Tag Archives: Animation

Junk Head (Takahide Hori, 2017)

As behind-the-scenes footage at its end shows, Junk Head is a true labour of love for Takahide Hori, who directs, writes and edits this stop motion animation, as well as voice work, composing the score and most of the other odd jobs.

A funny and both cute and creepy dystopian tale, it’s a truly unique vision, though for a taste of its style, imagine if Henry Selick or the Quay brothers made a film designed by Clive Barker, influenced by slapstick…

Full review for SciFiNow

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‘Lu Over the Wall’ director Masaaki Yuasa on mermaids, vampires, Netflix, ‘Adventure Time’

Masaaki Yuasa’s background in animation goes back decades, but he’s probably best known to international audiences for his debut feature as a director, 2004’s Mind Game: a psychedelic trip of a movie that incorporates life, death, sex and yakuza feuds into one mind-bending package. Yuasa has mostly directed TV series, shorts or contributions to anthology movies since then, but 2017 has seen the long-awaited release of two new feature films from the man: comedy The Night Is Short, Walk On Girl and fantasy Lu Over The Wall.

Yuasa’s film and TV output is characterised by deceptively simple animation that’s prone to expressive outbursts of manic energy. Lu Over The Wall is no exception, though here it’s filtered into material that’s a little more family-friendly than some of his prior work. The story focuses on Kai, a gloomy middle school student in a small seaside town where interests outside of a future in the local businesses are largely discouraged. He reluctantly joins a band with two fellow classmates and they practice in secret. Halfway through the first practice, Kai finds they already have a fan: a music-loving mermaid named Lu who wants to sing and dance with them…

Full interview for SciFiNow

Lu Over the Wall (Masaaki Yuasa, 2017)

Lu Over The Wall, the latest film from Japanese director Masaaki Yuasa, is an ace new entry in the small but strong pool of animation centred around mermaid or fish-people, alongside Disney’s The Little Mermaid and Studio Ghibli’s Ponyo

Full review for SciFiNow

Scotland Loves Anime 2017: Preview

Each year, Scotland Loves Anime gives animation fans a chance to see an eclectic selection of Japanese fare on the big screen. This year marks the eighth instalment of the festival at Glasgow Film Theatre and Edinburgh’s Filmhouse, with tours across additional locations in Scotland to follow.

Though anime on the big screen in the UK is becoming more and more common thanks to the work of distributors like Anime Limited and National Amusements (both were behind box office hit Your Name, amongst others of late), many a notable feature slips through the gaps. As such, this year’s Scotland Loves Anime line-up is an appealing mix of wide-ranging titles for both hardcore enthusiasts and the anime novice; from European or UK premieres of new franchise entries to influential classics worth seeing big…

Full feature for The Skinny

Why you need to see ‘Your Name’ in IMAX and the potential for more IMAX animation

By now, most sci-fi fans with even a cursory interest in animation will be aware of Your Name, director Makoto Shinkai’s body swap/time travel dramedy – think Freaky Friday meets Back to the Future – that became a global hit last year. At the time of writing, its worldwide gross is at over 355 million in US dollars, over $235 million of which came from its native Japan alone.

Its UK run was also impressive, considering anime that doesn’t involve Pokémon or the input of Studio Ghibli has rarely had the greatest success at the British box office. Distributor Anime Limited put the film out in partnership with National Amusements last November, initially in a one-day engagement across the UK that gave way to longer runs in cities where audiences were lapping up the film. London’s Prince Charles Cinema, to name one location, seemed to have at least one screening of Your Name a week for much of the start of 2017.

As such, it’s not surprising that Your Name has been granted an official one day re-release in cinemas around Britain, ahead of its long-awaited home format release this autumn. To sweeten the deal, the distributors have also thrown in an IMAX version of the film for select participating cinemas – the first anime feature to receive an IMAX release in the UK…

Full feature for SciFiNow

Napping Princess (Kenji Kamiyama, 2017)

The filmography of writer-director Kenji Kamiyama is rife with updates of beloved anime or manga properties, most notably a TV expansion of Ghost in the Shell. What characterises most of his visions is a penchant for political commentary, which is a tad less prominent in his latest project, Napping Princess, a more straightforward fantasy adventure with some sci-fi dressing…

Full review for SciFiNow

Zootropolis (Byron Howard/Rich Moore/Jared Bush, 2016)

Fair play to Walt Disney Animation Studios of late for not always venturing down the most obvious, tried and true path. Peppered in between their recent revivals of their musical formula (Tangled, Frozen) and recognizable properties (Winnie the Pooh), there’s been a full-blown foray into video game culture (Wreck-It-Ralph) and a superhero adaptation heavy on meshing together Asian and American cultures (Big Hero 6). And now, with Zootopia (or Zootropolis, as some of Europe is getting it), we have a police procedural/neo-noir that actually interrogates themes of racial stereotyping and classism, while satirizing matters like the War on Drugs. But, you know, with bunnies and buffalos…

Full review for The Film Stage