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Japanese Films at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival Fri, 17 Apr 2015

The Cannes Film Festival announced some of the films that will be screened at the festival on Thursday, April 16th, and two Japanese films made the cut.

The first is from festival favourite Hirokazu Koreeda and it is his live-action adaptation of the manga Umimachi Diary. This film has the English language title Our Little Sister and is based on an award-winning josei manga series called Umimachi Diary which was created by Akimi Yoshida and published in the magazine flowers in 2006.

 

The story of the film takes place in Kamakura, where three sisters live together. The focus is on Yoshino, the middle of three sisters. One morning, after she wakes up in a man's room, her father's obituary is delivered to her. Yoshino hadn't met her father in fifteen years, since her mother divorced him. After not seeing him for so long, she doesn't know how to feel at the announcement of his death. Only at her father's funeral do the sisters meet their half-sister whom they had never met. Since the girl has no family to take care of her they decide to let her stay with them.

The film stars a whole gamut of brilliant actors such as Haruka Ayase, Masami Nagasawa, Lily Franky, Shinichi Tsutsumi, Ryo Kase, Jun Fubuki, and Kirin Kiki. It is in the competition category.

 

The second film is Journey to the Shore, directed by former horror auteur Kiyoshi Kurosawa (Pulse, Tokyo Sonata), and is in the Un Certain Regard category.

The story follows Mizuki who is reunited with her husband Yusuke who disappeared for three years. He insists on taking Mizuki on a journey with him visiting all of the places he went to and all of the people who helped him while he was travelling. Mizuki begins to understand the mystery of his disappearance.

Kurosawa is adapting the 2010 novel Kishibe no Tabi by Kazumi Yumoto and to bring to life the characters he has two actors who should be familiar to Japanese film fans in the UK. Taking the male lead is Tadanobu Asano, star of Vital, Ichi the Killer, and Gohatto. Eri Fukatsu has starred in the crime drama Villain and the fun Koki Mitani comedy, The Magic Hour.

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Durarara!! Standard Edition Release Dates Announced Thu, 16 Apr 2015

The Glasgow-based anime distributor Anime Limited has confirmed the release date for the highly anticipated standard blu-ray and DVD editions of Aniplex's hit 2010 anime series Durarara!! today, following a delay from having to re-author the blu-ray discs of their previous Collector's Edition release. The suspenseful, supernatural drama will be returning on 8th June 2015

The upcoming release will include all twenty-four episodes of the first season, as well as the two OVAs "12.5: Heaven's Vengeance" and "25: World at Peace") in both English and Japanese audio; with this new release including both song and sign subtitles. The series will be split over four blu-ray discs and five DVDs.

Customers who purchased the company's previous release are still eligible to take part in their disc replacement program.

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Kotatsu Animation and Terracotta Far East Film Festival Date Changes Thu, 16 Apr 2015

It’s around this time of year that Anime UK News begins reporting on the Kotatsu Japanese Animation Festival in Cardiff/Aberystwyth and the Terracotta Far East Film Festival in London, giving more information on the dates and some of the films which will be seen. However this year sees one festival move dates and the other take a break. Here are the details for those wondering what is going on:

Kotatsu Japanese Animation Festival

The Kotatsu Japanese Animation Festival will be running again this year and at the same two sites but the dates have changed to the second half of 2015. The festival will launch in Cardiff’s Chapter Arts centre on September 26th and Aberystwyth’s Arts Centre on October 10th.

Terracotta Far East Film Festival

Last month the organisers of the Terracotta Far East Film Festival announced that they were moving into producing films and that the festival itself was taking a break for 2015. Here’s a statement released that gives more details:

Terracotta Far East Film Festival takes a break in 2015, back in 2016, bigger and better

Terracotta Far East Film Festival (TFEFF) will be taking a break in 2015, to allow us to develop the exciting new projects that we have planned for the rest of the year and for 2016.

Our dedicated team will take this opportunity to grow and expand the scope of the event, so that we can aim for greater impact in London’s crowded event calendar.  The film festival landscape has changed considerably over the last few years and our focus will be on creating a revitalised, cutting edge platform for Asian films in the UK.

The first Terracotta Far East Film Festival took place in 2009 and has since become the biggest event for Asian cinema in London.  Six years on, we have successfully produced seven Asian film festivals, including ‘Hong Kong 15’ in 2012, celebrating the 15th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to Chinese sovereignty.  We have flown in actors, directors and producers from China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines and South Korea, showcasing both emerging and existing talent, complimented by some fascinating Q&As and masterclasses.

While the climate for world cinema and independent films is increasingly tough, the growth of the festival highlights the exceptional output from this diverse region and continued audience desire to see these films in the UK.

Festival Director, Joey Leung says: "This doesn't mean we have completely disappeared for 2015; Terracotta will participate in various events around the country, throughout the year and 2016 will see a dramatically different Terracotta, one that promises to deliver uncompromising excellence in Asian cinema – we look forward to seeing you there with us."

Keep checking back with Anime UK News because we aim to keep you updated on these two festivals.

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Details on Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends in UK Cinemas This Friday Wed, 15 Apr 2015

Rurouni Kenshin 3: The Legend Ends opens in UK Cinemas this Friday courtesy of Warner Bros. UK. The following cinemas have been confirmed as locations where the film will be screened (times should be available at each individual cinema):

 

RUROUNI KENSHIN 3: The Legend Ends

Opens in Cinemas April 17th, 2015

 

Cinemas listed:

Cineworld Bolton

Cineworld Cardiff

Cineworld Crawley

Cineworld Enfield

Cineworld Glasgow Renfrew St.

Cineworld Sheffield

Cineworld Stevenage

Cineworld West India Quay

Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno and Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends will also screen at Dublin's Lighthouse cinema as part of the Japanese Film Festival on April 17th and April 18th respectively (thanks go out to sniper_samurai for the info).

Here’s more information on the epic finale to the live-action movie trilogy.

Synopsis

In the final chapter, Shishio (Tatsya Fujiwara) has set sail in his ironclad ship to bring down the Meiji government and return Japan to chaos, carrying Kaoru (Emi Takei) with him. After jumping overboard into the sea, Kenshin (Takeru Sato) is saved by his former mentor, Hiko Seijuro (Masaharu Fukuyama) and in order to stop Shishio in time, Kenshin enlists the help of his old master to train for the ultimate battle between hero and villain in an epic blood-drenched showdown!

Otaku Superstars Dempagumi.inc and More Headed to HYPER JAPAN 2015 Tue, 14 Apr 2015

Earlier this year, Anime UK News reported that the annual Hyper Japan Festival, the super popular Japanese pop-culture festival, takes place between July 10-12th 2015 at London's the O2 Arena. Thanks to the website Japan Underground, we can confirm some of the musical guests who will be taking part.

Dempagumi.inc

Otaku idol group Dempagumi.inc will be performing for one day only, Sunday 12th July, and will have an art exhibition about them installed throughout the three days of the Japanese festival.

Dempagumi.inc is Mirin Furukawa, Risa Aizawa, Nemu Yumemi, Eimi Naruse, Ayane Fujisaki, and Moga Mogami. Every member is a hardcore otaku, whether for games, anime, manga or cosplay, and they all still actively pursue their various passions alongside their singing career. From their humble origins as performers at Akihabara’s idol live house Dear Stage, the girls have now hit it big internationally, and have performed at concerts throughout Asia and in the US. Their domestic popularity continues to soar as well; last year they performed a solo concert to an audience of 10,000 fans at Tokyo’s prestigious Nippon Budokan, and their recent music releases continue to rank well within the Top 10 in Japan’s music charts.

Heisei Kotohime

J-pop trio Heisei Kotohime burst onto the scene from the infamous streets of Akihabara, Tokyo’s capital for all things otaku and electronic. The group combines traditional aspects and sounds of Japan with idol culture. Each member has their own unique and colourful kimono, as well as a specially redesigned version of Japan’s national instrument, the koto.

Catch the girls at their first show outside of Japan exclusively in London at HYPER JAPAN this July. The ladies recorded a special video message they recorded for the event which can be viewed here.

 

Lost Ash

Lost Ash are Daiki (vocals), Show (guitar), Sai (bass) and Dye (drums). They’ve started developing a name for themselves since forming in 2009, including a festival appearance in Singapore and a nationwide tour of Japan in 2014. They’ve also been featured in popular J-fashion magazine “Men’s Spider”. This will be the first time the band has performed outside of Asia – to celebrate they recorded a special video message for HYPER JAPAN which can be viewed here.

With over a month to go expect more announcements from the festival and stay tuned to Anime UK News as we aim to bring you some of them.

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Third Window Films Release Korean Film Han Gong-Ju Today Mon, 13 Apr 2015

Third Window Films are all set to release the Korean film Han Gong-Ju on April 13th on DVD and Blu-Ray and a review over at Twitch Film makes this sound excellent. I have seen it and can confirm that despite it being the debut of its writer/director Lee Sujin, it is a powerful drama that shines a light on some dark aspects of Korean society through a brilliantly written and acted character-study/mystery. Here are the details:

HAN GONG-JU

The debut film of Lee Sujin

South Korea / 2014 / 112 Mins / In Korean with English subtitles / Colour

Featuring an award-winning breakthrough performance by Chun Woo-hee

On DVD & BLU-RAY April 13th

DVD/BLU-RAY Special Features:
Enemy's Apple: Lee Sujin's award-winning 20 minute short film

Synopsis 

One of the most talked about Korean films of 2014, the acclaimed indie teen drama Han Gong-ju is based on a devastating real-life case that shocked Korea in 2004. The first feature from writer-director Lee Su Jin, Han Gong-ju broke Korea's opening day box office records for independent films and has picked up numerous accolades on the festival circuit including the Tiger Award at the 43rd International Film Festival Rotterdam, the Grand Prix at the Marrakech Int. Film Festival and many more.

In a breakout role that garnered her Best Actress at the Blue Dragon Film Awards, Chun Woo Hee plays the eponymous heroine, a glum high school girl who has been forced to transfer to a school in another city. With her own family nowhere to be found, Gong-ju is placed into the care of a teacher's mother while matters are being sorted out. She quietly starts up school again, only hoping to keep to herself and not stand out. When Gong-ju's new classmates discover her singing talent, they try their best to recruit her into the choir. Just as Gong-ju begins to smile again and open up to new friends, the past catches up and the harrowing reason for her transfer gradually comes to light.

New Manga Releases - 13/04/2015 Mon, 13 Apr 2015
Saint Seiya: Soldier's Soul Coming To PC and PlayStation Consoles! Mon, 13 Apr 2015

The legendary Saint Seiya returned this month with the premiere of Toei Animation's original net animation Saint Seiya - Soul of Gold and now, the characters of Masami Kurumada's manga series will be making the leap to video games with Saint Seiya: Soldier's Soul, a brand new PC, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 title from Bandai Namco Games!

Herve Hoerdt, the Vice President of IP Strategy, Marketing and PR at Bandai Namco Entertainment Europe, had this to say about the news:

As an entertainment provider, we are very proud with the activity around SAINT SEIYA, a legendary licence!  On one hand, we have a new Anime on our very own Daisuki.net, on the other hand SAINT SEIYA will hit PC and PlayStation®4 for the first time ever with this Soldiers’ Soul opusOur collaboration with DIMPS Co.,Ltd has always been successful and our latest collaboration, DRAGON BALL XENOVERSE, proved that our duo is working perfectly well! We all are excited to see this game coming out in Autumn 2015!” 

You can watch the game's first trailer here:

Saint Seiya: Soldier's Soul will be released this autumn. Saint Seiya - Soul of Gold is currently available for streaming on Daisuki.net.

New Anime Releases - 12/04/2015 Sun, 12 Apr 2015
Wings of Honneamise Release Date Moved Forward! Fri, 10 Apr 2015

Anime Limited have today confirmed that their highly anticipated blu-ray and DVD Collector's Edition release of Gainax and Bandai Visual's iconic animated science fiction movie Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honneamise has had its release date brought forward; with the title now set to be released in just over a week - on 20th April 2015.

In this 1987 classic, a war between the Kingdoms of Honneamise and The Republic seems inevitable amidst an industrial revolution but despite these tensions, a small space program hopes to utilise these new technologies not for war, but to propel mankind into the space age, with the first manned spaceflight program. For the astronaut candidate Shirotsugh Lhadatt, this journey is about more than the journey to outer space but also, the journey of a young man coming of age.

Across both sides of the Pacific Ocean, Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honneamise featured the talent of individuals who would later become some of the most highly regarded in their fields, such as special effects artist Hideaki Anno, whose name is now widely known for 1995's Neon Genesis Evangelion, as well as the actor Bryan Cranston, who plays the role of Marty Tohn in the English dub and would later garner critical acclaim for AMC's Breaking Bad.

Will you be buying this definitive version of Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honneamise?

Elfen Lied Coming To Blu-Ray This Summer Thu, 9 Apr 2015

Fans of Arms Corporation's iconic horror anime Elfen Lied in the United Kingdom will finally have the chance to get their vectors on a high definition release of the cult gory classic this summer, following news that 101 Films will be releasing the series in the high definition blu-ray format on 27th July 2015.

This new release will come in an exclusive metal case and will include a 36-page booklet, as well as the series' original video animation, marking the first time that this important chapter of Lucy's past has been made available in the United Kingdom; ten years after it was originally released in Japan.

Based on the original manga by Lynn Okamoto and directed by Mamoru Kanbe (Sound of the Sky), the events of this thirteen-episode series centre around Lucy, who after escaping from a high security facility and washing up on a beach without her memory or clothes, is taken in by two cousins who are quickly made aware of the "Diclonius"; a newly-evolved species feared for their murderous tendencies, of which their new guest is a member.

101 Films previously released a DVD collection of Elfen Lied in 2013 under their "101 Anime" label. The series was originally broadcast on Japanese television in 2004 and in 2007, was shown on as part of the now-defunct Anime Network block on Propeller TV in the United Kingdom.

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Related: Elfen Lied, 101 Films
New DMP Osamu Tezuka Kickstarter: Clockwork Apple Tue, 7 Apr 2015

The latest in Digital Manga Publishing's series of Osamu Tezuka crowdfunding campaigns has been launched, covering anthology series Clockwork Apple.

Originally published between 1968-1973, the series is a collection of speculative fiction stories. The Kickstarter page for the series reports on stories including, "a man finds a wonder drug, a robot has a baby, a town is subjected to control by substance, a robber runs away from murder, a man searches for his mysterious love, American school kids are kidnapped, an activist takes part in political intrigue, and space hippies defy peace conventions."

The target for the project is $13,500 by 21.06 on 7th May. There are already plans for a $18,200 stretch goal to release Tezuka's Brave Dan in print (a title DMP already sell digitally).

New Manga Releases - 07/04/2015 Tue, 7 Apr 2015
Viz Media's Perfect Square To Publish Yo-Kai Watch Manga Mon, 6 Apr 2015

With Viz Media previously announcing that they will be releasing TV Tokyo and OLM's Yo-Kai Watch television anime series in Europe later this year, the publisher has now revealed plans to expand the reach of Level-5's multimedia phenomenon with Noriyuki Konishi's award winning Yo-Kai Watch manga, which has been serialised in Japan's CoroCoro Comic since January 2013.

The manga will be released bi-monthly as part of Viz Media's "Perfect Square" imprint from this September; with the launch being carefully co-ordinated with the launch of the franchise's anime and toys. 

After the original Nintendo 3DS game was released in Japan in July 2013, the January 2014 premiere of the Yo-Kai Watch anime propelled the franchise to cult status; leading to a number of best-selling games, toys and even an anime movie last December. 

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New Anime Releases - 05/04/2015 Sun, 5 Apr 2015

Editorial Spotlight

Remember the good old days of anime in the UK? When VHS ruled, the tabloid press railed against the crazy new thing we had discovered, and to get the really, really good stuff,.. Read more (0 comments)
Episodes 1-25 (Streaming on Crunchyroll) "I can imagine in my mind a world without war, a world without hate. And I can picture us attacking that world because.. Read more (0 comments)
Present-day high-school student (and keen gamer) Yoshiharu Sagara finds himself bang in the middle of a fierce Warring States battle. A dying warlord (none other than Hideyoshi.. Read more (0 comments)

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