November 18, 2008

On Day 2 of the Waterloo Festival for Animated Cinema, we got to see a screening of an original 35mm print of Grave of the Fireflies. This is an Isao Takahata, 1988 Studio Ghibli film, based on a short story about a 14-year-old boy who tries to care for his sister after their ailing mother is killed during a raid in the 1945 Kobe bombings. He and his sister experience the fear-inspired selfishness of an aunt and he must find a way to take care of himself and his sister on his own.

There was a panel discussion following the film lead by Fred Schodt, author of Manga! Manga! The World of Japanese Comics; John O'Donnell, founder of Central Park Media (the publishers who license the film for North America); and Fred Ruh, author of Stray Dog of Anime: The Films of Mamoru Oshii.

The conversation between the panelists and the audience covered debates as to whether the film was anti-American or rather just anti-war generally, given that the American bombers were barely referred to directly except by the subtle display of some American signage a couple of times on the bomber planes. Another point was raised about the divide between the themes considered culturally sensitive in western animation versus the plain-speaking storytelling of Japanese anime. As a nod to the animated film genre, it was agreed that this socially important, and poignant story couldn't be told the same way in a live-action film (a live-action version was made in 2005), given the youth of the actors required to play the parts and the fact that they couldn't be represented as realistically in the unhealthy conditions in which they were portrayed for the anime version.

This screening was also presented by UrbanEx and their Out Of The Cold programme.

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October 12, 2008


Looks like a little company called Project 760 Productions in San Francisco used to produce a neat little cable show called World of Anime back in the day. Check out this clip featuring an interview with anime scholar, Fred Schodt then hop on over to their YouTube channel to watch more archival clips.

Previously on fps:
WFAC 2008 - Fred Schodt, John O'Donnell and Brian Ruh to Discuss Grave of the Fireflies

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Oooo...Now I'm getting really excited! I can't wait for November 13th, the kick-off of this years Waterloo Festival for Animated Cinema in Kitchener-Waterloo. We've just found out that Fred Schodt (writer, translator, interpreter and anime scholar supreme) will be in attendance to lead a panel discussion about and following the screening of Ghibli masterpiece, Grave of the Fireflies. Sitting on the panel with Schodt will be Grave's North American Executive Producer, John O'Donnell and Anime Research editor, Brian Ruh.

We expect further details to be announced shortly, along with a complete list of the films screening at the festival.

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