Yesterday was a lot of fun! We had more than half a dozen new faces that will hopefully return to future club meetings! I know at least a couple got to see their first Satoshi Kon film, which is always a good thing!
Not much going on in convention land in town, but Anime Weekend Atlanta is less than two weeks away and EXPcon is in a month. Make plans accordingly if you want to go!
We talked of our fourth year anniversary plans and it looks like the weekend of October 23rd might be the time to celebrate! (The real anniversary is October 22nd, a Friday.) We'll figure that out soon enough. Ideas for the party consist of dressing up in costume, eating sweets, watching horror anime, and going to Rocky's Replay. Any other ideas would be appreciated! (Costumes are optional, by the way.)
We have about eight more meetings left in the year, which will hopefully be enough time to finish all of our current series and start fresh next year! We discussed what features will show in those meetings, and My Neighbor Totoro, Evangelion 2.22: You Can (Not) Advance, Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honneamise, Sword of the Stranger, Memories, Metropolis will be in there. If we can get Macross: Do You Remember Love? and Lupin III: The Last Job, that will round up our feature showings for the year!
Order of showings are still being worked out but Totoro and Eva 2.22 will be the next ones we will watch.
First off, High School of the Dead was not shown. There are several reasons as to why it was not shown. It may have not been a good idea to select it for showing in the first place. There's not anything said or done in the show that hasn't already been done hundreds of times and it's unknown whether a zombie survival show like this could stay interesting for more than a few episodes, let alone sixteen.
With that said, a club member gave me a really interesting suggestion after the end of the previous meeting. His concerns were that we have been lacking a series that has that drama and tension along the lines of something like Grave of Fireflies. He told me of a 2008 anime that was in the noitaminA block on Fuji TV.
The block is interesting because they don't show stereotypical anime with magical girls, giant robots, or shonen fighters. Rather, they focus on normal characters in imaginitive situations that are coming of age and much of the anime they air in that block tend to be dramas.
The anime he recommended was Tokyo Magnitude 8.0. In the first two episodes of the show, we are introduced to a young girl named Mirai who lives a very ordinary life as a middle school student and has a family she cannot relate to. It's a very typical family that can be seen in any modern country. She desires for her life to have more in it as she has friends who are of higher privilege. At first, it seems like another boring anime about kids in school, but the opening scene in the first episode paints a tale of disaster and tragedy that will soon come.
One day, she takes her younger brother Yuki to a robot exposition(part of which features robots whose jobs are to rescue victims trapped under rubble), and she steps outside while her brother uses the bathroom and after a series of events that leads her to feel very negative, she wishes the world would just end. Immediately after she says that, her wish gets granted as an earthquake of 8.0 magnitude destroys Tokyo.
During the initial aftermath, Mirai desperately tries to find her brother in the collapsed building the expo was held. There are fires and aftershocks with parts of the building continuing to collapse as she searches for him, all the while incredibly worried and fearful of the worst outcome happening. It's very touching and her feelings are expressed very sincerely. Eventually, Mirai and and Yuki are reunited, but it is still unknown if they have a home and if their parents and friends are still alive. Many people are dead and much of Tokyo is on fire. To pour more salt on the wounds, the threats of tidal waves are impending.
It sounds depressing, much like Grave of the Fireflies, however, hope remains and that may be the theme of the remaining nine episodes of the series.
Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 was well received by the club and it will remain on the schedule. Before we showed that, we watched more Black Lagoon. In-between missions, we learn that Revy has always lived a dark life of killing and stealing, which gives a sharp contrast to this everyday salaryman life that Rock used to lead and that Revy finds disgusting. She asks at one point how people could live like that, which may be a commentary the author has on what traditional Japanese society has been for quite some time.
On their next mission, they are to go into the deep seem to salvage The Twelve Knights Led by Brunhilda, a painting from a sunken Nazi U-boat. The painting was supposed to represent and celebrate Adolf Hitler's coming as the victor in the war; however, that never happened and the submarine sank, never to rise again. A group of neo-Nazis find out about the mission the Lagoon company is on and plan to take them out. We will see what happens at the next meeting!
In Samurai 7, Shichiroji, an old commrade of Kambei's during The Great War, joins the party as they make their journey to Kirara's rice village. Kambei finally refers to Katsuhiro as one of the samurai in the party, totaling to six. All that is left is the silent Kyuzo who fought against Kambei earlier.
The group is currently in Metal City to rescue a girl or something. The Guardians that inhabit the city have a treaty and the the samurai can't intervene. However, Kikuchiyo tries to play hero and gets captured. The show is moving along and in a few episodes, it will get to the part in the story that is most relevant to the Akria Kurosawa film the series was based on.
Our feature was Millenium Actress, a fine movie directed by the late Satoshi Kon. It was not as upbeat as Tokyo Godfathers or Paprika, but a moving film nonetheless. Through the movies Chiyoko acted in during her younger days, we see the tragic and futile journey she embarks on to chase an old love that she will never see again. A lot of the scenes in the movie are surreal, almost like a dream. It's a trademark of Satoshi Kon's style and he will be missed.
To make up for my trip to Anime Weekend Atlanta, we will be meeting this upcoming Sunday! Time and location to be determined due to the Behind the Scenes Tour taking place at Full Sail University that day. See you all there!