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Interview: Jonathan Clements


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Kikaioh



Joined: 01 Jun 2009
Posts: 1204
Location: Antarctica
PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2014 8:22 pm Reply with quote
Juno016 wrote:
What a lot of people don't realize is that when a book covers the complete history of anime (or at least, an over-arching history), it's all about how and why what we know today exists as it does. Half the book might be pre-Atom, but the latter half and/or the modern result aren't less important.
Also, I have to say that the cover's style more carefully portrays the "manga/anime" style in Japan than most of what I tend to see on "anime" books in the West with "original" covers. And that already shows me that it's at least got a handle of what its focus is. This seems to be more of a true academic textbook than something meant to sell to the masses, and the cover is quite fitting for that.


Well, I tend to think book covers ought to reflect the meat of what a book discusses. It sounds like a majority of Clements' book is about older anime works, so it feels a bit misleading to have a cover rendered with such modern sensibilities. It's like having a book on the history of late night talk shows, spending half of it discussing Johnny Carson, and then putting Pete Holmes on the cover by himself. Laughing

Also, I was kind of thinking the opposite --- that the cover was actually more designed to sell "to the masses" in the sense of being appealing to a modern generation of anime fans, which I'd figure is a much larger crowd now than the older generation.

Maybe if each girl in the picture was rendered in a style popular to different time periods, it'd feel more representative of the idea of "anime history" --- as it stands though, on the whole I think it leans too much on the modern end of the spectrum to feel historical. Again, it's well-made, it's just that my mind doesn't immediately jump to the idea of "anime history" when I look at it (unless there's some clever context to the picture I'm missing).
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GeorgeC



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 794
PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2014 9:03 pm Reply with quote
Very, very illuminating interview!

I like articles/interviews like this where I actually learn things I didn't know before or bust well-held fanime myths open and set the record straight. That's a problem with fandom: we tend to be TOO insular and kind of ignore the reality around us and perhaps idealize -- no, really "idolize" -- shows and features that maybe weren't as hugely popular as we'd like to believe.

There's a good chance I'll either look for the book and buy it in the future OR request my local library gets a copy of it...
I'm 2-for-2 as far as library book request/buys are concerned so I don't think I'd have a hard time convincing them to go after this one. My local library system is very partial to graphic novels, manga, and the like!

Who knew Columbus, Ohio would be a mecca for public libraries and alternate/niche media studies????

*******************************************

I know the focus is on early anime pioneers but I think Satoshi Kon should be mentioned a bit more...

He was the closest to establishing an international career like Miyazaki but with such different material.

I think it's too early to estimate what the full impact of his untimely death has been if it's even been nothing more than a blip on anime production to be honest... Maybe in another decade or so, an honest appraisal can be made. I know that I felt for a while that we had maybe seen the last consistently good anime feature director (who isn't named "Miyazaki") until Summer Wars and Wolf Children were released. It's been nice to have more recent, decent anime features that haven't been first-time English subs/dubs of 1970s and 1980s anime releases nice as many as those have been (at least as far as I'm concerned).

I'm not surprised to hear Tokyo Godfathers didn't sell that well to be honest. I never got the feeling his work was a huge seller anywhere but obviously the guy has his share of admirers and was allowed to do what he wanted in features (and Paranoia Agent) for the most part.

I just wish the last film he was working on would get finished on and that his earlier works including (especially) Perfect Blue and Millennium Actress would get decent Blu ray ports in the West. This work has entertained me and definitely deserves superior home video treatment.

For that matter, it would be nice to see Blu rays of even some of the prettier-looking anime like Metropolis even with all its story issues...
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OldCharlieStoletheHandle



Joined: 12 Dec 2009
Posts: 1288
Location: Mastic Beach, NY
PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2014 10:37 pm Reply with quote
I just ordered the book from Amazon. I am looking forward to reading it as it has been a while since I have read a book about anime and this one sounds like it will be very interesting.
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Mohawk52



Joined: 16 Oct 2003
Posts: 8192
Location: England, UK
PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2014 10:08 am Reply with quote
albanian wrote:
I've been ploughing through this book since before Christmas, and it has to be the most wide-ranging and informative book on the subject to date in English. It will fill a huge void in the western understanding of anime, and even, I suspect, a small, but significant, gap in Japanese literature,

And, for a doctoral thesis, it's very readable!

Many thanks are due to Jonathan Clements for this excellent work. More please!!
You want more? this is where you go.

http://schoolgirlmilkycrisis.com/
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marcos torres toledo



Joined: 01 Sep 2009
Posts: 269
PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2014 12:38 pm Reply with quote
Any possibility of Jonathan Clements appearing on a ANNCasting podcast interview in future, he would make a great guest. Too bad Tokyo Godfathers isn't appreciated in Japan George C it along with Perfect Blue, Paprika ,Metropolis are some of my favorite anime movies. It looks like Satoshi Kon was the Orsen Wells of anime. Thank you Mohawk 52 for his website address. Surprised
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Hellfish



Joined: 19 Dec 2007
Posts: 390
Location: Mexico
PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2014 7:14 pm Reply with quote
this was a very interesting interview, and while some of his books where already on my wishlist I think I will bump them up on the list of priorities Very Happy
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relyat08



Joined: 20 Mar 2013
Posts: 4125
Location: Northern Virginia
PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2014 10:46 pm Reply with quote
Whenever I think of 3D anime I just get flashbacks of the visual abomination that is the Berserk movies... I know it doesn't all look like that, but I really hope anime doesn't head in that direction regardless. One of my primary draws to the medium is the artwork, and I feel like that is the case for a lot of fans. I think that moving toward more 3D would alienate a large portion of the fanbase, myself included.
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enurtsol



Joined: 01 May 2007
Posts: 13985
PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2014 1:17 am Reply with quote
Heheheh, let me tell ya guys about this new upcoming technology:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71FXoFKYNNw

"Directable Physics Engine recreates 2D anime stylizations in 3D"

  • The Igarashi Lab. at the University of Tokyo is developing a new type of physics engine which can faithfully recreate in 3D the stylizations common to 2D anime.

    "Physics engines are used in 3D animation, to generate the motions of hair and clothes. They can do physically correct computing, but the problem is, that's all they can do. The engine we've created makes it possible for artists to adjust such physics computations, in other words, to deform things."

    "For example, suppose you wanted to make a rabbit's ears sway through physics computation. If you were asked to make them look like this when seen from the right, with an ordinary physics engine, you couldn't do it. But using our technology, you can do physics computation while meeting specific conditions, such as wanting this shape when the object is seen from that angle."



    "This example involves what's called 'ahoge' (foolish hair), which is often seen in Japanese animations. For example, if you want the 'ahoge' to keep pointing in the same direction, that's hard to do with an ordinary physics engine. But our engine can compute how to move the hair while keeping it pointing in the same direction."

    "In this example, the inside of the skirt is kept hidden, even if you try to look underneath it. When the camera looks in from below, the skirt becomes firm and sticks closely to the body, so you can create an effect called the 'impenetrable skirt'."

    "In Japan, 2D anime culture is very attractive. Recently, 3D technology has reached a high level, and we think it would be great to produce movies that combine the merits of the two. So, we've developed this Directable Physics Engine as a technology to help achieve that."

    The Directable Physics Engine runs on the Unity cross-platform game engine, and the source code is available from the lab's website.


Ya guys should watch the video. "Impenetrable skirt"....... that'll be the death of anime! Laughing
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Shiroi Hane
Encyclopedia Editor


Joined: 25 Oct 2003
Posts: 7478
Location: Wales
PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2014 3:31 am Reply with quote
marcos torres toledo wrote:
Any possibility of Jonathan Clements appearing on a ANNCasting podcast interview in future, he would make a great guest.

I would also love that to happen. In the meantime, he is on almost all of the Manga UK podcasts. ANN have had compatriot Helen McCarthy on in the past.
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albanian



Joined: 18 Nov 2005
Posts: 133
Location: UK
PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2014 7:54 am Reply with quote
Mohawk52 wrote:
You want more? this is where you go.

http://schoolgirlmilkycrisis.com/

Agreed. It's a site I visit often, and I never come away disappointed.

The word that spings to mind is 'polymath' - biographer of Confucius, Mannerheim, Kublai Khan, and various Chinese emperors; expert on the Samurai, the Vikings, haiku, and the terracotta army; and a Doctor Who scriptwriter to boot!

As Douglas Adams characterised Marvin, the Paranoid Android, '...brain the size of a planet...'
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DiGiKerot



Joined: 03 Apr 2011
Posts: 20
PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2014 5:10 pm Reply with quote
marcos torres toledo wrote:
Any possibility of Jonathan Clements appearing on a ANNCasting podcast interview in future, he would make a great guest. Too bad Tokyo Godfathers isn't appreciated in Japan George C it along with Perfect Blue, Paprika ,Metropolis are some of my favorite anime movies. It looks like Satoshi Kon was the Orsen Wells of anime. Thank you Mohawk 52 for his website address. Surprised


I actually asked about this at the (lost) ANNCast recording at Otakon - well, about UK guests in general, actually. The response regarding Clements is that they'd tried to reach out, but hadn't got a response to their e-mails ^^;

Time to try again maybe, Zac?

As for the issue of the cover, I will point out that the illustration was originally used (and I believe created for) the Scotland Love Anime theatrical event that was held in Scotland in October 2013 - well, it's held every year, but that was the image on this years advertisement posters. Clements has connections to the event, and introduces the movies there. Pretty sure he probably just got permission to reuse the image from the festival organisers - up until a couple of months before release, the solicitations for the book (or at least those on Amazon and other online bookstores) actually had Spike Speigel on the cover.
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TonyTonyChopper



Joined: 12 Mar 2012
Posts: 253
PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 5:35 am Reply with quote
This kinda stuff is made for me but only a shame that you can't watch many titles that are in here (as is almost always the case with covering things like this..) i did recently order a set from Asia that had English subs with Anime from the 20's and 30's so that might cover some of this stuff.
Looking forward to reading it i bought it straight away when the Price dropped to under 19 Euro's the next day even though i din't know anything about the exsistence of this book good thing this interview came along i think many people din't know about this.
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Juno016



Joined: 09 Jan 2012
Posts: 2079
PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 10:50 pm Reply with quote
Ugh. I just got my copy in the mail and it's horribly damaged. The cover was folded inward and both outward corners of the book, including some of the first few pages, are cupped, so they're stuck together most of the time, and the other corner near the spine was dented and scratched. There's also one page in the middle that seems to have been printed on really thin paper, as it has a hole in the middle of it, making it unreadable.

Now I have to send it back and get a new copy... But I was so excited to read it this weekend, when I actually had time to read it... D:
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Shiroi Hane
Encyclopedia Editor


Joined: 25 Oct 2003
Posts: 7478
Location: Wales
PostPosted: Thu Feb 06, 2014 11:53 am Reply with quote
enurtsol wrote:
Ya guys should watch the video. "Impenetrable skirt"....... that'll be the death of anime! Laughing

The "Magic Skirt" has long been a part of anime that want to avoid pantyshots for whatever reason. It was actually directly invoked in the Mondaiji anime. I personally find it nearly as annoying as barbie doll nudity - if you want to avoid showing something, it is better to do so by controlling the "camera" so that they don't happen in the first place.
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