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|Title:||Anime All-Nighter at Sci-Fi London 2007|
|Category:||Convention & Events Report|
|Published:||Sun, 6 May 2007|
The Anime All-Nighter event has become a regular and very popular fixture in the annual Sci-Fi London event. As with previous years, it was a back-to-back showing with only breaks to answer the call of nature and load up on caffeine before the next one. Things kicked off at midnight and wrapped up at around 9a.m. Quite an experience!
GitS SAC: Solid State Society
First up was the new feature-length sequel to the excellent Stand-Alone Complex series. My expectations were high but initially it was a little lacklustre by the show's own, very enviable, standards. The opening theme lacked the energy and focus of the series' efforts and the story took a while to get off the ground; things picked up in the second half though, and the finale was a suitably heady mixture of action and intrigue. The end theme made up for the opener too, which can only mean I have another OST to save up for.
I had seen this once before already at the Leeds Film Festival but it was still going to be the high-point of the evening for me. It may lack the social commentary of Paranoia Agent and the Hitchcock-esque psychological slasher vibe of Perfect Blue but Paprika is a sharp, funny and superbly imaginative piece of cinema. Millennium Actress is still my favourite Satoshi Kon movie but Paprika is a reminder of what the medium of animation (and Kon in particular) does best - it seamlessly blends dreams and reality in way that conventional film simply cannot do.
Highlander: Search for Vengeance
"There can be only one!" That's right, there's an anime sequel to that classic fantasy adventure! To its credit, the film is directed by Ninja Scroll's Yoshiaki Kawajiri and is animated by my perrenial faves Madhouse so it's a slick and stylish action movie; the 'quickening' scenes looked authentic and its non-stop action didn't leave me bored. The problem was, it was often entertaining for all the wrong reasons! Honestly, the script was so cheesy - I lost count of how many times I nearly spilt my coffee in laughter. The writers must have been aiming for a tongue-in-cheek effort because that's how it came across...since when is Scotland located in (I quote from the on-screen captions here) 'Northern England'?!
Le Chevalier D'Eon
ADV's new release for May is, in my opinion, a bold and wise move of a type that they don't seem to do very often any more. It's a period piece set in pre-revolutionary France, where a young nobleman named D'Eon sets out to uncover the secrets behind the murder of his sister Lia. It will probably be a sleeper title on DVD because of its unusual premise; the dialogue exchanges sound authentic for their time, which makes them rather stiff and formal. Because of this and the low-key visual style it takes patience to get into but I think the historical setting and dashes of the supernatural will make it a title to look out for this summer.
Full Metal Alchemist: Conqueror of Shambala
I really wish I'd had chance to see the series beforehand because, although it was really fun to watch, I had no idea about what was going on in this movie! I know a little background surrounding the Elric brothers but the supporting cast were completely unfamiliar and the 'parallel worlds' theme tied me up in knots. It did look spectacular though, and L'Arc~En~Ciel delivered the goods with the energetic, rocking opening and ending themes. If nothing else, it has made me want to watch the TV series and I especially liked the way in which real events of Twentieth Century history were worked into the story. Existing FMA fans will love it - the DVD release is well worth looking forward to.
So, that's it for another year. Thanks should go to Manga Entertainment and ADV Films, as well as the Sci-Fi London team at Piccadilly's Apollo Cinema who worked hard all though the night to keep things running smoothly. The new seat allocation idea made it a lot easier to queue up and find somewhere to sit with a lot less hassle than last year too - looking at fellow cinema-goers that evening, it proved once again to be an enjoyable night. I'm an all-nighter survivor!!
Did you go to the Sci-Fi London anime all nighter? How was it? Perhaps you needed some red bull to get through the evening? Or was just the company of your fellow anime fans enough to keep you awake (never mind the smell)? Write in and let us know, we would love to hear from you! Also, if you snapped any pictures, feel free to send them our way!