On Feb. 5th, Toonseum kicked off the Pittsburgh Anime Film Series with a special screening of the 1990 classic Akira. Presented in cooperation with the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University, the event honors the history and influence of Japanese animation. The series continues throughout the month of February with film showings, art exhibits, and lectures.
Feb. 11th – 5 Centimeters per Second
This 2007 animated feature film by Makoto Shinkai follows Tono Takaki and Shinohara Akari, two classmates who become close friends. Their relationship is tested when Akari’s family relocates to another city, but, despite their struggle to keep the friendship alive, time and distance slowly pulls them apart. When Takaki finds out that he is moving further away, he decides to visit Akari one last time. 5 Centimeters per Second screens in the Frick Fine Arts Auditorium at the University of Pittsburgh at 7 p.m.
Feb. 18th – Memories
Directed by Kōji Morimoto and Tensai Okamura, Memories consists of three stories based on a manga shorts by Katsuhiro Otomo, who also writes and directs. Morimoto’s Magnetic Rose concerns two space travelers drawn into a magnificent world created by one woman’s memories. In Okamura’s Stink Bomb, a young chemist accidentally transforms himself into an unstoppable biological weapon set on a direct course for Tokyo. Otomo’s Cannon Fodder depicts a day in the life of a city whose entire purpose is the firing of cannons at an unknown enemy. Memories screens at McConomy Auditorium at Carnegie Mellon University at 7 p.m.
Feb. 25th – Summer Wars
Worlds collide in this 2009 work from Hosoda Mamoru. The film follows timid math whiz Kenji Koiso, a social zero whose avatar flourishes in the online space of Oz. When he’s asked to masquerade as his friend Natsuki’s fiancé on her grandmother’s 90th birthday, things begin to look up – until he accepts an e-mail request to solve an equation, in effect creating a conduit between the real and virtual worlds that could destroy both. Summer Wars screens at the Frick Fine Arts Auditorium at University of Pittsburgh at 7 p.m.
Feb. 28th – “Relational Visuality, or, What’s the Point of Studying Anime?” (Lecture)
Dr. Steven Ridgley leads a discussion on the study of anime. The associate professor of Japanese literature at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is an expert on modern Japanese literature, film, and popular culture. The lecture takes place at the Frick Fine Arts Auditorium at University of Pittsburgh at 7 p.m. A closing reception will follow.
All events are free and open to the public.
Also included in the series is The Art of AKIRA Returns, Toonseum‘s tribute to one of the most influential animated works of the 20th century. Culled from over 10,000 pieces of original production art from the private collection of guest curator Joe Peacock, the stunning details of Katsuhiro Otomo’s post-apocalyptic world can be seen in rare production sketches, notes, cels, and incomparably elaborate backgrounds, several rendered by Otomo himself. Visitors can view minute details of key scenes by exploring the building blocks and complex layering techniques, from storyboard to dramatic cels with details so fine you might want to bring a magnifying glass. The exhibition continues through April 28th.