Archive for japanese

Manyoshu and Kokinshu art films

Posted in cinema, japan, video with tags , , , , , , , on July 30, 2011 by reccaphoenix

Made for a premodern Japanese literature class by me and my friends. Our project (3 separate films) translated poems from the Kokinshu, Manyoshu, and Shinkokinshu (3 Japanese poetry anthologies) into the content and visual styles of our films.  Unfortunately I have lost the Shinkokinshu film file.

See my friend Susannah’s Kokinshu film here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xlwGXFiapQE

My main influences here were Antonioni’s ‘Red Desert’ and ‘Blow-Up.’ I tried to reflect the ambiguous yet simple voice in the Manyoshu poems in a cinematic style reminiscent of Italian Neorealism.

Concept, Cinematography, Direction, Production – Recca Phoenix
Boy – An Hoang
Girl – Susannah Davidson

Edited in iMovie
Titles edited in Final Cut Pro

(c) 2007 Reccalux

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Textbook Mishaps, or, “Wiener Coffee.” TV gaijin.

Posted in artwork, comix, japan, rants, television, textbooks with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 15, 2007 by reccaphoenix

reccaspriteI’ve come across some interesting textbooks in my day. Yep. I’ll save my rants about textbook cover art for another post, though. Today I’m talking about mistakes and odd illustrations and other nifty stuff.

A Japanese book I once had featured a fake sample menu from a cafe. One of the items was something called “Vienna Coffee” which in Japanese is Uinna Koohii ウィンナコーヒー. This Vienna Coffee was on the menu twice, once as hot and once as ice. But a printing mistake had been made….the second time it was mentioned it was written Uinnaa Koohii (Wiener Coffee, or Hot Dog Coffee) ウィンナーコーヒー.  Note that the first one does not have a longer-held “na” while the second one does. Continue reading

John Lennon manga – 1st page up! PLUS, Tezuka’s MW (ムウ)

Posted in japan, manga, merchandise, osamu tezuka, reviews/opinions with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 31, 2007 by reccaphoenix

reccaspriteSee the John Lennon manga page for more information.

It’s only the prologue, and it’s only one page. But I figured it was better than nothing…

Oh, speaking of Tezuka-related things, I just got the recent translation of MW (Muu), great translation by VERTICAL, who have decided to translate all of Tezuka’s more “serious” works. (Please please please do Alabaster next!) They have already done Buddha, Ode to Kirihito (a.k.a. Eulogy for Kirihito) and Song of Apollo, but I haven’t read any of those yet. I applaud VERTICAL over and over, 1) for translating Tezuka manga, 2) for translating the more obscure/dark Tezuka manga, and 3) for GREAT packaging and reasonable pricing. MW came in a single thick hardcover volume (how convenient!) with a dust jacket PLUS different art on the actual hardcover! It’s fuschia (barf) but still very sleek and modern-looking. Only problem – it has a picture on the spine of Yuki having sex with a girl. Not explicit, but it makes it look sort of hentai-esque on your shelf there. If you remove the dust jacket, no problem, but still…maybe they were looking to lure the potential hentai buyer at Barnes and Noble?

But MW….it’s reportedly one of Tezuka’s darkest and most “adult” manga. I agree. It’s also a masterpiece of suspense, my heart was pounding away at several moments. If you want a good manga to write an essay/thesis on…..look no further! MW covers political, religious, and moral issues aplenty, many of which mirror actual issues in Japanese society. College Students and bored intellectuals….get on that!

This is NOT for children and definitely not for the faint of heart. They give it a “16+” rating, which seems okay to me I guess. But here’s a rundown of what happens here for those who are wary: genocide, rape, murder, extortion, homosexuality, manipulation, government scandal, less-than-desirable portrayals of the United States, extramarital affairs, priests involved in several of the above, torture, etc.

At times I couldn’t believe it was a Tezuka manga. This is what Tezuka wrote after “The Vampires” to more fully express a story about true evil, not bound by the limits of writing a children’s manga. True, Rock in “Vampires” is “the most evil man in the world,” but Yuki in MW makes Rock look like the boy next door. If I had to draw up some kind of “scale of evil,” with 1 being naughty, 5 being bad but still appealing, and 10 being pure, unadulterated evil, here we would have….

<<—-Tolen from “The Knack” (1) —-Rock (5)—-Alex from “A Clockwork Orange,” pre-reform (book Alex, not movie Alex) (7)—–Yuki (8)—Hannibal Lecter (9)—-Satan (10)—->>

Damn, that sounded better in principle. But yeah, something like that. Boy oh boy, would I like to see Hannibal Lecter and Yuki try to kill each other off…..fanfiction writers: *wink wink nudge nudge* No way, it would probably end up horribly badly written. So scratch that.

There are many similarities between “MW” and “Vampires”, but MW has no elements of fantasy, and much more politics, controversy, philosophical issues, and evil. Even the style itself is almost “manga realism,” with the exception of the obligatory “weird gourd character” appearance and a few gag panels here and there. This makes it really weird for me to see Higeoyaji (Moustachio/Mr. Mustache) in this manga, though he plays a very minor role. Even when drawn more “realistically,” he still sticks out as a cartoony-looking Tezuka character.

I won’t give away anything, but I found the ending rather disappointing. The more I thought about it though, the darker a message it seemed. Why would Tezuka think this *message which I won’t mention here*? Damn.

Tezuka’s “Vampires”. Rock.

Posted in animation, anime, osamu tezuka, reviews/opinions, television with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 30, 2007 by reccaphoenix

the vampiresSee here for the details.

Awesome, AWESOME manga.

I know you can buy this manga in French and maybe Italian.  Tezukainenglish.com has all the details, as well as a sweet essay on Rock (one of my favorite recurring Tezuka characters) and his descent into evil and subsequent redemption. He is the main character of the Vampires, in the words of Toppei, “the most evil person in the world.” Not bad for a middle school kid, eh?  And all the while, he retains that little-kid Tezuka innocence that all his characters seem to have.

There was a live-action + animation hybrid television show of “The Vampires” made by Tezuka Productions in the ’60s. The people were played by live actors, and the animals were animated. I have never seen the show, so I don’t know if it’s any good, but there are several websites you can order the box set from if you have a region-free or region 2 DVD player. Again, tezukainenglish.com has links to where you can buy the DVDs.

Osamu Tezuka is a main character in the story (both the manga and TV show), yet somehow this doesn’t come off as Mary Sue-ing (to use fanfiction terms T_T) or being cocky. He does this in a lot of his works, actually, but the character in “Vampires” is blatantly an Osamu Tezuka who works at Mushi Productions making anime…. Sort of amusing to think that Rock was trying to kill his creator at one point during the story.

Anyhoo, Tezuka plays himself in the TV show!

Tezuka Osamu as himself.

One main story thread of “The Vampires” is based loosely on Macbeth, and Rock’s full name in the manga, “Makube Rokuro” sounds sort of like “Makubesu,” the title of Macbeth in Japanese. Macbeth is my #1 favorite Shakespeare play of all time, so that’s only further reason for me to love this manga…which is not about vampires, by the way. Technically, the group referred to as “BANPAIYA” (Vampires) in the story are were-animals (werewolves, were-tigers, were-snakes, even a were-alligator!) Kitsune (fox spirits) and some other Japanese youkai are mentioned as part of the group too in part of the story. Quite interesting.