Another great YouTube video

Thursday, 16 April, 2009

I watched this video twice already.  It was definitely one I had to share here.  It’s a wonderful, stop-motion animation using still photos.  This must have taken so much work and time!  It turned out wonderfully!  It’s entitled:

オオカミはブタを食べようと思った。Stop motion with wolf and pig

It really is one of the greatest things I have ever seen.  In a long time.  And I watch a lot of YouTube videos that are pretty good.  This is pure ingenuity, here.  And it tells a pretty cool story!  Enjoy!  I did…twice!!


I love robots…

Wednesday, 15 April, 2009

I know I mentioned this before.  Rather, I may have.  And if I didn’t, I am saying it now: I LOVE ROBOTS!!  Not in the weird robo-sexual way.  We’ll leave that to Matt Groening and Futurama.  There is just some draw that the mechanical beings have.

When I say robots, though, I should be clear.  Not so much the evil robots that sometimes show up in movies.  And not real robots.  Outside of Asimo, of course.  He’s cool.  Other ones–the more humanoid robots built by the Japanese–give me the willies.  Maybe because some of them have human faces.

Cartoon or animated-looking robots make me happy.  Whenever I see one, I don’t know…I just smile.  Especially when hearts are involved.  Not human hearts, but, graphical representations of love.  Seeing something…cold…and barely human…interacting with something so innocent is really endearing.

For the past couple days, I have had robots on the brain.  I have been doodling them left and right.  I have even created a city I call Robot City.  It exists, really, in my imagination.  And a couple graphical representations.  But, from afar.  My robots–the ones I draw–always seem to be outside city limits.  Usually enjoying nature.  Not unlike this one that I created earlier:

A robot watches the comet soar above Robot City.

A robot watches the comet soar above Robot City. The robot is inspired by GIR from Invader Zim.

Try looking at a robot like that one, and not smile.  If you do, then you don’t have a sense of whimsy…or a soul…

Oh, Pepsi Co., how you make me sad…

Sunday, 12 April, 2009

Is there anything that is a short-lived as a new soda flavor?  I don’t think so.  Every so often there is one flavor that is blink-and-you’ll-miss-it.  Both big name bottlers do it.  And though it might not be as fast as all that, it sure as Hell feel’s like it’s gone in a wink.

I drank so much Coke with Lime when it released.  I loved that soda more than any out there.  And I am not one to drink a lot of soda.  I really drink mostly water.  Though my blood sugar thanked the powers that be when it disappeared, I was devastated.  Why do companies do that?!

My current soda flavor of choice is the newest Pepsi offering.  A twist on Sierra Mist, their Ruby Splash is delicious!  And refreshing, I might even say.  I don’t like grapefruit flavor all that much–aside from this soda, which has a little, and grapefruit flavored Halls Vitamin C lozenges–but it really shines in this soda.

I was tempted to try it when I first heard it was being released, but, I never really saw that much of it before.  Today, though, when I was out shopping with my Sister, there it was!  I had to jump on it.  The smell was great.  Just like the aforementioned lozenges.  It smelled deliciously citrusy

It tastes just like it smells.  I also think it would be good mixed with some kind of liquor.  Oooohhhh…  As I tasted it, I was happy and sad, though.  Pepsi, I knew, would just dangle this in front of us.  Let it get it’s hooks in our tastebuds…then…RIP! It’d be gone leaving an empty spot in our souls.

Unless it sells well enough, and they keep it around for awhile.  It’s tons better than that horrendous mandarin orange flavored tie-in with the Get Smart movie.  That was sweet and nasty.  This is bitter, but, nicely so.  Something that tastes like it should be bitter.  Just a little…

Dreams…(part II)

Saturday, 11 April, 2009

I mentioned in the last dream-based blog, that the animated world–that of celluloid wonders and bright colors–has made many appearances in my dreams.  Sure, I have a ton of realistic dreams.  Even some of those more realistic dreams have someone, or thing, from the realm of the animated.  Sometimes it’s just a bit part, not a feature (like the dream of Cell that I mentioned before).

A recent dream was just like that.  It went from “real life”–I put that in quotes, because my dreams are seldom real life/day-to-day happenings–to animated then back to “real life”, again.  It started, oddly, with penguins.  Real penguins, though, not animated ones.  And that is another subject matter that has cropped up in my dreams.  I’ll get to that with the next blog.

I was at the ocean.  That’s pretty much the most real part of it.  I was standing in the bed of a pick-up truck, which was just a short way off shore.  I was watching these penguins swimming about and catching fish.  Occasionally, though, they would stop on the shore and look out to sea.  When I saw them stop, I would hop across some conveniently placed rocks.

I would cross back to the truck bed when the penguins would swim.  On one trip back, I lost my footing and fell into the water.  I knew, somehow, that a shark was just waiting for me to fall in–and what I juicy morsel I’d make!  After I fell in, I was floating in the ocean, but it had been moved.  I was now inside, but, still in the ocean.  You know dream logic, you can be in two places at once.

I was treading water in the middle of a large living room.  This time, though, everything was animated.  As I kicked my legs to head for whatever I could grab on to–in this case, it was a couch that was against one of the walls–the shark was coming fast.  I managed to climb aboard the couch in time, and watched as someone came to my rescue.  He was a man in that was dressed like…well…the Ghostbusters, more or less.

He had some kind of gun, I guess it was an uzi.  He began shooting the shark in the head.  This was all animated, mind you.  Even the shark.  In it’s death throes, the shark began to thrash and destroy the entire room we were in.  The room, at some point in the dream, had reverted to “real life”.  And it was my living room.  That bit of absurdity woke me up, and I don’t really know how the dream ended.  If it did, even.

As I mentioned early on, there will be more blogs about dreams.  I will touch on a very recnet dream, and one…well…let’s just say I got physically involved in.  No, not that kind of involvment, perv!  You’ll just have to wait for more!

A fairly graphic work safety video

Saturday, 11 April, 2009

I ran across this little…uhhhh…gem on BoingBoing this morning.  I tried watching it, but, it’s pretty graphic.  And it’s just a work safety video!  I’d like to know which company used this gorefest to scare their workers straight?  I know it would’ve kept me as safe as possible.

Now, I’ll be straight.  I haven’t watched it all the way through.  It seriously kept me squirming in my seat.  I made it up to the part where…well…let’s just say that there is a guy with a nail sticking out of his face.  It’s in his eye, and I’ll be damned if it didn’t look convincing.  GAH!

So, without further ado, here it is:  “Will You Be Here Tomorrow?”

Drawn from Japanese Myth: Pokémon Edition

Sunday, 5 April, 2009

Being a big fan of Japanese popular culture as I am, it’s hard not to have some aspects of it worm its way into your heart.  In this case, I am talking about Pocket Monsters, known in America as Pokémon–that’s Poke Ay Mon, a very Japanese contraction of two words.  They’ve found a soft spot in me, and burrowed inside.  I just can’t seem to shake them.  Then again, I am not really trying to.

I know that the games, here in the States especially, are seen as something for children.  In Japan, children aren’t the only audience that the game appeals to.  Adults, like myself, play the games and watch the animé as well as children.  I spent a good part of my teen years enjoying the collecting/battling aspects that the games offer.  Even now, as I am pushing 30,  I still enjoy them as much as I did.

This blog isn’t meant to be a rambling about my obsession with Japan’s popular culture.  I have tried many times to write that particular chestnut.  I can’t seem to get it to come out right.  No, this blog is about creatures from Japanese Myth that have made their mark on the roster of Pokémon.  There are 493 of the suckers right now, so this writing will only include those that are better known.


The Human Shape Pokémon

The Human Shape Pokémon

I am starting with a Pokémon that has caused a lot of ruckus here in the US.  When she was originally shown in-game, Jynx had a black face.  This, of course, drew comparison to the infamous black-face characters in our past.  In Japan, though, her black face signified the popular ganguro (literally face black in Japanese)–young girls would tan extensively and dye their hair blonde– style that was popular at the time.  Jynx, ghowever, was based on the spirit 山姥 —Yama-uba (mountain crone in Japanese).  The Yama-uba was said to inhabit the forests and mountains of Japan.  She was clad in a kimono which was often depicted as red, and her hair was said to be golden-white.  As far as similarities go, though, they do end there.  Jynx has a little in common with the 雪女–Yuki-onna (snow woman in Japanese), mostly being that she is of the Ice-type.  There is another Pokémon that shares traits with that spirit, and that will be covered next.


Froslass the Snow Land Pokémon

Froslass the Snow Land Pokémon

Froslass has more in common with the Yuki-onna than Jynx does.  She (yes, Froslass is female, too) is an Ice/Ghost-type Pokémon.  Since Yuki-onna is a spirit, it is fitting that Froslass has the Ghost-type.  The Yuki-onna legend says that the spirit is someone who perished in the snow, hence the affiliation with snow storms.  Like the Yuki-onna, Froslass floats.  Neither have any feet–or, the Yuki-onna doesn’t in many depections.  As far as behavioral similarities, the Pokémon games cannot have a spirit go around killing, there aren’t many.  Though sometimes the Yuki-onna is depicted as having a child with her.  In Froslass’ case, she evolves from a lower form called Snorunt who is also based on a spirit of legend.


Nintales the Fox Pokémon

Nintales the Fox Pokémon

Nintales is based on the Japanese legend of the 九尾の狐Kyuu o no kitsune (nine-tailed fox in Japanese).  The nine-tailed fox is said to be golden or silver in color due to it’s advanced age.  In Japanese myth, many tailed foxes are said to be able to breathe fire, as Ninetales can do being the Fire-type.  Nine-tailed foxes are supposed to be trickster spirits, as well.  This leads the Ninetails being able to use Ghost-type moves that are generally tricky to it’s foes.  The nine-tailed fox is vengeful, which is reflected in Ninetales’ original Pokédex entry:

Very smart and very vengeful. Grabbing one of its many tails could result in a 1000-year curse.


Mawile the Deceiver Pokémon

Mawile the Deceiver Pokémon

Mawile is one of my favorites on this list.  It is based on the 二口女Futakuchi-onna (two-mouthed woman in Japanese).  Now Mawile isn’t strictly female all the time like Jynx and Froslass.  There are depctions of male Futakuchi-onna like spirits in Japanese myth.  Mawile’s main similarity to the Futakuchi-onna is it’s second mouth on the back of it’s head.  This mouth is remniscent of hair because Futakuchi-onna’s second mouth is located deep within it’s hair on the back of the skull.  In Mawile’s case, though, this mouth is said to have grown from horns.  This “mouth” lets Mawile learn some mouth-based attacks like Bite, Crunch, Ice Fang and Poison Fang.  The Futakuchi-onna’s second mouth was said to have appeared due to how little a woman eats.  That’s what this mouth does.  Eats someone–who was unfortunate enough to marry one without knowing–out of house and home.  It’s also said, though, that this second mouth appears on someone who does not speak their mind, and will do so for them.


Electabuzz the Electric Pokémon

Electabuzz the Electric Pokémon

Oni (a Japanese word that has come to mean demon) are classic creatures found in all manner of Japanese folktales.  Comparing Electabuzz to an Oni is fairly easy.  Though most Oni mentioned in stories are blue- or red-skinned, most of them are depicted as wearing a tiger-skin loincloth of some type.  Classic Oni are sometimes shown to have an affiliation with electricity in the form of lightning storms, hence Electabuzz’s Electric-typing.  Like the Oni that it bears a certain resemblence to, Electabuzz can be fierce.  But, as with Oni, Electabuzz can also be protective, as well.


Dunsparce the Land Snake Pokémon

Dunsparce the Land Snake Pokémon

Dunsparce is an interesting looking creature that is very Japanese in origin.  It is based on the 槌の子Tsuchinoko (Japanese for hitter or striker), a snake-like creature that has a larger central girth than it’s head or tail.  The Tsuchinolo is said to be very poisonous (Dunsparce is not), but, it is also a creature that would rather flee, than fight.  This is evident in one of Dunsparce’s inherent abilities: Run Away.  This allows Dunsparce to flee wild battles.  Tsuchinoko can also roll itself into a ball by biting it’s tail.  Dunsparce isn’t shown doing this, but, it learns the attack Rollout which could be a sign of that ability.  The wings on Dunsparce’s back give it the ability to hover–or fly “just a little” according to recent Pokédex entries.  This mirrors Tsuchinoko’s jumping skill, in a way.

Bronzor and Bronzong

Bronzor the Bronze Pokémon

Bronzor the Bronze Pokémon

Bronzong the Bronze Bell Pokémon

Bronzong the Bronze Bell Pokémon

A big part of the Pokémon series is evolution.  During the training of the Pokémon, when a certain criteria is met–in most cases, a milestone level is reached–the Pokémon will evolve into a (usually) stronger form.  Bronzor and the Pokémon it evolves into, Bronzong, don’t necessarily fall under the normal myths about creatures/spirits the others I have written about do.  Instead, they hearken back to a certain story from Japanese myth.  At a time when mirrors were made of metal, a temple asked women of a village for mirrors because they wished to have a large bell.  A woman, thinking that the mirror was the “Soul of a woman”, soon regretted giving her mirror–an heirloom passed down from her grandmother.  Because she did not give up the mirror with the best of intentions, the mirror would not melt when sent to the foundry.  The woman, ashamed that she had hindered the temple’s work committed suicide, saying that when she was dead, the mirror would melt without issue.  Townspeople thought that, once the bell was cast, that the woman who died in shame  might bestow them with great wealth if they could break the bell.  Many tried by ringing them bell with abandon, but, none could break it.  Preists, fed up with those ringing the bell rolled it into a swamp to be rid of it.  Bronzong’s Pokédex entry claims that it was discovered when workers began excavation on a worksite.


Sneasel the Sharp Claw Pokémon

Sneasel the Sharp Claw Pokémon

Sneasel (and it’s evolution, Weavile) seem to be based, if loosely, on the Japanese creature the 鎌鼬Kamaitachi (literally sickle weasel in Japanese).  This creature is usually depicted as one of three–sometimes brothers–who ride on a wind and attack people with a flurry of sickle-swipes.  Sneasel are notably fast, and attack with the sickle-like claws that it’s fingers end in.  Like the Kamaitachi, Sneasel is known to be sly.  It will often distract it’s prey through some means, only to have a second attack.  The Kamaitachi are said to work as a group.  One knocks the victim down, one cuts at the victim and the third uses medicine on the wounds caused by the others.  This leaves a wounded victim with little clue as to what actually happened.


Espeon the Sun Pokémon

Espeon the Sun Pokémon

Espeon is based, at least design-wise, on the Japanese 猫叉Neko mata (forked cat in Japanese).  The Neko mata is said to be a normal cat that has reached certain age, been kept a number of years, or allowed to have kept a long tail.  (Japanese people often bob the tails of their cats).  Neko mata sometimes have been said to use psychic abilities.  Espeon is the Psychic-type Pokémon which reflects that.  Not much else is similar between the two, so it might be a bit of a stretch.


Lombre the Jolly Pokémon

Lombre the Jolly Pokémon

Like the 河童Kappa (literally river child) that it is based in, Lombre is a bit of a trickster.  Lombre look fairly similar to a Kappa.  A Kappa has a depression in it’s head that holds water.  This water contains a Kappa’s strength.  The lily pad on Lombre’s head allow it to collect water with the ability Rain Dish.  This ability heals it’s hit points in rainy weather.  The Kappa and Lombre have other physical similarities.  The face of both the Kappa and Lombre have a turtle-like beak.  Their bodies are also humanoid in shape.


Shiftry the Wicked Pokémon

Shiftry the Wicked Pokémon

Based on the Japanese 天狗Tengu (oddly enough, heavenly dogs–though Tengu are generally bird-like), Shiftry shares much with it’s mythical counterpart.  Tengu possess hand fans that can create terrible winds.  Shiftry’s hands are made of fan-like leaves and it has the Razor Wind attack at it’s disposal.  Shiftry’s feet are very similar to a Tengu’s footwear of choice, the single-toothed geta sandal.  They also share the same long nose that defines their look.  Shiftry, like Tengu, live in forests–notably the oldest tree–in mountainous areas.  Though Tengu can be mean-spirited (Shiftry is known as the Wicked Pokémon) they can also be helpful.


Snorunt the Snow Hat Pokémon

Snorunt the Snow Hat Pokémon

Snorunt is, at least physically, based on a Japanese spirit known as 雨降り小僧Ame-furi-kozo (literally little rainfall boy).  Both wear the Japanese style of rain hat/coat that is fashioned from an old umbrella.  Though that’s basically where the similarities end, they both have something to do with the weather.  The Ame-furi-kozo is often seen on rainy nights, whereas Snorunt is seen in snowy regions.


Drowzee the Hypnosis Pokémon

Drowzee the Hypnosis Pokémon

Though Drowzee is based, specifically, on a tapir, it gets this aspect of it’s design from a Japanese creature.  This creature is the chimeric 獏–Baku.  A Baku is a chimera who’s head it actually that of an elephant.  It is known to subsist on the dreams and nightmares of sleepers.  Drowzee puts it’s foes to sleep using Hypnosis and eats it’s dreams to replenish it’s hit points using Dream Eater.  These actions mimic those of the Baku.  Over time the Japanese have morphed the Baku from it’s chimera form to that of a tapir (or sometimes a pig).  This form has stuck in recent popular culture which is evident in Drowzee and it’s evolved form Hypno.

This brings an end to my blog about Japanese myths and Pokémon.  For any more information on Pokémon, it’s not that hard to find.  For information on Japanese yokai (a catch-all term that encompasses monsters and spirits of Japanese myth), head to The Obakemono Project.

Dreams…(part I)

Friday, 3 April, 2009

I am someone who has a fairly active imagination.  I mean, what creative person doesn’t?  To be able to see things about something that someone else doesn’t see, or to concoct a story about people who don’t exist–at least physically–is something that is second nature to me.  And I like it.

I should followed that up with “to a point”.  It bothers me when that imagination spills over into dreams and nightmares.  My imagination always seems much more vivid when I am in the dream state.  And when I say vivid, I mean the most realistic thing you have ever dreamt.  Even if the subject matter is…say…not at all realistic.

An example of this realism is quite easy to bring to mind.  Though I haven’t had this dream again, it’s very easy for me to recall it.  I will preface it with this: as an animé fan, I loved Dragon Ball Z.  Yes, it was a bit much, but the characters were easy to know and love.

I have always enjoyed the villains that dogged the cast of Z Fighters.  With one exception: Cell.  He seemed like the most dangerous foe–though all the villains that head the different story arcs seem like that.  Well, Cell’s villainy planted it’s seed in my imagination.

My brain, as crazy as it is, regurgitated these images of the unstoppable Cell into a pretty terrible dream.  I was on campus walking by the dining area when I looked up out of a higher window.  I saw a HUGE blue ki blast making it’s way toward the building I was in.

People around me ran and screamed, terrified of the terrible things that were about to befall them.  The blast struck, and shattered the wall leaving it open to the outside world.  Debris fell all around, gouging holes in the floors, and the air was thick with the chalky dust of destroyed stonework.

I ducked behind a staircase, afraid of what was happening.  When I looked out the gaping hole, there was Cell–in his perfect form, no less!  He was hovering there with his arms crossed.   Leering into the building with a smirk, watching everyone scramble.

Now, the character of Cell was not physical like everything else in my dream.  He was still his…well…celluoid self.  Just as if I was looking at him on the television screen.  Albeit the danger he embodied was no less real.  Not long after that, though, I woke up.  I don’t know if I startled myself awake, or what.

Maybe, if I had slept just a bit longer, I would have sprung into action and battled him on the spot.  I’d like to think that my imagination would give me the abilities to beat the android terror but, somehow, I don’t think it would.   I’d probably just fail and be blasted into a million pieces.

This is not that first time that an animated danger had shown itself in my dreams.  That’s why this blog is…TO BE CONTINUED!