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Animation or Live Action? March 4, 2009

Posted by smike97k in cyborgs.
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During the discussion after the screening of “Grave of the Fireflies,” the question of whether the film would have been as heart wrenching, or more so, if it had been made in life action.  The film actually was transferred to live action; however most of us had not seen that version.  An argument was made that it would most likely be more relatable and intense if it had been live action, with actual human characters, because it would be easier to relate to them as other human beings in terms of their physical bodies.  I had a different opinion of this question.  I thought that the animation was more intense than it would have been in live action.  Though I might change my mind if I were to see the live action version, I felt that the fact that it was animated, allowed for the character’s facial expression and movements to be extremely exaggerated, exaggerating the intensity of their feelings, fears, and appearances.  The intensity of feeling and fear struck me especially in the character of the young girl.  There was something about her intense and ever changing facial expressions that really left no room for interpretation; if she was upset, you knew it for sure.  I think this is because of the detail in the drawing aspect of animation creation.  Animating pays special attention to detail of each element within the individual drawing.  Because it is not “live” or “real life” an animator needs to exaggerate the characteristics of the subject so that they are sure to get across.  I think that that is what made this piece so powerful.   The emotion felt, especially from the young girl, was inescapable.

Someone brought up in class the point that it made it easier to feel more for these characters because they weren’t actual humans playing them.  It allowed us to remove our selves far enough away from reality that we actually could end up feeling more.  I thought this was an interesting idea.  Often times, in live action, what is being portrayed is too frightening to take in because you are seeing “real live” people take place in it, and so one may shut off connection to the characters out of fear.  On the other hand, the animation takes us away from our fears of this happening to us because we are “live” so that we can enter more into the story.live-action1

Week Long Anime Events @ HWS: Pop Culture from a Multipolar Japan with Roland Kelts February 24, 2009

Posted by animatingthecyborg in anime, comics, culture, film, manga.
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Roland Kelts and Anime Masterpieces

Roland Kelts and Anime Masterpieces

Monday, March 2, Sanford Room, 6:30 p.m. Animé Film, Grave of the Fireflies

Taking place toward the end of World War II in Japan, Grave of the Fireflies is the poignant tale of two orphaned children, Seita and his younger sister Setsuko, who try to survive amidst widespread famine and the callous indifference of their countrymen. Some critics consider it one of the most powerful anti-war movies ever made. Animation historian Ernest Rister compares the film to Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List and says, “it is the most profoundly human animated film I’ve ever seen.”

Panel discussion follows film with Professors Les Friedman, Lisa Yoshikawa and Leah Shafer, and students.


Tuesday, March 3, Sanford Room, 6:30 p.m. Animé Film, Tekkonkinkreet
Tekkonkinkreet centers on a pair of orphaned street kids – the tough, canny Kuro (Black) and the childish but mysteriously intuitive Shiro (White) – as they deal with Yakuza attempting to take over Takara Machi (Treasure Town). Tekkonkinkreet is a pun on “tekkin concrete,” the Japanese term for reinforced concrete; it suggests the opposition of the concrete city against the strength of imagination. This film won the 2008 Japan Academy Prize for Animation of the Year, the Grand Prix award at the Anima 2008 festival, the prestigious Best Film Award at the 2006 Mainichi Film Awards, and was named the number one film of 2006 in the annual “Best of” roundup by the New York Museum of Modern Art’s Artforum magazine.

Panel discussion follows with screenwriter Anthony Weintraub, and Japanamerica author Roland Kelts.


Wednesday, March 4, Geneva Room, 7:30 p.m. Pop Culture from a Multipolar Japan, Roland Kelts

Is there something more to the U.S.’s fascination with Japanese animé and manga? How are animé films and manga comics cultural channeling zones, opened by the horrors of war and disaster and animated by the desire to assemble a world of new looks, feelings and identities?

Professor at the University of Tokyo, Sophia University and the University of the Sacred Heart Tokyo, Roland Kelts addresses the movement of Japanese culture into the West as sign and symptom of broader reanimations. With uncertainty now the norm, style, he argues, is trumping identity, explaining, in part, the success of Japanese pop and fashion, design and cuisine in the West. As Western mindsets encounter a rapid decline in longstanding binaries – good/evil, woman/man, black/white – Japan’s cultural narratives evolve in borderless, unstable worlds where characters transform, morality is multifaceted, and endings inconclusive. Animation allows an aesthetic freedom wherein these transformations and gender ambiguity may be given fuller play than in live action films. Nothing appears fixed. No surprise, perhaps, argues Kelts, coming from the only people to have suffered the immediate transformations of two atomic bombs and the instant denigration of their supreme polar father: the Japanese Emperor. Author of Japanamerica: How Japanese Pop Culture has Invaded the US, Kelts is also a contributing writer and editor for A Public Space and Adbusters magazines, and a columnist for The Daily Yomiuri. His articles have appeared in The Village Voice, Newsday, Cosmopolitan, Vogue and The Japan Times. He is the editor in chief of Animé Masterpieces, an anime lecture and screening series. Kelts divides his time between New York and Tokyo.

Films, panels and lecture are co-sponsored by Comparative Literature, Media and Society, The Young Memorial Trust for International Peace and Understanding, and Animé Central, and presented in association with Anime Masterpieces, a project of Gorgeous Entertainment.

Join us for a roundtable discussion session with Roland Kelts on Thursday 8:45-10:10 in the Fisher Center, Demarest 212.