How animated is Aeon Flux? : LUSENET : Aeon Flux : One Thread

The movement in this show, while not perfect, looks a hell of a lot smoother than most TV animation. How was this achieved, does AF run at a higher frame rate, or is it just the quality of the art? I've heard that the typical anime uses 12 frames a second, whereas 24 is the maximum - VHD Bloodlust ran at 24, I think. Are these figures correct?

-- Inukko (, February 04, 2002


Peter lives!

-- Barb e. (, February 05, 2002.

Peter, this fascinating. It is intersting that the artist ultimately makes the final difference, fluidity dependent upon skill of the artist and not just the number of ones or two's. I have noticed that the begining of the impression of movement can be created in even a single drawing involving the use of imagination of the viewer by the artist creating a natural pose in motion through the use of his talent, and so it follows that several good drawings of this sort create a more effective illusion. Interestingly, Aeon Flux has proportional exaggerations that we all accept as 'real' in terms of motion, although they are incredibly surreal. It is a very unique aspect of it. Thanks for the information about Bloodlust, I can't wait to get it on vhs and see it again with this new information.

-- Barb e. (, February 05, 2002.

I'm definitely going to ask Harkin's to play Metropolis at the Valley Art theatre since it seems they are the only theatre out here with soul and not just trying to sell popcorn. Darn Peter, I wish you had been involved in that film, as good as it is you and Metropolis are such a match. As far as the 20's and 30's they were the very definition of style. The original Metropolis is still a stunner, (the robots knees resemble a certain Aeon Flux). What songs did they choose from that time for the new Metropolis? Or was it all new music with the 'sound' of that era? Some of the early painters around the turn of the century were painting exotic scenes of myths through imagery, (beginning of deco) one I love is J.W. Waterhouse, who did a painting called Circe offering the Cup to Ulysses, also Ulysses and the Sirens, which I'm sure inspired those Sirens on Xena.

-- Barb e. (, February 07, 2002.

Put it down to the delicate linework of Osamu Tezuka who did the comic the movie was based on. The style of the 20's and 30's was thin as the Calvin Klein 'body by heroin' look.

-- Barb e. (, February 08, 2002.

O.k, snow dog; so there's a movie out with your name on it and you can do links too. Well...sheesh! (apropos to quote a cartoon kitty here). I think it would be me gushing if I ever saw you Peter, geeksters unite. Must've been real cool to work at Disney. My question is this; evidently Tezuka died in 1989. So I'm guessing he never even knew of the anime film based on his comic, is that true? How interesting that his plots were so bleak and his characters were not at all that way. Also, I thought Madhouse did Wicked City, yet it wasn't listed on the site you gave us Inukko. I just ordered it on DVD. That cityscape just slays me.

-- Barb e. (, February 08, 2002.

O.k. o.k. I haven't actually READ the stuff about the Metropolis plot here (it really IS too confusing that way) but all the great great info about the making of it is awesome. Thanks Peter.

-- Barb e. (, February 08, 2002.

Don't laugh,that same dialog happens to be the reason for the President's new budget proposal. As for the link, here goes: "a href=""

-- Barb e. (, February 09, 2002.


-- Barb e. (, February 09, 2002.

What IS in Wicked City? I'm starting to think my rep is shot here...And no, cute but: LUSENEThe's a sorta nick at night type of guy.

-- Barb e. (, February 09, 2002.

Er...Wicked City?

-- Barb e. (, February 09, 2002.

Well guys, after reading all the fascinating things you said about the important anime out there I chose tonight to devastate my emotions with "Grave of the Fireflies". I haven't seen anything like that since I first saw La Strada. The comparison of the vulnerability of the short lived firefly to a human in dire straits overlooked by others uncaring will never leave me. I am totally blown away by it.

-- Barb e. (, February 15, 2002.

I Bought Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust, Sam Goody's is selling it. The local comic store sold out of all it's copies already. The DVD has a section on the making of the movie. Interviews with a lot of the cast and crew. I didn't expect Jack Fletcher to look like an ex-hippie, (scusa)..he is a fascinatingly intense but creative type-guy. You like him immediately. The interviews with the director, Yoshiaki Kawajiri is one of my fav parts. He is very likeable. I can't recommend this dvd enough, you all would love it.

-- Barb e. (, February 16, 2002.

La Strada is a great film by Fellini built around another doe eyed girl you won't forget without wiping your eyes either. Thank you for a fun time at the movies; hey.

-- Barb e. (, February 17, 2002.

Just re-read your post Paul about Grave of the Fireflies. I didn't know it was your favorite anime. Was it a great success in Japan? How was it received? I would like to think it received the recognition it deserves. Peter I liked what you said regarding the character design of Akira, part of the reason Aeon Flux was so great is that it did have soul. The characters had a great range of expressive human emotions in their faces. It seems like there is so much anime out there that looks not at human beings but at other anime drawings.

Has anyone else noticed the stores are switching to dvd's? I hope there will be some plan to put Aeon Flux on dvd. I feel uncomfortable with a future where art can be made obsolete by technology. Shouldn't art be a permanent record of a civilization? What will become of our cultural advancements?

-- Barb e. (, February 17, 2002.

Wicked City was great! But not too much sex, right after a cold shower I was able to finish watching the movie, (how do anime girls afford implants anyhow)? In fact there was a scene that reminded me of a scene in Aeon Flux, the first girl who turns into a spider-like creature reminds me of leisure's creature. Also the romantic female lead works as a fashion model when not working as an agent. Really pretty nice.

-- Barb e. (, February 21, 2002.

Well, I wouldn't go that far, but I would like to know why they called that movie Wicked City, as the sex was presented as the normal behavior of the main characters and never shown as evil. Was it a moral denouncement by the writers themselves? Or did it refer to the sex scene on the church alter?, but oh wait, that was on the outskirts of town, not in the 'city'. Hmmm...

-- Barb e. (, February 21, 2002.

Or how about as girl discovered by hero to be undressing to nude immediately after entering her apt for 'date': Boy: "I didn't know you were in such a hurry". Girl: "I hope you don't mind" Boy: "" This line was reminiscent of Trevor's great lines. But my point about Wicked City is the morals are merely our usual. Just singles The agent working with the human side who is half-alien, (or the black guard) has sex only when it is love, she's a good girl. Men are seen as normal as promiscuous single men always are. Women are evil when they have sex without love, eg the alien female. Old men after years of promiscuity and no looks left are now recognizably repugnant. The rapes were simply acts of war. No one in the movie believed all this was wicked, there was no one standing back and saying, 'heck you all are as wicked as can be'...I figure the name had to be some writer's guilty conscience.

-- Barb e. (, February 21, 2002.

Metropolis is playing here in Phoenix-Valley Art Theatre does it again! It is owned by Dan Harkins, who owns Harkins theatre chain, and makes mucho bucks from that I'm sure, but his baby is the Valley Art theatre where he loves to play a movie for it's total artistic merit. Saw Vampire Hunter D:Bloodlust and Mullholland Drive there. These movies I couldn't have seen in Phoenix. How wonderful to have a guy like that owning a theatre! Will see it tomorrow ^~^

-- Barb e. (, March 01, 2002.

Dangerboy welcome back! Couldn't agree with you more- but you know it only took a 'few' years to fathom the itinary to Aeon. Now we are all waiting on the next unmapped path. Magic be unleashed...

-- Barb e. (, March 05, 2002.

If the actors have to record while watching the animation, then how did the animators have the knowledge to correlate the movement of the lips?? In the DVD of Vampire Hunter D in the intro about the movie there's a part with John Lee in the booth begining to read his part and interrupted and reoriented to the place in the script where they last left off. His joking is hilarious, something like "Oh, I've already BEEN to that planet...I see" and laughing. It's well worth the dvd to see that one.

-- Barb e. (, May 07, 2002.


You've asked this question before and I declined to answer because it's the type of technical matter which, if addressed specifically, actually tends to compound confusion. But things are slow on the board, so here goes:

Motion picture film runs at 24 frames per second. This is the standard frame rate for live-action sound movies and so animation has by necessity followed this existing technical specification. Almost all animated productions vary the number of drawings used per second depending on the particular needs of the specific action being animated. It's not accurate to describe a particular animated film as having a frame rate of 12 per second or 24 per second. Frames refer to the exposures on a strip of film and this is a universal standard of 24. (NTSC video is 30 frames per second; each video frame is composed of 2 interlaced fields.)

The number of times a particular drawing is exposed is generally referred to as "animating on ones" (one new drawing per frame) or "animating on twos" (one new drawing per two frames). So you'll hear animators say "Roger Rabbit was animated on ones" or "that scene in Pokemon was done on threes". (In the U.K., they say "on singles" and "on doubles".)

Obviously, animating an entire feature film "on ones" is extremely laborious and expensive. The animation in Roger Rabbit or Space Jam is done on ones because of the need to blend with the live-action which is refreshing at 24 fps. The only other feature I can think of where every scene was being done on ones is Richard Williams' The Thief and The Cobbler, although in its released form, much of the original footage was cut and replaced with cheaply done T.V. grade animation. (Williams never managed to finish his version.)

Even big-budget Disney features are done mostly on twos, simply because for most typical motion, 12 drawings per second is smooth enough for the human eye. Often, the rate can change within a single action, or different elements of a scene will be animated on both ones and twos. The ability to convey the impression of smooth motion using fewer drawings depends on the skill of the animator. A weak animator who draws stiff poses will produce jerky motion even if his animation is running on ones.

Actually, Paul, the typical Japanese animated T.V. production is done on threes. (Some older shows even used fours) But again, that would refer to the average scene. Even low-budget Japanese shows will go to twos or ones when an action requires it.

The faster an object moves, the greater the distance travelled in 1/24th of a second. Slower actions require fewer drawings per second. In VHD Bloodlust, a lot of the action scenes were done on ones, but on the whole, the film was produced using a small fraction of the number of cels of say, a Don Bluth or Disney film. Kawajiri's skillful editing and camerawork manages to make up the difference.

Half-hour T.V. episodes are 22 - 23 minutes long. Aeon Flux episodes done at Mook (Japan) used between 8,000 and 12,000 cels. The two that were done at Gana (Korea) had more: Isthmus Crypticus, about 15,000; The Purge, close to 18,000.

A typical Warner Bros. show or Disney show has over 20,000 cels (with higher budgets than MTV's).

None of this is really useful or meaningful information. I don't like to discuss animation in terms of numbers of drawings. Ultimately, it's the expressive quality of animation which should define it, which has little to do with numbers.

-- Peter Chung (, February 05, 2002.

Thanks for the detailed explanation, Peter! Though I can't draw to save my pencil, it's fascinating to hear what makes animation "tick"...

-- Inukko (, February 05, 2002.

Anyone interested in the technical aspects of animation should check out "That's All Folks" (I think that's the title) from your local library. It's primarily a history of the Warner Bros. animation studio, but naturally it goes a little bit into the technical side of things. It was interesting to hear how the rivalry with Disney extended to a philosophy about the very nature of animation as a new medium of expression and how best to utilize its strengths. On a more related not, the book does say that the Warner studio filmed at 24 frames per second animating on two's, but that each frame was actually photographed twice (something about maintaining the illusion of motion). Anyway, if you can find it, do yourself a favor and read it. It's really short (you can probably breaze through it in a few hours), and really interesting both as a historical narrative, a novice's technical guide, and a detailed explanation about an interesting piece of americana.

On a slightly related note, the director's commentary on Braveheart has a number of cool tips about how changing the framerate can produce a lot of cool, very realistic effects, very inexpensively.

-- Logo (, February 05, 2002.

Since we're on the subject, I was wondering if anyone has seen Rintaro's "Metropolis" yet? On the technical side the movie is absolutely breathtaking. It even kicks Akira's ass in terms of displaying a living, breathing, fully functioning, highly kinetic world. From just the first few minutes you can see why it took six years to animate. On the narrative side it also happens to be a pretty good movie to boot.

In case you have seen it, what did people think of the ending?

-- Logo (, February 05, 2002.

I've been looking a lot at Metropolis lately since I received my region 2 DVD from Madhouse. I'd urge people to see it in a theater first, if possible. It definitely improves on repeated viewings, since the first time is likely to be a case of sensory overload.

Actually, the six year schedule included story development and preproduction, which is long for a Japanese feature, but quite normal for features made in the U.S. The film has been criticized for having underdeveloped characters and narrative (even in Japan), and in a way, I can agree. (In a rational analysis, Otomo's script doesn't really make much sense.) But Rintaro has never really been interested in telling stories so much as orchestrating mood and inducing a dreamlike state of consciousness. And who says that movies need always be about character and story anyway? Metropolis is a movie about a place,which stands for a state of mind. For the very reason of its narrative ambiguities, I find I can return to it repeatedly and read it in multiple ways. It's the animation equivalent of a Fellini film .

And yeah, the ending is truly amazing. The intricate mix of feelings evoked is practically unlike anything else I can think of. It's spectacular, intimate, sentimental, ironic, terrifying, and soothing -- all at once.


The portrayal of the relationship between the boy and his robot friend (of the hidden destructive powers) is lightyears beyond what was in the thematically similar but overrated (and blatant E.T. ripoff) "Iron Giant". And unlike that film, the ending does not cop out. The robot in Rintaro's film remains a robot to the end. (What I also liked about A.I.) Robots being, obviously, a motif representing the projection of conditioned human desires.

(On a personal note, Rintaro had asked me to do some animation on Metropolis. I declined at the time, since I was too caught up doing Rally's commercials and trying to work on my own feature. I regret it now.)

-- Peter Chung (, February 06, 2002.

Metropolis is a hard film to describe; it's like a capsule epic, ultra-fast and jammed with content (you're right about it kicking Akira's ass - that took over two hours to tell a comparable story!). I loved it's visual style, especially how the two urban "Zones" (topside, gaudy Neo-Tokyo wonderland, underground, quasi-East L.A.) complemented each other - a fusion of old and new. Was anyone else struck by the diversity of the score? I sure was (and c'mon - who can NOT like the Ray Charles number? Besides Roeper and the L.A. Times, that is). Characters were fun, but I didn't get to spend enough time with them; still, I loved the ride enough to go back twice.


The ending, with Tima's radio asking "who am I?", seems to fit. The robots in Metropolis were taken for granted (like Zone One's people) and neglected by the upper class that had come to depend on them. Everyone was searching for an identity in this vast, impersonal city (living in L.A., I can relate;). It's a bittersweet, heart-tugging, but still happy ending. I liked it.

(Hey - are there different versions of Metropolis or what? The 1st screening had a cute still after the credits, showing what Kenichi became (a robot repairman - aww). Was this cut from the U.S. release?)

-- Inukko (, February 06, 2002.

Uh oh. Peter posted while I was typing. Please ignore any redundant bits.

-- Inukko (, February 06, 2002.

Dreamlike. Yes, it was. I need to write faster.

-- Inukko (, February 06, 2002.

No, don't ignore any redundant bits. I think that the fact that we both agree the characters lacked complexity is telling. But in typical Japanese fashion, the consequences of their actions are anything but morally clear. Yes, it's confusing, but it's a good kind of confusion-- like an Orson Welles film.


If Tima's purpose all along was to usurp power from the aristocratic humans, contrary to Duke Red's plans, then Dr. Laughton truly was a dangerous madman and needed to be stopped. Rock's motive in hunting Tima may have been to protect the upper class' and in particular, Duke Red's hold on power, but the effect of his actions were actually sound. The villain is really a hero.

Kenichi's innocence and undying faith in Tima are what keep her from fulfilling her programming. His simple desire to bring back his beloved Tima has the unintended result of stopping the robot rebellion and restoring them to working class status. I appreciated the way we're shown, unflinchingly, how coldly she turns against Kenichi-- unequivocally reinforcing the fragility of Kenichi's hopes and dreams.

The part that doesn't make sense to me is the idea that Duke Red would be willing to entrust Tima, a robot, with the status of Supreme Being-- since we're shown earlier that the Ziggurat's purpose was to suppress rebellious robots. I really should ask Rintaro-san about this-- although he hates to talk about story content. I once asked him about the story in "X" (his previous film). He answered: "don't ask".

-- Peter Chung (, February 07, 2002.


Peter, you mention how the ending evoked an intricate mix of feelings practically unlike anything you can think of, but the second that music kicked in I was instantly reminded of Kubrick's "Dr. Strangelove." I think the director's motives were at complete polar opposites in these two movies, but they both produced a similar dissonance through juxtaposing the music with the on-screen action.

I think some of the characters could have had more depth, but I can't help but think that they only seem as wooden as they do because the visual aspect of the film is so grand. As you say though, the city itself is one of the main characters and we are never really allowed to forget this. You could probably watch this movie a hundred times and still notice little background details on the 101st veiwing. Sensory overload to the nth degree.

-- Logo (, February 07, 2002.


Inukko. I totally agree with you about the score, it was a brilliant choice going with old 1920's and 30's music. It contributed to the emotional ambiguity of the veiwer to be looking at a futuristic society (modeled after the 1920'2 vision of the future) while listening to music over a half century old.

I like the way Rock's role is kind of ambiguious in the end, but to call him a hero is stretching things a bit. His methods are too cold and ruthless, the irony of course being that the one man seeming to protect humanity's interests has lost all sense of compasion and has become a kind of robotic hunter himself.

By the way, did the final scene where Tima ascends the throne remind anyone else of Akira where Tetsuo groes himself a new arm?

-- Logo (, February 07, 2002.

You know.. I never thought I'd here Peter Chung say, "And who says that movies need always be about character and story anyway?" Although I would agree. At what point to character and story begin to become unimportant?

-- Logo (, February 07, 2002.

Logo, Actually, it's always been my attitude that movies are primarily a visual, experiential, medium. The habit of tying them to literary narratives is partly due to commercial concerns, and partly due to tradition. Audiences are used to seeing actors in stage plays, and movies were a way of making these dramatic presentations more accessible. It's one reason why I choose to work in animation-- it allows for total control of visual language and is inherently removed from realism.

Kubrick's 2001 is my favorite film. The story can hardly be called character-driven, unless we want to call "technology" and "historic human consciousness" "characters". Many of my other favorites are also non-narrative, or at least concerned less with story than with pure cinematic expression: Playtime , City of Women (and most Fellini after 8 1/2) , Mirror (Tarkovsky), The Holy Mountain, Eraserhead, Fantasia, Manie-Manie (also known as Neo Tokyo), The Adolescence of Utena, etc.

-- Peter Chung (, February 07, 2002.

Yes, Dr. Strangelove did come to mind (I'm certain that Rintaro did this consciously in homage to Kubrick; the film is filled with homages-- to Fritz Lang, Tezuka, film noir detectives, even to Otomo's and Rintaro's own previous works), but the sequence in Metropolis manages to add far more elements into the juxtaposition of conflicting emotions. I watched the finale again today, and the riot of feelings is much richer than in the ending of Dr. Strangelove.

And probably since Rintaro has done apocalyptic destruction so many times now (the two Galaxy Express 999 movies, Harmageddon, X, Doomed Megalopolis, Shin Kyujaku O), that he felt he needed to do something to give it a twist (even if it's an old twist).

-- Peter Chung (, February 07, 2002.

Peter (regarding the Ziggurat), I was under the impression that it could disable *all* robots, everywhere on the planet. Metropolis was a test run, with the real goal of rendering foreign countries defenseless. In which case, Tima would be a kind of One Ring -- the master robot of the world. Again, this is just a guess (I'll assume that Duke Red had a thing for robots; otherwise, why not just "switch to manual", like Rock wanted?)

-- Inukko (, February 07, 2002.

Paul, I think you're right about the Ziggurat's ultimate purpose. (Although I've seen the film four times, only once was with English subtitles, so my memory of the dialogue is a bit hazy.)

Duke Red's giving Tima the ultimate power still seems irrational, but I guess it's meant to reflect the increasing faith we place in computers and automated systems and how we may eventually find ourselves at their mercy. Just like how I trust that this here computer will deliver this message to just the right destination. I'm assured that my private emails are safe-- but I do wonder sometimes...

-- Peter Chung (, February 07, 2002.

Well, the ending didn't make sense on a lot of levels, but it still had great emotional impact. What did you guys think of the character designs? To be honest I found them to be kind of distracting with their abnormally thick limbs and disproportionately sized noses. I guess where it works is in using that old style character design to fit in with the theme of 20's and 30's vision of the future.

-- Logo (, February 08, 2002.

On reflection, I'm realizing that I can make greater sense of the script than I'd first thought. (Thanks to this little discussion) The events of the ending are confusing because there are several conflicting actions occurring simultaneously:

1. The robot workers rising up and attacking the humans, caused by Tima's merging with the Ziggurat. (Whether this robot rebellion was the original intent of Dr. Laughton or the result of Tima acquiring an independent will is not clear. Perhaps Laughton, being a robot creator, believed that robots should inherit the Earth.)

2. The annihilation of the Ziggurat along with much of the upper zone (including the barrier between above and below), is caused by Rock activating the "self- destruct" button as he is cornered by the rampaging robots. At first, between the general chaos and Ray Charles crooning, I'll admit I failed to see these two forces as separate and opposed.

Meanwhile, Kenichi's desperate attempt to free Tima is motivated purely by personal emotion for her without awareness of the grander implications. What's fascinating and ironic (also very un-Hollywood and un-Western) is that Tima's love turns out to be a very fragile mirage which could only be sustained by keeping her innocent. It's the opposite of the familiar "love conquers all" theme. Emotion is transient and all things must pass.

As for Duke Red's irrational faith in the robot Tima-- it doesn't seem that different from the way Hal in 2001 is entrusted with the Discovery's mission. Tima, like Hal, acquires a will of her own and turns against her creators. Also, like Hal, Tima has been modeled on a benign human personality (Duke Red's daughter) to make her machine nature more palatable. Rock, it seems, is the only character who sees through this charade and the danger inherent in it.

Logo, I think that the cartoony character designs is one the film's strongest assets. Tezuka's comics often deal in extremely bleak plotlines which would be unbearably morbid if the characters did not reflect the kind of optimism suggested by their charming and cheerful appearance. I find, for example, that the character design in Akira is fatally flawed and prevents me from engaging in the characters emotionally. Miyazaki also uses a similar strategy in dealing with often harrowing subject matter, but his range of characters is far more limited than Tezuka's (although influenced by the "god of comics").

One of my all-time favorite animated features is "Phoenix 2772" (aka "Space Firebird"), written and directed by Mr. Tezuka himself and released back in 1979. Although not as technically polished as Metropolis, it is a purer expression of Tezuka's sensibilities. If anything, the story is much darker and also deals with a young human with a female robot companion who loves him. I remember attending the first U.S. screening back in '79 at UCLA with Tezuka in attendance. (I also got to meet Mr. Tezuka again later as he was visiting the Disney studio at the time I worked there-- 1981 or 82. He was a lifelong Disney fan, but as he was walking around the studio grounds, no one recognized him. Of course, I was thrilled to see him and ran and gushed like a geek in front of him. Ah, memories...)

-- Peter Chung (, February 08, 2002.

Okay, I just looked up "Space Firebird" on the IMDB, and Tezuka is credited as co- writer and producer, but not director. Though my guess is that he had a big hand in the directorial choices, considering that the movie is based on his single greatest comic series Hinotori (and in his case, that's saying a lot.)

Also, the listing shows that there are two U.S. versions released, one at 122 minutes and the shorter one at 95 minutes (???!!!) I guess the guy who wrote the viewer's comments saw the short version. Sigh...

-- Peter Chung (, February 08, 2002.

Gotta love the IMDB... an average rating of 8.0, and the one user comment trashes the film. ^_^ There's an ultra-comprehensive Rintaro page Here, if anyone's interested.

-- Inukko (, February 08, 2002.

Though I would get some ribbing about that Cuba Gooding Jr. flick... Barb, you like Wicked City? I never would have guessed! Though it's actually Kawajiri who directed it, not Rintaro. There's some neat extras on that DVD; enjoy!

Oh, it's not hard to link; Just type "a href=" and then the URL in brackets. Put the name of the link, & then type "/a", again in brackets, to close the HTML tag (for LUSENET, one thing I learned is to keep typing, even if it goes off the page. It'll wordwrap automatically without messing up the link).

-- Inukko (, February 08, 2002.

O.K. Barb, I've given up trying to get you to heed the SPOILER warnings, so if you really want to know what the hell we're talking about, go the Metropolis site and take a glimpse.

Wicked City wouldn't be listed in Rin Taro's filmography because it was directed by Kawajiri Yoshiaki, Madhouse's OTHER resident madman.

And now, I'm afraid I'm really going to have to stop loitering here and finish my damned Animatrix storyboard. Oh yes, The Matrix-- now THERE'S a movie with a story that makes absolutely no logical sense.

-- Peter Chung (, February 08, 2002.

Well, how `bout that. Peter, we're even! Heh heh, got to agree with you about the Matrix... all the powers of the mind at their disposal, and the best they could do was "I'll need guns -- lots of guns". There were some good dialogues concerning VR, though.

Barb, have you mastered the Force of HTML yet? I found your rallying cry strangely touching; geek, like all arbitrary derogatives, being extremely fun to re-purpose...

-- Inukko (, February 08, 2002.

"though i would get some ribbing" should be Thought up there. Die, typos, die!

-- Inukko (, February 08, 2002.

Practice, you must! (and remove my quote marks, you must)

Was This the cartoon animal you were referring to?

-- Inukko (, February 09, 2002.

Wicked City is somewhat infamous for two reasons: its "Hard R" sex & violence (extreme, at the time), & it's misogynistic treatment of the female lead. Next to Overfiend, it's turned more woman viewers away from Japanese animation than any other title I can think of. That aside, it's a pretty good B-horror/action anime... I'd recommend it, just don't take it too seriously. Don't worry Barb, as long as you keep cutting out those great articles your rep is safe! ;-)

-- Inukko (, February 09, 2002.

Do you guys normally order movies you haven't seen before? I'd have to say the Wicked City is not one of Kawajiri's better movies. There are some funny scenes, but the gratuitous sex really kind of detracts from the overall experience (seriously, how many times does that chick get raped?). Speaking of Kawajiri films, Vampire Hunter D: Blodlust is out on DVD now. If anyone has the DVD, I'm wondering if the extras are at all worthwhile.

-- Logo (, February 09, 2002.

Beware Metropolis SPOILERS!!

I really liked the character designs in Akira Peter. For more hardedged anime I prefer more realistic character designs. The more gritty the subject matter the more I expect the character designs to reflect that emotional tone. You must have really hated Jin-Roh. Talk about a downer of movie huh? And that had pretty realistic character designs. The animation was also more realistic than in most anime films. In some scenes it almost seemed to verge on rotoscoping.

Besides that though, I find that the characters' actions ultimately determine how I feel about them more than how they are drawn. Miyazaki is a master of reversing our perceptions of his characters over the course of the film's action.

Going back to Metropolis, I think in the end love kind of did win out. Kenichi may have lost Tima, but she did come around in the end (after trying to kill him a few times).

Tima's purpose is still a little ambiguous though. Exactly what was she originally designed to do? And wouldn't whatever EMP bursts she created effect the entire planet, herself included? At the end she threatens to blow up all of earth's cities in a nuclear holocaust, but even if the robots survived the blast, all their circuitry would be fried from the radiation.

...actually, I'll shut up. If I think about it too I'll ruin the experience.

-- Logo (, February 09, 2002.

To be more specific, I don't like the character designs in Akira because the faces are all the same-- young or old, male or female. The relationship of eyes, nose and mouth are based on a single proportional formula, which to me, looks all scrunched together and not very appealing. Everybody has a grapefruit-head. The more I look at it, the more I'm disturbed by it. It tells me that Otomo hasn't taken much time or thought in observing the subtleties of character which a good character designer can extract from interpreting the human face. It's all the more disturbing because he lavishes such attention on well-observed depictions of machines, architecture, and the workings of physics.

(You have to allow that I've spent a good deal of my animation career as a character designer, so yeah, I'm very nitpicky.)

In looking at Otomo's comics, I get the sense that they're done by an engineer. His characters (especially his women) have zero sex appeal. (Also true of his characters in Harmageddon.) He seems like a man without a libido (and I say this, having met him in person). Still, I'd say he's very good at what he does. But I find myself admiring his technical skills more than feeling moved emotionally. Have you seen Memories or Spriggan (the movie, not the comic)? Again, astonishing animation, but no soul.

And yes, I HATED Jin-roh. Definitely for masochists only. I'm not an ascetic when it comes to art. I don't believe that the denial of pleasure makes one's work more "serious". How can you be an animator if you don't have a sense of humor?

-- Peter Chung (, February 09, 2002.

I loved Jin-Roh. But then, I do have a thing for political intrigue and Phil Dick-like scenarios. Same reason I liked Wings Of Honneamise. Now, the *characters* in those films, I couldn't care less about... could writing get any more cynical?

-- Inukko (, February 09, 2002.

OK Logo, I was staying up at all hours when I recommended Wicked City, so perhaps my judgement was clouded. I remember it having good visuals, though -- and no cracks about that! ;-)

What's everyone's WORST Japanese animated film, btw? Mine's Ponpoko.

-- Inukko (, February 09, 2002.

I was watching some the director commentary on the Akira DVD, and apparently Otomo's female characters' lack of sex appeal is kind of a trade mark of his. Personally, I thought that aspect of Akira was interesting mainly due to the fact that, traditionaly, anime females are kind of overloaded with sex appeal. Of course, I wouldn't expect you to feel this way Peter as your characters have enough sex appeal for a hundred shows. Otomo worked on Spriggan? In what capacity. The action scenes were great, but on the whole the movie was total cliche trash. Memories, on the other hand, I did enjoy. The first story in Memories was pretty forgetable, but the second one was funny, and third one, "Cannon Fodder," was great.

As for Jin-Roh, I liked it precisely because it was so pessimistic. When that final frame faded out I just said to myself "Jesus". And in keeping with the tone of the movie, the character designs were very spartan and drab. As a component of a larger work I thought the character designs fit very well.

-- Logo (, February 11, 2002.

Innuko, you hated Pompoko? It was a little out there, but I've never seen a Ghibli film I didn't love. I even loved "Grave of the Fireflies" though it is probably the saddest movie ever made. I remember watching it with my mom and my sister a few years ago (my mom having rented because she thought a cute anime film would be good fun), and I literally had to choke back the tears. Worst anime film is kind of tough, there are so many bad one out there. I recently saw the Escaflowne movie and that was pretty nonsensicle even though I have seen the series. The animation was good though. Project A-Ko Uncival wars is also pretty crappy. And the voice acting is laughably bad.

-- Logo (, February 11, 2002.

Peter, what's your take on Yasuomi Umetsu's work. I liked Kite, again because of the depressing ending and comicly intense action scenes. I would expect you to like his work since his characters are pretty distinctive and have tons of sex appeal (in that hentai jailbait sort of way). His style is kind of weird though in that the quality of the animation changes drastically from the pedestrian scenes to the intense action and sex scenes.

-- Logo (, February 11, 2002.

Maybe not the worst Japanese animated film, but the most misguided and painful to watch: Little Nemo- Adventures in Slumberland.

The "all-time-most-cynical": The End of Evangelion. (theatrical version). I'm guessing it's right up your alley, Paul. I'll admit I have a strong, but grudging admiration for it. But I wish Anno would get over his problems dealing with women. I suppose it's a good thing he's making animation as an outlet for his frustrations.

Same goes for Umetsu.

-- Peter Chung (, February 12, 2002.

Judging from the tv show, End Of Evangelion probably isn't up my alley, but I'll give it a look. I generally dislike cynicism in films, and the whole "apocalyptic" genre (see: about 80% of my A.I. rant) strikes me as a myopic way of looking at human nature; a certain Steve Dejarnatt film being the exception.

Logo, you'll get no arguments from me about Grave Of The Fireflies -- it's my favorite animated film! Probably the most emotional one as well. The author of the original book had a real-life sister that died of neglect during the war, the events of his childhood forming the basis of his story. It's extremely powerful and doesn't have a shallow or unsympathetic character in sight. Not to mention the animation, which for a slower, dramatic feature is incredibly good. The director, Isao Takahata, went on to make Ponpoko, as well as Only Yesterday and My Neighbors The Yamadas; three films I cannot stand. But Grave Of The Fireflies is a masterwork.

-- Inukko (, February 12, 2002.


If you hated the Evangelion T.V. show, there's a good chance you'll like the movie, since it revokes any good will towards its characters the series managed to establish. The second half of the movie is like a bad acid trip (--not that I would know about THAT, of course). I saw it at a matinee in Shinjuku, and the packed audience of hardcore Evangelion fans sat in silent disbelief as they saw their beloved characters assaulted by every imaginable cruelty. (During the prolonged climax, the movie switches to live-action and presents a view of the movie theater as if one were looking out from the movie screen; then the camera proceeds to exit the theater and go out onto the street - an effect which is unfortunately diminished on video.) A truly bizarre movie, being that it's such popular, mainstream fare in Japan. Just don't get it mixed up with the other Evangelion feature, Death + Rebirth, which is mostly re-edited clips from the series.

And in case you didn't know, Hideaki Anno was one of the main creative forces behind Honneamise (a movie which I don't care for-- an animated remake of The Right Stuff? WTF?!).

-- Peter Chung (, February 12, 2002.

Logo, Spriggan was made at Otomo's studio as a bid for commercial success after the box-office disaster of Memories. Otomo is credited as "chief supervisor" and did the promotional art.

-- Peter Chung (, February 13, 2002.

Inukko, you seem to be able to get your hands on a lot of hard to get anime. What's your source; bootleg, fansub, import, japanese homies...? I need to get my hands on those Ghibli films. Disney owns the distribution rights to Ghibli's films in America, but, aside from Princess Mononoke, they've just been sitting on their asses and its driving me crazy. I have a sloppy bootleg of Pompoko where the substitles are hard to read, but even though it lacks that Miyazaki magic I still think it was a good movie. That scene where the tanuki covers up a car windshield with his scrotum had me cracking up.

By the way Peter, how goes the work on Animatrix? At this point I think it's kind of rude of us NOT to ask. I saw a couple of character models that Square Pictures is making for the film and they look gorgeous, as is to be expected. Do you think you will ever use computer animation or are you a pen and paper man all the way?

-- Logo (, February 13, 2002.

Logo -- heh, I wish! It helps if you live near a college though. I've seen all the Ghibli films, bar one, at UCLA... have you heard of Whisper Of The Heart? One of Ghibli's rare shoujo titles, and a really great film. Porco Rosso is even better. Seek those two out.

The Yamadas, however, hurt BAD. It's a comedy about a "wacky", dysfunctional family, who are actually about as dysfunctional as the Waltons. Examples of "outrageous" behavior: fighting over the remote, arguing over dinner, one kid wandering out of sight at the mall... I know Japanese culture is more staid than the US, but this is beyond belief. The overall message of the film seems to be "if you deviate from social norms, even a little, you will suffer". Skip it, it's just evil propaganda designed to break little kids.

-- Inukko (, February 14, 2002.

Sorry, I'd love to tell you all about it-- but that'd ruin the surprise!

Signing off for a while, guys-- it's been fun, as usual.

-- Peter Chung (, February 14, 2002.

Wow! Looks like I'm out 25 bucks then. Thanks Barb.

On a side note, I walked into Virgin Records today, and they were playing VHD Bloodlust! On about nine screens. Nice to see Japanese animation being paid some attention to...

-- Inukko (, February 17, 2002.

What's La Strada Barb?

And Inukko, if you want to save some cash, is selling VHD for $17 and some change. By the way, what's the one Ghibli film you haven't seen?

-- Logo (, February 17, 2002.

I don't know, Barb... many films were lost before the invention of VHS. Now filmmakers can transfer their prints to the longer-lasting DVD medium. It's inevitable that we'll lose some more films, but the move to DVD is a step in the right direction. It's not really a case of technology replacing art; provided there's an unscratched copy, animation buffs of 2200 will be able to enjoy some of the best Aeon Flux (though I still want Demiurge for MY enjoyment:) I think Grave of the Fireflies was well recieved. It's not a movie with Akira-level hype, but as an art film, it's certainly well known. Something even non-anime watchers watch.

-- Inukko (, February 18, 2002.

Oh yeah, I did see that other Ghibli film (Castle of Cagliostro), just later, and not on the big screen. It was, as Cartman would say, "kickass".

-- Inukko (, February 18, 2002.

Castle of Cagliostro wasn't a Ghibli film, but I think it was one of the first movies Miyazaki directed, which is why it is so kick ass. And believe it or not, but when Grave of the fireflies was first released in Japan it was actually shown as a double feature with Totoro!

-- Logo (, February 18, 2002.

Next you'll be telling us you enjoyed Legend of the Overfiend for the plot development.

-- Logo (, February 21, 2002.

Are you sure you saw the right movie? As I recall there was plenty of "wickedness" going on.

The first scene has the male protagonist's schlong almost bitten off by a demon bitch from dimension X. Of course that's only after he bangs her. Later on there are numerous other demon attacks, demon rapes, demon gang rapes, exploding bodies, the spider bitch makes a return, etc. Then there's that lecherous old man who's always hitting on that demon chick. The one thing this movie didn't have was tentacle rape. Oh my bad, it did have tentacle rape. Guess there was no corner of depravity left unturned in this cinematic tour de force.

All the sex and violence aside though, it did have a couple of funny scenes and some good one liners...

"personally, I like the bare-assed look.."

-- Logo (, February 21, 2002.

Just a heads-up for anyone interested...In the March issue of Play, a videogame/anime magazine, there are a lot of brief, but cool interviews with the creators of "Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust" and "Metropolis." Even a rumor of a possible sequel to Ninja Scroll, oooh.

-- Logo (, February 24, 2002.

After viewing Adult Swim last night, I have a new worst -- Pilot Candidate. Bad art, bad animation, bad CG, bad integration of art and CG, bad characters, bad music, bad storyline, and bad acting. Other than that it was OK. Did Metropolis live up to your expectations, Barb?

-- Inukko (, March 03, 2002.

By way of plain rsponse to the original question (I'm loving this):

It is not unusual for many people to be at least puzzled by the strange effect of Chung's use of the traditional medium. Most people are not aware of how powerful it is in the hands of a raging maniac wizard master of a form whose full devastating potential is reduced to a secret of buried film history. Chung just got ahold of your mind and you are in trouble - you are in the throes of his magic and there is nothing for you to do you foool but to surrender.

You think I am being tongue in cheek but I am not. This fool has twisted your mind and you want an itinerary. Fuck you you are doomed!!!

Welcome to the World of PETER CHUNG, you delerious wanton.


-- dangerboy (, March 05, 2002.

You mean that nerd show? Yeah, that was pretty lame. It was made by Sarah Dwyer and Evan Dorkin (I think that's their names.) Curiously, they wrote some very funny eps of Space Ghost, including the "tribute to women" where SG thinks Alice Cooper is a woman, and the one where Zorak eats Raymond. The show becomes strangely even more pathetic when you take into account how autobiographical it must be.

-- Kristine Rooks (, March 05, 2002.

Ah! I've finally seen Metropolis. Review is pending while I wait to watch it again...

-- Mat Rebholz (, April 24, 2002.

on the subject of frame rates, I think Akira was actually shot at a complete 24 per second. I've watched some of the scenes closely and in every frame there was some change. They didn't expressly animate all the characters on ones however. In one scene for example (where Kaneda points the gun at two soldiers at the elevator) the two characters were each animated on twos, yet in such a way that on one character's hold frame, the other would change. So while they weren't separately animated on ones, overall there would be an animation change in each frame. Much of the character animation and action scenes did stay on ones of course. Akira was reportedly done at over 150,000 cels, which was Otomo's intention since I've heard he's an admirer of Disney style full animation.

This can be seen in his other works too, Memories I think had similar production standards to Akira. And Metropolis which Otomo was involved in employed over 150,000 cels and was shorter than Akira. And is probably in my opinion the most beautiful animated movie made so far.

Vampire Hunter D Bloodlust I remember employing 24fps during its action scenes although as typical in films like that in Ghost in the Shell the dialog sequences were where the cel counts seemed to decrease the most. Does anyone know the approximate cel count in that movie? Of course there's more to animation than cel counts but I still think its an interesting fact to know about a movie. For example I think that Disney's last cel animation movie, the Little Mermaid also had about over 150,000 cels.

Also on another technical topic does anyone know if Metropolis used prerecorded dialog? The two animes I know that use prerecorded dialog and lipsync are Akira and Spriggan. Metropolis I'm unsure about because in some sequences I noticed lipsync but in the making of in the DVD they showed the voice actors performing in front of tvs with the animation playing.

-- Jack N. (, May 06, 2002.

Most anime is made by filming first, and then recording the voices. There are a few exceptions though, like Akira. In America, they record the voices and then animate the movie. Maybe Peter Chung could explain how they manage to animate a movie without prerecorded dialogue to go by. I'm sure they have timing cues to go by, but it sounds much less effective to me than animating after the voices are recorded. Maybe that's part of the reason why dubbed anime sounds kind of rushed a lot of the time; it probably sounds kind of rushed in Japanese as well.

-- Logo (, May 07, 2002.

To quote Mr. Mars, I presume:

"This fool has twisted your mind and you want an itinerary. Fuck you you are doomed!!! "

That was about how I felt when I first saw Aeon. And here I am *years* later still trying to figure it out. Off topic, but can you tell us what you have been working on since "Aeon Flux", Mark?

-- Buck Dueker (, August 26, 2002.

Yes I can. I'm writing a science fiction novel about police brutality and the paramilitarization of our sociocultural what-it-is. It's set in the future - the year 1989 or so. I'm sure no one's looking forward to facing the realities we all are doomed to have to face when once we shall finally get there! I for one am certainly glad I know that's all still a few years off from noe! And who knows, maybe it won't be so terrible by the time we may ever get to around to throwing on some old Kansas record or whatever we got to assuage our lurid morbid nostalgiae of futures abandoned defaulted deferred or otherwise ...

-- dangerboy (, August 27, 2002.

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