Why Akira Is So Awesome
I’ve always liked Akira. But a recent viewing of the movie blew my mind.
Hit the link to read what knocked my socks off.
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The backstory here is that I’ve been watching a lot of 1980s anime for the past few years, especially recently, since a lot of it has gone out of print and I’ve stocked up on DVDs. Over the recent holiday weekend, I watched Patlabor the Movie and Cyber City Oedo 808. With a few hours left to kill before going to sleep and waking up to the real world of a soul sucking day job, I figured I’d watch Akira. I hadn’t seen it in a few years, plus I had been meaning to watch it since I finally read the manga in full this year and wanted to refresh my memory as to how the two differ.
I had seen Akira four times before this viewing, if I remember correctly. But it was never in the right context - a 1988 context, that is. When I had watched it before, I was in the middle of the Shinichiro Watanabe craze and the modern era of Studio Ghibli. I was always impressed with Akira. I liked everything about it - the art direction, the post World War III setting, the bikes, and the bizarreness of it all. But it didn’t blow me away.
This time, though, it was totally different. Like I said, I was just watching some other ’80s anime. Patlabor the Movie and Cyber City Oedo 808, like almost all anime of the time, was produced in an extremely “economic” way. Cels - the individually layered pieces of characters, backgrounds, props, and effects - were re-used, frame by frame, frequently. For example, in a one-shot of a character speaking, the only cels that made up that character that would move were those that made up the mouth. Everything else stood still.
Being acclimated to these animation techniques, I was primed to have my eyeballs melted. In Akira, everything moves like liquid. Facial animations, the characters’ movement, and even the effects like billowing smoke were incredibly smooth. While most animation runs at 24 frames per second, half of those frames are repeated. In other words, there are only 12 unique frames per second. With Akira, all 24 frames were unique, meaning an enormous total of over 160,000 cels. Even something as mundane as the lip-syncing was impressive. All previous anime had created the animation first and then recorded the voiceovers. Akira recorded the voiceovers first so the artists could precisely match the characters’ mouths and lips with the dialogue. Akira's animation stood up to today's computer-based animation, yet had the soul of hand-drawn animation.
Such amazing animation and a 1988 release date just didn’t compute for me. Until the credits rolled, that is. With a budget of nearly $11 million, a huge number of Japanese studios were recruited to turn Akira into a reality. Bandai, Toho, Kodansha, Hakuhodo, Mainichi Broadcasting System, Sumitomo, Laserdisc Corporation, and Tokyo Movie Shinsha made up “The Akira Committee”. But even more companies were used for production, such as Asahi Production, who created the individual photographs that would be sequenced together to create the film, and Gainax, who were just one of the many animation studios who worked on the movie. Excluding publishers and licensors, 81 studios and companies helped created Akira, by my count. That is insane, not only from a pure manpower standpoint, but also from a logistical one.
Akira is nearly as old as I am. Yet it might as well have been made yesterday. The amount of love and detail that went into this movie is jaw-dropping. I’m ashamed that I didn’t appreciate this before. Go watch Akira right now and pay attention not just to the storyline, but to the incredibly precise and seamless animation. It gave me a whole new respect for the film, and I hope it does for you, too.
Buy: Akira: 25th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray/DVD Combo)

Why Akira Is So Awesome

I’ve always liked Akira. But a recent viewing of the movie blew my mind.

Hit the link to read what knocked my socks off.

Read More

What Metal Gear Rising Should Have Been
Don’t get me wrong. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is a great game. But at the same time, it’s a missed opportunity. “Rising” seems to allude to the rising action that crescendos in Guns of the Patriots. Konami and Platinum should have taken this and run with it.
As soon as I saw Raiden as a cyborg ninja, taking apart a Gecko with his katana and feet, I needed to know the backstory. How did Jack the Ripper become the next Frank Jaeger? What happened between the brainfuck of Sons of Liberty and his cyborgification? Explaining that was the plan for Rising. But that got scrapped in favor of a story that took place after Guns of the Patriots. So we’re left wondering how Jack got his lightning bolt action.
Backstory is what Rising should have been all about, to the point that it could have been its own side-series to Metal Gear Solid. Everybody wants to play as Cyborg Ninja, AKA Grey Fox, AKA Frank Jaeger. Playing through the events of Metal Gear Solid as Grey Fox, eventually coming face to face with Snake would be amazing and could even serve to flesh out the other members of the cast like Vulcan Raven and Sniper Wolf.
And while she didn’t have quite as dramatic a transformation as Raiden did, I want to know what Meryl was up to between Ski-Dooing off of Shadow Moses and her “What happened to your face” run-in with Snake years later. While Raiden’s and Grey Fox’s games would be Devil May Cry style action games, Meryl’s could stick to stealth or maybe try something completely new.
Konami certainly aren’t averse to whoring out the Metal Gear series. So maybe this stuff could happen. But then again, Kojima needs to walk away from the series soon.
Check it: brownkidd Gives Hideo Kojima a Custom Old Snake Munny
Buy: Metal Gear Solid HD Collection

What Metal Gear Rising Should Have Been

Don’t get me wrong. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is a great game. But at the same time, it’s a missed opportunity. “Rising seems to allude to the rising action that crescendos in Guns of the Patriots. Konami and Platinum should have taken this and run with it.

As soon as I saw Raiden as a cyborg ninja, taking apart a Gecko with his katana and feet, I needed to know the backstory. How did Jack the Ripper become the next Frank Jaeger? What happened between the brainfuck of Sons of Liberty and his cyborgification? Explaining that was the plan for Rising. But that got scrapped in favor of a story that took place after Guns of the Patriots. So we’re left wondering how Jack got his lightning bolt action.

Backstory is what Rising should have been all about, to the point that it could have been its own side-series to Metal Gear Solid. Everybody wants to play as Cyborg Ninja, AKA Grey Fox, AKA Frank Jaeger. Playing through the events of Metal Gear Solid as Grey Fox, eventually coming face to face with Snake would be amazing and could even serve to flesh out the other members of the cast like Vulcan Raven and Sniper Wolf.

And while she didn’t have quite as dramatic a transformation as Raiden did, I want to know what Meryl was up to between Ski-Dooing off of Shadow Moses and her “What happened to your face” run-in with Snake years later. While Raiden’s and Grey Fox’s games would be Devil May Cry style action games, Meryl’s could stick to stealth or maybe try something completely new.

Konami certainly aren’t averse to whoring out the Metal Gear series. So maybe this stuff could happen. But then again, Kojima needs to walk away from the series soon.

Check it: brownkidd Gives Hideo Kojima a Custom Old Snake Munny
Buy: Metal Gear Solid HD Collection
AN INTRODUCTION
Hey everyone. My name is Box-Robots (Adam) and I am the newest member of Albotas. I am a filmmaker currently residing in Philly and I’d like to think that I am fairly involved in nerd culture. I really love film and video games and have occasionally followed comics and even some tabletop games like Heroclix. I am actually really into the chiptune music scene in Philly, which is blossoming. I am also really into pro wrestling, which may be surprising to some. I follow mainly independent wrestling companies that focus more on creative story-telling over dramatic soap opera style stories. I think wrestling is a unique art-form that is largely underrated.
Anyway, as a result of all of my interests, I feel that I will be able to provide a ton of really great content to Albotas. I have always been extremely committed to the stuff that I love and the nerd/geek subculture is no different. Due to my love for gaming, I ended up doing a 20 minute short documentary on a professional Starcraft II tournament that was featured on IGN. Since I was unable to play Starcraft II at a great level (I’m currently ranked as bronze, which is the lowest ranking one can attain.) I figured out a way to contribute to the scene. That is the main reason that I wanted to get involved with Albotas.
If you feel compelled, please follow me on Twitter @BoxRobots and check out my Vimeo.
I am excited to be a part of Albotas and can’t wait to help contribute to the geek culture that we all love.
Thanks for reading. Now on to the quality content.
-Box-Robots

AN INTRODUCTION

Hey everyone. My name is Box-Robots (Adam) and I am the newest member of Albotas. I am a filmmaker currently residing in Philly and I’d like to think that I am fairly involved in nerd culture. I really love film and video games and have occasionally followed comics and even some tabletop games like Heroclix. I am actually really into the chiptune music scene in Philly, which is blossoming. I am also really into pro wrestling, which may be surprising to some. I follow mainly independent wrestling companies that focus more on creative story-telling over dramatic soap opera style stories. I think wrestling is a unique art-form that is largely underrated.

Anyway, as a result of all of my interests, I feel that I will be able to provide a ton of really great content to Albotas. I have always been extremely committed to the stuff that I love and the nerd/geek subculture is no different. Due to my love for gaming, I ended up doing a 20 minute short documentary on a professional Starcraft II tournament that was featured on IGN. Since I was unable to play Starcraft II at a great level (I’m currently ranked as bronze, which is the lowest ranking one can attain.) I figured out a way to contribute to the scene. That is the main reason that I wanted to get involved with Albotas.

If you feel compelled, please follow me on Twitter @BoxRobots and check out my Vimeo.

I am excited to be a part of Albotas and can’t wait to help contribute to the geek culture that we all love.

Thanks for reading. Now on to the quality content.

-Box-Robots

Albotas Editorial: So the Pokémon series finally gets a black character, but is she too black?
For years, Pokémon fans have wondered why there have never been characters of color in the Pokémon franchise. And no, Brock isn’t black (I kid you not, there are people out there who truly think he is!). Sure, there’s dark-skinned characters who could pass for Hispanic or Korean or something, but there’s never been anyone of African decent.
Maybe this is because the fictional regions where each Pokémon game takes place are based on actual regions of Japan. Black people are somewhat of a rarity in Japan, so it makes sense that they’d be a rarity in Japanese-developed games.
But with Pokémon Black and White, the imaginary Isshu region is based on New York: a melting pot of culture. So it’d make perfect sense to have at least one black character. Finally! A hero for African American Pokémon players to relate to!
Nope. Instead, Japan gives us an insanely dated stereotype named Aloe. She’s not just black, she’s Aunt Jemima black. Big ol’ hair, 70’s headband, and even an apron. She looks like an anime Mammy caricature ready to serve up some fried chicken and cornbread. Is this really what Japan thinks of African Americans?
Or maybe Japan doesn’t think in the same terms of racism as Americans. After all, slavery and civil rights were never as big of an issue over there. Maybe Japanese developers portray their black characters in a stereotypical manner because they draw inspiration from America’s portrayal. When our movies and TV shows are filled with loud-mouthed, slang speaking, saggy-pantsed caricatures, it’s only natural for foreigners to assume that this is the way things really are. And maybe it is.
But an apron? Seriously? Come on, Japan. There’s not a doubt in my mind that every line of text spoken by Aloe will be spoken in a southern black dialect full of ain’ts, watchu’s, and lots of progressive verbs ending with -in’ instead of -ing.
Poor GameFreak. People call you racist for years for not including a black character in Pokémon games, and when you finally do, people call you racist for making her too black.
Or maybe the ones calling GameFreak racist are racist themselves because of their own preconceived stereotypes toward black people.

Albotas Editorial: So the Pokémon series finally gets a black character, but is she too black?

For years, Pokémon fans have wondered why there have never been characters of color in the Pokémon franchise. And no, Brock isn’t black (I kid you not, there are people out there who truly think he is!). Sure, there’s dark-skinned characters who could pass for Hispanic or Korean or something, but there’s never been anyone of African decent.

Maybe this is because the fictional regions where each Pokémon game takes place are based on actual regions of Japan. Black people are somewhat of a rarity in Japan, so it makes sense that they’d be a rarity in Japanese-developed games.

But with Pokémon Black and White, the imaginary Isshu region is based on New York: a melting pot of culture. So it’d make perfect sense to have at least one black character. Finally! A hero for African American Pokémon players to relate to!

Nope. Instead, Japan gives us an insanely dated stereotype named Aloe. She’s not just black, she’s Aunt Jemima black. Big ol’ hair, 70’s headband, and even an apron. She looks like an anime Mammy caricature ready to serve up some fried chicken and cornbread. Is this really what Japan thinks of African Americans?

Or maybe Japan doesn’t think in the same terms of racism as Americans. After all, slavery and civil rights were never as big of an issue over there. Maybe Japanese developers portray their black characters in a stereotypical manner because they draw inspiration from America’s portrayal. When our movies and TV shows are filled with loud-mouthed, slang speaking, saggy-pantsed caricatures, it’s only natural for foreigners to assume that this is the way things really are. And maybe it is.

But an apron? Seriously? Come on, Japan. There’s not a doubt in my mind that every line of text spoken by Aloe will be spoken in a southern black dialect full of ain’ts, watchu’s, and lots of progressive verbs ending with -in’ instead of -ing.

Poor GameFreak. People call you racist for years for not including a black character in Pokémon games, and when you finally do, people call you racist for making her too black.

Or maybe the ones calling GameFreak racist are racist themselves because of their own preconceived stereotypes toward black people.

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