Japanese Edition of Astro Boy and Anime Come to the Americas

Astro Boy and Anime Japanese coverThe Japanese-language edition of  Astro Boy and Anime Come to the Americas, by Fred Ladd (with my assistance) has been published by NTT in a translation by Kumi Kaoru, the author of two books on Hayao Miyazaki.  The Japanese title is Anime ga Anime ni naru made (How the Japanese Cartoon Became “Anime”’).

Kumi-san emailed me that “Nihon Keizai Shimbun (the Wall Street Journal of Japan) published a brief notice last Sunday, which he roughly  translated (with some editing on my part) as:

Osamu Tezuka’s Tetsuwan Atom, which began in 1963, appeared in the US in the autumn of the same year as Astro Boy, and turned out to be a precedent-setting event for the international reputation of Japanese animation. Mr. Ladd, who directed the English dubbed version, wrote this memoir with the support of Mr. Deneroff, cartoon scholar. It is full of previously unknown stories about the very early days of anime’s English adaptation, such as how the adaptation staff beat their brains to soften the “violence” in Atom so that it could meet American TV standards.

It is available from Amazon Japan here (and presumably other outlets) for ¥2,940 (about $31.50).

Astro Boy and Anime Come to the Americas Now Available on Kindle

Astro Boy and Anime Come to the Americas cover Astro Boy and Anime Come to the Americas, Fred Ladd’s personal history of his involvement with producing the American versions of such early Japanese animated TV series as Astro Boy and Gigantor, has now been made available as an Amazon’s Kindle Book for only $9.99, which you can order here. (The original print edition is, of course, still available in its original softcover edition from MacFarland for $35.00.) Unfortunately, as far as I know, neither Fred Ladd or myself will be able to personally autograph your Kindle Edition, but I suppose there are other compensating virtues to getting it via Kindle.

"An audience with Miyazaki, Japan’s animation king"

Hayao MiyazakiThe Japan Times just published this story by Mark Schilling about an appearance by Hayao Miyazaki’s at the Foreign Correspondents Club in Tokyo on November 20th. He notes that, “After the event, his most widely quoted remark was a dig at Prime Minister Taro Aso, who has often publicly proclaimed his love of manga. “It’s an embarrassment,” said Miyazaki. “He should do that sort of thing in his private time.”

Schilling added:

Miyazaki also lamented that today’s children live too much in the virtual worlds of TV, games, e-mail, mobile phones and comics, and too little in nature. “It takes away their strength,” he said.

In other words, he occasionally sounded more like a cranky 67-year-old (his actual age) than someone who has devoted his entire adult life to creating manga and anime himself ….

Gake no Ue no Ponyo (Ponyo On the Cliff by the Sea)

Miyazaki’s latest film, Gake no Ue no Ponyo (Ponyo On the Cliff by the Sea), is another winner at the box office, having “grossed nearly ¥15 billion [over $161 million] since its July release.”

The story notes that,

Miyazaki does not expect his films—or any films—to find wide appreciation 30 years after their release. “That is, audiences today can no longer enjoy films that are more than 30 years old, save in a historical sense,” he said.

When an elderly journalist countered with the example of the 1942 classic “Casablanca,” Miyazaki was unfazed.

“The films you value can be lifelong friends, but if “Casablanca” were released now, it wouldn’t be a hit,” he said. “If (Yasujiro) Ozu were making his movies today, they would play in one theater.”

On the perennial question on who might succeed him at Studio Ghibli:

He has not formally appointed his successor at Studio Ghibli, though his son Goro, who made his directorial debut in 2006 with the hit fantasy “Gedo Senki” (“Tales from Earthsea”), is the obvious heir apparent.

“I don’t favor him because he’s my son,” Miyazaki said, with a hint of irritation. “He’ll face his true test (as a director) the next time around.”

In the meantime, here’s a trailer (in Japanese) for his newest film: