I have dropped off the face of the planet, in the face of reality and real world. But I still wanted to let people know that I am mindful of some series for when I have a limited time,to watch. So I wanted to speak about my adoration for Wakakozake. This series was added to Crunchyroll’s streaming catalog around Summer 2015.
Crunchyroll has the anime, and two seasons of the live action adaption streaming. So if they have the third season, you’ll expect me to think about the term, Pshuu!
Wakakozake is a story of Wakako Murasaki who is a 26 year old office lady with a desire to drink and search for places to eat. The entire series is about her visiting different eateries after work and drinking alcohol of some type of food. So for the foodie in people, what is there not to love?!
So Wakakozake doesn’t necessarily speak much about the preparation like it is seen in cooking shows or contests, but in the anime and the live action. There is a monologue of Wakako’s inner thoughts as she enjoys the food, and speaks like an amateur food critic.
So for people who like to share thoughts about food, there is Yelp and there are blogs. There is subtle difference between the anime and the live action, because in the anime, viewers see her enjoying the food. In the live action, it turns into subtle food advertisement, that I am unsure if the manga would have this trick. I have seen this in manga form from Fumi Yoshinaga’s Not Love But Delicious Foods. In the live action, the same treatment for introducing restaurants can be found in Kodoku no Gourmet. But it can be said that for the inner foodie, there is such a reaction such as pshuu… which gets animated quite nicely in the show. I am going to sign off on now, and just think about the next experience I have in eating Japanese cuisine!
A live action Ranma 1/2 dorama series? Well this is out of the blue. Upon receiving scant, somewhat puzzling news from a respected source, it looks like we may be amidst something of a live-action anime renaissance that doesn’t seem to be slowing down. And since the information at hand has merely been shared via this blog, the gears have been turning via fellow writers and fans, musing the expected responses; Where? And more importantly; Why? And since the aforementioned post offers no links to an official site, or any hint of a teaser video anywhere. All we have here is a cast & crew roster, and a premiere date & time: July 10th, and starting at 10pm. Again, all one can do at the moment is to speculate which is always rife with obvious problems.
For those playing the home game, the Rumiko Takahashi martial arts genderwarp comedy Ranma Nibun No Ichi has long been regarded as one of the more iconic anime/manga creations of the last twenty odd years, and has garnered one of the most passionate and enduring international fanbases any show has experienced. The tale of woe that befalls young, hotheaded martial arts student, Ranma Saotome, and the family he is planned to be married into by a conniving, lazy father has been something that a near-entire generation of anime lovers have long embraced, made references to, and at times reviled for its wacky cast of colorful characters, bizarre gimmickry, and martial arts silliness. It’s kind of difficult to imagine the “harem anime” without it, not to mention other favorites including the Fruits Basket manga/series. Mixing a romantic comedy with water-based gender/species-switching hijinks gene grafted with a Shaw Bros. movie was something of a knockout melange that connected, and helped create the anime fandom explode in the west come the early to mid 90s. Translated into a multitude of languages (including Spanish, where yours truly caught a remainder of the show during those days), the series and its characters have retained something of a timeless quality that continues to gather new fans.
Now again, as one not to normally speculate, perhaps it might be good to just express a mixture of openness and worry to the prospect. As much as this sounds infinitely more interesting than say, an American rendition of AKIRA, one cannot help but express concern for this particular project as a live-action concept. Say that for a moment, that this is a possibility; that the approach utilized by previous live-action dorama could be implemented (a good example is 2003-04’s Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon), would it be optimal for a series that became known later for it’s visual bombast & exaggerated action? Or would it become something far more character-based, which would be fine provided the universe Takahashi created was brought down to Earth just a smidge. One could argue that a large part of the original’s success was the world in which the Ranma characters lived in, and their interactions based on such a setting. Also worth bringing up is the live Maison Ikkoku that was created as a vehicle for model-actress Misaki Ito. And this is where worry for yours truly comes in. If the object of this particular game is merely for co-opted natsukashii purposes, it may end up becoming little more than a mourning for a day long gone, and not so much a celebration of the series’ enduring legacy.
Can a “good” Ranma 1/2 project be borne out of such a notion, even if this is little more than a rumor? One would like to believe so. Recently, we’ve seen a live action love comedy with bent toward the hyperbolically surreal in theaters last summer, but again- this was with a budget & talent able to do merely one film with enough energy and style to actually pull it off. And since that film didn’t do ideal business, it is feeling less and less probable that Japanese producers would even consider this possbility.
Flare up your favorite Cuban, and shine your psychoguns, the news is now feeling very real. Nearly a week ago, the folks at AICN revealed a surprising piece of promotional art that pretty much stopped me dead in my nonbelieving tracks. Upon first hearing that French horror favorite, Alexandre Aja was looking to step beyond the confines of scream fuel, and take on a manga icon even less known stateside than Mach Go! Go! Go!, my first reaction was simple; another director’s dream project, never to come to fruition. As I just mentioned, with such a title that has more recognition in Europe than here, a big budget live-action version of Buichi Terasawa’s Space Adventure Cobra seemed doomed to remain collecting dust in some development dustbin somewhere. But to finally see this poster, it is hard to express in words how surreal a feeling it is to even see this considered. And seeing as how the anime version was mostly sheperded by the just recently late, great Osamu Dezaki, a part of me feels mixed, and yet strangely hopeful that we will see a grand compliment to both creators in what is clearly something that the recent AKIRA flap feels nothing like; a labor of deep love.
So for those unfamiliar with the character, and the super-retro high romantic sci-fi fantasy world he wreaks havoc upon, here’s a little breakdown: Cobra features the adventures of a one-time self-administered amnesiac coming to terms with his former life as a brazen & wily space pirate as he performs all a manner of thievery & derring-do in a distant future complete with human & alien civilizations co-existing in distant galaxies, all the while dodging the near omnipotent hand of the space-mafia like Guild; a rogues’ gallery of weird villains. Mix this Star Wars-esque universe with enough love for the wilder early James Bond films, as well as a hopelessly old-world regard for those films’ feminine elements. That’s right, Cobra almost always seems to get himself in enough trouble that he is often seen saving, or receiving assistance from any variety of exotic women.
Further adding to the campy flavor of the original manga, Cobra’s main partner-in-crime is a Sorayama-like cyborg, Lady Armaroid, an ever loyal, and serious counterpart to our often aloof hero. And let’s not forget Cobra’s signature cannon for an arm & ever-present cigar, and one has one of the more iconic characters to come from Japan that never really hit it big here. As part of the whole “space war” obsession Japan media dabbled with for a bulk of the decade, Cobra represented a longing for another era of high adventure that possibly went a long way toward inspiring cosmetically similar projects such as Dirty Pair & even Cowboy Bebop.
(Only recently did Cobra receive a little 30 year revival, and remains one of the very last projects to bear the name of Dezaki, who has long been a favorite of mine.)
My first exposure to the franchise was, naturally via the Matthew Sweet music video for the track, Girlfriend, which was something of a revelation moment for me as I almost instantly recognized the animation & art style. And being a big admirer of the 1983 Golgo 13 movie, my desire to see this earlier film was something of a holy grail chase that ended years later when Urban Vision brought the film dubbed to US audiences. And by that time, the name of Osamu Dezaki was already a well-regarded one in the domicile, as one of the early anime guard with a flare for character iconography, and incredibly versatile hand-drawn mastery. The Cobra movie, while by all accounts typical of a compressed movie version of a much longer story, remains a fun remnant of a Japan ready to embrace escapism with loving, manly arms, and with a wink of an eye. It wasn’t until years later that I was able to delve into the original tv series, as well as some of the Terasawa manga.
Which leads me to why I’m nowhere near as bothered about this project as I had been over the Hughes Brothers’ apparent clusterpunk of an AKIRA adaptation. The simple fact is that as something that has less of a fan-centered shadow stateside, perhaps this is the kind of project that can be the making of a cult anomaly. A part of me still envies many a fan from europe who grew up watching the original television series, and over the years have wondered why this hadn’t been brought up before. Looking back it seems as if this had been something of a dream project for someone to eventually take on. (Anyone remember the meetup between Terasawa & La Femme Nikita/ Leon director Luc Besson in the mid-90s? And anyone else notice a little Cobra DNA well nestled within the color & camp of his cult-fave, The Fifth Element?) It’s always felt inevitable, and it’s nice to see it in the hands of a director known for being able to push the energy button when necessary. Now surely, there is worry that is valid since Aja’s filmography has largely been centered on either relentlessly dark horror tales, or shamelessly hyperbolic 3D revamps, but a part of me feels that horror has never been terribly far from humor, which is very necessary when dealing with the over the top world that Cobra inhabits. Not everyone can mix laughs with tension, which is why I’m looking forward to seeing Aja give this a go, even if it’s a leap outside his normal realm. One of Aja’s biggest strengths is his lack of fear when dealing with just how crazy his films can get. He can be pretty unhinged when he wants, and even when one thinks it can’t get crazier. And that’s something of a boost in my mind. Call me silly, I’d rather have this than another production by non-understanding Hollywood committee. And besides, something tells me, Besson is watching closely. And with that comes a little added dash of faith.
Cobra is at its most memorable, a wild, sexy, and fun fantasy world rife with some real potential for a global movie project. Now from what I’ve gathered, they may be taking on the ever-popular Royal Sisters story, which could go either way on us, especially in lieu of how much has changed in the world since the manga. But as an admitted fan of the oversimplified 1982 movie, I’m eager to see how much Aja is willing to bring into the live version. Personally, I’d love to see a truly psychotic, and visually impressive Crystal Boy brought to the big screen. (Creepy internals and all.) Maybe we’ll see some Rugball(!!). If anything, this all feels like a project made with energy and enthusiasm for the source material, because otherwise, it really doesn’t scream box office, particularly to an audience not familiar with the character, or the world he lives in. And that’s something that has me curious.
A note from the author: This was the 2009 April Fools’ column for Anime Diet. While many of the facts mentioned in here are true, mixed in with them are many wildly erroneous citations. The concept was that as a positive review of Dragonball Evolution, it would be naturally viewed with disbelief by the international otaku community. However, this was not the case for many readers.
Dragonball Evolution is the story of the young warrior Son Goku, who races against time and the vengeful King Piccolo to collect a set of seven magical orbs that will grant their wielder a power level in excess of nine thousands. Side-effects of this ultimate power include the ability to induce repetitive dialogue and spontaneous destruction of sensitive scientific equipment – a seemingly random quirk which becomes surprisingly relevant in the movie’s original plot.
The very name of Dragonball Evolution has become a hissing and a byword. Critics all over the globe and within this very publication have decried the affair as a stain on the careers of James Marsters, who plays Piccolo, and Chow-Yun Fat, who plays the turtle sage sans shell. But contrary to all expectations, the film thrilled this reporter with its nuanced approach to characterization and unexpected hints of social awareness.
What have they done with my second favorite anime of all time? Even Yoko Kanno and a whole passel of great insert songs can’t save this muddled, half-baked mess of a film that strips away so much of what made Honey and Clover one of the greatest evocations of the end of adolescence.
The one anime that I always felt would work exceedingly well as a live-action drama is becoming one. As per Anime News Network:
15-year-old Riko Narumi will star in the live-action television drama adaptation of Chica Umino’s Honey and Clover manga, which will premiere on January 8. Umino’s manga about five teenagers’ road to adulthood has sold 8.13 million copies. 23-year-old Tōma Ikuta (Hana Yori Dango 2’s Junpei) of the Johnny’s Jr. idol talent firm will play the art student Yuuta opposite Narumi, who will play the talented but shy Hagumi.
Mike’s Take: HAH! A 15 year old for Hagu-chan? That sounds too old! Then again, she actually looked a bit too old in the live-action movie, even though she was definitely the right height for it. In the anime she looks about 10, a real loli (complete with the disclaimer that she is really 18), which is surprising given how otherwise stirring, realistic, and down-to-earth the show is when it’s not being slapstick. Or when Morita isn’t on screen. Wait a minute. Maybe H&C isn’t as down-to-earth as I thought…how are they going to translate a lot of that manga/anime slapstick into live action? The only time I’ve seen it work well is in Gokusen.
That ANN summary is kinda inaccurate, actually. “Five teenagers’ road to adulthood” is technically true but gives a somewhat wrong impression; it’s really about college and first careers, and the word “teenager” to me implies high school. Something more like Karekano, which is the nearest high school equivalent of H&C. Later the news article describes it as a shoujo manga, which is also technically untrue; it’s a josei story, and the tone of it is markedly different in many ways from the average shoujo story, though I grant that the line between the two can be blurry. Something like Nana is much more obviously josei, especially as it has a lot more sexuality–something H&C has little of with one exception later on. (I was about to say Hataraki Man too, except I just remembered it was published in a seinen magazine. Even though it was done by Moyoco Anno, who normally does josei.)
I suppose this is the time to once again explain that I didn’t even know that H&C was aimed at women until quite late in the game, given that most of the main viewpoint characters are male and they quite accurately reflected a certain kind of male mind at that stage of life. Not that this is going to stop Ray from making fun of me for watching girly shows again. :)