Thursday, July 11, 2013

Big (Screened) in Japan

While here in Japan we're often forced to wait an absolute eternity for blockbuster movies from abroad to hit the screens — just as an example Star Trek Into Darkness doesn't arrive until 23 August, making this the last country listed on to screen the sequel, three months after even Iceland — there are some home-baked goodies to keep us entertained.

It helps, of course, if you're into anime and manga, which I most certainly am, and 2013 is bubbling with big-screen versions of some titles you may've heard of before.
For starters there's something out later this month (July) courtesy of the great Katsuhiro Otomo, the genius behind both the Akira (1989) movie and manga, and one of my favourite Japanese comic book short-story books in English: Memories.

If you've never picked up this weighty tome, you should, since it's a 250-page compendium of shortstories veer wildly from surprising twists verging on Twilight Zone to silly slapstick, but it’s the title-tale ‘Memories’ that always grabs me.

A space salvage vessel with a cranky crew finds a drifting Marie Céleste with plush carpets, chandeliers, empty books and homicidal robot watchdogs — not to mention a mummified cadaver reaching out from beyond the grave.

With his new film Short Peace, Otomo has negotiated with Shuhei Morita, Hiroaki Ando, Hajime Katoki and Kōji Morimoto to produce a four-part short story omnibus, apparently based at least partially on Otomo's 1979 manga of the same name.


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