Icons of AnimeWednesdays at 7 PM at the Michigan Theater
Wednesday, January 9 at 7 PM at the State
Featuring a pre-show discussion panel moderated by Markus Nornes, Professor of Asian Cinema at 6:30 PM, discussing the film’s historical context and its impact on aesthetics and narrative in animation.
In 1988 the Japanese government drops an atomic bomb on Tokyo after ESP experiments on children go awry. In 2019, 31 years after the nuking of the city, Kaneda, a bike gang leader, tries to save his friend Tetsuo from a secret government project. He battles anti-government activists, greedy politicians, irresponsible scientists and a powerful military leader until Tetsuo’s supernatural powers suddenly manifest. A final battle is fought in Tokyo Olympiad exposing the experiment’s secrets. Presented in Japanese with English subtitles. 1988. 124 min. Action/Drama. R.
Wednesday, January 16 at 7 PM at the State
Mima was a pop idol, worshipped by the masses until fashion dictated otherwise. In order to salvage her career, she is advised to drop music and pursue acting, however, her reality is shaken when she is stalked by an obsessed fan and seemingly a ghost of her past. Presented in Japanese with English subtitles. 1997. 81 min. Drama/Mystery. R.
Wednesday, January 23 at 7 PM
In this animated feature by noted Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki, 10-year-old Chihiro and her parents stumble upon a seemingly abandoned amusement park. After her mother and father are turned into giant pigs, Chihiro meets the mysterious Haku, who explains that the park is a resort for supernatural beings who need a break from their time spent in the earthly realm, and that she must work there to free herself and her parents. Presented in Japanese with English subtitles. 2001. 135 min. Fantasy/Mystery/Anime. PG.
Wednesday, January 30 at 7 PM
From Director Makoto Shinkai comes a beautiful masterpiece about time, the thread of fate, and the hearts of two young souls. A teenage boy and girl embark on a quest to meet each other for the first time after they magically swap bodies. Presented in Japanese with English subtitles. 2016. 106 min. Drama/Fantasy. PG
Hunter x Hunter: The Last Mission
Wednesday, February 6 at 7 PM
The Battle Olympia tournament at Heaven’s Arena is about to begin! Gon, Killua, Kurapika and Leorio plan on watching the matches along with the other Hunters and VIPs in attendance. As they wait, a raid by the Shadow ends the festivities. Skilled fighters fall one by one to their terrifying ability called On, a dark power derived from malice. When their leader Jed captures Netero and declares death to all Hunters in the name of vengeance, Gon and Killua rush to defeat him! Presented in Japanese with English subtitles. 2013. 97 min. Action/Adventure. NR.
My Neighbor Totoro
Wednesday, February 13 at 7 PM
This acclaimed animated tale by director Hayao Miyazaki follows schoolgirl Satsuke and her younger sister, Mei, as they settle into an old country house with their father and wait for their mother to recover from an illness in an area hospital. As the sisters explore their new home, they encounter and befriend playful spirits in their house and the nearby forest, most notably the massive cuddly creature known as Totoro. Presented in Japanese with English subtitles. 1988. Fantasy/Adventure/Anime. 100 min. G.
Cowboy Bebop: Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door
Wednesday, February 27 at 7 PM
Cocky Spike Spiegel and the crew of his spaceship, Bebop, an intrepid band of bounty hunters, land on Mars in the year 2071 chasing an enormous cash reward. The four-person team, also including looming cyborg Jet Black, fearless Faye Valentine and tech expert Edward, are in search of ex-military officer Vincent. The former hero has become a biological terrorist with an arsenal of devastating nano-bots that he’ll let loose on Alba City on the night before Halloween if his demands aren’t met. Presented in Japanese with English subtitles. 2001. 115 min. Action. R.
Ghost in the Shell
Wednesday, March 13 at 7 PM
It is the year 2029. Technology has advanced so far that cyborgs are commonplace. In addition, human brains can connect to the internet directly. Major Motoko Kasunagi is an officer in Section 9, an elite, secretive police division that deals with special operations, including counter terrorism and cyber crime. She is currently on the trail of the Puppet Master, a cyber criminal who hacks into the brains of cyborgs in order to obtain information and to commit other crimes. Presented in Japanese with English subtitles. 1995. Anime/Drama/Fantasy. 86 min. R.
Kiki’s Delivery Service
Wednesday, March 20 at 7 PM
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki. In this anime feature, 13-year-old Kiki moves to a seaside town with her talking cat, Jiji, to spend a year alone, in accordance with her village’s tradition for witches in training. After learning to control her broomstick, Kiki sets up a flying courier service and soon becomes a fixture in the community. But when the insecure young witch begins questioning herself and loses her magic abilities, she must overcome her self-doubt to get her powers back. Presented in Japanese with English subtitles. 1989. 120 min. Drama/Fantasy/Anime. G
Wednesday, April 3 at 7 PM
Directed by Satoshi Kon. Middle-aged alcoholic Gin, teenage runaway Miyuki (Candice Moore) and former drag queen Hana are a trio of homeless people surviving as a makeshift family on the streets of Tokyo. While rummaging in the trash for food on Christmas Eve, they stumble upon an abandoned newborn baby in a trash bin. With only a handful of clues to the baby’s identity, the three misfits search the streets of Tokyo for help in returning the baby to its parents. Presented in Japanese with English subtitles. 2003. 97 min. Comedy/Drama/Anime. PG-13
Wednesday, April 10 at 7 PM
Kenji is a teenage math prodigy recruited by his secret crush Natsuki for the ultimate summer job – passing himself off as Natsuki’s boyfriend for four days during her grandmother’s 90th birthday celebration. But when Kenji solves a 2,056 digit math riddle sent to his cell phone, he unwittingly breaches the security barricade protecting Oz, a globe-spanning virtual world where millions of people and governments interact through their avatars, handling everything from online shopping and traffic control to national defense and nuclear launch codes. Now a malicious AI program called the Love Machine is hijacking Oz accounts, growing exponentially more powerful and sowing chaos and destruction in its wake. 2010. Anime/Fantasy. 114 min. PG
Wednesday, April 17 at 7 PM
Jubei, a highly skilled ninja, is coerced into slaying his own clan of warriors. After begrudgingly killing his fellow swordsmen, he becomes a roving hired assassin. During his travels, he must face off against an organization of demonic ninjas known as the Devils of Kimon, who are plotting to take power of Japan’s government. The Devils will stop at nothing, and have the power to annihilate entire villages. Now, only Jubei and a shogun spy named Dakuan can stop them. Presented in Japanese with English subtitles. 1993. Fantasy/Action. 99 min.