Friday, August 29, 2008

5 Dissappointments per Second

Subject: Noir
That's a bit of an unfair title, because I was looking forward to Makoto Shinkai's 5 Centimeters Per Second. Like I said then, his "simple and elegant" approach is definitely something I like quite a bit.

At the very begining of it, I started to get a bit concerned, because there were these interminably long still sequences with only the littlest, tiniest bit of animation. You'd think that as a Bee Train Fan, I'd be more understanding, but in the context of a Shinkai theatrical, I was expecting a tad more. That said, when there was character animation, it was quite compently done, so I didn't really have a problem when all was said and done.

Well, except in the ending.

Everything else was meticuoulously rendered and quite beautifully drawn. There's a level of mundane=fascinating detail in Shinkai's work that's totally signature for him. And for the bulk of the movie(s), the languid pace and the deliberate character exposision was quite nice and very emotional.

But the very end, where it suddenly decides to close on some kind of hack-edited AMV of the movie thus far, where the cuts were to the rhythm and there were little to no new shots to see; that really stuck in my craw. Especially when the whole thing suddenly ended right there without any hint of resolution.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Deep Thought™

Subject: Noir
Bee Train produced Blade of the Immortal so I would nostagically miss El Cazador...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

"Michiko to Hatchin" plot translation

Subject: Noir
The "Iwa ni Hana" blog has a bit of translation from the Michiko to Hatchin official site. Worth a read.

Monday, August 18, 2008

New trailer for "Michiko to Hatchin" kicks ass!

Subject: Noir
It's a tiny little movie that is dwarfed on my big-screen TV, so I had to move over to my desktop to get a good look at it... and it's awesome! Here, I'll blow it up a little for ya:

Get the Flash Player to see this player.

The first trailer was more of a stylish tone-setter; this one actually has quite a lot of footage. Well, rapidly-cut snippets of footage, but there's enough there to see that the character animation and cinematics are going to be everything I could have hoped for. The art & design that's hinted at on the official site is definitely carried through in the footage as well, and some of the moments of action and reaction that are teasingly flashed in tiny bites are promising of real, engaging character portrayals.

October? Can't wait!

Monday, August 11, 2008

"El Cazador" licensed by FUNimation?

Subject: Noir
ANN reports:
"Last week, Funimation exercised a power-of-attorney agreement to remove online fansubbed videos of Monochrome Factor, Nabari no Ou, and Katekyo Hitman Reborn! (pictured at right) on behalf of d-rights, the Japanese production company of these anime titles. Funimation and d-rights' agreement also covers Bamboo Blade and El Cazador de la Bruja."

"The power-of-attorney agreement does not necessarily mean that these titles have a North American video distributor, but the agreement does enforce d-rights' existing worldwide copyrights for these series."

So it doesn't quite mean it's licensed, just that the Japanese license owner is looking to reassert control.

But the likelyhood is a lot higher. FUNi, though?

Friday, August 08, 2008


Subject: Noir
That was f*ing brilliant.

I was holding out until the last sub of Kaiba was done before finishing it, and now that I've seen it, I can't even begin to figure out how to comment on it.

For tonight, I dialed back to the episode with Patch, which I adore for it's raw energy and wonderfully simple little story. Kaiba as a whole gets a little more convoluted and a tad more involved after that point as well, because we start to get a glimpse into the reality of that nutty little universe the show is based in.

And "nutty" it remains, in that if you were to attempt to describe this show's purpose in rational terms, you'd fail, and fail hard. It's all in the wonderful expressions and reactions of the characters toward each other, and it culminates in an unparalleled love story... at least in anime terms.

The beauty and purity of the expression of the characters, the simplicity and the universality of the themes therin, totally make the otherwise surreal (or "dada"??) universe a mere setting for feeling the emotion that ensues. Who cares about the technical details? This is a love story, and the purity of heart that is expressed feels as genuine as anything I've seen drawn at 24fps (give or take).

This is an impressive (and probably unlicensable) work, and I stand in awe of it's execution. Hopefully Ben over on his Anipages will fill in the gaps that I'm incapable of, and round out the credit to the talent that's involved.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

"Xam'd" if you do, "Xam'd" if you don't

Subject: Noir
That show that Studio Bones was hyping back in the spring as "better than Star Wars", Bounen no Xamdou, is finally out. In fact, from what I can gather, it's been released in North America first under the title "Xam'd Lost Memories". And via a "Playstation exclusive", at that.

So while it's not legit for me to be taking a peek at the 720p fansubs that magically appear on my harddrive, I figured I'd see if it was, in fact, "all that". And, y'know, it's pretty neat!

At first glance, it's kind of a mashup of Eureka 7 and Laputa, Castle in the Sky (at first I was thinking Last Exile...), but with a little sprinkling of something like Rahxephon, for a little bit of that big organic monster flavor. The designs are very strong and detailed, and the world they are in promises to have a number of well-envisioned nooks and crannies to uncover.

The characters are, to the most part, very well animated. I say "for the most part", because they're really skimping on the 'tweens in this one. There's great key poses and motion followthrough on different levels, and an excellent grasp of gravity and weight in the motion, as well as a sufficient bit of that great "spark of life" I like so much. But the skimping-out really shows a lot of the time, and it amplifies the mediocre cuts where maybe a less-skilled animator is taking a turn.

But when there's a good animator, like in the action scenes (of course), it's got a great natural feel and flow, and dead-on timing.

The characters and performances in general are still a little thin, but I like the potential. There's going to be a number of mild annoyances in many of them, but on the whole, considering it's going to be Yet Another Schoolkid Saves The World show, it's not off to a bad start. I guess I should actually make an effort to find out how to get ahold of this legitimately; I think it'll be worth the money.

(...not the "buy a Playstation 3 just to watch it money", of course...)

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

"Michiko to Hatchin" official site updated

Subject: Noir
...alas, no release date yet. On the "News" page there's a link to Manglobe's job listings, so they probably need more help over there to get it out the door. Heh.

Now if I only knew what it said on there...

I loved the style of the earlier trailer, and there's a lot of detail in the various designs (the Flash splashpage shows different combinations of costumes and backgrounds if you reload the page, though I was only able to see 3 of them after many tries *cough*)

These little tidbits still have me encouraged. I hoping it'll be fun and stylish and competently-crafted; and if there happens to be a little quality storytelling with it, all the better!