Initially daily but now sporadic blog about anime and world animation with a specific focus on the artists behind the work. Written by Ben Ettinger.
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Thursday, July 22, 2004

08:00:08 pm , 1003 words, 1937 views     Categories: Animation, Mind Game

Aristotle on deja-vu

And for this reason sometimes we do not know, when such stimuli occur in our soul from an earlier sensation, whether the phenomenon is due to sensation, and we are in doubt whether it is memory or not. (On Memory and Recollection)

I'm typing at you through shades because I lost my glasses while swimming in a lake today.

A few random bits before getting down to business.

It turns out Canada is about to rectify the slip of having let Japan beat them to the McLaren DVD set -- in a big way. Not three, four, five or six, but SEVEN DVDs. The NFB is going to be releasing The Master's Edition DVD set sometime in early 2005. This is going to be way better than the Japanese set. (The Japanese aren't very good with extras.)

I had a chance to watch the first episode of Soul Taker the other day, and was duly impressed. I had no idea Shinbo Akiyuki had managed to go this far with his style already. I mentioned his work in Yu Yu Hakusho in a previous post, and it was great to see that he has continued to develop his style. The first episode was fantastic. I get the impression the later episodes get a little watered down, which is only natural; he only storyboarded the first ep. The first ep was enough. At least here's a guy who's doing something moody and stylish and original on TV and it's not just another rip-off of Evangelion. I was actually disappointed to find out there was a story to the first episode upon further viewings. I so loved the bewildering randomness and colorfulness of it all that hits you on that first viewing.

As promised, here's a rough translation of that Newtype interview with Masaaki Yuasa, Koji Morimoto and Shin'ichiro Watanabe. Many thanks to Manuloz! Anyone else?

Morimoto: We'd been thinking of doing Mind Game at Studio 4C for a while when I saw Cat Soup, and I knew right then and there that Yuasa was the only man for the job. It was like a marriage made in heaven. (laughs)

Yuasa: My reaction was: Are you sure you want ME to do it?? Hey, so long as you're sure, I'll do it. But just don't come crying to me afterwards! (laughs) The original manga has a really improvised feel to it, like someone just wrote it in one sitting without thinking it out ahead of time. I wanted to transfer that feeling into the movie. To keep the images really loose and unpredictable, almost slapdash. Like I just decided to throw in some live action here, some CG there, without any thought, just for kicks. (laughs) That's what I hope the movie feels like when you're watching it, sort of unfinished, improvised, like a brainstorm in progress.

Morimoto: Rough drawings can have a lot more charm, but it's hard to make them work in a film. On the other hand, if you worry too much about how a drawing will look on the screen, it comes out looking too clean, without any life, without zip. It's hard to find the right balance between the two.

Watanabe: Just because you go and draw a half-assed picture doesn't mean it'll look "rough" on the screen. (laughs) You really have to calculate every line to get that rough feeling right.

Morimoto: The tension was palpable over in Yuasa's section. The two of us were next door working on Animatrix, and it looked like they were having so much fun over there. (laughs)

Watanabe: What with all these bizarre pictures they had pasted up all over the walls, it was like, what the heck kind of a movie are they making over there?! (laughs) I read the manga and it was great. But I thought, it would be such a shame to put just your everyday ordinary movie music for a manga like this! That would ruin it! (laughs) But nobody seemed to know who to get to do the music, so I sort of elected myself to the post of Music Producer. (laughs)

Yuasa: It's funny, I only heard about that much later. (laughs) One day they say to me, "Oh yeah, by the way, Watanabe's taking care of the music." "He is!?" (laughs) I had a certain idea of what I wanted, but I just didn't know who to turn to...

Watanabe: Yuasa-san had made a sort of compilation tape of songs to give a sense of what he wanted... and man, it was just all over the place! (laughs) From one scene to the next you'd jump from one song to something wildly different. Really not the sort of thing a normal person would request. (laughs) So I thought the only person for the job was the almighty Seiichi Yamamoto, the king of the alternative music scene. He'd done just about every sort of music imaginable. And his music has just the sort of rough-edged feeling that would fit the film. Plus they're both from Osaka! (laughs)

Morimoto: The music was perfect, it was just amazing. You know, my kids were watching the film the other day, and my wife turned it off at a certain point. It was the sex scene. She was pissed. "What the hell are you showing our kids!?" (laughs)

Yuasa: Aw, it's not that bad. (laughs)

Watanabe: That's an incredible scene.

Morimoto: I was amazed you'd reveal so much about yourself on the screen like that: "So this is the kind of sex Yuasa-san has!" (laughs)

Yuasa: No, trust me, I haven't revealed anything. (laughs) I'm much more... (pauses)

Watanabe: Not like that. (laughs)

Yuasa: I'm hoping the film is good entertainment, that's all... If people leave the theater feeling they had a good time, then I'll be satisfied. With a little luck maybe they'll see the world a little differently afterwards, but basically it's good, old-fashioned entertainment to appeal to the whole family. (all three burst out laughing)

Watanabe: I wonder... (laughs)


1 comment

TenAJs [Visitor]

First of all, thank you so very much for the Mind Game translation offers and for running such an exhaustive informative site.

On we go…
> Anyone else?

How about the interview and column pages in the official site’s special section?

07/23/04 @ 21:32