Here comes Scotland Loves Anime 2015!

SLA_KEYART_2015Oh yes, it’s that time. Grab some edamame, get your brain in gear,
and bring your glasses so you can read the subtitles – it’s the Edinburgh leg of the fifth Scotland Loves Anime Film Festival! I’ll be covering SLA this year for Edinburgh Feminist Review and though I haven’t snagged tickets for every film, I’m looking forward to reporting back on some highlights of the Festival and encouraging you to get yourself out to a screening or two.

There’s more than one excellent reason I can’t wait to hit the Filmhouse this week and immerse myself in some rare, spectacular and outrageous animated storytelling. I’m a fan of the huge genre spread within anime (delightfully summed up in this year’s poster art), but it’s an even bigger thrill to see a collection of different women’s stories on any silver screen. This year, we get both in spades thanks to a thoughtfully curated line-up that brings the innovative, the award-winning, and the crowd-pleasers from across the globe to Scotland, and it’s absolutely worth a look.

Of the 14 features being screened during SLA in Edinburgh this week, 7 have female protagonists and – aside from the ever-erstwhile Dragonball Z: Resurrection F – the rest feature women and girls as either members of the main protagonist grouping or as the antagonist. In terms of named characters with actual arcs being realised on screen, we’re looking at just as many ladies as men.

That said, just having the ladies in the lead doesn’t automatically guarantee anything about how they’re dealt with. Anime as a medium is peppered with gender inequalities and questionable representation of women and girls, and it certainly has a long-held reputation in the West for treating the female body as an exploitable toy. Far too often the presence of girls and women in anime narratives is fraught with sexualised imagery, cookie-cutter romantic storylines, and 2-D characterisation; however, it looks like Scotland Loves Anime is bringing us the best of the rest.

Because this year…

We journey into history for the untold story of the woman who was the daughter of one of Ukiyo-E’s master painters, and a talent to rival her father, Miss Hokusai.

We watch female protectors-of-the-peace lead the fight for their wildly different futures in Psycho-Pass: The Movie; Rakuen Tsuhio: Exiled from Paradise; and the re-imagined Ghost In The Shell.

We follow schoolgirls into the shouldering of responsibilities and explorations of adulthood both fantastical and true to life in Madoka Magica 3: Rebellion and The Murder Case of Alice & Hana.

We get to have some serious fun in the company of the ladies of Love Live! The School Idol Movie as they stage the show of a lifetime.

And we get to watch versions of Mikasa, Hange, Krista, Ymir, Annie, Petra and Sasha (god bless you, Potato Girl) swing into action with their comrades to fight the lost fight for humanity in Attack on Titan not once, not twice, but thrice!

So here’s hoping we get something great to talk about from SLA’s best of the best; I know I’m excited. I’ll check in with you later this week to let you know how it’s going and how the films and their characters are doing. In the meantime, if you’re tempted, round up some friends and take advantage of the Playhouse’s fantastic multi-ticket offer and hopefully I’ll see you there.

The Scotland Loves Anime Film Festival is running at the Filmhouse, Edinburgh Mon 12th to Sun 18th Oct.

Nicole Brandon