Sunday, March 30, 2008

"Kaiba" TAF Trailer way of AnimeSuki, another shakycam for the Kaiba trailer, with new footage I haven't seen yet:

There's some very good bits of animation in there. Definitely looking forward to it.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

"Blade of the Immortal" TAF trailer

Subject: Noir
Shaky-cam cellphone snap off the monitor at TAF, making the rounds with all the others:

Discussion over on Bee Train Fan as usual., me trying to stir up a little trouble and start a rumor: Is Mirai Nikki actually still in production? (to be announced in April??)

UPDATE: The TAF shakycam trailer is long gone, but the official version is live!

"Night of the Galactic Railroad" re-release coming?

Subject: Noir
I missed if there was any actual news, but ANN has pictures from the Tokyo Animation Fair and there was this one that leapt out at me:

I reviewed Night of the Galactic Railroad a while back. Since then, I found out that Mashimo was a storyboarder on it, which made it all the cooler. I'm hoping this is just a re-release (like, say, a Blu-Ray remaster) instead of some sort of remake or series... I'll have to keep my eyes peeled.

UPDATE: Sure 'nuff, ANN has more information... It's a follow-on movie from fables by the same author, called The Life of Guskou Budori. This time, it's Japanese cats instead of Italian. The production art in the photos posted look quite intricate. Could be quite good.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

2008 spring/summer anime preview... From me?

Subject: Noir
So it turns out that there might be a couple of interesting shows between this and the summer season. Well, only a couple. But they've caught my eye as potential stand-outs, and I'm hoping my instincts are right.

For the spring, Kaiba (April 10). I know, at first glance, it looks like a cutesy, retro for-kids show. And it may very well be. But it's another one from Kemonozume's Masaaki Yuasa, which means it's probably going to be a total sakuga-fest. Hooray for that!

The first trailer is rather minimalist:

But I really think this will be one of those "underrated gems" that I adore so much.

There's a few others on the "maybe" list if I'm bored: Golgo 13 (which has started I think), Alison to Lillia (from the same author as Kino's Journey), Crystal Blaze (film noir potential?), Himitsu Top Secret (old-skool spies ...or just a yaoi-y pile of boredom?), RD Sennou Chousashitsu (cyberscubapunk?)

...a longer list than I thought. What's up with that?

For the summer, I'm really looking forward to Michiko and Hatchin. From Manglobe, with a most of Samurai Champloo's staff -- Shinchiro Wantanabe is only directing the music, but this is the debut effort for Sayo Yamamoto. Who is actually a woman anime director, which is rare, and hopefully awesome.

The title's Michiko is a free-willed "sexy diva" who destroys a supposedly inescapable prison fortress, while Hatchin is a girl fleeing her strict foster parents. The two join forces on an improbable escape to freedom.

The trailer is full of win.

...and, of course, Blade of the Immortal -- I know I haven't seemed all that enthused by this next Bee Train release, but as I learn a little more about it (like, that it's not all violent and depressing, and the manga story is supposed to be quite good), I'm warming up to it. I mean, I do dig samurai drama; I just rarely find any anime versions that live up to my technical standards. Plus, there's another Samurai Champloo connection here as well, with Yoshimitsu Yamashita on Mashimo's team.

Makoto has posted more about it as well, including a couple of scans from the magazine announcement:

There was some buzz about a big-budget "secret project" that was going to be "better than Star Wars" (probably a tounge-in-cheek claim) from Bones. Supposedly, it's called Xamdou and it now has a homepage. Supposedly the big unvieling will happen on April 10th. I guess that'll mean it's a summer show, but it might be autumn.

...Looking waaaay ahead into the future, from some tidbits going around from TAf 2008, Satoshi Kon's next film is in production, and it's called Yume miru Kikai -- which he's said will be "family friendly". Also from Madhouse will be a movie from the director of Black Lagoon titled (maybe) Maimai atarashi to sennen no mahou -- possibly set in France?

Sunday, March 23, 2008

New Bee Train, for real this time: "Blade of the Immortal" for summer 2008

Subject: Noir
Alas, I didn't get the first scoop on this; I saw it on AnimeSuki.

Apparently, Blade of the Immortal is a long-running, very violent, and often depressing manga series that's got a very loyal following. There was a rumor back in December that it was going to be made a series, but the details regarding Bee Train and Koichi Mashimo just surfaced today.

Of course, the speculation forums are already full of complainers. Go figure.

I've only read a little so far (I really don't want to stumble on anything that will spoil the story for me), and haven't been able to dig up any more information just yet. I'm sure there'll be more creeping up soon. But it seems to be that Murder Princess was an indicator of the direction Bee Train is heading in: more blood. I guess it'll be wait-and-see as to how that turns out.

UPDATE: Almost forgot: Discussion for Blade of the Immortal over on Bee Train Fan!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

1st day of Spring...

Subject: Musings is it safe to come out of hibernation yet??

(so very sleeeeepy...)

Friday, March 07, 2008

Attenborough, you magnificent bastard!

Subject: TV
I love me some quality nature documentaries

As a TV-watching youth in the 70's, my exposure to the vast natural world was limited to the "Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom with Marlin Perkins" (and his flunkie Jim who was always putting himself in harms way) and "The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau". There were only about 8 channels to watch back then, so you took what you could get, as sanitized -- yet fascinating -- as they were.

In college, my housemates and I weren't much into "normal" TV, but we did watch an inordinate amount of nature documentaries on the nascent cable-TV channels like Discovery and whatnot. And those cable channels dipped heavily into the content pool known as the BBC.

David Attenborough is the pentultamite nature documentarian. Above and beyond every other show, his would dig deep into the weirdest, darkest, remotest -- and did I say weirdest? -- recesses of our planet, and with his dry, wry British staidness (only slightly betraying his own fascination), he presented the endless parade of all the truly f*'ed up things one could find on this planet, if one just bothered to look hard enough.

His Grande Opus Maximus is the hi-def series for the BBC called, simply and completely, "planet earth". Broadcast in the US with the narration replaced by Sigourny Weaver, it pales to the full onslaught of planetary awesomeness that the Blu-Ray BBC originals portray. Brilliant, detailed satellite imagery gives way to vast aerial panoramas showing every little tiny detail of herds, flocks, swarms, jungles, forests, deserts, oceans... and then we get up close and personal to the point of seeing every bead of dew, every drop of sweat, and every strange and seeming alien -- and yet extremely familiar -- little nook and cranny of the Earth that most can only dream of someday seeing and visting.

Those nature documentaries, back in the day, always astounded me by managing to show me something totally jaw-droppingly impressive. Something I've never seen before. Just when you think you'd seen it all, Attenborough would dig something up and show you that you didn't know squat about the planet you lived on. And all these years later, with stunning imagery and the best in technology, he still manages to show me astonishing things I never knew existed!

I'm 3 discs into the 4 disc (12 episode) series, and it gets a little bit repetitive, as the different themes tend to overlap each other. Also, my Blu-Ray HTPC setup isn't exactly perfect -- it could use some better calibration, and the hardware and software are kind of borderline when it comes to playback. And with the content, there's the slightest bit of cheese in how he's manipulating the sound effects and editing to build suspension and get you to experience the plight of the multitude of creatures struggling against predators and adversity.

But it's still very, very impressive. Very impressive.

Once I settle on an actual dedicated Blu-Ray player, I'm buying this set for sure. It's a keeper. It's impossible to watch it in such brilliant detail without feeling the awe and vastness of a planet which I've only experienced a tiny part of personally. Okay, a big TV helps. But still, it's something that you just can't miss.