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Japan Roundup: September 18, 2017

Shinichiro Watanabe brings us a 'Blade Runner' short; the, er, brilliant 'Land Of The Lustrous' hits the small screen; and Kar-Wai Wong has an Amazon series in the works

Japan Roundup: September 11, 2017

'Tatami Galaxy' comes to Crunchyroll; 'Funeral Parade of Roses' lands on Blu-ray after a 4K restoration; and a live-action 'Hyouka' is set to drop

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© Victor Santos rashomon-santos-00.jpg

Victor Santos's 'Rashōmon': Edo Noir

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A clever and inventive retelling of three classic Japanese samurai-era tales, channeled through detective-noir sensibilities

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Seijun Suzuki's 'Taishō Trilogy': Erotic, Grotesque, Romantic

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Japan's Roaring Twenties are both backdrop and stage for these three excursions into the delirious, the decadent, and the surreal

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'Haibane Renmei': The Kids In God's Waiting Room

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An allegory, wrapped in a mystery, served up as a children's tale

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'Death Note' (2017): D.O.A.

This isn't 'Death Note'; it's barely Cliffs Notes

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There are so many individual things wrong with Netflix's live-action Death Note film that you might as well roll dice to figure out where to start. Here's one: it's just not enough pounds in too small a bag. You can't take even a modest sample of all that was interesting and thought-provoking in the original manga and cram it into a movie. Not a two-hour movie, and definitely not a hundred-minute movie. This isn't Death Note; it's barely Cliffs Notes.

But there's a lot more that's wrong. And perhaps the biggest problem is how the movie embodies one of the basic sins of all anime/manga-to-live-action productions: Don't be laughable. If this is what we can expect from the next wave of anime and manga remakes outside of Japan, kindly include me out.

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Welcome To Ganriki.org 3.0!

An expansion, a refocusing, and a reinvigoration of our mission

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Today marks the next phase in the evolution of Ganriki.org — one that I have, in all honesty, been mulling since before its inception. From this point on, Ganriki.org is no longer exclusively a site about Japanese visual and verbal culture as found in anime and manga. It's about Japanese culture — popular and high, visual and verbal and dramatic — as a whole.

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GHOST IN THE SHELL: STAND ALONE COMPLEX © 2002-2005 Shirow Masamune • Production I.G/KODANSHA / RAN © Greenwich Film Prod. S.A. / Herald Ace Inc. / Nippon Herald Films Inc. / SŌSEKI NATSUME / YELLOW MAGIC ORCHESTRA © ALFA Music, Inc. ganriki-30-0.jpg
© Fumiyo Kōno / Futabasha / Konosekai no katasumini Project itcotw-00.jpg

'In This Corner Of The World': Life During Wartime

A masterwork, not just of period reconstruction and attention to the details of daily life, but also for the ways it navigates through the tricky issues of a story about WWII Japan without stumbling

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There are so many pitfalls that In This Corner Of The World could have fallen into. The miracle of the movie is that it avoids the vast majority of them. It examines, and celebrates, the resilience of ordinary people in difficult times, without making them into saints and without sentimentalizing what they went through. It also accomplishes all this without becoming boring — and, even more strikingly, without injecting false drama (or for that matter, melodrama). And it's all delivered by way of animation that is affectionate, imaginative, and precisely observed. It's hard to remember the last time I saw a movie that had so few false notes anywhere in it.

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