20 Facts About Astro Boy

 

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!

 

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20 Facts About Ghost In The Shell

 

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.

 

  1. 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)
  2. The series was created and written by Masamune Shirow (士郎 正宗), also known for his manga ‘Appleseed’
  3. Ghost In The Shell was turned into a anime feature film in 1995 and was directed by Mamoru Oshii (押井 守)
  4. Oshii regularly uses quotes from the bible in his films, Ghost in the Shell’s quote comes from I Corinthians 13
  5. 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.”
  6. The film was highly influential on The Matrix, which ‘borrows’ several key concepts and camera shots
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. One of the first films to mix cel animation with CGI
  10. 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.
  11. The brand of beer that is drunk within the film is the real life brand San Miguel
  12. 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.
  13. Although never specified in the film, it has been long rumored amongst fans that the film is set in futuristic Kobe.
  14. Hollywood has purchased the rights to a live action remake, although news has been quiet on the project recently
  15. The character of Motoko never blinks in the film, unlike other characters. This was a deliberate move to make her appear more “doll-like”
  16. A song played over the credits is credited to the band ‘Passengers’, in reality it is a combined effort between U2 and Brian Eno
  17. 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!
  18. 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.
  19. The film cost around $10 million US Dollars to animate and produce
  20. 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!

 

Godzilla

 

Tomorrow night the Star and Shadow cinema are screening King Kong Vs Godzilla, which is rather special. So in its honour we present 20 facts about Godzilla, to get you up to speed for tomorrow.

 

  1. By 2014 there will have been 30 films in the franchise all together, 28 Japanese films and 2 American versions.
  2. The first film in the series was released in 1954, named ‘Godzilla’ and directed by Ishirō Honda
  3. Ishirō Honda directed 8 Godzilla films in total between 1954-75, Including the 4th film in the franchise King Kong Vs Godzilla
  4. Godzilla was originally conceived by special effects artist Eiji Tsuburaya to be a giant octopus.
  5. The Japanese name for Godzilla is Gojira (ゴジラ) and is a portmanteau of the Japanese words for Gorilla (Gorira -ゴリラ) and Whale (Kujira -くじら)
  6. Godzilla’s English name is only his name due to an error in the original translation, technically his name should be Gozira
  7. Godzilla’s distinctive roar is created by covering a leather glove in resin, rubbing it against the loosened strings of a double bass and slowing down the playback
  8. Godzilla himself is a prehistoric survivor from the era of the dinosaurs who was later mutated by nuclear radiation
  9. Godzilla (1954) was released just 9 years after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it is widely accepted that Godzilla himself is a metaphor for the events.
  10. One of Godzilla’s greatest foes was his robotic doppelganger Mechagodzilla who was apparently made of ‘space titanium’
  11.  Possibly the deadliest weapon in Godzilla’s arsenal is his atomic breath, although occasionally his has been known to use martial arts as well
  12. In addition to the films starring Godzilla, there have been 18 other films set in the same universe, including 4 starring Godzilla’s sometimes friend, sometimes foe, Mothra
  13. When not destroying cities, Godzilla is a family man and has an adoptive son (also an atomic dinosaur) named Minilla (ミニラ)
  14. The American Godzilla from the 1998 movie is known by fans as ‘Zilla – The movie and the monster was very badly received by fans
  15. In Godzilla: Final Wars, Godzilla battles ‘Zilla and destroys him in under 30 seconds by throwing him into the Sydney Opera House and blowing him up with his atomic breath
  16. Godzilla: Final Wars is the latest Godzilla film being released in 2004
  17. The next Godzilla film will be released in 2014, and is being directed by British director Gareth Edwards who previously directed the film ‘Monsters’
  18. Godzilla’s personality and appearance changed from film to film, sometimes cartoonish in features and friendly towards mankind, sometime more feral and destructive
  19. Godzilla was one of the first films, post world war two, to be screened in Korean cinemas
  20. While the above may have been good for Korea-Japan relations it was not for South Korean producer/director Sang-ok Shin. Shin was kidnapped by North Korea’s Kim Jong-Il and forced to produce movies for him, including a film heavily inspired by Godzilla, named Pulgasari.