Self-confessed anime fan Jonathan Ross talked about his mega Japanese toy collection as he introduced In/Spectre and Somali and the Forest Spirit at MCM Comic-Con London on Friday, October 25th for streaming platform Crunchyroll.
Jonathan Ross admitted that his office is stuffed with Japanese toys as he launched two brand new anime programmes for the streaming platform Crunchyroll at this year’s MCM Comic-Con London on Friday October 25th.
The chat show host introduced the first two episodes of In/Spectre, a supernatural mystery thriller from the creator of Blast of Tempest and The Record of a Fallen Vampire, and Somali and the Forest Spirit, based on the fantasy manga by Yako Gureishi to fans.
These brand new programmes had their world premiere at Crunchyroll Expo in California in August 2019 and will not be aired on the platform until 2020.
Jonathan Ross says:
“I got into anime in the days before the internet. I used to watch martial arts movies and then grew to love the fantastical elements of anime. I probably have the biggest collection of anime and manga merchandise outside of Japan.”
Read the rest of Jonathan Ross’s Crunchyroll interview below
Can you tell me how your love of anime began?
It was in the days before the internet when I got into martial arts movies. I knew some guys in America who started sending me obscure films. They were direct dubs from Japan, so I had to watch them without subtitles, but I loved the fantastical elements. I then got into Japanese movies and tapped into a whole new area of family stories via Studio Ghibli.
What is your favourite genre?
I like the gentle fantasy tales and horror. I like Junji Ito’s work, as I know him from his manga. The great joy of animation is that you can do anything. The budget isn’t a constraint. They can go anywhere and do anything. There is a natural inclination in anime that lends itself to fantastical worlds.
What are your top three anime titles?
I enjoyed Devilman Crybaby on Netflix by a manga artist called Go Nagai and I love Osamu Tezuka’s stuff, particularly Astro Boy. Recently, I enjoyed Attack on Titan – they’ve just put season three up on Crunchyroll now. There was another one called Baseball 9, which is kind of like a soap opera set in the world of baseball. At the moment, I am really enjoying Dr.Stone on Crunchyroll.
Do you have a lot of anime merchandise?
I have got lots of toys, but in my office and not at home. I have a bit of a collection of Japanese toys from the 1970s. There is something called Microman, which is like a transforming cyborg guy. They did a version of him that is four inches tall and they brought out play sets and vehicles – I probably have the biggest collection outside of Japan. I have also got these things called Jumbo Machinders, which are giant robots that came out in Japan in the 70s, made by a company called Popy. I’ve got Sony robot dogs and a giant panda made by Japanese artists that you can wear. It’s kind of a bit of a mad house really. There are too many items to count – I must have a couple of thousand of the Microman figures. Fortunately, I have a very big office.
Which item would you save in a fire?
I wouldn’t worry about any of it – I would probably run out and save a nearby dog!
Do you have any tips for people new to anime?
In Japan, anime is just another way to tell stories. You’ll find everything – horror, romance, soap opera, sport, high schools etc. Sometimes they have a magical supernatural element and sometimes they don’t. Basically, there will be an anime to match almost any interest you have. They are usually brilliantly made, beautifully crafted and look amazing. They also have real heart. It can take a while to get used to the rhythm of the storytelling, for example, they tend to shout more in anime than they do in real-life, but once you get used to that kind of heightened reality, they are just such a joy.
If you could be an anime character, why would you be?
I like to think I’d be someone who is very cool like JoJo in JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, but I don’t think I have a big enough chest or quiff. There is this scene at the beginning of Spirited Away where this mum and dad are wolfing down food and the daughter cries ‘Don’t do it!’ and the dad says ‘Don’t worry honey, Dad’s got credit cards and cash!’ and he turns into a pig. My kids would say that is me as opposed to the cool character.
Which anime character would you most like to have dinner with?
Senku Ishigami from Dr.Stone because he could teach me a lot.
If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
The ability to pronounce the letter R.
How many times have you visited Japan and what was your standout moment?
I have been about six times and am hoping to go again soon. I love going to theme parks there. There is a place called Fuji-Q Highland at the bottom of Mount Fuji and inside there is a horror hospital. It is a walk through event. It is basically like a full-sized hospital, they give you a flickering torch with hardly any power and you walk through these corridors and into rooms and the place is populated by zombies and ghosts. It is terrifying!
Do your family share your love of anime?
My son watches more of it than I do. He is the one who recommended Dr.Stone to me. Every year we have a big Halloween party and he always comes as some obscure anime character. Betty who lives in Brighton watches it and my youngest does too. We watched Attack On Titan together with my wife and we loved it.
Have you ever dressed as an anime character?
There was an obscure Japanese show about a robot detective and I dressed as him once – his name was Robotto Keiji. I walked around Japan as him and it seemed to go down quite well. Unfortunately, I don’t look like many anime characters.
Do you have plans to write any more comics?
I am always thinking about doing more. I am working on one at the moment, which is sort of like an anime really, about somebody who is trapped in the body of a tiki souvenir. I do love Japanese culture generally, but I wouldn’t want to base my comics on it because I am not Japanese and I haven’t lived that experience. The good thing about comics is, the sky’s the limit and you can use your imagination without having to worry about what it would look like in real-life.
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