Paranoia memories: Kon/Ōtomo simulwatch II

Neil.T

Chuunibyou
Memories: 'Cannon Fodder'
  • This film was originally planned to be one continuous cut, just an extended tracking shot. Ōtomo would return to that idea for the opening of the short animation "Combustible", which is part of his Short Peace anthology, effectively the follow-up to Memories. The first cut here effectively still lasts for the first three minutes and 25 seconds, though, which is very impressive.
  • I didn't bother counting the actual number of effective cuts, but the transitions between them are mostly cleverly obscured using various smoke, zoom and wipe effects, which is partly what gives the film its feeling of constant momentum. In fact, there's only one "traditional" cross-fade in the entire thing.
  • There's an unfortunate error in the subtitles on Sony's old DVD version. At 14mins 59secs, the line "His other kids don't like anybody anyway" is supposed to be "His other kids don't look like anybody anyway".
  • The day's events take place over a 14-hour span, from 7am to 9pm.

It's taken me a while to get fully into this film, but watching it this time I absolutely loved it. I think it's quite a feat of imagination and execution in animation.


To wrap up with Memories from my end, just a small observation about the titles of each segment in Japanese, which are different from their English counterparts. These translations are my own, but Magnetic Rose is known as "Her Memories" in Japanese. Stink Bomb is "The Ultimate Weapon". And Cannon Fodder is "The City of Cannons". It's the same to a lesser degree with Short Peace: the first two of its four animations are retitled in English.
 

WMD

Death Scythe
Memories: Cannon Fodder

This was a fascinating little film. First off I loved the art and design work going on. The dirty war steam punk vibe was really cool (and actually had lots of machinery working by steam!) Also the way everyone looked like a walking corpse was a really interesting touch to the designs.

God leading that cannon is such a palaver. And then so much pomp and ceremony to fire it. Though I did like the touch that the trigger was like a lawn mower pull cord. It all left me feeling the war was fake. Theres no sign of any retaliation in their city. And the guns are so slow and hassle and then the ceremony to fire them they bo sense of urgency. It's like they are just institutionalized into a war society with no real war to fight.

Another thing I thought was interesting was that the kid drew himself with natural skin tone. The drawing seeming more alive than any of the living people.

Overall Memories has been excellent. I've enjoyed all three stories and would say Magnetic Rose was my favourite.
 

Neil.T

Chuunibyou
It all left me feeling the war was fake. Theres no sign of any retaliation in their city.
There's a lot to be said for that theory, definitely. I think Kenji Kamiyama might've been proud to have something like that in his SAC as a study of the nature of the military industrial complex.

Also the way everyone looked like a walking corpse was a really interesting touch to the designs.
They actually reminded me a bit this time of the Genius Party short "Deathtic 4" to a minor degree, what with the father's shadows around the eyes and also the presence of gasmasks.
 

WMD

Death Scythe
They actually reminded me a bit this time of the Genius Party short "Deathtic 4" to a minor degree, what with the father's shadows around the eyes and also the presence of gasmasks.
Yeah that's true. That could be why I felt that way.

This film was originally planned to be one continuous cut, just an extended tracking shot.
That would've been great to watch but a real undertaking to make happen!

Kenji Kamiyama might've been proud to have something like that in his SAC as a study of the nature of the military industrial complex.
Would love to see that. Altgough they touch upon it from time to time it would be interetsing to see that in GitS as the main characters are fully dependant on the military and government for their bodies.
 

Neil.T

Chuunibyou
That would've been great to watch but a real undertaking to make happen!
Does your BD copy have a making-of in the extras called "Memories of Memories"? The old Sony Entertainment DVD does, and it shows a background for Cannon Fodder laid out on the floor at one point, ready for a tracking shot. It takes up an intimidating amount of space!
 

WMD

Death Scythe
Does your BD copy have a making-of in the extras called "Memories of Memories"? The old Sony Entertainment DVD does, and it shows a background for Cannon Fodder laid out on the floor at one point, ready for a tracking shot. It takes up an intimidating amount of space!
It does. I havent watched it yet so I'll have to check it out!
 

Neil.T

Chuunibyou
It does. I havent watched it yet so I'll have to check it out!
I haven't seen it in a good while, but I'd like to revisit it at some point. You get to see sort of what're like pilot versions or proposal-spec outlines of Stink Bomb and Cannon Fodder.
 

Birdie Num Num

Dandy Guy, in Space
Memories - Cannon Fodder
  • The characters designs reminded me of Sylvain Chomet (Belleville Rendez-vous)
  • From how some of the characters looked and how the society was I began to think, are they the bad guys.. minutes I saw step spelt as sstep..
  • The one shot was very ambitious and worked with the story and flow.
  • There was no incorrect subtitle on the Australian Blu-ray.
  • I remember this one being my least favourite out of the three when I watched this for the first time. I've grown to appreciate it. Magnetic Rose is still my overall favourite but this is now second.
  • I also watched the making of, which I recommend. Basically it's interviews with the directors. Fun Fact, When doing research for Stink Bomb, the director learnt there was a similar incident that actually happened. I'm guessing a man didn't turn into a bomb but still scary.
  • And the size of the background for Cannon Fodder was amazing.
 

Neil.T

Chuunibyou
The characters designs reminded me of Sylvain Chomet (Belleville Rendez-vous)
Oh my god, that is uncanny. I'm not familiar with it myself, but NEO magazine's review of Genius Party compared "Deathtic 4" to Belleville Rendez-vous. How about that, eh?

I began to think, are they the bad guys.
. . .
I saw step spelt as sstep.
The interesting thing to remember about this observation, though, (and this overlaps with the war film simulwatch) is that, from Japan's point of view, Nazi Germany were allies during World War II.

But yeah, I did notice that too, in all sincerity; the letter "S" looks like a double "S" in that typeface. And if you want to dive this a bit deeper, the lettering reminded me somewhat of Cyrillic script as seen in Russian, and from Japan's perspective they were the wartime bad guys.
 

Neil.T

Chuunibyou
Paranoia Agent episode 10
  • Paranoia Agent meets Shirobako in today's episode as we learn the inner workings of the anime industry. Of course, Shirobako didn't yet exist at the time...
  • There's a production manager on the in-episode Mellow Maromi anime who has the name Oda Nobunaga! 😆
    No relation to the real-life 16th-century feudal warlord, I'm sure.
  • Just as our protagonist Saruta's falling asleep at the wheel threatens to become tired (forgive the pun) as a scene transition, Kon changes things up and uses something new. He really did have a gift for seeing his productions from his audience's point of view.
  • Production manager Nobunaga saying that Saruta has "the brain of a monkey" is a bit of wordplay. Saru is "monkey" in Japanese.
  • Saruta is voiced in Japanese by the instantly recognisable Hiroyuki Yoshino. He also voiced the broadly similar role of production assistant Tarou in the aforementioned Shirobako. You may have heard him most recently as Remi in Promare.
  • The cameo appearance of the opening theme song on the car radio is a really neat touch.
  • Above all, this episode give a pretty chilling inside view of the anime industry, where the completion of a 24-minute cartoon episode is apparently valued far higher than the lives and wellbeing of those who are involved in its production.
 

WMD

Death Scythe
Paranoia Agent 10

I really enjoyed the intro in the kiddy animation that started switching to storyboards. To be honest I was hoping the whole epsiode was going to be like that! The reveal it's an in show anime production was fun though. Although I liked the part in the epsiode where from Sarutas point of view it starts happening to him as colour and definition drops off him.

The way this epsiode is told is great as well. Jumping back and forth in time is a really effective tool. It also adds an element of what is actually real (a theme in the show as a whole) where you're never quite sure if the flash backs/forwards are accurate portrayals of the events or just Sarutas deluded imaginings.

Another interesting facet is that I never liked Saruta. Yes hes beat down on by everyone, but hes so incompetent and his utter refusal to accept any personal responsibility makes me land on the side of his coworkers. I would hate working with him.

There's a production manager on the in-episode Mellow Maromi anime who has the name Oda Nobunaga! 😆
I noticed that too. It made me wonder if they are named after historical figures.

The cameo appearance of the opening theme song on the car radio is a really neat touch.
Yeah that was a good touch.
 

Birdie Num Num

Dandy Guy, in Space
Paranoia Agent - Episode 10
  • Shirobako with murder
  • I thought the signature on the script at the beginning might have belonged to Satoshi Kon, but it wasn't his. I thought that would have been a cool easter egg, I got excited, oh well.
  • When Saruta falls asleep in the car, the Maromi toy swinging from the mirror is kinda hypnotic.
  • I can relate to having that one person on a team at work and they just bring everyone down.. it brought back some angry memories lol.
  • Great use of music within the scene, using the car radio. (Both OP and ED songs make an appearance.)
  • Message to the entire anime industry: Take a rest.
 

Neil.T

Chuunibyou
Another interesting facet is that I never liked Saruta. Yes hes beat down on by everyone, but hes so incompetent and his utter refusal to accept any personal responsibility makes me land on the side of his coworkers. I would hate working with him.
I can relate to having that one person on a team at work and they just bring everyone down.. it brought back some angry memories lol.
Saruta is an utterly contemptible asshat-wipe, isn't he? 😅

That's an incredible scene where the production manager is struggling to hold it together and he yells at Saruta "I won't even ask you to quit anymore: just die!"

Wow. 😯
 

WMD

Death Scythe
That's an incredible scene where the production manager is struggling to hold it together and he yells at Saruta "I won't even ask you to quit anymore: just die!"
Yeah that was really intense and you really felt how stressed everyone had become, but at the same time I fully agreed with the manager!
 

Neil.T

Chuunibyou
Paranoia Agent episode 11
  • Here we learn what happened to detective duo Ikari and Maniwa following the fallout of episode 7.
  • There are red camelias in the foreground of one of the scenes where Ikari's wife is having her one-way conversation with Shounen Bat. In Japanese culture, these represent death.
  • Ikari's preferred Hope cigarettes are an actual real-life Japanese brand.
 

Birdie Num Num

Dandy Guy, in Space
Paranoia Agent - Episode 11
  • The rumour mill is for Shounen Bat is running and he's changing. Although that could also be because of the emotions felt by Ikari's Wife. Shounen Bat just wants her to lose herself to feeling cornered, wanting to escape reality but she's been winning against all odds her entire life. She is strong willed and determined.
  • Ikari meets an old-fashioned thief who feels the same way. Times have changed for both them. It's a nice comparison between cops and robbers.
Also to go back an episode. The writer who attacked off screen, I read a comment saying that was Kamohara's husband (the screenwriter) from episode 9. I don't know if this is true but if I've got time, I will check.
 

WMD

Death Scythe
Paranoia Agent 11

I really liked this episode! The rumours getting out of hand feeding into Lil'Sluggers power was a nice touch as he his basically a figment of the collective imagination, a meme. As the old burglar says to the chief at one point they are a product of their time. Well Lil'Slugger is a product of the time as well. A manifestation of the crushing weight modern life can have one person.

I love how strong and open the Cheifs wife is. Unafraid to bare her soul and life to a monster. The framing is also great. From outside we see her as shes real but Lil'Slugger is obscured by the screen doors, only a silhouette, a figment. Although he grows in power as she reveals her shame ultimately he has no real power if a person can face reality.

I also really enjoyed the Chiefs story here. Hes been about upon and beat down that it was nice to see him finally let some if that stress go and relax.
 
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