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.
Who watches the watchmen watching your thoughts...?
Psycho-Pass; the first half of the name should warn you. This is a blend of SF and horror by the studio which brought you Ghost in the Shell, now splicing cyberpunk, police procedural and splatter. There will be blood, and dismembered body parts, and if no-one’s actually eaten a human liver on the show yet, there’s still Psycho-Pass 2 to come.
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.
Two high-profile Manga Entertainment releases have something in common in the form of musician and composer Yasuharu Takanashi. It’s the distinctive musical strokes of Takanashi that appear on the new Naruto movie The Lost Tower as well as the upcoming movie addition to the Fairy Tail series – Phoenix Priestess.
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.
Jasper Sharp on the anthology movie currently touring the UK
There have been three Japanese works nominated in the Academy Awards category for Best Animated Short Film over the past ten years or so: Koji Yamamura’s Mt. Head (2002), Kunio Kato’s The House of Small Cubes (2008) – so far the country’s only winner – and most recently Shuhei Morita’s Possessions (2013). For all that, it remains pretty difficult for most viewers who aren’t regulars on the specialised festival circuit to catch such examples of cutting-edge animation.
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.