zustifer: (lemon chiffon directions)
You guys, there is a whole flickr group dedicated to Daiso!
Charming things posted by others include: Robot thingy! Something with kitties on it! Elephants in crowns on socks! Pig bento! Animal Daruma! Catbowls! Catbag! Pig-watermelon stationery!
Truly, Daiso is an important place. I wish the closest one to us wasn't like an hour drive away.

Unrelatedly: Wow, I don't agree with this at all.
zustifer: (Goggalor)
Dai-Nipponjin (AKA 'Big Man Japan') (2007), Hitoshi Matsumoto. May 2, 11pm. View count: One.

I was immensely pleased with this movie, which we saw at the film festival which is apparently going on now. Some of the people who we went with, less so; it was postulated that one should have a japanese monster movie or television show (Power Rangers, etc) background, which I think is probably very true.

The heart of it has the protagonist, who's supposed to be a japan-defending hero from a long line of same, failing to do a decent job with anything. (Apparently his family never needed guidance before; people's reactions to his inability to cope are pretty nonconstructive.) So he bumbles along, followed by a minimal faux-documentary crew (seemingly delighting in doing things with the camera that such a crew could never manage) through his sad little life, occasionally battling (poorly) very japanese cg critters (of which I loved the first, but could take or leave the rest). I loved it. Something about the 'it's a living' attitude toward titanic battles to save the homeland just really appeals to me, I suspect.
zustifer: (Beetlejuice: Delia day-o)
Fa fa fa, I so, SO wish that Robert Carlyle was going to play Dr. Who. A touch of horrible crazy is exactly what's needed.

I think this post is about the style of cooking portrayed in Lunch Queen. That is neat.

This is the most badass sculpture I've seen in a while. There is a lot more if you click on the different years, but the most recent ones are I think the most successful.

Madeofmeat lunk this page a little while ago, and it's got some interesting stuff, but good christ, the type on the splash page! The pain!

Kinda cute music video with an attractive visual treatment. Too bad about the facially dead dead deadski 3d protagonist.
zustifer: (Goggalor)
Space Battleship Yamato (Star Blazers), 1974. (Wikipedia link)

We've been watching the original series for a little while, and only about halfway through it do I really feel like I have seen enough of the characters to draw any of them. I swear, the first five episodes or so consisted entirely of either lovingly animated explosions or the same four cycles reused for pretty much everything. (I have lots of vague memories from childhood, when I watched the hell out of the american dub (Star Blazers), and I'm amused to find that I still remember people's american names sometimes, but it's not the same as having seen it recently.) Because of this childhood exposure, I was worried that the series wouldn't hold up, but I think I underestimated my ability to enjoy things. Well, maybe not that, but it is actually an interesting series. Our heroes and their ship are at a constant technological disadvantage (er, usually), often getting the crap beaten out of them in skirmishes with the Gamila(n)s. It seems, although I haven't seen it mentioned (I also haven't looked that hard), that the crew is composed entirely of punk kids and marginally qualified adults. Presumably this is due to harsh wartime conditions, but it's really not made much of, for whatever reason.

The series displays a hoary old anime trope, the slow build-up, both in macro and micro ways. The ship makes its way past each planet in the solar system, marking out the time the human race has to survive (as arbitrarily as possible). There's lots of attention paid to process, and journeys within the larger one, as well.

Well, anyhow, here's a couple of characters.

(Side note: I just found out that those Daft Punk videos were actually done by Matsumoto himself; I'd thought they were a pastiche! What a freakout.)
zustifer: (Dogtato and Boartato)
I was surfing j-pop videos on lastfm just now, trying to pull something good out of an old colleague's questionable taste, when I ran across this video ('Highway') which just happened to star the middle brother from Lunch Queen.
I mean, the song is nothing to get excited about, but still, I was amused.
zustifer: (comics: Karma)
Lupin III: Elusiveness of the Fog (2007), Masuda Toshihiko. October 28, 10pm. View count: One.

This was pretty crap. It was a TV special, rather than a proper movie, and clearly everyone involved kinda phoned it in. There was time travel, to a time where a Japanese-ish ancient society was fighting an animal-masked force called the Norse. Hmm. Also the Japanese clan was called 'Shine', as in Shiney McShine. I'm not even going into the sheer folly of doing a time-travel plot with no thought; suffice it to say it was pretty sad. Everything was dull, and chmmr deployed the best quips.

chmmr: So is Zenigata's sexual preference 'Arrest Lupin'?
me: I don't know, he's even more fixated than that. He's almost mindless.
chmmr: He's a pokemon. 'Lupin! You're under arrest! Lupin! Lupin!'

[PS: This is probably the best review of Lupin I've ever read, even though it's about Castle of Cagliostro, which everyone knows is great. Everything that's in bold is especially good.]
zustifer: (Beetlejuice: sandworm1)
The Nightmare Before Christmas (in 3d!) (1993), Henry Selick. October 23, 7:30pm. View count: Five?

It had been a while since I'd last seen this, and certainly a while since (I think) I watched it on the big screen, when it came out in theaters originally. It's a little funny seeing it again, what with the smothering merchandising embrace of all the toys and t-shirts that have somehow pervaded the youthy culture in the time after Japan noticed the movie. (I could maybe form a theory about Japan feeling approximately the same about christmas and halloween, both being weird semi-imported holidays, and so combining them wasn't so obtuse. I'm sure the kimokawaii charming/alarming combination of the characters did not hurt either.) Regardless, it's what most people think of when they think of Tim Burton now, I suppose.

Chmmr and I were discussing the workings of the universe of the movie last night (if you don't care, and I won't blame you if you don't, you can tune out now), and he brought to my attention that, somehow, I had never really comprehended that the citizens of Halloween Town went out into the human world on halloween, where they Did Halloweeny Things like drain blood (?) and presumably terrify children more harmlessly. Somehow this hadn't really gotten across to me, probably because for everyone but Santa and Jack, the town is such a bubble (no one else ever leaves while we're watching or indeed seems to want to). Presumably, though, they do go out there; the 'This is Halloween' song implies to me that somehow the citizens are out scaring kids whenever necessary. How can you be 'Mister Unlucky' to a guy who sees you once a year? And yet the citizens are perhaps unduly concerned with Halloween as an event, to the extent that the day immediately after it is supposed to the first day of preparations for the next. I suppose it's just their biggest event.
The mausoleum door in the human cemetery that leads back to Halloween Town maybe implies that regular traversing is done, so, really, maybe the Halloween Citizens really lucked out by being members of the only holiday whose effects aren't confined to a week or so. You can be scared by things at any given time. They also benefit from being fairly diverse in their composition and range; Halloween is a fairly rich holiday. I mean, seriously, Thanksgiving Town? One can only imagine the depressing third-grade-level Pilgrims and Indians universe in there.

Arguably, none of the Normal Townspeople in any Tim Burton universe is really quite sentient. They require intervention by the Free-Thinking Freak to show them how to really think for themselves. In Nightmare, this never really happens with the townspeople (and, weirdly, the Free-Thinking-Freak sort of realises that he shouldn't try so hard to be different?), and Sally could already think for herself before Jack got there. The other citizens are generally pretty much animals, really limited in their thinking and scope. They're like elemental spirits or something.

Below them in the intelligence hierarchy are the ambient ghosts and small animals that seem to be nearly everywhere. It's unclear whether those ghosts were ever anything alive, insofar as 'alive' has meaning. I'm definitely unclear on the level of mortality that anyone in the universe has; presumably they're perpetual entities of some sort, but death is (obviously) a concept for them, and it seems that they accept that they and others can die and not return ('The King of Halloween has been blown to smithereens'). Dr. Finkelstein can create life, the Lumpling child may or may not be able to grow into an adult, the vampires may or may not be able to make more vampires. It's really almost none of it covered in the movie, but it's not like that stops me wondering.

Presentation-wise, the 3d-translation was not terribly noticeable. The stupid previews did more with depth perception than Nightmare did, but that's to be expected, probably, given its origins as Not A 3d Film.
The environments were especially gorgeous on the big screen, though. Really amazing work on the sets. IMDB says that some unspecified thing was invented that "enabled a puppeteer to seamlessly switch to a replacement puppet if a puppet broke during a shot." So... a video feed? I don't know what they could mean, really. There were surprisingly few animators on the project, for such a large production. It's impressive.
I also noticed for the first time that the head in the bass belonging to one of the musicians is probably a caricature of Danny Elfman.
zustifer: (Beetlejuice: Otho rocks out)
A Life of Ninja (AKA 'Deadly Life of a Ninja') (1983), Tso Nam Lee. September 13, 11pm. View count: One.

Tokyo Godfathers (2003), Satoshi Kon. September 14, 7pm. View count: One.

Idiocracy (2006), Mike Judge. September 15, 10pm. View count: One.

A Life of Ninja: This is a pretty great terrible movie. 343, unpleasant, I recommend you track this fellow down.
It's narrated at the beginning (in the dub, obviously) by an american who refers to 'ninjas' (his idea of which is pretty suspect) as 'ninjers.' Which is a pretty nice windfall if you've been looking for a term that shows derision for fake ninjas, I suppose.
The whole intro sequence is taken up by myriad stupid training exercises; whipping weapons at paper cutouts of angry faces, lady ninjers mud wrestling, and needless 'teleportation' achieved by non-judicious edits. Then the whole rest of it is about some crap I can't remember. There's a lady who wants to be a ninjer, but is totally a WOMAN; some ninjer with some agenda who says things to cops like 'Ninjas can be anywhere. There could be one in front of you RIGHT NOW.' There's a bad guy with a drunken wife, and I don't know whatall. It's definitely, definitely worth locating and forcing on unsuspecting friends.

Tokyo Godfathers: I am an idiot for not having seen this, because it is great. It's lovely, and clever, and lovingly animated. It contains a lot of Kon's favorite little themes, like homeless characters and dark-haired middle-class ladies who have for one reason or another gone quietly insane. The whole plot centers around christmastime, which is interesting given Japan's attitude thereto (not really like ours). I'm curious as to how much the 'christmas miracle' concept is taken directly from western entertainment. It's still far superior to any of our christmas-themed crap. Except for maybe Will Vinton's.
But taken on its own it obviously still stands up; it's a really pleasing story, with the mawkish parts overplayed beautifully by a drag queen. Good stuff.

Idiocracy: Apparently this movie was very much held down by the man, who is FOX in this situation. It seems that, also, some of the companies whose future forms were made ludicrously different from their current corporate image were not so happy about it either. I don't quite understand this, as it doesn't differ significantly from the one referent I have ('Fox became a softcore porn channel so slowly that nobody even noticed'). Although, obviously, the Simpsons was _on_ Fox, but it seems like defamation is defamation. Can the speculative future form a business takes really be damaging to its current incarnation? I find this crazy, but, then, I am not in marketing.
This was, though, a not-unfun movie with a lot of cute observations. I still haven't untangled the level of astuteness that the content was presented with; I probably need to see it again. The 'average guy' transplanted to a time where average means something similar but more exaggerated has a lot of implications: is your allegiance to starbucks different from a future-guy's, merely because its function has changed? Is the entire story about how being a big fish in a small pond is really what an 'average' person wants? There must be something to the whole spam-beloved 'life experience is worth more than education' concept. I am not sure exactly how deep any of it goes.
It is clear that Mike Judge is not really at home thinking out working worlds; there were definitely a lot of little things that didn't quite work, although many of them can probably be chalked up to people's entrenched ways of dealing with things.
Anyhow, it's sort of an interesting movie. I will try to watch it again, and see what comes out.
zustifer: (Stan)
Final Fantasy, Advent Children (2005), Tetsuya Nomura, Takeshi Nozue. August 24, 1pm. View count: Two.

I have no investment whatsoever in the Final Fantasy universe, so I am so not the target audience here. I'm not even going to touch the plot, since it's not important to me, and half of it is fanservice, I'm sure. I do often like the creatures, though.
This movie was not the uncanny-valley spelunker that Spirits Within was, thank goodness. The character stylization was a really good choice. The hair-clumping and simplified faces generally worked really well. The mouth deformations were not quite up to snuff though; the bad guy brothers had permanent smirks that just looked like fakey versions of this --> :3. It could be a result of the discrepancy in how japanese and western people people emphasize mouths vs. eyes when reading expressions. There was also too much roundness in the mouth corners, and failure to move the corners down enough when the mouth opened.
Leather looks terrific in cg; it's thick enough and shiny enough in real life that it puts their two-years-ago cloth to shame in some spots.

Generally it was fairly visually fun, though, with nice animation and attractive sets. The fight scenes were uniquely well-done, with the selective gravity/time-speed elements handled prettily. And the monsters, the fast cowskulled things toward the beginning and the giant human-toothed thing at the end, were lovely.

Cloud holds his sword like it's made of foamcore, though. I suspect it's canon.
zustifer: (Dr. Phibes)
Ooh, look, I got mentioned on the Total Dick-Head blog. Dude didn't pick the most pleasing photo, but, oh well. Extremely niche recognition is extremely niche recognition.

Ha ha, Evangelion characters doritos.

Some serious ups and downs, but here are some things film people emailed Ebert about Ingmar Bergman.
My dad showed me The Seventh Seal when I was a child, twelve maybe. I remember being pretty enthralled. I recently got my hands on some more of his work, and intend to watch the hell out of it.
Oh, and the conversations on ghibli blog posted the absolutely adorable little beer commercial/Bergman mashup from I forget what MST3K episode. Just to tie in with jwgh's comment.


Jul. 30th, 2007 04:29 pm
zustifer: (Negiwanikun)
Paprika (2006), Satoshi Kon. July 29, 10-ish pm. View count: Two.

Uh... still good?

Pleased to note that it holds up well still on the small screen, although I'm very glad that we were able to see it in the theatre. Apparently Megumi Hayashibara was the voice of the main female characters; like there's someone in the world that Megumi Hayashibara hasn't voiced. She's also reprising her role as Rei in the new Evangelion thing, speaking of that. The Eva designs for the game are pretty ecch, anyway; haven't seen definitive ones for the new movie. Way to bland up a beautiful thing.

Anyhow, back when I was first talking about Paprika, I was consciously comparing it to Evangelion; there's a certain amount of commonality, although more in the realm of 'wacky-ass japanese stuff' than necessarily actual concrete content. Paprika is well aware of the Too Flaky line, and does not cross it. Evangelion plops down on the other side of that line and has a good cry while staring at a crucifix.
Paprika doesn't pile on the themes, hoping that some of them will hang together; instead the ideas are kept to a minimum. Even if they aren't discussed thoroughly, their bearing on the plot is unavoidable, and the gaps are filled with bits of character nuance.

Plus, man, Hirasawa Susumu's soundtrack. Very nice.
zustifer: (Mrs. White)
End of Evangelion (1997), Hideaki Anno, Kazuya Tsurumaki. July 29, 2-ish pm. View count: three or so.

We'd decided to rewatch the Evangelion series, which meant rewatching at least this movie, given the series' unsatisfying if not completely off-putting conclusion (this movie either replaces the final two episodes, or somehow happens concurrently). I'll probably end up jabbering about the whole series to some extent, because the End Of doesn't really stand on its own in any way.

So, okay. The series is about people and their individual complexes on top of complexes (which happen to all be fairly similar), giant 'robots', and some sort of half-explicated christian-flavored theological mishmash. None of these components really, really has any impact on another. They mostly keep their conflicts to within their own category. There's some overlap sometimes, but it's not the deep satisfying kind, it's the 'I wonder if they really meant this' kind. If they don't talk a concept to death, was it really intended to be visible? So much does get talked to death that it's hard to be sure that anything that's not specifically discussed is important or intentional.

So, screw the overall plot of the movie, I guess. I don't really care about the occurrences after the world ends. It's all Tang and giant vacant chicks, anyhow. The rest of it, though, had some merit and potential. Dude has troubles, dude tries to work them out by being an Eva pilot. Other people do the same. Everyone is broken, which was intentional, but not actually very interesting. What I need to know is this: why weren't the Evas used more cleverly? They were portrayed exclusively as tools. Tools that could freak out, perhaps, but still tools. Maybe like a beast of burden, that sort of thing. They were almost always mere extensions of their pilots, narratively. It looked for a time, though, as if they were being set up to be at least semisentient. This was completely abandoned, however. I wanted the Evas' wills to be apparent. I wanted their thoughts to seep into the thoughts of their pilots, making them suddenly realise they were doing something they hadn't been trained to do. That kind of thing. This would have paid off the whole 'Evas are alive' concept in a much more deep way (er, you know, deeper than not-at-all, unless you count staring).

Of course, I thought the Eva segments (and angels) were the best parts, not least because of how freaking gorgeous they were. I just love everything about them; their proportions, their weight, their sort of awkward gorgeousness. Beautifully animated, especially in contrast to all the stupid, stilted humans. I've watched this series a few times, and I seriously had trouble this time around listening to everyone's personal neurosis-time when I could have been looking at beautiful perfect robot-shaped things destroying a life-form of some sort in a particularly well-visualised way? This is why I haven't seen the Transformers movie, too (ha).

Anyway. I had little patience this time around for everyone's super angsty self-absorption. The repetition didn't do it for me so well, and the pseudoscience, although at least fairly well-formed in its own universe, got annoying right around the time 'instrumentality' (not the Krell kind) was mentioned. I don't know if this just isn't a series that works well over multiple viewings, but this is the first time I've wanted to just cut together all the Eva scenes and just throw out everything else.

The (human) character designs, although not overtly awful, have a lot of annoying proportional issues. They also do that thing wherein unless the head is in absolute profile, the upper and lower lip will remain connected at the front while talking, as if the mouth has been slid toward the camera. It's horrid. And, as expected, every female is visually identical except for hair and eye color.

I'd just like to add that I have never understood the well-maintained and focussed wank-field that surrounds all the female characters. They're like the ur-otaku-wank-input. I mean, given, they are sexualised pretty strongly, but, uh, come on, we see exactly how crazy each of these people is. I come out of the series mostly hating everyone, myself. I wish I knew how much of this was marketing.
(This is, at least, all marketing.)
zustifer: (Dogtato and Boartato)
Hey, check out this manga, which is rather nsfw but which does this tee-riffic structural thing with placing panels on sides of 3d structures. The people and things inside the panels are cut off at the edges, and melded into one another where they meet in the center. It's really a fun concept.

Yotsuba 4 is also out, guys!
zustifer: (Aquabats!)
Once again the internet totally validates its existence.

(I found this linked from an LJ community about Sherlock Holmes slash. IT'S A FACT.)
zustifer: (lady of your acquaintance)
Does anyone know what this ebay seller meant to say? There're clearly some machine translation issues here, but I can't think of what the broken word (low-class harlot) is meant to actually be.

A low-class harlot works so that other fingers part from a thumb like a tabi, and there is an effect for the share that is easy to absorb sweat, bad-smelling prevention.
zustifer: (lady of your acquaintance)
Collection of westernized-Japan prints so awesome, you'll... slap Dan Aykroyd. If he's around.

Many of these prints are supposedly from the collection of the MFA here. HMMMM.
zustifer: (Goggalor)
Okay guys, you need to go look at this page rite now.
Sadly it's all photoshoppery (as opposed to appalling amounts of makeuppery and costumery), but still heck of enjoyable.
Some of 'em are click-through storylines or something (like Doraemon), so don't neglect to try to click. Also the Pokemon one is one of the awesomer ones.
Oh, and look, a process page! Complete with awesome dragon page divider thingies!

(from Mari)
zustifer: (Goggalor)
Look what my dad took a picture of in Japan.

zustifer: (hedgehog picto)
Aww, cute, Rip Slyme (the band with the afterfx puppets and hand creatures) has done a takeoff on some Meiji chocolate packaging for their album cover.

In situations like this, I always want to post on the forum in question and be like [Gary-spilled-his-ear-medicine voice] This is actually a style-parody of a very common brand of chocolate! Now you know! [/G-s-h-e-m v] But then I realise that this would be pointless and no one would care.
zustifer: (Five)

(courtesy Taiyo Matsumoto's 'Blue Spring.')


zustifer: (Default)
Karla Z

February 2012

26 272829   


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 20th, 2017 02:27 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios