El Cid's Anime Rants

Sunday, May 01, 2005

One last post!!

Sorry folks, I couldn't resist:




Click Pikachu to see him get WTFPWNED

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Saiyonara!

Wow, I can't believe this is it. It's been a fun ride. I've laughed (FL CL) , I've cried (Grave of Fireflies) , and I've thrown up (Saikano).

I'm very glad that I signed up for this class. It's given me an opportunity to watch anime, and that's something that doesn't happen on its own in my life. Before this class, the only way I got to watching anime was through friends. However, I may now pursue it on my own every now and then.

I've decided to compile a list of things I need to do as a result of this class. Here they are:


Number 1: Finish my anime flash

This class has inspired me to not only watch, but to create. I've begun working on a flash animation that is anime inspired. I've made some in the past, and they've done relatively well on www.newgrounds.com. For anyone interested, look up Megaman vs. Quickman.


Here's a screen shot of my work in progress:


"WHATEVER!"

Making this flash cartoon is a pretty grueling process, as I'm drawing, scanning, coloring, shading and animating everything. I haven't even thought about the backdrops (yeesh!). If anyone likes making backdrops, please let me know!


Number 2: Watch all of Samurai Champloo


Can you get more krunk than this?

As I've mentioned before, this class has really shown me that I have distinct tastes in my anime viewings. Champloo totally rocked me and I'll definately pursue the rest of the series. That Cowboy Bebop director Shinichiro Watanabe has done it again.

A friend of mine also gave me a ton of Bleach episodes, so perchance I'll see that as well.

Number 3: Watch Princess Mononoke


Ride that Jack-o-lope!

Of all the presentation that I got to see, I really enjoyed the one over director Miyazaki. I thought it was interesting to hear about the studios and directors involved in creating anime. It led me to view Spirited Away, which is now I piece of cinema that I want to own. . .well legally anyway.

Kudos to the classmate of that presentation.

Number 4: Buy some a Socom airsoft gun and some special tatics gear


Cosplay Fetish

Well, besides all the positives things this class has done for me, there have also been negatives. I now have a few skeletons in my closet because of certain extra credit opportunities.

But y'know. I can't say I didn't have fun at the Anime convention. My fellow fanboy buddy, Ram, and I totally wanted to hit up another convention after Ushicon. And that's when my brain started flowing with costume ideas. I even went to far as to look up what kind of weapon and gear Solid Snake uses in Metal Gear Solid. Yes, I know this is sick, depraved, and evil, but DANG IT, it's fun.

And along with the end of this class will be the end of this blog. I've really enjoyed writing entrees, and perhaps I'll keep up a more general blog on my own. (Yet again, something that has come out of this class.)

So my thanks to the readers of this blog (all 2 of you) and to Dr. K for putting together this class.
Saiyonara!
--El Cid

Friday, April 22, 2005

The Visual Arts

So I was wandering around the Pixar website, like I occasionally do, and I found some exciting bit of news. Apparently, they now (FINALLY) have an internship program for college students. And get this, they don't require any sort of serious experience with 3d software. They like the traditional arts and story telling! Whodathunkit?!

This made me excited, because I have minimal experience with Maya, but would consider myself above a novice in the drawing arts and my childish imagination is always coming up with odd querky stories. So what I'm inferring here, is that I may actually have a shot at landing one of these. Maybe. . .

Unfortunately, this summer I'm going to Maastrich, so it's out of the picture for now.

I bring this up, because both Pixar and much of anime have something I admire. Visual excellence. You can't deny that the Japanese work sufficiently harder with their visuals than typical American animators do. Even the low grade anime will have their characters shaded and be relativly proportional. Even the folds in clothing are drawn and animated. The backdrops are nicely painted canvases. The typical saturday morning cartoon now-a-days, uses cheap animation techniques, such as always showing one perspective of their characters. (Fairly Odd Parents, anyone?) Or there is little emphasis on animation and way too much talk.

But like I said, not all American animation is bad. Take Sponge Bob Square Pants. I mean, sure he's an annoying flaming sponge, but the cartoon's animation isn't bad. It looks like they are putting some thought into animating his face. And yes, I think he's funny.

But to quote straight from the horses mouth about turning in a demo reel:

"Take the time to polish. It seems silly, but people get in such a rush to get the reel out the door, they lose sight of the big picture. THIS IS HOW YOU WILL GET A JOB."

Art takes time. Words of Pixar wisdom.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Reflections

Wow, it's been too long since I've posted something, but unfortunately, I don't have much anime to talk about.

I guess what this class has shown me about me, is that although I really appreciate and love to watch anime, it's not something that my inner most soul is sold out 100% to. This past week, I haven't made an effort to watch any anime, and I suppose this is a little revealing.

This class has also shown me that I have some distinct tastes anime-wise. I was looking forward actually, to experiencing the whole spectrum of anime out of sheer curiousity. But this curiosity has mutated into disgust. There's just some anime that I'd pick having my balls kicked over.

But this very fact, I believe, isn't a knock against anime. The very fact that I love some anime and despise other says alot about how extensive anime is. Anime is so large, so diverse, and so catered demographically, that every audience is included.

There's something for everyone:















Perhaps my lack of anime enthusiasm may also be that the subconscious student in me is treating watching anime as homework. Perhaps certain things lose their lustor when they are required. Makes me wonder if stud horses really love their job.

Ah what am I say'n! Listen to me . . . of course making a living doing it with the finest of your species would be grand!

Oh . . . and anime is cool too.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

I am Vampire! Hear Me Suck!

Today's screenings were rather interesting. I thought Last Exile was pretty spiffy, but a bit boring (at least the initial episode). My classmate who sits next to me literally dozed off, but I'll disclose his name so as to not get him in trouble. The ram goes "baahhh". It tore my pants. Stupid ez as stupid does.



"So. . . what's up with you? New robe, I see. . .Yep"

I'd seen some this anime before, and I liked it a lot. The characters are likeable and the visuals are nice. Interesting melding of CG and animation. It's not quite as seemless as Cowboy Bebop's CG work, but it looks really nice. I like the retro-future look. Very reminiscent of Final Fantasy.

We finished with an anime whose title I had heard many-a-time, but I had never watched. After watching two episodes of Hellsing, I'd give it at least one thumb up. It didn't blow me away, but I thought it was stylistically cool and delivered exactly what it should. I'm not huge on the whole vampire thing. I'm not that kind of nerd. It didn't quite fit my "male" fantasy of violence, per se. Show me a film with one bad-a-mofo who can beat up a butt-load of baddies with his bare hands, and then I'll start roughhousing with my bro.

And speaking of fantasy heros, I'm not huge into pirates either. There are many people out there that are little obnoxious about their love for pirates. The mere mention of the word pirate will get this loud in your face reaction of how much they could swashbuckle with the best of them if they had the chance. I guess it would be cool in a romantic/glorious way if I had to impale someone for my copy Macromedia Flash.


"Lay off the hickies. Everyone will notice."

I don't think I'll make an effort to see more episodes, but I liked what I saw. I enjoyed the first episode more than the second as I could actually soak in all the style and sleek action instead of being bogged down by the subtitles. They even changed "Alucard" to "Arucard" in the subs. Is that rearry necessary? I should have spoken up and said something, but I feel as though I would have been asking for some tacos al pastor at a bar mitzvah.

Alright, one more character review and I'm done! Peace out my homies.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Spiritual Experience

Spring Break has been the ultimate lazy holiday for me. Not until today did I crack open my Cal III book, and it took some SERIOUS willpower (that and the impending test next week.)

Notice: The following two paragraphs are only backstory. The anime rant follows them.
=========================================================

This past week my lil' bro and lil' sis hit up Block Buster Video, and we burned the usual 40 minutes being indecisive and making fun of fellow shoppers. I complain about shemales wasting time looking at footwear, but when I'm at the video store, I'm even worst. So my brother and I finally took the incentive and picked out Predator and Ultimate Fighting Championship VI. Leave it to the boys to make the decisions, eh? I can't help but wonder what the register must think of my poor mom every time she checks out video games and movies for my brother and me. So right before we were fixing to leave (which is around the same time my mother makes death threats), I felt a bit bad for my little sister and made a quick look around once more. To my delight, I ran into the anime section! But to my dismay, my mother was next in the check-out line of irritable entertainment gluttons, and I was clear across the store; I had to think fast.


"One ugly, meow meow, f*cker"

I scanned the aisle and my sensors detected Miyazaki's renowned Spirited Away. I seized the target just as reinforcements arrived. Luckily, it was a scout, my brother, who still has the know-how of traversing swiftly through this terrain. I admit I'm getting rusty in this department. I handed it off, and told him to go. He looked a bit perplexed with my decision. Truth is, he didn't approve of this mission, but both he and I knew we were short of time. Sweat beads covered my forehead as the fluorescent lights pierced my vision. He disappeared into the aisle jungle, and all I could to was pray. Only after the rendevous and debrief would I know if the drop off was successful. And then Predator came out of the woman's restroom with a diaper on.
=========================================================

That presentation we had on Miyazaki really pricked my curiosity. That clip from Spirited Away only made me want to see it even more. I finally watched it through, and boy o' boy, was it something.

Usually, when I watch anime, I'm real stifler with the visuals. If I see recycled animation sequences and static background characters, I can't help but gag. This movie, however, is one of the most visually astounding animes I've ever seen. The level of detail (that's actually animated) is flippin' amazing. I watched it through 2 times, and could go for another round. There's SO much going on in each scene. During my second viewing, I noticed a freaking cockroach in one quick 5 second scene. The roach serves no purpose to the plot, but it sheer appearance implies so much about the quality of work. And the humanoid characters move around so realistically. The physics are phenominal. Take for instance the ending when Chihiro and Haku seperate. When there's a zoom in of their hands slowly parting, there's a subtle, quick, but appropriate bob as soon as they lose contact. The forces they had on each other's arms are instantaneously seperated, and they react accordingly. Newton would have been proud. Ooooh, and watching the liquids/plasmas in this are a real visual feast as well!

It's also a very engrossing film regardless of what it looks like. (Shallow? Me?) Like Alice in Wonderland, it pricks the mind with curiousity. The first time through my brother and sister and I kept enuciating "WTF". It's creativety is really unpredictable. I even got my mom to watch this, and she usually can't stomach anime at all. I've tried to get her to watch, but it just doens't work. This movie however totally intrigued her. And No-Face is teh l33t! My siblings and I loved his character to death. We now use his lines to communicate.

"Eh eh" means "yes" or "do you want?"
"Ih ih" means "no"
"Ehhhh*sigh*. . ." means "never mind."

Works great around the house!



So anyway, if you haven't seen this film, you oughtta. It says much about life: be courageous, don't pollute, try new daring things, don't be greedy, love above all, and don't eat let your parents eat spirit food 'cause they'll turn into pigs. Serious life lessons here.

I want the DVD now!

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Emotional Pornography

Oh my gosh. This is class numero two where I cannot stomach the anime we're watching. I mean that quite literally. I walked out. I couldn't take it.

I know many-a-fan out there are going to not like what I have to say, but these are my opinions none the less. It's my freaking blog, so go away if you don't want to hear some SHE, The Ultimate Weapon bashing.

Now, I'm generally an optimist. I try to give things a chance before I cast a thumbs down. Life's better this way. You discover things (and people) that most people never enjoy/appreciate because of their judgmental nature. Take anime for instance. I love anime, and many people are quick to dismiss this very thing. I also like french fries dipped in ice cream. Sounds odd? Try it; you'll like it. I also like sleeping naked. . .but that's entirely unrelated.

With that said, I must say that SHE, The Ultimate Weapon made all that is man inside of me want to scream like a little girl. This was just awful. The first episode started off bad enough, with this little girl (Chise) who has a crush on this older looking dude (Suuji). This girl is small, slow, weak, and runs out of breathe very easily. *tear* The older guy doesn't seem interested in her, but she's dillusional into thinking they're a couple. The extremely shy and timid girl however seems to have bigger balls than Suuji when she proclaims her love outright. And then after a completely unromantic and irrational talk between the two, this spineless twit agrees to be her boyfriend. I just couldn't believe that ANYONE would buy this b.s.




But apparently, I'm in the minority. Apparently, them Japanese think this is the greatest thing since electric toilet seat warmers. But I don't understand why at all.

Today we screened another episode, and all it was was more "emotionally hurting/confused" people doing completely irrational things. One guy joins the army to protect a fake girlfriend. A dying girl professes her love while the guy disrobes her and checks out her bod. Another mortally wounded character (this time the guy) fondles a girl in hopes of revitalization. WTF? I guess "emotionally confused" equates to "I've always had a crush on you but I've lacked the self confidence to do anything about it, but heck, now that one of us is dying (because of emotionally induced stupidity) can I touch you're boobs? "

Utter crap.

And on top of that, the girl is a military machine. That's something else that pisses me off. This kind of character, along with Neon Genesis Evangelion's Shinji annoy me so much. They're both characters who posses awesome power to end the fighting, but are too hung up on their own petty issues to do anything about it.

These characters and other series lead me to believe that one of the main agendas in anime is to make love and not war. While this is very picturesque, it's a little naive and down right hippy. Its interesting that Japan, of all nations, seems really bent of this anti-war sentiment. Now war is awful, and should be last resort, but let's have a history lesson. Once upon a time, Japan was one of the most hell-bent war hungry countries. When they picked a fight with us, we put them in their place, rewrote their government, and now look how things turned out. They're peaceful and rich! Good ol' Macarthur.


Click for a larger picture

But like I said, this was a last resort effort on our part. Don't instigate a fight, but don't take it up the arse either.

And thus ends my world politics. . .ahem, I mean my anime rant for today.