Su­per­nat­u­ral De­tec­tives at Work

Animation Magazine - - Anime - By Charles Solomon

Based on the manga by Kafka Asa­giri and Sango Harukawa, Bungo Stray Dogs (2016) adds a lit­er­ary twist to a fa­mil­iar anime genre, the de­tec­tive com­edy-ad­ven­ture.

Hun­gry, home­less and friend­less, At­sushi Naka­jima (Max Mit­tel­man) hud­dles by a river in Yoko­hama. He was kicked out of the or dis­missed him as worth­less scum who’d be bet­ter off dy­ing in a ditch. As he broods on his ill-treat­ment, he’s puz­zled to see a pair of feet Osamu Dazai (Kaiji Tang), a cheer­fully ec­cen­tric guy who’s fas­ci­nated by the idea of sui­cide — as long as it’s painless.

Naka­jima’s con­fu­sion in­creases when they’re joined by Dazai’s im­pa­tient su­pe­rior, Doppo Ku­nikida (Pa­trick Seitz), who’s had it up to here with Dazai’s shenani­gans.

Dazai ex­plains that they’re both mem­bers of the Armed De­tec­tive Agency, a group whose mem­bers com­mand su­per pow­ers that en­able them to tackle cases the po­lice can’t. (They act more like de­tec­tives.) Ku­nikida can sum­mon cer­tain ob­jects into exis nul­lify any­one else’s power with a touch.

They en­roll Naka­jima in the Agency. He’s ea­ger to ob­tain food, a bed and com­pany, but when he in­sists he has no spe­cial pow­ers, the oth­ers snicker. Al­though he has no mem­ory of his walks on the wild side, Naka­jima can trans­form into a pow­er­ful white tiger. He wasn’t kicked out of the or­phan­age for bad be­hav­ior, but be­cause the at­ten­dants were afraid of him.

Bungo Stray Dogs set a broadly comic tone. Like Vash the Stam­pede in Tri­gun, Dazai hits on ev­ery girl he meets. But in­stead of propo­si­tion­ing them for sex or even a date, as most hor­monal anime heroes do, he asks girls he’s just met to join him in a love-sui­cide (an ele­ment in many Kabuki plays and other Japanese en­ter­tain­ments). Not sur­pris­ingly, he gets turned down.

All the main char­ac­ters are named for fa­mous Japanese writ­ers. Most anime fans will rec­og­nize mys­tery writer Edo­gawa Rampo from Case Closed and the chil­dren’s au­thor and poet Kenji Miyazawa from Night and the an­i­mated biopic Spring and Chaos. Ju­nichiro Tanizaki and Ryuno­suke Aku­ta­gawa en­joy in­ter­na­tional rep­u­ta­tions. Oth­ers, in­clud­ing fem­i­nist poet Akiko Yosano and au­thor At­sushi Naka­jima, will be less fa­mil­iar to Western read­ers.

The Armed De­tec­tive agents’ pow­ers re­late to their name­sakes’ work: “Sanget­suki” (“Tiger-Poet”), Naka­jima’s most fa­mous story from The Moon Over the Moun­tain, is about a Chi­nese would-be poet whose ar­ro­gance and am trans­for­ma­tion be­gins, he can­not change back. (The ac­com­pa­ny­ing art book­let of­fers ba­sic in­for­ma­tion on the var­i­ous au­thors as well as the char­ac­ters named af­ter them.)

Af­ter set­ting up the viewer for a rol­lick­ing ad­ven­ture-com­edy, direc­tor Takuya Igarashi and his crew shift the tone abruptly with the in­tro­duc­tion of cold-blooded vi­o­lence. The Armed De­tec­tive Agency is pit­ted against the cadre of mur­der­ous black ops thugs, the Black that Naka­jima can trans­form - and that there’s a stag­ger­ing ¥7 bil­lion (!) bounty be­ing of­fered for the head of the ‘were-tiger.’

The Black Lizard goons pack ma­chine guns, and com­mand their own ar­ray of su­per pow­ers. They have no qualms about mur­der­ing peo­ple, in­di­vid­u­ally or in groups. But the Armed De­tec­tive Agency is no pas­sel of push-overs, and Naka­jima seems safe — as long as he’s with his new com­rades. But the jolt­ing shift in tone leaves the au­di­ence with anime equiv­a­lent of whip dropped Vash into an episode of At­tack on Ti­tan or .

Still, Bungo Stray Dog was a hit in Ja­pan in 2016. The ini­tial broad­cast se­ries was fol­lowed by a TV se­quel and an OAV, and a fea­ture adap­ta­tion ( Bungo Stray Dogs: Dead Ap­ple) a U.S./Canada re­lease in May.

The premise may sound sim­ple, but - ine you had a mag­i­cal wish­ing box What would you wish for? Wish­ing Box, the new CG-an­i­mated short, writ­ten and di­rected by Lizzie Zhang, ex­plores the con­cept

Orig­i­nally con­ceived by Zhang in 2013, the project is co-di­rected by Nan Lil, who brought her ex­cel­lent an­i­ma­tion skills to - leased in 2017, has won 12 an­i­ma­tion awards to date and has screened in more The or­ga­niz­ing com­mit­tee of this year’s This sum­mer, the short will also be


The short, which has a bud­get of 30,000 dol­lars, was pro­duced by Stu­dio X, the in­house stu­dio of the Academy of Art in San - dents to work to­gether in a pro­fes­sional en­vi­ron­ment to pro­duce a state-of-the-art - ma­tion team work­ing on Wish­ing Box in­cor

young artists from all over the world joined the team at the Academy of Art Univer­sity Zhang and co-direc­tor Nan Li crafted a mag­i­cal world in which a greedy pi­rate dis­cover a leg­endary trea­sure box af­ter chest seems to have granted only the mon but it also ad­dresses weighty top­ics such as

“The Big­gest chal­lenge was work­ing with 150 tal­ented in­ter­na­tional artists “As di­rec­tors, we had to know ev­ery part - tion line, which in­cluded many ad­vanced

Char­ac­ter molder Bin Zhu was re­spon­si­ble in bring­ing to life the chal­leng­ing - leng­ing and re­ward­ing task of tak­ing of both the tech­ni­cal and artis­tic parts of

“There are many ways to de­scribe the lit­tle bit silly, while the mon­key is cute, char­ac­ter cre­ation is to in­cor­po­rate those per­son­al­i­ties into char­ac­ters’ body type and make sure the per­son­al­ity traits of the two char­ac­ters are is read­able at all times, even ef­fort in the de­signs, and the team is

Zhang says she plans to con­tinue to learn and im­prove her craft as she em­barks in a to de­sign char­ac­ters and to bring them been quite re­ward­ing to spend time on this -

Not long ago, only a hand­ful of cor­po­rate me­dia ex­ec­u­tives had a stran­gle­hold over ev­ery­thing you could see or hear. If you were an as­pir­ing band, you had to tour for years, send demo af­ter demo to lower level pro­duc­ers and agents in hopes of get­ting their at­ten­tion. Then, if you were lucky enough to catch their ear, there was an even slim­mer chance that they would put your mu­sic in front of an up­per level producer who then might put you in front of a record la­bel ex­ec­u­tive. And then if each of about two dozen more things went right, you would have the once in a life­time op­por­tu­nity of es­sen­tially sell­ing your creative soul in ex­change for mi­nor spon­sor­ship or, at most, a tiny per­cent­age of record sales. The same ba­sic premise also ap­plied if you were an as­pir­ing movie maker.

Now, with YouTube, the me­dia game has changed for­ever. And, iron­i­cally enough, in the fa­vor of the artist. If you are an an­i­ma­tor, it’s never been eas­ier to have your work broad­cast and seen by the masses. If you’re a mu­si­cian, it’s never been eas­ier to have your mu­sic lis­tened to and/or videos watched by po­ten­tial fans.

And per­haps the most amaz­ing part of it all? You have full con­trol over your in­tel­lec­tual prop­er­ties and can even mon­e­tize them at will.

Take that, cor­po­rate gi­ants!

When it comes to mak­ing money from your orig­i­nal con­tent, it’s never been eas­ier. With a click of a but­ton, you can al­low ads to be played on or be­tween videos in your chan­nel that en­able you to get paid small amounts of money af­ter x-many views. Mas­sively pop­u­lar videos (hun­dreds of mil­lions of views and more) can gen­er­ate a con­tin­u­ous and gen­er­ous cash flow that may be so large you’ll never have to work a 9-to-5 job again.

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