Come On, Let's Go.
9Mar/111

Distinction In All Subjects

I'm not that fond of anime. My earliest memory watching a dubbed version of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer cartoons as a kid, trying to figure out what the hell was wrong with it. I have some nice memories surrounding the concept though. One of my closest friends was a big anime-fiend in high school, so we'd treck down to the Chinatown mall to purchase subbed VHS bootlegs, neither DVD distribution nor broadband being popular yet. He tried to get me into it, but try as I may, I juts couldn't. Even the universally-acclaimed Cowboy Bebop literally put me to sleep halfway through an episode.

Something I do like, however, is slick editing. And yoshi1013's appropriately- (and hyperbolically-) titled "Every Anime Opening Ever Made" manages to sum up at least a few of my personal distates for anime in a hilarious and clearly loving manner:

22Feb/110

All Those Moments

I have been absolutely obsessed with Law and Order: Criminal Intent. One night, a few weeks ago, my girlfriend suggested we watch some actual television -- most of our viewing is via Hulu or Netflix -- and we caught an episode of Criminal Intent. I was hooked immediately. While I'm fond of mysteries and crime fiction, I never got into the franchise before. What got me was that unlike vanilla Law and Order, CI doesn't feature the courtroom scenes which, in my opinion , detract from the pace of the plot. SVU, meanwhile, isn't really an option as I actively avoid reading/watching anything involving rape and sex crimes. But this show hit all the right notes.

Detective Robert Goren's character is what really got me involved. His investigative and interrogation styles are a perfect sweet spot between old-school, Holmsian detection and aggressive Chandlerian interrogation. Goren sees patterns, makes deductive connections, and uses all those other detective skills I feel has been lost in modern mystery dramas -- replaced, at least in part, by unrealistic technology. When faced with an individual, he unbalances, annoys and lies to them in order to get them to slip up, to tear a hole in their own cover story. He also regularly violates the rules which former-cop P.I.s in noir fiction usually attribute to making them leave the force and go into business for themselves. Goren comes off almost as a family-friendly, less sociopathic prelude of Hammett's Continental Op.

Anyway, this post isn't going to be about gushing over Criminal Intent. Rather, it's about set design minutia, a topic which I've previously revealed to be an interest. For instance, in Season 1, Episode 2: "Art", there's the blink-and-you'll-miss-it Crass poster (for some reason disguised as one for a band called "Pocket.") Appropriately enough, it's on an art student's dorm-room wall.:


Next, in Season 2, Episode 22: "Zoonotic", a man appears wearing a Vash the Stampede shirt, from the anime series Trigun. These sorts of shirts, although worn much looser and untucked, were rather popular around this time this episode was filmed. It was always strange seeing kids walk around school wearing shirts with characters from anime they've never watched and video games they've never played. The knock-off ones were even better, featuring near approximations -- just near enough to be uninfringing -- of said characters. (As an aside, the actor on the righthand side is James Urbaniak who, among other roles voices Dr. Venture on The Venture Bros.):


Finally, from Season 4, Episode 12: "Collective", is a Bruce Timm framed painting (?) of Two-Face, as he appeared in Batman: The Animated Series. The scene takes place in, from what I could tell, is an actual collectibles store, so it may not have been a conscious choice to put the object there. However, the brief shot was intentional, so I can only imagine it was a momentary thumbs-up to Timm:


This is all I could find in the first few seasons, or at least all that really stuck out at me. I went through Netflix's entire Instant Watch CI archive, so once I get my hands on some more, I may follow this up.

8Feb/110

Aleph

In the 1990s, the Japanese “Aum Shinriyko” (roughly translated as “Supreme Truth”) cult – led by a man who gave himself the name Shoko Asahara – was responsible for several instances of murder and domestic terrorism. The most impacting of these acts was the 1995 Tokyo subway gassing, which left thirteen dead. This was the second time the cult used sarin as a weapon against the people.


Co. Life

How did Aum recruit individuals into their folds? Well, one of their methods was through anime. Unfortunately, none of the videos I could find are subtitled (or even well-ripped) so I can't tell you if the soundtrack you're about to watch is satirical or not. However, the video is the very real thing. There are a lot of these floating about, so I tried to pick the ones which encompassed the most of the animation. Also, the third video features some of that “fake” Japanese nudity at around 2:10.

27Apr/100

“Replica” Written Down The Side

A while ago, my grandparents handed me a couple of photos from my childhood. They've finally been scanned so, let's play Pattern Recognition: what do these two pictures have in common (outside of atrocious mid-80s Soviet fashion.)


Did you guess? That's right. Lil' Griph has been rockin' a piece since he was knee-high to a bowling ball. There's another photo that may be found one day wherein I am hanging out in a hammock with a big ole toy rifle. Even after moving to America, I remember hanging out with the neighborhood kids with my super-realistic – this was before the laws mandating toy guns be painted in neon colors – automatic rifle and a candy cigarette in my mouth, pretending to be Rambo. When I was about ten, I spent a summer living with family in the suburbs and my cousin and I would run around pegging one another with BB guns. A year or two later, my mom's boyfriend would let me fire his hunting rifle at beer cans when we'd go out to his cabin on long weekends.

Considering all that, I am still pretty much a pacifist. I have not been in a fight since I was a pre-teen. I have no desire to own firearms, and probably never will unless our political situation demands I take up arms either for or against the government, depending on how well the Teabaggers do in the upcoming elections. Yet I still find myself fascinated by guns, bombs and all sorts of unrealistic, cinematic violence.

With all that said, if you go 1:55 into this video (not sure how to deep link into DailyMotion) you'll see one of the greatest animated firefights ever:

Dead leaves partie 1
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