Continuing the "What the devil am I watching?" theme, day two of the Glasgow leg of Scotland Loves Animation started with After School Midnighters which had more than a touch of Pixar envy to it. Continuing his introductions, Jonathan Clements revealed that this was originally a short by the production staff in order to bolster support for their abilities.
At one point it looked like the short wouldn't go anywhere until it found its way onto French TV which catapulted it into a film. Originally featuring the animation of previously inanimate objects - a vampire, Jesus Christ and an anatomical model - only the latter made it to the final film. Produced by T-Joy who also own numerous theme parks around the globe and who are also set to distribute the Evangelion 3.0 movie, this was obviously an opening salvo in a wider push for global recognition.
Ace Attorney: Phoenix Wright (Gyakuten Saiban) kicked off the Scotland Loves Anime Glasgow weekend at the Glasgow Film Theatre. An odd choice - a live action film pistol-starting an animation festival - a state of affairs not lost on the imitable Jonathan Clements who provided a brief introduction and set the context for the film.
I was reliably informed by the GFT's staff that the event had sold out, and with nary a spare seat in sight it was a difficult claim to dispute. When it came to the question of who had played the games, nearly everyone's hand in the auditorium shot skyward, myself excluded. A ten minute playtest of the Japanese DS version (which bizarrely had English subtitles) when it came out hardly constituted familiarity with the Phoenix's court-room pointing simulator.
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”.