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Monday, July 28, 2008

Monkey Magic

The BBC has started advertising it's coverage of the Beijing Olympics that starts in a few weeks. I know before anyone says something- sport isn't something that gets much of a mention in this blog- (quite rightly!) but I'm only mentioning the ad because of the form it takes. For anyone who hasn't seen it- it's an animation and a smart one at that- and one involving monkeys. Brilliantly it's based on the Chinese Monkey King legend (a.k.a. Journey To The West) that's best known as the inspiration for a couple of Japanese series Dragonball and the 70's cheesefest live action series aired in the UK as Monkey. It also has a visual style reminiscent of Gorillaz/Blur front man Damon Albarn's Monkey Opera. Most of this will go over the head of most of the mainstream audience, but it's cool that they've produced something that will bring a smile to the face of those in the know.

Check out the ad here

EDIT// Um ....yeah it turns out Mr Albarn and his Gorillaz cohort, comic artist and Tank girl creator Jamie Hewlett are actually the creators of this ad- which explains the similarity. I didn't know that when I originally posted but of course it seems kinda obvious with hindsight :-) There's an interview with the guys in UK Tv listings mag Radio Times, complete with four collectible covers designed by the genius Hewitt.

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Master of animation returns..... and no I don't mean me!

I was surprised to find out the new film by animation Master, Hayao Miyazaki has just been released in Japan. I knew it was coming, but I hadn't realised it would be so soon. Ponyo On The Cliff By The Sea is the latest production from the Spirited Away director has unsurprisingly opened an number 1 in the box office charts. Now it has been released it has instantly become my most wanted film and I am impatiently awaiting the release of the English language version of the film. Even though I know next to nothing about it- I haven't seen a clip or more than about two pictures from the movie. But Miyazaki made it- so it will be excellent, of this there can be no doubt!

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Friday, July 18, 2008

If you're UK based (or otherwise have access to UK channel BBC2) then I recommend making time to watch the excellent 3 part documentary Comics Britannia. Taking a look at the often overlooked history of British comics, it's a must for any fan of the art of comics. It was previously aired on BBC4, but it gets a terrestial airing starting this Saturday at 9.30pm on BBC2 (and presumably continuing for the next three weeks). If you miss is then it should be available on the iplayer for the week after each episode airs.

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

This week is the E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) confrence in L.A., where all the video games companies traditionally show off all their future releases and make announcements, although recently the event has become much less of a big deal. Nintendo have been facing some criticism from the specialist games media for a conference that leaned heavily towards the casual or mainstream games (including Wii Music and a Wii Sports sequel). Some have felt they neglected their hardcore fans. Criticising them for releasing mainstream games is daft- they have proved have very successful and opened up the gaming market to a much wider audience. And the likes of Wii Sports appeal to practically everyone (if you think "not me sir!" then you've probably never tried it!). There have been a few tidbits of info for the hardcore though- and these should be enough to temper any sense of disappointment. New games for Wii are in development in the Mario and Zelda series, as well as a long awaited third installment in the Pikmin series that started on Gamecube. There may have been nothing to show at the show but Nintendo often don't show games until their near completion- unlike certain competitors who have been know to mock-up footage for such events. The most unexpected announcement though? Grand Theft Auto is coming to the DS. Hands up who saw that one coming?

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