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Tamarah Cohen of Kansai Gaidai University has created a very interesting, and to many Japanese probably surprising, video series that explores the notion of Japanese identity. Highly recommended.
The anime The Sky Crawlers was adapted from the novel by the same name. Directed by Mamoru Oshii (of Ghost in the Shell fame), the movie was released in theaters in Japan on August 2, 2008. The anime won the Future Film Festival Digital Award at the 65th Venice International Film Festival. It is a beautifully made film, but to understand its premise you need to read several interviews with Oshii. “Isn’t this comfortable life that we have achieved,” he says, “a monotonous purgatory that doesn’t end until we die?”