japanese movie post of the day
I've been shamefully remiss in sharing my recollections and impressions of GenCon the weekend before last. I'm going to try to catch up this week with a series of short posts, rather than the long wrapup I'd originally planned.
As should be obvious, one thing Musashi and I were keeping an eye open for was anime. Anime had been a minor component of cons I'd been to before, and GenCon promised three -- count 'em, three -- rooms showing anime 24 hours a day, one hosted by Indy's own Indiana Animation Club. (There was also a room showing 24/7 Hong Kong action movies, but we never found it...)
Indeed, my first-ever exposure to hentai anime was more than ten years ago at RiverCon. Someone showed an unsubtitled videotape of the "Pop Chaser" episode of the hentai series Cream Lemon in one of the suites where I was hanging out. (And speaking of hentai, props to Mr. Oni for nod, once again! I'll have some links to some cool stuff there presently.)
Other than the rooms, the official anime presence was fairly sparse, limited basically to a booth representing ADV Films. (They gave me a decent DVD containing previews for their entire catalog. Most appear to be whatever trailer or preview is included on the DVDs themselves -- I recognized several from discs I won -- but it'll be a handy resource for at least getting an idea of the look and feel of several series I'm not yet familiar with.) Much more space was devoted to displays representing anime-based collectible card games. There were also only a few anime characters represented among the con's cosplayers.
We did, however, discover several booths in the exhibit hall selling DVDs of anime and Asian movies. One featured a batch of expensive -- and obviously pirated -- discs of classic Saturday morning entertainment like Jason of Star Command and The Herculoids, and a hefty dose of hentai anime to boot. We also stumbled across a booth run by a guy from Texas who sold a bunch of reasonably priced Asian import DVDs and soundtracks.
We perused his stock and returned the next day to pick up a trio of Japanese flicks. I got Musashi a copy of The Returner as a belated birthday present. For my part, I picked up a copy of wild-man director Takashi Miike's over-the-top gangster flick Dead or Alive, which I knew by reputation and had been eager to see, and a flick I'd never heard of called A Frightful School Horror.
(In the process, I reluctantly passed up quite a few other flicks, like The Bride with White Hair and Jingoku.)
I watched Dead or Alive last Monday night, and I just loved it. The opening sequence is wonderfully crazy, sleazy, action-packed and stylish -- and accomplished with barely a word of dialogue. Indeed, when I spun it for my lovely wife later on, I didn't notice that I'd forgotten to invoke the subtitles! As I noted in my review of Audition, Miike is skilled at lulling the audience into believing they're watching a certain kind of film, and then hitting them out of nowhere with a twisted image.
Between these two Japanese flicks and the batch of Hong Kong movies I ordered for my birthday, my Asian cinema menu is certainly replete for the next several weeks. I plan to get a little anime, and I should be all set.