I try to support anime’s continuing struggle for mainstream recognition/viability whenever I can. I buy DVDs of shows I like, and I buy tickets to whatever theatrical runs trickle down to the American market. It seems that most of the theatrical animated features in Japan nowadays are annual One Piece/Detective Conan/Doraemon movies, sooo the pickin’s have been pretty slim for a while. The first one I ever saw while it was actually in theaters was Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade. I saw a review of it in the paper and persuaded Film Walrus to come with me and check it out at this awesome independent theater which is now defunct. And it turned out to be great!! Since then, the experiences have ranged from the sublime (Cowboy Bebop: The Movie with Film Walrus’ whole clan in a packed theater downtown) to the underwhelming (last year’s Paprika where I was one of three people in the theater and one of the others brought half of the concession stand back with him).
So it was with enthusiasm that I read an article about a new original film getting an exclusive one-night premiere in the U.S. before getting dumped onto DVD. It was through Fathom, that company that makes its business off of selling tickets to one-night events that they stream through satellite to theaters so that you can see Naruto or whatever on the big screen. I had gone to a rather costly screening of a This American Life event last year that… could have gone better. But this one was cheaper and the movie looked intriguing. What was that movie, you ask?! Sword of the Stranger!