Saturday, August 28, 2010

Weekend tribute pt 2: Paprika

Last night I got drunk and mourned. It was needed and necessary; a number of things that were hurting me got conflated together like I figured they would. And I felt a lot better today having gotten those out of my system (helped by the fact that it was a beautiful day).

Tonight, celebration. Paprika is a beautifully surreal film, with amazing visual actualization of some of the finest examples of human caring and empathy transmitted in the form of the dream, the fantasy projected on reality.

There are these outstanding sequences (most notably in the titles) where the dream world flows between the real and the artistic in such a seamless way that I can't help but witness it in awe of the genius that conceived of such imagery.

I watched a couple of the special features afterwards, seeing and listening to Kon describe both the process and the inspirations for the film. He's so earnest and dedicated, yet stressed by deadlines and swamped with tasks to complete. All while humble and forthwright and earnest. He's my fantasy of what I would be if I tried to continue down the animator's path instead of selling out to a lucrative day-job. I find myself wondering if I could have come even a tiny bit close to his output if I stuck with it and put the energy I did into my current "career" into my first love instead.

So I suppose a bit of jealousy, like I have when watching Pixar films, might play into my emotional responses to his films. A bit of "what could have been".

But seeing the extent of the meticulous detail he puts into the scripting and storyboarding and layout and planning; the sheer magnitude of screentime he needs to account for every nuance projected before us... I know I'm not worthy, I'm not worthy...

And I feel okay; in fact, I feel pretty good. It was comforting to watch him being so open about what he was doing and thinking and dreaming at the time. I felt the wonder and happiness that he was able to acheive so much in his tragically short life.

His death is a great loss to us all. But he was a normal, hard working human being, and his genius can't help but be a part of the next generation of artists, whenver we finally get to the point where we value that part of our global culture and stop shortchanging ourselves for a quick buck and a cheap laugh.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Weekend Tribute pt. 1: "Millenium Actress"

I'm only going to be watching this and Paprika this weekend, saving Tokyo Godfathers for it's proper place at Christmastime, and Paranoia Agent for when I have 6 hours to marathon it. (I don't actually own Perfect Blue yet because the DVD release is hard-letterboxed, which is just unacceptable).

So I just finished Millenium Actress. Actually, I just finished sobbing for a solid 20 minutes or so after finishing Millenium Actress. I probably should have swapped the two around and saved it for tomorrow as a fitting end to my weekend tribute. Because the very last scene... it...

I don't know the man. I never met him, I haven't been following his blog or Twitter feed (not that I could read it, but still), but it's hitting me pretty hard for some reason. This movie is perfect; every frame in it is perfect and beautiful. It speaks to me personally (and not because I'm a chunky guy with a goatee who occasionally crushes on movie stars...).

And the last scene... And the hints throughout, leading up to it...

I haven't even been able to read any full translations of his final farewell, but the excerpts were enough. He found out about the cancer in May, knew his outcome, and kept it quiet. Working right up to the end on his next movie. Worried about it getting completed without him.

In the movie, she knew what was coming, and was able to go out bravely and at peace. I can only hope the same for Kon. I suppose I can only hope the same for myself, though my fate is still many years off. Accounts of my father's end weren't so glamorous; maybe that's part of what hurts, knowing that's where I'm headed with these accursed cysts. Selfish, I suppose.

But, the true love was in the pursuit of passion... the key to it all. Can such a thing so beautiful be true? It must be. And I hope to the bottom of my heart that Satoshi Kon felt that as well.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Devestating: Satoshi Kon dead at age 47

I'm... I'm still at a loss of what to say...

ANN has what little news there is so far, and I assume they'll be the place where we can get more details in English when they come out.


This is about as much a shock as when another artist I greatly admired, Jim Henson, suddenly died some years back. I think I'm going to need to let it sink in for a while...

Friday, August 06, 2010

According to ANN: ".hack//Quantum" in November

ANN reports on a new .hack title.

But they also go on to say:

Bandai Namco Games announced at last September's Tokyo Game Show that a full-CG anime project from Bandai Visual would tie into the .hack//Link game. However, it has not been announced yet whether or not the new .hack//Quantum anime is the same project.

I didn't watch the 3D CGI release from the last time, and if it's more of the same, then I'm not particularly excited. The article scan in the ANN piece makes it look like it might be 2D, though. But does that actually mean Bee Train? Dunno.

Speculation and updates in the Forum, for sure.