Now that's my little girl!
This must be copyrighted by someone, but I don't know who.

Of course, having met Scott through the anime community, when I got to Tokyo we had to cruise all the anime and character goods shops. My favorite of the stuff I picked up on this trip was this totally classic cel with an unknown but classic design little girl on it. If anyone out there knows what character this is, please email me.
Those Kodama are everywhere!
© Tokuma Shoten
  I also got these Kodama stickers from Mononoke Hime, which I thought were Hello-Kitty-league cute.
This was from a new series called "Rurouni Kenshin."
out of the weak ©MOVIC

In that inimitable Japanese way, the Rurouni Kenshin pad above says on it, in English, the following:

An invincible swordsman with a strong
sense of justice. Used to be a killer
to help usher Japan to a new era, but
now a wanderor carries a special swords,
allowing him to put attackers out of
the weak without killing them.


I made no typos in transcribing that, by the way.

Kid with a Knife

At the theater in Tokyo one day I caught the latest film from Katsuhiro Otomo, the creator of "Akira". It's called "Spriggan" and of course I watched in Japanese, so I couldn't catch quite everything about it. There's a young hero (at left), a genius government scientist who's trying to dig up Noah's Ark, and of course there's an Indiana-Jones-like frenzy regarding the powers contained within it and a resulting (very bloody) fight over it. I couldn't follow the long monologues, but Scott assured me I probably like the film better because of it. And of course, it's got a deranged kid with mental powers -- what would an Otomo film be without that? I liked the score to Spriggan, which I brought back, and of course the camera work and character art was strong. But, it's not in the league of Akira or Ghost in the Shell even as something I think will find a big audience over here.

Spriggan images © Toho Studios

Through Scott I was lucky enough to be able to visit several anime studios on my trip to Japan. I dropped in on Production I.G., Evergreen Films, and AIC. At AIC I got to see the first episode of the new Bubblegum Crisis series, which was fun since that was one of the two series which got me interested in Japanese animation in the first place. Oe of the fun moments for me, coming from the computer side of the business, was to drop by a painting workshop at one of the studios. It was good to do, by the way, because these are disappearing fast -- the Japanese animation industry is moving to digital ink and paint.

Paint, sleep, paint, sleep This is a cel painters' workstation. Although this was for cel painting specifically, it's a typical size for the workspace of anyone at the animation studios I saw. Directors and other very important people might have two of these desks instead of one. Offices, save for the president of the company, were unheard of. Sleeping at these desks was prevalent at one of the studios. And more paint
  This was the paint storage area for that cel painting workshop.
Honest, it says "Virgin Fleet"
© AIC Japan
Hiroaki Inoue at AIC was kind enough to give me a promotional copy of the DVD release of their latest OAV series. I appreciate the gift, although I'm not especially excited about watching a series concerning young girls in sailor suits who appear to be sailing a battleship -- especially when the title of the series is "baajin furiito" (Virgin Fleet). Gotta love that otaku market. I guess it's not such a big deal that I don't have a DVD player.  
previous Ginza map Tokyo next Kamakura
  © 1998 Leo Hourvitz