Friday, December 22, 2006

Anime World Order Show # 43 - Hey Sanrio, Release Ringing Bell on DVD Already

Daryl reviews the obscure and INCREDIBLY DEPRESSING 1970s film Ringing Bell (from the people who brought you Hello Kitty!), Gerald is quite let down by Kishin Corps, and Clarissa saves the day with Part 2 of Jojo's Bizarre Adventure. This is perhaps the last episode of 2006, what with Christmas and New Year's coming.

Click Here to Download



Introduction (0:00 - 39:34)
We spend all this time talking about two things. First, Daryl lists off all the website changes and mentions that Podcast Pickle is resetting all the favorites counts to 0 again on December 29th, so you'll have to add us again. We've been #2 for several months, so perhaps we can be #1 eventually! Also, we're now listed on Digg Podcasts, which has a pretty good chance of eclipsing all the other podcast directories aside from maybe iTunes since its voting system is a lot more helpful. If you don't know what Digg is, GeekNights will explain it for you. If you do know and you use it, go there and like, vote for us. More importantly, vote for the episodes of AWO you liked most of all and if you want, leave some comments there since we have no forums.

Second, Walter Amos left us a voicemail, and since it was ten minutes long, we opted to respond to it in pieces since all of it was interesting. Walter even does our legwork for us, being gracious enough to provide us with the following links:

Let's News! (39:34 - 1:06:19)
ADV's licensed Season 2 of Ah My Goddess! Wonder how well that'll do for them? Guess we'll never know since the reason they don't publicize their sales figures is because...hey, look over there! Plus, that new Studio Ghibli movie that apparently isn't all that good, Gedo Senki, is getting released in the UK (and possibly Japan) before it hits the US. And Masako Nozawa, the voice of Goku but NOT the voice of Doraemon as we stated (that's Nobuyo Oyama, and she's the Arkanoid friggin' MASTER), thinks modern seiyuu are the pits.

Review: Ringing Bell (1:06:19 - 1:29:14)
This is the part where Daryl tries to impersonate Justin Sevakis, but comes up oh so short. This was a movie from the 1970s released by Sanrio--best known for Hello Kitty--under the name Chirin no Suzu. It was dubbed and released here in 1983, completely intact and with nothing done to hide that it was a Japanese cartoon. However, it's been out of print for decades and there's no DVD. Daryl's invoking the statute of limitations on spoilers for this one, but suffice it to say that this might just be the most depressing children's story ever. Click here to download a 700MB torrent of a VHS capture of this. This has been out of print for decades, so hopefully Sanrio's lawyers will not have us thrown in jail for the crime of wanting people to see this.
Daryl has some nerve to say that he isn't sure of where the story originated from considering it says so right in the opening credits.
Here's Chirin at the start of the tale. Aww, he's so cute that people the world over would spend millions of dollars on Chirin brand air conditioning units.
Until the Wolf King swoops in and fucks up his Christmas. Daryl wishes he could talk like the Wolf King, or at least find the mixer settings that would enable such a thing.
Chirin is quite distraught that JESUS FUCKING CHRIST GOD DAMN IT WHAT THE CRAP IS ELMER FUDD DOING HERE OUT OF NOWHERE
And that's when things officially start to take a turn for the nightmarish...

Review: Alien Defender Geo-Armor aka Kishin Corps (1:29:14 - 1:48:30)
Gerald picked this one up at Otakon since he hadn't seen it and it was something that's been out in the US since the laserdisc days. People always compared it to Giant Robo. How bad could it possibly be? Well...

Review (manga): Jojo's Bizarre Adventure, Part 2 (1:48:30 - 2:03:40)
We strongly recommend you listen to Clarissa's review of Part 1 of Jojo's Bizarre Adventure before proceeding. Otherwise, this probably won't make sense. But who are we kidding? Jojo's probably wouldn't make sense anyway. But who cares when there's FIGHTING and GORE GORE GORE? And of course poison "wedding rings" with special antidotes.
This is Joseph Joestar, and he's a dork. I don't know why he's wearing what appears to be three hats stacked on top of each other. I guess one hat just wasn't enough for the Joestar majesty. Well, at least it's not merged with his hair. (If you're not familiar with the hair hat, then you haven't read Part 3. Don't worry, we'll review that one too.)

Joseph tends to use his Hamon for overly elaborate ways of throwing things at people, like coke bottle lids, or tripping them. Of course it's hard to keep thinking of him as a badass when he does this sort of thing.

This is Joseph with Caesar, his best friend and ally. They're also both dorks, as evidenced by the fact that they do stupid things like have fights with pasta (and somehow also pigeons and girls) and have dumb moments like this.

This is LisaLisa, and she will totally mess you up. She's also very mature and level headed, which is good when you're working with a couple of tards like Joseph and Caesar.

Behold the ultimate asskicking life forms, Wham, AC/DC and Cars. Santana's not there, but I assure you he was even more naked. Araki sort of rectified the lack of homoeroticism from Part 1 in one fell swoop with these guys.

This is something I think makes Jojo's fights far more awesome than most shonen fighting show battles. CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS, BITCHES.

Of course, chariot races with vampire horses help too. What, did you think we were joking about that?

Come on, you know you want to be there for this.


Closing (2:03:40 - 2:05:22)
Next time, whenever that is, we're going to do another "we answer emails" episode. We promise that we'll actually manage to answer more emails than we got through when we had Dave Merrill on the show back in Show # 33, an episode which is one of our personal favorites.


61 comments:

Scab said...

I watched both Watership Down and Ringing Bell back when I was like 7 or 8 and while both certainly left strong impressions on me, I have very positive memories of how they got me thinking. As is so rarely the case with western animation, especially Ringing Bell refrains from portraying good and evil as these black or white opposites, but rather shows how perfectly good and normal individuals can turn bad under the right circumstances, and towards the end often turned back or at least be understood.

I find the morals of these stories far better than the typical cutesey Disney worlds where the big bad wolf eats the poor three pigs for no particular reason other than being the evil character. It's brainless entertainment with carefully crafted moral stories, whereas both Watership Down and Ringing Bell has no such thing but rather invites to personal thought on the most basic of levels; good and bad, life and death.

I think people drastically play up any hypothetical emotional scarring that would come from these movies; they are much more cleverly directed than being merely brutal and I'd say kids around the age I was certainly can get something great out of them. Don't underestimate their mental capabilities; kids are extremely impressionable, but these shows don't promote any particular message but rather present a moral story/dilemma to ponder, which is largely why they're so great.

Bottom line, Watership Down is the one movie from my youth that I hold in the highest regard, and Ringing Bell isn't far off. This is completely nostalgic bias, mind you, which I think speaks for their appropriateness. I'll applaud any kids show that promotes basic reasoning rather than preaching.

Patrick McNamara said...

Another movie along these lines is Plague Dogs. (Doesn't that sound like a cheery title?) It was created by the same group that made Watership Down possibly in an attempt to cash in on it's success. It's such a dark and depressing film that it makes WD look like a Disney film.

The Last Otaku said...

Once again you guys (and girl) fail to dissapoint. I shall take advantage of that torrent and watch Ringing Bell because it truely sounds like something screwed up.

Apreche said...

Persia is Iran.

exedore said...

Just a heads up, you can get an R2 DVD of Ringing Bell for about $16 plus shipping from Amazon JP. Just google the kanji up and you're set. I don't think there's any English on the DVD, though, but inventive and non-lazy types can probably do a synch against the VHS cap.

Chris Sobieniak said...

Because you have some 120 messages and such to get through, I might as well state everything I need to say about Ringing Bell and such, plus since you guys'll have a nice festive holiday, I might as well get it out of the way.

I'd love to hear more from people like Walter Amos since I know it's the only way I can feel grateful for the fandom that came before me.

I kinda wish they kept that in French in Gankutsuou (bet though it would probably fly well in Europe anyway).

Nice to see a plug for Thief and the Cobbler. I helped out in the "Recobbled Cut" personally, and it impressed the hell out of me to see the work one guy has put into it. Recently I was informed of the discovering of a workprint that came about after the previous one that most had seen on video, though it resides on 6 2000' reels of 35mm film, with a magnetic track. We're hopeing to raise the funds for a possible transfer of said workprint. I hope to donate about half the cost if possible. I'm only impressed we've came this far to see such rare and obscure things in the process.

The Weinstein Bros. know how to screwed with the original intentions of some foreign films, Rene Laloux's "Gandahar" brings this to mind. The latest DVD is crap IMO. Of course there's those that say Aladdin rips off Thief when in fact that is sadly true.

Interesting I didn't think of the music in "Only Yesterday". Of course I often looked at those little things they sometimes throw in that film like the one visual spoof/homage to a familiar film from 1982 I don't want to name too easily as spoilers (Isao Takahata is 'da MAN)!

I typically would call it OAV than OVA, but often I find myself interchanging them randomly (I often favor using it over "D2V" or "Direct to Video" in referring to domestic releases).

I still want to kill those that say Diacon was ripping off FLCL too! People need to be informed on Gainax's history before they say the things they do!

Aside from the usual news, a more recent one that poped up invovles Kadokawa Pictures USA getting the rights to release The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya stateside, while the distribution will be handled through Bandai Entertainment. At least we're finally getting a US release for this latest gem next year. I only hope the downloadin' community even bother to support this release than to just stick with their digisubs copies like usual.

Funny how Goro Miyzaki went from curator to director like that, unlike the way his father had to work his way to the top during his youth in the 60's. Sounds like a bad business decision to me given that circumstance.

I still feel bad Yoshifumi Kondo did die back then since I felt he was qualified to takeover as a director if he had lived into the 21st Century.

Being reminded "Battle of the Planets" (while I often talk in disgust about it), does feature a good cast of people who had been actors for a long while in cartoons and other mediums, Casey Kasem, Janet Waldo and Alan Young to name a few. You don't get too many of those working on anime dubbing much these days (thought thought it was nice they had Frank Welker do Totoro's voice for My Neighbor Totoro).

DIdn't think Orson Scott Card was that looney, mainly since I was somewhat impressed reading "Ender's Game". I want to direct an animated adaptation of that one.

And now, one of Sanrio's most impressive things I can still find terribly enjoyable in a psychological way!

RINGING BELL

While I noticed you mistaken the lamb's name as "Bell" a few times, it should be noticed his name was Chirin anyway throughout the film, but I'll forgive you Daryl for the mistake.

The Bell of Chirin was double-billed with "The Mouse and His Child" when both films were released in Japan in '78. "The Mouse & His Child" was Sanrio's earlier feature form '77, unlike Ringing Bell and a few other animated features they've done, much of the production of "Mouse and His Child" was produced in the US by Mirakami-Wolf Productions (and subsequently redubbed into Japanese obviously). Here's info about this film in case you can track it down (I'd saw it terribly young and it's also another mindwarper). Hell, I highly recommand this movie anyway!
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0076416/

Ben Ettinger did stick this up about the company in case you're interested in finding out more about the short-lived film division that created these gems between 1976-85...
http://www.pelleas.net/int/int3.shtml

I've only found out about the film a short time ago, but since I had been familiar with Sanrio's other classics of my youth, I had to go pick this film up (albeit, a bootlegged copy via eBay). The video company this had been released though was RCA/Columbia Pictures Home Video. Unlike the Sony-dominated Columbia we see today, the former Coca-Cola-operated company used to release a shitload of titles you can't find too easily anymore. Aside from the Sanrio properties already discussed, other classics include a release of Bruno Bozzetto's Allegro non Troppo (albeit, a edited dubbed version), a number of Toei's animated features of the 70's like Taro the Dragon Boy, most of the UPA cartoon library that hasn't seen the light of day in decades, and even the entire Beany & Cecil cartoon series of the early 60's. They also released one of my FAVORITE anime flicks of the 70's, "Jack & The Beanstalk" (directed by Gisaburo Sugii), which I used to wach over and over from a Disney Channel-taped copy I have of it. Try to see Sony bother to do more than the few titles they manage to get out there (let alone not finish Cyborg 009, idiots).

Thinking about how our main character becomes a ram at the end of this, I often had to ponder if that bell he wore around his neck would've choked him given that I didn't think the strap would've expanded past his previous size. One of a few incongruities I could live with.

Much like anyone else, I wish Sanrio bothered to release this right now domestically. The best I've noticed is both Rining Bell and the Unico movies getting DVD releases in Japan anyway. You only wish the US subsidiary would get a life and do the same here, or has those stature of limitations prove this to be a forgotten classic that can only be enjoyed by those like us who have to get it through illegit means?

Chirin no Suzu:
http://shop.sanrio.jp/cm/cmc-471909/
The Mouse and His Child:
http://shop.sanrio.jp/cm/cmc-471828/
Orpheus of the Stars (a.k.a. "Winds of Change"):
http://shop.sanrio.jp/cm/cmc-471721/
The Glacier Fox:
http://shop.sanrio.jp/cm/cmc-719684/
The Sea Prince and the Fire Child:
http://shop.sanrio.jp/cm/cmc-719161/
Fairy Florence (a.k.a. "A Journey Through Fairyland"):
http://shop.sanrio.jp/cm/cmc-719188/

And even though they no longer have Unico, doesn't mean they can't release the movies that are STILL soughtafter stateside!
http://shop.sanrio.jp/cm/cmc-719307/
http://shop.sanrio.jp/cm/cmc-719412/

Oh, and in case you wanted to know the orgins of that AVI you are torrenting, you're looking at him! Yep, I put that together out of the stark realization knowone'll ever see it, period! So I had to do something to kill that part of me that was bottled up. Plus I don't think Sanrio'll ever do anything to bring this back to the American public unless we don't give word to them in some form or another. Since I don't favor online petitions, I'd rather go for the extreme and annoying letter-writing campaign to flood the main Tokyo office to the gills! It would create a bigger paper trail than the usual online deal. But since I have no life and hardly the time or effort to man such an operation, I'll have to leave it up to the others to take over and be inspired by my insight!

If they don't wanna bother doing it themselves, they could always go the route taken by Kadokawa Pictures USA and have some other company do the distibuting like FUNimation. It's better off than having no release at all. Besides, I get sick and tired of the same Hello Kitty crap like anyone else (I can only tolerate Badtz-Maru, he's the most non-effeminate of them all).

But then, someone already gave me that idea I could also pull as well, buying the Japanese DVD's and swapping the audio for the English track and go from there. It's TOO easy for guys like me to be that pretentious about doing those things to keep us happy (it made DiscoTek happy when I submitted those audio tracks for their Toei Doga features). I love helping out on these endevours.

I wouldn't consider the film that bad myself, and I found myself learning a lot watching the dangers of non-comformity. I think children need to learn this as well.

Of course in bringing up Masami Hata for directing Ping Pong Club, I often think of that as the anime quivilent to Porky's (on another thought, the director of Porky's also directed A Christmas Story, noodle on that). Hata also co-dirdcted the TMS feature "Little Nemo, Adventures in Slumberland". Ben Ettinger did a nice filmography of his work over the past five decades:
http://www.pelleas.net/hm/

I never thought about Chirin's face being that human, though I assume it was meant to represent the innocent youth-quality of said character, and how he changes because of his growth to an adult ram.

I remember Watership Down as being one of those that also was quite traumatic if watched at an early age. The same group of course also did "Plague Dogs", which puts Watership Down in a better perspective in terms of it's conclusion. In getting both films, I recommend the Australian R4 DVD releases that don't fuck 'em up like the US and British releases had.
http://www.dvdbits.com/reviews.asp?id=3216
http://www.bigskyvideo.com/wdaownpressrelesa.htm
http://www.bigskyvideo.com/pdogs.htm

Much like otakus of the past, we'll have to buy import to satisfy our craves!

By the way, I'm seeding this as we speak, and I couldn't help but notice the amount of non-American peers picking this up from Europe, Japan, China, Singapore and elsewhere. It's great to see that there are those that are probably new to this that will see it for the first time and probably find it as interesting and impressive like I did.

Of course, if you wanted a much different film but one of a similar nature, I'd probably recommend "Arashi no Yoru ni" (Stormy Night), which is of a secret friendship between a wolf and a goat, and unlike Ringing Bell, ends in a typical "Happily Ever After" fashion, but at least I wouldn't mind showing it to any child in that "electronic babysitter" way most parents would. :-)

I remember those promos for Kishin Corps. promos from the Tenchi Muyo tapes I used to buy back in '96. I should be thankful I didn't get into that one or else I could've discovered the boredom already mentioned. Have to get into more of my Giant Robo box set as we speak!

Anyway, that's all I have to say, gotta go to work right now, and again for tomorrow before Xmas the next day, whereas I'm not expecting a great Christmas, but I hope others here will anyway.

Oh, and glad to see another stab at doing a full episode on answering those e-mails (and without Merrill, though I wouldn't mind listening to his anedotes anyday of the week).

Ciao!

Anonymous said...

jojo is awesome, thank you for the recommendation.

The Last Otaku said...

I liked "Ender's Game". Didn't he do the script for the xbox game Advent Rising? I thought that had a good story with medeocre-crappy gameplay.

Mandy Q said...

I've never actually seen Watership Down, though I have come close to reading it. When I was 8, my mom and I picked out some books on tape to listen to on a road trip. My mom picked it up, deciding that an adventure about bunnies might be interesting for me. When we got on the road and Mom popped it in, the reader's dull voice put me to sleep.

Then, when I was 9, I noticed the book in my teacher's little class library. But the book again reminded me of the dull narrating voice, so I got to the second page and stopped.

I guess I should try again. I got through the Lord of the Rings, and those sure were annoying, the way the author kept going off into the most boring of tangents about history and stuff (much like I'm doing now!)

I do think kids should be exposed to more stuff like this. The only thing I can use for example is my brother and I:
I grew up without cable. So, out of nothing else to watch, I grew up on a steady stream of Family Guy, Cops, Evening News, America's Most Wanted, Mad TV, and an assortment of other random shows that were too "adult" for me. My brother, on the other hand, doesn't. He watches Spongebob all day (not that there's anything wrong with watching Spongebob all day).

My brother and I have very different personalities. I've always been a Do-it-yourself-er and have been pretty focused on what I study, from my English studies to government issues. I also read constantly and quickly(unless the book appears to be boring, then it takes me a while). My brother, on the other hand, is very lackadaisical about reading and other studies, and tends to stay in a dream world.

I understand that there are other factors, such as gender and our age difference. But I also believe it has something to do with what we watch. And I know that Family Guy is quite a bit different from Ringing Bell, but it still is something that has more "adult" concepts that many believe would fuck up a child's paradigms. If I'm any indication, it doesn't (well, not a lot!)

I recently had to write a paper on this subject actually. I got an A too, and the teacher agreed with me!!

Sorry for my weird tangent thing, and I believe I somewhat proved my point, though my example was a bit off...

Chris Sobieniak said...

I do think kids should be exposed to more stuff like this. The only thing I can use for example is my brother and I:
I grew up without cable. So, out of nothing else to watch, I grew up on a steady stream of Family Guy, Cops, Evening News, America's Most Wanted, Mad TV, and an assortment of other random shows that were too "adult" for me. My brother, on the other hand, doesn't. He watches Spongebob all day (not that there's anything wrong with watching Spongebob all day).


I feel 'old'! I grew up pretty much on cable during it's infancy, and can remember how channels like Nickelodeon and MTV were like before they became ruined over time. It was a more liberal-oriented medium then, and often I found myself being impressed at watching stuff that was of foreign-orgins that showed up on cable since there wasn't as big a following amoung the public to watch it outside the normal TV airwaves (good examples might be things like "Night Flight" on USA). Nowadays I pretty much can't stand TV period, pretty much gravitated to the net for anything of interest I might like verses expectations from the 'idiot box'.

Clarissa said...

Re: Orson Scott Card

It's not that he's never written anything good. Though I'm not sure if he's written anything all that impressive *recently.* But the guy is a certified ultra right-wing nutter and has a tendency to be really obnoxious about it. I should note that this seems to have gotten worse more recently, I don't think he was as wacky back when he did the Ender stuff.

Also, holy crap, I need to get Jojo's pictures up. Sorry guys, I'll get on that soon.

Chris Sobieniak said...

Much of the talk about the sheltered nature of children in this country makes me think back to when "All Dogs Go to Heaven" came out, that caused a bit of a stink with most conservative parents who deemed it too distrubing as a children's film (Ringing Bell and Watership Down seems FAR worse than anything Bluth dished out to us). Disney Channel even used to have had a disclaimer placed on the screen in promos advising parents when that film made it's rounds on the channel. Makes me laugh thinking about it nowadays.

That's it! I'm getting pissed off with being patient!

For anyone that is in the same mood I am, this is what we need to do! I command a silly letter-writing to the main HQ of Sanrio and get them convinced we Americans (and anyone else for that matter outside Japan) really deserve to see these classic re-released on DVD. Don't waste your time writing any of their subsidiaries like Sanrio, Inc., I can't expect them to know anything!

SANRIO COMPANY, LIMITED
1-6-1, OSAKI
SHINAGAWA-KU, TOKYO
141-8603
JAPAN

I say we flood 'em to the gills and see what they have to say about it!

And while I'm at it, I wish TMS would've gave us a decent release of the Nemo movie as well. The R2 release gives you a lot of neat-ass things like the two pilot films produced in the 80's from Yoshifumi Kondo ('84) and Osamu Dezaki ('87). If people need to be reminded of Kondo's greatness....
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3342755205038857742

This is why I often hate being who I am, as I'm never satisfied with the end result.

Thinking about Ringing Bell vaguely reminded me of a film I used to see back in the 80's on Nickelodeon's "Special Delivery" that was entitled "The Little Fox". I found out a while back that it's original title was "Vuk", a Hungarian film based on a novel by István Fekete. The film told of a fox cub name Vuk (or "Vic" in the dub) who is orphaned after his family was killed by a hunter and who is taken under the wing of an uncle name Karak who has to teach him everything on how to survive in the wild. I remember that film being rather graphic for it's time and quite shocking to see on cable (it's home video release was split between a version that was uncut and another that had certain scenes edited for content), the Nick version was uncut I believe (back when Nick was still great).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vuk_%28film%29

A much recent film produced in Germany that caught my attention in the "furry" circles was "Felidae", based on a novel by Akif Pirinçci, about a cat name Francis who just moved into his new home to discover a dead 'brother' in the back yard, leading him on a search to uncover the mystery behind the death of multiple cats in the neighborhood. Although the film was intended for an older audience, I often find it a good example of what animation's possible of doing if handled correctly without the sugar-coated panderings we've seen in the US (supposibly the film wasn't brought over due to that fact, yet an English version exists).
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0109791/

Just had some random thoughts to pass!

animepodcast.net said...

hey guys,
just wanna give you a quick thanks for reviewing Ringing Bell and also providing the torrent for it. I downloaded it right after I heard your review and decided to take it on my laptop over to my parents house today (Christmas-Eve) and watch it with my 13 year-old sister who I recently gotten into anime and is also a big hello kitty fan. All I can saw is wow, great flick, and all my sister can say is "Damn that's a F****ed up film." she was pretty traumatized at such a cute little lamb turning oh so evil! Now all i have left is to find my copy of watership down. heh heh...
any way happy holidays and keep up the great work!
E from animepodcast.net

theknoxinator said...

Compliments on another great show, it was interesting and funny as usual. Also a big thanks to Chris Sobieniak for allowing us to download the delightful movie that is Ringing Bell. I just finished watching it, and I would probably say that if I had watched that when I was a kid, I can imagine it would've messed me up pretty good. I remember getting scared pretty easily from even the old Disney stuff, like the mentioned Bambi, as well as Sleeping Beauty. Yeah, I was pretty much a pussy, but that's just the result of the home I grew up in (very protective).

And I would have to agree with everyone else on how everything given to kids is all sugar coated these days. I mean, I've only just recently passed into adulthood, and even I can tell how much nicer they've gotten from my childhood. I mean, it wasn't all that long ago when Nickelodeon was showing such fine shows as Ren and Stimpy and Rocko's Modern Life, neither of which would be even close to acceptable for kids these days. Additionally, going on the way old fairy tales have changed. Honestly, how many kids know that back in the day, sweet Little Red Riding Hood got eaten! by the big bad wolf. And there were other messed up German tales where kids get parts of the body chopped off for misbehaving and other shit like that (my high school German teacher had this book of them with really creepy illustrations). Freakin' kids need to be put in their place!

Enough with ranting, right now it's just turned to Christmas, so I'll let you all be happy instead. Can't wait for the next episode in the new year.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately my childhood was already ruined due to watching the shining but Ill still check out Ringing Bell. Im also gonna check out Watership Down because it's concept compells me.
L8er

PMDR said...

I think you guys are WAY over thinking the French intro thing. In Japan, the French language has a HUGE cachet. It adds instant class, style, wealth to anything even if it's gibberish French, and this is far beyond the usual English nonsense. French is the bomb.

In the "English is USA #1!!!" US, there is no equivalent. We don't use foreign languages to add class to anything other than BMW car models. French is just a joke language spoken by surrender monkeys. And some Canadians.

So it totally makes sense that the French intro would end up on the cutting room floor. It's intended purpose -adding all that style and panache- just doesn't exist outside Japan.

On the subject of Ringing Bell, I am still stunned by the Unico "puppet island" movie in which -IIRC- the entire human population was murdered and turned into puppets. That was stunning. What was astounding was that it played repeatedly on the Disney channel. I am pretty sure they had NO idea what they were showing, which was basically mass extinction of the human race. Maybe the boombox cat and the cute lil' unicorn covered it up. And wasn't that wind spirit naked too? Just damn.

Perhaps all those years of cutesy Hello Kitty led to lots of repressed desires to murder, death, kill. Yikes.

Colin said...

Even though your previous review of Jojo's was glowing, I still wasn't sure if I wanted to commit myself to it, for when I get into something, I want to stick through to the very end, for better or for worse, and eighty volumes is a hell of a commitment. But after this review, I went out and picked all the currently available releases, and I have to say, I'm not disappointed in the slightest. I cannot wait for more of this bizzare adventure.

Chris Sobieniak said...

theknoxinator said...
Compliments on another great show, it was interesting and funny as usual. Also a big thanks to Chris Sobieniak for allowing us to download the delightful movie that is Ringing Bell. I just finished watching it, and I would probably say that if I had watched that when I was a kid, I can imagine it would've messed me up pretty good.


Thanks for enjoying what I try to do!

I remember getting scared pretty easily from even the old Disney stuff, like the mentioned Bambi, as well as Sleeping Beauty. Yeah, I was pretty much a pussy, but that's just the result of the home I grew up in (very protective).

Somehow I got too desensitized to that long ago, so I had to grow up sooner or later!

PMDR said...
I think you guys are WAY over thinking the French intro thing. In Japan, the French language has a HUGE cachet. It adds instant class, style, wealth to anything even if it's gibberish French, and this is far beyond the usual English nonsense. French is the bomb.

In the "English is USA #1!!!" US, there is no equivalent. We don't use foreign languages to add class to anything other than BMW car models. French is just a joke language spoken by surrender monkeys. And some Canadians.

So it totally makes sense that the French intro would end up on the cutting room floor. It's intended purpose -adding all that style and panache- just doesn't exist outside Japan.


Heh, I only wish we could take a lesson or two from that.

On the subject of Ringing Bell, I am still stunned by the Unico "puppet island" movie in which -IIRC- the entire human population was murdered and turned into puppets. That was stunning. What was astounding was that it played repeatedly on the Disney channel. I am pretty sure they had NO idea what they were showing, which was basically mass extinction of the human race. Maybe the boombox cat and the cute lil' unicorn covered it up. And wasn't that wind spirit naked too? Just damn.

Sanrio made the BEST movies IMO. They require you to THINK for once. Too bad the remainder of the company however prides itself on more commercialized endevours, but these films felt like a totally new direction.

Perhaps all those years of cutesy Hello Kitty led to lots of repressed desires to murder, death, kill. Yikes.

I think so too. I really only know and relate to Sanrio more for these movies as opposed to their stupid feline mascot. Most of these films in some way explains something about life in a non-casual way.

Well I have a nice coupon from CD Japan, and I might just go and buy both Unico movies of it before it expires. Better off getting the origianls and just make due out of that. I just don't think Sanrio's going to get around to bother with the US market again for some time (Hell those prices are about the same as I want to expect them to be sold here if ever).

Gooberzilla said...

I'm a little surprised that Clarissa has not mentioned the editting that JoJo's has undergone in its English translation. She did mention that vast chunks of the story-line are being skipped in the first review, but she didn't mention that Viz apparently editting Volume 3, removing what was described as "strong, animal-related violence". As great as JoJo is, I don't think I can stomach the idea of supporting a censored release...

Clarissa said...

Gooberzilla -

I figured that we'd go over the official manga release in the review for that segment, which will be the next one.

I am sad that Viz insists on this large scale editing campaign for all their Shonen Jump related books, including Jojo's. I haven't been buying the official manga myself due to editing concerns, which really bugs me. I want to support the series, but not if they're going to start hacking at it.

I've been buying Super Techno Arts' release of the Part 3 OVA series to show support for that, but I still need to get the last couple of discs.

Anonymous said...

Hmm...I have a copy of Ringing Bell I got off of Rob Fenelon. I've never watched it (and I can't right now, with my VCR being out of comission), but I did program it at Otakon a few years back. Maybe I should show it next year as well...

Regarding ADV (and most other anime licensees)'s refusal to publish sales figures, I have some theories. First off, I'm sure none of the companies want their competition to know what is and isn't doing well. Also, if the sales figures were published, I'm sure retailers would base their purchases on those figures (true, they can return unsold titles for credit, but they only have so much shelf space, so of course they'd favor high sellers over low sellers), and places that purchase the DVD's on a direct-only basis, such as (I believe, though I may be wrong) comics and games shops, would be even more reluctant to stock titles with low official sales figures.

Still, ADV didn't mention competitors or retailers, they just mentioned consumers (well, actually I think they said "fans," but let us not split hairs). I know there are some fans who might actually go by sales figures as a measurement of what's good or bad--back when Streamline was still around and released the rather mis-named Robotech: The Perfect Collection (each tape contained two Robotech eps plus the two corresponding eps of whichever original Japanes series was...what's a diplomatic word for "anally butchered with a blunt instrument?") the magazine Protoculture Addicts put out a review that said (among other things, such as "why include the Robotech episodes at all since you can get them separately?") that they're really looking forward to seeing the original version of Southern Cross. Some TAKAKURA wrote them a letter saying "Why would you wanna see that? It's obviously not a good show because it only ran 23 episodes instead of the planned 26!"

Still, such fans are few and far between (I hope), so here's the only example I can think of that might be realistic (based solely on the fact that it's something I would do, and completely ignoring the fact that very little of what I do is realistic, or even typical): Let's assume that ADV and Geneon put out a similarly priced box set that I really really wanted, but I could only afford to buy one at the current time ("afford" being a relative term here--technically I can't afford what I'm buying now). If the sales figures were available, I might look at those figures and think "Hey! The ADV title is selling like discount blowjobs at the Soap-Optional section of Otakon, while the Geneon title is doing worse that Max Bialystock's last Broadway show that didn't have Hitler in it! I'd better support the lower-selling Geneon title!" Wherupon ADV would lose a sale to a competitor.

Even that seems pretty far-fetched, though. My guess is their reasons have little or nothing to do with the fans, and much or everything to do with the reasons I mentioned earlier.

E. Bernhard Warg
Otakon Classic track
Anime's Frank

exedore said...

Bernhard: I think Rob Fenelon's unofficial goal in life is to sucker as many people as possible into watching Ringing Bell (yes, I have a tape of it from him as well).

re: Sales Figures, it's interesting. I was at Suncoast today, and they're having a B1G1 on Geneon titles right now. Apparently if you advertise your sales well, you move a lot of extra units. =)

I say this as an aside, because Geneon titles have been on sale at most Suncoast stores for about three months now - all of the ones in my area (Baltimore) have had a bunch of Geneon and Media Blasters stuff on sale since NOVEMBER. It's kind of funny that there's a new sale, because it's really the same as the old sale - 50% off cover price (buy two $30 discs for $30). Still, according to the girl at the counter, Geneon stuff has been moving a tonne of extra units as a result of it all being cheaper than most other first run titles. I have to wonder if this is an experiment somehow by Geneon to see how people react at a lower price point, and if they could get away with charging less. It would be nice if they could, as Geneon have historically had one of the highest wholesale prices, going all the way back to the Pioneer days.

Me, I got lucky and the discs that I wanted were not only Buy 1 Get 1 but also had their 50% off tags still attached, so I walked out of the store with 4 new DVDs for $25+tax. I'd say what they were, but I don't think anybody would talk to me again if I did...

On the upside, I can grab Ippo 16 next week and maybe Zipang 1 as my freebie.

Zero-chan said...

Eh, I dunno, the edits in Jojo don't bother me much, mainly because there's so few of them and Araki himself is overseeing it all. (There's also the name changes, too, but you can blame the US legal system for that.) I'm actually kind of surprised at some of the stuff that's been left unedited, such as the porno-reading, loli-loving orangutan. But yeah, I don't feel any hesitation to buy the English version of Jojo. It's not the massive hackjob Tenjou Tenge is, where they tried to take an adult-oriented comic and tone it down for teens - you'll still get your 100% RDA of mega-manliness and spraying buckets of blood from the English edition. That's all I ask for, really.

Chris Sobieniak said...

exedore said...
Bernhard: I think Rob Fenelon's unofficial goal in life is to sucker as many people as possible into watching Ringing Bell (yes, I have a tape of it from him as well).


Too bad I bought my copy off eBay, and it wasn't even an original either (but it is to be expected nowadays).

re: Sales Figures, it's interesting. I was at Suncoast today, and they're having a B1G1 on Geneon titles right now. Apparently if you advertise your sales well, you move a lot of extra units. =)

Heh, didn't think they were still in business. I kinda miss going to one that was still a bit far across town in my turf, but the prices pretty much kept me away for a long while. Best I ever bought there was one of those cute filmmaking slates that was manufactured for the Hollywood Dream Factory of Toledo, Ohio (duh!). I often pass by that place too, but the guy likes to keep the HQ locked up tooth and nail and the best time I could ever get it is my phone or e-mail. I'd love to buy some film equipment he might have in storage out back.

By the way, my order for the Japanese Unico DVDs just went through with CD Japan, so I hope to get those soon via Registered Air Mail, which means I'll have a hell of a time getting them since hardly anyone's home to sign for 'em whilest I'm at work. Have to tell someone here if or when they come to bother signing it or else I'll have to make it down to the post office and hope they get it before 5PM.

Anonymous said...

exedore said...
On the upside, I can grab Ippo 16 next week and maybe Zipang 1 as my freebie.


There's a volume 16? I only have... [runs downstairs] ...eight! How many episodes are there? ...[checks ANN and Right Stuf] ... 76!?

I guess I still have a lot to watch from Right Stuf's last Geneon sale (I figured I'd get a lot out of the way before starting what I thought was a 40 episode series, now I'll probably wait until I get the rest of it, which will take who knows how long...)

Chris Sobieniak said...
Being reminded "Battle of the Planets" (while I often talk in disgust about it), does feature a good cast of people who had been actors for a long while in cartoons and other mediums, Casey Kasem, Janet Waldo and Alan Young to name a few.


Don't forget Keye Luke! One reason I'm not getting rid of my "Battle of The Planets Ultimate Box Set" is because it features interviews with many of the dub cast, including Casey Casem demonstrating several of his voices ("Like, yoinks, Scoob!").

E. Bernhard Warg
Otakon Classic track
Anime's Frank

"Frith may have made it, but Fiver found it."

exedore said...

E Bernhard Warg Sagt:
There's a volume 16? I only have... [runs downstairs] ...eight! How many episodes are there? ...[checks ANN and Right Stuf] ... 76!?


The TV series is 15 discs (ending with ep 75). Disc 16 is the 90 min. TV followup movie. There's two other OVAs that are licensed but do not have a release date (and it's confirmed that they're not on disc 16).

Ippo is manly awesomeness.

*shameless plug* Our new fansub release is not manly awesomeness, but it is scary cute. Yes, we finally got to work and put out the 2001 OVA of San-X's Afro-Ken.

Chris Sobieniak said...

E. Bernhard Warg said something important...

Don't forget Keye Luke!

Damn, I knew I forgot "Number One Son!" :-)

One reason I'm not getting rid of my "Battle of The Planets Ultimate Box Set" is because it features interviews with many of the dub cast, including Casey Casem demonstrating several of his voices ("Like, yoinks, Scoob!").

E. Bernhard Warg


I should've gotten that set. Nice Casey Kasem got to do is Shaggy there (apart from him jumping ship on it back in the 90's for personal reasons).

Thinking about the differences between American and Japanese voice actors, I often get a laugh thinking of how far they do further their popularlity in Japan through venues like the Sakura Taisen seiyuu concerts. My Houston pal had to go to one of them just to see them in person (being a Sakura Taisen nut)!

Oh yeah, and because I have WAY too much time on my hands (let alone a slight case of pretentious boredom), I threw this together using the familiar BOTP theme synched to the first Op of "Legend of the Galactic Heroes", enjoy!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7-4V-Iof3o

This all cultivates out of a weird thing I noticed recently of thinking how interesting certain cartoons would sound like if given a different theme song, in particular, lousy American types of my youth. Here are some examples...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2PHCosqScSg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z92w3TPJCpo

I think it's going as gooda s I want it to be, and I have many more to come (like Evangelion synched to the Jetsons theme). At least I'm taking this a little bit seriously further than the usual "mesh-ups" like THESE!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Er-f43Z4uu8
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nkd1ZwLndWI
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8B3q3Bp4Ekc
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3xAqzxqMhs
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6B8C2HMjBa4

Really, it gets so retarded I can't even bare to watch 'em all!

Erwin said...

Happy New Year Guys :D

TPster said...

Re: Ghibli's pronunciation

Not that it matters, but Miyazaki found out years after naming his company Ghibli that he had been mispronuncing it. He decided that he didn't care and continued to use the Japanese pronunciation. It's like how we pronounce anime and they pronounce Mario.

Steve Harrison said...

One thing to consider, sales-wise, is that 'buy one get one' sales are designed to move stale catalog, NOT be a bonus of new title goodness. Usually there's some form of restriction, usually pricepoint which is meaningless with anime because EVERY FRICKIN' TITLE IS $29.99 (generally, OK? I know there's some $24.99 stuff out there and the CPM reprices and all. come on, you know what I mean. )..it's not like anime companies have their 'catalog pricing' down like Warner Bros or Paramount and the like.

So there's likely to be a fair amount of dog titles on the shelves. The kinds of things we used to get cases of from Fox and Anchor Bay and sell for $2.99 each, 2 for $5. Still, if they had gotten some Sherlock Hound and Lupin III goodness I'd probably dive in.

Chris, there's still around 100 Suncoasts still out there, but not much longer. Rumor has it FYE is going to convert the 20 best stores and close the rest in 2007. This is after their failed bid to buy Tower Records.

For the mainstream DVD world, be prepared to hear reports of how DVD sales were 'disappointing' (insert 'below expectations' for the more positive angle) for the year and how downloading and Wal*mart hurt places like Best Buy and FYE and Circut City. But there's cautious optimism for Blu-Ray and HD to bring things back to profitability.

Mark my words :)

Also? the Netscape bug was fixed, then came back. Just to be safe I'm just using the G5 and Safari to read and post to AWO, so I won't be here as much as I was. Which is likely a relief to some.

W. Amos said...

Is this the right room for an argument?

Glad you seemed to enjoy my voicemail. I don't mean to send these overlong things, but usually I'm not motivated to write something unless it would take more than 20 seconds to express the thought.

Indeed, it is Rob's mission to spread the pain of "Chirin no Suzu". I remember I first got a copy from him years ago among a batch of other tapes, with no explanation as to what it was. When I first started curiously watching, I was disgusted by the saccharine cuteness, and mystified why Rob would have this thing at all because he detests cute as much as I do. But knowing him to be a devious bastard, I assumed there had to be some redeeming quality to the thing and started watching it on speed search until the wolf showed up, when it started to look more interesting. Then I kept watching and by the time they got to the "We will travel, Wolf and Ram; and we'll ravage all the land!" song, my jaw was on the floor.

I then inherited Rob's illness and started pushing it at people in Texas. Showed it at the UT Austin Anime Club one Halloween telling people to wait through the saccharine cuteness because the thing was twisted and evil. Elin Winkler caught it and bugged me at A-Kon for several years to get her a copy until I finally got around to it, and then she started pushing at her San Antonio anime group. So I wonder how many people have been afflicted with this as a result of Rob's efforts directly or indirectly?

FYI I got some small measure of revenge for this years later when I sent him Eddie Izzard's "Dress to Kill" comedy special off HBO. He says he watched the first 10 minutes of that wherein Izzard explains that he is an "executive transvestite", and turned the tape off in disgust when he felt he wasn't interested in transvestite humor. It wasn't until months later when everyone in his circle of friends demanded he watch it that he sat down and saw all the great history and culture gags ("Hitler never played RISK as a kid!")

I remember his saying that he saW this in the kiddie cartoon section of some local video chain in the early 80s and had the same reaction of shock and disbelief when he saw it, and fortunately made a copy because he correctly assumed the tape wouldn't be around for long. He noted that not long after he took it back that it disappeared from the shelves; assuming as many do that some parent stuck it in to babysit the kid while running an errand, checking the first 5 minutes to make sure it's OK; coming home a half hour later and being horrified when asking the tyke what he learned in his video and getting the reply that "Life is Hell and you must grow sharp claws to rend your enemies and survive!" :-)

One very interesting thing about this video is the philosophical discussions it often engenders. Some see in it a Nietzschean worldview ("If you gaze into the abyss, the abyss also gazes into you"), while others see the ending as essentially Confucian ("The nail that stands up shall be hammered down.") I can easily see this as a reworking of some older traditional Japanese or Chinese tale to convince kids to accept their lot in life. I would very much like to know the full provenance of this story.

Chris Sobieniak said...

Steve Harrison said...

One thing to consider, sales-wise, is that 'buy one get one' sales are designed to move stale catalog, NOT be a bonus of new title goodness. Usually there's some form of restriction, usually pricepoint which is meaningless with anime because EVERY FRICKIN' TITLE IS $29.99 (generally, OK? I know there's some $24.99 stuff out there and the CPM reprices and all. come on, you know what I mean. )..it's not like anime companies have their 'catalog pricing' down like Warner Bros or Paramount and the like.

So there's likely to be a fair amount of dog titles on the shelves. The kinds of things we used to get cases of from Fox and Anchor Bay and sell for $2.99 each, 2 for $5. Still, if they had gotten some Sherlock Hound and Lupin III goodness I'd probably dive in.


Such a shame I skipped out on both titles when I had the chance to get 'em all.

Chris, there's still around 100 Suncoasts still out there, but not much longer. Rumor has it FYE is going to convert the 20 best stores and close the rest in 2007. This is after their failed bid to buy Tower Records.

Funny FYE's still around. They sure didn't stick around my homwtown long enough once Borders showed up. What I miss was the luxury of having 2-3 music stores in one mall 15-20 years ago, and it was necessary for me to go competitive shopping for the best prices. Now with only really one or two places left in town, it hardly makes a difference whether I leave the house at all. National Amusements already killed off any enjoyment I used to had going to any theater in my area by consolodating it to one central location.

Having to see some of Trans World Entertainment's previous aquisitions, I can remember when I went to places like Camelot Music, Coconuts and Musicland in my hometown. But it's obviously TWE's had it with dealing with Toledo anymore

Of course, Toledo has never had a Tower Records location during the life of that entity, and we may never see the likes of a Virgin Megastore in a zillion years!

The only reason why eBay and BitTorrent has been my only friend as of recent years. (the "hikikomori mode" is settling in)

For the mainstream DVD world, be prepared to hear reports of how DVD sales were 'disappointing' (insert 'below expectations' for the more positive angle) for the year and how downloading and Wal*mart hurt places like Best Buy and FYE and Circut City. But there's cautious optimism for Blu-Ray and HD to bring things back to profitability.

Mark my words :)


I WILL!

Of course they'll have to say that. Yet it'll probably take me a good five years before I might even consider getting either an HD or Blue-Ray player.

Also? the Netscape bug was fixed, then came back. Just to be safe I'm just using the G5 and Safari to read and post to AWO, so I won't be here as much as I was. Which is likely a relief to some.

DON'T GO! I love listening to your anecdotes of a time long past! I only wish I was born a decade earlier so I could've gotten into the anime thing by the late 80's. I love talking to the pioneers of the fandom and the stories they can tell of those 'dark ages'.

OK, I'm rambling on at this point. :-)

Chris Sobieniak said...

Famous W. Amos said...
Is this the right room for an argument?

I dunno, I guess so. :-)

Glad you seemed to enjoy my voicemail. I don't mean to send these overlong things, but usually I'm not motivated to write something unless it would take more than 20 seconds to express the thought.

I'm not sure why I bother to respond back like this is a Usenet group I frequent constantly!

Indeed, it is Rob's mission to spread the pain of "Chirin no Suzu". I remember I first got a copy from him years ago among a batch of other tapes, with no explanation as to what it was. When I first started curiously watching, I was disgusted by the saccharine cuteness, and mystified why Rob would have this thing at all because he detests cute as much as I do. But knowing him to be a devious bastard, I assumed there had to be some redeeming quality to the thing and started watching it on speed search until the wolf showed up, when it started to look more interesting. Then I kept watching and by the time they got to the "We will travel, Wolf and Ram; and we'll ravage all the land!" song, my jaw was on the floor.

I then inherited Rob's illness and started pushing it at people in Texas. Showed it at the UT Austin Anime Club one Halloween telling people to wait through the saccharine cuteness because the thing was twisted and evil. Elin Winkler caught it and bugged me at A-Kon for several years to get her a copy until I finally got around to it, and then she started pushing at her San Antonio anime group. So I wonder how many people have been afflicted with this as a result of Rob's efforts directly or indirectly?


I guess we thank thank Rob for bringing us pain we might not recieve if this tape never made it out on the shelves at all!

I remember his saying that he saW this in the kiddie cartoon section of some local video chain in the early 80s and had the same reaction of shock and disbelief when he saw it, and fortunately made a copy because he correctly assumed the tape wouldn't be around for long. He noted that not long after he took it back that it disappeared from the shelves; assuming as many do that some parent stuck it in to babysit the kid while running an errand, checking the first 5 minutes to make sure it's OK; coming home a half hour later and being horrified when asking the tyke what he learned in his video and getting the reply that "Life is Hell and you must grow sharp claws to rend your enemies and survive!" :-)

But it's all true! :)

Yeah, if I had seen this too as an 8 year old, I probably would be too speechless to say anything to my folks (unless they wouldn't be like this kid's mom and ask me what I learned from it).

One very interesting thing about this video is the philosophical discussions it often engenders. Some see in it a Nietzschean worldview ("If you gaze into the abyss, the abyss also gazes into you"), while others see the ending as essentially Confucian ("The nail that stands up shall be hammered down.") I can easily see this as a reworking of some older traditional Japanese or Chinese tale to convince kids to accept their lot in life. I would very much like to know the full provenance of this story.

I'd love to know too!

Steve Harrison said...

Oh my freaking god..OK, I SWEAR I did not know this article was up at Video Business..or if I did I totally forgot about it:

http://www.videobusiness.com/article/CA6402797.html

Reads like I wrote it, huh?

exedore said...

Excuse me for a moment while I curse at blogger for eating my post and I ferverently try to recreate it. Also, a big fuck you to Blogger's captcha for not accepting proper ASCII input from non-US keyboard layouts.

Steve - The article is in line with what you are saying, though one part scares the crap out of me:

“We believe the studios should be selling digital downloads at full retail pricing or creating a premium priced digital download/VOD experience closer to the theatrical window,” the report states. “

I don't know about you, but I have no desire to pay full price for a DRM crippled, non-transferrable, non-replaceable download. The idea that people should be paying a premium for this shows just what is so fucked up with the entertainment industry these days, and I worry about how the anime industry would handle this as well - we could go back to the days of premium pricing for subtitles (if we get them at all). (/fubar)

In my non-industry opinion, it's not hard to see why sales are down. Netflix has become a serious competitor for buying in a way that Blockbuster never was in the days of VHS, as it has just about anything you could ever want as long as it's porn. Likewise, the initial rush to upgrade to DVD and replace collections is over. Virtually every major film is out on DVD, and the industry has to make its cash on new releases which are, whether they like it or not, frequently not good enough for people to justify buying. Likewise, the TV boom is starting to die off as major titles finish up (MASH, Friends) and more niche and nostalgia market items are coming up to replace them. Again, big rush to buy (FINALLY some respectable releases that aren't hardcore fan only Time Life VHS subscriptions at collector prices), tapers off.

IMHO, it would be interesting to compare the sales curve for DVDs since 1999 with the one for CDs following that format's initial release - I would guess that it's similar. There's a slow start as the technology is embraced, a rush to upgrade and replace, and then a slowdown as people have the majority of their collections in the new format and media goes back to being a casual purchase ("I've got $10, I'm at Target, ooh look Ghostbusters").

Anime is weird among this, though, because it's still a niche. It's a big, hard to ignore niche, but still not a huge mover of units. As a result, the industry can stay back and let the giants fight things out and then follow on with the winners. Unless the Japanese decide to prove the old adage once again, the standard DVD market for anime isn't going to be forcibly outdated by the industry. Then again, the anime companies can be just as annoying and dumb as Hollywood (16x9 DBZ TV? tf...)

And HD/Blu-Ray? Fuck 'em. They're going to go the way of the laserdisc, but without the pretty cover art (at least in this country).

Anonymous said...

Somehow I can't feel very sympathetic about "Oh no! We'll only make $23.4 billion instead of $23.6 billion!"

E. Bernhard Warg
Otakon Classic track
Anime's Frank

Rooster said...

The Ringing Bell story sounds quite familiar. Maybe George Lucas saw this when he was younger and said to himself. "Hey, I want to make children's movies like this!" and thus Star Wars 1-3 was born.

DIAS said...

As soon I heard "The Thief and the Cobbler" I yelled out "Tack!" The memories of my misspent youth inspired me to purchase the DVD from Amazon. It was under 20 bucks, and bundled with Vol. 7 of Hikaru no Go, I got free shipping, so it was all good.

Alexander Strange said...

By the way, I seem to have noticed a mysterious resemblance between Stevey B. and the villainous head of the Manga Club in Genshiken.

exedore said...

I just need a moment to scream in a friendly anime space. Y'see, the first episode of the new World Masterpiece Theatre anime aired today. For those not in the know, this year's show is an adaptation of Victor Hugo's legendary novel Les Miserables (yes, the one they turned into a musical). The subtitle for the Japanese release is "The Girl Cosette (Shoujo Cosette)".

Fine, fair enough, WMP are known for changing things around, adding characters to give kids in the audience a place to relate to, nothing out of line here.

Except that Cosette is a fucking moe girl in this. Think Tsubasa from KareKano. Yeah, the one who's 16 but looks 12. Maybe give her a rounder look and that's Cosette. Not the miserable, starving figure that Hugo portrayed her as, but a blonde target for moe freaks and their sick lolicon obsessions. Every other goddamned character is roughly in line with the novel's portrayals (although I don't think Valjean or Javert have shown up yet...could be wrong, and it was hard to tell from thes creencaps) but no. Fucking moe 8 year old, and Cosette stays young for most of the novel to begin with. Anybody want to take bets on WMP keeping her from adulthood the whole time?

The conspiracy is spreading. The NHK really are controlling NHK now...

Daniel Thomas MacInnes said...

Thanks a lot for making your old VHS copy of Ringing Bell - for some reason my brain keeps telling me the name is "Raging Bull." Perhaps it's just thinking of devious, MST3K-styled parodies.

This was a really good little movie, in a dark, warped kind or way. It's like having a bad psychedelic trip while watching Heidi or Horus, Prince of the Sun. I think it's the way all these discordant styles collide into one another; cutesy Disney cartoon animals, a sheep with a human face, the sudden plunge into darkness and tragedy, the kind of overacting that would make Shatner proud.

I'm also impressed that Ringing Bell doesn't even try to take the easy way out. It's pure dark existentialism, a Waiting For Godot for the Happy Meal set. The ending, now that was a real surprise. The young sheep becomes a strong, manly ram (ahem), defeats his lifelong foe, and is then completely rejected by his own people. He made the morally right decision, but it still costs him dearly, and he's haunted by guilt. He really was trapped in a kind of hell.

Ringing Bell is like a Christmas cartoon made by atheists.

I'd like to see a DVD of this picture in the States, just as I'd like to see a lot of anime that's never going to be seen here. I don't know, however, if it would ever sell. There is the novelty value (a dark and violent cartoon), but that's really the same novelty that anime has been riding on for a decade or two. Maybe it'd work as kitsch.

Either way, it'd be nice to find out. Discotek did a great service by releasing a number of classic Toei Doga movies this past year. I have no idea if any of them sold at all (probably not, gauging the store shelves), but that's something you'd have to take up with the anime kids. I think there are more options out there besides the standard anime cliches. And I hope the kids would, at the very least, give a lot of this stuff a fair chance.

Can't wrap my head around this whole, "it's old, so it sucks" riff. Aren't these kids aware that they're going to grow old someday? It happens pretty damn fast if you're not looking. If you think nothing of value was ever created before the Berlin Wall fell, well, you've got a very frustrated life awaiting you.

Anyway, I'm really enjoying the AWO podcasts, and I'll be sure to tune in for more. I'll also throw in a link from the Ghibli blog, so whoever drops by can check you out.

Anonymous said...

Either way, it'd be nice to find out. Discotek did a great service by releasing a number of classic Toei Doga movies this past year. I have no idea if any of them sold at all (probably not, gauging the store shelves), but that's something you'd have to take up with the anime kids.

Well, I definitely tried to get the message out at the last Otakon (and if I'd known Puss in Boots would be out by then I'd have programmed it as well). Maybe one or two more people bought copies thanks to my efforts (and maybe monkeys will fly out of my butt...).

Incidentally, I figured out a better way to phrase something I said earlier: I think there are some low-selling titles that might at least have sold a little better if certain US anime companies hadn't created the expectation that everything they release would eventually come out in a lower priced box set.

E. Bernhard Warg
Otakon Classic track
Anime's Frank

Chris Sobieniak said...

Because the previous Xmas e-mail episode seems to have vanished to "another dimension", this episode's latest comments came on, and I'm compelled to spew more mindless anecdotes to get off my chest!

Daniel Thomas MacInnes said...
Thanks a lot for making your old VHS copy of Ringing Bell - for some reason my brain keeps telling me the name is "Raging Bull." Perhaps it's just thinking of devious, MST3K-styled parodies.


Probably.

This was a really good little movie, in a dark, warped kind or way. It's like having a bad psychedelic trip while watching Heidi or Horus, Prince of the Sun. I think it's the way all these discordant styles collide into one another; cutesy Disney cartoon animals, a sheep with a human face, the sudden plunge into darkness and tragedy, the kind of overacting that would make Shatner proud.

I'm also impressed that Ringing Bell doesn't even try to take the easy way out. It's pure dark existentialism, a Waiting For Godot for the Happy Meal set. The ending, now that was a real surprise. The young sheep becomes a strong, manly ram (ahem), defeats his lifelong foe, and is then completely rejected by his own people. He made the morally right decision, but it still costs him dearly, and he's haunted by guilt. He really was trapped in a kind of hell.


The kind of thing that makes suicide seem too easy. This is the way anime should be!

Ringing Bell is like a Christmas cartoon made by atheists.

Yeah, that too!

I'd like to see a DVD of this picture in the States, just as I'd like to see a lot of anime that's never going to be seen here.

Me too!

I don't know, however, if it would ever sell. There is the novelty value (a dark and violent cartoon), but that's really the same novelty that anime has been riding on for a decade or two. Maybe it'd work as kitsch.

Perhaps. Rather people see this instead of FMA personally!

Either way, it'd be nice to find out. Discotek did a great service by releasing a number of classic Toei Doga movies this past year. I have no idea if any of them sold at all (probably not, gauging the store shelves), but that's something you'd have to take up with the anime kids. I think there are more options out there besides the standard anime cliches. And I hope the kids would, at the very least, give a lot of this stuff a fair chance.

I hope so too.

Can't wrap my head around this whole, "it's old, so it sucks" riff. Aren't these kids aware that they're going to grow old someday?

I should be a good example of that!

It happens pretty damn fast if you're not looking. If you think nothing of value was ever created before the Berlin Wall fell, well, you've got a very frustrated life awaiting you.

I think so too. I tend to have the thought the new crowd has that anything from the 80's suck, yet, I'd wish I was back there personally.

Anyway, I'm really enjoying the AWO podcasts, and I'll be sure to tune in for more. I'll also throw in a link from the Ghibli blog, so whoever drops by can check you out.

I need to respond to your entries.

Then E. Bernhard Warg wrote:

Well, I definitely tried to get the message out at the last Otakon (and if I'd known Puss in Boots would be out by then I'd have programmed it as well). Maybe one or two more people bought copies thanks to my efforts (and maybe monkeys will fly out of my butt...).

I only wish Best Buy bothered to sell that one. Best I saw there was Animal Treasure Island and Taro the Dragon Boy, but apparently they just couldn't stick around for the third release.

Incidentally, I figured out a better way to phrase something I said earlier: I think there are some low-selling titles that might at least have sold a little better if certain US anime companies hadn't created the expectation that everything they release would eventually come out in a lower priced box set.

Ding-Ding-Ding! We have a winner!

HaloJonesFan said...

My comments...

Guys, I would totally listen to a four-hour version of your podcast. If it I found you at all boring then I wouldn't be listening to you at all...

LET'S NEWS: I think that the reason anime companies don't publish numbers is that they don't want Japanese owners to say "oh wow, anime sells like shit in the US market, we're not interested in that market anymore." And they'll do the classic Japanese thing where they avoid having to say "no" by pretending that they didn't hear your question. And all the stateside anime companies disappear, and nothing ever gets licensed again.

Although, in a way, some anime fans might welcome that state of affairs, because it would be a return to the early-nineties type of anime fandom. Anime would be a niche thing again, something that only the really with-it geeks did because you had to be a friend of a friend of a friend to even know about it.

"Ringing Bell": I think that the moral of this story is twofold; first, "anyone can become strong if they're willing to become a monster", and second "you can't just stop being a monster because you don't like it anymore". It's about as grim as "Northworld".

Maybe "Ringing Bell" was Sanrio's act of catharsis; they put all their angst and dark emotion into that one film, and then from then on it was all sweetness and light. They'd gotten it out of their system, and so they didn't feel a need to make "Hello Kitty" have any sarcastic or "witty" edge to it.

Oh, and it wasn't just the same team that did "Watership Down" and "Plague Dogs"--the same author wrote both books. He also wrote "Shardik", which is about a group of people who believe that God is a bear, and they follow the bear around the forest "worshipping" him. Bear gots berserk and eat the high priestess? Eh, it was God's Will.

"Kishin Corps": Yeah, I got the first episode of this--dubbed, one episode on VHS tape, twenty-five dollars...it made so little impression on me that I couldn't see myself spending any more money on it. Particularly when the next "Giant Robo" episode was going to be here any day! (it wound up taking three years.)

As a side note, this was around the same time (I think) that Bandai started AnimeVillage, and were selling tapes for the same price. I complained about the price on their forum. The company's response was (somewhat paraphrased) "that's what everyone else charges, so that's obviously the appropriate market price. Besides, people in Japan pay way more than that."

I think that part of the problem with Kishin was that they couldn't quite decide what kind of anime they were making. Was this a character piece? An ensemble piece? A "real-robot" war story? A "super robot" hero story? Grim realism? Shounen action? What are we doing here? And you wind up with this dog's breakfast of stuff, as though they tried to take the good parts of every anime ever and mash them into a videotape casserole.

HaloJonesFan said...

Oh, and Orson Scott Card was always a little woogly; but the September 11th attacks were what finally broke his brain. It happened to a lot of writers; Dan Simmons, and also Scott Adams.

HaloJonesFan said...

As for watered-down kiddie shows: I know that it's become very trendy to blame parents for everything, but I'm going to go there again. Parents don't want complex kids' shows, because the parents can't understand them. When a modern kid asks his mommy why the wolf killed Chirrin's mom, mommy's twelve years of least-common-denominator public schooling have left her ill-equipped to discuss the philosophical implications of death and loss.

Daryl Surat said...

Okay folks, here's what's going on with the site. On Saturday around 11:15 AM, some jerkwad spammer from Italy or something left a spam comment consisting of several links to his porn site. But by the time I saw the post at 1:00 PM and deleted it, it was too late. Blogspot's spam-protection robots detected the spam message and locked the entire blog on the grounds that the AWO blog is a "spam blog."

What this means is that I cannot publish any new posts: all new posts are merely saved as drafts for the time being. I tried to edit the bonus emails post to explain this situation, but editing a post is apparently no different from making a new post. As a result, the bonus emails post was saved as a draft and thus is no longer displayed on the front page.

How do I reverse this, seeing as it's all being caused by something I have no control over? Well, I had to submit a request for someone at Blogger/Google to manually inspect this webpage and determine whether or not it's a spam blog, since only they can restore my full access. Their form says this takes less than one day, but it's been over five. They sent me an email saying it would take "less than four business days," so I'm still hopeful this'll get fixed by tomorrow. Of course, the very same spammer who got the blog locked has since left additional comments in this very thread I am posting in now, so for all I know it got fixed and immediately locked again when I wasn't looking.

I had the word verification enabled in the comments to avoid having to deal with this sort of thing, but that only stops automated spam programs. This guy's manually spamming the blog, presumably because he did a porn search and our site came up. The only way I can stop this from happening in the future would be if I disabled anonymous/other posting (which I don't want to do), or enabled comment moderation, meaning that your comments would not appear until I screened them and approved them. I don't want to resort to either of these things.

And yes, I do have a backup Wordpress blog, but now that Blogger's switched to the new version, Wordpress can no longer import Blogger posts or comments. Just my luck. In the meantime, Show # 44 is out, for those of you who are not subscribed to the show that have managed to find this post:

http://tinyurl.com/ytr5vj

If you are subscribed using podcatcher software, these website troubles will not prevent you from getting new episodes, as the podcast feed is independent from the blog feed. It merely prevents me from writing show notes for each episode, having discussion threads for that episode, and updating the Review Index.

Brack said...

That's a real pain about the spam damage, so I'll comment here for now.

I enjoyed your take on Mind Game, it's pretty much the same view I have of it. I scratch my head when people complain about it being too weird as story wise and message wise it's pretty straight forward.

There's a couple of credits I you left of Yuasa's resume that I think do need raising to give an idea where he's coming from and that is Chibi Maruko Chan and Crayon Shin Chan. He has a very "cartoony" sensibility that he brings to his directorial works that he's clearly learnt from his time on those shows. Both Mind Game and Kemonozume do not shy away from a good old fashioned butt gag and are all the more better for it.

The 2004 award victory over Ghibli's HMC is a good point, and combined with 2006's victory of Hosoda's Girl Who Leapt Through Time, shows there's clearly the talent out there to fill the gap when Miyazaki finally calls it a day (Hosoda's victory being extra sweet due to his abrupt departure from HMC's director's chair). The worrying thing is that this critical acclaim isn't yet converting into commericial success.

Brian said...

Yeah, I had the same thing happen to my old blog because I had too many links to seemingly random places. Isn't that kind of what the Internet is???

They fixed it in a few days, but I ended up just getting some cheap server space and using Wordpress.

Anyway, keep up the good work. Spammers suck.

Mahlon said...

I went to YouTube and watched Ringing Bell today, and I have to say that it is now one of my favourite movies. Thank you, A.W.O.!

Christian said...

Please read this line in the voice of Arnold Schwarzenegger:

"You son of a bitch!"

Daryl, you just cost me $39.03 plus shipping as I'm ordering the R2 of Mind Game. I'm only seeing Yamamoto Seiichi credited for music, not necessarily all of Boredoms (or Vooredoms [with an 'infinity' instead of two 'o's] or whatever they're calling themselves today), but that's quite okay. Yamamoto's been with Boredoms for a long while, but he's also been in Omoide Hatoba (best Boredoms side-project band for my money) and ROVO. The guy's all over the map, musically, and I'd definitely consider myself a fan.

I remember seeing some stuff about this movie a while back, but I didn't hear about Yamamoto's work on this until the podcast today. Sweet!

w. amos said...

Just scrolled thru the comments because I was wondering if there was something wrong with my browser, not showing any new posts since show 43. Ah, porn spam. As I am fond of saying, this kind of shit is one of the many problems that is a direct result of my not being Emperor. (Because, were I Emperor, people screwing up blogs I want to read with porn spam would find themselves in the gulag right pronto!)

I mainly came round because I just wanted to throw in some links to things that I came across this evening that made my head be exploded. Not only is Bell of Chirin itself on youtube, but people are making MUSIC VIDEOS TO IT!!! And oddly, other people are using Chirin's music to make videos of other things!

Also to respond to Chris from a while back re: LoGH videos. I have had a video in my head for LoGH based on a song from CHESS for many years and I swear to God one of these days I'll get around to making it. In the meantime, I have made only one short LoGH video like yours - I stuck the "Gathering the Fleet" music from Space Battleship Yamato (the song I always called "The Gamilon March" before I knew the actual title), and dubbed it over the fortress Iserlohn docking sequence from the first movie. It syncs almost perfectly, time-wise and thematically! And considering Noboru Ishiguro directed both shows, and the voice actors for Kodai and Admiral Okita are also in LoGH (Yang, Merkatz respectively), this adds just one more bit of happy synchronicity!

HaloJonesFan said...

amos: Have you posted this video anywhere? I'd like to watch it. I'll also probably link it in the thread on the SomethingAwful.com forums.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about troubles. Blogger should get off their asses and unlock your account.

Chirin's story was interesting. I think all tv should be shown to kids only with parental supervision. If an adult feels their brain turning to mush, they shouldn't be showing it to a kid either. If serious issues are raised, they can be discussed.

Finding "safe" shows to babysit kids with is an abdication of parental responsibility.

[Bob]

Chris Sobieniak said...

w. amos said...

Just scrolled thru the comments because I was wondering if there was something wrong with my browser, not showing any new posts since show 43. Ah, porn spam. As I am fond of saying, this kind of shit is one of the many problems that is a direct result of my not being Emperor. (Because, were I Emperor, people screwing up blogs I want to read with porn spam would find themselves in the gulag right pronto!)


I don't know either. Had to get the latest show from my PSP's RSS catcher.

I mainly came round because I just wanted to throw in some links to things that I came across this evening that made my head be exploded. Not only is Bell of Chirin itself on youtube, but people are making MUSIC VIDEOS TO IT!!! And oddly, other people are using Chirin's music to make videos of other things!

Too bad that wasn't a great film the song was stuck to, but I guess it works to some people (I often think of the music and reminding me awfully of the kind of stuff I would aquate to Japan too easily anyway.

Have to go grabe the DVD that has "Chirin no Suzu" on from CD Japan and get a A++ copy out there to the masses!

Also to respond to Chris from a while back re: LoGH videos. I have had a video in my head for LoGH based on a song from CHESS for many years and I swear to God one of these days I'll get around to making it. In the meantime, I have made only one short LoGH video like yours - I stuck the "Gathering the Fleet" music from Space Battleship Yamato (the song I always called "The Gamilon March" before I knew the actual title), and dubbed it over the fortress Iserlohn docking sequence from the first movie. It syncs almost perfectly, time-wise and thematically! And considering Noboru Ishiguro directed both shows, and the voice actors for Kodai and Admiral Okita are also in LoGH (Yang, Merkatz respectively), this adds just one more bit of happy synchronicity!

That's cool. The way I was going by it, I was making a joke over what much different a show could e if it had a different theme song, and in this case, a Japanese anime using an American theme or vice-versa.

I think it has more to do with my childhood in having this interest in watching a show based on how it was presented in it's OP sequences (of which we've lost touch with in domestic productions as of recent years due to the usual timing constrants that limit such need). Worst I had for an idea was to synch Tenchi Muyo! with the Family Guy theme a few years back but didn't get around to (also don't really want to get too technical with things like making the anime characters move their lips to the song either).

I made a couple more but haven't gotten around to YouTubin' anything just yet (somehow I attempted to overdub the crappy GoBots opening with the insrumental OP to Grendizer and it nearly failes due to the shorter time lengtt of said opening, but it sill looked cute to me, and Shunsuke Kikuchi kicks ass anyway).

And yeah, AMV Hell's OK, but I don't see myself watching it over and over since the novelty only works once in a while.

Bob Savage said...

Hey guys, I just spent ten minutes looking through Blogger and Google websites for an email address or a form I could use to tell the support folks that this was a real blog, and that I would like them to reauthorize your account. Unfortunately I couldn't find a single one.

Do you know of an email address or anything we can use to support you in this?

Anonymous said...

AWA stands behind you guys. Just let me know if there's anything we can do to help. -Patrick

Sub said...

I have told my friends the plot of one Crying Freeman story (the one with cologne and BUGNUG) and one Golgo 13 story (the wiseguy one), and they think I'm making the shit up.

w. amos said...

amos: Have you posted this video anywhere? I'd like to watch it. I'll also probably link it in the thread on the SomethingAwful.com forums.


halojonesfan: No, the only time I put this together was on a VHS tape to fill out a tape to a friend with some LoGH fansubs on it. I don't think the tape could be easily located anymore, but as I think about it, it would be fairly easy to replicate in iMovie, so maybe I'll give that a shot. If I do I'll definitely post it on youtube and link it here.

HaloJonesFan said...

Cool. I think that more visibility for LOGH can only be a good thing.

Sweetlydark said...

I've been going through the older shows between releases, since I don't have anything better to do most of the time (even at work!) and well shit, I think I saw WaterShip Down when I was a kid. I've been trying to remember the name for a long time. All I remembered about it was that it had rabbits, it was pretty gorey and thinking this is on F**up cartoon (makes wonder how young I was when I saw it).

Thanks for the great show.