Monthly Archives: April 2011

Japanese actress, singer Yoshiko Tanaka dies at 55

Yoshiko Tanaka

Yoshiko Tanaka

Actress Tanaka Yoshiko, a former member of the Japanese pop idol group Candies, died Thursday night at a Tokyo hospital of breast cancer. She was 55.

Tanaka provided the voice of Kuniko Mitsuya in the 2006 anime feature film Brave Story, an adventure-mystery.

Her first major role was as the star of Imamura Shohei’s 1989 film Kuroi Ame (Black Rain). Her portrayal of Yasuko won her the Award of the Japanese Academy, the Blue Ribbon Award, the Hochi Film Award, the Kinema Junpo Award, and the award of the Mainichi Film Concours. The film itself received a technical jury prize at Cannes.

She was born Yoshiko Odate in Tokyo’s Adachi neighborhood on April 8, 1956. In 1972, she — along with Ito Ran and Fujimuri Miki — passed an audition on an NHK music show. This spurred the trio to debut as Candies; in 1973, they released their first single, “Anata ni Muchu,”

While a member of Candies, Tanaka was known by the nickname “Sue.” Still at the height of its popularity, the group disbanded in 1978.

Afterward, Tanaka returned to show business as an actress. Her films included Godzilla vs. Biollante, in which she played Asuka Okouchi. Among her TV credits were the Churasan series and Ie Naki Ko.

She married Odate Kazuo, the older brother of the late actress Natsume Masako, in 1991.

Mouse Wreckers (1949) – Merrie Melodies Theatrical Cartoon Series

CotD: Classic Merry Melodies and Academy Award Nominee to boot- Hubie & Bertie in 1944’s “Mouse Wreckers” ~

Mouse Wreckers (1949) - Merrie Melodies

Mouse Wreckers (1949) - Merrie Melodies

Mouse Wreckers (1949) – Merrie Melodies Theatrical Cartoon Series

Hobo mice Hubie and Bertie are about to enter a nice new home. The only problem is that the house already is inhabited by Claude Cat, a champion mouser. They use various techniques to drive Claude crazy.

They lower Bertie by fishing line down the chimney; he swats the cat and is then pulled back up fast. They pump Claude full of air, sending him zooming around the room (causing the feline to swear off catnip). They lower a vicious bulldog to pummel him (the cat checks his own tongue and takes a teaspoon of medicine). And then…

Watch Mouse Wreckers at Big Cartoon DataBase

Defense invokes Wile E. Coyote at MA murder trial

Wile E. Coyote

Wile E. Coyote

The prosecution is making its case under the influence of Wile E. Coyote’s cartoon physics, a defense attorney claimed Wednesday at a first-degree murder trial in Massachusetts.

Attorney John Amabile delivered his closing argument in the trial of Jabrai Jordan Copney. He spoke to a Middlesex Superior Court jury in Woburn.

Amaile said that Copney is wrongly accused of shooting Justin Cosby of Cambridge, who was at a Harvard residence hall on campus on May 18, 2009 to finish a marijuana sale.

Amabile invoked the always-at-the-short-end-of-the-stick coyote as he recounted ballistics evidence found in a Kirkland House stairwell after Cosby was shot.

Bullets and shell casings found at the scene showed that whoever shot Cosby fired downward, the lawer said. As well, he said, the medical examiner testified that the fatal bullet aimed at Cosby entered his left side and traveled downward. This would indicate that the shooter was standing above him, Amabile said.

Amabile charged that the real killer was the prosecution’s star witness, Blayn Jiggetts, who admitted bringing a 9mm handgun to the Kirkland House dorm, but who testified that Copney pulled the trigger.

Jiggetts testified that Copney shot at Cosby from the foot of the stairs while Cosby ran out of the basement, Amabile said.

“Wile E. Coyote, when he fires a gun or shoots a missile at the Road Runner, the bullet goes flying up and down stairs and around the corner,”’ Amabile said.

“If you are going to believe Blayn ‘Bliz’ Jiggetts, you have to believe that the shot that killed Mr. Cosby went over his shoulder, turned a circle, and then came back downward the other way…. It’s like something out of a Road Runner cartoon,” he said.

Jurors deliberated for three hours Wednesday. Deliberation was to resume today (Thursday).

[Via Boston Globe…arvard_dorm_killing/]

Earthquake won’t change Studio Ghibli Inc.’s movie

Kokurikozaka Kara

Kokurikozaka Kara

In spite of Japan’s recent earthquake and tsunami disaster, there’s no need to change Studio Ghibli Inc.’s upcoming movie Kokurikozaka Kara (From the Kokuriko Hill), animator Hayao Miyazaki said.

According to Miyzazaki, the major concern about the animated film, to be released July 16 across Japan, was whether the movie could hold its own against changes to the world as time progresses.

“I think the project was right [in that sense],” said Miyazaki. The longtime director is credited for the scriptwriting and planning for the film, which directed by his son Goro.

Miyazaki spoke during a Tokyo news conference to introduce the movie’s theme song, sung by Aoi Teshima.

Based on a comic series for girls that ran about 30 years ago, Kokurikozaka Kara shows the life of a high-school girl and a boy from the sea in Yokohama in about 1963, a time when Japan underwent phenomenal economic growth.

“The heroine’s desire and the boy’s will to live in the film are definitely needed in our time from now on,” said Miyazaki. The filmmaker is preparing for his new movie project in which, he said, that “people will be portrayed realistically.”

It’s worth investing in Japan in efforts to renew its beauty through all the hardships and suffering, Miyazaki added. He thanked people working in the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant and in disaster-stricken areas.

“We’re tested in what we make in such a period of time when only anxieties are humming like basso continuo,” he said.

Miyazaki said he has thought lately that the time isn’t ripe to make fantasy fiction. “It’s a pride of Ghibli not to jump on the bandwagon,” he remarked.

[Via Kyodo News —…2&show_article=1]

Bugs Bunny Nips The Nips (1944) – Merrie Melodies

CotD: You’d never see a cartoon (much less a title!) like this today, but 1944’s “Bugs Bunny Nips The Nips” give us a good idea of the war effort in WWII ~

Bugs Bunny Nips The Nips (1944) - Merrie Melodies

Bugs Bunny Nips The Nips (1944) - Merrie Melodies

Bugs Bunny Nips The Nips (1944) – Merrie Melodies Theatrical Cartoon Series

Somewhere in the South Pacific, Bugs, floating in a crate, lands on an island filled with Japanese soldiers. His peace and quiet come to a halt when bombs start hitting the island. Bugs tangles with an angry soldier, then a sumo wrestler, and finally, hundreds more Japanese, whom he outwits in disguise as the “Good Rumor Man.” All finally ends up happy when Bugs finally runs into- of all things- a girl rabbit in a sarong.

Watch Bugs Bunny Nips The Nips at Big Cartoon DataBase

Aardman and Sony Team Up

Arthur Christmas

Arthur Christmas

Aardman Animations and Sony Pictures Imageworks have teamed up for a holiday 3D film at the end of the year, Arthur Christmas.

Arthur Christmas reveals the incredible, never-before seen answer to every child’s question: ‘So how does Santa deliver all those presents in one night?’

The film will release in the United Kingdom on November 11, 2011; released in the United States on November 23, 2011.

We have a short trailer posted on our site here

“Mars” goes on mission to Atlanta at film festival



Geoff Marslett’s 2010 animated comedy feature film “Mars” will be screened at this year’s Atlanta Film Festival, which runs from April 28 to May 7.

Mars is a 78-minute movie, and will be shown at 7:15 p.m. Tuesday, May 3 and 8:30 p.m. Friday, May 6 at Landmark Midtown.

In the movie, the discovery of life on Mars places a robotic expedition and a manned mission in a race to the Red Planet. On the way, we discover that love -biological, spiritual, and even mechanical — can flourish in all kinds of ways.

Landmark Midtown will also be the venue for a showcase of animated shorts to be screened at 10:15 p.m. Sunday, May 1 and 2:30 p.m. Monday, May 2. Here’s the rundown:

Birdboy (Pedro Rivero; 13 min., Spain, 2010)
After a terrible industrial accident, Dinky’s destiny might be in hands of her eccentric friend Bird Boy, a rootless and introverted kid that hides in the forest abandoned to his fantasies.

Chief Serenbe (Evan Curtis; 5 min.)
As Jack Kerouac says: “Home in Missoula, Home in Truckee, Home in Opelousas, Ain’t no home for me. Home in old Medora, Home in Wounded Knee, Home in Ogallala, Home I’ll never be.”

Denmark (Daniel Fickle; 6 min.)
Pily is a lovable crustacean of mixed origin who struggles to escape his underwater home when it becomes threatened by pollution.

Eye of the Storm (Christopher Alender; 5 min., U.S.A., 2011)
Set in a visually arresting steampunk world, Eye of the Storm is the epic tale of a lonely sky captain who must literally and figuratively brave a raging tempest in order to find his salvation on the other side. Featuring music by Lovett.

Grandpa Looked Like William Powell (David Levy; 4 min., U.S.A., 2010)
Sometimes a memento only reminds you how little you know someone. Such a thing happened to me when I came to possess my Grandpa Herman’s high school autograph book from 1924.

Paths of Hate (Damian Nenow; 10 min., Poland)
A short tale about the demons that slumber deep in the human soul and have the power to push people into the abyss of blind hate, fury and rage.

Polo’s Robot (Peter Lowey; 9 min.)
In a strange land, an inventor builds a robot that will bring his nightmares to life.

Sketchi (Lily Sun; 3 min., Canada)
A girl struggles to revive her beloved dead dog.

The Man Who Shot The Man Who Shot Lincoln (Drew Christie; 5 min., U.S.A., 2010)
Animated in charcoal and pastels in the pages of 13 paperback books, The Man Who Shot The Man Who Shot Lincoln is a look into the strange and bizarre true life of Boston Corbett, assassin of John Wilkes Booth.

The Renter (Jason Carpenter; 10 min., U.S.A., 2011)
Amongst fields of weeds and rotting pears, a young boy is dropped off at an elderly woman’s home for the day.

The Wonder Hospital (Beomsik Shimbe Shim; 8 min.)
In a mysterious hospital, modification of physical beauty is not what you would expect.

ATLFF11 tickets are now on sale. To browse the lineup, visit

Animation Block Party 2011 open for submissions

Animation Block

Animation Block

Animation Block Party, the largest animation festival on the East Coast, is open for submissions until May 27.

The eighth annual Animation Block Party will run from July 29 to 31 at Rooftop Films and Bam Cinematek, only in Brooklyn, New York. Animation Block Party is dedicated to screening the world’s best professional, student and independent work of all genres.

ABP 2011 opens Friday, July 29 at Rooftop Films, with live music, followed by an outdoor simulcast screening of world premieres, international cartoons, exceptional student films and fan-friendly shorts.

Animation Block Party will continue Saturday, July 30 at Bam Cinematek. On Saturday, July 30, ABP will hold its first-ever animation trade show, art gallery exhibition and filmmaker-media brunch at Bam Cinematek.

Trade show attendees will include Animation Mentor, NY Bike Jumble, L-Magazine and Green Mountain Energy and many more. The ABP gallery exhibition will feature content from legendary artists such as Doug Crane and Howard Beckerman, alongside work from the newest animation talent.

ABP 2011 at BAM Cinematek will feature five individual programs, each screening twice.

A special Animation for Kids Program will screen at noon Saturday and Sunday. The Animation for Kids Program at ABP will highlight animated shorts for children from across the globe.

On July 30, Program One (2 and 6:50 p.m.) will feature experimental animation, fresh music videos and subversive design works, while Program Two (4:30 and 9:15 p.m.) will showcase signature student films, professional content and narrative shorts.

On July 31, Program Three (2 and 6:50 p.m.) will feature award-winning independent shorts, studio animation and other standout works, while Program Four (4:30 and 9:15 p.m.) will mix global films with New York premieres and local animations.

An ABP after-party, featuring free beer with purchase of movie ticket, caps each evening.

For more information, visit

Cartoon All-Stars To The Rescue (1990) – Animated TV Special

CotD: Ever see Bugs, Pooh, Alvin and Garfield in the same cartoon? You would if you saw 1990’s anti-drug special “Cartoon All-Stars To The Rescue”

Cartoon All-Stars To The Rescue

Cartoon All-Stars To The Rescue

Cartoon All-Stars To The Rescue (1990) – Animated TV Special

In this made-for-TV movie, many well-known cartoon characters of past and present teach a young boy how wrong it is to take drugs. They show him the bad side effects and how it hurts his family and friends.

Nine-year-old Corey is very worried about her older brother Michael. He’s using drugs, and he just stole her piggy bank to buy some more. Luckily, Corey has help. TV’s most popular cartoon characters leap into action to help free her brother from the clutches of Smoke, a deceptive and corrupting character who’s leading Michael down the road to a drug-abuse dead end. What follows is a roller coaster ride through the perils, pitfalls and realities of drug abuse in which the Cartoon All-Stars prove that there’s a smarter way to go.

Watch Cartoon All-Stars To The Rescue at Big Cartoon DataBase

Aaron Augenblick to present SVA Animation Awards

School of Visual Arts

School of Visual Arts

School of Visual Arts alumnus and animator Aaron Augenblick (“Daria,” “Ugly Americans,” “Superjail“) will present the Animation Awards at the 22nd Annual Dusty Film and Animation Festival, organizers announced Tuesday.

The festival — taking place from May 6 to 10 — culminates with an awards ceremony at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 10 at New York’s SVA Theatre. It features a full roster of names from the world of animation and film.

“We are happy to announce this year’s list of Dusty presenters,” said Reeves Lehmann, chair of the BFA Film, Video and Animation Department at SVA. “With these awards, we celebrate the many successes of our illustrious class of filmmakers and animators, as well as a stellar roster of SVA friends and allies from the world of film and animation.”

The Dusty Awards are presented to the winning thesis students from the BFA Film, Video and Animation Department at the School of Visual Arts. Award- winning films and animations are chosen from over 100 thesis students’ works. The awards ceremony is part of the Dusty Film and Animation Festival, which includes screenings of animations, short films and videos, All screenings are free and open to the general public.

Animation screenings will take place from 7 to 11 p.m. Sunday, May 8 at the SVA Theatre, 222 West 23rd Street (between Eighth and Ninth Avenues). Screenwriters Night is set for 6 p.m. Saturday, May 7 in the same location.

A reply is required for the Awards Ceremony and for Screenwriters Night. A screening schedule will be available on the SVA Dusty Web site in late April. For public inquiries regarding tickets, call (212) 592-2124.

Past Dusty Awards presenters have included animation director Bill Plympton.

This year’s Dusty Awards will be hosted by SVA animation faculty member Sheila Evans and radio personality Valerie Smaldone. Find more information at