We recently let you know about the latest Kickstarter from Awesome Japan and Kenji Studio, Coluboccoro. This is the latest project from the creator of Santa Company and they were looking for $38,000 to achieve some modest goals with their project.
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Crunchyroll have now confirmed four different anime series for the UK market, which is a nice change to a lot of the series that seem to pass us by. These four series are Punch Line, Etotama, Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works and the second season of Joker.
Anime Limited confirmed as part of their spring season simulcast that The Heroic Legend or Arslan and the first season of Seraph of the End a little while ago. They’ve now confirmed an additional series and a different platform that it’ll be presented on.
After the success of his previous Kickstater for Santa Company, Kenji Itoso is at it again. The latest Kickstater from Kenji Itoso and Awesome Japan is for Coluboccoro, an original story and one that needs completing.
Squid Girl has been available on Crunchyroll for us Brits for some time now, it’s been something we’ve been able to watch at our leisure. However, this is certainly not the case for all Crunchyroll releases. In a good step forward, Crunchyroll went looking and have managed to get hold of the show’s OVAs, that were previously bundled with the manga in Japan.
Both of these series are now available in the UK, so if you’re into watching shows about a girl who’s also a squid, well, this is for you. You can see the seasons on Crunchyroll here.
Source: Anime UK Network
So the past week has flown by and whilst I was away from the internet for work for a week, the anime world didn’t slow down and this week there are three releases for us all to consume and enjoy. One of them being a feature film and certainly worth a look at.
The releases for the 10th February 2014 are:
Officially marketed as:
From Makoto Shinkai (Five Centimeters Per Second, Journey to Agartha) comes a love story with a twist.
When Takao, a young high school student who dreams of becoming a shoe designer, decides to skip school one day in favor of sketching in a rainy garden, he has no idea how much his life will change when he encounters Yukino. Older but perhaps not as much wiser, she seems adrift in the world. Despite the difference in their ages, they strike up an unusual relationship that unexpectedly continues and evolves, with random meetings in the same garden on each rainy day.
But the rainy season is coming to a close, and there are so many things still left unsaid and undone between them. Will there be time left for Takao to put his feelings into actions and words? Between the raindrops, between the calms in the storm, what will blossom?
SPECIAL FEATURES INCLUDE: Interviews (52 minutes with the Japanese cast and director), Storyboards (45 minutes), English production stillls, Japanese trailer, The Works of Makoto Shinkai, English commentary track with cast, Japanese commentary with English subtitles.
Languages on disc: English dub and Japanese language track with English subtitles.
Officially marketed as:
Japanese anime series set in a school where students investigate the paranormal. Newly-arrived at Seikyou Private Academy, Teiichi Niiya (voice of Clint Bickham) loses his way and encounters the ghost of a young girl named Yuko Kanoe (Emily Neves), who has no recollection of how she died 60 years previously. Teiichi joins the Paranormal Investigations Club of which Yuko is president and, along with other students Momoe Okonogi (Brittney Karbowski) and Kirie Kanoe (Jessica Boone), the granddaughter of Yuko’s sister, they look into the mysterious ghost stories surrounding the school.
Officially marketed as:
Episodes 154-192 of the ‘Naruto’ anime spin-off series. A trio of young ninjas, Naruto (voice of Junko Takeuchi), Sasuke (Noriaki Sugiyama) and Sakura (Chie Nakamura), are schooled together in the village hidden in the leaves. Each desires to become a ninja for different reasons and will face his or her own personal battles along the way. The episodes are: ‘Decryption’, ‘The First Challenge’, ‘Surpassing the Master’, ‘Assault On Leaf Village!’, ‘Power to Believe’, ‘Pain Vs. Kakashi’, ‘Mystery of Pain’, ‘Surname Is Sarutobi. Given Name, Konohamaru!’, ‘Pain to the World’, ‘Explode! Sage Mode’, ‘Danger! Sage Mode Limit Reached’, ‘Nine-Tails, Captured!’, ‘Planetary Devastation’, ‘The Fourth Hokage’, ‘The Two Students’, ‘Big Adventure! The Quest for the Fourth Hokage’s Legacy: Part 1’, ‘Big Adventure! The Quest for the Fourth Hokage’s Legacy: Part 2’, ‘Meeting’, ‘Origin of Pain’, ‘Tale of Naruto Uzumaki’, ‘Hero of the Hidden Leaf’, ‘Rookie Instructor Iruka’, ‘Iruka’s Ordeal’, ‘Iruka’s Decision’, ‘Kakashi Hatake, the Jonin in Charge’, ‘Inari’s Courage Put to the Test’, ‘Naruto’s School of Revenge’, ‘Gaara’s Bond’, ‘Naruto – Outbreak’, ‘Deploy! Team Tenten’, ‘Animal District’, ‘Ah, the Medicine of Youth’ and ‘Gutsy Master and Student – The Training’.
In a statement via Twitter today, Studio Canal, the distributors of most of the Studio Ghibli films in the UK have confirmed the release date for The Wind Rises in the cinema. This oscar nominated film was recently pegged as the last from the award winning master, Hayao Miyazaki, until he unretired himself late last year.
The Wind Rises will be released in cinemas in the UK on the 9th May 2014. There’s currently no word from the major chain cinemas as to whether or not they will be showing it; however, it’s very likely considering the majority of Ghibli films in recent years have been shown at the chain cinemas alongside the independent cinemas.
To celebrate this announcement, Studio Canal are giving Twitter users the opportunity to win one of the steelpack box sets that they are releasing this year by just retweeting this tweet.
Currently no news on a home release, but basing on normal release patterns, we suspect but it is unconfirmed, that it will be this year.
On Monday, Anime Limited announced that they would be attempting to release Mai Mai Miracle in DVD and Blu Ray with extensive extras to the UK and US markets via a Kickstarter campaign. As of Wednesday 5th February 2014, the Kickstarter campaign went live. The original goal of $30,000 (USD) was met within the day. The current stretch goal of a dub is $60,000 (USD).
As of midnight on the 8 February 2014, the running total is just over $51,000 (USD) with 26 days left to go. Whilst there is much debate amongst anime fans around subtitles versus dubbing, it’s important to remember that regardless of your personal preference, dubbing makes all releases more mainstream and opens up a wider audience.
Mai Mai Miracle has had various theatrical showings in the UK since it’s release in 2009, but it’s never been widespread. It’s never had a UK home market release. In 2011 as part of the Anime Season at the Barbican in London, UK, Helen McCarthy – one of the co-author’s of the fabled Anime Encyclopaedia has stated in her blog:
Mai Mai Miracle, though – there’s a movie to make you dance in the streets.
Which is high praise indeed from an industry veteran.
For a mere $25 (USD) you can gain a digital copy of this film and for a $55 (USD) you can gain both DVD and Blu Ray with subtitles and dubbing (subject to the $60k target being hit) along with a digital artbook, digital wallpaper, postcard, digital release, collector’s packaged version in a rigid splicase with 4 carts and the cost of shipping for the UK, Ireland, US and Canada is included in the cost.
So if you haven’t already backed, get backing.
For those of you who are avid users of Twitter, there’s been extensive conversation over the past few months about a company called East Asia TV. They came into existence a few months ago and thanks to some detective work from Andy Hanley over at UK Anime Network, there’s been some level of confirmation of what many suspected. There is also a confirmation from the company of their immediate closure.
For those of you who haven’t read Andy’s well constructed, researched and balanced article, you can read it here.
It’s always sad to see people get caught up in a storm and in this case, there were many people who hoped to get anime on TV and it’s own channel in the UK. The best statement here is: “If it seems to good to be true, it probably is.”
There’s an awful lot to say about this Kickstarter campaign, but Anime Limited have confirmed that they plan to release Mai Mai Miracle to the UK and the US. Mai Mai Miracle has been overlooked in the UK in the past as one of those niche animated gems that’s been left behind. Which is a huge shame as it’s from Sunao Katabuchi – a protégé of Hayao Miyazaki. So we know that there’s the talent already there.
Rather than just release it on Blu-Ray, Anime Limited want to raise $30,000 (USD) to bring all the extras that anime fans crave, but as a small indie in the UK, they’d either have to throw a lot of money and therefore risk at the film, or sublicense it. Which isn’t a great option.
So with the 30k, they want to:
- Release Mai Mai Miracle in the UK and the US on Blu Ray
- Create and add English subtitles for the film
- Produce quality packaging
- Share some of the artwork and behind the scenes goodness.
Here’s the synopsis:
Mai Mai Miracle is the story of two young girls, their friendship and their unique magical take on the world around them – a view that is only possible in the minds and imaginations of children. When a young girl named Kiiko moves to a small country town, she befriends Shinko, a bright, imaginative girl who has a special way of viewing the world around her and connecting it to the region’s past. With Shinko’s lead, Kiiko follows her on numerous adventures of imagination and time travel finally breaking free of her shell and learning to let go of the grief she carries for her deceased mother.
Mai Mai Miracle does a great job of converting that magic into art in a way that is unique to the film which very much adds to the overall feel of the story. It is a joy to behold and a great film for kids and adults alike. If this sounds like something you’d love to see, or you would like more information and details on the Kickstarter campaign please pledge on our page!
Here’s the trailer:
There is one brand new show for retail release this week, and one new volumes of a show. So for those of you who are patient and can’t wait to get your hands on the series, the patience has paid off. The two volumes are from different companies this week as well. The new show is looking a little demonic…
So those two new volumes are:
Officially marketed as
All 12 episodes from the first series of the Japanese anime. Dressed as a boy, Chizuru Yukimura (voice of Brittney Karbowski) goes in search of her doctor father who has been missing for more than a month. On her journey she encounters the Emperor’s police force known as the Shinsengumi who take her into their custody. When they discover she is looking for the man they are also hoping to find, they allow her to join them and her role within the team gradually increases, but it soon becomes apparent that the Shinsengumi are hiding a secret about supernatural demons called Furies…
Officially marketed as
Second volume of episodes from the anime spin-off series set on Earth two years after ‘Last Exile’ (2003). The Turan Kingdom are set to return to Earth, having previously fled when it was all but destroyed, while Ades, being the only nation to remain on the planet, are determined to prevent any immigrants from settling on their lands. With the two nations engaged in war Turan princesses Liliana and Millia come under threat. When Liliana is captured the situation soon escalates out of control and it falls to Fam Fan Fan, Giselle Collette and their fellow Sky Pirates to watch over Millia and help her to regain control of her kingdom.
Underrated, understated and beautiful. The true power of memory is shown displayed in Only Yesterday.
Growing up can be a challenge, but sometimes the bigger challenge is actually being a grown up. When you’re a child, your future is tomorrow, the day after and maybe at a push, the next month. Yet, as you grow older time seems to pass faster and faster and before you know it you’re a grown person, with a home, a job and it becomes increasingly easy to spend more and more time reminiscing about your childhood and what events in your life truly made you, you.
In times gone by the past didn’t seem quite so far away, but things have started to change and in the early 1980s fuelled by an economic boom, the past in Japan seemed like an entirely different way of life. This is especially true for Taeko, the lead protagonist in Only Yesterday. As a grown adult, doing the usual things, working too hard, not having time for a love life and sadly being a disappointment to her mother, Taeko’s 1960’s childhood feels like a long time ago.
Takeo decides to visit her elder sister’s husband’s elder brother’s farm and not for the first time. While on the night train to her two week holiday, she remembers her 10 year old self and the intense desire to go to the country. This sets the wheels in motion for a feature length film around bittersweet memories.
After arriving in Yamagata she’s picked up by her brother in law’s second cousin, Toshio, someone she’s only met briefly before. During Taeko’s stay in Yagata, many childhood stories are told and not all of the memories that she’s retelling are happy. The film switches between the present and the past with such regular ease that sometimes you feel like you’re watching two tales – the one of a child who’s having the same struggles as all of us – the opposite gender, school, parents and siblings and a tale of a woman who’s just not happy but isn’t prepared to recognise it.
The contrast between Tokyo in Takeo’s childhood and Yagata in her adult life is so profound that it’s like she’s stepped back in time. The manual labour exhibited on the organic farm hails back to the 1960s of her childhood and a simpler time, with less stress and more time spent on family and fun. As Taeko starts to recognise that she loves the place she’s found herself in, her childhood self appears more frequently.
Unlike many classic tales from Miyazaki, which tells of the mystery of Japanese folklore and increasingly worldwide folklore, Isao Takahata directs and writes increasingly Japanese tales and ones that are set very firmly in the “real world”. Only Yesterday is not a magical, fantastical tale telling of how a child can overcome anything, it’s a work of reminiscence and it pulls at the heartstrings of your youth with such a firm tug that you’re left feeling warm and yet, wanting to escape.
It’s a tale of whimsy, yet hard truth. A truth that many watchers, both man and woman will find hard to come to terms with. Evaluating your life and trying to change direction is something many of us would love to do, but we just can’t – which is why you’re left feeling warm and yet wanting to run. It’s certainly not a film for children, in the main, I think children would find this film at best mildly interesting. As an adult with the weight of the world on your shoulders, Only Yesterday is a delight.
Unlike a lot of Ghibli film, Only Yesterday’s animation takes a different approach. It splits the anime style many of us are used to – big eyes and bright colours and a more realistic approach. The split is used to highlight childhood innocence and colour, with the larger eye approach in the 1960s and the older, more refined style for the present day. Both suit the film very well and both retain the unique Japanese feel that well crafted anime has.
Aside from the fact that it has a split approach, the animation quality of the rain, the fields, Taeko exercising as a child, it’s all great and would look even better in high definition – when and if it eventually reaches our shores.
There is no dub available for Only Yesterday, it’s a subtitle only feature in the United Kingdom and musically it’s a treat. There are plenty of references to Japanese songs that naturally, only those with detailed knowledge of Japan in the ‘60s will understand, but the feel of the songs lends itself tremendously to the film’s reminiscing and the folk songs sung make the Yagata present feel so much better than the Tokyo present.
For a little while now, The Prince Charles Cinema have been showing Studio Ghibli films on a Thursday, this had led to lots of people seeing some of the best that anime has to offer, in the cinema. Seeing Totoro, a film older than the average age demographic of an anime fan in the cinema is a great experience. Today they have confirmed their Studio Ghibli season for the next couple of months.
All films are subtitled with the audio in the original Japanese.
5th March, 1845 – £7.50, From Up on Poppy Hill – see our review here!
19th March, 1830 – £7.50, My Neighbours the Yamadas
2nd April, 2040 – £7.50, Pom Poko
16th April, 2100 – £7.50, Howl’s Moving Castle
Triple Features – three Ghibli Films back to back
30th March, My Neighbour Totoro at 1345 – £7.50, Kiki’s Deliver Service at 1553 – £7.50 and Porco Rosso at 1745 – £7.50
20th April, Grave of the Fireflies at 1300 – £7.50 (plus extra needed for tissues from crying, Princess Mononoke at 1455 – £7.50 and Spirited Away at 1730 – £7.50
That’s it for now, but if you get the chance to see any Ghibli film in a theatre, go for it.