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'Bittersweet': A Henry Higgins of vegetarianism

Sep 7, 2016

'Bittersweet': A Henry Higgins of vegetarianism

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The idea of “love” in Japan used to be defined by literature until manga came along and changed the scenery. Now, almost everyone dips into manga to learn the ropes, and often that process starts as early as the first grade. My niece was ...

Japan's team spirit remains youthful in anime

Aug 31, 2016

Japan's team spirit remains youthful in anime

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The word “seishun” (“youth”) comprises the kanji characters for the words “blue” and “spring,” which connotes the freshness and innocence of those earlier years in life. It’s also the name of a genre of anime and manga. Even as the population ages, seishun manga ...

'Self/Less': Losing oneself in the narrative

Aug 31, 2016

'Self/Less': Losing oneself in the narrative

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The age of excessive high-tech is a good time to be filthy rich, especially if you happen to be an entitled scoundrel whose level of wealth-fueled egomania makes Scrooge look like a benevolent fuddy-duddy. In “Self/Less,” Ben Kingsley as New York real estate mogul ...

'Gods of Egypt': What an ungodly mess

Aug 31, 2016

'Gods of Egypt': What an ungodly mess

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In the latest issue of Kinema Junpo, Japan’s most venerable film magazine, you can read a lengthy tribute to Gaga, the dogged independent movie distributor that’s marking its 30th anniversary this year. The occasion is certainly worth commemorating: This is the company that released ...

There are some very big issues with 'Little Boy'

Aug 24, 2016

There are some very big issues with 'Little Boy'

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Seventy-one years after Japan surrendered in World War II, a taboo in Japan has been broken, or, more precisely, ripped apart. A movie specifically about the U.S-Japan conflict that more than mentions the atomic bombs, directed by Mexico’s Alejandro Monteverde, is opening this weekend. ...

'Black Widow Business': Never too old for the marriage con

Aug 24, 2016

'Black Widow Business': Never too old for the marriage con

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“There’s no fool like an old fool.” Yasuo Tsuruhashi’s comedy “Black Widow Business” is a feature-length illustration of this venerable saying, though it also reflects present-day trends in an aging Japan. The “fools” in question are the graying Lotharios who fall for the middle-aged ...

'Lights Out': A cliched glow in the dark

Aug 24, 2016

'Lights Out': A cliched glow in the dark

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Being afraid of the dark is a familiar childhood anxiety that has exploited in terrifying proportions in the horror genre. “Lights Out” knows how to cash in on the panic that can assail the mind when the lights go out. Bad things happen in ...