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Satoshi Kon for Beginners


In honor of the recently departed Satoshi Kon, we thought we’d draw your attention to one of the more overlooked films in his catalog and in anime in general, the curdled Capra gem that is Tokyo Godfathers.

The plot focuses on a homeless trio in modern Tokyo trying to track down the parents of an abandoned baby. On the surface, it seems like a break from the psychedelics in Kon’s other work—particularly the infamous Paprika, which really is the head-trip Inception briefly promised to be—but the weirdness is still there, hidden under a layer of melodrama. If Kon was the Fellini of anime, this was his La Strada, which makes it a pretty good entry point for anyone still getting used to the oddities of the genre.

Going Ghibli


The film-director dress code hasn’t changed that much since the Fellini: a solid pair of shades, a deceptively casual jacket, and an expression of permanent detachment. And if you want to throw in a few whiskers…just make sure they match the jacket.

This snap just surfaced catching anime guru Hayao Miyazaki in one of the nattier getups we’ve seen this side of Tokyo. His shoulders look a little too sharp to be unstructured, but the chest pocket makes it seem casual enough for just about anything. Add in a pair of transparent shades, and you’ve got a movie mogul on your hands.

Going Disney


Takashi Murakami’s ongoing Louis Vuitton collaboration has already yielded some strange fruits, but he shows no signs of letting up. This video is the second instance of his Miyazaki-esque animated side in the service of a strangely tongue-in-cheek style of branding.

The video—on display now in Japanese LV stores-is a fairly straightforward advertising fable—a young girl is transported to 1890s Paris to fall in love with a 14-year-old Gaston Louis Vuitton—but it’s a good deal more psychedelic than is strictly necessary, and Murakami’s mushroom shaped creations and jittery electronic strums are a bit too unsettling for the story to fit nicely in the inviting world of advertising.

We’ve got the sneaking suspicion someone’s trying to pull something, but we’re not sure who it is.

See the video»

The Need for Speed


There’s no shortage of campy Japanese imports these days, but the pioneers still have a bit of kick in them. For instance, our old friend Mr. Racer…

Speed Racer has finally made it to Hulu (via Autoblog), with 51 of the 52 American episodes just uploaded to the increasingly monolithic network video site. It’s every bit as over-the-top as you remember it, even if recent years (and a certain Wachowski Brothers film) have made the sensory overload a bit more manageable.

Now the question is, how soon can they get the Hanna-Barbera catalog up there?

Sing along with us»

Gone Fishin’


Radiohead have taken a crowd-friendly approach since In Rainbows hit filesharing networks in March, but while they made big news with the pay-what-you-want release and opening a few songs up to remixers, their video ambitions very nearly slipped under our radar.

Apparently the band partnered with aniBoom for a large-scale, crowd-sourced music video contest. The plan was to name a single grand prize winner and give them a hard-won $10,000 for their troubles, but the outpouring was strong enough that the band ended up bumping the number of winners up to four.

See the grand prize winners»

Motion Pictures


Our favorite bowtie-glad pop artist is expanding into yet another field. Not satisfied with fantastic gallery work and the occasional high-fashion collab, Takashi Murakami is getting his Pixar on. Or should we say, his Miyazaki.

His latest project is an animation and film studio dedicated to the characters he’s produced. The trailer for the first major animated film kaikai & kiki debuted at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary art this year, and he’s already gone as far as setting up office space. Apparently he has a bit more faith in the economy than Mr. Hirst.

See the trailer and a few of Murakami’s economic musings»