JUST MAKE IT END QUICK AND PAINLESS It is a fact that in Romania nothing lasts very long. Every initiative, especially from the independent-alternative-subcultural artsy fartsy spectrum is bound to get disbanded, dissolved, taken over, subverted, commercialized, cannibalized by bigger brothers or raped by shameless entertainment illusions. Maybe it happens so because every such initiative is bound and chained to its founding fathers and mothers in a sort of death embrace. These initiatives never seem to outlast their initiators. Extinction pressure is never very high, but whenever family, business, growing up or other higher purpose gets in the way, they start corroding the inner relationship of the small independent dynastic circles. Thus when the key players fold, the small subcultural universes they have build around them start cracking and tumbling into the abyss of oblivion and forgetfulness. It is incredible and highly dangerous to see how dependent all the good, independent initiatives are in Romania on their originators. Maybe then it is important and a way to postpone the end never to keep things dependent on the state or fortune of a few founding members, no matter how invulnerable they may seem after many trials and errors. Another catastrophic strategy is to buy into the doctrine of the Big Crisis, thus becoming more susceptible to work more for less, to accept every extreme situation as normal and to renounce having a necessary critical edge. After seeing the Otaku End of the World version I got the feeling that everything will return to a jungle in no time, even if Pictoplasma, Otaku Festival and others are still putting up new editions, or recycling old names that got into the spotlight, be it Super Mario or Akinori Oishi. When old arcade ruins abound, the end is certainly near. Staples of otakism such as Gojira-ism, NGE-ism or Gundam-ism all got their celebration before the glorious end. Artists like Tokyo Genso, Aitch, Saddo, Natalie Ratkovski, Matei Apostolescu and others bring their skills to the ultimate test of illustrative survival. Forgotten old and new End-of-the-World movies are reviewed and recommended to the eventual survivors of the Video and DVD era. Anime and Games are also there to stay till the end. Dir En Grey band interview also promotes their coming on tour to Romania probably in a distant and dark future. The Apocalypse book is a spoiler of the future anyway so working against this trend I am going to keep the silence about the future days of our earth in the manga/comic book section. So read fast, because bacteria, fungi, molds and all sorts of cellulose-eating undergrowth bugs will probably attack soon, dissolve with their enzymes and eat up all the remaining Otaku Magazine issues in the world anyway before we get to read it cover to cover. Megatron
Table of Contents
Reviews ................................................................ 005 Otaku Festival, Pictoplasma Profiles ................................................................. 010 Akinori Oishi, Nina Braun Interview .............................................................. 014 Interview +cruz: W+K TokyoLab Articles ................................................................. 020 The Final Genesis, Gundam, Godzilla King of the Monsters, Advice, Aphorisms and Proverbs Benefiting the Consumerism Era Survivors Photos ................................................................... 036 Jim Lind Interview .............................................................. 038 Tokyo Genso Illustrations ....................................................... 043 Jason Graham, Maaike Verwijs, Matei Apostolescu, Natalie Ratkovski, Aitch & Saddo Recommendations .......................................... 057 movies, anime, indie games Cosplay ................................................................. 066 World Cosplay Summit, Otaku Festival Interview .............................................................. 074 Dir En Grey Comics,Manga ................................................... 078 I'm not legend, Father, Leviatan, Reservoir Organs
Content Coordinator: Bogdan Gorgăneanu Art Director: Veronica Solomon Editor-in-chief: Ruxandra Târcă Chief Executive: Ana Maria Oana Research Manager: Ştefan Tiron Editorial Office: Cristian Botea, Mădălin Găgeanu, Irina Georgescu, Silviu Pop, Butta Oana Cristina DTP: Afaceri Prospere Editor: Otaku Entertainment Contact: email@example.com // Copyrights of the individual, manga/comics works, illustrations, photos represented in this magazine are the property of their respective creators and are acknowledged on page 128.
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Otaku Festival III - Play Edition otakufestival.com Romania
This spring, the 3rd edition of Otaku Festival, held in Bucharest on May 9-10, further promoted the theme of the previous Otaku Magazine issue: Play – a very general and generous subject, which allowed both the organizers and the participants to provide a large menu of activities and fun. For the organizers, all the background work, no matter how hard it was, faded into the pleasant memory of the volunteer crew running here and there, helping to fix the drawing boards on the walls, move the furniture, mount the exhibition and so on; of the sweet drowsiness after a hard day’s work; of the smiling faces of all the participants. It all started at 10:00 am, although a bunch of kids had already gathered outside the building where the festival was to take place. And when the doors finally opened, all the ground floor instantly filled with people who spread among the
merchandise and manga stalls, at the same time taking a glimpse at Super Mario and other posters featuring screenshots from old-school games, carefully encased into the showcase’s windows. Some of the younger kids probably wondered what that was; no cutting-edge graphics, no breathtaking scenery, no high and mighty superheroes. Just some colorful simple characters whose flesh’s pixels seemed almost real and tangible. All those posters somehow anticipated the theme of the second floor’s gaming section – 8 bit games: Super Mario Bros, Contra, The Legend of Zelda, Tetris, Donkey Kong and the list continues. It felt quite nostalgic and, at the same time, a bit weird to see all that pixelated little universe projected on a huge screen on the wall, neighboring latest generation gaming platforms, but still remaining in the center of attention. The first thing one could see when going up on the first floor was the maid café organized by Yume Tea-
house from Cluj Napoca. All the four girls had their own custom-made dress – yume maid, onigiri maid, ichigo maid and neko maid – each of them smiling and humming around, bringing tea, coffee and drinks at the tables. Near the café, all those who felt more or less skilled could draw on both graphic tablets, and the drawing boards on the walls. Opposite, in another room, on both days of the festival, the workshops went on one after another: workshops focused on character design, gun-based characters, kirigami, origami, and so on. Of course, the highlight of the festival was the cosplay contest. Within almost three hours, the 50 contestants paraded on the stage, performed and presented their costumes, to the delight of the fans who could support their favorite characters from the audience. In the end, the jury (and the public also, judging from their reactions) decided that the first prize should go to a very well made Pikachu; the costume wasn’t a simple copycat after the character, but more of an original adaptation and interpretation of both looks and attitude of the cute Pokemon little monster. Throughout the entire festival period, the cosplayers blended with the rest of the public, creating a colorful overall image of an otaku crowd in which girls dressed in maids mixed
with Yuna, Mario, Rider, Chii, Goth Lolitas, loads of Bleach and Naruto characters (to mention just a few), kids wearing Harajuku-like clothes, artists, gamers etc. Outside the building, bare-footed kids were cutting and spraying the cardboards laid on the grass. It was the stencil workshop, which the beautiful spring sun urged to move out from its initially indoor location and into the open. Everyone was having fun and feeling at home; basically that was the main idea of a festival dedicated to the otaku community – to provide them with a space in which no inhibition was allowed, where they could be what and who they wanted to be and talk about whatever they wanted to talk. The second day of the festival brought AMV screenings (the audience could watch videos made by fans from Europe and Japan) and the AMV contest, a new series of workshops, new cosplayers with new costumes and the maid café from the previous day. Due to the sunny weather, many of the cosplayers went in front of the building to take pictures and, preserving the overall spirit of the 3rd edition of the fest, they also played some outdoor interactive games that proved to add up to the general fun.
A festival means, first of all, to bring together a community that share the same hobbies and provide them with a space in which they can interact with each other and involve in activities that use their specific means of expression. It was a hard task to do, but it proved to be successful. These large scale gatherings are the proof that otakus arenâ€™t a bunch of geeks not willing to leave their rooms, but persons who like to meet, socialize, know each other and interact through other means besides the Internet communities. Of course, the flaws in organizing such events are inevitable, but all that matters in the end is that everybody have shared two days of fun and pleasant memories and that they all leave waiting eagerly for the next occasion to meet in similar environments, created especially for them. Ruxandra TĂ˘rcÄƒ
The full experience (and some more) Prepare for Pictopia As I promised in the previous issue, I am going to tell you how it’s been at the Pictoplasma festival held in Berlin this spring... But how can you tell the story of a roller coaster ride? A five days roler-coaster ride, at whose end I didn’t know where I’ve been. Now, several months later I can barely figure out what I left with. First of all, this year’s event encompassed not only the Character Design and Animation festival, but also the 3rd Pictoplasma Conference and, for the first time, a symposium of academic lectures, all under the name of PREPARE FOR PICTOPIA. But these words written as a logo were then broken in half, like a warning for the seeker of the PICTOgram utoPIA. What it means is that the essentialised graphic language that Peter Thaler envisioned at the beginning of the project did not succeed in acquiring global meaning. Still, the festival celebrates characters; if not for their capacity to replace language, at least for their emotional appeal and their consistence as means of expression. The first two days we went Character Walking through Berlin midtown galleries. There were 27 exhibitions in about 20 spaces featuring more or less known artists and artist collectives, all working with characters in surprisingly different manners. One of these shows, “Pagan Lullaby”, was the winner of the first Pictoplasma residency; the artist - Gediminas Siaulys - is a young designer from Lithuania. Sadly, I must say I didn’t see all the exhibitions, but I could make a picture of how complex the character handling is, what a large range of approaches it can withstand... remaining in terms of reduced figuration. Most of the works were exquisite and excellently fitting the spirit of Pictopia, which we were beginning to grasp. Juan Pablo Cambariere from Argentina and his show of cute and unsettling wooden puppets – Essay on Power; Cecilie Ellefsen from Norway
and her objects of Deep in the Forest; Nina Braun’s knitted sculptures from the Needle Workout and Pumping Iron show; Joumi’s Characterrorschachkaleidoscope interactive music sampler and character designing device from Germany; Juan Salas from Venezuela and his Arturo’s Transmutations made on 100 bags of his local fast food brand... are just a few that I enjoyed and I can vividly recall... At the end of these two days there was a party - the Caracter Walk party. Next day - up early and on our way to the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, the venue of the conference, exhibition, workshops, screenings and all the fun. From 10:00 am till midnight we were there under continuous fire with just two half-an-hour breaks, time to check out the back yard, the shop, the flyers&stickers table - where the visitors could draw attention to themselves also...The second day was even busier and topped with a night screening - as the name says - the Psychedelic Midnight Mix. The third day required an even earlier presence, as a new surprise was in store for us - the Breakfast Pitch consisting in a few self-presentations of upcoming talents, former visitors to Pictoplasma events, all attentively selected and very promising. Late at night, everything climaxed with a big party with live performances and VJ-ing sustained by all-admired guests. On both the second and the third day, there were two workshops Book-Making with Bongout and Kottie Paloma and Character Costume Remix with Andrea Crews. One of my regrets is that I could not participate in neither of these, as they were held at the same time with the conference and symposium... But they had plenty of attendants. Meanwhile, we were in the auditorium filling our heads up at the lectures. And we sure had a lot to see and hear. From the welcome address to the last symposium panel, we kept on learning new aspects and infinite valences
of character creation and perception. Coming from advertising, film, game development, story-telling, comics, marketing strategy or just from the consumers, everyone could see his interests tied somehow to the characters realm, in ways that most of us never thought of, but felt and just now realized... From discussing the expressivity of a black dot to relating today’s mascots to the ancient rituals of totemism and masquerades, from explaining why “too real is unreal” in robotics and CGI to decomposing the mechanism that relates the player to the character he manipulates in a RPG, the honored lecturers took us on a journey on many intercrossing paths. The artists’ presentations were all very inspiring. From Mexico to Japan, passing through Finland, the curators really gathered up a wonderful assembly of creative and original minds. Furthermore, most of them could very skillfully render in words for the audience in less than an hour the essence of their work and quest – character related or not. It is very hard to pick a few favorites, but just to give some examples I’d highlight the Argentinean Gaston Caba, whom I don’t know if I liked best for his artwork or for his entertaining show, then AJ Fosik - a most uncanny sculptor from the United States, whose totemic trophies can speak better by themselves; I also found exquisite the Finnish folklore influenced illustrations of Klaus Haapaniemi, as well as the socially involved art of Charles Glaubitz from Mexico. But my all-festival favorite was the W+K Tokyolab presentation held by their creative director Mr. +Cruz. The revisiting friends section of the conference was just as stimulating, even if the guests had only a few minutes to tell the public what they’ve been up to lately... with figures like Akinori Oishi - the drawaholic Pictoplasma collaborator, David O’Reilly - the “Golden Bear” award winner, Irish animation prodigy Fons Scheidon, Francois Chalet, Wayne Horse and Shoboshobo, we couldn't have had our attention drawn away from the stage. . . The animation festival included in Pictopia had its screenings separated into three categories : Characters in Rhythm - focusing mainly on music videos or other form of music and animation mixes, like the crazy fun Lollipop - made by Passion Pictures for the singer Mika, the disturbing Blame by Motomichi Nakamura - one of my favorite video artists - for Temposhark, or the silly-surreal Feel Like a Rocket, by Fons Schiedon for Voicst... The session was opened by a peculiar guest - a dancing little robot named Keepon acompanied by its creator Marek Michalkovski. The second category was Characters
in Narration, where story was the reason for design and animation to flourish. Lost and Found by Philip Hunt for Studio Aka - a candid and innocent boy+penguin journey, a funny-bitter summary of one average fella’s life called Everything will be OK, by Don Hertzfeldt at Bitter Films or OReilly’s awarded Please Say Something, a psychological introspection on modern times relationships, are just the ones that I loved most. For the third day we were served a huge and diverse Character in Motion dish, featuring mostly commercial works like ads and promos, but also some personal experiments, all these having in common an uncanny twist and being slightly away from the mainstream ways of expression... Now, I kept the best for the last: the Exhibition. It concentrated the efforts of the organizers and artists, after a year and a half of preparations, as they declared, and it was opened in the evening of the first day and immediately assaulted by inpatient visitors. We passed through Aki’s gate - drawaholicly hand decorated with thousands of little golden bugs, or potatoes, or whatever one may think they were, and down the rabbit hole we went. Arranged like a huge dark labyrinth with black walls and just spots to light the exhibits, it hosted works by Mark Ryden, Gary Baseman, Sam Gibbons, Hideaki Kawashima, Boris Hopek, Doudouboy, Doma, Tim Biskup, of course, the speaking artists and many others... Center of the exhibition was a bumper car arena, with the floor decorated by Rinzen and the vehicles personalized each by an artist. The idea of a fun park, of a joyous but empty game abundance was accused of “escapism disguised as art” but it didn’t seem so to me. There were but few eye-candies, all the others were unsettling and tormenting works like Nakamura’s Mongolian Death Worm grinning in a corner; the Feast by Shoboshobo, where the splattered heads of the commensals were spread on the walls as huge drawings; or the Opto-Isolator by Golan Levin and Greg Baltus with its following eye... Once more it was underlined the idea of an utopia failing in front of world of fears and desires, hopes and broken dreams, triumphs and defeats... just like the real world. But with a twist. I end here my report, not without mentioning my biggest regret - that there was almost no time to interact with the artists or other attendants. But for the rest it was a great experience. You don’t have to believe me, try for yourselves! On their site you can read news, see pictures from the shows or order the books that came with each event... Veronica Solomon
Akinori Oishi aki-air.com Japan
I managed to intercept Aki in one of the few short breaks at the conference, after his presentation, catching his attention with an issue of Otaku Ever smiling and willing to make acquaintances, he was, sadly, the only one I found time to talk to... As we have just found out, he is a long term collaborator and guest of Pictoplasma; on the festival’s site you can find a network game - Color Me - built upon the interactive topographic design playground that he created. Also, the Character Ride bull machine was customized by Aki into a lovely, smiling, goldenshiny minimalist creature. Born and living in Osaka, Akinori Oishi made his studies in his homeland; afterwards, he gained experience working in Europe, and then even teaching at ECAL in Switzerland. Back in Japan, he is working as an independent artist and he is also lecturing at the Kyoto University of Art and Design and Tama
University in Tokyo. His best known works are: -the interactive game Opniyama - now available online on his website. It was previously exhibited at the opening show of the Contemporary Art Museum Palais de Tokyo in Paris 2001 - the animation DVD for the Swiss documentary film “Mais im Bundeshuus” 2005 - the graphics inside one of the five houses that made up the Happy Living exhibition at the Museum of Tomorrow in Taipei 2007 - his identity works for the Very Fun Park public exhibition organized by Fubon Art Foundation, also in Taiwan, and the huge facade decoration he did for the same event. His style is very particular and easily recognizable: little black dots connected by lines, dotted lines and flat black shapes that can be seen as insects, plants, vehicles, buildings... almost anything - spreading in a map-like layout that can go forever... Every here
and there a smiling face, with or without a head, sometimes two on the same head, but almost all identical - same two dots, one straight line, one curved line. This smile became Akiâ€™s trademark, and the character wearing it - Le Petit Bonhomme - his icon; he puts him through all sorts of situations and displays him in many different media, from books to animation, from large mural crowd drawings to wearable costumes. This character and the happy designs of Akinori Oishi are largely well and heartily received by the public, but some have questioned the authenticity of this permanent joy. Aki explains that he was never trying to express actual feelings through his characters but used the smiling expression as a sign that designated a face â€“ such as the standard Lego man, which exerted a strong influence upon him. He also made a parallel between his Petit Bonhomme and the KaoNashi character from Spirited Away, agreeing
that the ever smiling face can be seen as a mask. Aki confesses that, besides Lego, he has been fascinated since childhood by European illustration books and comic characters like Snoopy, and by black and white maps he used to explore - all these can be sensed in his later development as an artist. He also declared himself a Doraemon fan. His experience of working at large scale and in public places, combined with his long time passion for topographical displays, made Akinori Oishi wish he could establish a more intimate collaboration with architecture in the future, in order to be able to buildin his designs rather than decorate surfaces, similar to Hundertwasserâ€™s style, he says.
Nina Braun ninabraun.net Germany
During the Character Walk I found the first of my Pictopia Highlights. The exhibition was named Needleworkout And Pumping Iron, and the artist Nina Braun. Resident in Hamburg, Germany, and former owner and developer of the only known women-oriented Skateboarding garments company on the German market - Sumo Clothing, Nina quit her business in 2004, in order to regain a greater freedom and creativity in her work. Since then, she shed her designer status, now being an artist of complete analogue style - an almost revolutionary approach, if we think that the digital era imposed such economical reasons that reproduc-
tion, multiplying and automating became close to a necessity in the workflow. Her work radiates love and care for the fabric, her own joy of playing with the soft shapes she creates. An infinite regard for the details, the impeccable finishing of every seam, bespeaks of her devotion and discipline. Her works are really far from plushies, dolls or knitting, they are rightfully called sculptures or even ambiental installations, they have the same visual impact and corporeality and therefore they feel so nice to touch. I am sorry - that cannot be reproduced in a magazine :)
Interview +cruz: W+K TokyoLab wktokyolab.com Japan
I approached Mr +cruz after his presentation, being extremely nervous, as he, in just one hour, went from being completely unknown to me, to gaining my complete respect and admiration. Supposing he was an extremely busy man, I asked if someone from their PR department could send me some lines about The Lab for OtakuMag. Surprisingly he told me he takes care of that too and promised a full interview for our magazine that he declared himself positively impressed by. So here we go: +cruz is an art director, designer, commercial director and educator. His strong interest in Asian culture and commerce prompted him to rejoin Wieden+Kennedy Tokyo in pursuit of work that is culturally relevant to his roots, working with clients such as Nike Japan + Asia, Aiwa and Mori Building. As director of W+K Tokyo Lab, he oversees the labels of the entire visual output, from directing music videos to art directing and designing its packaging and online experiences. His work focuses on the intersection between art and design, moving images and digital narratives, exploring new frontiers in media hybrids. A revisionist historian and graphic sociologist, he spends most of his time advocating on Asia nowhere: now here. Recognition includes the Tokyo ADC Award, Cannes Titanium Lion nominations for Nike Presto, Cannes Cyber Lion, ADC NY Gold award, the American Illustration prize, ONE Show gold and silver, D+AD, RES, and ONEDOTZERO. Prior to W+K Tokyo, he worked at Imaginary Forces, Razorfish London, W+K Portland, and Studio Archetype and taught at Center for Creative Studies and Temple University / Tyler School of Art. He received his BFA in Graphic Design at Art Center College of Design and earned his MFA in Design at Cranbrook Academy of Art. Who are you? hmmmm. That's a hard question. I’m just a guy who’s trying to live a normal life and somehow contribute something positive to the world, hopefully create meaningful things in between the time I was born until the end of my life.
I dunno how you would label me. Some days I design and art direct for Wieden+Kennedy Tokyo, the ad agency, another day I direct through W+K TOKYO LAB, which is our experimental outlet, creative directing, producing and directing the music label promo videos, packaging, website among other things. W+K Tokyo Lab is an open framework for me to create under, so it also acts as my representation when I direct work outside for other artists, even other ad agencies etc. I also teach. So all of the above, I'm kind of a hybrid anomaly. You cannot really be one thing these days. My background is in illustration and graphic design. I started out doing web and graphic design, then joined Wieden+Kennedy Portland, art directing for Microsoft, then went back to LA to work at Imaginary Forces where I learned motion design. I also consulted for Razorfish London, bridging the gap between motion and web, exploring new media hybrids. Each job was different since I wanted to figure out what I wanted to do in design, not out of confusion but out of curiosity. In the end I decided to do everything since I did not see the point in differentiating between mediums. It was all the same to me. I suppose my indecision is to blame for all of this. During my MFA at Cranbrook Academy of Art, I focused on digital narratives, exploring new forms of visual storytelling. During this time I became very hyper aware of what I wanted to do within design, how I could shape culture with what I do. Grad school has this “awakening” effect on most people. As a Filipino-American, I felt a strong need to contribute back to the culture I came from, help restore a sense of self-pride in who we are. There is rising interest in Asia after Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger and I had just seen Wong Kar Wai’s “In the Mood for Love” and felt a strong affinity for it. So film started exciting and influencing my thinking more and more. After Cranbrook I traveled through China, revisiting Asia for 3.5 months, and I was simply mesmerized by its dynamic beauty and chaos. Somehow I felt “at home”. China was once one of the most powerful and inventive empires that ever existed. Today it is a “counterfeit culture”, taking ideas from elsewhere and re-fabricating it cheaper. With China’s reawakening and global equalization, Asia seems more
relevant for me to create for. I want to help rebuild this side of the world. So collectively, my personal interests in civilization, anthropology, personal / cultural identity and visual / cultural colonialism prompted my relocation back to Tokyo / Asia. I wanted to see how I could contribute in helping stamp Asian awareness globally. Moving to Japan and working throughout Asia was also a way for me to continue Asian studies from within. What is W+K Tokyolab and how it started? W+K Tokyo Lab was founded as an outlet for creativity, beyond client based work. It’s a way for us to be active participants in the culture we exist in, rather than simply observe it from afar. In the Nike Presto campaigns for Nike Japan and Asia Pacific, we started blurring the lines between culture and commerce through ad campaigns. We experimented with artist collabs, fusing DJ’s / musicians and visual artists to create a new form of hybrid expression. Record labels started noticing what we were doing and approached us to release the “audio-visual content” we did for Nike, but we could not commercially release it since Nike owned rights to it. These initial conversations led to the formation of W+K Tokyo Lab as a new creative outlet for W+K Tokyo creatives to
make work that goes beyond advertising, delving into music, publishing, events and other expressions with the first iteration of this creative umbrella being a “hybrid” music label. In the digital age, the concept of what a music label is and should be continues to evolve. We release audio-visual “experiences” packaged in a hybrid CD and DVD format. We were one of the first labels to experiment with new ways of creating audiovisual albums. While other labels and artists release video compilations over a span of 3-4 albums to create one DVD, we concepted each album to have an equally strong visual component to it, not just produce good music but also equal that with great visuals that take the music experience further. So we output hybrid CD/DVDs, design the packaging, create the website and program live events, directing all the visual components ourselves. Structurally, the most interesting part of the W+K Tokyo Lab creative process is the unusual nature of our global productions. W+K Tokyo has always been known for forging new creative collabs that result in unusual creative alliances... combining artists, musicians, illustrators, web and new media, motion and tv production companies, fusing them together
to create a greater whole. We took this creative model and applied it to our music label in order to jumpstart our independent audiovisual venture as well as to provide an opportunity for our friends to join our little experiment. In an effort to remain true to our vision and have less borders between our ideas and actual production, we produce the work ourselves in-house, offering our talents “hands-on”. So the internal LAB team expands and contracts as needed, “collaborating” with a global network of friends, rather than commissioning the work out, to extend our creative reach. In short, we don't function like a traditional music label, because we are a creative-driven company. Our objectives lean towards creating new ways of experiencing music and visuals. So there are fewer layers, the people who run the label are the same people who create the entire music experience. We ourselves become equally artists as the musicians we sign and collaborate with. How do you produce a music-image package, and once this identity is created, does it stay with the Lab forever? we typically look for and sign artists who either have a strong visual component to them or simply have a fresh music sensibility that resonates with us. Some musicians we have are more developed visually. Takagi and Hifana have a strong vision about what they want to look like, how they want to be represented and seen, they control their own perception since they have been big subcultural icons for some time in the Japanese underground scene. In the case of Takagi Masakatsu, he shoots, edits, directs and animates his own music videos. Hifana are very collaborative and hands on, they illustrate their own alter ego characters and like to collaborate with the visual production of the DVD – participating from co-writing the storyline, the design all the way to editing with “on beat” synchronization. For artists who don't have a strong visual aspect to them, such as DJ Uppercut, Afra, Jemapur and ChinzaDopeness, who are less involved with the visual crafting, we partner together to create their visual branding. They are much more open so we could define their visual personas from scratch. We really try to know our artists in order to know how to represent and give them visual form. We become friends along the way, were very much fans of their music and that's why we sign them and want to create visuals for them.
In most cases, we (the label) are very involved in concepting the albums, in order to push the boundaries beyond what the musicians will do alone. Everything always begins with a conversation... I interview them personally to get a direct feel for who they are, what they want to do, the inspirations behind the music, how they see the video developing etc. and from there, together, we form a solid direction on how we shape the album visually and musically to deliver a rich audiovisual experience. The production is never linear, music first then video next; it actually depends on the artist. Sometimes we have music, other times it is the visual ideas that leads the album. I would not say that we merely curate the artists so much as we come to a partnership with them as collaborators. I understood you are the main creative "entity";) behind W+K Tokyo Lab - where do you get your inspiration from? Inspiration is the total sum from all single experiences. It can derive from your collective being as a whole, the richness and depth of your experiences and emotions, but it can also come from the very moment you are living in now. For me it stems from both. Traveling and experiencing the world continues to feed my emotions, and imagining Asia never fails to drive me… Travel for me is the biggest influence because it brings the background into foreground and exposes you to a richness of new feelings, emotions, spaces, culture and contexts. Travel is dialogue and to me creativity is about new conversations with people. So I get less influenced by other artists or creators than i do by daily life and traveling. I think traveling and seeing how others live, how cultures are formed, how civilizations rise and fall offer rich experiences. If I had to name some influences, I would have to mention Chris Marker's La jetee for its impact and emotion thru graphic still imagery and Sans soleil for opening my eyes to a new form of cinematograph. China’s epic big 5 directors offer a much needed alternative to Hollywood films; Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger re-opened the door of Eastern arts to Western audiences; Wong Kar Wai's In the Mood for Love, which in my book is one of the most beautiful films of all times. Ridley Scott's Bladerunner has to be one my favorite films of all times for the way it questioned emotional reality between humans and androids, its visions of futurism and hybridism. It was the first movie that really influenced my way of thinking and seeing the world.
The biggest creative inspiration to me is Asia. I simply find it fascinating. I sometimes feel like an Asian activist advocating and prophesizing about Asian identity. So Asia, history and daily experiences definitely inform my work. I love exploring and being lost in every street and pathway on the Earth. Any chance I get, I travel and explore new countries and new paths, feeling other peoples lives through watching films, seeing beauty, eating Thai and Korean food and searching for the space in between happiness and now. Motion design and digital filmmaking draw a lot from phenomenology; watching a leaf blow with the wind in Juzhaigou natural landscapes or floating on the Li River in Yangshuo during a thunderstorm teaches me a lot. What fuels me personally is the will to help stamp and solidify Asian identity in the global broadcast.
neity. Because of its long history of being insular and homogenous, little changes are actually big changes, everyone likes to express themselves with even the slightest “detail”. Everyone wants to be different, but then everyone becomes the same in the same process of being different, so the level is jacked up. As soon as you invent something new, someone else tops that the next day. This fierce attitude towards “the cult of the new” breeds a culture of speed and fast product cycles.
To what extent other input gets into the product? The process always starts with interviewing the musician… seeing what they see as they make their music, feeling what they felt. Then we throw ideas back and forth until we settle on a direction that we both like.
Attack of Ninja was trial by fire. It was our first music video.
Visually speaking, the artists I select and involve obviously bring in equally as much firepower into the creative experiment. Creativity for me is a push-pull process. I try to always work with people that could bring something else than what I can into the project I collaborate, in order to continually develop myself as well as keep it fresh and interesting. What about Tokyo? Tokyo is an onion, deep with translucent layers and meanings. It’s a city of compression and expansion, a city of extremes, qualities that enable this phenomenon of hybrid, where time and space expand and contract into something new. Tokyo is full of hidden discoveries, where each turn is a new experience, each day a new uncovering, a new dig, a new find. Tokyo is a city of now and future time. Japan is a double-edged sword, a culture that has kept a strong sense of self and tradition, but has also redefined itself after the war and embraced Westernisms. I find this a fascinating and complex case study of a progressive nation in perpetual flux. Each day is an inspiration triggering new thought. I am at such awe over a country that has retained so much of its cultural tradition and self-identity, but has also forged new phenomena. In many ways, Japan fosters creativity like no other as a result of these extremes. The Japanese teeter between individual expression and cultural homoge-
So living and breathing Tokyo inevitably injects itself into the work, the city has its own energy that permeates itself into what I do. Tell us a bit about the DJ Uppercut project, from the beginning to feedback
DJ UPPERCUT – THE ATTACK OF NINJA VIDEO THE CONCEPT: DJ UPPERCUT, AN ELECTRONIC ONE MAN BAND, ENGAGES AGAINST THE NINJA IN MULTIPLE LEVELS OF BATTLE, DEFEATING THE NINJA WITH AN ARRAY OF MUSICAL DJ WEAPONRY. The starting point was interviewing DJ Uppercut. I always begin with interviewing the artists, listening to them, seeing what they see as they made the album, what influences, if they had any visual thoughts, stories, objects, places that triggered the track. His influences for this particular album came from country music, Willie Nelson, The Beatles and cheap science fiction. My impression of UC was a “one man band DJ” who created all the music within his album, which resulted in the idea of crafting a Gundam-esque musical robot. The title track was The Attack of Ninja (in broken English). So the video was literally a duel between the two, DJ Uppercut robot vs the Ninja, structured amidst multiple levels of musical battle, referencing video game culture. There’s the obvious reference to Ninjas and Japanese shoji screens as well as the artist Mori Mariko.
Our budget was very low, so I had to make do and invited some university friends of mine, Jack Peng and Yiing Fan, from Art Center who were starting a small production company called OceanMonsters in LA. I invited a guy who used to be my intern who by then became a well-known American Illustration artist, Justin Wood. We worked together with 7th term Art Center students who had seen my work previously and wanted to gain experience, so we employed as many students as we could with some freelancers, paid them lunch money, and for 3 weeks we worked together, slept on his office couch, took time to shower at Jack’s flat down the street, and finished the project within 3 weeks. If you examine it, what made the video strong was not its animation, but its stark visual imagery. We did not really know what we were doing, so we just designed frames, as many as we thought it was right, but in the end there were too many, and it was literally inundating. We had over 110 shots. But we loved the look and “necessity being the mother of all invention”, we opted to do what was within our own limitations. Since my background was graphic design, it was a very “design” based video. I have seen others animated type, but always wondered why no one made illustration move before. It was literally a labor of love. But I loved every minute of it.
In terms of style, I see strong Asian features in the visual works of W+K Tokyo Lab Is it because you used things that have already been globally recognized as being Asian? How would you define Asian style? I’m always weary of Asia-styling or “orientalizing” something, especially by Westerners. On a personal level, Asia is my personal otaku obsession, being Asian myself. I grew up with so many Asian forms around me, seeing my parents Angkor Wat rubbings and Thai forms, that it has been subdued inside me for years. In my 20s I began to question why I believed in a Western God, compared to that of other Asian nations, so I explored Buddhism. During grad school, I explored my own identity as a Filipino American, discovering that Filipinos had their own forms of writing. After grad school, I backpacked through China for nearly 3 months in search of what it means to be Asian. So all of these reasons and circumstances continue to inform and inspire my thinking consciously and unconsciously. It's the reason I moved, live and work in Tokyo. So to me it's a personal quest to teach myself of the forms I don't know, dive deeper into untold stories and unknown forms. I figured if I will tap into anything, I should tap into forms I kind of know but
don't know, inevitably showing the world a different and perhaps unknown visual culture. Asian style, hmmmm, I dunno if what I do is Asian, more than it is a hybrid of East and West, since I think I have both traits in me and cant escape that. I had a conversation with WKTLAB artist, Takagi Masakatsu, who in fact told me that my narrative structure was based on Western models of storytelling – employing themes of good versus evil, which I suppose stem from my Catholic upbringing, compared to his videos, which have neither beginning nor end. After this comment, I was more “aware” and challenged myself to make stories that were not based on familiar structures and social values. What do you think about the Otaku-culture? This is such a complex question… Otaku has both a global and local meaning. To local Japanese, it specifically means a hardcore, fanatic nerdy infatuation with something, often associated to tech and anime geeks. The Western and contemporary meaning is broader, equating to an “obsessive fascination” over something, not limited to “tech and anime geeks”, broadening into “collector” and “connoisseurship”.
where ideas can exist and move faster through this type of consumer economy. Youth and consumer culture have as much power and influence as politics, because their economy is the second largest (or was post China) after the US. It’s curious to see how brands and “soft powers” such TV Dramas have succeeded in bridging cultural gaps between nations where politics have failed. Japan is a nation of contrasts and contradictions. Most youth are highly interested and conscious aficionados about design, fashion, music and the arts in general since the country has reached a “next level” cultural psyche post bubble-era. In Japan, there is a subculture for each interest. There is strong obsession towards the “surface” of things, cosmetic look, a kind of 80’s superficiality, where ideas are often skin deep. This obsession fuels rapid growth. Internally within Japan, I think Manga (Japanese comic), Anime (Japanese animation), Graffitti / Hip Hop, Fashion and general Otaku (maniac / fetish) culture are the strongest forms of Japanese influence. These genres often intermix, collide and “hybridise” with each other and through this new forms of expressions are born. The result of all this is a new nation full of otakus.
I think otaku culture is one of the engines behind Japanese and Modern day culture. The Japanese have this DNA built in them. Everyone has a bit of an otaku inside, but the Japanese essentially coined a term for this phenomenon. Traditionally, the Japanese have always taken something (be it from other cultures) and mastered the art of “perfecting” it as an expression of who they are. Take Hip-Hop for example, Japanese hip-hop is so different from American gangsta hip-hop, they don't just take these cultural forms from other cultures, they examine it, digest it, run it through their own nervous system, filter it before it comes out as a completely new form of expression, something else than what it was. It's a uniquely Japanese process where anything and everything goes through this “filter”. To me, this stems from their reverence for the “sublime” and capturing the essence of something, living the moment, admiring it and celebrating the eternal now. This cultural facet is also inextricably linked to the Shinto ritual and “reverence for things”, deriving from worship of nature and objects, the natural spirituality of the Japanese. There is a strong tendency to “fetishise” over design here since different forms of culture are so intertwined and forced to co-exist. There is no high or low art, but rather a powerful “middle” ground
As we evolve into the digital future, tomorrow's world will only breed new hyper otakus. Those who grow up in a world where information is embedded in them, in which there is no need to “search” for anything on Google, will yield the next level of hyper-otakus. What do you think about The End of The World? (It's not a joke- this is the theme of our next issue.) It's been long debated since ancient times and throughout our entire history. It was much thought of after the WW2 and it is again now... From my readings of manga and anime theory I understood that the Japanese have claimed this theme as their own, after Hiroshima and Nagasaki. i’m not an expert on the Japanese perspective of this issue, but I suppose I’m an optimist when it comes to this topic. I believe in the Buddhist notion of birth, death and re-birth, in beginning… to… and back again. I inherently believe that we will continue to prevail throughout any calamity, be it man-made, natural or supernatural. To me “The End of the World” could only constitute the beginning of a new one. Veronica Solomon
Undoubtedly the first work of animation that comes to mind when referring to the Apocalypse and the End of the World is Neon Genesis Evangelion. Hideaki Anno created through his series and the subsequent movies a vision of the Apocalypse and an analysis of the events at global and personal level that is staggering in its complexity, detail and symbolism, as well as characters and design. Neon Genesis Evangelion reaches out to many complex themes, from alienated childhoods to the hardships of growing up, but maybe the most prolific of them all is the one of the Apocalypse and its role in the evolution of the human species. Right from its opening sequence, the 26-episode TV series hints at the apocalyptic view of the World that director and writer Hideaki Anno had in mind. A cataclysmic event has occurred at the beginning of the new Millennium and, similar to the various prophetic depictions, almost the whole world is destroyed and much of the population killed. Yet the series does not focus on this single catastrophic event but is dispersed, analyzing the Apocalypse at various levels. There is another cataclysm, one that mirrors the global event, at individual and interpersonal level. Shinji Ikari, the messianic hero, is meant
to make a choice between the difficult acceptance of his predetermined destiny and the easiness of a withdrawn self-interest. The vision of Hideaki Anno also encompasses the dualistic nature of the Apocalypse: by means of destruction, death and chaos, rebirth and renewal is facilitated. The Apocalypse is not the actual End but a mechanism of purification, a cyclical event that allows souls to be redeemed. In the late 1990s, three of the worldâ€™s genius scientists commence their work on a project under the directive of SEELE, a secret organization operating based on the predictions contained in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Their task is to implement the Human Instrumentality Project, a project that is meant to evolve the humans by relinquishing of their physical form and allowing them to reach a state of divine. On the 13th of September 2000 in the Antarctica takes place a cataclysmic event that melts the polar caps and causes the Earth to shift its axis. This event is triggered by the discovery of the First Angel, Adam. The event is called the Second Impact, the First Impact being believed to have happened over 4 billion years ago and to have been so massive that a chunk of Earth was thrown into space creating the Moon. In order to protect humanity from further encounters with Angels, NERV is established under the
According to Wikipedia, Apocalypse is a term applied to the disclosure to certain privileged persons of something hidden from the majority of humankind. Today, the term symbolizes the End of the World, but in fact has the meaning of The End of an Age. Coming from Greek, the term literally means “Lifting of the Veil” or “Revelation”.
At the time of the impact a number of special children are born. These children have the unique ability to synchronize their brains with the gigantic EVA units, huge humanoid cyborgs created to battle the angelic threat. command of Ikari Gendou and is placed in the GeoFront, a city located in a artificially crafted circular cavity under the Earth’s crust. Above it, the ‘decoy’ city of Neo-Tokyo is build. Also, staying true to the dual nature of the Apocalypse, the Second Impact did not have only a destructive aspect. At the time of the impact a number of special children are born. These children have the unique ability to synchronize their brains with the gigantic EVA units, huge humanoid cyborgs created to battle the angelic threat. All these events set the stage on which the staggering vision of Neon Genesis Evangelion unravels. Saving spoilers and skipping to the end, the series has two endings. One is represented by the two final episodes of the series, which focus on the deconstruction and reconstruction of the self of Shinji Ikari, one of the children piloting the EVA units. But the most impressive ending in terms of both of symbolism and visuals is achieved by the movie The End of Evangelion. The series presents the Apocalypse as a new beginning. There is no absolute End but rather an apocalyptic turn. We witness the death of the human race but also its rebirth into a world made new as beings that are immortal, freed from the prison of their physical form. There are no more biological or psychological constraints that keep us from reaching a state of bliss.
The duality is once again present throughout the entire sequence of the Apocalypse, as well as in visuals and in the soundtrack. The world is being engulfed by light and we can see how every soul becomes a cross of light. You can also hear the screams of the people but they are not screams of despair or agony but rather of relief and happiness. The moment which we all feared because of the limitations of our physical form has come and we now realize that it is actually a natural step in our evolution towards a more pure being. The music also is happy and joyful, although the lyrics are quite sad. The lyrics “It all comes tumbling down” are sung in happy tune. The moment has come when humans have lost everything, not in terms of personal possessions but in terms of their physical form, their constraints, everything that binds them to this Earth. They now are truly free to evolve. Yet their memories, symbolizing the “self” remain and are carried on to the new state (“I know we can't forget the past”). The whole series contains references to sacred prophetic texts of various cultures such as Christian (The Old and New Testaments), Persian (Zoroaster), Jewish (Kabala) and Gnostic (Apocrypha). Here are some examples of some the symbols present in the series. The SEELE (German world for “soul”) logo is an inverted triangle with seven eyes. This symbol
appears in various locations throughout the series, the most noteworthy being on the mask that is shielding the face of the Angel imprisoned at NERV, Adam, at Terminal Dogma. This symbol refers to the Lamb of God, from Christian texts, representing Christ, which appears in the Book of Revelation as a seven-eyed divinity. In the Hebrew Scriptures, the deity Yahweh also has seven eyes. Adam has a spear impaled in his chest making reference to the Spear of Longinus, the roman soldier who impaled Jesus Christ after being crucified and later converted to Christianity. The appearance of the angel itself, crucified, is deeply disturbing, but also strangely divine, inspiring both fear and awe. We later are informed that this angel is actually Lilith, the first wife of Adam, the prototype of humanity. According to the Hebrew Scriptures, Lilith is the wife of Adam, before Eva, and was created out of filth and mud, unlike Adam, from dust. She later abandons Adam because of his carnal form and chooses the demons, creating the ‘Lilim’. At some point in the series, one of the Angels, Kaworu, refers to Shinji Ikari as a ‘Lilim’ hinting at the beliefs of the angels and reasons of their attacks. The humans, with their physical form, are corrupted, mortal and considered to be the offspring of the fallen Lilith. Another iconic appearance in the series is the one of the “Systema Sephirotica” from the Jewish Kabala. This is a representation of the Tree Of Life which indicates a pathway from the material, physical realm to the spiritual, non-physical realm. This all may seem strange, especially coming from a Japanese mass culture product. Yet, the history of Japanese post-war anime and manga are linked to the cataclysmic events of the past. The two atomic bombs dropped on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 brought a catastrophic conclusion of the Pacific War, and their devastating effects have created recurring motifs in all of Japan’s visual arts from then until the present day. Japan witnessed a new rebirth through rapid modernization, industrialization, accelerated development in technology, all of which having contributed to the rise of the anime and manga culture. In the end, the work of Hideaki Anno is actually a postmodern retelling of the myth of Genesis, as implied by the title itself. The myth is complete with its own cataclysm, struggle for survival, apocalypse and transcendence. Neon Genesis Evangelion manages to encompass the vision of major apocalyptic writings of the transformation of society from an unavoidable demise to a state of bliss. Mădălin Găgeanu
It all dates back 30 years ago, in 1979, when the first Gundam series entitled Mobile Suit Gundam came out of the Sunrise animation studios, created and directed by Yoshiyuki Tomino. However, Gundam wasn’t popular from the beginning; it actually was cancelled, having aired only 43 episodes out of the 52 planned. Its popularity started to rise when Bandai received license to the Mobile Suit Gundam’s mecha; everything changed completely, its long line of merchandise being one of Gundam’s strong points. The series’ innovation was that it wasn’t yet another super robot series, like Tetsujin-28 or Getter Robo; no, it was an entirely new genre, the real robot genre, which Gundam pretty much pioneered in its prosperous era of mecha anime. And this is just the start of the long metaseries that is now widely known among otakus as Gundam. Nowadays, more specifically 30 years later, the Gundam franchise is a 50 billion yen trademark, with the Gundam Plastic Models, or Gunpla for short, making 90 of the income of the Japan character plastic model market's income and DVDs selling like mad.
ODAIBA GUNDAM STATUE
To mark their 30th anniversary, a project called RealG started in Odaiba on March 11th with the purpose to build a 1:1 scale Gundam, more exactly the RX78-2 Gundam, one of the most iconic designs in the Gundam franchise. It was opened to the public on July 11th, and it had a great success with the people, with over 4 million flocking in to see it, ranging from fans to tourists. Also, much to the fans’ delight, it wasn’t just an awesome replica of the RX-78-2 and just stood there like some stone statue; it also lighted up, moved his head and showed some steam. Sure, everyone would’ve liked for it to move and do some karate, but they’re probably keeping that for the VIPs. Unfortunately, at the end of August, it was disassembled, with its fate after the disassembly undetermined.
The T&G wedding planners chose from 548 couples one very special lucky one, who had their wedding ceremony, on August 25th, under the big Gundam. The groom was dressed in Mobile Suit Gundam’s main character Ray Amuro, and the couple also named their already born daughter Seira, after Sayla Mass, a Gundam character. Yoshiyuki Tomino also attended the wedding and brought the couple a special Gundam illustration signed by him as a gift. They both were delighted! Probably the most awesome and unique wedding an otaku can ever have.
UNITING OUT WORLDS Present on the Gundam’s left shoulder is Tokyo’s logo for the 2016 Summer Olympics, which is in the form of a musubi, a traditional Japanese knot, with the Olympic colors tied together, perfectly matching their slogan “Uniting our worlds”.
OTHER STATUES This is not where it stops. Osamu Tezuka’s Astro Boy will get a 3 meters statue over the "Mighty Atom Exhibition in Lagunasia," starting September 19 in the Aichi prefecture. Also a 4.5 meters tall and 11 meters wide statue of Osamu Tezuka’s Phoenix (Hi no Tori) will be present in the Kyoto International Manga Museum starting September 22, and, as part of the Kobe city’s revival an 1:1 scale Tetsujin-28, measuring 15.3 meters, is being built in Wakamatsu Park, Nagata Ward, which also celebrates the life of Mitsuteru Yokoyama, the creator of Tetsujin, Giant Robo and Sally the Witch. So, I hope to see an 18 meters Totoro in the future. At least I can hope. Reactive
Godzilla, Gojira, King of the Monsters or however you want to call him is one of Japan’s most recognizable pop-culture icons worldwide. Godzilla underwent lots of modifications ever since his first appearance in the 1954 film Godzilla, directed by Ishiro Honda and produced by Toho Company Ltd., going from a scary nuclear monster to a more heroic character as the films were more children-oriented.
creature who sometimes will act as the anti-hero. The films, just as in the other series, play a bit on the fears and interests of people, although these are not emphasized too much.
There are a total of 28 films which separated into three series, each having certain similarities but also being different from one another.
Although undecided in which sea Godzilla is spending time with his son, we never know when he’ll surface out, possibly from a bad discussion with the wife, and decide to destroy this world with his atomic morning breath. And even if we could stand a chance against him, the damage we’d suffer wouldn’t be too light. I say we make a Godzilla-sized Playboy with female irradiated godzillasaurus, maybe we’ll have a chance to stop the world from ending? Reactive
Showa series. It has the most films, 15 more specifically, representing about half of the Godzilla existent movies. Taking the role of the villain at first, Godzilla became a hero starting with the fifth film, “Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster”, to which point on he stayed as a hero in the Showa-era films. The Showaera Godzilla films also put accent on fears and interests of people in that period, thus they are warned about nuclear weapons, pollution, as well as aliens, due to the cotemporary space age period. Heisei series. Amounting to half of the Showa films, seven in total, to some extent they were very different compared to the previous series. First of all, the Godzilla outfit looked much more intimidating than the previous, and it also put Godzilla into the role of an anti-hero. The Heisei series also had an overall plotline, giving it continuity, each movie referring to the previous to further the continuity of the series. Millennium series. Having only six films, the series tried to bring back the roots of Godzilla from the Showa series, starting with the lack of continuity, to the point where Godzilla is still the big fearsome
Aside from the many different Japanese prizes the Godzilla movies have received, it also won the MTV Lifetime Achievement Award and it also got a star in the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
TOHO KAIJU COLLECTION BY RICHARD COX As any popular series in Japan, Godzilla has its share of figures, following the changes Godzilla went throughout time. Richard Cox is a passionate figure collector of Godzilla, with a big collection ranging from the first vinyl Godzilla figure released in 1966 all the way to the more new figures. http://www.flickr.com/photos/kinggoji 01. 02.
01. Bullmark Godzilla 02. M1 MechaGodzilla 2 03. Popy Attacking Godzilla 04. Marmit Godzilla
05. Bandai Godzilla
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Advice, Aphorisms and Proverbs Benefiting the Consumerism Era Survivors 32
Survival isn’t fashionable anymore, though it could be. You can’t catch the moment if everything around you is already set, if the bus arrives daily almost on time, if shops and drugstores are open non-stop, if you have electricity each time you turn on the lamp. How could you possible think of the end of the world if you know that you can always access Google? It seems that all the surrounding tools, technologies and braces are some kind of life insurance. The more you are online, dependent on wireless networks, the less you’ll think of The Big Shutdown. It seems that all the mediums are continuously transmitting arguments of continuity, stability and permanence. And it’s not a false impression, as they were conceived in order to survive those who created them. When the time comes for everything to stop functioning, there must be something left that’s still working. A prerecorded voice must answer on the other end of the line. The interruptions are very rare, and when an electricity breakdown occurs, when the TV set turns off, when there are traffic jams, when you can’t advance on the queue at the supermarket pay-desk, you are actually witnessing a possible preview of a delayed ending. Even when you buy tickets to a concert it’s as nothing can be worse than the concert’s end. Then we must wonder who is actually concerned with survival, who is actually thinking now of the end of the world. Regardless if you believe or not in catastrophic scripts, they represent our only source of knowledge about the conditions of some limit-moments we can hardly anticipate. When you talk about survival and the end of the world, you are automatically regarded as a threat for the people around you, in the search of a stressless life. In that case, the talks about catastrophes are rather the nightmares of a society affected by overload, furious on all those who might ruin its hierarchies and power relations. Nobody takes the end of the world too seriously. It’s worse than at the sexual education class where you have to seize in what your parents previously failed to explain to you. Basically you can only count on the millenarisms of some sects that since their birth are only thinking of the Doomsday, or on the macho warnings of some troops, former Green Berets, who also are on the shelf. How come those judgments coincide? Why do the Technolypse coincide with the Apocalypse, the new with the old? Maybe simply because only some of those threatened by removal and in the last stage of trauma can think better of the end of the world. Basically all mythologies, cults and religions record catastrophic events in the history of both mankind and the planet, and methods to survive and anticipate the end of the world. You don’t have to call in the supernatural to understand why. The deluge and the flood are present in most of the world mythologies from a very simple reason, which deals with the location – most of the first civilizations were agricultural riverain civilizations, set around the great rivers. Well, if you live on a riverbank, it’s impossible not to go through a flood at least once, and, perhaps once in 100 years quite violently; in 1000 years of erosion and riverbank clearing, the mother-river surely
flooded you and finished you off. Regardless if you lived in communism or capitalism, the great dams have always been subject for legends and school visits. The dam builders, the channel and aqueduct builders, those who tamed the rivers, were some sort of engineers deified and gloried by the great preindustrial and postindustrial civilizations. The dams are channeling all the energy of the country; the breaking of a dam is, literally, the equivalent of a new flood. Thus, we could say that all the civilizations are adobe – born out of a flood, permanently under the threat of the flood. How did the survival instruction for the great civilizations function? Well, from a survival point of view, all the law codes should work as some kind of post-cataclysmic instruction written in stone or on a clay tablet. Regardless if we talk about the Code of Hammurabi, the code of Manu, Moses’ Decalogue, all seem to be a token for persistence after we were almost going to kick the bucket. But, perhaps, the lesson is different, about the way in which some emergency measures come to work as immutable laws. It is possible that those codes were mainly emergency instructions, an emergency exit of the civilization. Regardless the aberrance of the image in which the monkeys from the monkey planet are adoring the atomic bomb, maybe we ourselves are just some adorers of ancient emergency placards. Our concern in the originals and preeminence seeks to find who wrote the first code and who was the first to copy it. These questions come from an era that has forgotten what a precarious environment means and what you must deal with in order to survive. I could say that in survival circumstances, all vital information needs to be accessible, easy to memorize and easy to pass it further. Unfortunately, our school and university knowledge offers only solutions of ideal life circumstances. All educational institutions prepare the people for an environment
that doesn’t seem to be threatened by any imminent danger. Did you ever heard of survival lectures in high school or faculty? Everyone talks about competition, but nobody understands why survival is more important than limitless competition. In that case, we must act as in the ancient times, when people were much more exposed, to prepare and use the most various resources and almost all the precious and un-recycled residue of those who preceded us, which is 100 pure experience. You don’t have to wait for the end of the world to read survival literature that can be successfully applied in other fields in times of crisis. Crisis only brings to actuality a problem that always existed, which determined many people to search for resources where anyone else abandons them. After the cataclysm everybody runs away, but survival develops on the trash and ruins of civilization. If "The Art and Science of Dumpster Diving", John Hoffman’s book published by Lumpanics Unlimited in 1993 was better known, it could be regarded as a new Code of Hamurabi for a life emerged from the trash of nowadays civilization. What if someone codified the strategies, methods and techniques of "dumpster diving"? From that point of view, J Hoffman’s book is precisely a Bible of survival. The concept of survivor is going through changes nowadays, when the urban desert is replacing the desert of Sinai. The ecological logic becomes the new code of draconic laws. Those who don’t comply with them are doomed to peril or to the fire of the ecological abaddon. The contemporary abaddon is welfare, the hell of overweight, cellulite and terrifying cholesterol. The terrors of Doomsday are shifted during lifetime and felt in the form of civilization’s sicknesses. All those who are not abstinent, who don’t recycle, fall into disgrace, inevitably becoming some kind of exponents of consumerism’s apocalypse. For instance, the book begins with a very serious description of our dumpster diving master, who washes using shampoo and soap recovered from the trashcan. Moreover, John Hoffman encourages extreme recycling. He cleans himself with the bath towel he found in the garbage and stands on a throwaway carpet. He’s carefully looking at the clock he found in the trash, in order to avoid getting late to his job at the hospital, and he’s reading trash magazines! My issue with this kind of motivational manual is the way you are driven to survive not out of necessity, not because you really reached your limit, not because it’s better and healthier this way, but because it’s some kind of moral lifestyle. A relatively weak moral that promises maximum of joy in the
post-recycling life, in which you will be able to fulfill your artistic or egomaniac pop-star needs. Actually John Hoffman asserts that “dumpster diving” isn’t’ "an action of last resort" anymore, thus becoming the reactionary spirit of the welfare besieged by surplus. The truth is that you can find out loads of new things out of the society’s garbage recovered from trashcans. Military equipments thrown nearby by a housing project, ammo and an Iraqi registration number holed by bullets. All these are talking about people involved in the American war machine and about the traces of military conflicts you cannot keep away from home anymore. At a practical level, the technique of camouflage functions perfectly, you can very well pretend you are seated at the top of the food chain, when all you need actually comes from garbage. We must recycle something of what the author is saying, to scratch in his book. There is a "dumpster diver" uniform and equipment. You need clean, easy to wash clothes, without any logo printed on them. Did you ever think that if you wear flashy, colorful clothes, full of logos or texts, you will be identified, followed and caught very quickly? At the same time, it’s not ok to look like a homeless when you practice techniques used by the homeless. If you look like that, you can easily let the cat out of the bag. It’s recommended to dress according to climate and weather, but not to use gloves, black masks or anything that can make others take you for a burglar! Sometimes, a useful approach is to wear uniforms, dustman clothes or plumber outfits etc, even if they are fluorescent and can signal the presence, thus becoming a disadvantage. When you want to survive off the society’s garbage, nobody has to notice you. Try to look like a clean and respectable person even when you're unemployed and a dumpster-diver. You don’t have to dress in black to produce the effect of "invisible man" or "ninja". People will ignore you and delete you from their memory if you don’t try to be visible. Jeans have always been the perfect wear item. Most of the nowadays trashcans are much cleaner than in the past. Everything is packed in plastic bags and the dirt usually leaks rather to their bottom. Although our trash are more insalubrious than in other regions, plastic has come to dominate too. For instance, all liquids are thrown together with their container. All the garbage from restaurants, bars, snack-bars, fast-foods are stinkier than others. Most probably, you’ll get rather dirty, that’s why it’s better to have a kind of staff-stick-rod that can help you test, pick and investigate what’s inside the trashcan
without touching or jumping into the garbage. Wear clothes that you can always change and/or replace effortlessly. It’s not a good idea to wear military outfits! First of all, the uniform is much easier to recognize, the camouflage is totally lost in the city, the military clothes make you the perfect target and this kind of outfit is most often related to guys who are a bit overboard, weird or dangerous. And you surely don’t want that! For instance, if a cop sees a boy dressed in military outfit searching through garbage, that boy will most certainly have problems. Avoid everything that can mistakenly associate you to an urban subculture skaters, urbans, punkers, hooligans coming from a football match, “cocalari”, rockers, metal fans or frills. You have to see through the eyes of authorities, guards, cops and bodyguards. Don’t wear sunglasses, as you can look suspicious and they are also a pain in the ass when you need to be quick and efficient. In your normal life you can be whatever you want, but when you dive through garbage like a professional you must be as obscure and hardly identifiable as possible. You must wear gloves and thick-soled boots, because you’ll most certainly find all sorts of stubs and sharp rumps. This is the only way to avoid infections, as the syringes have started to spread. Use a lantern all the time. The stick for garbage-diving must not be cus-
tomized to look like a professional. Actually, when it’s about survival off garbage, it’s advisable to avoid customizing the equipment. Everything special or customized can bring you into the open. Therefore, you can use, for instance, a radio or car feeler. It’s light, small and you can attach a detachable hook to its head, in order to pick everything you desire. Always carry extra ones. It’s good to have with you a backpack or a bag that you won’t feel sorry for if it gets dirty, in which to stock your dumpster pray. It’s not too wise to have loud music in your headphones, because it stops you from seeing who’s coming towards you, especially if you lean over the trashcan. Always keep with you a notebook in which to write all you recovered that day from the garbage. Keep a cutter or something sharp, but not too dangerous (in case the police finds you), to cut the garbage bags. There are many useful things you didn’t even imagine, such as the hair from the barber’s shop, which is an excellent fertilizer for flowers; it has lots of azote and minerals. Avoid the trashcans near hospitals, for you might get sick. But stay tuned and search all the trashcans near photo studios, post-offices, supermarkets and also try to collect any hardware or disc off which you never know what information you might recover. In short, these are a few life advices for when you start wanting to survive within the new guidelines of present hyper-consumerism.
Jim Lind jimlind.com U.S.A.
Jim Lind is an entering senior at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia, USA, and already a remarkable photographer at 21 years of age. I strongly believe that each person is made up of a collection of the stories they tell. For this reason Iâ€™ve always felt compelled to share my stories with others. Whether real, somewhat real, or entirely fictional, these events expose that which is truly important to me. Often the images illicit fabricated narratives that are deeply rooted from the stories I experienced as a child. My photographs are a window into the realities and fantasies that I immerse myself in every day. There is a need to create new work that visually excites the imagination much in the same
way a book does. While a picture may be worth 1000 words, a great picture escapes words and enters the imagination. The pictures that follow are part of a series named City of Exile, which begins as follows: As a sign of the current times, people are losing jobs, businesses, homes, and a general quality of living at an alarming rate. When bad news comes itâ€™s all too easy to curl up in the ball and accept defeat. Rather I see it as the perfect time for growth and discovery. In each scene, the individuals are adapting to the changing environment and progressing forward. The images present a tangible hopefulness that is inherent in all grim situations. Like any of the dark periods in our long history, this too will pass. One way or another
Tokyo Genso tokyogenso.exblog.jp Japan
At first blance, Kei Inoue, the man behind Tokyo Genso, is a blonde Japanese guy crazy about vintage cars and bikes, 60s mods culture, surfing and traveling through South-Eastern Asia. Despite having studied International Economics at university, he entered an art school and learned the basics of drawing and is now working as an anime background designer. He told us he doesn’t know that much about anime and manga, but he did like Dragonball and Hayao Miyazaki’s movies, such as Nausicaa and Laputa. In his art, which he posts on his website named Tokyo Genso (Tokyo Fantasy), he basically chooses different places in Tokyo which he destroys through the help of computer graphics. Be it earthquakes, corrosion, greenery growing out of everywhere, you name it, it’s what you’ll see in his art. We took the liberty of asking him a few questions: What do you think is the cause of destruction in current society? We, the young Japanese generation, don’t know the real meaning of peace or forget it. We are satisfied with what we get in life. Therefore, we are puzzled over what to do when a small accident happens.
Many indiscriminate killings happened recently in Tokyo, with even small kids committing murder. I sometimes think they are greatly influenced by violence games, movies, anime or manga. Sadly, I help making them. Although they represent very good Japanese culture, they sometimes mess the young ones’ heads; they’re dangerous. Where does your inspiration come from? Last year on June 8, in front of the SOFMAP building in Akihabara, a man killed 7 people and injured 10 others. The murderer led a solitary life before the incident. Two days later, I painted Akiba Genso with heavy enthusiasm, this work succeeding in conveying my prayers. Akiba Genso is my best work of all. Why did you choose this form of art? What’s the purpose of Tokyo Genso? One of the purposes of Tokyo Genso is to convert your ordinary life to the fantastic world with the technical skill used for Japanese animation’s background works. I hope that the audience can reconfirm the meaning of their own existence and I want everybody to be more conscious about the great peril that can await us. I hope for world peace.
Haneda Airport Genso
Sakuraya Genso OTAKUMAG.COM
Big Sight Genso
Jason Graham (U.S.A.), Maaike Verwijs (NL), Matei Apostolescu (RO), Natalie Ratkovski (DE), Aitch & Saddo (RO)
Jason Graham https://www.behance.net/jasongraham
Maaike Verwijs The End of The World
Maaike Verwijs lives in Breda, Netherlands. She has a bachelor degree in Illustration (2004-2008) from the Avans Hogeschool, and her extremely skillful use of colors was internationally remarked. I like illustrations, art and books about true feelings. When you learn something real about the people who are pictured or you really get to know the person who created the art. Some of these things can't be expressed in any other way than through a striking picture or a perfect book. I hope I'll be able to create something like that someday. www.maaikeverwijs.com
Matei Apostolescu http://www.013a.com
The End of The World
Saddo Birdeater Here we are again with two of our favorite artists Raul Oprea, aka Saddo and Heliana Rotariu, aka Aitch. We found them, or they found us a bit of time ago and they kept contributing to our issues. Now they live together in Berlin, where I finally got to meet them, after harassing them to submit the illustrations that follow. I also found out that they were having an exhibition together in the Box32 Gallery so I rushed down there. I saw that their wonderfully twisted drawings printed on canvas didn’t loose liveliness and were squirming on the walls, winking, greening and daring the viewer. At the gallery, I was glad I found the owner, Mr. Till Samer, who declared himself very satisfied with the results of the show and the visitors’ feedback. But still, who were these two talented people? They are odd, that much I could tell from the first time we met, odd because they are normal, neither high and mighty, nor self sufficient, as I so often saw in young artists who had experienced some amount of success, as they did. Not so long ago they were in school, which they finished: Saddo in 2004 in Cluj Napoca/Ro, Aitch in 2008 in Timisoara/Ro, both with a bachelor degree in Graphics. After graduating, Saddo and some mates started a street art collective named Playground and brightened up the wall of his university town. Due to his work as illustrator and graphic designer he moved to Bucharest where he continued the “community work” on the city walls and the same he did when he moved to Timisoara to be close to Aitch; now he just started doing it in Berlin. Aitch has a portfolio as comprehensive as his, even if she does more home-art than street-art. Her drawings often grow bellies, butts, legs and sometimes handles transforming into comfort or functional objects.They met because of their skills at a show in Bucharest called Ne Placa ce Faci, (We Board what You Do) result of a project initiated by Inoperable Gallery (Vienna) where artists were called to customize skateboards, and been together ever since. Besides their own projects in each of their folios appeared a section of collaborative works that they did together; at the same time, the influence they had on each other is easily remarkable, and it was definitely positive...
ONLINE GALLERIES Raul: saddo-jdero.deviantart.com flickr.com/photos/saddo behance.net/Saddo
ONLINE GALLERIES Heliana: pooqpoo.carbonmade.com christodelosrabitos.deviantart.com aitchmade.blogspot.com
movies, anime, indie games
For this issue, the movie recommendations come from the specialists of QuietEarth.us, the mostly fit to tell us what are the best apocalyptic and post apocalyptic movies to watch.
EVER SINCE THE WORLD ENDED (2001) Ever Since the World Ended is a faux-documentary, exquisitely executed, that tells the story of how the last remaining people in and around San Francisco get by when civilization comes crashing down. No marines winning the big fight. No presidents making big presidential decisions. This ain’t another guns-rule-the-day story. Ever Since… is about regular people coming together and trying to figure out how to get by and what to do when someone in the community crosses the line. Exile? Execution? Forgiveness? All the rules and precedents we have come to rely on are abandoned. Are the woods safe? Is the city safe? Anarchists and anti-civilizationists take note. The no-future is a lot more complex than we’d hoped. Bob Doto – NY correspondent
LE DERNIER COMBAT (1983) Before dazzling us with mainstream favorites like The Fifth Element, in 1983 Luc Besson made a full length post-apocalyptic film called Le Dernier Combat. Beautifully shot in black and white and without a lick of dialog, the film is not only one of the best films of the end-of-the-world genre, but a striking work of visual modern art. The sky rains fish. Skyscrapers sit in mountains of sand. A loner teams up with a reclusive older man in a deserted city to battle vicious thugs for food, shelter and life itself. For a stylized and thought provoking end-of-the-word movie that'll appeal to your intellect as well as your thirst for dire, unrelenting post-apocalyptic cinema, look no further than Luc Besson's wonderful Le Dernier Combat. Chris Webster – Managing Editor
APARELHO VOADOR A BAIXA ALTITUDE (2002) Shot in an incredible abandoned seaside resort in Portugal, Aparelho Voador a Baixa Altitude is Swedish Director Solveig Norlund’s clever adaptation of JG Ballard’s apocalyptic short story, Low Flying Aircraft. Set 30 years in the future, the human race is dying off from old age after purposely, yet mistakenly killing all the newborn because of their bizarre and alien appearance – their eyes are black bundles of optic nerves set in deep sockets. Set on the cusp between apocalyptic and post apocalyptic, Norlund’s beautifully shot and thought-provoking film examines the meanings of motherhood against a harsh and narrow-minded social backdrop. Rick McGrath – Toronto correspondent
THREADS (1984) Threads isn't just a film depicting the end of the world, it IS the end of the world; the most unflinching and blistering vision of a society and a family utterly destroyed by nuclear Armageddon. A couple in 1980's Sheffield are settling down and preparing for a baby when full-scale nuclear war breaks out between America and Russia, leaving the entire planet a radioactive hell-hole. While Jimmy is killed immediately, his widow Ruth lives on, raising her daughter in this bleak and dangerous new world. Written by Barry Hines (Kes), Threads was commissioned as a documentary, but Hines and director Jackson dismissed the brief and went for the socialrealist drama angle, succeeding in creating one of cinema's most disturbing nightmares. Simon Read – Edinburgh correspondent
DAMNATION ALLEY (1977) As a nine-year old, I found “Damnation Alley” one night on TV and had my whole world reset. Today this movie is easily lambasted by impromptu MST3Kers, but it's my first exposure to post-apocalyptic cinema. Honestly. Before “Logan's Run” or “Mad Max”, it ignited my first cognition of the world as I knew it coming to an end and what might happen afterwards. It stars pre-“A Team” George Peppard, pre-“Airwolf” Jan-Michael Vincent, pre-”Star Trek II” Paul Winfield and pre-”Watchmen” Jackie Earle Haley. After WWIII, survivors track a mysterious signal across the wasteland and are beset by disjointed escapades of great magnitude. I had my mind blown when I was 9, but I watched it again last night and I haven't laughed that hard since “Pineapple Express”. Dave “Anglebender” Kellum - Game correspondent
THE QUIET EARTH (1985) The Quiet Earth is like the best episode of the Twilight Zone never made meets I am Legend, but without the vampires. It’s a haunting and totally original take on the last-man-on-earth fable from New Zealand director Geoff Murphy. Based on the novel by Craig Harrison, the film is about a man named Zac Hobson who wakes up to discover he’s completely alone on the planet. Everyone has instantaneously vanished. After a period of taking advantage of his newfound freedom (you know, like shooting TVs with shotguns and wearing woman’s clothing and stuff), he discovers that he needs to save the world from a catastrophic cosmic event that could rip the planet from space and time itself. But is it too late? The ending will leave you breathless . Chris Webster – Managing Editor Source: QuietEarth.us
Movies THE ROAD (2009) “This is the way the world ends”, wrote TS Eliot in The Waste Land, “not with a bang but a whimper”. In The Road, Director John Hillcoat’s rendition of the Cormac McCarthy novel, the action starts with a bang, and is reduced to a whimper 10 years later, as an unnamed father and son take to the road on a trek to survive an earth dying from a nuclear winter. The movie is a treatise on father-son relationships, inhumanity vs humanity, and the stark reality of a dead earth and desperate adaptability. Beautifully shot and edited, The Road is also a tour de force for actor Viggo Mortensen, who offers up a truly believable and compelling performance of a slowly dying man in an incomprehensibly cruel situation trying to protect and educate his boy. Rick McGrath – Toronto correspondent SIXTEEN TONGUES (1999) In the future, sex sells. Sixteen Tongues is a micro-budget feature from Scooter McCrae of Shatter Dead fame. Set at an unspecified time in the future, the film takes place in a sleazy hotel where credit buys you light, water and the ability to stop pornography playing 24/7 on the television. A hacker and her girlfriend are intent on revenge, while a neighboring cop with tongues grafted onto him is looking for justice. McCrae himself describes his second feature as an exercise in nihilism, and given the way he treats his characters it's no surprise. It's a brutal journey lasting just 80 minutes, but one worth taking. A prescient comment on our over-stimulated culture, with some interesting set-pieces and action; it's in no way for everyone. Simon Read – Edinburgh correspondent SHATTER DEAD (1994) Shatter Dead questions man's relationship with God through the medium of zombies, but not the kind you're used to. These zombies don't eat flesh. Instead, the body dies and remains a vessel for the soul, complete with consciousness intact, so no matter how badly mangled, they cannot die. At first, the world seems whole (albeit the dead look like you as they panhandle and steal), but as we progress further in the story, we discover that a profound existential crisis has beset mankind. Has God abandoned us? Have we abandoned God? These questions, and more, are explored in this unique lowbudget gem about a woman trying to get home to her boyfriend. The horror here is not in the zombies, but instead in a frighteningly plausible scenario caused by our lack of faith. Don Neumann – Editor in Chief Source: QuietEarth.us
Anime TOKYO MAGNITUDE 8.0 10.07.2009 This summer, one of the highlights was Tokyo Magnitude 8.0, an original series co-produced by BONES and Cinema Citrus. It’s based on the 70% chance of a 7.0 magnitude (Richter scale) earthquake hitting Tokyo somewhere over the next 30 years. Based on the research BONES did over previous earthquakes that occurred, the series tries to depict Tokyo as realistically as possible, after an 8.0 magnitude earthquake occurrence, centering on a middle school girl named Mirai who goes to Odaiba with her brother Yuki for a robot exhibition, but due to the Rainbow Bridge collapsing they are striving along with the help of Mari, a motorcycle delivery woman, to get back to their home in Setagaya. The series also presents the efforts of Japanese special forces in such cases, after the initial earthquake and its aftershocks.
SUMMER WARS 01.08.2009 Mamoru Hosoda comes back after his award winning movie “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time” with another movie called “Summer Wars”. Kenji Koiso, a child prodigy in mathematics who spends his time in a computer-simulated virtual reality named Oz, is the character this story is focused on. He has a crush on his upperclass senior Natsuki Shinohara who at the end of summer invites him to help her celebrate her grandmother's 90th birthday. Aside from being introduced as her fiancé, he receives a weird email with a code he cracks and sends back to the sender, only to have Oz cracked the next day by an artificial intelligence named Love Machine and with the help of Natsuki’s family fight an online war. It’s humans versus Love Machine, with the world at stake! Also, for this anime, Madhouse was in charge of the animation production, leaving not much room for disappointment.
RED LINE 14.08.2009 The maximum speed at which an engine can operate without deteriorating the other components is called the redline. In the future, Red Line is a race held every five years, in which anything is allowed. It’s a race that is forbidden by the authorities due to the danger presented by the highly modified vehicles of each opponent equipped with the most dangerous weapons in the world. Taking part in this dangerous race is JR, the circuit’s daredevil, and also Sonoshee with whom JR is secretly in love, both putting everything on the line to win and get to the podium. This is Takashi Koike’s first feature film; he also directed “World Record” in The Animatrix anthology.
CENCOROLL 22.08.2009 The film starts off in an ordinary city, where on the top of a building a huge monster shows up sending panic to all the town’s citizens, except for two kids, a girl named Yuki and her schoolmate Tetsu, who has been raising a strange creature called Cenco. The stage is set for battle when a mysterious boys named Shu appears, him being the one in control of the monster who’s treathning the city. This is the first selected project of Anime Innovation Tokyo, an initiative designed for independent animators or small studios, in this case Atsuya Uki, who pretty much directed, wrote, designed, and animated the project himself. Cencoroll is based on an Uki’s award winning one-shot manga named “Amon Game” and in 2007 he released a Cencoroll short film on the Internet.
THE SACRED BLACKSMITH 03.10.2009 Over their years of activity, animation studio Manglobe covered all sorts of genres, such as samurai with slapstick elements in their first anime, Samurai Champloo, science fiction with cyberpunk and steampunk elements in Ergo Proxy or underworld action in Michiko to Hatchin. Now it’s time for fantasy. Isao Miura’s fantasy light novel “The Sacred Blacksmith” will be Manglobe’s first adaptation of a light novel to anime and it follows the story of Cecily Campbell, a former noble’s daughter who joined a knighthood, who’s searching for a blacksmith who can repair her inherited sword from her father. She meets Luke, a mysterious blacksmith with a mysterious sword who possesses the power of the “devil’s contract”, which has now become taboo, after an abominable war that took place in the past, which had a devil’s contract forced upon a land.
BAKEMONOGATARI 03.07.2009 Bakemonogatari, an adaptation after NisiOisiN’s light novels, is centered on Koyomi Araragi, a third year high school student, who is almost human again after becoming a vampire. The series is divided into chapters and in each chapter a new heroine is introduced, each having met a different supernatural monster who leaves a “curse” on them, be it becoming weightless, having a monkey hand etc., and each being helped out by Araragi. Even though there’s only one new heroine per chapter, each plays an important role in the upcoming. The focus of the series is on the conversation between the characters, which is very elaborate, something not seen very often. The animation also has a rather unique style to it, due to the fact that Shinbou Akiyuki, of Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei fame, directed it, and it also has a good dose of comedy, parodies of other series or wordplays. Reactive
Indie Games GRAVITY CRASH Genere: Shooter Gravity Crash combines vintage arcade shooter gameplay with striking 1080p 60fps vector graphics. The player pilots a small craft, and mastering the flight mechanics to combat the perpetual gravitational pull is the key to success. Armed with an arsenal of main and special weapons, shield and a carefully watched fuel gauge, players battle gravity and inertia through 37 planets that each feature environmental dangers, enemies and other obstacles. Additionally, Gravity Crash is the first Arcade Shooter on PSN to offer a Level Editor. Players can design their own planets fraught with danger, from narrow, twisting tunnels to deadly enemies. Then, they can publish and share it for others on the PlayStation Network to download and enjoy. With â€œold schoolâ€? arcade gameplay and glossed and colorful 1080p 60fps HD vector visuals, Gravity Crash offers a sense of 1980s arcade nostalgia while delivering the latest in visuals exclusively on PS3.
AQUARIA Genre: Indie Aquaria is an award-winning action-adventure game set in a massive underwater world teeming with life and filled with ancient secrets. Join Naija, a lone underwater adventurer, as she travels from hidden caves shrouded in darkness, to beautiful, sunlit oases in search of her past. She'll uncover hidden treasures, explore uncharted waters, and battle with massive underwater beasts to learn the truth about her family and reveal the secret of Aquaria.
AND YET IT MOVES Genre: Casual, Indie And Yet It Moves is a puzzle-platformer, set in a unique world, made of ripped paper. Within the paper-collage you can jump, run and last but certainly not least: rotate the world. Learn how to apply the physical consequences of rotation to master the many tricky situations you may encounter. You can play a race against the clock on different levels, too, competing against previous clocked times. Your run will be recorded as a "Ghost" that can be submitted, along with your time, to the global high scores online. You can download other users' Ghosts to compete with friends and strangers around the world and see who found the fastest route. Following the acclaim of the previously awarded prototype for And Yet It Moves, we present the full version, containing three exciting and beautiful environments and lots of new challenges.
COGS Genre: Casual, Indie Cogs is a puzzle game where players build machines from sliding tiles. Players can choose from 50 levels and 3 gameplay modes. New puzzles are unlocked by building contraptions quickly and efficiently.
QUANTZ Genre: Casual, Indie, Family Gaming Experience a new dimension of puzzle action game fun in QuantZ for the PC; a fabulous adventure that goes beyond the Action-Puzzler, Match-3 and Marble Popper genres. The gameplay is simple yet addictive: you have the power to control a cube with your mouse and drop marbles onto it. Create explosions of colors, chain reactions and win special rewards. Explore an immersive universe and become the QuantZ Oracle! With 24 unique and beautiful worlds to go through, 100 puzzles to complete and innovative game physics, QuantZ will amaze you!
BRAID Genre: Strategy, Casual, Indie Braid is a puzzle-platformer, drawn in a painterly style, where you can manipulate the flow of time in strange and unusual ways. From a house in the city, journey to a series of worlds and solve puzzles to rescue an abducted princess. In each world, you have a different power to affect the way time behaves, and it is time's strangeness that creates the puzzles. The time behaviors include: the ability to rewind, objects that are immune to being rewound, time that is tied to space, parallel realities, time dilation, and perhaps more. Braid treats your time and attention as precious; there is no filler in this game. Every puzzle shows you something new and interesting about the game world.
TRINE Genre: Action, Indie Trine is a fantasy action game where the player can create and use physics-based objects to beat hazardous puzzles and threatening enemies. Set in a world of great castles and strange machinery, three heroes are bound to a mysterious device called the Trine in a quest to save the kingdom from evil… The gameplay is based on fully interactive physics - each character's different abilities help the player battle an army of undead and defeat hazardous contraptions. The player can at any time freely choose whoever is best suited for the upcoming challenge or puzzle: The Wizard is able to summon objects to help solve puzzles and create new ways to overcome obstacles, the Thief uses her agility and dead-on accuracy to swiftly surprise the monsters, and the Knight unleashes mayhem and physical destruction wherever he goes. Sources: wikipedia.com • official sites • http://store.steampowered.com
World Cosplay Summit tv-aichi.co.jp/wcs/e/ Japan
At the other end of the planet, there comes a day when particles from all over the world combine to create something wonderful and yet so mind numbing that it can't be classified. Once per year, in Osu, Nagoya, Japan, worldwide colliding matter comes together to form a gathering without precedent. This year, on the first of August, TV Aichi reported “a strange appearance in the center of Nagoya”; this was the start, also known as Nishiki-dori Red Carpet - Tokugawa Muneharu's Path & CS Premium. And that was the moment a large number of molecules gathered to create “a parade of colors and costumes”. Inhabitants of the nearby buildings could only stand by and watch the unfolding show in the street below. The next few days transported the people of Nagoya in different times and in a new dimension. Lights, music and colors. WCS or World Cosplay Summit is a cosplay event created in order to promote international exchange through the Japanese youth culture of manga and anime. Well that's what they say; WCS is known more for the fact that it's the home of an international level cosplay competition. The competition, formally called World Cosplay Championship, is
held annually in Osu, Nagoya, Japan, being hosted by TV Aichi and gathering contestants from all over the world. WCS debuted in 2003, when TV Aichi launched a program called “Manga wa Sekai no Kyoutsu-go” (“Manga - The International Common Language”). Back then, worldwide cosplayers were invited to share and discuss thoughts on manga and anime. Growing year by year, the event has come to host a cosplay parade and the World Cosplay Championship, encompassing almost 15 countries with over 28 cosplayers. It's the first of August, heavy downpour was announced the night before, light rain in the morning, cancellation due to weather was under consideration, but finally the red carpet was rolled out and the events were to continue as planned. First off to show his costume was the mayor of Nagoya Takashi Kawamura, dressed as Tokugawa Muneharu. Next in line were the event's special supporters, SKE48, a group of loli school uniform singers dressed in kimono; soon, the official representative cosplayers from the participant countries came into the spotlight. Right after the red carpet event, the Osu Shopping Arcade parade followed, where the 28
representative cosplayers were joined by other cosplayers, bringing the total count to 500 participants. The day’s event ended with a heavy downpour. On the 2nd of August at Oasis 21, under the gaze of an audience of 12 000, the World Cosplay Championship was starting. This year’s preliminary competition for Japan was scheduled in a new manner. For the first time, Japan’s representative team was selected on the same day as the world cosplay championship itself. Japan’s preliminary round entries were first collected on the competition’s site and those who passed the first round of screening went to participate in Japan’s official preliminary competition. The Japan Preliminary Round winners were decided by audience applause. Thus, the cosplaying team who received the most cheering and clapping was selected as the winners.
ber and Gilgamesh from Fate/stay night; to describe in a few words: “let us fight without our swords touching, on Tekken fight sounds, that and ultimate attacks”. Third in line was Germany, represented by Iris Herrmann and Annabel Huwig, cosplaying Romeo and Juliet from Romeo x Juliet. Nice Japanese-German, perhaps my tears should be flowing from the awesome sadness of play. Flag fail at the end; did not cover girl on girl action. Entry number four was Singapore, represented by Andrea Tan and Jill Ho, cosplaying Sheryl Nome and Ranka Lee from Macross Frontier. Staring with nice live singing, which, by the way I’m really enjoying, a great unveiling of a sexy body. And again, nice singing.
First and starting the official contest was Denmark, represented by Sigge Tine Ludvigsen and Ida Kirkegaard, cosplaying Hayate Yagami and Reinforce from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha; words cannot express my feelings of boredom, tears should suffice.
Entry number five is France, represented by Albanese Cecilia and Turpin Eva, cosplaying Hikaru Shidou and Umi Ryuuzaki from Magic Knight Rayearth. Doing a wild magic trick perhaps? I don't quite get what’s with this dance.
Next off in the competition was Korea, represented by Lee Seon Hye and Hong Sang Ho, cosplaying Sa-
Next up was Italy, represented by Elena D'Ambrosio Valentina and Marco Battistini, cosplaying Cibo and
Killy from BLAME!. From what I can tell, 30 year old people still fight like five-graders. And again some wild gibberish Japanese I can't understand.
Licata and India Davis, cosplaying THE FLOWER and Sakura Kinomoto from Cardcaptor Sakura. One thing: flowers aren't that big!
Entry number seven, Thailand, with Pennapa Thanornpradit and Rujipas Distaprom, cosplaying Johannes Krauser II and Jack ill Dark from Detroit Metal City. Air guitar and playback in the pipeline; and forcing your voice to sound thicker only makes it funny. Great costumes by the way.
P.S For God's sake, be proud, stand straight. Entry number eleven was Finland, represented by Iris Rönkkö and Arttu Seppi, cosplaying Esther Blanchett and Leon Garcia de Asturias from Trinity Blood. Getting shot makes you wanna boogie, hell yeah! Getting shot makes you wanna waltz, do the society dance! Ah-ah-ah...note to self getting away from your partner, heart attack.
The eighth contestant was Australia, represented by Katherine Lee and Gabriella Lowgren, cosplaying Nene Romanova & Boomer and Priss Asagiri from Bubblegum Crisis. Doing a mecha cosplay makes you walk funny in ways you don't even know, leaving you with a musical solo (playback).
Entry number twelve was Spain, represented by Bereniç Serrano and Laura Fernández, cosplaying Candice White Ardlay and Anthony Brown from Candy Candy. Kawaii umbrella dance, ugly Scotsman-blowpipe interruption.
Number nine was Brazil, represented by Renan Aguiar de Castro and Geraldo Jose Cecilio Junior, cosplaying Alphonse Elric and Edward Elric from Fullmetal Alchemist. I always knew Al loved to sing and had a lovely girly voice. As for the new series of Fullmetal Alchemist, I’m expecting the producers will soon get wise and turn it into a musical.
China was number thirteen, represented by Shi Jian Xion and Zeng Zhaoyun, cosplaying Iori Yagami and Kyo Kusanagi from THE KING OF FIGHTERS. Nice sync dance. Hey, everybody, do the monkey. Fail at Michael Jackson stunt, it was funny, but I’m sure Michael would have disowned him.
Entry number ten was USA, represented by Elizabeth
The fourteenth contestant was Mexico, represented
by Sabina Iglesias Arvide and Abigail Mascherpa Garcia, cosplaying Doris and D from Vampire Hunter D. At least they're cute. Last but not least was Japan’s team YuRiE, cosplaying Sanada Yukimura and Date Masamune from Sengoku Basara. The World Cosplay Championship was judged by Gou Nagai, Touru Furuya, Ichiro Mizuki and Britney Hamada, along with the ten judges selected from a drawing via the official website of the event. Upon completion of the 15 countries performances, the event’s supporters, SKE 48 and Ichiro Mizuki began a live performance, the solo performance of Ichiro Mizuki sending the crowd into a wave of enthusiasm. After the live musical performance, time came for the judges to announce the results.
less performance combining swordplay and dance to create a wonderful show for the audience. Gou Nagai passed the trophy, Touru Furuya the foreign travel airline gift certificate, and finally, from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, Kenjiro Monji presented the ministry’s own award of recognition. After a few words from the participants and supporters, the cosplayers from the 15 countries took their position at the front of the stage and waved goodbye to the crowds, then got off on the crowd’s cheers, bringing this year’s World Cosplay Championship to an end. Silviu Pop Sources: WCS official website/press kit http://www.tv-aichi.co.jp/wcs/e/ Photo Credits: WCS official website
The Brothe Prize was won by Ms. Elizabeth Licata and Ms. India Davis from U.S.A, cosplaying Cardcaptor Sakura’s: THE FLOWER and Sakura Kinomoto. The Runners-up were Ms.Bereniç Serrano and Ms.Laura Fernández from Spain, cosplaying Candy Candy’s: Candice White Ardlay and Anthony Brown. And this year’s grand prize winners were Yuri and Rie, Japan’s team YuRiE, which had an almost flaw-
Cosplay CHII (CHOBITS) Chi is a fictional character in the anime series Chobits. She was found in a dump site by a boy named Motosuwa Hideki. He is delighted to have found a perfectly good and very cute persocom for free. Chii is a Chobit, a type of persocom that is far more technologically advanced than regular persocoms, and who are said to possess true machine intelligence rather than relying on the execution of pre-loaded software programs like other persocoms. Debuted at Otaku Festival 2009, Bucharest. Cosplayer: Francisca Borzea. Costume bought from Japan. Accessories made by: Francisca Borzea.
PIKACHU (POKEMON) Pikachu is one of the species of Pokémon creatures from the Pokémon anime created by Satoshi Tajiri. Pikachu are small, mouse-like Pokémon that have short, yellow fur with brown markings covering their back and parts of their tail. They have black-tipped, pointy ears and red circles on their cheeks, which are said to contain "electrical sacs". Their tail is shaped in the form of a lightning bolt. Debuted at Otaku Festival 2009, Bucharest, winning the first prize at the cosplay contest. Cosplayer: Paula Pop. Costume made by: Paula Pop. Accessories made by: Paula Pop.
Cosplay RIDER (FATE/STAY NIGHT) Rider, the Servant of Shinji, is silent, sultry, and vigilant, never hesitating to shield her Master from harm. With Shinji incapable of lending Mana to her, she is forced to seek alternative means to augment her abilities. To compensate for her weakness, Rider employs covert battle tactics and takes full advantage of the territory around her. Her weapon of choice is a pair of long iron nails fastened to opposite ends of a single chain, which she effectively thrusts from distances. Debuted at Otaku Festival 2009, Bucharest. Cosplayer: Mihaela Vanca. Costume made by: Livia Viziteu. Accessories made by: Mihaela Vanca.
Pictorial by: Silviu Pop â€˘ Photo Credits: Alexandru Dan â€˘ References: www.wikipedia.org
Irina Georgescu (Rhea) mostlyhorror.blogspot.com Romania
DIR EN GREY: Interview with Kaoru Novarock 2009 is a dizzying haze of recollected thoughts and sensations, of mud and rain and cold, huge bands, small bands, dreams fulfilled. On June 20 Dir en grey were to take the Red Stage, the same stage where, one night before, Nine Inch Nails and Faith No More both gave epic performances, one band on their last tour before an indefinite hiatus, the other reuniting after 12 years. Under a grey sky pouring down continuously, feet deep in mud and shriveled in wet shoes, gathering slowly from the myriad of tents or waiting for hours already in front of the rail, unfolding banners or silently speaking to our own disbelieving minds we stood waiting, coming from nearby or far, far away, stealing small glances and knowing smiles at a tshirt, or a clumsy cosplay, a banner, a young face or an old face, boy or girl, stuck together in friendship or making way to new, curious faces. And then they entered, almost unexpected, in the dying processional chanting of Sa Bir, to massive roar and fists in the air. Shinya, Die, Toshiya, Kaoru and Kyo, in broad daylight, filtered through the slashing rain. It was familiar and new and utmost perfection. They played most of the songs off their latest album Uroboros, from Vinushka to Dozing Green, with old favorites like Obscure, Grief, even Merciless Cult and The Final framing a throughout great and on-key performance, Kyo and the band being on top of their game despite perhaps the obvious difficulty of playing a festival at such an early hour and in heavy rain. From the hypnotizing tribal movements of Toshiya to the focused determinacy of Kaoru, reaching the intensity of Die and Shinya and breaking into the howling unearthly sounds of Kyo, the band managed to please those fans singing along, as well as make those skeptic at first perhaps go beyond the simple, exotic associations and appreciate, delivering all that had been expected. At the end, the stage empty and goodbyes said, with a buzzing excitement and a slight feeling of loss, we hugged in silence or happiness for being a part
of this. Over the wet stage the rain had stopped, the sun slowly breaking through the clouds, waiting for another band to take the stage once more. The following interview was supposed to take place at Novarock, but got cancelled on the part of the band not having enough time. We caught up with guitarist and main composer Kaoru by email after the band returned to Japan, in a brief pause before going on tour again. First of all, recently, you successfully completed your first European Tour in two years, participating in festivals such as Download, Metaltown and Novarock. How was touring Europe after so long? Did you have any expectations for the tour, and did things go as planned? Was there anything you regretted? We were much honored to participate in the festivals, although I don’t think things really went the way we’d originally planned. But I was so excited and so many people came to see us play. You got to play with some big names like Nine Inch Nails and Faith No More. How did it feel for you to play along some of the bands you look up to? Can you share any insight on the impact of these bands on you, personally, and as musicians? Of course we were very happy to stand on the same stage and be able to see them play close up, but that’s about it I think. I really don’t think about anything but my own performance, so I didn’t really feel anything special. I think they’ve influenced me far more than I could ever know, as far as their atmosphere etc is concerned. Speaking of Nine Inch Nails, lately Trent Reznor has come into focus for his thoughts on downloading music and his relationship with his fans online. What do you think about it all? When thinking of the current state of the music industry, is it possible that a band like Dir en grey might take a similar approach? Have you thought of incorporating some of these experiments into Dir en grey’s own evolution as a band? I think it’s fine if you make a work (a song), not a product (something for sale) available. Personally, I think it might be cool if I could make an hour-long song that you couldn’t split up. And that would be an
Photo Credit: Kaoru © Arashi, Toshiya © Elloran, Die © Elloran, Kyo © Elloran, Shinya © Elloran
album in itself. If the time and circumstances feel right, we may put something up someday.
and I know it wasn’t my fault, but I just felt so bad. We’ll definitely come back to play!
On the same subject, do you think opening the official fanclub “aKnot” to worldwide access might also be an option in the future? We’d like to, but it may not be for a while. We’ll do our best!
Going back to you as a band of five. On stage you seem like a perfectly oiled machine, working in unison. How is it to play together for so long? Did the dynamic change over time? We’re not that in sync. Our relationship has been pretty much the same since the beginning.
Have you ever thought about collaborating with other artists? International or Japanese? May some of us fans ever dare to think about a Nine Inch Nails/Dir en grey connection? I think we could do something really interesting! Before Europe this summer, you completed a long tour in Japan. Before that you were on tour with Mindless Self Indulgence and even before you toured America. How did those experiences go? Is there any difference between playing a show in Japan and one outside of Japan? Are things easier in Japan? There’s no difference. In the light of Kyo’s hospitalization earlier this year, is the exhaustion of touring for such long periods of time getting to you? He’s fine! We’re all doing well. In Japan you tried out two men- only shows. What made you want to do that? It’s very hard to get tickets to our shows in Japan. We wanted to give fans that just got into the band recently, as well as male fans who have to watch our shows very calmly in consideration to our many female fans, a chance to see our show. We wanted to see just how passionate our male fans could be. You’ve toured with a lot of interesting bands. Can you tell us any interesting episodes? How was playing with the Deftones? How would you compare your tour with Mindless Self Indulgence? First off, the Deftones are really good people, really generous. Chino and I played each other our favorite songs. He said he wanted to hear some Japanese music, so I played him only Japanese songs. MSI are our label mates in the US, and we’ve got the same management, but we didn’t know them very well. We became really close on the tour. Your show in England was canceled due to a power failure. What kind of effect does that kind of incident have? It was so mortifying. There were so many fans there,
Have you ever wanted to quit the band? If so, why did you continue? Has there ever been a period when you felt like the band was on a roll? I always want to quit. I’m always thinking, ‘I have no talent, and no skills! I can’t do this anymore!’, but the other band members give me the courage to keep going. To a lot of fans, Uroboros is your best and perhaps most complex work so far and you have often said it represents who and where you are as a band right now. What comes after Uroboros? How about an hour-long song? I don’t think about the future much, so I just want to put out whatever we’re feeling at the time. I can’t give details yet, but we’re actually recording now. If you were to go back in time to your own teenage self, what advice would you give yourself? Would you do anything different? I’d tell myself I was doing fine. But I might tell myself to study English. In Romania, the general public still has a prejudice against genres like Rock and Metal with Pop being more popular. Nevertheless Romanian artists like Negura Bunget are garnering acclaim outside of the country. How is it for Japanese musicians? Do you think you’ve influenced Japanese metal bands in any way? Do you want to broaden awareness of Japanese bands through your international tours? Pop is the most popular in Japan too. If the music is used in Anime it sells immediately. Yet even in this situation there are some very cool artists. I am proud to be Japanese, but I don’t think about bringing Japanese music to the world. In the end, could you please speak some words for your Romanian fans? Thank you for all your support! We’ll see you on tour some day! The author would like to thank Kaoru and Dir en grey, Okami Records, Florian Reiser, Adrienne Weber, Petru Munteanu and Hefe for making this interview possible.
Photo Credit: ÂŠ direngrey.co.jp
I Am Not Legend
Story and art by Veronica Solomon Web: http://www.behance.net/Inkamon
This is something that might be happening right now... And somebody, somewhere is writing down a story,... he alone knowing why the world has to end.
FATHER by Jean-Lorin Sterian art by Veronica Solomon Romania
FATHER A lacklustre blonde, with grey eyes and a body worn out too early. Only her breasts stubbornly stuck time and were rising steady out of her waitress outfit. When he had invited her to the movie, she was a little bemused, as she couldn’t figure out what the question was. Her hands were trembling and he was sure that she had accepted just out of politeness. On the beach, after a moonlight walk, she had told him the story of her life, balancing between uselessness and resignation. She didn’t care that she hadn’t slept with any man for years, but the thought of not being able to have another child appalled her. When he told her that was exactly what he wished from her, she started crying and didn’t stop not even when they made love. # She gave birth to children the same way other women used to spend their holydays in the mountains. She was always pregnant, a fact that didn’t stop her from fighting whenever she got drunk. She used to wear obsolete dresses, made of recyclable materials, and dyed her hair in unusual colours. She sang in a rock band and screamed on the stage “I’m a teenage whore” and “Touch me, I’m pregnant “. Once a year she was thrusting out a little crying shrimp and ran away from the hospital afterwards. She had tattooed on the thigh a titty for every baby she had abandoned. But she recovered his from the hospital after a week. She was a surprisingly sweet little girl for such an imbecile mother. The doctors were relieved when she told them she would take care of her. # It was the first rainless evening since they met. The sunset was beaming a warm heat, many shades of red were dying in the ocean. - You look wonderful, he told her. She smiled, happy. - I love you, she whispered, nestling to his chest. He long caressed her hair. With his lips near her ear, he said: - Let’s make a baby. She turned her head and gazed at him. - As you wish, my dear. - Next year, after finishing all my business, we’d be getting married and leave to France. He could ask anything from her. - As you wish, my dear. # He had no doubt that Elaine was going to give him a wonderful baby. She was such a strong woman, that she could clean the garden a few hours after the delivery. Actually, he was a bit scared of her energy. She could follow him to the bitter end. She was a little worried because of the process, and also because of the place he took her to. They had arrived there at night and she couldn’t figure out where she was. She expected to be taken to a big hospital, where her father worked all his life. He assured her
Story that it was better for her to deliver in a private clinic, assisted by a specialist such as doctor Waitts. The room was filled with white roses. Elaine loved them. The baby had to be born in the best conditions. He couldn’t risk to lose the baby, as it had happened before with little Jun Xie and with an imbecile that didn’t tell him she was taking drugs while pregnant. It was just a little time left. He entered the room and told her the usual stuff in such situations, how much he loved her and that everything will be alright. She barely listened to him, she told him to leave her alone and asked to phone home, but she was already in pain. He went back to the library and opened “Considerations upon the crib phenomenon“, the book she used to read every time she was like that. Finally, Waitts opened the door, dirty from head to foot. One could only read tiredness on his face. He stopped him from entering, the maid had just cleaned the floor. - Is it a boy or a girl? he asked. He had succeeded in convincing Elaine not to take an echography, he loved being taken by surprise. - Boy. What wonderful news. A boy. The eightythird. Eightythree boys and sixtyone girls. What an army. He cheerfully closed the book and jumped into his feet. - Bring him here. How’s Elaine? - Sedated. - Take her away and leave her to the usual place. The doctor came back with the boy who was screaming much too loud for his size. He was covered in a white cloth. - Take a few days off, Waitts. You’ve been working too much this month. The doctor left. - Now let me show you your brothers and sisters, he said, affectionately. Holding the crying baby in his arms, he went on the long corridor that opened into another big hall. … It felt so good to be father again. He,…, who had never met his parents. When the end of the world will come, he will have his own army, out of his own blood. The huge hall was beaming with a warm light. He went to the table where everything was prepared. He laid the baby on the back and, slowly, while chanting a march, he covered his little face with a cloth. The flops ended harder than usual. He would have been a baby as energetic as his mother. He put him into the formalin jar. The body slipped easily, as if a little boat into the water. He took his glasses out of the drawer, cleaned them carefully, and looked through the clean glass into the light. He looked to the rumpled face, in which it was too early, yet too late, to find a familiar trace. On the leather cover of the register nothing was written, only three suspension points. He opened it to the first empty page. His hand covered the white sheet for a moment, leaving behind his straight, calligraphic hand-writing. He was writing down the day and year of birth, his mother’s name. And his name: Bob. He was the eight Bob. Not because he didn’t have any other idea, he also had children named Rahan, Mentola or Ulysses, but he liked Bob. Perhaps the one who wrote those points on his birth certificate had actually Bob in his mind, but he was too drunk or too bored or he simply didn’t care. He wrote the information again in black ink, on a rectangular label, with filigreed stamp-like edges. Between Dorian, born on July 12, 1979 and Milena – October 18, 2007, there was an empty space. He put the small one there. He went to the armchair in the centre of the room. The soft plush received his body, still in a very good condition. It felt so good to be surrounded by your own folks. Onehundredandfourtyfour children. Black, Indians, a small Eskimo, Asian. On the right the girls, on the left the boys. His clan… He smiled, satisfied. He knew He will appreciate and repay his efforts. After Adam, … he was the man who had the most children. He still had some years left to procreate. And the small Polish was already in her sixth month.
Story and art by Claudiu Romo Web: http://atanasio.deviantart.com
Claudio Andressalvador Francisromo Romo Torres, or just Claudio Romo, is a Chilean artist specialized in printmaking and book illustration, with a special inclination towards comics, which he is a connoisseur of. He lives in the harbor city of Talcahuano and teaches drawing, printmaking, illustration and narrative graphics at the Department of Visual Arts of the University of Concepcion, Chile. He is at the same time a defender of traditional practices, and an embracer of digital technologies, advocating and teaching hybridism. He is a declared admirer of anime and oriental film because of â€œthe intensity of oriental narration, the freshness of their images, their foreign reflections about the body and their closeness to the posthumanâ€? The sequence that follows, named Leviatan, is a chapter from the book Informe Tunguska, edited in Chile with support of the National Council of Culture. The Tunguska project is a social fiction that metaphorically describes the events of the military fascist dictatorship in Chile (1973-1988). The script belongs to the poet Alexis Figueroa. The text lines of this fragment are taken from the Old Testament - The Book of Job
Story by Jean-Lorin Sterian, Art by Remus Brezeanu Web: http://betwinned.deviantart.com
Bucharest, 2034. In the city live about one million Chinese people. Most live in the People's House, divided like the Forbidden City. Giulesti becomes Giulestinia, a free zone, without police, a center of free trade in drugs and weapons. Dobrogea has detached itself from Romania, was proclaimed a republic and has quickly become the richest country in the Balkans, thanks to tourism and the Cernavoda nuclear plant.
Special Thanks: AVmotional • Tokyo Genso • Fan The Fire Magazine • Creative Partners • Tokyo Lab • Passenger Press • Giz Mag • Quiet Earth • Castle Magazine • Veronica Solomon • Remus Brezeanu • Jean-Lorin Sterian • Akinori Oishi • Nina Braun • Jim Lind • Jason Graham • Maaike Verwijs • Matei Apostolescu • Natalie Ratkovski • Raul Oprea • Heliana Rotariu • WCS • Alexandru Dan • Claudio Romo • Richard Cox
Credits: COVER Front-Back by Veronica Solomon • 002–003 Tokyo Genso • 005 - Inkamon • 004–005 - Rafael Gabor • 012 - Felix Gebhard • 013 - Christian Rose, Felix Gebhard, Heliumcowboy Artspace, Diffusion, • 014–019 W+K TOKYO LAB • 021–023 Yoshiyuki Sadamoto • 024–025 Noisy Paradise • 026 - Toho Company Ltd. • 027–028 Richard Cox • 032–035 - (CC) photos: John Einar Sandvand, CambodiaTales.com • 036–037 Jim Lind • 038–042 Tokyo Genso • 044–045 Jason Graham • 046–047 Maaike Verwijs • 048–049 Matei Apostolescu • 050 - Natalie Ratkovski • 051–053 Raul Oprea • 054–055 Heliana Rotariu • 066–069 WCS official website • 070–072 Alexandru Dan • 75 - Kaoru © Arashi, Toshiya © Elloran, Die © Elloran, Kyo © Elloran, Shinya © Elloran • 077 - © direngrey.co.jp • 079–100 Veronica Solomon • 103–109 Claudio Romo • 111–126 Remus Brezeanu
Note: Any errors or omissions are inadvertent. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can make corrections in subsequent printings.