Every now and then, a new VOCALOID video comes around that is destined to be the stuff of legend. The full CGI animated “Bacterial Contamination” clip goes one better by being the stuff of nightmares, too.
Featuring music by mathru@KanimisoP and creepy visuals by artist denio, the result is disturbing, mesmerizing, and frightfully marvelous.
OVZ's coverage of the Chara Hobby convention in Tokyo continues as Yuu and Patrick interview cosplayers from Evangelion, Tiger & Bunny, and Transformers. Then, our fearless hosts take the challenge to do some cosplay of their very own!
Those nasty boys are at it again! Patrick Macias, Matt Alt, and Andy Szymanski encounter Godzilla on the mythical island of Umihotaru in Tokyo Bay.
Video taken at Bandai's Tamashii Nations 2011 event in Akihabara Tokyo on 11/24/2011. Up first is the S.H.MonsterArts showroom filled with Godzilla figures, and then the ULTRA-ACT room.
Video taken at Bandai's Tamashii Nations 2011 event in Akihabara. Tokyo on 11/24/2011. Includes figures from "Tiger & Bunny", "The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya", and others.
Patrick Macias, Matt Alt, and Andy Szymanski fight for YOUR honor as they flip through an old Japanese movie book all about Best Kid 2: The Moment of Truth (AKA Karate Kid 2). Also includes 7 reasons why Karate Kid 2 is better than Karate Kid 1.
Patrick Macias and Matt Alt visit "stamina" restaurant Asa Dachi-ya ("Morning Wood") to feast on grilled salamander washed down with pit viper booze.
Patrick Macias and Matt Alt attack the Akihabara Culture Zone in search of rare garage kits, action figures, plastic models, and Choudenji Yo-Yos...
Victoria Holden and Patrick Macias go to the ends of the earth to acquire an "I am T-Pain Microphone" in time for this Friday's episode of THE LIVE SHOW @ crunchyroll.
If you think the life of a repo man is intense, you really ought to try racing down the Extraterrestrial Highway pointing a camera at Japanese writer & troublemaker Tomo Machiyama...
This is an English subbed teaser for a video commissioned by the Japanese distributors of the alien comedy "Paul". Tomo stars and I did the camera work. Excerpts were shown by Tomo at the Shitamachi Comedy Festival last weekend and I'm about to start editing a longer version for YouTube shortly. Look forwards to more clips from Machi and myeself soon unless an abduction of some kind is forthcoming...
Personal aside: Even in a lifetime of doing weird shit,driving into the deep desert in search of space brothers, tracking down the fabled "black mailbox" (above), eating an "alien burger", and going off the grid into the Restricted Area was super nuts. Perhaps the most dangerous mission yet, and we're saving the best for the final cut...
8/20/11: Media madness inside the Shibuya PARCO department store as Harajuku Girl Kyary Pamyu Pamyu of PONPONPON fame walks through the building escorted by Sebastian Masuda of 6%DOKIDOKI. Video taken run-and-gun style while shooting Season Three of the OTAKU-VERSE ZERO webshow.
Matt Alt and Patrick Macias run amok in a minefield of restored Godzilla, Ultraman, and tokusatsu props. These items belong to the private collection of special effects artist and director Tomoo Haraguchi (DEATH KAPPA). And no, we couldn't keep them.
This clip for “Alice in Musicland: a VOCALOID Musical” debuted this weekend. You might want to check it out as it looks like the creative breakthrough for the Vocaloid music software that we all knew in our guts was going to show up one day. Although it originated in Japan, it’s a work that is rich in the tradition of the American animated musical by way of 21st century tech: no one has ever heard Vocaloids singing at this level of harmonic complexity before. It’s also nearly 12 min. long, but the whole thing just flies by as real entertainment for the masses should.
As you might have gathered already from the title, “Alice in Musicland” harkens back to the glory days of Walt Disney’s early works, when American musical theater was a prime inspiration (I think the style shifted to “parodies of other musical genres” after the arrival of the Sherman Brothers songwriting team at the studio in the early sixties). Heck, there’s even a 1935 Silly Symphony short called “Musicland” that features similar jazzy interludes to the ones seen here. “Alice in Musicland” may have originated in an otaku incubator, but it doesn’t waste much time trying to please Hatsune Miku fans. Sure, the Vocaloids are presented in super deformed variations, but the piece really goes for the “storybook + musical” jugular that was the hallmark of early American animated films.
But to make entertainment of that quality, Uncle Walt had to build and staff an entire studio, and then a corporate empire, to churn it out. Amazingly, this voice-synthesizer assisted musical was written and performed by a single person: a semi-professional musician who calls herself Oster Project. The art design and animation was completed by a skeleton crew. This is what Wataru Sasaki, who helped develop Hatsune Miku and the Vocaloid software, meant when he told me “We don’t need anime because I think the fan’s creativity is at a higher level than anime.” Maybe the best thing about "Alice" is that it is presented as theater, complete with scene changes and chintzy decorations. There’s no multiple camera angles or editing. We're the birth of a new form, but the roots of old fashioned show biz are as firm as ever.
While the clip only debuted this weekend, it has already racked up millions of hits on Nico Nico Douga (I linked the YouTube version here because Nico Nico is crap to embed). The Japanese comments there range from, “this will be a legend in Vocaloid history!”, to “this is just like good old Disney!” to sincere pleas to Oster Project of “how can I pay you for this? Take my money, please!” Just consuming “Alice in Musicland” for free isn’t enough. It encourages reaction and participation. And we’re all wired to do plenty of both these days. Hopefully, it will inspire many others around the world.
Final thoughts before the curtain call: Some pundits say that China and Korea are poised to strike at any moment with planet-sweeping pop culture sensations of their own. But “Alice in Musicland” could only have originated in Japan. While other countries were closed off or asleep during the 20th century, Japan’s deep America complex lead to careful study and familiarly with Western styles and genres, which allows the resulting mash-ups to travel easily abroad. Even as America forgets and forsakes it’s own native art forms, I have no doubt someone in Japan is already dedicated to mastering them all over again. During the 20th century, people used to complain that Japan could only produce "imitations" and "fakes" (accusations that could now be leveled elsewhere), but does "Alice in Musicland" really feel like either of those to you?
Patrick Macias (host, Otaku-Verse Zero) and Matt Alt (author, Ninja Attack!) dare to venture to darkest Saitama in search of treasure at the legendary Kaleidoscope toy store located in Oyama. But will they be prepared for the shock of what they find there?
‘OTAKU-VERSE ZERO’ SEARCHES FOR BURIED TREASURE AT THE MANDARAKE SUPERSTORE IN EPISODE 12!
Tokyo, Japan, February 16. 2011 – Yuu Asakawa (voice actress, K-ON!!, Girl’s Bravo) and Patrick Macias (Editor, Otaku USA magazine) are the featured hosts of Otaku-Verse Zero, a new English language series from web TV network K’zStation.
Updated weekly and filmed in Tokyo, Otaku-Verse Zero aims to bring “otaku all over the universe” fun and lively coverage of anime, manga, and Japanese pop culture.
In episode 12, now on-line, Patrick continues his solo tour of Tokyo’s legendary Nakano Broadway shopping mall by visiting multiple Mandarake collector’s stores within. Japan’s largest chain of used otaku goods, Mandarake’s Nakano branch buys and sells 45,000 otaku items weekly. Inside, Patrick samples an array of rare and vintage video games, classic Japanese movie posters, manga, and finally, a selection of rare animation cels from Evangelion, Studio Ghibli, Space Battleship Yamato, and Astro Boy.
Based in Tokyo, Japan, K’zStation is a web TV channel that
provides original content to two million viewers a month. Their programming features some of Japan’s top comedians, voice actors, and idols including SKE48. For more information, visit www.kzstation.com/.
Updated weekly and filmed in Tokyo, OTAKU-VERSE ZERO aims to bring “otaku all over the universe” fun and lively coverage of anime, manga, and Japanese culture.
Episode four, now available for viewing on-line, features Patrick and Yuu’s report on Tokyo’s Asakusa ward. Patrick explores the traditions of the Kannon Temple, originally founded in the 7th century, and runs amok through the tacky tourist trap of the Asakusa Nakamise in search of a suitable gift to impress his co-host. But is Yuu likely be impressed by what he finds there?