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Reading Mokoto Shinkai’s “Your Name” as a Monomyth

25 Apr

By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

Plenty of praise and examinations have been given to Makoto Shinkai‘s Your Name since its debut last year. Although this film is essentially a romantic comedy, I was more enamoured with the mythic elements. This filmmaker took the best from other cultural traditions and wrote a Twilight Zone style story which I liked. This movie has an East clashing with the West attitude. It shows when Mitsuha Miyamizu (Mone Kamishiraishi), a young girl from a rural part of Japan, yearns for a life in modern Tokyo and makes the mistake of wishing upon a falling star.

She wanted to shirk cultural traditions and from there, I knew where this film was going. Since classical times, spotting such a fireball was often feared more than regarded as divine intervention. If a prayer is said upon seeing it, just what happens can go any which way. In this film’s case, both are considered!

Comet Tiamat is getting closer to the Earth and it is the raison d’être for how this tale comes together. She’s not always a creation goddess but is also representative of primordial chaos. This chunk of rock and ice could have been given any name, and some viewers may wonder why this Babylonian figure is used? My theory is that this name was chosen to make viewers of this anime aware that this film is a shōjo product through and through. Her essence is everywhere. From the Earth to the Heavens, in the offerings at the shrine and coming visible at twilight, a sense of omnipotence can be felt as she comes closer to Earth affecting the main character, Miyamizu-chan.

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Rating He-Man & The Masters of the Universe Compendium

19 Apr

By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

Everything you ever wanted to know about He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (MoTU and She-Ra too) can be found in A Character Guide and World Compendium (available to preorder on Amazon), due to hit shelves May 10th. This voluminous tome is perfectly organized into sections to make finding information quick, and the fact the entries are further subdivided, based on either the toy-line, comics or animated series, makes for a great way for fans of this franchise to keep the facts straight!

Of course, I had to read the entry for Skeletor and The Sorceress right away. The sheer amount of information found for these two is staggering, and I love the dedication the research team put forth to collect images from various sources (including foreign adaptations) and photograph (i.e. the toys) to include. Even though some of the information can be found online at a wiki source, there’s something to this atlas which makes for a great conversation piece among nerds. The bonus of ownership is that this codex is reasonably priced.

While it will take time to read through all the entries in prep before a game of MoTU Trivial Persuit, I’m ready!

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Discotek’s Latest to Include a Private Detective, Giant Robots, and a Space Pirate

15 Apr

By James Robert Shaw (The Wind up Geek)

Discotek Media recently had anime fans jumping for joy on March 3rd with the announcement of the upcoming DVD release of the entire Go Shogun (戦国魔神ゴーショーグン) series (known originally in North America as Macron 1), but now news on April 13th of the release of one OVA and three animated television series, there are many who will be preparing to make as much shelf room as possible for their latest Discotek treasures.

Discotek Media will be releasing on July 26, 2017 the 1985 animated series Choujuu Kishin Dancouga (超獣機神ダンクーガ), known in North America as Super Beast Machine God Dancouga, 1999’s Masou Kishin Cybuster (魔装機神サイバスター) AKA Psybuster, Waga Seishun no Arcadia – Mugen Kido SSX (わが青春のアルカディア 無限軌道SSX) AKA Arcadia of My Youth: Endless Orbit SSX from 1982, and the 1989 OVA series Midnight Eye (ゴクウ) AKA Midnight Eye: Goku.
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Just How Often Can Major Get Blown Up in Ghost in the Shell (2017)?

1 Apr

By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

The live-action Hollywood “remake” of Ghost in the Shell (GitS) hardly succeeds in waxing the philosophical from Masamune Shirow’s manga or the anime directed by Mamoru Oshii. While I knew these ideas will be the farthest thing the hive mind planned for the Western adaptation, I secretly hoped for some redemption. A few scenes from the anime were nicely recreated in live-action format, but I wanted more substance than style, to which this film had in abundance. When this movie is partially shot with Alexa 6K (65mm) cameras, I’m hoping the National Geographic IMAX theatre in my hometown gets it during this film’s second run at theatres so I can see this movie proper on a square screen.

While I did not expect much of the Frankenstein-style discourse to exist throughout the film, there were a few moments Major (Scarlett Johansson) tries to understand who she is, why she was created and where her “ghost” comes from. This actress basically got a chance to play a different kind of Black Widow, a person stripped of her identity to become a professional hit-man (woman) and not have “family” to worry about. When she’s the main character, at least fans of this actress got what they wanted instead of waiting for a Marvel Comics Entertainment version.

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