Sunday, November 30

The Economist "Infantile Capitalism"

At the centre of Takashi Murakami's new exhibition is a shop. Even Andy Warhol never went that far

AMONG the many rooms that make up this grand retrospective of the work of Takashi Murakami, Japan's best-known contemporary artist, one is especially provocative. It is not the gallery with the wide-eyed cartoon-like figures in bizarrely erotic poses. Nor is it the atrium, with its towering sculpture of a colourfully grotesque, pointy-headed alien, surrounded by adorable marshmallow-like sentries. The biggest buzz is about the space right in the centre of the Brooklyn Museum's 18,500 square-foot (1,700 square-metre) show: a fully operational Louis Vuitton shop, where visitors can buy their very own luxury handbag covered in Mr Murakami's playful designs for upwards of $650.

Full Article

A thought provoking article and worth to read. Basically Murakami thrives on this but yet making strong statements against the pop culture of Japan especially anime aspect since he felt it gutted the very soul of Japan. His most salient point is lament that Japan have lost its masculinity and it is manifested so strongly in the pop culture notably anime/manga output.

Bubble Gum Crisis Live Action Movie.

Another anime adaptation is given a green light, Bubblegum Crisis. It is a sci fi anime comprises of few female operators in power armour fighting rogue robots in future city. The first 6 episodes OVA is cool, the sequel suck donkey balls. The new, reimagined version, BGC 2040 is a modest success but not memorable work. It has spawned another series, AD Police. The old OVA is considered a cult hit, until today it has a small of veteran admirers despite the troubles plague the production.

So far what I knew is AIC has give a go to Hollywood and ready to pump in money for the making of the film. No director has been chosen and so is the actor and actresses.


Ponyo on the Cliff of Seas dubbing crew.

A star-studded cast is set to dub an English language version of Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea, the latest animated movie from Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki, Empire reports.

Tina Fey, Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, Liam Neeson, Cloris Leachman, Lily Tomlin and Betty White will all lend their vocal talents to the film. The siblings of certain teen sensations are also involved; the youngest Jonas brother, Frankie, and Miley Cyrus’s sister, Noah, are also part of the cast. The dubbed version is due for release in the UK next April.


Here is the list for Ponyo of the Cliff, Miyazaki's latest opus. Quite impressive.

Voltron Live Action

Fox-based New Regency has put Voltron: Defender of the Universe into turnaround, reports Variety.

The trade says that Ryan Kavanaugh's financing and production venture Relativity Media is in negotiations to back the property, though on a more moderate budget, utilizing the type of cost-effective technology employed in films including 300.

The Mark Gordon Co. still is attached to produce "Voltron," which is based on the popular Japanese animated TV series of the 1980s.


This is quite cool, I am looking forward to it. I hoping for Transformers style of fun. But set in New York and New Mexico? Erm...yeah sure.

Dragon Ball Live Action (2009)

The official trailer is out.

Weirdest anime OP for me still is....

Moonphase / 月詠 "Nekomimi Mode". Holy damn, it has to be made when they are drunk or high....maybe both?

Damn Akiyuki Shinbo. His stuff is very trippy.

2 Japanese anime movies for Oscar nomination

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Fourteen films have been submitted to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in hopes of securing one of the three nominations available in the best animated feature category.

The contenders are "Bolt," "Delgo," "Dragon Hunters," "Fly Me to the Moon," "Igor," "Kung Fu Panda," "Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa," "$9.99," "The Sky Crawlers," "Sword of the Stranger," "The Tale of Despereaux," "Waltz With Bashir" "WALL-E" and "Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who!"

Because there are at least eight but fewer than 16 submissions, a maximum of three movies can share the spotlight when Oscar nominations in all categories are announced January 22.

Full article

Sky Crawlers is a critically acclaimed but box office failure whereas Sword of Stranger have some limited success commercially but it is considered a very brilliant anime movie (including me). I was very surprised that Ponyo of the Cliff did not get in, perhaps Miyazaki already won it so his works were now off limits? Ah well.

Monday, November 24

Miyazaki telling Taro Aso to shut up about being an otaku

TOKYO (AFP) — Japanese animation guru Hayao Miyazaki wishes one of his industry's most famous fans -- the prime minister -- would just keep quiet about his avowed love of manga comic books.

Prime Minister Taro Aso, a conservative and often gruff political veteran, has tried to soften his image by casting himself as someone who understands the culture of "otaku" (geeks) whose hobbies border on obsession.

But Miyazaki said Aso had no need to advertise his earnest reading of comics.

"I think it's a shame. It's something that he should do secretly," the 67-year-old Oscar-winning animator told reporters Thursday when asked about Aso's public declarations of admiration for Japanese comics and animation.

Aso chose Tokyo's Akihabara district, a noted centre for Japan's comic book subculture, for his first street speech after taking office in September, hailing comics and complaining he could not find enough time to read them.

Miyazaki said Japan should create a proper environment for children rather than building bridges and roads to stimulate the economy.

He warned Japanese children today were surrounded by virtual reality such as television, video games and e-mail.

"I feel a big contradiction as what we are doing may be depriving children of their power," he said. "But I want to continue this job, believing it is also a happy experience that a child has an unforgettable movie."


Miyazaki constantly railing against increasing otakudom in Japan is contradictory. Either he is scared of what his works has done to audicene or simply he getting senile.

Taro is current Japanese Premier who is famous in Japan being an avid Rozen Maiden fan. He even got his doujinshi.

Saturday, November 15

Itasha / 痛車, Supercars and Otaku Blend.

Japan Manga Girls, Loved by Aso, Adorn Nerd Ferraris

Nov. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Masaya Taniguchi has a ``heartache'' plastered across the hood of his flaming red Audi AG TT Roadster.

Her name is Mashiro Mito, a teenage character from his favorite computer game with melancholic eyes and pink ribbons in chestnut hair. Taniguchi, 28, is an ``otaku,'' a Japanese term for nerd, who combines a passion for cars with affection for cartoon girls in ``manga'' comic books, movies and video games.


For some reason, this part made me laugh very hard, " Maurizio Raffone, a director at Dresdner Kleinwort (Japan) Ltd., feels the pain. ``As an Italian, and a car guy, living in Japan, I have to say, I almost cried when I saw the photos'' of manga-adorned cars, he said"

I think the artwork were beautiful but some people will consider this is as criminal as shitting on some holy book. Worse of all sacrilege on the Italian supercars. I waiting one day for someone to paste Initial D character on the car. It will be ironic as hell.

This article also speaks of Taro Aso, current Premier of Japan and known for his avid following of Rozen Maiden manga. He was featured earlier in this blog as Foreign Minister, trying to promote "Japan Cool" image as part of marketing campaign to the international market.

He even featured in one of fan made manga/doujinshi.

Earlier entry on Premier Aso

Soft Power Discussion no 4

Hollywood's new respect for anime sources

This March, I had dinner in Los Angeles with two producers from U.S. animation studios making American versions of anime originals. One, a Chinese-American, was from Imagi, the company working on next year's computer-graphic Astro Boy, a film based on Osamu Tezuka's 1960s classic. The other, a Filipino-American, was with Gonzo Digimation Holdings, the company that produces Afro Samurai, an original manga turned international anime series featuring the voice of Samuel L. Jackson.

Both producers were jovial, if anxious about the ongoing decline in U.S. anime DVD sales. But they were also quite keen to share their experiences of working with their counterparts in Japan.

"We showed a preview to some focus groups in Tokyo," said the Imagi producer of Astro Boy, "and the results were disastrous. Our Astro Boy was too snarky, too mature. They wanted to reclaim the original character's innocence."

The staffer on Afro Samurai said this: "We originally thought the collaboration would be, you know, 50-50, between Japan and the U.S. But, to be honest, the final product is more 80-20, with the Japanese input at 80. They knew what they were doing, and we didn't want to screw it up."

In both cases, smart young Asian-Americans were conceding that they needed the Japanese input to make their projects succeed.

This was news to me. In my book Japanamerica, I cite several cases of Japanese artists or producers mishandling (or failing to handle) their intellectual properties once they left the archipelago. Even the original Pokemon franchise first funneled its millions of profit dollars into the bank accounts of its U.S. distributor, a company called 4Kids.

The story was painfully simple: Japanese producers would receive a phonebook-sized contract from the United States, couldn't read all the legalese in English, but recognized a minimal up-front payment in the millions--and would sign away all of their subsidiary rights. I wrote about the absurdity of Japan's losses, wincing as I did so.

A week before the U.S. elections this month, NHK aired a program about recent encounters between anime companies and Hollywood studios called, fittingly, Anime vs. Hollywood.

Included in the show were scenes from the forthcoming Astro Boy movie and Afro Samurai, promoting both projects in the relatively somber tones of a documentary.

And guess what? There was David Bowers, director of the Hollywood Astro Boy film, traveling to Tokyo to seek the approval of Yoshihiro Shimizu, executive producer of Tezuka Productions, for Imagi's latest version of Tezuka's creation.

There, too, was Gonzo's Shinichiro Ishikawa, palling around in Los Angeles with Samuel L. Jackson, laughing and working hard on the newest version of Afro Samurai, which will also include the voice of newly signed Lucy Liu, the Asian-American Charlie's Angel.

In other words: Japanese producers were shown flying to the United States to control their products, and Americans were seen in Tokyo, seeking the approval of the original artists.

The scenes of mutual engagement and respect between anime and Hollywood felt groundbreaking, especially given the history of willful ignorance on both sides. Combined with the comments made by the two Asian-American producers in Los Angeles last spring, they produce a portrait of soft power finally working its mojo--motivating people to work together across national borders largely because they want to.

When Barack Hussein Obama, another hybrid American, was elected president of the United States last week, I and a lot of my friends were deeply moved, regardless of party affiliation, political slant or even passport designation. Obama has a lot to live up to, and an awful lot of hard work to do. But we were stirred by the mere suggestion of a 21st-century America that might reach out to others in a spirit of collaboration, as he has promised to do, seeking advice and counsel and offering strength and support rather than unilateral force and coercion--especially since the threat of declining fortunes long facing the anime industry is now being shared by the rest of us.


Daily Yomuri has annoying habit of deleting the articles so I am forced to copy and paste the entire thing here just in case it happened again. This is basically a running theme of soft power concepts and how it affects US-Japan relations.


Ninja Scroll Live Action

Leo Di Caprio. I used to loathe this guy out of sheer jealousy because Titanic. The girls are singing lullabies and want to have sex with this guy for the damn ship movie. But...

He is a real big time anime fan and his company, Appian Way already go full time production on adaptation of Ninja Scroll and Akira anime into live action.

I have confidence in him. Despite my earlier dismissal, I later on watch Basketball Diary and Blood Diamond which impressed me a lot. Not forgetting Gangs of New York. Ah well.

This time though he is not acting in either of them.


Wednesday, November 12

Singaporean Anime Downloaders being sued

Nov 11, 2008
Anime downloaders being sued
By Chua Hian Hou
FIVE Japanese anime studios are suing people accused of downloading their videos without permission, marking an unprecedented step by a rights owner against end-users.

Four writs of summons were filed last week by law firm Rajah & Tann on behalf of the studios, namely Showgate, Geneon Entertainment, TV Tokyo, GDH KK and Sunrise.

The studios are behind anime series such as Devil May Cry and Bleach. The writs did not specify which series had been downloaded.


Perhaps it is first step to stem the fansubbing scene? Interesting case to follow. It could be crucial for the fandom as lots of fans download digital copies of the Net for their anime fix.

Kannagi latest manga chapter "controversy"

According to this site, the Japanese Kannagi "fans" denounced Nagi because she is not pure (Asian euphemism for virginity).

To me, they are bunch of fucktards. She is just a character in a story, not a property. They got a bit too obsessed, really really too deep into her.

She is a good character and main driving force of the story but most of these "fans" treated her like an object of adulation (moe), disregarding the creator's vision of the story.

This is very dangerous trend, when creative force of anime/manga being subverted to niche otakudom that have their heads far too stuck up in their own ass. Heh.

I just hope the mangaka did not surrender to these people unreasonable demands.

Saturday, November 8

428 the anime

So far all I knew is it is thought to be a game at first by SEGA with story writing and art by TYPEMOON duo but turns out to be it will 2009 TV anime series now. I have no idea what is the synopsis is all about nor what is based on. But as a diehard TYPEMOON fan, I welcome this news very heartily. One of the main character surely looks like Arucied Brunestud from Tsukihime. 428 if pronounced fast sounds like Shibuya, it is sequel to famous game "machi" by this company called Chunsoft. However it is puzzling to me as to why they decided to risk an anime adaptation straightaway.

PA Works, studio behind True Tears will be responsible for the anime.

The official anime site

More Details on 2009 release; Akira

Warner Bros. will turn anime artist Katsuhiro Otomo's six-volume graphic novel "Akira" into two live-action feature films, the first of which is being fast tracked for release in summer 2009. Legendary will co-finance with WB.

Each feature will be based on three of the books in Otomo's series. The story takes place in New Manhattan, a metropolis that was rebuilt after being destroyed 31 years earlier. Otomo will exec produce the films.

Graphic novel was first adapted for the bigscreen in 1988 as a popular animated film which Otomo directed.

Studio has closed a seven-figure rights acquisition deal with manga publisher Kodansha and has set Ruairi Robinson to direct a script by Gary Whitta ("Book of Eli"). Andrew Lazar's Mad Chance will produce with Appian Way's Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson.

WB had the "Akira" rights several years ago only to let them lapse and then recapture them in a spirited bidding battle.

Robinson, an Irish helmer who has been Oscar nominated for his short film and commercials work, is making his feature debut.

The project was brought in by exec veep Greg Silverman, who has supervised "300" and "Batman Begins."

Lazar is producer on the WB comedy "Get Smart," and he's about to start production on the Jim Carrey starrer "I Love You Phillip Morris" for EuropaCorp.

Appian Way is producing the John Cusack starrer "The Factory" for WB and Dark Castle.


What else can I say? Yeah baby!

Tuesday, November 4


The stage is a rural city next to Caspian Sea in 19th century, Amir Khargal, 20 year old nomad woman, married a 12 year old boy, Karluk Aphon. It's about a life of newly married couple, an aggressive nomad woman and a peaceful farmer boy.

Mori Kaoru said she fancies cavalry battles so she decided to write this story. She is well known for her works in Shirley and Victorian Romance Emma. What I admire is her meticulous detailing and research on culture, clothing of the era she is writing on. As the picture above shows, the costume of the plain nomads of Central Asia is intricate and very beautiful.