It feels like we have more material than usual for this fortnight’s round-up, though perhaps we’re just getting better at finding things! That would certainly be nice. Anyway, here it is: attention to older anime from the last two weeks, indexed and annotated.
As usual, remarks from Feez are in blue and those from Thaliarchus are in red.
One the Ones has a huge and hugely engrossing appreciation of the career of filmmaker Toshio Hirata (1938–2014) to mark what would have been Hirata’s eightieth birthday. Hirata might not be a household name among anime fans but this is really worth a read (perhaps in several chunks, if you’re pressed for time!). It’ll probably make you want to check out at least some of his work.
A couple of months back Comic Natalie ran an interview with Yoshiyuki Tomino to mark the 4K releases of Char’s Counterattack and Gundam F91, and Nekketsu Nikki has a translation. There’s something just sad about Tomino wholly admitting that he’s unmotivated and only works on anime because it’s his job. I do wonder which anime are the ones he genuinely wanted to make… also, this is the first I’m reading that he purposefully rushed through things in G-Reco because he figured he’d improve on it in the movies. I hope those movies actually see the light of day. As usual when Tomino’s interviewed, this is an odd, wide-ranging and at times blunt conversation! But I like the bluntness: whatever he’s saying, Tomino never lapses into PR lines and won’t let readers idolise him. The occasion of the interview intrigues me too. I’m kind of sceptical about the use of 4K for anime, myself. It’s cool that anime shot on film can be transferred into true 4K, but I’m not sure we gain much: the details of brushstrokes, dust &c visible in ‘normal’ HD already are sufficient for me. But I’m no video expert!
R042 continues his line of very strong blog post titles with this piece on the original Pretty Cure. (That very first series is one of my favourite anime, as it happens.)
And here on a new blog is a thoughtful response to Dragonball GT: what’s it doing, and what makes it feel so strange? (Surprisingly little seems to get written about Dragonball, given its immense popularity. Or maybe we’re looking in the wrong places? Also, this reminds me of reports I’ve heard of an area in Portugal where GT is the most popular Dragonball title.) I haven’t read a GT retrospective in ages, so this was fun to take in. It’s true that much of the show doesn’t follow standard shounen anime structure, and the earlier bits definitely are reminiscent of an 80s or 90s sci-fi adventure anime. Maybe that’s why the first arc was my favorite.
On All the Anime’s company blog Motoko Tamamuro reviews Pencil War Chronicles: The Studio Ghibli Nobody Knew, by Hitomi Tateno (and not—yet, at least—translated into English). Tateno was a long-serving animation checker and manager at Ghibli, and in Tamamuro’s account the book offers some fascinating fragments of information but is ultimately a ‘soft-pedalled’ report from someone who could probably reveal more in other circumstances.
Sakugablog’s latest post is a history of Kyoto Animation, kicking off in the early eighties and containing a bunch of details I didn’t know about the outfit’s (pre-)history as a cel painting shop and then an outsourcing studio. It’s interesting to picture early KA as a kind of latter-day Anime R, as Anime R was in its 1980s glory days: an organisation based away from Tokyo and trusted to excel on outsourced work.
Ogiue Maniax has not one but two whole posts arising from Shoji Kawamori’s appearances at this year’s Otakon. One is an interview ranging over, among other things, Kawamori’s design credits and Studio Satelight’s hiring of foreign talent. The other is an report of Kawamori’s ‘history of Macross’ panel.
sdshamshel’s also written a brief consideration of The Big O as a show partly tackling AI and artificial emotion.
Over at The Land of Obscusion, George gives us a detailed write-up for Saint Seiya: Legend of Sanctuary, a 2014 3DCG ‘complete re-imagining’ of Saint Seiya. I’ve heard that despite the CG, this movie is actually worth watching. I have yet to watch any of the feature films though…
The Great OAV Watch reaches the 1993 flight anthology The Cockpit.
Anime News Network put out something unusual: a review of Aura Battler Dunbine from someone (James Beckett) who’s not already a confirmed ancient mech-head. I do find it useful to remind myself how these shows can seem to people who aren’t broken.
We were sorry to hear recently of the death of the animator Kunihiro Abe at the relatively young age of 50. Abe had a significant career and his list of credits includes contributions on Utena and the Zeta Gundam films. Kraker2k wrote a Twitter thread collating some interesting moments from Abe’s work, plus anecdotes and tributes from his peers. RIP.
Finally, I enjoyed this Twitter thread from @Goge6_ on Licca-chan to Yamaneko Hoshi no Tabi, a 1997 film which (it would seem) has some striking direction and animation. The various ‘Licca-chan’ anime all languish in obscurity and are all, as I understand it, ultimately toy-selling titles. Just lately they seem to’ve gotten a bit of attention in some of the corners of anime Twitter which specialise in oddities, and that attention has turned up some impressive bits of craft.
Anime of Yesteryear examine to some kind of live-action film and, much more importantly, Mighty Orbots (1984).
Dynamite in the Brain’s unacronymable Famous Anime Podcast segment covers Tokyo Movie Shinsha’s 1981–83 output, and DitB have also put out their second and concluding episode on the Dirty Pair TV show.
AniFem’s podcast series on Dennou Coil concludes with instalments for episodes 14–20 and episodes 21–26. Always good to see Dennou Coil‘s beautiful / creepy / intermittently hilarious augmented reality tale get some attention.
PodCastle in the Sky’s team pair the Mobile Suit Gundam compilation film trilogy with the first Star Wars.
- Bonobono (1995) 26 (GANGO)
- Gutsy Frog 10 (Gutsy)
- Dream Fighter Wingman 7 (JohnnyEnglish)
- Queen Millennia (TV) 39–42 (Live-eviL); this finishes the TV show off, after something of an epic translation saga
Squaresubs have Yume no Crayon Oukoku episode 30 out in the usual places (but no associated blog post)
Anonymous Russian Rippers have been making their usual progress through various projects, mostly released on private trackers—see their Twitter.
Also noteworthy: GANGO have acquired Bosco Adventure in an HD form and will be re-releasing the episodes they’ve covered already before moving on.
What we’ve been up to
Thaliarchus — I’ve been pretty absorbed by Trails in the Sky, a detail-rich JRPG. I don’t play games all that much, but when I do I sometimes become quite dedicated! Still, I’ve finished watching Wixoss (would not particularly recommend), and my friend and I are almost exactly halfway through Cardcaptor Sakura (you don’t need me to recommend that to you). Oh, yes, and, word to the wise, the currently airing show Sirius the Jaeger has some really, really well-conceived action, though it’s kind of aggressively ‘Netflix stupid’ in other ways. If you like fight scenes, maybe go look clips up once it’s over.
Feez — I’m halfway through Daimos now. It’s fun! The show’s a lot more dynamic and dramatic than I could have ever initially predicted. I’d heard Daimos was really good, but I had pegged it as a slightly better Voltes, at best. It’s far exceeded that in my opinion. I think it does a good job at getting the viewer attached to the characters, including the many supporting characters. And there are so many assholes in this show—I think that helps in making you want to root for the good guys.