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Katsuhiro Otomo's Steamboy in Theaters 215

echocharlie writes "Steamboy is rolling into US theaters on March 18. The movie features the notable return of Katsuhiro Otomo, who hasn't directed an animated film since Akira, so big things can be expected. The film opened in Japan earlier to mostly rave reviews. The english cast features Anna Paquin, Alfred Molina, and Patrick Stewart. That's interesting casting since all three have had prominent roles in comic book movie adapatations (X-men, Spider-Man 2, and X-men respectively), not to mention Mr. Stewart's famous sci-fi ties. Anime films without Pokémon in their titles haven't fared well at the US Box office (see Appleseed, Tokyo Godfathers, Ghost in the Shell 2, et al.). Hopefully with an adequate number of theaters carrying the film, Katsuhiro Otomo's latest opus will gain the exposure it deserves."
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Katsuhiro Otomo's Steamboy in Theaters

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  • Huh? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Telastyn ( 206146 ) on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @05:24PM (#11881395)
    And what about Spirited Away, or any of Gibli's other US releases? They've done fantastically well from what I understand.
    • Spirited Away did well only after winning an Oscar.
    • Re:Huh? (Score:3, Informative)

      Here in Australia we're lucky to have Madman [] releasing all kinds of good stuff - including Steamboy and all Studio Gibli's films. They used to be a DVD only outfit, but since last year have been distributing films too.

      Upshot is, I went to see Steamboy late last year. It is visually spectacular, although I thought the plot was really disappointing. It's basically another "evil-creature/machine-stomps all over Tokyo", except it's not Tokyo it's 19thC London. Seemed a real shame that they went to so much trou

    • Re:Huh? (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Only Spirited Away was released to theaters, and it didn't exactly burn up the box office even after the Oscar win. ay.htm says it made $10 million total in the U.S., compared to over $200 million in Japan, which has half the population of the U.S.

      Not counting DVD sales of course, which I'm sure have done well but not spectacularly also.
    • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by mblase ( 200735 ) on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @05:57PM (#11881838)
      "Spirited Away" did well on DVD, partly because it won the Oscar for Best Animated as well as about a dozen other major and minor awards.

      But it was never a bit hit in theatres, which is what really matters as far as counting profits is concerned. Most anime, as the submitter pointed out, isn't. I don't think we're a culture of "cartoons are for kids" any longer ("Shark Tale" was probably the first American animated hit targetted at older kids and teenagers).

      But anime has two things working against it in this country. First, most theatrical releases are subtitled, not dubbed, and most Americans dislike watching films in other languages when we have so many English-language films to choose from instead. (Foreign language films in general do poorly at the box office here.) And second, they're just not widely promoted -- partly because the distributors know about the no-dub-no-sales factor.
      • ("Shark Tale" was probably the first American animated hit targetted at older kids and teenagers)

        I know you want to forget Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, but I suppose, also, that it doesn't really count as a "hit".

        Shrek was largely targeted at older kids, though it did have something for the younger ones, too.

      • Oh, I forgot the most obvious one...

        ("Shark Tale" was probably the first American animated hit targetted at older kids and teenagers)

        South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut

      • Because as you know, "Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon" was such a flop here.
        • Funny, that. It did extremely well in the US despite being available only in Mandarin. However, in China, where most of the population speaks Mandarin natively, it flopped. Big time.

          In fact, Chinese people seem to be constantly making fun of foreigners for liking the film.
      • Hmm... I thought most theatrical releases were dubbed, myself. Certainly almost all that ever make it here (Australia) are.

        As someone who finds dubs, especially American Anime dubs, a bit like cleaning their ears with a chainsaw, I'm not convinced dubs are good for sales.
        • As someone who finds dubs, especially American Anime dubs, a bit like cleaning their ears with a chainsaw, I'm not convinced dubs are good for sales.
          I don't expect this will change anytime soon. While it's mildly incomprehensible to me, apparently large amounts of the US public are not too far from illiterate. They can make their way through newspapers and the like, but as for abstracting content or reading in concert with other activities, those abilities tend to be more lacking. It supposedly has someth
    • Well, the only reason I didn't see any of them was I didn't know they were even in theaters[1]. I didn't even know there was a Ghost in the Shell 2 until my brother got it for me for christmas.

      Advertising makes a big difference. People aren't going to go see a movie they don't even know exists.

      [1] I've seen 2 anime movies in a theater: Spirited Away and Wings of Honneamise. Both were in a small independent theater in my small, rural home town. Now that I live in LA I hear jack about shit, even though anim
  • Id like to see this, but fandango doesnt even have it listed as a movie. Any idea where i could find information on where this might be playing? not that it will ever come within 100 miles of where i live, being in the middle of nowhere.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @05:24PM (#11881400)
  • We're carrying it (Score:3, Interesting)

    by KingOfTheNerds ( 706852 ) on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @05:24PM (#11881402) Homepage
    I work at an AMC theater here in Pennsylvania, and I know that our theater is going to be carrying steamboy. I have a feeling that no matter how good the movie is it will be hard to convince people to come see and appreciate anime.
  • by abucior ( 306728 ) on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @05:27PM (#11881437)
    Here. [] The quick summary: Beautiful. Too bad they didn't spend more time on the script.
  • Seriously, I think this movie will rock [], and the release timing is probably pretty good with the start of the pre-summer season (summer is too dominated by blockbusters and wanabees). The classic "science/tech is both good and evil" zen-type attitude is prevalent in this movie, as it was in other [] anime films [], but I hope that it won't completely miss the average American moviegoer.
  • Anyone know a UK / Europe release date? The site has japanese, American and French . . .
  • Timeline (Score:1, Informative)

  • Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jukashi ( 240273 ) on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @05:32PM (#11881514) Homepage Journal
    Why does everything "good" have to be liked by MILLIONS of people? Isnt that the mindset that creates steaming piles like "Be Cool" - make the most bland-least-offensive-lowest-common-denominator-dr ivel possible to maximize profits? F that.
    • Re:Why? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Fyz ( 581804 )
      Maybe, but popular stuff tends to get more cold hard cash to produce, and even though that isn't enough by itself to produce high quality material, it certainly helps.
      Personally, I can't stand the run-of-the-mill anime with their 'flying' backgrounds and fixed character-only-moves-his-mouth stuff. They did that to save money on the budget. GITS 2 was an incredible achievement in animation that wouldn't have been possible without some major dough.

      And finally, it is hardly a fools quest to try to promote s
    • Re:Why? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by fm6 ( 162816 )
      Studio Ghibli movies cost a lot to make. If a lot of people don't go to see them, distributors and investors will lose interest, and there won't be any more.

      Entertaining a mass market is always a tradeoff. On the one extreme you have whorish content-free Hollywood crap that aims to please hundreds of millions of mindless drones. At the other extreme you have navel-gazing art films that aim to please only themselves. There's nothing wrong with trying to find a place in the middle.

      • dont worry about Ghibli, they make plenty of money in Japan so they really are not all that concerned with the US revenues. They will take what they can get for sure profit is profit, but it doesn't worry them that much. Miyazaki has basically said as much in interviews. Why do you think that Mirimax handles their US distribution for them? They dont want to hassle with doing the foreign distribution themselves even though that might net them a bit more profit. They would rather get started on their next pro
  • by EvilMagnus ( 32878 ) on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @05:33PM (#11881524)
    ...last November.

    Short version: starts strong, fades towards the end.

    It's very pretty. It has some wonderful set-pieces and amusing character ideas (Stephenson-sama, for example. And Scarlett.) but boy does the Grand Finale go on for far too long.

    It's not *quite* "TETSUO!" "KANEDA!", but it's close. Ah, well. At least the steamball doesn't turn out to be a Dragonball with Supa-Seijin powers.
    • It's very pretty. It has some wonderful set-pieces and amusing character ideas (Stephenson-sama, for example. And Scarlett.) but boy does the Grand Finale go on for far too long.

      Agreed. I saw it late last year and the artwork was wonderful but it just didn't have the intensity that anime often delivers. I wouldn't say I was disappointed but I had hoped for more. Actually one of the few really bright spots were the credits at the end where the background images told a story in their own right similar (but

    • I also saw it last november at the Leeds film festival in the UK. The version I saw was in Japanese with subtitles. I'm glad I had a chance to see this if the general release is dubbed. I MUCH prefer to watch foreign language releases in the original language.

      However good the dubbing (and animations make it easier), they never seem quite right to me.

      I also saw Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence on the same day. I liked both but it would be difficult to pick between. Steamboy did seem to take a lot of inspira
  • Patrick Stewart (Score:4, Interesting)

    by cOdEgUru ( 181536 ) * on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @05:33PM (#11881529) Homepage Journal
    Ummm... Reason they went for Patrick Stewart for one of the voice overs could also do with the fact that he voiced "Lord Yupa" in the newly released dubbed version of "Nausicaa: Valley of the Wind" [] . Man did quite a good job there as well.

    I hope Steamboy turns out to be as good as Akira. The initial reviews are not that encouraging however due to the movie's lack of emotional depth. But the visuals are supposedly breathtaking and I will pay for that.
  • by Tibor the Hun ( 143056 ) on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @05:36PM (#11881567)
    I sure hope the DVD will be available in japanese with english subtitles.

    I'm not a big anime nut, but I just get an awkward feeling when I watch anime in english.

  • Box office scores... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by zalas ( 682627 ) on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @05:36PM (#11881569) Homepage
    Anime films without Pokémon in their titles haven't fared well at the US Box office

    It looks more like the problem is getting theaters to take the risk of showing it. If more theaters adopted these movies, they might fare better, and the difference wouldn't be as large. For example, if you divide the grossing number by the number of theaters that it was shown in, the difference isn't that significant anymore. Maybe it's just a chicken and the egg thing...
    • Here in St. Louis, "Ghost in the Shell II" was running in on one screen for one week, and that was almost two months after the initial release to U.S. theatres.

      I can't imagine why it didn't do very well at the Box Office.

      /sarcasm off.

      If you work at a movie house that shows midnight movies or the occasional Sunday afternoon "Arthouse" show, convince your boss that this sort of thing is the way to go. Then promote it. Otherwise, the grosses will stay infinitesimal, even if the DVD sells well .

      • by UWC ( 664779 ) on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @06:09PM (#11881992)
        I was surprised that Nashville's only real arthouse type theater had GitS2 on its US opening week, on the larger of the two screens at said theater. The same theater also had Tokyo Godfathers, but that was significantly after the US premiere. I'm hoping the Otomo name will be enough to get Steamboy at least to that theater, maybe a bigger one or two, and hopefully soon. The Cowboy Bebop movie was at a particular Regal Cinemas theater that tends to get the slightly better known little-known movies for a week, but that was only like the week before it came out on DVD.

        All that said, the only anime I've seen playing on more than one screen in middle Tennessee was Spirited Away, and that was after all the Oscar rumblings; it was only at that Regal theater previously. Spirited Away is also the only one I've seen play for more than one week around here.

        Oh, hey, that arthouse theater will be showing Appleseed for a week starting Friday! Whee! And Sky Blue for a couple of days in April... though Sky Blue is Korean. No mention of Steamboy on their site ( []). I guess I can hope that's because it will be at the Regal...

        • I should also note that the anime I've seen at the Belcourt has been subtitled with Japanese audio, while the ones I've seen at Regal have been good quality English dubs. I'm not sure if that's the determining factor for which theater it gets to (are there English dubs of GitS2 and Tokyo Godfathers?) or if it's just the theater manager's choice.
    • Here's the calculated numbers in case anyone's too lazy... Pokemon: The First Movie, 28178 Pokemon: The Movie 2000, 15901 Pokemon 3: The Movie, 6375 Pokemon 4Ever, 6938 Pokemon Heroes, 3732 Spirited Away, 14084 Princess Mononoke, 18413 Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence, 18970 Cowboy Bebop, 34484 Metropolis, 45183 Basically, this compares Pokemon with the top 5 ranking non-kids anime movies for their gross per theater counts. I think the tail end of the data (Cowboy Bebop and Metropolis) start getting inac
  • There are preview dvds for Steamboy at Suncoast, Media Play and Sam Goody. The catch is that you have to purchase an anime title to recieve the preview dvd.

    I believe it runs about 26 mins or so. I was interested in picking it up but can't bring myself to paying their outragous prices.

    link: SteamBoy Preview DVD []
  • Ah well I downloaded the screener yesterday from streamload. I will watch it in about an hour, but my friend that sent it said it was awesome.
  • by PhiznTRG ( 261350 ) on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @05:41PM (#11881624) Homepage
    The problem is not necessarily public acceptance but studio marketing. Looking at the linked box office data it is pretty obvious that movies released to very few theatres (e.g. "Cowboy Bebop") don't do as well as movies heavily marketed and released to thousands of theatres. (On "Tokyo Godfathers" - that isn't the type of movie that the general public would like anyway - crossdressing old men in cartoons are not kid-friendly...)

    "Spirited Away", which did pretty well despite all the effort by Disney to not market the movie, shows that anime can be successful when done right. The fact that it took an Oscar to get the public to notice the movie is sad, when Buena Vista could have had a real hit on it's hands. There are more and more Miyazaki movies on DVD in places like Target now but the marketing is still minimal (though I have seen commercials for Naussica).

    There is a disconnect between what the Adult Swim alpha geek will consider good anime and what will do well in theatres (see Pokemon). The influx of Japanese manga and anime is growing, though, I suspect that we will see more movies released in theatres once the studious catch on to the growing trend. Kids that under five now will not think that Anime is strange or foreign, which will directly impact public acceptance of anime as a legitimate movie choice.

    • Looking at the linked box office data it is pretty obvious that movies released to very few theatres (e.g. "Cowboy Bebop") don't do as well as movies heavily marketed and released to thousands of theatres.

      The same could be said for most products. For instance, cookies sold in very few stores don't do as well as cookies sold in many stores.

      Trust me, there isn't a conspiracy here. If Buena Vista thought that investing $10 million more in marketing would have assured $20 million more in box office receip

      • I agree, partly, but there really is more behind it then Disney (or BV) didn't think the movie would do well enough to warrant marketing it more. Part of the problem is an aversion to non-Disney material and another is past experience (Princess Mononoke - a more adult film and something Disney doesn't have experience with) not being good for Disney.

        The Oscar was based mainly on the merit of the film, and fame of Miyazaki, and not any real push by Disney. Part of the reason that Disney relented to release

    • For some reason, no US anime distributor really tries hard in the theatrical market. I'm talking maybe 15 screens across the US, with 10 of them being California.

      The problem with saying they didn't try to market it is, well, you are right, they didn't, but I think the reason they didn't is valid. People complained that Disney (through Miramax) didn't promote Mononoke, as if promoting it "better" would have meant selling enough more tickets to pay for the ads, but their test market showed that it wouldn't
    • "There is a disconnect between what the Adult Swim alpha geek will consider good anime and what will do well in theatres (see Pokemon)."

      Um, hate to break it to ya, but I can't think of a single adult swim fan I know who likes pokemon (well, maybe when they were younger). Adult swim has gotten some decent shows, but a lot of more "hardcore" anime fans feel that their shows are too kiddy and that they should be subbed. They are making a good move getting Naruto, I just hope they don't cut any of the seriou

  • by NitroWolf ( 72977 ) on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @05:43PM (#11881653)
    It's going to have a tough time with a name like "Steamboy."

    Akira is cryptic enough that American audiences wouldn't have a problem with it. But "Steamboy" is going to be a major problem with US audiences. The title, frankly, sounds pretty fruity. Couple that with the fact that most people will initially dismiss it as a "cartoon," and you've got a recipe for failure.

    The whole concept of naming things in Asian culture versus American culture is really at odds, and things that sound ok or even good in Asian languages sound absolutely hideous, sexual/pornographic (LG/Lucky Gold anyone?), or just plain silly.

    Porco Rosso sounds like a kids show.

    Princess Mononoke is average, nothing particularly detracting about it, but nothing to make you think either.

    My neighbor Totoro / Totoro next door sound like a black and white haughty French film that's only been seen by 7 people in the world outside of Cannes.

    Naussica of the Valley of the Winds - really long title that doesn't flow exactly right (too many "of"'s in there).

    Ghost in the Shell - this one had potential if marketed right, but it sounds like a horror movie, and just plain wasn't promoted properly.

    Perfect Blue - Sounds like the name of a good pr0n movie.

    Wings of Honneamise - This sounds like flying Hollendaise sauce. Really sounds food related. The life story of Julia Childs or something, perhaps!

    I know I'm missing some, those are the ones I've seen/can think of off the top of my head, and in just about every case, the name just doesn't seem to be something the average American is going to want to see. Steamboy is not going to be an exception. No matter how good the movie is, the name is going to be a HUGE turn off to people.

    The studios need to have a message board where people can submit English names for these shows that are appealing to the target audience... and that audience votes on the best name. This would save a lot of marketing dollars, and also, I think, provide the title with the best possible name for the money as it were.


    Just my 2c worth

    • Clearly you're the authority when it comes to determining pornographic names for movies. Good Job, keep it up.
    • what is the deal with naming superheroes something-boy. Or the japanese fixation with something-boy in general.

      It's got to be hard to feel like a kick-ass superhero when you have 'boy' in your name. Oh No! It's AtomicWussyPants, run away!
    • The canonical example, of course, is Nissan trying to name the Z series "Fairlady" after the play. Someone in the states had the wit to pry off the Fairlady marques and re-label it after the internal part number: 240Z.
    • None of these are names are as bad as "Kiddy Grade."

      You all know what that sounds like, but it's a perfectly normal superpower-police-conspiracy-in-space anime series. Really!
    • [Examples of movies that translate poorly to English, as a reason that they'll "have a hard time" in the US]

      Porco Rosso [...] Princess Mononoke [...] My neighbor Totoro / Totoro [...] Naussica of the Valley of the Winds [...] Ghost in the Shell [...] Perfect Blue [...] Wings of Honneamise

      Ok, so let's look at the movies that we Americans DO like for examples of those excellent title ideas, shall we?

      Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone -- Top grossing movie in the US, 2001. WAY too long, name sounds like
      • Hey, I'm not disagreeing with you at ALL that there are tons of stupid name for purely American movies. I agree with you 100%.

        That doesn't negate the fact that if Japan wants the movies to be accepted in America, they are going to have to come up with better names, even surpassing the names Americans come up with for our own crap.
        • "That doesn't negate the fact that if Japan wants the movies to be accepted in America, they are going to have to come up with better names..."

          Good thing they don't give a crap about "America". If you don't think that "All-Purpose Cultural Cat-Girl Nuku-Nuku" is a normal name... Well, better for the rest of us then.

        • Some things just don't translate that well. I bet there are a lot of Americans who are intelligent enough to know that if you translate a movie title it may not properly reflect the original title.

          Eg the great series "Arrested Development" was in Sweden translated to something like "Bluff and Build Inc". That is pretty much the anti-thesis of the original clever and convoluted title. The kind of people that will find the Swedish title interesting will most likely not enjoy the show.

          Can I blame that on the
        • My point was that, here in the states, we don't care if the title is Boogie Nights or T2 or any other awful thing... we go to a movie based on word of mouth and/or advertising. If someone says "hey, that Japanese film, School Girl Mud Bath, is really good," we'll go see it... ok, there are a lot of guys that would see it anyway, but that's not my point ;-)
    • Couple that with the fact that most people will initially dismiss it as a "cartoon," and you've got a recipe for failure.

      Yeah, and I don't see why - Disney's made an entire empire on "cartoons". Yes, Mononoke is an adult film. But why not go after the Disney crowd on some of these? Lots of kids movies are smart enough that the adults enjoy it, buy it, etc. Why not go after it?
    • The whole concept of naming things in Asian culture versus American culture is really at odds[...]

      Some of those names are pretty odd. But, maybe they're still adapting to not using the "Adjective Noun Propername" ("Neon Genesis Evangelion", "Serial Experiments Lain", etc. etc.) formula for everything. Give them time, they'll work it out.

      (Still, I think you're right about this movie's name - USAians are pretty much conditioned to assume that "(something)Boy/Man/Girl/Woman" names belong to comic-book supe

  • I'd just like to say that Echocharlie has posted a damn good story here... good job, great attention to detail with the html tags.
    Could it be that we are finally recovering from the endless plague of duped stories as of late?!
    Hope that's not too off topic...
  • English Dubs (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Xetrov ( 267777 ) on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @05:46PM (#11881692)
    I'll tell you why noone wants to watch English dubbed anime -- because it is crap.

    Surely I'm not the only person who has noticed how dull and lifeless the voice actors usually are in English dubs. It seems they try to time their words to fit the mouth movements of the characters, making the speech sound very unnatural. They also have no emotion.
    It could be that the English actors dont care, maybe it is "just a cartoon" to them.

    I watch a lot of anime. Always in Japanese with English subs. Which brings me to the next point - why do foreign movies have to be dubbed? Few things annoy me more than people who will not watch a movie simply because they "have to read" it.
    • Re:English Dubs (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @06:04PM (#11881935)
      See Cowboy Bebop, where an English VA beats Megumi all over.

      See Fruits Basket, an anime so perfectly cast I have YET to meet a fan of the show that thought badly of ANY many char english VA.

      See Tenchi, another legendary cast...many of whom are old school Disney VA's.

      There exhist many good VA's some of them are better than others, some of them are REALLY tallented...some of the SUCK ASS and were HORRIBLE mistakes.

      But truthfully alot of what people prefer have nothing to do with quaility and EVERYTHING to do with preconcieved notions based on which ever language they saw first of a show they like.

      BTW the anime club at our university REGULARLY votes to watch dub over sub...we usually show choice clips from the main chars on both. This semester when 3/1 three dubs voted, one sub voted.
    • I wouldn't go so far as to say that all dubs are crap. I thought that the dub for Evangelion was perfectly watchable- Spike Spencer, who I haven't liked much in other roles did an excellent job as Shinji, for instance- and much of the work from Bang Zoom! seems to be first rate. I still prefer to watch the subs, but it's unfair to tar all dubs with the same brush.

    • Re:English Dubs (Score:5, Insightful)

      by natrius ( 642724 ) * <> on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @06:44PM (#11882345) Homepage
      Few things annoy me more than people who will not watch a movie simply because they "have to read" it.

      People watch movies to be entertained. If they don't want to read subtitles, that's their deal. It's their free time.

      Few things annoy me more than self-righteous people.
      • While I agree on the self-righteous thing, I would like to see more movies subbed. Especially anime movies. French films are usually subbed instead of dubbed, why is that?

        The truth of the matter is that yet another one of the reasons someone would rather download/buy the dvd of anime is because they have the option of watching it subbed. I wish there was some research done into which fans preferred more, subbed or dubbed, because I believe wholeheartedly that 99% of fans would say subbed. Maybe if the c

    • Re:English Dubs (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Saxerman ( 253676 ) *
      I'll tell you why noone wants to watch English dubbed anime -- because it is crap.

      I used to be you. I used to dismiss all dubs as total crap merely because all the dubs I had heard were, in fact, total crap. And, for the most part, they are still total crap, but that doesn't mean it's all bad. As Anime slowly moves closer to main stream there are a number of vendors pushing for better quality dubs. I now find it disingenuous to dismiss them all as crap, even if the vast majority of them are.

      why do

    • Re:English Dubs (Score:3, Insightful)

      by echocharlie ( 715022 )
      I'll tell you why noone wants to watch English dubbed anime -- because it is crap.

      I'll agree that there's a lot of crap out there, but there is also stuff that is dubbed well too. You do a disservice to the hard-working actors and directors that take pride in the job they do. As the companies gain experience, the dubbing jobs have been progressively getting better. It's amazing the difference a few years makes.

      Compare the first dubbed episode of Ranma to the latest episodes of Inuyasha and you'

  • Ghost 2 was amazing, particularly the animation. However there were several things that made its first viewing hard.

    1) There was a lot of dialog, so reading all the subtitles distracted from much of the visuals.

    2) There were some things going on, plot wise that were hard to follow without some background of the first movie/series.

    I enjoyed it and i went and bought both movies on DVD, but thing is, much of the plot was based on Batu, and what happened to the major. Much of the meta-plot is based on what i
    • More than amazing. It was one of the best films I have seen recently. Playing off the aesthetic concerns of people like Philip Dick, Hans Bellmer and the post-modern themes of the music of Die Form and Clock DVA - GITS 2 was just incredible.

      And the TV series "Stand Alone Complex" is far more than meets the eye in most episodes. The Laughing Man shit is unbelievable in terms of its savage attack on modern Cyber culture.

      And I hate most Anime - I am not even a big fan of animation per se. I just like anythin
  • by Kunta Kinte ( 323399 ) on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @06:03PM (#11881918) Journal
    Why do they do so well in Japan??

    Am I the only one around here that believes a lot of those 'great' anime films are terribely shallow? Is there 'intelligent' anime out there?

    Miyasaki's movies are great, I've seen just about every one released in the US. But besides one or two over movies and series ( eg. Metropolis, Cowboy Bebop ), Anime movies quite often suffer from...

    Flat Characters - Eg. Isolated loner teenager

    Standard Plots - Eg. Isolated loner teenager becomes empowered.

    Bad Art - Eg. Static screens that hold for seconds as dialog proceeds.

    Bad titilation - Eg. Half naked girls that look 15 but have supermodel bodies.

    Etc, Etc.

    I continue to search through those movies, hoping to find gems ( I watch a lot of film ). But not holding my breath.

    • If I may add,

      Clunky Plot Devices - E.g. Fortune telling old shaman type character that fortells doom but is never right.

      Bad dialogue - E.g. Translation is one thing, but to hear the incessant grunting of one of the members in the dialogue gets old very quickly.

      That said, I did like Outlaw Star, KaleidoStar, Cowboy Bebop, and the stuff I watched when I was a teenager before I learned better.

    • well, to start off, i can only presume you're seeing a subset of anime. the selections of titles that made semi-famed debuts overseas has always been done by monkeys on acid (*cough*olschoolUrutsukidoji*cough*), but they're slowly getting a tolerance to the drug and making more sense nowadays. one classic example is that once upon a time, maybe 15 years ago, europe got by FAR more anime porn imports than any other kind of anime. at that time, if you tried to introduce the average european to anime, as soon
  • From the headline:
    The movie features the notable return of Katsuhiro Otomo, who hasn't directed an animated film since Akira...

    Not entirely true. Otomo directed a segment of the rather excellent compilation Memories (1995). I'm not sure if that received a theatrical release, but it does have an MPAA rating indicating it did.

    Otomo also was involved with Rojin Z (1991) and Metropolis (2001). So he hasn't totally been out of the game the last 17 years.

  • by CodeBuster ( 516420 ) on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @07:10PM (#11882618)
    The problem in the United States is distribution and promotion. The bad anime, Pokemon and the like, is promoted like crazy as part of a general marketing fad with tons of cheesy merchandising tie-ins, while truly artistic and meritorious achievements such as Ghost in the Shell (Kôkaku kidôtai), Princesss Mononoke (Mononoke-hime), Spirited Away (Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi), and Howl's Moving Castle (Hauru no ugoku shiro) get short changed big time on promotion and distribution. There is a large audience in the United States for quality anime, but the problem is that the audience is not concentrated in any one geographic area except in very large cities and metropolitan areas. Thus, these films generally only open in very large cities (1 million+ population) on a very limited number of screens, usually in smaller or special interest theatres, and with very limited promotion and marketing.
    • Well, as far as the Ghibli films go, there's a very simple explanation for that: Disney doesn't have merchandising rights for them. Think of how much more they'd promote the likes of Spirited Away if they did, not to mention get the damned films on DVD faster.
  • The movie features the notable return of Katsuhiro Otomo, who hasn't directed an animated film since Akira, so big things can be expected.

    I'm glad to see some high-quality anime that isn't by Miyasaki. Nothing against old Hayao (there isn't a single scene in Spirited Away I can think of without smiling), but his colleagues are too neglected in the west.

    The english cast features Anna Paquin, Alfred Molina, and Patrick Stewart. That's interesting casting since ...

    Who cares? These are all fine actors, bu

    • I forgot to say: the weirdest thing about Anime is its fondness for stories set in this weird semi-Vernian alternate reality. Examples include Kiki's Delivery Service, Castle in the Sky, and of course Steam Boy.
  • But anime sucks now.
  • I know this is really vague, but about a month ago there was some new DVD anime movie release that was heavily advertised on (United states) TV and I also saw banner ads on the internet.

    It looked like a good movie and I wanted to see it but I didn't catch the name or really anything about it. I'm sure I couldn't possibly be more vague except for that it did seem to have a lot of advertising for a few weeks.

    *ANY* ideas?

    The only scene I remember was someone riding on a bike through the sand or something. M
  • Where's the torrent?

    Just kidding....well, not really, if you have it post it. But as someone who will definitely go see this in the theater for the big screen, and will also download the dvd rip of it as soon as its subbed, I'm wondering why this hasn't been picked up and subbed by any groups that I know of yet since its been out in Japan now.

    • I'm wondering why this hasn't been picked up and subbed by any groups that I know of yet since its been out in Japan now.

      Fansub groups traditionally don't work on licensed anime - many include "stop distributing this once it's licensed"-style disclaimers in the opening credits. Since Steamboy is already licensed, the reputable ones will leave it alone.

  • by Goonie ( 8651 ) <robert DOT merkel AT benambra DOT org> on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @08:54PM (#11883660) Homepage
    For once, us Aussies saw this film well before you, last year. It was shown subtitled in arthouse theatres in the major cities. If the dubbing is done well, I actually think an English dub would be appropriate considering the film is set in Victorian England and it's a little strange having Englishmen chat away in japanese.

    The movie's plot is geek heaven, being based around the age of steam and the engineers who made it happen. A key part of the film is set in the Crystal Palace [] for the opening of the Great Exhibition [], and it's all beautifully drawn. As others have pointed out, the climactic ending sequence is spectacular, but far too drawn out. But, regardless, this movie is a blast.

  • by May Kasahara ( 606310 ) on Tuesday March 08, 2005 @09:41PM (#11884088) Journal
    ...this past Saturday at the Directors' Guild theater in NYC. Mr. Otomo was supposed to be there for a Q&A after the show, but he fell ill; the film's animation director (Shinji Takagi) and producer (Shinji Komori) took his place.

    Overall, though it was not the best thing I'd ever seen, it was quite good. Although certain stylistic touches reminiscent of Akira are present, the overall tone of the work reminded me far more of the Otomo-directed segments in Robot Carnival and Memories-- a very good thing, believe me. The story is okay, yet (pleasantly) surprisingly Miyazaki-esque (I was reminded in particular of Laputa and Kiki's Delivery Service), and some scenes, especially toward the end, are outright spectacular in their composition and sense of imagination. The use of CG in the film also brought Miyazaki to mind, as the techniques used are much the same as those employed in Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away.

    The print was crisp and the dubbing was on par with Disney's work on the Ghibli films. Sony Pictures did a great job in preparing this for American audiences, IMHO-- at least as good as their work with The Triplets of Belleville.

    My only gripes about the film concern the sound mix (way too loud in certain scenes-- as in, action movie loud-- for my tastes) and some of the editing decisions (there were a few jarring cuts, and more that a few that felt way too short. Long, lingering cuts are a strong point of Otomo's; as it seems, the opposite can hold true for his short cuts).

    Aside from those gripes, I enjoyed it, and one can definately see the ten years' worth of work (six spent in animation!) on the screen.

    P.S.- One of the questions asked after the screening were about whether or not there would be a sequel or a spinoff TV series; Mr. Komori and Mr. Takagi would neither confirm nor deny it, only saying that there's been some discussion about it. Hmm...

    • I was at the premier as well, and I think they really should have screened the questions before letting people ask them. Questions like "did you want to make a cartoon or did you want to make art?" were far from the best uses of Takagi and Komori's time. Overall, I think I liked Steamboy better than I did Akira and will see it again after the 18th. I think the review that was linked to in another comment above was way off.
      • Well, it being the opener of a children's film festival, I didn't object to them humoring such questions for the most part (if it was a serious animation festival like Ottawa or Annecy, that would be a different story). And for the record, I like anything Otomo does that involves steampunk better than Akira :)
  • If any of you are wondering what the Japanese site [] is talking about, here is a crude transation.

    It has been 16 years since "AKIRA", the latest theatrical anime by the world renowed creator Otomo Katsuhiro has finally arrived! Took 9 years in making and a budget of 2.4 billion Yen (23 billion US dollars). Epic story "Steam Boy" is a hard-core blood-boiling fantasy-science-adventure-action-drama the world has been waiting for.

    The stage is 19th century England. The time when steam engine began to domin

  • One thing I neglected to mention in the original story: I don't think the use of big-name actors is necessarily a good thing. There's a world of difference between good acting and good voice acting. The truly great actors can do both well, but they are few and far between.

    I understand that it gives the marketing guys an angle to promote the show, but I fear they undermine the potential of the movie by doing so.

Variables don't; constants aren't.