Jan. 25, 2012 | 7:22 p.m.
Disney and Pixar Chief John Lasseter has called Hayao Miyazaki, the co-founder of Japan’s revered Studio Ghibli, one of the greatest animators of all time. Starting Thursday, the American Cinematheque is showing 14 examples of his studio’s genre-defying works, including the Oscar-winning “Spirited Away,” the children’s fantasy “My Neighbor Totoro” and the more adult fantasy “Princess Mononoke” (featuring an English-language adaptation by fantasy heavyweight Neil Gaiman) at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood and at the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica. “There’s a humanity in these films,” said Eric Beckman, whose company GKids put together the current touring retrospective. “Even the fantasy films are based on a real sense of magic and wonder in everyday things. Every tree or blade of grass or rock or animal has this spiritual essence of life.” Founded in 1985 by Miyazaki, his mentor Isao Takahata […]
Jan. 18, 2012 | 5:27 p.m.
Harold Perrineau’s showbiz odyssey has taken him from the stage (he was a dancer in the illustrious Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and appeared on prominent productions of “Dreamgirls” and ”Fame”) to the big screen (he was Link in the “Matrix” trilogy and Mercutio in Baz Luhrmann’s “Romeo + Juliet”) to landmark television programs (Michael Dawson on ”Lost” and Augustus Hill on “Oz”). Now Perrineau is the voice of the vampire-hunting title character in “Blade,” G4′s newest Marvel Anime project. Hero Complex writer Jevon Phillips caught up with the Brooklyn native. JP: What was your experience with Blade before taking the role? HP: I had only seen the movies. I was a big fan of the movies, especially the first two. I really loved watching Wesley Snipes being this bad-ass vampire slayer and vampire. That was all I knew him from. I didn’t know the […]
Dec. 23, 2011 | 11:51 a.m.
Shigeru Miyamoto isn’t ready for “game over.” The face of Nintendo (actual title: Senior Managing Director and General Manager, Entertainment Analysis and Development Division) and game development icon made a statement a few weeks back (right before receiving a hall of fame award at the Video Game Awards) that sounded like a retirement announcement. It was taken a bit out of context, and he has since backtracked. Hero Complex writer Jevon Phillips sat down with the master developer, 59, to talk about all of that as well as the anniversaries of Mario and Zelda and the big-picture changes in game development since a little plumber first jumped over a barrel in Donkey Kong. JP: So — retiring? What exactly did you mean when you first made the statement? SM: I’m sorry that whatever I said has been somehow reported in […]
Dec. 19, 2011 | 6:34 a.m.
Just as 2011 was the year of the sequel in American animation, many of the year’s best anime releases were sequels, continuations or reworkings of familiar properties. But the reimagined versions often improved on the original. The characters and story lines in many of the year’s top anime may be familiar, but the filmmakers have taken it up a notch—and in some cases, several notches. 1. “Summer Wars”: In this imaginative science fiction tale, director Mamoru Hosoda juxtaposes the brightly colored CG cyber-realm of Oz with the drawn world of everyday reality. High school math ace Kenji must defeat a renegade AI program in the former and deal with his classmate Natsuki’s quarrelsome clan family in the latter. Hosoda’s deft blending of romance, comedy, action and distinctive visual imagery confirms his place as one of the most interesting directors working in […]
Dec. 15, 2011 | 5:00 a.m.
Edgy, violent South Korean films have been making waves internationally for years, but the country’s animation sector has remained relatively narrow, devoted mostly to Disney-like fare — children’s fairy tales with substantial budgets and corporate backing. But at this fall’s Busan International Film Festival, 33-year-old director Yeun Sang-ho drew attention with his first feature-length project: an animated, cold-blooded adult tale called “The King of Pigs” that explores the underside of human nature at an all-boys middle school in Seoul. The school is a microcosm of society, a harsh environment where there is no escape from constant bullying and violence. “Life is unfair, and that’s the reality,” said Yeun, a chain-smoker with oversized glasses whose previous short films focused on life’s gloomier moments. “I just wanted to show what the current society is like.” The director funded the $150,000 project himself, […]
Dec. 09, 2011 | 4:53 p.m.
The new Voltron: Defender of the Universe video game is a nostalgic throwback to the 1980s cartoon that featured space explorers who piloted five mecha-lions that combined to form a powerful robot defender. Released on Nov. 29, the game features multiplayer online and offline options; battles with King Zarkon’s evil forces including classic Robeast creatures; and cut-scenes culled directly from episodes of the cartoon series. Many of these scenes feature the voice of Michael Bell as Lance, second-in-command and pilot of the Red Lion. Bell’s voice resonates through the memories of millions of fans who watched cartoons at some point during the ’80s as the characters of Duke (“G.I. Joe”), Handy/Grouchy/Lazy Smurf (“The Smurfs”), Prowl/Sideswipe (“Transformers”) and scores of others. Hero Complex contributor Jevon Phillips caught up with the somewhat revered voice actor to chat about old times and new challenges. JP: How […]
Nov. 14, 2011 | 1:40 p.m.
Over 30,000 people attended the first Comikaze Expo on Nov. 5 and 6 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Comic book legend Stan Lee, actors Mark Hamill (“Star Wars,” “Batman” animated series), Ernest Borgnine (“The Black Hole,” “The Poseidon Adventure”), Richard Hatch (the original “Battlestar Galactica” series), and even Charlie Brown himself (voice actor Brad Kesten) were on hand. The real stars, though, might have been the fans themselves — the tradition of cosplay has become a true sensation in recent years and, in the photo gallery above, you can get a sense of the heroic lengths that fans will go to create their own costumes and step into the sci-fi, fantasy and superhero worlds they adore. – Jay West RECENT AND RELATED ‘Hunger Games’: See the character posters Wonder Woman at 70: DC’s icon gets new origin ‘Hawk & Dove’ preview: Chaos […]
Nov. 05, 2011 | 4:18 a.m.
When Yoshiyuki Tomino’s first “Gundam” series premiered on Japanese television in 1979, its run ended early due to low ratings. But when the same material was recut and released as three theatrical features in 1981 and 1982, the response was so enthusiastic, fans fought over Gundam toys and model kits in toy stores. Three decades later, there have been 25 “Gundam” television series, 11 feature films, plus direct-to-video releases and an IMAX featurette. In 2009-2010, a 59-foot “life-size” statue of a Gundam Mobile Suit was exhibited in Tokyo and Shizuoka to mark the 30th anniversary of the release of the first Gundam plastic model kit. According to some estimates, there have been 10 Gundam models sold for every man, woman and child in Japan. The breadth and effect of that history are timely topics with the home-video release of the feature “Mobile […]
Sept. 06, 2011 | 2:43 p.m.
Last week, a National Research Council report urged NASA to start thinking seriously about cleaning up the more than 22,000 fragments of satellites, rockets and other junk orbiting the Earth. They’re way behind Ai Tanabe, Hachirota Hoshino and the other grunts of the Debris Section of Space Station ISPV-7 in the anime series “Planetes”; they’ve been disposing of that stuff since the show debuted in 2004. So now’s a good time to revisit the DVD set “Planetes: Complete Collection.” The story line goes like this: In 2075, eager but maladroit Ai arrives at the Space Station and is dismayed to discover she’s been assigned to the Debris Section. This group of mismatched misfits is at the bottom of the station, physically and socially. Supervisor Meyers frets; his assistant Arvind does sleight-of-hand magic; pilot Fee hides in a decompression chamber to […]
Aug. 08, 2011 | 12:26 p.m.
The release of the fifth set of “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” brings one of the most original and best-loved anime series of the decade to a slam-bang conclusion unlike anything that’s ever been done in American animation. The original “Fullmetal Alchemist” TV series (2003), was adapted from Hiromu Arakawa’s manga before the artist had envisioned her story’s outcome: The filmmakers had to make up their own finale. “Brotherhood,” which closely follows the now-completed manga, is darker and more exciting, with some spectacular CG effects. The adventures of adolescent prodigies Edward and Alphonse Elric began on the terrible night when they defied the greatest taboo and tried to use alchemy to bring their mother back from the dead. They paid a devastating price for attempting human transmutation: Ed lost his left leg; Al nearly died. Edward sacrificed his right arm to preserve […]