Montreal’s Fantasia International Film Festival Screens the Aragne: Sign of Vermilion Anime Film

The Fantasia International Film Festival in Montreal, Canada screened Saku Sakamoto’s Aragne: Sign of Vermilion (Aragne no Mushikago) film, as well as Shin’ya Sugai’s “Walking Meat” short anime on July 15, 2018. The screening of Aragne: Sign of Vermilion at the festival was the film’s world premiere.

Sakamoto directed the film based on his original concept and script. He also personally produced the animation and music for the film. Film director and author Osamu Fukutani supervised production.

Kana Hanazawa voices the film’s heroine Rin. Other cast members include Ayana Shiramoto as the mysterious girl Nasuha, Yousuke Itou as folklore researcher Tokiyo, Fukujurō Katayama as the shaman Saion, and Shōgo Batori as Mikaya, a young man with secrets.

The staff ran a successful crowdfunding campaign to help fund the anime on the Japanese crowdfunding platform Makuake. The project met its 2 million yen (about US$17,800) goal in March 2017. The staff then ran a successful Kickstarter campaign for an English translation and funds to screen the film at festivals. The campaign ran from September to October 2017.

Sakamoto began working as a freelance anime creator in 2002. He directed NHK’s Minna no Uta. He also worked on 3D computer graphics for Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence and created a tourism anime short for Matsuyama City in 2014.

Source: ANN

List: My Favorite Anime from the 1990s

About a year or so ago, I posted a list of my favorite anime from the 1970s and 1980s. Today, I have decided to post my personal five favorite anime from the 1990s. There are two titles on this list that technically began airing in 1989, but the majority of their run on Japanese television was during the 1990s, so I am including them on this list. But as is usual with my lists, it is being presented in alphabetical order rather than being a Top 5 list.

Cowboy Bebop

I don’t think it’s terribly surprising that Cowboy Bebop made the list, since it’s considered to be such a classic now. It really has withstood the test of time, because the creators of the show made sure not to utilize elements that would have made it feel dated years later. This is especially true when it comes to the music. Yoko Kanno’s score is brilliant, and it still sounds just as fresh now as it did when the series first premiered around 20 years ago.

Cowboy Bebop really stands out from a lot of its contemporaries, due to how it was able to combine several different influences viewers wouldn’t normally expect to see together. But the writing is so well done that these disparate influences work well together.

Dragon Ball Z

After the Dragon Ball series, Dragon Ball Z took the franchise to a whole new level. There’s more sci-fi elements involved, and the addition of the Saiyans to Goku’s back story really changed the tone and storytelling for the franchise. There’s still plenty of fights, though, so it doesn’t lose its roots as a fighting anime.

Admittedly, as the series goes on, the power ups and fights can get a little ridiculous at times. However, many of the characters in the franchise, whether we first met them in the original Dragon Ball series or in Dragon Ball Z, are fun and interesting enough that it helps the viewer overlook some of the absurdity and ridiculousness of the power ups.

The Dragon Ball franchise is still going now, thanks to Dragon Ball Super, which is a testament as to how much of a classic this anime has become over the years.

Only Yesterday

Only Yesterday is a Studio Ghibli film directed by the now late Isao Takahata, and it was released in Japanese theaters in 1991. It may have been a Studio Ghibli film, but it’s not what one would now consider a “typical” film for the studio.

The main protagonist is an unmarried 27-year-old office lady named Taeko, who has lived her whole life in Tokyo and works at a company in the city. At the beginning of the film, she decides to take a trip into the country to help her elder sister’s husband with the safflower harvest.

While traveling on the train, she recalls memories of when she was a 10-year-old schoolgirl in 1966.  When she reaches her destination, she meets and is picked up by her brother-in-law’s second cousin, Toshio. The film shows Taeko learning about harvesting safflowers, getting to know the family she’s staying with, and the time she spends with Toshio. Taeko’s memories of her 10-year-old self are intertwined with what’s happening to Taeko in Yamagata, and Taeko finds herself questioning her feelings and what she wants in life.

I really enjoyed Only Yesterday, and thought it was a very well-done film. It probably helped that I was in my later thirties when I saw the film for the first time, so I was able to understand where Taeko is coming from.

Ranma 1/2

This anime has become quite the classic, with its quirky humor, martial arts mayhem, and romantic comedy. Ranma and his father, Genma, fell into the cursed springs at Jusenkyo, and Ranma now turns into a girl and his father into a panda when they come in contact with cold water… and hot water returns them to normal. Genma and his old friend, Soun Tendo, arrange an engagement between Ranma and Soun’s tomboyish daughter, Akane. These two really hate each other at first, but seem to grow closer as the series progresses. But as new potential love interests for both characters enter the scene, some very strange love triangles (or whatever shapes they end up making) develop.

The series is definitely at its strongest in the earlier episodes of the series. By the end of the series, though, the stories are nowhere near as strong. Unfortunately, since the manga was still ongoing when the anime was being produced, there was never a true ending for the series. However, as readers of the manga know, there still wasn’t a true ending in that version, either. But even with some of its weaknesses, Ranma 1/2 is still an enjoyable comedy series and deserves being called a classic anime.

The Vision of Escaflowne

The Vision of Escaflowne follows a 15-year-old girl named Hitomi Kanzaki, and she’s a runner for her school’s track team. She has a fascination with tarot cards and fortune-telling, which ties in with a pack of tarot cards and a mysterious pink pendant that her grandmother gave her when she was a little girl. Hitomi learns that Amano Susumu, a boy on the track team that she has a crush on, will be leaving her school. Hitomi asks Amano to watch her do a practice run; if she beats her time, she wants Amano to kiss her. While in the middle of her run, a boy about Hitomi’s age named Van Fanel suddenly appears on the track; the boy is wielding a sword. A dragon appears, and together, Van and Hitomi defeat it. After Van claims a stone from the dragon, both he and Hitomi are taken a planet called Gaea.

Hitomi and Van find themselves having to fight the Zaibach Empire, and are aided by a steampunk mecha called Escaflowne. Other characters join their party, and the story really takes off.

As the relationship between Hitmoi and Van develops over the course of the series, I found myself wanting to see the two of them somehow be able to remain a couple if Hitomi finds out how to return to her world. Without providing spoilers, all I will say is that even though the series may not have ended with the “happy ever after” ending I was hoping for, it still ends in a realistic and satisfactory manner.

The Vision of Escaflowne mixes fantasy, steampunk, mecha, and romance to create an interesting and compelling story, and the animation really complements the story. Many of the protagonists in the series are characters that the audience can relate to and care about.

Even though I’m heaping all this praise of the anime series, I would highly recommend avoiding Escaflowne: The Movie. It’s a re-telling of the anime series, and for me, it just wasn’t very enjoyable.

Manga Creator Hiroshi Kajiyama Passes Away

The son of manga creator Hiroshi Kajiyama has announced that his father had passed away. Unfortunately, the announcement did not include Kajiyama’s date of death, the cause of death, or his age.

Kajiyama is best known as a video game designer, but he also did some work in manga and anime as well.

He wrote the two-volume Dual Soul One Body manga as well as other adult manga. Kajiyama launched the Curse Blood manga in Comic Ryū in 2017. Tokuma Shoten published the manga’s first compiled volume on December 13, 2017.

Kajiyama was also in charge of the Spirit and Familiar designs for the Seven Senses of the Re’Union anime, which premiered on July 5, 2018.

Source: ANN

New York Comic Con and Anime Expo Partner to Debut “Anime Fest @ NYCC x Anime Expo” Event

ReedPOP and The Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation (SPJA)have announced that New York Comic Con (NYCC) and Anime Expo are partnering to launch the “Anime Fest @ NYCC x Anime Expo” event. The event is taking place at Pier 94 in New York on October 4-7, 2018, the same days as New York Comic Con.

The event will feature artists, Japanese guests, and “other New York Otaku,” and will also have autograph signings, an Artist Alley, live music, and Japanese pop culture classes. Tickets to the event go on sale on Sunday during the NYCC General On-Sale.

Tickets will be available to “fans with Fan Verification accounts” at a discounted rate when they purchase NYCC badges (or if they already have purchased NYCC badges), and also to fans who are not attending NYCC.

Tickets sale prices are:

  • Tickets for Thursday, October 4, 2018 cost US$20 (US$15 for those who have NYCC tickets already)
  • Tickets for Friday, October 5, 2018 cost US$20 (US$15 for those who have NYCC tickets already)
  • Tickets for Saturday, October 6, 2018 cost US$25 (US$20 for those who have NYCC tickets already)
  • Tickets for Sunday, October 7, 2018 cost US$25 (US$20 for those who have NYCC tickets already)
  • Tickets for “Sunday Kids” cost US$10

The organizations will reveal more details at a later date.

Source: ANN

Case Closed: Episode 907 – “The J League Bodyguard”

Case Closed took a week off last week due to the airing of a J League tournament, so the series returns this week with an episode about the J League. For those who don’t know, the J League is Japan’s professional football league (however, in this case, football refers to what Westerners call soccer).

The episode opens with some guys talking in English, saying the Japanese don’t understand gambling and betting, and they reference the upcoming J League tournament. We then go to Japan, where Kogoro and the Detective Boys are at the stadium where the tournament will be held. Kogoro was given the honor of opening the game, and the kids got to tag along with him.

A lot of time is spent showing Kogoro and the kids around the stadium, although Ai is giving out a lot more information about the J League and how things work than their tour guide. In fact, there’s quite an info dump concerning the J League and some of their policies. They are also introduced to a roupeiro and his assistant. A roupeiro is someone who helps make sure the equipment for the team is ready for the players, so they have less to stress about before and after the game.

For quite a while, I found myself wondering if there was actually some kind of mystery in this episode. The mystery starts when Kogoro gets the runs as its time for him to do the kick to open the game. Only Conan and Ai realized that something is amiss, and they use their skills to figure out that something Kogoro had to drink had been tampered with. The two of them quickly find the clues they need, and Conan uses the Sleeping Kogoro trick to get the guilty party to confess.

When all was said and done, the mystery felt secondary to the J League aspect of the episode. While this was very educational in regards to the J League and how it works, the point of Case Closed is supposed to be on the mysteries. Because the mystery played such a minor part of the story and was ultimately resolved in under 10 minutes, this felt like a weaker episode of the series to me. Oh well. At least the preview for the next episode looks like we’ll be returning to the status quo and expectations that are associated with the Case Closed anime.

The English Dub of the Future Card Buddyfight Ace Debuts on YouTube

The official English Facebook account for Bushiroad’s Future Card Buddyfight franchise has announced that the English dub of the Future Card Buddyfight Ace (Future Card Shin Buddyfight) anime began streaming on its YouTube channel at 7:30 p.m. EDT on Friday, July 13, 2018.

The anime premiered on Japanese television on June 2, 2018. The series is also streaming on YouTube in Japanese and with English subtitles.

Source: ANN

FUNimation Entertainment Is Offering the Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya 3rei!! Anime Digitally

Anime News Network is reporting that Amazon is offering the 12-episode Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya 3rei!! anime series for digital purchase from FUNimation Entertainment.

ANN reached out to FUNimation to to confirm if the company has any other plans to release the series, but the site had not received a response before publishing their article.

Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya 3rei!!, the fourth television anime based on based on Hiroshi Hiroyama’s manga, premiered in July 2016, and Crunchyroll simulcast the series as it aired in Japan.

The first Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya television anime premiered in 2013, followed by the second in 2014 and the third in 2015. Crunchyroll simulcast all three previous series as they aired in Japan, and Sentai Filmworks licensed and released all three series for home video release in North America, but has not licensed 3rei!!.

Source: ANN