Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Now I've lost it

If you've watched Darker than Black, you'll recognize the spoken lines that open the ... er ... OP. "Now I’ve lost it; I know I can kill; the Truth is [something] beyond the Gates." I'm not too familiar with the horror genre, so this may just be a classic horror-type voice, but the association I make goes to a completely different place.

The voice is awfully reminiscent of the first bit of "Sing Me A Song Of Songmy", a collaboration between Freddie Hubbard and İlhan Mimaroğlu that is one of the most insane things I have ever heard, if not the insanest. The first minute is a layered mishmash of spoken word, violin, and "tape"-type electronic music. The spoken word is delivered in a strangely intense, declamatory manner, and the phrases are both baffling and chilling:

"Give me love. Give me love so that I can ... kill."
"He made me feel that I could play the guitar."
"I feel like I can hold a knife."
"We am. I are."

There's a lot more, these are just a few. After that craziness, the work falls into a more straightforward jazz feel for a while, and then goes all over the place. Overall, it's an anti-war work, and thus probably has little to do with Darker than Black (though the story in episodes 5 and 6 hints at that direction), but I wonder if the people who made the OP had this work in mind.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

colorless wind

The sola OP is made of win. From the perspective of someone who hates American pop music, and has a decent amount of classical training, anime openings are masterful creations that shamelessly utilize a variety of compositional techniques for maximum emotional impact. (OK, catchy melodies aren't really a compositional technique.)

Too bad sola seems to be a heaping mass of cliché so far. But I'll probably keep watching, due to the high production values. The zettai ryouiki is pretty powerful too.

More later.

Friday, May 4, 2007



Well, here we go again.

I'm creating an anime blog, because I need a place to vent about anime, manga, and otaku culture. (In other words, a platform to troll and fanboy-ize.) Eventually I want to make 4koma, but I need to learn how to draw first.

Anyway, today's subject is Code Geass. I started watching it last night -- I am most impressed. It has that cohesive feel that is the hallmark of a great series. The CLAMP character designs have a pretty significant influence on the show: Suzaku's idealistic intensity, Lelouch's flamboyant anger, and that silly scientist guy's ... silliness.

There are some nitpicks I can make about the series: the excessively upbeat OP, while kinda CLAMP-ish, doesn't really mesh with the darkness of the story. Plus it sounds a lot like Eureka Seven's opening, which, well, is admittedly by the same band.

And the story -- wow. This is serious stuff. While I get hints of Gundam storylines, there's definitely echoes of WWII, not to mention current events. Lelouch's terrorists are obviously the heroes of this story, but do their means justify the ends? We're obviously invited to ponder the nature of insurgency, in light of current events, with some Japanese nationalism thrown in for good measure. It's a complicated brew of current events and fantasy.

What really hit me, though, was the direct allusion to the Holocaust. The Japanese are portrayed as living in ghettos. The language Clovis uses -- "clearing a ghetto" -- made me think back to something I'd read recently about authoritarianism (which, by the way, should be required reading). Specifically, chapter seven, which relates in passing the gradual acceptance of genocide by common soldiers who made up the German "Order Police" in WWII. Geass doesn't flinch at showing the wholesale murder of civilians. Quite frankly, I was shocked at how graphic it was. I suppose there's a collective horror about being on the Axis side of the War which is still being worked out.

I watched way too much Geass last night (through 8.5 ><). Hopefully I'll have more self-control tonight.