Cover Art Comparison: Escaflowne (Movie)

To wrap up the month, here’s another short post – a second entry in what I might make a regular thing, a bit of ‘Cover Art Comparison’.

Last time I went with Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit and its new box art, but today I’ve got something a bit older, with the Escaflowne movie.

There two aren’t split between ‘reissue’ and ‘old’ cover art, but what I thought was the International poster/dvd/blu-ray is on the left with the Japanese one on the right… but now I’m not sure if that’s actually the way the promotional material worked at all 😀

In any event, I think the left speaks to the tone of the movie a lot better – more shadow, more sense of menace with the sword signalling violence but the moons and Hitomi floating speaking to the fantastical. It also has some of the ensemble feel, and probably puts Van as ‘lead’.

Obviously, in contrast on the right there’s so much soothing blue, feathers and a sense of calm and repose to Hitomi. When I see this, I could almost think romantic fantasy/school drama with her as the obvious lead. Yet that winged skeleton has a touch of darkness to it.

Each version has a different purposes too, I think, in terms of speaking to differing audiences and with the art on the right, I wonder if it was always used as the ‘ultimate’ edition, for re-issues etc.


Over to you – got a fav between the two?

(There’s also this one I found on IMDB but don’t think I’ve ever seen on disc, must have just been a poster – really working the live action conventions of an action/fantasy movie poster I reckon).

Cover Art Comparison: Moribito Guardian of the Spirit

Today I wanted to quickly change pace and post something short (same with my next post, actually) and so I thought it’d be fun to quickly look at some cover art.

This little idea was sparked by the pending re-release of one of my favourites – Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit and its new box art.

I love the new cover for its brighter colours, but perhaps what’s more important is that this one is also more indicative of what’s inside, in terms of storyline.

For instance, if I glance at the original (which is pretty close to what my DVD looks like) then I can remember exactly what I first thought upon seeing that cover – that this anime will be an action series with a ‘band of heroes’ feel.

Of course, the folks pictured with Balsa aren’t her companions and the story’s not really about a fellowship with a common goal, either.

The old art certainly does signal ‘action’ for genre, which is no lie, but the new artwork evokes the idea that Balsa must protect someone, and places great importance upon that pairing, since they’re the only two portrayed. And, of course you’ve still got her spear and so the ‘action’ is still signaled, but this time, so is the drama.

Okay! I controlled my rambling – how about you, got a fav between the two? Or a fav update to some classic art?

Tintin in Tibet (Tintin au Tibet)

Perhaps the most emotional volume in Herge’s Tintin series, Tintin in Tibet (1960) is certainly the one I’ve read the most times.

Perhaps there isn’t as much action as usual, but with its mystery woven around a heartfelt storyline that sees Tintin and Haddock searching the snowy mountains of Tibet for Tintin’s friend Chang, it’s a fantastic piece of storytelling that, despite the darker subject matter, is still graced with Herge’s usual fine sense of humour.

While it can be difficult to separate pleasant memories of reading this one as a child from the review, I can safely say that Tintin in Tibet remains distinctive not just for the personal nature of the story, but for the powerful use of white space in the panels – Herge’s famous ‘clear line’ style is so direct in conveying a sense of space that I always find myself drawn in to the setting as much as the story. This is partly what makes the moments of colour, such as the visit to the monastery, so vivid.

If your only experience of Tintin is the more explosive CGI outing from Jackson and Spielberg, and you’re not sure about the comics, perhaps start with some of the faster-paced volumes such as the Calculus-themed releases – but if you’re already a fan and you don’t actually have this one for any reason, then don’t deny yourself Tintin in Tibet.

Miss Hokusai (Sarusuberi: Miss Hokusai)

Miss Hokusai (Sarusuberi: Miss Hokusai) 2015

I definitely enjoyed this film, as I tend to gravitate toward stories that are about artists of just about any form, but this was bright and memorable for me in terms of visuals and characters too, if not the storyline, precisely. More on that below however.

Obviously I’m hardly qualified to discuss the source material in terms of its balance between historical fact and drama, but I wouldn’t say I was surprised to see Hokusai often relied on his daughter to finish commissions and so Ōi’s work probably went unrecognised fairly often.

Though that wasn’t precisely the main source of tension in the film for me, I think the family relationships and Ōi’s efforts to help her younger sister took up a bigger portion – that and Ōi’s personal struggles with her work and identity. I know some folks didn’t enjoy the episodic nature of the storytelling and maybe I personally would have preferred a more conventional approach in some ways, because I think I’m somewhat conditioned to expect that when a film is biographical.

And yet, asking and expecting that would kinda be a bit reductive of me… because in a way, I think the film now rests in my memory as a collection of impressionistic moments that aren’t necessarily connected to the cause and effect of a traditional linear narrative, and that’s probably just as impactful anyway!

Overall, I think I was most excited to be offered a look at the lifestyles of painters during the Edo period and ended up really enjoying the detours into mythology, along with the actual artworks themselves of course.

Definitely recommended if you like somewhat meandering family dramas or biographical films that don’t precisely play out in a typical fashion.

4 Stars