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Japan Roundup: September 18, 2017

Shinichiro Watanabe brings us a 'Blade Runner' short; the, er, brilliant 'Land Of The Lustrous' hits the small screen; and Kar-Wai Wong has an Amazon series in the works

Japan Roundup: September 11, 2017

'Tatami Galaxy' comes to Crunchyroll; 'Funeral Parade of Roses' lands on Blu-ray after a 4K restoration; and a live-action 'Hyouka' is set to drop

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'Blade Runner Black Out 2022': Dangerous Days, In Brief

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It's to 'Blade Runner' as 'The Animatrix' was to 'The Matrix', but to fine (if abbreviated) effect -- and maybe it'll be the first of more

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Victor Santos's 'Rashōmon': Edo Noir

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A clever and inventive retelling of three classic Japanese samurai-era tales, channeled through detective-noir sensibilities

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Seijun Suzuki's 'Taishō Trilogy': Erotic, Grotesque, Romantic

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Japan's Roaring Twenties are both backdrop and stage for these three excursions into the delirious, the decadent, and the surreal

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'Haibane Renmei': The Kids In God's Waiting Room

An allegory, wrapped in a mystery, served up as a children's tale

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This essay originally appeared in a different form at Genji Press.

Some stories are about small, simple questions: Will the guy get the girl, defeat the bad guys, and live happily ever after? There’s nothing wrong with that, as many of the best movies are precisely that simple. Then there are stories that are about great, unanswerable questions, not so much to produce a definitive answer but just to make us wonder: Why are we born? Why must we die? Where did we come from before all of this, and where will we go afterwards? Why are we even here at all when everything must perish anyway? Haibane Renmei is firmly in the second category, and all the better for it because it tackles these huge questions in the context of a story that has all the simplicity of a children’s book.

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'Death Note' (2017): D.O.A.

This isn't 'Death Note'; it's barely Cliffs Notes

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There are so many individual things wrong with Netflix's live-action Death Note film that you might as well roll dice to figure out where to start. Here's one: it's just not enough pounds in too small a bag. You can't take even a modest sample of all that was interesting and thought-provoking in the original manga and cram it into a movie. Not a two-hour movie, and definitely not a hundred-minute movie. This isn't Death Note; it's barely Cliffs Notes.

But there's a lot more that's wrong. And perhaps the biggest problem is how the movie embodies one of the basic sins of all anime/manga-to-live-action productions: Don't be laughable. If this is what we can expect from the next wave of anime and manga remakes outside of Japan, kindly include me out.

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Welcome To Ganriki.org 3.0!

An expansion, a refocusing, and a reinvigoration of our mission

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Today marks the next phase in the evolution of Ganriki.org — one that I have, in all honesty, been mulling since before its inception. From this point on, Ganriki.org is no longer exclusively a site about Japanese visual and verbal culture as found in anime and manga. It's about Japanese culture — popular and high, visual and verbal and dramatic — as a whole.

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