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Matt Schley
For Matt Schley's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Mar 5, 2020
'Shirobako the Movie': Unboxing the nitty-gritty of anime
Tsutomu Mizushima's television series about the ins and outs of making anime movies gets the big-screen treatment, bringing back familiar characters, situations and jokes.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Jan 24, 2020
Remembering Satoshi Kon, one of anime's best-loved creators
The Annie Awards bestows a posthumous honor on anime director Satoshi Kon, who died in 2010 at the age of 46.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film / 2019 in Review
Dec 25, 2019
2019 brought both tragedy and triumph to Japan's anime industry
While the anime world was rocked by a fatal arson attack at the studios of Kyoto Animation, a diverse range of new films and series gave the year a creative boost.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Dec 6, 2019
How the artwork from anime classic 'Akira' was given a permanent home in the U.S.
More than 30 years after the anime world was set alight by 'Akira,' the original artwork from the film has found a permanent home in the United States.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Nov 28, 2019
'Human Lost': Osamu Dazai's classic novel gets lost in sci-fi technobabble
A futuristic update of 'No Longer Human,' the latest computer-animated film from Polygon Pictures takes liberties with the source material.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film / 2010S: DECADE IN REVIEW
Nov 13, 2019
Japan saw a generational and international shift for anime in the 2010s
The 2010s were dominated by a batch of new animators, bringing success stories to the big screen in Japan and overseas, while traditional TV anime gave way to streaming productions
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film / Wide Angle
Nov 8, 2019
With the 2019 Tokyo Film Festival having come to a close, we take a look at how anime was represented at the event
In today's world of visual entertainment, it's hard to argue that Japan has any stronger export than animation.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Oct 9, 2019
'Her Blue Sky': Testing the limits of a successful formula
The latest film from Tatsuyuki Nagai, Mari Okada and Masayoshi Tanaka sees a return to the city of Chichibu, but can the success of the trio's previous productions be repeated?
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Sep 18, 2019
'Hello World': Kyoto as you've never seen it before
Tomohiko Ito's anime feature "Hello World" sees the breaking down of the borders between present and future, and the perils and pitfalls of comupter-generated worlds
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film / Wide Angle
Sep 5, 2019
Giving anime strength overseas
The Crunchyroll Expo in California sees Japanese animation enthusiasts gather to meet their heroes and embrace all aspects of anime fandom.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Aug 28, 2019
'Ni no Kuni': Two worlds but little life to be found
Two things about "Ni no Kuni." 1) It features a protagonist who uses a wheelchair, an admirable display of diversity and inclusion in a medium that rarely features characters with disabilities. 2) There isn't much else to like about the film.
Japan Times
CULTURE
Aug 13, 2019
Remembering the staff of Kyoto Animation
Almost a month after the main studio of Kyoto Animation was set on fire, killing 35 and injuring many more, details of the victims are still emerging after police released the names of 10 workers on Aug. 2.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Aug 8, 2019
Shoji Kawamori: 40 years spent designing an anime future
If you've watched any robot anime in the past 40 years, there's a decent chance Shoji Kawamori had a hand in it.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Jul 27, 2019
Makoto Shinkai isn't afraid of a bit of rain in the pursuit of his art
It has been raining for weeks, but director Makoto Shinkai doesn't seem to mind a bit.
Japan Times
CULTURE
Jul 20, 2019
Kyoto Animation: A unique force in Japan's anime industry
It took Kyoto Animation Co. almost 40 years to establish itself as one of the leading animation production studios in the country.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Jul 10, 2019
'Five Million Dollar Life': Assessing the value of a single life
The weight of expectations — from family, friends, community — can be tough on any young person. Now imagine those people once paid $5 million to save your life.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Jun 19, 2019
'Ride Your Wave': Love, loss, the sea and a surfboard
Since his theatrical debut "Mind Game" (2004), director Masaaki Yuasa has been known for warped, psychedelic films and TV series that stretch the limits of the imagination. Over the past few years, though, Yuasa has signaled an interest in making more accessible films. The culmination of those efforts, at least so far, is "Ride Your Wave," which is by far Yuasa's most "normal" film to date. The good news for fans is that this film still feels distinctly Yuasa.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film / Wide Angle
Jun 13, 2019
'Akira' is all set for its Hollywood remake
Like it or not, Hollywood's "Akira" is finally happening.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Jun 11, 2019
Breaking down the barriers of animation with Hiroyuki Imaishi
One does not tune into an anime directed by Hiroyuki Imaishi for subtlety.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film / Wide Angle
Jun 5, 2019
'Children of the Sea': Diving deep into animated beauty
"Children of the Sea" has achieved the impossible.

Longform

At the Akan International Crane Center, just north of the city of Kushiro proper, visitors can see the majestic red-crowned crane — a symbol of Hokkaido.
Faces of the north: A Hokkaido town grapples with depopulation