Kotatsu Japanese Animation Film Festival 2018

On September 28th the Kotatsu Japanese Animation Festival returns for another series of film screenings in Wales.

More than 10 feature films have been programmed to present the wide variety of stories and styles in Japanese animation. This year, Kotatsu was awarded Audience Access funding from Ffilm Cymru Wales, and the festival will welcome two guests from Japan, who will treat audiences to special events.

The festival starts on September 28th at Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff with a screening of the Masaaki Yuasa’s latest film Lu Over the Wall, a tale of a kid from Tokyo moving to a small coastal city and discovering that his “boring” new home has mermaids and more. With a perfect combination of fantastic animation and a sublime story full of magical characters and great music, the film is perfect for the family. The day continues with screenings of Momotaro – Sacred Sailors, a rare chance for audiences in Wales to see how anime was used for propaganda in World War II. 

The evening arrives with a screening of the emotionally powerful drama Fireworks, which takes us into an intense relationship between teenagers during a memorable summer. With characters voiced by the hottest talent in live-action Japanese cinema and with a script based on the work of Shunji Iwai, this will prove to be an emotional show-stopper. The day then ends with Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust, a modern horror classic from Madhouse.

A diverse festival programme will await the audience on September 29th along with the Japanese marketplace and a selection of wonderful events with special guests:
After a successful Q&A last year graciously conducted by Professor Yuichi Ito, Kotatsu is excited to announce we have two award-winning animators making a trip to Wales when Tsuneo Goda and Hirokazu Minegishi will present a master-class and conduct workshops and an autograph signing session. This is a very rare and unique opportunity to learn more about the craft of stop-motion animation from the creators of the highly popular Domo-kun, which was aired by Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK) and Nickelodeon in 2007, and Komaneko: The Curious Cat. They will bring beautiful, expressive models and a wealth of experience and advice and will interact with audience members in what is sure to be a fun and informative event open to the whole family.

Kotatsu has two films directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi, Mary and the Witch’s Flower and Studio Ghibli’s film Arrietty programmed to help celebrate cultural and artistic ties between Britain and Japan in the year of British animation as part of Anim18, a celebration of British animation. Just after the Arrietty screening, the results of the ever-popular raffle will be announced with prizes on offer such as signed goods by Tsuneo Goda and Hirokazu Minegishi.

When one thinks of Ghibli, strong female characters come to mind and Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms provides that with a tale of pure love in trying circumstances as an elfin teenage girl who doesn’t age takes care of a human boy who does. This fantasy tale comes from Mari Okada, a veteran writer who used her skills to direct what many consider one of the finest animated movies of 2018. The day then ends with a screening of the live-action adaptation of the super-popular manga Tokyo Ghoul in the traditional horror/mature slot. Sui Ishida’s dark-horror manga is brought to life with CG and features some top-class actors bringing the characters to life in a tale full of horror and action that is sure to sate the appetites of fans of the franchise.

The final day of the Kotatsu festival in Cardiff on September 30th opens with another Ghibli film that is part of Anim18, When Marnie Was There, making that the third film directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi at the festival.

Also on this day, Hirokazu Minegishi and Tsuneo Goda will be conducting stop-motion animation demonstrations and a workshop to show people how they animate their films and these events will be followed by a Q&A session.

The films continue with Psychic School Wars, a beautifully animated adaptation of a well-known Japanese sci-fi tale that is sure to delight a wide audience and then the day closes with a screening of the immensely popular Attack on Titan: The Roar of Awakening, which takes audiences back into the thrilling and gruelling fight for humanity’s survival in a world full of man-eating giants.

Running alongside the film screenings and the animation workshops will be a series of Japanese-themed events and a Japanese marketplace which sells things such as food, model kits, video games and manga and other goods from Japan.

The festival also has a raffle to win prizes such as signed goods from Tsuneo Goda and Hirokazu Minegishi and Aardman.

The action continues in Aberystwyth in October as people will get a selection of this year’s Kotatsu film screenings. Stay tuned for more news.

Explore the programme and book your tickets at www.kotatsufestival.com