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Brain Diving - I Like The Cut Of Your Ghibli


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Nephtis



Joined: 21 Jul 2005
Posts: 138
Location: Australia
PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2011 11:51 pm Reply with quote
See it's books like this that make it hard to write a good research essay in anime; what is available doesn't often go into the detail required to source from it. If you attempt to write about anything a bit more obscure and you've got nothing.

It's one of the reasons I got so into the idea of writing about anime in my cinema studies major; there's something slightly exciting about writing about anime to 'fill the holes' so to speak.

Still, this book isn't aimed at a film/animation studies student, it's clearly aimed at people who want a more basic overview. Nothing wrong with that, you've got to start somewhere.

Interesting you mention Tales of Earthsea, I've avoided it ever since it came out - that's not really fair and I should give it a go one of these days to judge for myself how good/poor it is.

Edit: I neglected to mention this week's pun is particularly excellent.
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reanimator



Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 1295
PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 3:30 am Reply with quote
Just going along with Nephtis's comment, it's sad that we don't have in-depth books on Japanese animation history. There aren't enough people who have decent fluency in Japanese to do some in-depth research. There are all kinds of Japanese printed materials (books, magazines, fanzines, Mooks) and websites which have great insight on what's going behind Anime production.

Brian Ruh wrote:
There is so much about anime that deserves to be written about – I'd certainly like to see greater depth as well as a greater selection of creators covered. Unfortunately, we don't even have a comprehensive history of the development of anime in English, so there's plenty more out there for budding scholars to tackle. I just hope that with the graying of the anime industry, there will continue to be new blood and new creators to dazzle us with their films in the future.


I wonder Mr. Ruh ever visited Anipage Daily. The site has really juicy history behind Japanese animation industry which is worth reading. One of my favorite is a blog entry, "A Production / Shin-Ei Animation", which practically a small history book.


Last edited by reanimator on Tue Apr 05, 2011 4:52 am; edited 1 time in total
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Penguin_Factory



Joined: 28 Oct 2007
Posts: 732
Location: Ireland
PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 4:34 am Reply with quote
I think this is the first time I've ever heard a good word said about Earthsea. Personally some of the changes from the novel(s) it's based on were enough to put me off (such as making all of the characters white and changing the female lead's dis-figuration to a patch of mildly discoloured skin), but I've always been curious about the film regardless.

I am actually excited to see his next film. I kind of think people were too quick to dismiss him completely after Earthsea. And while we're at it that goes for Miyazaki too- I keep hearing that the guy needs to retire after making Howl's Moving Castle and Ponyo, but viewed in the context of everything else he's done that's only two "bad" movies (while recognizing it as a lesser work, I didn't have nearly the same beef with Howl's as most people did) out of how many amazing ones. There's no reason to think he couldn't bounce back and produce something as good as his earlier films with the next effort.
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Alexis.Anagram



Joined: 26 Jan 2011
Posts: 242
Location: Mishopshno
PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 5:32 am Reply with quote
I also saw Earthsea just recently, and I was pleasantly surprised. The movie had its weaknesses, most of which stemmed from trying to adapt a serialized mythology into one much more contained plot structure which resulted in a lot of incoherence and many non sequiturs. On the whole, however, I thought the direction was on par with Ghibli's more average films, which is no easy feat in and of itself for a new director. In particular I would applaud its pacing and the fact that the film gave its plot and characters room to breathe and engage in basic human interaction with one another and their world without rushing them from one dramatic interlude to the next (Therru's song was a high point; classic Ghibli moment in my opinion)-- in that respect, it felt very much like Ursula K. Leguin's story. On the other hand, the world and plot themselves felt really under-developed and the climax involved too many characters bantering about an at best enigmatic (and at worst totally ambiguous) mythology that hadn't been properly scrutinized. Ultimately, I don't feel its conclusion was earned and I felt really lukewarm towards the last fifteen minutes or so.

Penguin_Factory wrote:
Personally some of the changes from the novel(s) it's based on were enough to put me off (such as making all of the characters white and changing the female lead's dis-figuration to a patch of mildly discoloured skin), but I've always been curious about the film regardless.

The skin color change in particular bothered me as well, but I will say that it actually helps a lot to have read Leguin's Earthsea books, especially The Farthest Shore. Most of the significant story matter is there (the power of true names/the old language, the need to maintain the balance, the relationship between dragons and humans, even hints of the Dry Land and the breach between the worlds of life and death) but it's all without context which makes it a lot more confusing than it should be. If you've read the books, you know why the characters are doing what they're doing and have a firmer grasp of the potential consequences; if you haven't, it plays out more like a typical megalomaniac villain scenario towards the end, even while the first hour and a half sets up for a really rich prospective conclusion. A shame really, since I see it more as a waste of some seriously impressive potential, rather than a total mistake.
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pachy_boy



Joined: 09 Mar 2006
Posts: 1113
PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 7:13 am Reply with quote
Brian Ruh, you've completely captured my feelings about Tales from Earthsea. As flawed as it may be, to me it's always been a gorgeous movie with its animation, music (the songs especially), and its deceptively simple story. Some of the story elements may come across as vague as Alexis.Anagram have posted already, but nothing that isn't made clearer by reading the story synopses of the original books on Wikipedia, and be further surprised at how Goro took all those elements and stayed faithful to them while creating his own standalone tale. I too am looking forward to Goro's next movie--after all, to keep filmmaking is the only way he can get better!
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albanian
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Joined: 18 Nov 2005
Posts: 133
Location: UK
PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 11:17 am Reply with quote
With regard to Susan Napier's book on anime, I have on my shelves the 2005 revised edition which updates as far as Howl's Moving Castle. Still not right up to date, but an improvement on 1999.
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enurtsol



Joined: 01 May 2007
Posts: 13716
PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 2:44 pm Reply with quote
For manga, there's always Fred Schodt's books.
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khaos1019



Joined: 28 Nov 2007
Posts: 82
PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 7:19 pm Reply with quote
Hey, Brian, speaking of new editions, when are we going to get a new edition of Stray Dog of Anime? I'm curious to read your analysis of Oshii's newer works. Smile
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Gilles Poitras



Joined: 05 Apr 2008
Posts: 428
Location: Oakland California
PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2011 8:32 am Reply with quote
For those of you who are interested in Ghibli titles that have not been released in the US, and there are several of them, the Japanese DVD discs have English subtitles. You do of course need a player that can handle region 2 discs.

One title that is licensed to the US is Only Yesterday, but Buena Vista has had the license for it since around 1997 and has stated they do not plan a US release.

There is not only Takahata's wonderful live-action documentary The Story of Yanagawa's Canals, there are other live action documentaries related to and by Ghibli.
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ljaesch



Joined: 03 Apr 2009
Posts: 299
Location: Enumclaw, WA
PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2011 12:09 pm Reply with quote
Gilles Poitras wrote:
One title that is licensed to the US is Only Yesterday, but Buena Vista has had the license for it since around 1997 and has stated they do not plan a US release.


Boo to Buena Vista! Honestly, if Buena Vista doesn't ever plan to release Only Yesterday, then maybe they should negotiate with Ghibli to be able to provide the license to another company so the film could be actually be released here.

Does anyone know what the deal with Grave of the Fireflies was? Did Disney choose not to include this one in their Ghibli deal, or did they acquire it and then give the rights to it for someone else to release it? If it's the latter, then that would set a precedent for allowing someone else to release Only Yesterday.
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enurtsol



Joined: 01 May 2007
Posts: 13716
PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2011 12:59 pm Reply with quote
ljaesch wrote:

Does anyone know what the deal with Grave of the Fireflies was? Did Disney choose not to include this one in their Ghibli deal, or did they acquire it and then give the rights to it for someone else to release it?


http://www.nausicaa.net/miyazaki/disney/

Quote:
Grave of the Fireflies is not included in the deal because Tokuma Publishing does not hold the rights to it. It was produced by a company called Shinchosha. English-subbed and dubbed "Grave" is currently available from Central Park Media.


CPM is out of business now.
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pachy_boy



Joined: 09 Mar 2006
Posts: 1113
PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2011 1:04 pm Reply with quote
ljaesch wrote:
Does anyone know what the deal with Grave of the Fireflies was? Did Disney choose not to include this one in their Ghibli deal, or did they acquire it and then give the rights to it for someone else to release it?


Central Park Media had it, then Section23 reissued it. I don't know if the rights have expired yet, because only then I would imagine Disney getting it.
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albanian
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Joined: 18 Nov 2005
Posts: 133
Location: UK
PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2011 2:33 pm Reply with quote
Gilles Poitras wrote:
One title that is licensed to the US is Only Yesterday, but Buena Vista has had the license for it since around 1997 and has stated they do not plan a US release.


Just to add that a Brjtish release of Only Yesterday has been available for the last five years - but again, of course, you need a Region 2 compatible player.
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ljaesch



Joined: 03 Apr 2009
Posts: 299
Location: Enumclaw, WA
PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2011 4:15 pm Reply with quote
pachy_boy wrote:
Central Park Media had it, then Section23 reissued it. I don't know if the rights have expired yet, because only then I would imagine Disney getting it.


I knew about this aspect of Grave of the Fireflies (I checked out a copy of the CPM release through the library, and the bought the Section23 DVD when it was released). The age rating on the CPM pressing baffled me... 3 and up. Really? 13 and up I could see, though. I hoped that was a typo. The Section23

Grave of the Fireflies is a really good movie, though. Smile

Enurtsol, thanks for the info you provided as well.

Well, darn. It sucks that Buena Vista has no plans to ever issue Only Yesterday, and it doesn't look like it would come out in the US unless they were the ones t odo it. Sad
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Nephtis



Joined: 21 Jul 2005
Posts: 138
Location: Australia
PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 7:07 am Reply with quote
Madman has every film-length Ghibli title on DVD in Australia (region 4) including Ocean Waves (unless I'm missing one...I don't think I am...). Check our their mini site here.
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