Figuurit: Niksi-Pirkka-nurkka

Kaikki figujenkeräilijät ovat varmasti tuskallisen tietoisia siitä että useimmat muovifiguurit imevät pölyä itseensä kuin magneetit. Yksi vaihtoehto tietysti on sulkea figuurit enemmän tai vähemmän ilmatiiviiseen lasivitriiniin, mutta jos sellaiseen ei ole mahdollisuutta, tai halua, joutuu jossain vaiheessa pölynpoistotoimiin.

Olen käytännössä erittäin hyväksi havainnut Bilteman myymän pölynimurin tarvikesarjan (artikkelinumero 23-630). Se on alunperin tarkoitettu tietokoneen sisuskalujen imurointiin, mutta sopii erinomaisesti myös herkkien ja monimutkaisten figuurien hellävaraiseen puhdistukseen.

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Figuurit osa 1: Mulder & Scully

Töksäytänpä tässä nyt alkavan animefiguureita esittelevän sarjani käyntiin varsin tyylittömästi käsittelemällä joitakin omistamiani figuureita joilla ei ole kerta kaikkiaan mitään tekemistä animen tai muun japanilaisen popkulttuurin kanssa. Ensimmäisenä tässä kategoriassa esittelen vanhimman omistamani figuuriparin: Fox Mulder ja Dana Scully.

Kaikkihan toki tietävät missä TV-sarjassa kyseinen parivaljakko esiintyy: ‘X-Files’ eli ‘Salaiset Kansiot’, jota tehtiin 9 tuotantokautta vuosina 1993-2002.

Nämä myytin alunperin kahdessa eri pakkauksessa; Mulderin mukana tuli eräänlainen ‘jääkaappi’, jossa oli ruumis sisällä, Scullyn mukana taas tuli ruumis paareilla. Kyseiset lisäosat saattavat vielä löytyä jostain laatikosta kellarista… Scullylla on Nokian kännykkä kädessä (siihen aikaan Nokia oli vielä in)

Figuurien valmistaja on McFarlane Toys. Laatu on ihan kohtalainen, kasvoista on saatu yllättävän esikuviensa näköiset. Ostin ne Kukunorista vuosia sitten, joskus silloin kun heillä oli vielä liike Tampereella.

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English summary: Fox Mulder and Dana Scully figures made by McFarlane Toys

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Anime Review: The 5 Best Anime Movies

I’m now continuing the series of ‘The 5 Best Anime…’ with the list of anime movies which have influeced me the most.

1. The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya (涼宮ハルヒの消失, Suzumiya Haruhi no Shōshitsu)

‘The Disapperance of Haruhi Suzumiya’ is a sequel to the ‘The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya’ anime series. It is based on the 4th light novel by Nagaru Tanikawa, and again produced by Kyoto Animation in 2010. The storyline starts where the series ended, with Haruhi and friends making preparations for their upcoming Christmas party. But when arriving at school on the morning of December 18, Kyon discovers that everything has changed, including the fact that Haruhi has seemingly disappeared completely.

Technically, the quality of the animation is the best Kyoto Animation has ever done, which is a lot. The colors used deliver perfectly the feeling of early winter in Japan. The musical score is also good; it starts with a style derived from the series, but gradually changes to more movie-like score.

The movie is over 2,5 h long, but it doesn’t feel like it; at the first screening I thought ‘Oh, it ended already?’. The storyline really works and holds one’s interest to the end; that, of course, may greatly depend on whether you have seen the series or not.

My favourite scene in the film is the heart-wrenching moment when Kyon finally finds the disappered Haruhi…

2. Ghost in the Shell II: Innocence (イノセンス, Innocence)

‘Ghost in the Shell II: Innocence’, or just ‘Innocence’ for short, is a film made by Production I.G. in 2004, and directed by Mamoru Oshii. It is a sequel to Oshii’s 1995 masterpiece ‘Ghost in the Shell’ (which, incidentally, just failed to enter this list; it would have been number 6.)

Major Motoko Kusanagi disappeared at the end of the first movie, so Batou has now teamed up with Togusa. They start to investigate a series of killings made by robots, manufactured by a corporation named Locus Solus.

The film beautifully blends modern CGI animation with the traditional cel animation. The musical score is really something incredible, a real masterpiece by Kenji Kawai. If cyberpunk is not your cup of tea, just watch the movie because of the music.

3. Millenium Actress (千年女優, Sennen Joyū)

‘Millenium Actress’ is a film directed by recently deceased Satoshi Kon in 2001. It tells the story of a documentary filmmaker investigating the life of an elderly actress in which the boundary between reality and cinema become somewhat blurred.

The film gives an interesting insight to life in Japan from the 30s onwards, and also to the early days of filmmaking and film studios. Also, I find the multi-layered storytelling very fascinating.

4. The Sky Crawlers (スカイ·クロラ, Sukai Kurora)

‘The Sky Crawlers’ is a film directed by Mamoru Oshii and produced by Production I.G. in 2008. The film is set in an alternate history where private corporations contract fighter pilots to engage in actual combat operations against each other, for the entertainment of normal people, although the world itself is in peace.

I love Mamoru Oshii’s films; they have much deeper content inside than is apparent at first look. Also, I love aeroplanes; I spent my youth (ages of ~10-15) building plastic models of WWII aircrafts, so this film is perfect for me. The aerial combat sequences are incredible, you really get the feeling like sitting in the planes yourself.

It is a shame that the quality of the Finnish DVD release of this film was so bad it was nearly unwatchable… Do we have other ‘interlaced video’-haters here?

5. Whisper of the Heart (耳をすませば, Mimi o Sumaseba)

I would probably be killed if I fail to include here at least one film from the Ghibli studio… So here’s my favourite from their production lineup:

‘Whisper of the Heart’ is a 1995 Studio Ghibli film directed, surprisingly not by Hayao Miyazaki himself, but by Yoshifumi Kondō, who died in 1998. The story tells about the schoolgirl Shizuku Tsukishima, who is a bookworm and an aspiring writer. One day she finds a cat riding a train. She follows the cat, and discovers an antique shop… Well, I’m not going to reveal the whole (love) story here.

I first saw the film in the ‘Animen Yö’ (Anime Night) arranged by the Movie Club Niagara of Tampere, Finland, in 2010. I think it is the finest possible way to watch anime: a traditional analog film shown in a real movie theater.

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Kysymys suomalaisille lukijoille: pitäisikö minun tehdä näistä anime-arvosteluista myös suomenkielinen versio?

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Didgeridoos part 2: Sound Samples

I’m presenting here some sound samples of my didgeridoos, recorded with Shure SM57 microphone and Ardour DAW.

First the larger meter-and-a-half one:

Then the smaller, eucalyptus-wooden one:

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Anime Review: The 5+ Best Anime Series

I’m definitely not a ‘list person’, unlike some people I know, so it is always somewhat difficult to decide the order of different things. But anyway, here I’m trying to compose a list of anime series I like the most, with some explanation about the reasons I like them. And please remember before starting any flamewars that these are highly personal opinions…

Let’s start with number one, then:

1. Kanon (カノン, Kanon)

‘Kanon’ is a fairly conventional harem anime adapted from Key’s visual novel, and produced by Kyoto Animation in 2006. The main character is a high school student Yuichi Aizawa, who returns to a town he last visited seven years ago, but has next to none recollection of the events back then. The story also features everyone’s favourite taiyaki-munching air-headed girl, Ayu Tsukimiya (did I hear someone say ‘Uguu~’?), and lots of other pretty girls, who Yuichi helps with one way or other.

The reason Kanon is my number one anime series, and will stay that way, is the huge emotional impact it had on me… Can you imagine me, a grown-up man, crying over some animated stuff? The end titles scene with Ayu running in the snow still brings a lump in my throat…


…And let’s not forget the all-encompassing message of ‘Kanon’: “Whatever happens, you can survive with the help of your dear friends!”

2. Another (アナザ, Anazā)

‘Another’ is an adaptation of a mystery horror novel by Yukito Ayatsuji, produced by P A Works in 2012. The story revolves around a cursed Class 3-3 of Yomiyama North high school, whose pupils and their close relatives start to die mysteriously.

I’ve always liked mystery / horror stuff (After all, one of my favourite authors is H. P. Lovecraft), however, their movie adaptations tend to be on the not-very-good-or-downright-bad side. Another is a delightful exception to that rule. Let’s talk about the technical side first:

The drawing and animation quality is very good; attention to detail is incredible in some scenes – just look at the rusted railings on the roof of the school. But what really caught my attention is the audio side of the series – I happened to watch the first episode with my headphones on, which really shows off the quality of the sound design; 10/10 for that.

The storyline itself is perfectly balanced between action and horrendous deaths, and more tranquil scenes, with a agonising ‘whodunit-and-whosnext’ feeling in the background. The ending of the 3rd episode almost gave me a heart attack…

Besides, Mei Misaki is unbelievably moe

3. The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (涼宮ハルヒの憂鬱, Suzumiya Haruhi no Yūutsu)

‘The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya’ is an anime adaptation of light novels by Nagaru Tanikawa, illustrated by Noizi Ito. Kyoto Animation made the first season in 2006, the second season was released in 2009.

I don’t think this series needs much introducion, it may well be the most famous anime series of the 2000’s. Anyway, if you have been living in a closet, the series centers on an extremely eccentric girl Haruhi Suzumiya and her friends in a club named SOS Brigade, as told from the perspective of Kyon, her friend and classmate.

Back in the VHS time, I watched classic anime titles like ‘Akira’ and ‘Ghost in the Shell’, but as a whole, Japanese animation didn’t leave much impression. Sure, it was better than contemporary American cr*p, but I wasn’t that much interested.

And then Haruhi happened…

I can honestly say that the Haruhi series is at least 95% responsible of all of my enthusiasm for anime, manga, figures, japanese food and other Japan related things.

Let’s talk a little about seiyū, the voice actors of ‘The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya’: Tomokazu Sugita, my favourite male seiyū, is as convincing as always in the role of Kyon, Yūko Gotō does an incredible job as the voice of ‘big-titted moeball’ Mikuru Asahina, Minori Chihara, too, rose to stardom with her role as Yuki Nagato. I don’t have much to say about Aya Hirano, but at least her voice suits Haruhi…

4. Planetes (プラネテス, Puranetesu)

‘Planetes’ is based on a manga with the same name by Makoto Yukimura. The anime adapation was made by Sunrise in 2003. The story is set to a year 2075, and tells a tale of team of space debris collectors based on a debris ship DS-12 “Toy Box”.

I like Planetes very much because of its realism. It offers a refreshing contrast to the usual “wheee-lets-fly-into-space” approach of scifi anime. It could well be seen as a some kind of pseudo-documentary about a space pilot’s everyday life.

5. Steins;Gate (シュタインズ・ゲート, Shutainzu Gēto)

‘Steins;Gate’ is based on a visual novel developed by 5pb and Nitroplus, anime adatation is by White Fox in 2011. The storyline is set to Tokio’s Akihabara district, where a self-proclaimed ‘mad scientist’ Okabe Rintarō and his friends accidentally invent a time machine.

I’ve always been fascinated by stories involving time travel and time machines. Steins;Gate includes these with an almost-scientifically-possible way, which approach usually makes an interesting story. The plot is good, as are the characters; I find it always entertaining to follow the discussions between Okabe Rintarō and the lead female Makise Kurisu (tsundere vs. tsundere situation).

5+. Clannad (クラナド, Kuranado)

I had intended to list only the five best anime series here, but I just couldn’t leave ‘Clannad’ and its sequel ‘Clannad After Story’ out, could I?

Like ‘Kanon’, ‘Clannad’ is based to Key’s visual novel, and again made by Kyoto Animation in 2007. It tells a story about a delinquent high school student Tomoya Okazaki and his friend Youhei Sunohara, and their relationships with their (mostly female) schoolmates and other people (i.e. it can be classified as a ‘harem anime’).

Unlike most types of romantic movies, Clannad does not stop to the point where ‘Boy gets a Girl’, but instead continues to tell about the normal life after graduation from school: searching for a job, marriage, having a child and such.

My favourite character in Clannad is Kotomi Ichinose, the quiet and antisocial genius girl. The seiyū who is behind Kotomi, Mamiko Noto, has the most beautiful voice I’ve ever encountered…

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(Please read part 2 here)

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