Flash News Tiny Bites is a sparkling brand new blog series bringing you a curated digest of some of the BEST of the past week’s news stories, just in case you happened to miss some of them, (and they were the ones that the editor (that’s Me) thought you would be the most interested in. All the stories will have links to the source article, so that if you wanted to read more on a particular item that sparked your interest you can check out the rest of the article. Each headline of this gathered article list has the item summarized in brief plus anything else I wished to offer an opinion on reference to it. Again, this featured series will not have every, single news thingy that dropped during the past week in the world of anime and manga. No way! I’m flying solo here and besides, if I included everything here, well, how would I get you to try and explore things on your own. And to be honest, not everything in the anime/manga world is of interest to me. I have to be honest when I say that I can’t be everything to everyone. I will certainly try, but please forgive me if for some reason I miss some things. Anyway, for this series in particular I’m just going to stick to some of the weekly highlights and my nose to the grind stone during the coming week for anything cool. Picking and choosing is always going to be the hardest part but I’m going to do my best to highlight here those things I felt are of interest to fans.
Think of it as an exclusive, “best-of-the-week kind of thing. Okay? I run across a ton of articles during the course of a month, let alone a week and even those I have to pick through those that I think are both worth while to share and comment on, as well as those that fit the overall theme of my blog. The anime and manga world is ginormous, so please keep in mind what I’ve already mentioned in this introduction from an editorial standpoint. Anyway, let’s get on with the news.
And for all your industry “news, reviews and what-not” please follow the editor’s favorite sources on the web: OTAKU USA and Crunchyroll. Also please don’t forget to follow us as well.
Here are your highlights for the week of May 15-20, 2017. For this week we’re featuring a couple of items we found on Otaku USA magazine.
1.) Jordan Peele, director of hit thriller GET OUT, will NOT direct the live-action AKIRA flick
Okay, just in case some of you may not know, or have just forgotten, Warner Brothers(?) bought the rights to Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira some time back, like a WHILE ago. I don’t remember off hand the exact date. Film studios are not in the habit of publicly announcing their licensing “gets” until they have a project to announce. A live-action version of Akira has been talked about for years and I don’t think anyone took any of it seriously. At least, I didn’t want to believe a word of it. Over the years, different directors have been announced that they would take up the project but they eventually passed on it for whatever reason. And the latest director attached to the project, Jordan Peele who directed the genius thriller GET OUT, decided recently that it would be in his creative best interests if he stuck to original projects. A man with integrity.
In the news article posted by OTAKU USA has Peele quoted by my favorite movie reviewer, Crave Online’s William Bibbliani in an interview posted to the horror online blog Blumhouse (which he also writes for (by the way), as saying that Peele was a great fan of the original anime film and that he would direct it “if the story justified it” and that he personally felt that the story of AKIRA needs “as big a budget as you can possibly dream of. But the real question for me is: Do I want to do pre-existing material, or do I want to do original content? At the end of the day, I want to do original stuff.”
I support his statement and let go another sigh of relief. And to add to his statement. I’m sure that any anime fan has seen the original anime film AKIRA by now. If not, I HIGHLY recommend that you stop whatever you’re doing now and you search out this classic. Even if you only saw screenshots (and take a look at the image on the article link) AKIRA is a very visual anime film with some of the most stylish and beautiful animated CG and traditional effects produced in an anime film at the time of its release back in 1989. In my opinion, the film holds up to this day and it’s seen by many fans (and critics) as a landmark in the genre. For me, I placed AKIRA quite highly on my list of my all-time favorite films (may not be in the #1 spot but it’s at least in the top 5 on my list of 20 films.) Both the manga and film created a cult following among not only anime fans but science fiction fans for its cyberpunk, post-apocalyptic mood and look. And that iconic red motorcycle:
A live-action version of AKIRA is again shelved for another few months, or maybe years. Who knows? But here’s the kicker: how long does the Hollywood studio have to hold onto the rights for this foreign property? At last I read, Warner Brothers still held the rights to it. If they don’t do something with it soon, who’s to say that Otomo doesn’t try to get those rights back. There are already rumors going around, since a year and a half ago that Otomo thought of doing AKIRA as an animated TV series. Now THAT would be cool! I also think that seeing as the US live-action movie of GHOST IN THE SHELL tanked so hard at the box office, I think maybe the folks in Hollywood are possibly having second thoughts (?) Maybe….? Your guess is good as mine. But we’ll just see what happens. I didn’t think GITS would happen but…. **rolls eyes**
You can also check out my friend William Bibbliani’s interview with Jordan Peele at Blumhouse as well as his other stylings on the web at Crave Online and his podcasts that he hosts with Witney Sebhold on the B-Movies Podcast and Cancelled Too Soon podcast that is now in it’s second year![(?)or put correct Hollywood studio here…..I have Warner Brothers stuck in my head for this one but if I’m wrong please correct me in the post comments]
2.) Are there any aspiring animators in the house? Studio Ghibli wants you!!!!
Remember when Hayao Miyazaki made an announcement that he was going to retire at the release of his last film The Wind Rises? We only half-heartedly took him seriously. It was only a few months ago, about last November that the news broke that he was coming out of retirement again and he’s hard at work on another film. Specifically the studio is looking for in-between animators and background artists with the jobs to start around October 2017. For more information and link to submit your applications, check out the article at Otaku USA (link below).
And from the above news item, we get this one regarding the state of the anime industry right now: a 5/17/17 article on Otaku USA headlines- One in Four Anime Studios are in the Red
Whenever I see articles like this, I have to take a pause and mull it over, because it’s indeed sobering. Like me, you are probably wondering how this could happen when there are so many anime TV shows that are coming out-at least 10-20 new shows every season and some ‘tent-poles’ continue from previous season. I wish I had an easy answer. The article that I linked goes into some details, but it comes down to this in my personal theory: it’s the nature of the industry as a whole. If you want to get a feel for what goes on behind the scenes of how a show is produced and all the hard work that goes into just a single episode and the amount of pressure involved, the show Shirobuko is a great one to watch. Depending on the project, there are numerous key animators that are tasked with working on the beginning frame of an animated sequence and the end frame. The in-between animators are the ones charged with taking the key frames and they draw the frames that would make up the rest of the sequence. It sounds like a lot of work and it is. So why aren’t these artists paid well for what they do? I’m not sure I have a good enough answer. The numbers stated in the article only tell a part of the story I think. In 2015, the number of studios in the red increased by 25% which was an increase of 5% since the period between 2011-2014. And the numbers get even more sobering: based on a Japanese tv program on NHK about the anime industry, about 80% of young animators starting out quit within their first three years, and the average wages for an in-between animator is $540 USD/month. The hours are long and it seems that the amount they are paid is not enough to compensate for that.
And that’s it for this inaugeral post for this series. You can read more on the articles here by clicking on the links and if you like what you see here on my blog, please subscribe by filling out the contact form below.