Apr 30, 2007 0
Video uploaded by dfurn
Apr 30, 2007 0
Video uploaded by dfurn
Apr 26, 2007 0
Melange of seventies influences emerges pretty much intact in this modern adaptation.
Toward The Terra is an adaptation of Keiko Takemiya’s shonen sci-fi manga from 1977. Directed by Gallery Fake’s Osamu Yamazaki, who seems to have an odd credits list on Anime News Network, in that there seems a sizable missing period of time. He’s clearly from that Project A-Ko/Cream Lemon generation, having worked on the first A-Ko and the Cream Lemon TV spin off (I know, the mind boggles…) Lemon Angel. Then he’s a number of OAVs under his belt in the late eighties/early nineties (Tokyo Revelation and Yotoden the most notable). Then nothing until Gallery Fake and Mushishi. Is this a case of ANN being incomplete, two Osamu Yamazaki’s merged together, or does he use more than one name? You know I may attempt a Rock Family Trees/Comedy Connections style thing soon using Project A-Ko as the anchor.
Anyway, what else production wise is of interest. Well it’s made by Minamimachi Bugyousho, who did Gallery Fake and part of Mushishi. Tokyo Kids are co-producing, and they too worked on Gallery Fake and Mushishi. Toward The Terra is showing a similar style as those two shows. Stories that are against the grain of the current fads, direction aimed more at storytelling than flash and a great use of digital animation. All three shows make great use of colour to match the moods of the shows, Gallery Fake had lots of warm colours and browns that fitted it’s anime Lovejoy feel, Mushishi had ghostly pastels, and Toward The Terra has a nice line in blues and earthy colours.
Oh and it has character designs by Nobuteru Yuki (Paradise Kiss, Noein). As Vision of Escaflowne was the first (VHS!) fansub I saw, Yuki’s art is close to my heart, and it was a nice surprise to see those eyes drawn straight onto hair.
So what of the story itself? Well I said it’s a melange of seventies influences. It’s got the feel of those seventies pre-Star Wars “issues” sci-fi films, with Logan’s Run being one of the more obvious influences. Also, Uri Gellar. It’s easy to forget that he was a international phenomenom in the seventies, and you’ve got to think that plays into the ESP aspect of the story. The hero also ends up with an animal mascot by the end of the episode. And there’s been an environmental disaster on Earth forcing people to the stars. But it’s actually refreshing in this day and age of pandering to fandom’s basest instincts to see what might seem on the surface a collection of cliches and well worn tropes played absolutely straight. I’m sure the story also has far more sci-fi novel references that I’m missing.
Roll on the manga/anime that is influence by Elmore Leonard novels – then I’ll be able to pick them out like crazy.
Anyway, even though the story is clearly ploughing a familiar furrow, in terms of manga, and subsequent anime, it’s a massive influence. There is certainly more than a passing resemblence between elements of the story and those in Gundam that debuted 2 years after the manga started. Not say anything of the various psychic powers based anime and manga that followed in it’s wake.
In this episode, on a space colony controlled by an artificial intelligence, we meet Jomy Mark Shin. Jorny is a 14 year old boy about to become an adult. The days before his coming of age “ceremony” he has strange dreams of a man called Soldier Blue and of “Mu” (hey a reference to a likely fictional missing country, this sort of interest in the unknown was another 70s fad). I shan’t go into too much more detail, but needless to say, the coming of age doesn’t go as The Computer had planned, friend citizen.
REMEMBER. HAPPINESS IS MANDATORY. POSSESSION OF FANSUBS IS TREASON.
Apr 25, 2007 0
Is this why the One Piece anime has turned so crummy?
Lovely Complex is based on Aya Nakahara’s shojo manga of the same name. It’s directed by Toei mainstay Konosuke Uda, erstwhile One Piece director (TV, the pretty neat Movie 4 and the slightly less neat Movie 7) who cut his teeth on various Sailor Moon projects and the 90s GeGeGe no Kitaro series. And it’s animation director is Hideaki Maniwa, who has performed similar roles on Eureka Seven, Kindaichi and, yes, One Piece.
The direction is noticably similar to that of many of One Piece’s comedy pieces, with what seems a concerted effort to emulate the success of shows like Honey and Clover. Though it’s aimed at a younger audience. There’s nothing really dazzling, indeed some of the OP and most of the promotional art bare little resemblance to the more frantic, pose to pose, loose style of the show itself.
So the animation is merely Toei standard work, so why do I like it? Well it has almost-Daichi levels of energy to it. Like Nabeshin recently showed with Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge, it’s perfectly possible to create an enjoyable comedy on a low budget. It has another One Piece alum, Akemi Okamura (voice of Nami, which is pretty much the exact same voice she uses here.), turning in a great lead performance. I don’t think I’d enjoy it quite so much without that performance being there. And it’s romantic comedy story of a short rambunctious boy and tall rambunctious girl falling in love promises to be really charming from this first episode. Of course this being a romantic comedy, it goes without saying that they don’t have a clue they are a match in this first episode.
Worth a look if you like romantic comedies or the One Piece anime or both. You might as well watch it to remind yourself how so much better One Piece was looking before it changed timeslots.
Apr 23, 2007 0
Normal service has been resumed.
Hiroyuki Imaishi is the director of Dead Leaves and the looking to be awesome Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. Here’s a bunch of clips of his work to Rolling1000toon by Maximum The Hormone. Yes, finally a tune to one of these things that I can identify,
Apr 22, 2007 0
Second episode had a noticable drop in animation quality, but it’s BONES so it’s still at an acceptable level for TV animation. And there’s nice bit of water animation as a character walks into a river.
The script plays a nice trick in giving you so much information that other scripts would save as twists that the actual twist comes as something of a surprise.
The main characters and their situation reminded me somewhat of the Atlas Games rpg Over The Edge. A cell of undercover agents with unusual powers and backgrounds working against similar cells for other organisations in a foreign town is a scenario you could drop straight into that rpg.
I continue to enjoy the characterisation of the police characters, particularly the two junior detectives as there’s some efficient animation of their body language in this episode.
There’s also some very nice timing in this episode. Okamura’s work on Wolf’s Rain had something of a considered languid pace and there’s a lot of that here too. He makes it work to wonderful effect in this episode as when Hei casually abandons his cover personality at the drop of a hat, it suddenly changes the pace of the whole show.
Shaping up to be a fun show, hopefully the animation budgets for forthcoming 2 part stories will be split more evenly as they won’t have the need to create a first episode buzz.
Apr 21, 2007 0
So finally ran a bunch of speed tests, to which Nildram commented “that’s awfully slow” and so they’ve now reported it to BT and told me to ring tomorrow afternoon for an update.
Apr 20, 2007 0
The hard drive space was only a problem with regards to running the BT line/speed test. I now have it running and the internets be borked. 26kps when I should be >5000kps. I have a connection. I have correct sync with the Didcot server. But actual speed is sub-dial up. I’ve got to run this speed test 3-4 times, then Nildram can go and hit BT with a stick.
Also: Vagaries makes it’s debut as a category at Awesome Engine.
Apr 19, 2007 0
The internet is going kaputs here. Gonna try and get a new filter at the weekend and see if that sorts it.
Apr 18, 2007 0
You are no longer the worst band on the face of Planet Earth.
That position is now held by The Twang.
The Twang are the worst band in the world.
Apr 17, 2007 0
This is the video for singer-songwriter Mimori Yusa’s song Kuro. The video was originally made to air as one of NHK’s Minna no Uta interstitial spots. Can’t find who directed it though. Any ideas?
Anyway prepare for cat based lovely melancholy: