2012 was an extraordinarily great year for Japanese film fans in the UK what with the film festivals getting awesome titles like Ai to Makoto and Key of Life as well as Third Window Films releasing a plethora of classic and new titles like the Tetsuo boxed set and Kotoko (which turned out to be a group of very popular posts for this blog) and supporting Sion Sono’s latest releases. That was just on the live-action front because Kaze have shown some gumption in acquiring the rights to the Berserk movie trilogy and even going as far as giving them a theatrical release!
What are the films we should be looking forward to in the next year? Well this is hardly an exhaustive list but I hope to give a heads up as to when some great titles are about to drop!
Manga Entertainment UK
Manga Entertainment UK announced a plethora of awesome titles back in October at the London MCM Expo with The Wolf Children being my highlight. Am I hyped for that? Damn straight because that is an awesome title and was even my film/anime of the year! A definite purchase. I cannot praise this film enough but I will hold back for now and maybe indulge the need when I get the DVD.
The Wolf Children
In a story that takes place over thirteen years the theme of love between parents and children is explored. It starts when a college student named Hana falls in love with a “wolf man” named Ō kami. The two marry and have children – Yuki (snow) the older sister and Ame (rain) the younger brother. The four live quietly in a city concealing the true existence of their relationship until an incident happens and Hana decides to move to the country.
Next up in order of coolness is Blood-C.
I loved the original Blood: The Last Vampire and its sequel Blood+. Heck, I went to see the live-action movie and wore my Blood+ t-shirt to the screening, something I rarely do with anime merchandise but I was disappointed with Blood-C and wrote a dismissive review.
It turns out I was a bit too premature with my criticism but the first few episodes of the TV anime irritated me (and many others, it must be said) with its use of moé tropes/cuteness. Then something happened… The final episode saw enough blood and carnage raining down to make the red sea literal as it tore its face off and revealed a horrific visage of gore-streaked and flesh rending extreme violence.
Can you say “Wolf in sheep’s clothing”?
And yet I still have not watched the series but now I get a chance with the release of Blood-C and its movie sequel Blood-C: The Last Dark.
Fumito Nanahara is an influential politician who rules Tokyo with an iron fist. He has introduced the Youth Ordinance Bill which enforces curfews for the young and regulates the internet. Despite this a group of young people have formed a group named SIRRUT and pan on attacking Fumito. In the course of their research they discover “Tower”, a secret organisation that is backing Fumito and conducts human experimentation. When Sirrut attempt to expose “Tower” in the Tokyo subway mysterious creatures appear. So too does Saya, a young girl who survived the horrific incident in Ukishima Province with a sword that can defeat the Old Ones.
Old Ones? Sounds like a case of Lovecraftian horror! If so, I’m there! Blood-C: The Last Dark saw CLAMP (Cardcaptor Sakura) and Production I.G. (Patlabor) join forces with CLAMP handling the story and character designs and Production I.G. staff animating and directing. The cast includes Nana Mizuki (Fate Testarossa in Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha) reprising the role of Saya Kisaragi.
Staff from the TV series mostly made a return with Jun’ichi Fujisaku and CLAMP’s Nanase Ohkawa fulfilling writing duties however, the most defining change is that series director Tsutomu Mizushima (Another) is replaced by animator Naoyoshi Shiotani (Tokyo Marble Chocolate) as director.
They are not the only titles getting released by Manga UK. Also seeing a release is Jormungand and Guilty Crown in April, Cat Planet Cuties, Aria and Hellsing Ultimate parts 1 to 8 which Manga Entertainment will release in sets sometime ‘hopefully’ in May. Manga Entertainment are “still negotiating with Kadakowa over the series Steins;Gate, my runner-up anime of the year for 2011, and that it ‘might’ be ready by May or June 2013”.