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Archive for the ‘Animation’ Category

Saul Bass’s Birthday Video

May 8, 2013 Leave a comment

A very quick one today, as I’ve simply borrowed the video from Google’s search page.

I’m a huge fan of Saul Bass’s graphic style (having written about him on these pages before) and although the thought of Google appropriating his effortless style by association sits a tad uncomfortably with me, I’m a realist and know that’s how it all works…

And besides, the video is a pretty clever summation of some of his best work. I’m even quite liking Dave Brubeck’s jazz tune this morning (but don’t tell my And)

And don’t bother sending Saul your best wishes either… he died in 1996.

Blade Runner in 60 seconds (and some very bad news for fans…)

March 27, 2013 3 comments

Every Year Empire Magazine hold a competition open to all amateur film makers. The premise is simple; remake an existing film in less than one minute…

This years very worthy winner was Philip Askins, who with this rather fine black and white, animated version of one of my very favorite films, the timeless Bladerunner, beat off 15 other competitors, to take the trophy home…

Out of interest, I’ve just looked online for an update on the Blade Runner prequel that Ridley Scott was supposed to be directing, and I am utterly shocked, disappointed and dismayed to read some of the names now connected to the project : Will Smith, Chris Tucker, Michael Bay (Directing) and the final insult, the name that ruins virtually every film he’s been in, Nicholas F**king Cage…

No, no, no… how can it be anything other than total shite, full of macho posing, pointless explosions, over the top CGI and characters with as much depth as my dining table…  What a shame, I was quite looking forward to that.

Oh well, I’ll just have to make do with watching Philip’s excellent interpretation a couple of times more, knowing full well that it will be infinitely better than anything the bunch of tossers above will ever come up with…

When the Day Didn’t Arrive…

February 19, 2013 4 comments

I enjoyed my walk into work this morning.

The Island was surrounded in a thick fog, giving everything an eery and ghostly appearance. Shapes looming in the grey almost beyond recognition. It reminded me of an episode of Roobarb and Custard called When the Day Didn’t Arrive… a day when the birds couldn’t fly because the sky hadn’t been coloured in…

This is a photo I took of Pepper Street bridge over Millwall Dock, looking towards a very watery sun (which oddly is not visible in the sky, but is clearly reflected in the water) and it does indeed look like nothing has been coloured in…

P1190612

And this is the episode of Roobarb and Custard, an animated cartoon that used to be on every day after I got home from school. It was drawn in a scratchy, almost unfinished way so that all the outlines and colours of the characters were constantly moving around… Generally Roobarb (a green dog) was full of enthusiasm for the days adventures, whereas Custard (a pink cat) was more cynical and usually tried to spoil the fun…

This is also one of those lattice of coincidence things that I’ve touched on before, as Richard Briers the actor who sadly died yesterday, and who was such an intrinsic aspect of my childhood (i.e. 1970’s) TV, narrated all these Roobarb stories, using a variety of silly voices to describe the events of these even sillier stories…

Richard Briars

Stop Overfishing Now…

January 31, 2013 3 comments

I seem to be continuing in a bit of an eco-political mood at the moment, with a brilliant example of animated graphic art catching my eye…

This very stylish video, made by the German Design studio UHS (where you’ll find lots of other very cool stuff) explains in a beautifully simple and clear way how overfishing will potentially empty our oceans within the next 50 years and was made as part of last years Ocean 2012 campaign to raise awareness of the issue, reform EU Fishing Policy and bring about an end to destructive fishing practices.

Having been a vegetarian for the last 25 years or so, and having not eaten any fish at all since I was about 8, this of course doesn’t apply to me, which means I can appreciate the stunning graphics and inventive storyline without guilt or worry…

If only it were that simple, some of the numbers in this presentation are very, very scary…

  • estimated 90% drop in fish stocks over the last 60 years
  • fishing nets with openings greater than 23,000 sqm
  • 9kg of fish are thrown back for every 1kg of shrimp caught (i.e. 90% of the catch is thrown away)
  • 5kg of captured wild fish are needed to feed every 1kg of farmed salmon
  • 10,000 tonnes/ year (recommended scientific limit for catches of blue fin tuna to allow sustainable stocks) 29,500 t/y (EU Fisheries agreed limit)  61,000 t/y (the actual amount caught)

To my mind it comes down to thinking about what you eat and asking yourself where it came from and how it got to be on your plate…

Anna Meredith – Nautilus video

January 31, 2013 Leave a comment

A quick update on Anna Meredith, as I recently came across the video for her amazing tune Nautilus…

Made by Tony Comely, it’s full of everything that appeals to me; big colours, bold shapes & clever ideas, with echoes (to my eyes) of Saul Bass and Airside…

And as for that tune, I’m still listening to it (and the whole EP to be honest) and it still sounds like nothing else I’ve heard. When did the trombone ever sound so convincing as an intrinsic element of a dub step track?

Dubstep Dispute…

July 7, 2012 3 comments

My good friend Wong seems to have a knack for finding cool things online…

This one is particularly good, if far too short… I like the yellow droid that gets so agitated he falls over…

And as for the interpretation of those huge dub step sounds… genius

Marine Boy – 1970’s Japanese Anime

March 14, 2012 2 comments

Here’s one for all you Forty something’s out there..

For most people my age and born in the UK, I might suggest that the first time they became aware of the existence of the wonderful world of Japanese animated manga or anime, was when and if they watched the masterpiece that is Marine Boy…

Created originally in Japan by Minoru Adachi and animation company Japan Tele-Cartoons between 1964 and 1971,  Marine Boy ran for three series and over 100 episodes, and having looked into it all now for this post, it seems that there were 78 episodes of the final third series, that were dubbed into english, syndicated by Warner Brothers for the US, and it was these that made it into my mum and dad’s living room in the early 1970’s and so into my eager young brain…

Marine Boy was an apparently nameless teenager who wore an impenetrable orange wet suit, used a sonic boomerang as his weapon of choice (grabbed from a pouch on the arm of his suit), chewed oxy-gum to allow him to breathe underwater, and was usually joined on his dangerous missions by his friends Splasher the white Dolphin and Neptina the mermaid who could also see into the future using her large peral necklace…

Marine Boy worked for Ocean Patrol, an orgainsation run by Dr. Mariner (also Marine Boy’s father) and travelled to the seemingly endless sea based threats to world peace from sea monsters/ green slime/ irradiated animals/ mechanical icebergs/ mustachioed baddies etc. etc. etc..  via a fantastic underwater sub crewed by Piper and Bolton (think Laurel and Hardy in sailor suits). The whole team was rounded off by Professor Fumble the obligatory crazy/ genius inventor.

Strangely for something that I remember so clearly, and was arguably culturally significant in that it was one of the very first colour Japanese anime shows to be dubbed and shown in the west, there is very little online about the actual shows. To my knowledge it has never been reshown on UK TV since the early 70’s when I watched it, and it has never been officially released on DVD. A massive oversight and no mistake.

It seems that some of the episodes were shown again fairly recently on Australian TV (2009/2010) and as you might suspect with this kind of cult stuff, there are a number of sites lobbying to get the copyright owners to at least make it available on DVD…

Luckily there’s always YouTube to stir the memory cells and whet the appetite.. The video below is the first half of an episode called “The Land of the Strange Vikings” from the recent Australian run, and is very good quality.

So sit back and enjoy Marine Boy, a huge part of my childhood. And remember, if you ever manage to invent oxy-gum, I think you’d be onto a real winner…

UPDATE:

As of March 2014, the Australian episode is no longer available. HOWEVER, Warner Brothers have finally started to make Marine Boy available on DVD (at least in the US) So here’s a link to their site and the series trailer is below… Marvellous…

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