Extensive listening challenge 👂 (2021)

Over the last few weeks or so I watched 4 movies in the Ring series, all without subtitles: リング, らせん,リング2, and リング0 バースデイ

Ring is great! A classic! It’s restrained and slow-paced in a way that deeply confused me when I first saw it in like, middle school, but now I appreciate a whole lot. It sets up the simple premise - there’s a VHS tape and if you watch it, you’ll die in exactly 1 week - and then just lets the atmosphere breathe and slowly build up in a really effective way, with most of the “action” being like, research and investigative journalism.

In a very weird situation, apparently the sequel, Spiral, was produced and released at exactly the same time as Ring, led by a different director, apparently to capitalize off of the original book versions of both already being successful. So Spiral just does its own thing not knowing yet that the other movie is going to be famous and influential - and comes out looking terrible for the comparison.
Spiral doesn’t have Ring’s restraint and simplicity at all. I honestly get the impression that this is a much more direct adaptation of the novel and suspect in retrospect Ring the book is probably similar to Spiral tonally, because the movie’s full of the kinds of things a successful male horror novelist might over-indulge in in a novel - there’s a ton of time spent on an older man’s sexual relationship with a female student, the ghost Sadako is portrayed as a seductress somehow, instead of a straightforward curse the video tape is presented as a harbinger of some kind of techno virus inexorably taking over the world, there’s a mystical pregnancy and reincarnation angle, previous characters come back as ghosts with mysterious motives, etc.
It’s just kind of a mess. At first I was willing to go along with it as a weird thing but by the end I was very much over it.

Ring 2 ignores Spiral and has the same director and screenwriter as Ring, and maybe it’s the juxtaposition with Spiral, but I enjoyed it quite a bit. With horror sequels, I figure the most you can really expect is like, a relatively consistent aesthetic and level of quality and a plot that makes up for the lack of novelty by just going a bit weirder. And this is pretty much that.
It takes similar developments from Spiral (developing the student from the first movie into a protagonist, characters trying to investigate the video tape’s curse scientifically) but adapts them with the same level of restraint as the first movie (and thankfully avoids all but entirely the creepy romance angle), and generally I thought does a good job matching the tone of the original while doing its own weird thing. The scene where the ghost reenacts the video tape scenes, including the camera cuts in an eerie way, and the climactic pool scene I thought were both very cool.

And finally Ring 0 is an unremarkable prequel - it’s fine, and it’s sort of nice to fill in Sadako the plot device with an actual character… but really, I think the less you know in detail about a spooky video tape the more spooky it is, you know? It’s not really something that needs a full-on backstory.

Comprehension-wise, I think I did okay! Not great, but okay. I didn’t follow all of Spiral’s plot contrivances without looking up a synopsis, and there was a reveal in Ring 2 that I think would have been less shocking to me if I’d followed prior dialogue correctly and not been mistaken about who was alive and who wasn’t at that point, but for the most part I feel like I got the gists at least. Having seen the first movie before (technically twice) certainly helped with that one…

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Last night I finished my drama-watching goal for the year! Once I got to 16, I chose the last four based on how close I was to the end and only watched those so I was able to finish early. Now to focus on my variety show and audiobook goals!

  1. チャンネルはそのまま
    Quality: ★★★½
    Enjoyment: ★★★
    Ease of understanding: ★★

  2. きのう何食べた?
    Quality: ★★★★
    Enjoyment: ★★★★
    Ease of understanding: ★★★

  3. 私の家政夫ナギサさん
    Quality: ★★★★
    Enjoyment: ★★★½
    Ease of understanding: ★★½

  4. アイムホーム
    Quality: ★★★½
    Enjoyment: ★★★
    Ease of understanding: ★★★

チャンネルはそのまま had some good and funny moments but was never as good as I wanted it to be. I really like the lead actress, though the lead actor was just okay. (This actress, Yoshine Kyoko, was also excellent in a drama that was unexpectedly lovely: コタキ兄弟と四苦八苦.) It gets low stars for ease of understanding because there is a lot of fast talking and industry terms (TV).

きのう何食べた was a delight. I can’t wait to come back to it for the SP and eventually the movie. I would say it was generally not difficult to understand, but with the frequent talk about cooking I only had to miss an ingredient or two to get lost in the flow.

私の家政夫ナギサさん was pretty good, if confusing. I thought it was going someplace very different from where it ended up, but I was mostly won over by the end. (It was a struggle going from seeing the main actor as a particularly terrifying serial killer in another drama to, big spoilers for the end, a friendly housekeeper, to a cuddly mother figure, and then all the way to love interest…) I liked a lot of the characters, I love Tabe Mikako a ton and also love Shuri, who played her sister and was wonderful. It depicted some interesting stuff, like unconventional happinesses and unexpected types of relationships, and I found a lot to enjoy in it. It gets low stars for listening comprehension because there is a fair amount of focus on Mei’s work life, which involves pharmaceuticals, doctors, and diseases.

アイムホーム was also pretty good and also confusing. Maybe more confusing! All I knew was Kimura Takuya and Ueto Aya are in it, both of whom I like a lot, and that the main guy sees his wife’s and child’s faces as masks. As it turned out, there was also one of my favorite actresses in it, Mizuno Miki, and some enjoyable human drama stuff. I liked it fairly well from beginning to end, including the last episode, which was kind of bonkers. In terms of listening comprehension, I found the family side of stuff easier to understand, but the stuff in the big company I often lost track of. There were also just a lot of characters, which made it more difficult.

I’ve been lazy about linking to more information, so here is a list of all the dramas I’ve watched this year, in case any of them made someone want to know more. Making the list brought it home to me that I watched a real grab bag of dramas this year (so far)! I like that there is so much to choose from. :black_heart: Now that I’ve finished my 20 dramas, maybe I’ll try a first episode or two from the new season. :grin:

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I’ve been watching 帰ってきたウルトラマン for a while while exercising and I finished over the weekend - with 51 episodes covering maybe around 200 miles on an exercise bike across a couple of months.
I love the first three “Ultra” shows - Ultra Q, Ultraman, and Ultraseven, each in slightly different ways and would have some difficulty picking which of the three was my favorite since they’re each consistently fun despite different strengths.

This show, Return of Ultraman… while I still enjoyed it and there’s plenty of interesting stuff going on, it does feel a bit of a step down. At first it was interesting because they actually show the main character’s life outside of work, which was noticeably never done in the previous shows, and it seemed like they focused more on relatively realistic monster destruction and human strife (there’s a lot of “the rest of the team doesn’t believe Go about something” episodes in the beginning), but especially after Ultraseven, which was practically wall-to-wall invading aliens, it felt a bit mundane.
And I guess contemporary audiences or someone backstage must have agreed with me, because late in the series, Go’s non-work-related supporting cast, his love interest and his best friend, are both killed off. It happens at the start of a two-parter and I was absolutely 1000% convinced they would be revived somehow at the end of the second episode and they just… aren’t, with the love interest unceremoniously replaced with a different woman who has less screentime, and I was completely flabbergasted. After that there’s a noticeably larger amount of invading aliens.
That’s… not the outcome I would have wanted at all! And ultimately I think that hard pivot just prevents the show from ever really forming its own identity. Like with the title, in the end it just feels like… more Ultraman.

My most positive takeaway though, is that when I started watching I had mixed feelings about turning subtitles off, and now I’m happy keeping them that way. Comprehension does definitely vary - depending on mood or episode sometimes I do feel like I’m missing details, but other times I feel like I’m tracking perfectly. I was grateful to an episode involving a kid who’s actually a telepathic alien since the whole point of the episode was about Go receiving information impossible to detect visually, so since I knew the information too… I must really have been listening!

My favorite monster was プリズマ, the giant crystal:


It’s fun to watch Ultraman fight a giant crystal.

In other news, t’s been a bit since I watched 妖怪百物語 - I remember it being a good vehicle for a lot of fun yokai special effects, both zany and eerie.
It’s the first in the “Yokai Monsters” trilogy that recently got a really nice English-language set from Arrow Video… but I confess that before that was announced I jumped the gun and got an even nicer Japanese-language set, that comes with a very cool fascimile script and storyboard for 妖怪百物語, and weirdly, three seemingly-unrelated bonus movies for some reason… but no subtitles as far as I can tell. So the script might be useful for filling in some blanks in my comprehension… I know in general the story’s about a villainous landlord-type guy in the Edo period hassling some folks, before eventually getting a Yokai-based come-uppance, but I don’t really know the exact reason he was hassling them in the first place…
I remember finding the 百物語 candlelit storytelling scenes super captivating, the ones about the “simple” comic relief character interacting with the からかさ小僧 puppet a bit less so…
Across the board these movies make great using of shadowy groups of yokai dancing into the mist, and of ろくろ首 - it’s always great whenever she shows up.

The day before Halloween I celebrated with candy corn, Hawaiian barbecue, and a double feature that I hoped would be 1 spooky fun movie + 1 spooky scary movie… and it was!
妖怪大戦争 is extremely spooky and extremely fun, and ノロイ is extremely spooky and extremely scary, so this was pretty much exactly what I was going for and I enjoyed both thoroughly.

妖怪大戦争 is the second “Yokai Monsters” movie and definitely the simplest: an ancient Babylonian god comes to Japan to cause trouble and who’s going to stop him? The hometown heroes, Japan’s Yokai of course!
I love the execution of that simple premise - it manages to be a fun adventure without sacrificing a pervading eeriness, so it still feels like watching a ghost story instead of a theme park ride, and the yokai make endearing heroes, with their protagonist status meaning the movie’s just nonstop with the yokai effects you came to see.

And ノロイ’s just scary. The version I watched had baked-in subtitles but I just sort of tried not to look at them since the “I can comprehend enough that the sound has much more flavor than the text” effect was in full effect. And since the movie takes the form of an unreleased documentary, complete with lots of clips from variety shows and the like, explanatory captions abound, so I think I could have managed without English subtitles even through the kind of convoluted plot, as you’re essentially given a parade of weird things that slowly braid into one very scary thing. So while it’s slow-paced in a way, I never felt bored since you never quite knew what was going to happen next and you want to know how it fits together.
I’m not ever like, terrified, of horror media (I think I just have too much distance built up to it), and sometimes religious supernatural horror doesn’t interest me at all, but I thought ノロイ did a great job blending supernatural, religious, and lovecraftian horror, and thoroughly unsettling me in my new non-first-floor apartment with the “hey upstairs neighbor, could you stop rhythmically thumping all of the time? What’s that, you haven’t been doing that? You haven’t heard anything like that? … Okay” scene. And the final scene is a hell of a thing.

I tried to replicate that success on Halloween proper by swapping in the related movies 東海道お化け道中 and オカルト, but while I still enjoyed them both, despite the similarities both are really very tonally different from the movies I watched the day before. So it was fun, but lacked that perfect Halloweenness…

東海道お化け道中 is the last and least Yokai-centric of the three Yokai Monsters movies. It’s kind of more of a drama where ghosts happen to show up. And while I like enjoyed the drama (about a young girl looking for her dad after gangmembers slaughter the priest she was living with), I definitely missed my friends からかさ小僧, 油すまし, ろくろ首, 二面女, 河童 etc… At least のっぺらぼう shows up…

And オカルト is a very strange slow burn, about a documentarian following a survivor of a mass stabbing who reports seeing UFOs and miracles in the years since. It’s captivating to watch, since it’s interesting to see this unassuming guy and wonder what it’s all leading toward, and without subtitles it was a lot of good mumble-listening practice (with more thanks to explanatory documentary-style intertitles). There was one part where they went to an Indian restaurant and then started talking about Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, but it was bleeped like Indi******* (as though the documentarian wanted to avoid stepping on trademarks or something) and I had absolutely no idea what they were talking about until I went back and reviewed with subtitles on. But otherwise I think I did okay! This is one movie where if I didn’t understand any Japanese, it would surely be tremendously boring, and it wasn’t for me, so it’s not all context clues after all now is it!
The ultimate payoff is well… a bit of an anticlimactic punchline. The concept is fine, but the last shot would be more at-home special effects-wise in House than after two hours of extremely mundane and restrained slow-burn - just a ludicrous and silly-looking collage. I’m kind of endeared to it but it’s definitely a different vibe than the last scene of Noroi, that’s for sure.

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I finished 人造人間キカイダー!
All of the episodes are on this free official youtube channel.

What happened with me and Kikaider, is I got really hungry to watch more tokusatsu maybe a year (or two) ago? Before or along with watching Ultra Q, and when I looked around, this guy was the weirdest costume that particularly grabbed my curiosity:

And then before I gave in and ordered a bunch of English DVDs, that youtube channel started up, extremely conveniently for me.

The shows on that channel don’t have English subtitles though, and youtube scrapped community subtitles, so it ended up being unintentional listening practice as well, as I ended up watching the whole show off and on over a very long period of time - at the start of which I didn’t really have any business watching without subtitles, at the end of which it’s totally fine for me. Funny how that works!

Not that it was really thanks to Kikaider though… this show ended up in the “while doing something else” block for me, so the vast majority of the episodes I only half (or less) paid attention to while working or doing Anki.

Something that’s really great about Ultraman, is that other than “Ultraman’s probably gonna fight a giant monster at the end,” a particular episode could really be about anything. There’s always room for surprises.
In contrast, Kikaider feels intensely formulaic:

(I picked a random episode and was able to get screenshots of each thing)

It’s a fun formula though! A villainous robot getting thrown off a cliff and exploding every week? We should be so lucky! And the uninvested way I was watching them (and language problem) probably exacerbated the problem… but I still wouldn’t really recommend going out and watching every episode.
That said, there is a constant stream of charming special effects, like this one I remember liking so much I had to show a friend (at 5m49s):

They make great use of “someone off screen throws a jumble of electronic parts” across the board.

Once Hakaider shows up:



It builds to a suitable enough climax (and I watched the last three episodes undistracted yesterday to send it off), although they can’t hold back from one last animal themed villain - the last obstacle is called, of all things, 白骨ムササビ.

The show’s based off of a manga by Shotaro Ishinomori, an extremely influential and prolific mangaka of this kind of story, so I’d be interested to read that sometime.
And while I think the right way to use that youtube channel is to watch the first episode of a lot of different shows… it’s hard to stop myself from wanting to treat them as a block, and I’m curious about, say, Inazuman…

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I’ve finally started in for real on my listening challenge. I’ve only done bits and bobs until now. I listened daily to something, just not what I had planned! :joy:

In any case, I’m now doing Sanzen sekai no karasu o koroshi and I’m doing fine so far. There’s plenty of nuances I’m missing and I’m sure there are details of the plot that are also lost to me. The science fiction scenario, hacking, terrorism, mental powers etc. is quite a handful at times. However, it’s a really well-produced audio drama so it’s mostly a case of me sometimes getting lost due to there being too many unknown words in a row sometimes. ^^; If I just keep on listening I tend to land on my feet thankfully.

This drama CD-series also has a stellar cast of voice actors. Lots of great female talent and male seiyuus, some rather surprising names making an appearance (like Norio Wakamoto and Fumihiko Tachiki being two big-name actors that both seem to have a lot of fun taking part in this drama! :grin:).

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Reading your comment you’ve made me intrigued. I’m defo saving this show for later! ^>^

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I was quite happy to realize the 6th Drama CD release for Sanzen Sekai also had a freetalk track with the cast! :grin: I love these things. If was fun hearing Fumihiko Tachiki talking about how he enjoyed the comical side of acting in this series. ^>^

Suwabe Junichi sounded exhausted, and said as much, and I’m not surprised. Having the leading role, and a quite complex one at that, he’s constantly giving it his all in every scene. :triumph: And gotta love how Miki Shinichiro and him play off each other. :smiling_face_with_three_hearts: Meanwhile, Nobotoshi Kanna is truly adorable as Dr Nisari, and I can’t quite wrap my head around that he’s the same person as Midou Ban in Getbackers. XD

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I finished watching the live-action drama version of: 映像研には手を出すな!(not including the movie)

I watched the first episode quite a while back, and it had been long enough I started from scratch. The long break was good, as it got me at least close to the right level of listening comprehension for this (still didn’t get everything for sure, but I’m at least used enough to no subtitles at this point that I didn’t feel anxious about it or mind the lack), and because it helped me steel myself for how different the show is from the manga (and by extension the anime).

Where the manga focuses especially on the imagination and exploration aspects of the story, and the anime understandably focuses more heavily on the anime-production angle, the drama version leans waaaaaay harder into the “zany school clubs” aspect of the setting as a way to inject more zany shenanigans (and male actors) into a story where really not very much happens. So there’s a lot of side gags like a baseball club that splits into an outfield club and an infield club, a professional wrestling club forced to be either an amateur wrestling club or a “pro-wrestling style ruffians club” (I think) since school clubs by definition can’t be “professional”, etc., none of which are from the source material (which has a more “the clubs at this school are intense but it’s just an unremarked-on odd thing about the setting” vibe).

And the main characters also feel very different. The biggest draw of the manga/anime are the charm of the three leads, and it’s a charm that’s tied heavily into how they’re drawn. So instead of adapting that directly, the three main actors do their best with a more familiar ツッコミ / ボケ sort of dynamic. Kanemori is a lot more likely to hit the others with a rolled up magazine or yell at them here, and it feels like there’s more strife and arguments in general (but that might just be because real humans yelling is a lot more jarring and noticeable than yelling in a manga).

So… it’s not the same, and it’s definitely not my favorite version of the material, but there is certainly fun to be had with this alternate take. Some of the new club jokes I think are really funny, and the actors are certainly charming in their own way.
I dunno how it stacks up against other dramas, but it’s pretty fun! Like the anime, ends a little more abruptly than you might expect.

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I’ve paused Sanzen sekai a bit to listen to Saezuru tori wa habatakanai 1 & 2 and I’ve gotten started on the 3rd CD release as well. Tarusuke Shingaki is such an awesome fit for the role of Yashiro. Well, the whole casting is good, but he made me a huge fan of his with this drama CD-series.

(he’s done some pretty amazing stuff in anime as well, but he’s still pretty unknown I feel. the biggest role might be Togusa in Ghost in the Shell: Arise :thinking:, which worked really well even when having to take over the role from seiyuu legend Kouichi Yamadera = my first seiyuu love for his role as Spike Spiegel in Cowboy Bebeop :smiling_face_with_three_hearts: )

Well, Shingaki has a way of bringing some much needed psychological depth to this character interpretations. His acting is just super nuanced and somehow real! It really brings the audio drama adaption for Saezuru tori alive! ^>^

The story moves pretty quickly and keeps you on your toes with all the twists and turns. Yoneda Koe really has outdone herself with this manga! ^>^

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I finished watching 怪奇大作戦! I really enjoyed it a whole lot!

It’s a 1968/69 tokusatsu show by Tsubraya Productions, the people behind Ultraman, made in between Ultraseven and Return of Ultraman, but there’s no giant monsters in it and it’s a more adult-oriented sci-fi/horror/mystery show. If Ultra Q’s a bit like tokusatsu Twilight Zone, then this is tokusatsu X-Files, basically.

And that’s right up my alley! As much as I like giant monsters, they’re ultimately really a vehicle for fun special effects and the excitement of the unexpected, so leaning directly into those elements with stories that are at least relatively mature and complicated compared to stuff meant directly for kids makes for something very cool. This youtube video gives a decent introduction to the vibe.

And it’s also enjoyable for me because I’m a couple layers deep into a niche at this point. I first heard about this show via an old issue of Monthly Halloween of all things, and as far as I know there’s no official English edition and little to no English name recognition (i.e. - no wikipedia page), so it feels extra nice since I wouldn’t have come across it without all this language business. I watched it on Japanese blu rays that lack any subtitles (although for some reason they do provide scripts for the episodes you can click through in the menu so I guess that’s technically an option), and I did okay for the episodes that focus on a flashy special effect (e.g. the moths that dissolve people, the spontaneous combustion one, the かまいたち one), but understood much less about the more dialogue-heavy episodes in the back half of the show. I’d like to watch it again in a few years and hopefully understand more.

The one major downside of the show is that it’s very very… Showa-era men in suits smoking cigarettes. The one female cast member is the team’s teenage secretary, and while there’s a few episodes where she gets something to do, it could definitely be a whole lot better.
That said, I came away a lot more endeared to the cast as a whole than I have been with the various teams in the Ultra shows. Each one of those introduces a new team of monster-fighting folks, but they’re always overshadowed by Ultraman and the giant monsterd of the week. Here, without either holding them back from the spotlight, the ensemble actually feels like an ensemble, and everyone I think plays their role great, especially Shin Kishida. He played a side character in Return of Ultraman, but he has so much more to do here as the member of the team most dedicated to science and figuring out the reality behind the mystery, and he steals the show in my opinion. According to wikipedia, he apparently also wrote my favorite Return of Ultraman episode, and shows up as vampires in the sequels to that one vampire movie I watched a while back, so I’ll have to keep an eye out. He also died in his 40s of esophageal cancer… There is SO much smoking in this show…

Anyway, that crosses off all the (not super well defined) goals I put down when the thread started!
I feel like this thread definitely pushed me to watch more things without subtitles, and now I feel much more comfortable doing that, in that exciting “oh, all this stuff is now accessible to me!” phase I remember getting into when reading started being something I could do casually. So thanks for that! Still a long way to go comprehension wise though. Worried vaguely progress will plateau at this point no matter how much stuff I watch but I guess I don’t really have any reason to think that since it’s only gone up so far.
Like I said in the reading thread though, I don’t think next year I’ll make numbered goals, since especially for picking what I watch while exercising, I don’t want to have hitting the goal being part of that decision-making process. To be honest… I watched 怪奇大作戦 just because it had fewer episodes and would count to the tokusatsu goal, and while I loved it, I think from here I’ll do fine watching and enjoying things with Japanese audio whether there’s a goal or not.

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@rodan Congratulations on reaching your yearly goals!


I finished my 12th audiobook listen-through a while back! For my 11th and 12th I listened to the same book twice in a row. It wasn’t one I’d read before, so I missed even more than usual. After the first time, I searched up a detailed breakdown of the book (in Japanese) and read that before listening again. The book itself (ジェリーフィッシュは凍らない) was interesting. There were some things I really liked about it (the multiple perspectives from different periods of time in the plot, the interesting premise, the mystery in general) and some things I liked less (I don’t think the author is super great at writing women, and also I didn’t like the female reader, though some of that was that her parts were often startlingly loud compared to the general flow). It’s hard to tell how much of my dubious feelings about the female characters had to do with the voice-acting/directing/volume, and vice versa, but either way it added up to some dissonance in my overall enjoyment of the book. This is apparently the start of a series focused on the two detectives, an odd couple team with (no plot spoilers but a fair amount of character information) a stoically perfect underling who takes good care of his partner while also solemnly saying nasty things to her about her age and intelligence, etc, and a somewhat lazy and complaining superior who is impulsive and sometimes haphazard but with flashes of brilliance, and who of course is also beautiful, whoa, so beautiful, how can these dudes look away from her legs. I did like them, despite (waves at many things above), but I am uncertain about continuing on. The mystery was really interesting! And sometimes these sorts of dynamics smooth out over time! … We’ll see.

Now I just have the Arashi variety show goal left unfinished. I’m making good pace and will keep pushing on. :+1:

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To cap off an especially stressful week with something fun and relaxing, I watched ガメラ対宇宙怪獣バイラス (Gamera vs. Viras)!

image

The copy I have (alas, not the new fancy Arrow set) had permanent subtitles, but I think I did a pretty good job of avoiding looking at them.
It’s not like there’s a whole lot to miss! The movie is extremely simple and extremely corny:
Two rascal boy scouts nearly drown two people in a submersible-related prank for which they go completely unpunished, and then aliens show up to attack Earth. Knowing that if you’re going to attack Earth you need to first deal with Gamera, the aliens take the two kids hostage, because as we all know, Gamera is famously two things:

  1. A giant angry turtle that shoots fire and flies around
  2. A “friend to all children” (or as it turns out the original line goes, 子供の味方)

The film makes extensive (and hilarious) use of stock footage… at one point the aliens trap Gamera and literally say “ok he’s trapped for 15 minutes, we need to come up with something to deal with him in that time, so let’s review Gamera footage” at which point the climaxes of the previous two movies play for about 15 minutes (but I don’t really mind because I love the Osaka Castle fight in Gamera vs. Barugon). The stock footage from the first movie used when Gamera is mind controlled (the brilliant plan they needed to watch the clips to come up with) is also particularly noticeable… because it’s in black and white.

In the end, the kids use the same trick they used to nearly drown their teachers to disrupt the aliens’ UFO with surprising ease, and Gamera and Viras have a big fun fight, which includes unusual visuals like Gamera riding Viras like a motorboat, and Viras impaling Gamera with its head.

Honestly, I loved it. It was very much what I needed that evening, and I still treasure this kind of experience since like… it’s one thing to get to watch Gamera movies as like, blurry dubbed Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes, but it’s extra cool that I also get to watch them in HD with enough context and access to information I can like, treat them as full-on productions and recognize actors (I could tell I’d seen 本郷功次郎 before - turns out he was in the yokai movie I watched on Halloween that was also made by Daiei and was released double-billed with Gamera movies… and he was in the last two Gamera movies as different characters, apparently) instead of just strange contextless oddities. That extra closeness the language element brings is really cool.

I had a big Godzilla and Gamera movie spell a couple of years ago or so (before that niche drifted to television for me when I started watching the Ultra shows), so it’s nice to be back to one. I think I’ll try to keep it to “every so often” instead of “every week or two” like I was doing for a bit there though. These are definitely best when you’re just willing to be charmed by the goofy aesthetic of them, so it’s best not to over-saturate.

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I watched the 1985 animated movie 天使のたまご (Angel’s Egg).
I think I really liked it!

In terms of atmosphere and art, I think it’s phenomenal - really gorgeous all-around. But it’s very slow and really doesn’t give you very much to hold onto in terms of plot - it leans heavily into symbolism, and could be summed up otherwise as “girl wanders through odd place holding an egg.” There’s little dialogue, which had the side-effect of making me worry maybe I would understand the movie more if I’d been able to 100% parse the one scene that does have a lot of words in it (although I think the worry is unfounded, and looking at a synopsis I got what was being conveyed pretty OK).
Not sure I have a read on what meaning it conveyed to me. But I’m glad to have a nice copy of it to maybe watch it again and reassess some time.

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Make a thread for 2022 and I’ll be there, the reading thread works wonders on me.

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I watched 蜘蛛巣城 / Throne of Blood, The Akira Kurosawa adaptation of Macbeth.

I really enjoyed it a lot! I think it’s well-documented at this point that I like spooky period pieces and… Macbeth’s spooky! And this is Sengoku Macbeth! It’s up my alley!
I really love what they do with mist here, as the castle materializes like a ghost shrouded in fog. And the castle sets, forestry, and costuming all seem fantastic to me. I love the millipede emblems for the main character.
Toshiro Mifune is of course great, but I was especially impressed with Isuzu Yamada in the Lady Macbeth role. With the full court lady makeup, teeth blackening, and propriety, she’s almost more of a spooky ghost than the actual ghosts, but I thought then the moments where you do see glimpses of the human behind that facade especially powerful.

I watched the Criterion Channel version which does not appear to let you turn off subtitles. That’s probably for the best if I’m being honest… there’s a lot of singing/chanting, hastily shouted dispatches from the front, etc. so I’m not sure how well I would have followed it with no subtitles at all (I did look out of curiosity to see how easy it would be to get a copy with Japanese subtitles… but the Japanese blu-ray I found didn’t have them specifically listed which from experience means they probably aren’t included). Might have really had to stretch my limited memory of what happens in Macbeth… I’d also be curious to learn about Noh to understand more of that influence on the movie.
I do feel like nowadays even with English subtitles I’m listening to the Japanese a non-insignificant amount with nearly every line. There’s so much understandably lost… so a lot of the times I feel like my experience is like, [English dialogue]さま, [English dialogue]こそ, [English dialogue]な. Etc.

There were a couple specific translations that stood out to me as interesting. I think the subtitle translators did a good job of conveying information and feeling without being too literal, but it makes an interesting change sometimes (may not be remembering these exactly right):

それは嘘です。
I know that to be false.

(character A holds head-shaped bundle)
A: (character B name)は、たしかに。
A: I have brought the head of Character B.

Along similar lines, the difference between the English title and the Japanese one is interesting. Throne of Blood I guess conveys the similar sort of idea in a snappy way, but 蜘蛛巣城 is so much more evocative and ties in directly with the forest and insect imagery of the movie…

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I like this movie as well. The animation is gorgeous and the art haunting and beautiful. It left a strong impression on me years ago. I really should rewatch it. :slight_smile: As you say, it’s a journey in symbolism. I’m not sure what my interpretation was anymore, but just that it was thought-provoking and an interesting watch.

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Well, I’ve been gradually moving through my listening targets. Not sure if it was wise to spread my attention like I’ve been doing, but now I’ve got Saezuru, Shinajakana Netsujou, and Sanzen sekai ongoing.

Sanzen sekai has so far been the toughest to parse. All that sci-fi terminology, action scenes, and plot and intrigue (with a story that gets more convoluted as you move on), makes it pretty demanding. Then suddenly, there’s a lull in the action and you’re allowed a breather while less complex side-stories takes place. I forgot that Miyake Kenta makes an appearance in this series, as a detective with their eyes set on the main character’s suspicious actions. Lot’s of fun bickering ensue! :grin:

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I don’t really have anything to add to the wrap-up post I put in the extensive reading thread, but I enjoyed this thread in 2021 too! :smiley: I think it helped quite a bit with the push midyear that made me realize my listening had gotten good enough I could minimize subtitles.
For 2022 I think I’d treat it like I’m planning to treat the reading thread and track general numbers but set the goals to 0. I’m a lot more at risk of not listening than not reading at this point, so the extra tracking is a nice motivator, but my mid-year guesses were kind of all over the place. Guess I watch more movies than I thought!

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Same here, looking back. Or rather, as mentioned, my planning was for 1 full year from my initial post in the wiki, but even then it was still all over the place. :joy:

Let’s face it, I’ll wont listen to all Dear Girl ~ Stories ~ episodes. I might listen to some of them. But for now, my focus is back on drama CDs rather than podcasts.

BTW: should we perhaps put a link to the new thread in this one? :slight_smile:

Or is there already one? :thinking:

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Well, here’s one, at least!

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