Right off the bat I should mention that the above video won’t be of any interest to anyone who hasn’t played Super Mario 64, so you can just skip the video (and the rest of this blog entry) if you fall in that camp.
For those who are familiar with the game, an explanation of what the player is trying to do: after making the 1UP mushroom appear by climbing a tree, he tries to evade it while collecting all eight red coins, and then the star that subsequently appears. Another self-imposed rule is that he can’t enter the log cabin, as that makes the 1UP disappear (though he can use the bridge warp to get back to the top of the mountain, as the 1UP remains active in that event). If the 1UP catches him, he fails and has to start over again.
The first two minutes of the video are a little boring, but a highlight reel of his failed attempts that starts at 1:55 is pretty funny. His final, successful attempt begins at the six minute mark.
When I played Mario 64 I never really tried to run away from 1UP mushrooms, so it’s funny to see how tenacious they are in trying to catch Mario, even going through walls in their tireless pursuit. They remind me of terminators or something.
At the end of the video it says he tried for roughly nine hours before finally succeeding. Rock on, dude!
I hadn’t planned on posting two Koko the Clown cartoons back-to-back, but this week sort of slipped through my fingers, and I didn’t really have time to write a proper entry. Hopefully next week we’ll have something different.
Another thing I appreciate about Koko cartoons in addition to the line work is how unpredictable they are. This is true of much of the early work from the Fleischer Studios; you never really know what direction they’re going to take.
I guess you could argue that the “random for random’s sake” approach utilized in Fleischer cartoons is hardly the epitome of storytelling, but there’s something to be said for stories that actually offer genuine surprise. A friend of mine once told me that one of the reasons he liked the movie Eyes Wide Shut is because while he was watching it, he had no idea whatsoever how it was going to end. Most movies don’t have that sort of tension. When I see a typical romantic comedy I’m not really thrilled when the two leads get together in the end because there was never any doubt that they would. On the other hand, when I first saw the movie Show Me Love, *SPOILER* I was really happy when the two main characters got together in the end because it really seemed possible they might not. *END SPOILER*
So that’s why a little unexpectedness is nice to have every now and again oh my god an escaped bear just got in here and he’s eating me
Above is a Fleischer cartoon featuring Koko the Clown, the studio’s big star until Betty Boop (and the now largely forgotten Bimbo) came along.
One thing that really impresses me about the oldest Fleischer cartoons is how strong the line work is. In modern cartoons, lines are razor-thin and uniform in width, and don’t really have any personality. The lines found in the old Koko shorts, on the other hand, have an expressive, calligraphic presence. That this quality was achieved not in still illustrations but in the labor-intensive medium of animation is pretty remarkable I think. I can’t think of any modern animation that uses lines so artfully.
Last weekend my work was displayed as a part of a gallery show at the Tokushima Museum of Literature & Calligraphy.
The logo for the show, written/designed by my advisor Hiromitsu Morikami
It was a small show, with seventeen people each displaying one or two pieces.
My piece was a reinterpretation of calligraphy that was carved into the side of a cliff in southern Shaanxi province, China, in 63A.D., to commemorate the opening of a pathway. Since the original calligrapher was working on a course, uneven surface, the proportions and structure of the characters is unconventional.