Monday, December 15, 2008

Slept quite a bit later than I'd meant to to-day. I couldn't get to sleep this morning for some reason. I felt tired, but my mind suddenly started running and wouldn't stop until after 7am. So I had to sleep later to make sure I was rested enough to work on my comic to-day--I've a lot to do. I did two pages yesterday and I need to do two pages to-day. Darth Vader's here to put me back on schedule and the Emperor's not as forgiving as he is.

I didn't have time for much else yesterday. I was toying with the idea of trying to be vegan for a while and suddenly realised I was eating vegan yesterday; I had a bowl of plain oatmeal for breakfast with black coffee, then for lunch lately I've been putting hummus and lettuce in whole wheat pitas. I had spaghetti noodles with marinara for dinner and an apple for dessert. And about an hour before bed I had a bowl of cous cous I'd made with olive oil. I guess the hummus was probably the only protein I had yesterday.

I think I made up for yesterday's spartan diet by going to my parents' house to-night and eating for breakfast just a plate of cookies my sister had baked yesterday. I came back here and ate an apple while watching the first episode of FLCL, which I hadn't watched in years. I think I'd subconsciously been avoiding it because Adult Swim's been airing the English dubbed version, which always depresses me. But I was thinking of the series because I've gotten to episode nineteen of His and Her Circumstances, which is three episodes in to Kazuya Tsurumaki's tenure as director after the departure of his mentor, Hideaki Anno. I could see the bombastic animation style of FLCL germinating already in Tsurumaki's episodes of His and Her Circumstances as he took, what seemed to me, the impressionistic POV Anno had established for the lead character and expanded it to the general atmosphere of the series.

There's an interesting, almost unaccountable dissolution of the tension of the earlier episodes. Under Anno's direction, these teenagers felt always like they were treading on a thin layer of ice over a lethal pond of psychological trouble. Tsurumaki's take gives everything a more optimistic feeling--there are a great deal of misunderstandings and awkwardness, but the needle never dips too far into the disaster zone. But he's by no means a bad director. He's a lot of fun, in fact. He just doesn't feel quite as dangerous as Anno, which I associate with Anno's roots in 1980s anime. There was very often a feeling in anime from that decade that you were being pulled into something you weren't quite prepared for, and you weren't sure you ought to like it. I have a great deal of fondness for art that breaks down your internal safe zones.

I think Tsurumaki has an appreciation for this, too, and I think it's something he aims for a lot with FLCL. The sexual euphemisms are great, as the strangeness of Naota's sexual awakening, from his perspective, is translated by the story into bizarre robots and possible biological disorders. But while you never really knew for sure if Shinji in Evangelion was a good person or not, you have to say, yeah, Naota's a good kid. Tsurumaki's a more reassuring director--his strength as an artist is in his basic faith in people, while Anno's strength is his constant need to question the fundamental motives and desires of human beings. I think which one's superior may depend entirely on your taste or personal outlook, but it's interesting that Anno and Tsurumaki have had such a close working relationship.

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