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Fantasia Film Festival 2022’s 15 Top Picks to Feast Upon

5 Jul

Fantasia Film Festival

Fantasia Film Festival is back as an in-person event in 2022! There’s over 80 films being offered during the course of the two week event in Montreal, Quebec, and if I was to average two a day, that’s barely scratching the surface. There’s also all the special events, panels, and  shorts to consider and they will be held at the Concordia Hall,  J.A. de Sève cinemas, the Cinémathèque Québécoise, Cinéma du Musée and McCord Museum.

Ticket pre-sales will open at the end of this week, on July 9, 1:00 EST, and people travelling this event might want to consider booking their hotels now. Anyone still concerned about the pandemic are advised to still wear face masks and use personal descretion until the Health Authority declares otherwise.

Polaris-movie-film-action-revenge-2022-Viva-Lee-Fantasia-posterThe film to begin the festivities is Polaris, a Canadian sci-fi eco-adventure and I get the feeling its a work that’ll rival the cult film, Turbo-Kid (2015). I’m glad to say that I got the early bird ticket on a few flicks.  One work I admire is The Witch 2: The Other Side (review link), which received limited screenings across North America courtesy of Well GO USA. Another is The Girl From The Other Side which first screened at Fantasia 2019 as a short, and this year, it’s been expanded to a feature length movie! It’s a parable that I throughly enjoyed (review link) when it played at the Los Angeles Asian Film Festival a few months ago. All the detailing in this work really must be seen on the big screen!

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What’s Next Niantic, After Daring to Cancel Transformers: Heavy Metal?

1 Jul

Pokémon Go creator Niantic announces Transformers: Heavy Metal AR game - Polygon

The shakeup at Niantic Inc. cannot go unnoticed. As published on Entrepreneur 360, Tristan Rose wrote, “According to Niantic’s Crunchbase profile, Niantic, the developer of Pokémon GO, has raised $770 million over 5 rounds giving them a post-money valuation in the range of $1 billion to $10 billion as of November 23, 2021.”

And eight months later, this company is laying off workers (up to 90, according to Bloomberg) and changing priorities. In other reports, John Hanke wrote in an internal email to say this company is “facing a time of economic turmoil” and had already been “reducing costs in a variety of areas.”

The shift is unusual, and many fans are speculating.

The effect on upcoming products means cancelling them altogether. Not only was Niantic to help market and distribute Transformers: Heavy Metal, a Pokémon GO like game, but also they were to produce three other games using the same engine. Whether that’s a good or bad thing, fans can’t say. Very few people may have seen a demo. I wasn’t too excited myself when I offered my opinion about it, but I’d still try the game out. The website for this game is still online at time of writing.

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Ryoma! The Prince of Tennis is a Deuce! Coming This Summer

15 Jun

Eleven Arts and Shout! Factory
Coming to VOD and DVD:
July 5, 2022

Game, Set, Match! This summer, get ready as the tennis prodigy Ryoma Echizen and his friends will grand slam your heart in a thrilling new adventure. This cinematic adaptation is based on the blockbuster Japanese sports manga series and its sequels created by renowned manga author Takeshi Konomi.

With 60 million copies sold over 22 years, Ryoma! The Prince of Tennis is the first CG anime movie from this popular franchise. Featuring an all-new storyline with music and lyrics by Konomi and directed by Hiroshi Koujina (City Hunter, The Vampire Dies in No Time), this highly anticipated movie finally makes its long-awaited North American home entertainment debut following its nationwide theatrical release.

Available for the first time in North America, the collectible Blu-ray + DVD combo pack boasts an exciting movie presentation (featuring English audio and Japanese audio with English subtitles) with special bonus content – Ryoma! The Prince of Tennis edition. This is the full-length alternative cut of the movie that includes different scenes featuring Hyotei team captain Keigo Atobe and Shitenhoji team captain Kuranosuke Shiraishi.

A definitive entertainment release that will score well with anime and pop culture enthusiasts and collectors, this title is available for pre-order now at ShoutFactory.com and will be available in stores and other fine retailers.

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It’s Delightful Disney’s Lilo and Stitch is Celebrating 20 Years! So Where Are They Now?

15 Jun

Lilo and Stitch

Lilo and Stitch are celebrating their 20th anniversary! Disney’s commitment to this odd couple is ongoing, including have a few pieces of exclusive merchandise (a pin and stuffed doll), and their plan for a live-action remake is late. There’s been no word on when or if it has begun filming. All fans can hope for is a release this year at least if it’s supposed to be for this celebration. 

Ever since this film’s release June 16, 2002, I’ve been obsessed with the blue fuzzy alien. The television series was about the duo collecting accidentally released experiments at the height of Pokémon’s popularity. Thus, I can’t say it was an appropriate continuation. I tuned in because Stitch’s silly antics never grew old.

But time would take its toll on this franchise. This extra-terrestrial phoned home. As a result, Disney Japan delivered two original animation videos, Planet of Sand and Perfect Memory to continue the alien’s adventures. More often than not, he found himself back on Earth, setting the course for further adventures on Disney Asia’s network. It’s sad Lilo grew up, but it had to happen. 

The releases to the Asian market aren’t in order, and it’s easy to get confused if the two new series (Lilo and Ai, and Stitch! The Series) are supposed to exist in the same universe, or chronology. According to the Wiki, the Chinese production is standalone and I enjoyed this alternate take of the classical formula. My look at this series can be read here.

The Japanese series has a better developed content, and follows after the events of the home video release, Leroy and Stitch. 

This program is more mature and shows Yuna (Stitch’s new companion) facing the same hurdles as Lilo did. One good thing about this show is that she’s not always a country bumpkin. This girl becomes has other problems to face. Also, she’ll have to learn how to live in the city with the blue alien in tow. Thankfully, an episode (“Reunion with Lilo”) in Stitch! suggests that the story is ongoing. It resolves any problems the two had. Lilo looks more like Nani and to see them back together brought tears to my eyes. 

But we got more stories than that. The manga series, Stitch, and the Samurai, was released last year.

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Fans can purchase each individual volume here (along with volumes two and three), or by clicking at each individual image through these Amazon USA links

While fleeing the Galactic Federation, Stitch’s spaceship malfunctions, and he makes an emergency landing not in Hawaii, but in Sengoku-era Japan! Lord Yamato and his clan find Stitch, and his cuteness is no match for the battle-weary samurai who brings the “blue tanuki” home and tries to make a pet.

Jumba and Pleakley aren’t too far behind, since the rodent is their responsibility. With no surprise, they help make Japan technologically advanced, and that’s not good for the rest of the world. It’s best not to spoil the three volume work, but it made for a fun weekend read. Plus, this graphic novel is also a flip-page animation book.

I hope there’ll be more manga featuring Stitch in these standalone works. Although he’s no longer a huge star like he was during his debut, his presence can still be found at Disney’s parks, and elsewhere. But for those who haven’t been keeping track of where he can be found in print, there’s also:

Comic Zone Volume 1: Disney’s Lilo and Stitch 

This trade paperback is a compilation of the comics that were printed in Disney Adventure magazine. These shorts are non-canonical.

Disney Manga: Stitch! Volume One

Stitch Volume One and Two

These stories by Yumi Tsukirino take place in the Japanese series continuity and are side-stories. The content is more for the K9 crowd than long time fans, but for completists, it’s something to have on the shelf just to show how much of a fan one is of the series.

Stitch! Best Friends Forever!

This particular volume has more substance to it when compared to the latter two. To note, the tales presented in this books are standalone works rather than a continuation of the series.

But for completists, viewers shouldn’t forget that these direct to video releases still hasn’t made the transition to Blu-ray just yet, and are available to purchase as DVDs:

Lilo and Stitch Direct to Video Releases (also available to Stream)

Leory & Stitch Stitch! The Movie

(Disclaimer: Otakunoculture.com is a member of Amazon Associate’s program, and any sales made help supports this site).

 

 

The Secret of Blue Water is Out! Nadia is all Blu-Ray in this 4K Restoration

3 Jun
Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water

Release Date: August 2, 2022
GKIDS & Shout! Factory

A sci-fi adventure on the high seas, Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water is the acclaimed television series from visionary director Hideaki Anno (Neon Genesis Evangelion). This award-winning show is loosely based on the works of Jules Verne, and its popularity later inspired a film, manga, and video games.

This release boasts an all-new 4K restoration, and includes all 39 episodes of the series in both the original Japanese and an English dub, as well as a number of bonus features including a new booklet featuring character and mechanical designs from the series, a sneak-preview featurette, a TV spot, and more! Fans can preorder their copies now by visiting ShoutFactory.com or GKIDS.com

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