Tokusatsu Big Bang

Hello everyone, I hope you’re enjoying your weekend. If you live in the United States, I hope you’ll get to see an excellent fireworks show tonight!

In lieu of a formal review this week, I thought it might be nice to plug a project I participated in recently, called the “tokusatsu big bang”. What that means, is that a group of writers agree to cover a specific series of topics, in this case the video genre of tokusatsu, and then a group of artists selects which story they’d like to make an accompanying non-written piece for. When the writer and artist are finished, they post both parts on the same day, for everyone to partake.

All of the stories are linked at tokubigbang.dreamwidth.org, and cover recent series of Super Sentai, Kamen Rider, and Garo.

Please enjoy!

[If you have a topic you’d like me to cover in a future article, please don’t hesitate to email me at Sara at otdt.net.]

Revisiting Garo: Honoo no Kokuin

I generally try to stick to live-action series for this column, but when there’s an animated series that’s based on a tokusatsu franchise, it’s only fitting to make an exception.

This week, I’m revisiting Garo: Honoo no Kokuin. Now that the series has ended (although I think I saw something about more coming later), I feel like we have a much better picture of what Yasuko Kobayashi-sensei was trying to do.

Honoo_no_Kokuin

Right up front, I of course have to acknowledge how different animation and live-action are. There are things that can be done in one format and not the other, and vice versa. As I mentioned in the “first look”, Honoo no Kokuin started out with a much bigger cast than we’ve typically seen in previous offerings. It did get whittled down as the story progressed, but there’s no denying that it contributed to a lot of the elements that typically show up in Garo falling by the wayside until that happened. Even when they did surface, they weren’t explained very well, as if the audience would already be familiar with how things work. One thing that she did well, though, was the telling of Leon’s arc. Being the title holder of Garo for most of the series, and despite seeing other characters’ threads while they were all walking separate paths, the story truly remained primarily about him.

Secondly, the cinematography was also very different, in this case especially noticeable through the lighting filters. The live-action offerings are far more muted than can really be accomplished through this style of animation. In order to help convey Leon’s journey, they had to show audience a more vibrant environment for him to discover himself and his needs. In this comparison, the fight scenes were really the only elements that aligned with a typical Garo story – even though much of the early fights in the live-action were done with suit actors, they began to animate them on the computer after a while. Oddly, it was as jarring going from animation to animation as it was going from live-action to animation (think of something like Initial D, for a good idea of the distinction). That being said, expecting that leap actually helped bring it back into focus.

All things considered, fans of the main Garo franchise will probably not like this series much, unless they have the patience to sit through the first half. It is far more recognizable after that, but the plot depends on that first half to form a basis of understanding for how it reaches the climactic ending. People coming in to Garo through the anime will hopefully be able to grasp the various live-action series without having much of an explanation as to why things are the way they are in this world. It certainly doesn’t help that it takes place in an alternate universe.

Rating: 3rd Gear

[If you have a topic you’d like me to cover in a future article, please don’t hesitate to email me at Sara at otdt.net.]

A First Look at “Garo: Honoo no Kokuin”

Having now watched the first episode of the Garo anime (sub-titled “Honoo no Kokuin)… and being a fan of the tokusatsu franchise it was birthed from, and knowing that some fans of the franchise aren’t liking the anime, I’d like to make a few observations.

1) This is a story they probably wouldn’t tell in the live-action format – and not because of the required cinematography or effects, as we know they have a pretty darn good animation department all on their own… no, just based on the story itself. it feels like they took a little bit of “Yami o Terasu Mono” and dialed it up a few notches, although it remains to be seen how long it will take Garo and Zoro to redeem their reputation

2) All of the characters have western names, and the setting feels very medieval – where the toku franchise took place in some far-secluded mystical part of Japan, this series very much does not. I don’t know how it ties in to the rest of canon, and I doubt they’ll bother to explain how the armor manages to get from point A to point B (sort of like how we still don’t know how it went from the Saejimas to Ryuuga either). We also haven’t seen Zaruba yet, so there’s no way of telling at this point what he’ll be able to do to pull it all together

3) it has a bigger regular cast – another possible reason for them to tell the story by animation

I’ll probably keep watching simply because I’m a completionist, and I do see potential for it to fall into the regular Garo tropes… I don’t mind waiting to see what lies ahead.

[If you have a topic you’d like me to cover in a future article, please don’t hesitate to email me at Sara at otdt.net.]

Cruising with Shougeki Gouraigan then Driving with Music News, Pittsburgh Sakura Project, and Closing of Blockbuster Video.

In this episode the cast drive out into fandom and look at the new Kickstarter for a Blu-ray release of the original Bubblegum Crisis OVA.

They then look at the end of an era with the closing of the remaining blockbuster videos.  The crew takes a look at the importance of blockbuster during the growth of the anime boom of the late 1990’s to early 2000’s
Next Sara and Z give a report on the Pittsburgh Sakura Project’s fall 2013 planting in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania’s North Park.

We then talk music news leading off with a recent twitter discussion between Swedish VK Artist Yoyo, Gackt, and some interesting fans.  Move on to talk about the music group CAPSULE and their discography coming to iTunes and give you an introduction to their music and videos.  Jim then goes on to cover the Japanese band SOUR’s recent Kickstarter success and release of their crowd funded music video.  Next Jeanie and the crew look at Morning Musume and their upcoming involvement with the Japan Olympic team.
Finally, we look at Cute and their recent concert tour and how they have a number of firsts in the tour and an amazing costume change sequence.

The group wraps up this episode looking at the new Tokusatsu show by the creators of Garo, Shougeki Gouraigan.

Episode References

Bubblegum Crisis Blu-ray:

http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2013-10-29/bubblegum-crisis-blu-ray-kickstarter-meets-pledge-goal

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/madoverlord/bubblegum-crisis-ultimate-edition-blu-ray-set?ref=search

Blockbuster Video:
http://money.msn.com/investing/news.aspx?feed=AP&date=20131106&id=17079220&gt1=33002&ocid=ansmony11

http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/06/tech/gaming-gadgets/blockbuster-video-stores-impact/

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304448204579185702090813172

http://business.time.com/2013/11/09/the-end-of-an-era-blockbuster-ceases-rentals-in-advance-of-closing/

Pittsburgh Sakura Project:

http://www.pghsakuraproject.org/

CAPSULE:

http://touch.dailymotion.com/video/xbk5e_capsule-portable-airport_shortfilms

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aSARXH-mxLc
http://touch.dailymotion.com/video/x1012ec_studio-ghibli-music-video-a-flying-city-plan_music

SOUR:

http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/interest/2013-10-28/japanese-band-creates-incredible-animation-using-189-spinning-cds

Morning Musume:

http://www.crunchyroll.com/anime-news/2013/11/01/morning-musume-to-perform-support-song-for-japanese-national-team-at-sochi-2014-olympics

Cute :

http://youtu.be/ZGJdcFoIF7k

Shougeki Gouraigan:

http://www.orendsrange.com/2013/09/the-five-heroes-of-shougeki-gouraigan.html

http://henshinjustice.com/2013/07/01/shougeki-gouraigan-the-new-tokusatsu-from-amemiya-inoue/

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0023859/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keita_Amemiya