FREE Barbican tickets and memberships

December 21, 2009

If you’re aged 16-25 you can get freebies at the Barbican, home of my Japanimation seasons and hundreds of other arts events. Click here for more information – and please pass this on!


Join Live Japan and win prizes

December 18, 2009

A new campaign to get people living in Japan to entice others to visit has just started on the Japan National Tourist organisation website. Non-residents can enter too, and win prizes including hotel stays and tours in Japan.

Another new Studio Ghibli movie for 2010

December 16, 2009

Thanks to Marc Hairston for the information that the website for Karigurashi no Arriety, due in Summer 2010 from Studio Ghibli, has just opened. Based on Mary Norton’s book The Borrowers, the film will be directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi and supervised by Hayao Miyazaki.

Isao Takahata’s next movie, Taketori Monogatari (The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter) is based on a traditional folktale, and is also scheduled for a 2010 release although no date has been announced. Takahata’s last movie was released in 1999.

History of British anime

December 15, 2009

This is quite an interesting post – sadly the blogger hides behind an alias, which I think gives his/her comments less weight, but reminiscences on the history of Manga Video releases are still quite rare online so it’s worth adding to the archive.

Our final class tonight

December 15, 2009

I’m looking forward to this and sad about it at the same time. I’ve found some fabulous anime and hope to make our final class a real journey of discovery!

Independent Animators

December 13, 2009

Thanks to Andrew  for sending me this link to Ayaka Nakata’s Cornelis, a lovely piece.

I’ve also been having fun with the works of Jun Aoki, an Okinawan independent animator with a unique perspective on modern Japan. Not to be confused with Jun Aoki the renowned Japanese architect, but luckily the animator is highly visible on YouTube where he maintains his own channel. I’ll be bringing snippets of his work to class on Tuesday.

Reviewing our learning on creative talents, 8/12/2009

December 9, 2009

At this week’s class we also reviewed last week’s session on creative talents. (Copies of the exercise couldn’t be made last week so Helen decided to review the session this week instead.)

We brainstormed a list of the creative talents identified by both groups last week: Yoko Kanno (on both lists), Osamu Tezuka, Makoto Shinkai, Toei, and Manga Entertainment. We also discussed Helen’s list and recalled Leiji Matsumoto, director, writer, artist; HEADGEAR, creative group; Studio 4ºC; Satoshi Kon, director, writer; Yoko Kanno, composer

We also did a paper exercise in which class members had to mark the roles filled by 20 individuals on a grid, and also mark the periods in which those individuals were active. The individuals were identified only by name, with no clues as to their age, work or role, and many of them had fulfilled several roles in the anime industry apart from the one they were best known for. They spanned the whole period from pre-war to the present, and the whole industry from high-profile directors to lesser-known backroom staff. So this wasn’t an easy exercise.

Even though nobody had any time to prepare for this exercise, everyone did quite well. One class member wrote on the grid “I only got x, and that was with notes” – yet this person correctly identified roles of eleven of the 20 people on the grid, and got completely correct dates for 2 and partially correct dates for the other 9.

Everyone was able to correctly identify roles for about half the names listed (interestingly, not all the same ones!) and some people identified more. Everybody was able to identify one period of activity for the individuals whose roles they got right. However, where individuals had long careers there was some uncertainty as to how long they went on working.