Wednesday, March 24, 2004

A number of Japanese films have come to my attention lately, and it's both exciting and frustrating; the former because I love films, the latter because I don't know how to find these ones, and will likely not see them in a theater (a shame because the visuals are stunning), and hopefully won't have to shell out a lot of money just to see 'em.

Anyway, here's Devil-Man, based on the manga of Go Nagai, which I've heard about since high school but have never actually read. Then there's God Diva, which, as I watched, struck me with its familiar-looking characters until I realized they were from Frenchman Enki Bilal's The Nikopol Trilogy. And then, at the end of the trailer, the credit "An Enki Bilal film." I didn't know he even had an interest in film, let alone went off and directed one based one of his best-known works. But in Japan? Well, I can't really say if it's an adaptation of Nikopol, because that's the only Bilal book I've read; I'm not sure if he's used the characters Nikopol, Horus, et al. elsewhere... Steamboy, which if I recall correctly, is the first Katsuhiro Otomo film in 18 YEARS-- his last being the seminal Akira. Some of the characters look similar to those in Akira, and the story looks to be along the lines of Metropolis, which Otomo wrote for Rintaro to direct. Appleseed, based on the Masamune Shirow manga (which I also haven't read; anyone want to lend it to me?), probably impressed me most with its sheer action bravura. Jaw-dropping shoot-outs and fight scenes, and that's just the trailer. Finally, there's Gusher No Binds Me (gotta love that title), which I know nothing about, but the trailer looks cool, with some very intriguing visuals (I especially like the way the soldiers in white move like they have insects inside their suits).

This, along with Kazuaki Kiriya's Casshern, based on an old anime series, has got me wondering if we aren't seeing a new kind of sci-fi wave from Japan. SF concepts, stunning visuals and impressive production value-- hopefully the scripts and storytelling and acting are all equally good.

And if you want some more, how about a short film? The Cat With Hands. Nice, creepy stuff.

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