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Fantasia 2000 holds press conference

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Fantasia 2000, the 5th annual International Festival of Fantasy, Action and Genre Cinema held it's press conference today. As previously reported Fantasia will take place in Montreal, Canada from the 13th to the 31st of July at Montreal's Imperial Cinema.

Fantasia will be showing films of all types from all over the world, including India, Thailand, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Mexico, Spain and Italy. Japanese films include several live action films (including the prequel to the famous Ring series, Ring 0), 3 “monster movies” (Ultraman Tiga: The Final Odysee , Son of Godzilla and Mothra 3) as well as several short films. Of importance to Anime fans are the four Anime feature films that Fantasia will be showing this year, Blood: The Last Vampire, Vampire Hunter D: The Movie, Albator: Le Film and A.L.I.CE.


As reported on June 29th Manga Entertainment has acquired the North American rights to Blood. While no official statement has been released by Manga regarding this, a quote from their website is more then indicative: “So there you have it! We will continue to bring you the best Japanese animation to the US soon including the NEON GENESIS Evangelion movie and BLOOD, the brand new, highly-sophisticated anime thriller from Production I.G (Ghost in the Shell.) Thank you from Manga Video!”

Well, Fantasia 2000 will play host to the world premiere of Blood: The Last Vampire on Wednesday July 29th at 7pm at the Imperial. Blood is the latest release from Productions I.G. who also produced JIN-ROH (Which also premiered at Fantasia in 1999), Ghost in the Shell, Neon Genesis Evangelion and the Patlabor movies.

Blood is unique in several ways. Taking place almost entirely on a US military base more then half of the dialogue of Blood is in English and subtitled in Japanese. Interestingly enough, Blood is being called a “Full Digital Feature Film”, all of the inking, coloring and filming is computer produced. A huge contrast to JIN-ROH which was entirely animated on cels.


From the Fantasia program:

Right before the dawn of the Vietnam War, Saya, a sober and solitary girl arrives at Yokota base in Japan, under the pretext of study. But her true intentions are definitely far from that. She is in fact a (very) special secret warrior under the auspices of the American government, her mission to truncate, eviscerate, and joyously decapitate a dangerous group of vampires; ferocious, bloody beasts that voraciously feast on human flesh. These vampires look human, which of course allows them to remain invisible to the masses and continue their malefic carnage. The only problem is that when feeding time arises, they have the unfortunate habit of transforming into monstrous, deformed creatures that are unstoppable. No one can touch them, except for, perhaps, Saya, shadow warrior with a deathly sharp blade, who is possessed with a serious hunger for justice and a ferocious rage for extermination. In the heart of Yokota base, once the night has fallen, a new battle will begin between a young girl and the monsters.


The Trailer for Blood was shown at the Fantasia Press conference, and my reaction to the trailer is quite simply: “wow”. Despite being a “full digital” film the animation is very reminiscent of JIN-ROH. What I saw of Blood was entirely “filmed” in low light settings with gray and brown being the prominent colors, and as with JIN-ROH the detailed animation is stunning. One rumor has it that Blood is only 48 minutes long because it cost too much to produce, I wouldn't put too much stock into that rumor though.

Vampire Hunter D

The highly anticipated Vampire Hunter D feature film will also so having it's International Premiere at Fantasia on Friday July 14th. The Vampire Hunter D: Movie is a remake or the 1980 OVA by the same name. Vampire Hunter D is based on the Manga by Hideuki Kikuchi. The new movie is essentially produced by the same team as the original, The director of the original OVA, Yoshiaki Kawajiri (Ninja Scroll, Wicked City), returns to the director's chair for the new movie. Original animator Yoshitaka Amano was not actively involved in the movie although he was consulted by the new animator, Yutaka Minowa (Ninja Scroll, Outlaw Star).

Unfortunately Fantasia did not show a trailer of the New Vampire Hunter D at the press conference, however the trailer is available online at http://www.urban-vision.com.

From the Fantasia Program

The final nuclear holocaust has nearly wiped out the whole human race, leaving mutants and monsters to freely roam the land and slaughter as they will. 10,000 years later, humanity barely survives, all its hopes ground under the boot of an aristocracy made of vampires who see humans as so much cattle to be used as slaves or sacrificed to their perverse desires. However, life is finite, even for these monsters and they must now face the decline of their race. Humans refuse to be slaughtered any more and "Vampire Hunters" offer their services to the best payers. The best known and the fiercest is a mysterious young man named "D”. He is our only hope for survival. Close your eyes and pray...


Rounding out Fantasia 2000's trio of new Anime feature films is A.L.I.CE., the world's first 100% 3d CG anime. Directed by Maejima Kenichi (Producer of Maison Ikoku and Legend of Galactic Heroes) and Produced by Takemoto Katsuaki and Ito Tomoo A.L.I.CE is a vision of things to come.

The difference in animation between Blood and A.L.I.CE. is that Blood was “drawn” on computers, whereas A.L.I.CE. was created with 3d CGI thru the use of 3d models. Visually, A.L.I.CE. is somewhat similar to the game Final Fantasy 7. It should be noted that the upcoming Final Fantasy feature film will also be 100% 3d CG.

A.L.I.CE takes place in the year 2030 when a lunar voyage goes bad and a rocket ship crashes back to Earth. A.LI.CE, the youngest person to ever go into space is the sole survivor of the crash and before she is fully recovered from the crash an army of shock troops unexplainably attacks her. She is rescued by the mysterious Juan who then takes her 30 years into the future where he plans on having her defeat the despot Nero. Thing is, the world dictator Nero just happens to be A.LI.CE's own flesh and blood.

Albator: Le Film

Fantasia 2000's last feature length Anime isn't something new, quite possibly something many readers saw before they even knew what Anime was.

In the late 1970's and early 80's Albator was a very famous and popular series in France and Quebec, as well as in the United States. However Albator was known by a slightly different name in the United States, Captain Harlock. Albator: Le film is not the feature film “Arcadia of My Youth” but rather a collage of 5 Arcadia episodes from the original TV Series.

The Arcadia series has produced a number of heirs and Spinoffs, a second TV series was produced in 1984 as well as a 3rd which recently aired in Japan. Additional movies were also made, among these Galaxy Express 999 and Queen Esmeraldis all of which revolve around the Captain Harlock Universe.

Albator: Le Film will be shown in French without sub-titles.

If you are interested in any of Fantasia 2000's other films, visit their website at http://www.fantasiafest.com.

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