Sunday, May 30, 2010

Instrumentality's Legacy Perpetuated (words of an apologist?)

Spent the last week rejoicing over the Japanese DVD/Blu-Ray release of Rebuild Of Evangelion 2.22: You Can (Not) Advance, and adding a few more thoughts to the ether about a film that has me less divided than it had last summer. Now obviously, up and getting the disc itself is perhaps the most glaring evidence that I didn't dislike it as much as my previous Anime Diet review had implied. To be wholly humble, there is still a part of me that has a modicum of sympathy for the work of Anno & Tsurumaki, despite their more commercial output in recent years. And despite the fact that the updates/quasi-sequels to early favorites such as Evangelion, and Top Wo Nerae! Gunbuster are essentially big buck cash-grabs, tugging at our collective nostalgia for the "glory" days of the once groundbreaking studio, I can't help but also enjoy the visceral rush coming from technical angles.

But thankfully where Rebuild 1.0 merely implies a deviation from the classically broken original narrative, the second film goes out of its way to do the unthinkable by fragging familiarity, offering a singularly ballsy new spin on the story's endgame. Not all is wunderbar of course, but it's certainly exciting to witness. Upon rewatching the film, I gained a little additional perspective, and respect for why the choices were made for this particular version.( I still stand by this being for far better reasons than merely those akin to a certain Mr. Lucas in dealing with an already culturally significant piece of pop mythology. Anno & Co. aren't out to debunk the notions expressed in the previous tv classic, but rather are working to compliment it in fun & strange ways) And as perhaps expected, I had much to share on the matter here (and with a possibly unpopular set of theories tacked onto it).

Only the adventurous need  click.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Stomping Just Got Louder...


Well, this has been a long time in coming. We've slipped beyond the typical bounds of the 2d, and have finally slipped into audiospace! We've got our backpacks ready, setting our sights on discoveries old and new with your host, the scientist and eager assistant! Join Jenny Park and I as we explore all time favorites, and some not so familiar with a whole new bent. Adventures On Infant Island features pop cultural milestones through both the eyes of a veteran enthusiast as well as a pair brighter, unaffected eyes, giving this show a unique & hopefully very fun spin!

Premiere episode features (appropriately so): Zemeckis' paean to Reagan-era materialistics & twisted nostalgia, Back To The Future!

If you like what you hear, add us at ! Plenty more fun is certainly on the way!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Refuse Coitus (Trash Humpers 2010 Review)

                            As a child I grew up under what some would consider either under less than healthy social conditions, atypical of americatown circa 1980-1993. And it wasn't long until a matter of short meetings with kids raised with even less supervision than I began coming out of the local woodwork, and befriending me or my siblings. And witnessing a world without boundaries was opened to me quite early as a result. From violent, half-handicapped parents, to scuffles between grandfather and grandson in a makeshift boxing ring in the backyard, one would hardly imagine that these were the events occurring in the vicinity of the Resort Capital Of The World. But America has become a fascinating test for the senses in its brief life. And in the years since, it has become increasingly tougher to render me vulnerable to madness.

                         In fact, it was madness that often served as savior for the few of us not bought into the hip-hop loving, heavy metalling, would-be-preppy infrastructure that the local shopping malls were intending to impose upon us. A friend of mine christened me toward this new mind set upon walking home from his house one day when a little wannabe street tough started up on another of his attempts to prove his Alpha-Male status. After a few curse words, and pushes, my friend calmly lifted the boy from the top of his head(one-handed), lifted the boy to eye-level. And the only words that came from my friend's mouth boomed out ever so soothingly, "stop it".

                          Needless to say, the boy, once put back on his feet, ran back home as his larger appeared from their garage to berate him. Soon after, the realization that burned atop the brain came clear, that it was all merely about perspective. Making friends with the homeless, wild pranks & often bizarre sayings to strangers on buses to save seats was the order of the day. Once we realized our ability to do anything, it became a sort of game in which one of us would conjure up a depraved act to merely hint at toward those who would wish to torment the "weird kids". And thus in turn would inspire the game to escalate, as we compiled bizarre idea after bizarre idea, no doubt inspire by our neighbors, who's antics were closer to what the infamous Tourette's Guy only dreamed of achieving. We lived the life of the man-made freakshow at home, while Jim Rose was making legend of himself in concert venues around the world. Life was merely a stage, and the audience was often there to be confronted. So in the years later, we saw was as if someone had read into our own fears of a civilized wasteland. A nightmare vision that in many ways still troubles even me.

Which is probably why Harmony Korine's Trash Humpers is in many ways a nostalgic manifestation of our dreams of those lofty days, and also a victim of its own novelty. Done on virtually no budget to speak of, and on purely analog VHS, the camcorded exploits of a freakish gang of elderly-looking, anarchy-spewing cretins works only for a few minutes, but soon wears thin as the "found-in-the-dumpster" fascination wears off. With nothing so much as narrative, or cohesion, the experience is more akin to videos I used to make as a kid. While entertaining in a mildly cool sense (the ghostly blur that comes from multi-generational use tapes brings back eerie memories of years of phantom rentals in the dark), it never seems to go as far as the premise implies.(which for some may come as a relief- Ooh...That scares even me.)

Filmed in and around Nashville, Tennessee, these random adventures range from the modestly disturbed, to out and out numbness, which may or may not jibe all-too-perfectly with the mass' cravings for new lows of domestic tomfoolery on YouTube. If anything, the film is the next evolution of the Jackass phenom, without the daredevil douchiness of it all. Aiming to be the real-deal is the name of the game, and at times it comes pretty close. But in all, Trash Humpers is a mixed jumble of anarchic mayhem & hypnotic lo-fi creep that may only satisfy the willing. Watch if you dare, just don't expect too much.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Takada Art Session Recorded On LiveStream!

Having missed my opportunity this weekend to catch character design master, Akemi Takada this weekend, I was ecstatic to see the livestream recorded, and here for all to see.

Those unfamiliar with Takada's name will surely recognize her stylings from many anime adaptations of Rumiko Takahashi's manga creations from Urusei Yatsura, to Maison Ikkoku. Her endearing style has also gone on to adorn other favorites such as Creamy Mami, Kimagure Orange Road, & even Patlabor! Few borders existed for her inimitable, charismatic art style. Also a veteran of several US convention appearances, her demeanor has been among one of the warmest, most charming guests I've ever had the fortune to witness. And now, she shares a full-length art session with us!

Let's watch a master work shall we?

Sorry. It's just opportunities like this that I just go completely mad with admiration.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Clarity From Piles Of Ash

Just a quick arrow, pointing out a new post that had to come out sooner or later involving the current state of the Japanese animation industry here in the US, and abroad. Undoubtedly something that's been on everyone's mind since a certain blog post set the fan sphere ablaze not too long ago. My findings and feelings on the matter can be read HERE.

There is definitely more on my mind concerning this as well as on the burning keyboards of many greater minds within the entertainment business & blog worlds. Most fascinating have been the recent guest appearances on the last several episodes of the ANN Cast.(the most damning one being this one...Seriously worth the full listen) Most recently, this culminated in the podcast appearance of Bang-Zoom's own Eric P. Sherman who's candor helped clear up the fiery rubble from which his blog post caused.

The blame can only go so far, what truly matters now is where we go in this new paradigm. And hopefully from all this solutions can be born because as it stands now, we may be seeing something a lot worse than the early days of anime on VHS. Evolution can be a painful process, but I'm willing to bet on optimism as long as both sides of the Pacific cooperate in keeping the japanese animation art medium alive with creativity and shrewdness.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

At Incredible Speed...

Was just reminded on Twitter (via the always reliable Tim Maughan) about this eyeball raping juggernaut, and just had to chime in on my love for the works of Takeshi Koike & Katsuhito Ishii. Fluid, colorful, and near PCP levels of full-motion anime-fu. Those unfamiliar with these names may remember them upon my mentioning of The Animatrix. World Record? Or how about the live action Shark Skin Man & Peach Hip Girl(1998)? Ring any bells now?

Oh yeah, this premiered last August at the Locarno International Film Festival and apparently rocked the house, so seriously...this is something worth looking forward to. And best of all... it's a complete original. Finally, a peek at something altogether new. So suit-up, and break out your best insane goggles because this looks like it's going to be a unique brain-buster of a ride.