Believe it or not, not everything happens in London. Thanks to a morning tweet from Third Window Films I heard about a wonderful Japanese festival that runs at the Brewery Arts Centre in Kendal, Cumbria (Lake District) from July 8-15. Of course, I had to look up Kendal, heck even Cumbria and the Lake District don’t ring any geographical bells (I’m not British, okay! and, at least, the Lake District did bring some poetry to mind :-)).

Anyhow, you people further up north are in for a real treat. This bukansai fest means manga workshops, exhibitions, masterclasses, a keynote presentation on current manga trends AND film screenings (plus Japanese street food!).

Workshops cater both to younger participants (“junior” introductory sessions to manga drawing) as well as grown ups, who can choose from classes on manga pen drawing techniques; character and place; layout and design; research and sourcing; background and effects and publishing manga (I’m going green with envy here!).

Explore the art of manga.

The film programme is equally diverse, but again will particularly delight fans of the drawn image with ten animations lined up for screenings. We get offerings from Studio Ghibli, the big classics (both Akira and Ghost in the Shell) for more mature audiences and even Eric Khoo’s recent powerful tribute to manga artist Tatsumi. The full line-up follows below – check the Brewery Arts Centre website for dates and other details.

Note: I have linked reviews as far as they are available on Otherwhere. I also recommend Theowne’s anime reviews over at Omohide – he has covered pretty much all of Ghibli.

Animated Films – Studio Ghibli

Drama queen Howl. Aka the most gorgeous wizard ever.

  • 「ハウルの動く城」 (Hauru no Ugoku Shiro/Howl’s Moving Castle, 2004) – One of my most beloved Studio Ghibli films. I can’t tell you how many times I have watched it and I even like the dubbed version!
  • 「借りぐらしのアリエッティ」 (Karigurashi no Arrietty/Arrietty, 2010) – REVIEW
  • 「千と千尋の神隠し」 (Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi/Spirited Away, 2001) – Studio Ghibli’s Best Animated Feature Academy Award winner.
  • 「崖の上のポニョ (Gake no Ue no Ponyo/Ponyo, 2008) – You would do well to bring along a bowl of ramen from the street food offerings at the festival, because the ramen scenes in Ponyo will make you hungry!

Animated Films – Otherwise

  • Tatsumi (2011) – REVIEW – “A must-see for manga-lovers, a should-see for anyone wanting to expand their horizon on comics and animated films.” (quoting myself here)
  • 「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 – The Sacred Star of Milos, 2011)
  • 「劇場版ポケットモンスター ミュウツーの逆襲」 (Gekijōban Poketto Monsutā: Myūtsū no Gyakushū/Pokemon – The Movie, 1998)
  • 「アキラ」 (Akira/Akira, 1988) – REVIEW
  • 「攻殻機動隊」 (Gōsuto In Za Sheru – Kōkaku Kidōtai/Ghost in the Shell) – REVIEW
  • 「ゴルゴ13」 (Golgo 13/The Professional: Golgo 13, 1998)


Cult horror film: Ringu.

  • 「オーディション」 (Ōdishon/Audition, 1999)
  • 「リング」 (Ringu/Ring, 1998) – I’m not one for horror, but if you are, this one is a big J-horror classic.

Contemporary J-Films

Himizu. I know I’ve used this image in previous posts, but I just love this poster!

  • 「ヒミズ」 (Himizu/Himizu, 2011) – REVIEW. For some reason this one doesn’t appear on the .pdf file programme, so here is a separate link. Sono Sion’s most recent film – go see it on the big screen, it’s worth it!
  • 「おくりびと」 (Okuribito/Departures, 2008) – Japan’s Best Foreign Language Academy Award winner – the one that beat out ואלס עם באשיר‎ (Vals Im Bashir/Waltz with Bashir) back in 2009. I haven’t seen Okuribito but it would be my top choice for this festival (from the films I have not yet watched).
  • 「バトル・ロワイアル」 (Batoru Rowaiaru/Battle Royale, 2000) – Enjoyed the Hunger Games? Guess what, Batoru Rowaiaru is the real deal – and came first. I haven’t seen it, but it’s another one of those J-films that people keep mentioning.
  • 「十三人の刺客」 (Jūsannin no Shikaku/13 Assassins, 2010)「座頭市」 (Zatōichi/Zatoichi, 2003)

So, if you are in the vicinity of the festival, take your pick and enjoy for me!