Capsule Review & Commentary: Promare

Director: Hiroyuki Imaishi

Animation Production: Trigger

Music: Hiroyuki Sawano

Genres: Action, Mecha

Season: Spring 2019

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Carole & Tuesday: A Musical Dialogue | Shinichiro Watanabe x Mocky

A roundtable published on ele-king on April 10, 2019, in commemoration of the first episode premiere of the TV anime Carole & Tuesday.

Interview & Text: Takune Kobayashi
Interpreter: Miho Haraguchi
Photographer: Yasuhiro Ohara

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The [enveloping sounds/noise] of the keyboard and the creaking sounds of the guitar – that’s what surprised me the most in the first episode of this show. Of course, the animation by Studio Bones was also fantastic, but what hooked me were the boisterously dancing sounds that floated out of those visuals into my living room from beginning to end. Had I ever heard such lively and tangible notes coming from a TV anime before? Then came the second episode, where the BGM created by Mocky was simply overflowing with a sense of adventure. Make no mistake about it. This is Shinichiro Watanabe, no holds barred.

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Revue Starlight Roundtable Discussion | A Revue With The Music Production Team – Part II

As September 2018 draws to a close, the TV anime Shojo Kageki Revue Starlight has, for the moment, come to an end. Now that everything has come to light, we are able to deliver the second half of the roundtable discussion between the music producers, Teppei Nojima (Pony Canyon) and Kohei Yamada (UPDREAM), and the lyricist, Kanata Nakamura. In it we look back on the revue songs that have accompanied the dramatic developments of the second half of the series, and ask about their overall thoughts as they strove to produce a ‘musical x anime mixed media’ project – something that has never been done before.

Roundtable Part I

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Revue Starlight Roundtable Discussion | A Revue With The Music Production Team – Part I

Shojo Kageki Revue Starlight: the franchise that has taken its ‘musical x anime mixed media’ concept and turned it into a myriad of different projects. The TV anime, which has been one of the franchise’s main pillars, will soon be coming to an end. What are the secrets behind the revue songs that have appeared in nearly every episode, leaving a strong impression on the viewers in their wake? LisAni will attempt to answer this question by diving into a roundtable with the show’s staff. In part 1 of this talk between three of the music production team – the music producers, Teppei Nojima (Pony Canyon) and Kohei Yamada (APDREAM), and the lyricist, Kanata Nakamura – we will be looking back on the songs that featured in the first half of the series.

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Sydney Film Festival 2019 | Reflections

As I look for ways to keep my writing brain well-oiled, I will be trying out a more ‘modular’ approach to blog posts: rather than dedicating each post to a singular theme that I hammer out mostly in one sitting, I’m taking a few pages from my old seasonal anime list posts, and compile short capsule reviews that I write throughout the week(s). In this instance, I have given myself a pretty decent schedule for the upcoming fortnight of movies that are screening at the annual Sydney Film Festival, and will be reflecting on each title I watch, before publishing it at its conclusion.

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Framed Cities: Cultural Citizenship & Urban Spatiality

Philosopher Alain de Botton stated at the 2013 CDI (or the City of Ideas International Festival), that “the media is the teacher…once you’ve left school and university, or in other words for most of your life, you will not be educated in a classroom, but by the media.” The accompanying and profound implications of citing media as the ultimate signifier and shaper of society and identity has led me to diagnose the contemporary main driving model of media consumption – namely the on-demand binge culture subtitled the ‘Netflix Effect’ – and how this…new experiential frame of consumption in turn re-frames urban culture. The methodological significance of studying the currently dominant formats of mass consumption and popular media, in conjunction with its influence on cultural identity, is what I would argue a post-human integration of technically separate but intrinsically co-existing schools of cinema studies and cultural sociology: namely the cinematic city’s integration with the urban experience and Charles Taylor’s concept of the ‘social imaginary’.

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An Update

It has been a while, people.

No, I am not announcing my intentions to quit or take a break from blogging. In fact my drafts is still stuffed to the brim with stuff I’m working on, and I’ve got a couple of interview translations in the release pipe as well. This is just a little sit-down chat/therapy session for me, as I near the end of the first leg of my final year in university (whether I continue into postgrad/masters will be up to future me to decide). Also I feel like I owe at least a little to my readers, for having not putting anything out for more than a month.

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Fafner in the Azure Composer Interview: Tsuneyoshi Saito | ‘An Orchestral Chain Reaction’

The following is an official translation of an interview conducted with composer Tsuneyoshi Saito regarding his work on the mecha anime franchise Fafner in the Azure. It was published in the liner notes of the now out-of-print soundtrack album ‘NO WHERE’, released by Geneon for the North American market.

The music composed and produced for Fafner in the Azure presents an unique viewpoint on the international traffics of anime production: Saito opted to record the soundtrack for the anime series abroad with the renowned Polish orchestra, the Warsaw Philharmonic, for what he refers to be a willfully classical compositional process, and thus providing Fafner in the Azure with a sonic experience that references the symphonic scope of a Star Wars score.

(Note: the interview also featured producer Go Nakanishi from King Records.)

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Post-Disaster ‘Cool Japan’ | Kimi no Na wa: Cultural Identity, Modernity & Restorative Nostalgia

The slogan ‘Cool Japan’ was first used by the Japanese government in reference to its nation-branding projects back in 2005. Since then, the Cool Japan phenomenon has become a site of intensive focus for scholars in Japanese studies, particularly from the points of view of popular culture and creative industries (e.g. Sugiyama 2006, Dinnie 2009, Fujita 2011) and nationalism and nation-building (e.g. Iwabuchi 2007, 2008) (Valaskivi, 2013). Indeed, such saturated focus on this phenomenon has covered extensive and ripe ground from relatively regional frameworks, which examined its impact within Japan, as well as Japan’s influence within the East Asia sphere. In turn, Katja Valaskivi proposed to extend its study paradigms by contextualising Cool Japan through the transnationally circulating practice of nation branding. And thus with this essay, I will approach the study of the Cool Japan branding project by extending upon Valaskivi’s frameworks in her paper ‘Cool Japan and the social imaginary of the branded nation’; and by extension Taylor’s concept of the social imaginary (Taylor, 2002), through their integration into a semiotic and cinematic analysis of director Makoto Shinkai’s 2016 anime film ‘Kimi no Na wa’ (will be referred to as ‘Your Name’ from now on), which I argue will introduce unique observations that may ground Cool Japan’s main circulating features; namely 1) nation branding, 2) the concept of ‘Cool’ and 3) the idea of ‘essential Japanese values’, within a diverse collection of symbols, message streams and candid imagery that can be better appreciated and more readily understood.

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Violet Evergarden Fanbook Interviews: Akiko Takase | Highlights, High Heels & Suspenders

In this latest series of interview translations, ATMA & Funomena will be presenting comments and observations of three prominent voices from the production of Violet Evergarden, concluding with Chief Animation Director Akiko Takase.

These translations are offered to fans of the series as material supplements for the making-of documentary-style video by the YouTube channel Under the Scope.

The original interviews were conducted and published in the Violet Evergarden Official Fanbook.

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