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Takashi Miike’s ‘Blade of the Immortal’ slices and dices, but it could use a trim

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Takashi Miike’s been one of the biggest shock jockeys of Japanese cinema for eons. Ichi the Killer (2001) was a high-splatter mark for lovers of extreme gore, and Miike’s output has been an extraordinary arterial gusher. Blade of the Immortal is billed as Miike’s hundredth film, and while one could quibble (glancing over his Wikipedia bio, I count somewhere in the mid-nineties), the fact is the guy’s made an astonishing number of films. And he’s only fifty-seven!

Blade of the Immortal finds Miike plying his grisly gonzo in the service of a long-running samurai manga. Is the legendary director finally in danger of becoming a hack, or does his blood-slicked blade cut through one more time?

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Creations of Chaos: ‘Ocean Waves’

On this edition of Creations of Chaos, it’s Studio Ghibli’s John Green novel, without the witty, sophisticated banter. It’s the made for television movie, Ocean Waves.

Ocean Waves Poster 2

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All The Pop Culture Was Found At TORONTO COMICON 2016

Han Solo Frozen in CarboniteSunday, March 20th – the first day of Spring.

And with the spring melteth the carbonite.

Yes!

Superheroes, Star Wars and Ghostbusters. Manga, Anime and Master Chief. Longboxes, movie posters and original art. Everything that was, is and will be pop culture this year, reared itself up from a mighty winter slumber, yawned, and stretched its way out of bed, gathering with a like-minded niche in downtown Toronto.

And all dressed in cosplay, of course!

The 2016 edition of the TORONTO COMICON ran from March 18 through to the 20th this past weekend at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, waving an important hand high in the North American pop culture landscape – successfully ushering in this year’s Con season!

Get the goods after the jump!

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The GAR! Podcast: Scarface, Batmanga, and Herb Trimpe

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Biff Bam Pop! presents The GAR! Podcast, the Glenn Walker and Ray Cornwall weekly podcast where they talk unrehearsed about whatever happens to come to mind. It’s an audio-zine for your mind, a nerd exploration of a nerd world. This week, we’re talking about Scarface, “Daredevil,” Herb Trimpe, and how we should be celebrating our one hundredth episode, along with all the usual stuff. See and hear more after the jump.

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Konnichiwa To Batman: The Jiro Kuwata Batmanga Vol. 1 On The Wednesday Run

One of the coolest things about comic books is that they are beloved across globe and embraced by so many different nations.

Not only does that mean that there is a common visual language and understanding between people of disparate backgrounds, but that we also get to see different iterations of some of the most popular characters ever created. Of course, Batman is one of those characters, arguably at the top echelon of popular comic book characters.

Whether Italian, Indonesian, Brazilian or Swedish, Batman has been translated and, in some, cases, reimagined, under the pop culture auspices of various cultures.

Today, we get to see Batman as Japanese manga in Batman: The Jiro Kuwata Batmanga Book 1!

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Ronin Deluxe Edition Is Classic SF&F On The Wednesday Run

RoninSummer’s well over and it already feels like Fall has come and gone – and Halloween is still a week away! That means December holiday shopping is just around the corner. If you haven’t noticed the holiday trimmings at your local mall yet, you will shortly.

But you’ve been good this year, haven’t you?

So, if you think it’s still too early to treat a loved one, how about treating yourself to a classic comic book that helped changed the comic book landscape here in North America, collected in a new hardcover format?

Treat yourself to the new Deluxe Edition of Frank Miller’s Ronin.

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Don’t Get Lost Looking For Wayward #1 On The Wednesday Run

It’s another Wednesday and that means another fascinating title released via Image Comics.

I know, I know. This particular column has been dipping into the Image well quite a bit this year – but believe me, all of those titles have been worthy ones to read. And if history is any kind of teacher, then so will that publishing company’s latest offering, the supernatural tale called Wayward.

Follow mw after the jump for the mystical scoop on the new series.

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Haunted Future: The Anime Brilliance of Mamoru Oshii

Mamoru Oshii’s Ghost in the Shell looms large over contemporary sci-fi

Take Blade Runner and draw a line from the 80s replicant noir to the 90s non-consensual machine-induced hallucinations of The Matrix. Somewhere on that line there’s a node, running backwards and forwards, channeling its influences and distributing them back out again, recombining them into a fearsome future hurtling toward us like a heavy calibre bullet. That perfect coalescing point is Mamoru Oshii’s Ghost in the Shell (1995), the cyberpunk anime classic that had tremendous influence on the Wachowski brothers, Steven Spielberg A.I. and Minority Report, and James Cameron’s Avatar. It’s the film that kicks off TIFF’s retrospective Techno/Human: The Films of Mamoru Oshii, and boy does it pack a punch.

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Say “No” To Seppuku. Say “Yes” To Bushido And 47 Ronin #1 On The Wednesday Run – November 7, 2012

Many people are familiar with the historical “Forty-seven Ronin” story. It’s legendary in Japanese culture – but make no mistake to think it mythical. No, the revenge of the “Forty-seven Ronin” is a true story from 18th century Japan and the most famous account of the samurai code of honour called “bushido”.

Plays, novels, movies and even operas have been made of the famous tale.

And now you can experience it in the form of sequential art, in a five issue mini series published by Dark Horse Comics. And, in keeping with the theme, the creators behind the monthly series are also something of legend.

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Yi Soon Shin: Warrior And Defender – A Compelling, If Bloody, Comic Book Story Entrenched In Real World History

The medium of sequential storytelling, of comic books, is one that lends itself to a multitude of genres including science fiction, horror, noir and comedy. Most of those genres, when published today, find themselves disguised, wrapped in colourful capes and masks, as superheroes lead the comic book sales charts. But there was a time, not so long ago, when straight-laced western-themed comics were at the forefront of the North American consciousness, when war and romance-themed monthlies sold in large numbers.

Those sorts of artistic choices, those kinds of reading experiences are still around today – just not in the same number as they once were. It’s really a pleasure, then, to find a comic book that stands apart from the tried and true super-powered costumed characters that ubiquitously fill the store shelf racks, to enjoy a change of pace from the general, mainstream experience of reading comics.

The compilation hardcover graphic novel Yi Soon Shin: Warrior and Defender (the first book of an expected trilogy) is one of those kinds of comics.
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