Archive for March 2012

Blog #7: Cartoons in Wartime

March 28, 2012

Hey everybody, so as usual I was material for this post sort of presented itself to me today when we were discussing how animations tend be used as propganda, for lack of a better word, during situations such as wartime.  We saw in class how Rocky & Bullwinkle was made during the Cold War and corresponded to it by featuring two Russian spies, Boris and Natasha, among other things.  Now, what I’ve most noticed in wartime animations is that in the counrty where they are made, the bad guys of the animation are purposefully meant to be portrayed in a satirical way.  For example, in Rocky & Bullwinkle, Natasha and Boris are shown to be complete buffoons in how they are routinely failing at and screwing up their missions.  Additionally, the two Russian spies are portrayed as both having black hair, dark clothing, pale white skin, menacing facial expressions, and Boris is featured with red eyes that seem to always be shifty, indicating his character is routinely up to no good. On the flip side the heroes in these animations are portrayed as cheery, happy, good-hearted, and they always seem to be a step ahead of the bad guys.  Also regardless of the intellect that the good guy displays, it seems that even with that, they always have the upper-hand to the bumbling villain.  For example, in the Rocky & Bullwinkle clip the we watched in class, where Natasha gives Bullwinkle the box with the dynamite inside, and subsequently gets locked in the room with them, Bullwinkle didn’t really seem too wise to the fact that he had a ticking time bomb in his midst and he furthermore displayed no urgencey to find the right key in his cluttered key ring in order to escape in time.  In that clip, the thing that saved Rocky and Bullwinkle was a) the locked door, b) Bullwinkle’s dimwittedness, and c) the ultimate buffoonery of Natasha and Boris who, ironically, would be seen as more intelligent than Bullwinkle at least, and maybe Rocky, but unfortunately they can’t ever win because they are the evil Russian spies and not the heroes, who even in their own stupidity still manage to save the day, avoid total disaster, and come out on top.

Now the same sort of wartime animations went on during World War II, especially with the Looney Tunes who of course were portrayed as the heroes who conquer the Nazis who, like both Boris and Natasha and the Soviets, are portrayed as being blundering fools and inept at their jobs, who routinely lose to the hero.  In the below clip, called Daffy the Commando (1943), Daffy Duck is portrayed as the American, commando hero who causes trouble for the two Nazis in there, what looks to be, Normandy bunker.  The two Nazis in the video are, of course, shown to be blundering fools and no matter what they do, they can’t seem to get the upper hand on and beat Daffy who is antagonizing them and creating chaos for them through his usual trickster ways. So, I hope you all enjoy the video:

Daffy the Commando

Midterm Blog Specimen: Recommendation- Cowboy Bebop

March 20, 2012

Hello everybody, so today I have another animated series recommendation for you, and it is the Japanese anime series known as Cowboy Bebop which was directed by Shinichirō Watanabe, and it aired in 1998 (Cowboy Bebop).  This critically acclaimed and award winning anime series centers around the adventures of the crew of the spaceship known as The Bebop, which is made up of Spike Speigel, a bounty hunter and ex-criminal, Jet Black, a bounty hounter, an ex-Inter Space cop and pilot of the ship, Faye Valentine, an amesiac, gambling-addicted bounty hunter, Ed, an expert hacker, and Ein, a genetically modified Welsh Corgi (Cowboy Bebop).  The series is set in the far future, in about the year 2071, where mankind has colonized the other moons and planets of the solar system, such as Mars and the moons of Jupiter, as the Earth has become barley habitable due to an explosion of an experimental hyperspace gate, which occurred many years prior to the show’s beginning (Cowboy Bebop).  The hyperspace gates are used by the people in the show for fast travel across the solar system, and thus making the rest of the solar system available for human expansion.  In this space-centered frontier, Mars has become the new central hub for human civilization, and interplanetary crime syndicates have exerted such a great influence over the government and the Inter-Solar System Police (ISSP), that their ability to fight crime has become quite limited, and so the government has established a bounty hunter system, which is similar to that of the Old West, in order to deal with fugitives, terrorists, and other criminals (Cowboy Bebop).  In the series, the bounty hunters are often referred to as “cowboys” due to the bounty hunter system’s similarity to that the Old West. (Cowboy Bebop) And, this is where the main cast of characters come in, and where the series gets its primary focus.

Alright, so now that you have some idea of what  Cowboy Bebop is about, I’ll now speak a little on what intrigues me so much about this show and, of course, why I highly recommend that you all watch it.  Okay, so what is it about this show that intrigues me so much? In short, pretty much everything.  The show is so well done; from the characters, the characterization, the setting, the mood, the music, the story, etc, the show is just so well-rounded and well done that it really doesn’t miss a beat.  The characters, as I said, are very well done, and each of them has, including Ein, the dog, their own unique background, all of which are explored at various points in the series.  The animators and writers of Cowboy Bebop do an excellent job of adequately including each character and not wasting any one of them.  Additionally, going back to the character backgrounds in order to tie these two points together, the character backgrounds are so well done that any one of them could be considered the main character by the audience, even though Spike is sort of the de facto main character, as his character is the most explored and focused on.  Also, the voice acting for each character is excellently done as well, as not once while I watched the series did I say or think that a certain character had a mismatched voice.

Cowboy Bebop’s setting in space, and the fact that it’s a series that focuses on bounty hunters and criminals, really gives the show a good, proper mood and tone that the writers and animators do a fantastic job sticking with, while at the same time throwing in some lighthearted moments.  The general mood and tone of the show is dark, gritty, and wild as indicated by the Wild West atmosphere that the makers of the show do well in incorporating.  With the adventures of each episode, the audience gets a nice look into the dark, mysterious criminal world that the crew of The Bebop is routinely involved with.  From major crime syndicates, to computer hackers, and to terrorists, the show wonderfully incoporates all of these things in order to truly convey the universe of the Bebop crew as sort of a wide-open, lawless Wild West.  And, from the mood, tone, and setting, the makers of the show excellenty create a fun, highly-interesting, and rarely dull story that flows nicely and non-confusedly from episode to episode.

Now last, but sertainly not least, the music that Cowboy Bebop is set to is simply wonderful and it absolutely fits to this show.  The music has largely a Jazz and Blues feature to it, and it really contributes to the fast-paced, criminal vs bounty hunter, and Wild West theme of the show.  A lot of harmonica use can be heard as well as plenty of saxophone, along with a heavy use of drums and cymbals, all of which benefit the show immensely.  In fact, Cowboy Bebop’s soundtrack is considered to be the best for anime, according to IGN which voted it to be such in 2006 (Cowboy Bebop).

If there is any letdown about Cowboy Bebop, it is that it only lasted for twenty-six epsiodes, but don’t be turned off by that because despite this little setback, the series is more than well worth the watch even as it is.  As I said earlier, the series is just twenty-six episodes long, with each of the episodes being called a “session” and each of them being named after some sort of music genre or a specific song.  Trust me, you won’t be dissappointed by this show, each episode on its own is worth watching, the characters are fun and excellently done and overall Cowboy Bebop is just a fantastic show in general.

P.S.- There is a Cowboy Bebop: The Movie that came out in 2001, so if you guys want to check that out as well then go ahead (The Movie)

(Logo) (Bebop Crew)

Here’s A good example of the Cowboy Bebop Soundtrack: Intro Song 

Blog #6: Recommendation- Cowboy Bebop

March 7, 2012

Hey guys, today I have another animated series recommendation for, and it is the anime known as Cowboy Bebop which was directed by Shinichirō Watanabe, and it aired in 1998 (Cowboy Bebop).  This critically acclaimed and award winning anime series centers around the adventures the crew of the ship known as The Bebop, which is made up of Spike Speigel, a bounty hunter and ex-criminal, Jet Black, a bounty hounter, an ex-Inter Space cop and pilot of the ship, Faye Valentine, an amesiac, gambling addicted bounty hunter, Ed, an expert hacker, and Ein, a genetically modified Welsh Corgi (Cowboy Bebop).  The series is set in the far future, in about the year 2071, where people have colonized the other moons and planets of the solar system, such as Mars and the moons of Jupiter, as the Earth has become barley habitable due to an explosion of an experimental hyperspace gate, which occurred many years prior to the show’s start (Cowboy Bebop).  The hyperspace gates are used by the people in the show for fast travel across the solar system, and thus making the rest of the solar system available for human expansion.  In this sort of space-centered frontier, Mars has been made the new central hub for human civilization, and interplanetary crime syndicates have exerted such great influence over the government and the Inter-Solar System Police (ISSP), that their ability to fight crime has been quite limited, and so the government has established a bounty hunter system, which is similar to that of the Old West, in order to deal with fugitives, terrorists, and other criminals (Cowboy Bebop).  Due to the system’s similarity to the Old West, the bounty hunters are often referred to as “cowboys.” (Cowboy Bebop) And, this is where the main cast of characters come in, and where the series gets its primary focus.

Okay so now that you have some idea of what the show is about, I’ll now speak a little on what it is about this show that I find so intriguing and, of course, why I highly recommend that you all watch it.  Alright, so what is it about this show that intrigues me so much? In short, pretty much everything.  The show is so well done; from the characters, the characterization, the setting, the mood, the music, the story, etc, the show is just so well-rounded and well done that it really doesn’t miss a beat.  The characters, as I said, are very well done, and each of them has, including Ein, the dog, their own unique background all of which are explored at various points in the series.  The animators and writers of the series do an excellent job of adequately including each character and not wasting any one of them, and going back to the character backgrounds in order to tie these two points together, the character backgrounds are so well done that each of them could be considered the main character by the audience, even though Spike is sort of the de facto main character, as his character is the most explored and focused on.  Also, the voicing for each character is excellently done as well, as not once while I watched the series did I say that a certain character had a misplaced or mismatched voice.

The setting in space and the fact that Cowboy Bebop is a series focused on bounty hunters and criminals really gives the show a good, proper mood and tone that the writers and animators do a fantastic job sticking with, while at the same time throwing in some lighthearted moments.  The general mood and tone of the show is dark, gritty, and wild as indicated by the Wild West atmosphere that the makers of the show do well in incorporating.  On the adventures of each episode, referred to in the series as a session, the audience gets a great look into the dark, mysterious criminal world that the crew of the Bebop is involved with.  From major crime syndicates, to computer hackers, and to terrorists, the show wonderfully incoporates all of these things in order to truly convey the universe of the Bebop crew as a sort of a wide-open, lawless Wild West.  And, from the mood, tone, and setting, the makers of the show excellenty create a fun, highly-interesting, and rarely dull story that flows nicely and non-confusedly from episode to episode, or session to session.

Now last, but sertainly not least, the music that Cowboy Bebop is set to is simply wonderful and it absolutely fits to this show.  The music has largely a Jazz and Blues feature to it, and it really contributes to the fast-paced, criminal vs bounty hunter, and Wild West theme of the show.  A lot of harmonica use can be heard as well as plenty of saxophone, along with heavy use of drums and cymbals, all of which benefit the show immensely.  In fact, Cowboy Bebop’s soundtrack is considered to be the best for anime, according to IGN which voted it to be such in 2006 (Cowboy Bebop).

If there is any letdown about this show, it is that it only lasted for twenty-six epsiodes, but don’t be turned off by that because despite this little setback, the series is more than well worth the watch even as it is.  As I said earlier, the series is just twenty-six episodes long, with each of the episodes being called a “session” and each of them being named after some sort of music genre or a specific song.  Trust me, you won’t be dissappointed by this show, each episode on its own is worth watching, the characters are fun and excellently done and overall Cowboy Bebop is just a fantastic show in general.

P.S.- There is a Cowboy Bebop: The Movie that came out in 2001, so if you guys want to check that out as well then go ahead (The Movie)

 (Bebop Crew)

(Logo)