First Quarter Storm: 40 Years Later…

Yesterday marked the 40th Anniversary of the First Quarter Storm in the Philippines, which was a series of protests against a corrupt and unjust Marcos Regime. The significance of which was the catalyst that eventually started the People Power Movement and the ousting of Ferdinand Marcos.

Now how does this relate to animation, comics, and cartoons? Well, the First Quarter Storm also produced a creative spark that artists have been feeding off of for the past 40 years. I know its inspired me, and has also other more well renowned artists. And its something I WE keep in the back of my OUR mind(s) as something that drives me US as I WE progress (slowly) through my OUR (neverending) process of learning animation…

For now, I present to you a video of a poem by Carlos Bulosan called “If You Want To Know Who We Are.” Produced and voiced by Ron Antonio (yes the same dude from here)

I have talked with many folks who feel that its best if politics stay away from art/ animation/ cartoons/ etc. NOT ME, as far as I’m concerned, no matter what, politics is always involved, and that makes the art that much more powerful. But you know what, I’m always down for dialogue.

Will Draw For Food: Compare Your Life To Pixar

In this current world of iPhones, reality TV, instant streaming, and basically instant gratification, I think many of us forget that the things we want to accomplish in life take time and perseverance. I think fellow artist Josh Mirman nailed it on the head with this animated piece:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

I think its time to do some work! Check out his site and artwork here.

Thanks to the homie, Aimee, for pointing out this video to me.

Astro Boy

Astro Boy/ dir. David Bowers/ 2009

Astro Boy, a character created from the mind of Osamu Tezuka (aka the godfather of anime) back in the 1950s, is one of the most famous manga/ anime characters ever. For those of us who remember watching the reruns of the 1960s anime series back in the 80s or 90s, or for those of us who are fans of old school manga/ anime, Astro Boy, much like Mickey Mouse, and Bugs Bunny, is a timeless character. I, personally, forget about his origin as Dr. Tenma’s attempt to replace his deceased son, but what I DO remember is the fantastic fights he had against other robots and alien invaders. So when I heard that a remake of Astro Boy in glorious CG was going to come out in 2009, I was a little excited. Then I thought about the idea a little more… then I came to a realization that no matter what, Astro Boy would not live up to expectations…

And yeah, I was right. However, that doesn’t mean that Astro Boy isn’t a decent movie. The story does its best with the “what does it be mean to be human” theme crossed with a psuedo “upper class” vs. “lower class” vibe, with bits of other sci-fi cliches strewn in. It’s pretty entertaining, but in the end it just wasn’t Astro Boy. Continue reading

MLK Day: A Message to Animation Students….

Yesterday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and I got many hits for my previous Bootleg Classic post about it. Well, I decided that I had to say a message to not only animation students, but anybody else that wants to listen about the importance of yesterday, and the vital dialogue and work needed to fully realize Dr. King’s OUR dreams.

I kept it vague, and I probably could’ve added more of my own commentary, but I think folks are smart enough to have their own opinions…

I only hope that folks are listening…

Set the VCR: The Death of Maes Hughes…

I’m going to start off this post with a passage from Bill Simmons’, aka the Sports Guy, (one of my favorite writers) column on the 13 Levels of Losing:

Level III: The Stomach Punch
Definition: Now we’ve moved into rarefied territory, any roller-coaster game that ends with A) an opponent making a pivotal (sometimes improbable) play, or B) one of your guys failing in the clutch … usually ends with fans filing out after the game in stunned disbelief, if they can even move at all … always haunting, sometimes scarring …

In my opinion, “The Stomach Punch” (and all levels of losing actually) can apply to more than sports, and can be a nice analogy for many of these things we go through in life. I think many of us can think of time  in life when we felt that “stomach punch” and yes, those times are “always haunting” and  “sometimes scarring.” So for this Set the VCR moment, I focus on a great “stomach punch” moment that led to one of the saddest sequences ever in an anime series.

Fullmetal Alchemist (anime)/ dir. Seiji Mizushima/ Episode 25 “Words of Farewell” / 2004

Hit the Jump! Continue reading

Adidas Originals x Star Wars

Anyone else as excited as I am?

Let’s see, David Beckham, Snoop Dogg, Calle 13, Daft Punk, and a great cameo by DJ Neil Armstrong!

Oh and don’t forget Darth Vader!

What does this have to do with cartoons and animations?

EVERYTHING! I’m so inspired now!

A Christmas Carol 3D

A Christmas Carol 3D/ dir. Robert Zemeckis/ 2009

A Christmas Carol. You know the story. Ebenezer Scrooge, crotchety old man is visited by 3 ghosts on Christmas Eve and eventually learns the true spirit of Christmas, blah, blah, etc. it’s been told many times over. It has been adapted, spoofed, modernized, retro-ed, turned around, flipped, and some have even attempted sequels. I have some qualms with the story, for example its told in the perspective of a rich, old, bourgeois, white male, and at times it presents a “rich man’s burden” theme. But you know what, I actually enjoy the story. Redemption and spending quality time with friends and family, that’s the Christmas spirit I’m down with. So in my mind, you really can’t screw up the story.

What CAN be screwed up are the elements that go into  presenting that story. And as much I enjoyed the excellent animation, the visual effects, the Victorian atmosphere, and the voice performances by Jim Carrey and Gary Oldman, this newest Disney version of A Christmas Carol lacked that one thing that is essential to this classic story… heart… Continue reading

Set the VCR: It was you, it was always you…

In a reasonably good anime series, there are “aww…” moments, and there are “A-HA!” moments. “Aww..” moments usually happen when dealing with relationships, sometimes between parents and children, sometimes between friends and family, but most of the time it happens between significant others. “A-HA!” moments occur when a major plot twist  or loose end is finally concluded or tied up. Both moments offer an amount of satisfaction when through, and both moments tug at your heartstrings. However, there aren’t many cases when the “aww…” moments and the “A-HA!” moments are one in the same.

For this Set the VCR moment, I chose what I believe was the defining moment of a magnificently done series, RahXephon.

RahXephon/ dir. Yutaka Izubuchi/ Movement 26 “Time Enough For Love”/ 2002

(hit the jump to witness this moment)

Continue reading