Now in its fifth year, Scotland Loves Anime is once again bringing a wide selection of animation to the big screen in Scotland.
Anime is a cinematic form that is all too readily dismissed by most. It is a versatile medium encompassing a variety of genres. Most of us have childhood memories of watching badly dubbed episodes of Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh!. The beautiful films produced by Studio Ghibli are a widely accessible introduction to anime (although somewhat bittersweet now that Hayao Miyazaki has announced his retirement). Adults and children alike can find plenty of enjoyment in the bright and imaginative My Neighbour Totoro and Howl’s Moving Castle or find deeper meanings in the likes of award-winning Spirited Away. A personal favourite has to be Grave of the Fireflies, although unlike Spirited Away it possesses no sweet sugar coating. With so much variation within Studio Ghibli films alone, one must not make the mistake of viewing anime as a singular genre.
With that in mind, the one to watch for Miyazaki fans is the poignant Giovanni’s Island. Based on true events that followed the World War II it explores the Russian occupation of Shikotan island through the innocent eyes of two young brothers are they forge friendships and attempt to understand the world they now find themselves in.
This year’s Scotland Loves Anime also signals a return for the widely popular Dragon Ball Z with a screening of Dragon Ball Z: Battle of the Gods.
Scotland Loves Anime, although focusing on, is not limited to traditional Japanese anime and also offers a platform for select American animation with Appleseed Alpha a must-see for fans of action computer games. Similarly, Bayonetta: Bloody Fate is based on the popular video game of the same name. According to the website it promises to be both “just as over-the-top as you’d expect” and “outrageously irreverent”.
Although providing a wide scope of anime, the festival does also devote plenty of screen time to the more action packed and violent features that are arguably most associated with the medium, including award winning The Sword of the Stranger. In a similar vein, the Scotland Loves Anime website states that “if shimmering cityscapes and sword fights are what you’re looking for from anime then you won’t be disappointed by K: Missing Kings,” a film adapted from the already popular anime.
Futuristic settings seem to be a prominent feature within the chosen pieces this year, which can be seen with Royal Space Force Honneamise and Time of Eve, the latter of which is already a smash hit that broke its original Kickstarter goal by no small amount.
If you’re looking for a more classic comic strip style then look no further than Lupin the 3rd Vs. Detective Conan: The Movie which graces the festival with its European première.
Other events within Scotland Loves Anime include Studio Bones Focus which provides a chance to see two episodes of Studio Bones’ latest work, Space Dandy, followed by the opportunity for an hour’s Q&A with the Studio’s President, Masahiko Minami. Minami is not the only esteemed guest with an appearance from Jonathan Clements also scheduled. Clements is the author of Anime: A History, and Schoolgirl Milky Crisis: Adventures in the Anime and Manga Trade and co-author of the third edition of Anime Encyclopedia: A Century of Japanese Animation, which will be published in December.
This year’s festival even features a “Mystery Screening” of an unspecified Golden Partridge Studios production of unspecified length; although it has been assured that it is a UK theatrical première.
Scotland Loves Anime is running at Filmhouse from 13-19 October