Contemplation on the last film of Miyazaki: loss of imo

TheWindRises

I watched the last Miyazaki film, Kaze Tachinu or The Wind Rises, it is about the designer of the legendary zero fighter of the Japanese Empire, Horikoshi Jiro. I went to the earliest one in the morning, but the theater was already full. Wow, the world renowned director Miyazaki is! Continue reading Contemplation on the last film of Miyazaki: loss of imo

Through Older Lenses: The Promise Of Twilight Q (1987)

TQTitle

 

Oh, for what could have been.

 

Anthology series are often such a rare recipe for even mild success that it’s a surprise to many when they do pop up. And in Japan, when such a concept is applied to the animated world, this becomes quadruply rare. Even after popular shows such as World Masterpiece Theater, and the like, the science fiction vignette concept certainly sounded like a perfect marriage. Especially in the latter 1980s, when the genre and the medium seemed at perfect sync with each other. So when looking back at the lost OVA series, Twilight Q, I am reminded of what potential might have been, and how certain animators saw it as a means to stretch their experimental wings- perhaps to its detriment. A defiantly literate concept, Q was the coming together of what would become something of a dream team of anime luminaries. Produced by a very young pre-Bandai Visual, and with only two episodes to its name, it remains something of a footnote in the history of these would-be legends.

 

TQ1

First Episode: Time Knot – Reflection

 

The first installment concerns teen girl, Mayumi who on vacation with a friend, discovers a near-intact camera on a beach with mysterious clues written all over. After attempting to develop pictures from a roll within the eater resistant casing, most is indecipherable save for one shocking image – one of her with a boy she has never met before. Troubled by this, her best pal’s big brother takes it upon himself to investigate the camera’s origins, only to discover that it is not of any preceding/present time frame! A very laid back, and almost poetic journey ensues as Mayumi (and in turn, the audience) is taken on a trip between eras that not only explain her role in all of this, but of Japan’s path toward ecological disaster. Written by longtime Oshii collaborator, Kazunori Ito, there are clear parallels to what would become a solid theme in his work, looking into a nation’s less than flattering past as a means to ensure young people like Mayumi some manner of clarity. While less science fiction than wisftul, Time Knot is presented in a more deceptively sunny, reflective manner than one would expect. And also contained within its very short running time, an almost stealthy level of meta-humor holding it all together.

 

TQ2

Ito, and director, Tomomi Mochizuki (Ranma 1/2, Umi Ga Kikoeru) take full advantage of the short’s sunny skies, and light-hearted musings to paint a portrait of prosperity on borrowed time. As Mayumi finds herself drawn even further into the mystery, there is almost a feeling as if it isn’t merely time that is being manipulated, but also reality. The implications of Mayumi’s world being a quasi-parody of anime’s overt compensation for reality, is a potent one if viewers are willing to take the trip. Even without it, there is plenty to chew on considering how brief the short is. On top of this, the presentation remains gorgeous.

And then run headlong into..the second and FINAL episode..

 

 

Tq3

Mystery Article File 538

What one could consider an odyssey into social isolation, and borderline obsessive insanity, 538 tells the tale of a lone detective who has found disturbing typed testimonial whilst investigating the connection between a recent rash of jumbo jet disappearances, and the lives of a man, and his toddler “daughter” in a disheveled apartment. And the closer we intently listen, the more confessional, and bizarre the tale becomes. From the very beginning, the totems of a particular anime voice are established loud and clear as we listen to the narration being read, and the revelations that this case has indeed been going on longer than many might imagine. Obsessions with endless meals of noodles, lack of human interaction, detailed descriptions of a life cloistered, and even imagery of JAL planes becoming scaled, breathing carp telltale the presence of the one and only Mamoru Oshii. And in classic form for the anime auteur, the findings in File 538 are less about aliens, espers, or time travelers, it is more of the surreality that is modern Japanese life.

 

Very much a spiritual follow-up to perhaps his most obtuse work, Tenshi No Tamago, 538 is much more concerned with atmospheric montage and rambling theory than perhaps Oshii’s most impenetrable works. As we are drawn into the lives of the aforementioned “man”, and his pantsless toddler child, are are also given glimpses into the hidden metropolitan. Parts of Tokyo that have become reclaimed, and often discarded whilst the economic engines of the era pretend that all is fine. There are even some challenging notions regarding Japan’s role in the contemporary asian sphere as we see both nature and human sprawl scroll across the screen. In many ways, the obsessions displayed in 538 are ones that would eventually become major components of Oshii’s more mainstream works to come (most notably the first PATLABOR film, which was clearly in the wings at this point). It’s clear that despite his yen for comedy, Oshii’s temperament had decidedly become more solemn, more sober in only a mere few years. 538 is a mostly forgotten, but important bridge between a famed director’s most well-defined poles.

 

 

TQ4
It’s also no wonder that the concept only lasted as long as it had. Even in the formative days of anime as global populist entertainment, this is perhaps as uncompromising as it gets. And while Twilight Q might not seem to be the best, most well-realized hidden treasure anime around, it is certainly one of the most interesting. As the opening warning in red states; This is a show that is capable of controlling your reality. And as a very brief visitor, I was certainly hooked

Oh yeah, and…Twilight Zone..Ultra Q..

Nice.

NYCC 2013: Seeking Anime/Manga Panels in a Sea of Comics and Tsunami of People

IMG_20131024_164106

Since last year’s announcement that New York Comic Con would officially embrace New York Anime Festival, seeking out anime/manga goods and panels became a navigating challenge, whether it was on the show floor, artist alley, or at panels. The anime and manga panel block this year was smaller, and at certain times there were conflicts or panels were located at rooms where the room was already maxed out. Due to fire regulations, rooms were not cleared after each session, so people who wanted to go to a particular panel would have to have either sit through an earlier panel or wait outside in long lines.

For the anime/manga panels this year, I was able to get into the Vertical, Kodansha, Yen Press, and Viz’s History of Ranma ½, Aniplex, and Daisuki. The following are notes that I took during the convention.

nycc 2013 -Friday (1 of 88)

Vertical
This is Vertical’s 10th year in publication. Since New York is the headquarters of Vertical, Ed Chavez, Vertical’s marketing director, considers NYCC’s presentation to be a state of Vertical.

  • Biggest seller for this year happens to be the Gundam Origins series.
  • Two new titles were announced at this convention and they were In Clothes Named Fat, a manga on eating disorders from Moyoco Anno and Attack on Titan: Before the Fall light novel. Both titles are to be sold around Summer, 2014.
  • Prophecy by Tetsuya Tsutsui is also a new license announced during the panel. It wasn’t announced at NYCC, but it is a title that Vertical acquired directly from the creator’s agent, though this was originally published as a Shueisha title.

 

nycc 2013 -Friday (16 of 88)

Kodansha
Ben Applegate, manga editor, moderates this panel with input from other Kodansha staff.

  • Thanks Attack on Titan fans right off the bat; it has been the biggest seller this year with 500,000+ English copies in print.
  • Announces a series catch up for Attack on Titan, and will be caught up with Japanese releases in January, 2014.
  • Announces four additional Attack on Titan books that Kodansha will publish. Attack on Titan Guidebook being released June 2014. Titan Junior High, an alternate reality of cast being in middle school. Attack on Titan: No Regrets, a spinoff manga on Captain Levi. Attack on Titan: Before the Fall, comic adaptation of light novel that Vertical licensed.
  • Manga for My Little Monster and Say I Love You is going to be coming out next Spring. My Little Monster is going to have 12 volumes. These are titles that had gotten anime releases that streams on Crunchyroll.
  • Monster Soul, a two volume series by Hiro Mashima, is going to be out Spring 2014. This is a work that has been released prior to Fairy Tail. This is going to a be a print and digital release.
  • xxxholic Rei is coming out in 2014, with omnibus for xxxholic and Tsubasa Chronicles being released as well.
  • Negima spinoff series is to be available Spring, 2014.
  • Kodansha iPad app no longer updates. Kodansha has been selling on Apple platform and various ebook platforms for Kindle and Nook.
nycc 2013 -Friday (30 of 88)
Stance from Kodansha on ebooks

nycc 2013 -sat (6 of 49)

Yen Press
Kurt Hassler moderates this panel, with the rest of the Yen Press editorial team.

  • These are titles that Yen Press announced during the panel that they would be releasing. Ani-Imo, Void’s Enigmatic Mansion, Demon From a Foreign Land (new license from Kaori Yuki), Alice in the Country of Diamonds Fan Book, High School DxD, He’s My Only Vampire
  • Due to licensing concerns, Yen was pretty mum about a lot of titles.
  • Light Novels has worked for Yen Press, and they reassured fans that they won’t shy away from long running series.
  • Digital releases have worked for Yen, but it is only a very small part of their business.
  • Many of Yen Press’s e-publications has been available in the .epub format, they want to make their publications more accessible in all emarket devices.
  • Yen Press’s stance on speeding up on series as not a great thing for a series.
  • Due to contract and licensing conditions, they won’t be releasing their digital magazine on the Apple market anytime.

Sunrise
Robert Napton moderates with Shin Sasaki and Akane Hagino on panel.

  • Recent Sunrise titles to be released on DVD for the U.S. includes Tiger and Bunny, Daily Lives of High School Boys.
  • Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere and Good Luck Girl (Binbogami Girl), to be officially streamed online via sites provided from Viz, ANN, Huly, Crunchy Roll
  • Love Live School Idol Project Season 2 is green lighted after surprising popularity of season 1. Due to be aired next spring.
  • Tiger and Bunny: The Rising will have a 2014 theater release, and will be released onto DVD.

nycc 2013 -Friday (45 of 88)

Viz’s History for Ranma ½

  • This panel was meant to be a pair for Viz’s screening on Thursday of Ranma 1/2 and heavy marketing seen at New York Comic Con is meant to show Viz’s sincerity to re-release and reintroduce to a new generation one of Japan’s initial mainstream manga successes in the English market.
  • Manga of new Ranma will be two volumes combined into an omnibus of 300 pages. They would be using Japanese covers, and will only be 19 volumes of the initial 38 volume series. This is a remastered edition.
    Viz had done two different editions of Ranma in the past, so slides of the previous releases in comparisons to the new English manga release was shown.
  • The anime is going to be done in original Japanese episode order. Viz pushed blu ray more than the DVD to be enjoyed by fans.
  • Anime is not going to include OVA and Movies, only the tv series.
  • Manga is only going to be in print version, there is going to be no digital version.
  • Spring 2014 is the schedule for both anime and manga. This re-release by Viz is meant to be the definitive version for this beloved gender bending comedy.

nycc 2013 -sat (20 of 49)

Aniplex

  • For those who follow Aniplex and were at the convention, take note that this panel had a room change at the very day it occurred to a larger room. It was pretty packed since Aniplex is an anime company that produces anime and has also released physical copies of DVD/Blu-Ray to be owned by those who appreciate physical media.
  • Anime that is produced by Aniplex that is currently streaming are Montagatari 2, Magi 2, Valrave, Samurai Flamenco, Kill la Kill.
  • Anime that is current available in blu-ray/dvd are Madoka movies, Gurren Lagann, the DVD was called a “Box of Awesome” and the Blu Ray a “Cinderbox of Awesome”,  Blue Exorcist, Geo Tokyo Fish Attack, Blast of Tempest, Sword Art Online, Fate Zero, Blue Exorcist the movie
  • At this panel they made an announcement for the Madoka Rebellion to be seen at American theaters in December. Premiering on Dec 3 in Hollywood, CA and release on Dec 6 to theaters in Canada and the US.  At the last time I checked New York theater tickets have all been sold out.
  • Magi‘s English Cast was also announced during this panel.

nycc 2013 -sun (2 of 40)

Daisuki
Robert Napton moderates this panel with Eri Maruyama and Kunihiko Shibata on panel.

  • This is their first Q and A time ever with fans in the United States.
  • Daisuke began May 2013, and is founded in part by a group of already established Japanese anime companies. Companies include Toei, NAS, Sunrise, TMS and Aniplex.
  • Other than providing anime online, Daisuki also has a store that sells anime merchandises.
  • This is a streaming site, with no plans to distribute media in other formats.
  • As a site Daisuki would have plans to stream other Japanese media content like JAM Project pvs, or personalized messages from creators.
  • Daisuki currently streams, Magi, Kill la Kill, Valvrave, Sword Art Online and more.
  • They have an iPad app that was released around the time of NYCC.
  • Daisuki is ad supported, but ads are only seen at the beginning, and there is no breaks in the middle.
  • At this time, it would be too early to say if they would ever bring down any of their current content.
  • Comments are welcome and encouraged on their Facebook and Twitter.
  • Due to surveys conducted for older series, Daisuki will be streaming the entire series for Cowboy Bebop, but can’t say if other older titles that were surveyed will be out of the running.
  • There is a different streaming schedule with older series vs. newer series. They would be airing one old anime episode per week. The example they used was One Piece.
  • Daisuki promises to be a world wide streaming service.
  • Daisuki will consider if they would take donations.
  • Resolution of video at this time would only be 720p, and not 1080p yet.

So that ends my notes from NYCC 2013, this year. Clearly there is a great love for the anime and manga business in the United States. Since this is an importing business, there is a great deal of money limiting what can be brought over or not. The anime and manga presented at this convention represents a small portion of what is out there. What I observed was that on the anime aspect, many of the title announcements as either blu-ray or dvd releases were limited to what already has a fan base and popularity, whereas the manga titles being announced had more variety. I learned that there are only specific titles that American publishers (other than Kodansha USA or Viz) can take from the pie of Kodansha Japan or Shueisha.