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GamelogoBy Australian Ninja

Remnants & Relics. Buttonhole *Special* Feature

Welcome dear reader to Remnants & Relics, the first in an ongoing series of features looking back at various aspects of yesterday's video games. This series is one that I'd hoped to kick off many months ago, but I just haven't had the time to do it justice, until now. So consider this your opportunity to put on your best pair or rose-tinted glasses, open up a luke-warm can of clichés and prepare to hop aboard the way-back-machine.... It came from beyond two dimensions! -A Look Back at Isometric Gaming-

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ToonlogoBy Australian Ninja

ACMI Day Tripper

Welcome Buttonhole readers to another feature that is so choc-full of goodness that I've divided it into several sections. The top half is about the Indy video games showcased at ACMI. The bottom half is about the Pixar exhibit. It's ridiculously long and all terribly interesting to read, so you may as well read it in two halves, or just the parts that interest you. After reading about the ACMI exhibits on their website and getting more than a little excited, I decided to make the perilous trek to inner Melbourne. With time on my side and money stuffed in my pocket I ventured forth to the train station. Once on board I passed the time by staring out the window, reading a volume of Dark Horse's Concrete and snacking on tasty fruit. Arriving at Flinders St, I wandered around until inevitably finding my way out of the rat-maze like station.

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ToonlogoBy Australian Ninja

Classic Comic-book Review. Kraven's Last Hunt

"Here lies Spider-Man - Slain by the Hunter" So reads the grave of one of histories greatest superheros. "But he's not dead, is he? What happened to everyone's favourite web-slinger? Spidey seems to be alive and well now, what with his three movie deal and a string of monthly Marvel comic-book titles to his name, so why was he buried six feet under? The year is 1987. The company is Marvel. The character is Sergei Kravinov also known as 'Kraven the Hunter.' Back in the 60's Stan and Steve (Lee and Ditko, respectively) churned out a heap of cool villains for the title "Amazing Spider-Man." Doctor Octopus, The Cham

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SG_Title image Spotlight on Studio Ghibli

Feeling down? Cartoons will save you!

Publisher: A. Ninja

Sat, 10 March 2007

Aussie_N6 by: Australian Ninja

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Click here to read PART 2 of this article

Damn I loves me some cartoons.
As for Studio Ghibli, they get my vote for the 'most rockingest super-mega-hyper-awesome Anime studio of all time' award. So awesome in fact that I feel they deserve a Buttonhole spotlight on their studio and their wonderful Animes.

Along the way I may - or may not - answer questions such as:
*What's up with that name 'Ghibli', and what does it mean?
*Has Hayao Miyazaki really retired?
*If a mime artist fall over and nobody sees it, does it make a sound?
*Where can I find these films?
*If you've never watched any of the Ghibli films, where should you start?

It is said that Studio Ghibli films bring out the child in all of us. At least somebody might have said that - am I supposed to investigate these things? Sorry but that would waste precious gaming time. Anyhow, while we won't literally turn into a child while watching one of the films - we will be reminded that life is what you make of it.

A sense of wonder, excitement and enthusiasm for life are natural to most children. As adults we often lose that. Watching the Anime films of Studio Ghibli can rekindle that joy we felt as a child.

If you had hayfever you'd be running too
My first exposure to a Ghibli film was a screening of Spirited Away a.k.a
Sen no Chihiro at a cinema called Luna in Leederville, in Western Australia. I remember how unusual it was to see so many adults in the audience. Sure there was the usual crowd taking their kids, but also an unusually large number of adults - sans children -of varying ages.
The film was so good I went back the following week to watch it again, then walked home giddy with excitement.

When it comes to cartoons, I enjoy all kinds of stuff no matter how they are produced. Whether they are hand drawn, CGI, Claymation or whatever I like them, I like them a lot. And I make an effort to watch the really good ones.

In the case of Studio Ghibli, there is a lot to like and I think everyone can find at least one film they like - there's a little something for everyone, no matter your personal tastes.

Studio Ghibli was first formed in 1985 but its origins date back to 1983 and the production of the film Nausicaa. The feature film was adapted from Hayao Miyazaki's Manga Nausicaa of the Valley of the Winds. The manga ran for many volumes beyond when the film was made - so the film was an abbreviated version of the core themes and story of Nausicaa.

To this day the film remains a strong fan favourite and the various manga comic collections are a popular selling item at

The first film officially released through the Studio Ghibli brand in 1986 was Laputa: Castle in the Sky.
Of course when a film is made, and when it is released in a foreign country - confusion arises as to what year it was originally released. So you best take a quick visit here and scroll down the page for an informative timeline, that also tells us what Animes were made by Studio Ghibli, by who and what other projects they have been involved in.

Tune in next time for 'Biggles Flies Undone'
While Studio Ghibli has made one incredible film after another, Nausicaa in my mind remains the most hard hitting, emotionally powerful film with its serious themes of environmental devastation caused by humans and the futility of war. These themes would be touched on again years later in Princess Mononoke, but Mononoke's complexity and elements of Japanese culture make it less accessible to a general audience.

Often when animated films are exported to a foreign market, they are butchered for the new audience. Not so with Studio Ghibli films. Adopting strict policies on 'no foreign edits or cuts unless otherwise directed to do so' and very specific pronunciation of character names, has meant the spirit of the films has remained true despite translation into multiple foreign languages.

"Adapting a film to another language is a fluid thing. Words are representations of emotions set in a cultural contextů simply translating word for word does not express the emotional experience."
-Hayao Miyazaki

While Studio Ghibli has been creating animated films for many years - the English language versions and widespread distribution in countries outside of Japan is a modern phenomenon.
Often Japanese cartoons are adapted from serialised Manga comics into network TV shows or otherwise into feature length films.

Some will be translated into other languages many years after their initial production - if at all. It usually comes down to dollars and cents along with a good distribution deal in a foreign market to make it worthwhile to translate a Japanese anime. The same can be said for Japanese role-playing videogames with their masses of text and dialogue.

It can be extremely costly and at the end of the day, it you are a small studio then by and large it's not worth the hassle of getting your product into foreign markets.
When it all comes together though, Animes can gain a whole new rapidly growing audience. Some cases even give new life to the old. Dragonball Z for example was as old as the hills by the time Australian audiences saw it packaged on to the weekday morning show Cheez TV.

That didn't stop it from becoming crazy popular here and selling ten tons of licensed crap though. For the record, the show that came before 'Z' titled simply Dragonball is of much higher quality. But if you're a Buttonhole regular then by now you probably know I loves my Dragonball like a hobo loves his bottle of booze

Cleetus! Put some dang ol' shoes on for you done go shoot somebody!
My point is we are pretty damn lucky in this country to have access to such a wide range of Anime, usually available in dual Japanese / English audio. Years ago, especially before the DVD format was around it would have cost a boatload of cash to have access to good Anime films and TV shows, such as Nausicaa and others - and even then you could have bought one of the crappy early versions that was heavily edited and just, well, sucked ass.

So in this article, I am going to look at the films of Studio Ghibli along with some more info on the Studio itself, a bit of info about Hayao Miyazaki [the name synonymous with S.G.] along with my own two cents on why this shit is even worth paying attention to in the first place.

Stick around, you might enjoy the feature. Then again you might get bored to death. For anyone who's already dead - this article is not for you , so stop reading it -honestly if you are dead then you must have better things to do.

If I tried to cram it all the goodness into one article you'd be here until your eyes were bleeding or you fell asleep at the screen, visions of .txt dancing in your head. So this article will be in multiple parts.

Take a break, come back - it'll still be here to read later. Pause to check out the links along the way, you'll be glad you did. Don't read too long and blame me when your eyes hurt. And those zombies and dead people still reading at this point, you only have yourselves to blame.

Until next crime dear reader! If you're a nervous nelly and can't wait to join me in Part 2 - then you must visit the most excellent for the gritty kitty of details on Studio Ghibli

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Reviews of Ghibli films at Buttonhole
Tales from Earthsea
Only Yesterday

by: Australian Ninja

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Which of these animated shows is the funniest?
The Simpsons
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Family Guy
King of the Hill
Looney Tunes (Bugs Bunny etc.)
The Flintstones

ToonlogoBy Borgieman

Manifest '07 Report

Ninja's note: Once again, it's time for another Buttonhole report on the Melbourne Anime Festival, otherwise known as Manifest 2007. If you missed Ichibod's feature on a previous Manifest, check it out here. This Manifest coverage comes to you courtesy of forum regular and newest Buttonhole contributor Borgieman, a cool guy who knows his Anime and has been known to play a video game or two. So read on true believers! A Day at Manifest 2007

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ToonlogoBy Australian Ninja

Only Yesterday. Anime Review

The problem with having favourite films is that every time I watch another Studio Ghibli film it becomes my new favourite. It kind of renders the word 'favourite' meaningless when every Studio Ghibli film takes my breath away. Still, I can't complain about being thoroughly entertained by this whimsical and insightful film, "Only Yesterday". This gem was directed by Isao Takahata, well known for his anime film Grave of the Fireflies. Although Only Yesterday is a light hearted film that ambles along at a leisurely pace, it still manages to explore themes such as love, work, family relationship struggles, following your dreams and country versus city living. In the film, the main character Taeko decides to take a working vacation in the country, getting away from her office bound job and unexpectedly starts t

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ToonlogoBy Jason

Speed Grapher V1. Anime Review

Well, "I don't like it" was my initial feeling when viewing this Anime for the first time. Subsequent viewings haven't changed my views a great deal. Nothing really stands out as being absolute shit but it seems that this series tries too hard. It's almost like they were more interested in creating something 'edgy' and confronting but sadly forgot to include an even remotely palatable story. The hero of this particular piece is a bloke called Tatsumi Saiga. Tatsumi is a photographer and a veteran war journalist for whom taking photos has become somewhat of a fetish. Although he seems to have become jaded - nothing is worth wasting his film on - that is, at least until he stumbles across an exclusive club for the mega rich

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