrey Burne and get caught up in the struggle to locate and possess the Laplace’s Box…

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Détour

DetourLes week-ends se déroulent rarement comme prévu. Je planifiais de faire de menus travaux, de la comptabilité, de lire et commenter des mangas (surtout Isabella Bird et Moriarty) et je me retrouve finalement à lire (relire?) des vieilles BDs de Moebius, à regarder des animés sur Netflix (Gundam Unicorn !) et à rechercher une nouvelle adaptation animée d’un vieux manga shōjo des années ’70 par nulle autre que Waki Yamato (Haikara-san ga tōru) et dont je parlerai sans doute amplement dans un futur proche…

Encore un coup de nostalgie. Cela faisait un bout de temps que j’avais pas regardé d’animés… C’est bon. Ça fait du bien. Et sur Netflix, qui plus est (quoiqu’on y retrouve rien de bien nouveau puisque Gundam Unicorn date déjà de 2010). Et ce n’est pas fini puisque Netflix a annoncé plusieurs titres d’animés à venir (dont Evangelion en juin, Saint Seiya plus tard dans l’été et Ghost In The Shell Stand Alone Complex en 2020 !!!). Ce n’est vraiment plus de la culture populaire (geeky stuff) mais cela commence à faire partie de la culture courante (mainstream)…

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Animeland #224

224-coverLa nostalgie n’aura jamais autant été d’actualité ! Cowboy Bebop, une des plus grandes séries animées, fête ses 20 ans cette année ! Retrouvez dans le magazine un dossier spécial consacré à ses créateurs, interviewés pour l’occasion.

Retrouvez aussi notre dossier éco, cette fois consacré aux fan-arts (et à leur business !), un dossier anime dédié à Monogatari, la rubrique pop-corn et ses reviews de films (Flavor of Youth, My Hero Academia: Two Heroes, Bungo Stray Dogs: Dead Apple…), les chroniques anime et manga, la suite de notre dossier manga consacré à L’Attaque des Titans, la review du jeu vidéo Octopath, notre rubrique Portrait de voix…

J’avais planifié de commenter AnimeLand régulièrement mais je me suis retrouvé assez occupé (et la bibliothèque où je le lis ne le reçoit pas toujours de façon très assidue — si j’avais un service de presse comme dans le bon vieux temps cela serait tellement plus simple!). Alors quand un nouveau numéro paraissait, je retournais simplement celui qui trainait sur le coin de mon bureau sans l’avoir commenté. J’ai donc passé quatre numéros sans les commenter. Toutefois, quand j’ai vu ce numéro “Double” (148 pages au lieu de 116, et dans un format légèrement plus grand) je me suis dis qu’il fallait absolument que j’en parle. Alors voilà…

D’abord, il faut rappeler que AnimeLand est sans conteste le meilleur magazine d’information (en dehors du Japon, bien sûr) sur l’anime et le manga (qui sont couvert en part égale, avec un peu d’espace consacré au cinéma, aux jeux vidéos et à la paraphernalia, i.e. figurines, modèles réduits, etc.). Que ce soit tant pour ses informations (voir leur fil de nouvelle sur le site internet: anime et manga), leur dossiers, interviews ou critiques, ce magazine demeure une lecture incontournable pour tout les fans qui se respecte.

Dans ce numéro (pour les détails voir le sommaire du numéro sur le site du magazine) j’ai été tout particulièrement intéressé à la sélection de séries télé de la rédaction (je note Holmes of Kyoto, une série de 12 épisodes sur Crunchyroll où le personnage et son assistante font des enquêtes) ainsi que sa sélection de mangas récents (je note La fille du temple aux chats [Makoto Ojiro, Soleil], Les montagnes hallucinées [Gô Tanabe adaptant H.P. Lovecraft!, Ki-oon], Le vieil homme et son chat [Nekkomaki, Casterman] et la réédition de La vie de Bouddha [Osamu Tezuka, Delcourt/Tonkam]), un article de huit pages sur la saga Monogatari, une série d’articles et d’interview qui célèbrent les 20 ans de Cowboy Bepop, un article sur Visions d’Escaflowne, un très intéressant article sur la dernière étape de production d’une animation: le compositing, un petit article sur Noise — le plus récent manga de Tetsuya Tsutsui chez Ki-oon, un article sur le mangaka Kenji Tsuruta (Spirit of Wonder, Emanon, L’Île errante), et un article sur Le signe des rêves de Naoki Urasawa.

Il y a tant de choses à découvrir dans un seul numéro d’AnimeLand! C’est beaucoup de petits sujets (une ou deux pages) ce qui me donne l’impression que les articles sont toujours trop courts… J’aimerais bien de temps en temps voir de véritable articles de fond avec analyse, présentation des personnages, synopsis des épisodes, interview avec le directeur, etc.

Dans un magazine comme AnimeLand, quand on a soif de découverte, même les publicités peuvent être une source d’information. J’ai ainsi appris qu’AnimeLand, en partenariat avec les éditions Ynnis, sortait le livre 100 Films d’animation japonais, un répertoire des films les plus marquants et qui constituera sans aucun doute une des rares références en français sur ce genre (208 pages, 29,90 €, paru en Octobre). Avec le même partenariat, le magazine a aussi annoncé la parution de Quiz Animeland, un jeu questionnaire qui permettra au amateurs de tester leurs connaissances manga et anime en 500 questions, divisées en cinq rubriques: manga, film, anime, classique et expert (14,95 €, novembre 2018). 

Je crois qu’AnimeLand a bien compris qu’une publication périodique ne peut être que marginalement profitable et que pour survivre il faut multiplier le plus possible les publications parallèles (c’est ce que j’avais l’intention de faire avec PA…). Depuis longtemps déjà, l’équipe du magazine produit de nombreux numéros spéciaux (AnimeLand X-Tra) et Hors-Série (dont le plus récent, dédié au mangas, passe en revue l’année 2018 en mangas) — que ma bibliothèque ne reçoit malheureusement pas! Depuis quelques années, ils ont aussi produits de nombreux livres (consacrés aux studios Disney ou Ghibli, au 30ème anniversaire du Club Dorothée ou au centenaire de l’animation Japonaise (que j’ai déjà commenté), ou encore à la culture japonaise (son quotidien, ses “stars”). Ces ouvrages ne sont toutefois pas toujours facile à trouver outre atlantique (encore une fois, des services de presse seraient appréciés!)…

Finalement, on ne s’ennui jamais avec AnimeLand. Et je suis impatient de voir le prochain numéro dédié à Gunnm (Battle Angel Alita) et Mirai, Ma Petite Soeur.

AnimeLand #224 — Octobre/Novembre 2018 [Collectif dirigé par Émilie Jollois et Christopher Macdonald]. Paris, AM Media Network, septembre 2018. 148 p. 12.00 € / C$18.40. ISSN 1148-0807. Lectorat adolescent (12+). stars-3-5

Pour plus d’information vous pouvez aussi consulter les sites suivants:

[ Amazon — Biblio — Goodreads — Wikipedia — WorldCat ]

Voir aussi mes commentaires sur des numéros précédents:

/  #217-218-219  /  #216  /  #214-215  /  #209  /  etc.  /

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