Sunday, August 07, 2005

quiet, kids, grandma's watching her stories

i'm not sure what it is about these japanese soap operas that completely decimate me. my dad played final fantasy vii when i was eight, i think...i don't think i even played it, i just watched him, but after one of the main characters in the story was killed, i mourned for about two years.

anyway, i thought at least i had gotten it out of my system back then, but it's not true. this summer i became unfortunately hooked again on another soap. for soap is what it is. to be fair it's not really a cartoon...each frame is really more like a painting. the style is very beautiful and eye-catching (which caught my eye). i put a picture up so you can see what i mean. and the plot is involving; it's kind of like the godfather, only it portrays organized crime in japan, and its effect on the cities. apparently this is a growing problem there.

well, whatever. that's my excuse. the breakdown is that the story, in genuine japanese soap (and godfather/ frankenstein) tradition, is what my grandfather would term 'a real downer.' like all good soaps, it leaves everyone dead at the end. and unlike american soaps, nobody comes back.

so now, permit me to bang my head on the keyboard a little bit:

no ::sob:: no! i absolutely refuse to believe it...! no! ::blows nose:: i absolutely refuse to accept that grave just dies and leaves the little girl all alone. NO!!!!!!!!! i know that is the way of japanese soap operas, to leave everybody dead at the end, but no, no no no...i just don't have enough tissues...c'mon, project red. just give the poor characters a happy ending. just this once. there hasn't been a happy moment in the whole damn series yet...every character dies...every one of them...why do i watch these shows...they're ill conceived...they've got bad dialogue...but some of the dialogue's really good...they reduce me to a blubbering head of gods, let there be a happy ending...

that humming! you know at the very end, after everybody leaves her, the little girl sits on the steps in this alley...and her irises have no pupils...and she's humming this broken little funeral dirge...and then they show all the people who died...and they show grave with his face pressed up to the window of the elevator, and he's dying...and there's this song going on....and it gets stuck in my head! and i just want to put my head down on the table and weep away for people who don't even exist.

i guess i am one of these:


the titanic is for amateurs.


Blogger parcequilfaut said...

Aww, Fudge.

I felt the same way at the end of Shojo Kakumei Utena. If I, for some reason, need to cry, Method style, the Artist has only to sing the "Dona dona dona" song and/or say "Sayonara, Nanami" with the proper inflection, and I'm done. And I didn't even like Nanami.

8:56 PM  
Blogger 30cal said...

Lol. I told you not to watch that stuff, Fudge.
Japanese shows tend to obssess about dramatics and leave out good plot and stuff- though this one sounds ok. And morbid. and violent. Not that I have a problem with violence.

PS Go ahead and guess who I am, it's not that hard. I am trying to blog too- help me fudge!

12:07 AM  
Blogger fudge said...

i know who you are, but what is 30cal supposed to mean?

i think us skier kids must be born with some kind of chip in our heads. we are born innocent, we gravitate in teenagehood to blogging...or maybe that's just parent pressure...

parce: yes. heh - i like the crying method-style bit. that's why i watch them live instead of recording them, even though they're on at one...i tried recording one and watching it during the day, and my nine-year-old sister came in at the good part and started laughing at me.

it's a somber thing, plot immersion, i tell ya.

6:00 AM  
Blogger PsychoToddler said...

Oh, great. Another one.

6:37 AM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

Although i took two semesters worth of intensive summer Japanese in college, i've never been able to get into the whole anime thing. I have friends who are really into it, but most of them are a bit too graphic, violencewise, for my taste. Like i tried to watch the classic アキラ but it was just EWWWW the whole time. Anyway, one of my favorite things about anime is the theme songs, and how even dark and spooky serieses like Neon Genesis Evangelion have strangely upbeat music to go with them. Another good one is the ending theme to Sureiyāzu.

9:24 AM  
Blogger PsychoToddler said...

What was that Japanese word you put in there, Steg? Are you offering me a challllllllllllllenge?????

9:55 AM  
Blogger fudge said...

zey're coming out of ze voodvork!

you know you really can't complain. as i recall, you were the one who was on my case for a year about how great blogs were and how i should write a blog.

kovi: does it mean...30 from california? like, you're thirty degrees away?

steg: yeah, i noticed that about the music. like this particular, a lot of people die, but it's not particularly graphic, and there's no sex...but it is of course depressing. and yet the theme song is like the snazzy little keyboard bit from napoleon dynamite. it's like the characters decided to take a break from their depressing lives and do a little jig at the local nightclub.

surprisingly the voice acting is pretty good.

i don't know much about anime either, this is the only show i watch...i don't go in for dragon ball z or pokemon stuff...but this one kind of grabbed me by the throat. i'll check out the theme songs to the ones you mentioned you can understand all the little symbols on the bottom of the screen?

11:05 AM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

アキラ = (just click on the link)*
*also, from watching the Japanese version i learned that the name is actually stressed on the first syllable!

Sureiyāzu [ スレイヤーズ ]= "Slayers"

11:06 AM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

What little symbols on the bottom of the screen? Do you mean the captions? ;-)

I don't know enough Japanese to just watch Japanese media straight, so i need English captions, but if there's something simple written in the background of a scene or something, and it stays on-screen long enough, i can sometimes figure out what it's saying.

11:09 AM  
Blogger respondingtojblogs said...

Given 30cal's avatar, I would say it's .30 caliber. I was never into anime, but that anime sequence in Kill Bill Vol. 1 was one of the most brilliant pieces of art i have seen.

11:21 AM  
Blogger fudge said...

i can't handle it. i just watched the last episode...with the shades drawn...but i don't even regret it. the trajectory of the story is two best friends whose lives are destroyed by the of them excels at the work and wants to become the boss of the organization, the other one can't succeed bkz he doesn't like to kill needlessly...but no matter how ruthless the first friend gets, the quiet one won't betray him.
but the first guy kills him to get him out of the way, and it weighs on his conscience his whole life.
and interspersed with everything they have these light-tinted flashbacks to when they were kids, teenagers, just doing their thing, before they got involved in all the darker aspects of the mafia...

and the last scene of the movie is actually the beginning, but done a hell of a lot better than lucas. the quiet kid is lying in the dirt by the orphanage, watching the clouds go by, and the ambitious kid, the one who ends up killing him in the end, but in the beginning, had so much good in him, offers him a hand up and goes: 'hey. my name is harry mcdowell.'

and the other kid goes: 'i'm brandon heat.'

and they sit down next to each other, and that's the end of the movie.

commence weeping.

1:54 PM  
Blogger PsychoToddler said...

Which one of them has blue hair?

You GOTTA have blue hair.

2:44 PM  
Blogger fudge said...

none of them have blue hair! that is the whole friggin' point! there are also no aliens and no pikachus!

abba, believe it or not, this series actually tells the story of how a good guy becomes a bad guy (see your own blog, i'm too lazy to link) BETTER AND MORE REALISTICALLY THAN STAR WARS.

i think i'm going to drive out to best buy and buy it so i can have it on the computer. and then i'll cut it into bits. and then i'll cut those bits into even smaller bits and mess around with them. and THEN...

3:08 PM  
Blogger 30cal said...

THANK YOU respondingtojblogs for being the only one on this blog who can GET A HINT. "What does 30cal mean, could it be the 30caliber in the corner there? nah" I don't know. i guess i just like 30cals. Anyway i gotta ask elana about that. sounds like fun :)

7:48 PM  
Blogger fudge said...

steg: yeah...i was thinking of all the video games my dad has played, where even if most of the words are in english, random unexplained japanese symbols are everywhere too. i always wonder what they mean.

it reminds me of all those shirts japanese tourists wear...'i am the chicken king of you', 'all your base are belong to us....'

'we have bomb...'

8:44 PM  
Blogger PsychoToddler said...

Now, if Elana had a blog, that would be too weird. Talk about your "random thoughts"...

6:32 AM  
Blogger fudge said...

like, oh, my G-d. elana is SO above blogging. blogging is for total nerds/losers/morons.

11:12 AM  
Blogger PsychoToddler said...

Stop saying words.

4:06 PM  
Blogger 30cal said...


5:48 PM  
Blogger parcequilfaut said...

Fudge, you might just like's more grown-up than, say, Sailor Moon, but has little violent or graphic content. And it will make you cry, and cry.

I watched Hero tonight at work and had to keep my composure. It was tough. So sad.

12:45 AM  
Blogger fudge said...

hero! yikes. yeah...that's my mom's favorite movie, i've seen it a lot...

utena? i'll look it up online...although to tell you the truth, i am afraid to expose myself to any more possibly addictive substances. i just dropped 26.25 to buy the whole gungrave series off ebay
and i still think it's worth it

i explained the entire plot to my driving instructor in the car today...i wonder if that's why he keeps cutting my lessons short

10:47 AM  
Blogger 30cal said...

maybe i can get a better grade from my driving instructor by making disparraging remarks about you during class.

3:15 PM  
Blogger parcequilfaut said...

If someone hadn't stolen all but one tape of my Utena fandubs, I'd copy them for you, but the one I've got is probably seven episodes in at the earliest and would do nothing but baffle you.

Check the fansites, though; the Utena fan tapes with the English subtitles (NOT the voiceovers that were sold commercially, they dumb the series down) are available if you poke around a bit and don't mind doing a blanks and postage deal. (The producer complimented the fansite that did the subtitle work for fan appreciation for keeping it on a swap basis, kind of the way Phish allows live shows to circulate as long as they're swapped and not sold. The subtitling for those dubs from what I understand was a cross-Pacific effort done by American and Japanese fans in tandem. Pretty cool.)

If you don't turn them up, I'm going to make a concerted effort to find them this fall, or get the Artist's sister to burn them for me, so perhaps I can get you addicted without you having to drop the huge bills. :)

3:28 AM  
Blogger fudge said...

parce, you are one in a million (; thanks for enabling me

did you see princess mononoke btw?

7:17 AM  
Blogger parcequilfaut said...

I did, at least part of it, but it's lost in confusion. I should get it from LadyA and watch it again.

When it's anime, I'll enable all day long.

4:45 PM  

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