The summer may be pretty much at its end, but we at least got two new episodes of Toco Toco TV this week, part of its promised “Summer Special” block, as we await the start of the next season. They both focus on filmmakers, Noboru Iguchi and Yoshihiro Nishimura, working in the indie horror genre, and are both fascinating in how frank each creator is about the difficulties of making indie films in Japan these days, with budgets for non-mainstream fare hard to come by and a fraction of what they used to be. It was also quite nostalgic for me to see Iguchi walking around Ikebukuro, the part of Tokyo where I lived for over 13 years.
One of my favorite filmmakers, Anne Ferrero (Toco Toco TV, Branching Paths), is part of yet another beautifully produced series of video shorts/documentaries about Japanese culture. Called New Territories, it “aims at shedding more light on Japan’s art scene through the eyes of its local players, including artists, galleries, curators, writers, and more.” The first episode covers the Misako & Rosen gallery.
The always amazing Lee Basford is behind the fantastic video produced for the Tokyo stop of the “Rapha Rides” project (taking place in 20 cities around the world). Not only is it a beautiful look at taking in Tokyo by bike, it also features one of my design heroes (Groovisions). On the negative side, this really made me miss Tokyo, and especially being able to bike through the city on a daily basis. Via Canvas.
The season 3 finale of Toco Toco TV is a great one, covering video game/media creator Tetsuya Mizuguchi — and it’s fun seeing my buddy Mark MacDonald show up a few times. I also like how the series has updated the audio cues and typography it uses, it’s a welcomed change. I’m sad though that it’s the season finale — who knows when the next season will start — but at least they tease a summer special at the end of the episode. Let me also mention that the previous episode was quite interesting too, featuring musician Ei Wada.
I’m a huge fan of the Noclip series of documentaries about video games, and the latest one is a 3-part series (part one, part two, part three) covering the rather interesting journey of Final Fantasy XIV, from flop to rebirth. I played the game when it relaunched as A Realm Reborn in 2013, and quite enjoyed it — I stopped playing after a couple of months because I was having issues paying for the subscription (using a US account, but playing in Japan). Having watched the documentary, I now sorta want to play again.
It’s been out for a bit, but in case you missed it, the latest episode of Toco Toco TV profiles the highly detailed samurai sculptures of artist Tetsuya Noguchi. The episode also includes a trip to Tokyu Hands (one of Noguchi’s favorite spots), and man did that make me miss having access to Tokyu Hands — when I lived in both Ikebukuro and Shibuya, I always had access to a giant branch.
For its latest episode, Toco Toco TV revisits the gaming space through a profile of Kazutoshi Iida (Doshin the Giant). He produced three games (that was always his plan), before turning into an academic. The episodes features a great look at some of Kyoto’s art spots.
Alvaro Arregui’s Nuevo Studio has completed a new branding project, in the form of the very slick web presence of filmmaker Yukihiro Shoda — check out the site.
“Innovation Japan” is an initiative launched by the Japanese government to promote innovations happening in Japan on the tech front, in the form of a slick website featuring short videos that touch on a variety of topics (cybernetics, RFID, smart maintenance, etc.)
The latest episode of Toco Toco TV takes a look at media artist Etsuko Ichihara — whose work includes the mix of robotics and tradition pictured in this post. And it looks like the next episode is already heading back to the gamespace, covering game creator Kazutoshi Iida.