Friday, June 19, 2015

Didn't Write LOL

Alright, you might have noticed that I didn't post twice yesterday and that this blog title is not the promised post on Fourier Analysis. Well, my life got in the way. I'm still going to post every day, but I'm not going to write a big substantive until next Tuesday.

If I post any more YouTube videos, this blog is going to become a Twitter feed. Maybe I should review something I've read? I haven't been reading like I was when I started this blog. I could do a review of the last thing I watched, but I don't think the internet likes The Rockford Files as much as me - though you should 'cause it's great. And I'm also at risk at becoming a Tumblr if I continue to lack content the way I do.

Alright, how about this: is there any correlation between money spent on a TV show and its quality? Here's a good list, kind of interesting to think about. I think modern sit-coms just look awful. Big empty fishbowls. Back in the old days, All In The Family and its ilk had a certain grittiness to their look, like an Angry Young Man play. Whether that is good or not is up to you. It's important though to compare apples to apples, sitcoms like Friends and The Big Bang Theory (shows I don't watch, but have friends that do) cost a fortune because the main actors are so popular that they can be paid ~$1 million an episode. That can't be compared to a cool looking show like It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

Great Promotional Bebop Art From Character Designer Toshiro Kawamoto.

Interesting fact: anime is dirt cheap to make. This is the real reason they can concentrate on the safe but small (and pretty horrible) "otaku" market (which wants - thinks it wants - nothing but more of the same, but more fetishized). Each episode of Bebop was made on a budget of ¥20 mil, which is about $230,000 (taking into account inflation). Each episode of a comparable American series in terms of looks, Avatar: The Last Airbender, cost $1 mil to make. Of course, there were other costs to make the series as a whole, but that's not going to change the overall story. Sequel series Avatar: The Legend of Korra costs $1.7 mil an episode.

In his book Starting Point, the great Hayao Miyazaki blames Osamu Tezuka for this (he says Tezuka was willing to work with low budgets because he conceived of animation as a side gig to comic books). But I wonder if people would be willing to make risky shows like Bebop if they had to pay full price. It's a great book, worth checking out. Miyazaki is a very interesting person, much more pessimistic (especially politically, as Miyazaki is an environmentalist and a pacifist) in person than on the screen. Reading his regrets, his triumphs, his frequent attacks on the lack of emotional depth in other Japanese animation and his ambitious plans for his movies is very impressive and interesting. He writes about his inability to understand his father until it was too late, his love of his crappy first car and his relationship with the industry in a very honest way. Highly recommended.

Hey, that's kind of a book review of the last thing I read! I guess this blog isn't totally content free!

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