Lord knows we (the West) have a lot to thank Japan for in terms of pop culture and a new exhibit called ‘Repro Japan: Technologies of Popular Visual Culture‘ pays tribute to that influence. The exhibit is running at the Williams College Museum of Art (WCMA) until 20th March 2022 and features an array of visual artefacts, from woodblock prints to anime cels.
The first thing I noticed walking into the exhibition is that Repro Japan feels like pieces of Japanese culture stitched together. It’s not organized by timeline, region, or style as you would expect at other exhibitions that survey a particular country’s culture. The two galleries are instead organized by rough groupings of mediums, ranging from textiles and woodblock prints to manga, 3D prints, and cosplay costumes and performances.
As Kim said in his conclusion, it’s not a cohesive, all-rounded representation of Japanese visual culture (it’s in Massachusetts after all). But you’ve got to start somewhere and if it’s safe to do so and you’re in the area, go check it out.
Last September, Toy Galaxy discussed the history of Toonami and how a block of cartoons became an evening staple for children and adults alike to enjoy anime.
Toonami—a portmanteau of the words “cartoon” and “tsunami”—started in 1997 as a weekday afternoon cartoon block hosted by Space Ghost villain Moltar. From there, it took on many iterations, eras, new hosts, cancellations, revivals, and programming changes.
It also helped to popularise shows such as Sailor Moon, Dragonball Z, Gundam Wing, and Samurai Jack, and influenced a slew of artists and gamers.
Today, in its current form, it lives as a late-night block on Adult Swim, airing mostly mature Japanese animation.
Akira is an iconic piece of Japanese film and now we can see it in 4K. Manga Entertainment has announced the anime classic will be returning to around 300 UK and Irish cinemas in remastered 4K for the first time.
Darcy Giles, PR & Social Media Manager at Manga Entertainment had the following to say:
“Akira is the film that made Manga Entertainment – and so we’re honoured to be able to bring it back to UK screens in this gorgeous new version remastered in stunning 4K. Quite simply, it’s going to blow your mind.”
Now, we understand that given the current situation with COVID-19, people may not want to visit cinemas at this time (I’ll be honest and say I’m one of those people, as well as a few film publications in the US, even though their situation is much more serious). We also recommend you consider your health and safety and those close to you before going.
After that, if it’s something you can feasibly do, we hope you enjoy the experience of one of the greatest anime movies of all time, and head to the official Akira 4K site for more info and ticket alerts.
It’s not that I didn’t want to, I just never got round to it. I know it’s a classic and it’s still on my to watch list. But Open Culture has given me a new incentive.
Video essayist Lewis Bond looked at the philosophical musings of Cowboy Bebop in “The Meaning of Nothing”. Bond immediately opens the video dismissing the notion of a “hierarchy of art”. He promotes television for its helpful methods of storytelling “unattainable in film”. He then delves into the meaning behind the stories and why the protagonists distance themselves from the rest of the world.
Cowboy Bebop ended after only 26 episodes, but a live-action reboot is in the pipeline. With any luck, the futuristic existentialism will carry over but I doubt it. Remakes of Japanese works lose a lot in translation thanks to Western butchering.
While I make up for lost time, you can buy the complete Cowboy Bebop series on Blu-ray. That’s the best way to watch it.