Sunday, August 31

Ponyo on the Cliff of Seas is beating Sky Crawlers

Ponyo / 崖の上のポニョ

Sky Crawlers / スカイ・クロラ

Looks like 2 old adversaries fight again where Miyazaki and Oishii who once bantered against other; criticizing each other philosophy regarding anime vision. Miyazaki calling Oishii as too dense and high minded whereas Oishii regarded Miyazaki as too much fluff and shallow.

Very detailed discussion on their differences

According to latest news in Japan, Ponyo is so far reigned supreme with 10 billion yen in ticket sales whereas Oishii latest opus is languishing at no 7 in box office in the opening.

News link
Sky Crawler's opening

Personally I looking forward more to Oishii's work.

Interview with Mamoru Oishii and the game promo for Sky Crawlers.

Tonari no 801 chan/ となりの801ちゃん Kyoto Animation future anime project was cancelled

The studio's future anime project "Tonari no 801 chan/ となりの801ちゃん" has been suspended and canceled despite announcing it in last Comiket about couple of weeks ago. It is unprecedented to see such speedy abort of anime adaptation.

One can speculate that Kyoto Animation is pulling its all resources and focus of Haruhi Season 2 with all their best talent or TBS is having problems in broadcasting the said anime.

Wikipedia entry
Japanese announcement

Wednesday, August 27

Japanese SM 3 Missile....Gundam Bits System?

This missile give me strong vibes of Gundam Bits from Universal Century era or DRAGOON for Cosmic Era fans. Just replace the warhead with laser and you get the almost exact weapon from Gundam universe.

Impressive and freaky at the same time. It looks as if it has strings to guide it.

Updates on power armour and suits

Robo-skeleton lets paralysed walk

A robotic suit is helping people paralysed from the waist down do what was previously considered impossible - stand, walk and climb stairs.

ReWalk users wear a backpack device and braces on their legs and select the activity they want from a remote control wrist band.

Leaning forwards activates body sensors setting the robotic legs in motion.

Users walk with crutches, controlling the suit through changes in centre of gravity and upper body movements.

The device effectively mimics the exoskeletion of a crab.

Former Israeli paratrooper Radi Kaiof has been paralysed for the last 20 years following an injury during his service in the Israeli military.

He says the device has changed his life.

"I never dreamed I would walk again. After I was wounded, I forgot what it's like. Only when standing up can I feel how tall I really am and speak to people eye to eye, not from below."

BBC Article

More updates on this wonderful technology, which featured in Japanese sci-fi in pervasive manner. Shades of Bubblegum Crisis and Ghost in the Shell in the article.

One thing interest me here is Israel. I often postulated that first country in the world that will use power suit or armour in anger will be them.

This is BLEEX from few years ago, compare the bulk of the contraption compare to Re-Walk. Impressive leaps over few years.

Another interesting video of technology concept.

SARCOS powersuit or exoskeleton concepts.

HAL 3 from Japan.

Independent inventor of suit designed specifically for dangerous roles.

Previous entry
Previous entry no 2
Early entry no 3

Monday, August 25

Using Anime as teaching tool

The Impact of Popular Culture Fandom on Perceptions of Japanese Language and Culture Learning: The Case of Student Anime Fans

This research examines the impact of popular culture fandom on perceptions of foreign language and culture learning within a Japanese studies context, using the example of student ‘anime’ (Japanese animation) fans. Anime, described by Tominaga (2002) as “presently one of the most popular expressions of Japanese culture in America,” was chosen for its apparent popularity among students of Japanese. This dissertation presents the results of a study that qualitatively describes the phenomenon of anime fandom as it relates to a sample of ten Japanese language students’ perceptions of the Japanese language and culture and of language learning.

Full article here

Using anime as teaching tool in language programs is main scope of discussion here, using popular meme for academia is always a good thing. Afterall academia suppose to reflect what a society is and this discussion is manifestation of it. I always believe in practical and close to life type of higher education. Since anime is becoming more and more of a global phenomenon, perhaps it is time for Japanese language program to consider it as legitimate tool to teach the difficult language?

Tora Dora/ とらドラ!

Manga version

Novel version

Kadokawa's 2007 Light Novels Awards for Best Romantic Comedy is animated.

Toradora is a typical story of headstrong but cute school girl goes by name of Taiga who is generally feared in her school, however who has feelings for a male student which is good friend of another scary looking student, Ryuji. Something happens in between and now Ryuji has struck a deal with her to woo her best friend whereas he assisting her on her effort to win his best friend's heart.

Manga tries very hard to bring out the cuteness of Taiga, whereas novel is more introspective and examines her internal monologue more than the manga.

Typical trope, tsundere treatment, triangle relationship and sexual tension is all around. And man, Rie Kugiyama is in danger to be typecasted in such narrow roles. Her voice is suitable but I think she is going overboard with this stock "hard outside but soft inside" type of character.

Some promotion of ToraDora! in this year's Comicket; slated release date is around October this year.

Offical website for anime
Another official site

Sunday, August 24

World Destruction/ ワールド・デストラクション

This OP grew on me. At first I find it weird but now I kinda like it.

The game theme version.

I am interested to see the direction of anime taking, it did caught my interest due to unusual story and nihilistic female lead, Muerte. Plus episode 5 have 2 legends on opposing sides again, voice acting as small bear characters (Tohryu Furuya who did Amuro Ray and Shuichi Ikeda as Char/Sha Aznable). Their "reunion" is tongue in cheek nod to their previous roles in legendary Mobile Suit Gundam. Hehe.

Will do review on this anime once it is done.

Kannagi/ かんなぎ Trailer

Looks good so far. I do wonder if this series can take down Haruhi Season 2. Remains to be seen.

Earlier entry on Kannagi

Saturday, August 23

Franz Kafka's story animated; The Country's Doctor / カフカ 田舎医者


This is multiple award winning effort by Koji Yamamura, based on famous Franz Kafka's story. Very artistic, very surreal and awesome animation. I can see why it is become award winning, it feels unique in experiencing the movie. To me it is like watching Piccasso or Dali's painting being animated in a semblance of a story.

Despite its superlative qualities, this is not for mainstream audience. However for those who look for higher expression of animation, this one is a must see.

Short info on the movie
Variety report on Hiroshima award won by it

Macross Frontier ep 20

Michel died. The ludicrous sniper VF pilot dude punch the ticket right after got confession from Zentraedi woman, Klan.

The problem is the story of their relationship is not developed enough. Hard to feel anything when he got KIA. Frontier is quite pretty but some of the characters are quite hollow. Pity.

Well, it is a genocidal warfare between species, I would expect a very Darwinian struggle. After all, it is war, people get killed.

It is up to the writers of Macross Frontier but my beef is interesting characters like Ozma is sadly neglected. Alto turns out to be cookie cutter character, very predictable whereas the green hair diva reminds me too much of Lynn Min Mei.

Sheryl is alright but some filler episodes like 7 totally wasted her potential to be developed more. As the result she becomes unrealistically moody towards the end of the story.

What I can forsee is they will accelerate the ending. I always in favour of bittersweet ending but Macross has mixed history on that aspect.

Friday, August 15

This is just freaky

Okay, I don't care what you think but this is just freaky. Anime is anime, real life is real life. They don't do well when it is meshed together. But one thing I can see, it will be popular item for cosplayers soon.

Link 1

Link 2

Monday, August 11

Ghost in the Shell technology, in real life.

Scientists in the US say they are a step closer to developing materials that could render people invisible.

Researchers at the University of California in Berkeley have developed a material that can bend light around 3D objects making them "disappear".

The materials do not occur naturally but have been created on a nano scale, measured in billionths of a metre.

The team says the principles could one day be scaled up to make invisibility cloaks large enough to hide people.

BBC Article

Wohoo, yeah! Technology concept inspired by Ghost in the Shell now almost becoming reality and I truly able to see this application very useful in some of the darkest shades of mankind.

More links

This earlier version of the technology developed in Japan influenced by the anime, voted as the coolest invention by Times in 2000. However it is not practical and bulky at that time.

Stealth tanks, anyone?

Kadokawa's view on Fansubbing.

Last May, when Kadokawa Holdings released The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya on DVD in the U.S., fans of Japanese animation swarmed shops in Los Angeles and other cities. For months, Kadokawa, a Tokyo publisher and TV and movie distributor, had dropped hints about the anime's imminent overseas release on a Web site. But other than that, it did almost no advertising. It didn't have to. The company merely tapped into the huge following Haruhi Suzumiya already had on YouTube and other video-sharing Web sites.

It sounds like the classic viral-marketing success story. But Kadokawa arrived at this strategy more by luck than by design. And lawyers would have been appalled by what they saw: the company allowing rampant Internet piracy to go unchecked.

That's not how Kadokawa sees it, though. Chairman and CEO Tsuguhiko Kadokawa thinks his company has nothing to lose by reaching out to anime diehards. As he sees it, the company's traditional publishing business has no future in the digital era. And suing YouTube for copyright infringement, as MTV Networks owner Viacom (VIA.B) did last year, would have only angered anime fans who have been using the site.

Most business strategist will be horrified with Kadokawa's lack of concern for intellectual property piracy overseas as this article seem to be written by a confused traditional business writer who unable to fathom the thinking of Japanese firm.

An interesting article that fansubbing supporters can use to counter the anti fansubber in eternal argument.

Some content-rights owners, like the Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers & Publishers (JASRAC), blame YouTube for the surge in piracy and have demanded that YouTube remove every breach of their copyrights. Others have taken a different tack. In March, Tokyo-based GDH started releasing anime clips on YouTube, video site Crunchyroll, and others the day its content is broadcast on Japanese TV.

But most have opted to do nothing. During a scouting trip to Japan, Los Angeles-based movie producer David Alpert met with Japanese studio executives and expressed his interest in buying the overseas distribution or remake rights for their anime. But when he asked for a private screening, "they would say, 'We don't have subtitles,'" says Alpert, a partner at film and TV production and management company Circle of Confusion. "They'd look at us, look around, and then say, 'Check out the fan subtitles on YouTube.'"

Any fansubber will be delighted to read this, it is affirmation of some sorts from source material of their contribution. Ironic.

Full article here

Saturday, August 9

Ichigeki Sachu Hoi Hoi San OVA 一撃殺虫!!ホイホイさん

Ah, a fun short OVA and this is the game that inspires it. Don't take it too seriously and apparently it does a manga serializations. However my knowledge is scant on it.

The game itself. Enjoy.