Friday, October 30

The evolution of Saber from Fate/Stay Night

Honestly speaking, I still prefer Saber as male King Arthur, not Arturia. When first time I heard about this back in 2004, I was a bit taken aback at the idea of female King of Camelot. It took some time for me to get used to the idea.

Top left is original design of Saber (guess otakus can't fap to this), then to famous Saber that we all know, Dark Saber who is corrupted by the Angra Mariyu, Lily Saber from Unlimited Codes,Mordred the stepson who mortally wounded Saber in Battle of Camlann, Saber from new upcoming game Fate/Extra Dungeon RPG and finally Sir Pervical, Saber's loyal knight.


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Plan 303E Deep Striker Gundam Sentinel

It is always my dream to see this variant of Gundam in action, guess this is closest I can get. It is from Gundam Sentinel, a graphic novel published in early 90s based on events right after or during Gundam Zeta wars. This design is an awesome expression of Gundam firepower with Irish class battleship gun mounted on it. Designed by Katoki Hajime, the guy who designed mechas for Stardust Memory 0083 and Virtual On.

Just look at the design. What a beauty, compared to boring designs from SEED universe.

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Titan the Robot

This is awesome robot suit (there is a performer inside), made this company called Cyberstein Robots. Where people see entertainment, I see the future power armour that can easily converted into combat missions in this one.

Apparently the company is tight lipped about the development of Titan but one rumor is performers were expected to be nimble with console controls to operate the suit. The suit also have power for 30 minutes duration. That is major problem for any aspiring power armour design: power packs.

10 years from now, don't be surprised to see a power suit based on this design.

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Monday, October 26

Otoyomegatari / 乙嫁語り/ The Bride's Story art showcase

Look at the sheer beauty of this scene. No run-of-the-mill mangaka can pull this kinda stuff. It requires patience, passion and love for the craft to produce this kind of detailing (the fabric weaves and patterns are behold to look at). Kaoru Mori, famous for her work in Shirley and Emma (both set in Victorian era England) is penning this story about Central Asia newly wed couple in slice of life story. I suspect it is situated in Kazakhstan based on costumes the manga shown so far (all the hints: is the story is based on Silk Road life in 19th or early 20th century and an off hand comment that "people of the north" are encroaching on their life which sounds like Russians asserting their power over the steppe nomads). The story pacing is slow so far (as expected from her work) but the historical detailing is pretty high standard if anyone reads Emma can remember.

The videos showing stage by stage work of the art. Lots of slow, painstaking stuff here. This Japanese website have more details on this. Amazon Japan is selling the 1st volume. This is kinda stuff that gives me reason why I love art and drawing in 1st place.


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Ghost in the Shell Live Action Updates

Laeta Kalogridis is the new scriptwriter for current 3D project of highly anticipated (or highly dreaded) project Ghost in the Shell adaptation to silver screen. In her filmology, she is also wrote for Pathfinder (yuck, remember whale blubber is explosive) and Alexander (so so only)Jamie Moss is the 1st writer for the project. I liked Jamie's work in Street Kings (awesome movie).

However! I do notice she is credited as co-writer for planned James Cameron (a notorious perfectionist) project Battle Angel. Battle Angel is Cameron's adaptation of Battle Angel Alitta mangas, I suspect he is waiting to see audience's reaction to Avatar scheduled to be aired later this year for any decisions regarding about Battle Angel.

However it still remains up in the air if Ghost in the Shell movie will take off or not. I wish to see how Hollywood interpret this work, to be honest. With Dreamworks providing the firepower, it is pretty likely this project will be interesting and become a reality instead stuck in development hell. Hopefully.


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Friday, October 23

Nostalgia: Judo Boy!

Very old series that tickled me back then for sheer cheesiness. It is funny as hell and just retro as hell too. Very, very cheesy.

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Monday, October 19

Will new Astro Boy CG movie destroy the old spirit?

I heard and read many angry retorts from fans about this upcoming movie, citing that using extensive CG will destroy the old spirit that gives Astro Boy its charm. To me, I am don't really bothered by it since anime is medium of expression. CG or hand drawn did not matter in the end since most crucial is the deliverance of a good, solid entertaining story. Afterall, it is what film making is all about. Honestly sometimes I think people need to relax and accept it as alternative expression of similar material.

I will watch the movie without any prejudice, that's for sure.

More discussion here
IMDB entry

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Friday, October 16

Bakemonogatari / 化物語 receipe of success?

According to sources, Bakemonogatari, the relatively unknown and under-the-radar series when it started took the fandom by storm as the DVD and Blu Ray sales of 1st volume shown. 56,000 is a very good figure, beating even moelicious, overhyped K-On! by wide margin.

For Japanese anime industry standard it is a fantastic figure given it is not very hyped up like K-On! or have illustrious predecessors like Macross Frontier. What more, Shaft is often running short of animators (they still advertising for qualified animators) so a lot scenes were minimized or replaced with stock footage, turning it into glorified drama radio. I even read rumors of Shaft Studio often racing against deadline all the time due to lack of manpower.

The series also use a lot of fast cuts to minimize action and some episodes have more talking heads than anything else. What worked for them is judicious use of all anime female trope they can muster and one straight talker in Hitagi Senjougahara who seens to be antithesis of what is considered as standard moe label. She is easily the most popular female character after Mio from K-On!. Not to mention, Akiyuki Shinbo, master of minimalist and creative camera angles is helming the series. If anyone looked into his filmography, one will struck by how many unusual anime series he made like Starship Yamamoto Yoko or Soul Eater. However sometimes he can overboard like looping jokes of nose bleed seen in Mariaholic. I often remarked on how well he seems to be doing with minimal approach, he often let the audience to fill in the blanks instead of telling the audience the entirety of the story he presented. And it worked beautifully in some series like Bakemonogatari.

With all these stacked up against the success, they managed to strike gold. Remarkable.

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Cosmology of Miyazaki Movies Pt 3

Metal is not featured in any noteworthy manner in Totoro but it is the centerpiece of story that drives the story forward in Mononoke Hime. However, in Totoro, the bath bucket is made of metal so it is maybe an analogy of security that holds family together as Kusakabe family minus one was having a good time in hot water bath. As noted above, the single musket ball that embedded into pig god is the one that turn into raging, angry demon that lay curse on Ashitaka which later on prompted him to seek cure with answers from place that produces these musket balls. Metal also shown as main component of weapons used in the movie, arquebuses, swords, armour, lances and weapons in general. It is main element of death and destruction with other 4 elements above which gives Mononoke Hime a bleak and gloomy atmosphere since it is about incoming war between 2 forces that have lost patience with each other as man in search of advancement, encroach steadily into the sacred forest that inhabited by these unforgiving spiritual entities. The only positive force that used as comic relief somehow is the Kodamas, little white spirits that made chime noises in the forest. However, when Shisigami was shot and subsequently went into rampage looking for its head, the Kodamas are the first and most numerous victim; showing the death of innocence in face of war brewing around them. Metal was also used in pots, factory tools when the townsfolk loyal to Lady Eboshi in manufacturing the weapons, death begets death as these connections meant to show.

Earth is a maternalistic symbol that grows thing, a giver of harvest that enables life to start. In Totoro, this aspect is not really touched much but a significant scene where Satsuki found King Totoro sleeping is in the small burrow in the ground. Perhaps it is analogy of earthly pleasure of life and security. In Mononoke Hime however, it is mother lode of death again, as the iron ores were dug from it to be turned into weapons. The barren wasteland around Lady Eboshi's city is also shown, it is cloak of desolation and death as no trees grow on it and no single life can be seen too. Earth also used part of human strategy to stop the onrushing wild boar assault, the humans planted few mines to decimate the ranks of animal army. An earthly, sticky and worm like feature also a cloak of death for the angry god spirits, both boar gods were covered with it when they were cursed themselves to be demonic form that is responsible for Ashitaka's predicament in first place.

It is clear from this use of Oriental concept of elements, Miyazaki creating movies based on these elements to express his thoughts on situations and characters presented.

Thank you for reading.

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Tuesday, October 13


Few hours ago, someone posted these pages. I am literally went OMGWTFBBQ. This is weird as hell and I don't know what to make of it. Synopsis is meaningless to describe how awkward this series is.

It is like mutant of gun porn and Japanese school girl. A lethal cocktail.

Perhaps NRA or gun rights advocate will approve this manga? Authored by Kitsune Tennouji,serialised in Young Ace published by Kadokawa Shoten.

A teacher is looking for a school by the name of Seishou Academy, as he is a new transfer teacher for that school. Seishou Academy is known for having students with excellent marksmanship. However, he gets lost along the way and decides to look for someone who knows where the school is at a summer festival. He encounters a girl at a shooting range and finds her marksmanship skills to be professional. The girl tells the new teacher that she is an assault rifle, not a student. Her name is FNC and is an assault rifle of Seishou Academy. The new teacher attends school the next day to find students, including FNC, practicing shooting M16s and realizes that he has come to an unbelievable school. How will his experience be at Seishou Academy?


Good ol' Japan.

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Nyankoi!/にゃんこい! My reason for me watching it is...

This. And cats are fine too.

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Saturday, October 10

Haruhi Suzumiya the Movie?

Oh man this is rich. After massive fan backlash and expectant poor anime sales due to "Endless Eight" arc of 2nd season of their best milk cow franchise, Kyoto Animation decided to repent by announcing Haruhi the Movie.

It seem like they animating the "Disappearence" arc where Kyon met alternative long hair Haruhi and non-alien Nagato. Other than this, no more information is available so far.

I do not hold my breath for it.

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Gantz the Movie

It is coming 2011 as 2 parter, considering the massive popularity of the manga and the rather controversial anime series. "20th Century Boys" director Shinsuke Sato and stars like Ninomiya Kazunari will be roped in the movies. I enjoyed the manga but I still remember that shocking scene of boy shagging up a busty chick in the anime series. It came out from nowhere. The most visible and unmistakable straight shota scene ever. LOL.


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Friday, October 9

Hatsune Miku the singing robot

Hatsune Miku, the famous virtual idol that took the world by storm now featured in this video as singing robot. Pretty freaky if you ask me, to be honest. This is another video of her development history from her makers.

What's next? Saber?

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Thursday, October 8

More on final scene of Phantom Requiem.

The theme of series is all about karma (The 1st OP is pretty big hint), you got what you deserve for what you have done is the crux of the story here. That what makes the ending so emotional and beautiful, it gives so much meaning to the conclusion. Just like Homer's Odyssey is awesome because the characters died a tragic poetry like Achilles for example. I would consider Reiji is like Achilles, a supreme warrior that inhuman in his rampage at first but ultimately humbled by his own flaws as a human and die for it, since he already found it in the end. A meaningful and powerful pathos. The writer(s) nail it perfectly, much to my satisfaction.

Elen/Ein has no reason to go rampage since she is satisfied with new found her identity and memories thanks to humane Reiji. She is content to live her life quietly or wait for retribution for her history as Phantom which shown in the end where she lie dead on the quiet plains of Mongolia, staring at sunset with small smile on her lips forever. She found her peace within herself and willing to face death for her past deeds. That is pretty brave of her, to be honest. Perhaps too, it would explain why she is giggling in the end.

What an awesome and emotional ending.

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Cosmology of Miyazaki Movies part 2

Continuing from Part 1 of the cosmology of Miyazaki movies using Mononoke Hime and Tonari no Totoro as examples.

The element of fire in Totoro is small, nurturing even unusually serve as binding glue of family bonds with the presence of water. The hot bath scene of Kusakabe sisters and their father is heartwarming and friendly, they enjoy the heat of the water boiled in slow, placid fire which seem did not have a care of the world, fits the movie somehow. Perhaps it is a throwback to ancient times where people gather around small fire which leads to fostering of family.

Water is source of life, and in Totoro it has that role. In the bath scene again, it is a rejuvenating and refreshing element, enabling a playful atmosphere which brings joy and happiness to the family. In other significant scene that uses water as narrative prop, Mei was waiting under an umbrella in the broken bus stop, suddenly spotted King Totoro standing beside her holding a flimsy plant to shield himself from the roaring rain, illuminated by soft light. The sound of the rain hitting on both of them is somewhat resembled a musical encore to new discovery and adventure, Mei decided to pass her umbrella to King Totoro which the spirit reciprocated by letting her on the grinning Cheshire catbus which leads to exhilarating adventure for Mei. It can construed as lively encounter between both characters prompted by water since water is source and beginning of all life.

Princess Mononoke used these 2 elements as symbol of power and conflict, not surprisingly. Fire is the main element needed to mold iron into workable weapons, and Lady Eboshi townsfolk were armed to the teeth with rudimentary firearms to defend upcoming government army that is coming to claim her domain while she is busy hunting down the Shishigami at the end of the movie. During the massive conflict against the spirits, the humans employed massive use of man made fire to stop the attack, here fire is destroyer and taker, merciless and unforgiving at that.

To make weapons from iron, water is also needed for cooling process, again, underscores the symbolism of 2 elements as confrontational and angry aspect. In twisted sense, when Ashitaka was ushered into factory, he could see womenfolk of the town was pumping water which leads to gender flirtation between both of parties and bonding, not unlike the familial bathing scene in Totoro. For a brief moment, water serves as glue for human interaction and friendship but ultimate purpose is unmistakable, it is to create more implements of war on behest of the "benevolent" Lady Eboshi.

The first encounter between San and Ashitaka is again involved heavy use of water element, he spotted her tending to Moro's wound near a stream; to jump start a relationship that would later bloom into romantic mode. Water is a giver and progenitor of life; Miyazaki uses it to canvas the bonding and encounter scenes for a more environmentally calm feel. But unmistakably, the scene also uses water as barrier between humans, a borderline between 2 unrelenting forces that is hellbent on destruction of each other. It is notable that San regarded him with contempt in this scene then rides away with Moro.

Final Part 3 will be here soon.

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Saturday, October 3

Kyoto Animation Award


Considered as one of the most beloved anime studio by anime fans worldwide for their faithful adaptation of source materials (Clannad, Kanon for example), Kyoto Animation is organizing a competition for original submission of story (all formats are accepted). The prize is not much but it will be animated by the studio themselves which will automatically send any orgasmic joy to all budding anime creators out there. What's more, no restriction on genre, age, sex, professional or amateur is placed. Dateline is 15th Jan 2010.

Now I tempted to ask why the studio is harvesting non mainstream sources. Are they running out of ideas? Or they decided to play cheap, looking at current climate of industry? Some cynics might point out their colossal creative mistake of doing Endless Eight is major indication that they need to change.

Anyway....So anyone willing to try for it? Good luck!

Main Site

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