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It's been just over five years now that I've been writing this blog, so to commemorate that surreal milestone, I thought I'd splurge and share a little embarrassing bit of history - an AMV I made for fun right before I started writing the blog, way before MADs became fashionable. (though the soundtrack is new)
Seems like you’ve gone from pop consumer to hipster art snob so quickly. :-P
Several bits of nice animation here that haven’t made it into my eyeballs until now. Unconventional music, but like you say, before its time.
Look at it on the whole, I suddenly realise not much notable animation was made since 2004..?
Is there any chance you’ll bring back your reviews database? I really miss having that resource available, as I’m currently working my way through the classic Toei Doga films. Your essay on 3000 Leagues in Search of Mother was absolutely crucial to my understanding of that series, and Isao Takahata’s style.
If you didn’t want to publish them on your site, I’d be more than happy to reprint them on The Ghibli Blog.
This site is the best Anime history resource anywhere in the English-speaking world, and I’m deeply thankful and grateful for all that you’ve done.
Why thank you, Leedar. Although I’ve always been a closet hipster art snob. I’m only now showing my true colors.
Good hypothetical question you evoke, though: What would be some of the truly notable or important pieces (sequences/shots) of animation that have been made since 2004 in Japan. In any case, there definitely has been a lot of interesting animation in various places over the last few years. Would be interesting to make an updated version for 2004-2009.
Thank you for the kind words. I’m happy my site hasn’t been completely useless.
I’d be happy to make the info in the WMT database available to you or publicly on my site again, although you should be aware that most of the more substantial reviews I wrote in there I collected under the ‘Old Anime Reviews’ link up at the top left (including the 3000 Ri review). There may have been a few things here and there I wrote other than that, but most of the rest of the info in there is just listings of staff and data. But that can certainly be useful, so I will see what I can do about making the info available again in some form, although I’m not quite sure what the best way of doing it would be.
Hello there Ben,
I’ve been following your blog for a few months and finally decided to register. This is such a resourceful blog and acts as a perfect anime/animation database. Thank you for such an amazing, insightful site!
I absolutely enjoyed the videos that you made. It is a wonderful collection of masterpieces in anime as well as animation. I like it how you combine a few scenes from Disney animations with other anime scenes, really showing that you are unbiased when it comes to good animations. I noticed there were a few scenes done by one of my favourite animators, Atsuko Fukushima. It was pretty exciting to see that.
The background music, I believe I’ve heard it or watched it on Youtube. The title of the song caught my eyes: You Can’t Change the World. Atari Pokey is one of my favourite chiptune artists, along with PUSS, Nullsleep and Shnabubula. It worked surprisingly well with your video – I’d never thought! It flows perfectly in tune with all the fighting/action scenes.
I’ve always been a fan of animations but just recently started to really look into it, and your site came across when I was searching for information about Mind Game (one of the best animes I’ve ever encountered, by the way). So I am still pretty dense and a beginner in this field.
Congratulations on your 5th year of achievement on this mind-blowing site. Looking forward to see more of your updates!
Wow, 5 years passed already? You finally reveal your AMV after all these time? Oh you sneaky devil you ;)
Here’s some thing that crossed my mind when I read “Mechademia” from Univ. of Minnesota. With your extensive knowledge on both Japanese animation and indie animation, has anyone asked you to contribute for their academic publication?
Also thank you for excavating hidden indie gems worthy of notice. It’s always nice to read balanced art criticism and artist biography.
Happy 5th anniversary. Keep up the good work.
Happy Birthday 5th and thanks for the great site.
Happy 5th Anipages! Ben, I can’t even begin to think about how influential your blog has been on my education. Given, I was an anime fan before discovering it, but ever since I began reading it, I don’t think I was ever the same. And just the karisuma animator page alone made me feel that many others had not only the same interests I had in Japanese animation, but also the resources to go the extra mile, and translate interviews, articles, and the like. (I studied Japanese in college with a similar intent, but alas, animation took the priority there.)
Even though I currently can’t keep up with your posts, I find that your blog works best without the need to keep with the times so to speak, and articles can be read over and over again - for instance, the “A Production / Shin-Ei Animation” took me a while to read the first time, and then a couple times more to really think about it in reference to the works mentioned.
Please keep writing and redefining what animation criticism is all about. I wish more animation historians could not only write as well as you do, but also have the openness about style and taste that you project in your articles.
Thank You, and keep on writing!
I tried, but I don’t think I can sum up how much anipages means to me in words. Here’s a gif instead: http://a.imagehost.org/0591/anipages.gif
Keep up the amazing job, your blog has been a real inspiration to me.
PS: Ben, did you invent the sakuga MAD?! My mind is blown.
You guys are all awesome. Thank you so much. You regular/irregular readers/commenters/posters have made Anipages an amazing community, which I never anticipated this place becoming.
Huw, H Park, Régis, thanks for giving me the motivation to go on writing. Seriously, I doubt I’d still be doing this if you guys and the rest of the regular gang hadn’t been there providing me with intelligent and stimulating feedback the whole time. I’ve gained as much from you guys’ blog comments and discussions on the forum as you have from me.
Ms. Mooshboo - Thank you for joining! It’s great to have you, and your comments are very welcome. It’s great to hear that there’s another person in the world who loves both chiptune and Mind Game. I thought it was a fairly obscure combination of interests that I had a monopoly on. I’m glad you liked the inclusion of Disney in there. I thought it was important to include those clips, not just because I think they are great clips, but to show how there’s a thread between good animation, no matter where or when it’s from, or how different the content or context may be.
Thanks particularly for the input on the video… great to hear that the soundtrack works. I put it there just as a stopgap, to be honest, but I really do like the song, and it makes for an unusual but strangely effective combination, so I guess I’ll leave it be.
H Park - Just want to say thank you for being such a clear-spoken and insightful poster and commenter all these years. Yes, I can’t believe 5 years have passed. Nobody’s ever asked me to contribute to anything, academic or otherwise. But that’s all right. I don’t know if I’m up to writing that kind of material anyway. And the blog lets me write whatever I want whenever I want, which is just how I like it.
Régis - Wow, I don’t know what to say but thank you for the amazing compliment. There’s no greater honor than to know you’ve influenced someone somehow.
Huw - You rule. That’s the best gift I could ask for. Thanks so much for that gif, and for being one of the people who makes this small community great.
Nice AMV ! Somone ought to do a complete retrospective of 40+ years of japanese animation in this form. Stick it some Toei Doga movies and A Pro shows and you are done ;p
Happy birthday Anipages, and thanks you Ben for five years sharing your awesome knowledge on animation and promoting the most interesting anime shows of the last few years. Your site is a goldmine of what make animation truly interesting, and my comprehension of the medium would be very different and much poorer without it. Thanks you very much.
Congratulations on 5 great years! I’ve only been reading for about a year now, but going back through the older stuff is a real pleasure, especially if I ever have a question about something and want to check it out.
Also, the AMV is quite nice. And I for one like the music. ^__^ It’s also nice to see some of the Disney greats thrown in for good measure, since really, the divide between anime and American animation is, at times, not really so great.
Happy 5th birthday anipages! Thanks for all the insightful and highly interesting entries you posted on this blog, which is certainly the first place to go on the English web when it comes to Japanese animation. There’s a lot of classic and independent animation which I wouldn’t have discovered without you highlighting them, and your writings and criticism on animation are always extremely informative, thoughtful and comprehensible. So thank you for all your efforts, Ben!
Great AMV by the way, haven’t seen many of these outstanding scenes for a long time but they are still as stunning as seeing them for the first time.
Congrats for the blog! Impressive music videos too. Unfortunately I cant recognize many of the impressive scenes. If it is not a problem, could you provide a list with titles of the scenes? I’d like to see some of those features.
About the WMT database, is it the same one found here or have you added more information in the database of Anipages site?
and the ratings here:
Though from what I see, those where written 13 years ago…..Probably you are the only one of the reviewers back then who still keeps touch with Japanese animation to such an extent.
Interesting how you interact with guys with totally different Anime TV standards. One from Japan where he can watch whatever he wants, one from Germany where some good titles are imported and dubbed and one from the UK, with access to European satellite TV. All this prior to the Fansubbing and DVD craze
Do you keep any contact with those guys?
I managed to watch most of the WMT titles (except Lassie and the most recent titles). After having done that, my interest in animated TV series from Japan started to fade a great deal.
A belated Happy fifth anniversary from me too. I don’t remember the exact date I discovered the blog(though it’s been at least 4 years), but I do vividly recall how shockingly refreshing a discovery it was. Refreshing not just compared to the typical fan-culture sites, but also to the more usual sort of academic or critical writing you find on anime, which rarely seem capable of engaging as honestly and intimately with the overall as well as particular aesthetic experience of the artform.
Ialda - Thank you! Your words make me very happy. And I’m glad you liked the video. An AMV retrospective of the best animation of the last 40 years would be incredible, but also incredibly long! That was my dilemma in making this video: covering 50 years of anime AND inserting some relevant ‘foreign’ animation - all in 12 minutes. Your comment has put me in the mood to throw together an A Pro AMV (or an AMV of good animation from the 60s and 70s more generally).
LainEverliving - Thanks so much! I’ve really enjoyed your comments over the last year or so. And good to hear I’m not the only one who liked the music.
Vailo - Again, thank you for such kind words. Nothing makes me happier than to know this information has been of service and helped people. I agree about the video - I hadn’t seen it in at least a few years, along with many of the clips, but I still find they get my juices flowing. I think people nowadays know much more about good animation than 5 years ago thanks to the availability of videos on Youtube and torrents and such, but maybe this little video can still serve a purpose.
Pete - Oh god. I thought I’d dug up an embarrassing piece of history, but that’s even more embarrassing and historical. Unfortunately, no, I haven’t kept in contact with those guys. I certainly would never have thought that 15 years later I’d still be writing about this stuff - and even more voluminously than I was back then. About the video, if you click “more info” in the description, you’ll find a listing of the clips. I also remember feeling very despondent after I’d watched Anne, because I knew I’d never see anything else like those three Takahata series ever again. Indeed, I haven’t, but there are still a lot of great films and series worth checking out coming out every once in a while - just in a very different style.
Muffin - Thank you! Your comments have been a delight to me these last few years. I was re-reading your old comments just now, and was reminded that if it weren’t for you I wouldn’t have re-discovered the likes of 3x3 Eyes, or discovered the magical wonderland of Urotsukidoji :D, so thank you in addition for being so generous in sharing your interesting taste and views.
I’m catching up on this blog, which I’ve been kind of behind on, hence why I’m here so late…
Anyways, congratualtions on the 5+ years of blogging about anime. Back when I first found your site, I made an attempt to do the same sort of work your doing, but without the knowledge that you’ve provided to the community. At the time I figured that if I wrote high enough quality articles and emphasized directors/artist whom consistently produced high quality work, that I’d attract an audience intersted in progressive Japanese animation.
Unfortinetly 2 things happened, 1) I was so blown away by the work on your blog that I really felt writing anything on anime (or not Japanese progressive animation) was not necessary for PARreview. 2) Real life hit, college ended and I had to deal with many issues associated with that.
I’m getting back in the swing of things again, and wanted to say that your blog is doing exactly what I’d like to see anime fans do - educate people as to what makes it a unique and satisfying artform capable of the kind of attention that live action film, literature, fine art etc, have already earned.
Here’s to many more good years :)!
Thanks, Neil. Great to still see you here after all these years. You’ve been one of the regulars since the very beginning. I’m always honored that after all these years the same people keep coming back and commenting here.
And I commend you on your fortitude for not completely dropping all of this cartoon stuff after graduating out of university into adult life… though I’m not sure whether that’s a good thing. I certainly never expected to still be doing this at my age.
The difference is that you Ben know the language and the culture more profoundly than us, so intercultural paths are open to you that remain shut for most adults that would like to keep track with Japanese animation. I guess Japanese interested in foreign animation besides commercial US animation, face an even greater hurdle.
Or else we are forced to receive anime through intermediaries, plus if you add marketing and lack of translation (not only regarding language), it becomes even more muddled.