Akira, Todoro, Grave of the Fireflies, Your Name. All mind-blowing anime films that streamed straight to the brains of every anime lover and casual normie at The 2nd Annual Charleston Anime Film Festival. It was put on by the Charleston Music Hall. I had never been there before but I can now report it is a pretty dope venue.
It’s old. Like, really old. Like, the original construction was finished in 1850 old. Which is probably younger than a lot of buildings in Charleston to be fair, but it’s still really old. You can definitely tell as soon as you walk into the theatre. It’s an awesome blend of old meets new where you can definitely tell that the theatre was built in a bygone era, but that actually gives it a really cool vibe. Plus it’s updated with enough twenty first-century tech to make sure that you still have an awesome cinema-going experience.
Moving on from the venue to the event itself, it was pretty amazing as well. I hadn’t ever seen any of the movies shown before. In fact, hardcore anime fans might want to bury me for this, but I’m not super versed in the work of the legendary Miyazaki or Studio Ghibli. I only have about two and a half of those films on my seen cinema list and Totoro wasn’t one of them. From what I saw though, in classic studio Ghibli Fashion the animation was amazing and even just watching it for a few minutes made you…happy. Even when nothing extraordinary was happening, it still sucked you into the world just from how emotional, bright, and alive it all seemed.
As a long time anime fan, I had heard of Akira but as an uncultured swine and secret kind of hipster, I have a natural aversion to things that other people really like. So you can understand why I never made time for an acclaimed old school classic like Akira. Now that I’ve seen though, I get it. Ultimately, I understand why people love it. It was incredible in a lot of ways, but I also understand its criticisms. It was definitely a bit all over the place.
It was actually my first film festival, and even though I only got to see one film in its entirety, it in no way disappointed. I am beyond excited for it next year when I will actually get to sit down and watch all 9 hours in its full, Japanese animated glory. The Music Hall also leaked some information about a pretty major event they will be having this Summer. While that information hasn’t been released to the general public yet, I can say that if you are a fan of fantasy movies I would definitely keep my eye on their events list.