A Letter to Momo: New place. New friends?

I kind of just want to dance around the room right now. I just heard the BFI is holding a special showcase for recent anime in June (June 8-10, 2012 to be exact), and the line-up makes me all giddy.

A Letter to Momo! A Letter to Momo! A Letter to Momo! Yep, that one from Trailer Weekly #14.

But let’s start at the beginning. The event is biennial and serves to “showcase the best of recent anime”. The full line-up (with trailers linked to the film titles) for 2012 is as follows:

June 8

  • コクリコ坂から」 (Kokuriko-zaka Kara/From up on Poppy Hill, 2012) – dir. by Miyazaki Gorō. I just reviewed it. Given that it says “preview” on the BFI programme, I think that may be a strong indication that Kokuriko-zaka Kara’s theatrical run in the UK is not long off.

June 9

  • ホッタラケの島 〜遥と魔法の鏡〜」(Hottarake no Shima: Haruka to Mahō no Kagami/Oblivion Island: Haruka and the Magic Mirror, Japan, 2009) – dir. by Sato Shinsuke. The story: Haruka lost her mother at a young age. One day she goes to a shrine to pray for the recovery of a mirror that her mother gave her, encountering a strange creature there that she follows to Oblivion Island – a place that is entirely made of memorabilia from the human world. Hottarake no Shima was made with state-of-the-art 3DCG animation, but in a quite different way from American animations. More info also from the production company (a little self-promotional, but interesting). Not sure if I like this animation style (or at least I prefer hand-drawn), but then there is something that is also really undeniably creative and utterly captivating in the screen shots I’ve seen. Hmmm. If the story is intelligent (i.e. not Disney-style), I might enjoy this one.

Oblivion Island: Forgotten things via state-of-the-art animation 

  • 星を追う子ども」 (Hoshi o Ou Kodomo/Children Who Chase Lost Voices from Deep Below, Japan, 2011) – Shinkai Makoto’s fourth and most Ghibli-like feature film. I reviewed it back in October. Not his best, but if you’re a Shinkai fan, don’t miss it.
  • 銀魂 (Gintama/Gintama, Japan, 2010) – dir. by Takamatsu Shinji. Originally a manga, Gintama (literally ‘Silver Soul’) is set in an Edo (Tokyo during 1603-1868) of the past that has been overtaken by aliens. It follows the eccentric samurai Gintoki Sakata as he fights to live in this strange world, alongside some fellow companions. A TV anime adaptation also exists.

Gintama: One of several manga-adaptations screening at the showcase.

June 10

  • ももへの手紙」 (Momo e no Tegami/A Letter to Momo, Japan, 2011) – dir. by Okiura Hiroyuki. After her father’s death, 13-year old Momo and her mother move to an island, the young girl struggling to adapt to the new circumstances and surroundings. All she has is a letter from her father, that contains two words only: 「ももへ」(’Dear Momo’). Of course I’ll be going to see this one. UPDATE: Review on Otherwhere.
  • とある飛空士への追憶」 (To Aru Hikūshi e no Tsuioku/The Princess and the Pilot, Japan, 2010) – dir. by Shishido Kun. During times of war a low-caste pilot, Charles, is entrusted with the mission to deliver Princess Fana to her husband-to-be. Honestly? This doesn’t sound all too exciting… The film was originally set to show during last year’s Scotland Loves Anime, but was cancelled, making the BFI screening its UK premiere.

    To Aru Hikūshi e no Tsuioku: Liking this image, but not too sure the film will deliver.

  • 鋼の錬金術師 嘆きの丘(ミロス)の聖なる星」 (Hagane no Renkinjutsushi: Mirosu no Sei-naru Hoshi/Full Metal Alchemist 2 – The Sacred Star of Milos, Japan, 2011) – UK Premiere Preview + Q&A. Dir. by Murata Kazuya. The second film based on a popular manga and anime series. The story: “After a mysterious prisoner with only a few weeks left on his sentence breaks out of prison in Central City, the Elric brothers attempt to track him down. The search leads them to Table City in the southwestern country of Creta, where Alphonse rescues a young alchemist named Julia from the very man they are trying to capture. In the thick of the fight, they literally tumble into Julia’s home turf, the slums of Milos Valley, and are embroiled in the grassroots rebellion of her people.” (from animenewsnetwork.co.uk) I imagine this one is best watched if you are well familiar with the Full Metal Alchemist franchise.
  • アキラ」 (Akira/Akira, Japan, 1988) – dir. by Otomo Katsuhiro. A classic which shouldn’t need an introduction. Okay, I haven’t seen it yet either (might take this opportunity, especially since it doesn’t get shown on the big screen all that often), but in the words of the BFI, it “almost single-handedly introduced the genre to audiences outside of Japan”.


Akira. Enough said.

You can find the programme with full details here. No indication what will be subtitled and what (if anything) dubbed. At the moment, it’s Priority Booking only, meaning you need to have a BFI membership – one of the most expensive ones around (starting from £40!). But, wahhhh, I’m seriously starting to think about it…