Tetsuo!!! Kaneda!!! (The Abridged Akira)

Katushiro Otomo’s anime adaptation of his manga of the same name, Akira, is now 20 years old (and then some). While the film sadly lacks much of the subtlety and richness of the manga, it nonetheless remains one of the greatest animated stories of all time. One notable aspect of the adaptation is that it was released with an english dubbing in the USA only six months after it was released in Japan. (This is my recollection and wikipedia agrees with me, while IMDb does not.) Not only was that unprecedented, but even now, when all of Hayao Miyazaki’s films are being brought to the US with a high budget translation by Disney, these releases trail by up to a year.

One of the downsides of the film was the original english dubbing was a little… shall we say… cheesy1. As cheesy as the animation was superlative. This much was evident when I saw it for the first time the very week it was released. After the 2nd viewing I noticed something interesting: much of the dialog was composed of the main characters, Kaneda and Tetsuo screaming each others’ names. By 1995 I’d envisioned an abridged version of the movie, nothing more than the clips of those moments stitched together. Back then, the tools to implement my vision were not really available to me, so it was just a thought experiment, but one I’d share with other anime-loving friends now and again.

Imagine my blistering irritation when I saw this commercial on Adult Swim for the animated Inuyasha… that was my idea! Or at least very close. But that was a few years ago, and by then there was QuickTime, and iMovie, and Handbrake, and really I had all the tools I needed!

So now it’s done, and amazingly, I can see something that I didn’t know would be the case when I imagined it: that The Abridged Akira completely encapsulates the emotional struggle between the two characters.

I couldn’t get my hands on the original dubbing, and the 2001 Pioneer release actually has decent voice acting2, so some of what I’d envisioned is missing. Nonetheless, I present to you… The Abridged Akira.

Big, big, big ups to my friend M who supplied the DVD and helped a lot with the initial clip marking and cutting.

  1. There is hot debate on this topic, many feel the original dub is the best
  2. again, this is debated.

C’mon, 50K!

This post introduces a new category to my blog: shameless self-promotion. Self promotion because it just is. Shameless because I’ve already posted about this before. But the parody review of The Oozinator that Phil and I did almost 3 years ago has 49,689 views as of this posting, and I’m so proud! It was written, rehearsed, and shot in less than 2 hours (and yes, it shows, but it’s still damned funny).

You know, the Oozinator? The horrifically ill-conceived Hasbro super soaker which looks like a green alien phallus and shoots white gloppy ooze? Ooh, yeah, that thing.

Every once in a while I compulsively check back on it to see what people think of it. I’ve been eyeing that 50,000 view milestone (which in non-youtube fame terms is about the equivalent of your first guest appearance on a public access TV show airing in Omaha). I’m also pleased to report that we are number 3 in the youtube search results for “oozinator”, right after the first ever posted video of the actual original ad, and a much better rehearsed bit about the meeting at which the Oozinator idea¬†should have been killed (which is also amusing). And while we aren’t one of the two coveted video results at the top of google web searches for the term, somehow we are the number 2 slot in google video search. How does that work?

Bing, Microsoft’s arguably slick search engine, however, can suck it. Our review isn’t even in the first 5 pages of web results, and we’re on the second page, 28 videos into the result grid… and that link is to some guy’s myspace page where he reposted the video! Where’s the love, Bing?

And now the video:

Yoga for Sarah Palin

Ah, the intersection of Yoga and Politics.

I’ve been checking out what yoga podcasts there are online. There were like 30 listed in the iTunes directory alone. One of them is titled “Tara Stiles Yoga.” I’m not ready to endorse it as the best yoga vodcast out there, I’m not really done checking out the scene. But it is definitely the one with the most political satire.

Dinosaur Plant Rehydration

I was at the Nat Hist Museum for my nephew Kevin’s 8th birthday. I picked up a thing at the shop they were calling a “Dinosaur Plant”*, basically an ancient species of moss that can survive for decades without water and revives really quickly when watered.

I shot a time-lapse video of most of the hydration process. Keep your eyes open for a special appearance!

[*] http://www.infoplease.com/ce6/sci/A0841611.html and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selaginella_lepidophylla for more info.

Still going, how about that

I just checked up on a little video Phil and I made last year back when the Oozinator came out. Last year I was watching how many views on youtube it was getting every week, but I hadn’t checked in a while…

I’m pretty surprised that it’s still being viewed somewhat regularly, and now has 18k views or so. By youtube popularity standards, that’s just about nothing, but still, it’s probably the most exposure I’ve ever had, including the time I played Little John in my summer camp’s production of Peter Pan.

One of the latest comments was that I look nervous in the first few seconds. I must admit, it’s quite true. Next time, I promise we’ll rehearse more.