Category: impressions

Uncle Walt-a-thon: Bambi

<– Uncle Walt-a-thon: The Three Caballeros

After a couple films in a row that I wasn’t really familiar with, we make it to a film I’ve seen many, many times with Bambi.

My first impression is that this film is beautiful. It’s one of the best-looking animated works I’ve ever seen. I’ve mentioned that some of the previous films‘ backgrounds are soft and reminiscent of watercolours, and that’s the case here, as well, but Bambi has probably the most elaborate yet. The character animation is, needless to say, fluid throughout, and I imagine it took a lot of work to get such a variety of animals to all look right. The animation doesn’t go into any of the weird, experimental stuff I usually like; the closest it comes to something like “Pink Elephants” is in Bambi’s fight with a rival deer near the end. However, it does remind me of Fantasia‘s Tchaikovsky segment with the lush colours and use of lighting, so I would consider this as a culmination of everything the studio had been working towards so far in animation technique.…

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The Bibliophile’s Journal II

First, a programming note – over the next couple months, I’ll be finishing up my web design certification, and I’ve just begun a Biblical studies programme, so I’ll be busier than usual. I’ll continue to blog and update every Sunday, but expect more short posts like this for a little while.

With that out of the way, I’ve gone through a few graphic novels over the past couple weeks. I talked about Gunslinger Girl volumes 11-12 in the previous post, but here are the others:…

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Is Gunslinger Girl Running Out of Steam?

Gunslinger Girl is one of the only stories I know where it does not constitute a spoiler to reveal that this or that character dies. Artist Aida Yu makes it clear very early that every cyborg-assassin girl is going to die, probably horribly. At its best, Gunslinger Girl uses the constant presence of death to its advantage, for example with Triela’s story and her relationship with Hilshire. Sometimes, though, Aida overplays his hand, and especially in Seven Seas’ most recent omnibus volume (volumes 11-12) his writing gets tiring and predictable.…

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The Bibliophile’s Journal

It’s been a while since I’ve done a round-up post, but I’ve of course continued to read quite a bit. Here’s the highlight reel.

The Fellowship of the Ring by JRR Tolkien – I’ve been meaning to re-read The Lord of the Rings, since I haven’t read it since shortly before the film trilogy came out ten years ago. I tend to approach long books reluctantly, though, so it’s taken me a long time to get around to it. I’m about 2/3 through, though, and loving it. Tolkien does a fine job easing the reader into the world of Middle Earth, avoiding long infodumps by giving the reader just enough information to make each place feel real, and incorporating explanations into dialogue whenever possible. The hobbits work well as our innocents abroad. He also walks a fine line in his prose style, which is generally straightforward but not too plain.

Twenty Prose Poems by Charles Baudelaire – I just finished this one. It’s the first book I’ve read in French, though I should note that it’s fairly short and a parallel text edition. I wouldn’t call it profound, but I always enjoy reading Baudelaire’s dark, dry humour combined with some fine individual lines.

X by CLAMP – I just finished the recently-released third omnibus volume of the comic. The art looks excellent, as most of CLAMP’s work does, though a few times they get a little carried away with unusual panel layouts, but I’ll confess I have barely a clue as to what’s going on. All the talk about the protagonist deciding the fate of the world has gotten rather tiresome, and I suspect that half the characters could fairly easily have been left out, though of course I can’t say for sure midway through the story. The generous gore has lost some of its effect by volume three. I do own a copy of the film, and plan to watch that… well, it’s in the backlog, so I’ll get around to it at some point.…

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Golding’s Golden Lord of the Flies

This past week, I read through William Golding’s Lord of the Flies for the first time. It’s been a few years since a book held my interest so firmly, and I made it through the novel quickly. It’s the sort of book that reminds me of why I love literature so much, being symbolic but not presumptuous, intense, and realistic. It does have a few problems, but overall I loved this novel.…

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Uncle Walt-a-thon: Fantasia

<– Uncle Walt-a-thon: Dumbo

I’m fairly, but not entirely, sure I saw Fantasia as a child; however, I have almost no recollection of it, so going into this film I had very little idea of what to expect. Having seen it now, it’s easily my favourite Disney film yet, which shouldn’t surprise those who’ve read my thoughts on animation in general because Fantasia is easily Disney’s most experimental work outside of Dumbo‘s pink elephants. Its seven shorts, each introduced by a live-action presenter with the whole film bookended by an orchestra setting up, are set to classical music and each intended to complement that music. They vary wildly in style, from abstract to fairly traditional. They also vary in how much they draw in one’s interest, and the film may have benefited from cutting out one or two.…

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Impressions of Dororororo- er, Dororo

This past week I finished reading Tezuka Osamu’s Dororo. I’ve read a few of Tezuka’s other works, including Apollo’s Song, Black Jack, and Ode to Kirihito, but I haven’t written about any of them partly because I can’t shake the feeling of audacity in passing judgment on someone of his stature (it’s for similar reasons I haven’t written about, say, Shakespeare). I’ll just shake off that feeling for now, though, and share my impressions of this one.

Dororo‘s art is clean and relatively simple, if not rather cartoony. As a result, the action is always clear and the characters expressive. Though the cartoony style does aid in suspension of disbelief, which is especially helpful in the first couple chapters, it also clashes with the story’s darker and more violent moments. Now, this is Tezuka’s standard art style, and I wouldn’t go so far as to call it outright inappropriate, but I can’t help suspecting that a more realistic style would have served this story better. Tezuka also has a couple idiosyncracies that show up occasionally, namely reusing character designs from his older works and fourth-wall jokes. Though long-time fans may appreciate the cameos and the fourth-wall jokes are amusing enough, these distract from the main story without really adding anything significant, so again they may have best been left out.…

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Fated for Mediocrity: the Fate/Stay Night Anime

After finishing the excellent Fate/Zero anime adaptation, I decided to revisit Fate/Stay Night, the anime version, which I hadn’t seen in several years (before you visual novel people jump on me, I’m in the process of playing the VN and am a few hours into it). Though the show does have a few defenders, I’ve found that it’s much maligned by fans of the original. Though these critics often overstate their case, the show as a whole is a mediocre execution of a brilliant premise.

Starting on the technical side, the show was produced by the less-than-prestigious Studio Deen, and their work here comes out to merely competent. Most of the animation looks alright; the fights generally look decent, despite some still frames and pan-and-scan, especially in the climax. I have no complaints for the bulk of the show, but occasionally they try something odd. For example, they use split-screens several times, and at a couple points even tilt the frame sideways, as though someone dropped the camera on its side in a live-action film. Neither technique adds anything to the show, they just call attention to themselves and distract from the action.…

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Uncle Walt-a-thon: Dumbo

<– Uncle Walt-a-thon: Pinocchio

When I was a child, Dumbo was possibly my least favourite Disney film, so I wasn’t much looking forward to this one except for one particular scene. I’m not sure why I didn’t care for it. I possibly just didn’t like the elephants, Dumbo included; the gossipers are intended to be annoying, and the animators succeeded there. As a child I also didn’t connect much to the mother/son relationship, which, being the whole point of the film, is rather critical.

Watching it now, I’ll again applaud the quality of the animation, though if there’s any change in quality between this film and Pinocchio it’s marginal. It has lots of bright, primary colours, even compared to Snow White and Pinocchio, especially in the character designs, which fits the circus setting, and the backgrounds are again detailed and generally softer-coloured.…

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