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
An eclectic collection of manga work from a tattoo artist, folk singer, and quasi-underworld figure until now only marginally known in the West
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
Usually, the books come to an audience before the TV series that adapts it. When you're dealing with anime in translation, it's more often than not the other way around. Katanagatari, from Nisioisin's twelve-book adventure novel cycle of the same name, appeared for English-speaking audiences in 2010, long before most, if any, of Nisioisin's books showed up in English at all. With time, and thanks to anime adaptations of his other works driving interest in their origins, his stories have emerged in English, and now we have the original Katanagatari stories out on this side of the Pacific thanks to Vertical. No better time to revisit the animated version, in all its stylized, sassy, and (sadly) commercially unavailable glory.
The hardest thing about discussing Shinichirō Ueda's One Cut Of The Dead is that almost any discussion of it at all threatens to ruin the fun of watching it unfold. It is one of the slyest, most delightful movies to come out of Japan in a long time — and I suspect your preliminary confusion comes from how most people are not going to associate the words "sly" and "delightful" with something that looks like a zombie-horror-survival picture. I say looks because the movie's success revolves around not just one but a whole slew of subversions of expectations, and not in the smarmy "is it all real or not?" vein I was bracing for. If you'd rather have your surprise preserved, go see it now, because any substantive discussion of the movie is impossible without unpacking it completely.
Animation is a medium, not a genre, and the most creative animation projects have found new ways to bring that insight home. Hiroaki Yoshida's Twilight of the Cockroaches uses an old animation trick: overlaying animation (provided by Studio MADHOUSE) atop live action to set animated and live-action characters interacting freely with each other. But the movie's not aiming for the kind of cutesy self-conscious interplay of something like Who Framed Roger Rabbit?; it has something more ambitious and darkly clever in mind.