Wales’ premier showcase for Japanese animation returns this September with some of the best in recent anime plus events and special guests. This year the festival runs for three bumper days at Chapter Arts Centre Cardiff (29th September – 1st October) before moving on to Aberystwyth Arts Centre for one day only, October 28th 2017.
Opening the festival will be the latest from Tatami Galaxy’s Masaaki Yuasa – The Night is Short, Walk on Girl in which a dark haired girl roams the dark city streets while her secret admirer waits patiently for an opportunity to reveal himself, little knowing that the dark haired girl feels exactly the same way…
Chapter Arts Centre Cardiff, 29th September 6pm.
Next up on Saturday 30th, Napping Princess sees the return of Ghost in the Shell SAC’s Kenji Kamiyama with a much more family friendly effort than might be expected. Regular teenage girl Kotone is sleeping her life away but her final summer vacation will provide unexpected adventures as she sets out to save the Tokyo Olympics from becoming an international disaster whilst solving the long buried mystery of her family origins. Review.
Chapter Arts Centre Cardiff, 30th September, 11am
Aberystwyth Arts Centre, 28th October, 11am
This one likely needs no introduction, but for the uninitiated Makoto Shinkai’s latest effort, Your Name, is a body swapping tale of star crossed lovers which has a much happier conclusion than Shinkai’s generally melancholy fare. Review.
Chapter Arts Centre Cardiff, 30th September, 4.15pm
The third in a series of three feature animations inspired by the works of late science fiction author Project Itoh (the other two being Harmony and Empire of Corpses), Genocidal Organ is a cyberpunk infused tale of global conspiracies in which nefarious forces have decided genocide is an unavoidable human evil that they need to ensure is remains in the category of “terrible things happening far away”. Review.
Chapter Arts Centre Cardiff, 30th September, 6.30pm
Aberystwyth Arts Centre, 28th October, 3.35pm
Produced by Osamu Tezuka, Eiichi Yamamoto’s Belladonna of Sadness has been little seen since its 1973 release but a recent 4K restoration is helping to change that for the better so this psychedelic exploration of sex, witchcraft, and folklore can finally be properly appreciated. Review.
Chapter Arts Centre Cardiff, 30th September, 9pm
Sunday’s first offering is a heartrending story of friendship and redemption between a girl with hearing problems and the boy who mercilessly bullied her in childhood only to get a taste of his own medicine and intensely regret it. Read our review of A Silent Voice here.
Chapter Arts Centre Cardiff, 1st October, 11am
Production I.G. is one of the most well regarded animation studios currently in operation this and series of four shorts by different directors demonstrates its strengths and versatility.
- Pigtails – directed by Yoshimi Itazu and adapted from the manga by Machiko Kyo.
- Drawer Hobs – directed by Kazuchika Kise
- Lil’ Spider Girl – directed by Toshihisa Kaiya
- Kickheart – directed by Masaaki Yuasa
Chapter Arts Centre Cardiff, 1st October, 2pm
Masaaki Yuasa’s 2004 debut, Mind Game, will also be screened as the closing movie in Cardiff on 1st October. Adapted from a manga by Robin Nishi, the anime follows an aspiring mangaka, also named Nishi, who runs into his teenage crush only to find out she is about to marry someone else, gets mixed up with yakuza, goes all the way to heaven and back, and then gets trapped inside a whale where he meets God…
Chapter Arts Centre Cardiff, 1st October, 5pm
Aberystwyth Arts Centre, 28th October, 6.15pm
In addition to the films on offer, there will also be a selection of special events taking place across the weekend including:
- Japanese Marketplace
- Kotatsu Festival Stand
- Kotatsu display where you can try out a kotatsu for real! (Saturday night only)
- Super Tomato – Cardiff based retailer of retro games and otaku goods
- Keep It Secret – Bristol based store specialising in all things cute. (Saturday only)
- Cherry Slug – handmade artwork inspired by manga and anime
- Iconic Toos – tatooist specialising in otaku designs
That’s in addition to a Manga Drawing Workshop at 1.30pm on Saturday with manga artist Asuka Bochanska Tanaka, the Neo Craft Animation – A Certain Japanese Stop-motion Animation masterclass with Professor Yuichi Ito of Tokyo National University of Arts Graduate School, and a Japanese calligraphy workshop at 3pm on Sunday 1st October.
Following a second screening of Napping Princess at 11am, the festival continues at Aberystwyth Arts Centre with a screening of the Sword Art Online movie, Ordinal Scale, which follows Kirito and co. into the latest game using the brand new Augma system.
Aberystwyth Arts Centre, 28th October, 1.15pm
Sword Art Online will be followed by repeat screenings of Genocidal Organ (3.35pm) and Mind Game (6.15pm), and there will also be a raffle at 6pm!
Kotatsu 2017 runs at Chapter Arts Centre Cardiff from 29th September to 1st October and Aberystwyth Arts Centre on 28th October. Tickets are available from the respective box offices. You can find more information on all the films and the festival itself on the official website and you can keep up with all the latest news via the official Facebook Page and Twitter account.