Tag Archives: Asakusa

Review: Miss Hokusai (Blu-Ray)

Miss Hokusai is an absolutely beautiful slice of life drama from the 19th Century set during the Edo Period in what would come to be known as Tokyo. Production I.G have done a stellar job with this anime adaptation and crafted something quite beautiful with exquisite storytelling, music that captures the very essence of the time and artwork that is up with some of the absolute best.

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The film adaptation of the manga tells the story of young artist O-Ei who lives with her father Tetsuzo also known as the talented painter Hokusai and a pupil of her father’s, Zenjiro. O-Ei has a particularly strained relationship with Hokusai as he constantly berates her and tells her that her artwork is not up to scratch even though she’s highly talented at drawing more risqué art with women and men. Zenjiro is also particularly adept at drawing sensual women. O-Ei has a very tight relationship with her younger sister, O-Nao who was born blind. O-Ei often takes her to a busy thoroughfare bridge where she describes the environment to her blind sister in great detail while he sister loves taking in the smells and sounds of the people around her. It’s worth noting that in the manga that the film is based on, the younger sister doesn’t have a big as role as she does in the film. The role was expanded for the film and the writers have done an outstanding job with fleshing out the relationship. You can clearly tell that O-Ei loves and cares for her sister very deeply. They go for walks together, all the while the elder sister describing the world for her younger sibling. It’s very touching and endearing watching them together. O-Nao lives with her mother in a separate dwelling to Tetsuzo, O-Ei and Zenjiro.

Sarusuberi: Miss Hokusai

Tetsuzo also has a difficult relationship with O-Nao as he hates being around sick people because he fears them. This results in him hardly ever visiting his younger daughter. O-Nao loves receiving visits from her father and look forward to them even though half the time he visits her it’s usually because O-Ei has been prodding and hassling him to do so.

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There are quite a bit of spiritual themes with many various apparitions seen by different people in the film which is something that is normally caused by a piece of artwork in the house. Tetsuzo is often called upon to examine the art and modify it to stop these “demons” or other visions to stop occurring and bring peace to the household. The themes vary in origin from Buddhism to Japanese mythology but they’re woven very tightly into the story and provide some of the most delicate artwork in the film. The film basically weaves in and out of their lives over a few years through different seasons and finishes with a nice written epilogue on the screen which wraps everything up, suffice to say, being a slice of life drama, it doesn’t always end well for all.

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The film has completely stunning artwork and gorgeous animation and comparisons between this and Studio Ghibli are inevitable. However, after seeing it, I feel like it stands on its own and deserves it’s own merit. Ghibli is Ghibli and is perfect but this is something original and beautiful in its own right. Once again this film delivers some stunning 3DCGI that is used sparingly and definitely adheres to the less is more philosophy. The animation is sublime with the muted colour palette serving the time period well. You wouldn’t necessarily be expecting to see a swathe of brilliant colours but what you do get is a feast for the eyes nonetheless.

The music is beyond perfect while main instrumental song, Wind In Edo by Yo Tsuji still bouncing around in my head with its delicate string chords just absolutely beautiful to hear. And in fact the entire soundtrack itself is gorgeous, I couldn’t help myself and am listening to it as I write this review. Production I.G are normally known for more violent and futuristic fare such as cult classic Ghost In The Shell, Psycho-Pass, Guilty Crown and more but with Miss Hokusai, their experience in the anime industry shines through and gives them another classic. The only nitpick I really had with it is that it was too short at only 90 minutes long. I would have loved it for it to have gone for at least 120 minutes or even a bit more but then again, I love slice of life anime.

Thanks to Madman for review copy.

Final Score: 8.5/10

SHIBUYA & NEW YEAR’S EVE: J-VLOGGING DAY 10

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!

Apologies for the lateness with this update but January 1st was a big day of rest…so much so that I didn’t start editing this until late at night! This vlog update shows us going back to Shibuya to check out a New Year’s Eve version of Hachiko who had a little friend on for show and then we head back to Senso-ji temple in Asakusa to ring in 2017!

ASAKUSA & SENSO-JI TEMPLE: J-VLOGGING 2016 DAY 5

After a very hectic first four days in Japan, we turn it down a notch and just stick to our local neighbourhood of Asakusa. We started off the day by having breakfast at Mister Donut at midday, paid a visit to the Asakusa Tourist Information Centre and then had a stroll down the Senso-Ji marketplace before reading our fortunes then checking out the local gardens around the temple.

TOKYO SKYTREE: J-VLOGGING 2016 DAY 2

Today we went to Tokyo Skytree to check out the amazing stores there…but really to try and find a Mimikyu plushie at the Pokemon Centre. (SPOILER: They were all sold out). We found an amazing Studio Ghibli store, had some lunch and heaps of other cool stuff. Oh, and towards the end, our camera broke 🙁 So that night we had to rush to Akihabara to buy a new one!

FLY TO JAPAN AND FOOD!: J-VLOGGING 2016 DAY 1

Welcome to the first J-Vlog update in this Japan trip for 2016! In this first update, it kicks off with us waiting for our flight to Japan at Melbourne Airport, some in-flight footage, landing at Narita and then some walking around our neighbourhood of Asakusa in search of some food and sweets! This one was a rush job as we’re completely tired from the flight but we hope you enjoy. And if you like what you see, please subscribe to the Japandaman YouTube channel to stay up to date.

Slow-mo dancing. In Japan.

Great clip filmed around Asakua, Akihabara, shibuya and other parts in Japan featuring the performance group, World Order. They’re being led by former martial artist Genki Sudo through the streets of Japan in a carefully choreographed slow motion routine. The routine itself isn’t difficult but what makes it better and raises the technical aspect just that little bit is the speed at which it was performed. Dancing in slow motion in sync with each other is a lot harder than it looks.

Obon ceremony shown off in Asakusa

Currently for this week in Japan, it’s Obon Week which means it’s time for dancing, festivals and for some Japanese people, vacation time and some well earned rest. And yes, there are spirits involved but not of the scary variety, these are spirits that are welcomed into people’s homes.

Another part of the festivities is ohakamairi which translates to visiting loved one’s graves. It’s also during this time that altars in people’s homes are offered symbolic sacrifices. Symbolic sacrifices can include horse models made from cucumber (kyuri uma) and eggplant cows (nasu ushi) which are intended to carry spirits of the ancestors to and from our material realm.

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Reporting on the event were the team from Rocket News who were in attendance at the Azuma Bridge in Asakusa. Tourou nagashi, is a part of the festival means “lanterns flowing” which means people place lanterns into the river allowing them to float away downstream.

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And before you think they allowed the lanterns to drift away to the ocean, there was a small boat down the river to collect the lanterns.

Themed Rickshaws For Asakusa & Akihabara

Lucky visitors to either Asakusa or Akihabara in Tokyo this past weekend would have been greeted by a unique sight. Rickshaws are not an uncommon sight in both places but this time the rickshaws had a special theme to them.

Joshiraku  the manga that has received the anime conversion has teamed up with this method of transportation and had Joshiraku themed paraphernalia plastered on the rickshaws.

Check out the pics below.

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