Here’s our latest fortnightly round-up of attention to older anime, with all the mermaids, Joyce, Lollardy and clobbering that you’ve been wishing for! As usual, remarks from Feez are in blue and those from Thaliarchus are in red.
Animehead’s Retroworld has a write-up of Labyrinth Tales / Neo Tokyo, a 1987 anthology film, and also an interesting piece reminding us of some of the co-production and outsourced work of Japanese animators on titles nominally made elsewhere in the world during the 80s. There’s a strain of anime commentary today which strives to point out the current anime industry’s international connections and cross-fertilisations. I think that’s certainly a point worth making, but the people making it rarely note that anime has long had international ties of finance and influence (not just since the 80s but since the beginning!). This was an interesting read for me personally as, having grown up without television, discovering anime in the 2000s, I’ve never seen most of the titles mentioned…
Niall has a new post on the first season of the City Hunter anime, getting into its strengths, weaknesses, aesthetic and themes.
Humble Ace gets into the start of the 2008 Spice and Wolf adaptation. I’ve never been a huge fan of S&W, but I was amused to hear that the sequel series of novels (‘Wolf and Parchment‘) draws on the history of later-medieval church reform movements in Western Europe.
Wrong Every Time’s episodic posts continue for Princess Tutu (episode 9) and Ojamajo Doremi (episode 29). Also Nick wrote a short answer to a CuriousCat question on how ‘Good kids’ anime is just good anime’ which I thought was a good point well made. I agree. I’ve never liked the ‘kids’ anime’ label that gets thrown around. Plenty of anime that people don’t associate the label to are technically aimed towards kids, such as many giant robot anime.
All the Anime’s company blog carries an essay from Jasper Sharp which works as a useful primer on the adult ‘Animerama’ films made by Mushi Pro around the turn of the 1970s.
Finally, Mike Toole’s latest column examines the long genealogy of anime involving mermaids. This is was an interesting read, as it’s a topic I hadn’t contemplated before. I think the last anime I watched that featured a mermaid was Yoshiyuki Tomino’s Triton of the Sea (1972); it’s definitely a product of its time, and the subtitles that exist are bad. I remember My Bride is a Mermaid. I enjoyed it back then, but I don’t know if I would if I watched it now.
The Chinese Cartoon Podcast tackles the 1989 OVA Riding Bean, a slick one-off action story. For what it’s worth, I like Riding Bean but I feel like Kenichi Sonoda’s fingerprints are too visible in it.
Dynamite in the Brain’s ‘Famous Anime Podcast’ series examines the output of the studio Tokyo Movie (still alive today as TMS Entertainment) from 1964 to 1972. My big takeaway from this was just how many of these old titles were revived or remade, sometimes repeatedly. If we live in an age of remakes, that’s nothing distinctive!
All Geeks Considered have an episode on Isao Takahata, with a particular focus on three of his films which are perhaps key works in his directorial career: Horus, Prince of the Sun (1968), Only Yesterday (1991) and The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (2013).
- Stop! Hibari-kun 19–24 (Orphan; see also collectr’s useful guide to episode 19’s allusions)
- Kindaichi Case Files film 1 (HD rerelease; Orphan)
- Bismarck 49, 50–51 (end!) (GANGO)
- Bonobono (1995) 22 (GANGO)
- Ganba no Bouken 13 (Senritsu)
- Anonymous Russian Rippers have released Dorvack 4–18 and Koutetsu Jeeg 14–19 which can be found in the usual places
- Ga-Keen 8 (Luurah)
What we’ve been up to
Feez — I’ve been playing The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. Yikes. This game has a lot of issues. It’s also hard for me to judge, because the over-reliance on motion controls really detracts from its potential. The dungeons are fun, however, and the setting and story are definitely up my alley. I’m glad Nintendo listened to all the gameplay complaints—Breath of the Wild is a massive step up if you ask me.
I’m going to Anime Expo this year! I’ll be there from 3 July to 9 July. If you’re interested in meeting up and/or saying hi, feel free to hit me up. I’m always available via Twitter.
Thaliarchus — I’m still having a busy time of it but I’ve fitted a few more things in than I had when we wrote our previous post! A friend and I are still watching our way through Cardcaptor Sakura and the original Mobile Suit Gundam, which go surprisingly well together. We’ve reached about a third of the way through Sakura, which has been pretty delightful. So far, it’s been a very fine set of natural, low-stakes stories. My friend hasn’t seen Gundam before, and I’ve gotten used to explaining oddities in the show’s world and technology by muttering ‘This is probably another thing that happens because of Minovsky particles’. But we’re both enjoying it.
I’ve nearly reached the end of Super Robot Wars X, which I think I’ll be characterising as a little weaker than SRW V, but still a solid, entertaining game. It has the best translation yet in the current run of English-translated PS4 Super Robot Wars titles: the odd slip aside, it’s very clean, idiomatic and readable, and it has a strong sense for tone and register. It’ll be fantastic if they can keep this up for the next few games as well.
I recently enjoyed this article on the imagined, and entirely untrue, reports of the death of a past editor of Joyce’s Ulysses. It prompted me to witter a bit about how big misconceptions can grow out of small untruths (whether accidental or malicious), with reference to a couple of minor questions in anime history.