Future Boy Conan

Future Boy Conan is a post-apocalyptic science fiction anime series, which premiered across Japan on the NHKnetwork between April 4 and October 31, 1978 on the Tuesday 19:30-20:00 timeslot. The official English title used by Nippon Animation is Conan, The Boy in Future. It is an adaptation of Alexander Key’s novel The Incredible Tide.

Future Boy Conan

Spanning a total of 26 episodes, the series was produced by Nippon Animation and featured the directorial debut of Hayao Miyazaki, also contributing to character designs and storyboards. Other future prominent anime creators like Isao Takahata and Yoshiyuki Tomino also worked on the series.

The story begins in July 2008, during a time when humankind is faced with the threat of extinction. A devastating war fought between two major nations with ultra-magnetic weapons far greater than anything seen earlier brings about total chaos and destruction throughout the world, resulting in several earthquakes and tidal waves, the earth thrown off its axis, its crust being rocked by massive movements, and the five continents being torn completely apart and sinking deep below the sea.

An attempt by a group of people to flee to outer space failed, with their spaceships being forced back to earth and vanishing, thus shattering their hopes. But one of the spaceships narrowly escaped destruction and crash landed on a small island which had miraculously survived the devastation. The crew members of the spaceship settled there, as if they were seeds sown on the island.

Amidst these survivors, a boy named Conan is born on October 2010, bringing a new ray of hope to the earth. After several years, during which most of the other survivors had died and the only people left on the island were Conan and his grandfather, he meets a young girl named Lana, and their adventure begins. Between the different islands left in the world: Industria, High Harbor, Remnant, and others, the young group of adventurers travel and conflict rises between good and evil people. Throughout the series a pure love story develops between Conan and Lana.

Future Boy Conan first aired across Japan on the NHK TV network between April 4 and October 31, 1978, during the Tuesday, 7:30pm timeslot. It has been regularly broadcast across Japan on the anime satellite television network, Animax, who have also later translated and dubbed the series into English for broadcast across its respective English-language networks in Southeast Asia and South Asia, under the title Conan, The Boy In Future.

Manga, Comfort Women and France

 

When it comes to anime, the  word is synonymous to its country of origin, Japan. Continuing this train of thought, opportunities to voice out against the said country arise during events and activities related to anime and manga. At the initiative of the South Korean government, a special exhibition devoted to the painful “comfort women” issue will feature at one of Europe’s leading manga festivals that gets under way this month.

A cartoon on “comfort women,” titled “Song of Butterfly,”

More than 20 manga and anime works depicting the ordeal these women faced will go on display at the Angouleme festival in France. “Comfort women” is a euphemism for women forced to provide sex for Japanese soldiers before and during World War II. Most of the women were from the Korean Peninsula, which was a Japanese colony from 1910 to 1945.

“We expect the works to help a wider range of people become aware of the tragedy of comfort women and the seriousness of wartime sexual violence,” said Cho Yoon-sun, minister of gender equality and family, in announcing the decision Jan. 14. “We hope they will move the hearts of people around the world.”

The manga and anime works, all created by South Korean artists, will be exhibited under the theme of “Flowers that never fade.” The festival will start Jan. 30 and continue through Feb. 2. Working with Amnesty International, Seoul is determined to have Japan come to terms with this festering sore in their shared history.

The Angouleme Festival

When asked for a reaction, Tokyo states that the problem is complicated because the issue was resolved under a bilateral agreement on rights to compensation claims that was signed when the two countries normalized their diplomatic relations in 1965. At President Park Geun-hye’s initiative, the South Korean government late last year opened the first government-led exhibition themed on comfort women in Seoul to urge Japan to make aggressive efforts to “settle” the issue.

Images by ajw.asahi.com and justiceforcomfortwomen.org

Shoji Kawamori

 

One of the recurring names of mecha-themed anime would be Shōji Kawamori, a Japanese anime creator, screenwriter and mecha designer. He was born in Toyama, Japan in 1960. He attended Keio University in the same years as Macross screenwriter Hiroshi Ōnogi and character designer Haruhiko Mikimoto, where they had a Mobile Suit Gundam fan club called “Gunsight One”, a name they would use years later as part of the Macross series.

Credited for the creation of several mech designs

Shoji Kawamori occasionally used the alias Eiji Kurokawa early in his anime career when he started as a teenager intern member of Studio Nue and worked as assistant artist and animator there during the late seventies and early eighties. Later on his career Kawamori created or co-created the concepts which served as basis for such notable anime series as The Super Dimension Fortress Macross, The Vision of Escaflowne, Earth Maiden Arjuna, Genesis of Aquarion, Macross 7, and Macross Frontier. His projects are usually noted to contain strong themes of love, war, spirituality or mysticism, and ecological concern. Kawamori is currently executive director at the animation studio Satelight.

Shoji Kawamori is also an accomplished mecha designer and the projects featuring his designs range from 1983’s Crusher Joe to 2005’s Eureka Seven. Also, each and every variable fighter from the official Macross series continuity has been designed by him.

In 2001, he brought his mecha design talent to real-life projects when he designed a variant of the Sony AIBO robotic dog, the ERS-220. Kawamori also helped to design various toys for the Takara toy line Diaclone in the late 1970s and the early 1980s, many of which were later incorporated into Hasbro’s Transformers toyline.

During the late seventies and early eighties Shoji Kawamori helped to create several of the original Transformers: Generation 1 toy designs. Among them the first Optimus Prime (“Convoy”) toy design, Prowl, Bluestreak, Smokescreen, Ironhide and Ratchet. Over 20 years later, he returned to Transformers by designing both the Hybrid Style Convoy and the Masterpiece version of Starscream for Takara.

Image by www.crunchyroll.com

Kaze Tachinu and Comfort Women Issue

Kaze Tachinu’s director, Hayao Miyazaki, stirred up a lot of controversy online. The reasons why may surprise you. They may not.

As previously said, the film is fictionalized account of Jiro Horikoshi, who made the iconic World War II military aircraft, the Mitsubishi A6m Zero.

Jiro Horikoshi

Some of the early reviews called the film “incredible” and said it was gone for adults. Kids, it seemed, discovered the film “dull”. On the movie’s Yahoo! Japan page, numerous commenters are viciously assaulting both Kaze Tachinu and its creator, Hayao Miyazaki by calling the film “against Japanese” and Miyazaki “dumb”.

“That’s right, this anime is unquestionably against Japanese,” composed one 2ch commentator. “Presumably effectively awful.”

“This anime is a commendation to the Zero contender, right?” composed an alternate. “Considering all that, apologize to the comfort women? I don’t get this old coot.”

Attacks like these give off an impression of being from individuals how haven’t seen the movie. So, what’s the deal? Is it the movie? No, its something Miyazaki said.

In a late meeting with Studio Ghibli’s own particular publicity pamphlet Neppu, the 72 year-old Miyazaki said, “For the comfort lady issue, because its a question of each nation’s pride, a fitting expression of remorse should be given and suitable reparations should be paid.”

Amid World War II, the Japanese military made prostitution corps called “ianfu”, which is commonly translated as “comfort women”.

Kaze Tachinu movie poster

Conservatives in Japan are frequently speedy to bring up that Japanese politicians, executives, and the Emperor have apologized numerous times for Japanese atrocities amid the war. Compensation has been recompensed; notwithstanding, there’s verbal confrontation about whether it was a suitable sum and whether these apologies were fitting.

The point of comfort women is a sensitive issue in Japan—and the rest of Asia especially for the Indonesian, Philippine and Korean Comfort Women.

Online, there were those who concurred with Miyazaki. Others pondered about the timing. In any case online in Japan, a place that frequently can feel more conservative than the nation itself, critics have been vocal.

“Why not pay the comfort lady with the profits from your movie?” asked one Yahoo! commentator. “Wouldn’t it respect boycott the movie that this backstabber made?” shot an alternate, among those saying that Kaze Tachinu was the work of a left-wing liberal. “That is it! Ghibli’s finished,” one ventured to announce.

The Yahoo! Japan page is transforming into a heap on and right now has in excess of two thousand comments, with individuals assaulting perhaps the world’s greatest living animator for saying what he thinks.

 

Image by Wikipedia and Flickr

Kenshin Himura

 

I don’t know anyone who’s into anime that does not know of the legendary cross-scarred, gentle-yet-deadly samurai Himura Kenshin. This red-haired former samurai assassin is a fictional character and main protagonist of the Rurouni Kenshin manga created by Nobuhiro Watsuki. When creating Kenshin, Watsuki designed him to be the physical opposite of Hiko Seijūrō, a character that appears in Watsuki’s first one-shot manga, “Crescent Moon in the Warring States”; a character with the same name appears in Rurouni Kenshin as Kenshin’s swordsmanship teacher.

Covered with crimson, Kenshin has vowed never to shed blood again

Kenshin’s story is set in a fictional version of Japan during the Meiji period. Kenshin is a former legendary assassin known as “Hitokiri Battōsai” , more properly named Himura Battōsai. At the end of the Bakumatsu, he becomes a wandering samurai, now wielding a sakabatō which literally means “reverse-blade sword.” It is a katana that has the cutting edge on the inwardly curved side of the sword, thus being nearly incapable of killing. Kenshin wanders the countryside of Japan offering protection and aid to those in need, as atonement for the murders he once committed as an assassin. In Tokyo, he meets a young woman named Kamiya Kaoru, who invites him to live in her dojo despite learning about Kenshin’s past. Throughout the series, Kenshin begins to establish lifelong relationships with many people, including ex-enemies, while dealing with his fair share of enemies, new and old. Through these encounters and relationships, Kenshin begins to find true atonement for his past enabling him to fully conquer his “Battousai” nature.

Kenshin’s character was well received by fans, with his holding the top spot in all reader popularity polls for the series. Critics of the series praised his personality, though some complained about his development during the original video animation (OVA) series, which differs from the manga. A variety of collectibles based around Kenshin have been created, including figurines, key chains, plushies, and replicas of his sakabatō sword.

Image by powerlisting.wikia.com

Greatest Anime Character of All-Time

Anime cannot be complete without the protagonists. These characters, the heroes are usually who we want to be; powerful, capable, beautiful, confident, selfless, and with some carefully added flaws to make them relatable. But Shinji was different; he wasn’t who we wanted to be. Instead, he provided an uncensored look at who we are. He’s hated for being a wuss; scared, whiny, creepy, and hopeless. But what 14-year-old kid wouldn’t be given what he’s had to deal with? He’s a character that challenges the audience by not giving them a superficial, vicarious power fantasy like you’d get from so many other anime. He is pathetic, but that is what makes him great. That is what makes him a genuine work of art because he is more real than most of the heroes of anime.

Shinji from the Evangelion series

Hideaki Anno, writer and director of the Evangelion series, went through a serious bout of depression while making the show and like a true artist he poured all of that emotion and despair into his work. Each of those characters is a piece of him at his worst, immortalized in media. No character represents his emotions more than Shinji. Through the boy Shinji, who is tasked with defeating giant demons trying to destroy his world, we get an intimate peek at the man behind the production trying to defeat his own personal demons.

Shinji is a mirror of all the things depression teaches a person to hate about themselves; he’s not an exit door to a fantasy land. There’s nothing wrong with escapist fantasy, but it’s not the only thing anime can be used for, and Shinji’s legacy is that he was perhaps the most emotionally true-to-life character in anime history. This is what makes him great to us because he is very much like us. Whether we admit it or not, we all have a Shinji inside of us.

Image by wikipedia

Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation

Anime in Japan is a serious thing and there are several organizations that support this scene and one of them is the Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation (SPJA). It is an organization that works to promote Japanese Culture and the arts that are related to Japanese Animation. The SPJA has various on-going projects that work to achieve this goal. These events are fueled by the dedication and support of a small workforce and a substantial volunteers corps of impassioned individuals, the SPJA owns properties such as: Anime Conji – San Diego’s premier Japanese culture event, Anime Expo – the largest anime convention in North America, and Project Anime a business-to-business event dedicated to connecting – conventions, distribution companies, vendors, and each other for the purpose of “adding fuel to the fandom.”

One of many projects of SPJA

 

The Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation is a registered non-profit mutual benefit trade organization. It is is the parent organization for Anime Expo (AX), which started in 1992 in San Jose, California. A direct descendant of AnimeCon in 1991, SPJA and AX were formed by members of Cal-Animage Alpha, the anime club of the University of California at Berkeley. AX moved to the Los Angeles area in 1994. Since then, the SPJA has held AX in Anaheim, Long Beach, and most recently downtown Los Angeles. SPJA has also hosted Anime Expo New York, which took place in 2002, and partnered to host Anime Expo Tokyo in 2004.

 

In June 2012, the SPJA adopted Anime Conji, the anime convention of San Diego. In the following month, the SPJA launched Project Anime North America, as a yearly multi-day conference designed to connect promoters of Japanese Culture events & Pop Culture conventions (and fan conventions that feature anime) with distribution companies, vendors, and each other for the purpose of “adding fuel to the fandom.”.

2013 marked the first Anime Conji to be hosted by the SPJA.In March 2013, the SPJA launched Project Anime Japan, as a yearly single-day conference designed to connect promoters of Japanese Culture Events and Japanese content creators. This event is held in conjunction with Tokyo International Anime Fair & Studio Hard Deluxe.

Image by katak101.blogspot.com

“Uncomfortable” Hayao Miyazaki

One of the newest animated film of the renowned Studio Ghibli , Kaze Tachinu, has just premiered on July 2013 and yet it has already generated serious amount of controversy. The film is a fictional biography of Jiro Horikoshi, the creator of the renowned World War II fighter plane, the Mitsubishi A6M Zero.  Its director, the legendary Hayao Miyazaki, has stirred up a hornet’s nest of controversy online.

Several of the initial reviews rated the film as “great” and stated that it was a film for mature audiences. This might be true because kids though it was “dull”. Kaze Tachinu’s Yahoo! Japan page is being flooded by many commenters that are ferociously attacking both the film Miyazaki. The commenters call the film “anti-Japanese” while Miyazaki was called “dim-witted”.

The trigger to all these rage comments was due to a previous recent interview with Studio Ghibli’s own publicity pamphlet Neppu where Miyazaki said, “For the Japanese comfort women issue, because it’s a question of each nation’s pride, a proper apology should be given and suitable reparations should be paid.”

During the Second World War, the Japanese military established a prostitution corps called “ianfu”, which is usually translated as “comfort women”. Conservatives in Japan are always hasty in point out that Japanese politicians, prime ministers, and the Emperor have apologized several times for the cruel things that the Japanese had done during war time. The victims were given proper compensation yet there are those who are skeptical about the proper amount awarded and whether or not these apologies were enough. The topic of comfort women is a very sensitive and volatile issue in Japan and the rest of Asia.  Some agree with Miyazaki but the online world of Japan seems like a place that usually seems more conservative than the country itself and critics have not failed to voice out their strong opinions.

“Why don’t you pay the comfort woman with the profits from your movie?” asked one Yahoo! commenter. “Wouldn’t it be good to ban the movie that this traitor created?” was commented by one that says Kaze Tachinu was created by a left-wing liberal. The Yahoo! Japan page is transforming into an anger-filled chat room as the number of comments reaching over two thousand, with people attacking the world’s greatest living animator for saying what is on his mind.

Images by animationmagazine.net and c-faculty.chuo-u.ac.jp