For August 2005
August 10th, 2005
Gobs O' Work
After taking a week off (during which I relentlessly played the wonderful PS2 game 'Phantom Brave' by Nippon Ichi), I have set about making up for my indulgence with a lot of work. I managed to fix and tidy many assorted things on the PDH website, and have begun on my next page...the first panel being so interesting to me that I made it into a desktop image (available in the desktops area of the site). The first panel depicts the moment in the Kamishibai original where Dr. Aoi faces the prospect of activating Heliotrope for the second time, all while knowing that his terribly embarrassing secrets are almost certainly going to be revealed to the world, thus basically destroying his life and his career. It is a moment of choice, between selfish security and saving the lives of others, and it marks a turning point in the growth of the character; Dr. Aoi has already decided to try to 'grow up', now he has to actually 'walk the walk' rather than merely 'talking the talk', as they say - he has to take action and thus prove his commitment to his own values. I love scenes like this, they are very powerful and personal for me. They are empowering, I think.
I also went back and corrected a bit of laziness on my part...my original 'Map Of Pastel' (an Omake for Murray Says Nothing, page 120,) was such a labor that I made the positions of the rectilands represented by abstract rectangles, a choice which far from being abstract and cool was merely crappy and weak. I finally decided to rectify my rectilands, and painted them in full, with every detail and building upon them. I also added additional information, history notes, and bothered to depict both the Dayplains and Twiland sides of Senryoku Continent. I think this should answer any complaints about this particular work. Please check it out. Oh! I also made the huge (27 meg, uncompressed) original work available for download in case anyone wants a fully print-quality version of the image to check out. I zipped it, of course, so it only weighs in a 3 or 4 megs to download.
I also went and added the Mo-Bag game to the new main page special Omake section (which is to say is bonus material above and beyond the usual bonus material I do), but even more interesting...I finally finished the print-out-and-play Puppet Ontology Chapter Punch and Judy theater!
Now in the new Omake section you can download my two-sheet make-your-own Puppet Ontology puppet theatre just like the one created by CURSOR as a metaphoric representation of life in Pastel, within the CHOU 3000. You might remember that it was during the time of doing that very chapter that I suffered my heart attack, so I have been kind of scared to even revisit it at all. It actually makes me nervous to go back and look at those pages. Odd, really, how the mind makes associations. So it was kind of nerve-wracking to finish the puppet theater toy, because it made me feel fearful inside. But I did it, I faced that fear, and now it is available to enjoy in the new Omake section on the main page!
Now, for a hat trick, I just have to finish the damn comic itself this week. One panel so far. It's a good panel, but..... Still, these other things needed to get done.
As a side note, I am in the process of getting my laser disk version of Miyazaki's Kiki's Delivery Service and Laputa transferred to DVD. Why bother you ask? Because my versions are the Ghibli No Ippai versions, from the very rare boxed set from Japan, which is the only version that has the original (non Disney) dubs done by Streamline Pictures (Harmony Gold and Carl Machek). These are, in my opinion, absolutely and utterly superior to the horrible Disney atrocities. Why? Simple....Disney destroyed the silence.
Here's the deal...Miyazaki films depend as much on silence as music to create mood. A common factor in a Miyazaki film is that ambient sound, quiet, convey important emotions...such as lonliness, solitude, worry, suspense, curiosity...even wonder and awe. The use of quiet or ambient sounds of nature are vital to the emotions of a Miyazaki film, and those emotions are what make his films truly great.
Disney has a formula, which is that every moment must be filled with music or voice. Silence is not tolerated. Every second must have pouncing, bouncing music, or witty banter. This is the heart of the Disney Ideal.
In the original Kiki's, for just one example, Streamline dub or sub, Kiki may find herself alone and pondering, with only the sound of the city around her, and the effect of the image and sound convey complexities of mood...amidst the soft purr of the passing car we focus on the lighting and the shadow of late afternoon, and of just how alone and alienated she feels.
In the Disney version, which is the only version you can get anymore, anywhere in the english speaking world, that same scene is filled with loud and completely inappropriate music, as well as the constant blathering of Phil Hartman as Jiji the cat, who has been transformed by Disney from being a subtle and quiet Witch's cat to a one-liner spouting official Hilarious Disney Sidekick. Suddenly Kiki is far from lonely, she is excited at the city, and bouncing along with her humorous cartoon cat. The whole feeling is ruined, the emotional content and context obliterated. It is a completely different movie, in terms of emotion and meaning.
( I did a review of the initial showing of the Disney version of Kiki's here, by the way - however, it should be noted that this review is out of date...they changed the final release considerably after this showing, adding much, much more dialogue, replaced virtually all of the music and all of the songs, and basically Disney-ized the whole movie far more than this early review indicates. I think they were being cautious for the film festival showing. The final result ended up far, far worse. )
I should mention that these two movies are perhaps my very favorites, I suppose, I love them dearly. Enough that when I was wealthy, I paid the very dear price to accquire such a rare box LD set, just to get the original dub. But Laser Disk players do not last forever, and the technology is fading, so something had to be done...and it is. Hopefully by the end of this week, I will have DVD versions of the original English language dubs of my favorite anime movies. Copies unbroken in the middle (you can only get half of a movie on one side of a laser disk...old technology, you know) and true to the emotions that make these movies worth watching at all.
I suppose, if you like subtitles, or don't mind them, you can try to track down the limited editions Disney released that contain both their English and subtitled Japanese versions of both of these films, and compare them for yourself, and see what I mean. I think you will only want to watch the subtitled version once you emotionally feel the difference.
But, frankly, I like dubs. I like them a lot, and I like them if they are done really well, and the Streamline dubs are done very well indeed. I wish it were possible that everyone who loves these films could have access to the original dub.
Now, what have I learned from all of the above? It has really demonstrated to me just how powerful sound and music are in a film. I mean, sure, of course they are important, but what this has shown me is that they are absolutely equal...possibly even superior sometimes...to what one sees on the screen. This shocks me, because I am a very visual person. But think...would the brilliant Forbidden Planet be as amazing without the weird theramin music? Blade Runner quite as powerful without Vangelis? Heck....would the original Star Wars be as good without the full orchestral sounds of John Williams? Imagine these films with a Disney soundtrack for a moment. Would you still like them as much? Would they still be...powerful?
I think they would lose at least half of their magic.
And that is why I am so fussy about the anime movies that I love most of all.
Gosh, this news section is becoming more and more a live journal like thing, isn't it?
August 18th, 2005
Such A Busy Week
My but this has been a productive time! On Jenniverse, I added a new photography section, with many photographs of my sculptures and scratch-built figures. I wrote a new rant about civility on the internet. And best of all, I did two more pages of Impossible Things Before Breakfast my little side project book about the infranatural events of my life.
Oh, and I did another page of Pastel Defender Heliotrope, too. The job I should be doing in the first place. Whew!!!
I would like to mention...I really appriciate you. My kind reader. Thank you very, very much for indulging my little fantasies, and for bothering to read them. Art that is never seen, stories that are never read, have no existence. Art can only live when it it is in someone's thoughts and perception. You who take my heart's work into your heart give it life. Thank you for making Heliotrope, and Aoi, and Hannya and Chou and Uni and Lupiko live.
I just wanted to say that.
August 22nd, 2005
MINISERIES COMIC !!!
There is a new reason to regularly visit, and that reason is the launch of a spankin' new MINISERIES, as well as a new schedule for Pastel Defender Heliotrope.
There will be dependable updates on MONDAY, WEDNESDAY, and FRIDAY.
MONDAY: We begin a new miniseries called TO SAVE HER. This series is a Unicorn Jelly story, set in the Tryslmaistan cosmos, but which will reflect and relate to Pastel Defender Heliotrope. How this will work, you will just have to read and see, but the story will not only have relevance to Pastel, but will answer some previously unanswered questions about Unicorn Jelly. I hope you will like it. This new comic will be located just below the current page of Pastel Defender Heliotrope, and just above the many site section access buttons. It will have it's own separate archive as well. Basically, you get two comics on the same page, one below the other.
WEDNESDAY: A new page of Pastel Defender Heliotrope will be up. Hand Painted goodness.
FRIDAY: A second helping of TO SAVE HER will be posted. You get two pages of TO SAVE HER every week.
Why the change?
Several reasons. One, I got seriously inspired recently. Two, I finally cracked the 'What would Unicorn Jelly Have Been Like If I Had The Tools I Have Now?" Barrier. Three, I have had it explained to me that one of the primary reasons I do not have the kind of readership and reader enthusiasm I did during Unicorn Jelly is because I do not have something for people every day. People like a daily comic. I can't produce a daily comic, not doing the kind of labor I do now. I could do a daily back during Unicorn Jelly because of DPaint, but the graphics were more limited. That is the trade off, folks...better graphics means more work means fewer updates. A straightforward relationship.
But I think, I really think, I can pull off three comics a week, if two of them are vastly less work than Pastel Defender Heliotrope is. I think I have found a way, and so I am going to try to make it work.
My goal in all of this?
To make you happier, so you will be more involved, so I will get more feedback and attention, which is the only damn reason any artist every does anything, ever. Hey, It's an honest statement. I'd also like to get more readers too, if I could have all my cartooning wishes filled. I figure my best chance of getting some of what I want is to put more out there, and I think I can.
If I can't you'll be the second to know.
Anyway, I hope you will join me as I embark on a new schedule, and a new miniseries, TO SAVE HER.
And tell a friend.
By Jennifer Diane Reitz
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