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Lord Geo



Joined: 18 Sep 2005
Posts: 1077

PostPosted: Sun Jul 13, 2014 12:02 pm Reply with quote
Great article, Mike. I say "screw the critics!" because I've been loving Matsutaro since it aired, and I even got a friend to check it out and he enjoys it. Seriously, I can understand the complaints about the animation (because when it's uber-cheap it really shows), but hating Matsutaro just because he's a Grade-A asshole always sounded odd to me. I've heard complaints about how we get the same old character types, but when something different like Matsutaro debuts it's hated because it's different.

Yeah, you aren't exactly meant to "like" the man (who, just to add to what Mike said, didn't even finish Middle School [he was kicked out/"graduated"]), but he's simply a joy to see in action. Seriously, I sometimes wonder how Ashita no Joe would be received nowadays, because Joe Yabuki was just about as bad of a person as Matsutaro. In fact, he was worse in the beginning, because Matsutaro isn't so selfish that he literally tries extorting money out of the entire town like Joe did at one point early on. Matsutaro is nothing more than a selfish oaf who doesn't know better because he's such an imposing figure (& he knows it).

As for Kochikame, I also love it. Even without subtitles, which is a given since only the first movie & a random TV episode were ever subbed (and the live-action series, but I never saw that), the show is simply fun to watch & there's plenty of visual storytelling to make it easy to watch without subs. Out of the episodes I've seen, my favorite is easily the one that introduces Toden Hoshi, a "hard-boiled" detective who literally declares himself as the star of the show. The episode itself is complete madcap insanity & the only way to properly describe it is to simply link to my blog's review of a compilation DVD that featured the episode (I don't mean to blatantly promote my blog here, but there's too much in the episode to describe in a simple fashion; this specific episode is the last one in the review).

I agree with Mike in that I hope to see Kochikame appear on a streaming service one day, because I will always welcome more of this hilarious series.

Quote:
it starts with Ryotsu behaving like an idiot but still expertly thwarting a high-stakes bank robbery


Technically, Ryo-san was a part of a simulated bank robbery, for training purposes, but decided to take some actual money in the process while everyone was confused. Obviously, Ryo-san's idea failed. Still, as fun & enjoyable as the first movie was the second movie was even better; too bad it isn't subtitled like the first move was. Still, any production that has Ryo-san nearly destroy Tokyo as if Godzilla visited is forever awesome.
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vanfanel



Joined: 26 Dec 2008
Posts: 588

PostPosted: Sun Jul 13, 2014 12:05 pm Reply with quote
Great column! I love Kochikame, too, so it's great to see the word put out. Like Urusei Yatsura, it's one of those where each episode starts out with a dumb idea and you think, "Okay, sure, but how far can they really run with this?"

And then you find out exactly how far they can run with it.

I loved a story from the manga where Ryotsu got the idea that Christmas Eve was a scheme to make single guys feel lonely and miserable once a year. He responded -- nay, retaliated -- by attempting to found a new holiday on December 24 -- the Man Festival, in which a bunch of guys in loincloths would parade through the streets carrying a mikoshi, making noise, and eating gyudon. Naturally, the path for carrying the portable shrine was drawn to go right through all of Tokyo's most romantic spots. I seem to remember them climbing the ferris wheel at Odaiba at the end, and at last getting blown up by a helicopter-launched missile -- resulting in a beautiful fireworks display that restored Christmas Eve's rightful romantic mood.

The humor is often very culturally Japanese, but I was thinking once that if Urusei Yatsura can find an audience in the US, then surely this could as well. Just replace the bikini-clad girl with an unshaven middle-aged guy with a unibrow, and -- oh wait, never mind. Smile

Akimoto was on TV when Kochikame hit its 30th anniversary, and he was talking about how he tries to work in references to things that are swiftly being forgotten in modern life. That's why Ryotsu knows everything about old trains, games kids used to play before video games and widespread air conditioning, and all kinds of odd bits of local tradition and lore. It's a great manga for foreigners learning Japanese, because you'll pick up all kinds of neat little tidbits you'll never find in textbooks.

One other thing worth mentioning is that the town of Kameari in Katsushika Ward has put up bronze statues of the characters.

I watched an ep of Matsutaro too, but haven't kept up. I do like its earthiness, which reminds me of Ryotsu a little too. Like Matsutaro, and Yabuki Joe for that matter, Ryotsu has his wooden clogs firmly in the 70s, even when he's abusing the hottest new technologies.
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vanfanel



Joined: 26 Dec 2008
Posts: 588

PostPosted: Sun Jul 13, 2014 12:13 pm Reply with quote
Lord Geo wrote:
Out of the episodes I've seen, my favorite is easily the one that introduces Toden Hoshi, a "hard-boiled" detective who literally declares himself as the star of the show.


I've seen that one, and it's brilliant. Especially loved the bit where they equate coolness to the number of color shades a character is painted with. Take that, fourth wall!

There's only a handful of compilation DVDs out there, unfortunately. The whole series was put out on rental VHS, but to my knowledge there's never been an equivalent digital release. Somebody oughta get right on that.

Edit: The anime was all put out on rental DVD too. Having checked out plenty of volumes from Tsutaya, I should know. Point was, though, that there's never been a commercial release I'm aware of that regular folks can order.


Last edited by vanfanel on Mon Jul 14, 2014 4:34 am; edited 1 time in total
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medama_oyaji



Joined: 05 May 2013
Posts: 56

PostPosted: Sun Jul 13, 2014 2:04 pm Reply with quote
Thanks for writing this Mike! Hey, I love Space Dandy and Jojo's as much as the next guy, but Matsutaro has been a real delight to watch week to week. I'm happy to see someone stick up for it on ANN. Haven't been able to get a solid idea of how long it's going to run... I hope it's long enough that we do get to see some growth in the character. Regardless, the show is fun, and if it just ends up being a gag show following the adventures of a jerk, that works for me!

I haven't actually seen much Kochikame, but it's always seemed appealing to me. I like the art style for these 'Mainstream' series, and they often have a real warmth about them that otaku series do not. The bilingual Sazae-san volumes I've read are such a joy! And Doraemon... oh man, I'm so happy that's on Disney now. I hope it takes off with kids in the US!
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doomydoomdoom



Joined: 08 Mar 2013
Posts: 168
Location: Michigan, USA

PostPosted: Sun Jul 13, 2014 2:25 pm Reply with quote
I've been really interested in Kochikame also. I have an old issue of Weekly Shonen Jump (from 1990 to be exact) with a chapter concerning Ryo-san and trains. I'm surprised Viz hasn't licensed the manga in "compilation" volumes, sort of like with Golgo 13, or made it digital only. Guess it's too Japanese, but you would think you don't read manga for its Americanness. If they kept it SJ only because of its episodic nature, that would be a great bargaining chip for hawking subscriptions IMO.

The anime, on the other hand, is perfect for Discotek! It would be epic if they licensed the movies or did compilation DVDs of the TV anime. I really think just the movies would be great for their catalogue.
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trilaan



Joined: 17 Jan 2009
Posts: 447
Location: Texas

PostPosted: Sun Jul 13, 2014 2:56 pm Reply with quote
I do love me some Kochikame. I love the first movie and the 2nd movie is also quite entertaining. The 2nd film, UFO Shurai Tornado Daisakusen is not available in a subtitled format I'm working on subbing a copy I managed to finagle. I'm still transcribing dialog but my ear for Japanese is not that great so it's going to take a while to make sure it's right. But I'm just desperate enough to want to enjoy it to go through the trouble.

What a great episode of your show, Mike.
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medama_oyaji



Joined: 05 May 2013
Posts: 56

PostPosted: Sun Jul 13, 2014 2:57 pm Reply with quote
Yeah, every once and a while I pester Viz about Kochikame, mostly just to make it known that some people would like it.

I think compilation volumes are an excellent idea. Or running occasional chapters in their digital Shonen Jump.

The idea of it being "too Japanese" is interesting to me, because a lot of anime/manga fans are interested in Japanese culture, and a topical comedy like that could be educational as much as it is entertaining. Funny that what is 'mainstream' in Japan ends up being the obscure niche in America! Wink
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Gyt Kaliba



Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 625
Location: Arkansas

PostPosted: Sun Jul 13, 2014 3:56 pm Reply with quote
Kochikame is one that I've been wanting to check out for a long while now, but it seems nigh impossible to find, especially in a legal capacity which I would prefer. I didn't realize the first movie on Japanese DVD had English subtitles though...do I even want to know how rare and more expensive it is now than when it first came out? Shocked
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EricJ2



Joined: 01 Feb 2014
Posts: 593

PostPosted: Sun Jul 13, 2014 4:06 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
One particular mainstream anime, Doraemon, is heading to Disney Anime hyper as we speak. Will your kids get on board with some mainstream anime of their own? It's more likely than you think!


At the risk of opening the Pizza Wars again Rolling Eyes, just to update to illustrate the discussion:
The first Tubes of US Doraemon have hit, and they're US kid-friendly enough for me to approve.
(Unfortunately, the Mouse has already come down hard, and as D's already nowhere to be found on X-D's website, it may not last long even on their own legal channel.
Here's the last remaining rebel YT hiding out, check it while you can--And no, I don't know why the OP messed with the screen window: https://www.youtube.com/​watch?​v=​6gyPknTLN8o )

Bang-Zoom did a perfect job of translating the rhythm of the jokes to something resembling hyperactive US-kids'-cable jokes, without changing 90% of them. (Unlike a certain studio who begins with F....)
This definitely looks like the sort of show from the Pokemon/Sailor Moon days where kids got hooked on the show thinking it was American, and never occurred to them why it was better. Smile
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scottfla



Joined: 05 Aug 2011
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Sun Jul 13, 2014 8:47 pm Reply with quote
Great Outdoor Fight. Oh, Roast Beef, you kidder.
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vanfanel



Joined: 26 Dec 2008
Posts: 588

PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2014 4:55 am Reply with quote
medama_oyaji wrote:
Funny that what is 'mainstream' in Japan ends up being the obscure niche in America! Wink


Yeah, it's similar to how foreign film venues often tell you a lot about more about what their organizers like than what's actually popular in other countries.

In 2005, Roger Ebert wrote in his "Oldboy" review:

Quote:
I am not an expert on the Korean cinema, which is considered in critical circles as one of the most creative in the world ("Oldboy" won the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes 2004). I can say that of the Korean films I've seen, only one ("The YMCA Baseball Club") did not contain extraordinary sadomasochism.


During that same period, of course, Japan was being overrun by Korean movies -- but at the multiplex; not the arthouse. Those films were mostly sappy love stories and tearjerkers.
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medama_oyaji



Joined: 05 May 2013
Posts: 56

PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2014 8:46 am Reply with quote
EricJ2 wrote:
Quote:
One particular mainstream anime, Doraemon, is heading to Disney Anime hyper as we speak. Will your kids get on board with some mainstream anime of their own? It's more likely than you think!


At the risk of opening the Pizza Wars again Rolling Eyes, just to update to illustrate the discussion:
The first Tubes of US Doraemon have hit, and they're US kid-friendly enough for me to approve.
(Unfortunately, the Mouse has already come down hard, and as D's already nowhere to be found on X-D's website, it may not last long even on their own legal channel.
Here's the last remaining rebel YT hiding out, check it while you can--And no, I don't know why the OP messed with the screen window: https://www.youtube.com/​watch?​v=​6gyPknTLN8o )

Bang-Zoom did a perfect job of translating the rhythm of the jokes to something resembling hyperactive US-kids'-cable jokes, without changing 90% of them. (Unlike a certain studio who begins with F....)
This definitely looks like the sort of show from the Pokemon/Sailor Moon days where kids got hooked on the show thinking it was American, and never occurred to them why it was better. Smile


I think Disney's Doraemon has been pretty good so far! I agree that the dub is excellent, preserving the feel of the show, from what I've seen, and not actually being as super-localized as those early screen shots lead us to fear. It's strangely inconsistent... yes, there was a scene where apparently the family eating with chopsticks was changed to forks, but there is another where Nobita is eating cup ramen with chopsticks and another where his mom makes him a very Japanese-looking fried dish.

Perhaps some things, like sliding doors and right-to-left comics, are too much of a pain to switch, but I cannot watch this show without thinking about how it would have been hacked up if it were made in the 90's. I was pleasantly surprised to see some jokes left in that I would have guessed would have been taken out, like one where Nobita accidentally transforms into (naked) Shizuka. I'm not exactly clamoring for nude children on TV or anything Laughing but it was a funny gag, and it was pretty surprising to see it preserved.
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eragon2890



Joined: 02 Sep 2009
Posts: 129

PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2014 12:09 pm Reply with quote
Well with most of us being nerds it's logical that those anime are most popular right? The fan service, moe, meccha, gaming, and other otaku centric anime?

I guess it's the same probably amongst Japanese *otaku* and isn't that who you should compare us with?
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EricJ2



Joined: 01 Feb 2014
Posts: 593

PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2014 2:52 pm Reply with quote
medama_oyaji wrote:
I think Disney's Doraemon has been pretty good so far! I agree that the dub is excellent, preserving the feel of the show, from what I've seen, and not actually being as super-localized as those early screen shots lead us to fear. It's strangely inconsistent... yes, there was a scene where apparently the family eating with chopsticks was changed to forks, but there is another where Nobita is eating cup ramen with chopsticks and another where his mom makes him a very Japanese-looking fried dish.
I was pleasantly surprised to see some jokes left in that I would have guessed would have been taken out, like one where Nobita accidentally transforms into (naked) Shizuka.


There did seem to be a few extra "clouds" and "shrubbery" when Nobita had his trouble with the transforming drink. But then, the same problem was true for Lil' Goku in his early DB:Classic days, whenever he came out of the bath.

So far the most "heretical" change (apart from cutting the half-hour flashback first episode down to a ten-minute mini-episode, since the JP characters have already met) was the episode where Noby wants to get his comics and cards back from Gian and Suneo, and D lends him the "Master Thief kit", which turns him into Arsene Lupin, with top hat, cape, monocle and calling cards (and disguise/escape ability).
Since US kids wouldn't get the reference, and stealing wouldn't be a good role model, they claimed he was a magician and made Noby "The Great Illusionist". Still worked, but we knew better. Wink
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belvadeer



Joined: 11 Jun 2006
Posts: 2047

PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2014 3:22 pm Reply with quote
medama_oyaji wrote:
I think Disney's Doraemon has been pretty good so far! I agree that the dub is excellent, preserving the feel of the show, from what I've seen, and not actually being as super-localized as those early screen shots lead us to fear. It's strangely inconsistent... yes, there was a scene where apparently the family eating with chopsticks was changed to forks, but there is another where Nobita is eating cup ramen with chopsticks and another where his mom makes him a very Japanese-looking fried dish.

Perhaps some things, like sliding doors and right-to-left comics, are too much of a pain to switch, but I cannot watch this show without thinking about how it would have been hacked up if it were made in the 90's. I was pleasantly surprised to see some jokes left in that I would have guessed would have been taken out, like one where Nobita accidentally transforms into (naked) Shizuka. I'm not exactly clamoring for nude children on TV or anything Laughing but it was a funny gag, and it was pretty surprising to see it preserved.


I second the motion. It's been very well handled so far. The inconsistency is weird, though it doesn't take away from the show at all. In the first episode, for example, Nobita/Noby told Doraemon the Japanese word for the snack called Yummy Buns. It hasn't used the Japanese word since then, but it is interesting to note. Suneo/Sneech's front yard in today's episode had a stone lantern (tōrō) in it. I honestly expected them to edit it into something else, but they decided to leave it alone. For them to claim they altered the show into something more in line with U.S. sensibilities and culture, they sure do leave some strange and obvious details out. But again, this hasn't affected my enjoyment of the show thus far. It's really well done and the dub is spot on.
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