Anime World Order Show # 216 – Everything We Say About Japanese History Is Wrong

If your downloaded episode 216 is just episode 215, please delete and then redownload the episode from your podcast app. There was a typo in the RSS feed that we fixed immediately, but it didn’t propagate to the podcast directories for two hours.

We meant to release this in January but uh, didn’t. Anyway, this time around Gerald reviews the latest film from Masaaki Yuasa, Inu-Oh from 2021 (though it didn’t come out in Japan/USA until 2022).

Introduction (0:00 – 48:02)
For all our high-falutin’ talk about how we’re the podcast that primarily talks about Japanese cartoons and comics, the first 16 minutes or so of this episode is spent talking about Shin Ultraman when we are decidedly people who know EXTREMELY LITTLE about Ultraman specifically let alone kaiju and tokusatsu in the general sense. After that, we get around to what we’re currently watching/just finished watching as far as seasonal streaming titles go.

Promo: Right Stuf Anime (48:02 – 51:57)
We talk a lot about the weekly specials Right Stuf has, but it’s worth noting that even their regular prices are generally the best deals for things. Now that the 10th and final volume is released, pick up the Maison Ikkoku: Collector’s Edition manga. As far as classic anime goes, the TV series collectio for the classic sports shojo series Aim For the Ace is also finally available! We were so used to just calling her “Ochofujin” that it took us a second to get used to the fact that it translates to “Madame Butterfly.”

Review: Inu-Oh (51:57 – 1:44:39)
Gerald reviews the latest film from Masaaki Yuasa, which reminds Daryl of the times in the earlier years of the podcast when his trying to convince people to watch his works was a grueling uphill battle. Check out the Review Index for those really old reviews of Mind Game, Kemonozume, Kaiba etc. if you’re interested in being mad at us. Well, more mad than usual anyway. This one is distributed in the US by GKIDS, so expect a lot more availability than you’d usually see for an anime title. There’s a good chance it’ll be carried in brick-and-mortar stores, but if you’re a pal you will of course buy Inu-Oh on Blu-Ray/DVD via our Right Stuf affiliate link!

  • The GKIDS trailer for Inu-Oh, which includes a pull quote from general entertainment industry news site TheWrap declaring it “the best feudal Japanese hair-metal-demonic-curse-serial-killer-political-tragedy=rock-opera of the year”
  • YouTube has several videos of people demonstrating the biwa being played. This and this are but a few examples. No, we don’t know the difference between the biwa and the shamisen.

7 Replies to “Anime World Order Show # 216 – Everything We Say About Japanese History Is Wrong”

  1. My download for episode 216 was episode 215 the Christmas episode. The text is all for 216 but Daryl is announcing 215 the Christmas episode. Iā€™m using Overcast from Australia [This was a typo in the feed which we corrected very quickly, but despite sending a refresh request to Apple Podcasts, it still hasn’t gone through. Which means all the other podcast directories that just pull from Apple Podcasts also have it wrong. It’ll fix itself at some point. –Daryl]

  2. Well well well, I was going to watch this movie eventually anyway, but now it looks like I will listen to your review first.

  3. There’s something about the first two crowd performances in this film (under the bridge) that give me a feeling I specifically associate with being at a live concert. I’ve seen lots of live performance recordings, but I don’t usually pick up on the energy of them like I did those scenes. They’re really joyful. I’m curious if others had that reaction.

    One of my other favorite things about this film is how much fun it had imagining stage effects using era-appropriate-ish technology. All cartoon physics, but hey that’s why I love cartoons. It’s hilarious and it works so well.

    Also: damn you Daryl for getting the Tom & Jerry Kids theme back into my head. I’d finally shaken that one.

  4. Great discussion, thank you for giving some context on the hook for Inu-oh! I love Masaaki Yuaasa but the marketing for this movie really played up the “flamboyant shirtless dude” angle; I like Iggy Pop as much as the next guy, but the social media I’ve seen didn’t convey what the story was actually about. My copy arrived yesterday, so now I know I can watch it with my wife in confidence.

    As for the inevitable Ultraman apology: it’s awesome that Gerald gave Shin a try! That said, I disagree with one part of his take: to me, it felt like the movie was intended for an uninitiated audience. While I’ve only seen the first few episodes of the first series, both the reboot and the original open about the same way:
    1. alien attack -> humans are stumped -> Ultraman appears in pursuit
    2. collateral damage ensues -> Ultraman stays behind as atonement.

    I’m not trying to discredit Gerald here, he’s got a point: this is very abrupt. In the original show, Ultraman literally looks at the screen to say he’s taking a human form at the 10 minute mark. In practice, it’s kind of like the introductory narration for Superman in the old Fleischer shorts. The buildup in this movie was a shade more subtle than that; there’s drama in showing the human toll after the first encounter with Ultraman – this provides irony for viewers in the know and a sad twist for those new to the series. Alas, maybe not quite as dramatic as the destruction of Krypton from Richard Donner’s Superman, but that’s the distinction. We weep for harm done to Kal-el’s home, and Ultraman weeps for the harm done to ours.

  5. As a HUGE Godzilla fan(I own the nearly perfect Criterion Showa Collection, marred only by the bizarre decision to only have the English dub for King Kong vs Godzilla) and especially a fan of the Heisei Era, the movies of which are much harder to find proper copies of, I also thought Shin Godzilla was fucking boring as hell, and I absolutely DETEST its design. As regards the Monsterverse Godzilla movies, however, I think they are also very good, though I do get that they completely removed any sort of anti-nuclear or political subtext, but that’s par for the course for virtually all mainstream American movies, especially adaptations of foreign works. I would like to say though, that only in the first movie does Godzilla barely have any screen time, in King of the Monsters you see plenty of him. Also, I get that it’s a bit sillier in certain ways, but I think Godzilla vs Kong was the best of the series so far. Fun fact to close off: Tsuburaya Eiji, who helped create Ultraman, also did the effects for most of the Showa Godzilla films.

  6. Just finished listening to the podcast. You did pretty good on the history for having gained your knowledge through popular entertainment.

    The retired librarian in me wants to recommed books. To get a general view you could read Jonathan Clements’ A Brief History of Japan and his The Samurai: A New History of the Warrior Elite. For a deeper dive I highly recommend the older three volume history of Japan by George Sansom. The second volume, A History of Japan 1334 – 1615, covers the period of Inu-Oh up to the Edo Period. I honestly recommend all three volumes but then I’m heavily into anything Japanese.

    Thanks again for a great show, I’m looking forward to the next one.

  7. I forgot this podcast was Clarissa’s fault!
    IIRC on an ANNCast episode Clarissa mentioned this started out as an assignment for one of her courses, right? šŸ™‚

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