Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Apr 16 2003

I normally write my journal entries one day ahead, but occasionally, I either forget to write it, or can’t think of anything to write. Today’s entry is victim to both of these; I tried writing about my home cooking, but couldn’t make myself write an appropriately humorous entry.

So, instead, I’m thinking about last evening, which I spent mostly watching anime. More correctly, I watched documentaries about anime.

Three of Hayao Miyazaki‘s anime films were released on DVD yesterday, and I bought them all: Spirited Away, Castle in the Sky (a.k.a. Laputa), and Kiki’s Delivery Service. Each one contains at least one behind-the-scenes documentary, which interviews the American voice actors and crew. My heart warmed to see John Lasseter geek out about Miyazaki’s films; each disc contains a brief introduction by Lasseter, which he uses to heap superlatives on Miyazaki. “Like all of Miyazaki’s films – which are great; you should see all of them – this one has a great story, great characters, and beautiful animation.” On the Spirited Away documentary, Lasseter explains that, when the folks at Pixar have hit a brick wall in production, sometimes they’ll just watch a Miyazaki film, and they’ll invariably return to the work inspired and ready to work again.

It’s certainly instructive. The DVDs contain a good set of extras, including the original Japanese trailers and commercials for these films. The ads for Kiki were fabulous, containing no dialogue and no “Mr. Voice” voice-overs. They were just music and animation, even in the scenes where the characters are obviously talking. The previews felt odd and disconnected as a result, which I think was good; it reminded you that you were watching a preview. You had to wait for the film to get the really good stuff.

I also watched a few episodes of Rune Soldier (a.k.a. Louie the Rune Soldier), which manages to be a first-class bit of anime. It’s not brilliant, but it’s not meant to be; it’s an oddball comedy set in a derivative D&D universe. It focuses on being a fun show, and it succeeds in that. I appreciate that, while there’s definitely some dramatic potential in this show, the show’s always being funny.

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