YouTube Movies Adds the Millennium Actress Anime Film for Free Streaming

The Fandom Post is reporting that the Millennium Actress anime film was added to the YouTube movies section with the original Japanese audio with English subtitles, and it is available for free viewing. As of this writing, Millennium Actress is only being made available to audiences in the United States.

The story of Millennium Actress is described as:

Chiyoko Fujiwara was once a major movie star who dominated the Japanese cinema world. 30 years ago, she abruptly disappeared from the screen and public view.

One of her greatest admirers, Genya Tachibana, is a documentary filmmaker who has traveled to the isolated mountain lodge where she makes her home to interview her. There, he presents her with an old key, and as if the key had opened a door to her memories, Chiyoko starts telling the story of her life, interweaving moments from her past and future and passing through the boundary between reality and the movies that had made up so much of her life.

Source: The Fandom Post

Tubi Adds More Anime to Its Catalog

Crunchyroll is reporting that Tubi is teaming up with Shout! Factory to add a handful of anime titles to its service:

  • Millennium Actress
  • Liz and the Blue Bird
  • Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms
  • Penguin Highway
  • The Wonderland
  • Sound! Euphonium: The Movie – Welcome To The Kitauji High School Concert Band
  • Sound! Euphonium: The Movie – May The Melody Reach You
  • Sound! Euphonium: The Movie – Our Promise: A Brand New Day
  • Haikara-San: Here Comes Miss Modern Parts 1 & 2
  • Donten: Laughing Under the Clouds Gaiden
  • In This Corner of the World

The free additions will be available both subbed and dubbed starting April 8, 2021. The only exception is In This Corner of the World, which will join the Tubi lineup in 2022.

Source: Crunchyroll

Los Angeles’ Secret Movie Club Hosts Anime Buffet Series in 2020

In 2020, the Los Angeles-based Secret Movie Club is hosting screenings of some of the most beloved anime of all time, as part of their Anime Buffet programming slate, which will run from January through April 2020. The Anime Buffet slate is scheduled to include such films as Ghost in the Shell, Perfect Blue, Paprika, Millennium Actress, Metropolis (2001), The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Vampire Hunter D, Grave of the Fireflies, and Tokyo Godfathers. Screenings will alternate between two different locations: the Vista Theater in Los Feliz, the historic single screen theater built in 1922, and the Club, Secret Movie Club’s new downtown location.

“Secret Movie Club loves to make new discoveries with its programs. Japanese anime is so big and complex, so we wanted to do a series that showcases how diverse these movies are,” said Secret Movie Club Founder Craig Hammill. “As programmers, it’s easy to get lazy and and just show the great Studio Ghibli and Miyazaki films, which we love, but we wanted to go deeper. This series gives us the chance to do a mini-retrospective of the work of anime legend Satoshi Kon, as well as a screening of Vampire Hunter D, an early anime masterpieces that pushed the artform with adult content, and the emotionally profound film Grave of the Fireflies and the popular Cowboy Bebop (which is almost sold out already). We look at these series as journeys. And really look forward to going on this anime journey with our audience.”

Attendees can purchase limited edition Secret Movie Club posters for every screening at all events, which feature new art by contemporary illustrators. Each film is preceded by a brief talk from Secret Movie Club founder Craig Hammill and a trivia question for the audience.

COWBOY BEBOP:THE MOVIE

(2001, Sony, dir by Shinichiro Watanabe, 35mm, 115mns)

Friday, January 10, 2020 @ 11:59 p.m. PST, The Vista

In 2071, earth has been ravaged by catastrophe. Humans have colonized other planets and the universe is a new Wild West. A group of Bounty Hunters travel on the spaceship BeBop in search of quarry and rewards. When a contagion gets released in a truck disaster on Mars, our heroes-Spike, Jet, Faye, Ed, and Ein (a dog with human-grade smarts due to artificial enhancement) go off in search of the culprit and the reward that goes with it.

“One of the great things with Japanese anime, as with all cinema and art, is how each set of creators imbue the genre with their own personal style and stamp,” said Craig Hammill. “Cowboy Be Bop, as its title itself implies, is a mashup of sci-fi, westerns, Hong Kong action movies, and an improvisatory iconoclastic jazz rhythm that make the viewing experience a total blast and totally singular.”

VAMPIRE HUNTER D

(1985, Sentai Filmworks, dir by Toyoo Ashida, 80mns)

Friday, January 17, 2020 @ 7:30 p.m. PST, The Club, 1917 Bay Street, 2nd Floor, LA, CA 90021

The movie centers on Doris Lang, the daughter of a werewolf hunter, who gets bitten by 10,000 year old Count Magnus Lee one night. She then meets a strange vampire hunter, who only goes by the name D, and employs him to take on the long-lost vampire lord and try to help her from becoming a vampire herself.

Vampire Hunter D is one of the earliest examples of Japanese anime that was made explicitly with teenagers and adults more in mind than children,” said Hammill. “Made for the then emerging direct to video market, Vampire Hunter D had a smaller budget than its feature film peers. But in a strange way, this freed up director Toyoo Ashida to make a more exciting, violent, sensual animation. Ashida has gone on the record as saying his intent with the movie was to make something thrilling that tired students could enjoy during study breaks rather than make an anime that further exhausted them. Full of genre mash-ups, amazing art and design, and storytelling, Vampire Hunter D definitely serves as a prototype and torch in the darkness for future directors like Satoshi Kon, who will take anime into ever more complex, adult, shadowy realms.”

GHOST IN THE SHELL

(1995, Lionsgate, dir by Mamoru Oshii, 85mns)

Saturday, January 18, 2020 @ 11:59 p.m. PST, The Vista

Often the cyberpunk genre, which would come to full flourish here in the United States with the Wachowski’s The Matrix, can be traced most directly to two Japanese anime parents: 1988’s Akira and 1995’s Ghost in the Shell. Often considered one of the greatest Japanese anime movies of all time, Ghost in the Shell dives head first into the darker, deeper waters of more adult sci-fi.

It’s 2029 and the human body can be augmented with “smart” prosthetic cybernetics. The most recent innovation, and the most terrifying, is a cyberbrain, which allows humans to now go online/get hooked into the internet, straight through their neural pathways. Our hero, Motoko Kusanagi, is part of an elite squad that fights crime in “New Port City” in Japan. Currently, they are kept busy by an arch criminal known as “The Puppet Master” who appears to have the ability to hack into these “cyberbrains” and get folks to assassinate, kill, commit crimes. As Motoko further explores what’s going on with both the Puppet Master and the innovations in cybernetics, she stumbles across a revelation that goes to the very heart of our philosophical understanding of what makes us unique individuals: what constitutes our “soul.”

PAPRIKA

(2006, Sony Pictures Classics, dir by Satoshi Kon, 35mm, 90mns)

Friday, January 31, 2020 @ 11:59 p.m. PST, The Vista

If Hayao Miyazaki is synonymous with a kind of all-ages wildly imaginative Japanese anime, then director Satoshi Kon is synonymous with a Japanese anime that dares to go to the very limits of what any kind of cinema can explore in terms of human psychology, fear, desire, imagination. And he does it in the most creative and miraculous of artistic ways.

Paprika is one of his wildest mind-bending creations of all. In the near-future, there is a device called the “DC Mini” which allows Dr. Atsuko Chiba to enter the dreams of her patients (using her alter-ego “Paprika”) to help try to discover the root of their fears, anxieties, and hang ups. But the problem is that the “DC Mini” is still in prototype mode with no restrictions or safety barriers whatsoever. And if it gets into the wrong hands (which of course it does), it allows the thieves to enter dreams for more sinister and nefarious reasons.

METROPOLIS

(2001, Sony, dir by Rintaro, 113mns total, 35mm, Japanese with English subtitles)

Saturday, February 1, 2020 @ 10:45 p.m., The Club

Written by Katsohiro Otomo (writer/director of the classic anime Akira), Metropolis shares much of its DNA with that seminal anime classic including a central character who is rocked to their psychological core by the realization of their “super human” abilities and an impending apocalypse that threatens the entire foundations of a huge city.

MILLENNIUM ACTRESS

(2002, 11 Arts, dir by Satoshi Kon, 82mns, Japanese with English subtitles)

Wednesday, February 12, 2020 @ 8 p.m. PST, The Club

Millennium Actress tells the emotional story (in a decidedly surreal and modernist way) of famous actor Chiyoko Fujiwara, who tells her life story to documentarians and explains she only ever became an actress in the hopes of being recognized by an artist/political rebel she fell in love with as a teenager and never saw again. As Chiyoko tells her story, it becomes hard to tell what’s her real life, what are movie scenes she starred in, and where fiction/reality meet and diverge.

Special Note: There will be three originally written 3-4 minute monologues performed by three actresses ahead of the screening running a total of 10-12 minutes.

PERFECT BLUE

(1997, GKIDS, dir by Satoshi Kon, 35mm, 81mns)

Friday, February 21, 2020 @ 11:59 p.m. PST, The Vista

Kon fully commits to an anime that is as rich, dark, and complex as any Scorsese, Kubrick, Lynch, or Bergman movie. But with the added benefit of being able to cinematically represent psychological states of mind in a way that is often impossible in live-action cinema.

“If you want to see anime that absolutely succeeds in expanding the playing field of what cinema can do, come join us for Perfect Blue,” said Hammill.

THE GIRL WHO LEAPT THROUGH TIME

(2006, FUNimation, directed by Mamoru Hosoda, 98mns; English dubbed version)

Saturday, March 14, 2020 @ 10:30 a.m. PDT, the Vista

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time tells the story of young teenager Makoto Konno who discovers a magical object in her high school that allows her to leap through time and prevent situations that caused her great embarrassment. This premise, as with all good premises fully explored, deepens into a meditation on wish fulfillment versus reality. Makoto, first using the device for frivolous things, comes to realize that the device has its price. And that she is not the only one using it…

GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES

(1988, GKIDS, directed by Isao Takahata, 90mns; Japanese with English subtitles)

Saturday, April 4, 2020 @ 10:30 a.m. PDT, the Vista

One of the absolute greatest animes ever made, Grave of the Fireflies, directed by Isao Takahata, deals with siblings Seita and Satsuko, who have to rely on each other to survive after they’re separated from their parents during the American fire-bombing of Tokyo in the late stages of World War II.

Tickets can be purchased here:

https://www.eventbrite.com/d/ca–los-angeles/anime-buffet-secret-movie-club/?page=1

Secret Movie Club is a group project among the founders and the audience. Audience suggestions are taken and often used. Secret Movie Club aims to celebrate the wonderful experience that comes from watching the world’s greatest movies in great movie theaters with great audiences.

Shout! Factory and Eleven Arts Anime Studio Present Satoshi Kon’s Millenium Actress on Blu-ray + DVD Combo Pack and Digital Download on December 10, 2019

A gorgeous new restoration of the anime feature Millennium Actress will be released on Blu-ray + DVD combo pack and digital download on December 10, 2019 from Eleven Arts Anime Studio and Shout! Factory. Fans ordering directly from shoutfactory.com will receive a limited-edition lithograph, available while supplies last.

Boasting countless awards and recognitions, including Grand Prize winner in the Japan Agency of Cultural Affairs Media Arts Festival, Millennium Actress is a must see for anime fans of all ages. This release includes the original Japanese audio and a new English dub.

The incredible film from legendary director Satoshi Kon and anime Studio Madhouse is “a lovely Valentine to the golden age of Japanese filmmaking and an era of gentler, deeper feelings” (San Francisco Chronicle).

When the legendary Ginei Studios shuts down, filmmaker Genya Tachibana and his assistant are tasked with interviewing its reclusive star, Chiyoko Fujiwara, who had retired from the spotlight 30 years prior. As Chiyoko recounts her career, Genya and his crew are literally pulled into her memories where they witness her chance encounter with a mysterious man on the run from the police. Despite never knowing his name or his face, Chiyoko relentlessly pursues that man in a seamless blend of reality and memory that only Satoshi Kon could deliver.

Special Features:

  • Voice Actress Laura Post Interview
  • Voice Actress Abby Trott Interview
  • Producer Taro Maki Interview
  • Producer Masao Maruyama Interview

Shout! Factory and Eleven Arts to Release Millennium Actress as a Blu-ray and DVD Combo Pack and as a Digital Download

A gorgeous new restoration of the anime feature Millennium Actress will be released on Blu-ray™ + DVD combo pack and digital download on November 19, 2019 from Eleven Arts Anime Studio and Shout! Factory. Fans ordering directly from shoutfactory.com will receive a limited edition lithograph, available while supplies last.

Boasting countless awards and recognitions, including Grand Prize winner in the Japan Agency of Cultural Affairs Media Arts Festival, Millennium Actress is a must see for anime fans of all ages. This release includes the original Japanese audio and a new English dub.

The incredible film from legendary director Satoshi Kon and anime Studio Madhouse is “a lovely Valentine to the golden age of Japanese filmmaking and an era of gentler, deeper feelings” (San Francisco Chronicle).

When the legendary Ginei Studios shuts down, filmmaker Genya Tachibana and his assistant are tasked with interviewing its reclusive star, Chiyoko Fujiwara, who had retired from the spotlight 30 years prior. As Chiyoko recounts her career, Genya and his crew are literally pulled into her memories where they witness her chance encounter with a mysterious man on the run from the police. Despite never knowing his name or his face, Chiyoko relentlessly pursues that man in a seamless blend of reality and memory that only Satoshi Kon could deliver.

Special Features:

  • Masao Maruyama Full Interview
  • Taro Maki Full Interview
  • Laura Post (Eiko) Interview
  • Abby Trott (Young Chiyoko) Interview

New English Dub Cast Announced for the Millennium Actress Anime Film

The new English dub cast has been announced for the Millennium Actress anime film:

  • Abby Trott is Chiyoko Fujiwara (Young)
  • Erin Yvette is Chiyoko Fujiwara (Adult)
  • Cindy Robinson is Chiyoko Fujiwara (Elder)
  • Christian Swindler is Genya Tachibana (Old)
  • Ben Diskin is Kyoji Ida
  • Laura Post is Eiko Shimao

Eleven Arts will be bringing Millennium Actress to theaters on August 13, 2019 (subtitled) and on August 19, 2019 (dubbed).

Source: The Fandom Post

Eleven Arts to Screen the Millennium Actress Anime Film in the U.S. in August 2019 With a New English Dub

Eleven Arts has announced at its panel at Anime Central that it will screen Satoshi Kon’s Millennium Actress anime film in theaters in the United States.

The company will screen a digital remaster of the film in partnership with Fathom Events on August 13, 2019 (English subtitles) and on August 19, 2019. The screening on August 19, 2019 will feature an all-new English dub. The film previously had a dub produced in the United Kingdom.

Source: ANN

Anime Film Review: Millennium Actress

Millennium Actress is a film directed by Satoshi Kon and animated by Studio Madhouse. The film was released to Japanese theaters on September 14, 2002. Millennium Actress also received a limited theatrical release in the United States on September 12, 2003. In the United States, the film was released by Dreamworks.

Millennium Actress
Directed by: Satoshi Kon
Written by: Sadayuki Murai and Satoshi Kon
Starring: Miyoko Shōji, Mami Koyama, Fumiko Orikasa, Shōzō Iizuka, Shōko Tsuda, Hirotaka Suzuoki, Hisako Kyōda, Kōichi Yamadera, and Masane Tsukayama
Run Time: 87 minutes
Rated: PG

The story of the film is done in the style of a “play within a play.” Genya Tachibana is working on a documentary about a famous actress named Chiyoko Fujiwara, an elderly actress who has withdrawn from public life. As Genya talks with Chiyoko, we see the story of her life from her teenage years to being a middle aged superstar; the flashbacks that appear are interspersed with segments from Chiyoko’s films. While Chiyoko’s life takes place surrounding World War II, the characters in her films span from the Sengoku period to a futuristic space age.

One of the big elements of the story has to do with a dissident artist that Chiyoko helped to escape from the military; she became attracted to him, but he had to flee. However, he left behind a key to his suitcase, and Chiyoko wants to find him. She initially became an actress in order to have the opportunities to travel and to try to find him. Over the course of the story, we learn that Genya was actually part of Chiyoko’s past, although she doesn’t realize it right at first.

The execution of the story is very well-done, although there are a lot of layers to the storytelling, and you really have to watch it more than once in order to pick up on details that you may have missed the first time you watch it. There’s a very fascinating story being told in Millennium Actress, and as a viewer, I found myself wishing that Chiyoko would be able to find the dissident artist.

While there is some blurring with reality in this film, it’s not so much the blurring of fantasy and reality that was seen in Perfect Blue and Paprika. In Millennium Actress, the blurring happens between reality and memory. During some of Chiyoko’s flashbacks, she’ll sometimes juxtapose memories of some of her film roles with the reality of what was going on during the time that she’s remembering. Considering Chiyoko’s age in the present time that the film is taking place in, these juxtapositions are realistic thing for her to be doing. These juxtapositions really add to the storytelling of the film.

When it comes to the DVD itself, there are two special features. The first is a 40 minute documentary about the making of Millennium Actress. The documentary is in Japanese with English subtitles; the narration is done by the voice actor for Genya. Over the course of the documentary, interviews are included from Satoshi Kon, several members of the production team, and all three voice actresses for Chiyoko. This was a pretty decent documentary.

The other extra is a trailer for Millennium Actress that is slightly over a minute long; this trailer is in English to promote Dreamworks’ release of the film.

Millennium Actress is a very well-done anime film, and it has become a classic. I would personally recommend that this DVD be added to the anime home video collection of anyone who considers themselves as a fan of Satoshi Kon’s work or as a fan of anime in general.

I wrote this review after watching a copy of Millennium Actress that my husband purchased for me as a gift.

Additional reviews of Satoshi Kon films: