Tag Archives: art

Acchi Kocchi, Ben-Day Dots, and the American Comic Style

“Everything starts from a dot.”

-Wassily Kandinsky

It’s amusing how many things are produced, or art styles invented, simply in the interest of saving money.

Benjamin Henry Day Jr. is a mere blip on history’s radar, and yet the printing process he pioneered now has a storied tradition well beyond a cost-cutting measure to save ink. The son of New York Sun founder Benjamin Henry Day, Day Jr. developed the “Ben-Day dot” technique of printing. Ben-Day dots, named after Day Jr. himself, are dots of the exact same size made up of different colors of ink. Instead of spending more money to print the color purple, for example, one can print magenta and cyan dots overlapping each other and our minds will gladly fill in the rest for us.

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Filed under Acchi Kocchi, Editorials

Colloquium: Mawaru Penguindrum Episode 21

The "Takakura Family" admires the new paint job on their house.

ajthefourth: This episode was a visual feast, especially for anyone who pays any sort of attention to color, color saturation, and basic blocking and storyboarding. As a general rule, we tend to adjust the light/darkness levels on images before putting them into blog posts to make more striking or well-lit images; however, for this part of the post, I feel it necessary to note that I have changed nothing (light/darkness, or color saturation levels) in these images and they prove my point magnificently. This episode was beautiful.

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Filed under Colloquia, Episodics, Mawaru Penguindrum, Mawaru Penguindrum

Today’s Slogan: The Role of Double H in Mawaru Penguindrum, Episodes One through Six

Mawaru Penguindrum's "Shadow Girls," the idol group, Double H. source: pixiv

“What’re you gonna do when you graduate?
I’m going to high school, of course.
No, I mean in your future.
Haven’t decided yet.
I wanna be an actress.
Do you really believe you can pull that off?”

-“The Shadow Girls,” Revolutionary Girl Utena, Episode 39

One of the signature elements of Kunihiko Ikuhara’s direction is the borrowing or adopting of classic stage elements and putting them to work within his series, giving the audience a grander presentation of the story. One of these key elements is the idea of a Greek chorus: an informed perspective on the story being told that often hints to overall thematic elements presented in the performed piece.

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Filed under Editorials, Mawaru Penguindrum

Colloquium: Mawaru Penguindrum Episode 18

ajthefourth: Please disregard a few of the speculations I made on Tabuki’s character last week. Although I still see him as partially representing that equalizing sort of attitude that I described from a few interviews in Underground: The Tokyo Gas Attack and the Japanese Psyche, it goes a bit deeper for Tabuki personally. I was wrong in saying that he has completely shut down emotionally, for there was still one thing that could stir Tabuki’s heart: Momoka.

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Filed under Colloquia, Episodics, Mawaru Penguindrum, Mawaru Penguindrum

Colloquium: Mawaru Penguindrum Episode 15


ajthefourth: In what appears to be a pivotal episode in the series, I’m going to start us off with something simple, but nuanced: characterization.  Once again, we’re presented with Shouma’s inability to do anything, even when he tries to act.  In a way, he’s reverted back to his self from the beginning of the series: an inept and fairly useless person.  We see his penguin spraying for bugs, this time around being beaten to the punch by a nearby frog.

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Filed under Colloquia, Episodics, Mawaru Penguindrum, Mawaru Penguindrum

That Lingering Feeling, part 2

Occasionally, it’s not just the song that calls to our attentions, it’s the visuals in the sequence itself. That’s not to say that the song itself is an afterthought, but I theorize that once an episode of anime is over, we have a tendency to already be on our way out so to speak. It may explain why a lot of times the visuals of an ending sequence seem very haphazard and half-baked in comparison to the comparably more upbeat opening pieces of many shows which are priming you through both songs and visuals to internalize the mood and tone of what it is you’re about to watch. I will be the first to admit, that if the ending song doesn’t immediately grab my attention as an episode is finished, I’ll be less likely to pay attention to the visuals themselves.

But hey, sometimes the strength of the visuals themselves are enough to cause them to linger.

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Filed under Kare Kano, Manabi Straight, Record of Lodoss War, That Lingering Feeling

Nichijou is a lot “like love.”

"You want to run?"

Nichijou is a comedy series that’s all too often been described as “hit or miss.”  The structure of the episodes is such that the series cuts up bits and pieces of the longer joke segments and juxtaposes them with far shorter, often saccharine, segments that need no set up.  In the first cour of the series, it was the jump rope segments that captured my attention, none of which were more than about 30 seconds long.  They rely on brief physical comedy to break up the overall narrative of the show.  The segments of Helvetica Standard and Short Thoughts also attempt to do the same thing, using different comedic approaches.  This second half of the show has brought another series of fantastic little segments to spice it up.  No, I’m not referring to this, although Nano and Hakase are adorable here, I’m talking about something a bit more “like love.”

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Filed under Editorials, Nichijou

Colloquium: “The Kiss” in Mawaru Penguindrum Episode 5

"I want to remain as Daddy's precious treasure, for now."

ajthefourth: One of the most enjoyable things that this current season’s series Mawaru Penguindrum brings to the table is its style.  From the opening moments of the first episode at Himari’s bedside, to the explosion of energy and attitude that is the “Rock Over Japan” transformation sequence, Penguindrum slickly bombards its audience with style.  Behind this presentation lie various allusions to art, literature, religion, philosophy, and various other thematic elements that tie in with the story.  It’s not necessary to know all of these to enjoy the series, but for people like me and my blogging partner, it allows us to geek out at the various references.  A prime example is the use of painter Gustav Klimt’s “The Kiss” as shown in a scene from the series above and, since there was no new episode this past week, we’re going to share some of that geekery with you.

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Filed under Colloquia, Editorials, Episodics, Mawaru Penguindrum, Mawaru Penguindrum, Mawaru Penguindrum

Hagu’s Choice: Romantic Love Versus Reality in Honey and Clover

art and article by: ajthefourth

Nine times out of ten, when I discuss Honey and Clover with someone, their response is always something along the lines of, “Ah!  That made me so sad!  I wanted Shinobu and Hagu to end up together!”  When I disagree, their reaction typically trends to one of extreme disgust.  In the series’ defense, here’s a bit more insight into why Hagu chooses who she does, and why it’s actually the best, and most realistic, choice.

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Filed under Editorials, Honey and Clover

An Artist’s Message: How Yusuke Yoshino Explains the Hipster in Some of Us

"To live is the ugliest act."

When people choose to follow a band or an artist there may come a point in time, usually after an outburst of fame and fortune, that the artist’s music will no longer resonate with its fans as it once did.

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Filed under Clannad ~After Story~, Editorials