Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Interview with The Late Yetis


Nol, front man and guitarist from The Late Yetis shares with me the secret of their mysterious band name, their influences, day time jobs and the bands love for retro anime.
Where did the band name come from?

The name of the band - inspired by music from the late 80's, rap, pop- we didn't want to be too obvious so named it on a cool magical, mysterious  yetis.

Frontman; Nol
So  do you believe in yetis?

We love mysticism, folklore so yes.

The new Ep (to me)gives resembles American music like Nickleback, NIRVANA - what are your influences?

Myself and Rob grew up in 90's and had Depeche Mode, The Smiths, Morrissey around us and the best of hip hop.  The other two members were brought up on Blink 182. Between us we like to mix it up and not conform to one formula.

Who are the band?

Nol is a musician, originally from Brunei and does martial arts, they write collectively. Nol makes the skeleton but they work together bringing the organ's and soul together.

Rhys Wiliams grew up in Libya, a synth player who directed and produced the last video and has suggested animating versions of the band and they have discussed making a Daft Punk esque video. 

David Bell is a huge Dragon Ball Z fan. Via word of mouth they get heard and offered gigs to preform at. Have followed the Camden circuit, east London, North West...

Late Yetis Press shotJake the drummer also manages a music promotion company called Anivian and is currently organising the release of the EP show/twitter/ soundcloud/ bandcamp.

Rob the guitarist's forte apart from making music is a great cook, butcher by day and musician by night. He does pop up restaurants here and there. He's just great!

David Bell, originally from Malaysia is manager of a restaurant and the biggest DBZ fan and very family orientated.  

They want to build the music career together and ultimately play music for a living. They are prepared to work hard and make it to preforming full time.

Previously you released an album before Ep, shouldn't it be the other way around?

super saiyan
Super Saiyan Mode!
We had two different members back then. Our former drummer produced it and went to Brunei. Jake took over after.  The second attempt is a lot darker rather than pop-py. The first album like most was; fresh, excited, happy go lucky and then the ep had happened after a long journey. Some of the members were going through a rough time and music reflected it.

Musically started from Goku to Super Saiyan.

Wait you watch anime?

Brought up on retro classics like Fist of The North star and Vampire Hunter D and the elephant in the room Akira. I even subscribed to a computer video game magazine which sent me a Manga membership card.

Have you thought of doing Soundtracks for anime/ video games?
We would love to look into these sort of avenues as me and Dave Bell ( a huge Dragon Ball Z fan) childhood was filled with anime and we still play video games when we have the time. Also Rhys has toyed with the idea of making animated avatars for the band members.

fist of a north star

Working on any future projects?

I will think of ideas, save them to my phone, and always brainstorm them with the boys. This is down to different influences from the band,we all listen to all genres of music alongside rock.

Looking at underground music becoming commercial like Muse, how do you feel about this stigma on bands?

I feel they got better, got more noticed, and then they progressed. 10-15 years ago you wrote stuff,  you would look back now and wonder 'why did i write that?' Matt Bellamy is a genius using classical music and rock with bits of electro, and very good at conducting it.

Any last thoughts?

Thank you to Andy from Steaming Kettle being an old friend from school, for supporting us.
For more news from The Late Yetis follow them on Facebook.
Buy their new Ep from itunes.

Watch The Late Yeti's latest video Blood Driven here below.

Street Fighter V Launch event

Members of the Capcom Uk community would have received free tickets to this intimate event and they 50 tickets were raffled online to people to win amongst a few other ways to get into this supper hush hush event.
Upon entering you had about 10 consoles you could freely play and fight people in the vicinity. You also had an exclusive two pods which were for tournaments to win freebies courtesy of Capcom UK including mugs, PS4 skins, stat cards, head bands and more.
For entertainment you had a free bar to have as much as you like, a steady infux of nibbles entering the room and a few Street Fighter branded fortune cookies scattered on tables. Twice during the evening we had live performances of characters reconstructing fights from the game.
It was mentioned that the creator of the game Yoshinori Ono would be in attendance and people expected an announcement of a signing or photo session. Througout the night while watching the matches, a fellow Gamer elebowed me saying 'It's him.' I spun around exiting a selfie to see and with a puzzled said 'Where? I can't see him?' and to my suprise a crouching Oni who was taking photos of the fights stood up, turned around and waved at me saying 'Hello!'
ono 2
It was alike a scene from an anime and as soon as I stopped saying 'OMG OMG OMG' I proceeded to get a selfie and group photo with all my friends including. This was a top 10 moment of my life. Capcom Uk even got in on the action and took photos of us in our selfie mode with Ono. He then got hounded by others after we initially spotted the ninja at the vent.
Whilst mingling we ended up near the entrance and saw a orange bomber jacket move through the crown and stop to look back, we all waved Ono goodbye as he left the building.  For a last minute decision to attend this was a glorious night and I hope to see more from Capcom UK for the fans.
See more of my photos on Facebook:

Thursday, 3 March 2016

London MCM welcome Japanese artists in May


Following the popularity of Japanese music in the UK, London MCM Comic Con invite over the Japanese online music sensation Amatsuki and up-and-coming all-girl rock act Band-Maid who will both making their UK debut at this May’s MCM London Comic Con (27th-29th May 2016) – performing live, signing autographs and taking part in on-stage Q&As.

Amatsuki has achieved over 35 million views on NicoNico Douga, a Japanese videosharing service much like YouTube, with his covers of Vocaloid, anime and video game songs in addition to his original songs. He originally posted videos of himself singing along without thinking seriously about being a professional singer, yet he soon gathered a devoted following due to his powerful voice and charming and friendly character.

Amatsuki made the jump from internet stardom to mainstream success with his debut album HELLO WORLD, which reached number four in Japan’s national chart. His popularity has also reached further afield than just Japan, with one of his cover songs achieving a million hits after being uploaded by western fans on YouTube.

Amatsuki will attend all three days of MCM London Comic Con, taking place at ExCeL Centre, where they will perform live, participate in Q&A sessions and sign autographs with fans.

Amatsuki’s homepage:
Amatsuki’s Twitter:
Amatsuki’s NicoNico Douga:

Bands like Baby Metal have encouraged more of it's genre to rise and one such band is BAND-MAID, one of Japan’s hottest up-and-coming all-girl rock acts, will make their European debut with an appearance at MCM London Comic Con on 27-29 May 2016.
BAND-MAID‘s music videos “Thrill” and “Real Existence” went viral soon after release and have achieved over three million views on YouTube, gaining recognition from western media such as Guitar World, Team Rock and many more.

Formed in 2013, the band’s concept is based on founder Miku’s experiences in Akihabara’s maid cafes, and area of Tokyo famous for otaku (“geek”) culture, combined with a passion for rock music. BAND-MAID will attend all three days of MCM London Comic Con, taking place at ExCeL Centre, where they will perform live, participate in Q&A sessions and sign autographs with fans.

Official Facebook Page:
Buy Tickets to London MCM Comic Con here:
Watch my previous  interviews from London MCM Comic Con below:

Dimps (Masahiro Kashino)

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

BJFF 2016: Shady

Shady a Japanese thriller released in Japan in 2012 and then by Third Window the following year in the UK. This was a welcomed addition to the Brick Lane Japanese Film Festival. A 93 minute story of bullying in Japanese schools where the treatment gets so out of hand that school children take justice into their own hands.

Kumada (meaning Bear and Rice Paddy) played by Mimpib is the overweight student in her classed bullied by the popular girls and nicked name 'Pooh'. She witnesses bullying in her class but does not intervene to avoid herself being caught in the cross fire. Eventually one girl goes missing and her case becomes high priority in the news and also a mystery at school. Who kidnapped her? A teacher, a fellow student? Is she still Alive? these are all questions running in Pooh's mind.

You eventually realise that the girl who has gone missing was also a bully who had made other girls lives hell including pretty loner Izumi. Strangely she is given a hard time for being attractive the opposite of Pooh. Izumi reaches out a hand of friendship to Pooh and they become close friends. Pooh finds it hard to believe how kind Izumi is and despite neglecting to help Izumi in the past when she was being bullied.
You begin to feel uneasy by this instant clinginess to Pooh by Izumi and she even follows her to her only club which is the biology club where she is the only member. Izumi envy's the love Pooh has for her class fish and mysteriously the fish dies. Izumi says it was a accident but who can really be sure? Was this a malicious attatck as Pooh formed an attachment to a fish, no a male fish?

At a shopping trip Izumi treats Pooh to some mascara which Pooh refutes as it was stolen and she makes advances on her. This left the audience confused, what was it Izumi wanted from Pooh? Or was she securing Pooh's loyalty by doing pleasurable things as a form or bribery. Nothing is clear and the plot thickens when Izumi see's Pooh has a bird as a pet, a male bird, Izumi demands to borrow Chuta the bird and Pooh is alarmed and at first refuses but is emotionally blackmailed into agreeing. The next day Izumi makes a joke abou the bento she has made Pooh saying it used to Chirp and immediately Pooh believes she is eating her pet Chuta. At this point you would think Pooh would end the friendship but somehow Izumi talks her way out of it. Mean while there is a lot of emphasis towards the missing classmate and the bullying at school.

One thing leads to another and things suddenly move fast paced, Izumi invites her to her flat, different from her house, their is a horrific stench coming from one of the rooms. They are also joined by another guest, one their their school teachers who Izumi explains is giving her test questions in exchange for sex. Things start to make more sense, perhaps the bully at school was horrible but she wasn't the one who dissapeared the other girl, Izumi so tramatised from the bullying has snapped and done one terrible thing after a point of no return. The end result is only bloodshed.
Written and directed by Ryohei Watanabe he focuses on inner torment inside human beings and how innocence can be polluted and turned into manipulation and selfish gain. We see the change physically manifest in Izumi through her eyes becoming blood shot and the mirrors smashing as she puts on her 'facade' aka the stolen makeup.

This film explores bullying as a real phsycological experience which is shown as more harmful than physical fighting. Similar to the film Confessions this film really looks at taboo subjects and exposes the Japanese education systems flaws. No one see's the bullying nor goes to investigate the disappearance. There is a sense of negligence.

Overall the film was slow paced which built up to a swift conclusion, every detail mattered so you really had to focus on the film. It didn't feel long at all, the animal torture aspect is shown to be an outlet for students in a few films I have seen so far which is perfectly disturbing signs of a psychopath. Even though it was low budget and you only see a small cast set in a school, it is perfectly directed. Pooh has many opportunities to seek help but feels trapped in an open world. A great physiological thriller to be appreciated , you will enjoy this if you liked the Audition.

Showed at Brick Lane Japanese Film Festival with permission of Third Window Films. Available to buy online.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

BJFF 2016: Story of Yonosuke

The Story of YonosukeThis film was something I had to watch after missing the first UK screening with The Japan Foundation East Side Stories film festival. It follows the life of Yonosuke starting college in 1987. 

After ticking yourself off the guest list, you are welcome to choose the free sake or beer of your choice which included Saporro and Mio. You then walk into a cosy room with seats at the back then blow up mattresses for people to sit on at the front.

You follow his life and the friends he meets and the impact he has on their lives. He meets Yui, who gives him a lot of attention and follows him around. This chance meeting leads him into taking her to check out the different clubs. The clubs system is very popular in Japan and the clubs campaign hard to get freshman to join.

Here they bump into an awkward guy who met Yonosuke at the opening ceremony. Whereas Yonosuke complimented Yui's eyeliner, this guy criticised the glue on her eyelid. Someone they end up dating all thanks to Yonosuke!

yonosuke 2

Through out the film you are taken between the past in 1987 and the future where the couple reminisce hanging out with the carefree and funny Yonosuke, but where is he now?
You later see that the couple drop out of college due to Yui falling pregnant. Yonosuke carries on samba the club that the three joined. He makes a new friend Kata. Kata is a quiet guy who tries to avoid Yonosuke at all times but ends up getting caught up in his questions and ideas and seeing benefits hanging with Yonosuke.

Through Kata, Yonosuke accompanies him on a double date and meets Shoko, she is rich and takes an instant fancy to Yonosuke. Finding all his jokes hilarious and his poverty refreshing.

She turns up at his apartment and tells people they  are dating. This is strange for him. At the same time Kata reveals a deep secret on why he doesn't date women. Yonosuke shows unconditional to Kata and he in the future recalls him as the most interesting part of college.

Not only a true friend too, but even a great son, coming to visit and calling regularly it's a shame his mother chose washing dishes over speaking to him. It flicks to the future where his mother writes to Shoku sending her a requested item Yonosuke promised her a long time ago.

Even though the film is 160 minutes long, you were engrossed for every second laughing along with Yonosuke's naivete with him falling in love with the out of his league IT girl, third wheel behaviour with Yui and her boyfriend, dancing his samba proudly on stage or sharing watermelon with his newly outed friend.

I recommend watching this film to give people motivation with life. It would prompt you to get in touch with that long lost close friend you had from University.  Give them a call. Life is too short.

Showed at Brick Lane Japanese Film Festival with permission of Third Window Films. Available to buy online.

Friday, 29 January 2016

Review: The Visit

I was meaning to write this as soon as I watched this, the best M. Night Shyamalan film I have seen to date. He brought us great films like 'The Sixth Sense', 'The Village' and terrible films like 'The Last Airbender'. This film follows kids Becca and Tyler who go on a trip to visit their estranged grandparents. Their mother ran away from home many years ago and refused to make amends with them, however one day the grandparents request to meet their grandkids. So while the mum and her boyfriend go on a cruise the kids go to visit the farm.

It was a great start showing single mother explaining bits of her past to her children and not being able to come to terms with her childhood at the farm and struggling to talk about it. However Becca decides she wants to go in order to restore her mothers severed relationship with her grandma and pop pop. Armed with a camcorder the two kids happily travel into the stix where there is barely any internet or life.

Not being to keen on amateur filming this film however revealed lots of errie atmosphere where scenes worked out perfect from the kids perspective rather than the normal view - hiding the reality. The grandparents really have their quirks whether it be grandmas's senile ramblings, and odd requests fror Becca to get into the oven to clean it or pop pop always going into the mysterious shed out back.

One of my favourite scenes is when the kids decide to crawl under the house and play almost hide and seek but grandma appears and chases them out. This reminded me of scenes from the game Project Zero, crawling in close confinement and being unable to escape. When the kids mention this on skype to their mum she exclaims this is how she used to play as a child, passing it off as 'normal behavior'. With the mother condoning all the bizarre behavior I began to feel uneasy about the whole arrangement as Tyler does.

One of the rules of the house was never to leave your room after 9.30 as strange things occurring, noises, screams, scratching. Tyler encounters what looks like naked Grandmama crawling on the floor. Things don't add up and Becca reluctantly films the occurrences in the night and eventually gives in to Tyler's notion that something isn't quite right with their grandparents.

It is the day before they are to return home that Becca tells her mum to come pick them up early as something isn't right and puts the web cam on the grandparents standing outside, mum drops the bombshell of 'That''s not my parents." Yes they have been living in a house with two complete strangers lying about everything. This also explains the lack of photos and grandma trying to break the web cam. This has alarmed the kids and they pretend that nothing is wrong and try riding it out till mum comes to their rescue.

This film has some shocking scenes and a real plot twist and I urge you to watch the film for it's black comedy. Shyamalan has produced and written a well though out story and witty script for the children who steal the show. Also great baking is displayed and made me wanna eat cake till i bloated into Fat Princess. Recommended for people who appreciated 'Drag me to Hell'.

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Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Review: Dragon Ball Z: EXTREME BUTODEN

The caps lock in the title was to signify the manly screams of the Dragon Ball franchise. If you are new to the DB series then you have missed out on a long history of shounen manga spanning over 325 chapters which was then adapted into anime (dubbed into several territories over the world) and then into  games and animated movies.

The story follows  a child on earth is found to have incredible strength and later grows up has a family and searches for the mysterious Dragon Balls which bring your wishes to life. Later, aliens arrive and believe his is a missing member of an alien race and Goku is one of a rare breed of Saiyans.  Dragon Ball Z follows Goku’s adult life and his son Gohan and his other companions.

Dragon Ball Z Extreme Butoden is set at the start of the DBZ saga which follows the direct anime adaptation you may have watched on TV many years ago. It is in the form of a 2D fighting game.

Story mode takes you through the DBZ story where you play as Goku and and engage with the villains and fight one round which dictates the story.  The moves are pretty straight forward and are virtually the same for every character except signature moves for certain characters. It’s almost impossible to lose whilst playing as Goku. Later in the game you switch characters and become young Gohan which makes things tricky.

All in all with the complete story mode including Hercule’s long winded story within , it can take up to 45 minutes to complete and then you have unlocked the majority of the game options.

You can also use old cheat codes from the snes days including unlocking Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan Vegeta, players can enter the following code on the title screen: XAB↓→↑YAR↓→↑A→R.

In total there are 25 playable characters and a few more available in Z-Assist that you choose ton come in to battle to help fight. The list includes Chi Chi, Bulma, Launch but the list does not include any Super Saiyan forms even have the Super Saiyan 3 versions. In comparison you have more assist character to choose from which seems to be rather odd.

Adventure mode is a bit more experimental as you can choose different characters and change the story but it is a but more technical than the story mode as you have conditions to meet.

You also have 1v1 mode and you can mix up your team which is standard for a fighting game. The best way to compare it is to Street Fighter, where you use your specials according to the character but proceed to button bash and occasionally if you jump up you are flying which doesn’t change the fighting style at all.

(Originally posted on Parallax Play)

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Wednesday, 20 January 2016

The Japan Foundation: The World of Shojo Manga

Manga itself is Japanese comics which cones in different genres, Shounen for boys and Shojo Manga for girls’ or ‘girls’ comics’– is a genre of Japanese comic books that has a history spanning many decades in Japan.

Shojo Manga – often translated as ‘comics for girls’ or ‘girls’ comics’– is a genre of Japanese comic books that has a history spanning many decades in Japan. Shojo Manga features stories following girls falling in love, whether it sweet love stories, anguished romances and girls facing real-life issues in different genres. So the stories could be set in a fantasy realm, space, period drama  or based on mythical times.

We had Associate Professor Nozomi Masuda, Konan Women’s University, from Japan, come to talk to us about the subject and importance of Shojo manga, at Foyles bookshop in the heart of Westend. Tracing the origins of Shojo Manga from its beginnings in girls’ magazine as an extra, journeying to full anthologies. One thing that has stayed the same was the significance the genre in Japanese society, and what it has been expressing over its diverse and complex themes over the years.

The styles started very traditional in water colour, characters were drawn as very Japanese, dark hair, lines for eyes and no contouring on the faces to mirror the Geisha image. This soon evolved with Western influences, character faces grew less round, more shaped, noses thinner, skin colour changed from porcelain white to a healthier peach glow. Most importantly the eyes, grew large which was iconic to Western images and then the hair color grew lighter from browns to golden blonde.

Following the presentation from Professor Masuda, Retro Shojo Manga artist Eiko Hanamura, one of the pioneers of Shojo Manga, came on stage and led in conversation by Comica founder, Paul Gravett, and Professor Masuda. Together they discussed Hanamura’s work, reflecting on her illustrious career of over half a century in the Manga industry and how much creativity she had. She starts by saying she was an artist who could not find any work so a friend recommended her to become a manga artist it's all the rage. She tried and people loved her art but she really didn't understand the appeal but carried on. Thus began Hanamura’s commercial art domination. There were set rules to follow to begin with. 

She was given a summary and the girls almost always had a novelty theme 'Nurse in love or 'Air Hostess long lost love'. Even though she followed these cheesy story-lines for a while she was able to pitch her own ideas such as having detective stories which was received very well and given full volumes dedicated to them.

 She also talked of her shock as the phenomenon of Shojo Manga grew and grew and she was attending parties with all the top artists and yet not feeling as one of them. She didn't understand why people loved her art so much, it was being featured on covers of note books, stickers and recently now brought back collaborating with makeup brands. Hanamura not only had a flair for art but fashion also and explained they didn't have tv or fashion magazines, it was what they made it and all her designs came from her imagination and her outfits were creative and very bright.

She recalled a story of her and her daughter going to the Louvre as one of her art pieces was showcased there, she felt embarrassed it was surrounded by amazing art pieces but people came up to her and commended it and she was invited to exhibit again. This time they wanted the whole show for her art alone. Humbled and again so modest about her work she shrugged "Why do they want to see my art in France?"

After the audience got a chance to ask questions, one which really aroused contemplation was 'Why is it early shojo manga characters had large eyes with star patterns ?'. Hanamura paused and said 'That's a good question.' It was a period where girl had big dreams and the stars represented the hopefulness in the youth of that time. Now the stars have dissapeared from shojo manga eyes, perhaps the dreamy nature has gone?

I was interested in finding out what Hanamura though of contemporary shojo manga. She responded with, since everything is all digital (rather than hand drawn as her manuscripts were) the faces all tend to look the same by each artist like cut and paste. She then lamented on a lot of her original art being lost and having no copies and that would literally be it, starting from scratch.

At the end she was given a standing ovation and people were invited to stay have a drink and some snacks and meet and greet with other fans and Ms Hanamura herself. A few hardcore fans had conversations with her and the translator and Ms Hanamura was suprised by the positive comments on her work and overwhelming want for her work translated into English. It was a amazing moment to shake hands with a lady who inspired so many ladies dreams, influenced childhoods, filled people with beautiful dreams.

This was one of the most engaging talks from the The Japan Foundation I have attended and I look forward to the next guests they invite to talk in future events. Join their mailing list for more information.

For more adventures into the cat kingdom, conventions, Japanese culture and gaming follow me on Facebook and Twitter.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

The Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2016

The Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2016 has kick started the year with some great movies for people to watch to educate themselves in Japanese culture. This years theme is IKIRU: The Highs and Lows of Life in Japanese Cinema.

Running  from 5 February to 26 March 2016, the first stop is London ICA, the ICA is particularly one of my favourite cinemas as they are tucked away in between Charring Cross and Piccadilly on the outskirts of a serene park. Inside a home to art exhibits, cafe, trendy bar, walk in gift shop and comfy cinema screens for lots of independent films.
The Japan Foundation added two anime's to the list due to popular demand and here are the titles:

Anthem of the Heart

We follow Jun Naruse a young girl who believes her words have caused unmeasurable trouble. She is one day visited by a mysterious ‘Egg Fairy’ who casts a spell on her preventing her from speaking, stopping her from conveying her emotions. When she enters high-school, Jun is asked to join a musical – a group which turns out to be an unexpected mix of students all suffering from emotional trauma just like Jun. Through the key themes of friendship and music can will Jun be able to find her voice again?

A charming story from the creators behind the smash hit movie, Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day. The creative team of director Tatsuyuki Nagai, scriptwriter Mari Okada and character designer Masayoshi Tanaka return with a completely original animated film which was a huge hit upon its domestic theatrical release in late 2015, touching many hearts across Japan. (Distributed by All the Anime)

Miss Hokusai

A animation from the Keiichi Hara who, who's film, Colorful, the Japan Foundation screened previously. (Watch the interview with Keiichi Hara here.) Set in early Edo period, this animation brings to life the story of O-Ei, the daughter of the ukiyo-e master, Katsushika Hokusai (globally famous for his piece The Great Wave).

Based on the original manga Sarusuberi by Hinako Sugiura, an adaptation which Hara, a huge fan of the series, called ‘a dream come true,’ the film brings Sugiura’s comic and worldview to the big screen, creating a wonderfully detailed recreation of Edo life through combining hand-drawn 2-D with 3-D techniques. The film scooped three awards at the 2015 Fantasia International Film Festival in Montreal, including the Satoshi Kon Award for best animated feature film. (Distributed by All the Anime)

Here are also a few that have taken my fancy:

Uzumasa Limelight

An award-wining film telling the admirable story of Seiichi, a ‘kirareyaku’ actor whose main job in samurai movies is simply to be killed-off by the lead star. When the studio where Seiichi works decides to discontinue its samurai epics, Seiichi finds himself at a loss but hope arrives in the form of a young woman named Satsuki, who soon becomes his disciple.
Using Charlie Chaplin’s Limelight as an underlying theme, this film pays homage to the unsung heroes of Japanese movies filmed in Uzumasa film studios (Kyoto), Japan’s Hollywood. The semi-autobiographical performance by real-life kirareyaku, 71-year-old Seizo Fukumoto, who is said to have acted out 50,000 on-screen deaths, earned him the best actor prize at the Fantasia International Film Festival, Montreal, in 2014, with the film also winning the festival’s Cheval Noir for best film. (Distributed by Third Windows Film)

I'll Give it My All...Tomorrow

Fed-up forty-something Shizuo (Shinichi Tsutsumi) quits his secure job to become a full-time slacker, embarking on a reluctant pursuit to follow his true dreams. Despite now spending most of his time hanging around the house in his underwear playing video games and working part-time at a fast-food restaurant, Shizuo eventually comes to realise his true passion in life: Manga! Without much preparation or any skill, Shizuo starts working on his masterpiece…

Adapted from Shunju Aono’s popular manga series, this comedy by Yuichi Fukuda (the director behind HK: Forbidden Super Hero) follows the mid-life crisis of a loveable lazybones trying to find his calling. It will no doubt delight many aspiring manga writers of all stages of their lives! (Distributed by Shochiku)

Starting at the prestigious ICA London from 5th February - 11th February
Find the full list of movies and anime on the Japan Foundation website.

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Review : The Danish Girl

This film has been rumored to receive many oscars, starring mainly Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander. Redmayne already famed for playing Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor, the BAFTA Award, the Golden Globe Award, and the Screen Actors Guild Award.

The Danish Girl is fictitious love story very loosely inspired by the lives of real Danish artists Einar Wegener and Gerda Wegener. We follow the lives Einar and Gerda's both artists within their own rights evolving in their careers and the interesting aspects of their personal life.

Einar is a famous landscape artist who often props up his wife for which she resents him as she believes she can be respected as an aertist without his recommendation. She focuses on portraits and one day she asks Einar to do a favour for her to wear stockings and ballet shoes to help her complete her ballerina painting which triggers a series of emotions in Einar.

Einar is not social-able and loathes art parties, even for his own work and would rather reside in his work or privately with his dominating wife. It is her dominance that brings to light Einars hidden side. Upon wearing one night a satin under garment she unearths a dark secret Einar has been keeping locked within his heart for years.

Einar is in fact struggling in a battle within himself as he has been unable to impregnate Gerda and has been suffering stomach cramps every month and having nose bleeds...similar to ladies periods. These motions tied in with a series of cross dressing antics bring to life Lili Elb, his alter ego if not his true self. Gerda after witnessing an emotional infidelity ends up supporting her husband or Einar's cousin as they introduce Lili to others through her mental anguish. After many diagnosis of perversion, schizophrenia they finally find an american doctor willing to preform a groundbreaking surgery on Einer, making him a transgender pioneer.

This film delved in deep into a persons psyche and I was quite suprised at how important art was and how art as a profession which meant everything to Einar was a reminder of Lili's past life. Einar the painter was now Lili the muse. What Gerda awakens in her husband, his true self Lili she now awakens Gerda's artistic potential. Gerda's portraits of Lili sell like hot cakes, and are exhibited in Paris and yet all Gerda longs for is her husbands embrace which is forever lost.

This film is for thinkers and I would not recommend for anyone under 18, my friends walked out very pleased with the film, I walked out feeling empty and sad. Happy or tragic ending, you can decide.

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^_^ Aisha Anime