Saturday, May 30

Christian Bale as Solid Snake?

Okay, I am a slowpoke but I read something about upcoming Metal Gear Solid LA movie which might cast Mr Bale as Solid Snake. In the interview back in 2007 (that's how slow I am!) he speaks about this role.

On IMDB it is listed as 2009 release (still in production though) but so far I don't hear a squat about it from Rotten Tomatoes or any sort of trailer so I kinda reserved anything about this. Kurt Wimmer the guy who give us the idea of gun kata (Equilibrium) and super posing movie Ultraviolet will be directing Metal Gear Solid. It is known that Hideo Kojima been wanting to make a movie instead of game which explains super long cinematic scenes in later games.

Christian Bale has the intensity and dark aura about him to play as Solid Snake. After excellent performance as John Connor in Terminator Salvation and Batman, nothing is impossible for this man. I am very much looking forward to this if this is for real.

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Friday, May 29

Dollos / ダロス OVA, the story behind it

This short discussion on Studio Peirott's 1st OVA made in 1983. The unmistakeable vibe of Space Odyssey 2001 is strong in this title. Directed by brilliant but difficult Mamoru Oshii, the discussion shows what is going on behind the making on this vintage anime. The vision, philosophy, person interjection and commercial considerations were interviewed in detail here.

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Production I.G Musashi / 宮本武蔵 ―双剣に馳せる夢― Trailer

Slated for summer of this year, Production I.G's work 宮本武蔵 ―双剣に馳せる夢― / Musashi: The Dream of the Last Samurai envisioned and written by Mamoru Oshii (GITS, Sky Crawlers) should be interesting. Oshii's vision and intellectual approach of story is either sublime or obtuse for fans. Now we shall see how he handle one of Japan's most renowned samurai legend. Kill Bill anime sequence director Mizuho Nishikubo will be the one sitting on director's chair.

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Friday, May 22

Suzumiya Haruhi ep 8 is new?

Alright, looks like fans of 2006 best anime series can rejoice as episode 8 " Bamboo Leaf Rhapsody" is on schedule 22 May 2009. However as far as I know, it is part of "renewed" airing of the series on Japanese TV, not part from long awaited season 2 of Haruhi series. Chronologically, this time the 2nd season will focus on Haruhi's alternate timeline (hence the longhair) and how they met when she is still young. This episode supposed to start this part of story. One station airing list this one as part of program schedule.

The episode is not aired in original 2006 broadcast hence the excitement from the fans right now. Truthfully, I am puzzled. Why Kyoto Animation shooting itself in foot, by jeopardizing K-On! current glory with this stunt? What are they actually hoping to achieve if this going to pass? Or they got so arrogant that they did not think it will do anything drastic to the ongoing series?

Oh not surprisingly, Kadokawa asked the offending station to delete it from scheduled program listing much later. However, part of me thinks this is part of elaborate PR exercise to hype up excitement.

One wonders.

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Thursday, May 21

Yoshitoshi ABe new work "Desperant" / デスペラント

Another hit or miss director, Yoshitoshi ABe the guy who gave the world famous mindfuck anime Serial Experiments Lain ( I am still not sure if I like it or not), pleasant hit Haibane Reimei (awesome series) and disappointing Texhnolyze (what's with the bug eye?) Now he announced a new work in progress, Desperant / デスペラント based on Taisho era.

Apparently he is working with his old buddies from Lain project and we shall see the work next year earliest.

Source and some sample work from new project

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Wednesday, May 20

Nice non Japanese cosplay

I kinda like Saber. Nice stuff here.


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Monday, May 18

Bubble Gum Crisis Live Action Movie Updates

Singapore joined a consortium of 6 countries to produce live action Bubblegum Crisis, a hard hitting cyberpunk mecha anime in 90s. It is set to be the first feature film made under Singapore-Australia, Australia-Canada, Canada-Singapore, China-Australia and China-Canada co-production treaties. Principal is by Mokko Studios in Australia with most shots will be taken there (I wonder which part of Australia that looks cyberpunkish?) The movie also aimed at Chinese market, apparently. Notice the absence of Japan in the setup despite the origin.

30 million USD were available in making of the movie, slated for 2012 CE release.

Very intriguing setup and cooperation, I must say.


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K-On! / けいおん!【巡音ルカ】 [Don't Say Lazy] ED variations

Someone posted this and I thought the German dub sounds better.

English Dub

German Dub


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Friday, May 15

Pokemon and Pikachu as business entity

This amusing title talks on how softpower Japan conquer the world using Pikachu as their spearhead in early 2000. The rise of Pikachu and Pokemon, how it conquered the world by enticing children plus not to mention the massive collective headache by the parents thanks to this simple, unassuming game.

I still remember the story where Mexican church denounced Pokemon as subversive anti Christian and burn the cartridge in front of his parishioners. Not to be overshadowed, the mullahs of Saudi Arabia went a step further by claiming it has Star of David in the content, therefore it is an Israeli propaganda in converting Muslim youth to uncouth, unIslamic life.

I personally knew few anime comrades who wanted to skewer Pikachu for sullying anime with hyperbole crass commercialized cuteness. As for me, I won't watch it but I won't go as far as having murderous thoughts. Ha!

But this article is entertaining to read.

Pokemon Capitalism

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Thursday, May 14

Eden of the East / 東のエデン Impressions so far

Yes, yes, YES!

After 4 episodes, this is the definitive anime of 2009 besides Rideback. These 2 are great saviour to largely lackluster 2009 so far. When Oasis was used for OP, I knew this series have some extraordinary touch and I was right on the money after 4 episodes.

Considering the unusual lack of manga or light novel adaptation nature of the series, Kenji Kamiyama (Ghost in the Shell: SAC, Seirei no Moribito) took a very big risk in crafting this one. What is even more unothorodox is his usage of Honey and Clover diminutive mangaka, Chika Umino which well known for soft character designs. The story is hard edged sci fi but with these gentle, almost serene character designs serves as stark contrast. What statement is Kamiyama is making in doing so? The Japanese fans were very intrigued by this series earlier on and Eden of the East ratings is pretty high for late night anime airing. So far, the series have sustained quite well.

Nevertheless what struck me is deep feeling in this series, the people definitely take time and dedication to create this gem of the season. Someone asked me why all her work so far always feature a short, little girl as heroine. The hint? This is photo of mangaka (the one in the middle).

As you can see, she is fond of doing self insertion (my guess that is)

Reviews will be up after 11 episodes and a movie(?).

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Tuesday, May 12

Manga and Visual Novel as Teaching Tool

This journal describe the positive power of visual narrative to help modern kids in their quest of education. Since current generation of students were exposed to multimedia like Internet, console gaming and PC which highly visual instead of traditional textual medium like books that old timers (me!) used to. The authors described what happened to the focus group in San Diego school when they run this field study using these teaching tools.


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Sunday, May 10

Russo- Japanese Anime collobration, First Squad / Первый отряд / ファースト・スクワッド part 2

Remember this fantastical World War 2 themed anime series by joint Russian and Japanese effort?

Finally there is more details and full trailer.

Okay, the German Army occult unit (not too far off since Himmler is very interested in occultism in real life) invoked vengeful spirits from old Eastern Crusade which Germanic order of knights "Teutonic Knights" spearheaded against pagan or Othrodox East European in 15th century. Their efforts were broken in 1410 at Battle of Tannenberg which also symbolizes the emergence of nationalism of Polish since the Polish King lead the opposing side. The battle is depicted in painting above.

In 1942, German Army is on offensive again after stabilized the line from Zhukov counteroffensive in late 1941 near gates of Moscow. This time though the Russian Army is ready for them. In the movie, the Russian vengeful spirits killed in 1941 were back helping Nadya the 14 year old NKVD/STAVKA agent to fight the mythical German Army crusaders.

Sounds like good fun. Someone did remarked to me it looks like Blood+ but with blond swordsgirl killing Nazis this time. LOL.

The movie soon will be premiered in Cannes Du Marche Films at May 13th and Palais C at May 16th and 17th 2009. Made by Studio 4C with cooperation of Molot Production, directed by Yoshiharu Ashino.

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Friday, May 8

K-On! / けいおん! Mio pantyshot Part2.

Ahem, so Kyoto Animation skimped on the direct assault imagery by giving this symbolism for Mio's exposed pantyshot....

You know I never thought a stripped bowl of steaming hot rice as analogy of pantyshot. Never in my short life. Instead of affirming or deflating fan's expectations, they go for middle solution. Smart but yet perplexing choice of imagery. Seriously.

It is unlikely there will uncensored DVD version, Kyoto Animation is not in dire straits like GONZO to hook audience. So I think this is how they portrayed racy/ecchi scenes in this series (more to come, judging from the manga)

I can imagine new meme coming after Niceboat.

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Thursday, May 7

Sino-Japanese soft power war part 2

Recently, Premier Wu Jiabao complained about lack of quality Chinese anime and kid series to counter the pervasive and odious influence from Land of Rising Sun. Apparently he was watching tv with his grandkid and much to his patriotic dismay, there is no quality Chinese cartoon or anime to entertain, instead he has to settle to watch Japanese tainted Ultraman. After the complaint, citizens of China rise up and in chorus agreed with him. They start online campaigning (same method on how Moot was chosen as Time's Most Influential Person) with fiery slogans like "Destroy Japanese Anime!" or other appropriate socialist inspired Chinese battlecry.

Chinese may outproduced Japan in terms of quantity (duh) but even the citizens of Motherland has to settle with foreigner goods for consumption as there is a lot of room for improvement for Chinese produced shows. Ironically, the premier wondered where does all talented Chinese go when this is the country that regularly suppressed free expression at the same time. Go figure.

Another irony is, Taro Aso trying to use anime as bridging tool for diplomacy at the same time.

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Wednesday, May 6

Central Park Media shuts down

Central Park Media, one of the early pioneer of USA anime scene rolling up and close shop for good today. The organization responsible introducing titles like Legend of Overfiend, Patlabor and Record of Lodoss War to American audience but also known for feeding garbage like M.D Geist and Harmageddon. One of the new casualty of current economic malaise, I wonder if broken but not dead yet ADV USA is going to follow suit too? Already Geneon USA shuts down distribution and BANDAI also withdraws from US market with closure of Animevillage.



Tuesday, May 5

Anime bubble burst, Japan's softpower under threat?

From my friend and Sankaku, apparently the thing I have been fearing has happened; the burst of anime bubble which peaked at 2006 (The year of Haruhi Suzumiya). These 2 focused on moe retardation responsible for stagnation of anime storytelling, making anime genre becoming stale as too many predictable and generic animes (Akikan? Asu no Yoichi? Sekirei?) There is only so much harem school girl moe anime one can take before become jaded with the genre. To some extent but not all malaise of anime industry today can be attributed to this.

One just have to look at Kannagi which recently concluded and we can see how moe has distorted and blocked proper storytelling. One sacred rule of moe is purity of essence aka virginity. Woe on those who break this rule, unreasonable fans will rage and punish an otherwise well told story. How to blame studios not to deviate from this formula then? It takes 2 to clap. Kannagi is an interesting example of what I think is good story tries to combine with moe appeal but ends up paying the price since these 2 are incompatible concepts to go along. I know this is a rather controversial view but this is how I see it.

My friend put this as case of point:

"And you can also see this trend with well established titles such as the Sunrise’s Gundam franchise or Tatsunoko’s Macross. Macross Frontier was for me a crappy attempt to cash in on the Macross fame, whereas the old one was an epic space opera followed by hard hitting drama (Zero). Frontier was generic shounen shit with only good soundtrack saving it from being the most shittiest franchise ever created (thankfully for Frontier Macross already had 7 to take that title). Gundam was always the same since Turn A, with only Wing and the first season of Double O having a storyline that can be considered to be able to stand by itself."

Amen to that, brother.

Asahi Shimbun, leading newspaper of Japan also points out that digital fansubbing hurt the industry bad especially overseas. The recent initiative by TV Tokyo and GONZO for example to have simulcast in US and Japan is a backhand acknowledgment on success of fansubbers denting their profit, before this they couldn't give a damn about fansubbers. This have generated positive results, the studios are more aware and move quickly to broadcast quality episodes using streaming etc to combat fansubbing. However is this too late?

Statistically, 308 series were churned out in 2006 represents the peak to 288 in 2008. In same time period 1st quarter of 2009 have 30 series out as compared to 60 in 2006. It is grim situation as more and more studios feel the pinch of economy gloom. One case example is Vallkyria Chornicles animation quality is not so stellar as compared to Tales of Abyss despite being funded by SEGA (they in trouble too). It is symptom of what I believe is lack of $$$ to pay for animation due to current economy pressures.


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Monday, May 4

The way of the future is here now.

Utterly amazing demonstration of MIT Sixth Sense, presented by Pattie Maes and Pranav Mistry 1 month ago. To summarize it, you can do the Tom Cruise thing in futuristic sci fi thriller, Minority Report.

In 5 - 10 years time, this will be our daily routine. Imagine the possibilities. Imagine the lack of privacy too, for starters.

I am still in awe. Wow.

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Sunday, May 3

Bungaku Shoujo / 文学少女

For some reason this title caught my eye for interesting premise. The story sets in modern day Japan talks about burnt out (more like emo to me) young novelist Kanoha Inoue who won prestigious award at 14 years old who vowed not to write again when he felt his literary talent was not properly recognized.

In school literary club, he is a member with another girl Amano Touko who known as "bungaku shoujo" who eats up works of literature voraciously. The sullen novelist write short stories for her to "eat" everyday but the true story begins when she decided to put a drop box for anyone with problem.

What so special about this? Apparently the light novels have won few awards in 2007-2008 period for many categories and anime series were announced for it. Studio I.G will be responsible for the production.

Taken from a site:
8th place in このライトノベルがすごい! 2007 Best Series
3rd place in このライトノベルがすごい! 2008 Best Series
1st place in このライトノベルがすごい! 2009 Best Series
1st place in このライトノベルがすごい! 2009 Best Illustration
1st place in このライトノベルがすごい! 2009 Best Female Character (Amano Tooko)
4th place in このライトノベルがすごい! 2009 Best Female Character (Kotobuki Nanase)
5th place in このライトノベルがすごい! 2009 Best Male Character (Inoue Konoha)

With such impressive credentials, it is matter of time before it got anime adaptation.

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Friday, May 1

Death Note and Warner Bros

Another film adaptation from anime/manga news here that is Warner Brothers will make an America adaptation of successful Death Note. I am not shitting here, as this link will tell you. Japan already made 3 live action adaptation of but I guess the Americans also wanted to have piece of action on their own. The American versions will be produced by Roy Lee (impressive credentials), Doug Davison, Dan Lin and Brian Witten. All these names are noted for their adaptation works of Asian media into Americanized end product, the first 2 were involved in production of "Departed" which adaptation of Hong Kong's Infernal Affairs.

How is this news going to be received by anime fans is hard to gauge. Personally I haven't read the manga or watch the anime, so I am quite neutral on this. But looking at the Hollywood names, it does seem like a big project. It is interesting to see where this leads to.

Perhaps it is time for me to read the manga.

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