Far, far in the future, or perhaps the distant past... 500 billion displaced humans long to return to the planet they still refer to as home. Captain Harlock is the one man standing between the corrupt Gaia Coalition and their quest for complete intergalactic rule. Seeking revenge against those who wronged both mankind and himself, the mysterious space pirate roams the universe in his battle cruiser, the Arcadia, defiantly attacking and pillaging enemy ships. Gaia Fleet leader Ezra sends his younger brother, Logan to infiltrate the Arcadia and assassinate Harlock. But Logan will soon discover that things are not always what they seem and that legends are born for a reason. Based on original characters and stories created by Leiji Matsumoto. Includes bonus DVD disc containing the original Japanese edit with English subtitles and over 40 minutes of extra content.
And so, after twenty-eight years, ESWAT officers Deunan Knute & Briareos Hecatoncheires, the stars of Masamune Shirow’s first great cyberpunk epic manga, get to defend their post-apocalyptic city Gaia beyond the one-off adventures they have been constrained within over that time. Moving to television after the 1988 video and the 2005 & 2007 big-budget CG features, Appleseed XIII spins off these last two, arriving under the legendary Production IG banner. Internationally praised for the TV adaptation of Shirow’s celebrated Ghost in the Shell manga, the latter name is sure to excite Western fans whether aware of the previous incarnations or not, but something more ambitious is going on here.
Matt Kamen on the big-budget remake of an anime classic
The original Space Battleship Yamato is rightly considered a classic of Japanese science fiction – the 1974 anime is comparable to Star Trek in terms of the influence it has had on its home country. Generations of viewers have grown up on tales of Captain Okita, Susumu Kodai, Yuki Mori and the rest of the valiant crew of the Yamato, following their desperate quest to reach the remote planet Iscandar in hope of finding a way to save Earth from the Gamilas aliens. Thanks to the American edited version Star Blazers, the story has fans around the world too – all of which places a huge weight of cultural responsibility on anyone brave enough to risk adapting it to a new medium.
Andrew Osmond on the history of animation’s corner-cutting secret
Rotoscoping and its descendants are an important part of American cinema, and recognised today. Many film fans know, for example, that Gollum, Peter Jackson’s King Kong and the rebel anthropoid Cornelius in the Planet of the Apes reboot are all based on physical performances by one actor, Andy Serkis. Again, it’s common knowledge that the Na’vi aliens in Avatar were human actors ‘made over’ by computer – the digital equivalent of those guys wearing prosthetic foreheads and noses in the older Star Trek series.
BFI announce a festival of Miyazaki, Takahata, et al...
The BFI South Bank cinema in London will be screening a Studio Ghibli season throughout April and May. Curator Justin Johnson will be giving an introduction to Ghibli on the 2nd April, followed by screenings of all the major Ghibli works and a number of relative obscurities
Paul Browne on the pop duo with multiple anime connections
K’s stirring theme song ‘KINGS’ comes courtesy of J-Pop duo angela. Consisting of vocalist Yamashita Atsuko and multi-instrumentalist Hirasato Katsunori (aka KATSU), angela are a familiar name when it comes to anime theme tunes.
Tom Smith on the Britmaniacs behind the Naruto theme.
They’re so loud and proud that they insist on writing it all in caps: ASIAN KUNG-FU GENERATION – possibly one of Japan’s most important alternative rock acts. The group’s tenth single ‘After Dark’ makes for the energetic, guitar-heavy opening theme to the latest volume of Bleach, released in the UK this month, and the group’s sound might at first seem reminiscent of America’s indie scene dashed with elements of punk, it actually has a lot more in common with The Who, their generation, and the sea of British-based guitar heroes that have appeared since.
Ever wonder just how Goku and friends became the greatest heroes on Earth? Wonder no more, as the original Dragon Ball reveals the origins of Akira Toriyama’s beloved creations! The faces may look familiar, but everything else is different in this classic series!
Monkey Majik first shot to fame in Japan in 2006 when their second major-label single Around The World became the opening theme to TV drama Saiyuuki, an updated version of the famous Chinese tale Journey to the West. A fitting introduction for the band, considering the story is widely known as Monkey in English. Magic.
Evangelion's director on Gerry Anderson, fandom and his latest project
This is not the Anno you may have read about, the one portrayed as an awkward, gangly, neurotic geek. Maybe Anno was like that once, but the cream-suited director we meet is sleek and authoritative, composed and confident, quite at ease talking to foreign hacks like us. He doesn’t adjust his glasses intimidatingly, but it still feels like the onetime Shinji has quietly metamorphed into his father Gendo.
Ocean Waves is the only feature anime by the world-famous Studio Ghibli which might be called obscure. It wasn’t made for cinemas but television, broadcast on Japan’s NTV network in 1993. And now it's playing as part of the BFI's Ghibli season...
Andrew Osmond finds Emperor Hirohito in Japanese animation
The Sara storyline in Fam the Silver Wing seems to echo a view – many would say a myth – of Hirohito, encouraged not just by the Japanese but also by the victorious Americans when they rebuilt the country. Namely, it was the story that Hirohito was a helpless figurehead, at the mercy of his warmongering government.