June 2009


Robogeisha

Robogeisha

Noburu Iguchi of Tokyo Gore Police fame is finishing up his next project, Robogeisha. Via io9 and Twitch:

RoboGeisha is the latest collaboration between Iguchi and special effects man Yoshihiro Nishimura – himself the director of Tokyo Gore Police – and it bears all of the now-classic hallmarks of the duo: outrageous special effects, grotesquely hilarious gore and weapons where weapons just should not go.

the official movie site is here and the trailer is up at Twitch. youtube trailer:

Do be forewarned though the trailer has fried shrimp jammed into eye sockets, violence galore. Funny as all get out though, Iguchi is a strange filmaker 🙂

Origins Game Fair 2009

Origins Game Fair 2009

Just finished the annual pilgrimage to Origins Game Fair. I did not take the full four days this year and am already regretting it. Next year I will work a complete schedule up and fill my time fully. Missed the War College and the seminars I usually go to.  Saw quite a few old friends and caught up with (finally!) an old friend from Circvs Maximvs and got to put a face to a screen name.

It was also really cool seeing actor Peter Mayhew (the man in the Chewbacca suit in the Star Wars movies); Origins’ Guest of Honor this year.  He walks with a cane now but it was still easy to recognize him as Chewie even with out the suit and makeup. He has much of the movements that made Chewie an individual on screen even when not acting in suit and despite his age.

Chewbacca

Peter Mayhew - Chewbacca

I only played two games, A demo of Revolution by Steve Jackson Games and our annual Desperado wargame in the minatures room. My banditos managed to get themselves wiped out  after almost making into position. Such a great and fun little wargame . Perfect for conventions.  I will do a longer post with the pics from that game in a bit.

For me the find of the con was Red Ops 5 from Rebel Minis.   Red Ops 5 is a game of Special Forces versus Zombies wargame that uses Ed Trexeira’s TwoHourWargame engine for rules. Shooting Zombies, quick and fast. Fun! Fun!

My traditional dice purchase this year consisted of some 3d6’s and some d10’s marked in Asian characters.  Lou Zocchi and Gamescience returned this year with his D-Total die this year. I did not think he would return at all after his retirement but he did have a lot of booth  help so maybe a influx of youngbloods into his company will revive it a little. Always good to see these icons of gaming still hanging on after we lost both Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson this year.

One thing that was missed though was the open gaming tables in the breezeway. The breezeway connector was under construction. Its just my opinion but placing tables in the breezeway for open gaming was one of the best things about Origins. Having open tables all the way in the very back of the convention center in such an out of the way location is not as much fun as having them literally in the middle of the action.

highest highs and the lowest of lows – Michael Jackson has passed away. It was a crazy life, and the media brought it all to us, whether we wanted to see it or not. And just as suddenly as that, its all over. From the little kid on Ed Sullivan to the Thriller album with its multiple hits to the Wacko-Jacko years. The rumors are already flying and the bashing will start soon enough….

michael-jackson


from Smashed and Sinking we have a list of 10 things learned from Japanese TV. Picked from the list:

1) All food on earth is ungodly and orgasmically delicious.

Watch virtually any travel program and you get to see this in practise. EVERY single thing they eat is the best thing ever made on earth.

3) All I really needed in life is a speedo and a catchphrase

I cannot begin to count the number of guys in Speedos, on Japanese TV. It is like an unwritten rule that every variety show must have at least one fella in a Speedo.

9) Japan single-handedly keeps poster board companies in business. It’s like the news and variety shows never even learned that computer graphics were invented

I realized this after the first morning news program. They literally cut articles out of the newspaper and tacked them to a posterboard. With VERY neat highlighting around each article being discussed. Very surreal moment …. The most high tech country in the world and they use posterboard and highlighters for topics to discuss on the news. Unreal.


Io9 has an excellent article on how the scifi interpretation of Japan changed over the years. From Blade Runner and Nueromancer to Steven Speilberg’s A.I.

U.S. science fiction used to be fascinated with Japan, from Blade Runner to Neuromancer. Everything Japanese was cooler, sleeker and shinier than our grubby American aesthetic, and Japan was destined to dominate. And then, Japan’s futuristic status waned. What happened?

Back in the early 1980s, Japan’s ascendance seemed assured — there were a host of business books claiming that Japan had lost World War II, but won the peace through superior economic policies. Books like The Enigma Of Japanese Power by Karel Van Wolferen became unlikely bestsellers. Meanwhile, Japanese politicians like Ishihara Shintaro started flexing their muscles — Ishihara made waves with a book called No To Ieru Nihon, or The Japan That Can Say No (to the United States.)

Sadly, Japan’s economic hegemony ran out of juice in the early 1990s, when their real-estate bubble burst (sound familiar?) and the country spent an entire “lost decade” mired in stagnation. The vision of Japan as future economic uberpower was replaced by a creeping irrelevance — but Japanese pop culture remained as influential as ever, maybe even more than during the powerhouse days.

I remember the influence of Japan both on futuristic scifi as a teenager growing up in the 80s. I also saw the decline of American manufacturing and then witnessed Japan’s economic collapse in the 90s. Scifi has somewhat moved to other things. How many stories have been based in a futuristic Addis Ababa? But the influence of the cyberpunk/Neo-Tokyo continues to resound throughout recent scifi. It will always be there just as Shibuya styled Blade Runner setpieces will influence movies for decades to come.

Marrakesh nights

The Shared World project asked five scifi/fantasy authors what five cities they find our earth the are the most fantastical. The results are a little surprising. No cities in Asia, and no cities in the USA.

Our own planet is often surreal, alien, and beautifully strange–and cities tend to focus our fascination with these qualities. Sometimes the exoticness comes from finding the unexpected where we live, and sometimes it comes from visiting a place that’s foreign to us. Everyone also has a different idea of what “fantasy” or “science fiction” looks like in real places.

Michael Moorcock’s pick of Marrakesh is not so out there but Nalo Hopkinson’s pick of Kingston surprised me.

(photo of Marrakesh is copyright to movingthings on flickr)

Gundam Odaiba

Ever closer to completion, now the lights, sound and steam is on for the Odaiba Gundam …

Now all we need are rules for movement and combat …

photos via Danny Choo, btw)

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