Scotland Loves Anime 2017: Preview

Scotland Loves Anime returns with another stellar line-up of Japanese animations, which this year features tales of romance, horror, adventure and, erm, dragon dental hygiene

Feature by Josh Slater-Williams | 02 Oct 2017

Each year, Scotland Loves Anime gives animation fans a chance to see an eclectic selection of Japanese fare on the big screen. This year marks the eighth instalment of the festival at Glasgow Film Theatre and Edinburgh’s Filmhouse, with tours across additional locations in Scotland to follow.

Though anime on the big screen in the UK is becoming more and more common thanks to the work of distributors like Anime Limited and National Amusements (both were behind box office hit Your Name, amongst others of late), many a notable feature slips through the gaps. As such, this year’s Scotland Loves Anime line-up is an appealing mix of wide-ranging titles for both hardcore enthusiasts and the anime novice; from European or UK premieres of new franchise entries to influential classics worth seeing big.

Among the retrospective highlights are spotlights on key industry figures. Firstly, there’s a focus on renowned production studio MADHOUSE, providing an opportunity to see a selection of the studio’s best works on the big screen. This includes Satoshi Kon’s warm Christmas-set comedy Tokyo Godfathers, bombastic horror Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust, and Metropolis, based on a manga by illustrator legend Osamu Tezuka, itself based on Fritz Lang’s iconic silent-era sci-fi.

Director Masaaki Yuasa is also given the spotlight treatment. Filmhouse will screen his delirious head-trip Mind Game from 2004 (22 Oct), as well as offering a repeat opportunity to see his more recent comedy The Night is Short, Walk on Girl (20 Oct), about one young woman whose night out grows increasingly strange. Both venues, meanwhile, will preview Yuasa’s latest film, Lu Over the Wall (14 Oct, GFT; 21 Oct, Filmhouse), ahead of its winter release in cinemas. Already a festival award-winner overseas, it’s a family-friendly adventure about a music-loving teen befriending a magical mermaid who wants a part in his band.

On the franchise front, Filmhouse will play two CG animations based on the Resident Evil video games: Resident Evil: Degeneration (18 Oct) and Resident Evil: Vendetta (19 Oct), films considerably more faithful to the source material than the live-action Hollywood takes. There’s also the UK premiere of the third part in the Kizumonogatari series (14 Oct, GFT; 22 Oct, Filmhouse), and the European premiere of Eureka Seven: Hi-Evolution Movie 1 (14 Oct, GFT; 20 Oct, Filmhouse). This first film in a planned series continues the popular Eureka Seven property for a new generation, and director Tomoki Kyouda will be in attendance at the GFT screening for a Q&A.

Other debut highlights include the world premiere of the English dub version of drama A Silent Voice (17 Oct, Filmhouse) – the original Japanese version was released to much acclaim earlier in the year. Anime Limited acquisition Fireworks (15 Oct, GFT; 21 Oct, Filmhouse) receives its European premiere at the festival; it’s a romance based on a story by Shunji Iwai, the writer-director of live-action cult hit All About Lily Chou-Chou.

Also receiving its UK premiere is The Dragon Dentist (15 Oct, GFT), which has one of the more intriguing fantasy premises we’ve encountered in a while. Its central character, Nonoko, is a dentist who protects a dragon from tooth cavity bacteria so that it can safely guard the land. This may not actually be a metaphorical tale designed to remind viewers to always keep on top of their oral hygiene, but we’re nonetheless going to use it as an excuse for pun-based shenanigans: Scotland Loves Anime is truly the place to brush up on your animation knowledge.

Scotland Loves Anime returns for its 8th year: Glasgow, 13-15 Oct; Edinburgh, 16-22 Oct