Tuesday, 31 January 2017

ADAPTATION A: Title rough idea

(I'm not sure what the black edges are and I've tried to remove them). This is a rough idea of a title page, but I think it's too much on the childish side rather than focusing on anime. I tried to encorporate the "kawaii" (cute) style but i'm not satisfied with this. 

ADAPTATION A: The 10 steps

Here are the 10 steps condensed down, but at the moment i'm struggling a lot to make good graphic designs and the layout of the infographic


I'm liking number 2, 3, 4 and 5 for the font style.

Saturday, 28 January 2017

World Cinema: Japan - "Spirited Away" (2001) Film Review

Fig 1

Hayao Miyazaki’s enchanting film “Spirited Away” (2001) is one of Japans most successful films of all time. Being a Japanese animation, it is rich in an array of colours, matte paintings, and gentle style. Japan is the headquarters of anime which is popular around the world, but these styles of films incorporate anime in a unique and individual style, with an adventurous storyline that the whole family can enjoy. “Spirited Away” uses the excellent visual language to convey its adventure. 

Writer and director Hayao Miyazaki has many notable works such as “My Neighbour Totoro” (1988), “Kiki’s Delivery Service” (1989), “Princess Mononoke” (1997) “Howl’s Moving Castle” (2004) and “Ponyo” (2008), all of which are brilliant feature films in their own way too. Miyazaki, along with Isao Takahata and Toshio Suzuki, founded the well-known company Studio Ghibli that produces the animated films, on June 15th, 1985, and the company is recognised for its distinct films. 

Fig 2

 What is usually seen in Japanese animations are simplified scenery and characters, but Miyazaki has beautifully complex backgrounds, complimented by an array of bizarre characters. Roger Ebert states: “Miyazaki, in contrast, offers complexity. His backgrounds are rich in detail, his canvas embraces space liberally, and it is all drawn with meticulous attention. We may not pay much conscious attention to the corners of the frame, but we know they are there, and they reinforce the remarkable precision of his fantasy worlds” (Ebert, 2012)

The film also includes the most traditional form of animation – hand drawn. Used frequently in the past by companies such as Disney, hand drawn animation has a light-hearted feel to it, and with “Spirited Away”, this traditional form of animation is brought back, only digitally colourised. Ebert explains:  "Spirited Away" is surely one of the finest of all animated films, and it has its foundation in the traditional bedrock of animation, which is frame-by-frame drawing. Miyazaki began his career in that style, but he is a realist and has permitted the use of computers for some of the busywork. But he personally draws thousands of frames by hand. "We take handmade cell animation and digitize it in order to enrich the visual look," he told me in 2002, "but everything starts with the human hand drawing." (Ebert, 2012).

Fig 3

The film follows a long and adventurous storyline, but with one goal in mind – for Chihiro to return her parents back to normal after turning into huge pigs. This all occurs when the family become lost in the woods, and walk into a red tunnel. The father thinks the place they have discovered is a deserted theme park, but later on, Chihiro watches on in horror as her parent’s stuff themselves with food and turn into gluttonous pigs, but then she sees the world of the spirits and their arrival to the bath house, (but they are actually Gods) led by the ruthless Yubabu. Yubabu decides to tolerate Chihiro as long as she does some work. Thereafter, she is made to clean a large tub, in preparation for the arrival of an enormous slime monster. During all this, a boy called Haku is trying to help and teach her how to survive the place and return her parents to normal. 

Fig 4

Elvis Mitchell describes the film as: “Mr. Miyazaki's specialty is taking a primal wish of kids, transporting them to a fantasyland and then marooning them there. No one else conjures the phantasmagoric and shifting morality of dreams -- that fascinating and frightening aspect of having something that seems to represent good become evil -- in the way this master Japanese animator does.” (Mitchell, 2002). In agreement, Miyazaki does take the elements of a child’s imagination and makes them into reality. “Spirited Away” also doesn’t follow a typical plot route – the viewer may expect things from a film, such as a linear plot with three main acts, action and good vs evil, but this film, although featuring these, twists and exaggerates them, and is a fast-paced journey into something that has never been seen before. 


Ebert, R. (2012) roberebert.com (Accessed on 28/01/2017)  http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/great-movie-spirited-away-2002
Mitchell, E. (2002) nytimes.com (Accessed on 28/01/2017) http://www.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9504E0DB1030F933A1575AC0A9649C8B63

Illustration List

ADAPTATION A | Style influence maps

 For the 10 steps to becoming an otaku, i'm looking more at colourful Japanese advertising, the graphic styles used and general composition. I'd like to keep things light-hearted and pleasing to the eye, but minimalisitc - not too crowded with the adverts shown here. However, I like the colours, the use of anime being in adverts, and the adverts featuring famous singer Kyary Pamyu Pamyu are really colourful and very well made.

In this influence map, I looked at Japanese shop signs, billboards, and advertisements, mainly found in the big cities. Again, I like the composition and colours used.

ADAPTATION B: Islamic story ideas research

For my adaptation B idea, I'm wanting to create a strong female games character, but far away from stereotypical games characters. The idea is to create a Muslim/Islamic/Middle Eastern strong female character that not only proudly wears traditional clothing e.g the hijab, but fights the strong stereotype of Islamophobia in the world. I'd like her to have a realistic body shape, abnormalities such as scars that show her in a good way instead of associated scares with villans, etc. I need to research for the concept of a video game idea and look at Islamic stories, legends, myths, songs, poems etc about women to adapt. I've firstly looked at some Queens and stories: 


The story of a fictional warrior queen; she ruled over a kingdom consisting of Black women on a mythical Island of California. It was written around the 1500's. In the story, Calafia is a pagan that has been convinced to raise an army of female warriors and sail away from California, along with a flock of trained Griffins, in order to join a battle with Muslims against Christians who are defending Constantinople. Eventually Calafia is taken prisoner and converted to Christianity, and marries a cousin of Esplandian (the Christian king's son) and returns with her army to California. With this story, I feel it starts off good as it is about a female warrior, however it eventually leads to her converting to Christianity, which is not troublesome, but steers away from Muslim roots. 

Dihya / Kahina

Another warrior queen, originally a Berber, she was a military and religious leader that lead the resistance to the Muslim conquest of the Maghreb. She was born and died in the 7th century.

Dahlia, Queen of the Berbers

Dahlia was a elusive woman in history who faced her enemies while empires crumbled. She was another Berber queen, and her name means "the witch".


I enjoy listening to Arabic music, even though i don't understand what is being said, but with research from these Arabic singers I'm going to look more into the meaning and see if there is anything I can adapt. 

Elissa - Aaks Elli Shayfenha ( I'm the opposite to what they see)
Elissa - Lola El malama (If only they won't blame me)
Nancy Ajram - Aah W Noss (Yes and a half)
Najwa Karam - Ykhalili Albak ( I hope to God your heart will always be there )
Sherine - Khayneen (Betrayers)

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

World Cinema: Australia - "Mary and Max" (2009) Film Review

Fig 1

Adam Elliots film “Mary and Max” (2009) is an Australian stop motion story that depicts many problems the character’s face, but in a light and comedic style. 

Producer and director Adam Elliot has created a few successful short films before the feature length of “Mary and Max”. Notable works include “Uncle” (1996), “Cousin” (1998), “Brother” (1999), “Harvie Krumpet” (2003) and “Ernie Biscuit” (2015). The reoccurring theme with these films are that they use either Elliot’s own experiences, human emotions, phycological struggles, life struggles and things which are not often shown in cute animations. However, the problems are shown in an educational and light-hearted way. All his films are meticulously made with stop motion and the distinctive character style. Paul Byrnes states: “Elliot based the film partly on his own life. For 20 years, he has corresponded with a New York man who has Asperger's syndrome. “(Byrnes, 2009). At the beginning of the film, it states it’s ‘based on a true story’, which implies like Byrnes said, that it is indeed based on Elliot’s own experience, which makes the film more personal and feel more real. The imagery that conveys on screen is therefore successful because Elliot knows exactly how to show the feelings. 

Fig 2

The set-up of the film slowly introduces each character and a part of their background, and their personalities are quickly established with their posture, faces, voice and attitude, much like a real person; and Mary’s innocent childish nature is reflected in the animation in the form of her warm toned surroundings, people and pets around her, whilst Max is the complete opposite: sad, isolated, living alone in a tall apartment block in a fairly dangerous America. The contrast of the countries are well shown. Andrew Pulver describes the film as: A very odd, very unlikely animated film from Australia that manages to be sickly-cute, alarmingly grotesque, and right-on at the same time – often in the very same scene.” (Pulver, 2010). Agreeing with this, the film, although in a cute style, is also very relatable as it approaches very real problems.

Fig 3

The Australian traits are very subtle, but are still shown, such as during one scene in the film, when Max writes to Mary that a Frisbee is like a boomerang, but it doesn’t come back. Mary also tells him about how babies come about: “in Australia, they are found in beer glasses”. She also sends him a selection of Australian sweets and Lamington cake which is a famous Australian dessert.   
The warmth of Mary’s environment shows the hot country of Australia, while Max’s environment is all in black and white, as if set in a typical film-noir New York scene. Pulver comments on the animation: “All of this is rendered in almost completely monochromatic claymation – only occasional colours stand out, such as the red pompom Mary sends to Max at one point” (Pulver, 2010). Mary indeed adds colour to Max’s black and white and hopeless life. 

Fig 4

Mary and Max” also shows an array of human emotions and situations, and Dan Parkinson picks up on this: “Tackling such un-animation topics as loneliness, body image, alcoholism, suicide and Asperger’s syndrome, it’s quirky, compassionate and slightly seedily sweet.” (Parkinson, 2010). It also picks up on anxiety, panic, worry, anger, obesity, death, bullying and isolation, but these are shown in such a clever and quirky way that the viewer subconsciously relates. The film itself could have very well been a live action film with real people, but the unique animation definitely adds to the impact. 

The goals of the film are indeed achieved: showing real human struggles, but made into a cute animation. It does very well tackling the problems, and the viewer finds themselves attached to the characters, and the climax when Mary and Max finally meet is bittersweet – as Max died smiling up at the many letters she sent, and she sits next to him, smiling. Sandie Chen comments: “The letters sent back and forth are so beautifully simple and honest that it's no wonder why Max feels compelled to lovingly iron, laminate, and save each one.” (Chen, S.D)


Chen, S. (S.D) commonsensemedia.org (Accessed on 24/01/2017) https://www.commonsensemedia.org/movie-reviews/mary-and-max
Parkinson, D. (2010) empireonline.com (Accessed on 24/01/2017) http://www.empireonline.com/movies/mary-max/review/
Pulver, A. (2010) theguardian.com (Accessed on 24/01/2017) https://www.theguardian.com/film/2010/oct/21/mary-and-max-review

Illustration List 

Mudbox: Disco Robot

Today's class was about having fun with  a robot base design. For some reason Mudbox was being temperamental and kept crashing, and the tools didn't work in the way I wanted them to, so I might re-sculpt this.

ADAPTATION A: Japanese adverts research






Looking at these style of adverts, it's clear to see the quirky, fun and unexpectedness of them, and the graphics are pleasing to the eye. Also, in a short amount of time, the message comes across and I'm liking the theme of them.