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Thanks to Stephen for writing about the web site Pleix, where you can see the incredible video "Birds", which is easily the coolest music video I've seen in a good while. Everything else I've sampled on there is without exception terrific and inspiring. Apparently the videos on there are the work of a Paris-based collective of artists of various persuasions.
Seems Genius Party is scheduled for two parts. The first part announced for this summer comprises seven shorts, conspicuously not including those of Shinya Ohira, Koji Morimoto, or Tatsuyuki Tanaka, three notoriously slow and maniacal animators. At least Masaaki Yuasa's and Atsuko Fukushima's pieces are in there. If I recall correctly, Yuasa's piece was in fact finished more than a year ago(?!). I was wondering how they were possibly going to fit all of those shorts into the span of a full-length feature. It makes sense that they'd split it in two. They've even already scheduled the world premiere for next February in New York.
Watched a bit of Bartender when it first came out and I actually really enjoyed it and thought it was a great example of "anime", in both the positive and negative connotations of the term. Positive in that it's amazing that they can create an entire series about the art of making cocktails, and negative in that it feels like you're just watching manga with a soundtrack. I've been getting into making cocktails recently, so maybe that helps too. I love how they manage to inject this vein or romanticism and fantasy into the whole idea of going to a bar and having a drink. Maybe it's a Japanese thing, or maybe I just don't frequent the right circles, but my image of bars and the people who go to them has been considerably less pretty, and rather more chintzy. Of course the real story here is undoubtedly how fascinating it is that animation in Japan is able to act as a bridge between customers and an industry that would normally be at the farthest end of sober associations with the medium of Disney. Manga has always been about anything and everything, and manga has always been a prime source of material for anime, so I guess there's nothing really new about it.
Watched the fan restoration of To-Y. First of all, bravo on a job well done to the restorers. That was breathtaking image quality. Oddly, as I began watching, I realized that I had in fact seen it long ago, even though I thought I'd never seen it. Deja vu indeed. I distinctly remembered the opening segments with those wonderful zooms, and especially the accompanying music. (Deja entendu?) Ahh, what joy to waft along on the torrent of suits with padded shoulders and narrow ties and large hair. The 80s. This anime really embodies the 80s seen through the lens of Japan, which oddly seems alarmingly like the 80s seen through the lens of MTV. Albeit therefore sometimes chuckle-inducing, it's still a finely crafted film of its period, a prime example of that OVA genre that flourished in the 80s and produced some real gems. The animation of Onda Naoyuki, who must have been fresh from Gundam ZZ, is undoubtedly one of his best achievements. For an 80s pop anime overdose, this would make a cool double-feature revival pairing with Bobby's Girl.