This is Audio EXP for the 5th of November 2022, and the title of this episode is “Scotland Loves Anime”.
[The following is a transcript of Audio EXP: #170]
Bandit Camp are in the spotlight this month, as voted for by Patreons.
I haven’t told Bandit Camp yet, so I’m running a bit behind, but I’m confident I can get back in touch with Ben. I’ve their email address.
I also know I can point out that all 340-pages of Wicked Ones, a tabletop RPG in which you play the monsters building a dungeon, are free on DriveThruRPG. You can find that link in the podcast transcript, and a link to that is in the show notes.
There wasn’t a podcast last week because I was off at an anime festival here in Edinburgh. The event is Scotland Loves Anime and starts in Glasgow before coming to Edinburgh.
It’s a charity event, but Anime Limited, also based in Glasgow, does all the heavy lifting. Anime Limited was recently bought by one of the entertainment arms of Embracer, so congratulations to Andrew Partridge and his team.
I didn’t recognise Andrew Partridge when he got on stage at the start of the festival; he’s now rocking a beard and long hair. It suits him.
Since I spent that week in a chair, eating junk food, I’m miles behind in work and blogging. This week I’ve been catching up on my day job, but I’m off to see One Piece Film: Red this weekend, a US and UK cinematic release for which Anime Limited is responsible for in the UK. In other words, I’m still catching up.
There is gaming news and bundles to come, and let’s do the December vote for the RPG Publisher Spotlight first but let’s talk about Scotland Loves Anime after that, as it’s not a regular week.
The candidates for the Spotlight are;
Podcast supporters can vote on Patreon.
Scotland Loves Anime nearly didn’t happen. The Edinburgh venue, the home of the International Film Festival, announced it was immediately going into administration just two weeks before Scotland Loves Anime was due to start.
COVID-19 was tough on cinemas, but the Cost of Living crisis, heating bills and the UK’s dependence on fossil fuels finally killed the old theatre. It was going to cost an additional £200,000 to heat the building.
This week a campaign was launched to save it, but that wasn’t in time to help Scotland Loves Anime. I also believe the charity is still yet to be refunded by the administrators. I can confirm there’s a Go Fund Me to try and pay the former staff for the last month of their employment. There’s a link to that in the transcript too.
Edinburgh’s Cameo cinema stepped in, and it must have been a frantic rush to move everyone over. I know some people cancelled their tickets in the days between the Filmhouse closing and the new venue being confirmed. I can’t fault them, but I’m pleased I stuck to my guns, knowing that the worse case would be the money I spent not resulting in me seeing any anime but some of it getting to Filmhouse creditors.
In the end, the handover was seamless. I didn’t even need new tickets. To get into the screenings, I just needed to show my digital copy to the stewards at the door and pick a seat.
The weekdays saw old films and some TV episodes curated and shown on the big screen. For most people in the world and me, it was one last chance, perhaps an only chance, to see them on the big screen. The theme was, I think, about the isolation that technology and change can bring. It was dark reasonably often.
Come Friday, we have the new material, and I’m going to start this whirlwind tour with Garden of Remembrance. It’s only 20 minutes long, and I suppose you can call it an art project. If you’re cruel, you can call it a vanity project, but I liked it.
The worldwide premiere was a good way to help transition from the week’s isolation to the weekend, as it’s about a woman moving on from loss and grief. It’s also got ghostly emoji.
We saw the European premiere of Hula Fulla Dance. Yes, that’s an anime about hula dances, and I’d call it one of the festival’s surprise hits. If you take everything at face value, and I don’t, there’s also a supernatural element.
Another strong performer was Her Blue Sky. This is another slice of life, but rather than following a young woman growing up after the loss of her sister, we follow a young woman growing up after the loss of her parents. Our hero is raised by her elder sister.
Her Blue Sky is definitely supernatural; a mystery is precisely what sort of supernatural event our characters are dealing with. There’s a ghost, you see, except the spirit is of a person who isn’t dead.
I promise this is the podcast’s last dead sister anime, but The Tunnel to Summer, The Exit of Goodbyes was also featured in the festival. I think this might be a 2023 hit, but it didn’t win either of the festival’s two awards. The winner was Goodbye, DonGlees!, which I was lucky enough to see in August.
In The Tunnel to Summer, The Exit of Goodbyes, two teens with homelife trouble find a magic tunnel. Time in the tunnel passes differently from outside, so while they can explore it and change the world by doing so, it costs them outside time. A few minutes in the initial exploration cost a week in outside time.
So, should they explore it to try and rescue a sister who died in the past? And if they do, how much time-warping magic will be needed? What will the cost be?
A slice-of-life drama without any supernatural elements at all is Blue Thermal. I think DonGlees is better, but Blue Thermal was my second favourite new anime of the festival.
It’s about a happy young woman who goes to college and almost immediately breaks a very expensive glider in an accident, so she’s roped into the gliding club to pay back the damages or help out.
Our hero is a force for positive change and reminds us why friends who emote happy energy are great for our mental health. Blue Thermal’s shots of the sky and landscapes are stunning. It’s a feel-good feature-length with only some jeopardy.
My favourite was Seven Days War.
It starts with a cute girl running away with a school friend to celebrate her birthday before being taken away to Tokyo by her parents.
The friend, who fancies her, is more than happy to facilitate, but his romantic plans are thwarted when she promptly invites a bunch more friends.
I think it’s both a reflection of modern Japanese society and heartwarmingly uplifting.
We also had sci-fi, including one more Neon Genesis Evangelion, which I didn’t bother to review as it’s now only for die-hard fans, though better than the previous one.
The audience didn’t rate Break of Dawn highly, but I liked it. It’s a near future with a comet passing overhead and the world looking up. Meanwhile, for anyone looking around, the old is replaced by the new, and we’ve smart robots as household helpers.
The story is about what happens when an alien spaceship can make contact with one of those homebots.
The last film I’ll mention is Mobile Suit Gundam: Cururuz Doan’s Island, which didn’t do it for me. I’m not a Gundam fan, though I am tempted by the Witch from Mercury, the latest series.
The real-life story of this feature-length is interesting, though, as the anime is based on the 15th episode of the very original series. This episode slipped through the usual quality checks and was awful. Animation and the plot all had serious mistakes, so the director swore it would never be seen again.
As a result, 40 years later, the studio is rebooting the episode as a movie. I still think it makes no sense as it has would-be heroes inexplicably bringing kids to war zones rather than evacuating them.
Let’s move on to other geeky news, not anime, which has happened since the last podcast. There are some impressive bundles.
In the last two weeks, I’ve published two interviews with Chris Birch of Modiphius. In first, we talk about Roll Vs Evil and VIA Modiphius; both are different types of help. In the second, we talk about license deals, ambition and direction.
Two freebies to highlight start with the starter set of the post-apocalyptic steampunk Ecryme. It’s French and coming to Kickstarter for an English version. There’s also The World Anvil’s Dead Air, the eco-post apocalyptic RPG coming to BackerKit. It’s Italian.
Geek Native’s brief preview of the official Dungeons & Dragon’s Young Adventurer’s Guide Dragons & Treasures might help with your gift buying.
The look at WizKids’ Tarrasque model will only help if you’re rich and generous. It’s a great-looking monster figure, but it’s not cheap!
There are some biggies on Humble. There’s a Pathfinder and Starfinder deal that includes the physical edition of the Beginner’s Box. There’s the impactful Heavy Metal comics bundle and a range of iconic computer RPGs too.
Lastly, there’s Ralph Macchio’s Waxing On: The Karate Kid and Me book, which UK readers can win.
So, let’s finish up there, happy Stranger Things Day, and I’ll see you next week.
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