Hayao Miyazaki film passes on Cannes premiere
Plus: Why film festivals remain important for anime filmmakers; A cautionary tale from the past in the U.S. manga market; One manga's impact on winemakers; and more
This is the weekly newsletter of Animenomics, covering the business of anime and manga. Today is Wednesday, April 26, 2023.
In case you missed it: Guinness World Records has named Boys Over Flowers as the most-published girls’ comic series by a single author.
Studio Ghibli passes on Cannes premiere for Miyazaki film
Hayao Miyazaki’s latest film How Do You Live? will open in theaters in Japan in July, skipping an opportunity to make its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. Film critic Jordan Ruimy also reports it may not appear at all at international film festivals.
Backgrounder: Cannes director Thierry Frémaux reportedly offered for the film to be entered into this year’s competition in May but was turned down.
Why it matters: Festivals give producers and filmmakers an opportunity to pitch their works to critics and to build momentum ahead of film awards season, especially important for anime film directors in recent years.
Mamoru Hosoda’s Mirai (2018) and Belle (2021) both premiered at Cannes before opening in theaters in Japan. Mirai went on to be nominated for a Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award.
Makoto Shinkai made festivals a core part of the international release strategy for Suzume this year. It was the first Japanese animated feature to compete at the Berlin International Film Festival since Miyazaki’s Spirited Away in 2002.
Miyazaki’s previous film The Wind Rises (2013) competed at the Venice International Film Festival and was later nominated for an Academy Award.
Promote creators to promote anime and manga, says panel
A panel of industry experts at last month’s Niigata International Animation Film Festival is calling on anime producers and manga publishers to promote creators and artists in order to increase the artistic valuation of their works internationally.
Why it matters: Anime and manga are commercially successful around the world, but their artistic and literary value has not been recognized among scholars, critics, and even the general public.
Journalist Tadashi Sudo identifies three strategies for anime: Promoting new works among influential early adopters and communities, encouraging directors to attend film festivals, and inviting coverage by authoritative media outlets.
Yukari Shiina, a researcher with the Agency for Cultural Affairs, suggested four tactics to promote manga: publication in literary magazines and exhibition in galleries and museums, reviews printed in major domestic newspapers, word of mouth by respected critics and celebrities, and entry into international awards.
Aya Umezu, CEO of marketing research firm GEM Partners, says the industry has not established a consistent method of marketing its people.
One bright lining: “Being Japanese is an advantage when making films,” says film executive Kenzo Horikoshi. “There is no one in the film industry who has not seen works by the directors of the 1950s,” he adds, referencing Akira Kurosawa, Yasujiro Ozu, and Kenji Mizoguchi.
Clippings: Slam Dunk banks on nostalgia in China premiere
China’s premiere of The First Slam Dunk is breaking box office records and is drawing middle-aged fans of the original manga to movie theaters. (Sixth Tone)
Suzume was originally meant to depict romance between two female characters, says director Makoto Shinkai of his latest film. (Looper)
Toei Animation has raised earnings guidance for the 2023 fiscal year, expecting sales to be 15 percent higher than forecast thanks to box office successes Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero, One Piece Film: Red, and The First Slam Dunk. (Animation Business Journal)
Kiwa Irie’s Yuria’s Red String, which explores issues such as aging, nursing care, and the LGBTQ+ experience, takes top manga honors in the 27th annual Osamu Tezuka Cultural Prize. (The Asahi Shimbun)
Pre-trial proceedings in the case of the Kyoto Animation arsonist, whose attack killed 36 people in 2019, will begin on May 8. (NHK News)
A cautionary tale on the recent U.S. manga expansion
“Anyone who’s been around for a while remembers the boom and bust of manga in bookstores in the early 2000s.”
— Ryan Higgins, owner of Comics Conspiracy, a comics shop in Sunnyvale, Calif.
Two weeks ago, we wrote about manga’s very good year in the graphic novels market in the United States. Writing for Publishers Weekly, Deb Aoki reminds us this week that the collapse of the last golden period of translated manga is still on the minds of North American booksellers.
Wine manga revives debate on France’s alcohol advert law
The French newspaper Le Monde has published a column by Ophélie Neiman, one of the country’s most popular wine bloggers, examining the impact of The Drops of God, a manga series by Tadashi Agi and Sku Okimoto, on local winemakers and its place in the French legal landscape.
Backgrounder: A live-action Drops of God television series based on the manga began streaming on Apple TV+ on last week. The adaptation is a joint production of French and Japanese television broadcasters.
Some context: France has imposed a law restricting alcohol advertising, the “Loi Évin”, that prohibits the promotion of alcohol on television or in cinemas since 1991.
Although depiction of alcohol in fiction does not necessarily equate advertising, the realism of Drops of God may bring scrutiny from regulators.
Public broadcaster France Télévisions co-produced the series and plans to air it on one of its channels in 2024.
Before the show can be aired domestically, producers may need to remove the names of real-life wine vintages mentioned by actors and blur any labels.
Industry impact: Because the original manga is a foreign work, it does not fall in the scope of the Loi Évin. Real-life vintages that appeared in the series became popular overnight.
One red wine vintage seen in the third and fourth manga volumes went from selling 2,400 bottles a year in Japan to 12,000 bottles.
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