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Last Updated: Monday, 30 January 2006, 15:58 GMT
Anime set for South Bank special
Howl's Moving Castle
Howl's Moving Castle was a box office hit for Japanese anime
An edition of the new South Bank Show arts series will be dedicated to Japanese animation, or anime.

The ITV1 programme, to be aired on 19 February, will include interviews with leading lights of anime, including film producer Matsuhisa Ishikawa.

ITV4 will follow up the show with an airing of 1995 animation film Ghost In The Shell on 4 March.

The film remains the only Japanese animation to have topped the video charts in its home country.

A recent edition of Jonathan Ross's BBC Four programme Asian Invasion dedicated a large part of its show about Japanese cinema to anime classics including Ghost In The Shell and its sequel Ghost In The Shell: Innocence.

Commercial success

Ross called the 2004 animation "one of the most beautiful films you will ever see".

Japanese animation reached a high point around the world in 2003 when Spirited Away won the Oscar for best animated feature.

Hayao Miziyaki, the maker of Spirited Away, enjoyed further commercial success in 2005 with Howl's Moving Castle, which set a record at the Japanese box office, taking 1.5bn yen (7.21m) in just two days.

Animated films and comic books are incredibly popular in Japan - almost half of all periodicals and books sold in the country are manga comic books.

Censorship which traditionally stymied publishing in Japan did not affect animated media.

The most recent series of The South Bank Show, which is presented by Melvyn Bragg and has been running since 1978, featured a special on BBC comedy show Little Britain.

Japan's madness for manga
18 Sep 03 |  Asia-Pacific
Manga's world of make-believe
20 Mar 04 |  Asia-Pacific
Spirited cartoon is enthralling
22 Sep 03 |  Reviews
Little Britain on South Bank Show
30 Aug 05 |  TV and Radio

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