Recent Viewing: Tower

Last week, I took one night to go and check out an indie movie at a local club. I saw the trailer to Tower and immediately knew I had to go. If you haven’t seen it, check it out above.

The reason I wanted to see the movie, was really two-fold. The topic itself, a school shooting from the 1960s. Being a millennial, I honestly thought the first school shooting was Columbine and never would have guessed that it happened prior to that, let alone in the 1960’s. The other reason, the art style. I have been crazy about rotoscoped work for the last few years now, ever since Flowers of Evil came out.

Tower blends rotoscoped footage with original footage from news broadcasts and other clips from the actual event and interviews. Based on the credits, I believe they hired actors and actresses to play out the more cinematic and rotoscoped scenes that help paint the story of the eye witnesses. I thought this was an interesting approach, obviously that footage didn’t exist so using the rotoscoped footage to create these sequences really help put the viewer into the scene and help paint the actual situation and build that suspense.

The film tells the stories of a handful of people impacted by the shooting, from a pregnant student, a kid delivering newspapers, a teacher and more. Seeing their stories starting to cross and eventually seeing how their story played out to this day, was simply amazing to hear and see. Again, as a millennial, school shootings in our lifetime have revolved around high-powered weapons and typically the gunmen end their own life. Seeing the events of other acts of terrorism and how the police have started using robots and drones, the film also talks about logistical problems of the 1960’s that we simply don’t think about. As you can see from the trailer, the shooter is a sniper in a tower. The movie at one points says that they tried to shoot the sniper from a plane, a method you simply wouldn’t see today.

One thing that really struck a nerve with me in the movie Tower, is hearing the survivors stories about gun violence and how this has been something that has impacted people and educational institutions for 50 years now. Ever since Sandy Hook, I have questioned what it would actually take for elected officials to do anything try and reduce the amount of school shootings. Unfortunately, 20+ kindergarteners were not enough to get any traction.

I really can not emphasize how much I enjoyed Tower, I was in suspense the entire time and it was a pretty intense film that was well crafted from the various people’s stories and also from the blending of rotoscoped footage and archival footage. If you get the chance to see Tower, go. Share it with everyone you know.

Recent Reading: The Flowers of Evil Volume 8

I have made it 8 volumes into The Flowers of Evil series, and I must say, it is easily one of my favorite titles in a long time. The character development has been very intriguing. However, when we left the story in volume 7, we were introduced to a new cast of characters for Kasuga to interact with.

I will admit that volume 7 left me a little curious with what direction the story was going to go, volume 8 didn’t disappoint. A new character is introduced, Koji, who is Tokiwa’s boyfriend. Tokiwa introduces Kasuga and Koji outside her house. You can catch a glimpse of a jealous side to Koji as the characters begin to talk and get acquainted. The characters decide to go and hangout; Kasuga reluctantly.

Tokiwa, Koji and Kasuga meet up with other characters in a shack and have a discussion. As the conversation progresses, it shifts more towards getting answers from Kasuga about personal topics. Tokiwa comes to rescue Kasuga and ends the conversation.

Following the events of the group hangout, Kasuga and Tokiwa decide to go out and talk about books and writing. Kasuga is enamored with Tokiwa’s writing and urges her to finish her story. While leaving the area, Kasuga runs into a person from his past Saeki. We learn that it has been three years since the events in the first 6 volumes. Saeki and Kasuga meet up at the end of the volume and talk. The topic of their discussion really sets up volume 9 and has me totally sucked in again, which is out in April.

Random Post- What I have been up to

One thing I have always enjoyed about blogs when I get a chance to catch up on some of the ones I follow, is the random post that just says whats currently going on. So that’s what I thought I would do today.

Outside of all the work on Cosmic Rage, I have been in the process of a move which I promised I would go more in depth about as soon as I can. Currently I am caught up on some of the anime I have been watching, but I have a few series I still have laying around that I haven’t watched and reviewed yet. The next title I have planned to watch is Tsuritama. Not 100% what it’s about, other than fishing, and I fished a lot when I was younger so I thought I’d check it out. That review should be up some time later in September.

I have also been working on my presentation for this year’s SGMS conference. This will be the third year I will be presenting at the conference and look forward to seeing some of my Minneapolis friends again. I am also really looking forward to this presentation this year 🙂

With the move and finishing up some freelance work, I have had to put my Japanese language studies on hold for now. I am hoping to pick back up on them in the next week or so. I am afraid I am going to be rusty 🙁

I am currently reading the Flowers of Evil manga since I enjoyed the show so much. I am afraid it won’t get an animated ending so I decided to read the series now as well.

Finally, I have been looking into planning a trip to Colorado sometime next year. I am researching hiking Pike’s Peak. I love hiking and I have been looking for a new peak to climb to since I climbed Mount Fuji last year.

I am also planning on attending Sogen Con this weekend and really looking forward to making it to a home grown con.

So those are some of the things I have been up to outside of Cosmic Rage. Have some really fun stuff to show for Monday’s production update as well as an updated image.

Recent Viewing Flowers of Evil

It’s been a little while since I have reviewed anything I watched and with all of the craziness of the last couple months. I never heard of Flowers of Evil until a friend told me to check out the first episode since it had an interesting art style and he wasn’t sure why it looked the way it did. So I checked it out and I loved seeing the rotoscoping technique in action so I wanted to check it out on a weekly basis, but was so busy I ended up marathoning it a week or so ago.

First off, this has been probably one of the most debated series I have ever seen in recent memory. In the anime fandom world, it seems to be a title you hate or you love for various reasons. Flowers of Evil was produced by Zexcs, and is licensed in the US by Sentai Filmworks.

The first reason is the art style, the rotoscoping technique isn’t for everyone. There are films that use similar techniques that I hated, A Scanner Darkly for one. While it employs a slightly different visual, it is using the same technique.


Here is a screenshot of the style of Flowers of Evil.

imagesFlowers of Evil uses less shading when compared to A Scanner Darkly, which is why I think it appeals to me more. The rotoscoping allows for them to get some really great details in the close up facial expressions.

While the characters are rotoscoped, the backgrounds are very beautifully painted. There were times in the series, that I was in awe over some of the painted backgrounds. And if you watch the series, there is a beautiful sequence in episode 7 that is artwork. Several amazing sequences of animation that are some of the best things I have seen in a long time. I wish I could post up just that sequence, it was that good.

If you aren’t turned off by the artwork, the story itself is very unique and is not something for everyone. The story revolves around the main character Kasuga, who likes one of the popular girls in school. Also getting involved in this story is the “creepy” girl in the class, Nakamura, who sees a way to start to manipulate Kasuga for her amusement and other motivations.

The first season is 13 episodes, and showcases the growing escalation between the three characters relationships towards one another. While part of Kasuga wants a normal relationship with the girl Saeki, Kasuga also reveals a potential darkside which likes Nakamura. All of this is set in a small town and not a giant city like Tokyo which adds to some of the characters motivations.

The music in the series is great. The ending theme is rather creepy, while the opening theme seems a little ironic with its tone and also artwork. This was a series that I would watch one episode and feel like I needed to watch the other right away. I am not sure if the series will get a season 2, but if not I will be buying the manga to finish up. If you have seen Flowers of Evil feel free to comment below and let me know what you thought. If you haven’t seen it yet, you can view it on Crunchyroll.