Stop me if you’ve heard this one: a scientist builds a humanoid mecha that can only be controlled by his offspring, who it turns out have no interest in actually piloting it. This is a bit of a problem, as this giant robot is the only thing that can stop the destruction of Earth by a mysterious alien force. The show in question takes place in a version of Japan much like the present day, and the show proudly wears the influences of tokusatsu and giant robot anime.
Sound familiar? No, it’s not what you’re thinking of… it’s A.R.I.E.L.
Ah, Masamune Shirow. Remember this guy? A certain confluence of releases made him a hugely important figure to the western scene from the late ‘80s to the mid-’90s. On the manga side, Studio Proteus released, via Eclipse and Dark Horse, Appleseed, Dominion and Ghost in the Shell, while on the VHS side, U.S. Renditions brought over Appleseed and Black Magic M-66, we got Dominion via U.S. Manga Corps, and, cementing Shirow’s standing, the original Ghost in the Shell film was released (theatrically!) via Manga Entertainment. Essentially, if you were a company doing this stuff within about a ten-year window, you had something from Shirow – and if you were wandering convention halls during the time, it was impossible not to run into wall scrolls, artbooks and other miscellany plastered with Shirow’s very distinctive mecha and womenfolk.
It’s 1991 and you’re balls deep in this anime stuff, there’s just one problem: It’s not translated and you don’t speak any Japanese aside from “konnichiwa” and “teriyaki,” so what do you do? You could try and track down the handful of subtitled anime available in the US, but they’re all expensive and Madox-01 and Gunbuster are so two years ago. And don’t even think about watching those anime titles that were dubbed and released in the 1980s, because they’ve all been hacked up and edited by assholes like Carl Macek who have no appreciation for real art. Your only option is to find yourself some synopses and your best bet for that is to pick up the authoritatively-titled Anime Reference Guide.
Once again we’ll be doing a bunch of panels at next year’s Anime Los Angeles, which happens on January 6th-8th, 2012. No less than
four a few different Colony Drop dudes will be in attendance, so here’s your chance to sit in on our poorly-attended panels and grab some drinks with us. As of right now, this is the tentative schedule of panels we’ll be hosting or appearing on:
Anime Fandom before the Internet - Friday, 8 - 9 PM
The Rise and Fall of the OVA - Saturday, 11 AM - 12:30 PM
The Secret History of Gainax - Saturday, 7 - 8 PM
COLONY DROP PRESENTS: NOT KIDS’ STUFF - Saturday, 10 PM - 2 AM
The Anime Fanzine in America: Death and Rebirth - Sunday, 11 AM - Noon
Leap through time and space with me, if you will, all the way back to the Tokyo of 1994. The economic bubble had just burst, ushering in Japan’s so-called Lost Decade; at the same time, the city had yet to endure the Aum Shinrikyo cult’s sarin attack on its subways. A year before Neon Genesis Evangelion was to hit the airwaves the otaku world was in existential crisis mode, recently brought to national and international attention (and not in a good way) by the arrest of Tsutomu Miyazaki, “The Otaku Murderer.”
It was in this timeframe two French filmmakers, Jackie Bastide and Jean-Jacques Beineix, went to Tokyo, cameras in hand, attempting to find out just what this “otaku” thing was all about. The result is Otaku, a documentary that recently hit Netflix and serves, for us here in the future, as a fascinating time capsule into the state of otakudom – and the West’s perception thereof – in the early ’90s.
Last year we said that New York Comic Con should just swallow up New York Anime Fest– and its anime programming– rather than run a relative non-attraction next door to what is fast becoming one of the biggest geek-interest cons in the country. The good news is that NYCC really did assimilate everything anime– vendors, producers, distributors– into the NYCC show floor proper. Last year’s anime vendor back alley and the traffic jam therein were no longer an issue. The bad news is that the anime ghetto had returned. The space was large, and it was much closer to the show floor… but it was a ghetto all the same.