0080 in Advent

Christmas always brings thoughts of War in the Pocket, for it takes place at Christmas, and I first watched it at Christmas, longer ago than I care to recall. I was glad, therefore, to see Stephen Hero publish a new essay on it at Zimmerit, which, first of all, I encourage you to read, and this prompted me to type out a few scraps of thought on the OVA. Continue reading 0080 in Advent”

The nascent OVA

Dallos episode 1 (1983)

Over at Heisei Etranger, Austin’s posted a new interview translation which deserves a read. It covers a short mid-eighties conversation in Animage with Shigeru Watanabe, planner of Dallos (1983–4), on the potential of the new OVA (or OAV) direct-to-video release format.

Like any document this needs a pinch of scepticism: I don’t, of course, mean that Watanabe would’ve set out to deceive people, but this is a public-facing boosterish interview in a magazine.

Still, various titbits here pique my curiosity.

I certainly hadn’t heard, for instance, that episode 47 of Urusei Yatsura might’ve played a role in convincing Bandai of the team’s production chops. I wonder whether much came from the plans for a rental system overseen by the company itself? Perhaps unsurprisingly, Watanabe had a clear-eyed feel for the OVA (or OAV) as a space for what couldn’t be done on TV. Animage‘s boxout list of video releases which Austin has generously also translated is rather amusing.

And you should add Heisei Etranger to your RSS reader, if you haven’t already (you do have an RSS reader, yes?).

Dezaki, illuminated

A useful tweet with some 2004 documentary screenshots explaining an analogue lighting technique:

[Something like: How did Dezaki manage to add these famous light beams which one finds in all his works? I don’t really have French, so don’t take that as an authoritative translation!] Continue reading “Dezaki, illuminated”

Anime’s aspect ratios

Anime-Gataris (2017; before you rush to try this: it doesn’t manage this kind of wit often)

Aspect ratios go unremarked, but few things can be more fundamental to an anime than its shape. To my knowledge, few things have been said on the topic. Jamal, voice of the podcast Get in the Mecha, has covered it a little, in an episode which helpfully reminds us that aspect ratio is a choice. Jamal’s treatment focuses on aspect ratios’ artistic ramifications, though, so I thought I’d have a go at gathering some more basic historical information about them. Continue reading “Anime’s aspect ratios”


Aer, pioneer air fighter

Aer loves to fly, and to shoot down the enemy. By flying she staves off a difficult choice: pilot-priestesses like her escape the general societal demand that children—all of them born with female bodies—go to the nation’s sacred Spring at age seventeen and pick a physical sex.

Just a few snags intrude. Much of the rest of Aer’s squadron, Chor Tempest, don’t think they’re military pilots at all, and would prefer to focus on their religious calling. The best available co-pilot, Neviril, seems unaccountably cut-up over losing someone in the most recent battle. And then there’s the small matter of the enemy, who’ve every reason to offer war to the knife: they desperately need access to the Spring for themselves.

Thus opens Simoun, one of the odder anime for which I’ll advocate. Continue reading Simoun

On saying good night

Giant Gorg (1984)

Since the UK entered lockdown in March, I’ve tweeted one or more anime screencaps and the phrase ‘Good night, and good luck’ when I go to bed. (When the screencap’s from a giant robot show, the phrase is ‘Good night and good luck, pilots.’) Sometimes I forget. But I’ve generally kept the habit up.

I don’t need to say that we’re passing through strange, threatening times. Yes, at least one pandemic likely will intrude at some point in a full lifespan, but knowing that and living it differ sharply!

The digital tendrils anime has woven between us might be slight things, but for me, and for everyone else living alone, they’re at least something.

sdshamshel on Gold Lightan

In starting this blog I wanted, among other things, to have a place to note helpful and/or fun posts elsewhere. I was delighted to see a new blog post about Gold Lightan at Ogiue Maniax. Posts about Gold Lightan don’t exactly weigh my RSS feed-reader down every week! Indeed, this might be the first one I’ve seen.

sdshamshel highlights the show’s unexpected aspects—most of its aspects, by the sound of things—and its distribution of craft attention. I often wonder what combinations of chance and design focused efforts and talent on this or that part of an episode.

The flippancy of the show’s premise also sounds like a plus. I often enjoy a good spot of flippancy. Or even a bad one. I hope I find myself with the right marriage of time and mood to watch it one day!

HiDive stream Gold Lightan in the USA, putting it in the growing basket of old giant robot anime unexpectedly available over there. I’m not sure that we even had a full English translation before this (I would be interested to know, in fact). The past few years have seen more of these obscurities emerge into easier English availability via streaming outfits, a trend much to be welcomed.