August 12, 2003

Aug 12 2003

Very good online comic. Dreamy in style, very sophisticated, with an interesting plot.

[Kaidohmaru]

I decided not to go to my Monday Group last night, as I’m still rather tuckered out from last weekend. So, instead, I stayed home and watched movies.

I’ve seen three anime films in the past two days: Kaidohmaru, Ghost in the Shell, and The Cat Returns. They’re all about as different as they could be.

Kaidohmaru is an impenetrable Japanese myth; all of the characters have no introduction and the plot makes little coherent sense. Worse, while the samurai fightin’ action is beautiful, the film suffers from some remarkably poor directing choices. Many of the CGI models look just plain bad, and are animated simplistically. Also, the whole thing’s only forty minutes long. If they’d expanded it by just ten or twenty minutes, it might’ve been completely sensible.

[GITS]

Ghost in the Shell, however, is excellent. It’s aged very well, though it’s not quite as amazing as I’m sure it was when it first came out. I wish I’d seen it earlier.

That said, it’s a thought-provoking action film. It essentially ignores all the fun, light-hearted aspects of the original manga and focuses on the deeper elements that are touched on there. The result is a refreshingly focused film; rather than bouncing all over the place like many anime works, this one spends its time on either excellent action or thoughtful musings on the fundamental nature of the soul and existence. If the brain is just a collection of data, how are we different from AIs? How do we know that we’re not an AI?

[The Cat Returns]

The Cat Returns, in contrast, is a screwball comedy action/adventure fairy tale. It’s extremely light-hearted, with very little depth and a lot of fun fairy-tale action adventure. It’s just a joy to watch.

Apparently, The Cat Returns was envisioned by Hayao Miyazaki as a small project to “test out” the director, Hiroyuki Morita (who did not work on Digimon, as I had previously thought; that was the director for Howl’s Moving Castle, who left the project). But as the project expanded, Miyazaki and the rest of the staff realized it would be worthwhile to release it as a full-fledged film. As it is, it’s only 70 minutes long, but I think it was a good choice. Morita talks about how this is more like Miyazaki’s earlier works, his action/adventures like Laputa and Future Boy Conan.

Ack, I’m rambling. Enough for now.

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