Recent Pickups: Belladonna of Sadness Collectors Edition (UK Blu-Ray)

This is a unique one, to say the least!

Between 1969 and 1973, a series of three adult anime films conceived by Osamu Tezuka (best known for Astro Boy) were released. These were known as the Animerama triology and consisted of 1001 Nights, Cleopatra and Belladonna of Sadness.

All three films are considered hentai, but I don’t think anyone watches them for arousement. In fact, the first two only received a ’15’ rating from the British Board of Film Classification and the pornographic scenes would be very difficult for most people to enjoy.

Belladonna of Sadness is the only one of the three Animerama films that Tezuka was not directly involved in, so we have director Eeichi Yamamoto to thank for this, and I have to say its the most extreme, weirdest and best of the lot.

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First Impressions on Mary Skelter: Nightmares (PS Vita)

Since the PlayStation Vita is being discontinued in Europe and North America, I decided to avoid making any purchases in this season’s Steam sale and instead spend my money on handheld games that interest me, before they go out of print and become rare.

Among the games I picked up this month is Mary Skelter: Nightmares, which drew me in with its stunning cover art. The game is a 2016 dungeon crawling JRPG developed by Compile Heart and Idea Factory of Hyperdimension Neptunia fame in which the player explores a mysterious jail.

When I place the cartridge in my Vita and open the game, I’m greeted by one of the most beautiful opening sequences I’ve ever seen, made even better by the original Vita’s OLED screen. Great art, lovely colours, solid music – what’s not to like?

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The Forgotten Otaku Pioneer: Comic Party

Introduction

Anime that revolves around otaku culture is nothing new – in fact, the earliest instance was a very unique OVA from 1991 titled Otaku no Video, which combines an anime story with live action interviews featuring real otaku in order to create a rather loose retelling of how critically acclaimed anime studio Gainax was founded.

More than thirteen years later we saw Genshiken, Welcome to the NHK, OreImo and a wide variety of other series dealing with the anime, manga and visual novel fandoms. And somewhere inbetween, we had Comic Party – a visual novel derived anime from 2001 that essentially spawned a genre but has been seen by fewer than 15,000 MyAnimeList users.

I first came across Comic Party about three years ago when I was searching for more otaku-focused anime, although I only got around to watching it last week. I came out of the series with mixed feelings, but I certainly don’t regret sitting through it.

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My unique experience watching Mirai at the Cinema

Introduction and context

I very rarely grace the cinema with my presence. When I think back to my childhood, I recall it being full of advertisements for products I’ll never buy and trailers for movies I’ll never watch, and end up wondering if the ‘big screen’ can really provide a better experience than a DVD or Blu-Ray disc.

I also have ASD Level 1, or Aspergers Syndrome as its more commonly known, and attending events with sizeable amounts of people can be incredibly challenging for me, not to mention the sensory overload that can come with it. I was able to attend my first two anime events this year and had a great time, but I haven’t been to a cinema screening in almost a decade.

But when I heard the premise of Mamoru Hosoda’s new film, Mirai, at MCM Comic Con Scotland in September, it undoubtedly resonated with me, and I felt the urge to watch it as soon as possible

So, what is Mirai? Its a slice of life film with elements of adventure, fantasy and drama that deals with the familial relationship between siblings, accepting the realities of life and all the emotion that comes with those topics.

As an older brother myself who gets along very well with my sister, I wanted to see how much I could relate to. So, last week I took the plunge and bought a ticket to one of the first UK showings at a Vue Cinema venue in Leeds!

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The Experts Guide to watching Anime legally in the UK

Introduction

When western fans first discover anime, they often arrive at the misconclusion that not much of it is available from legal sources and that the easiest way to watch anime is via illegal streaming websites. This would have been true in the 1990’s and early 2000’s, but nowadays we have a whole myriad of sources that allow viewers in the UK, as well as many other countries, to enjoy their favourite shows while supporting the creators.

I understand that many anime series are unlicensed, unavailable on legal streaming services and don’t have a physical release in the UK, but I heartily encourage everybody who loves the industry to give back to it whenever possible – and that doesn’t always mean parting with your hard-earned money!

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