Category Archives: Anime

English translated entry of Satoshi Kon’s French Wikipedia page

I have been learning French lately. In order to help me, one of the things I started doing is to read Wikipedia. I think it would help to read something that interests me, but I also suspect that a lot of internet French has colloquialism that would confuse learners so I decided that Wikipedia is probably the best.

One of the articles that caught my attention was the article for Satoshi Kon. It is quite different from the English article. I have not read either one in their entirety, however, so perhaps they have similar information but they are placed throughout differently. Either way, an interesting and different viewpoint.

Note that the French language can describe things a little more compactly, I think, so these are not literal translations. Doing a literal translation would be confusing, I feel. However, there are some interesting things to note, which I put at the end. I do highly recommend you read the notes at the end.

Satoshi Kon (今 敏, Kon Satoshi?) est un mangaka et réalisateur japonais, né le 12 octobre 1963 à Kushiro et mort le 24 août 2010.

Satoshi is a Japanese mangaka and director, born on October 12th 1963 at Kushiro and died on August 24, 2010.

Après des débuts brillants et touche-à-tout (mangaka, coscénariste pour le cinéma) auprès de Katsuhiro Ōtomo, Satoshi Kon s’engage dans le cinéma d’animation. Toujours sous la coupe du maître, il travaillera aussi avec Mamoru Oshii (Patlabor 2, 1993). Puis il se lance et réalise son premier film d’animation avec les Studio MadHouse.

After a brilliant debut as a mangaka and scriptwriter for live action cinema with Katsuhiro Otomo, Satoshi Kon entered into animated films. He always worked with talented people; for example, he also worked with Mamoru Oshii (Patlabor 2, 1993). Afterwards, he attempted and released his first animated film with Studio MadHouse.

Dès son premier long métrage d’animation (Perfect Blue, 1997), l’artiste montre son talent en proposant une approche graphique très réaliste pour ce thriller. Loin des concepts occidentaux de l’animation de l’époque, ce film – interdit aux moins de 12 ans – fait sensation par la justesse du rendu des émotions des protagonistes, son introspection de la psychologie humaine tout en traitant un phénomène typiquement japonais, les idoles. S’il traite d’autres sujets par la suite (Millennium Actress, 2002 ; Tokyo Godfathers, 2003), son style conservera cette approche de la réalité subjective, faisant de lui un réalisateur atypique. Il réalisera la série d’animation Paranoïa Agent, prémisse au chef-d’œuvre Paprika qui obtiendra une reconnaissance internationale.

For his first animated feature film, he displayed his talent in proposing a very realistic and detailed approach to thrillers. Far from Western concepts of animation at the time, the film – which should not be watched by children – looked at the emotions of the characters. The film provides an introspective look at the human psychology of the characters, who are involved in a typical Japanese phenomenon, the idols. Looking at his later films (Millennium Actress, 2002; Tokyo Godfathers, 2003), his style continued to focus on a subjective truth, making him an atypical director. He also directed an animated series called Paranoia Agent, and then he created the masterpiece Paprika which got international recognition.

Au-delà de son travail, l’auteur s’engage et participe à la création de la Japan Animation Creators Association (JANICA) afin d’améliorer les conditions de travail des jeunes animateurs. Il a également animé une master-class en France en 2003, au Forum des Images dans le cadre du festival Nouvelles images du Japon.

Beyond his work, he also worked and participated in the creation of the Japan Animation Creators Association (JANICA) with the objective of improving the working conditions of young animators. He also was at a master-class in France in 2003, at the Forum des Images in the Nouvelles images du Japon festival.

  • The article also refers to Satoshi Kon as “l’artiste” and “l’auteur,” which means “the artist” and “the auteur” respectively. “auteur” literally means “author” or “writer,” but in English it could refer to a director that displays a powerful creative vision in his films. Seeing as Satoshi Kon also worked as a scriptwriter, I decided not to translate this.
  • The French article states, “Toujours sous la coupe du maître” which literally means “always under the stroke of genius” – in other words, Satoshi Kon was always surrounded by talent. I find this interesting, because it is not something you would see in an English encyclopedia. My impression is that this article is more interpretative, whereas the English version is more descriptive.
  • I translated “fait sensation par la justesse du rendu des émotions des protagonistes” as “looked at the emotions of the characters” but it literally means “made a sensation for the accuracy of rendering the emotions of the protaganists” – which sounds weird in English to me. I might be off here. To me, it means “he created a detailed depiction of the emotions.”
  • The French article literally calls Paprika a “masterpiece” – “chef-d’œuvre Paprika.” Again, interesting for an encyclopedia…

Should You Watch Patema Inverted?

I absolutely love Patema Inverted. It is another fantastic entry to Yasuhiro Yoshiura’s line of directorial works with an interesting plot and an amazing ending.

The film follows two character, Patema and Age, who come from completely different societies. Patema is a princess living in an underground society. She is in line to be the next leader of this tribe-like group. Age lives on the surface world, in an Orwellian society calling itself Aiga. Led by a religious fanatic and kept in power by his Kerberos lookalike secret police, Age is expected to fall directly into the image dictated by his Glorious Leader. The big difference between the two, however, is that Patema (and her people) are upside down. As in, literally, When Patema comes to the surface world, she is floating to the sky and is only saved by Age. In order for her to live on the surface world, Age takes her to a cottage where she stands on the ceiling.

The story oddly reminds me of the novel series Left Behind. In Patema Inverted, the government of Aiga basically claims that Patema is part of a groups of sinners, and as punishment they were cursed to float to the sky. They call this event The Great Change. The people of Aiga are basically what’s left of humanity. The Aiga and their apparent rule of the rest of humanity, the whole concept of people flying to the heavens for their supposed religious sins, and the religious function of the Aiga’s leader really reminds me of certain stories; that is, a world government setup by an anti-Christ, an apocalyptic event, and a select few sent into the sky (“heaven”) for a religious reason; further, Yoshiura even meshes it with science fiction. I always love works that manage to explain the same narrative from a (albeit fictional) scientific perspective and a religious perspective. It adds believability while simultaneously being mythological or even epic. It does not perfectly mesh into the Left Behind series, obviously, but I think the religious elements, meshed well with science fiction, result in such an interesting take on an already interesting premise.

patema inverted movie poster

I will say that the premise alone is a big determining factor in one’s enjoyment of the film. The film does not make a joke of its premise, but instead presents it as something that everyone in the setting believes. The film never pokes fun at the ridiculousness of itself, as in “haha, yeah, this is kinda stupid, but just watch and it will get better!” Obviously, to me, this whole concept is a little funny – and I will admit, despite how much I love this film, there were some instances that I laughed at the absurdity of what was presented. However, never does the film stray away from its commitment to its premise. In fact, it uses it to very useful affect.

The ending is perhaps one of the most satisfying endings I have ever seen in anime. Not to spoil it too much, but the ending is basically ironic. It reminds me so much of a certain Kate Chopin short story, that I nearly jumped out of my seat. Not only because of that, but because it managed to genuinely surprise me. It comes off as a plot twist, but Yoshiura had already thrown a couple of those at the audience that by the time I got to the ending I was baffled. Those earlier plot twists are barely even talked about by the characters, and are almost ignored, so the final revelation at the end brings together so many seemingly insignificant details so that the final revelation is that much more surprising.

While I do love the ending, there are some bumpy roads. Patema herself is not that significant; in fact, I think she is almost useless. I am frustrated that her impact on events was so minimal, and that she acted very much as a supporting character to Age. Patema is the first major role of the voice actress Yukiyo Fujii. To be honest, she is not a bad voice actress, but her character is the high-pitched voice, which I despise.

Another frustrating character was Lagos, who was very important but is barely in the film at all. Patema is obsessed with him, especially after his disappearance. However, the film does a poor job of explaining why she likes him so much. And, in fact, once we do find Lagos, not much attention is paid to him, and is almost kinda forgotten. Lagos is a MacGuffin – a plot device that serves only as a motivation. However, my frustration lies in the film’s simultaneous attempts at trying to make me care about this elusive disappear-o-tron. In a flashback , Yoshiura attempts to create a heartbreaking farewell scene between Patema and Lagos. The films refuses to explain why Patema is so upset about this; she is just upset about it and that is as far as that goes. Lagos is a MacGuffin, but the film tries to make him sympathetic; he is a character that is given very little development or explanation, but whom we are told is an emotionally important person to Patema. The result is their relationship comes off as very forced.

Yoshiura’s cinematic style does take a bit of a departure here. He plays with the depth-of-field quite a bit, and honestly I think he went overboard with it. Another thing I noticed, a few scenes looked like they were heavily inspired by the work of Mamoru Oshii. Mamoru Oshii loves to have segments of his movies devoted towards setting a certain mood. I cannot really explain it well in words, so here are some examples: as it was in Patlabor 2 and in Ghost in the Shell. Heck, even Hideaki Anno used it in Evangelion 2.22. There are a couple scenes like those in Patema Inverted. I just love watching those.

The music was done by Michiru Oshima, one of my absolute favorites. She also did the music for Sound of the Sky, which perhaps my favorite soundtrack of all time (at least in anime). Her music is golden. Most of the music is memorable, but I think “Father Floating in the Sky” is the most memorable.

All in all, Patema Inverted is a wonderful film. It has an interesting story, great music, and a fantastic ending. It suffers from poor character development and the animation is not fantastic for a film, but it has its good parts and even so Yoshiura can make it look appealing. In terms of eye-candy, actually, I would say that this one is the most boring of his works, as it lacks the interesting character designs of Aquatic Language or the atmosphere of Pale Cocoon. Still, I would say that this is a must-watch, particularly for fans of his previous works.

Preview: “Under the Dog,” the latest anime to appear on Kickstarter

“Our enemy is the light of humanity”

The latest animation production to hit Kickstarter is “Under the Dog.” It needs $580,000 to reach its goals and they currently have $181,303 pledged. This goal trumps previous Kickstarters such as Masaaki Yuasa’s “Kick-Heart” goal of $150,000. On the “pledged” side, both “Kick-Heart” and the already-produced series “Time of EVE” had made over $200,000.

Set in the year 2025, the International School for Boys and Girls operates as a cover for recruiting minors into its “elite death squad,” as the “Under the Dog” Kickstarter page puts it.

The catalyst for the International School for Boys and Girls was a deadly terrorist attack on the 2020 Summer Olympics. Created by the United Nations, its intended purpose is to hunt down anyone with “special abilities.”

The Kickstarter page makes no mention of it, but my impression of it is that this story has some sort of “super powers” thing going on. They use terms such as “specially enhanced groups of terrorists” and “gifted high school students, each with their own special abilities.” The one that stands out, however, is “These troops are tasked with ferreting out and exterminating all individuals with powers like their own.” I read that, and I can only imagine something similar to X-Men. Except in this instance, we are given the perspective of the hunters. However, nothing about super powers was stated explicitly.

On the other hand, I am reminded of series such as “From the New World.” Here we have a society that heavily tries to trample out these “new humans.” In “From the New World,” we saw humans trying to control a specific group through mythology, folklore, culture, and illusion. Here, we are given murder. Further, “Under the Dog” establishes the hunters as not being ruthless killers, but reluctant heroes. The Kickstarter page offers us this definition for the phrase “under the dog”:

when one is in a situation so disagreeable that they would wish to rather be “under the dog,” a place of dishonor, misery, and filth, in order to escape their current state of affairs

While they are hunters, their situation is not rosy. Last, the recruits of the International School of Boys and Girls are forced into service by threat of their and their family’s lives. Failure means the death of the recruit and his/her family.

Is the fact that “Under the Dog” feature minors operating in a military combat capacity an oversight or social commentary about reactionary tendencies? They are high school students, after all. Let’s look at the official definitions for “child soldiers.” The United Nations (the creators of the International School for Boys and Girls in the setting) has stated that anyone over the age of 15 may enter military service. As stated on the UNICEF website,

The Convention also set 15 years as the minimum age at which an individual can be voluntarily recruited into or enlist in the armed forces

It goes further on to state,

States must also raise the minimum age for voluntary recruitment into the armed forces from 15 years but does not require a minimum age of 18. The Protocol does, however, remind States that children under 18 are entitled to special protection and so any voluntary recruitment under the age of 18 must include sufficient safeguards. It further bans compulsory recruitment below the age of 18.

“bans compulsory recruitment below the age of 18”? Of course, the UN does not pay attention to that part in this setting – possible social commentary? The catalyst was a terrorist attack, so the very fact that the UN is forcefully recruiting soldiers into its “elite death squads” could be a comment that organizations will change their attitudes because “terrorism.” Whether it’s a simple oversight or social commentary, one thing is for sure: we have another story about terrorists.

Let’s start with the production staff. Under the Dog actually features an international staff so far. On the Japanese side, we have Masahiro Ando as director, Yusuke Kozaki providing character and mechanical design, Hiroaki Yura as producer, the story provided by Jiro Ishii, Kinema Citrus as the main animation studio, and Orange Co. providing the 3d CGI. On the international side, we have Kevin Penkin providing the original score and John Kurlander as Mixing and Recording Engineer. Keiichi Momose, a Japanese, works with those two as Audio Director.

Masahiro Ando started as a key animator and has worked on series such as “Neon Genesis Evangelion” and “Jin-roh: The Wolf Brigade.” Pinpointing down exactly what he has animated in those works is a bit tricky, but fortunately for us he has been credited for animating the first “opening” for the series “Monster Rancher.”

As you might notice, his style has highly detailed body movements. Taking that, crediting Masahiro Ando at Sakugabooru for this scene in “Jin-roh: the Wolf Brigade” seems more believable to me:


Yusuke Kozaki is perhaps best known for providing the character designs for “No More Heroes” and “Fire Emblem: Awakening.” Here are the character designs that they have posted so far on the Kickstarter page:

underthedog1 underthedog2 underthedog3

He has also completed designs for the “Trike.” These are pretty cool.


There are a lot more images of the “Trike” design on the Kickstarter page.

Perhaps the strangest of the bunch is Hiroaki Yura. He brings with him very little animation production experience. He does, however, have a successful career as a musician. According to an interview of Hiroaki Yura by the Anime News Network, he was awarded a scholarship to the Sydney Conservatorium of Music at the age of twelve, and he is one of the youngest recipients of an Associate Diploma from the Australian Music Examination Board. Nowadays, he is the founder and Artistic Director of the Eminence Symphony Orchestra in Sydney, Australia, and he is also the founder of Central Intelligence Arts, Inc. who created the Kickstarter page and most likely acts as the production company.

As producer, he is most likely responsible for bringing all of this talent together. Websites are unfortunately quite scarce on his professional history, however, the Kickstarter page claims that Hiroaki Yura has worked on anime such as “The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya” and “Steins;Gate Fuka Ryōiki no Déjà vu (movie)” (which Anime News Network confirmed as “Orchestra Conductor”). For Disappearance, no one has listed his contribution, however, he has stated on an AMA on reddit that he was “Music Director.” Here is what he had to say about that:

I worked on the two films as Music Director / Supervisor.

What I did was to direct music recordings to make sure it suited the story and the picture at specific times so I knew the story back to front and knew what we had to convey through the music.

I had great fun working on Haruhi as we spent a long time trying to hone in on the details of the emotion that the picture and the VAs were trying to convey.

Very interesting.

The story was originally produced by Jiro Ishii, director of the critically acclaimed video game 428: In a Blockaded Shibuya. He created the story back in 1997. That video game was also semi-adapted into the animated series CANAAN, which was incidentally directed by Masahiro Ando, director of this animated production. He has also worked for Chunsoft and currently works for LEVEL 5. Not much more information is available on Jiro Ishii, unfortunately.

Now, onto the sound crew. We have a very interesting team here so far – two foreigners, John Kurlander and Kevin Penkin.

John Kurlander is the more famous of the two, having worked on films such as Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. He is a “Balance Engineer / Remixer,” according to his website. Working on the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy earned him three Grammy Awards.

Kevin Penkin is the younger of the two, but he is impressive in his own way. His first professional gig was at the age of 18 when he collaborated on a Japanese video game with Nobuo Uematsu (best known as the composer for the Final Fantasy series). He has worked with Jiro Ishii before on the video game “Phoenix Project.” He actually tweeted about “Under the Dog”  on August 8th:

He seems to be quite excited about this project.

Last but not least, we have the Audio Director, Keiichi Momose. He is primarily a sound director and has worked on series such as Mitsuo Iso’s “Dennou Coil,” Katsuhiro Otomo’s “Steamboy,” and Masaaki Yuasa’s “Kaiba.”

Now that we’ve gotten to this point – will you fund the project? I have not decided. I do think it could turn out to be a pretty decent anime. If they get enough money, they will produce movies as well, which I would watch as well. On the other hand, I am not too keen on being an “amateur investor.”

Other resources

The Mystical Laws: insanity, Japanese nationalism, and hate disguised as love and tolerance

Image from: Spin Serpent.

According to the official website, The Mystical Laws is a movie that predicts the future; it is “prophecy.” We are told that the events happen in the year “202X” which means any of these events could happen in that ten year span of time. Which is wonderful, because that gives them a ten-year leeway to work with. What do I mean? Well, I could create a prophecy and then say, “This will happen in the year 2XXX!” I just gave myself more than 900 years to work with (2014-2999). Awesome! This prophesy stuff is easy. This is, of course, assuming that any of the prophecy in this movie is ever going to happen.

Let’s go straight into it: none of what happens in this movie will ever happen, not in ten years, not in a hundred years, not in a million years. The movie begins with China being taken over by a man named Tathagata Killer (“Killer” is his last name!) with the help of someone named Leika Chan. Leika Chan is an alien that possesses technology 1,000 years ahead of humanity’s. Seeing as the creators claim this film is a prophecy, they are literally predicting that China will be taken over by aliens in 10 years. They actually believe this shit.

It gets even crazier. On the film’s official website, there is this little snippet,

One of the most evil events in the memory of the human race must be the ambitions of world domination by dictator Adolf Hitler. The Swastika-bearing devil’s ambitions were defeated many decades ago and the tyrant died too. Yet, the devil had not. What if the present central figure of China has been possessed by Hitler’s spirit…?

Words were bolded by me, everything else is exactly as present on the website. It is very strange that the website asks that question, when later on it says that the film is prophetic. Well, what is it? Is this a “what if” film or a prophetic film? Inconsistencies aside, the website claims that this film is prophetic. And, as you can clearly see, this film predicts that in ten years the leader of China is going to be possessed by Hitler’s spirit. Just… WHAT?

This is not a joke. If you think it is, it is not. This film is serious. The people that made this movie are serious. They seriously think that China is going to be taken over by a man possessed by Hitler’s spirit with the help of aliens. Within the next ten years.

What we have talked about so far does not even scratch the surface of how crazy this movie gets. What is the explanation, though? Who the hell made this, and for what purpose? The Mystical Laws is the product of IRH Press, a publishing company based in Tokyo. IRH Press is the publishing, broadcasting, and film portion of the religious organization “Happy Science.” What the hell is Happy Science, you ask? Get a load of this…

According to Happy Science’s official website, the religion of Happy Science is centered around a god named El Cantare. El Cantare is the “Lord, Buddha and Savior,” as the website puts it. It later goes on to say that El Cantare is the Lord of all people, which incidentally includes “Jesus Christ, Moses, Confucius and others, who are known as Angels, Archangels, Tathagatas, and Bodhisattvas.” You hear that? El Cantare is the Lord of Jesus Christ! In other words, El Cantare transcends and even rules Jesus Christ!

But it gets even better. Not only is El Cantare all-powerful and the rightful lord of all humans, El Cantare reveals himself through humans. “And who,” you ask, “has he revealed himself through in our modern times?” Well, that question is fucking easy! Obviously, El Cantare has revealed himself through the founder of Happy Science, Ryuho Okawa. Ryuho Okawa is actually a rather successful author, with an impressive over 500 books published. From my impression, they seem to be mostly spiritual self-help books. Luckily for us all, Happy Science has not yet reached Scientology levels of religious fervor and violence; they mostly preach love and tolerance. Which is fine.

But is that really what this movie is about? Not really. It does talk about love and tolerance, but after some research I get the feeling that Okawa does like not China and North Korea at all. In an article by David McNeill, he gives us a good overview of Happy Science. He also talks about the political views of Happy Science:

Offering what it calls a “third choice,” the Happies have an eye-catching manifesto: multiply Japan’s population by 2 1/2 to 300 million and make it the world’s No. 1 economic power, and rapidly rearm for conflict with North Korea and China. If elected, the party’s lawmakers will invite millions of foreigners to work here, inject religion into all areas of life, and fight to overcome Japan’s “colonial” mentality, which has “fettered” the nation’s true claim to global leadership.

The religion, and the movie itself, puts heavy emphasis on accepting others. Which is fine and everything, but when you consider their hostility towards China and North Korea and their desire to use immigration as a means to make Japan powerful, it reveals a new perspective. Is all of this mumbo jumbo super charged Japanese nationalism? Is the movie’s insistence that we accept others simply an attempt at making Japan the most powerful country on the world, through immigration? Considering that, I am convinced that this movie was aimed solely at a Japanese audience; that the Japanese should tolerate immigrants, because it will make Japan powerful. We’ll talk about this a little later, because there is a movie to talk about.

Let’s get back to the film. It basically follows a man named Sho Shishimaru, a doctor working for Earths Doctors, a cover-up for a secret organization named Hermes Wings. I do not exactly know what this organization does, but apparently they fight the Godom Empire. The Godom Empire is China ruled by ghost Hitler with the help of aliens. The Godom Empire is on a mission to conquer the world, and all nations (including the United States) are helpless to stop them.

Again, we have a political statement: the Americans cannot defend Japan. The film cites the decrease in military spending by the United States as the primary reason as to why the USA cannot fight back. This is an actual political position of the party, as stated in the article:

“We can’t keep depending on the U.S. and the rest of the world. We have to stand up for ourselves.”

So, because China is evil and wants to conquer the world, Japan gets conquered because those pesky Americans are helpless against alien technology!

But the implication is even greater. They profess love and tolerance not for its own sake, but so that Japan can go to war with China and North Korea without the aid of the USA. Going to war with China is a key policy of this political party. They want Japan to be rearmed. They want Japan to replace the USA as the world’s superpowers. Which is fine, but they sugar coat all of this under love of their fellow humans. It’s disgusting.

As it turns out, Sho Shishimaru is the reincarnation of Siddhartha Gautama, according to these ancient scrolls that some Indian monks found. Well, as I learned through research, he is actually not only Buddha, but also the reincarnation of El Cantare. Buddha was also one of them, as was the Incan King Rient Arl Croud, Hermes, Ophealis, La Mu of the Mu continent, and Thoth of Atlantis.

Here we have a look at Japanese-centrism: the main character, Sho Shishimaru, is Japanese and the savior of civilization. The Indian monks claim that he’s going to save all of humanity (from the Chinese and Koreans), but really the movie only cares about him saving Japan. Most of the movie happens there, and it doesn’t help that he only speaks Japanese. Japanese-centrism, everyone.

This film seems to be aimed at someone that actually knows anything about Happy Science, because it is fucking confusing as hell and it does whatever it wants. Characters are revealed as aliens with little to no foreshadowing, things happen because the plot demands it, and nothing is ever really explained as to why certain things are the way they are. For instance, perhaps my favorite part of the movie is when an alien reveals to the main character that one of the ancient “gods of the Earth” was in fact an Incan King called Rient Arl Croud. What? An Incan King? Why? Just by watching the movie, you will never know why an Incan King was once the god of Earth. I actually learned why by researching about Happy Science. As it turns out, El Cantare had revealed himself to Rient Arl Croud over 7,000 years ago. They never say this in the film. This shit happens all the time in this movie.

Aliens play a pretty prominent role in this film as well. Numerous characters are revealed to be aliens, and as it turns out, the root cause of all this chaos was because of aliens. Aliens tried to migrate to the planet Earth during the time of Rient Arl Croud. He agreed to let them live on Earth, with conditions, but unfortunately these aliens brought with them destructive weapons. The Godom Empire possesses that weapon, by the way. What is that weapon called? Hilariously, it is called the “ultimate destructive weapon.” Well, that’s straight-forward! The aliens brought these with them, for whatever reason. Sho Shishimaru has to stop the Godom Empire from using this weapon and killing out all of humanity.

As the reincarnation of El Cantare, Sho Shishimaru also has visions of the future. This bit gets a little confusing, because the film establishes that he cannot change the future. Vision about Japan being invaded? Can’t change it! Visions about someone getting killed? Can’t change it! Visions about you being chased? Can’t… wait, did he just evade those guys? In one scene, he has a vision about being chased by pursuers. He successfully evades them. Why was he able to change that vision, but not the others?

This Sho Shishimaru guy is something else, though. He doesn’t really do anything in the movie. He listens. And meditates. And stares. And talks. And that’s it. Every single time he has tried to accomplish something, he’s failed. Tried to infiltrate the base? Oops, I failed! Try to save this one guy? Failed again! It’s a wonder why he is such a big deal. He talks about love and tolerance and all that shit. Does he actually defeat the Godom Empire? No. Servants do that for him. Does he stop the “ultimate destructive weapon” from killing all of humanity? No. Someone else does that for him. Other people save the day, then he takes the spotlight and preaches about love and tolerance and shit, and then everyone says that he is so great for whatever the fuck reason. Pisses me the fuck off. Goddamn fuckhead.

The Mystical Laws is just one long-ass two hour exposition dump. Every single fucking opportunity they get, they start explaining the beliefs of Happy Science. Eventually the movie just becomes an alternating pattern of plot twist, exposition, plot twist, exposition, and so on. It’s just so goddamn fucking tiring. EXPOSITION, EXPOSITION, EXPOSITION. YOU KNOW THAT GUY? HE’S AN ALIEN! EXPOSITION! OH WHO’S RIENT ARL CROUD! KING OF THE INCAS? EXPOSITION! OH YOU KNOW THAT GIRL? EXPOSITION! SHE’S AN ALIEN! EXPOSITION! OH WHY ARE THERE ALIENS? OH WAIT THAT GUY ALIEN IS AN ALIEN TOO! EXPOSITION! SPACE SHIPS!


Sigh… let’s move on. Visually, well, the film is OK. The CGI is pretty bad, and it looks like something pulled out of a PS2 game. The action sequences are a snore fest, and they seem to be there just to lengthen the time of the movie. I will admit that it does look better than I would expect. I don’t know how they managed to get this film made, though. The Mystical Laws was directed by Isamu Imakake, which is surprising considering he has worked as a key animator for series such as Neon Genesis Evangelion and Cowboy Bebop. He has also directed another film written by Ryuho Okawa, called The Laws of Eternity. That makes me wonder what their relationship is like.

The music was done by Yuichi Mizusawa, who has mostly worked with Ryuho Okawa in the past. He has worked on The Final Judgment and The Golden Laws. I do not think I will ever watch those two movies. I did not notice the music at all in The Mystical Laws, so that says what I think about the music.

Art direction was provided by Masaaki Kawaguchi. Interestingly, he has worked on a few of the Doraemon films and Shin-chan. It is very strange to go from Doraemon to… this.

Is there anything good about this movie? I don’t even think so.  I think even saying, “this film was animated,” is offensive. Even so, I think the only good thing to come out of this film was actually found on the website:

We believe that animation film has great power to send out important messages, and it is grand possibility of animation

Fuck you. This movie is a damn lie. “Love and tolerance” my ass! The real message is, “love and tolerate immigrants, so that Japan can go to war with China!” That’s the real fucking moral of this movie! They don’t give a shit about anyone else; these guys want Japan to rule the world. That’s the real goal. The savior of human civilization? Japanese! Love and tolerance? Come to our country and make it strong so we can wage war with our neighbors!

Is this movie really prophetic? This movie basically says to its (Japanese) audience, “If you don’t accept immigrants, Japan will be conquered by China!” Is that the true prophecy?

Warmongers have taken love and tolerance as their banner. This movie is not retarded; this movie is dangerous.

Sakugabooru is awesome

You ever use Danbooru or Gelbooru? Well, those are basically websites where you posts images and tag them. Typically, they are centered around anime (especially H material). Those two are general “if it’s anime-related then post it here,” but they are others that target certain niches. Konachan is a website for absurdes images (high-res images, basically, meant to be used as wallpapers), for example.

I just found the best one out there: Sakugabooru! What is “sakuga”? I won’t go into the cultural/linguistic bits (it means “drawing pictures” apparently… that translation is implying something more akin to “moving pictures” than the act of “drawing pictures” I think?), but basically it is really awesome animation. Sakugabooru is a website where people post sakuga animation, then. Which is awesome, because that is the biggest reason why I watch this stuff (cute girls are the tip of the ice berg)!

Here are some of my favorites!











Let’s take a quick look at broad differences between Yamato (1979) and Yamato 2199

This is full of spoilers!

My first post about the differences between the original Yamato TV series and the remake Yamato 2199 remains my most popular post (that doesn’t use StumbleUpon). I’ve wanted to write a more in-depth post since then, but I lack the time. One day, though.

But let’s not leave you hanging! A thread on reddit’s /r/anime asked this very question. The original poster wanted someone to enlighten them on the changes. As that series is, for some unknown reason, not talked about a lot, I immediately jumped to the challenge. Here’s the post. Stuff in brackets [] are edits/notes I made to the original post.

> I have not watched the original series but I heard that some things were changed. Does anyone care to fill me in on what the differences are?

Oh god YES there are. Lots of them. It’s still very similar, but in my honest opinion one reason why Yamato 2199 is such a good series is that every change they made improved the series. I do a quick episode-by-episode rundown on the differences for the first 22 episodes on my blog, but the tl;dr of it is that Yamato 2199 speeds up the plot and then fills in the holes with new and (more) interesting content. Here are some key areas, some of which have great implications:

  • More races/planets. In the original, the amount of habitable planets could be counted on one hand: Iscandar (which was a dying planet actually), Gamilon, Earth, and the one with bee people [Beeland]. The Gamilons want Earth because their planet is dying, but they and humans cannot live in the same environment. Gamilons need a heavily irradiated ecosystem, which humans obviously cannot live on. In terms of races, they was the humans (who only lived on Earth), the Iscadarians (only a couple of them), the bee people, and the Gamilons. No subraces. [A better term might be “subjugated races”]
  • Rei is not present in the original series. THEY HANDLED THIS SO WELL BY THE WAY. She is the sister of Yamamoto, who was a pilot in the original series. In Yamato 2199, they changed a lot of the genders of the crew because the original sorely lacked female characters (the only one was Yuki). So, not only did they gender flip a character, they created an entire back story for it! That is, Yamamoto the male pilot from the original, was killed in 2199 and replaced by his sister, Rei. Oh my god so meta. I love it.
  • Yuki is a LOT more tomboyish in 2199. She was so ladylike and in the romance with Kodai was more like a housewife. A supportive role. I like Yuki in 2199 a lot more.
  • Balan got a pretty cool change. It was originally a rocky planet with an artificial star orbiting it (not sure how that works). In 2199 it was changed into an artificial gas giant with an artificial star in the center. In the original, Domel wanted to crash the Yamato into the artificial star, but the Yamato shot it with the Wave Motion Cannon (we still get this scene in the original, but earlier). I think I might be wrong, though.
  • The bee people. Holy shit I am so glad they changed this. Remember that extinct species they found in the middle of the series? You know, when they’re getting chased by that monster thing in the forest? Well, that planet is populated by a race of bee people… in the original, they made honey for the Gamilus. I don’t remember why but there was this big rebellion and everything. I thought it was silly honestly.
  • Melda Ditz was a man and a side character. He only had one episode, and he got killed when he was released. Melda Ditz obviously was not killed, but they gave her more importance in the story.
  • GATLANTIS! You don’t know who that is, do you? Remember when Domel was fighting “barbarians” on the out edges of their territory? Those green ships? Those guys are actually the villains of the second season (and the breakthrough movie that made the series so popular, Farewell to Space Battleship Yamato). You see, the cool thing about Gatlantis is that they disguise their invasion fleets as comets (they’ve also called The Comet Empire). They’ve conquered galaxies, and they’ve made it to the Large Magellanic Cloud… possible villains in the Yamato 2199 movie?!
  • Analyzer was given his own episode, and a mighty fine episode at that. He was more of a comic-relief character.
  • The psychics. Not in the original.
  • The Imperial Guard (blue ships). Not in the original.
  • That whole assassination/conspiracy thing didn’t happen. So, Norio Wakamoto is not in the original. 😦
  • AND POSSIBLY THE GREATEST AND MOST SIGNIFICANT CHANGE OF THEM ALL… THE SURVIVAL OF THE GAMILONS! In the original series, they’re wiped out. Killed off. Every single one of them, except for Lord Desslok (or Dessler) and a few of his men (actually they get killed, too, although not in the first season). Yup. The Yamato actually commits genocide in the original; they shoot a volcano with the Wave Motion Cannon that sets off all of the volcanoes on the planet, which then kills everyone on the planet.

Those are the ones off the top of my head.

There’s probably more! Hopefully I can do something more in-depth (or do a “Yamato 2199 versus Warhammer 40,000” post… Nah). Stay tuned!

EXTRA: Chris Stuckmann is doing anime!

Who the hell is Chris Stuckmann? I don’t know, but apparently he is a film critic with a decent following on YouTube (136,655 subscribers as of this writing). And… he’s doing anime now!

He posted this video a few days ago. At first, I thought, “Yeah yeah we got another guy talking about how great Hayao Miyazaki and Cowboy Bebop are, WE GOT THOUSANDS OF THOSE PEOPLE WHO CARES!” BUT YOU KNOW WHAT? THIS DUDE IS AWESOME! And while the amount of anime he’s seen may not be the largest, I can feel his love for the medium with every word he speaks.

I love his argument about why anime is actually worth a damn, too. I constantly run into people that claim that all (or the majority of) anime is for creeps, weirdos, or pedophiles. Whether or not that is true, I found out that it is actually quite easy to find anime that do not fit those descriptions. I mean, how can you argue that these are for creeps?

These are just a bunch of random images, by the way, but hopefully the diversity of anime is driven home.

Closing words… yeah, you can not like it, but you are missing out. And you know what? That’s fine. Because I don’t care about French/Jewish/Indian/Korean/whatever films.