Japanese Journals - Anime

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Re: Japanese Journals - Anime

Postby Johndav » Fri Jan 27, 2006 1:25 pm

Well, i think Howl's Moving Castle is the most wonderful animation of all. Perhaps i was fortunately spared the Williams/Aladdin's genie similarity by watching a French version. And strange the 2 by Miyazaki i like most i saw in a foreign language (Totoro in Japanese). I didn't find the anti-war message overpowering, though it is powerful enough, and i'm very impressed with Miyazaki's personality, idealism, commitment to humane, decent causes and making the world a better, more peaceful as well as charmingly imaginative place for children and adults alike. Not only a technical marvel, as we've come to expect, this one thrilled and touched me emotionally. 3 days on, i still have a warm glow of contentment, + admiration for a director who now joins my pantheon. I'd forgotten Wynne-Jones was born in England, but with her Welsh name and characters called Jenkins + Pendragon i naturally recalled Miyazaki's own visit to Wales, which influenced Laputa.

Re: Japanese Journals - Anime

Postby trevor826 » Mon Jan 30, 2006 6:37 pm

Porco Rosso (1992) Kurenai no Buta

Directed by Hayao Miyazaki

Yet another wonderfully crafted anime feature from the hand of Miyazaki, set in the 1930s in a fantastical setting yet tied to reality with the inclusion of the growth of fascism in Italy.

Porco Rosso, formerly a handsome man has been cursed with the face of a pig, an ace flyer and bounty hunter, he spends his time defending ships and planes from a motley and humorous collection of flying pirates.

Because the pirates cannot defeat Porco they hire an egotistical American Ace (Curtis) to take care of it; he damages Porcos aircraft and believes hes killed him. Meanwhile Porco has been rescued with the remains of his plane and heads off to Milan to get it rebuilt.

Porco is sexist, (in his own words, Every middle-aged man is a pig) he is appalled when he finds out his plane will be designed by a 17 year old girl (Fio) and built by women but has no choice in the matter. To his surprise it turns out to be better than ever. He heads home very quickly after finding out that the Italian government has a warrant for his arrest and the secret police are on his trail. Begrudgingly he takes Fio with him as she wants to ensure the plane works correctly.

Once back hes surrounded by the pirates who have discovered his secret hide-away and are after his blood, Fio manages to calm them down as long as Porco has a rematch with Curtis, as a side bet Fio will have to marry Curtis if Porco loses.

What is the curse that has turned Porco from a man to a pig and how can it be broken? Will Fio end up married to Curtis and what is it that she and other women find so attractive about Porco?

Thats enough of the plot although its only skimming the surface, love, honour, trust and friendship all play a part in this charming tale. Set before WWII, the ugly rise of fascism is seen from gossip in the local shops and bars to militaristic parades and secret police in Italy. The flying scenes are wonderful which is just as well as they make up a large proportion of the film. In spite his features and despite his heroism Porco is humble and very down to earth, a no-nonsense nice guy who in no way see's himself as a hero.

An absolute recommendation, Miyazaki proves once again that he is a wonderful animator, creator and director. Great entertainment for any age, sit back and enjoy the ride.

Cheers Trev.

BBFC rated PG.

R2 Pal dvd available from Optimum, R1 ntsc dvd available from Disney.

Re: Japanese Journals - Anime

Postby trevor826 » Tue Mar 14, 2006 10:37 am

As well as movies there are many very good series including Neon Genesis Evangelion, Noir and Azumanga Daioh. I've just bought all episodes of a series so before discussing others I thought this would be an ideal way to start.

Ghost in the Shell [Stand Alone Complex]

Ghost in the Shell - The timeline for the series is set before the two movies and includes all the major characters though a lack of knowledge of the films probably won't detract from the series.

[Stand Alone Complex] - The series is made up of stand alone episodes and episodes that carry a more complex plot that runs through the whole series, slightly reminiscent of the way the "X Files" was constructed.

I'll write additional notes as I watch the series but I'll just mention the dvd's. Each part (3-4 episodes) is contained on two discs, they are presented in anamorphic widescreen. The reason for two discs appears to be to provide the best in audio and visual quality. Disc one has English and Japanese stereo and dolby digital 5.1, it also contains most of the extras. The second disc is mainly set aside for DTS, although sound and vision aren't the most important aspects of any dvd, this is certainly what I would classify as a high quality product.

Volume 1.

First thing of note is the difference in the style of graphics and plot compared to the films, still very cyberpunk and very true to the characters. Each of the Stand Alone episodes has worked well so far considering the time constraints, one even had a homage to 60's French cinema. Only one Complex episode on disc one but it already looks like this will be a good series, certainly for fans of the films and/or Cyberpunk in general.

Volume 2 expands on the Complex plot with a further two episodes in the hunt to find out the truth behind the Laughing Man, is there a genius hacker known as the laughing man or is it part of some much larger conspiracy, certainly complex and should develop well over the series. Two Stand Alone episodes that keep up the standard of the first ones, very well done so far.

Volume 3 Both the Stand Alone and Complex episodes are excellent, the only time I can remember seeing so much initiative and inventiveness in an anime series was with Evangelion. The one thing a series can take time doing that the movies can't is expanding on the characters, delving into the pasts of Batou and Major Kusanagi with some surprising results. The series has improved as it's progressed and has so far been a very worthwhile purchase.

I've watched the complete series now and give it a definite recommendation for anyone into anime or cyberpunk, certainly for fans of the films.

The standalone episodes work very well and the complex will blow you away, very very good.

Once you get used to the more (neccessarily) simplistic visual design you will be drawn into the plot and characters.

The one thing I really missed from the films was the wonderful score by Kenji Kawai, but overall it gets a definite thumbs up.

Cheers Trev.

Re: Japanese Journals - Anime

Postby trevor826 » Sun Mar 26, 2006 11:45 pm

Still to come.

Barfoot Gen 2
Blood, the Last Vampire
Burn Up
Castle of Cagliostro
The Cat Returns
Dragon Half
Gunsmith Cats
His & Her Circumstances
Kiki's Delivery Service
Laputa, Castle in the Sky
Martian Successor Nadesico
Neon Genesis Evangelion & Movies
Ninja Scroll
Only Yesterday
Paranoia Agent
Perfect Blue
Princess Mononoke
Read or Die
Riding Bean
Sakura Diaries
Samurai X
Serial Experiments Lain
Spirited Away
Tokyo Godfathers

And more...........

Cheers Trev

Re: Japanese Journals - Anime

Postby trevor826 » Sun Apr 02, 2006 10:37 pm

Steamboy (2004) Suchmubi

Directed by Katsuhiro tomo

An allegorical fable set in mid 19th Century Britain at the height of the industrial revolution, Steamboy is the story of Ray Steam, a young boy living in Manchester who receives an invention of unparalleled power from his Grandfather and is told to guard it with his life till he can present it to another inventor Robert Stephenson.

Shortly after receiving the package, men from the OHara foundation force their way into the house, they want the Steamball and dont care how they get it. Ray escapes on one of his own inventions only to be trailed by the men, they capture him after an exciting chase through the English countryside and a brush with a steam locomotive.

The next thing he knows, Ray is in London and housed within a giant steam castle, here he meets his father whom he had thought was dead. It is the time of the Great Exhibition and Ray discovers that his father has sold out to the OHara foundation. The castle which overlooks the Crystal Palace is a powerhouse of weaponry and is there to push sales of these to anyone, friend or foe as long as they can pay for them.

Hindered then helped by Miss Scarlett (the daughter of the president of the OHara foundation) Ray manages to retrieve the steamball and warn Robert Stephenson and the British police about the castle. A huge battle ensues within the heart of Victorian London between the British forces and the power of the Steamcastle.

Obviously historical details are a bit muddled in this tale, Manchester and London both look clean and pristine when in fact they were dirty and smog bound. Theres also a mixture of genuine and fantasy characters, George Stephenson was a famous British inventor who designed the first successful locomotive, The Rocket. Miss Scarlett in the story is blissfully ignorant of everything going on around her apart from her own desires, just like her namesake Scarlett OHara in Gone With the Wind.

The timing is also out for the Great Exhibition which pre-dates the setting of Steamboy by around 15 years but since the film is a fantasy, these minor discrepancies can be ignored.

The story represents the abuse of discovery and invention, if something is invented or discovered and can in anyway be used as a weapon, (in this case the steamball can be seen to symbolise the far more potent destructive force of nuclear power) then there is no doubt that it will be turned into a weapon, usually on the pretext of defensive measures. Of course if a weapon is invented, there will always be someone willing to sell it and not particularly concerned with who the customers are either.

As far as the animation is concerned, it is generally very good; a little too much use of cgi maybe, especially within the confines of the steamcastle but at least it has been toned to fit in with the more traditional animation. The character designs are also very good although I did have a problem with the only major female character, Miss Scarlett who had masculine features and looked like Ray Steam with a wig on.

Anna Paquin voices Ray but her accent flits all over the place, the one thing it doesnt sound like is a Manchester accent. Another point is that although her voice passes for a boys most of the time, there are moments when it sounds far too feminine, a very inconsistent performance and one that unfortunately stands out for the wrong reasons.

A decent adventure, though one that falls short of Miyazakis films or indeed tomos own classic Akira. Still recommended especially to anime fans.

Cheers Trev.

BBFC rated PG

R2 Pal dvd available from Sony Pictures, standard edition contains the theatrical release of the film and English dub.

Director cut contains full length version and both English and Japanese dubs, it's also far more expensive.

R1 ntsc dvd also available from Sony Pictures.

Re: Japanese Journals - Anime

Postby arsaib4 » Mon Apr 03, 2006 6:29 am

Which version of Steamboy did you get to watch?

Re: Japanese Journals - Anime

Postby trevor826 » Mon Apr 03, 2006 10:59 am

Since it hasn't been released theatrically (at least not here) I've only seen the rental version which is the same as the theatrical cut. If I was going to purchase it I would go the extra and get the directors cut, not just for the longer film and Japanese soundtrack but it has been beautifully packaged with plenty of extra goodies.

Cheers Trev.

Re: Japanese Journals - Anime

Postby A » Mon Apr 24, 2006 1:53 am

I watched the longer version last year in theater, japanese with english subs.
Doesn't seem better than what you already wrote. Maybe the shorter cut is, as the one I saw kept on dragging waay too long. Anyway recommendable for anime fans.

Re: Japanese Journals - Anime

Postby hengcs » Tue Feb 06, 2007 12:30 am

I am not sure if we have talked about this film ...
Anyway, just some info (since the movie is out, but not the DVD) ...

Goro Miyazaki (father is Hayao Miyazaki) anime ... Tales from Earthsea (Gedo Senki) is based on Ursula K. LeGuin's Earthsea Series ...

Box office ... the film reached #1 at the Japanese Box Office on its opening week and reached #4 top grossing movie for the year in Japan ...

Critics ... gave it the "Worst Film" in Japan's version of Razzie Awards ...

From what I have read from a few websites ...
-- Story telling is weak; lots of frightening scenes
-- Artwork and Music/Soundtrack is great ...

Re: Japanese Journals - Anime

Postby trevor826 » Fri Aug 17, 2007 2:20 pm

I'll be seeing the subtitled version during September and am happy that I know nothing about the Earthsea novels, otherwise I'd be far more wary.

Have you or will you be seeing it hengcs?

Cheers Trev.


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