Look, an image. We might start including those from now on, we’ll see. Anyhow, read on for the usual stack of posts and podcasts about older anime. This time around there are several titles neither of us had heard of before! As usual, asides from Feez are written in blue and those from Thaliarchus are in red.
Bednorz reports on Apfelland Monogatari (1992), an adaptation of a minor work by Yoshiki Tanaka, original author of Legend of the Galactic Heroes. This sounds like a real curiosity: Tanaka’s usual politicking presented in the framework of an adventure story with a hint of World Masterpiece Theatre about it.
At Zimmerit, Sean describes the genesis of Dragon’s Heaven and touches on the ways in which it captures Makoto Kobayashi’s style in animation. Comparing Dragon’s Heaven‘s aesthetic to Moebius’s work is apt, I’d say. It’s a very unique anime.
Through a Glass has a piece on Osamu Dezaki’s (now, I think, largely forgotten?) film adaptations of the visual novels Air and Clannad.
Alexander Smit has written an extended appreciation of the themes of Gunbuster and Diebuster.
At Gunpla 101 Dustin has a piece on the first flourishing of gunpla in the US. I remember that commercial! The guy in the hoodie would later on become a meme of sorts. I didn’t have access to TV at the time, but the Wing-related ad that I know of from the UK is for a toy rather than for model kits, and riffs on, erm, the British Army’s recruitment slogan at the time and since (‘be the best’).
At Land of Obscusion George covers the forgotten OVA advertisement for the game Steady x Study (2004).
All the Anime carry short essays on two of their forthcoming releases, Wolf’s Rain and Momotaro: Sacred Sailors. I’ve seen the latter, a wartime propaganda piece which is the first feature-length anime film. It’s cleverly made and impressive, but also extremely unsettling.
And, finally, Mike Toole’s been surveying the mixed fortunes of the Zoids franchise.
The Retro Anime Podcast has paired reviews of The Dagger of Kamui and Sword for Truth.
For years anime fans have wondered who ‘Miami Mike’ was and just what he did at DragonCon. Usamimi has tracked down someone who knows and interviewed him for the Anime Nostalgia Podcast. The mystery’s solution itself might disappoint anyone who had more wildly speculative answers, but the episode as a whole’s an interesting window on a period of anime’s reception history about which I know very little. Also, it’s nice that the route to an answer was a chance find in an old book! Like the recent emergence of the Hollywood Gundam project from the shadows, this case shows how there are still things out there which can’t be Googled and are waiting to be found through personal research.
CCP has an episode devoted to the 1987 OVA Crystal Triangle.
ANNcast has a new Gundam Wing episode, if the gunpla discussion above has whetted your Wing appetite.
Recently ibcf has been drawing attention to a significant lost (or perhaps ‘withheld’) anime film, Tomcat’s Big Adventure, which is described in passing in this AniPages post. As far as we know, the film—the work of various heavyweight talents—was completed and then promptly mothballed, only ever seeing the light of day through an extremely limited crowdfunding release. Which is a crying shame.
This year Precure, the toy-peddling magical girl series, is celebrating its fifteenth anniversary since it started continuous broadcast. DCSW502 has kindly translated a retrospective interview with its first producer, Takashi Washio. Series directors and writers have a lot of impact on different iterations of Precure, of course, but the producers who’ve handled the franchise seem to be an important influence on its tone and content—at least, I’ve seen fans use different producers’ tenures as a workable periodisation! I’d take some of the remarks on the franchise’s originating motivations with a pinch of salt, or at least I wouldn’t read them as a description of every Precure series, but the details about, for instance, Washio’s route into anime, and the costume designs, are interesting.
Ajay from Kanzenshuu has been hosting a Dragon Ball Z rewatch. See the forum thread if you’re interested in learning more and joining in. His episode roundups have been very informative in covering the show’s production: its episode directors, storyboarders, animators, etc. They tackled the Bardock TV special recently. This is something I’d hypothetically love to join in on, but rewatching a massive show like DBZ is a time commitment. I appreciate how passionate the fanbase is though, and I’m learning a lot from these posts.
- Chibi Maruko-san 52 (maruchansubs)
- Dragonar 27 (/m/subs)
- Lensman 8 (/m/subs)
- Bismark 34 (GANGO)
- Bonobono (1995) 14 (GANGO)
- Laughing Salesman 38–41 (live-evil and saizen)
What we’re up to
Feez — My rewatch of Aura Battler Dunbine continues. I don’t remember a lot, so it’s been very refreshing. It’s also rather interesting to think about how it is one of the older (maybe oldest?) isekai / “another world” anime out there. One thing I find interesting—and maybe this is something that isn’t uncommon, but I don’t watch a lot of isekai—is that the real world and other world are interconnected through space and time, and the characters are aware of that. I’ve also reached the infamous island arc in Nadia, and, well, it’s been boring. I fear it may take me longer than anticipated to finish off the show.
Thaliarchus — I too have been forging ahead with Dunbine, and I also recently watched Robotics;Notes. I didn’t find all that much to write home about in Robotics;Notes, but it did do one or two clever things with augmented reality, and it managed to conjure up a fun air of conspiracy for part of its run. Dennou Coil‘s probably still the place to go for really strong AR shenanigans, though. I’ve also been reading the essays collected in Lost Libraries, which is fascinating though not very cheering! I’d recommend the book if the topic interests you and you can find a library copy (because Palgrave’s definitely pricing that for academic institutions, not individuals).