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Want just the manga reviews?  Head over to The Manga Test Drive! Want more writing from me?  Check out my previous articles at Anime Feminist ! Want to hear me talking with friends about manga?  Check out my takes on Wandering Son , Tropic of the Sea , X-Day , Sweet Rein , Legal Drug , and Clover on the (sadly defunct) Rainy Day Reading podcast and on The Key to the Kingdom at Shojo And Tell ! Want to hear me talking with friends about (mostly bad) anime?  Check out my takes on Diabolik Lovers , Miracle Train , Perfect Blue , Another , Vividred Operation , High School DxD , Lance 'n' Masques , and Upotte!   at the Heavy Storms podcast! Want to give me money for what I do?  You can do so either through Patreon or buy me a Ko-Fi ! Want to commission a review?   The details are here!

The Story of Animerama: Legacy

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The Animerama trilogy officially ended in 1973 with the failed release of Belladonna of Sadness and the closure of Mushi Productions.  That was far from the end for Osamu Tezuka and Eichi Yamamoto, the men who had helped bring that troubled trilogy into the world.   While both were successful in their post-Mushi careers, each of them took a very different path to success at very different times in their lives.   Meanwhile, the Animerama films would linger in obscurity for the better part of a half-century, waiting for a time and an audience that would be more receptive to what these films had to offer.

The Story of Animerama: Belladonna of Sadness

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 By 1971, things looked grim for the Animerama project and Mushi Productions.  Cleopatra had flopped, Tezuka had resigned from the studio in shame, their animators were leaving en masse , and not even the success of Ashita no Joe was enough to boost Mushi’s flagging fortunes.  It was during this desperate time that Eiichi Yamamoto would create the final Animerama film: Belladonna of Sadness .  After years of trying to realize Tezuka’s vision, it was finally time for him to demonstrate what he was capable of as a director.  Belladonna would unite its unconventional source material, a handful of outside talent, and the limited resources of a dying studio into a film unlike any other anime before or since. __________________________ Strictly speaking, Belladonna of Sadness is not an Animerama film.   While there were vague plans for a third film when the project was first conceived, they were never fully developed.   The true inspiration behind this film was the famous animated ad

Disaster Report: MIRACLE TRAIN - WELCOME TO THE OEDO LINE

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 Japan is famous worldwide for its ability to anthropomorphize anything for the sake of promotion.  People have written literal books on the subject, and the variety and specificity of their many, MANY mascots is a common subject of lighthearted ridicule online.  Not even anime is safe from this  phenomenon.  They’ve made anime about headphone mascots, pop cans, and the nations of the world, just to name a few.  There’s only one series that dares to give that sort of treatment to a Tokyo train line, though: 2009’s Miracle Train: Welcome to the Oedo Line .

The Story of Animerama: Cleopatra

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  A Thousand and One Nights didn’t come together quite as smoothly as Osamu Tezuka and Eiichi Yamamoto hoped, but they did manage to make a moderately successful film that captured some of the rebellious, experimental spirit of Mushi Production’s early days.  That experience meant that things could only improve for their next Animerama feature.  After all, they had an absolute slam dunk of a premise: the story of Cleopatra and her infamous affairs with Julius Caesar and Marc Antony.  With Tezuka at the helm and an experienced crew behind him, there was no way this could fail! Yet Cleopatra  would fail, due to factors both within and outside of Tezuka’s control.   Its failure marked the beginning of the end for both the Animerama project and Mushi Productions, and it would mark the lowest point in Tezuka’s career. ________________________ While Tezuka was generally pleased with how A Thousand and One Nights turned out, he was still peeved at how few of his original ideas made it

The Story of Animerama: A Thousand and One Nights

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Osamu Tezuka, Eiichi Yamamoto, and the staff at Mushi Productions had nothing but high hopes for the Animerama project when it started.  Just as before, those high hopes were quickly dashed by the realities of making a feature-length animated feature.   The production of A Thousand and One Nights was one marked by uncertainty, experimentation, and indulgence.   Perhaps the most remarkable thing about the film isn’t how it looks or the story it tells, but that the end result turned out so well in spite of its chaotic origins.

Disaster Report: Angel Tales

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There are many reasons behind what shows I choose to cover for Disaster Report.  Sometimes it may be due to its distasteful, even controversial content.  Perhaps it's because the show is poorly produced or adapted.  Occasionally it's because a show has a reputation for badness. Sometimes, though, you just randomly come across a show with a premise that demands you watch it, if simply to verify that such a thing actually exists.  That's the situation I found myself in when Anime Herald editor and bad anime connoisseur Samantha Ferreria brought up a long-forgotten harem series from 2001.  From the moment I heard the premise and saw its immensely cheap and shoddy opening, I knew I had to review it. After all, how could I resist a show about a hapless loser who gets a harem of girls who are both guardian angels and reincarnations of his dead pets with a dopey, childish title like Angel Tales ?

The Story of Animerama: A Fateful Meeting

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Sometime in 1967, Osamu Tezuka met with two staff members: director Eiichi Yamamoto and animator Gisaburo Sugii.   He had an interesting proposition that he wanted to discuss with them.   He had been recently offered an opportunity to make a series of feature-length animated films for adults.   These films were meant for mainstream release not just in Japan, but in theaters worldwide.   Yamamoto and Sugii were both intrigued by the idea but they also had serious concerns.   Who would be paying for such a venture?   Did they have enough time and animators to make such a thing happen?   Would the public accept such an idea? Tezuka listened to all their questions and concerns and responded with a single, calm statement: “We can do it.”