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Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2015

Jasper Sharp on the movies coming to a cinema near you
It is that time of year again, when the Japan Foundation treats audiences across the UK to their lavish smorgasbord of the latest and best in Japanese cinema, running this year from 30th January to 26th March.

Cosplay: Naruto Shippuden

Photographer Paul Jacques says fangs for the anime memories
Cosplayer Daisey Johnson gets ready to strike as an unleashed Naruto, the orangest ninja to ever try to camouflage himself in a forest setting.

Tezuka's 101 Dalmatians

Andrew Osmond unearths a little-known cross-over
It’s a Japanese translation by Minoru Kume of the classic British children’s book, The Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith, with about seventy Tezuka illustrations in his characteristically cartoony style.

Origa (1970-2015)

Remembering the Ghost in the Shell singer
Despite her great fame, her stage persona was so far removed from her everyday self that she was rarely recognised in the street. “It makes me happy,” she confessed, “that living in Japan has given me such a great opportunity to have a personal life and a professional life. But I never forget that I have a mother and two sisters back near Novosibirsk. I make sure to visit them every year.”

Cosplay: Fairy Tail

Paul Jacques snaps another fan with a fiery passion
Daniel Hughes suits up with a fiery vengeance as Natsu Dragneel from Fairy Tail, season three of which is out imminently on UK DVD from Manga Entertainment.

ANIME AT THE OSCARS 2015

Come on Academy, give Takahata his due
Kaguya has plenty to please Oscar voters. Unlike some of Takahata’s films, it’s extremely accessible to Western viewers. As MyM magazine put it, “You watch Takahata’s film and you can hear the underlying millennium-old tale as if it’s being read to you aloud, at bedtime surely, to your childhood self.”

Wolf Children and Families

In search of Mamoru Hosoda’s family ties
The Wolf Children is a family film about a family. This may help explain while Mamoru Hosoda’s movie was a hit in Japan, something that’s very unusual for a standalone cartoon film not linked to an entrenched brand. A well-rounded portrait of a family offers many ways in for different generations. The Wolf Children is the story of an unassuming ‘ordinary’ mum who must find reserves of superhuman strength; of a rambunctious girl and a troubled boy, each with different relationships to their animal sides; of a magic, mythic love between a human woman and a gentle werewolf; and of everyday, practical living away from city lights and mod-cons.

Spyair: Back with the Best

Tom Smith on the return of one of anime's most popular rock bands
So where do the guys go from here? On their biggest domestic tour, that’s where! At least that was the plan, but halfway through the mostly soldout schedule, vocalist IKE suddenly takes to Twitter to make an announcement that would shock everyone, including his bandmates. The message simply stated; “I will leave SPYAIR”.

Giovanni's Island

Jonathan Clements on this season’s classy anime feature
Ever willing to poke around in the interstices of history for children’s stories of the war, the Japanese animation industry alights here on the true story of Hiroshi Tokuno, on whose life story this film is partly based.

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Ghost In The Shell Arise: Borders Parts 1 & 2

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In the year 2027, a year following the end of the non-nuclear World War IV, a bomb has gone off in Newport City, killing a major arms dealer who may have ties with the mysterious 501 Organization. Public Security official Daisuke Aramaki hires full-body cyber prosthesis user and hacker extraordinaire, Motoko Kusanagi, to investigate. On the case with her are Sleepless Eye Batou, who believes Kusanagi is a criminal, Niihama Prefecture Detective Togusa who is investigating a series of prostitute murders he believes are related to the incident, and Lieutenant Colonel Kurtz of the 501 Organization who also wishes to keep an eye on Kusanagi.
Freed of her responsibilities with the 501 Organization, Motoko Kusanagi must now learn how to take orders from Aramaki. When unknown forces hack the Logicomas, Batou enlists the help of former army intelligence officer Ishikawa and former air artillery expert Borma. Kusanagi also seeks to enlist ace sniper Saito and undercover cop Paz into the new Public Security Section 9. The two groups rival each other in a case involving a man who receives false memories of a refugee transport operation.

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