Tuesday, October 28

Miyamoto Musashi/ 宮本武蔵

Mamoru Oishi from his praised but not commercially successful Sky Crawlers will be directing Studio IG movie on most famous Japanese duelist, Miyamoto Musashi. Musashi who wrote treatise on swordmanship known Book of Five Rings, said to have won 60 duels against famous martial artists in Japan. Studio IG has made excellent chambara series "Guardian of Water Spirit" or Seirei no Moribito should be able to rival another excellent chambara movie released last year, Sword of Stranger animated by Studio Bones.

Due for release in early summer 2009, the title would be 宮本武蔵―双剣に馳せる夢― / Miyamoto Musashi - Futaken ni Haseru Yume (Miyamoto Musashi – A Dream of Victory with Two Swords).

Perhaps this will talk about his exploits when he fought the Yoshioka school where he is forced to use dual sword in mortal combat against whole school. The ending might be where he went one on one against a renowned rival, Genryu Sasaki Kojiro.

Wikipedia entry
Anime movie site

Monday, October 27

Hetalia Axis Powers/ ヘタリア Axis Powers

New Studio DEEN's television anime version of Hidekazu Himaruya's Hetalia - Axis Powers web manga has been announced..

What is this all about?

It is about a "cynical gag" story mainly recounts the era between World War I and World War II, with the stereotypical description of each participant country or region (particularly northern Italy) anthropomorphized as pretty boys as opposed to female friendly Strike Witches. For example, Italia Veneziano is into pasta and women whereas Deutsch (Germany) loves potatoes and sausages. The manga's title comes the Japanese words for "useless" (hetare) and Italy (Italia).

Basically it is a geopolitical historical discourse in pretty boy analogy format.


Saturday, October 25

Kannagi OP by Jam Project

Another way to look at the now famous OP.

The piano version of the song.

Sunday, October 19

And to the finale

The parting scene between Archer (Future Emiya Shirou) and Rin Tohsaka. Pretty touching if you know how bitter Archer is before he remembered why he has the ideals again when he is dueling his younger self.

Pretty well done.

Opening for Realty Nua 1.

Opening for Realty Nua 2.

Opening for Realty Nua 3.

What we miss from Fate/Stay Night?

The awesome scene of Unlimited Blade Works versus Gate of Babylon where Shirou tapped into the world of blades to counter the ancient king's room of treasure.

It is sad that this scene only seen in the game, not the anime.

Friday, October 10

Japanese Righteous Gentile in Anime Movie Treatment: Chiune "Sempo" Sugihara

'Japanese Schindler' cartoon in works

Animated film to honor diplomat Sempo Sugihara, who risked his job to save thousands of Jews in Holocaust.

Japan's largest film company, Nippon Animation, is producing an animated film on Chione (Sempo) Sugihara, the Japanese diplomat who saved thousands of Jews in Europe during the Holocaust, and who became known as the "Japanese Schindler."

The film was specially animated for television stations in Japan and around the world. The plan is to market the film in 2008, marking 60 years since diplomatic relations were established between Israel and Japan.

The Japanese company asked Israel's ambassador to Japan, Eli Cohen, company to help in making the film.

Japanese "Oskar Schindler" full article

I am surprised that such serious topic as this is animated in anime movie. Guess there is still people who see the medium in level of seriousness as I did, not gushing in mainstream style of anime that seem to be overrun with schoolgirls and giant mechas.

One thing for sure, I am looking forward to it since I love history and focus a lot on Holocaust. Sadly though, most of us did not learn from this as Rwanda, Cambodia and Bosnia has shown lately.

Sunday, October 5

Soft Power Discussion no 3

An old article from CNN, talking about Japan's soft power; a sort of continuation from previous entry.

'Soft power' part of balancing act

By Geoff Hiscock

(CNN) -- Soft power, or the art of influencing people to like you, is a growing part of Japan's perennial balancing act with the world.

For a taste of Japan's soft power, look no further than "Gedo Senki" (Tales from Earthsea), the blockbuster animated movie that has just knocked "Superman Returns" from the No. 1 spot in the Tokyo box office stakes.

The Earthsea stories come from the pen of American fantasy writer Ursula K. Le Guin, but it is Japan's anime (animation) world that has most fervently embraced her characters.

Anime and its print sister manga (comics) are part of Japan's huge otaku (think fan or nerd) culture that is fixated on fantasy, robots, dolls, swap cards, video games, role playing, costumes and other such accoutrements.

And while geekdom in Japan is a big business, it is even bigger globally, with scores of anime and gaming-related conventions tracked by international sites such as www.otakuworld.com.

In September alone, for example, fans can attend Dragon-Con in Atlanta, Animania in Sydney, Australia, Fumettopoli in Milan, Italy and Connichi in Kassel, Germany.

The otaku world is but one of the many projections of cool Japan. From fashion to food to film and a dozen other cultural avenues, Japan is a global player.

Fashion designer Nigo, architect Tadao Ando, novelist Haruki Murakami, baseball star Ichiro Suzuki, footballer Hidetoshi Nakata and actor/singer Takeshi Kaneshiro are just some of the skilled exports who provide a "soft power" counterpoint to Japan's underwhelming performance in the international political arena.

Full article is here

Soft Power Discussion no 2.

Akaha, Tsuneo. "Debating "Soft Power" in Japan's Security Policy: Implications for Alliance with the United States"

Abstract: In this brief analysis, we will look at the ongoing Japanese discussion on soft power and consider its implications for the U.S.-Japan alliance. We will first discuss the concept, as developed by Joseph Nye, its potential and limitations as an instrument of national policy. We will then examine how the Japanese are using the concept in discussing their nation's security policy. In the process we will identify some indicators of Japan's soft power. We will then explore the implications of Japan's interest in expanding its soft power for its security alliance with the United States.

This article discusses the correlation of cultural trade between economic and military superpowers of current day. How bridging cultural can do for expression of cooperation and collective security in the region made possible by larger acceptance of popular pop trade namely anime, jpop and movies from Japan. A bit overstretch but this Japanese interpretation of Joseph Nye's idea of soft power concept. This time, it is other way around, with Japanese soft power vis-a-vis USA exportation of rap, Hollywood and consumer goods like Levis.

Full article here

First impressions: Kannagi/ かんなぎ

Nice pacing, well placed humor and unmistakable Yamakan's touch all over the place. Dynamic camera angle and good placement of background music. It is faithful to the manga source so far. Lush animation especially the OP and main character is quite interesting. Former A class staffers from Kyoto Animation gesture of revenge against Kyoto Animation for cashiering Haruhi's director into bin after early Lucky Star fiasco.

I wonder if this series is the reason why Haruhi S2 got delayed? Remains to be seen.

Earlier entry and trailer

Haruhi Season 2 and Kannagi's relationship?

Saturday, October 4

First impressions: Tora Dora/ とらドラ

It was pleasant introduction that moves rather quickly in pacing which a rarity in anime. Rie Kugiyama sounds more matured and she brings out the darker tinge of Taiga, which enhances the character considerably. Taiga sounded menacing yet she is absurdly comical with her reactions to her surroundings. Fans of Toradora actually wanted her to take this role despite she has been repeatedly typecast into tsundere roles way too often (Shana, Zero no Tsukaima). She paid back with spades in Toradora with restrained voice acting that actually suited Taiga's characterization.

The only problem is lack of introspection especially Taiga which made the light novel a delightful read.

The team supposedly well staffed with competent people, writer (Okari Mari) who did Rozen Maiden, also responsible for Aria and Sketchbook series. Director (Nagai Tatsuyuki) crafted Honey and Clover and also helped in Mai Hime/Otome series.

Preview from earlier entry