In which we ponder a live-action adaptation (in Japan, that is) of Hiroaki Samura's long-running classic manga — a project that could be both cheap and relatively feasible
Back in print at last, this anthology of robot-themed shorts is a delight, and also serves as a time capsule of anime's state of the art in the mid-'80s
What could have been a dreary slog through a predictable plotline is instead made sweet, sincere, and unexpectedly thoughtful
There's a lot to say, almost all of it negative, about the announcement that a live-action Naruto project is being kicked off at Lionsgate. The most obvious place to start is that this is a terrible idea, and on so many levels it's hard to appreciate them all. Less obvious is why what seem like terrible ideas to us don't seem like such terrible ideas to those throwing money at them, and why such terrible ideas die so hard. Underscoring all of that is the simple fact that such a project is unwise, not because Naruto is a bad property or because it's unpopular, but because everything that makes it great and made it resonate with audiences aren't things that can be "remade".
No matter how I try, I can never completely disabuse myself of the idea that a project with an exceptional pedigree merits exceptional treatment. Such a project merits attention, to be sure, but never excuses. 009 Re: Cyborg features at its helm Kenji Kamiyama, he of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Moribito, Eden of the East, Blood: The Last Vampire — all projects at the high end of the scale in their ambitions if not always their execution. 009 Re: Cyborg trails all of them distantly, and I am not about to use the names on the one sheet as a way to make it important. Okay, this film is important in one sense: it's yet another reminder of how Japan isn't any more automatically respectful of its own popular culture than the West is, and how its reboots and remakes (see: the CGI Captain Harlock) can be just as overengineered and joyless as ours are.
This year, for the first time in many years, I attended Otakon without the luxury — or burden — of a press badge. It’s a strange feeling, but a liberating one, too. Liberating in that it was easy for me to forget what the congoing experience is like without trying to turn it into coverage or an assignment. No interviews, no formal discussion of this industry panel or that premiere screening, just three days with a few dozen thousand other like-minded people. I needed this, and the biggest reason I needed it was because I kept telling myself otherwise.