Saturday, February 27, 2010

Junko's Shamisen

I don't even know what the hell this is, but I want it.

Junko's Shamisen - Trailer from sol friedman on Vimeo.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Dulalala!! 08

Nice little visual homage here.

Quite a bit of anime original content this week, which really worked perfectly; some seriously intense stuff for an intentionally low key set up episode. The writing here continues to elevate the material.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Today's moment of Zen

It might be hard to believe, but Demon Lord Dante is not a very good show.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Yuasa's new thing

Really? We didn't have a tag for Yuasa yet?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Dulalala!! Ep 07

Heiwajima Shizuo versus...the Go Nagai villains!

It's also interesting that they spent this much time setting up Kasuka...obviously, entirely in service to Shizuo backstory, since Kasuka doesn't appear till the fourth novel, which I still don't think we're going to see.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Showdown in Little Tokyo

While I don't really write about it here very often, I'm a pretty big fan of trashy B-movies. I find it absolutely amazing that I'd never seen this one, and never had it recommended to me, and actually wound up watching it because I had mistaken it for something else that was recommended to me.
When you see Dolph Lungren and Brandon Lee together, you know the movie isn't going to be good. Fortunately, everyone involved appears to know the movie is crap, and just tries to have as much fun with it. The same director also did Commando, and he brings some of the same gloriously over the top sensibilities to it. The script also is just a bit better than it should be, mostly by making the white guy the Japanese expert, and the Asian guy hilariously Americanized. This is among the most accurate portrayals of Japanese crime culture on film, except when it gets everything hilariously wrong; it frequently manages both in the same scene, as if the prep was done by people who knew their stuff, but the finishing touches were done by an entirely different crew. For reasons beyond my capacity to understand, Dolph Lungren has the single best Japanese accent I've ever seen on a white guy in a movie. The subtitles also have absolutely nothing to do with most of the Japanese lines. Clearly written with the same improvisational what the fuck that produced the scene below, which you've probably heard quoted without knowing what it was from.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Ip Man

Donnie Yen and Wilson Yip appear to be hell bent on reviving the entire martial arts genre by their damn selves. If we just forget about the incoherent second half of Dragon Tiger Gate, they've done a pretty solid job.

I'm the first to scoff at fools who give a shit about anything but the fight scenes in a kung fu movie, but occasionally a movie comes along that absolutely delivers the fu, and gives a shit about the story, and actually has the script and restraint to pull that story off. It's a bit hard not to compare this to Jet Li's Fearless, a movie that has more or less the same plot -- one kung fu master inspires China to kick out the Japanese -- and may have had more spectacular fight scenes, but was a dreadful, sappy, incoherent, embarrassing mess otherwise. An opinion only strengthened by seeing Ip Man do it so much better.
I used the word restraint for a good reason; histrionics are pretty much inevitable in Chinese movies, but Ip Man more or less avoids them, and when it does indulge, it makes damn sure it's earned them. Which is not to say Donnie Yen doesn't completely blow the one really emotional beat the script hands him, but you're willing to overlook that in the context of a performance that completely drops all traces of his usual ego-maniacal self-absorption and finds the cool in always being polite, cultured, and able to fights swords with a feather. I was particularly impressed with Ip Man's relationship with his wife, which manages to find a new angle on something I think everyone else pretty much gave up on finding new angles on.
Got to admit, I kinda wished I'd waited to see it in theaters, though. It better be coming.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Dammit Jog, you need to stop doing that

How'm I supposed to be motivated to post anything around here when you just effortlessly knock it out of the park like that?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Dulalala!! 06

The Dollars otaku gang hits the spotlight this week.

I pretty much have nothing to say, but was a bit sad they cut the Missing reference along with basically the entire torture scene.
Also, HA, they've switched to spelling her name Celty.

Friday, February 5, 2010

The return of Luc Besson?

I understand his post-hiatus projects have been underwhelming...but then, some people seem to have found his Joan of Arc movie underwhelming. Do not comprehend.
Either way, this certainly looks more interesting than crap looking kid flicks or self-indulgent black and white romances.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

How much does De:Vadasy rip off Evangelion?

This much:

Actually, I'm being a little unkind. De:Vadasy is unmistakably part of the herd of shameless Eva clones that stampeded across Japan in the late '90s, but this hilarious shot aside, it isn't quite as obsessed with checking off every single element on the Eva plot outline and character chart as, say, RahXephon. Although people do explode into Tang, and they even share a voice actress, but here she voices "Rei" instead of Misato.

Once upon a time this show's plot would have needed even less summary than Tokyo Majin, but ripping off Eva has gone out of style so here goes: The world's under attack by mysterious aliens and/or robots, and humanity's only hope is an equally mysterious robot that's not entirely under their control, and only likes being piloted by teenagers. But this time, the psychological and religious technobabble is (mostly) replaced with weird sleaziness. De:Vadasy (both show and robot) runs on sexual tension, and to their credit, it's not played as random, pervasive fanservice like Gravion or Godannar. Instead of sublimating their sexual tension in creepy ways, the characters act on it... albeit also in creepy ways. The show has a strong "adapted-from-porn-game" vibe, far more than a lot of anime that actually ARE.

This also means that everything that could possibly be a metaphor or innuendo is made completely literal. Check out one pilot's response to his robot getting hacked:

Writing this up has made me realize that a lot of modern mecha shows have gotten really bizarrely sexualized, but I'm not sure even Aquarion got this freaky. If you do hunt this down, don't expect much closure; De:Vadasy's three episodes are basically a pilot that never got picked up (and it doesn't look like the staff went on to do anything else of note), so there are trailing sequel hooks all over the place, but they're at least classy enough not to end on a cliffhanger. The story doesn't go anywhere too new, although swapping Eva's pseudo-Judeo-Christian symbology for Hindu is sort of interesting... or would have been, if they had much time to do anything with it. I can't recommend this per se, but there are worse things out there. For seekers of the weird and obscure only.

Dulalala 05

Hell yeah, this was definitely the episode where everything started coming together big time. Which is odd, since this episode is primarily about introducing elements from the second and third novels! I guess we're doing all three books at once.

Kida's little thumbs up there was one of my favorite offhand moments. Saika, like Celty, tends to not screencap well, being mostly inky shadow. With red eyes. There's a decent amount of fan service; walking past dudes in yellow right as Kida is warning Mikado off color gangs...and I'm not sure how many people will connect the dots from the offhand reference to Haruna early on to the actual shot of her in bed at the end. I actually don't remember what role she actually played in the novels, so that one's a mystery even to me.
But yeah, everything really came together beautifully at the end there. Fantastic stuff.

Monday, February 1, 2010

...and more elephants

I still haven't seen any Tony Jaa movies except the original Ong Bak, a situation I should probably correct, but blame the lack of Netflix streaming.