Abstract: The Art of Design

I was quite looking forward to watching this documentary series that just debuted on Netflix this weekend, following the tease from Scott Dadich in the latest issue of Wired (Dadich is Executive Producer on the series). I watched the first episode, covering one of my favorite illustrators, Christoph Niemann. It’s really well done, with slick animation used throughout to highlight the work, and I love the mix of interviews and staging to illustrate a point. Can’t wait to watch the rest.

Dragon Quest

Even though I have a big amount of respect for the series, I don’t actually have that much experience with Dragon Quest games – the first one I played was DQ8 on PS2, and then I played a bit of DQ9 on DS, but didn’t get super far in it. This year I played a bunch of Dragon Quest Heroes, and liked it for what it was (Dynasty Warriors-like with more RPG elements and pretty graphics), and then played the Dragon Quest Builders demo. So after all of this, it was a couple of days ago when I watched a recent documentary from NHK about the series (in celebration of its 30th anniversary) that I just got in the mood to go and play the very first game, which I had bought for iOS a while back, but hadn’t really played much. I started the game again, and 2-3 hours later I was still playing. Two days later, I’ve reached the final castle, and am just in need of a bit more grinding before I’m ready to face the final boss. And yes, I’ve already bought Dragon Quest II (the DQ games on iOS are currently on sale). As for the quality of the iOS version, I’m not crazy about using a virtual pad to move around, but I do find it convenient to play (I’m playing on iPhone this time), and I’ve gotten used to it.

Till He Dies

wlsrvwldrv6e1qcaoepe

If you’ve watched the excellent documentary about Studio Ghibli, The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness, then you already know that director Hayao Miyazaki isn’t the easiest of people to work with/for, and a recent NHK documentary shows that, well, he hasn’t changed much. This Kotaku article does a great job of sharing some of the highlights from the program, which also includes Miyazaki learning to use a computer for animation, and some talk on a new feature film he’d like to make.

The Latest from Toco Toco

screen-shot-2016-11-20-at-23-49-44

I haven’t posted about Toco Toco recently, but it continues to be one of my favorite web series, and so let me remind you that you should really check it out if you’re on the lookout for a beautifully produced series of documentary shorts covering Tokyo creatives. The last 3 episodes cover accessory designer KAE, fashion designer Nukeme, and animator ShiShi Yamazaki (pictured). And here’s also a reminder that director Anne Ferrero is also behind this year’s excellent feature documentary about the Japanese indie game scene, Branching Paths.