Animation and Anime

AICN-Previews of The Third, The New UK Transformers Comic and More

Published at: June 11, 2007, 5:30 a.m. CST

Logo handmade by Bannister Column by Scott Green

Anime Preview: The Third: Girl with the Blue Eye Based on English language dub of Volume 1 Distributed by The Right Stuf International Volume 1 to be released July 31st Official Site www.TheThirdAnime.com

If the elements showcased in its first episode are an accurate indication, the attraction to The Third is going to be how it deals with sci-fi threats through kinetic samurai style swordplay, coupled with mechanized warfare. Beyond the action, this series has all the markings of a worthy variation on a familiar theme. A past war has nuked the landscape, leaving harsh living conditions in its wake. While the majority of humanity scrapes by with less resources and less technology, a ruling (three eyed) elite manages the species from a high-tech stronghold. Presumably the young 'jack-of-all-trades" mercenary protagonist Honoka and her AI tank Bogey have some role to play preserving human destiny. Off the shelf, a post war desert waste is far from novel. The recent attention to "The Road" has been a reminder that post apocalyptic fiction does have something to offer. Still, given that the more exciting elements of the episode have been a bit giant insect 50's, a bit Mad Max/Fist of the North Star 80's and a bit of anime style mecha, the Third seems more interested in the genre elements than the implications. While there has been no solid, distinctive hook this brief distance into the anime, with a 24 episode run to work with, the light novel based series has some room to develop depth. The Xebec (Nadesico, Stellvia, Love Hina), animated series does leverage the landscape to produce some attractive visual flourishes. Illuminated under a night sky, dust and blowing sand or the tracks and wind driven furrows on the ground do have a haunting, lonely quality to them. Honoka appears to be the centerpiece of The Third. The setting might be inescapably notable, and undoubtedly the anime is going to go back and explain the particular's of its world, but far more time and speech has been dedicated to discussing Honoka's mindset. On the surface, she is a spunky professional. Given that Shinichi Yamaoka's character design isn't anything out of the ordinary for mainstream anime, and a bit simplistic at that, she has the casual attractiveness of a default level of idealized form. Beyond that, she is not expressly sexy or especially cute. While there is still some sense that the creators would rather be looking at (or originally, reading about) an easy on the eyes female character than a male one, for the most part, she seems like an action protagonist that just happens to be a young woman. On the other hand, it is slightly troubling that the episode did pull out the immensely tired joking treatment of a woman's breast size. A machine tech does not feel properly respected by Honoka, so he retorts by saying she has small breasts. She reacts with one of the episode's handful of big-faced cartoonish expressions. Not only does this bring gender into the equation when it isn't needed or wanted, it uses it to call back to a particularly bankrupt joke.
In that independent military woman capacity, she has the Meryl Silverburgh look: camos and sleeveless athletic top. More notably, she sports a not very hachimaki-esque head band that is part Rambo, part bow. Deducing that this has a plot function does not require Sherlock Holmes' skills. While the fact hasn't been addressed explicitly, it is pretty clear this band hides a third eye akin to the ones on the heads of the hidden puppet masters briefly seen in the episode's prologue. Despite some bothersome persistence, the episode is effective in establishing Honoka as a character that is both strong and sensitive. As a jack of all trades, she is not quite a warrior poet. She does appreciate art, but she is not an artist herself. And, she does quote a lot of poetry. This is an almost incessantly vocal anime. It is a show AND tell approach that calls director Jun Kamiya's self confidence into question. Exposition dialogue is frequently employed. When Honoka relates to Bogie why she must fight the giant desert spiders with a specifics strategy, the information is plainly evident without spelling it out and the speech itself should be known to all parties of the conversation. This is a competently animated work, and it is possible to read a character's state of mind from their physical disposition. The poetry is an interesting mechanism for providing additional depth. The twee narration isn't. Inserting flowery descriptions of Honoka's thoughts lowers her and the series itself by making the proceedings that much more syrupy. After a mission, curled up in a ball sleeping as Bogie drives through the wastes towards civilization on the horizon, a narrator chimes in with: She would do anything but take a human life. That was Honoka's policy. Her emotions were as numerous as the jobs she accepted. There were times when she took satisfaction in her work... And time when she did not. Even when there was an ache in her heart... Honoka left it alone... The way one waits for a wound to heal... In its own time Post "Stranger Than Fiction", that sort of omniscient narration is a bit laughable. Soon after, deep thought on the implications of killing spiders overstates a point a bit too.
A tendency towards sentimentality is reinforced by the introduction of what seems to be a supporting character at the end of the episode. Honoka rescuing a guy with long blonde hair from giant ants after he wanders into the desert to watch fireflies is a fine gender role reversal. When he starts exuding preternatural calm, heals a bump on her head by laying on hands, and reveals that he clutched a firefly in his palm through the fight without crushing the insect, the preciousness is a bit too much. The demeanor pushes the action sci-fi into bubble-gum territory, not just because of the pop emotions, but because it is more than a bit indigestible.
Honoka proves to be an exciting vehicle for Kawajiri style Ninja Scroll/anime samurai action. At its most minimalist, it offers flashes of light sword slashes, then as she sheaths her sword, a field erupts in green spider blood. More often, the action utilizes the character's sprightly frame for dynamic sequences of the swordswoman dashing over the desert sands, gymnastically vaulting over the bugs, and slashing the creatures on the way down. Bogie is used well, but sparingly. The CG tank is near seamlessly integrated into the 2D elements of the image. The beetle like crawler slowly transforms into battle mode, and a turret fires shells or a mini-gun fires bursts that hit giant anthropoids maybe feet away from Honoka. While the real feasibility is not entirely convincing, the anime demonstrates a welcome handle on military mecha. Designer Naohiro Washio balances armament, mechanism, and some graceful order to the arrangement, making the tank a promising presence in the anime. This episode demonstrates plenty of competence, but few outstanding selling points. The subject matter and elements are very conventional anime. Xebec has put some interesting twists on the familiar before. While the animation isn't especially specular here, the quality of sword work, and even the sentimentally does demonstrate some effort to see what can be derived from the elements that are present.

Transformers Preview Art

Titans will begin releasing a new Transforms UK comic starting on July 19th. The publisher has sent a pair of preview images from artist Geoff Senior.

Hideyuki Kikuchi’s Vampire Hunter D Website

Digital Manga Publishing has launched a site to promote their upcoming release of Hideyuki Kikuchi’s Vampire Hunter D at Vampire-D.com. The site feature up to date information on the manga, scheduled for release November 2007, and bonus content for subscribers to an update newsletter.

Kaiju Chicken YouTubed

Guidolon The Giant Space Chicken Director's Cut is now on YouTube For more information on the project, see www.guidolon.com

Readers Talkback

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  • June 11, 2007, 5:35 a.m. CST

    First

    by Primus

    I used to love Geoff Senior's artwork as a kid. Look forward to the new comics...

  • June 11, 2007, 5:39 a.m. CST

    SECOND

    by Motoko Kusanagi

    OR THIRD!

  • June 11, 2007, 5:50 a.m. CST

    Transformers comic wont last lost

    by manicmidwife

    Place your bets - 6 months?

  • June 11, 2007, 6:44 a.m. CST

    Not sure it will even last 6 months

    by Primus

    Depends if they manage to create any decent stories. Those new Bayformers must be a bitch to draw, though.

  • June 11, 2007, 6:50 a.m. CST

    There's all ready a US Transformers comic

    by BizarroJerry

    Why do we need a different one in the UK? This was a frustrating thing in the 80s about Transformers comics. They did man of their own stories that often conflicted with the US version.

  • June 11, 2007, 8:29 a.m. CST

    UK COMIC

    by livrule

    The original UK comic is THE only Transformers comic you need ... it featured all the best US work (not much) and the epic exclusive UK stories like Target 2006, Time Wars and many more .....

  • June 11, 2007, 8:33 a.m. CST

    transformer sux

    by erkojock

    bring back the original transformers comics!

  • June 11, 2007, 8:37 a.m. CST

    The original TF comics...

    by photoboy

    ... were fucking awesome. They should just reprint those instead of trying to tie-in with Bay's unholy bastard creation.

  • June 11, 2007, 8:40 a.m. CST

    TINO!: The Comic

    by finky089

    TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO! TINO!

  • June 11, 2007, 9:04 a.m. CST

    If you bothered to look at Geoff Seniors artwork

    by TheAllSeeingEye

    You'd actually see that his work contains not one fucking frame of new style transformers; just the cover. It's quite amusing to hear people claim the comic won't do well when the original Marvel comics ran for many years in the US and UK and Simon Furman and co continue to make the comics now for a new publisher. These will no doubt emulate the rest and be an absolute success.<br><Br>PS Geoff Senior is a fucking god amongst comic artists.

  • June 11, 2007, 9:06 a.m. CST

    Mr_Sinister

    by TheAllSeeingEye

    I know that the UK comics are ofted hawked at the many transformers conventions that happen in the states but I'd save your pennies because they go for a tidy little sum. I was offered something rediculous for my 300+ UK comics and that was off someone wanting to sell them Stateside.

  • June 11, 2007, 9:30 a.m. CST

    Geoff Senior/Simon Furman were the best team

    by Primus

    I collected loads of the UK comics, but when these two were writing and drawing... you knew it was going to be something special.

  • June 11, 2007, 9:34 a.m. CST

    I hope the new comics will do well too...

    by Primus

    ...but I just can't see it happening. Every time they've tried to relaunch the comic in the UK, it's failed. Hopefully this time it will work, which will only happen if people love the new movie. But if that's the case, why are they drawing "clasic" Transformers, and not new Bayformers???

  • June 11, 2007, 11:33 a.m. CST

    Primus

    by TheAllSeeingEye

    The Transformers comic didn't end when Marvel closed their run you know? Although everything after came in limited runs or graphic novels, I'd say there was enough of a fan base to sell them solely to fans of the original. However, like the movie or not, it will certainly re-energise interest in the franchise and I'm sure kids will just eat it up.

  • June 11, 2007, 11:46 a.m. CST

    GI Joe fans......We are so screwed

    by liljuniorbrown

    Just read an interview by the guy who is bringing us Tranformers and has the rights to GI Joe. He is an idiot and wants to destroy GI Joe. I think Micheal Bay and Spielberg were the voices of reason and any goodness we get from Transformers is from them. The interview with Lorenzo di Bonaventura on superherohype.com has him saying that basicaly he can't do anything with the Gi Joe from the 80's. He says it's not intresting as the pre 80's Joe (Action Man I guess) and it will be a challenge to bring that property to the big screen and have it be relevant and interesting. I know I'm paraphrasing but read it yourself and you'll see this guy is going to ruin this movie if given the chance.

  • June 11, 2007, 12:08 p.m. CST

    the UK transformers

    by Bouncy X

    that art looks like something a friend who has talent would do, not a professional artist...damn.

  • June 11, 2007, 12:10 p.m. CST

    liljuniorbrown

    by Bouncy X

    i actually got the opposite impression.....it came off to me as if he was saying they had to cater to fans of the pre 80s Joe and those who grew up with the 80s. But that the 80s had much more interesting stories and ideas and so the movie would likely focus more on that period/style.

  • June 11, 2007, 2:20 p.m. CST

    Puttup!

    by Charlie & Tex

    OK, there had to be an obscure reference for fans of the original UK Transformers comics, so there you go. We have a shitload of them in cardboard boxes shoved away in the ol' archives, and it's tempting to try and make a bundle on them with the movie on its' way out.

  • June 11, 2007, 3:41 p.m. CST

    Senior ...

    by livrule

    Has a very dynamic, minimal style ... Heavy lines and great use of black ink. I fell in love with his art the first time I saw it and to see him back is fantastic.

  • June 11, 2007, 4:39 p.m. CST

    Seniors greatest creation

    by TheAllSeeingEye

    While not entirely his own, was Deaths Head, the bounty hunter who wormed his way from humble beginnings in Transformers, through to Fantastic Four and Dr.Who. I still have my original graphic novel. The man just has an ability to draw and, for my money, did the best art Transformers has ever seen.

  • June 11, 2007, 5:19 p.m. CST

    TheAllSeeingEye

    by livrule

    Agree 100% .... His Transformers don't have much detail but you can instantly tell who is who and his drawings give them such energy and character. Senior fans should also try to track down his 10 issue UK mini series Dragons Claws, Awesome!

  • June 11, 2007, 6:52 p.m. CST

    TF quite undynamic. Yikes.

    by superninja

    <>

  • June 11, 2007, 6:54 p.m. CST

    Some of the UK TF comics have been collected in trades.

    by superninja

    There are some scans here: http://www.liamnet.demon.co.uk/TFcomics/TFComics.htm

  • June 11, 2007, 6:57 p.m. CST

    Gotta say Senior's art was always a major

    by superninja

    drawback for me. Made the robots look too organic.

  • June 11, 2007, 8:38 p.m. CST

    Dragons Claws....

    by blackflower

    Geoff Senior was one of my favorite comic book artists 20 years ago when I was a kid . Deaths Head was fantastic and Dragons Claws blew me away. My taste may be different now but its good to see his work again.....

  • June 12, 2007, 2:37 a.m. CST

    Death's Head ruled all

    by Primus

    I've always thought he deserved his own movie. Brilliant creation, yes?

  • June 12, 2007, 2:40 a.m. CST

    TheAllSeeingEye

    by Primus

    Certainly hope the franchise is re-energised! Flicked though the occasional post-Marvel comic out of curiosity, but it only seemed to last a few issues, and the strips themselves seemed very short and "kid-orientated" - nothing like the epic stories of the early to mid Marvel era. But maybe I'm just getting old :-)

  • June 12, 2007, 2:44 a.m. CST

    Geoff Senior's art was usually brilliant

    by Primus

    Full of dynamic action - you could almost feel the pain of every punch and explosion!

  • June 12, 2007, 6:33 a.m. CST

    Whoa Superninja....

    by TheAllSeeingEye

    Aren't you one of the people in the TF Movie talkbacks saying how Bay has made the Transformers look too robotic and complex?<br><br>Primus, there are one or two graphic novels out there that have those big stories you crave. I'll nip into Forbidden Planet at lunch and see if they stock them so I can give you the names.

  • June 12, 2007, 7:45 a.m. CST

    On IMDB.com

    by yodalovesyou

    I'd be kicked off for saying this but FUCK TRANSFORMERS. It isn't even out and I am sick of hearing about a film which is going to be a plotless, souless, product-placing SFX reel. Ooh it has big robots smashing the shit out of each other. "put Down those entertaining Mattel Products" - The Simpsons

  • June 12, 2007, 12:56 p.m. CST

    Yes, I have said that. What is your point?

    by superninja

    One does not have anything to do with the other, but nice try.

  • June 12, 2007, 4:25 p.m. CST

    The point is, you seem to have no point..

    by TheAllSeeingEye

    Other than a deep desire to complain. Infact, it seems that if anyone does anything with the franchise you come along on your high horse to complain about it in some way or another. Is this some new kind of hobby?<br><br>If you're too busy thinking about new things to complain about, let me jog your memory on what exactly I'm getting at. In one of the other Transformers talkbacks, you once made the statement that Bays robots were too robotic, (which is a stupid statement because they're robots), and were adamant that they could have a more organic look, (i distinctly remember talking about the faces and facial expressions), and here we are with another Transformers product, (albeit in another medium and written and drawn by Transformers legends), and you claim they look "too organic".<br><br>I'd love to hear exactly what a Transformer should look like since evidently, Geoff Senior a world class, famous TF artist, doesn't know. Why not enlighten us here Superninja? Or was it the fact that it had Movie Prime on the cover that you just felt compelled to come on this talkback, huffing and puffing, and trying to shit on something else?

  • June 12, 2007, 4:29 p.m. CST

    And for the record...

    by TheAllSeeingEye

    I don't care what you think of the movie. I'm merely taking issue with your blatant disregard for the work of an artist who, for the most part, is loved by Transformers fans in the US and UK. The excuse of being "too organic" seems laughable when you complain about exactly the opposite thing with the movie.