Jun 30, 2007 0
Jun 29, 2007 0
As mentioned when I did a knee jerk look at spring anime a few months back, there was yet another adaptation of Shigeru Mizuki’s kid’s horror comic this year. Of course it being a show based on one of the most important and influential manga, and aimed at a mainstream audience, it was ignored by fansub groups until recently.
Quick recap of the concept of the show, good yokai (a spirit-monster of Japanese Folk Lore) fight bad yokai to protect humankind. Though often the reason the bad yokai pursue humans is human ignorance of the spirit world.
Isamu Tanonaka returns as Kitaro’s eye-ball father, Medama Oyaji. Tanonaka has portrayed him in every incarnation of Kitaro in film, including the recent live action film. Minami Takayama, the voice of Detective Conan, takes the lead role of Kitaro.
Which is probably why when I watched it Detective Conan sprang to mind, not just because of Takayama’s voice, the clean look of the show and pacing felt very Conan-like too. And there’s an element to the next episode previews that has echoes of early Conan episodes.
However it does feel a little too clean and modern. I think I preferred the first black and white episode of the 60s series that was fansubbed a year or so back. It’s an unfortunate truth that Toei’s animation quality has in general fallen from the great heights it had in that decade. Which is not to say this was terribly animated, it just felt it had more visual cues that came from the typical Toei look in 2007 than from Mizuki. But that probably doesn’t matter to it’s target audience of kids new to the series. The first episode felt like a good, fun horror show for kids that draws on folklore and complete with a moral to respect for cultural history. I’m not sure I’ll make a point of watching it regularly, I’d prefer to see more of the original series, but it’s good that English language anime fandom has paid attention to this character once again.
Jun 28, 2007 0
Been listening to the Cilvaringz album. Weird to hear a Wu-Tang album with martial arts samples again. Weird to hear a Wu-Tang album with so many Wu-Tang Clan members on it. Scary to think that Enter The 36 Chambers came out amost 14 years ago… Anyway that Cilvaringz album seems pretty cool so far.
Finally started watching Heroes after being bugged about it by my brother. Enjoying it so far, the acting is strictly TV standard for the most part, but it’s strangely reassuring to see it applied to a superhero story. And it’s nicely avoiding being horribly self-aware like a lot of modern fantasy shows.
As you might have guessed, I’ve been watching the old Channel 4 Harry Hill show after torrents surfaced on UKNova. There was supposed to be a “best of” DVD out last year, did it ever surface? I’m guessing the sheer amount of songs prevent a full series release. SILD!
Other stuff: Starfleet torrents showed up again on Demonoid, so I nabbed them. I was an avid fan of the show back when it showed in the 80s. The puppets don’t do all that much moving in the cold light of the 21st century, but the model work is still awe inspiring. Plus: Barry Hercules still looks like Tony Osoba to these eyes. Here’s the opening:
Jun 24, 2007 0
I think I’ve occasionally mentioned this hypothetical list of anime shows I have of series I want to see, so I thought I’d start addressing some of them here. Sexy Commando used to be one of them, back when I used to buy the Japanese Newtype (in an attempt to relive the alien thrill of the grey import videogame scene of the late 80s/early 90s) the ads for the LD of the show would appear regularly, and non-typical design always caught my eye. Hallelujah II Boy was another once I learnt it was written by Giant Robo OAV overlord Yasuhiro Imagawa. I’ve since seen both those, Sexy Commando being one of my favourite series of all time, and Hallelujah II Boy being a merely competant comedy that I have no inclination to see more of beyond the 3 episodes I have seen.
Way back when (1996) I started getting copies of the second volume of V-Max magazine when it was being published by R Talsorian Games and had various bits and bobs in it for their Mekton RPG. There was a brief mention in there of Giant Gorg, a OST review if I recall correctly. They didn’t really discuss the actual series, but the name itself made me want to see it.
Gradually gaps got filled and I found out about the plot. It’s a mish mash of Atlantis/Mu/Lemuria myth, ancient astronaut theories, 80s corporate villainy and a character based on Woody Allen. And a giant robot more in the mould of Daimajin (see also Godmazinger and NeoRanga) than the piloted robots of the post-Mazinger era.
While some 80s shows have begun to get some fansubbers attention (and in the case of TMS shows potential official release), Giant Gorg seems off the radar still. Which is a shame as judging by the following clip of the OP animation, it has really charming character and mecha designs. Yoshikazu Yasuhiko the main creative force behind the show is better know in the west as the director of the Crusher Joe movie and Venus Wars, as well as various Gundam character designs.
Jun 23, 2007 0
The art highlight is another gob smacking splash page. I do hope when they get to animating this arc they are working with a better staff than the latter part of Enies Lobby. Given the huge amount of character designs and neat gothic architecture they aren’t going to be able to use the shortcut of identikit marines. That was the problem they ran into when they had to animate the captains’ attack, everything looked a lot more sparse than the manga did.
Jun 21, 2007 0
Continuing to recycle old material this week. So now it’s time for the CLAY BADGER SUPERPUB. Now with new “facts”. Which by which I mean conclusions that have been reached using the scientific method of jumping.
Back in 2005, in the historical market town of Stamford, Lincolnshire, a number of signs appeared proclaiming that the “Clay Badger Superpub” was coming.
I believe the first time they appeared was in the wake of the Westgate House department store closing, and signs appeared proclaiming a “Clay Badger Superpub” was going to open there.
And people totally believed it. Folks at the company I worked for then were getting all excited at the promise of this opening in the town centre.
Actually in trying to find a photo – I found a blog entry that explains it better than I could – but it mysteriously only seems to live in googlecache now. It seems that they had previously promoted a non-existant clay badger shop by vandalising a local council welcoming sign that stood 15 feet above the ground.
This seems to be their website – but again curiously devoid of content – http://www.claybadger.co.uk/
I understand someone who used to work in the office knew who was behind it all, but he no longer works there. Mysterious. Is this all some kind of cover-up??? What don’t they want us to know?? And who doesn’t want us to know it?
Well, now it’s time for the new information. From looking at the internet now, it appears to have something to with Stamford band March To The Grave. Both their site and one for Stamford music festival make plenty of mentions of clay badgers. Are they the ones responsible? Do they know the ones responsible? Or are they trying to cash in on the fever that Stamfordians have for Clay Badgers?
Jun 20, 2007 0
I’ve no inclination tonight so here’s more recycled content presented at awesome engine for the first time
Long running detective series turns disaster movie for eighth cinema outing.
Detective Conan, or “Cased Closed” to give it it’s English name, is arguably the anime/manga powerhouse of the last decade. Running consistently on TV since 1996, it and it’s close rival series “Young Kindaichi’s Casebook” have spawned many imitators who have wanted to get in on the detective market. But Detective Conan has outlasted them all.
It has a simple, yet effective formula for this success. By literally putting a teen detective in a child’s body, then combining this with plots that don’t shy away from murder, it has a very broad age range it appeals to. There are lots of elements that appeal to children such as Conan’s (merchandisable) gadgets and the Detective Boys Club characters. But it also has romance and relationship themes that would appeal to an older audience. Not to mention a dual identing situation that resonates with the western superhero genre.
Also important is the stand alone, episodic nature of most episodes. Much like most detective shows, the premise is set up for new viewers pre titles, and you can happily drop in and out the series as you like. This isn’t a show where if you miss an episode you are going to be lost later down the line. Whilst there is an ongoing story that gets touched upon occasionally, it’s not the main selling point of the series. That is murders, and the solving thereof.
However, in this eighth film outing, the murder mystery is not only secondary, it could well be said to be tertiary.
It deals with the return of an occasional character from the series (and a pre-Conan manga work by Gosho Aoyama), Kaito Kid. Top hat wearing, monocled, master of disguise, magician and thief, Kid is an occasional nemesis/ally to Conan. I’m sure there’s a common influence to these top hatted magician gentlemen rogues who crop in manga (Raffles?), but I’m not investigating it now.
The thing about Kid appearing in the story is that it can make it an interesting mix of a normal Conan story and a Lupin III story (Kid comes with his own Zenigata-alike). And to some extent that is what happens here for the first half of the film. We then get the murder mystery, and the surprise here is it is solved in about the same time as a TV episode. It’s a simple, but logical murder. The lack of red herrings make it relatively easy to guess. With the murder solved quickly you then wonder where the film is going now.
Well it’s heading straight into disaster movie territory.
Considering that you know the characters are in no real danger as they have to continue to appear in the TV show and manga, they do a good job with the tension. And the false light at the end of the tunnel turns into an impressively animated series of explosions.
But all in all, while it was interesting to see them try something different with the franchise, it did feel somewhat light on mystery for a Conan movie. For a better Kaito Kid outing and Conan film, the third movie – The Last Magician Of The Century – is a splendid multi-layer mystery, with some OTT Lupin III-style historical conspiracies and jet-setting tacked onto a solid Conan story.