Where the Indo Curry lipgloss is, that’s where I am taking refuge, hidden on the second floor. A whole world here dim with frosted windows so I can't see the tenants next door, mere feet away. Out somewhere in hazy west Tokyo...Taxidermy store across from a mansion that is not a “mansion”. Closed now, but the windows glow from within at night. Owl, raven, fawn, and cat rattle around on their stands when minor earthquake strikes. But for now, just watching passerby’s limping by in yet another series of light showers. In Shibuya earlier, everything is grey and black. Few are willing to brave the rain. Giant Popteen cover atop the 109 building forms a leyline, destined to weaken, with the 109-2 down the block. The campaign there promises a Scandalous X-mas (photoshopped schoolgirls wielding guitars) but all we see inside is a bumbling bespeckled security guard. He shuffles a stack of Floor Guides, sorts them out, and pats them down to align them in some configuration of all conquering tidiness. Mean faces speed walk at the intersection. There’s no more umbrellas left anywhere.
TokyoScope Talk Vol. 7: NINJA ATTACK! went rather well! A terrifying thunderstorm and lightning attack conjured by nerferious Kouga ninja could not stop the faithful from coming out to learn about the ancient and deadly art of Japan's fearsome shadow warriors.
As is tradition now around these parts, here's the set list of clips used in the show.
San Francisco, CA, November 16. 2010 – NEW PEOPLE and VIZ Cinema offer an intriguing exploration of Japan’s famed shadow warriors of legend in the next TokyoScope Talk film event. TokyoScope Talk, Vol. 7 – NINJA ATTACK! will commence on Saturday, November 20th at 7:15pm. Tickets are $10.00.
Presented by host Patrick Macias (Editor, Otaku USA) and produced in association with Matt Alt, co-author of the new book Ninja Attack! True Tales of Assassins, Samurai, and Outlaws (published by Kodansha International), this lecture will explore the historical and pop culture legacy of the original men (and women!) in black. All attendees will be entered into a raffle to win free copies of the Ninja Attack! book, which will also be for sale in the NEW PEOPLE retail store.
TokyoScope Talk will also discuss elements from the new ninja action film Kamui Gaidian, which opens at VIZ Cinema on Friday, November 19th and runs thru Wednesday, December 1st (Tickets are $10.00). Based on the legendary 1970’s manga comic by Sampei Shirato, Kamui Gaidan boasts one of the biggest budgets in the history of Japanese film. Set in 17th Century Japan, Kamui, an outcast from society who dreams of escaping his miserable existence, trains to become a deadly ninja and embarks on a bloody adventure to find eventual redemption. NEW PEOPLE will host a special opening party for the Kamui Gaidan premiere on Friday, November 19th at 7:15pm.
Gasp in amazement as Macias offers rare clips from other assorted movies, anime, and TV programs such as Shinobi no Mono, Red Mask, Shogun Assassin, Dagger of Kamui, and Alien vs. Ninja reveal the over-the-top skills, weapons, and deadly techniques of these fearsome martial artists!
In the new book, Ninja Attack! True Tales of Assassins, Samurai, and Outlaws(Kodansha International), Hiroko Yoda and Matt Alt introduce dozens of real-life ninja straight out of the annals of Japanese history. Ninja Attack! chronicles the true stories of Japan’s most famous – and feared – fighters. The book covers ninja ranging from clan leaders to solo artists, occult masters, warlords, and vicious assassins, presented with full-page illustrations along with detailed descriptions and anecdotes about their lives, weapons, weaknesses… and how each met his doom. The book includes“The Illustrated Ninja,” a guide that explains the weapons, tools, tricks and techniques of these legendary warriors; and includes a ninja tour of Tokyo. Yoda and Alt also discuss clothing styles, tools and the basics of the ninja diet.
VIZ Cinema is the nation’s first movie theatre devoted exclusively to Japanese film and anime. The 143-seat subterranean theatre is located in the basement of the NEW PEOPLE building and features plush seating, digital as well as 35mm projection, and a THX®-certified sound system.
About NEW PEOPLE
NEW PEOPLE offers the latest films, art, fashion and retail brands from Japan and is the creative vision of the J-Pop Center Project and VIZ Pictures, a distributor and producer of Japanese live action film. Located at 1746 Post Street, the 20,000 square foot structure features a striking 3-floor transparent glass façade that frames a fun and exotic new environment to engage the imagination into the 21st Century. A dedicated web site is also now available at: www.NewPeopleWorld.com.
So what the heck is OTAKU-VERSE ZERO? Well, this is a new weekly web show, “created for otaku all over the universe”, that I’m co-hosting alongside voice actress Yuu Asakawa. In episode zero, we just sit around and shoot the breeze, but future installments will see us running around various locations in Tokyo getting into trouble, blocking doorways, and causing assorted mischief in public. We’ve already shot the first six episodes and I’m going back to Japan next week to shoot another round.
So how did this come to be? Last summer, I was contacted out of the blue by a representative from Japanese “internet radio” channel K’z Station. Turns out they wanted to create their first English language production and were on the hunt for a host. The bulk of their content revolves around chat shows featuring comedians and voice actors, the notable exception being the popular SKE48 program hosted there. I was told I got the gig largely on the basis of my “Hot Tears of Shame” podcast, which is weird since I figured only about 10 people listened to it and episodes come out infrequently at best. But I guess this proves you never know who might be listening…
So far, the biggest difference between doing OVZ and other shows in Japan like Tokyo Eye or Eigo de Shabera Night is the sheer amount of freedom Yuu-san and myself are getting. Previously, I’ve had to work from weird scripts and copious direction, but this show -- even on location -- is pretty much improvised on the spot. As usual, I have no idea what I’m doing or saying, but at least I’m responsible for my own flopping around here.
Episode zero will be up for the next two weeks as part of the “getting to know you” phase. Episode one will go up on 11/29 with weekly updates thereafter. The show is being hosted by K'z Station on YouTube for now because, hey, it is the world's default video player. Please spread the news around about the show, link to it, like it, etc! Feedback is encouraged, so please send comments, suggestions, and requests to the gang at email@example.com. Thanks for your support!!!
Today, I woke to find that producer Yoshinobu Nishizaki - who was to Yamato what Gene Roddenberry was to Star Trek – had died at age 75, drowned in a boating accident.
I’ll be eulogizing Nishizaki, perhaps my favorite all-time anime industry personality; a man equal parts Walt Disney and Scarface, at longer length at the Otaku USA website.
But for now, here’s a quick and dirty English translation of some thoughts on the man by Yoshiyuki Tomino, who was (of course) creator of Mobile Suit Gundam and an original staff member on the 1974 Space Battleship Yamato anime. It perfectly captures the deeply conflicted feelings that Nishizaki can bring up: how he changed the anime industry, pissed people off, inspired others, and did it all HIS WAY.
If I have to say it, producer Nishizaki is the kind of person I hate. I also have to admit he can be a likeable person, too. But I personally prefer not to like him.
Producer Nishizaki was the first person of his kind that I ever encountered in the anime industry. We (in the industry) were not used to meeting this type of person and everyone was stunned by his character. He was so pushy and he used his power to make the staff do whatever he wanted. Honestly, it scared us and we didn’t want him inside the world of anime.
But at the same time, I also thought that the world of anime would never change unless there was a producer who had good sense for sales and marketing. Maybe the reason I felt that way was because I also knew about the world of TV commercials.
Until that time, the anime world was just a gathering place for children. There weren’t so many people who were saying, “we have to take anime to the next level.” Which is what Nishizaki did…
I didn’t like the Yamato phenomenon when it became a hit. But at the same time I thought it was OK that people from outside the anime industry had come in. Instead of a creator, Nishizaki was more like a business person. The feeling of hate I had towards Yamato was more than just a reaction to his style of working. I felt like the times themselves had changed.
The anime industry started with Tezuka and his gang of manga-ka. We were offended by outsiders who used us for business. In that sense, you have to admit we were naïve. I had to accept the style of business that Nishizaki pursued.
We witnessed the process of Yamato getting more and more popular through TV and on-air. We wanted the TV version of Yamato to be a hit like a blockbuster movie and we wanted to create an original movie version. I envied Yamato’s success and thought that anime had a lot of potential. But I didn’t want Yamato to be the ONLY hit anime. So when I started working on Mobile Suit Gundam, I always felt in the back of my mind that “we need to beat that guy up”.
More than anything, I want everyone to copy and become like Nishizaki.
- Yoshiyuki Tomino
(quotes taken from Nishizaki memorial thread via 2chan, exact source: unknown)
ITEM! I've begun writing / doing a monthly column for media contents company NISSEN INC's new iPhone and iPad app: a "TV Guide" styled publication called Terebi Bangumiran「テレビ番組欄」. My column is named "OTAKU ga yorokobu nihon eiga" or "Otaku who enjoys Japanese movie" (which is about as good a description of my daily existence as any). The first outing covers Daiei's DAI MAJIN and YOKAI films. The one I'm working on next is all about YOJIMBO and SANJURO.
Gasp in amazement as rare clips from assorted movies, anime, and TV programs such as “Shinobi no Mono”, “Red Mask”, “Shogun Assassin”, “Dagger of Kamui”, and “Alien vs Ninja” reveal the over-the-top skills, weapons, and deadly techniques of these fearsome martial artists!
*All attendees enter a raffle to win free copies of “Ninja Attack!”!
Ok, I'm going to be in Tokyo again from 11/24 - 12/16. The basic mission objective is to film additional episodes for the upcoming web show I'll be co-hosting (more details and full launch information soon). But I suspect there will also be much Space Battleship Yamato-themed craziness as well when the new live-action movie opens on 12/1. I'll be staying in Mitaka this time, so feel free to hit me up if anything is going on relating to "work" or "pleasure".
Also, I've added a Paypal donation button to this blog (see right). Kind of hobo-ish I know, but the yen-dollar exchange rate is a killer (enter: 100 yen hamburgers and happoshu). Either way, if you've enjoyed the writing, podcasts, and crazy pictures I've been posting here regularly since 2005, your support would sincerely be appreciated no matter how big or small.