Cinema of Japan

Japanese Films at Annecy International Animation Film Festival 2019

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“If I had to name one country with a true culture of animation, it would definitely be Japan.”

This quote was made by French director Georges Lacroix in 1999, the year when the Annecy Festival celebrated Japanese animation for the very first time. Since then, the fest has been packed with Japanese animation, many of which have often taken awards, and now, twenty years later, Annecy celebrates Japan again by packing in classics and new titles and giving space for much of the talent working today to shine.

The Annecy International Animation Film Festival is back from June 10th to the 15th and it’s packed with anime feature films, TV anime, and conferences because the organisers have chosen this year to celebrate 100 years of Japanese animated films (1917 – 2017). This celebration spans classic shorts never before seen outside of Japan to forthcoming works that are being pitched to producers and distributors around the world. Netflix has a presence here thanks to their positive contribution to anime and the student graduation works look equally enticing. With WWII propaganda films, adaptations of classic western novels, animated documentaries, 80s sci-fi, and more going to be screened, festival-goers are in for an exceptional and exciting collection of films that shows what Japan can do.

As per usual, titles contain links to the festival and sources used for information range from the festival site itself to My Anime List (MAL) and Anime News Network (ANN). Let’s start with…

Feature Films in Competition

Ride Your Wave Ride Your Wave Film Poster

きみと、波にのれたら  「Kimi to, Nami ni Noretara」

Duration: 94 mins.

Release Date: June 21st, 2019

Director: Masaaki Yuasa

Writer: Reiko Yoshida (Screenplay/Original Creator),

Starring: Rina Kawaei (Hinako Mukaimizu), Ryota Katayose (Minato Hinageshi), Honoka Matsumoto (Yoko Hinageshi), Kentaro Ito (Wasabi Kawamura)

Animation Production: Science SARU

Music: Michiru Oshima

Website ANN MAL

Synopsis: Hinako moves to a coastal town to attend university. While there she can indulge her passion for surfing, something which washes away her uncertainty about her future. When a fire wreaks havoc in the town, Hinako encounters the young firefighter Minato. As they surf and spend more time together, Hinako feels drawn to someone like Minato who devotes himself to helping other people. Hinako also holds a special place in Minato’s heart, and when he suddenly drowns while out surfing alone, he comes back to her as a ghost trapped in water. As everyone else gets over Minato’s death and tries to move on, Hinako comes to depend on his spirit.

Birthday Wonderland Birthday Wonderland Film Poster

バースデー・ワンダーランド 「Ba-sude- Wanda-rando」

Duration: 115 mins.

Release Date: April 26th, 2019

Director: Keiichi Hara

Writer: Miho Maruo (Screenplay), Sachiko Kashiwaba (Original Creator)

Starring: Mayu Matsuoka (Akane), Akiko Yajima (Doropo), Anzu (Chi), Keiji Fujiwara (Xan Gu), Kumiko Aso (Midori),

Website MAL ANN

This is a movie adaptation of the 1981 children’s book “Chikashitsu kara no Fushigi na Tabi”. Director Keiichi Hara (Miss Hokusai) and character designer Ilya Kuvshinov will be present for a signing session.

Synopsis: Akane Uesugi is a shy 6th grader who has trouble telling other people how she feels. The day before her birthday, her mother, Midori, sends her on an errand: to go get her birthday present from her free-spirited Aunt Chi’s antique shop. But a strange man named Hippocrates the Alchemist, who calls her the “Green Goddess”, together with Pipo the fairy, takes her on a journey to “The World Beyond” from a door in the basement where she embarks upon an adventure to save a land in crisis.

Relative Worlds ashita sekai ga owaru toshitemo film poster

あした世界が終わるとしても 「Ashita Sekai ga Owaru Toshitemo」

Release Date: January 25th, 2019

Duration: 108 mins.

Director: Yuhei Sakuragi

Writer: Yuhei Sakuragi (Screenplay),

Starring: Yuuki Kaji (Shin Hazama), Maaya Uchida (Kotori Izumi), Yoshiki Nakajima (Other Shin), Sayaka Senbongi (Kotoko Izumi), Aoi Yuki (Miko), Nana Mizuki (Yuri), Inori Minase (Riko)

Animation Production: Craftar

ANN MAL Website

Synopsis: Shin and Kotori have been friends since childhood but ever since Shin lost his mother he has developed a tendency to close himself off from others. These two high-schoolers find themselves confronted with other versions of themselves when two teens from another Japan appear in front of them.

Feature Films Contrechamp in Competition

This is a sort of “Out of Competition” section to acknowledge various different voices in animation.

Children of the Sea

海獣の子供  「Kaijuu no Kodomo」

Duration: 111 mins.

Release Date: May 19th, 2019

Director: Ayumu Watanabe

Writer: Daisuke Igarashi (Screenplay/Original Creator),

Starring: Mana Ashida (Ruka Azumi), Hiiro Ishibashi (Umi), Seishuu Uragami (Sora), Goro Inagaki (Masaaki Azumi), Yuu Aoi (Kanako Azumi), Win Morisaki (Anglade),

Music: Joe Hisaishi

Animation Production: Studio 4°C

Website ANN MAL

Synopsis: Ruka is a young girl whose parents are separated and whose father works in an aquarium. When two boys, Umi and Sora, who were raised in the sea by dugongs, are brought to the aquarium, Ruka feels drawn to them and begins to realize that she has the same sort of supernatural connection to the ocean that they do. Umi and Sora’s special power seems to be connected to strange events that have been occurring more and more frequently, such as the appearance of sea creatures far from their home territory and the disappearance of aquarium animals around the world. However, the exact nature of the boys’ power and of the abnormal events is unknown, and Ruka gets drawn into investigating the mystery that surrounds her new friends.

TV Films in Competition

Dino Girl Gauko “Dad’s Secret” – Akira Shigino Naoko Watanabe is a typical 14 year old, except that she possesses a strange gift and curse. When her anger exceeds a maximum level she turns into Gauko, the fire breathing dinosaur girl!

Commissioned Films in Competition

Powder “New Tribe” by AC-bu This is supposedly based on the true life story of Powder, a Tokyo-based dance music producer and DJ, who is leading a double life: as a corporate employee during the day, and working as a musician at night.

There are a number of competition sections featuring Japanese short films such as Off-Limits where Leaking Life by Shunsaku Hayashi and the main competition section where Mirai Mizue’s Dawn of Ape, the world’s first animation made to be watched by chimpanzees, is amongst other titles.

Graduation short Films in Competition has Japan-based animator Jari Vaara (TAMA ART UNIVERSITY) has a tale of a Hunter’s day going wrong in Hunter and then there’s romance dying in Somewhere Soft by Satoe Yoshinari (GEIDAI) which is her interpretation of heartbreak. Also from GEIDAI is Takahiro Shibata’s Keep Forgetting is all about learning to accept not being accepted by others and then there is The Act of Breathing by Hana Yamazaki who is based in Hungary an a graduate of VOLDA UNIVERSITY COLLEGE.

The most interesting-looking title in this section is Bath House of Whales from Kiyama Mizuki (GEIDAI), an animator who uses paint on glass and has worked on the end credit animation for Mob Psycho 100. She uses her background to depict the differences in behaviour between Japanese and Koreans in bath houses.

Screening Events

Ponoc Short Films Theater: Volume 1 – Modest Heroes Ponoc Short Films Theater Volume 1 – Modest Heroes Film Poster

劇場版 七つの大罪 天空の囚われ人 「Chiisa na Eiyū – Kani to Tamago to Tōmei Ningen」

Release Date: August 24th, 2018

Duration: 54 mins.

Director/Writer: Hiromasa Yonebayashi (Kanini & Kanino), Akihiko Yamashita (Invisible), Yoshiyuki Momose (Samurai Egg)

Starring: Fumino Kimura (Kanini), Rio Suzuki (Kanino), Joe Odagiri (Invisible Man), Machiko Ono (Mama). Min Tanaka (Blind Man), Sota Shinohara (Shun), Kentaro Sakaguchi (Doctor, The Father),

Animation Production: Studio Ponoc

MAL ANN Website

Synopsis: Modest Heroes consists of three short films lasting around 15 minutes each and they were made by three directors:

“Kanini & Kanino” is a fantasy adventure story about two crab siblings.

“Samurai Egg” is about the love between a mother and a boy.

“Invisible” is about the struggle of an invisible man.

Human Lost Human Lost Film Poster

人間失格  「Ningen Shikkaku」

Duration: 116 mins.

Release Date: July 19th, 2019

Director: Katsuyuki Motohiro

Writer: Tow Ubukata (Screenplay), Osamu Dazai (Original Creator),

Starring: Mamoru Miyano (Yozo Oba), Haruka Chisuga (Tsuneko), Jun Fukuyama (Takeichi), Kana Hanazawa (Yoshiko Hiiragi), Miyuki Sawashiro (Madam),

Animation Production: Polygon Pictures

Website ANN MAL

Synopsis: Tokyo, 2036, and society is deeply divided between the rich and poor. It is only the rich who can access a revolutionary medical discovery involving the use of nanomachines to prolong human life to 120 years and remove the possibility of illness. A poor man by the name of Yozo has no hope of accessing this. However when he joins a friend’s biker gang he finds himself drawn into a conspiracy that unlocks new parts of him…

Special Programmes contains all sorts of sections such as one dedicated to food which is where the 2012 short Futon by Yoriko Mizushiri is located and more:

Annecy Classics is a strand that features shorts in a section called 100 Years of Japanese Animation and one feature and recently restored animated films such as Tadanari Okamoto’s Tabi wa Michizure Yo wa Nasake (1973), Taku Furukawa’s Carigraphity (1982), Renzo Kinoshita’s Pica-don (1978), and Phenakistoscope (1975).

Venus Wars Venus Wars Film Poster

ヴィーナス戦記  「Bi-nasu Senki」

Duration: 100 mins.

Release Date: March 11th, 1989

Director: Yoshikazu Yasuhiko

Writer: Yoshikazu Yasuhiko (Original Creator/Manga/Screenplay), Yuichi Sasamoto (Screenplay),

Starring: Katsuhida Uekusa (Hiro), Eriko Hara (Susan), Houchou Ohtsuka (Will), Yuuko Mizutani (Maggie), Yuko Sasaki (Miranda), Konami Yoshida (Cathy), Daisuke Gouri (Game Announcer), Goro Naya (Gary),

Animation Production: Triangle Staff

Music: Joe Hisaishi

ANN MAL

Synopsis: Following the collision of an ice asteroid, Venus was terraformed and colonists from Earth tamed the hostile world and have thrived for four generations but after peace for so long a war is about to break out amongst the settlers. The country of Ishtar launches an attack on Aphrodia and it draws in people such as Hiro Seno, a hotshot motorcycle jockey, and a journalist from Earth named Susan who wants to document everything.

The White Snake Enchantress The White Snake Enchantress Film Poster

白蛇伝 「Hakujaden 」

Release Date: October 22nd, 1958

Duration: 78 mins.

Director: Taiji Yabushita

Writer: Shin Uehara, Taiji Yabushita, Seiichi Yashiro (Screenplay)

Starring: Hisaya Morishige, Mariko Miyagi,

Animation Production: Toei

MAL Website IMDB

This is the first animated feature film in colour from Japan and it has been given a 4K scan and restoration job by Toei Animation Company and the National Archive of Japan to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Japanese animation and 60th anniversary of this film’s original theatrical release. Only two voice actors were cast for the film which would be one of the first three anime features released in North America.

Original negative, 35mm print, tape materials, and animation cels were used by Toei lab tech and Toei digital centre to produce restored data which is in 2K. It was screened at the Cannes Film Festival last month.

Synopsis from ANN: As a young boy, Xu-Xian is forced to free his pet, a small snake. Unbeknownst to him, the snake is actually a young snake goddess named Bai-Niang and she is in love with him. Many years later, when they are both adults, the princess is magically transformed into a human and sets out to find her love. But the local wizard believes her to be a vampire, and banishes Xu-Xian from the village in order to save him. Xu-Xian’s pet pandas Panda and Mimi set out to save him and bring him, in the process becoming leaders of an animal gang.

The Little Norse Prince The Adventures of Horus Prince of the Sun Film Poster

太陽の王子 ホルスの大冒険  「Kaijuu no Kodomo」

Duration: 82 mins.

Release Date: July 21st, 1968

Director: Isao Takahata

Writer: Kazuo Fukazawa (Screenplay),

Starring: Hisako Okata (Hols/Horus), Etsuko Ichihara (Hilda), Mikijiro Hira (Grunwald), Asako Akazawa (Piria), Eijirou Touno (Ganko), Hisashi Yokomori (Hols’ Father. Toto the White Owl),

Animation Production: Toei Animation

ANN MAL

Synopsis from ANN: As a baby, Horus was saved by his father from their burning northern village, after the village was attacked by a powerful demon. Several years pass, and on his deathbed the father bids Horus to return to his people. Horus goes on a journey and quickly finds a village plagued by a monster. After slaying the monster, he one day finds, in another ruined village, a cute girl, singing in a heavenly voice. He brings the girl to his new home, but soon finds that there was a good reason for her being alone in the wasteland…

Midnight Specials

Midnight Specials are strands festivals dedicate to the extreme and bizzaro films and Annecy has assembled some features and shorts including Shota Shimizu’s Good Luck Yonpey (which you can watch on the Shimizu’s Vimeo channel) and Sawako (queen of weird animation) Kabuki’s Gokiburi Taisou or Cockroach Callisthenics in English. Here’s a truly unnerving trailer where you can get mesmerised by the dancing cockroaches (shudder):

No Sawako Kabuki, no animation festivals, I once said. It’s good to see her back. She features again in the Annecy programme.

Here are the features in the Midnight Specials strand:

Promare Promare Film Poster

プロメア 「Puromea」

Release Date: May 24th, 2019

Duration: 111 mins.

Director: Hiroyuki Imaishi

Writer: Kazuki Nakashima (Screenplay/Original Work),

Starring: Ayane Sakura (Aina Ardebit), Kenichi Matsuyama (Galo Thymos), Taichi Saotome (Lio Fotia), Ami Koshimizu (Ellis Ardebit), Arata Furuta (Deus Prometh), Mayumi Shintani (Lucia Fex),

Animation Production: Trigger

ANN MAL Website

Synopsis from Annecy: After burning half of the planet to the ground, Mad Burnish, a terrorist group of ruthless pyromaniacs, has decided not to stop there. To counter their attacks, an elite brigade of firefighters is created and equipped with latest generation of mechas. This is the “made in Japan” scientific decor that Studio Trigger designed for their latest creation. With Hiroyuki Imaishi at the helm, known for his work on speed, shapes, and colors, Promare stays true by providing explosive and fast-paced excitement. A blazing nighttime screening for sure.

Aragne: Sign of Vermillion Aragne Sign of Vermillion Film Poster

アラーニェの虫籠 「Aragne no Mushikago」

Release Date: August 18th, 2018

Duration: 75 mins.

Director: Saku Sakamoto

Writer: Saku Sakamoto (Screenplay),

Starring: Kana Hanazawa (Rin), Ayana Shiramoto (Nasuha), Yosuke Ito (Tokiyo), Fukujuurou Katayama (Saion), Shuogo Batari (Mikaya)

Animation Production: zelicofilm

Website ANN Kickstarter

Saku Sakamoto has taken on direction, writing, composing the music, CG and more roles to get this film made. It’s an epic undertaking that looks different from the usual anime not least because of the animation style and designs, some of which are extremely creepy.

Synopsis: Rin (Kana Hanazawa) is an 18-year-old university student who is shy and anxious and a new arrival at her apartment complex. It’s a rundown and unfriendly place where crimes are occurring. There’s something darker stirring in the place, something supernatural and sinister and Rin begins to investigate instead of moving the heck out.

Tribute to Japanese Animation

“To celebrate its 100 years of existence, the Association of Japanese Animations (AJA) has created ANIME NEXT 100. Centered around themes like heritage, training and the industry’s future, the project is totally dedicated to promoting the diverse possibilities that Japanese animation has to offer.”

This is a major strand that features some of the oldest animated films to come from Japan to some of the new talent emerging and everything in between. It’s a veritable hodgepodge.

Anne of Green Gables Anne of Green Gables Film Poster

赤毛のアン グリーンゲーブルズへの道  「Akage no Anne: Green Gables e no Michi」

Duration: 100 mins.

Release Date: 1989

Director: Isao Takahata

Writer: Akira Isomura, Shigeki Chiba, Seijirou Kouyama, Isao Takahata (Screenplay), Lucy Maud Montgomery (Original Novel)

Starring: Eiko Yamada (Anne Shirley), Fumie Kitahara (Marilla Cuthbert), Ryuuji Saikichi (Mathew Cuthbert), Michio Hazama (Narrator),

Animation Production: Nippon Animation

Website ANN MAL

A recap film of the first 6 episodes of the TV series.

Synopsis from MAL: Anne is an orphan full of imagination. When she arrives at her new home she learns that sometimes you have to be a sensible person too; at the same time her unique character changes, or at least attracts, the people around her. The story covers Anne’s growth from about eleven to seventeen years old as she makes friends, goes to school and studies. At a difficult point in her life, Anne will have to make a hard choice and perhaps find a new dream.

There are plenty of shorts spanning from 1917 to the newest titles showing us the range of methods and voices throughout Japanese animation history.

Treasures from Early Japanese Animation (1917-1946) has 9 titles including Jun-ichi Kouchi’s charming chambara comedy The Dull Sword. Japan also has a history of puppet animation and that is brought to the screen in a tribute to Tadahito Mochinaga (1919-1999) and Tadanari Okamoto (1932-1990). There is a tribute to two animators who have been winning awards more recently:

Atsushi Wada's Great Rabbit

A tribute to Atsushi Wada shows 10 different films dedicated to an artist who, to quote the website,

“creates more than just animated stories, he makes viewers feel movement, emotion, and jolts to their subconscious. Through minimalist works derived from Noh theater, and based on music and dance, the director unveils a poetic look at human relationships. He uses only what is essential, nothing superfluous, and nothing extra.”

There are two stand-out films amidst the 10, the first, In a Pig’s Eye, won the Excellence Prize at the Japan Media Arts Festival. The second, The Great Rabbit, won the Silver Bear award at the Berlin International Film Festival.

Tribute to Japanese Animation: Kôji Yamamura: “Mt. Head”, and afterwards? has 12 films on offer. He should be famous for his short film Mount Head which was winner of the ‘Best Animated Short Film’ Cristal at Annecy and nominated for ‘Best Animated Short Film’ Oscar in 2003. He has had many more projects since then although I only first encountered him at a post for the London International Animation Festival.

We get to the newer directors with Anime Tamago which was established to replace Anime Mirai which was established by the Japanese government as a training ground for young animators and a way of staving off outsourcing of work to overseas studios. They’d be better off tackling bad pay in the industry. A Board Overview of Contemporary Japanese Animation newbie directors and still-students and it’s an eclectic mix of styles and topics. New Motion – Directors has four people already in the industry and there are four shorts/TV anime episodes with Hiroko Utsumi presenting Banana Fish and Kiyotaka Oshiyama presenting an episode of Space Dandy amongst others. Honestly, SPACE DANDY IS THE BEST!

New Motion – Shorts Films

This section is dedicated to inventive, ambitious, and experimental shorts that push the boundaries of taste and imagination and are very unique. , we encourage you to explore the limits of this truly singular format. There are twelve films, including these two gems:

Rabbit’s Blood (UK/Japan 2017 Dir: Sarina Nihei 5 mins) Website.

Tokyo-based Sarina Nihei is a graduate of London’s Royal College of Art and now works as a freelance animator and illustrator. She has won awards and her RCA graduate work, Small People with Hats was the first student film to win the Ottawa International Animation Festival’s top prize for short films. She is inspired by entertaining and surreal films and lists the work of David Lynch and David Cronenberg as favourites in this interview. Check out her Vimeo channel.

This was made for Channel 4 in the UK.

Two rival groups battle for survival underground – sinister cloaked men and neutralist rabbits.

Waaah「えーん, 2018, Dir: Sawako Kabuki, 1 min.」Website

Everyone is born crying and as they grow up they continue to cry. And then what? There is no substitute for the ultimate pacifier.

Open-Air Screenings

Imagine seeing the following classics on the big screen in such a beautiful locations… Well, Jin-Roh may work better in a cinema, but imagine seeing that on the big screen!

Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro Lupin III Castle of Cagliostro Film Poster

ルパン三世 カリオストロの城  「Rupan Sansei Kariosutoro no Shiro」

Release Date: December 15th, 1979

Duration: 96 mins

Director: Hayao Miyazaki

Writer: Yasuo Otsuka (Screenplay), Haruya Yamazaki, Hayao Miyazaki (Script), Monkey Punch (Original Manga)

Starring: Yasuo Yamada (Arsene Lupin III), Makio Inoue (Goemon Ishikawa), Kiyoshi Kobayashi (Jigen Daisuke), Goro Naya (Inspector Zenigata), Eiko Masuyama (Fujiko Mine), Sumi Shimamoto (Lady Clarisse de Cagliostro)

Website

This is one of those Miyazaki films that was animated before the formation of Studio Ghibli but it features collaborators and techniques he would work with in the following years. This is a super-fun tale of cat burglars (descended from his French namesake) and princesses which you can take the family to see.

Synopsis: Lupin and best-pal/partner in crime Jigen, search for a counterfeiter who has rendered their latest casino heist a waste of time. They discover that the counterfeiter is in the secluded country of Cagliostro and that a wicked count is holding a beautiful and innocent princess in a tower…

Mary and the Witch’s Flower Mary and the Witch_s Flower Film Poster

メアリと魔女の花 「Meari to Majo no Hana」

Running Time: 102

Release Date: July 08th, 2017

Director: Hiromasa Yonebayashi

Writer: Riko Sakaguchi, Hiromasa Yonebayashi (Screenplay), Mary Stewart (Original Novel),

Starring: Hana Sugisaki (Mary), Ryunosuke Kamiki (Peter), Yuki Amami (Madam Mumblechook), Fumiyo Kohinata (Doctor Dee), Hikari Mitsushima (The Red-Haired Witch), Eri Watanabe (Miss Banks), Shinobu Otake (Great-Aunt Charlotte),

Animation Production: Studio Ponoc

Website ANN MAL IMDB

Directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi (Arrietty, When Marnie Was There) and animated by the talented people at Studio Ponoc, many formerly from Studio Ghibli, this is a solid family fantasy.

Synopsis: When Mary is sent to live with her great aunt in the countryside she had no expectations about going on a magical adventure but when she ventures into the woods with her loyal cat Tib, she discovers a mysterious blue flower that only appears once every seven years, and an old broomstick which can fly. Soon Mary is soaring through the sky and deposited at the door of the Endor College of Magic which is run by the mysterious Madam Mumblechook. It seems like a nice place at first but she discovers dark experiments and Tib’s life is in danger!

Jin-Roh – The Wolf Brigade Jin-Roh-The-Wolf-Brigade Film Poster

人狼  Jin Roh

Duration: 101 mins.

Release Date: June 06th, 2000

Director: Hiroyuki Okiura

Writer: Mamoru Oshii (Screenplay/Original Creator),

Starring: Yoshikatsu Fujiki (Kazuki Fuse), Sumi Mutoh (Kei Amemiya), Hiroyuki Kinoshita (Atsushi Henmi), Yoshisada Sakaguchi (Hachiroh Tohbe), Eri Sendai (Nanami Agawa)

Animation Production: Production I.G

ANN MAL

Synopsis: After witnessing the suicide bombing of a terrorist girl, Constable Kazuki Fuse becomes haunted by her image, and is forced to undergo retraining for his position in the Capital Police’s Special Unit. However, unknown to him, he becomes a key player in a dispute between Capital and Local Police forces, as he finds himself increasingly involved with the sister of the very girl he saw die.

Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem Interstella 5555 The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem Film Poster

インターステラ5555  「Inta-sutera 5555」

Duration: 67 mins.

Release Date: December 01st, 2003

Director: Leiji Matsumoto, Kazuhisa Takenouchi

Writer: N/A

Starring: The music of Daft Punk and the animated character designs of Leiji Matsumoto/Masaki Sato

Animation Production: Toei Animation

Music: Daft Punk

ANN MAL

Synopsis: Back in the early 2000s, the French electro duo Daft Punk were releasing music videos featuring four blue-skinned alien musicians to go with their album “Discovery”. These videos were from a film inspired by their childhood love for anime and was the result of their collaboration with Leiji Matsumoto. Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem is the result and has a story of an extraterrestrial adventure where the musicians have been kidnapped by an unscrupulous music executive who uses them as the Crescendolls, forcing them to take on human appearances and play a concert tour… Until a mysterious groupie tries everything in his powers to save them!

Works in Progress

This section has two anime, Eden which is a sci-fi show set in the far future where humans have vanished and robots have created the perfect utopian society. Things are going swimmingly until a human baby is discovered… Then there is Makoto Shinkai’s latest work:

Weathering With You Weathering With You Film Poster

天気の子  「Tenki no ko」

Duration: 116 mins.

Release Date: July 19th, 2019

Director: Makoto Shinkai

Writer: Makoto Shinkai (Screenplay/Original Creator), Kyoko Nakajima (Novel)

Starring: Nana Mori (Hina Amano), Kotaro Daigo (Hodaka Morishima),

Animation Production: CoMix Wave Films

Website ANN MAL

Synopsis: “This is a story about the world’s biggest secret. The secret that only she and I know.” The story centers around a boy and a girl choosing their own way to live through the twist and turns of fate in the world where the climate is losing its balance.

There is a Masterclass with veteran animator Yoichi Katabe as well as a talk about his work with Isao Takahata on the TV anime 3000 Leagues in Search of Mother (Anime News Network link) Looking for Marco and a class about Correcting Sakuga by Kiyotaka Oshiyama, animation director on shows like Space Dandy and Dennoh Coil as well as films like A Letter to Momo.

There are numerous talks about Japanese animation such as the recent boom in shows, a key reason being Western studios who are investing in IP and, reflecting this, is a discussion about how Netflix has changed the anime landscape which will involve a range of talkers including Shinji Aramaki and Kenji Kamiyama in a studio focus slot. There’s also one dedicated to Spider-man: Into the Spider Verse from Sony Studio.

Looking to the future, there is a talk with Japan, the New Generation where four young Japanese filmmakers — Ryo Orikasa, Sarina Nihei, Keita Onishi and Kiyotaka Oshiyama — talk about their influences, production conditions making short films in Japan and their visions of the future.

MIFA has lots of industry talks and pitches and there’s a lot going on. One event has six celebrated Tokyo-based animation studios showcase their newest works at Mifa 2019 in Focus on Tokyo. The newest of the new, the stuff that will be seen on screens in the months to come, will be at the Feature Film and Market Screenings section and titles include Pandora & Akubi and sci-fi ninja actioner Black Fox.

All good festivals have something cultural to go along with the film screenings and there is the Japannecy event where kids can get involved with manga, origami and watch the stop-motion adventures of Tsuneo Goda and Hirokazu Minegishi’s wonderful Komaneko. There is also Japanohara, which is in the Exhibitions section.

Celebrating the land of the rising sun, the Annecy Festival 2019 edition is exhibiting the works of four Japanese artists at the haras. In collaboration with the Annecy association imagespassages, a local player who is actively involved in the moving images’ contemporary art field, the exhibition “Japonohara” presents four artists with four different universes of video works all offering unique experiences:

• Yuki Kawamura and her surrealist work Nova in My Hand, an immersion between the depths of the ocean and to the Milky Way

• Ikuru Kuwajima and his experimental exploration of Kazan in City of Transformers

• Akino Kondoh and her animated nostalgic childhood themes in KiyaKiya

• Momoko Seto and her organic film to experience in VR, Planet ∞

Past coverage:

Annecy International Animation Festival 2015

Annecy International Animation Festival 2016

Annecy International Animation Festival 2017

Anime wins awards at Annecy 2017

Annecy International Animation Festival 2018

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