Showing posts with label Japanese film. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Japanese film. Show all posts

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Rurouni Kenshin...defines anime adaptation

Life size tarpaulin of the movie
Maybe this post is not a review but a little bit of promotion of Rurouni Kenshin, the live action adaptation film of same title manga or anime. In fact, to give way to this film I need to set aside my review and reflection for the movies X Men : First Class, While Your Were Sleeping ( Sandra Bullock), which I already write and Korean film Wonderful Radio.

Samurai X that I know 

I was college student  when Samurai X or Rurouni Kenshin (RK) was broadcast in the Philippines. At that time, I proved that I'm really into anime because I felt sad if I didn't get the chance to see this series even the episodes that were already replayed. I even wrote to my diary that I suffered depression, lol! 

One of the many reasons why I'm  addicted to this anime was because of the fantastic characterization of almost every persona in it. One character alone could create one episode because of the back story and his principle in life. And like action films, Rurouni Kenshin had amusing lines like the one I took as slogan of my life it is smarter to be luck than it is lucky to be smart. 

Kenshin Himura a.k.a Hitokiri Battousai ( Killer Wanderer) was maybe just an anime, but he was my crush especially during those days.

Battousai that I watch in the big screen

I think for the first time I bought a movie ticket so early before watching it, as in two weeks for RK. Well , I had this belief that SM Cinema will run it for limited time. Oh well I think, I'm wrong given the box office success of it.

The first element that I like in RK is  the heart pounding musical score. We  know that musical score can set the mood and what they play in the movie are really effective especially that RK is a epic movie.  The next is the fast sword fighting that I couldn't blink my eyes to catch everything. Amazingly, in that part they stick to what Samurai X is all about.

Takeru Sato as Kenshin Himura is okay. His attack was not  overacting or underacting. Something similar to the original Kenshin that I know. Sato is not appealing to me physically but I commend he's flexibility in fighting scenes and versatility in drama made me to think he's Kenshin really. He has comedic timing, fearful aura, and sympathetic face.

Yosuke Eguchi as Saito Hajime is stunning. You know that he's not the lead star  but somehow you 'll treat him like that. The actor gracefully depicts the character in costume, in action and even in mannerism.

At first apart from his wacky look, I couldn't see Sanosuke Sagara in Munetaka Aoki . But from the part that he was helping Megumi Takani (played by Yu Aoi) and the rest in Kaoru Kamiya's  (played by Emi Takei) doju, I started to get excited about him. And the impressive part was when he's fighting with one of the  Kanryu Takeda  (Teruyuki Kagawa) man Banjin Inui (Genki Sudo) who is vegetarian. In some ways, Aoki is overacting but anyway that's what Sanosuke is for me.

Takei and Aoi  as Kaoru and Megumi are pretty and effective. You can see their femininity,  power and unique traits.  As Kaoru, at first you don't feel her attraction to Kenshin, it's more of concern ad curiosity in him. But when she feels jealous when Megumi is flirting with Kenshin and when she said to him that he's home,that's something beyond romantic.

Honestly, I forget about Udo Jine but Koji Kikkawa's portrayal that set aside who is playing because it is him who plants terror in the story and to us - the moviegoers. His eyes, his voice, and his killings are enough  reason to give value in him . 

The adaptation 

Just like what I'm always mention here the blog, I'm not fan of adaptation especially if the original one is the best already. In RK, their version is superb compare to other anime adaptations that I already saw be in  film or TV series. This Japanese film is not boring and typical, they conserve the ambiance of epic, culture, and drama. I hate those who make serious drama to comedy, to give a twist. I super like the idea that they didn't dub it in English, that's why you enjoy it the Japanese way.

And the actors may try to imitate the anime/ manga characters but they also have own input they're portrayal. So they are good models to future actors who will take role in adaptation film/ series.

What's in RK film is just few episodes in anime and so I'm looking forward to see sequels of it. I want to see how they going to adapt the parts of Shishio Makoto and Shogo Hamakusa.                

Kudos to people who create this film, i'm impressed as a fan.

Friday, August 31, 2012

My Neighbor Totoro...a feel good Japanese animated film

a gift from a friend who always asked me
"where can I buy Totoro?"
I have good impression about film outfit Studio Ghibli of Japan. It is because of the great quality animated films they produced that I already watch.   They’re dramas are good for kids and appealing also for adults who like light but entertaining relevant stories such as  Spirited Away (one of the best) and Ponyo.

Because of its popularity and award-winning stance, My Neighbor Totoro (a wood spirit) was dubbed and released two more times but in English version. The last one was under Walt Disney around 2005 or 2006 which featured the voices of sisters Dakota and Elle Fanning ( as Satsuki and Mei Kusakabe), Timothy Daly (Mr. Kusakabe), Pat Caroll (Granny), Frank Welker (Totoro and Catbus) and International Filipina artist Lea Salonga (Mrs. Kusakabe).  I was surprised to know the latter because what I only know about Salonga’s works in Disney are being singing voice of Fa Mulan (Mulan) and Princess Jasmine of Aladdin.


 Has well established characters

My Neighbor Totoro (MNT) also known as My Friend Totoro showcased the rural life of Kusakabe family. The sisters Satzuki and Mei are typical little girls who love fun and adventure but manifest good manners.  Mei is very adorable and playful kid; she’s a true representation of your cute little girl.

On the other hand, Satsuki is a model daughter and sister. She's mature to take care of Mei and to help her father in the absence of their mother.  Although very busy, she shows her eagerness to study, to play and to wonders.  One good proof of that she’s still a kid is she also sees mysterious Totoro.

 Take you to old and simple life you missed

The story is set in 1950s and at that the time people had already thinking of spirts and creatures. Young boy Kanta Okagi gives a hint that they believe in haunted house.  If MNT is other movie, living in an isolated and old house means horror. But the film creator Hayao Miyazaki summed it with fun and adventure. The field is cinematic and their house looks ideal for quite life but full of thrill. The only obvious thing in it is the big tree beside Kusakabe's house. You can guess that there’s something in it.

A story that doesn’t need villain

It's rare that I see a film, whether animation or not, that doesn’t have antagonist but still can hook the audience and offer interesting plot.   Because of it you, don't need to hate anyone to like the lead characters. Furthermore,  you don’t need also to wonder a person’s motivation in ruining the live of the sisters who are very lovely to punish. This makes the story more endearing and commendable.

Not too complicated and doesn't need big conflict

The only problem in the story that I think big enough is the illness of Mrs. Kusakabe which seems serious and when Satsuki looking for Mei when she lost her way going to the hospital.

Even befriending the mischievous Totoro, which can be complicated knowing he's a magical creature, is not an issue for two girls.  Thank you to good nature of their father, who is responsible, sweet and understanding, everything is smooth. 

I appreciate Dakot and Elle here, they are lovely

You just let it be and appreciate everything

MNT is for kids that are for sure but even if it’s clear, you can help but to appreciate it more compare to other animated films. In fact if it’s only your usual anime or animated films, there are so many things you can't accept. But maybe because of the well-written story, as an observant you are prepared that this is just a simple journey of two sisters and you ought to join them to see the wonders in their new world.  

Another pleasant excuse in MNT is its being almost open-ended story, you'll just agree that it should be happy ending.
The drawings specifically the strange giant Totoro and his gang are honestly not as colorful, as detailed and as pretty unlike to other anime characters we know. But they are acceptably cute because of their adorable and mystical traits. That big Totoro is very interesting creature. His physical feature very outrageous but he proves that whatever you see is just one thing in his identity. He's generous, sincere and unique friend.     


When we are young we believe in the impossible and magical things. We easily believe in nice stories that we learned.  We can even create our own tales out of our wild imaginations.

But little by little as we grow older, our unique visions vanished as we adopt what the real world teaches us. Of course, facing reality is a must but neglecting the child in you, as Totoro representing, you’ll miss the spectacles in your life.    

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Death Note (Live action Japanese Film)…anime comes to life

Will you agree that it’s difficult to have life than to die? Yes it is sad that maybe all your efforts during your lifetime can end in a snap of fingers-
a. if you get serious illness,
b.died in an accident
c.or someone unfortunately kill you.

How about just writing your name in a piece of paper and you’ll have to bid good bye to this world?
a gift from a friend  who urged me to watch it 


               I have friends from different groups who suggested to me to watch Death Note. And I don’t know that they also referring to different version of it, as there’s manga, anime series and film. But what I got was the live action film series starring Tatsuya Fujiwara as Light Yagami, Kenichi Matsuyama as L, and Erika Toda as Misa Amane.  And if I’m not mistaken this is the very first Japanese live action film that I watch. (I always miss Eiga Sai film festival.)
                Honestly, I don’t know want to say and I don’t know if I’m eager to watch the anime series to compare. I don’t know if Fujiwara and Matsuyama’ acting prowess are good or the entire movie is beautiful or ugly. It’s like everything is weird and unnatural for me.  Though, it’s fun watching it and how the story grows from unexplainable death, mysterious and interesting agent, reapers that look rock stars, a merciless person who puts justice in his hand and lies after lies. What's really commendable about it is you’ll not stop watching 'till you find out how they solve the case of Kira.     

               Even without watching the anime or manga version, you can really tell that there are master pieces for particular medium only. You can accept wild story and peculiar characters in those media as it is, right? I’m not saying this is for Death Note live action film only, but in general perspective (this is also what I don’t like in some Asian series based in manga or anime).  I like the smile of Fujiwara but his character Light and Kira are not likeable in many ways. You can’t tell what’s going on his personality, what his real purpose is and how far he can go. He’s insane for me.
            On the other hand, L looks ordinary creepy man trying hard to be the weirdest genius agent for me- yes, sort of over the top. But I like L in the spin-off movie of Death Note or L: Change the World. He’s still the creepy, maniac of sweet foods, cool typist and candidate for osteoporosis there, but you can sympathize with him wholeheartedly. Yes he’s lovely in that film and the story line is believable in a way.

        As whole, the idea of Death Note is very interesting and the kind of person who’s writing on it. I think I need to see the manga and anime version. 


It’s tempting to use death note if you have it. But I agree with L’s point of view:
“No matter how gifted you are, you alone cannot change the world but that’s the wonderful thing about this world.”

      Sure we have our own enemies and people we hate that we wish to erase in this world. But ideally, who are you to kill people when in fact you are also a criminal and sinner. Who are you to give justice when you are unfair?
     The idea of justice can be imperfect too. Because the one who thought about it is also not perfect – human. Let the Divine intervention and fate do the thing. There so many forms of justice apart from killing, such as having life full of misery and guilt. Criminals and bad people can’t be happy as peaceful and good people.