An Update

It has been a while, people.

No, I am not announcing my intentions to quit or take a break from blogging. In fact my drafts is still stuffed to the brim with stuff I’m working on, and I’ve got a couple of interview translations in the release pipe as well. This is just a little sit-down chat/therapy session for me, as I near the end of the first leg of my final year in university (whether I continue into postgrad/masters will be up to future me to decide). Also I feel like I owe at least a little to my readers, for having not putting anything out for more than a month.

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Fafner in the Azure Composer Interview: Tsuneyoshi Saito | ‘An Orchestral Chain Reaction’

The following is an official translation of an interview conducted with composer Tsuneyoshi Saito regarding his work on the mecha anime franchise Fafner in the Azure. It was published in the liner notes of the now out-of-print soundtrack album ‘NO WHERE’, released by Geneon for the North American market.

The music composed and produced for Fafner in the Azure presents an unique viewpoint on the international traffics of anime production: Saito opted to record the soundtrack for the anime series abroad with the renowned Polish orchestra, the Warsaw Philharmonic, for what he refers to be a willfully classical compositional process, and thus providing Fafner in the Azure with a sonic experience that references the symphonic scope of a Star Wars score.

(Note: the interview also featured producer Go Nakanishi from King Records.)

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Post-Disaster ‘Cool Japan’ | Kimi no Na wa: Cultural Identity, Modernity & Restorative Nostalgia

The slogan ‘Cool Japan’ was first used by the Japanese government in reference to its nation-branding projects back in 2005. Since then, the Cool Japan phenomenon has become a site of intensive focus for scholars in Japanese studies, particularly from the points of view of popular culture and creative industries (e.g. Sugiyama 2006, Dinnie 2009, Fujita 2011) and nationalism and nation-building (e.g. Iwabuchi 2007, 2008) (Valaskivi, 2013). Indeed, such saturated focus on this phenomenon has covered extensive and ripe ground from relatively regional frameworks, which examined its impact within Japan, as well as Japan’s influence within the East Asia sphere. In turn, Katja Valaskivi proposed to extend its study paradigms by contextualising Cool Japan through the transnationally circulating practice of nation branding. And thus with this essay, I will approach the study of the Cool Japan branding project by extending upon Valaskivi’s frameworks in her paper ‘Cool Japan and the social imaginary of the branded nation’; and by extension Taylor’s concept of the social imaginary (Taylor, 2002), through their integration into a semiotic and cinematic analysis of director Makoto Shinkai’s 2016 anime film ‘Kimi no Na wa’ (will be referred to as ‘Your Name’ from now on), which I argue will introduce unique observations that may ground Cool Japan’s main circulating features; namely 1) nation branding, 2) the concept of ‘Cool’ and 3) the idea of ‘essential Japanese values’, within a diverse collection of symbols, message streams and candid imagery that can be better appreciated and more readily understood.

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Violet Evergarden Fanbook Interviews: Akiko Takase | Highlights, High Heels & Suspenders

In this latest series of interview translations, ATMA & Funomena will be presenting comments and observations of three prominent voices from the production of Violet Evergarden, concluding with Chief Animation Director Akiko Takase.

These translations are offered to fans of the series as material supplements for the making-of documentary-style video by the YouTube channel Under the Scope.

The original interviews were conducted and published in the Violet Evergarden Official Fanbook.

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Violet Evergarden Fanbook Interviews: Haruka Fujita | Nurturing a Blank Slate

In this latest series of interview translations, ATMA & Funomena will be presenting comments and observations of three prominent voices from the production of Violet Evergarden, continuing with series director Haruka Fujita.

These translations are offered to fans of the series as material supplements for the upcoming making-of documentary-style video by the YouTube channel Under the Scope.

The original interviews were conducted and published in the Violet Evergarden Official Fanbook.

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Terrace House: Visualising ‘Asian Modernity’

Social television and by extension, popular media, forms a central reflective lens through which one can observe and debate the general assumptions of cosmopolitanism in the contemporary Global Internet age. The frameworks of argument presented by Youna Kim in her exploration of the Korean Wave (with a particular focus on TV dramas) are grounded within understanding the discursive construction of an ‘East Asian Popular Culture’ (Chua, 2004), as well as exploring the shifting of the cultural export tides, as global awareness and appreciation for Asian media expands.

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Violet Evergarden Fanbook Interviews: Taichi Ishidate | Earnestness, Immersion & Subtlety

In this latest series of interview translations, ATMA & Funomena will be presenting comments and observations of three prominent voices from the production of Violet Evergarden, starting with director Taichi Ishidate.

These translations are offered to fans of the series as material supplements for the upcoming making-of documentary-style video by the YouTube channel Under the Scope.

The original interviews were conducted and published in the Violet Evergarden Official Fanbook.

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Violet Evergarden Composer Interview: Evan Call | From Berklee to Leidenschaftlich

An instant crowd-pleaser, in spite of the disjointed international release schedule by Netflix, Violet Evergarden is a labour of love for the tight-knit Kyoto Animation team. In search of music that can reflect the quiet intensity of the melodrama on display, Japan-based American composer Evan Call was instructed to construct the sentimental anchor of the entire production.

The following is a translation of the interview printed in the Violet Evergarden Original Soundtrack booklet, conducted with the composer and series music producer Shigeru Saito.

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Artistry of Translation | Accenting Localisations (& A ‘Loveless’ Language?)

To properly articulate translation, is to essentially define it as a genre of artistry.

‘Artistry’ implies subjectivity. It confirms uncertainty, the lack of objectivity and exact science in translation as a craft and process. But translation as a craft also evokes a desire to understand; to render the unfamiliar so it may become familiar, if one were to paraphrase Hayden White (1978). This relationship of translation certainly reads like a process of linkage; a transportation railway that delivers meaning from one isolated frame of context (could be as vast as a country, or as mundane as an imperial/metric system transfer) to another. However, as I will be discussing here, such a reading on the art of translation would utterly erase the accents of such processes which give the newly translated entity its unique existence. Nothing exists as merely a ‘substitute’ for another.

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Violet Evergarden’s Opening Act | Mechanical Rigidity vs. Fluid Temporality

I want to start by talking about a single shot in Violet Evergarden’s debuting episode.

Violet’s reflection in the clock implies two things: her current state of mind, as well as certain potential, if one takes into account Violet’s first real display of agency in this scene.

A clock as a tool for telling time is mechanical and rigid by nature, its function defined by a single need. Violet was a child soldier who has known nothing but to take orders and acting on them: her function defines her, encroaching her behind a transparent cage.

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Princess Principal Composers Interview | Ryo Takahashi (Void_Chords), Yuki Kajiura

Princess Principal was an action-adventure highlight of Summer 2017, and a big part of this resonance with the fandom was undoubtedly the high-octane musical identities afforded to the production by its arranger/composer duo of rising star Ryo Takahashi (ACCA: 13-ku Kansatsu-ka, Classroom of the Elite), and prolific veteran Yuki Kajiura (Kara no Kyoukai, Fate/Zero, Sword Art Online, ERASED).

The following is a translation of the interview conducted with the two composers by Natalie Music.

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