Another fortnight has flown by, and it’s time for our latest round up of attention to older anime. This is a bumper crop, with (among other things) several chunky interviews, a lengthy book review and some significant new translations. Also, did you know that 16 July is the thirtieth anniversary of the release of Akira? That’s three decades of Neo Tokyo being about to ᴇ.x.ᴘ.ʟ.ᴏ.ᴅ.ᴇ.
As usual, remarks from Feez are in blue and those from Thaliarchus are in red.
Cries in Newtype has a new translation of a 1982 interview with the mechanical designer for Space Runaway Ideon, Yuichi Higuchi. This is short but it contains some really interesting comments, including Higuchi remarking on the importance of the interior spaces in the Ideon—one of the things I like about the Ideon is that it’s building-sized and can repel boarding actions, so it’s nice to learn that this was deliberately worked-out! Agreed. The Ideon’s massive size and scale is one of its selling points, so it’s cool to learn that a lot of detail was put into that. I also love reading about Japanese industry people meeting Tomino for the first time. He certainly was and is an eccentric person.
And, speaking of interviews, AniTAY has put up a translation of an old German magazine interview with Naoko Takeuchi and Kazuko Tadano, i.e. the original author of Sailor Moon and the character designer for the anime adaptation. They range over all sorts of topics, from lapidary drawing advice to the design variation in the anime across the work of different staff.
If you’re not tired of interviews yet, Neo-Tokyo 2099 has a long chat with Tom Mitchell, who ran an early online anime newsletter, Anime Stuff. It’s a good read if you like details about Anglophone anime fandom in the late eighties and early nineties.
Marion has a lengthy retrospective on magical/musical classic Creamy Mami (1983) at Otaku, She Wrote, covering the show’s genesis, its content, and how it comes across when watched today.
We’re living through the twentieth anniversary of Serial Experiments Lain—as the show’s writer, Chiaki J. Konaka, has been pointing out on Twitter. At Isn’t It Electrifying?, wendeego suggests that Lain‘s vision of the internet melding into the rest of life has more or less been realised, and not happily. Justin Charity, meanwhile, has a piece at The Ringer arguing that Lain foresaw what life online might do to our sense of identity. I only watched Lain for the first time last year, so I am not nearly as attached to it as many other Western fans are. That said, I really liked the anime so I’m glad it’s receiving the love and attention it deserves.
Orphan have subtitled a few more obscurities, and as usual collectr has posts about them which serve as useful primers. One is the 1992 one-shot OVA adaptation of the manga Oruorane the Cat Player; another is Every Day is Sunday, a series of comic police stories; the third is the distinctly unpleasant-sounding sex comedy OVA Dokushin Apartment Dokudami-sou (1989).
Cutfilm Tovent’s long-running series of AMV posts tackles an old Inuyasha AMV. For those not familiar with this blog, I feel I should point out that this is much more interesting than that rather bald sentence makes it sound: it’s a thoughtful reflection on Inuyasha‘s past reception and diminishing place in fan consciousness, and on changes over time in AMV culture.
On the All the Anime company blog, Andrew Osmond has a review of Hayao Miyazaki: Exploring the Early Work of Japan’s Greatest Animator, by Raz Greenberg (a tendentious book title if ever I saw one!). The book tackles Miyazaki’s career before Ghibli and in Osmond’s account—which is politely critical—it doesn’t break large amounts of new ground, but does gather much previously scattered information into one accessible volume.
sdshamshel writes briefly but informatively about the Pretty Cure franchise’s longstanding role as a ‘crossroads’ for experienced and up-and-coming actors. I liked the detail that Precure’s now old enough that some of its younger actors were fans of the show as children. This examination is very interesting, and it can be applied to other long-running franchises too, such as Gundam. If a voice actor or actress lands a major role in the latest entry to the series, it can be career-defining. I like the example of Yukana, who was already up-and-coming, and then went on to be an industry veteran (modern anime fans may be familiar with her role as C.C. in Code Geass).
The latest Mike Toole Show considers anime spinoffs of all sorts and all ages. You can save us both time by just imagining me reflexively recommending Mellowlink here.
ANN also has a rundown of factors which prevent re-releases for some older anime titles.
Humble Ace has been watching Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water and offers a series review.
The Great OAV Watch has a capsule review of the 1997 title Dragoon.
Finally, Brian Ruh recently put up a neat little Twitter thread of glossed photos from old anime magazines.
Oldtaku no Radio has a new episode devoted to Ergo Proxy.
Two relevant episodes of Dynamite in the Brain have emerged. One considers three films attached to Shounen Jump properties which were released in 1994 (I’m all in favour of seeing titles as part of larger clusters of material which were experienced at the same time, rather than as atomised incidents!) and the other reviewing Tokyo Movie Shinsha productions, 1973–80.
As per collectr’s posts linked above, Orphan have released Oruorane the Cat Player, Dokushin Apartment Dokudami-sou, and an improved script for Every Day is Sunday.
These developments might be few in number (within what we’ve been able to track!) but some of them are significant.
It’s interesting to see new subtitles for Bosco Adventure, an anime series worked up from illustrations by the artist ‘Tony Wolf’ (Antonio Lupatelli); the same source material was known as The Woodland Folk in the English-speaking world. If you don’t mind picking through Italian, this post from back in May marks Lupatelli’s death and has various extra details about the anime.
And although the work on Goldfish Warning might sound inocuous, the show has in fact never been fully available in English despite efforts stretching back across at least two decades, on which see buildknuckle’s remarks here. So, with luck, this might be the start of the very final stage of its translation journey.
What we’ve been up to
Feez — I’m still mentally recovering from Anime Expo. It was a LOT of fun, but as usual, hectic and unreasonably exhausting. I got to meet a lot of awesome industry people, such as akiman, Yuji Horii, and Go Nagai. I won’t go into detail about everything I did, but meeting akiman again was definitely my highlight. I wrote a little post detailing my encounter, if you’re interested. I also met a lot of cool folks from Twitter, new-and-old, so thanks for helping make this AX for me!
Haven’t been watching much anime, aside from barely keeping up with the seasonal stuff. Now that life’s settling down to normalcy, I’ll be able to fit things in.
Thaliarchus — I’ve been at a conference in Toronto—which is why we’ve gone back to the Gamba well with the head image for this post: I don’t have my usual collection of screenshots to hand. The conference has been a mixed experience. I think my paper went reasonably well, and the whole session seemed to generate some constructive discussion. On the other hand, I just can’t get used to the careerist feel of big conferences. It’s something which is completely understandable, given the state of academia and the (I think, misguided) belief among some early-career researchers that anything other than a traditional academic job is a kind of failure. But it’s rather wearing and I feel it’s worse at North American conferences, though perhaps that’s just prejudice talking!