From Akira to Princess Mononoke : LUSENET : Aeon Flux : One Thread

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-- Sam (, October 25, 2002


Wow! I love the music it's so serene, so beautiful. So is the animation, I love the look of what seems to be the main characters. Think it'll make it over here? I'd love to see this, thanks for bringing it here to see.

-- Barb e. (, October 26, 2002.

Whoa! Black exploitation drawn by Bug's Bunny animators channeling Fellini!!! Now THAT's trippy conceptual art! (Question is would there be any black males to kiss Marcelo Mastriani)? You know for some unknown reason the Song of the South scene with the singing crows on the telephone line always pops into my mind whenever I hear Bill Withers song 'Lean on me'. Back on track though I long ago realized the animators in Korea have their act together, and looking at Wonderful days is another great example. Is the culture less materialistic, with the emphasis on quality? Is is more pride in their craft? What is it? I wish our culture would get a clue.

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

Yet it IS available on Ebay. As for Dumbo I realized my mistake right after I posted it, (duh). It's interesting what you said about Japan and their stylization approach to animation, because to me it seems to have been their approach to art for for a few hundred years, yet I feel it has always been viewed as modernism. I think Disney has done some great artwork but they tend to fall into the trap of parodying their own creations. I have to believe it is because it's easier to use what has succeeded than to try original work. The backgrounds seem to be where the real work goes into it. Course not to sound like I'm some sort of expert, just my viewpoint, it's not like I've made one of these things...

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

Peter, regarding technical insights of Disney, et al; you enjoy insights known to the working professional. I would love to witness and experience the personal insights and experiences you have at the drawing board, in the studios. Especially when those studios include Japan, Korea and L.A. and those new animated flicks coming out all the time! What a cool scene that must be. Like the blonde in Mullholland Drive I can only envision it dreamily, but not to worry-I don't carry a fug.

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

Peter, I'm glad you mentioned the stylized aspect of Japanese art, it's something I've been thinking a lot about lately as I begin to enter the field of Japanese studies. You're dead-on about form becoming a kind of content itself (I never thought of it that way before). Do a google search on Bunraku puppetry or Noh Drama sometime, it's really interesting. Think of the possible connection between Katsuhiro Otomo's misshapen, indistinct heads and the use of the static and unchanging Noh mask to depict a wide range of emotions depending on the context surrounding it; the artificial movements of bunraku puppets and the stylized animation of the human figure; the muted backgrounds of traditional theater (interesting contrast to lush Disney backgrounds) and the formless speed blur behind Pokemon action sequences. Maybe there's something to this? An unbroken line of development?

It seems that all sorts of aspects of Japanese culture, including language and interpersonal relations, seem concerned with depicting nothing too explicitly; even the language itself tries to be vague and leave out as much information as possible. Maybe the fact that Japanese animators use fewer frames in their work than their American counterparts could be seen as an extension of this. The Japanese mission: tell a story in as few frames as possible/as few lines as possible/as few words as possible?

Just some late-night thoughts.

-Mat Rebholz

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

Regarding all the copycats who refer to themselves as 'schools of...' must art style always bow to the one who came before? What of individual style. If the art of the one who came before becomes a tradition and the entire field follows suit isn't the purpose of art really denied?

-- Barb e. (, November 12, 2002.

Actually, when I referred to 'school of' I was speaking figuratively. I didn't actually mean a particular institute of learning. I was referring to a large number of artists floating out there capitalizing on other styles without any real motivation, other than to churn out work endlessly and quickly. They occasionally refer to themselves as coming from schools of expression in art, eg; 'My work is from the school of the impressionists' (or other styles) meaning they are influenced by that group. It's more like stealing the style then actually creating in it. The animation field seems rife with it. Studying great works; endeavoring to learn and emulate the quality that went into them, it just never seems to figure into this group.

-- Barb e. (, November 14, 2002.

You know I saw some thing by Disney the other day with beautifuly drawn wolves. I had to reflect on what Peter said about how good some of the work Disney puts out really is. The flow of the motion of animal movements by Disney has always amazed me, even real animal actions somehow are not as fascinating as their celluloid counterparts. The weight of line and rendition of form is beautiful, for sure.

-- Barb e. (, November 20, 2002.

At least the reviewer referred to anime as a medium and not a genre.

-- Logo (, October 26, 2002.

I've noticed that End of Evangelion is out on domestic video. So, whaddya think? Paul?

-- Peter Chung (, October 26, 2002.

Really? I hadn't noticed. Will get back to you on that (should be on some sort of list for cool animation...)

In the meantime, what'd you think of Spirited Away? I watched it with my family over the last week, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Lively and chaotic. One of Miyazaki's better films, IMHO; even if it didn't quite "gel" in the same sense as Nausicaa, Mononoke, Porco Rosso ect. did...

-- Inu (, October 26, 2002.

I was glad to see pretty wide acceptance of what I'm still calling "a truly bizarre movie":

67 customer reviews

As for "Spirited Away"-- I thoroughly enjoyed it as well. I found the experience wore off pretty quickly, though. Also, I'm finding it hard to watch an animated film running longer than, say, 90 minutes. Having said that, I enjoyed Nakamura Takashi's "Palme no Ki" (Tree of Palme) more than Miyazaki's film-- though at 130 minutes it tried my patience at the time. Yet another variation on the Pinocchio story-- this time with a Buddhist (or Shinto) angle. Too bad that it opened in Japan while Spirited Away was still in release-- and was taken down about a week later. For Nakamura-san, this five-year labor of love should have been his magnum opus. I just hope he keeps at it.

-- Peter Chung (, October 26, 2002.

Okay, enough of this Japanese so-called "anime"!! What do you know about the current wave of Korean animation? Not much, huh? Thought so. Some good pals of mine in Seoul have been cooking up some pretty tasty morsels. Free samples with more to come:

Two feature films in production:

So far, this one only has animation in Flash, but it's good stuff:

Aachi & Ssipak

Then go here and download the second trailer. It's... Wonderful!!

Wonderful Days

-- Peter Chung (, October 26, 2002.

Okay, my first impressions:

Aachi & Ssipak: I watched most of the Flash shorts (thank gods for DSL). Cool music and camerawork; I have to wonder though, is there a real story? Or is this just an excuse to show a bit of the old ultraviolence... it's amusing, whatever it is.

Wonderful Days: Who are these guys? And why haven't we seen more of this goodness from Korea?

-- Inu (, October 27, 2002.

This suff has to make it over here, i cant imagine why any production looking like that would be contained outside of European eye sight.

-- Sam (, October 27, 2002.

If you haven't already, go check out NINJAI It's amazing what they're able to do with flash. Anyone else know of any other good flash stuff?

-- scott (, October 27, 2002.

Peter (returning to the so-called japanese anime for a moment), I finally watched the mindfuck that is End Of Evangelion. Surreal, outre' and provocative. I more or less agree with your comments (though I don't know if I'd characterize it as "cynical", exactly -- more on that later). The opening "holy war", trip through Shinji's head, and rebirth of Earth were quite visually stunning.

As for the plot/symbolism, I have some theories brewing, and would love to hear what you think of them. I'll just post those in another thread -- the film's fairly new, and I'd hate to spoil the experience for others.

For now, there's an excellent review at Damn good writing, and the man knows his philosophy. Check it out if you haven't yet.

-- Inu (, November 02, 2002.

I'm getting pretty curious about the Evangelion movie. Although really not nearly as curious as I am about Wonderful Days. I've watched all the downloads, the last one is a 'making of' or something. This stuff looks beyond fucking cool! Actually, a couple of the characters look a little reminiscent of the AF style, particularly the big muscly guy with suspenders. Is there any more you could tell us about Wonderful Days Peter?

-- Sam (, November 04, 2002.

Wonderful Days is the first feature film being produced at Tinhouse, one of the top production studios of commercials and music videos in Korea. Their output consists largely of mixed media work, combining stop-motion, live action, miniature models, CG and 2D animation. The director is a good friend and professional colleague, Mr. Kim Moonsaeng. He conceived this project starting about 5 years ago.

The basic premise is based on an actual proposal for a city of the future (ironically dubbed Gaia by its futurist architect) which would be powered by the waste products of large-scale industry. In other words, to solve the problem of pollution, people have taken to recycling waste for use as energy. But what happens when the system succeeds-- eventually becoming entrenched? The city's existence depends on the continuation of pollution.

The story of Wonderful Days concerns the struggles faced by those stuck outside the walls of the city (called Ecoban in the movie), where industry has rendered the environment barren, and the duties of a few security officers who are charged with the protection of the city and its privileged citizens within.

I'm not at liberty to describe much more of the content. The animation quality and production values, as you've seen, are very high. It is by far the most ambitious animated project attempted in Korea. Several of the key animation staff, including the animation director, Yoon Youngki, worked with me on Aeon Flux. Approximately two thirds of the film is finished. They are aiming for a completion by early next year.

There are quite a few animated features produced every year in Korea, none of which are ever seen outside the country (deservedly so, I will admit). However, this year, the Korean film "Marie's Story" won the feature film award at Annecy, the prestigious international animation festival in the south of France. While nicely designed and animated, I honestly doubt that Marie's Story will find much of an audience outside of the arcane demimonde of animation academics who make up the juries of festivals like Annecy. The problem is that the Korean animation industry has existed since its inception mostly to provide cheap animation labor to overseas clients. You may already know this, but almost all the animation you see on American T.V. is actually drawn by Korean animators. From Rugrats, The Simpsons, Batman Beyond, and everything in between (pun intended). While there is plenty of animation skill, the tasks of writing, designing, directing and post production are woefully undeveloped.

Aachi and Ssipak is also a fairly unconventional project, for which I have high hopes. They've done a short promotional film (done in fully animated 2D style, not Flash) which is eccentric, energetic and quite unlike anything coming out of the US or Japan. I'm guessing they'll have it up on their website soon. I'll keep you posted.

As for story, yeah, there is one, even though I think it'll be less crucial in this case, since it's mostly aiming for action parody with lots of over-the-top crude humor and outrageousness. The premise, strangely enough, echoes that of Wonderful Days (by sheer coincidence): It takes place in an alternate present where the city is run by a militaristic, Naziesque mafia who control the energy market. The energy source in this case is also waste product-- human waste product, i.e. shit. But the greedy energy mafia wants to increase production and begins circulating an addictive substance which causes people to shit in larger amounts. Aachi and Ssipak are a couple of outlaw biker slackers who unwittingly are drawn into the struggle to deliver the world from the evil scheme.

It's mostly about the style and attitude, though. Lots of 70's retro fashion-- think Bakshi's Coonskin redone as an Asian action epic. (Has anyone seen Coonskin, by the way? I'm guessing it's available on video under its less offensive title "Streetfight". Another "how the f*ck did THIS ever get made?" animated feature. A psychedelic riff on Disney's Song of the South played out as black exploitation drawn by Bugs Bunny animators channeling Fellini.)

-- Peter Chung (, November 05, 2002.

Thanks, Peter. Wonderful Days sounds like a real labor of love. I'll spread the word about this one.

As for Coonskin... loved it. One of the ballsiest cultural deconstructions I've ever seen. I believe an Austin reviewer said it best: "stereotypes stretched so far, they cross over from the offensive into the surreal".

-- Inu (, November 05, 2002.

Oh... for some reason, when I started watching A&S I thought "It's Yellow Submarine meets Aeon Flux!" Hehe... die, little blue dudes. :-)

-- Inu (, November 05, 2002.

Well, ive shown the Wonderful Days trailer to about 10 people now.

-- Sam (, November 05, 2002.

Did any of you check out NINJAI? I'm curious to hear what you animation buffs think.

-- scott (, November 06, 2002.

Yeah I did. It seemed pretty good. It cetaintly looked very good, strong atmospheric tones and what not. There was a scene very reminisient of Ninja Scroll. I only watched a couple of chapters though because my computer had no sound. Whats the sound like? I also played the Ninjai game, that was kinda fun.

-- Sam (, November 06, 2002.

I thought Ninjai was really accomplished. Although for me, it only picked up around episode 5 or so.

-- Inu (, November 06, 2002.


My point was that animators in Korea suffer from a myopic perspective, having gotten stuck with doing the grunt work for countless Johnny Bravo and Angry Beavers episodes. Their act is by no means more "together" than animators anywhere else. They get the work because they're mercenary.

The animation staff of Wonderful Days is a self-selected handful of dedicated artists-- but I wouldn't rate their skill level on par with the best of Disney or Dreamworks. Like many disciplines, at the highest level of animation, the craft is self -effacing. You don't notice it when it's done right. As in classical (or "classicist") painting, "classical animation" strives to create the illusion of reality by rendering the hand of the artist undetectable. The best American and European animators are so good, you have to look hard to see how they do it.

Getting back on topic-- most Japanese animation, like traditional Japanese painting and theater, adopts a stylized approach to expression. In that sense, it could be called "modernist". That is, form is given the status of content. (I attach no view as to which approach is better- nor by calling one "modernist" do I mean to dismiss the other as outdated. These are academic terms.)

-- Peter Chung (, November 07, 2002.

Oh, and the singing crows are from Dumbo. (Song of the South has long been unavailable in this country-- Disney's distaste for picketers, I guess.)

-- Peter Chung (, November 07, 2002.

I guess we're both right, Barb. If you'll notice, all the videos of Song of the South for sale on Ebay are European editions (PAL format, which isn't playable on the U.S. video standard). So you can order it on Ebay, but my point was that Disney hasn't made it available for the U.S. market.

-- Peter Chung (, November 07, 2002.

And yes, I do agree that Disney films AS FILMS are stale, formulaic and inbred. They depict no world that I can recognize. Their characters haven't the slightest semblance of being like actual humans I've encountered. Although as a filmmaker, I may rail against the merits of their product, as an animator, I do acknowledge that the technical craft of their animation is at a very high level.

And your comment about the work going mostly into the backgrounds is interesting. That's what I mean when I say that highly polished animation often goes unnoticed-- just like a good actor's performance may just seem like someone "being himself" and not acting. I can assure you that the character animation in Disney films is labored over with a degree of meticulousness that would bring most Japanese or Korean animators to their knees.

Again, that's not to say it's always better. For myself, I often prefer the flawed, but spontaneous gestures of animation done under restrictive means. It's like the difference between a jazz improvisation and the polished performance of a classical musician who's honed his notes over countless rehearsals.

-- Peter Chung (, November 07, 2002.

"I would love to witness and experience the personal insights and experiences you have at the drawing board, in the studios. Especially when those studios include Japan, Korea and L.A." Hell yes Barb!!!

Peter, 'inbred' is so right! God forbid they should mix it up once in a while.

-- Sam (, November 08, 2002.

Yeah Barb, I've wondered about that a lot myself. One of my biggest problems with School art is their constant demand of a model artist, whom they tend to choose themselves.

Do you really need to know art history to know art?

-- Sam (, November 12, 2002.

Simplest answer: No, the audience need know nothing when approaching a work for the first time. The most important thing is to approach it without preconceptions. In fact, this rarely happens, though. Can you (would you want to) watch a Disney film while pretending to know nothing about Disney's established style? (okay, not a great example.)

As for artists themselves-- absolutely, if the information is available to them, they need to know their art history. Even if they reject the ideals of movements which came before-- artists need to understand the medium in which they work. I'm fed up with these Hollywood dilettantes who think they're inventing styles and modes of expression. A lot of them have never watched Godard, Bresson, Antonioni, Tarkovsky, Resnais, etc. etc. Without the lessons of past masters, how can there be progress? Music, painting, literature, film-- these are disciplines. Educating yourself on the sacrifices, insights, innovations of those who preceded you is the least an aspiring artist can do if he expects the attentions of a culture at large with (usually) better things to do than see a crappy exhibition/play/ film/performance.

-- Peter Chung (, November 13, 2002.

Peter, do you think its best to, look as far back in history as you can, then work your way up the chain of preceding artists? Or choose a more recent starting point? I'm guessing the former would make your understanding that much more clear. Or is it more appropriate to work from the influences you've grown up with, and avoid juggernauts of historic info?

If you were going to apply your knowledge of art history, would an equal knowledge of world history be required also, so as to have a better understanding of past cultures?

I suppose the more info the better.

But as far as "modeling" your work on a preceding artist goes, It seems like an easy way out to me. Its like your adopting the traits of someone that preceded you, because you know they captured cultural interests. Simply working with model artists, seems like undermining the whole need to understand cultural likes and dislikes. I always loose marks because my work didnt look like it was imitating someone elses style enough. Teachers say its absoloutly nessecary to deal with the formal issues, but they do not teach you why, they just tell you how, ie. 'Copy this guy'.

I actually have quite a problem with the ancient formalities inside school systems, but thats another rant.

-- Sam (, November 13, 2002.

Ah, sorry to side track like that. Just to clarify, when I talk about 'my school', I'm talking about high school; a possible point of origin for the copying thing maybe.

It seems to me that entertainment in general is rife with unoriginal rip offs. I guess If its more so in animation, its because kids are the predominant target audience. They dont care about originality when every things new to them anyway.

Or are we not referring to childerens cartoons? I really don't know what I'm missing here in NZ, but I find that the majority of animation for mature audiences turning up on TV is usually quite good.

-- Sam (, November 14, 2002.

That's an interesting point Chung makes about artists discovering their roots. You'd think they'd want to learn about the past so as not to repeat themselves; however; one has to wonder how necessary that really is. Since most of the general public has little to no knowledge of art history, it's unlikely that these "dilettantes" will ever be called out. And you can be quite successful "stealing" someone else's style. I don't really see anything wrong with emulating another style anyway though. The only thing wrong would be to call it your own. All artists are unavoidably influenced by their predessessors but that shouldn't completely elliminate the enjoyment that can be received from their art. For instance, Chung has said how he has been influenced by Schiele, and the similarities are obvious once they are pointed out, but I think very few people other than art history majors would ever notice that. However, within the context of the other liquid television shorts and most other shows on TV, the character models seem pretty avant garde. We certainly don't dismiss them as being regurgitative and uninspired.

It's interesting how the nature of art is being treated in the discussion between sam and barb. It's almost as if they are applying the modern notion of progress without end or purpose to the notion of art. I don't know if this is good or bad or whatever, but in the end I think all that matters is what the artist, not others, thinks of his/her own work.

-- Logo (, November 23, 2002.

I just saw an add for the American release of Alexander, that series Chung did the character designs for. Apperently it's comming out in February and is being renamed to Reign. There are probably a couple of people on this forum who have seen bootleg or import copies; is it any good?

-- Logo (, November 23, 2002.

I suddenly remembered that I saw some anime at a theatre when I was quite young. So, I cant remeber any titles, just little details. One story was kind of reminiscent of 'Event Horizon'. One was about some guy who becomes walking genocide, people drop dead when they get to near him so the army tries to take him out, he manages to humerously avoid their many chaotic attempts, all the while oblivious of why. The other one was about a small boy living in some kind of 1984ish world where everything except him is clunky and dreary. Ring any bells?

-- Sam (, November 28, 2002.

That was "Memories." It was produced by Katsuhiro Otomo and the section with the small boy, called "Cannon Fodder," was directed by Otomo. I don't think it was ever released in the States on video, certainly not in theaters.

-- Logo (, November 28, 2002.

Logo, Alexander/Reign is good. Damn good. The show is gorgeously animated, philosophically deep and intriguing. I saw two episodes of it two and a half years ago; I still think about them from time to time.

If you liked Madhouse' other work -- Metropolis, VHD Bloodlust, Ninja Scroll, Wind Named Amnesia -- you can't go wrong.

-- Inu (, November 28, 2002.

Thanks Logo, did you happen to like them?

-- Sam (, November 28, 2002.

Thanks Inu. I'm sure I'll read a few reviews of "Alexander" when it's release, but it's nice to know what someone with at least one shared interest with me thinks of it.

Sam, I thought "Memories" was OK. I don't really remember the space station vignette, but I remember not really thinking much of it at the time. The one where the scientist becomes a living bioweapon was kind of funny in an offbeat way. I really liked 'Cannon Fodder' though, both for its distinct visual style and its quirky story.

-- Logo (, November 29, 2002.

Weh-hell well, just saw the Cowboy Bebop movie - thats the sort of animated fighting choreography I was after. Also, probably the best animation I've seen in an anime. Great movie to, like a really long episode of CB. Seemed to be a mixture of the serious and playful aspects, that an episode would adopt one of, but seldom both. Although I havent seen them all.

I wonder when the the dub will come out. IMO the dubbed eps are just about as equally well done as the originals, and I do almost always dislike dubs. All round very impressive voice acting I think.

-- Sam (, December 06, 2002.

Does anyone here have the book linked at the top of this thread. Inside it, theres a picture of an Evangelion scene: Eva unit one is facing off against a pretty cool looking angel monster, but to the best of my knowledge this scene isnt in the series or movie. Anyone know what its from?

-- Sam (, February 05, 2003.

You know, I emailed the authour (Susan Napier), she didn't know where the picture came from either. What is it?

She asked me to take part in an anime survey though, that was cool.

I cant believe it, this countries mainstream theatres are showing "Spirited Away". Unprecedented treatment of Japanese animation for us, cool.

AND MY GOODNESS, watching for the first time, "Excel Saga" and "Invader Zim", in the same day makes me feel like I'm on drugs, and I mean it. I think ES is incredible.

Plus, "Shaolin Soccer" is basically beyond cool.

-- Sam (, April 04, 2003.

Well the Bebop movie finally hit theaters stateside today, and it was well worth the wait. Although I would say the movie is less atmospheric and much less noir than the eps, it's still great and still definitely Bebop. And as action movies go it doesn't disapoint on any level. It's got great gunplay, great hand to hand combat, and one of the best flight combat scenes I've seen in a long time. And considering it's almost a full two hours long, it really doesn't seem like it. The pacing is excellent. For those of you who have trouble sitting through long animated movies (I'm looking at you Mr. Chung)I don't think you'll even notice the time slipping by.

On a completely unrelated note, I hear Disney is FINALLY releasing the Studio Ghibli collecion on DVD here. Kiki, Laputa (joy), and Spirited Away are all supposed to get a royal, two-disc treatment come April 15, last I heard.

-- Logo (, April 05, 2003.

Logo, any idea when the Bebop movie will come out on dvd? Also, I hope all the original voice actors were on the dub, were they?

-- Sam (, April 06, 2003.

I haven't heard anything about the DVD release, Sam, but I'm definitely going to keep my ear to the ground; it was such a great action movie. All your favorite voice actors are back, with Spike sounding even throatier than usual. (That theater superbass really brings out the gravel in his voice). I think he could give John Rafter Lee a run for his money. (If you'r curious, Barb, better bring more papertowels with you). Plus they did a great job with the two new characters, Vincent and Electra. Vincent sounds like Spike minus the ennui with a dash of fanatical insanity thrown in for good measure.

I had forgotten that the director was the same guy who did Macross, which explains why the aerial fight scenes are so great.

On an unrelated note, I just learned that there's a Ninja Scroll tsunami gathering momentum. Who knows when it will hit our shores though. There's an animated TV series slated for 2003, a live action Hollywood movie slated for 2004 (wince; "live action" and "hollywood" should never be used in the same sentence when referring to an anime property), and another animated movie penciled in for 2005. Kawajiri is the producer on the TV series, and he is supposed to reprise his roles as writer and director for the animated movie. I know I can't wait. If anyone is interested I got this info from "New Type USA" magazine. It also has a pretty decent article on Productin I.G. and they talk with Mamoru Oshii a bit about his next Ghost in the Shell flick. (In case you pick it up and think you're tripping, the magazine reads back to front like Japanese magazines).

Now, if only Chung would tell us more about this animated feature film he's got in the pipeline I just might literally burst with anticipation.

-- Logo (, April 07, 2003.

Wow, Kawajiri and Oshii reprisals, awesome stuff!

-- Sam (, April 07, 2003.

K, Just saw the whole Ninja Scroll series - with hilariously bad subs.

S'Rockin though, I loved it, well sometimes flaky in plot and narrative, it holds on tight to a component that helped make the original so cool: Crazy bizzare tripped out eclectic bad guys! - Two of which, I found to be "very Peter".

What I also found to be "very Peter", was the unique animation they kicked in with for Jubei's last fight scene. I suppose, then, that if Kawajiri was involved, theres a fair chance Koike had a part in animating, which could explain Fluxy similarities.

-- Sam (, February 02, 2004.

Also got the Bebob Movie Dvd, its great, theres a featurette for each crew member, with interviews of their Japanese, and their American, voice actors.

-- Sam (, February 02, 2004.

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