Category Archives: Japan

Nekojiru-sou [Conceptual Review]

As an anime fan, I dwell into shows that are purely amazing. Genres like psychological, horror, thriller, dementia and drama are my favorites [as stated many, many times before]. And here I am watching Nekojiru-sou, on a Monday at job :)) [because why not].

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Type: OVA
Episodes: 1
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Feb 21, 2001
Licensors: None found, add some
Studios: J.C.Staff
Source: Manga
Duration: 32 min.
Rating: R – 17+ (violence & profanity)

 

This title embarks you into a world of surreal tenderness, depictions of imagination and strange facts.

 

[SPOILERS AHEAD!]

 

We assist to a death scene from almost the very beginning. It is told ritualistically, using a process of three steps. The soul of the poor cat leaves her body after three blinkings, and the forth times she sees death coming for her.

 

Her brother, after seeing his sister leaving with death, he tries to save her soul from death, and rips apart that aura of her substantiality, making his sister – a shell of her former self. He gains one part of her soul. Death leaves with the other part.

 

The story-telling process is a complex one.

 

There are humans depicted as elements in an absurd existence, strange characters, like the cloud-bird in the circus, which is used as a metaphor for cruelty towards animals in a circus. We have God who cuts a female into pieces and puts her together using a spell – which is an epithet for religious expression. Then comes the Noe’s Ark scene, in which humanity brought doom upon themselves – as the official story tells – and not that the nature’s wrath was beyond control in a moment of this planet’s history.

 

Elements like this are detailing the course of the story written here.

 

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Strange things begin to happen after the waters evaporate. We have elements of voodoo – in which one characters is sewing up parts of corpses to create a sort of community from dead “things”, excessive violence, graphic depictions of gross and unussual behavior.

 

The tones used are pale, almost rotting, creating a perfect ambiance and an atmosphere for this ilogical and irrational tale of unreason.

 

One scene in particular was a favorite of mine. I would call it terror-punk subgenre [if that even exists], in which a man with bdsm inclinations is trying to kill our protagonists, but ends up chopped-up by our beloved cute friends. The OVA is produced in such a manner in which the cuteness is very well fusioned with the acts of brutality and tragedies of the story.

 

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Another thing that is very pleasant and demads gratitude is the imagination of the author, used professionally in creating situations and characters out-of-this world. Like the water-elephant or the abstract art used in the backgrouds with a note of H. P. Lovecraft phenomena.

 

The paradox of time, stopping it, fastforwarding it, elements of the Darwinist theory, mechanisms of life, the evolution of life, historical moments, and the traditional japanese lifestyle – all in one creation.

 

 I recommend the title for its originality. Score 5/5.
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1 Litre of Tears [imported from JapFun blog]

[so.. I know it is a lame ass idea to import stuff from an older blog, but some of these articles I wrote were very important to me, so I want them to be on this blog as well]

J-dorama or simply japanese drama.

One of the best j-dramas ever made is 1 litre of tears. After watching it, I read a lot of posts about this drama and it seemed that everyone who watched it was impressed.

250px-1_litre_of_tears(DVD cover-source: wikipedia.com)

1 litre of tears is presenting the case of a girl, who at the age of 15 finds out that she has an incurable disease: Spinocerebellar Degeneration. As wikipedia.com learns us, this disease is one of a group of genetic disorders characterized by slowly progressive incoordination of gait and often associated with poor coordination of hands, speech, and eye movements.

We see all the symptoms in this drama. Doctors and specialists in neurology were consulted during the making of it.

There are 11 episodes plus a special one, which tell us the sad story of Ikeuchi Aya. During these episodes we learn about the help and the obstacles she faced, her feeling towards the others and the feelings of the others about her.

This drama is based on a real case. Kito Aya [July 1962 – May 23, 1988] had this disease. During her life she wrote a diary, which was published in 1986. Aya just wrote about life, about goodness and hope. About 1.800.000 copies of her diary had been sold.

1_litre_of_tears-book(The book cover-source: wikipedia.com)

Episode List:

1- The beginning of my youth
2- 15 years old, sickness that steals up
3- Why did the illness choose me?
4- The loneliness of two
5- A disabled person’s notebook
6- Heartless glances
7- The place where I am
8- 1 Litre of Tears
9- I live now
10- Love Letter
11- Far away, to the place where tears are exhausted

And the special episode:
1 Litre of Tears: Memory

300px-Ichi_Rittoru_no_Namida(The Ikeuchi Family-from the drama)

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useful links
1 Litre of Tears – Wikipedia
1 Litre of Tears – D-addicts
1Litre of Tears – The book
View this drama online at DramaCrazy

Manga Madness: Higurashi no naku koro ni – Onikakushi-hen – Chapter 1

Manga Madness will be a series of articles in which I will be reviewing the manga I read. I am not really into reading manga – I prefer watching the anime – but there are a few stories that I really enjoyed and I want to get more into these stories.

Warning: Spoilers ahead.

higurashi_manga_by_paraschiz-d37lrwh

Higurashi no naku koro ni began as a murder mystery themed visual novel. Manga adaptations came after, and then it was serialized as an anime show. Other products, games and collectibles were released through the years having the same concept.

I watched the first two seasons and some of the specials released, listened to the soundtracks hundreds of times – and I began to believe Higurashi (the whole idea and products that came afterwards) were really meant for me. My girlfriend says I’m crazy.. am I? 😀

So.. currently I am re-watching the second season – Higurashi no naku koro ni kai – and I began reading the manga as well. The first Volume – first chapter is a question arc.

Onikakushi-henOnikakushi-hen_1

– released in Japanese on 22 December 2002

– released in English on 18 November 2008

– drawings by Karin Suzuragi

As an introductory chapter of the series – we are welcomed to Hinamizawa – apparently a place untouched by the monstrous reality of life – a quiet, natural and undisturbed place.

We meet the characters Maebara Keiichi, Ryuguu Rena, Sonozaki Mion, Furude Rika, Houjo Satoko and the other characters that are helping in the completion of the story.

Little by little Keichii discovers that this place isn’t as peaceful as it seems. He asks questions about the history of the village and he intercepts, at first,  minor changes in the answers he gets. Because a good way to find out something is by seeking answers yourself, he comes across some old newspapers and printed articles where he discovers the horrifying truth that went on in Hinamizawa. There was a series of murders and unexplained disappearances which everyone tries to hide from him. Reasons? Little by little he finds himself doubting everything and everyone.

A good start for a mystery manga. It slowly develops a tense atmosphere. Drawings are good and because I already know the story I say it is impressive.

 

Android Mannequin Takes Marketing To Another Dimension

The Takashimiya department store in Tokyo offers its visitors a unique display – a female robot capable of reacting in front of human visitors.

The android is capable of over sixty facial expressions and movements. This is a Valentine’s Day promotion sustained by a written message on the store’s display window “Android falls in love. She is waiting for you”. If you ask me – just another “Forever Alone ” notion.

But – the idea is great. It is a new visual merchandising concept which obviously is attractive to public.

Weird Japan: Square Watermelons

Japan..Japan..you did it again.

Once again my breath was taken away by an invention of the japanese universal mind. Have you ever tasted square watermelons? I surely didn’t and I will probably never have one. They cost around 10.000 yen [$82] so that’s way too expensive even for a Japanese worker.

But the idea is not hat bad – just plain weird.

Kurofune: The Black Ships

I invite you to a history lesson since you probably don’t know well enough this fact.

The kurofune or the black ships [as they were called] were the names given to Western vessels that arrived on Japanese territory in the 16th and 19th century.

The carrack [picture left] was a battle and exploring vessel created in the 15th century for the use in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean. This was the kind of ship that Columbus used in his first trip to America in 1492. “Santa Maria” became the most popular carrack in the history of America.

The Spanish and Portuguese sailors used them to explore and map the world. As an effect, in the 1543 was established a trading route with Nagasaki. It was the first direct link with the Japanese culture. But in 1639, after a period of time in which the Christian influence grew larger and larger in Japan, the Tokugawa shogunate decided that the Japanese people should enter into an isolated-status and reject all outside influences.

Contact with Japan was restricted. I mean this wasn’t the best thing to happen. This period of isolation lasted more than two hundred years. The shogunate thought that Western influence could harm the national values of the Japanese culture.

The isolation started because of the spead of Christian elements into this country. Over 300.000 peasants and warlords embraced the new religion. The Western missionaries and traders faced restrictions and they were expelled from Japanese territory.

But because the power and wealth of Japan was considered a benefit if trading could continue, the European leaders acted in order to re-create the link with this country.

Of course that in here were involved other things that only having a relationship with another culture. And I mean there were interests and probably the shogunate noticed that.

The name of black ships was given to the vessels that arrived in 1853 and stopped the isolation period. They are now considered a symbol of the opening of Japan to the outside world.