Author Archives: Bobby-M

Your Name – Japanese Anime About Body-Swapping Teenagers

Your Name: Japanese Anime About Body-Swapping Teenagers

Freaky Friday‘s body swap story posed some interesting questions. How would it feel to wake up, look in the mirror and see the face of Lindsay Lohan? How would it feel to be trapped inside someone else’s skin? But one question it failed to ask was: what if the person you swapped bodies with was of the opposite sex? What if you woke up, peered down under the covers and saw a penis instead of a vagina? That would take the idea to a whole new level of WTF. Right?

That’s exactly where Japanese anime Your Name – the number-one movie in Japan for nine weeks running – dares to go. The story sees two teens – a boy from Tokyo, a girl from the sticks – inexplicably swap bodies overnight. The boy, trapped in his new female body, peers down at his breasts in disbelief. He has a feel. The girl, too, is curious. They swap bodies a bunch of times and have fun toying with each other’s lives, organising dates, leaving text messages. But why is this happening to them? Does it have something to do with the enormous comet passing over Japan, perhaps?

As Makoto Shinkai’s high-concept anime unspools, a will-they-won’t-they romance emerges against a backdrop of a looming eco-disaster. It’s a teen body-swap comedy that’s part love story, part disaster movie. And it’s hard to think of anything quite like it. When i-D sat down with Shinkai, we asked him why he thinks the film has struck a chord in Japan, how the country’s deadly 2011 earthquake shaped its story, and how it feels to be hailed as ‘the heir to Hayao Miyazaki’.

Where did you get the idea for this boy-girl swap story?
The boy-girl swap theme is quite common in Japanese fictional stories – films, mangas – and actually about a thousand years ago there was a story about this man-woman body swap [Torikaebaya Monogatari]. But the aspect is only a part of the film, it begins as that but it doesn’t end like that. So I wanted to surprise people, because people think, ‘oh it’s about a boy-girl body swap’, when the film isn’t just about that.

It was like seeing a teen movie done as an animation. Do you think it’s harder to capture the nuances of coming-of-age in animation versus live-action?
I don’t think one is more difficult than the other; they’re just two different things. But with live-action movies it’s the director’s creation but half the film is influenced by the actors, whereas animation everything is mine. We create characters for the film, so the characters don’t play other characters. So if you want to tell stories genuinely, I think animation is one of the best formats… There are things that are common with live-action movies – shots of hands and feet and everything else – but I don’t find it particularly more difficult because I’m drawing the characters. I’m in control.

The film has been hugely successful in Japan. What do you think it is about it that’s drawn so many people in?
To be honest, I want to know myself. But I think I was really lucky. There are many animation films made in Japan and they’re really good, but I think this one is a very straightforward boy-meets-girl story, and there must have been a sort of hidden demand among young people for that. They really were looking for a good boy-meets-girl story and I think my film came out at just the right time.

Fans have even visited the real-life locations that the film was modelled on. How important was that for you, working from real-life locations?
I simply wanted to show: this is where I live and it’s beautiful. I want everybody to see it. Tokyo is beautiful and yet you can find lots of negative stuff – packed trains, really busy places. So it’s nice to find hidden gems and I think that will cheer people up and I want people in Tokyo to feel that Tokyo is beautiful, that would make me feel proud. I get people from abroad coming to Japan saying, “I love your film and that’s why we came here.” So that’s great.

There’s the idea of a natural disaster looming – was that threat of destruction something you took from real life in Japan?
Yes, and without that big earthquake in 2011, this story would have been completely different. That incident really reminded us how vulnerable Japan is. There’s a line in the film – “you never know when Tokyo will go” – and I think people are conscious about that. It’s not like people are thinking about it everyday, but I think people are aware of how vulnerable our land is, so I wanted to create some sort of miracle; it’s not just about sadness.

How do you think real-life teens in Japan would react if they knew destruction was coming?
It’s hard to tell but realistically speaking, there’s not much that teenagers can do. In this movie, the comet comes and what the teenagers would do is go to the mayors and get the adults involved, because they can’t really do much. So the important thing about this is that it’s a fictional story, but I didn’t want it to be unrealistic, so I didn’t want teenagers to create some sort of miracle; I really wanted them to go to the adults and try to think of what to do, which is more realistic I think.

VIDEO: Your Name – Trailer (1.43)

Did you have any cinematic influences?
Interstellar by Christopher Nolan. I saw it while I was making this film, and I found quite a few similarities. And there’s another movie, from Korea, called The Beauty Inside, which is about a character who wakes up in the morning as a different person every day. So I thought it confirms that what I’m making now is now, it’s current. I felt encouraged by other directors because I’m going in the right direction.

You’ve been called the heir to Miyazaki. How do you respond to that?
I feel really honoured, but that’s too much! Miyazaki is way, way above. Yes, I broke the box-office record, but this is just once; Miyazaki has done it so many times and yes, I want to make more of an effort to get closer to where he is now.

Your Name arrive to select UK cinemas 18th November and nationwide 24th November.

Read the review by Cartoon Anime

Original Article Source: your name: the japanese anime about body-swapping teens | read | i-D

Revolve Comics – Solstice Launch

Revolve: An Interview With Nathan Donnel and Danny McLaughlin

Nathan Donnel and Danny McLaughlin at the Solstice LaunchNathan Donnel and Danny McLaughlin at the Solstice Launch

About two seconds after writer Danny McLaughlin handed me a copy of Solstice, I was impressed. Nathan Donnel’s art popped off the page. After reading the book, I was captivated by the story too (check out my review here). I asked the creative team about the book and what else we should expect from Revolve Comics.

Do you have a mission statement for Revolve Comics? What kind of books you want to produce. That kind of thing. 

Revolve Comics’ mission statement is “Storytelling is our Jam!” We want to create strong engaging stories that build a loyal fanbase and that fans actually want. We want to up the ante and create a strong professional brand for our comics and stories. We want to create books that are a little bit different from the mainstream- we want to be revolutionary (hence Revolve) and work with as many artists and writers (ie Revolving Door lol) down the line. Revolve has been working with other organisations to help them communicate their ideas and goals etc using visual literacy ie a comic for kids who has just being diagnosed with diabetes, educational resources in historical subjects and a lot more- we want to use the strengths of comics to help have a more social impact and help as many charities and organisations along the way.
Moving on to Solstice. When I opened the book I was immediately mesmerised by the energy of the art. I was wondering about some of your artistic influences. The striking thing for me was the colour choices. It seems like you put a lot of thought into the look of the book. 

Danny McLaughlin: Yeah from the get go we knew we wanted something that was not run of the mill. It is cheaper to do black and white and kinda started thinking about how to make it different and because we both love colour storytelling and talked about it at length previously. So when we decided to do it in colour we wanted a strong visual theme. When people do colour books they perhaps sometimes “over colour” it and so coming at it from a different angle gives us a chance to use it with extra “oomph” and also to carry a stylistic theme throughout the series. We even dropped an extra layer of concept with the main character being “finn” which means “pale” in Gaelige- the book is pale and as we learn about the world it will become more colourful just like the story.

Nathan Donnel: Whenever anyone asks me about influences my mind always jumps back to the first time I read a comic and loving the art, that comic was amazing Spider-man drawn by John Romita Jr, more recent influences I would say for panel layout I aspire to be more like J.H. Williams III, his free flowing panel style creates a great visual style.
Solstice Texting 1-3-04
From a story point of view, I thought the mythology felt very authentic. Were you influenced by existing mythologies?

DM: My first love is mythology so everything I do has elements but in Solstice is where I let the dogs of their leads with mythology. We wanted it to feel homely and therefore we wanted to start with a more Celtic and Nordic feel as we knew the first issue was to be winter (it seems like winter forever in Ireland lol) and use the mythology that is on our doorstep, and this helped us create the mythological cosmology of the Solstice world. But don’t think that’s where the mythological spectrum and influence ends. I can’t say too much #Spoilers lol 😉

ND: Visually I tried to capture a Celtic/Norse winter look to the costume choice and atmosphere but i suppose that feel only will run for winter, get ready for big changes to Finn’s style in spring.

Solstice Texting 4-6-02
How would you describe the plot to someone who hasn’t read it?

Ahem… here’s one prepared earlier 🙂
A fantastical world of mythical grandeur and charm that will take your breath away. Gods, both benevolent and malevolent, interfere with their “Wars Celestial”. In the face of all death, one girl has to live up to her family’s legacy.

Do I get a Blue Peter Badge?? 🙂

But I will add that the story and art will move and explore a personal journey. If you think of the solstice; it both describes the abundance of light in the day and yet a day with a lack of light too- this is that journey.
Solstice Texting 10-13-01
The second issue “Spring” is coming soon. Can you tell us what to expect in that issue?

DM: So looking forward to this issue- we will see more of the world that Finn, our protagonist, inhabits in many ways. We will meet a few new characters and even find out the goals and motivations of the Seasonal Gods and perhaps learn of something that may make the readers of the first issue question what they learned in previous instalment. And I’ll not say too much about the stylistic approach- that is all to be soaked up by the eyes (I may not be able to do it much justice with words). But Spring may just plant the seed of intrigue if issue one didn’t already.

ND: I suppose from my end, the art, you’re going to see a lot more vibrancy in the world and we’re going to see more of the place that Finn inhabits as well as the introduction of some new characters.
Solstice Texting 14-17-04
What else should we expect from Revolve Comics?

Revolution! Well that’s the goal- change the landscape of what comics are and the indie comic scene! But in next while we will see an untitled Irish sci-fi comic being released, and see the blood sweat and tears of some of the social impact projects come to light, and one of the major initiatives that we want to launch will be an “anthology” of sorts for some of the up-and-coming talent in and around Ireland. So any writers and artists who want a stab at collaborating keep an ear to the ground for news of that coming in the next while. And of course we got a whole lot more stuff we are backburnering but can’t say too much about that either #Spoilers.

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Original Article Source: Revolve: An Interview With Nathan Donnel and Danny McLaughlin – Irish Comic News