Archive for the ‘Family/Childrens’ Category

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Anime Mirai 2014: Don’t You (Forget About Me)

February 2, 2015

hisui_icon_4040 I thought that 2014 would be different. The first two batches of the Young Animator Training Project came and went with little fanfare. When the project was initially announced there was a lot of praise as it seemed exactly the sort of initiative that a good deal of the commenters wanted the anime industry to do in hopes of promoting new talent. But in the time between when Anime Mirai titles are revealed and when they are released is long enough that most people in the English-speaking world have forgotten about them. Add to that the simple fact that they are not streaming as another barrier. If this was started five or six years ago it would be a different story. Enough people still regularly downloaded fan-subs so they might have gone to their favorite aggregator site and downloaded a peculiar one shot out of mere curiosity. But now that streaming is so prevalent that if a title is not legally online it practically becomes invisible unless it has some insane amount of hype or a legacy behind it. Overall the animation made for the Anime Mirai came and went with little fan fare. Certain titles may have been important to individual fans but overall they never made a noticeable splash.

Little Witch Academia seemed like it would have changed all of that.  It was the first title that really grabbed people’s attention and became a phenomenon. It got to the point where Trigger officially put it on Youtube and that snowballed into a fevered pitch that launched an insanely successful Kickstarter. While Death Billiards did not get that same momentous level of success it currently has its own TV series so the general halo effect can’t be ignored. Ryo and Alv Rezul – Mechanical Fairies did not get to share in that rising tide but they were also inferior productions (in my humble opinion). Still it seemed like Anime Mirai had finally come into prominence.

Then in 2014 the next batch of titles came and went with absolutely no celebration or hoopla. They have not been totally ignored. There are a decent number of reviews of all the titles. But the level of interest fell back to the same blasé disinterest that it had been before Little Witch Academia. I only knew that this years titles were out because a fan-sub of Harmonie appeared as a recommended title on YouTube after watching an unrelated Loading Ready Run sketch. I feel like that is a real shame since this was a pretty strong selection this year. So I hope that this post might get a few more people to check out this year’s batch.

narutaki_icon_4040 Remember when it was thought the Anime Mirai project would go away? I am so glad it didn’t, because as Al said, it really has come to be something special despite the lack of fanfare. While Little Witch Academia and Death Billiards are clearly the best known from the project, there is a lot of other fantastic work on display. It is nice to also see short films that are purely created as short films in which they can play more and try different things. It is amazing how much you can communicate within 30 minutes.

I’d really love to see Anime Mirai work shown here in the U.S., it would be perfect for film festivals or special, limited engagements. Come on Gkids, make this happen!

 

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The Speakeasy #051: Upside-down Pineapple, March Movie Madness

March 31, 2014
Drink #051: Upside-down Pineapple
March Movie Madness

Unlike all the other East Coast anime fans, we didn’t head to Anime Boston this month. Instead, we talk about all the movies we saw during March. Okay, yeah, fine we couldn’t come up with a real, all encompassing topic, okay? But hey, you get two anime movie reviews (Patema Inverted and Giovanni’s Island both of which played at the NYICFF) and our thoughts on the Veronica Mars movie (have we ever sounded this ridiculously happy in a podcast before?).

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And now your helpful bartenders at The Speakeasy present your drink:

Upside-down Pineapple

  • 1/2 oz. Vodka, vanilla
  • 1/4 oz. Grenadine
  • 1 oz. Pineapple Juice

Shake vanilla vodka and pineapple juice with ice and strain into shot glass. Add grenadine. The grenadine will sink to the bottom and will give this shot a very sweet conclusion.

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NYICFF 2014: Jack and the Cuckoo Clock Heart

March 24, 2014

narutaki_icon_4040 Jack and the Cuckoo Clock Heart hails from France. It was created as a “rock opera” based on the concept album, La Mécanique du Cœur.

The film begins with a sequence of the “coldest day ever” where we see the town go from snowy to frozen over in stunning fashion. The gothic spires, twisty streets, and angular architecture evoke just the type of macabre visual style that I love. The style becomes ever more realized as the movie goes on introducing things like an accordion stream train (seriously, this was so cool) and a sideshow filled to the brim with odd characters.

Additionally, a couple of scenes which melt into one another and back again are a dizzying delight. And the dream sequences of Jack and Acacia have a lot of charm.

The combination of imagination and technical detail was incredible in Jack and the Cuckoo Clock Heart.

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NYICFF 2014: Foosball

March 19, 2014

narutaki_icon_4040 Foosball broke all box offices records in its native country Argentina and lucky for us New York International Children’s Film Fest had a chance to show us what the fuss was about.

Big personalities are the star of this fast and funny foosball (and soccer) story. The movie’s CG animation alone is reason to see it, easily on par with what we have seen come out of a big studios in the U.S.

 

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