December 30, 2012

More Reviews

Monsters Inc.
I saw this in its 3D re-release. I hate 3D and this was no exception, but I hadn't seen the movie in a while. I think it and the Incredibles are my two favourite Pixar movies. I don't generally find their movies that funny (although this one does have some good comic moments) but I really admire their tight, disciplined story structures. The plot hits its various peaks and valleys like clockwork, and every single line of dialogue is either a payoff or a set-up to something else, which is always said to be the goal in screenwriting books. I also love the Muppet-like designs and the door-hopping climax is pretty cool. Plus, John Goodman.

Patlabor 1 the Movie
The placement of the "1" in that title bothers me. Anyway, I watched this and a bit of the TV series, mainly to have some context for the second film, which I've heard is great. 'Giant robots' isn't an anime genre I'm especially interested in, but I like how Patlabor takes a realistic, plausible approach to the idea, in which the mechs are mainly just used as construction machines. The movie was a pretty enjoyable, if forgettable, detective story with a sprinkling of trademark Mamoru Oshii philosophy. Any time I get to hear Toshio Furukawa doing his Ataru voice, I'm happy.

On a related note, I watched Gosenzosama Banbanzai fairly recently. It's another Oshii work-- a strange OVA series from the late 80's with a writing style that seems to ape some form of traditional Japanese theater. Not being familiar with the style, I don't know if it accomplished what it was trying to do, but I really liked it anyway. It's definitely not for everyone, as it's full of jarring product placement and long, mundane soliloquies, but there's also hilarious slapstick and a lot of work by amazing animators like Tatsuyuki Tanaka and Shinya Ohira. The voice cast is almost entirely made up of Urusei Yatsura regulars, including the aforementioned Furukawa in another lead role. To top it all off, it has an interesting abstract opening by Koji Nanke (the indie animator who did all the Urusei Yatsura openings) with a catchy song.

Macross Plus
This was praised extensively on ANNcast's "Best of the 90s" episode, so I was excited when I found it pretty cheap on Boxing Day. After watching all four OVA episodes, I wasn't particularly impressed. It seemed fairly generic. The music by Yoko Kanno was good, and it's hard to go wrong with Bryan Cranston and Richard Epcar as the main characters' dub voices, but other than that it didn't do much for me.

I'm still eating up the Funimation dub of Shin-Chan, now that I've managed to fill the holes in my collection. I wish that more of the early seasons had been translated, as that mid-90's period where Masaaki Yuasa was working on the series is the stuff I'm most interested in seeing. There are a few of those episodes in these sets, but not enough! And I'm still sad they only used three seconds of the hilarious theme song.

Finally, I started watching Breaking Bad and obviously it's awesome, but I have nothing to say about it yet that hasn't already been said elsewhere by better writers. So that's it for now... Happy New Year, everybody!!

December 24, 2012

Xmas BGs

Here are some backgrounds from the Christmas short, which by the way is also on Vimeo now with the audio synced up properly. The Youtube encoding seems to have delayed the sound by a few frames, which isn't a huge deal but results in less snappy timing.

Xmas Dancing GIFs

Due to popular demand, here are GIFs of the dancing cycles from the end of Fester's Christmas Fiasco.

December 23, 2012

Fester's Christmas Fiasco

Merry Christmas everybody! Here's a special gift for Fester fans.

This one's a bit rough, but that's because I only started working on it about three weeks ago.
At the beginning of the month, I started toying with the idea of doing a Christmas short. I knew I'd have to keep it simple and economical, which is why it's mostly dialogue-based. I didn't spend as much time on the story as I usually do, because I wanted to jump into animating as soon as possible. It's a bit disjointed because of that, and some of the animation is choppy and wonky, but overall I'm just relieved that I got it done in time.

I have to thank my amazing friends Ashley Vanchu and Jen Schollen for stepping in to colour some of the backgrounds, because without their help I wouldn't have been able to finish it until after the 25th, and nobody wants to watch a Christmas special on Boxing Day.

December 09, 2012

Another DITB Appearance

I'm on Dynamite in the Brain again this week, to discuss the Lupin III 2002 TV Special "Episode Zero: First Contact," as well as Wreck-It Ralph, South Park and more! Check it out here.

December 07, 2012

More Fester Fan Art And Updates

Been too busy to post anything, and haven't really had much to post lately anyway. Just wanted to let people know I'm working on a Fester Fish Christmas video! I'm not sure how long it will be yet but probably way shorter than the usual length. If I don't get it done in time for Christmas, I'm not sure what I'll do with it. It's going to use more limited animation than usual, because I'm looking at it as just a little bonus video rather than the next real short, and I'm doing it in a rush... That said, it should still be fun, so look forward to that sometime before Christmas.

Speaking of Fester, here's some new fan art!

 By my friend Kyle Mowat, creator of the fantastic short "Ballpit". If you haven't seen it yet, check it out.

"UPA Fester" by Dominic Noble

Still working on those long-promised Fester T-shirts. The smart thing would've been to have them ready in time for Christmas, but... Fester isn't smart.

Finally, I recorded another guest appearance on Dynamite in the Brain last weekend, so it should be online in a couple of days. The episode's subject is the 2002 Lupin III special "Episode Zero - First Contact."