'In This Corner Of The World' gets its first U.S trailer; Discotek blesses us with the likes of 'Kaiba' and 'HELLS'; and start saving up for the new 'Gurren Lagann' box set
Project Itoh's 'Genocidal Organ' hits theaters next month; peek at the new 'Gintama' live-action trailer; and 'Kino's Journey' wanders back into print
A bad idea? Maybe not -- in big part because Cowboy Bebop doesn't have nearly the same number of obstacles to live-action adaptability as other shows
The creator of 'AKIRA' is more interested in other things now. Good for him -- and most any creator ought to know what that feels like from the inside
A truly strange specimen from Sonny Chiba's filmography, and an illuminating early example of how manga adaptations were a perfect fit for 1970s exploitation cinema from Japan
There was probably no effective way to compress all of Tsutomu Nihei's BLAME!, that manga of cyberpunk metamorphic hellscapes, into a two-hour movie. The two-hour movie version of BLAME!, courtesy of Netflix and Polygon Pictures, wisely does not even try to do that. It selects a few key elements from the original material — the monolithic setting, the minimal hero, the overall atmosphere of crumbling dead-tech gloom — and casts them into a story that plays as a close cousin to the Mad Max saga. A loner who dispenses few words and much surgically precise violence journeys through a wasteland, encounters a helpless few trying to survive, casts his lot with them for a time, and helps them turn the tables against seemingly impossible odds.
It doesn't matter where a good story comes from. It also doesn't matter how big it is or how small; people can reward intimate stories with success (Moonlight, Manchester By The Sea) as much as they do sprawling ones (pretty much all the recent Marvel box-office-busters). When talk turns to Hollywood adapting anime and manga source material into live-action for English-speaking audiences, they almost inevitably talk big, boffo stories: Cowboy Bebop, Tiger & Bunny, Macross/Robotech, and so on. Rarely is there ever mention of adapting smaller-scale titles with strong drama and great emotional power, with storylines that wouldn't be all that hard to transport to the West without breaking anything ... and with pricetags that wouldn't run into the six figures.
Ocean Waves, like Only Yesterday before it, is one of a handful of Studio Ghibli films that are only just now seeing their first releases in the United States. And like Only Yesterday, it's worth forgetting that this is a Studio Ghibli film, because I worry that imposes unrealistic expectations about its quality, intentions, and end results. Is it essential viewing? Not really, not in the same way Princess Mononoke or My Neighbor Totoro are. Is it enjoyable viewing? Absolutely.