EVERYTHING I KNOW ABOUT WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE POPE DIES...
...I learned from the high-larious 2004 movie Eurotrip
. Specifically, for those of you who have seen the film, the scene when they're all in Rome at the Vatican City and Scott (Scott Mechlowicz) and Cooper (Jacob Pitts) become separated from their fake tour group (which becomes a real tour group thanks to Jamie's (Travis Wester) encyclopedic knowledge of things he learned from travel guides) and wander off to a curiously unguarded private area of the Vatican where the Papal Apartment is.
Then Cooper, just for fun, pulls a rope in a glass case, just to see what happens, not knowing that he's ringing the bell of San Marco, which is, according to the film (and I don't know how accurate this is since a Google search for "Bell of San Marco" turned up little of relevance), is the name of the bell rung to signal the death of the Pontiff, surprising the masses of tourists in Saint Peter's Square and causing them to make the sign of the cross and prostrate themselves.
Then Scott and Cooper enter the Papal apartment. Scott knows that it's some place that they should not be, but Cooper just starts horsing around, putting on one of the Pope's peaked hat thingies and pretending that he is the Pope. He puts a golden peaked hat over Scott's head, and Scott can't see anything for a few seconds. Cooper does a victory dance, not noticing that the peaked hat he's wearing has caught on fire from a candelabra. Panicked, Cooper tries to hand the burning hat to Scott, but Scott doesn't want it, and points Cooper towards the fireplace. Just after Cooper puts the hat in the fireplace, the hat becomes engulfed in flames, flooding the room with white smoke, and sending some of that smoke up the chimney, which everyone in the square takes as a sign, the fumata bianca
, that the College of Cardinals ignored the 15 day mourning period and elected a new Pope immediately after the death of the previous Pope.
Scott can't handle the smoke in the room, so he leaves the Papal apartment, forgetting that he's still wearing the gold peaked hat, and, out of a window, he thinks he sees Mieke (Jessica Boehrs), the penpal he came to Europe to find. He can't open the window to call her, so he goes to the next window, gets entangled in some gold curtains, which, when he gets his head free, somehow look like golden robes (and the railing for the curtains looks like a Pope's staff), and opens the window, which is on the balcony where the new Pope supposedly makes his first appearance, and everyone hails Scott as the new Pope.
Hmm... I wonder why HBO apparently pulled a scheduled showing of Eurotrip on Friday night
? According to that "cha cha" person, HBO showed a Steven Segal movie instead, a choice of film I find highly inappropriate for the anti-solemn occasion of April Fool's Day, when you're only supposed to show comedies. Poor taste? So what? "Poor taste" is ultimately very subjective and I don't think it's in any more poor taste than the media-orchestrated public grief fest, following the "Princess Diana grief-fest machine template" to a T, that's been saturating the news channels for the past couple of days about an event I think is legitmately sad but I don't think is a tragedy as I suspect the Pope's various infirmities have been more severe than the Vatican would let on and you knew his death was coming soon. Don't get me wrong, I understand why the media does it, since they put on what people want to watch, but I personally have a "when he dies, he dies, stiff upper lip" attitude about all this and I do not feel the need to alter my schedule just so I can have my eyeballs fixed towards the cathode ray tube the exact moment that the blinders close, the "two lights" go out, and the bell is rung to indicate that the Pope has "assumed room temperature", as Rush Limbaugh would put it.
Not that I get HBO anyway, and, even if I did, my father saw Eurotrip
on the Canadian equivalent, TMN (The Movie Network), and got the DVD of it so I can watch the Vatican scene to my heart's content today without fear of it offending more "sensitive" viewers.
I did a mini-review of Eurotrip
in my Rotten Tomatoes journal, though most of it was about how I was impressed that Prague was able to substitute for so many other European cities with a few CGI landmarks added.
OTTAWA KAIDASHI KIKOU (Ottawa Shopping Log), JOB INTERVIEW, APRIL FOOLS DAY GAGS, AND SOME OTHER BORING JUNK...
Wednesday I had a job interview at a local food store I am not going to identify as I don't want to be one of those dumb-ass bloggers who gets fired, or, in this case, "not hired", for giving too many specifics about where I work (or hope to work), although this particular store looks like a nice place to work.
On Tuesday, my mother took me shopping for "interview clothes"; she thought there was a Mark's Work Wearhouse
somewhere down Merivale, but we couldn't find it (though it's there, on the corner of West Hunt Club road, which was a little further south than where we were looking), so we took a little drive westward along to the 417 and went to this neat little shopping mall called The Hazeldean Mall
in Kanata (corner Hazeldean and Eagleson), which is a community shopping centre that's a bit smaller than the Faubourg de L'Ile shopping centre in Pincourt, but, the way the stores are arranged inside, it feels like you're in the corner of a much larger shopping centre. The Mark's Work Wearhouse inside there was only about half the size of the L'Équipeur (the Quebec name for the chain) store in Pointe-Claire, and they had already gotten rid of most of their sweaters, but we made do with what they had in stock. I tried out two pairs of pants, which was the first time in years I actually bothered using changing rooms
(which I hate). I chose a pair of navy blue cargo pants (which looked black in the store), a blue crewneck sweater, and a dress shirt that's... umm... it's got blue interconnecting lines on a white background. The lines are too close to say "scotch", maybe just straight "plaid" but I'm not sure if "plaid" is technically appropriate when the background is white. The cloesest shirt pattern image I can find on the Internet is this Ralph Lauren Polo shirt that's called "Azure Plaid"
. I also got a pair of elegant-ish black leather work shoes that look kind of like dress shoes but with rugged soles (it was the only pair of black leather shoes they had in the store that were available in size 13), and a black hooded sweatshirt, though that last one wasn't for the interview, it was just because most of the "hoodies" (which I still call "jumpers") I have are falling apart at the seams.
So we paid for the clothes, and my mother took me back to Nepean, to drop me off at the Zellers so I could get my hair done at the in-store barber shop, Friendly Cuts, since it's cheap and I don't care for anything too fancy to be done to my hair, just a normal trim. I took off my coat, and sat down on the side of the hairdresser that acknowledged me first, who appeared to be a Korean woman in her mid-30s. How can I tell she's Korean? She was speaking a language to her friends with "phonemes"
that sound like Japanese, but I didn't understand any of the words she was saying so it couldn't be Japanese. Also, she had brown hair, and, as my mother pointed out, there is a large enough Korean-Canadian population in this area for there to be Korean-language services at Protestant churches. I had to wait a while as some old woman seemed to be getting her hair curled or permed, meaning a lot of those old-fashioned plastic curlers had to be applied and removed. Anyway, the lady did a nice job on my hair, just the way I like it. Shortish, but not too short. I mean, I'm a 30 year old guy who still has all of his hair (beating the odds for my gene), so I don't want it cut too short. After the haircut, I wanted to see if I could catch up with my mother before she drove home, so I went to the storefront library in Emerald Plaza, but she had already left. (Damnit! I can't believe no libraries in the Ottawa Public Library system have any English-language copies of the first Molly Moon
book; I was hoping I would get a chance to read that!) Then I went to the McDaniel's Independent supermarket, which was the other place that she was going, but the car wasn't in the parking lot, so I cut around the rear of the strip mall with the HMV in it and walked over to the McDonald's to have a snack of fries. After that, I phoned my mother to say I was coming home, but she said dinner would be quite a while away and suggested that I go over to Blockbuster, which I wasn't planning on doing, but then I remembered that I still wanted to rent The Cat Returns
, which I have yet to see. Damnit again, Merivale Blockbuster had Nausicaä of the Valley of Wind
, which I wasn't in the mood for, and they had Porco Rosso
, which I might have rented but their only copy was out (I've seen both before, but years ago at my anime club), but they had no copies I could find of The Cat Returns
for rental, even though it was available for sale. I decided to have another look for Steven Spielberg's Duel
, which I still have yet to see, but the Merivale Blockbuster didn't have any copies of that either, so I was about to settle for renting The Spongebob Squarepants Movie
but then I decided that I'd rather rent Tube
, a Korean "popcorn movie" from first-time director Baek Woon-hak which is more or less advertised as being Die Hard
on a subway train, or an Asian Speed
. After renting that, I... uhh... had an uneventful walk home.
Wednesday, I got up and did my usual message board thing for a couple of hours. Then I showered and did every kind of preeming I could think of, and dressed up nicely, though I had to get my father to help put on suspenders, which I most certainly am not used to wearing. Just before my parents took me to the food store, the "alligator clip" on the back of the suspenders gave way, though I was wearing my belt as well, so it wasn't that dire a situation. I tried getting the clip back on a couple of times, but it wouldn't stay on for more than a minute or so, so, eventually, I just gave up. Though, once I got to the place with the food store in question, I wandered to a nearby washroom and tried to get it clipped again, with the same results. Feh, as long as they weren't going to do a pat down dress inspection, I'd be fine.
I got to the store, went to the last checkout, asked for... obviously, I shouldn't say the name of the woman... and, at first, the cashier wasn't sure who I was asking for, but she sent me to see this kid and, when I said I was there for a job interview, he knew the woman I was talking about. (It was a variation of the same name.) I sat down in a chair for about fifteen agonizing minutes until the woman I was supposed to talk to came to pick me up and take me through the security doors upstairs to an empty office. She asked me to describe myself a little, I said I was thirty, and asked if that was a problem. She said no, as she was older than that (I'd say mid-to-late thirties). Then I said that I had moved to Ontario from Quebec, mainly for job reasons, and I wasn't currently at university, since I had to quit Concordia for the move and there are some unfinished things I have to deal with before I can successfully apply for a Ontario university. She asked me why I wanted to work there, and I replied that I thought that particular store had a more positive atmosphere than most food stores I have been to in the area, and then she asked me what I thought the goal of the store was, and I said "To provide quality produce and meat..." and I could tell she wanted more, so I meekly added "...to the customer," which was, of course, the correct answer, about how the customer is the most important aspect to the store. Then there were a few questions about my experience, which is very, very slim (answering phones for my father once when he was helping to set up a copy protection software company for a couple of weeks). I pretty much had to admit that the main reason I couldn't get a job in Quebec was because I get very nervous when I speak French (and I can't understand the joual
street accent). And she asked me what I thought I could offer to the store, and I think I said something along the lines of that I'm a friendly guy who is eager to get some job experience. She said that I'd be one of those guys who bags stuff and carries bags out to cars, and I'd be the first person people see when they enter and the last person to see them leave, so I would be kind of an "ambassador" to the store and would have to be very personable, especially considering that they like to have a lot of people on the floor to deal with customers and ask them if they need help, so it's not a good job for shy people, so I had to try and act as not shy as I could. She asked me if I could work any time, and I said yes, but I prefer afternoons and evenings, as I am very much at my most energetic in the evening. She then asked me if I could work weekends and I said that I joined a Japanese anime club at the University of Ottawa to socialize, as I'm in a new city and don't really know anyone, so she was wondering what Japanese anime was, and I said "Japanese cartoons", because I'm not one of those "anime are not cartoons" fanboys, and I said like Sailor Moon
(pretending that I don't have three seasons of the show subtitled on DVD) and Dragonball Z
and she seemed to remember some type of show with a blue cat, so I said "Was that Luna from Sailor Moon
? She's blue," but that wasn't the answer, and then I suggested maybe Samurai Pizza Cats
, but that wasn't it either. (In retrospect, now that I think about it, she probably meant Doraemon
, though I have no idea where she would have seen that as it's never made it to North America officially.) She asked me if I had any more questions, but I just asked if it was a problem that I don't drive, which isn't really a problem for me as I live only about a mile away from the store and there's the bus anyway, but she didn't think it would be. So that was about the end of the interview; she told me that she'd call back by Monday if she wanted me to come back for a second interview, and, if not, my name would still be on file if they need people for other jobs.
So, I went back down the stairs, found that my parents were still in the store, helped them shop, and then helped them carry the bags, hoping that the interview woman might notice somehow. There was another kid sitting in the same waiting chair, so they seem to be interviewing quite a few people. It's hard to read what she thought of me; yes, I don't have much experience, but I was honest about that fact, which should be a plus. I guess I'll find out what happens next by Monday.ITEM!
The epilogue to the Ember the Cat saga
is that after a weekend of alternating snoozing and pestering to go outside, we are letting her out again, but only in the daytime, when she doesn't seem to go as far as she does at night. Well keep her inside at night until she gets her shots and she gets "chipped", meaning she'll get an I.D. microchip implanted in her, thus making her evil according to the New World Order conspiracy theory types (hey, maybe we'll put a transponder in her as well).ITEM!
For my annual "I hate Daylight Savings Time"
post, I think I'll just link to John J. Miller's National Review Online piece about how Daylight Savings Time is "deadly".
"But the very worst thing about DST is that it's bad for your health. According to Stanley Coren, a sleep expert at the University of British Columbia, the number of traffic accidents and fatal industrial mishaps increase on the Monday after we spring forward. (Check out one of his studies here.) The reason, presumably, is because losing even a single hour of sleep over the weekend makes a lot of people a bit drowsier on what we might usefully call Black Monday. Unfortunately, there's no compensating effect of a super-safe Monday as we go off DST and "fall back" in the autumn."ITEM!
On Easter Sunday, my sister and her boyfriend came over for turkey dinner, and she announced that they were engaged, and she showed off her ring, which they went to four jewelry shops to get. That's pretty good news, I guess, though the wedding won't be until at least next year.
Also on Easter, I got a pack of three normal Cadbury's Creme Eggs and one of the large Cadbury's Creme Eggs eggs, though that's a bit misleading as the egg itself is a large hollow shell, with a pack of four of the mini-Creme Eggs inside. I didn't eat it all in one day, though. It took me until at least Wednesday. :PITEM!
Best April Fool's Day gags:
BBC's Star Trek remake.ITEM!
South Park and Team America: World Police creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone to turn Enterprise into a marionette show, Team Enterprise.
(Both from the official Star Trek site, doing their usual April Fool's Day "thang".)
Fullmetal Alchemist on Teletoon's "Detour" billboard spotted in Vancouver. (though Jesse Betteridge showed me both Photoshops he did, the other being for FMA on YTV's "Bionix", but the Teletoon one looked a lot more authentic.)
"Communist Revolution in the United States"
"Apollo bacteria spur lunar erosion" (thanks Arxane)
Anime News Network's crop of April Fool's Day jokes this year are only alright... a bit on the silly side. I probably would have appreciated the "4Kids Licenses Ebichu" and the "Live-Action Eiken in Planning Stages" jokes more if I knew what Ebichu and Eiken were without having to look them up. Past April Fool's Day articles like "Anime Cable Network... coming from Microsoft!?" and Zero Wing: The Movie just seemed a little more plausible. The best anime-related April Fool's Day articles are the ones that are written mostly straight, like what I attempted to do with the Howl's Moving Castle wide release article I wrote earlier. It's like why Leslie Nielsen was a heckuvalot funnier in the first Airplane! and the first Naked Gun film, because he played it mostly straight instead of trying too hard to be funny like in his more recent crapfests like 2001: A Space Oddity.
I'm waiting a couple of days before I'd react to this as though it is real, but there's a thread at Toonzone alleging that an anime version of the Powerpuff Girls is on display at the Tokyo Anime Fair
Could be real, as Time-Warner is co-producing new "anime" content for the Cartoon Network with Itochu
, or it could be a very well done April Fool's hoax, like the reports about the new Project A-ko movie with all the hardcore lesbian content
that they took out of the original film.
If it's a hoax, they'd have to have had a couple of people in official-ish places mention the show on their website, but, on the other hand, I'm just a tad skeptical that the show is being called Powerpuff Girls Z
à la Dragonball Z
. The style is, of course, completely different from Craig McCracken's original designs, but it appears to have a similar wild energy.
My friend Mayukh will probably love it, as he's always looking for new mahou shoujo
(magical girl) content.
Speaking of Mayukh, since I mentioned Marvel's Power Pack
as a sort-of-kind-of-American-magical-girl-comic once in passing, he recently made me do another Google search for it, and, amazingly enough, there's a brand new version of Power Pack coming from Marvel
(and you can see a lot of sample pages on that site), only, this time, the Power kids are drawn in kind of a pseudo-anime style that looks like something about halfway between being anime and being an American cartoon Kim Possible
, though that's fine. They're claiming the same stylistic halfway ground between America and Japan as The New Teen Titans
cartoon, though I'm not sure why Alex Power seems to have been de-aged a couple of years from the Louise Simonson/June Brigman version of him I remember reading about when I was a preteen. (I talked about Power Pack
a bit in the entry for my eleventh year in my half-finished biography
I wouldn't go out of my way to pick this comic up, but, if I happened to be going by a comic book store anyway, and I probably will within the next week or two, I'd consider picking up an issue or two out of a combination of curiosity and nostalgia.
Incidentally, I showed this page, showing the way the Power Pack characters originally looked in the 1984 version
, to Mayukh, but Mayukh just found the character designs ugly, hurting my feelings greatly (just kidding, Mayukh).
Also, as I pointed out before, this is not the first time I've seen manga-esque illustrations of Power Pack
Would you believe I started writing this entry early Friday evening at 6:52 p.m. (which will show up as 11:52 p.m., since I pretentiously set the time to Greenwich Mean Time), but it's now almost 2:49 a.m. on Saturday morning? So, I watched Late Night with Conan O'Brien
, and he did have Pierre Bernard on, but it wasn't for a "Pierre Bernard's Recliner of Rage"
bit. Pamela Anderson was a guest, and, just before she left, Conan asked her to fufill one of Pierre Bernard's dreams, for him to hold her in bed just for a little while. And then, on the main stage, there was a bed with red sheets and Pierre was wearing polo pajamas and Pamela went and got in bed with him. And, apparently, during the commercial break, Pierre was holding on so tightly that Conan had to pull him away. I guess I salute the guy.
Anyway, goodnight to all.
DISNEY TO GIVE HAYAO MIYAZAKI'S HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE A TRUE WIDE RELEASE!
"If Pooh's Heffalump Movie can play on 3000 screens, why not this?"
Here's some surprising news. Apparently, Disney has changed their minds and will give Howl's Moving Castle
a wide release after all.
"Disney announced today that the animated Studio Ghibli film, Howl's Moving Castle, the latest film from acclaimed Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki, will be getting a true wide release.
"We are thrilled to announce that fans of the gifted animator [Hayao] Miyazaki have nothing to fear, Howl's Moving Castle will be coming to a theatre near you," Buena Vista Motion Pictures Group president Nina Jacobson said at a press conference at Disney's worldwide headquarters in Burbank, California. "[Disney Theatrical] had a gaping hole in their summer schedule left after they pushed Chicken Little back to November and they needed a quality family film to fill that gap, so I suggested Howl's Moving Castle, which we were initially planning on running on just 700 screens at its widest, and they thought it was a great idea. I think they were kicking themselves that they hadn't thought of it before. It's wonderful corporate synergy for us, almost kismet." Jacobson then added, "If Pooh's Heffalump Movie and The Pacifier can play on 3000 screens, why not this? I think Howl's Moving Castle is a wonderful film which deserves to be seen by audiences of all ages."
This represents a significant change in strategy for the marketing of the Ghibli films in North America. Although the 2002 release of Miyazaki's Spirited Away, which won the Best Animated Feature Oscar in 2003, was considered a success, and was, by a significant margin, the most successful theatrical release of a serious Japanese anime film in the North American market (not including anime films tied-in to mass-merchandising cartoons like Pokémon), in real terms, it barely passed the $10 million mark. The initial release of the film played on only 151 screens at the widest. In comparison, The Incredibles, also distributed by Disney, opened on 3933 screens, and earned over $70 million on its opening weekend alone, for a domestic box office total of over $260 million.
After the Oscar win, Disney re-released the film on 714 screens, but the experiment at releasing it wider only earned an additional $3 million, with the British soccer comedy Bend it Like Beckham beating it on the initial weekend of re-release on just 1/6th the number of screens.
Many people in anime message forums on the Internet blamed the lackluster performance of the Ghibli films at the domestic box-office on Disney's failure to market the films as aggressively as it does its own productions like Lilo & Stitch. A Disney marketing executive who asked not to be named shed some light on this situation. "I used to think that the reason the Ghibli films did not do well with a wider audience was that there is not that much of an audience for serious animated films in the North American market, especially not foreign ones, and we marketed the films on a scale where we think it would be profitable, which is, like it or not, a limited release, as anime is a niche market. But SSJ7VegetaOwnsJ00 from the "Anime Roolz" forum is correct. 'hay di$ney, people will see theez films if u just markit them properly, as anime is so much better than that kiddy american cartoon shit. its teh markiting, stoopid!' How true that is. Random teenage flamers on anime message forums really do know better how to market films than those of us in marketing here at Disney, what with our MBA's from highly-regarded business schools and our fancy book learning and our... erm... years of experience at marketing. The reason Americans fail to watch quality films is only because of a lack of marketing, as marketing can create an audience for anything. It has nothing to do with the tastes of the mass American public; it's not that Americans would really rather see a film that panders to their tastes, like The Pacifier, it's that we just don't tell them well enough about the quality alternatives like this foreign cartoon. Oh, SSJ7VegetaOwnsJ00, you have shown us the error of our ways!"
Howl's Moving Castle is based on a children's fantasy book by the Bristish author Diana Wynne Jones. The English cast includes Christian Bale, Lauren Bacall, and Billy Crystal. It opens on June 10th."
You can read additional information about the upcoming wide release of Howl's Moving Castle here
MY VIEW ON THE STATE OF THE ANIME MARKET...
I haven't said much lately about recent headlines and industry interviews
more or less confirming what I've thought all along about the domestic anime industry: that it's the "Disco Stu Fallacy" to believe the popularity of anime would keep on growing at the same rate, and, sooner or later, the domestic market would hit the saturation point where pretty much all of the people who would be into anime if they were properly exposed to it would have been exposed to it in one form or another (besides the kiddy merchandising franchise stuff like Pokémon
), and the market would either "plateau", diminish a bit as the trend followers who were into anime as a bandwagon thing move on to something else but the fandom would still be relatively-speaking a lot larger than it was at the beginning of the wave, or crash completely.
And, sure enough, the market is saturated, with some companies growing faster than the actual fanbase, flooding the shelves with too many titles for too few fans, and many of those titles are mediocre knockoffs
of much better anime
or are titles that only appeal to certain sub-niches of fans and don't sell well enough to cover the initial licensing costs and the overhead costs of dubbing, replication, distribution, and advertising, and now comes the inevitable "correction" as the industry scales itself back down to the actual size of the market. I'm someone who always took the middle of the road view that, although it is very fanboyish to want anime to stay "underground" (when anime hasn't even been "underground" for almost a decade now) as too many fans ruins the specialness of it all, anime will always be niche in the American market, as, if there was that much of a demand for "mature" animation beyond a very limited spectrum of primetime and late-night comedy shows, the American studios would respond to that audience with more than a couple of experiments a decade, all of which, like Titan A.E.
and Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within
, turn out to be expensive debacles, and, as such, I am not panicking about the future of anime in the North American market, as the audience that does exist for it isn't going anywhere, and, while I don't think anything will ever break through to the wider mainstream audience, either on the small screen or the big screen, there are shows coming up that will sustain the niche, like Naruto
for the teens going through Dragonball Z
withdrawl and Samurai Champloo
, for the Pierre Bernard-types of the world who enjoyed Cowboy Bebop
on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim (from what Jesse Betteridge shows me, I might actually enjoy Samurai Champloo
more than Cowboy Bebop
, as Bebop
was largely a fun show, but the last couple of episodes are real downers, but Champloo
stays upbeat throughout).
I *am* getting a little annoyed by some of the apocalyptic asshattery I am seeing on some anime forums where the "ANIME IS TAKING OVER, BOOYAH!" types who thought that we were only a year or two away from anime series being as popular on primetime television as Friends
and anime films making as much money at the box office as Shrek 2
, now that anime fandom has hit the "glass ceiling", seem to be predicting the end of anime fandom as we know it
because the companies who tried to grow too big for their britches are now scaling back a bit. Look, I'm not saying your enthusiasm for anime was bad, but if you have an unrealistic view of the size of the potential market, of course you're going to be disappointed when you read articles that indicate that the wider mainstream audience just isn't there. Domestic anime distributors scaling back (and, probably, sooner or later, merging with each other) is a sign of a correction, not an implosion, which I don't think is about to happen. The companies still want to provide as wide a variety of titles as they can, but they aren't charity cases so they can't continue selling the sorts of shows that simply don't sell well enough to justify the overhead.
In short, I think the anime and manga bubble is deflating a bit, but I don't think it's going to burst completely.
On a tangent, the Kamikazecon
anime convention was held over the weekend, where you could see J-pop singer Kumi Koda as well as "Jan" Scott Frazier, a western guy who is one of the few foreigners to make a name for himself in the industry (and he has a fancy new "vagina"
, just like Mr. Garrison). There were also studio representatives
, some FUNimation
guy that AnimeNewsNetwork.com wouldn't name, who says that 98% of the old Pioneer Tenchi Muyo
dub cast will return for the dub for the third OVA series (as a subtitle fan, I'm mostly indifferent, but I'm hoping this means that there will never be any more bitching
about it in the ANN forum), and ADV Films
representatives Matt Greenfield and David Williams. Here's a few quotes from the ANN article
"Greenfield talked about the future of ADV, specifically a new section of the ADV website which will offer "web exclusives," DVDs which will be sold online through ADV only, and will not be available through retail stores. "Web exclusive" items will be sold at a lower price, although there were no numbers mentioned. Greenfield explained that the current saturation of the market, along with the upcoming introduction of HD-DVD and Blu-Ray, were in the process of bottlenecking the selection of titles that are able to be carried by retail stores, due to limited anime shelf-space. Titles slated for web exclusive sale include Princess Tutu, Pettite Princess Yucie, and Wedding Peach."
I'm kind of "meh" on this idea; when Bandai Entertainment
first broke into the American anime market in 1998, they initially tried selling web-only through their AnimeVillage.com site, and that experiment was a profound failure for many different reasons, as people didn't want to pay "full price" for VHS when DVD was already beginning to take over in the anime market, and the cost of shipping was ridiculous, and those of us in Canada had to pay taxes and the cross-border "handling" fee to the postman (and they wouldn't ship to Quebec initially as they were under the delusion that packaging for all videos and DVDs sold in and to
the province has to be bilingual, even stuff ordered from somewhere outside the province) and the vast majority of people would rather buy locally from a brick-and-mortar retailer or an online retailer like DeepDiscountDVD.com with discount prices and more reasonable shipping rates. Long story short, they quickly abandoned that experiment, and became one of the bigger successes in the domestic anime industry.
And I'm a big fan of the series Super Gals!
, which is my favourite anime series from the past decade or so (no joke), but which ADV only ever licensed the first 26 episodes of as the other 26 episodes mysteriously have never been put on DVD, even in Japan. Should ADV ever be allowed to put the other half of Super Gals
on DVD, and I hear it sold well enough for them to make an attempt to license the other 26 episodes (so I'm not faulting them for that), as most of the series that seem to be going website only are shoujo
, I'm a bit fearful that Super Gals
will also not be available in stores and, taking the exchange rate, shipping, taxes, and the border fee into account, I'll end up having to pay over $50 Canadian a volume for the show, like what we paid for anime in the bad old days. Plus, I don't have a credit card, so I'll have to send in money orders, which is another $5 right there. I'm hoping that, even if ADV doesn't sell certain shows through normal brick-and-mortar stores, at least we'll be able to order them through Canadian online retailers like DVD Box Office
, so we at least don't have to pay the international shipping rates and border fees.
"Greenfield then went on to talk about The Anime Network, ADV's 24 hour network. He described video-on-demand as "the future," and that ADV's main focus was on the VOD version of TAN. The linear channel was introduced primarily because cable providers indicated that TAN had a better chance of being picked up if there was a linear channel to compliment the VOD portion. Greenfield cites carrier's limited bandwidth as the major reason TAN is not more widely available. He went on to announce that there were some new ways to deliver programming, that did not involve "paying 39.99 a month to watch," that TAN would be on the forefront of."
That's a very interesting admission about the linear version of The Anime Network, that they're downplaying it as something they created mainly to help convince digital cable and satellite carriers to carry the Video on Demand service. I don't know that much about the exact economics of Video-on-Demand, but, I suspect the overhead of running a VoD service is but a fraction of running a linear cable network as you don't have to fill a 24/7 schedule and the cable operators don't have to devote a whole linear channel space they could use for something less niche. I also suspect, as I said before, that ADV is bleeding money out the wahoo on the linear version of the network
, and, if they're now treating it as something that is a lot less important than the VoD service, I'd almost be willing to bet money on the linear TAN being dead by the end of the year, possibly even in the next couple of months.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not fearful for the future of anime on American cable, but I think success lies with Cartoon Network/Adult Swim, and, to a lesser degree, and not with a full-fledged anime channel, as, by getting more anime shown on existing cable networks, the domestic distributors don't need to worry about the expensive overhead of running a cable channel, and they aren't splitting the audience with the people who like to watch the Fox reruns and the Adult Swim originals who would take chances on anime if it were shown on the same channel, but who wouldn't likely change the channel to an anime channel, even if they had the option.
"As expected, a large portion of questions revolved around the live-action version of Neon Genesis Evangelion. Greenfield confirmed that the project was very much alive, and they were currently in the process of finding a director. While naming no names, Greenfield did confirm that interest has been shown by several major directors, including one who has won an Oscar. He also mentioned that the probable location of the shoot would be New Zealand, the same country where WETA, the studio slated to create special effects for Evangelion, is located. When asked how soon the movie would be finished, Greenfield indicated it would be at least a year, most likely 3 or 4."
Ah, yes, the same non-news on the live-action Neon Genesis Evangelion film
(lovingly nicknamed "LAEM", as in "live-action Evangelion
movie) they've been repeating for a year, though they're strongly hinting that it's Lord of the Rings
director Peter Jackson that they're approaching. When they say he's expressing "interest", it's vague and could mean anything, from "Ooh, let's start of this immediately after I finish shooting the King Kong
remake" to a more neutral "Hmm, could be interesting; show me the script when you have it ready". Anyway, I maintain my total skepticism that this thing will ever be made, as it's been almost two years since they initially announced it at Cannes and still no studio seems to be interested in funding it, as I think they rightfully believe that it would be too expensive a film for too niche a fanbase.
The one way I could see live-action Eva
working is if they ditched WETA, got a less well-known special effects house, reduced the projected budget significantly, and proposed shooting it "on the cheap" in Vancouver. Then Lion's Gate Films might be interested.By the way, since I said "Evangelion" and "skeptic", might as well link to the only chapter in my aborted attempt to write something meaningful about the series, on the long-defunct AnimeShowcase.com, preserved in perpetuity at the Internet Archive.
WHAT MOVIE SHOULD I WATCH NEXT WEEKEND?
Early April's not quite the summer movie season, but, in recent years, it's been getting some spill-over where films that might once have been released in "summer" (meaning, in movie terms, from Victoria Day/Memorial Day weekend through to early July) are now released in April, or even late March. In recent years, the original Matrix
, The Core
, and Hellboy
, to name just three such films, were all released in early spring.
So let's see what movie choice I'll be making next weekend.Sin City
, Robert Rodriguez's film based on Frank Miller's comic book. It's a neo-film noir set in a hyper-stylized gangster city and has several loosely connected stories of hit men and strippers and such who like to knock off each other in stylish ways. Most of the locations in the city are computer-generated to look as much like a comic as possible, and the film is presented in black and white with a handful of colour highlights, which is true to the comic apparently. This is the movie nearly everyone in the RottenTomatoes.com forum is making a big fuss about.
So, what else is there next weekend?D.E.B.S.
, where the S.A.T. also contains certain questions, where, if you give the right wrong answers, it shows hidden abilities to think outside of the box, and the government uses the correct incorrect test scores to enlist schoolgirls into an elite top secret squad of undercover crime fighters. And some of these schoolgirls are in love with each other.
So, what would I rather watch?
Well, duh, if you read this blog, you know me... D.E.B.S.
, obviously! I mean, it sounds almost like a combination of Charlie's Angels
, and I'm one of the few people who love those films, and Super Gals!
, which is my favourite anime series of the past decade or so. And, you add in a little Haruka Tenou and Michiru Kaiou a.k.a. Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune chaste lesbian action? My god, it almost sounds like exactly the sort of movie I'd write. Except, screw movies, this idea's good enough for a series! Three cheers for campy fun!
And I must point out that the high school girls are all played by actresses in their twenties, so a thirty year old man liking this film is not creepy in any way.
I dunno about Sin City
... this film has been hyped to no end on RottenTomatoes.com, and I'm allergic to hype.1
And it looks like one of those films made for modern comic book fans, the pretentious ones who take comics far too seriously and call them "graphic novels" or, even more pretentiously, "sequential art", and prefer it when their comics are dark and gloomy and unrelentingly grim. And I haven't been sold on the "look" of this film; I think it looks like a cheesy music video. And I'm just not in the mood to see a bunch of gangsters and other lowlifes offing each other, no matter how well it's acted. Maybe the assessment of the film is unfair, maybe it's something I'd watch and I'd find that I'd enjoy it more than I anticipated, like Kill Bill
. Just I'm in no rush to find out.
Both of my brothers seem to want to see Sin City
, though, so maybe it has some merit.
I'd probably watch Steamboy
if it made it to Ottawa, but it only expanded by seven screens this weekend, and none of those screens were in the nation's capital. Apparently, the Paramount in Toronto isn't even showing it anymore, not that I had any plans to travel to Toronto in the near future, but this does not bode well for it showing anywhere else in Canada other than the predictable screening at Fantasia in Montreal this summer.1 Yes, yes, I'm hyped about Star Wars Episode Three: Revenge of the Sith, but the unfairly maligned prequels are so widely hated that this film's anti-hype on RT more than evens out they hype. It's almost the rebellious thing to do to actually like the prequels, so I consider myself to be part of a Rebel... damn, what's that other word? It's on the tip of my tongue. Rebel Thingy of People Who Work Together to Advance a Common Goal or Cause.