In open contempt and defiance to Dinah Washington and her iconic melody, What a Diff'rence a Year Made.
How time flies. Yadda yadda yadda. And skipping the part where I mull and dwell on the passage of time, let's take a retrospective look at The Daily Zombies since its inception one year ago.
Ever since our initial report on Disney's corporate takeover of the Marvel Universe, we have almost been an associate of Uatu, the unassuming member of the big-headed Watchers, being close keen observer of Marvel Universe ourselves, covering on top-tier events like the Siege of Asgard, to lackluster revelation like Romulus's unveiling, to relatively trivial matters such as the alternate universe evil avengers assembling in the long-running cosmic saga, "War of Kings" or Tony Stark's new armor.
On the DC end of the comic universe, things are certainly looking up as well, with DC scoring ahead of Marvel in The Daily Zombies's Top 13 Of Comics 2009, with Wednesday Comics winning the Anthology Series Of The Year, JH Williams III, with Dave Stewart taking the Artist Of The Year and Cover Of The Year with their work on Detective Comic, Blackest Night winning the Mini Series Of The Year, Batman and Robin winning the Comic Series Of The Year, and lastly, DC, as whole winning the Publisher Of The Year honor.
Meanwhile, the San Diego Comic-Con, previously comicdom's biggest show is now host to major announcements made regarding the upcoming comic-to-movie adaptations. Nevertheless, Marvel fully exerted its authority in the PR wing, demolishing all other competitions in its wake.
Over at the wrestling world, things have been shaken up like never before indeed, just like what good ol' JR used to say, "Ladies and gentlemen, this is true. Anything can happen in the world wrestling federation". Before December 2009, absolutely nobody would dare to look us in the eyes and tell us that they would believe that there will come a day when Bret Hart return for a final confrontation with the "Heartbreak Kid" Shawn Michaels in a WWE ring. On January 4th, wishful thinking was realized as Bret Hart walked into WWE RAW as a guest host and have since been making sporadic appearances in WWE arenas. Unfortunately, it would be equally unbelievable if you were to tell me that Bret Hart is capable to screw a WrestleMania match-up. And he did, big-time, when he single-handledly provided quite possibly the worst ten minutes of match-ups in his career, and in a WrestleMania event!
Fortunately, The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels put up one hell of a WrestleMania main event, sealing the Heartbreak Kid's career off in a big way, while making the rematch every bit as good as the first one in last year's WrestleMania (incidentally the winner of "Wrestling Match Of The Year" in The Daily Zombies's Top 13 Of The Year 2009). On the other hand, the emergence and departure of Bryan Danielson (repackaged as Daniel Bryan) in WWE were particularly interesting to observe, and has thankfully ended on a sweet note for the former pupil of Shawn Michaels. Check out our monthly WWE PPV previews for our mostly daft prediction.
While the recent Summer witnessed a disappointing waves of insignificant films, we do get to have a real treat with Christopher Nolan 's mesmerizing Sci-Fi epic, "Inception", a source of varying level of mind-fucking for many. Luckily, we have our take on the film, complete with a hyper-detailed FAQ session. Earlier, Iron Man 2 got into a close one with Donnie Yen's Ip Man 2, here in Asia. As always, the ever-dependable Daily Zombies had a full-on analysis pitting the shell-head against the knuckle-head. The Storm Warriors (風雲II), despite our initial interest due to the impressive casting, turned out to be an almost unwatchable flop (not in the same way Human Centipede does, though), much to our dismay.
At the technological front, iPhone continues to be at sitting at the front row of attention as its bigger sister, iPad emerges to a tremendously receptive crowd. We have been conducting our regular iPhone app tracking nonetheless, in our little pet project called "App Attack".
While the worldwide financial crisis has since been put in place, the gaming industry continues to feel the all-reaching dreadful impact of a full-blown recession. Nevertheless, the major events of gaming industry were as hyped as ever, as The Daily Zombies covered on E3 2010 and the recently over Gamescom. Major announcements such as Capcom and Namco's respective joint crossover projects, Street Fighter X Tekken and Tekken X Street Fighter, Sony and Insomniac Games's Resistance 3, and Rocksteady Studios's Batman: Arkham City (sequel to The Daily Zombies's Game Of The Year) continued to be rolled out.
We have no short of quirky news as well, proving once again that it is indeed a strange world worth keeping that way. From the pseudo "real life" feud between Thailand's Muay Thai Fighters and China's Shaolin Warrior, the literal bloody mess Thailand's Bangkok found themselves in, the male performance enhancement supplement banking on the fame of the Street Fighter games(!), to an actual real-life crime committed by Lord Vader himself (!), the world is indeed as strange as they come.
As promised in our inception entry a year ago, we have been the directory to online freebies, carrying everything from the popular calendar wallpapers (Tekken, Naruto Shippuden, One Piece, and Bleach, among others), graphic design scans (Super Street Fighter IV, and Sengoku Musou 3, among others), free comics preview (Sherlock Holmes), to free movie hosted online (Sita Sings The Blues).
During this three hundred and sixty five, we have unfortunately seen our fair share of tragic loss, with legendary illustrator Frank Frazetta, Heavy Metal icon Ronnie James Dio, and most recently, the incredibly talented Satoshi Kon (do check out his recently posted farewell note) among them. The Daily Zombies would like to take this opportunity to once again pay our tribute to their respective great works.
Looking forward, we will be featuring a chunky piece of preview on the upcoming TV series this fall, and our usual Top 13 feature will be pulling a full Uwe Boll Alert as we take on the Top 13 Worst Movies Adapted From Video Games.
In the meantime, thanks for spending your time here. Our current "Death Toll Or Rather Lack Thereof...' indicated that a total of 22,917 unique visits have graced The Daily Zombies since its inception. While this is totally insignificant when compared to those populist blogs by some Asian blonde-wannabes or gluttonous pseudo-journalists, its significance lies in its existence. Once again, many thanks to all the undead folks out there.
To Year Two and on.
In open contempt and defiance to Dinah Washington and her iconic melody, What a Diff'rence a Year Made.
This Undead Monday, it's brotherly bonding time, F.3.A.R. style.
Having earlier featured a report on the first live-action trailer of F.3.A.R, the sequel to F.E.A.R. 2, it is noticeable that the interaction between Paxton Fettel and Point Man were certainly lacking. Which is a crying shame, given the obvious animosity between the two twisted brothers.
With this thrilling cinematic CG trailer for F.E.A.R 3 (stylized in the logo as F.3.A.R) that was released at Gamescom, it would seemed that the two brothers would be bringing something new to the plate this time round (Co-op gameplay anyone?).
With no further ado, check out the trailer after the jump.
A heart-wrenching last goodbye to all from Satoshi Kon.
We have previously paid our tribute as we reported on the tragic demise of one of the greatest creator in Japanese animation of our time, Satoshi Kon (今 敏), on August 24th. Before his death, Kon had actually produced a farewell note on his personal blog. For those who don't understand Japanese, Ben Huber from Japanator has thankfully posted a the entire translated farewell note, complete with heartwarming renditions of Kon's creation from many other artist as a tribute to the true visionary.
Update: The picture embedded here is in fact too small for comfortable viewing. As such, I have embedded another translation for those who preferred to read the farewell note in text form instead. Many thanks to writer Makiko Itoh for her detailed translation:
I've taken the liberty of translating the name of the film he was working on, Yume Miru Kikai, as Dreaming Machines, since it has no formal English title.
He often refers to himself in the third person, as Satoshi or Satoshi Kon. I've left those in there. Otherwise I inserted 'I' 'we' where appropriate. As you may know, Japanese people don't use pronouns much when talking about themselves.
Tanabata is an annual event in Japan called the "star festival", normally a day of joy. Tanabata on Wikipedia.
Madhouse is the name of the animation studio that produced Satoshi Kon's movies. Official site.
The last sentence, his farewell, in Japanese is お先に (o-saki ni). This is something people say when they are leaving a place before other people - if you're going home from the office while people are still working for instance, you might say o-saki ni shitsurei shimasu (excuse me for leaving before you). So, he is essentially saying to the reader, "I have to go now, I'm leaving this world before you."
How could I forget, May 18th of this year.
I received the following pronouncement from a cardiovascular doctor at Musashino Red Cross Hospital.
"It's the latter stages of pancreatic cancer. It's metastasized to several bones. You have at the most half a year left to live."
My wife and I listened together. It was a fate so unexpected and untenable, that the two of us together could barely take it.
I used to honestly think that "I can't help it if I die any day." Still, it was so sudden.
To be sure, there were some signs. 2 to 3 months before that I'd had strong pains in several places on my back and in the joints of my legs; I'd lost strength in my right leg and found it hard to walk, and I'd been going to an acupuncturist and a chiropractor, but I wasn't getting any better. So after having been examined in an MRI and a PET-CT and such advanced machinery, came the sudden pronouncement of the time I had left.
It was as if death had positioned itself right behind me before I knew it, and there was nothing I could do.
After the pronouncement, my wife and I researched ways to prolong my life. It was literally a life or death situation. We received the support of staunch frends and strong allies. I rejected anti-cancer medication, and tried to live with a view of the world slightly different from the norm. The fact that I rejected what was "expected (normal)" seemed to me to be very much like me.
I've never really felt that I belonged with the majority. It was the same for medical care, as with anything else. "Why not try to keep living according to my own principles!" However, as is the case when I'm trying to create a work [a film], ones willpower alone didn't do the job. The illness kept progressing day by day.
On the other hand, as a member of society, I do accept at least half of what society in general holds to be right. I do pay taxes. I'm far from being an upstanding citizen, but I am a full member of Japanese society. So, aside from the things I needed to do to prolong my life from my own point of view, I also attempted to do all the things necessary to "be ready to die properly". I don't think I managed to do it properly though. (But) one of the things I did was, with the cooperation of 2 friends that I could trust, set up a company to take care of things like the measly number of copyrights that I hold. Another thing that I did was, to insure that my wife would take over any modest assets that I had smoothly by writing a will. Of course, I didn't think there would be any fighting over my legacy or anything, but I wanted to make sure that my wife, who would remain behind in this world, would have nothing to worry about - and besides, I wanted to remove any anxiety from myself, the one who was going to take a little hop over there, before I had to leave.
The paperwork and research necessary for these tasks, which neither my wife nor I were good at doing, were taken care of speedily by wonderful friends. Later on, when I developed pneumonia and was at death's door, and put my final signature on the will, I thought that if I died right then and there, it couldn't be helped.
"Ah...I can die at last."
After all, I'd been brought by ambulance to the Musashino Red Cross Hospital 2 days before that; then brought back again to the same hospital by ambulance the day after. Even I had to be hospitalized and undergo many examinations. The result of those examinations: pneumonia, water in my chest, and when I asked the doctor [straight out], the answer I received was very businesslike, and I was in a way grateful for that.
"You may last 1 or 2 days...even if you survive this, you probably have until the end of the month."
As I listened, I thought "It's like he's telling me the weather forecast", but still the situation was dire.
That was July the 7th. It was a rather brutal Tanabata for sure.
So, I decided right there and then.
I wanted to die at home.
I might inconvenience the people around me, but I asked them to see how I could escape and go back home. [I was able to do so] thanks to my wife's efforts, the hospital's cooperation despite their position of having given up on me, the tremendous help of other medical facilities, and the coincidences that were so numerous that they only seemed to be gifts from heaven. I've never seen so many coincidences and events falling into place so neatly in real life, I could barely believe it. This wasn't Tokyo Godfathers after all.
While my wife was running around getting things in place for my escape, I was pleading with doctors "If I can go home for even half a day, there are things I can still do!", then waiting alone in the depressing hospital room for death. I was lonely, but this was what I was thinking.
"Maybe dying won't be so bad."
I didn't have any reasons for it, and perhaps I needed to think like that, but I was surprisingly calm and relaxed.
However, there was just one thought that was gnawing away at me.
"I don't want to die here..."
As I thought that, something moved out from the calendar on the wall and started to spread around the room.
"Oh dear, a line marching out from the calendar. My hallucinations aren't at all original."
I had to smile at the fact at my professional instincts were working even at times like this, but in any case I was probably the nearest to the land of the dead that I'd ever been at that point. I really felt death very close to me. [But] with the help of many people, I miraculously escaped Musashino Red Cross and came back home, wrapped up in the land of the dead and bedsheets.
I should emphasize that I have no criticism of or hatred for Musashino Red Cross Hospital, so don't misconstrue me.
I just wanted to go home to my own house. The house where I live.
I was a little surprised that, when I was being carried into my living room, as a bonus, I experienced that deathbed experience everyone is familiar with of "looking down on your body being carried into the room from a place high above". I was looking down on myself and the scene around me from a position several meters above ground, through a wide-angle-ish lens and flash lighting. The square of the bed in the middle of the room seemed very large and prominent, and my sheet-wrapped body was being lowered into the middle of the square. None too gently it seemed, but I'm not complaining.
So, all I had to do was to wait for death in my own home.
It seems that I was able to overcome the pneumonia.
I did think like this, in a way.
"I didn't manage to die! (laugh)"
Afterwards, when I could think of nothing else but death, I thought that I did indeed die once then. In the back of my mind, the world "reborn" wavered several times.
Amazingly, after then my life-force was rejuvenated. From the bottom of my heart, I believe this is due to the people who helped me; first and foremost my wife, and my supportive friends, the doctors and nurses, and the care managers.
Now that my life-force had been restarted, I couldn't waste my time. I told myself that I'd been given an extra life, and that I had to spend it carefully. So I thought that I wanted to erase at least one of the irresponsibilities that I'd left behind in this world.
To be truthful, I'd only told the people closest to me about the cancer. I hadn't even told my parents. In particular, because of various work-related complications, I couldn't say anything (to people) even if I wanted to. I wanted to announce my cancer on the internet and report on my remaining life, but if Satoshi's death was scheduled, there might be some waves made, however small. For these reasons, I acted very irresponsibly to people clear to me. I am so sorry.
There were so many people that I wanted to see before I died, to say even one word of greeting to. Family and relatives, old friends and classmates from elementary and middle and high school, the mates I met in college, the people I met in the manga world, with whom I exchanged so much inspiration, the people in the anime world whose desks I sat next to, went drinking with, with whom I competed on on the same works, the mates with whom I shared good and bad times. The countless people I was able to know because of my position as a film director, the people who call themselves my fans not only in Japan but around the world, the friends I'd made via the web.
There are so many people that I want to see at least once (well there are some I don't want to see too), but if I see them I'm afraid that that the thought that "I can never see this person again" will take me over, and that I wouldn't be able to greet death gracefully. Even if I had recovered, I had very little life force left, and it took a lot of effort to see people. The more people wanted to see me, the harder it was for me to see them. What irony. In addition, my lower body was paralyzed due to the cancer spreading to my bones, and I was prone on my bed, and I didn't want people to see my emaciated body. I wanted most of the people I knew to remember me as the Satoshi that was full of life.
I'd like to use this space to apologize to my relatives, friends and acquaintances, for not telling you about my cancer, for my irresponsibility. Please understand that this was Satoshi's selfish desire. I mean, Satoshi Kon was "that kind of guy". When I envision your faces, I only have good memories and remember (your) great smiles. Everyone, thank you for all the truly great memories. I loved the world I lived in. Just the fact that I can think that makes me happy.
The many people that I met throughout my lifetime, whether they were positive or negative, have helped to shape the human being that is Satoshi Kon, and I am grateful for all of those encounters. Even if the end result is an early death in my mid 40s, I've accepted this as my own unique destiny. I've had so many positive things happen to me after all.
The thing I think about death now. "I can only say, it's too bad." Really.
However, even though I can let go of many of my irresponsible actions [by not telling people], I cannot help regretting two things. About my parents, and about Madhouse [founder] Maruyama-san.
Even though it was rather late, there was no choice but to come clean with the whole truth. I wanted to beg them for forgiveness.
As soon as I saw Maruyama-san's face when he came to see me at home, I couldn't stop the flow of tears or my feeling of shame. "I'm so sorry, for ending up like this..." Maruyama-san said nothing, and just shook his head and gripped both my hands. I was filled with thankfulness. Feelings of gratitude and joy, that I'd been lucky enough to work with this person, came over me like a landslide. It may be selfish, but I felt as though I had been forgiven in that instant.
My biggest regret is the film "Dreaming Machine". I'm worried not only about the film itself, but the staff who I was able to work with on the film. After all, there's a strong possiblity that the storyboards that were created by (our) blood, sweat and tears will never be seen. This is because Satoshi Kon put his arms around the original story, the script, the characters and the settings, the sketches, the music...every single image. Of course there are things that I shared with the animation director, the art director and other staff, but basically most of the work can only be understood by Satoshi Kon. It's easy to say that it was my fault for arranging things this way, but from my point of view I made every effort to share my vision with others. However, in my current state I can only feel deep remorse for my inadequacies in these areas. I am really sorry to all of the staff. However, I want them to understand, if only a little bit. Satoshi Kon was "that kind of guy", and, that's why he was able to make rather weird anime that was a bit different. I know this is a selfish excuse, but think of my cancer and please forgive me.
I haven't been idly waiting for death, even now I'm thinking with my weak brain of ways to let the work live even after I am gone. But they are all shallow ideas. When I told Maruyama-san about my concerns about "Dreaming Machine", he just said "Don't worry. We'll figure out something, so don't worry."
I wept uncontrollably.
Even with my previous movies, I've been so irresponsible with the productions and the budgets, but I always had Maruyama-san figure it out for me in the end.
This time is no different. I really haven't changed.
I was able to talk to my heart's content with Maruyama-san. Thanks to this, I was able to feel, at least a little, that Satoshi Kon's talents and skills were of some value in our industry.
"I regret losing your talent. I wish that you were able to leave it for us."
If Madhouse's Maruyama-san says that, I can go to the netherworld with a little bit of self-pride after all. And of course, even without anyone else telling me this, I do feel regret that my weird visions and ability to draw things in minute detail will be lost, but that can't be helped. I am grateful from the bottom of my heart that Maruyama-san gave me the opportunity to show the world these things. Thank you, so very much. Satoshi Kon was happy as an animation director.
It was so heartbreaking to tell my parents.
I'd really intended to go up to Sapporo, where my parents live, while I was still able to, but my illness progressed so unexpectedly and annoyingly fast that I ended up calling them on the telephone from the hospital room as I was closest to death.
"I'm in the late stages of cancer and will die soon. I was so happy being born as a child to Father and Mother. Thank you."
They must have been devastated to hear this out of the blue, but I was certain I was going to die right then.
But then I came back home and survived the pneumonia. I made the big decision to see my parents. They wanted to see me too. But it was going to be so hard to see them, and I didn't have the will to. But I wanted to see my parents' faces one last time. I wanted to tell them how grateful I was that they brought me into this world.
I've been a happy person. Even though I must apologize to my wife, my parents and all the people that I love, that lived out my life a bit too faster than most.
My parents followed my selfish wishes, and came the next day from Sapporo to my house. I can never forget the first words out of my mother's mouth when she saw me lying there.
"I'm so sorry, for not bringing you into this world with a stronger body!"
I was completely speechless.
I could only spend a short time with my parents, but that was enough. I had felt that if I saw their faces, that it would be enough, and it really turned out that way.
Thank you, Father, Mother. I am so happy that I was born into this world as the child of the both of you. My heart is full of memories and gratitude. Happiness itself is important, but I am so grateful that you taught me to appreciate happiness. Thank you, so very much.
It's so disrespectful to to die before ones parents, but in the last 10 plus years, I've been able to do what I want as an anime director, achieve my goals, and get some good reviews. I do feel regret that my films didn't make a lot of money, but I think they got what they deserved. In these last 10 plus years in particular I've felt as though I've lived more intensively than other people, and I think that my parents understood what was in my heart.
Because of the visits by Maruyama-san and my parents, I feel as though I've taken a big burden off my shoulders.
Lastly, to my wife, about whom I worry the most, but who has been my support until the end.
Since that time-left pronouncement, we drowned ourselves in tears together so many times. Every day was brutal for both of us, physically and mentally. There are almost no words for it. But the reason why I was able to survive those difficult days was because of the words that you said to me right after we received the news.
"I'll be at your side [run with you] until the end."
True to those words, as though you were leaving my worries in the dust, you skillfully directed the demands and requests that came rushing towards us like a landslide, and quickly learned how to take care of your husband. I was so moved, watching you deal with things so efficiently.
"My wife is awesome."
No need to keep saying that now, you say? No no. You are even more awesome now than you ever were - I truly feel this. Even after I have died, I believe that you will send Satoshi Kon to the next world with grace. Ever since we got married, I was so wrapped up in "Work, work" that I was only able to spend some time at home after the cancer - such a shame.
But you stood close to me, you always understood that I needed to immerse myself in my work, that my talent was there. Thank you.
There are so many things, countless things, that I worry about, but everything needs an end. Lastly, to Doctor H who agreed to see me to the end in my home, even though it's something not done these days, and his wife and nurse, K-san, I would like to express my deep gratitude. Medical care in a private home is very inconvenient, but you patiently dealt with the numerous aches and pains that cancer brings on, and endeavores to make my time until the final goal called death be as comfortable as possible. I can't say how much you helped me. And you didn't just deal with this difficult and arrogant patient as if it were just your jobs, but communicated with me as human beings. I cannot say how much of a support you were to me, and how much you saved me. I was encouraged by your qualities as human beings several times. I am deeply deeply grateful.
And, this is really the last, but from shortly after I received that pronouncement in mid-May until now, I've been lucky to have the cooperation, help and mental support, both personally and in business, from 2 friends. My friend T, who has been a friend since high school and is a member of KON'Stone Inc, and producer H, I thank you both from the bottom of my heart. Thank you so much. It's hard for me with my measly vocabulary to express my gratitude adequately to you both. My wife and I have both received so much from you.
If you two hadn't been there for us, I am sure that I'd be anticipating death while looking at my wife here as she sits by my side with considerably more trepidation and worry. I am really in your debt.
And, if I may ask you for one more thing - could you help my wife send me over to the other side after my death? I'd be able to get on that flight with my mind at rest if you could do that for me. I ask this from my heart.
So, to everyone who stuck with me through this long document, thank you. With my heart full of gratitude for everything good in the world, I'll put down my pen.
Now excuse me, I have to go.
Our thanks also to Japanator for the article, and for reminding us of one of the last works of Kon. NHK ANI-KURI15 (NHK アニクリ15) was a collaboration between NHK and fifteen anime masters in their own rights, from Michael Arias (Director of Tekkonkinkreet), Mahiro Maeda (Director of Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo), Makoto Shinkai (Director of The Place Promised in Our Early Days), to Mamoru Oshii (Director of Ghost in the Shell) himself. All fifteen animators produced an one-minute short for the series, which were released across three seasons of NHK regular TV programmings. Kon completed the series with a short entitled "Good Morning" (オハヨウ, 早安), embedded below for your viewing pleasure.
Vinatge Satoshi Kon material, with his trademark resonance.
We pick up our coverage on the recently ended Gamescom with a cinematic trailer of the promising Epic Mickey for Wii.
Forget the uninteresting teaser trailer shown at E3 that presented to us nothing but the title screen of Disney Interactive Studios and Junction Point Studios's Epic Mickey.
At Gamescom, an opening cinematic trailer of quite possibly, the most anticipated game in Wii history, were presented.
Depicting a younger and ostensibly badder Mickey Mouse, who chance upon an opportunity to raise hell in sorcerer Yen Sid's secret lab and in the process, inadvertently created a villainous monster.
The trailer ended abruptly with Disney promising more. Do check out the incredibly nostalgic video right after the jump.
Update: The complete, almost 7-minute long opening cinematic sequence.
For those interested in understanding what's exactly going on, here's the plot synopsis according to good ol' wikipedia:
A long time ago, Walt Disney, represented in the game by the sorcerer Yen Sid, created a Disney theme park themed pen-and-paper world for his forgotten and rejected creations, held in an intricate model on a table, and his study accessible through a mirror. Mickey, who steps through a mirror from his home and finds himself inside Yen Sid's study, sees the model, and waits until Yen Sid is gone before going back to take another look at it. Fiddling with it, Mickey tries to create a model of himself but creates instead a being that becomes the Phantom Blot, Mickey tries to erase it and accidentally spills paint and paint thinner onto the model. Hearing Yen Sid approaching, Mickey quickly tries to clean up with hurry and flees back to his home. However, it's too late and the world Yen Sid created turns into a wasteland. The Phantom Blot who takes control of the Wasteland from its first resident, Mickey's older half-brother - Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. Oswald and the other residents of the Cartoon Wasteland fight against the Phantom Blot, but he eventually overwhelms them and twists their world into a dark and sinister version of itself, forcing Oswald into hiding.
Years later, Mickey has forgotten his past transgression until the Phantom Blot enters his home through the mirror and pulls him into the Cartoon Wasteland. Oswald, his will lost and twisted by his jealousy of Mickey's rise to fame, has formulated a plan to destroy Mickey. The Mad Doctor works closely with the Blot, creating robotic "Beetleworx", which are strange creatures that consist of combinations of various Disney cartoon characters. He also creates animatronic "buddies" for Oswald, looking like decrepit robotic versions of Mickey's friends, as Oswald wants Mickey's life and popularity for himself. Armed with a magical paintbrush that he managed to pull into the world with him, Mickey must stop the Phantom Blot, gain Oswald's trust and save the Wasteland.
Scheduled for release later this year, the development of Epic Mickey (also known as Super Secret Warren Spector Game Project or Junction Point Studios Project #2) is spearheaded by Warren Spector, best known for his works on System Shock and Deus Ex. With such accolades and an innovative drive to rejuvenate interest in vintage Disney characters, it goes without saying that Epic Mickey will be one hell of a game to look out for. In the meantime, check out some of the game arts and screenshots of the title.
The countdown to the pilot episode of The Walking Dead officially begun as all beings, dead or undead alike salivates over the debut trailer that is finally unleashed.
With the anticipation for Frank Darabont’s upcoming TV adaptation of Robert Kirkman's critically acclaimed comic series, The Walking Dead, reaching fever pitch at the San Diego Comic-Con, AMC has finally revealed that the much-anticipated series will debut on Halloween, Sunday October 31st at 10:00pm ET/PT.
While appropriate for the theme of Halloween night where zombies usually ran wild, the fact that nobody will actually be glued to the TV might just be a small little problem that can easy be resolved with this wonderful invention we called "DVR". One important thing to note though, would be the fact that the pilot episode will be 90-minute long.
In addition, AMC has officially released a trailer (embedded below for your viewing pleasure), which is a shorter version of the one that was screened during SDCC (available here, but in illegitimately poor condition). We would suggest all yer undead to check this one out for its sheer awesomeness.
In the meantime, check out the latest images released from AMC thus far.
An immensely tragic moment in the Japanese animation world as Satoshi Kon (今 敏), one of the greatest anime director today, passed away on August 24th, 2010. The Daily Zombies mourn one of our favorite creators of today's pop culture.
His brilliance in animation film-making is unparalleled, with some of his visionary concepts predating even the much-talked-about film of the year, Inception. And we are talking about Satoshi Kon (今 敏), the undisputed master of anime-making, with his remarkably consistent filmography of great works surpassing even those of fellow greats like Mamoru Oshii (押井守)and the legendary Hayao Miyazaki (宮崎 駿), of whom many critics had long commented on how Kon is the legitimate inheritor of his amazing legacy.
On August 24th 2010 at 620am (Japan time), Satoshi Kon has passed away from pancreatic cancer at the age of 46.
First tweeted by GAINAX's Yasuhiro Takeda in the early morning of August 25th, the tragic news were later confirmed by Madhouse's Masao Maruyama via the Otakon committee, followed by the official confirmation by Kon's personal website. The Daily Zombies pay tribute to one of the greatest creators of our time by taking an extensive retrospective look back at the illuminating career of Satoshi Kon.
Born in Hokkaido on October 12, 1963, Kon Musashino attended College of the Arts in Tokyo majoring in Visual Communication, with the intention of becoming a painter. As a student there, Kon made his debut as a manga comic artist in 1984 when he submitted his first manga project, 虜 -とりこ-, in the rookie competition held by Kodansha's Young Magazine. From there, Kon became a full-time manga artist in 1985 and continue his career after his graduation from the college in 1987. In 1990, Kon published his first serialized manga, 海歸線.
An ecological cautionary tale between a man and a mermaid, the manga shared a conspicuously similar tone with Hayao Miyazaki's Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea ((崖の上のポニョ), while stripping any resemblance of a fairy tale-esque undertone (which makes one wonder about Kon's influence on Miyazaki), combined with artworks that reminisces the intricate layouts and style of Yoshikazu Yasuhiko (安彦良和).
From there, Kon met Katsuhiro Otomo, fresh off his critically acclaimed anime masterpiece, Akira. Working on the manga adaptation of Otomo's 1991 live-action thriller, World Apartment Horror (國際恐怖公寓), Kon collaborated with fellow writers, Otomo himself, and the earlier mentioned Mamoru Oshii (押井守).
As the first display of the surreal, psychedelic style that will eventually become his hallmark feature, the manga series gained instant acclaim and has remained an iconic manga classic till now.
Following that, Kon officially entered the anime industry by working as set designer for Otomo's Roujin Z (老人Z).
Kon then made his screenwriting debut with "Magnetic Rose", a section of the anthology film, Kon made his screenwriting debut with "Magnetic Rose", a section of the anthology film, Otomo Katsuhiro's Memories, produced and co-directed by Otomo.
In 1997, Kon made his directorial debut with Perfect Blue, an animated psychological thriller film, a particular genre unprecedented of that time.
Loosely based on the novel of the same name by Yoshikazu Takeuchi, the film was originally planned to be a live action direct-to-video series, but after the Kobe earthquake of 1995 damaged the production studio, the budget for the film was reduced to an original video animation. With Otomo credited as "Special Supervisor" as an obvious marketing scheme, the film was screened in many film festivals around the world, spreading words of acclaim worldwide, thereby jump-starting Kon's career as an innovative filmmaker.
With realistic characterization and its Hitchcockian psychological thriller presentation, audience of conventional anime were mesmerized by the film, with those from the west particularly intrigued. The film won numerous awards at the 1997 Fantasia Festival in Montréal, and Fantasporto Film Festival in Portugal. Accordingly, renowned director Darren Aronofsky (of Requiem For A Dream fame) has already paid for the rights for a live-action remake of Perfect Blue.
While everyone waited in equal exasperation and anticipation for Kon's next film, no one saw how his second feature film could surpassed his excellent debut. And yet it did.
Released in the same year as Hayao Miyazaki's all-time classic, Spirited Away, Kon's second feature film, Millenium Actress (千年女優), received the Grand Prize in the Japan Agency of Cultural Affairs Media Arts Festival, tying with Spirited Away. The film went on to sweep many major film awards from international film festivals and was even promoted by its studio as a contender for the 2003 Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, a contention which was eventually lost to Spirited Away, whom went on the win the honor.
Telling a story about a documentary filmmaker investigating the life of a reclusive, legendary actress, the film gradually got interwoven with the actress's incredible body of works, as reality and cinema became blurred, pushing the audience into Kon's familiar surreal territory. The film celebrated life and the movie world in particular, in a way unlike anything before it.
Heavily influenced by renowned Japanese novelist and science fiction author, Yasutaka Tsutsui (筒井 康隆), Kon's signature style of narrating through an subjective reality, spliced with a refined surrealism begun to truly shine with Millenium Actress.
Having created two films that transcend dreams and reality, Kon went on to work on a more linear and traditional story with his next film, Tokyo Godfathers (東京ゴッドファーザーズ).
A collaboration with Keiko Nobumoto, the creator of the Wolf's Rain series and a head scriptwriter for Cowboy Bebop, Tokyo Godfathers received an Excellence Prize at the 2003 Japan Media Arts Festival and went on to remained one of the most underrated anime film of our time. In essence, a road movie about three homeless bums, a hobo, a transvestite, and a runaway girl, the film explored the darker side of metropolitan Tokyo in a realistic yet humorous way.
Being Kon's only film to date that doesn't deal with subjective reality, the film juggled with contemporary themes of personal guilt, loss and suicidal ideation in a decidedly jovial and heartwarming manner that tugs at the heart and mind of any city dweller.
Sidestepping from his filmography, in 2004, Kon moved on to create, in my opinion, his greatest masterpiece, and without a doubt, one of the greatest anime series ever, Paranoia Agent (妄想代理人).
An unconventional psychological horror drama with more than a handful of satire on the absurd mundane life and social commentaries, Paranoia Agent is a disturbing trip into the dark heart of the civilization. Chronicling a social phenomenon that gradually evolved in a mass hysteria of an apocalyptic scale, the thirteen-part series played out the main ongoing mystery over a collective of short story interwoven into the mystery. In an ingenious method, each respective story evolved into distinctly different genres with characters switching the role of a supporting cast and a protagonist role. These insanely massive ideas were amazingly pulled off within a narrative frame of thirteen episodes. As Kon himself put it in his interview in 2004:
During the makings of my previous three films, a mountain of unused ideas for both stories and arrangements has piled up in my drawers. Not that I dropped them because they weren't good enough, but they just didn't fit into any of the projects. It hurts to see material go to waste, so I looked for a chance to recycle it. Plus, in the case of a film to be shown at theatres, I'm working for two years and a half, always in the same mood and with the same method. I wanted to do something that allows me to be more flexible, to realize instantly what flashes across my mind. I was also aiming at a sort of entertaining variation, so I decided to go for a TV series.
Continuing his theme of exploring the surrealistic life of the modern world and subversive realism, Paranoia Agent was intricately spliced with all the nitty bitty human experience that defined our existence. I can never forget the immensely mesmerizing episode 8, "Happy Family Planning" (明るい家族計画). A hauntingly disturbing yet thought-provoking tale on the delicate topic of suicide which earned a 1 minute 20 second mandatory cut made by the BBFC in its UK release. Remarkably resonant from start to finish, the episode ended with one hell of a killer bang, making it the single best episode of an anime series ever, in my humble opinion.
After the tremendous work on Paranoia Agent, Kon went on to work on, in more than one way, his dream project, Paprika, a feature-length film release to cinemas worldwide in 2007.
Amongst many other reasons, the opportunity to work with his inspiraion, the earlier mentioned science fiction author, Yasutaka Tsutsui (筒井 康隆). Based on Yasutaka Tsutsui's 1993 novel of the same name, Paprika follows the tale of a research psychologist who enter people's dreams to explore their unconscious thoughts, as a revolutionary new form of psychotherapy. While one might inclined to conclude that the plot synopsis I just mentioned is being conspicuously alike to the critically acclaimed Sci-Fi film, Inception, I believed that in some ways, the film played a precursor to the very same innovative rift on dream-travelling though there are very distinct difference between the two films. Nevertheless, that did not stop someone from splicing the two film into one (as embedded below).
With a dreamy concept as such, and Kon at helm, stunningly imaginative imagery ensues.
Similar to Millennium Actress, Paprika transcended planes of existences by constantly blurring the lines between the boundaries of reality and fantasy. And it would seemed most unfortunate for Paprika to be forever remembered as Kon's last work.
Except that it is not. While it would seemed that Kon is still riffing off the Inception route, his fifth and final film was entitled "The Dream Machine (Yume-Miru Kikai, 造梦机器)", and was originally scheduled to be released some time next year. In consistence to Kon's ever-evolving nature, the film would be his first work aimed at children after a series of what he himself has called "animations which adults can enjoy".
The plot synopsis from Kon in a 2008 interview with Anime News Network.
The title will be Yume-Miru Kikai. In English, it will be The Dream Machine. On the surface, it's going to be a fantasy-adventure targeted at younger audiences. However, it will also be a film that people who have seen our films up to this point will be able to enjoy. So it will be an adventure that even older audiences can appreciate. There will be no human characters in the film; only robots. It'll be like a "road movie" for robots.
While the untimely demise of Kon will undoubtedly affect the release of film to the extent that it might not make it for release after all, let's just hope that it will eventually make it for an official release.
With the popular status of anime and manga in worldwide pop culture as otaku and activities such as cosplay reaching phenomenal level across the planet, anime, despite its overarching reach, is still commonly dismissed as a juvenile pastime of a lower class of literature by many who are unfamiliar with the culture. And it is with true masters like Satoshi Kon, that there is always a reason why anime-watching folks have nothing to be ashamed of. Despite having only four films and one television series under his directing credits, each of his work has been truly inspiring and consistently compelling.
The Daily Zombies solemnly expressed our condolences to Satoshi Kon's immediate family for the loss of a true visionary of pop culture, and extend our gratitudes to Satoshi Kon for all the thought-provoking, mind-fucking entertainment that redefined the term entertainment.
In closing, we have embedded the mind-blowing opening sequence of Paranoia Agent, which in our opinion, the best opening sequence for an anime series, as a final tribute to Satoshi Kon.
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