My buddy Matt Schley brings to my attention a fantastic zine (3rd issue) that he’s produced with a group of people — under the Colony Drop monicker — that is dedicated to one of those classic anime series you should watch if you haven’t (or as they describe it, “the one giant robot show that’s most likely to bore the shit out of your friends if you force them to watch it”), Mobile Police Patlabor — probably most famous for its Mamoru Oshii-directed films. I’ve had a look inside, and it’s beautifully produced, with plenty of engaging essays to make you want to spend even more time with the series. Patlabor the Fanzine is only available in print, and can be ordered online through MagCloud.
Next up in my 80s anime stroll — I’m not necessarily following the exact order given in the primer, and instead watching stuff when I’m in the mood for it — is Dallos, which has the distinction of being the very first OVA (“original video animation,” or direct-to-video, if you will) ever released. It’s also worth noting that it was directed by a very young Mamoru Oshii, who was of course later known for his Patlabor and Ghost in the Shell films. There are 4 volumes, and I’ve watched the first one. It’s not blowing me away, but I’m still digging it. It follows a Mars colony that is in conflict with Earth (reminding me of Gundam), and the best part is when they start configuring work mech components for use as weapons. I look forward to watching the rest.
I just watched a fantastic collection of animated shorts called Ani-Kuri 15. Produced for NHK back in 2007-2008, it’s comprised of 15 1-minute shorts each directed by some of the top names in the animation field, including Kon Satoshi (pictured), Mamoru Oshii, and Makoto Shinkai (in fact, it’s while searching for works by Shinkai that I came across this project). Just a fantastic collection, and incredibly imaginative.
After getting back into Ghost in the Shell recently through the Arise series and the new movie, I wanted to go back and re-watch the original Mamoru Oshii film. It’s always interesting for me to re-visit these movies that I watched so many times back in the day, but haven’t watched in years (in this case, surely 10-15 years or more). Even though I go in not really remembering the story, everything feels so familiar as I watch it, specifically certain scenes and imagery. I can say that this movie still really holds up, and I really enjoyed it, both for the story and the fantastic animation – there’s also a sequence that lasts of a few minutes of just scenes from the city with that haunting Kenji Kawai music that’s just fantastic. Looking forward to re-watching Innocence as well.
The next film from Mamoru Oshii (Patlabor, Ghost in the Shell, Sky Crawlers) is Assault Girls, a live-action sci-fi flick starring Meisa Kuroki — who I must admit I have a crush on — and Rinko Kikuchi. It’s a follow-up to a planned trilogy that started with the short “Assault Girl ‘Hineko the Kentucky,'” below. Via Warren Ellis.