Friday, August 31, 2007

5 Centimeters per Second ~ A Chain of Short Stories About Their Distance

What can I say about 5cm. Not much is to be said, you simply have to watch it.

Oh you don't trust me then? Fine, I'll blurt out some text, I was planning on doing that anyway. OK so what is this about. It's a movie, fine. The full title says something about a chain of short stories about their distance, but who's distance? Distance between lovers is a common theme in Makoto Shinkai's works. This work, however, is very close to perfection.

Akari and Touno are two childhood friends (sounds common enough, right ;)) who share special feelings. However, they are abruptly separated, and as if that were not enough, they are separated a second time. This movie reflects their views in very interesting ways!

It is divided in 3 parts, which I will use as well in order to limit my comments to certain aspects of the movie.

The first part, Oukashou (something about extract cherry blossom, cherry blossom extract) is a nice introductory tale about Akari and Touno's initial relationship. It is pretty sweet and almost goes straight to the point. There's is a great part where suspense is involved, and it is very strong and emotional. One of the things I like the most about this part is that dialog is reduced to a minimum. It may sound weird, but this part of the story is driven by memories, letters, and thoughts. Pretty nice touch in my opinion. This part was a little bit hard to grasp for me in the beginning, due to the character's ages in this part (~13). I don't feel like such feelings could emerge at this age. But it is probably because I'm putting myself and our culture as an example.

The second part, Cosmonaut, is a beautiful follow-up to the separation between Akari and Touno. They are last year high-schoolers now, and Akari is nowhere to be seen in this part. There's a new character, Sumida. I like her as much as the other two main characters. She gives a very interesting perspective on the relationship based on her own perceptions. There is more dialog in this part, and it has a very pleasant "small Japanese island" (Sumida is a surfer, for example) theme. This, however, is a very very sad segment. It is sort of inspirational, too.

The third and last part completely blew me away. It shares the name with the whole movie, Five Centimeters per Second. I don't want to spoil anything, but a great deal of story is solved and amplified in a very short period of time. Watch it, and believe me. This part is very short, but you will probably need to watch it a couple of times to get the full detail. Besides that, the soundtrack playing is a song I have already expressed love for. In a few words, this part is mostly a music video concluding the three stories.

Want to know how the story unfolds? Watch it :D

There are several themes covered in the character's thoughts. Oukashou deals with distance, and time. Cosmonaut deals with space. 5 cm deals with sadness and beauty, which is a theme covering the entire movie. The ending, is a combination of all of these factors.

Did I like it? I think I did. A lot. The unusual love stories always get to me. It just has this feeling of real, and one can form a strong bond of identity with the characters, even if one doesn't belong to that culture. The dialog is good, the style is superb, the pace is fast enough (it lasts barely under and hour) without sacrificing emotion and thoughts, and reflection. The piano music is an excellent ambient factor. The ending song is incredibly fitting, the video is wonderful and the bittersweet ending is just enough to crown this incredible masterpiece.

*cough About the animation, if you find a flaw in the animation, I'll personally invade your house with a bunch of angry... dogs or something (or with a bunch of internet trollz, they seem to have a lot of free time, oh and are practically the same thing as dogs). In other words, even if you hate the story, the animation itself is worth viewing. In other words, it can compete with Hayao Miyazaki's / Ghibli films in terms of animation.

"They say it's 5cm per Second." You'll know what the title means right at the beginning :)

Favorite Part: Chapter III (5cm per Second)
Overall: 9.8
Closing comments: As beautiful as it is, I'm not sure it's perfect for most people. Bah damn people, always find something bad about any given thing :P. Especially for people who are a bit picky about "deep" Anime like this.

*cough I'm working with a group for a spanish release, stay tuned. cough, I wonder who's talking? Lately there has been some odd voices in my head. Sorry for the image heavy post, I should probably figure out a screenshot thumb system. Yeah right, as if I had any free time as it is...

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Saturday, August 25, 2007

Guest Writers

Ah! Been a while since I write about something other than music and bands. It still is about bands and music, though. Well, take this post as some sort of metalanguage text.

As you can see now (they had disappeared some days, for some weird reason), there are now four profiles down there in the Contact section of my blog. Don't be surprised if these individuals are bored enough to post in this blog. They all know their share about music and anime and crap no one cares about and have very different styles and skills, look forward to them!

They specialize in:

neop- nanotechnology, robotics, computational theory of the mind, Apple Inc. fandom
Flow- misc. music, soccer, neurotic love(depression), 'art' movies, and some other details that have eluded me for several years of friendship now
Nor- Organizing, correcting, ordering, numbering, scheduling,

Of course all of this is a joke, and I expect some mild reprimand later on, but I had fun thinking about these skills :). They'll prove themselves whenever/if they write.

Well, this is just in case you notice some guy with a strange nick post in my blog. Maybe one of them will get a post on here later ;)

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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Song of the Week 19/08/07 Camel - Nimrodel/The Procession/The White Rider

Ever tried picking up your favorite song from one of your favorite bands? This is what I tried this week, and it was pretty hard.

After having a couple of international pop songs appear in my song of the week collection, I'm back to my adored progressive rock on this one.

Camel is a great prog. rock band, not very famous, but most of their early music is simply amazing. These British guys really knew how to play their stuff. After a pretty irregular debut album named Camel (it's good, I just never came around to understanding why it just wasn't so good to me), they launched Mirage. In this album they explored new styles including two ~10 min. songs, both of them great. One of them is Nimrodel~The Procession~The White Rider, and the other one is the Lady Fantasy suite, commonly known as just Lady Fantasy. While both songs are great, I find more progressive goodness from the first. Certain Camel fans would probably kill me by now, because Lady Fantasy is just great. If that is the case, please re-read my first sentence and try to feel my pain. Actually, one of the reasons I really don't like Lady Fantasy better is that its intro is somewhat repetitive to me. But that is just my opinion.

Anyway, if you ask me where the song name is from, I really don't know. You could go seek up a dozen interpretations if you want, but in my opinion it seems like something from Lord of the Rings. Wierd, huh? Well Nimrodel, the first part of the song, is the name of a river from Middle Earth, so I may not be missing the point. This part is very nice, slow, gloomy, and gradually builds up into the Procession. This second part is kinda odd, but it kinda gives some sort of ambientation for the next part of the song, as it's pretty hard to switch from the gently Nimrodel into the rock crazy White Rider. That being said, the White Rider explores melodic scales in a pretty interesting fashion, with a couple of keyboard and guitar solo's courtesy of Andy Latimer and Peter Bardens. Andy Latimer also carries the heavy burden of singing, and he wrote lyrics and music for this song. The White Rider probably means Gandalf, if you think about the title and lyrics.

After this album, they released The Snow Goose, which is another masterpiece (with great songs such as Rhayader, Rhayader Alone, Friendship and La Princesse Perdue). Also, Moonmadness (all of it) is great.

An incredible, classic progressive rock trip through the life of Gandalf in around 9:18.

Camel - Nimrodel~The Procession~The White Rider Lyrics from Mirage
(Lyrics and Music by Andy Latimer)

When he rides, my fears subside,
for darkness turns once more to light.
Through the skies, his white horse flies,
to find a land beyond the night.

Once he wore gray, he fell and slipped away
from everybody's sight.
The wizard of them all, came back from his fall
this time wearing white.

He has a certain air, as if he's never there,
but somehow far away.
And though he seems afar, like a distant star,
his warmth he can convey.

Note: I transcribed the lyrics, he doesn't sing much, so I can remember them easily :P

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Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Song of the Week 08/08/07 Yui - Good-Bye Days

After a rather unusual "back to school" period, I'm back to cover the uncovered holes left by the last song of the week. The other song I had in mind is featured in another movie, the actress herself sings the song, and that part is pretty cool.

The singer from this one is again from Japan. Yui is a rather interesting figure over there, she sings some rock songs and almost feels like a "bad girl" in one of her videos (Rolling Star, the one from Bleach). The really interesting part here is that her voice is beautiful, so the bad girl look is... well, that's not the point. Forget about that video for now.

The movie's name is Taiyo no Uta (any resemblance to this blog's name is a mere coincidence, really). Yui, our main star, suffers from Xeroderma pigmentosum. In other words, it's a pain in the ass sickness. This sickness is really bad news... she can't expose herself to the sun. She falls in love with this surfer guy. Guy who is always under the sun, girl who can never feel it's warmth, you know where this is going, right? You can skip the next paragraph if you feel like watching the movie by now...

Well wrong, the girl is a musician (and a pretty cool one at that). And her sickness isn't very much controlled. She loses some of her musical skills, and she gradually turns into being a heavy burden for her boyfriend.

I think Yui sings about three songs in her movie, and one of them is Good-Bye Days. She writes and arranges her own songs too, so that's a very big plus. Good-Bye Days is a gorgeous, guitar-voice driven ballad about those days when our relationships find themselves in a path that ends in "Good-Bye". Most of the time, they are the saddest moments in one's life.

Good-bye days by Yui Lyrics

Thanks, source, for these lyrics.

Lyrics and Music by Yui

Dakara ima ai ni yuku
Sou kimetanda
POKETTO no kono kyoku wo
Kimi ni kikasetai

Sotto VORYUUMU wo agete
Tashikamete mita yo

oh Good-bye days ima
Kawaru ki ga suru
Kinou made ni so long
Kakkoyoku nai yasashi sa ga soba ni aru kara
~with you

Katahou no IYAFON wo
Kimi ni watasu
Yukkuri to nagarekomu
Kono shunkan

Umaku aisete imasu ka?
Tama ni mayou kedo

oh Good-bye days ima
Kawari hajimeta mune no oku alright
Kakkoyoku nai yasashi sa ga soba ni aru kara
~with you

Dekireba kanashii
Omoi nante shitaku nai
Demo yatte kuru desho?
Sono toki egao de
Yeah hello!! my friend nante sa
Ieta nara ii no ni...

Onaji uta wo kuchizusamu toki
Soba ni ite I wish
Kakkoyoku nai yasashi sa ni
Aete yokatta yo

...Good-bye days

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