Years ago I was browsing a used book store in Ikebukuro and came across an old Super Famicom game with some interesting cover art– in the vein of the fantasy/sci-fi nature of the older Phantasy Star games with a vaguely O’Neill cylinder-looking thing on the back. Despite the cool cover, I had no interest in buying Super Famicom role-playing games and promptly forgot about it, until recently stumbling across it again while browsing tumblr. It turns out the games name was Gdleen, and was based on a light novel series written from 1989-1991 by Yuto Ramon. It was popular enough to spawn a one-shot OVA by the same name in 1990, and overwhelmed by an urge to indulge in a surely-mediocre OVA from years past, I decided to watch it.
Don’t be shy: who else kind of forgot this film existed?
The brainchild of heart-smashingly talented key animator Takashi Nakamura, A Tree of Palme was released in 2002, played at that year’s Berlin Film Festival, was released on DVD by ADV a few years later and quickly forgotten thereafter. Just some theories of mine, but the character designs don’t feel anime enough for anime folk, but too anime for everyone else (“doesn’t stand out among other animes,” said G. Allen Johnson in the San Francisco Chronicle, which is grammatically questionable and also wrong)1, at 136 minutes it’s darn long, especially for a cartoon, which G. Allen Johnson, to his credit, did point out — and finally, it’s just, like, kinda weird, man.
Colony Drop is limping into the new year and reminding everyone we’re still alive with a few panels at Otakon Vegas, so why not huddle around in a hotel devoted to 90s Hollywood films and listen to us rant on the following topics?
Friday, January 3rd
Anime Journalism: 6:30 - 7:45pm - Panel Room 3
The Top 10 OAVs of All Time: 7:45 - 9:00pm - Panel Room 3
Saturday, January 4th
The Top 10 Anime You’ve Never Heard Of: 3 - 4:15pm - Panel Room 1
So come say hi, cross your arms and grumble “I’ve heard of all these” and let us crash your room parties. Thanks!
Gainax’s latest TV show, the unwieldy-named Stella Women’s Academy, High School Division C3, focuses on the adventures of a survival game club at a prestigious girl’s boarding school. Ingeniously tapping into both the popular “little girls doing things” genre and the wide-scale marketability of the expensive toy guns industry, Stella Women’s Academy replaces the toy robots of yesteryear with toy guns — pretty much the same thing, really, except instead of being marketed to children a la Gundam, they’re marketing to manchildren a la every other anime of the last decade.
(We’re going to spoil Pacific Rim all the way through in this post, so if you’re averse to that kind of thing, just read the title. If you read Colony Drop, you should see this movie. And in 3D.)
We can only effectively express how anime Pacific Rim is by telling you exactly what happens. In the film’s most anime moment, our hero robot is helpless, beaten, being carried thousands of feet above the ground by a winged Rodan-like beast. Pilot A says they’re out of weapons to use. Pilot B, the girl with blue hair, corrects him. There is one. The control panel’s display lights up with SWORD, and from the body of the robot emerges a segmented whip-blade. Our blue-haired heroine takes that sword and screams “For my family!” The robot’s body twists upward from Rodan’s grasp and slices the monster magnificently in half. Pacific Rim is very, very anime.
I’ll be taking part in a panel called Writing About Anime: Anime Journalism and the Web on Friday @ 5pm, in LP 4. It’s organized by Evin Jones (formerly of Ani.me) and will also feature cool dudes like Mike Toole, David Keith Riddick (formerly of U.S. Renditions) and perhaps others! I presume we’ll be talking about writing about anime.
Bigger and badder than our first effort, The Last American Fanzine 2: The Quickening features over 70 perfect-bound pages of full-color anime content. Contributing writers to this issue include notable Internet anime fans like Benjamin Ettinger (Anipages), Patrick Macias (Otaku USA, Crunchyroll News), David Merrill (Let’s Anime and the first Colony Drop fanzine), Mike Toole (Anime News Network), and Daryl Surat (Anime World Order and Otaku USA).
Articles cover a variety of anime-related topics. Here’s a rough rundown:
• The seminal Cream Lemon episode Pop Chaser.
• Patlabor’s real-life influences.
• A discussion with two Japanese journalists about anime publishing.
• The VHS-based lifestyle of fans during the Reagan administration.
• The underbelly of the U.S. anime convention scene.
• Fandom during the dial-up era.
• 1980s basic cable programming and To-Y.
There’s also a heap of original fanart and photography, a couple comics and the subtle reminder that anime fans can, on occasion, be productive individuals.
As with the first issue, we’re releasing it via the print-on-demand website MagCloud. It’s also more expensive than the first issue, due to the larger size, rising costs and binding. Currently there are no plans to release it via PDF.