This Friday at the Star and Shadow Cinema, the film The Echo Of Astro Boy’s Footsteps will play, about the sound designer for the anime ‘Astro Boy’ who effectively created the soundtrack for all anime to follow and his sudden retreat from the public eye in the 1980’s.
But what is Astro Boy? And what should you know about it before you watch the film? Well luckily for you Geordie Japan is back with another in our 20 facts series; with 20 fun facts about Astro Boy!
This weekend the Tyneside Cinema is screening the classic anime Ghost In The Shell as well as the original Godzilla for just 75p each! We already covered some facts about Godzilla a few months back, but here are 20 Ghost in the Shell facts to get you up to speed for Sunday’s early morning screening.
Ghost In The Shell (攻殻機動隊) began as a serialised managa story in 1989 in the Japanese magazine “Young Magazine” (ヤングマガジン)
The series was created and written by Masamune Shirow (士郎 正宗), also known for his manga ‘Appleseed’
Ghost In The Shell was turned into a anime feature film in 1995 and was directed by Mamoru Oshii (押井 守)
Oshii regularly uses quotes from the bible in his films, Ghost in the Shell’s quote comes from I Corinthians 13
The film was highly praised by Western directors, with James Cameron calling it “the first truly adult animation film to reach a level of literary and visual excellence.”
The film was highly influential on The Matrix, which ‘borrows’ several key concepts and camera shots
According to the soundtrack’s liner notes, the haunting choral song that plays throughout the film is a wedding song, sung to get rid of evil influences.
The entire film was reworked into Ghost in the Shell 2.0 (攻殻機動隊 2.0) in 2008. The whole film was reanimated using new CGI technology, the score was re-recorded and some of the voice actors replaced.
One of the first films to mix cel animation with CGI
Ghost in the Shell was the first anime film to ever be released in Japan, the USA and the UK at the same time. The aim was to bring manga to the mainstream in the West.
The brand of beer that is drunk within the film is the real life brand San Miguel
The film was actually less successful inside Japan than in the rest of the world, when the sequel was released in Japan it was only titled ‘Innocence’ and lost the ‘Ghost in the Shell 2:’ prefix.
Although never specified in the film, it has been long rumored amongst fans that the film is set in futuristic Kobe.
Hollywood has purchased the rights to a live action remake, although news has been quiet on the project recently
The character of Motoko never blinks in the film, unlike other characters. This was a deliberate move to make her appear more “doll-like”
A song played over the credits is credited to the band ‘Passengers’, in reality it is a combined effort between U2 and Brian Eno
Weirdly, in Japan, two versions of the VHS were sold. One in Japanese, and one in English with Japanese subtitles. Commonplace now on DVD’s but extremely unusual back in 1995 on video!
A television series, Ghost in the Shell: Standalone Complex followed the film, the TV series follows a different story arc and has far more in common with the original manga.
The film cost around $10 million US Dollars to animate and produce
Three video games based on the franchise have been produced for various PlayStation consoles. The first game featured specially animated story sections in keeping with the style of the film.
So there you have it. If you are going to see either Ghost in the Shell or Godzilla on Sunday morning, we will see you there!
The patrons of the Tyneside Cinema voted the original Japanese version of The Ring (リング) (which from this point on will be referred to as “Ringu” for ease”) as the North East’s favourite scary movie. Which is rather nice to hear that there is such demand for Japanese films at Halloween, we covered some Japanese films to get you in the Halloween mood in a previous article and one of our recommendations was Ringu. In order to get you in the mood for the Tyneside’s screening we present Geordie Japan’s 20 facts about Ringu to get you up to speed for Monday.
Ringu is based on a book of the same name by Koji Suzuki (鈴木光司) in 1991, Suzuki has also written all of the sequels. The officially released books are : Ring (1991), Spiral (1995), Loop (1998), The Birthday (1999) and S (2012)
Suzuki latest novel in the series is titled ‘S’ and reportedly features the video being uploaded to the internet and the curse travelling via cloud computing.
Suzuki has drawn comparisons to Steven King due to his popularity in Japan with Ringu, Dark Water and other terrifying novels.
It is a little known fact that the first adaptation of Ringu was in 1995, this was a television movie named Ringu: Kanzenban (リング 完全版) which literally means Ring: Complete Edition.
The original novel was once again turned into a feature film in 1998 called Ringu by Hideo Nakata (中田 秀夫). This is the more famous adaptation of Susuki’s book.
Ringu was released in tandem with an adaptation of the sequel novel Spiral in a ploy to generate more revenue. This film was made by Jōji Iida (飯田譲治) and is often referred to as the ‘forgotten sequel’ due to the fact that it bombed because of the success of Ringu. Its events are ignored by later Ringu films.
Ringu was remade in Hollywood as The Ring in 2002 by Gore Verbinski starring Naomi Watts. The film went on to have one sequel.
Hideo Nakata made his English language debut with The Ring Two, a sequel to the remake of his original film.
While The Ring is the most famous remake of Ringu it is not the first. Just one year after Ringus release it was remade in South Korea as The Ring Virus (1999).
In total there have been 9 official films (6 Japanese, 3 remakes/spin offs), 2 television series, 2 video games and one short film in the Ringu series.
The latest film in the Ringu franchise was Sadako 3D. The film has yet to be given a UK release and sadly a cinematic release seems unlikely, a dvd release is expected at some point.
When Sadako 3D was released in Japan last year the country went Ringu crazy and some of the more unusual marketing tactics included unleashing hundreds of Sadako’s in Tokyo, driving a giant Sadako around the capital and having Sadako throw out the first pitch at a baseball game. You can watch all this insanity here.
According to a recent survey by Oricon Ringu is still considered to be the scariest Japanese film ever
Ringu is also the highest grossing horror film ever in Japan
When the film was released on VHS in England in 2001 the back of the box was labelled with a disclaimer stating the distributor was not responsible “for any injuries or fatalities that may occur during or after the viewing of this videocassette.”
Sadako may seem to Westerners like a novel and original idea but in fact she is actually a very common ghost of Japanese horror tales. She is an Onryō, a vengeful spirit, often represented in a white burial kimono, white and indigo face paint and having unkempt long dark hair. Onryō are usually women and commonly returning from the dead to exact vengeance on those who have wronged them in life.
Sadako was played by Kabuki theatre actress Rie Inou, to achieve her jerky movements she was shot walking backwards and then the film was reversed, giving Sadako her trademark freaky walk.
The iconic shot of Sadako’s eye was not actually Rie Inou’s eye but a male crew members!
A series of Manga novels has also been released in Japan based on the franchise
Scarily the tale is inspired by real events. You can read about them here, however this page contains spoilers for Ringu.
The Tyneside Cinema will play Ringu at 6pm on the Wednesay 31 October 2012. Details here.