Grave of the Fireflies Gets a Second Live Action Adaptation!

Hey Moonies! When I read this quick blurb on Anime News Network yesterday, I figured there had to be a little bit more to this story – and it turns out there was. I don’t honestly think that the few English news outlets that did report this have done this news story enough justice! And we have managed to find out a few things that they haven’t bothered to tell.

For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about, Hotaru no Haka (Grave of the Fireflies) was originally a semi-autobiographical novel by the Japanese Author, Akiyuki Nosaka. It was based on his tragic experiences during World War II in which he lost his sisters and his adoptive father. The novel was written as a kind of apology to his younger sister which died of malnutrition. It won the prestigious Naoki Literary Prize in 1967. Unfortunately, aside from a shortened English translation which appeared in the journal Japan Quarterly, the novel has never been released in the English language (though a full translation does exist in German). We have also learned that an Iranian shop owner in Fukui is leading a translation of the novel in Persian because she has experienced the horrors of the Iran-Iraq war and thought this novel expressed the misery of enduring a war perfectly. She hopes that more children can read this story so they don’t feel so alone in these times, and that this novel can help bring peace to her home country.

In 1988 an animated adaptation was released by Studio Ghibli , and was directed by that other legendary director Isao Takahata. Though the animation style was simple, the tale of the two siblings and the tragedies they endured during the war was no less heartbreaking. The movie did not do well in theaters back then because it was too sad – and I can attest to that from personal experience. Many years ago I had the opportunity to see this film at a local arthouse cinema , and it was presented for free by the Japanese consulate. At the end of the movie there was not a dry eye in the house and to this day it is still the most moving anime I have ever seen. Roger Ebert has also echoed these sentiments:

“When anime fans say how good the film is, nobody takes them seriously. Now that it’s available on DVD with a choice of subtitles or English dubbing, maybe it will find the attention it deserves. Yes, it’s a cartoon, and the kids have eyes like saucers, but it belongs on any list of the greatest war films ever made.”
The film went on to win awards internationally. The DVD was released by Central Park Media (sadly it was not one of the films part of the deal with Disney) and is very hard to find in stores.

In 2005, a Live Action version was produced to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the end of World War II, and aired on NTV’s Drama Complex Movie Block. This one was longer than the animated movie, and told the story from the point of view of the aunt – and showed how the war forced people to make cruel sacrifices. This one is available on DVD without subtitles (but if you know where to look there are subtitles available). Ebert mentions in the link I have provided that the film might not have worked as well if it was a live action adaptation. Even the original author agreed, saying that there would have been no other way to make this movie. Now though some of the animation was cheezy in the live action film, it didn’t take away from the power of the story. It starred actors Nanako Matsushima as Aunt Hisako, Ishida Hoshi as Seita, and Mao Sasaki as Setsuko. Hard core horror movie fans may recognize Nanako as she played Reiko in the original Japanese movie, The Ring.

A few days ago, news broke out that a second live action adaptation is in production. Until now, this production was kept a secret by the production company and distributor, Pal Project. This secrecy is much like the TV movie. Barely anyone knew of that one until just a days before it aired. It was originally supposed to be directed by Kazuo Kuroki, who is well known for his war dramas in Japan. However, he died of a stroke last year, and a new director, Taro Hyugaji has stepped up to the plate. Taro recently directed the hit drama Tagatameni (Portrait of the Wind) and served as an apprentice to Kazuo on the award-winning movie Ashita (Tomorrow) back in the eighties. He got this apprenticeship just after he had graduated college and it was quite a shock for him! In the article, Taro was quoted saying that Kazuo’s films were not Anti-War, per se but more about human life during the war – and this is why his films are everlasting. He wishes to make this film for the generation who does not know war so they may see what it is like. He hopes that this film will not make Kazuo and Akiyuki ashamed and looks forward to the challenge of making this film. As of this writing there is no word on any of the cast. It is scheduled to begin shooting in September and will be released sometime next summer or fall.

The Care Bears are Invading September 15th!

Finally, some word about CBS’s Saturday Morning Fall Schedule! Readers may recall earlier news that we broke about a new animated Care Bears Series produced by DiC (who also produced Sailor Moon in North America). The name of the new block has just been announced, and we think it’s a little… corny. “Kewlopolis” is the new Saturday morning childrens block on CBS and will begin on September 15th, and Care Bears will be leading the block, followed by Strawberry Shortcake, Cake, Horseland, Sabrina: the Animated Series, and Trollz. And, there is still no mention of the new cartoon anywhere on the official Care Bears site. Again, we anticipate seeing a few VAs voice the bears and encourage fans to keep their eyes peeled!

And a few more reviews of Oopsy Does It! have popped up all over the internet. A parent blogged about her kids liking it but neglected to post much of their opinion. We found this spoiler-filled opinion the best so far and really shows the bears being more shallow than they have ever been before. The DVD will be released October 23rd, but we probably won’t be raring to see it.

10,000 Hits!

On the 22nd of this month, we had our 10,000th visitor. It was our goal to have this many pageloads by the end of the year, but this site has achieved this in just over 6 months! Thank you to every fan who has visited and spread the word around about Moon Chase- we really appreciate it as starting a website or blog like this is never easy, especially when you target a niche audience. Thank you to every site which continues to link Moon Chase, and a special thank you to Jay Navok for all his support with You have all stuck with us during the thick and thin and continue to inspire us to develop and add new features! We really appreciate the fan support for this site in every way (big or small) and we hope to continue to bring you as much Sailor Moon news as we possibly can!

For those of our readers who haven’t, please vote on the poll at the side. We are very close to reaching a decision on adding forums but we would still appreciate your opinion!

Quick News Roundup!

VA Nominated for a Gemini Award!

Breaking News from the Canadian Entertainment front! The 22nd Gemini Award Nominees were announced this morning and one lucky VA has been nominated! Maria Vacratsis (Negaforce) has been nominated as part of the cast of Showcase’s comedic hit, Rent-a-Goalie for the Best Ensemble Performance in a Comedy Program or Series Award. They face competition from such Canadian favorites like Corner Gas, Royal Canadian Air Farce, Comedy Inc., The Business and This Hour Has 22 Minutes. We would have also thought she’d be nominated for her well-played guest performance in Little Mosque on the Prairie. It will be around for another two seasons on Showcase in Canada and Season Two will start sometime soon! We wish Maria the best of luck on October 17th!

Sailor Moon Champions the Toei Polls!

I wanted to write a bit more about the poll when it first came out but due to time constraints I couldn’t. I was elated to read earlier today that Sailor Moon held an overwhelming majority in the poll with 2535 votes out of 3979! Toei has said that these will probably be the Japanese episodes with English subtitles, but we think quite a few fans are hoping that the English Dub will be a part of this service. Fans on the boards also expressed some interest in DVDs more than the On Demand service. In many fans’ opinions (including some of our staff members) the dub still holds a place in their hearts and as I have mentioned many times before, Canada barely got a chance to own the dub on DVD as many stores didn’t carry the ADV DVDs of the first two seasons. The dub also had better background music than the originals for transformations etc. and we are sure many fans would love the chance to see this again. What is interesting is that it appears that Toei would like to release Sailor Stars under this new On Demand service, as the poll did not indicate that this particular season would be left out. Obviously that will get a fresh first translation, and we have to wonder if the others will be retranslated as well, and if episode 67 will finally make it’s way to North America! Thank you to all the fans who voted in this poll to make their voices heard to Toei!

I return!

Hello Moonies! I am back after a road trip to Vancouver. Side Note: If you want to laugh at some almost passable-for-the-real-thing pirated Sailor Moon DVDs, there is an Asian Movie stand in the Metropolis Mall to go see. They had the Toei logo and everything but the trick in identifying that it was pirated was looking at the back cover at the language tracks, Chinese and English. I highly doubt there were any legit releases with those two languages together! On the way back, I noticed someone in a mall yesterday in Calgary with the neatest Sailor Moon mini-backpack/purse. If you are reading this, I thought it was really cool and I loved it! In any case, I am between moving and I will probably be fully settled next week. I will begin some updates today – warning, some of the news may be a little old and dated over the last two weeks but we will try to bring you everything we can! Again, thanks for your patience and special thanks to The Me for uploading the commercials!