Mobile Suit Victory Gundam


fpastar020TO START

In 1979, Yoshiyuki Tomino inadvertently kicked off an entire subgenre of mecha anime with Mobile Suit Gundam (or 0079 as it’s sometimes referred to), deemphasizing the seemingly integral aspects of unrealism and ‘logistics that simply work because it’s a cartoon’ wanton disregard for physics and gravitas in favor of a more hard science fiction approach to mechanical warfare and dealing with living or fighting in outer space.  For the next decade, anime producers and directors would mimic and explore the things he introduced with that landmark show, creating works varying from Ryosuke Takahashi’s Armored Trooper Votoms to Sh­ōji Kawamori’s famed Macross franchise.

Mobile Suit Gundam went on, more or less, to be the subject of twelve more series and numerous OVAs, specials, & films.  Tomino directed the next three sequel series, up to Victory Gundam in 1993, continuing to work within the Universal Century timeline he’d created with the 1979 series. After Victory Gundam’s broadcasting, UC timeline wouldn’t be wholly revisited again in series format, as future directors and creative teams would focus more on alternate scenarios and universes that happened to feature Gundam suits.  For anyone interested in a guide to the Gundam franchise, I’ve written an overview and guide available here. Read more of this post

Osamu Dezaki: In Brief Rememberance

No doubt, some of us will probably be saying “The King is dead, anime has died, there is no point watching cartoons anymore,” when Hayao Miyazaki eventually passes on.  And certainly, when Mamoru Oshii kicks the bucket, countless anime fans, pretentious film buffs, and intellectual wannabes will spend some time in mourning (others will likely breathe out a long-awaited “finally,” I’m sure).  We’ve already witnessed the reverberations of Satoshi Kon’s untimely demise just last year, and those who were around will remember the sorrow left in the wake of Osamu Tezuka’s death.  Other accredited figures associated with anime will surely leave remarkable hollows in their wake, at least for those familiar with their works. Read more of this post

Stefan’s R&A: Evangelion 2.22: You Can (Not) Advance

Also known as "Evangelion, New Theatrical Edition: Break"

[Due to the pre-existing nature of the film’s source material, this article has been split into two separate groups. The first half of the article is a traditionally written movie review for Evangelion 2.22 free of important spoilers that might ruin the experience for first-time viewers. The second half of the article is a in-depth comparative analysis between Evangelion 2.22 and the television show it was based upon: Neon Genesis Evangelion, and even a look as to how art can sometimes imitate life, and is targeted for those who have watched both the film and the original television show.] Read more of this post

Dirty Pair, or Why Aren’t You Watching The Lovely Angels?

The magic of the Lovely Angels is difficult to describe.  There’s something irrationally appealing about the mannerisms of their characters, the intonations and inflections of their voice actors, and their general screen presence.  It extends beyond mere lines and color on two dimensional cells, and it’s something less concrete than the pleasantly eye-catching character models.  The infectiousness of this attachment blurs on the fringes of moè tinged with no small amount of the erotic, facilitated no doubt by provocative costumes, hot women in dangerous situations, and their seemingly effortlessly-written banter.  Kei & Yuri are fantastic characters, to say the least, as admirable as they are humorous and sexy.

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Time of Eve: Social Consciousness and Machines

The concept of artificial intelligence is certainly an intriguing one.  A veritable library of science fiction films, comics, and novels have been released concerning it, dwelling on themes as wide-ranging as the philosophy of mind, the moral implications of robotic servitude, sexuality, and numerous others—often in some combination.  Time of Eve, a six episode OVA released over the course of 2008 and 2009, follows in the footsteps of those that have come before, so it probably won’t come as much surprise to see Asimov’s three laws of robotics playing a key role in its thematic undertones.  And, perhaps not unlike many other works focusing on artificial intelligence, Time of Eve’s main concern isn’t even artificial intelligence.  It uses that focus as a mirror in order to analyze what it means to be human, using multiple layers of allegory and a keen pace of storytelling to do so. Read more of this post

Evangelion 1.11: You Are (Not) Alone

Evangelion 1.0

KlockWorx & Khara; Hideaki Anno, Masayuki, Kazuya Tsurumaki; based on the original GIANAX series.

Due to the pre-existing nature of the film’s source material, this is both a review of the film and a comparative essay of the film and the television series it was based upon. The two have been separated into a spoiler-free review and an in-depth look into the two different incarnations of the story. This lets the people who want to avoid spoilers from reading any, which I hate as well simply because spoilers tend to confuse me when mentioned outside of the context of the film.

The film kicks off by throwing the audience into the thick of a bizarre, sci-fi battle. Giant alien monsters, called Angels, attack a city called Tokyo-3 (we’re not entirely sure yet what happened to the first two Tokyo cities), and giant synthetic humanoid units called Evangelion are deployed by an organization called NERV to combat them. Shinji, a timid 14-year-old boy, is called upon by his father for the first time in years to assist in combat against the Angels.

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MoMA Film Festival: J’accuse

What is the essence of silent film? Is it possible to truly appreciate the history of cinema if we cannot identify and appreciate this unique childhood of the art form? I personally felt the connection with these cinematic roots when viewing Abel Gance’s most revered film from the silent era, J’accuse, at the Museum of Modern Art’s Film Festival “To Save and Project”, a unique festival that runs throughout October into November 14th. It’s purpose: to screen remastered prints of films that have gained national or international renown. The films screened range from Japanese silents from the early twenties two Warhol’s more contemporary “pop art” films.

My feelings on the film are clear: it was a fine film, especially in comparison to other films of that era; Griffith certainly had a run for his money in Gance. Even in spite of the rumours I had heard the about Gance: a filmmaker whose penchant for  melodrama knew no bounds. Is J’accuse a melodramatic film? It certainly is. Is melodrama used to drive the plot forward? Indeed. With that in mind, the final question arises: is it done tastefully? My response: an enthusiastic “yes!”

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