One of the things I randomly entertain myself with regularly is guessing the key guest for US conventions, particularly musical/anisong guests. Because of the distance from Japan as well as a number of other barriers (e.g. language, cultural, visa permits, lodging and escorting costs for guests etc.), the amount of guests that anime conventions in the west typically gets straight from Japan is typically limited, particularly musical artists. While the number and frequency of such guests have certainly been increasing over the last few years due to the rising fandom, it’s still nowhere near the levels seen in closer destinations to Japan, including Korea, Taiwan, and much of Southeast Asia. As I finish up a couple additional entries, I figured I may as well put this quick post together since Anime Expo announced on Twitter last week that they will be announcing the Anisong World Matsuri guest list by end of the month.
Last year’s Anisong World Matsuri Concert at Anime Expo featured Eir Aoi, Luna Haruna, Minami, Yoko Ishida, T.M. Revolution, sphere, and JAM PROJECT along with a separate “Japan Band Battle” with FLOW and OLDCODEX. The project was a hit and it looks like two similar concerts will be taking place on Day 0 (Pre-Show Night) and Day 1 of the convention. Back in October, Anime Expo also sent out a survey on what musical guests so this post will sum up not only which guests I think are likely to be invited as well as some additional guesses.
Kimi no Na wa (aka Your Name) (Source)
*Note: This review contains major spoilers of the movie. If you do not want to be spoiled, do not continue reading this post
Kimi no Na wa, also known as Your Name, is the mega hit movie in Japan of 2016 created by Makoto Shinkai. Raking in 30+ billion in yen during its impressive run at the box office both domestically and abroad, the movie took the anime industry by storm over the last year. In addition, it also managed to earn the title of highest grossing anime film in Japan’s history, breaking many decade old box office records, including Princess Mononoke, Howl’s Moving Castle, and Spirited Away, though as of time of writing, Spirited Away continues to hold the record for most domestic and adjusted gross ticket sales and unlikely to be beaten. It also became the first major movie to hit standard movie theaters in the US (at least from what I recall) outside of standard Studio Ghibli/Hayao Miyazaki films, which is a rather impressive accomplishment given how niche the anime market continues to be.
Now that I have spent a whole paragraph praising the work and hyping it up for this review, the ultimate question at the end of the day is how does this really fare when one watches it? Is it really worth deserving of a top 10 or top 20 spot on a lot of anime sites? Is it something that’s worth watching 5, 10, 20 years from now? How does it compare with Shinkai’s older works that may have been missed by many people’s radars?
Ghost in the Shell Live-Action (Source)
*Note: This review contains spoilers for the movie as well as parts of the original source manga and anime adaptations
Ghost in the Shell Live-Action is Hollywood’s take on the renowned Japanese franchise with the same name. Announcement of a planned live-action dated as far back as 2008 but went through various staff shake ups before finally being released in US theaters of March 31, 2017. The movie doesn’t require any knowledge of the original source material or any of its related spin-offs or adaptations.
Ghost in the Shell is not the first Hollywood or American adaptation of an anime franchise or series. In fact, it’s one of many planned with Death Note, Fullmetal Alchemist, Cowboy Bebop, and Akira all planned at some point in the future as well. Most notably and as some may recall (or may not want to), Hollywood had already previously adapted Dragon Ball into the infamous Dragon Ball Evolution. With that in mind, the bar is set pretty low for Ghost in the Shell at least from a Hollywood adaptation standpoint. So how does it fare?