My effort to keep posts coming on this site, even while posting on other sites.

*Hey - a comic review by me.

*Hey - a big trailer for Genius Party Beyond, the second half of Studio 4°C's theatrical anime shorts project. Um, it looks like Nicolas De Crécy is out (I believe Peter Chung was also asked to participate at some point and declined) and Mahiro Maeda is back in? Did Maeda ever truly leave? Anyhow, it looks cool, and I hope to see it before I'm old and frail.

*Hey - I also watched the first R1 dvd for 4°C's 2004-05 kiddie anime series Tweeny Witches, and it was kind of a trip. I mean, most television anime exists as a struggle against the omnipresent limitations of time and money, and it's typically the cleverest that win (see Osamu Kobayashi's Paradise Kiss for a triumph of carefully tuned style against the odds), but the 4°C crew seem to have taken a more... direct approach.

Have you ever seen the films of Doris Wishman? She was a noted exploitation filmmaker famous for cutting costs on her projects in a creative way. Instead of paying out to dub dialogue off an actor's lips, she's focus the camera on a listening character, or maybe someone's back... or a lamp, or the rug. Lots of footage of moving feet to signify a transition from one location to the next as well. In her best efforts -- 1965's Bad Girls Go to Hell being perhaps the ne plus ultra -- her approach landed as if not an alternate film grammar, then at least a cognizable dialect.

Tweeny Witches is like a Doris Wishman anime at times, in that the crew goes to sometimes great lengths to avoid having to animate moving lips or faces or anything, saving up their might for blasts of smooth activity. They are not subtle about it - all the expected pans over background paintings are present, but Episode 1 had what looked like a somewhat important bit of activity conveyed via sound effects and a still shot of a character's knees, if I'm remembering correctly. And I'm ok with that! It's like they're drawing attention to their limitations, and trying to make them creative; they don't always succeed, but it's better than straightforward gazes at frozen characters.

Very nice designs too; lots of woodland festival color with touches of Mignolaesque weird Victoriana. The story's about a hyperactive little girl that's whisked away (disjointedly; the first episode won't convert anyone who sees the Studio as visual style above storytelling clarity) to a magical land, and falls in with a pair of apprentice witches on a quest to recover the many varieties of fairies (GOTTA CATCH 'EM ALL) needed to power the witches' kingdom. There is intrigue! And some rather hard-edged villains that would have knocked me out of my shoes were I still 11!

But I'm enough of a Studio 4°C fanboy to support any R1 release... and since it's Media Blasters, the prices are actually on par with the rest of the television world...