Back before I can coherently remember I watched a lot of the anime that made it on to British television. The mid nineties was before DVDs were widely available and the internet was squeezed through telephone lines. I was clueless but took what I could get which at the time was Manga Entertainment's (UK) catalogue of the time. Beyond the obvious Akira and Ghost in the Shell, this consisted mostly of late eighties and early nineties OVAs. Still aeons away from mainstream television, analogue satellite was the only way to watch them. The Sci-Fi channel was just starting out so it was late night on Bravo the majority of these were shown, and it was blind luck if I managed to know they were on prior to airing.
Genocyber was not the first one I saw and certainly not the most memorable, but individual scenes stuck in my head, mostly thanks to my then very squeamish nature. In the interests of exploring both my and anime's past, I decided to rewatch a lot of the shows which, subconsciously at least, formed the foundations for my current viewing preferences.
Thanks to a peppering of festival showings and a word-of-mouth groundswell, Redline already has a great start to it. Although being in production for five years might cast doubt on that. Premiering fourteen months prior in Locarno, Switzerland and travelling around the festival circuit before getting its UK premiere earlier in May, the volume of veracity of opinion made this my most anticipated of the Glasgow Scotland Loves Animation events. Saying it didn't disappoint would be doing it an injustice.
Praise can of course be heaped on its visuals – director Takeshi Koike's previous works such as Dead Leaves and the Animatrix'sWorld Record are comparatively poor primers for the stylistic barrage on display here – just as scorn can be heaped on its paper thin plot. But something gels the film together, making the dog faced aliens, the trance-house soundtrack and the outright craziness work. To paraphrase the subsequent question and answer session: they put everything into the movie, chewed up the scenery, then shot it with an orbital laser.
Rounding out Saturday's events for the Scotland Loves Animation Glasgow festival was the UK premiere of Trigun: Badlands – the long awaited movie sequel to the TV series which, hard as it is to believe, concluded twelve years ago. With both the movie and series producer, Shigeru Kitayama, and director, Satoshi Nishimura present for the inaugural showing, it was quite the special event.
Kicking off with a short introduction from both via the accomplished translator Bethan Jones, Nishimura commented that he knew the film wouldn't win any awards and that it would be better if we (the audience) had a beer in one hand and a bucket of popcorn in the other, but he hoped we would have fun laughing our heads off and running around with outlaws in the film. Kitayama echoed his sentiments and after a nervous and slightly haphazard juggling act at the solitary microphone, the film started.
In contrast to the earlier showing of Summer Wars, the Cowboy Bebop movie was evidently from a traditional film reel rather than high-definition digital – grain and all it seemed somewhat more fitting, especially when the film itself pokes fun at the low quality, black and white westerns of old. Without any fanfare, there was a brief introduction by Andrew Partridge, one of the festival organisers, and then after a brief wait, straight into the feature. The only other element of note was the translation which unfortunately seemed a little slapdash, continually calling “Ed” “Edo” for instance, or completely ignoring the on-screen descriptions of companies such as “Tortoise Cleaning”.
Kicking off the Scotland Loves Animation set of events was a showing of Summer Wars at the Glasgow Film Theatre. Organised by with the help from UK organisations such as Manga Entertainment, the Japan Foundation and Creative Scotland, it is the first in a series of films being shown at the GFT and later at the Edinburgh Filmhouse.
Having been earlier in the year to the UK premiere of Evangelion 2.0, it was familiar territory and the trip up from England wasn't as fraught as I had expected. The queue to enter the cinema was sizeable and with no allocated seats, I feared getting a good spot would be impossible. I was pleasantly surprised though to land in an almost central spot and for some seats to be left vacant.