So You Want To Get Into Gundam

Gundam is great.  I’m not kidding.  It’s probably the best thing since sliced bread.  Or Dune.  And it definitely beats whatever passes for Star Wars these days.

But it’s dated and it’s Japanese, and it’s massive.  The original TV series dates back to 1979, created by Yoshiyuki Tomino.  Although not the best success upon its initial airing, it did better on reruns partly due to its successful toy and model line.  Now, the entire franchise spans seventeen TV series, three films, and numerous OVAs, video games, specials, and toy lines.  But I get ahead of myself. Continue reading “So You Want To Get Into Gundam”

Japan is Over (for me)

Like dozens of others living on the correct side of the Atlantic Ocean, I am once again an occupant of Eastern Standard Time.  My body is back and subordinate to the same time as the sewage labyrinth of New York City, the putrid swamp of Washington D.C., and the musky Cuban paradise of Miami.  Perhaps as it should be.  It is not my intention to wax philosophical on where I do or do not belong, but as qnuw’s former Guy(?) In Japan and current Guy(?) No Longer In Japan I feel that some degree of closure is in order for the fragmented narrative any of you may have had the misfortune to read. Continue reading “Japan is Over (for me)”

The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With the Sea (Yukio Mishima – 1963, 1994 Vintage International)

The Japanese writer Yukio Mishima was already a famous and popular figure in his native country before he attempted to overthrow his regional government and killed himself in 1970.  In fact, over the course of his career, he was considered several times for the Nobel Prize in literature, and at the time of his death, he was recognized internationally for his novels, short stories, essays, and stage plays.  Today, his work stands alongside Shusaku Endo, Junichiro Tanizaki, and Yasunari Kawabata as some of the best and most renowned Japanese writers of the post-war period.

In The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With the Sea, Mishima explores the relationships and conflicts between men and women, children and parents, and individuals and groups, in addition to extrapolating these conflicts into the context of the Japan’s climate of post-war defeat following the second world war.  Mishima’s textured prose, coupled with his nuanced appreciation for tradition, reveal a level of insight into the transmittance of values that remains especially relevant today. Continue reading “The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With the Sea (Yukio Mishima – 1963, 1994 Vintage International)”

20 min. from Ogikuburo station… Animator expo short #6, an extended review

Unlike most of other shorts where the experimentation takes place more in looking for completely new forms and styles than in the techniques themselves, this is an exercise in the ability and experimentation within the already industry-established forms(1) of paper 2d animation. And my God what an experiment it is. Doing away with the usual in-betweening and Sakkan(2) work to let some of Japan’s most distinguished animators run wild, this has surpassed a lackluster initial impression to become easily one of my favorite shorts in the whole 35 entries expo. But in order to convey just how great this short was sakuga-wise, i’ll need to elaborate on some animation terminology and tricks-of-the-trade, so let’s get into it(3): Continue reading “20 min. from Ogikuburo station… Animator expo short #6, an extended review”

Should you go to major city centers in Tokyo?

I have explored, relatively speaking, very little of the great metropolitan sewer of Tokyo.  An oval-shaped train line called the Yamanote runs through every major city center, and despite my making the full round of it many times, I doubt I have dismounted at half of the stops, and still fewer have I explored appreciably.  That being said, this is less of a guide and more of a short summation of my experiences at the three I spend time at the most: Shinjuku, Shibuya, and Ikebukuro.  One can get their fill of impersonal big city ass-grabbing and shoving at any of these three, but like anything else groping is multifarious.  Your sphincter deserves to know the big differences and gritty details. Continue reading “Should you go to major city centers in Tokyo?”

On Americans and Japanese Dogs

During the month of February I volunteered at an animal rescue in the mountains of the Kansai area of Japan as one part of my study abroad program’s curriculum. Living in Tokyo causes one, no matter how inborn an amicable country bumpkin, to come to view others as bags of meat whose lone reason for existence is as an impediment to you, whether you are on your way to class, to go out drinking, or to the bathroom. Indeed, my bowels discriminate against those I consider less than human. Continue reading “On Americans and Japanese Dogs”

Anno’s Animator Exhibition as a Trace (Nihon Animētā Mihon’ichi)

Through most of 2013, Hideaki Anno was in a much graver state of mind than his usual. His general skepticism and pessimism were aggravated over the direction of an stagnated animation industry (within the wider anguish of contemporary Japan’s uncertain economy and future) and his concerns over it, as well as the creative outburst of the newest iteration of the Rebuild series (Q/3:33) throwing him on an emotional slump of a level he hasn’t been in since he finished the original series more than a decade ago. Continue reading “Anno’s Animator Exhibition as a Trace (Nihon Animētā Mihon’ichi)”

Mothy – Evils Theater (III)

Well, I let my schedule slip again.  Whoops.

EVILS THEATER, TRACKS 5, 6, 7, and 8: Miscellany

Saa “hontou no” kaasan to tousan ni ai ni yukou.

The fifth song on the album is “Okizari Tsukiyo Shou” or, “Tale of Abandonment on a Moonlit Night”, with the alternate title “Insane Moonlight”.  The song was originally released on 6 October 2008, on Nico Nico Douga.  Listen to it here. Continue reading “Mothy – Evils Theater (III)”

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