Saturday, November 24, 2012

Tokyo Diary: 11/24/12 – Tori-no-ichi, Takao-san

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Crappy internet and too much to do have severely constrained my ability to consistently update, especially with the non-anime stuff.  I have a ton of pics and video, but the latter especially may end up not getting posted until I finally get a stable and non-throttled connection.


I made a trip out to Ikebukuro for the grand opening of Animate’s newly designed flagship store, where they proudly featured Ika squid-ink pasta sauce (complete with picture of her vomiting), Thermae Ramune, Tsuritama DUCK! Curry, and several varieties of Evangelion chips.  Ikebukuro is definitely more of an otome-themed shopping area than Akiba or Nakano, but a store with eight floors is going to have something for every flavor of otaku.

Speaking of Eva, 3.0 is shattering box office records left and right.  It sold an almost unbelievable 771,000 tickets on 224 screens and looks ready to become Japan’s top grosser of the year, easily.  Eva Q is certainly causing a massive controversy with its content, but as I haven’t seen it yet – I’m waiting for “Movie Day” 12/1 – I’m avoiding that talk as much as possible.  But in terms of impact, there’s nothing like Eva.  Long live the king.

Now for the pics…  The first set comes from my neighborhood, Kagurazaka.

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Next, Takao-san, about an hour West of Tokyo.  A well-known spot for fall colors and Mt. Fuji views, though there was too much haze for the latter.  Also for it’s 1200 year-old temple dedicated to Tengu, and for truly massive numbers of visitors, especially in the Fall.

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Next up is the second day of the Tori-no-Ichi Matsuri.  This time I want to the Otori Shrine in Shibuya.  The festival in Asakausa is reportedly even bigger, but this was an amazing experience – easily the most fun I’ve had at any Japanese matsuri.  Truly massive numbers of people packed into the old shrine quarter tucked into the middle of Tokyo’s busiest area, with the line to pray at the main shrine extended for blocks.  Hundreds of stands and vendors, traditional Shinto music, and every time someone bought one of the larger kumade, the traditional celebratory response.  A very wild night, but a blast nonetheless.

Real-live goldfish scooping:
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The kumade chant:
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Shinto music at the shrine pavilion:
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Kamakura pics coming up shortly…


24 comments:

  1. Speaking of Eva Q, Enzo, what's your opinion of this total rewrite of very well-known popular series like Evangelion? And so soon, too.

    The way I see it's basically a different story, a total rewrite from here and on, after deviating further and further as the 2.0 went on. It'd be like Cowboy Bebop, Slam Dunk, or Kenshin being totally rewritten while pretending the original didn't exist (and that recent kenshin manga remake was a letdown...after all, that was just to promote the film version anyway). The only one that I like of these total rewrite would be Urasawa's Pluto, which is, of course, of Astro Boy, but that's only because I didn't know much of the original. Had I know the original, I don't know how I'd feel about it; it's one thing to know the orignal, but if one likes that a lot, it's generally impossible for a rewrite to NOT offend him/her -at least in my case.

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  2. I'm not prepared to call this out as a total reboot at least until I see Q. But you know, it's already been rewritten once by Sadamoto for the Manga, and it's Anno's baby - he can do what he wishes and I'm not offended.

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  3. As far as the new movies go, they mean little to me beyond selling new merchandise. I am offended when idiots claim the changes made to the story and characters are "improvements". It's simply a louder but diluted rewrite.

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    1. Anno's mind is certainly in a different place from 15 years ago.

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    2. I'm not offended by an opinion. The movies do certain things very well, so if someone happens to think they're an improvement, that's cool. I happen to think Sadamoto improved the story in some ways in the manga. Some people think the EoE movies were a better ending than the TV series, and while that's laughable to me it certainly doesn't offend me.

      Anno, I suspect, was close enough in age that he wrote the original series identifying totally with Shinji (he's said as much). He's had a lot of water under the bridge since then, and the Rebuild movies seem to be written at more of a remote perspective.

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    3. I'm not one of those people who thought EoE superior to he inevitable Gainax hash job of the TV ending, but I thought it was an appropriate continuation of Shinji's downward spiral and gave meaning to the instrumentality project we'd hearing about. It stays faithful to Shinji's choice.

      The problem with Rebuild is that it neglects Shinji's shortcomings that made him a convincing protagonist for story of this nature. In the highly intensive 2.0 he doesn't react like a troubled 14 year old with the world on his shoulders, but more like a ideal shounen hero.

      Similar to the Star Wars prequels, these Rebuild films represent what Evangelion has transformed into. The mass following of franchise has superseded and diluted the original voice of the creator. If you need any proof - look at Mari.

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    4. To enter into your points about being offended. Surely you wouldn't be offended by changes if they agreed with you? And certainly if you regard EoE to be a laughable joke it wouldn't offend you either. Because this movie tackles the fairly personal depths the of human psyche (specifically depression) I find it callous to outright shit on it.

      Ultimately what I find disturbing is the affirmation by critics that these changes are "fixes" to the original screenplay, as if it were deficient. I'm not saying they should like the direction it takes and for that reason I wouldn't recommend this as a must watch to every anime fan. But it stands to reason that this is a highly personal work to Anno neck deep in emotion and creativity. And even more so as a response to people who loathed and threatened him.

      Generally the anime community despises self-loathing characters because they don't serve the natural purpose to overcome adversity and "arc". At least conventionally. In some cases that might be true, but in the context of EoE it seems as if those detractors fail to empathize with Shinji's. It could be a case of having not experienced raw depression at all.

      EoE offers an first hand look into that issue even if it doesn't provide the answer to it.

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    5. Rescind that last bit. It provides one answer in that Shinji decides not to go through with the instrumentality and accept the self. i.e the will to survive himself and find happiness. That moment Shinji strangles Asuka fearing rejection she holds out her hand and finally accepts him.

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    6. I never said EoE was laughable - only that I find the notion that it improved the ending laughable, since for me it plays as something that Anno clearly did for the wrong reasons and never believed in his heart. Others can disagree, and that's fine. And if I wouldn't be offended by changes that I disagreed with, why would I be offended by changes I agreed with?

      I still feel this is Anno's personal project, and if he decides to make changes he has a right to make them. That's why it doesn't bother me whether I personally feel they improve the story or not. He wrote Eva as a severely depressed guy in his 20s, and now he wants to reimagine it as a more centered man in his 40s. It's an interesting idea and it's his right to do it if he wants. If people don't like it, they don't have to pay to see it. It certainly doesn't diminish my respect for the TV series.

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    7. Certainly it's up to him whether he wishes to rework his story, I only argue that his heart and mind isn't in the right place to match the authenticity of the prior work emotionally.

      See, I think there's two sides to EoE. Firstly it's Anno giving people what they wanted. The external truth to 25&26. Yes, the execution may be plagued by his reaction to death threats but with regards to how ep 24 ended it faithfully follows from that parallel to ep 25&26 emotionally and logically, once removed from its battered execution. The critique that it goes off the rails is likely just fan butthurt. I'd argue that it is an honest look into Anno's beaten down soul and the fact that it transcends a mere commerical cash-in is testament to that. Like the artist in Psycho-Pass, displaying human nature in its rawest form to face it it head on. The TV ending I think does a slightly better job at illustrating Shinji's mind, but people wanted the literal truth to that horror.

      He actually wrote it in his mid 30s so the notion that the TV/EoE is riddled by youthful angst puzzles me. The was depressed. Nothing remotely unique to youthful ignorance.

      "He wrote Eva as a severely depressed guy in his 20s, and now he wants to reimagine it as a more centered man in his 40s."

      I think people have read more into that. It ultimately serves as a cash cow. The reason I believe that is in the lack of substantial evidence towards the purpose of changes in style and character for better or worse. 2.0 quickly became Neon Gurren-Lagaan. With a happy harem to boot.

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    8. I actually prefer the subtle approach taken by 1.0, whereas 2.0 throws in silly game changers like Mari and preemptive berserker mode. And yeah the 3rd impact just like that. Shinji's forming a harem and the characters 180 degree turns when faced with adversity is so contrived I marvel at how people view it as an improvement to one of the most earnest works in anime.

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  4. I'm so jealous of you getting to see all those foods at the Animate store. I would have eaten all of them! Did you take any pictures of the meals by any chance?

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    1. Some stores in Japan don't allow it - the NoitaminA store for example. I don't know if Animate has such a policy but since I didn't see anyone elese doing it... If nothing else, talking pics in a retail establishment makes me feel like a world-class rube.

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    1. Well if you do, don't blink. Which pic - the Tengu, you mean?

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    2. Dr. Who reference? I love you.

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    1. Not yet! Are they even in season?

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    2. According to wiki: "It flowers in the late summer or autumn, often in response to heavy rainfall"

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    3. Oh no ;A; Theeeen.. Hmm... A picture of Natsu if you see one. *_* Please?

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    4. Natsu Dragneel you mean? I can look for one, sure.

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    5. Who else? He is my favourite character after all~

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