The mystical island nation of Japan has an odd curiosity about Western religions, as anyone who has ever seen Neon Genesis Evangelion can attest. The anime and manga world is a largely secular one in a dogmatic sense, but anime and manga creators are more than eager to swallow up influences and iconography far and wide in order to add some color and foreign allure.
Of course, the majority of our American pop culture that leaps across the Pacific Ocean is similarly secular, but occasionally intrepid manga and anime auteurs remind themselves that, yes, Jewish people do indeed exist! And on this Hanukkah, here are seven Jewish characters who've shown up in anime and manga!More >>
Here we are on the cusp of Spike Lee's all-new version of Oldboy, which promises to be an intriguing new spin on Park Chan-wook's internationally renowned revenge thriller [watch for the review coming later today - ed]. Instead of Choi Min-sik grasping a hammer and looking dangerous, we've got Josh Brolin to look forward to, while Sharlto Copley steps into shadowy antagonist Yoo Ji-tae's shoes. But the trajectory of this new film version has some interesting curves to it; before Lee and Brolin got the project off the ground, the principals were director Steven Spielberg and actor Will Smith. This earlier take, Smith said, would be an adaptation of the original manga, and not the Park film.
But really, you're wondering, how different could they be? In broad strokes, film adaptations of comic books are often pretty faithful to the source material. They kind of have to be, or it places the appeal of the original, a major hook for getting people into the film, at risk. But what Park Chan-wook accomplished with his 2004 Oldboy, when compared to Garon Tsuchiya and Nobuaki Minegishi's manga, is a startling piece of work: a film that faithfully reproduces the style and circumstances of the original, but with a more bluntly menacing tone and some very different story elements. Let's have a look at nine ways Park's Oldboy is a very different animal from the original manga, and how that might reflect on Lee's film. Obviously, this thing is going to be full of tantalizing spoilers; if you want to experience these twists without your mind expectantly searching for them, go to Dark Horse Comics and grab the manga from them.
You're most likely a fraud. Yes, you. Sitting at your keyboard. You've watched some amount of anime, and you think the term "J-Rock" holds some kind of meaning for you. Whether it brings back nostalgic memories of your favorite shojo theme song, or flashes of Shonen Knife music set to Power Puff Girls clips on Cartoon Network, chances are, you have a favorite. Or you think you do, anyway.
Well, its time to throw out those rose-tinted glasses and get real - most of that stuff is garbage. Complete ass. I bob my head to the Evangelion theme song just like everybody else, but I'd never pay money to see it performed live. Nor do I have any interest in buying an entire album by whoever wrote that syrupy nonsense.
But guess what? There's actually a ton of J-Rock that's totally relevant, substantial and genuinely excellent music that doesn't need the crutch of anime to hold it up. We've got eight to start you off.
And no, I do not mean Gackt.More >>
Collecting highlights from the best reader-submitted tips in the weekend thread. A lot of duplicates this week, so I went with the first in most cases...I think.
It's 11-11. Make a wish!
Oh, you wanted to see KISS and Lynda Carter together? (skrag2112)More >>
The problem: your product is something that nobody uses the moment they realize that in fact, they don't have to.
The solution: make it look like something they do like. Normally, that would mean Google Chrome or Firefox. But somebody at Microsoft instead made the leap to "sexy superpowered anime schoolgirl," because everybody likes that. Especially people who spend disproportionate percentages of their day online.
God, I thought fetishizing the Silent Hill nurses was weird. But now comes the almost certain prospect that somebody, somewhere has already masturbated to an anthropomorphic version of a shitty Internet browser.
There's a cartoon short, which you can watch after the jump. There's also an utterly terrifying official cosplayer. Click through to see them...More >>
"Rip off!" It's fun little accusation to throw around, isn't it?
These days, whenever we look over any list of forthcoming blockbusters, the default response is to bemoan the lack of originality on display. What's up with all these sequels? Why are there so many remakes? Can a movie ever get made without being based on a comic, novel, TV show or video game? It's enough that we excitedly treat "originals" like they're rare and precious animals wandering onto the farm.
But how strict do we want to get about the notion of a flick "not being based on any prior material?" Well, we're going to argue here that many memorable "original" Hollywood pictures have actually owed enough of a debt to anime that they should really have an additional "based on" credit.
Of course, we can't act like anime hasn't ripped American films off plenty of times (compare Dragon Ball Z's Saiyan Saga with Superman II if you want a laugh), and there are certainly plenty of cases where the same ideas just happen to bubble up in the zeitgeist coincidentally (for fun, contrast the blonde, grouchy, chain-smoking exorcists who inspired both Mushi-Shi and Constantine). Today, though, we're squarely focussing on the most undeniable, laughable, and egregious imitations - ripoffs so flagrant that our frothing nerd rage prevents us from just letting it go. These are not coincidences.
Highlights from the weekend's best reader submissions.
-I can't be arsed to watch the entirety of "Butthoven's Fifth Symphony" (Timely-Tardis-Lego)
Collecting the best in reader submissions from the weekend open thread...
-Japanese-age Mutant Ninja Burger, hero to your taste buds. Coronary power! (SlyDante777)
-The Shadow Warrior Mini-Game that lets you be a more literal kind of cleaner (Anyone00).More >>
No matter what your politics, no matter who you blame, I think we're mostly unanimous that the government shutdown sucks. But it sucks most for people whose jobs are lost or suspended because two political parties can't come to a compromise.
Various business have been offering special deals for all the furloughed folks hit hardest, so it seems like a good time to spotlight some of the nerdier ones. Consider this an open thread to post any more that you find in comments below - meanwhile, to start you off, here are three, found with the help of regular commenter SlyDante777.
-A free month of anime from Crunchyroll.com. Arigato!
-A free game bundle from gog.com that rather snarkily includes such titles as Capitalism Plus, Theme Hospital and Redneck Rampage.
-And because the government shouldn't be the only one screwing people, Vibrators.com has a free product for you too.
Feel free to add to this list below. Government workers are nerds too.