Steins;Gate The Movie Trailer

Steins;Gate The Movie                                                                         

Japanese Title: 劇場版 シュタインズ・ゲート 負荷Steins;Gate Movie Poster領域のデジャヴ

Romaji: Shutainzu Ge-to: Fuka Ryouiki no Deja Bu

Release Date:  Spring 2013 (Japan)

Running Time: N/A

Director: Kanji Wakabayashi (Director), Hiroshi Hamasaki, Takuya Satō (Chief Directors),

Writer: Jukki Hanada

Starring: Mamoru Miyano (Rintarou Okabe), Asami Imai (Kurisu Makise) Kana Hanazawa (Mayuri Shiina), Halko Momoi (Faris Nyannyan), Tomokazu Seki (Itaru Hashida), Yu Kobayashi (Ruka Urushibara), Yukari Tamura (Suzuha Amane), Saori Goto (Moeka Kiryuu)

Steins;Gate was an anime I had difficulty watching last year. I felt it was a little to dry and dull. I persevered and eventually got into the twisting and intelligent psychological time travel story and by the time the final episode rolled by I was won over and it became my second favourite anime of 2011. Then a movie was announced and it was back to mixed feelings for me because the final episode of the TV series was perfect, the sequence when the credits rolled was beautiful. Here is the trailer for the forthcoming movie. The TV anime had the perfect ending, what is going on here? It looks apocalyptic!

 

Alas, there is no synopsis which is quite frustrating.

The film has the vocal talents of Mamoru Miyano (Fuse: A Gun Girl’s Detective Story) who voiced Okabe and the incredibly beautiful Kana Hanazawa who voiced Mayuri, a character who won me over with her incredible cuteness. They are supported by the equally wonderful Halko Momoi who voices Faris and who lent her voiced Maromi in the excellent Paranoia Agent. She also composed and performed the awesome song Mail Me which was used in Suicide Club. I CANNOT GET ENOUGH OF THE SONG!!!! Anyway…

This big screen adaptation is directed by Kanji Wakabayashi (Jomungand) with Takuya Satō and Hiroshi Kamasaki acting as chief director. Between Satō and Kamasaki they have worked on a number of titles I love like Armitage III, Kino’s Journey, Spriggan, Perfect Blue and Paranoia Agent. The film has been written by Jukki Hanada, the man who handled series composition on the TV anime as well as the highly regarded Robotics;Notes and the hilarious Nichijou.

Manga Entertainment Acquire Wolf Children Rain and Snow for UK Distribution

The London MCM Expo festival is currently under-way and UK anime distributors are announcing their acquisitions and projected release dates. The big news is that Manga Entertainment has announced that they will release THE WOLF CHILDREN in the UK!!! Anime UK News, which I write for ;), broke the news of this announcement and others on Twitter just before I was going to turn my computer off and watch a Japanese slasher film. Here are the details of the upcoming releases:

The Wolf Children Ame and Yuki                                The Wolf Children Poster               

Romaji: Okami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki

Japanese Title: おおかみ こども の 雨 と 雪

Japanese Release Date: 21st July 2012

UK Release Date: 2013

Running Time: 110 mins.

Director: Mamoru Hosoda

Writer: Mamoru Hosoda, Satoko Okudera

Starring: Aoi Miyazaki, Takao Osawa, Yukito Nishii, Haru Kuroki, Amon Kabe, Momoka Oona, Shota Sometani, Kumiko Aso, Mitsuki Tanimura,

Mamoru Hosoda is frequently called the next “Hayao Miyazaki” and while I loved The Girl Who Leapt Through Time I was left unimpressed by Summer Wars. So unimpressed that I have yet to turn my review notes into a review despite more than a year elapsing since I last watched it… Then I went to the 56th BFI London Film Festival where The Wolf Children was screened and I loved it. I can confirm it is brilliant. So brilliant it is joint number one for my films of the year. For those wanting a bit of the brilliance at home, the film will be released on both DVD and Blu-ray and a theatrical release is also being considered. For some odd reason Ame and Yuki have been dropped from the title making it rather bland. Anyway, here’s the trailer and some more details:

 

A story of love between parents and children that takes place over thirteen starts when a university student named Hana falls in love with Ōkami who is a “wolf man”. The two marry and have children named after the weather on the day they were born – 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 Ōkami dies and Hana decides to move to the country.

Hosoda has been aided with scripting duties by Satoko Okudera who has worked on major anime movies like Summer WarsMiyori’s ForestThe Girl Who Leapt Through Time, and The Princess and the Pilot. Legendary character designer Yoshiyuki Sadamoto (Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water, FLCL, Evangelion) is acting as character designer here. Madhouse Studio (Paranoia Agent, Black Lagoon, Millennium Actress, Perfect Blue, Master Keaon, Dennō Coil) is co-producing the animation. The voice actors involved come from the world of live action movies. Hana is voiced by the actress Aoi Miyazaki who starred in Shinji Aoyama’s 2000 film Eureka (she does have experience in anime after voicing Tula in Origin: Spirits of the Past)Ōkami is voiced by Takao Osawa (All About Lily Chou-Chou), Yuki is voiced by Haru Kuroki, and Ame is voiced by Yukito Nishii (Confessions). Other notable names include Momoka Oona (Mitsuko Delivers) who plays an even younger version of Yuki, Amon Kabe(Tada’s Do-it-All House) who plays an even younger version of Ame, Shota Sometani (HimizuSadako 3DIsn’t Anyone live?), Mitsuki Tanimura (13 Assassins), and Kumiko Aso (Pulse).

Continue reading “Manga Entertainment Acquire Wolf Children Rain and Snow for UK Distribution”

Best Anime of 2011 – Mawaru Penguindrum

Mawaru PenguindrumSlice of life meets dark fantasy meets mind-f*ck meets surrealism meets arcane symbolism and plenty of other good stuff. In a medium which produces so many titles catering to Otaku with so-so stories, cliched plots and tacky sexism comes a title that is willing to engage the audience in a visual war that is unrelenting and all conquering. Each scene is packed with meaning, the way characters interact, their routines and rhythms and the gradually darkening world around them. Sure it comes in sugar sweet packaging but this is a wolf in sheep’s clothing as we get a psycho-sexual trip through an anime landscape filled with so many tropes that are picked apart in a post-modern way. It’s just the way the writer and director Kunihiko Ikuhara operates.

Whether the audience will understand any of what’s going on will be dictated by the degree of their understanding of Japanese culture and how many times they’ve paused a scene and looked up things on Wikipedia. Not that it matters because you can sit back and just enjoy the ride but it seems a waste because so few anime push the boundaries or experiment. Wait, that’s not true. So few anime push the boundaries and manage to maintain any forward momentum.

I’ve already written about this but I love it. It’s the first show since the first season of Heroes that had me on the edge of my seat, desperate to see what happens to each character I care about, where every scene and moment can take a fantastical and dark turn full of visual and aural inventiveness and the story line goes where I don’t expect it.

Sometimes I think it’s just me. I’m a snob and my taste is too different, too individual and too niche and I’m pretentious. This is the first title where I can say that people will like it. People will like it because of the content on the screen and not just the pretty images but the (potential) symbolism behind everything which allows conversations to blossom. Nobody anywhere will have cause for complaint. You will be entertained at different levels. People may not “get” it and it might not get into the top three of many lists but they sure will like it. Me? I love it!

You’re probably not convinced by my babbling. That’s okay. Just know that you’ll be missing out on one of the best anime of the year.If you do need convincing then here’s someone smarter and more articulate than I am waxing lyrical about it.

Runner-up: Steins;Gate

Mayuri and Rintarō in Akihabara Steins;GateI had been meaning to write up my thoughts about this anime for a long time but never got around to it. A shame really because as it aired over the year it wormed its way into my affections.

After watching the first few episodes of Steins;Gate the signs were not overly positive. I found that my viewing experience was like being mired in a swamp, desperately scrambling to bits of high ground before slipping back into energy draining mush. I found it slow to build, visually sharp but muted and the mix of Akihabara culture and Back to the Future quaint. The little details and snatches of everyday life were nice but their repetition was grinding. It served a purpose because of the time travel and parallel universe elements which were subtly done. I even hated the opening and end themes.

As I continued to watch it gradually won me over. The little details and snatches of everday life grew ever more important and all of the things that I noticed from earlier episodes gained new meaning, the way things changed grew in significance and the breathtakingly intelligent design in the plot became clearer. The most important element was its central character Okabe Rintarō. Initially he seemed like a crackpot inventor but through the use of time-travel and parallel dimensions we saw a real humanity emerge and I empathised with the guy as he struggled and almost broke through the repeat torture of botched missions along some time line as he strived to save his friends and maintain people’s happiness. His blossoming romance with Kurisu was heartening and heart-breaking but it was his brotherly love for Mayuri that spoke the most. Hell, who wouldn’t want to be a protector of Mayuri, the show’s secret weapon.

Mayuri Cosplay in Steins;Gate