Monday, April 28, 2008
UPDATE: Looks like the movie below was removed by the Youtube fun police. No worries though, as it's still available via the mavericks at CrunchyRoll.com.
UPDATE 2: I will not be denied! Crunchy Roll seems to have taken the fall, but now we go all the way out to Portugal to satisfy our need for Evangelion 2.0 goodness. And with subtitles no less. Enjoy. (Source: Sapo Videos)
Now it's interesting to do a sided-by-side comparison with that fan-produced remake:
Friday, April 25, 2008
(I'm not sure if these are two separate concerts or just two halves of the same one because they repeat a couple of songs between them. But whatevah...)
- What Planet Is This?
- Want it all back
(One of the best CB songs out there.)
- Piano medley with Yoko Kanno!
(This is so awesome I may weep openly.)
- Bad dog no biscuits
- Call Me, Call Me
- Mushroom Hunting
- The Real Folk Blues
(I could do without the boa, but otherwise incredible.)
- Ask DNA / What Planet Is This?
(This is the end credits for the concert video.)
Makes me proud to be a Detroit native... or not.
I'd never heard of this Detroit Metal City manga before the live action movie was announced (there seems to be an anime in the works too), but according to ANN, KISS front man Gene Simmons is a fan and has a key roll in the film and former Megadeth guitarist Marty Friedman also plays in a short scene with Simmons.
I'm not exactly waiting in eager anticipation to see this one, but simply because it has "Detroit" in the title it does pique at least some interest. It'll be like... the Japanese version of 8 Mile!
A short teaser trailer can be seen below.
Friday, April 18, 2008
(Not yet available in US)
Story = C+
Video = A-
Audio = B
Nishi has always loved Myon since they were little. And now as adults, he wants to pursue his dream of becoming a manga artist and marrying his childhood sweetheart. There's one problem, though. She's already been proposed to and she thinks Nishi is too much of a wimp. But upon meeting the fiancé while at her family's diner and accepting him as a good guy, they encounter a couple Yakuza (Japanese mafia), only to have Nishi grasp a certain revelation. And, with his newly aquired look on life, adventures abound as he, Myon, and her sister, Yan, escape the Yakuza into a most unlikely location where they meet an old man... (Source: ANN)The first half of this movie is incredible. It is odd, frantic, and fast moving, and so different that I didn't want to take my eyes from the screen just because I wanted to see what would come next. You have everything from Yakuza soccer players, a trip to the afterlife with a randomly shape-shifting god, to an impossible wild car chase down the streets of Tokyo. And if it was able to keep up that pace, this movie may have been one of the coolest things I'd ever seen. But then Nishi, Myon, and her sister are suddenly and inexplicably swallowed by a whale.
So then I'm thinking, okay, that's a bit out of the blue, but what the heck, let's see what further wackiness befalls the heroes. But the problem is that nearly the entire rest of the movie takes place inside this whale, with the characters goofing around, eating fresh fish, contemplating what is going on in the outside world, and Nishi and Myon building their romance. It's still entertaining, and the characters do some pretty goofy stuff as they try to pass the time, making for some cool visuals; but compared to the fast pace of the first half, the plot in this second part seems stagnant. But then comes the climactic escape, which is so outlandishly intense and wild that it nearly makes up for that stagnation.
But then that's mostly where it ends. There are a bunch of scenes that show life and how it ends up for the characters, and then -- as if out of fear that things have ended too nicely -- it wraps up with a vague final couple of scenes that to me were kind of a let-down, but I guess appropriate given the overall tone.
Though regardless of how well plotted it is, the visuals are what really drive the movie. They're colorful and very abstract -- similar in style to Tekkon Kinkreet. But it takes it a couple steps further by varying the style on occasion, even going so far as to use real-life shots of the actors faces in at certain parts. At other times it shifts to cartoony animation, or to a more freeform style. It's not a random shift though, because the style matches and reflects the tone of the associated scene. And the overall experience is something so different from any other anime I've seen -- in a good way -- that the experience alone would make it worth multiple viewings.
In the end, though, I think the real appeal of this movie is that it is so different. With so many similar storylines and art styles in anime, it's refreshing to see a movie that can breaks free from the pack and do something original -- and do it relatively well. I wouldn't call this a masterpiece in filmmaking but it is an overall fun ride and well worth checking out.
The American film production company DreamWorks has revealed that it has licensed the rights to adapt Masamune Shirow's Ghost in the Shell cyber-police manga into a 3D live-action film. The story of an elite paramilitary unit in future Japan has already been adapted into three animated films and two television anime series. DreamWorks has released the second animated Ghost in the Shell film, Innocence, in North America. DreamWorks also released Millennium Actress and produced Transformers, another live-action science-fiction film with Japanese roots.
Variety reports that Universal and Sony also negotiated for the rights, which the Production I.G anime studio was pitching for the manga's original publisher Kodansha. What turned the dealmaking in DreamWorks' favor was co-founder Steven Spielberg's enthusiasm for the project. The entertainment trade newspaper quotes the acclaimed director and producer: "Ghost in the Shell is one of my favorite stories. It's a genre that has arrived, and we enthusiastically welcome it to DreamWorks."
Avi Arad (formerly of Marvel Studios as well as of the Spider-Man and X-Men movie franchises), Arad's son Ari, and Seaside Entertainment's Steven Paul brought the project to DreamWorks and will produce. Jamie Moss (Street Kings, Last Man Home) has been assigned to script the project.
Most of the time I just shake my head and shrug (in my mind) when I read about American companies vying to create live-action movies out of anime or manga. Part of that is because most of the time those kind of projects never come to fruition -- and the ones that do are titles that I don't really care about one way or the other. But, if the upcoming Speed Racer and Dragonball movies end up being huge financial successes, all those other live-action anime projects -- from Monster, to Battle Angel, to Evangelion -- are sure to come out of the wood works by the droves.
Ghost in the Shell is probably my all-time favorite anime/manga franchise, and the possibility of seeing the complex storyline and detailed technological concepts simplified to pander to US audiences really bothers me.
Plus there's the fact that what works in animation doesn't necessarily transfer equally well into live action. Animation -- being a totally contrived and artistically stylized medium -- allows for more flexibility in an audience's suspension-of-disbelief threshold. Transferring an animated movie to live action would only highlight the gaps in believability of the original story unless some key adjustments are made. And those adjustments could ultimately undermine what made the qualities that made original so great. And what would really suck is that if the live action movie turns out horribly, audiences would assume the worst of the original anime and manga worsening the already low-esteem mainstream audiences have for the two mediums, which would then lead to riots, war, pestilence, and the general breakdown of civilization.
Well, maybe not that last part. So maybe I'm taking this a bit too seriously; but the way I figure it, keeping expectations low is the surest way to head off disappointment.
Friday, April 11, 2008
Little Nemo in Slumberland was a comic strip from the late 1800's / early 1900's -- back in the days when comic strips had a good deal more panel space to work in, resulting in some of the most creative art and writing to ever graze newsprint.
So anyway... An animated film based on the strip was released in Japan in 1989 and then in the US in 1992 (and on US DVD in 2004) and involved a long and arduous production phase (the details of which can be found on Cartoon Brew), and among the big names involved were none other than Ghibli veterans Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata. Although they were not involved in the final movie's production, they did create a short but incredible test film which can be seen below.
Friday, April 04, 2008
[Update: Seems the trailer was removed form YouTube, but you can still find it on CrunchyRoll. Below is an older trailer from about a year ago.]
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
So I went on my DeviantArt site today and discovered that my avatar had been changed to this animated gif that says "So i herd u liek Mudkips??" And, the gullible shmuck that I am, I started freaking out thinking, "Holy cripes! My deviant art site's been hijacked!"... that is, until I realized that it's April Fool's Day and it was all just a temporary joke.
So after coming to that epiphany, I googled the term Mudkips and found out that it's a Pokemon (which I've never watched) character. And according to Urban Dictionary the phrase itself is something that was born off of the infamous 4chan website after someone posted the following (probably fake, but still funny) story. And just so you know ahead of time... No, I do not like Mudkips...
Today being Halloween, I decided to fuck with the major retard at school when I came out of science for break. He was dressed as Ash. Knowing this was going to happen, I brought a Mudkips doll. Thus I started the conversation, making sure no one saw me.
"So I heard you like Mudkips..." "Mudkips? I LUUUUUUUUUUUUVE MUDKIPS." "O RLY? So, would you ever fuck a Mudkips, that is.." (he cuts me off before I could said 'if you were a mudkips') "OF COURSE." "Well I just happen to have a Mudkips here, and."
Before I finished the sentence, which would have resulted in me hitting him across the face with the doll, he grabbed it. In one swift motion his pants were down and he was violently humping it. Not to get between a man and his Mudkips I started to walk away, because there is no way I'd be caught wrestling a half-naked crazy guy humping a Mudkips.
Needles to say, within 5 to 10 seconds, some girls saw him and started screaming. I coolly walked into a restroom, pretending nothing had ever happened; not that I had intended that outcome, but now that it was in play I didn't want to be involved.
I came back two minutes later, and like any wanton act on school grounds there was now a huge crowd round him. He was still fucking it and baying this real fucked up 'EEEEEEEEEEINNNNF EEEEEEEEEEINNNF' sound. Suddenly a scuffle broke out in the middle, meaning he probably did something stupid.
I asked someone what had happened. A girlfriend of one of the football players tried to get him to stop, but he bit her for trying to take it away. Someone called in a few football players (all dressed up like Road Warrior) who proceeded to pummel the shit out of the guy. Meanwhile the school police were freaking out and having trouble getting in to the situation.
A few minutes later the intruder alarm went off and we were shuffled into classrooms. Over the intercom the principal announced that someone had thrown a
flaming plush toy into the library. Uh.. what the hell.
So we were kept there and about 30 minutes later the principal came on again. This time he was saying that whoever was behind the beating should turn themselves in. All of a sudden this woman began yelling "I WILL SUE YOU FOR DAMAGES. YOU LITTLE PUNKS, I'M GONNA SUE..." and it was cut off.
I asked an office later what had happened. Apparently his mother had come to pick him up and threatened to sue for the beating and 'whatever else happened.' The school threatened to counter-sue because of lewd conduct, inciting a riot, and starting a fight.
So I ask you: do you like Mudkips?
I hath heardth that thou liketh kips of the mud.
Mudkips. I heard you like them.