Thursday, February 27, 2014

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

On tour in Toronto, 2/24 - 28

Official page here
a pop culture lecture series with
Roland Kelts
author of Japanamerica: How Japanese Pop Culture Has Invaded the U.S.

The Japan Foundation, Toronto is delighted to announce another special guest during our pop culture-focused month! Roland Kelts, author of the bestseller Japanamerica: How Japanese Culture Has Invaded the U.S., will share his insights on Japan's greatest manga artist, Osamu Tezuka, and the mutual influence of Anime and Hollywood. He will also join our manga artist-in-residence, Nao Yazawa, for a dialogue on the state of pop culture in Japan.

The Life and Works of the God of Manga, Osamu Tezuka
Monday, February 24, 7 pm (doors 6:30 pm)

Anime and Hollywood (the dance of rivals seeking to embrace)
Tuesday, February 25, 6:30 pm (doors 6 pm)

Roland Kelts in Conversation with Nao Yazawa
Thursday, February 27, 6:30 pm (doors 6 pm)

Location: All events will take place at The Japan Foundation, Toronto
Address: 131 Bloor St. W., 2nd Floor of the Colonnade Building
Admission: FREE
RSVP: www.jftor.org/whatson/rsvp.php

Friday, February 14, 2014

Anime, games & retro "Wonder Momo" -- latest column for The Japan Times

CULTURE| CULTURE SMASH
The symbiotic relationship between anime and games
BY ROLAND KELTS

Japan excels at making you play. From its flower arrangements to tea ceremonies to karaoke, nothing much happens until you get into the game, and a big part of Japan’s appeal to non-natives is its invitation to engage.

Tourists and expats gleefully bear floats on their shoulders during Japanese festivals, don kimono for photo shoots and pound rice cakes for the New Year’s holidays. The otaku (obsessives) who gather for AKB48 shows in Akihabara pay to touch their idols’ hands, reenact choreographed dance moves and snap photos of the girls. At anime conventions in North America, Europe and Asia, attendees hand-make costumes to inhabit the roles of their favorite anime characters, performing skits tailored to the series they love.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Solomon & Otomo

Our dear friend, animation critic, author, scholar and Disney historian Charles Solomon presented the Winsor McCay Career Achievement Award to "Akira" creator Katsuhiro Otomo at the 41st Annie Awards in Los Angeles earlier this month.  And all we got was this not-so-lousy pic:

Solomon meets Otomo in LA.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Anime giant Otomo in LA 2/1 for Annie Awards

Katsuhiro Otomo (AKIRA) will be in Los Angeles today (Sat., Feb. 1) to receive the Winsor McCay award for career achievement at the Annie Awards.  My good friend Charles Solomon, who wrote the story below, will present the trophy. (from The Los Angeles Times)

Annie Awards to honor animator Katsuhiro Otomo for career achievement


The cyberpunk “Akira” in 1988 brought global acclaim to artist Katsuhiro Otomo. (FUNimation Entertainment )

By Charles Solomon

Legendary Japanese animator Katsuhiro Otomo is known around the world for his work, particularly his groundbreaking cyberpunk action feature "Akira." But Otomo doesn't spend time watching his own films.

"The truth is, I don't read or watch my own creations," Otomo says. "When I'm creating something, I'm 100% immersed in that universe, so when I'm finished, I'm ready to journey to a different world. Once a work is completed, it belongs to the readers and viewers."

One of the most influential artists working in animation today, Otomo will receive the Winsor McCay Award for career achievement at the Annie Awards on Saturday. Frank Gladstone, president of the Assn. Internationale du Film d'Animation, or ASIFA, said that "for the board, it was an easy decision to present Mr. Otomo with the McCay Award: His influence and achievements have been consistent and unparalleled."