From the opening scene, in which we meet O-Ei as she crosses a busy wooden bridge, it’s obvious how big a role the city of Edo itself will play in the film. Hara and co. animate Edo’s canals (before all the concrete, Tokyo was said to be the Venice of the east), traditional houses, pleasure quarters and the city’s various inhabitants in splendid, almost fetishistic detail.
Read the whole review at Otaku USA Magazine.
‘Attack on Titan’ is just the latest manga to get the live-action treatment. Though adapting comics for the big screen is a practice that stretches back to the ’70s (see ‘Lady Snowblood’, which heavily inspired Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Kill Bill’), in recent years it’s become a practical industry, with 2014 alone seeing the release of several high-budget releases that did big bucks at the Japanese box office. Just what’s behind this manga-to-live-action trend?
Read the full article at Time Out Tokyo.
Otaku USA e-News, the Japan geek culture newsletter I edit, is chugging along nicely in its second year. A few months ago we went from biweekly to weekly, and from April we’ll be pumping out two newsletters a week. A bit nerve-wracking, but the thing’s always fun to put together.
Always? Well, most of the time, anyway.
I can’t say it’s not fun to go check out an anime-themed cafe, sneak off to see a movie in the middle of the day, or interview a creator I really admire, then come home, write about it, and call it work.
Though I’m proud of the quality of the thing, pumping stuff out every week means not every feature is a home run. But here are a few recent pieces I’ve done I think are worth a look:
My review of Lupin III vs. Detective Conan, in which I bemoan franchise matchup movies like this.
A more positive review of a film by a young director worth keeping an eye on.
And an interview with Masahiro Ando, a pretty legendary animator who was really fun to talk to. He worked on Patlabor 2, maybe the best anime film ever. Saying as much right off the bat really ingratiated us with him, I think.
Earlier this month I gave a presentation at PechaKucha – a talk event, started in Tokyo and since spread worldwide – where presenters are given 20 slides and 20 seconds per slide to talk about… well, whatever they want. My talk was about the way baseball is played and viewed in Japan and how it compares to the American version.
But enough talk: have at it.
Wow, I used to be much better at updating this thing.
Anyway: last month saw the long, long, long delayed release of a music video I directed and cut for Slovene hip-hop superstar N’toko and Call and Response Records. It started life as the video for an entirely different song, but just never quite came together with the music. Thankfully, N’toko-san, a productive fellow indeed, recorded an entire new album in the meantime, and lo and behold, our old footage and his new single “Mind Business” came together like beans and cornbread.
If you dig the single, it and lots of other N’toko stuff is available here.
Lots of picture making and anime blogging the past two months. We’re continuing to chug along on the Otaku USA newsletter, producing some pretty interesting pieces. Highlights from the past couple months include an interview with the staff of Kick-Heart, a really exciting experiment in crowd-funding, this nice chat with director Osamu Kobayashi by my old friend Jason “Danger” Moses, and Ian Martin’s utter destruction of a very bad Resident Evil film.
These guys and other contributors are making my life much easier by reducing the amount of words I need to jam out by my lonesome every week. Thanks for everything so far, guys. I’m still on the hunt for more contributors, especially someone who’s knowledgeable about cosplay. Spread the word!
The new N’toko video is progressing: above is a 30-second teaser I put together. Trying to get the full thing finished by the end of the month.
Finally, some photos I took during September and October after the jump.
Though my main accomplishment for the month of August was just surviving in disgustingly hot and humid Tokyo, I did actually manage to work on some creative stuff. A brief rundown:
I released my long-incubating short documentary, Tokyo Quake Story. I’ve already blogged about this, so I’ll just add: thanks again to everyone who’s weighed in so far with your comments, retweets, etc. And please check it out if you haven’t already!
Last year Slovenian hip-hop master-bro N’toko and I collaborated on a music video for his song “Superhuman.” We had enough fun that we decided to do it again this year, coinciding nicely with the release of his new EP, Fight Like A Girl.
This year’s process was much different than last year’s – we kind of made up the thing as we went along, adding scenes and concepts on the fly – even now, it’s not quite clear what it’s going to be. I’ve never worked like that before, and it was really exciting. There’s a bit more additional shooting to done, then we’ll dive into editing and see what comes out.
Finally, Otaku USA Magazine, who I’ve been writing for a couple years now, have launched a new email newsletter with direct-from-Japan interviews, event reports, news, etc. As I’m their Man in Japan, I’m at the helm of this thing, delivering a couple decent-sized features plus a few short pieces every two weeks. We’ve released two issues so far, both of which I’m quite pleased with. You can subscribe here, or if you’re not into getting any more automated emails than you already do (though I promise this one is worth it!), stories will appear on the main site a couple weeks later.
I’m always on the hunt for new geek-related stuff going on around town to report on, so if you know of anything, do let a brother know.
A few days ago, I released my short film, Tokyo Quake Story, to the web. It’s a documentary I shot last year in the wake of the March 11th earthquake. My idea was not to make a film about Tohoku, which many more people with much more money and skill than I were already doing, but to explore the quake’s impact on people living in Tokyo. As I wrote on the site:
“Though the effect of the quake on Tokyo is in no way comparable to the suffering to the north, it did have a profound physical, psychological and political impact on the biggest city in the world. This film attempts to present the feelings and thoughts of Tokyoites immediately following the quake.”
Response to the film has been very positive so far, and I’m grateful for all the kind words, retweets, likes, etc. The film is embedded below; please take a look if you haven’t already and visit the site, which has more info and extras.