Sunday, February 6, 2011

A Tale of Two Gundams

I am no expert on Chinese piracy but the examples presented to us are sometimes ridiculous, but this one probably takes the cake. Before I get to that let me share some things I do know. In the past I have mistakenly purchased bootleg soundtracks from Hong Kong/China, and then there's the whole copying thing.

I can't remember which show was copied, maybe it was Haruhi? This is a pamphlet cover for the Beijing Olympics.

Oh wait I think it was Shinkai's 5 cm per second...



Not much of a difference going on there, I know... that just shows how much was copied. There are other shots from Shinkai's work that better depict the copying, but all they do is prove how China didn't take the time to put in as much detail as Shinkai. I guess if it's successful, it's worth copying?

So let's get back to Gundam shall we? The basic jist of the story is China put up a Gundam statue, extremely similar to that of Japan's statue, at one of their amusement parks. People immediately stated "That's a rip off of Gundam! You can't do that! What the hell is going on?!" And so China says "NO. This is an original design! What's a Gundam?" Now I don't know what Bandai had to say about the topic and the kinda cool looking orange statue, but I'm sure whoever built the statue soon learned of the name Bandai.

So then overnight China removes the statue completely. Sometime after that reporters asked "Hey, what happened to your orange Gundam?" and China replied "Uhh... what statue? It never existed!" Better yet, just a couple days later lo and behold THIS THING APPEARED...

And so they pretty much used the same frame as before and created a "close enough to kinda look like Gundam but it's so different we won't get in trouble!" statue. The panels are different and it's grown spikes. The orange mobile suit looked cooler.

Cool beans China, cool beans.

-Jared C.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Ponyo Ponyo Ponyo sakana no ko

A catchy tune isn't it?

I haven't seen Studio Ghibli's Ponyo in over a month now, so I won't be going too in depth with the film. But if I may say, Miyazaki has done another great job at bringing a Ghibli title to life.

In the film we follow a young boy named Sasuke, and by chance he comes across a goldfish and names it Ponyo. Later the goldfish magically turns into a girl where Sasuke and Ponyo are quick to become friends and build a simple relationship.

Miyazaki stated that he wanted to create a movie for his grand children, and I believe he did just that. The true magic lies within the fact that adults can enjoy the film as well. Whether you are 5 or 50, the themes and messages that the film conveys about friendship and the environment have the ability to resonate within the hearts of Ponyo's viewers.

There's a handful of nifty extras that comes along with the 2-disc release of Ponyo from Walt Disney Pictures, but one of the most interesting is a short look into the heaviest of inspirations for Ponyo. It turns out that Miyazaki had taken some time for himself and stayed in a rural coastal town in Japan not affected by big industry or contemporary culture. It's almost as if the small town is frozen in a tableau of time. Overall it provides a great influence for a wonderful setting in Ponyo.

The following is a piece of artwork featuring Sasuke and Ponyo when they have grown older. Whomever made this did a fantastic job.

So if you haven't seen Ponyo yet, I would highly recommend you try it out as soon as possible. It's not only great for children, but it's entertaining and has messages for adults as well. It's beautifully animated and is slightly adapted from the little mermaid. Go on! And don't be embarrassed if you get the children's song stuck in your head. It's too good not to.

-Jared C.