Scotland Loves Anime 2018: Preview

Scotland Loves Anime returns for its ninth outing. Expect tales of love, death and future dystopia, not to mention the most inventive time-travel story in recent memory

Feature by Josh Slater-Williams | 09 Oct 2018

Bar the occasional big screen outing for kids' brands like the Teen Titans and My Little Pony, Hollywood has largely given up on releasing 2D feature animation in cinemas. And with the exception of recent European efforts like Ethel & Ernest, the best place for more traditional animation styles to thrive remains in the East, particularly in Japan. Anime on the big screen in Britain has become a big business thanks to successful limited runs via distributors Anime Limited and Manga UK, especially with 2016’s worldwide smash Your Name. The Scotland Loves Anime festival, returning for its ninth instalment at Glasgow Film Theatre and Edinburgh’s Filmhouse, is the best place for the unfamiliar and hardcore enthusiasts alike to get their biggest and most diverse dose of the medium.

The potential MVP of this year’s line-up comes in the form of Mirai (14 Oct, GFT; 20 Oct, Filmhouse), which holds the honour of being the first ever anime feature to premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. From director Mamoru Hosoda (Wolf Children, Summer Wars, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, The Boy and the Beast), it’s a tale of growing up that’s aided by one of the most inventive time-travel story hooks in recent memory. We’ve been fortunate enough to see this one early and can vouch for it as one of the year’s unmissable films. Hosoda’s other four features cited above will also screen at Filmhouse as part of a retrospective.

Among the other older titles receiving screenings are Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade (21 Oct, Filmhouse), a dystopian tale now considered a classic, and cult favourite Cyber City Oedo 808 (12 Oct, GFT; 20 Oct, Filmhouse). Recent Anime Limited release Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms (22 Oct, Filmhouse) will also screen, with the UK premiere of its brand new English dub ahead of its arrival on DVD and Blu-ray. CGI anime BLAME!, based on Tsutomu Nihei's ten-part sci-fi manga from 1998, will also show on the big screen at Filmhouse (19 Oct), followed by a Q&A with producer Jack Liang. BLAME! is a Netflix Original, and it isn't the only product from the streaming service in the SLA programme: the opening episodes of series B: The Beginning will receive a special screening in Glasgow (13 Oct), followed by a conversation between director Kazuto Nakazawa and renowned anime expert Jonathan Clements.

On the established series front, the festival hosts a mix of European and UK premieres of new film entries in the My Hero Academia (13 Oct, GFT; 20 Oct, Filmhouse), Fate/stay night (14 Oct, GFT; 21 Oct, Filmhouse), and Haikara-san (21 Oct, Filmhouse) franchises. There are also two new Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt films: December Sky (12 Oct, GFT; 21 Oct, Filmhouse) and Bandit Flower (23 Oct, Filmhouse).

Every edition of Scotland Loves Anime is host to at least one eye-catching title that promises potential delights with just the words of its name, but this year we are blessed by three of those. Calamity of a Zombie Girl (19 Oct, Filmhouse), based on a horror novel series, concerns... well, a zombie girl, awakening after a century-long slumber to a stand-off with a group of university students. And you thought your freshers’ week was bad.

Another novel adaptation, Penguin Highway (13 Oct, GFT; 20 Oct, Filmhouse), is based on a book by Tomihiko Morimi, author of The Night Is Short, Walk On Girl which also received feature film treatment last year. It’s been described in some reports as a ‘penguin coming-of-age story’, and frankly that sounds incredible. Finally, there’s I Want to Eat Your Pancreas (14 Oct, GFT; 19 Oct, Filmhouse), which is in fact a moving tale of love in the face of terminal illness and not a horror comedy. Or a film about the internal monologue of Tom Hardy’s take on Marvel Comics’ Venom. For even more surprises, and films probably better than how the Venom movie looks, get yourself along to Scotland Loves Anime.

Scotland Love Anime: 12-14 Oct, Glasgow; 15-21 Oct, Edinburgh. For the full line-up and screening times, visit