Show depicts narrow view of ‘revolution’
ANIME FANS, your revolution will be televised ... that is, as long as your revolution involves lots of explosions, violence and sex. Oh, yes, and "Speed Racer."
That's the portrait of anime depicted in "Anime: Drawing a Revolution," an hour-long documentary premiering today on the Starz cable network (Oceanic Time Warner Digital channel 655, HD channel 1655) at 7 p.m., with repeats throughout the week.
This documentary works well as a look at how anime has influenced storytelling styles in Hollywood. Entertainment projects with anime influences like the "Matrix" trilogy, the upcoming "Speed Racer" live-action film, Linkin Park's "Breaking the Habit" video and "Kill Bill" are prominently featured. Celebrities like musician Rob Zombie and actors Michelle Rodriguez and Michael Madsen are trotted out to talk about why they like anime. The influence of anime/manga pioneer Osamu Tezuka, Studio Ghibli mastermind Hayao Miyazaki and anime classics like "Ghost in the Shell," "Akira" and "Battle of the Planets" are also cited, and rightfully so.
But I can't help but feel a bit bothered by what was left out of the documentary. The true source of the anime "revolution" could be summed up in what the narrator says at one point: "Anime appeals to a wide audience. Its stories range from martial arts to sports, animal stories, children's stories, romance, science fiction and horror films. It's similar to the genres we see in Hollywood's live-action films, but they're animated."
Yet other than "Howl's Moving Castle," "Spirited Away" and "Pokemon," I'd be hard pressed to pick out any anime featured in this show that doesn't target a male audience first and foremost. There's not much represented beyond the action-adventure/sci-fi/drama. When hentai (anime porn) gets mentioned and shoujo (girls') anime like "Sailor Moon" and "Fushigi Yugi" doesn't, something's definitely askew in the balance of coverage.
As a mainstream introduction to anime, it works well, and newcomers will learn much from it. It could have been a much more well-rounded look, though ...
Cosplay for a cause
On the heels of last week's item about the national Child's Play charity and how it's helping the Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children comes word of a charity effort by local anime fans.
On Sunday, several members of Oahu Anime Explorer will be dressing up as anime characters -- already confirmed are people going as Inu-Yasha and Kikyo from the series "Inu-Yasha" -- and visiting the hospital to pass out holiday gifts to children staying there.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to contribute to the effort ...
Coming up Sunday
In "Drawn & Quartered" in the Sunday Today section, tag-team partner in fandom Wilma J. looks at two religious-themed manga that give the term "spiritual warfare" a whole new meaning: "Cross" and "Pilgrim Jager."
Cel Shaded, a look at the world of Japanese anime and manga, appears every Monday. Reach Jason S. Yadao