meta: From The Novel


2018


Let's Film This Again: 'Vampire Hunter D' 
Yes, it's been done before, but the possibilities of all-new adaptations of Hideyuki Kikuchi's long-running gothic-Western-punk light novel series are wider than ever
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'The Book Of The Dead': Illusions Of Life 
A classic historical novel, in English for the first time, has a dazzling stop-motion animated adaptation to go with it from one of Japan's masters of that art
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'Maborosi': The Unanswerable Question 
Hirokazu Kore-eda's debut feature, twenty years on, remains an ominous and poignant masterwork
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'The Life Of Budori Gusuko': One Against Nature 
Kenji Miyazawa's fantasy about human beings at the mercy of the natural world receives a flawed but still immensely impressive adaptation, by way of a director who did great justice to his 'Night On The Galactic Railroad'
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Patreon Kon Ichikawa's 'Kokoro': The Wretched Hearts Of Men 
Kon Ichikawa's 1955 film version of Sōseki Natsume's classic novel adapts it with fidelity, intelligence, and just enough changes to be stimulating
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'your name.': If A Body Meet A Body ... 
Makoto Shinkai's blockbuster is an eyeful and a heartful, but look closely and you'll see the seams
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'Genocidal Organ': Death Sentences 
The third and final movie adapted from Project Itoh's novels retains the timely and unsettling ideas from its source material, but also its dramatic awkwardness
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2017


Patreon The 'Silence' Of Shusaku Endō, Masahiro Shinoda, And Martin Scorsese 
On two film adaptations, entirely dissimilar but equally fascinating, of a Japanese novel about the persecution of Christians in Tokugawa-era Japan
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Victor Santos's 'Rashōmon': Edo Noir 
A clever and inventive retelling of three classic Japanese samurai-era tales, channeled through detective-noir sensibilities
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Patreon Ways To The Heart: Four Manga Adaptations Of Sōseki Natsume's 'Kokoro' 
Four manga adaptations of Sōseki Natsume's classic novel range from mere Classics Illustrated versions to a radical modern-day reinvention that rediscovers the story's heart of darkness
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2016


Patreon 'Aoi Bungaku: Kokoro': The Heart Of The Matter 
Natsume Sōseki's unsentimental, heart-wrenching classic still hits hard a hundred years later; its Aoi Bungaku anime adaptation restructures it to intriguing if unsuccessful effect
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'Harmony': To Extreme Remedies, Extreme Sickness 
Project Itoh's 'medi-pocalypse' dystopia is all the more poignant in the wake of the author's untimely death, with a glossy (if also icy) anime adaptation now to accompany it
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Patreon 'Aoi Bungaku: Sakura No Mori No Mankai No Shita [In The Forest, Under Cherries In Full Bloom]': The Heart's Filthy Lesson 
Ango Sakaguchi's classic story, a mix of 'farce, fable, and mystery' (and horror) is brought to life with outlandish style and color -- and always with one eye cocked towards its heart of darkness
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Patreon 'Belladonna of Sadness': Satan Met A Lady 
Restored to its original psychedelic glory, this mad masterwork from Osamu Tezuka's studio goes from chic porn to feminist parable and everything in between
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Patreon 'Aoi Bungaku: No Longer Human': The Man Without Qualities 
The first of the 'Aoi Bungaku' animated adaptations of classical Japanese literature is a keen, well-devised adaptation of Osamu Dazai's novel of downfall and decadence
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Patreon 'Night On The Galactic Railroad': We Are All Made Of Starstuff 
The animated version of Kenji Miyazawa's fable isn't just a Classics Illustrated; it finds a voice of its own with which to tell its story of eternity and afterlife
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2015


'When Marnie Was There': My Girl 
The last Studio Ghibli film, at least for now, aims for the good-hearted timelessness of all the studio's best films, and by and large achieves it
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'Shangri-La': Up In Carbon-Traded Cloud-Cuckoo Land 
A wild grab bag of genres, influences, storylines, and ideas, 'Shangri-la' somehow manages to still work as entertainment even when it ought not to
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'Tokyo Ravens': Of Magic And The Mundane 
Shouldn't a show that entertains the idea that Japan's mystical past is an integral part of its present-day world not be so ... well, mundane?
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'The Eccentric Family': Tanuki & Sons 
One of the very few shows that gets it all right: funny, dazzling, charming, thoughtful, and sporting a cast of characters that never fail to enlist our sympathy and fascination
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Let's Animate This: 'Dogura Magura' 
Yumeno Kyusaku's masterpiece of surreal horror has been filmed, and even adapted to manga, but its dreamy evil makes it perfectly suited to an anime version
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2014


'Kiki's Delivery Service': Little Witch In The Big City 
At the heart of Hayao Miyazaki's most effortlessly charming film is a character of equal charm, learning her magic alone isn't what is most important about her
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Live, Die, Remake: Four Different Paths Through 'All You Need Is Kill' / 'Edge Of Tomorrow' 
Hiroshi Sakurazaka's novel 'All You Need Is Kill' has been revisited no less than three times in other media, each version its own meditation on war, death, rebirth, and timelessness
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'Chaika: The Coffin Princess': Carry That Weight 
An endearing cast, a creatively elaborated setting, and a strongly character-driven story combine to make 'Chaika' many cuts above the run of the mill
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'Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit': Have Spear, Will Travel 
Unfairly overlooked by audiences, this engrossing and intelligent adventure fantasy deserves cherishing -- doubly so now thanks to its welcome re-release
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