“In every age, in every place, the deeds of men remain the same”
These deeds include creating great art. Today when I woke up I saw the sad news that Noburo Ishiguro has passed away. However, his art some that stands above almost all others. As a man that worked on Tetsuwan Atom, Space Battleship Yamato, and SDF Macross he had a connection to almost all nations of anime fans through Astroboy, Star Blazers, and Robotech. I can’t say that I’ve watched all his works but I am almost trying to fill in the gaps. As I write this I am listening to Legend of the Galactic Heroes: My Conquest is the Sea of Stars. I understand no Japanese but I’ve seen that film several times and I still love it as I love all of Legend of the Galactic Heroes that he worked on and with the beautiful score listening to it evokes so many images.
There is no director that I associate so much with music as Ishiguro. I talked about it briefly with respect to LoGH but after robots what is remembered about Macross: Do You Remember Love? are the songs that Minmei sings. If you haven’t seen DYRL, go and download a copy of this film (I say this is good faith that it will never be licensed for North America, ever), my mom who doesn’t like animation or reading subtitles enjoyed this film. I am inclined to say that the final sequence is the best space battle ever (YouTube video below, its not perfect but it will have to do). Other great scenes include the 4th Battle of Tiamat from LoGH: My Conquest is the Sea of Stars and the dance scene from LoGH: Overture to a New War (YouTube video below).
This loss is a great one for how much and how long this man has been involved with the anime industry, he was there essentially at the beginning and for many years he’s been very hands off with his last directorial job being Tytannia in 2008. However, all his works build to a great collection, sadly much of this will never be available here in the United States.
This is short video that Walter Amos made to introduce Noburo Ishiguro at AWA when he was a guest:
Sorry for the delay in posting but I will be posting another episode by weeks end. This time around we talked about Firefly and Serenity as well as the comics that were published after the show and movie came out. Please leave a comment or review on our iTunes page.
Mobile Suit Gundam Episodes 9-13
We are starting out with Amuro suffering from mental fatigue from his recent combats and that delights me. The realism inherent to the situation pleases me to no end. There is a patriotic air to the draftees that puts me into the scene better than I would have expected as well. With all that said, I was pretty satisfied with Amuro getting the crap beaten out of him. Ah well little Amuro is growing up.
A little bit of world development in episode 10-13 went a long way towards making this an engrossing series. I love how, as in Firefly, the future always resembles the past. What the hell is up with Char that he won’t even show his own people his face? Maybe they are not his people since he seems to casually betray them at a moment’s notice. Hands down, my favorite part of the series to date is the inner city combat scene in episode 10. It was a very entertaining bit of video. Second: The super weapon known as lightning.
The major thing I got out of episode 11 was that Zeon fought for independence so they could form a dictatorship on all of humanity? I am confused. This set of episodes adds a great deal of intrigue that I do like but it makes me feel like they were writing it as they went along. Amuro’s homecoming was not exactly what I expected. I wonder how mentally healthy he will be now that he has no hope to anchor him.
Watching these episodes, I saw a lot of the things that made me love Gundam, most of this was some of the great story elements that we had, the bulk of these were either finishing up the Garma Zabi story line from last week or its 2 episode epilogue. This was our first experience with the Zabi family and we get to understand more about the politics of Zeon. Like so many sci-fi franchises, it seems like the bad guys are more fun to learn about. Zeon is no exception to this. We start to see some of the family politics of a royal family, so fans of Downton Abbey, you should be watching this show, because I know you love seeing rich people wear ornate outfits.
As for the main characters, I think Amuro is just starting to figure out that he’s actually killing people but it seems to swing wildly between episodes depending on what the story needs, when he sees Icelina die he is clearly shaken by this but only two episodes later he fairly cavalierly kills a soldier, not while in a mobile suit but while looking at him. I would take this for a weakness of the show. I keep avoid watching episodes but in the end I’m enjoying them, not as much as DM enjoyed rewatching Firefly but that could be due to the fact that I just watched the movies back in December. Although, we are in the part with my favorite Zeon commander (excluding Char) Ramba Ral, who I will talk more about next week.
While DM went with a show that is popular and a major part of modern Scifi dialouge, I am picking a show that is significantly older and not very popular with American anime fans but is one of the supremely important anime, this is Mobile Suit Gundam.
Up to its release in 1979, the mecha genre was based around so-called super robots, with heroes yelling attack names and meglonaical villians, think Mazinger Z or Voltron. Gundam is the first of the so-called real robot shows, the robot is a tool with a purpose. That is not to say that some of the elements of super robots are not here but this show was the game changer. A good example of a real-robot show that people in America should recognize is Macross, which become the first part of the Robotech.
Similar to Firefly, this show was not successful first time around, it had its order cut, howful with the release of plastic models the show grew in popularity so much so that the 43 episodes were recut in to three films (if you don’t have the time or dedication to watch the show, watch these, also they removed a lot of the super robot elements that were present), a few years later they made a sequel series and the franchise has lived on since.
Now, for me this was the Gundam series that made me into a Gundam fan, unlike many who fell in love with Gundam Wing, which had aired the previous year on Toonami. I had watched Wing but I really watched MSG and loved it until it stopped airing after 9/11 (this was right at the end of the series, so the point where ships are crashing and people are being killed with a beam through the back of the head), CN tried a few years later by putting it in a worse spot and got through less episodes. However, now is the time for every to see this show, Bandai Entertainment has re-released the show in two sets and for the first time both language tracks. So in light of these facts Mobile Suit Gundam is the second entry in the All Geeks Considered continuing column, Being a Better Geek.
So you get an idea of the show, this is what I saw back in 2001, as an ad for this show:
Episode 1- Gundam Rising
The intro was hokey as I thought it would be. There is not much more to say about that. The suspension of disbelief that watching this show will require is going to be enormous but I think I may be up to the challenge. MSG is said to have its battle suits based on the novel Starship Troopers but I think they are pulling more than battle suit tech from the book. The very atmosphere of a war torn universe and martial law seems to match the novel well. We get some character introductions in the pilot, including Amuro Ray. Some general thoughts on the pilot… The action sequences were strong and appreciated. The dubbing and animation synched up nicely and contributed to a general sense of tension. The technology seems ridiculous. How did Earth develop such advanced technology without Zeon being aware of it? And exactly how user friendly is a Gundam Suit? I do not care if Amuro is a techie, it is like saying your local technogeek could go and pilot a stealth jet. In any case, it was an all right pilot and I will continue to watch with an open mind.
Space Ships Shooting Lasers!
Ugly Robots, like they would be in reality
I wonder why this show was cancelled after 9/11 (that’s New York).
The Cute Mascot, Haro, built by Amuro
It’s the protagonist, in his underpants, this is first time we see him.
And Char, with his awesome mask, if you say otherwise, clearly you’re missing the point.
See giant shells, realism
Just think if this was made today, you’d have seen her panties.
The first of many slaps, in this case it was slap a women out of hysteria, oh 1979 Japan.
The Gundam activates
The Zaku’s pilot is dead.
And that was an aimed kill shot, remember this is a kids show.
His reaction to killing, in actuality I hope this is at least a little realistic
Episode Two- Destroy Gundam
We have part two of the pilot here. Amuro continues to assist Earth forces in the Gundam Suit, although they begin to get suspicious of exactly who is piloting quickly. We have what I suspect is a recurring villain in enemy pilot Char. I would say that the two episodes together make for a stronger story and I suspect that was what was intended when originally aired.
How do you seal breaches to the colony? With huge amounts of bubble gum.
Kai gets slapped for the first time, this time for being a coward. Good job, Sayla.
For a man who wears a mask he reveals his face pretty early in the show
Could these blond people who dress in pink be related?
Char’s Custom Zaku II, notice the red color and badass spike on the head.
Episode Three: Vote to Attack
I am just going to say it: Earth Federation Forces are pretty hard up if 10 year olds are voting whether to attack or not. We start getting additional character development in this episode as well as an idea of how the civilians are fairing on the military ship, White Base. Amuro has taken his posting as the Gundam pilot seriously and studies up on its manual while forgoing silly things like food, rest and showering. I think that at this point the thing that is most hindering my enjoyment is lack of any stand-out characters. With any luck that will change soon.
Our characters are now getting their uniforms and remember cadets are colored coded for your convenience, boys in blue and girls and in pink.
Zeon, the home of cock-eyed, mustachioed supply ship captains.
People often ask, why would an engineer build a robot with legs, this is the reason.
Ok wow. Not only do I have a new Christmas movie to add to my list but I have a new Halloween movie to add to the list. This was a huge surprise with how much I enjoyed it. We’ve got an Old Testament Santa Claus and the creepiest elves ever. I think what really sells this movie though is some talented acting. This is actually a pretty decent family flick as long as no one in the family scares too easy and you don’t mind seeing too much old man ass.
Day 9 Elf
I had no idea Zooey Deschanel could sing so well. This is a nice modern day Christmas classic. Will Ferrell does well in the roll of an elf-raised human without being horridly over the top as he is in most comedic roles.
Day 10 Miracle on 34th Street
“I believe, I believe, I know it’s silly but I believe.” Given the vague choice, I of course opted for the original black and white movie. No modern adaptations for me thank you very much. I will always love this movie and it will always signify the beginning of Christmas in my family. Watch it with yours and realize Christmas is not just a day.
Day 11 A Year without A Santa Claus
Ugh. I know Vincenzo loves this one but it was definitely not my favorite holiday special. While the Heat and Cold Misers do add something to the mix I found this one a struggle to get through.
Day 12 National Lampoons Christmas Vacation
I will always remember this movie as the one that almost killed me with laughter. One of the few National Lampoons movies I can get being, Christmas Vacation does well at conveying the Christmas Spirit without getting too…um dirty. My Grandfather loved to watch this one with us and I watched it with him in my thoughts.
Day 13 The Holiday
A little birdie told me that Vincenzo fell asleep during this one but don’t let that scare you away. I know for a fact he has very little good taste (except perhaps in friends). Christmas takes a backseat in this one but there is plenty of kindness love and generosity of spirit to be found here.
Day 14 A Very Venture Christmas
Best line ever, “Hey fancy-pants, I’ve been naughty” I do like this Christmas special. It carries the same atmosphere of turning things loved in childhood on their ears as the show itself does. Plus. Brock!
Day 15 The Snowman
A Frosty the Snowman with some poignancy. A very under sung special that I definitely enjoyed watching.
Day 16 Star Wars Christmas Special
I should be destroyed for suggesting that anyone watch this. I am ready for Cthulhu. I have seen madness and come out on the other side of it.
Day 17 A Muppet’s Christmas Carol
Such a wonderful special to take Lucas’ horridness out of my brain. I cant believe I didn’t watch this one for the first time until last year. For more see our podcast.
Day 18 Scrooge (1970)
Eh ive seen better adaptations of A Christmas Carol. But Vincenzo likes it so maybe give it a try.
Day 19 A Christmas Carol (2004)
A surprisingly good movie. See our podcast (when its aired) for more.
Day 20 The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus (Rankin-Bass Special)
Burn in hell Vincenzo
Day 21 Cosmic Christmas
This was an ok film but coming so quickly off of TLASC it was not my cup of tea. A bit too much of the religious meaning of Christmas for me as well.
Day 22 A Christmas Carol (Doctor Who Episode)
Wow. This was really really really good. I might have to try a bit of The Doctor now. Really really good.
Day 23The Santa Claus
AS much as I question having Tim Allen portray Santa Claus, he really does do a reasonable job at it. In my book this is another modern classic.
A Blackadder Christmas Carol: I am not a huge British comedy fan but I have to admit that this one was a keeper. In fact, my girlfriend, who I venture to say is even less of a British comedy fan than I am, could not stay away from my computer despite having a multitude of things to do. Well played Blackadder. This was a nice change of pace in the Christmas Carol genre where we have a pathetically nice Blackadder being shown the benefits of meanness by a ghost of Christmas. I recommend this to anyone who likes a good Christmas movie and is not afraid to laugh a bit.
Santa Claus is Coming to Town:
This has been a favorite of mine since childhood and continues to be. We get to see why Santa Claus wears those red pajamas and climbs down your chimney along with all of his other foibles. I would say that the only part I really dislike about the show is how much more religious it gets than others of its ilk do, but it’s certainly easy to get past and very forgivable. My favorite part is, of course, The Winter Warlock (Winter to his friends), who steals the show with some nice one liners. I won’t lie to you on this one though, Santa Claus is a bit full of himself in this show and perhaps just a teensy bit creepy. Maybe. Check it out and see for yourself!
I was more than pleased to see that Vincenzo had selected Frank Capra’s perennial classic It’s A Wonderful Life to kick off this year’s Christmas challenge. It has always been something of a tradition in my household to watch it on Christmas Eve before bed (something I will still be doing) and I was happy to get an early dose in this year.
I really do not know what it is about the movie that captures my heart and mind. Is it the struggle of George Bailey to live up to everything his father was all the while chomping against that bit of selflessness and goodwill? Is it the cast that so well portrays the people and their struggles in a small town in the early 1900s? Is it Donna Reeds timeless beauty? It is all of that and more.
I have not stopped to read Vincenzo’s take on the movie yet because I want to give you my own untainted view but I will proceed by answering the question in his title. We watch It’s A Wonderful Life because we crave to see a man fight against his worse nature and instincts and come out on the side of goodness and prosperity. You see it is my theory that George Bailey is the other side of Mr. Potter’s coin. Both are intelligent, shrewd, and frustrated men. Both men want to see themselves better and have that secret voice whispering in their ears that if other people were meant to succeed then they would work harder to do so. The difference is, of course, Peter Bailey and his role in George’s life.
Being raised by Peter Bailey instilled within George the idea that not every person gets the breaks they need to prosper in this world. Every person needs a helping hand now and then. Perhaps the most poignant scenes in the film are those in which we see George fight internally against his own nature and come out on the side of charity without fail. Seeing George chose to help people again and again at the expense of his own happiness makes the final scene wherein we see how appreciated his efforts have been all the more joyous.
I will leave you with these corny but nonetheless true words: No man is a failure who has friends.
So today I started the long awaited All Geek Considered Christmas Challenge with Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life. I suspect that with the political atmosphere right now many people will talk about this film with respect to how a financial industry should run (I bet there have been a few over the past few years). I don’t particularly want to talk too much about the financial crisis so I am going to try and say what makes this film so appealing. I am writing this presuming everyone has already seen the movie, that might be a bad assumption but I’m going to make so beware spoilers lie ahead.
I have seen this film numerous times and I find that what makes this film uplifting is not George Bailey’s life which in general is getting stuck in bad spot while everyone around him succeeds and prospers but George Bailey as a person. The man who even though he sees all his friends and family become successful in everything they do but still manages to put everyone else before himself. It is this spirit that makes the film a successful story. The viewer is meant to both pity and envy George Bailey. I don’t want to say much on the film since I hope that everyone will at least give it a watch and I am sure some cynical asshole will say it is just sentimental drivel but if there is one time of the year when sentimental drivel is allowed its between Thanksgiving and Christmas. If you intend on reading the complete series of the Christmas Challenge get ready for a lot of drivel since I’ve got at least 3 versions of A Christmas Carol coming down the pipeline.