Tokyopop manga debut as animations
BY SOME definitions, anime is an animated version of manga stories, with still black-and-white pictures brought to life.
I suppose, then, you could loosely define the recent debut of "Tokyopop TV" on MySpace as the debut of Tokyopop's foray into original English language, or OEL, anime. But regardless of the semantics involved, stories from four of the publisher's OEL manga -- "I Luv Halloween," "Riding Shotgun," "A Midnight Opera" and "Bizenghast" -- are now available as animated three-minute shorts at www.myspace.com/tokyopoptv.
While new installments of each series were promised weekly, there already has been a delay of more than two weeks between the fourth and fifth episodes of all series. Judging from the comments being left on the site, visitors are none too happy about the delay.
The episodes that have been published, though, are of mixed quality. Fans of these books certainly will be thrilled that their favorite series are being brought to life. It's just that "I Luv Halloween" and "A Midnight Opera," fully animated in full CGI by Menford Electronic Art, have more "life" than "Riding Shotgun" and "Bizenghast," which are not much more than scenes and word bubbles from the manga colored in and moving about the screen.
The best of these series is "I Luv Halloween," which showcases writer Keith Giffen's wicked wit and his story of a group of mischievous trick-or-treaters, moving quite nicely in a compact time frame. It's also the only story that seems like it's going anywhere in its episodes.
"Bizenghast," about a girl who inadvertently signs a contract forcing her to assist in releasing spirits trapped in limbo, also seems to be showing some potential. I still can't see the appeal behind "Riding Shotgun" and "A Midnight Opera," though ...
Haruhi, Kyon, Mikuru, Koizumi, Yuki -- some anime fans might recognize those names as the main characters in the mind-bending school comedy "The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya." Few would think of them as possible stand-ins for a Japanese hip-hop collaboration.
Yet that's the concept behind "Skittles," an anime music video posted by an Internet user who goes by the nickname of Koopiskeva. This person took the song "Candy Pop" by the Heartsdales featuring SOUL'd OUT, then uncannily matched the lyrics to edited series footage (right down to matching characters' lip movements) and added an extra layer of special-effects shine to it.
The result? Not only do I keep watching the video over and over again, I also can't get the song "Candy Pop" out of my mind. OK, it's great! Can I please have my life back now?
Check it out at www.youtube.com/watch?v=TIjsPFYdkZY. Those with DiVX players on their computers can visit stage6.divx.com/user/tempo0tempo/video/1160362/Haruhi-MADCandy-
Pop-Heartsdales-Feat--SOUL'd-OUT for higher-resolution video ...
Cel Shaded, a look at the world of Japanese anime and manga, appears every Monday. Reach Jason S. Yadao