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'Tetsuo II: Body Hammer': Metamorphoses

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Shinya Tsukamoto's follow-up (side-quel?) to his immortal debut is not quite as arresting or inspired, but it has many fascinating aspects all the same

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'Tetsuo: The Iron Man': Full Metal Mutation

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Thirty years later, Shinya Tsukamoto's frenzied masterwork of cyberpunk body horror still seethes like nothing else on film

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'Punk Samurai Slash Down': Pulp Fiction

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Kō Machida's cult novel about a ronin grifter whose latest grift goes horribly wrong is one strange mash-up of conceits, even for those who like strange mash-ups

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'Cure': The Hollow(ed) Men

Two decades on, Kiyoshi Kurosawa's mutant serial-killer thriller remains among his very best films, and one of Japan's finest from the 1990s generally

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An earlier version of this review was posted at Genji Press.

Kiyoshi Kurosawa's Cure conjures up the kind of primal dread that I thought the movies had forgotten about. Its shocks and scares are like sleight-of-hand: the real effects of the movie are only felt long after it is over, and draw you back in for repeat viewings. I have spoken to other people who have seen it and come to the same conclusions, and the first things they all said after it was over were not “Wow!” but “Wait, I think I need to see that again…” Kurosawa has directed many other films since, but Cure is still easily among the best three. If you start anywhere with him, start here.

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Bonten Taro's 'Badass Babe! Sex & Fury & Other Stories': The Girl With The Hanafuda Tattoo

An eclectic collection of manga work from a tattoo artist, folk singer, and quasi-underworld figure until now only marginally known in the West

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This product is only available through its creator's website. It is not available on Amazon.com.

A friend of mine once joked that popular music critics use the word "important" as a code language for "someone you never heard of". I laughed, and he did have a point, but so do the critics. Many of the most important influences to creators are unknowns to the rest of us, and we're all the poorer for it. Manga-ka (and painter, and tattoo artist, and musician, and traveler in yakuza circles, and several other things on top of that) Bonten Taro has until now never had any of his work published in English, but with a résumé like his, he's clearly underexplored territory for Western audiences. This collection is essentially a taster — the best-known work in it, Sex And Fury, is excerpted here in miniature — but a single taste is better than nothing.

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'The Five Star Stories': In The Year 7575 ...

This late-1980s anime time capsule is daft but fascinating, if only because it hints at how a new re-adaptation of the same material might really go places

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Here we have a curious artifact, a fragmentary adaptation of Mamoru Nagano's long-running manga epic that cries out to be remade with today's technology and storytelling sensibilities. Even when it's not great entertainment, it's a fascinating slice of late-1980s anime sensibilities. It's also among that perpetually mutating list of anime titles that showed up for English viewers in the 2000s, then dropped out of print to become a collector's item. In this case, a remake might well do more justice to the source than a reissue.

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