I'm not trying to be a hero! I'M FIGHTING THE DRAGON!!

Princess Mononoke

Well damn man this is the problem I’m having. Apathy. Lack of participation. Nobody likes me. Etc.

Now don’t get me wrong, I really really appreciate you motherfuckers who read the column. You know who you are. But it’s hard when a dude pours his heart into a thing like this and nobody fucking cares.

Now okay, I can’t make you care about an old ex-con who is currently facing a possible lawsuit due to an incident which occured on the evening of October 31st on my own fucking property. It’s up to you to show a little fucking human emotion and caring, in my opinion.

What I’m asking is this though. I know there are like two or three of you motherfuckers who CLAIM you like my Writing. IF in fact that is the case you gotta help me out man. Now if I was Writing a book, or a fucking newspaper, or god help me a fucking talk show monologue – okay, if that was the case, you motherfuckers would be perfectly appropriate just sitting there on your ass not sayin nothing.

HOWEVER, this is the medium of THE FUCKING WEB which is about INTERACTIVE Writing and etc. It is not a passive medium in my opinion and anyone who thinks a web Sight should be the same as a newspaper I would like to talk to a motherfucker who believes that I have a few choice words for the little prick.

SO THEREFORE what you gotta do is you gotta send me some e-mail or sign the guestbook or whatever and let me know your out there. Let me give a few examples of where this did NOT happen:

  1. when I asked you to tell me what you thought of that fucking cokehead walter leno’s redesign of my web sight. Responses: none.
  2. when I asked you what tv shows were good. Responses: none.
  3. when i told you why a motherfuckers gotta eat. Apparently you didn’t believe me. People who clicked reel.com banner: 7. People who bought something: zero.

    well actually, thats according to reel.com, but i actually bought something through it and they didn’t count it, so i have a few theories about those motherfuckers. so i’ll let this one go.

  4. When I tore my fucking heart out for you guys, by printing a page of my dream journal, just as many of you had asked me to do. Responses: none to speak of.

Point is you gotta let me know whats going on. How am i doing. What are you guys into right now. How can i improve. etc. If you guys don’t do it its gonna be only the stupid motherfuckers who get a word in.

This is exactly the problem with politics too. The type of people who get off their ass and do something are exactly the type evil fucking creeps who use the system to screw over the poor, start wars with some motherfucker or whatever. And the ironic catch 22 oxymoron of the whole thing is that the type of people who don’t vote are the type of people who really ought to be in charge, in my opinion, because the very fact that they don’t vote AT LEAST shows that they hate those slimy motherfuckers who are running for office. which, if they didn’t, obviously theres a little something wrong there.

same thing with cops. Okay, I am not a fucking anarchist. I agree that there should be rules (including the ones that landed my sorry ass in the joint). And if there are gonna be rules there are gonna have to be people to enforce them. BUT, you gotta be suspicious of the fucking prick who WANTS to be the guy to enforce the rules. I mean, what the fuck kind of personality gravitates you to that?

And of course, this also applies to prison. Okay, believe it or not the vast majority of motherfuckers in prison honestly are nice individuals. these are individuals who maybe robbed somebody or credit card fraud or whatever, okay, that was a weasely thing to do, but overall they are friendly and not out to hurt other dudes. If it were up to these dudes, the prison would be a pretty easy going, laid back type of place and everybody gets along.

BUT, then there are the vocal minority, who like to rape dudes or start the race gangs or whatever. And because these are the dudes who speak up and make their case, everybody has to go along with it.

And thats the same thing with my web site. If you don’t tell me what you think all I got to listen to is a couple of these motherfuckers in my guestbook, and what they tell me is that I’m an idiot and i should stop. and to be frankly honest that is not what I want to do, you guys.

Princess MononokeANYWAY, fuck that man i’m gonna get down off my soapdish or whatever. this week there is a little flick by the name of Princess Mononke. Now what this is is a cartoon that the japanese make – now bear with me here – this is a type of cartoons that is for adults. A lot of people don’t know this but in japan, the cartoons are made for adults. Well here I have learned its nerdy dudes in their twenties over here, but in japan its for adults. now what these movies are about generally is there is a demon that rapes a chick, or there is a robot, or whatever. But this one is better.

You may have seen a cartoon before that is from japan and not realized it, here is the secret to telling the difference. if it is an american cartoon, it is about animals and they are singing songs all the time. if it is a japanese cartoon, it is about a young girl and there is at least one spot where her dress flies up and you see the panties. If it doesn’t have one of those two things, i don’t know its probaly korean or some shit, i don’t knwo for sure.

Now as far as princess mononoke, this is a different type of cartoon than i’ve ever seen before. It is sort of a love romance set against an epic backdrop. It is a legend or a fairy tale, dealing with the warring factions of humans in the last days of the gods. the gods are played by giant wolves, gorillas or even weird things like a deer with a guy’s face and a giraffe for a neck. this is about the environment, with a hero who is slowly being eaten away by a demon just as the world around him is being devoured by technology. Its also about the way people relate to each other, the way they deal with the past, or about the sacrifices of “progress” in a civilization. It is rich with emotion and with a passion for detail. It has a distinct feel of japanese mythology and at the same time a universal, emotional feel.

I didn’t know what the fuck was going on, actually. but I will definitely see it again.

Well I will that is IF it lasts long enough. You motherfuckers gotta go see this thing so it builds an audience. It’s JUST like the prison system, my lack of e-mail, etc. You gotta speak up and say THIS is what i want, to experience another dude’s culture through Art, not just watch YET another men in black sequel or whatever. You gotta get your fucking priorities straight in my opinion.

thanks guys

–Vern

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

This entry was posted on Monday, November 8th, 1999 at 7:39 am and is filed under Cartoons and Shit, Reviews, Vern Tells It Like It Is. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

35 Responses to “Princess Mononoke”

  1. Glad you didn’t stop, strived for excellence and got your website a comment section. The people who are visiting your sight today, seem to be much nicer than the people from 10 years ago.

  2. Are you looking for the best food stuff of this entire world! Pick up a subway menu right away!!

  3. Cheers for sharing that link but unluckily it appears to be down? Anybody have a mirror?

  4. yes Im a greenhorn I dont even know how to activat a theme

  5. whoa Vern, I had no idea you reviewed an anime once

  6. I got to admit though, I think it’s a real shame that for most people their stereotype of anime is “there is a demon that rapes a chick”

    there’s so much more to it than the pornography and yes, some anime is even meant for kids, but it figures that the most shocking aspect of it would be what sticks out the most in people’s minds even if it’s the minority

  7. This movie was actually what finally made me admit that anime was just not for me, Griff. I’d been giving the big names (AKIRA, GHOST IN THE SHELL, TOTORO, etc.) a shot and discovered that I always started out blown away by their technical expertise but ended up bored and exhausted long before the credits rolled. I went to see MONONOKE in the theater with my girlfriend at the time (who was the vice-president of our school’s anime club) and found myself begging the universe to just let it end already. That was when I knew that anime and I were just never going to see eye to eye. It has nothing to do with the content; it’s the form itself. So I don’t think of anime as “demons raping chicks.” I think of anime as really well-made cartoons that just happen to bore the shit out of me, no matter what they’re about.

  8. I too have always had the same short attention span problem with anime that Mr. Majestyk has though I could always make it through AKIRA and FIST OF THE NORTHSTAR somehow but they’re the only exceptions.

  9. I always meant to check out FIST OF THE NORTH STAR but then I saw that live-action Gary Daniels version and that pretty much killed any and all curiosity I might have about that particular story.

  10. but guys, you really need to at least give Cowboy Bebop a chance, it’s one of the most badass things I’ve seen movie or otherwise and any purveyor of badassdom really needs to give it a chance regardless of your thoughts on anime

    but I’m happy to see Mr. Majestyk that you’ve given anime a fair shake in the past, I can understand why it would not be everyone’s cup of tea and at least you tried it

  11. I just want to stress again, Griff, that it’s not the content I have a problem with. All kinds of awesome shit happens in all the movies I mentioned (naked cyborg assassinatrixes, Cronenbergian body horror on a Michael Bay scale, geysering katana wounds, etc.) but the style and form renders it all rather academic for me. I might be able to recognize that COWBOY BEBOP is theoretically badass, but I wouldn’t feel it. And if you don’t feel it, what’s the point?

  12. It’s true, there are a handful that are not about a demon raping a chick, this being one of them. But I still think it will be worth your time to check out.

  13. Vern, did you mean MONONOKE or COWBOY BEBOP? Because I saw MONONOKE and had my usual reaction: initial admiration followed by pervasive fidgeting.

    I kinda liked BLOOD: THE LAST VAMPIRE, I think because it was only about an hour long. That seems to be my threshold.

  14. Mr. Majestyk – I got to admit I find that kinda strange, I guess animation in general is just not your thing? I personally have always been a big animation fan, anime or otherwise

    anyway because I’m bored I’d like to explain part of the appeal of anime to me for those that may not understand, anime for me has always been just as much as a social identifier as it is something I legitimately enjoy, it’s my way of “standing out from the crowd” as being the “anime guy”, it’s a way of having uniqueness that I think I otherwise would have lacked, be it online (such as on this site) or in real life, especially living in a small town in Georgia it goes without saying that being really into a foreign culture is pretty unique here

    so that was one of the reasons I really got into anime in the first place was because it was something that very much NOT part of the mainstream, but still popular enough that it has a sense of community and fandom

    it’s just like any other nerd hobby I guess like comic books or Star Trek except that in age when nerdiness has become mainstream and no one really bats an eye if you say you’re into comic book super heroes, anime is still a legitimately nerdy hobby that raises eyebrows and I like that

  15. Yeah, that’s definitely part of it, Griff. I have a hard time getting into animated movies. There are exceptions, like when I decided to give the most beloved Pixar films another chance last year and found that I really liked TOY STORY 3, most of WALL-E, and half of TOY STORY 2. But in general, I don’t feel like I’m actually seeing anything happening, and I don’t feel connected to the characters. It’s just moving drawings with disconnected voices attached to them, nothing that sucks me in and makes me give a damn. The funny thing is, I watch cartoons all the time, but they’re all TV shows like SOUTH PARK or FUTURAMA. TV gives me a chance to connect with the characters and the world, making it feel real in a way that animated films don’t have the time or space to do. Also, it helps that they’re actually funny, unlike Pixar or similarly family-friendly fare, which is too pleasant to ever actually make me laugh. I also have a hard time taking cartoons seriously as drama, which negates most anime right there. I’m just clearly not the market for this stuff. There’s something missing in my brain.

  16. I really love PRINCESS MONONOKE, and most of Miyazaki’s films. I started to work on a list of my favorite 100 films of the 90’s for the forum and have not found the time to finish it, but both this and NINJA SCROLL are on my list (GHOST IN THE SHELL looks cool but I find it to be pretty boring). I used to really love anime when I was younger but a lot of the more recent anime I have seen just doesn’t do it for me. I think back in the day only the really good or sexually bizarre stuff made it to our shores, but now a day we have accesses to a ridiculous almost overwhelming amount of anime here in the states and a lot of it is not very good. The art and animation might be ok, but often the story telling is sorely lacking. I don’t know, maybe it is just a cultural thing and what I am missing is lost in translation. However, I do think COWBOY BEBOP is amazing, and it is probably my favorite anime series of all time. The art, storytelling and charters are all great. It also an anime that is very much influenced by Americana and features themes and charters that are in the mold of classic westerns and hard boiled noir stories. There really is no other anime like it. Mr. M I can understand how you feel about anime, but you shouldn’t hold that against COWBOY BEBOP it might surprise you.

  17. It is heart that is missing. From…your brain.

    (But I’m not into anime either. Although I have to say that COWBOY BEBOP and HELLSING [and to a degree CASE CLOSED] are pretty watchable, even though I stopped watching after a few episodes.)

  18. My brain has heart. It’s just not easily accessed. But once you find your way past the guard dogs and laser beams and terra cotta warriors, I am a big softy.

  19. Whoa, Mr. M I don’t think even Danny Ocean and his boys could make it past a security system like that.

  20. Well, it’s like I always told my fellow fiction writers in grad school: Nothing easy was ever interesting.

  21. I tried watching COWBOY BEBOP once and ended up disappointed because there were no cowboys or bebop music anywhere to be found. Seriously though for me it’s just an aesthetic thing. I love animation; I grew up during the second Disney animation renaissance (LITTLE MERMAID, BEAUTY & THE BEAST, ALADDIN, THE LION KING) so I grew up appreciating well executed 2D animation.

    With anime one of the quirks that really irks me and make me tune out is how stiff a lot of the animation seems. Like when characters speak and their mouths look like their lower jaw is attached to a piece of string that keeps getting pulled down as opposed to looking more natural and fluid like it does when Geppetto from PINOCCHIO sings a song.

    You could say that’s a byproduct of the dubbing but this even applies to the ones that aren’t dubbed. Mouth movements never seem natural and that stiffness is one of those things that completely throws me out of what I’m watching. It’s pretty distracting. Then when they aren’t dubbed sometimes you have to put up with some of the craziest high pitch voices with frequencies that come straight from hell. That shit just doesn’t work for me

    The voice work also comes across as stiff and emotionless because the faces and body movements aren’t expressive enough. It’s like they quickly go from panel A to panel B on the animation board when it comes to show someone from going from happy to sad. There is no progression in between the face with the non-smile and the one with the smile it just awkwardly comes in. Not natural way of doing it (Ie: The Grinch’s grin from the Chuck Jones cartoon) .

    Another issue is pacing. They usually start pretty dynamic and then just roam around doing a whole bunch of nothing by the mid point. With long lingering shots that would be interesting in say a Malick movie but don’t work in anime because of how unengaging and lacking in fluidity I find most of the animation to be. So I completely get where Majestyk is coming from. I respect anime and yes a lot of them have some very interesting ideas and concepts but the execution is damn near always pretty ho hum.

  22. True, drama is birthed in conflict.

  23. Mr. Majestyk – “I also have a hard time taking cartoons seriously as drama” I know someone who was like that too till I showed them TOY STORY 3. She was fucking floored by the scene with the toys staring at their hot molten fate at the garbage disposal site and holding hands together ready to face hell as a family. It truly moved her and by the end we were both in tears (yeah I have no problem admitting that TS3 was the only other movie besides MY LIFE to get me to produce some tears) by the end when Andy says his thanks to his toys. That is some truly powerful shit there.

  24. That scene in TS3 is by far the best thing I’ve ever witnessed in an animated motion picture. It made me contemplate the inevitability of death in a way that almost none of the millions of death scenes I’ve witnessed in live-action films ever did. But I do think it proves the point I made about my initial reluctance to connect with animated characters. By that point, I’d had three films to get to know them, so that barrier had been removed. I doubt I’d have been so moved if that had happened in the first film (which I think is kind of terrible, to be honest. Shrill, hateful characters, plot centered on lame misunderstandings, no longer impressive animation, etc.).

  25. – griff

    Have you seen Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex? It`s pretty badass for a tv-show, with an excellent story and great action. And series 2 is even better.

  26. I never understood why the Japanese can’t draw facial expressions or even just dialogue scenes. They come up with all those detailed backgrounds and awesome action scenes, but can’t even make lips move realistic.

  27. CJ Holden – It boggles the mind and you would think after so many years and all the progressions in animation they’d wake up to the fact but no they keep their little stiff animation around I guess because it’s a “cute trademark” of anime or whatever. Be it as it may it’s also a reason why many don’t really give anime much of a chance in the first place cause I know you and I aren’t the only ones bothered by that shit.

  28. *stiff facial animation

  29. CJ Holden and Broddie

    I can assume that you haven`t seen a lot of anime, but yes, japanese animation might be percieved as stiff by some audience members when compared to Walt Disney stuff. The budget for japanese animation is very low when compared to western feature animation because of the smallish audience. If I remember correctly, they usually only animate 12 frames instead of the usual 24 frames. It has never bothered me, though, being used to reading comics and stuff since a very early age. If you compare japanese acting to american acting, japanese actors are usual very stoic or still, that might have something to do with it as well. But as the budget is very smaller than american animation, the animators tend to concentrate on story, character, background, lightning, colors etc instead of the characters movement, in order to tell the story. I like this more subtle (and cinematic) approach to storytelling and prefer it vastly over some animated animals who break into song about how sad the princess is and stuff.
    The lipsync is properbly just a case of you guys watching a dubbed anime, it usually fits pretty well with the original japanese audio-track.

    A lot of anime is crap, but once in a while you find a real gem.

  30. Vern, love the sight and your general excellent taste in movies and actors, I guess this deserves to be said in a first comment.

    Now to where I have something to add, dubbing and watching dubbed anime should be a crime (maybe not one that puts you somewhere with an unpleasant vocal minority though; perhaps the punishment should be an angry Toshiro Mifune yelling at you in a heavy Brooklyn accent). So much of the original feel gets lost with the language that there is no reason it should ever be done, plus the mentioned desynchronization effect (usually these things are timed perfectly in Japanese).

    As for Cowboy Bebop, while I think it’s amazing (how could a show with a ’70s looking bounty hunter protagonist on a space ship who does martial arts and his rugged ex-cop partner who’s constantly complaining about making ends meet be anything less?), it has a unique funky style that you either love or hate.

    As for something everyone should enjoy (as long as you like Japan’s samurai era), I would recommend “Rurouni Kenshin: Trust & Betrayal OVA”. I think it’s a masterpiece for a lot of reasons – it doesn’t skimp on the blood, has likable characters doing questionable, but from their perspective understandable things, avoids simplistic moral judgments while dealing with issues like revenge, loyalty and love, and is beautifully done. Not the lightest watch though. This one should be in 4 episodes (not the entire TV series titled Rurouni Kenshin). If you dislike this one, you probably should avoid anything anime-looking like the plague.

  31. Broddie – as has already been said, the “stiff facial animation” is just a sad fact of budgetary limitations, there’s no way an anime tv series is gonna have anywhere near the budget of a Disney movie, so I think that’s a bit of an unfair standard

    for me personally though it’s never bothered me, I guess it’s just another “acquired taste” thing, but that said I’ve never seen an anime that was half as ugly and stiff as any 80’s american cartoon such as GI Joe or Transformers

    dna – I have certainly seen Ghost in the Shell SAC

    Nice Guy Eddie – I have nothing against watching an anime subtitled and for certain series I couldn’t imagine watching it dubbed, but at the same time I also have nothing against a well done dub and for certain series (such as Cowboy Bebop) I couldn’t imagine watching it NOT dubbed because the dub is so well done

  32. dna – Yeah I haven’t seen all that much but I’ve seen enough to know that it’s not for me.

    Griff – Well tbh a lot of the anime I’ve seen isn’t even TV shows outside of the MACROSS saga anyway. Everything I’ve seen has been feature length like GHOST IN THE SHELL, WICKED CITY, VAMPIRE HUNTER D. I’m assuming those had greater budgets than the TV stuff but fine it may not be fair to compare them to Disney films but you’d still find a lot of western animation even on TV that had more fluid animation stylings. Even back in the 80’s.

    I never really liked the gen 1 TRANSFORMERS show or the old GI JOE cartoon as a kid BTW. I was more into the toys and the Marvel comics when it came to those but yeah there was some seriously cheap HANNA-BARBERA-esque budget animation all over those shows. Ironically the new GI JOE show tries to hard to ape an anime style which really doesn’t capture my attention either.

  33. another thing that really appeals me to me about anime is the weirdness, for every western styled show like Cowboy Bebop there also tons of extremely weird stuff that feels very uniquely Japanese

    one of the weirdest animes I’ve seen in recent years is called Maria Holic, it’s a comedy about a lesbian schoolgirl who attends a Catholic school and falls in love with a girl, only to learn “she’s” secretly a boy

    very strange hilarity ensues (seriously, you have no idea how different Japanese humor is than America humor)

  34. I just finished a pretty good anime yesterday, called Welcome to the N-H-K. It`s about a twenty-something old unemployed guy who suffers from Acute Social Withdravel and is convinced that he´s the victim of some sort of conspiracy. He basically hasn`t left his appartment in four years. One day a young schoolgirl shows up and wants him to cure him, but he freaks out and pretends that he is actually a game-designer to impress her. With the help of his perverted otaku-neighbourg he decides to make the ultimate erotic game and hilarity ensues. Also a lot of suicide-attempts, paranoid schizifrenia, psychoanalysis and mental breakdowns. It`s a pretty sweet and really funny show with very flawed characters.

  35. I’ve been meaning to watch Welcome to the N-H-K for ages, but, it feels like it might hit a little too close to home

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