New Territories

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.

Oasis: Supersonic

After watching the Beatles documentary, I decided to make it a double bill and follow it up with this Oasis one. To be honest, I don’t have a huge amount of love for the band — I liked them fine back in the day, and still think “Supersonic” is a great track, but I was never really obsessed with them (and I liked Blur more anyway). But this is a fun documentary to watch, bringing you back to that era, and seeing the struggles up close (because of the volatile relationship between the brothers). Pretty amazing how big they got, so fast, and that it didn’t last.

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week

This is a documentary about the The Beatles directed by Ron Howard, and I ended up quite enjoying it. It starts off with material that makes it seem like this is just going to be yet another look at the Beatlemania that we pretty much all know about, but the fact that it focuses on just the years that they toured globally (63-65) was interesting, and there was stuff that came out of it that I didn’t know.

Tetsuya Mizuguchi

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.

Noclip’s FFXIV Documentary

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.

GLOW: The Story of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling

After I was done watching the new GLOW series on Netflix, I saw that they also had a documentary on the actual GLOW of the 80s, and so I watched it today. Definitely worth a watch, whether you’ve watched the new Netflix series or not. Strangely, even though I quite liked pro wrestling back in the 80s (as most kids did), I never saw or really heard of GLOW, and so it was a huge treat to be introduced to all of this fantastic backstory. It’s fun to see what they decided to take from the real thing as inspiration for the Netflix series (even that fun GLOW rap was real), although I do wish we could have had interviews with the director and host (they declined to be interviewed for the documentary, which suggests that there are things they didn’t want to reveal). But still, really enjoyed this, and I think it’s a shame that all these ladies haven’t been celebrated more in the pro wrestling world since (although it was fun to learn that the WWE’s Ivory was originally part of GLOW).

Yoko Taro

The latest episode of Toco Toco TV is definitely the weirdest one I’ve watched yet, featuring game creator Yoko Taro (Drakengard, Nier). It’s a fantastic episode, and fits Taro’s personality perfectly — from the strange scenes at home (pictured) to him typing nonsense on a computer at the studio (“I can’t see the cursor,” over and over again). I’d also love to visit that pinball place in Osaka. Anne has outdone herself on this one, and I can’t wait for the next episode, which will focus on Editmode, the company behind The King of Games clothing line.

Katsura Hashino

The latest episode of Toco Toco TV brings the series back to the world of games, this time focusing on game creator Katsura Hashino, best known for his work on the Persona series. There’s a lot of great examples of how Tokyo helped form the world you experience in Persona 5, as well as a little peek at his next game.