Thursday, November 19, 2009

Yume Miru Kikai images

Twitch has images from Satoshi Kon's new movie.
Is this seriously the first time we've mentioned him here!?


  1. Yet another reason I should get around to finishing Paranoia Agent. Actually, wait... I haven't finished a single one of these. Damn.

  2. Those are pretty sweet looking. Completely different from the styles he's worked in before, so it'll be interested to see what he does this time around.

  3. I love the style - wait, I'm absolutely crazy about the style, even with just these few images to go by - but I've been really disappointed by what I've seen of Satoshi Kon so far. There's all the flashy blending of reality and fantasy of some kind, and a lot of fantastic animation, but underneath it's just some trite story I wouldn't put up with anywhere else. Millennium Actress especially seemed so shallow where it could have been much more. (Paranoia Agent may be an exception but I can't actually remember much of it.)

    The fact that this is going to be kid friendly, though, makes me wonder if he'll create something which simply is what it is and obviously so, with no pretensions (wrong word? I'm not sure he's exactly trying to make his films seem deeper than they are) to being any more. I think I would enjoy that, and at the least I would go into it with different expectations than I might have for an adult film.

  4. Really? I found Millennium Actress to be his most cohesive and powerful work so far, actually.

    Not always as flashy as his other stuff and perhaps more mundane in its subject matter, but I think it had great depth.

  5. I definitely can't see how Millennium Actress can be seen as shallow.
    But you should probably try Tokyo Godfathers, which has no surrealistic elements at all. It sort of defends itself from accustations of obfuscating the storyline beneath stylistic excess.
    Paranoid Agent is the exception to his work in that it actually is flawed; after the early episodes are all neatly linked together it collaspes in a heap of half-baked ideas that eventually can't even fill an episode. I dimly recall him patching together an ending after that, but he'd totally lost me by then.

  6. He actually did admit that Paranoia Agent was cobbled together from a bunch of ideas he couldn't figure out how to expand into a full film, so I'm not surprised it ends up a little half-baked.

  7. See, he managed to spend most of that length brilliantly linking the smaller ideas together, but eventually he ends with one episode that's just a bad idea, and another that consists of gossipy bitches standing around telling fragments of incomplete stories, and neither have anything to do with the beautifully linked narrative he'd managed all the way through the rest of them. I wound up feeling like it was a real mistake to abandon that narrative conceit, and he probably should have just done less episodes.

  8. Yeah, it could have definitely stood to be shorter, but while it certainly ended up a bit flawed and a let-down, I don't think it completely fell apart at the end.

    There was still some interesting stuff going on, it just wasn't working quite as well.

    This is a wonderful example of the casualties of not having a vibrant OVA market any more, I think.

    Paranoia Agent would have been incredibly powerful as a 6-7 episode OVA but peters out and loses steam as a full season for TV.

  9. I didn't like Millennium Actress because it seemed to me to be a film about people creating and chasing after fantasies (the actress and the guy she was chasing and the interviewer and this actress he's obsessed with) and when I expected it to pull back and take a look it these people dispassionately and maybe contrast their constructed ideals with some reality, it mostly just dove deeper into their fantasies, asked me to emphasize with them and ended on a tearjerker.

    In particular I'm talking about the guy's idolization of the actress. I saw it as the myth of woman as some idealized and objectified alien creature that you get in Japanese pop culture (and Western, but you know that particular Japanese thing I mean, most extreme in niche otaku stuff like idols and moe anime), and where I thought it would be taking a critical look at this I felt instead like it asked me to participate in it. That's why I called it shallow, we're just joining in with the guy's otaku-like obsession with this actress and so we only see her as a fantasy object, reduced to one dimension, rather than a person or character with depth.

    I guess that's a pretty extreme way of looking at it, and the only time I've mentioned it before I was disagreed with violently. I think someone argued that's exactly the opposite of what it's doing to the actress but I really can't see it.

    I should mention that I would agree that it's his most cohesive work, and I do like some of the the way it's a movie about movies and that aspect of it, but it's totally eclipsed by the other aspects. In the end I think the main moral of this is just that Millennium Actress is really not to my taste, so sorry for writing two unnecessarily long comments.

  10. No, it's definitely interesting reading.
    It's been a while since I saw it, but I definitely remember that character's arc a little differently; that he'd admired her as an actress and discovered that she was much more than that, and his earlier reaction to her had been what you describe. I also didn't take him as the POV character we were identifying with, however; I saw the entire film through her eyes, and it became about her love for film, and equated that love to more traditional romantic notions of it.

  11. Looks great.

    I recall reading something similar to 774's take on Millennium Actress a while back. I side with that interpretation of the film as a whole a bit more than Andrew's (though the ending does support that one, which gives it an invisible contradiction), but I still like it.

    Kon's biggest problems is characterization, honestly. He deals in sketches and charicatures, and only infrequently bothers to create more authentic personalities. Before I realized this, I would have told you that Millennium Actress is my favorite work of his; now, it's lower tier.

    Paranoia Agent suffers from this problem even more starkly, though I think the problem gels better with the messy, haphazard "narrative" it has. Perfect Blue and Tokyo Godfathers are too broad in characterization, though for different reasons... Paprika, on the other hand, I find to be his most satisfying work because it isn't a heavy-handed indictment of pop culture obsession (taking on and respecting both sides of the issue with the genius fat doctor), and actually manages to create successful human characters (the detective comes to mind). It's also the most visually playful (though I prefer the surrealism offered by the two Nakamuras, Hamazaki, Yuasa and even Miyazaki from Spirited Away and Ponyo) and a refinement of past works (movie posters at the end are a nice touch).