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Katsuhiro Otomo's Steamboy in Theaters

CmdrTaco posted more than 9 years ago | from the if-you-haven't-seen-akira-you-suck dept.

Anime 215

echocharlie writes "Steamboy is rolling into US theaters on March 18. The movie features the notable return of Katsuhiro Otomo, who hasn't directed an animated film since Akira, so big things can be expected. The film opened in Japan earlier to mostly rave reviews. The english cast features Anna Paquin, Alfred Molina, and Patrick Stewart. That's interesting casting since all three have had prominent roles in comic book movie adapatations (X-men, Spider-Man 2, and X-men respectively), not to mention Mr. Stewart's famous sci-fi ties. Anime films without Pokémon in their titles haven't fared well at the US Box office (see Appleseed, Tokyo Godfathers, Ghost in the Shell 2, et al.). Hopefully with an adequate number of theaters carrying the film, Katsuhiro Otomo's latest opus will gain the exposure it deserves."

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215 comments

Steamy (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11881357)

Mac's powerful body jerked as his consciousness returned suddenly. The world spun crazily around his for a second, the cold over head lights making his head hurt. He choked and gagged almost vomiting for a moment. As the world slowed and the light became barable. He noticed the clear bell shaped plastic tube that now held his huge swollen cock captive. It surged and sucked pumping and teasing his very aroused organ.

Long thin dribbles of clear pre cum ran from his cock into the clear hose, it was already wet. And Mac realized that he must had orgasmed once already! The machine was used to collect sperm samples from the animorph specimens. He knew he'd seen it begin used by Norcott, his hands were bound tightly behind his back. Mac twisted and strained, his huge powerful arms bulging against his bonds. His wrist's ached an blood dripped down his hands. But the plastic restraints slowly began to stretch! A second load of hot thick man milk had sprayed down the hose, an a third was building. Before he at last was able to pull his hands out of the restraints. With his hands free he instantly began scratching..as he itched all over! Unstrapping the milker from his groin, he pulled the vacum tube off his throbbing member. His big low swinging testicles tingled, as his third load shot from his freed cock.

"What the shit?" Mac grunted as his cock began dribbling pre cum again almost at once. Powerful lusts flooded through his body and desire for release overcame him. Mac felt a warmth spreading from his guts, as he jacked his long hard cock quickly. Memories flooded back to him then as his third orgasm slattered cum on the cell wall. Rothman dildoing his ass, pumping the badger mans cum into him! "Rothman!" He snarled savagely. Glancing around quickly he idenified where he was. Holding cell block J5... of course Rothman couldn't move them far by himself! These holding cell's had a weakness...and the big security chief knew it...very well!

Mac Blocker didn't have time for what was happening to him, but he couldn't stop it either. He needed to escape, but his orgasm was beginning to build again. He was security chief of this damned place, did Rothman really think he could stop him by locking him up.

He looked down, something was happening to his cock, it was changing shape. His balls had already become huge and hung low and had a fuzzy grey covering of fur. Fur was growing all over his body, he watched, half fascinated and half horrified as his red human hair began to disappear beneath the tan and grey fur on his chest and belly. He rubbed and scratched his abdomen. He was growing carpet of badger fur on his chest and felt it growing on his back. He felt his face and realized that it was happening there too. If he could have seen himself in a mirror, he would see the beginnings of the distinctive black and white stripes on his face and his nose and lips beginning to darken. The backs of his arms were growing dark with fur.

He was brought out of his musings about his growing furriness by his aching cock. He watched it finish changing into the proper shape for a badger, not that he had ever noticed an animal's cock before, but he guessed this was the right shape, given what was happening. His cock was growing huge and it demanded attention. His mind became simpler in thought as he began to stroke himself with a clawed hand that rivaled that of the ursine animorphs. Lustfully, he began to lick and suck on his own cock. Inside of his mind 'Mac the Man', the extremely heterosexual human male, was disgusted by what was happening, but 'Blocker the Badger' was in complete bliss. He was reliving his swollen balls of he last vestiges of Mac's human genetics. Blocker the Badger kneaded and fondled his balls with one growing clawed hand and pumped the elongated shaft with the other. If Mac had, had a cell mate, male or female, he would be releasing his load into whichever hole was first presented. It's what made the milking machines so easy to use; the animorph would bliss out and provide as much semen as the beast could pump out before it was sated. The beast didn't care as long as its sexual needs were fulfilled. Mac the Man went into a sort of hypnotic state as the Blocker the Badger gained complete control. The badger licked up and sucked down the last drops of human seed and was coaxing out the first badger-man sperm.

Re:Steamy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11881460)

There should be a question mark after the fourth paragraph.

Huh? (5, Interesting)

Telastyn (206146) | more than 9 years ago | (#11881395)

And what about Spirited Away, or any of Gibli's other US releases? They've done fantastically well from what I understand.

Re:Huh? (2, Informative)

mr i want to go home (610257) | more than 9 years ago | (#11881551)

Here in Australia we're lucky to have Madman [madman.com.au] releasing all kinds of good stuff - including Steamboy and all Studio Gibli's films. They used to be a DVD only outfit, but since last year have been distributing films too.

Upshot is, I went to see Steamboy late last year. It is visually spectacular, although I thought the plot was really disappointing. It's basically another "evil-creature/machine-stomps all over Tokyo", except it's not Tokyo it's 19thC London. Seemed a real shame that they went to so much trouble with the animation, and had a really nice premise, but let it all down with a poor story.

Well that or I've got a bit older and pickier now ;) Go see it anyway.

Re:Huh? (-1, Redundant)

IdleTime (561841) | more than 9 years ago | (#11881588)

*yawn*
Another crappy anime thingy, totally uninteresting and now I will be either modded as a troll or something else, but I have karma to burn..

Horrible cartoons from Japan is just that... RIP.

Re:Huh? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11881590)

Only Spirited Away was released to theaters, and it didn't exactly burn up the box office even after the Oscar win. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=spiritedaw ay.htm says it made $10 million total in the U.S., compared to over $200 million in Japan, which has half the population of the U.S.

Not counting DVD sales of course, which I'm sure have done well but not spectacularly also.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11881681)

Anna Paquin and Patrick Stewart (at least) have also done voice acting for other Miyazaki movies. It was a good effort at posing by the submitter, but beyond pimping Steamboy, those are pretty meaningless observations.

Re:Huh? (3, Interesting)

mblase (200735) | more than 9 years ago | (#11881838)

"Spirited Away" did well on DVD, partly because it won the Oscar for Best Animated as well as about a dozen other major and minor awards.

But it was never a bit hit in theatres, which is what really matters as far as counting profits is concerned. Most anime, as the submitter pointed out, isn't. I don't think we're a culture of "cartoons are for kids" any longer ("Shark Tale" was probably the first American animated hit targetted at older kids and teenagers).

But anime has two things working against it in this country. First, most theatrical releases are subtitled, not dubbed, and most Americans dislike watching films in other languages when we have so many English-language films to choose from instead. (Foreign language films in general do poorly at the box office here.) And second, they're just not widely promoted -- partly because the distributors know about the no-dub-no-sales factor.

Re:Huh? (1)

kaellinn18 (707759) | more than 9 years ago | (#11882164)

I don't think those are the only things working against it. I think a large part has to do with the fact that it's just anime. Some people (including myself) just don't like the animation style. No matter how good a story is in an anime film, I always find myself wishing the animation was "better." I put better in quotes because it's certainly just a matter of artistic preference. There's nothing wrong with anime, but it's just not my thing. It's a difference in preference and in culture, and some people just are not able to easily make that leap, either because they are stubborn and don't want to try or they've tried and just don't like it. That's the main reason I think these films don't do well right now. Once the generation that was raised on Pokemon hits their late teens, I think you will find that these kinds of movies will do better in theaters.

Re:Huh? (1)

Pseudonym (62607) | more than 9 years ago | (#11882205)

("Shark Tale" was probably the first American animated hit targetted at older kids and teenagers)

I know you want to forget Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, but I suppose, also, that it doesn't really count as a "hit".

Shrek was largely targeted at older kids, though it did have something for the younger ones, too.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11882437)

So are most Pixar Films ...and Heavy Metal ...and The Wall ...and Fritz The Cat ...and Batman: Mask of The Phantasam (ok, that wasn't a hit either)

Re:Huh? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11882056)

And what about your chances of ever getting laid? "Hey, you wanna come back to my mom's house and watch cartoons..Baby.." For God sakes man get a suit, a job, and your own place! Quit watching fucking cartoons!

Won't Fare Well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11881396)

From the looks of it, I don't think it will either.

"The Adventure of Steamboy"

A+ for creativeness

(sarcasm)

Re:Won't Fare Well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11881611)

Sounds like gay porn to me.

Re:Won't Fare Well (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11881676)

Anime is for pedophiles.

Any ideas where this is playing? (2, Interesting)

nb caffeine (448698) | more than 9 years ago | (#11881398)

Id like to see this, but fandango doesnt even have it listed as a movie. Any idea where i could find information on where this might be playing? not that it will ever come within 100 miles of where i live, being in the middle of nowhere.

Re:Any ideas where this is playing? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11881475)

At an nntp server near you.

Re:Any ideas where this is playing? (1)

ReverendLoki (663861) | more than 9 years ago | (#11882330)

I wouldn't worry about that too much just yet. I'm pretty sure that it's gonna play here in Kansas City at or at least near the release date, but damned if I can find a showtime for it yet. I saw elsewhere in these comments that an AMC in PA is going to screen it, and since this city is the home to AMC, if the past is any precedent, then it should show here as well.

This area's been decently lucky as far as Anime goes, as long as you know where to look. When the Cowboy Bepop movie was released in the US, it was shown only at an arthouse, but was put on a big screen there and drew a good crowd. Saw Princess Mononoke at a Cinemark during it's run, and it drew a good crowd as well (a lot better than some of the other films released at the time). Still, it's hard finding listings for any of this even a week in advance, let alone farther, for some reason - especially online. So, there's good reason to hope.

TETSUO!! KANEDA!! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11881400)

...STEAMBOY!!

Re:TETSUO!! KANEDA!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11881455)

Steamboy does look a bit too much like Tetsuo in the trailer.

We're carrying it (2, Interesting)

KingOfTheNerds (706852) | more than 9 years ago | (#11881402)

I work at an AMC theater here in Pennsylvania, and I know that our theater is going to be carrying steamboy. I have a feeling that no matter how good the movie is it will be hard to convince people to come see and appreciate anime.

I can already see it (1)

bryan986 (833912) | more than 9 years ago | (#11881408)

The steam coming from patrick stewarts head

Re:I can already see it (3, Informative)

icebrrrg (123867) | more than 9 years ago | (#11881512)

why would he get steamed? gillian anderson, clair danes and the rest of the cast who worked on princess mononoke [imdb.com] didn't get steamed about its performance in the US box offices. they took the roles because they either believed in the material, loved the script, liked the medium, respected the director, or some combination thereof.

check out this interview [5x5media.com] with her, about her participation in mononoke.

"I've always been a fan of animation, period. It's always been a big part of my life."

Midnight Eye has a review (4, Informative)

abucior (306728) | more than 9 years ago | (#11881437)

Here. [midnighteye.com] The quick summary: Beautiful. Too bad they didn't spend more time on the script.

Re:Midnight Eye has a review (1)

kn0tw0rk (773805) | more than 9 years ago | (#11882389)

When the subtitled version was shown here in Aus, I was lucky enough to see it.

I would concur that visually it is awesome, but the script/dialogue was not inspiried. Still worthwhile seeing IMHO.

Kaneda!... Tetsuo!!!! (1)

rsborg (111459) | more than 9 years ago | (#11881458)

Seriously, I think this movie will rock [imdb.com], and the release timing is probably pretty good with the start of the pre-summer season (summer is too dominated by blockbusters and wanabees). The classic "science/tech is both good and evil" zen-type attitude is prevalent in this movie, as it was in other [imdb.com] anime films [imdb.com], but I hope that it won't completely miss the average American moviegoer.

As usual Europe has to wait!! (2, Interesting)

Tetsugaku-San (717792) | more than 9 years ago | (#11881470)

Anyone know a UK / Europe release date? The site has japanese, American and French . . .

Taco: Aren't you like 30 years old (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11881500)

Why are you posting stories about cartoons?

Why? (5, Insightful)

Jukashi (240273) | more than 9 years ago | (#11881514)

Why does everything "good" have to be liked by MILLIONS of people? Isnt that the mindset that creates steaming piles like "Be Cool" - make the most bland-least-offensive-lowest-common-denominator-dr ivel possible to maximize profits? F that.

Re:Why? (2, Interesting)

Fyz (581804) | more than 9 years ago | (#11881626)

Maybe, but popular stuff tends to get more cold hard cash to produce, and even though that isn't enough by itself to produce high quality material, it certainly helps.
Personally, I can't stand the run-of-the-mill anime with their 'flying' backgrounds and fixed character-only-moves-his-mouth stuff. They did that to save money on the budget. GITS 2 was an incredible achievement in animation that wouldn't have been possible without some major dough.

And finally, it is hardly a fools quest to try to promote some quality entertainment into the brainless mainstream. Let's try and raise the bar.

Re:Why? (1)

ReverendLoki (663861) | more than 9 years ago | (#11882385)

For me, it's not so much important that what *I* like is liked by millions of others, but rather that I hope that the films I like draw a huge crowd in order to encourage the creation of more films like it (or in the case of us here in the U.S., not to encourage it's creation but to encourage it's distribution into U.S. theatres).

Other than that, I agree with you, with a slight exception - it's the mindset that if millions of people go see it, then it's good, that creates crap blockbuster movies. A subtle distinction.

Saw it on an ANA flight... (4, Informative)

EvilMagnus (32878) | more than 9 years ago | (#11881524)

...last November.

Short version: starts strong, fades towards the end.

It's very pretty. It has some wonderful set-pieces and amusing character ideas (Stephenson-sama, for example. And Scarlett.) but boy does the Grand Finale go on for far too long.

It's not *quite* "TETSUO!" "KANEDA!", but it's close. Ah, well. At least the steamball doesn't turn out to be a Dragonball with Supa-Seijin powers.

Re:Saw it on an ANA flight... (1)

Evil Pete (73279) | more than 9 years ago | (#11881776)

It's very pretty. It has some wonderful set-pieces and amusing character ideas (Stephenson-sama, for example. And Scarlett.) but boy does the Grand Finale go on for far too long.

Agreed. I saw it late last year and the artwork was wonderful but it just didn't have the intensity that anime often delivers. I wouldn't say I was disappointed but I had hoped for more. Actually one of the few really bright spots were the credits at the end where the background images told a story in their own right similar (but richer) to the one at the end of Wings of Honneamise (sp?).

Patrick Stewart (3, Interesting)

cOdEgUru (181536) | more than 9 years ago | (#11881529)

Ummm... Reason they went for Patrick Stewart for one of the voice overs could also do with the fact that he voiced "Lord Yupa" in the newly released dubbed version of "Nausicaa: Valley of the Wind" [amazon.com] . Man did quite a good job there as well.

I hope Steamboy turns out to be as good as Akira. The initial reviews are not that encouraging however due to the movie's lack of emotional depth. But the visuals are supposedly breathtaking and I will pay for that.

Re:Patrick Stewart (0)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 9 years ago | (#11881861)

Man, Akira was so overrated. It was dragged out long to hell. It would have been a superb movie if it was compressed, cutting out all the garbage not related to the plot.

Re:Patrick Stewart (1)

mmkkbb (816035) | more than 9 years ago | (#11881926)

If you're watching movies for the plot, it's like pointing a finger at the moon. Concentrate on the finger, and miss all that heavenly glory.

Re:Patrick Stewart (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11882018)

I watch movies as entertainment. Don't tell me how to enjoy myself.

I hope it was better than Akira (1)

kuriharu (756937) | more than 9 years ago | (#11881563)

Akira had great animation, but as a film it just sucked. I hope Steamboy doesn't take 25 minutes to end after the climax of the story like Akira did.

Will the DVD be in Japanese? (2, Interesting)

Tibor the Hun (143056) | more than 9 years ago | (#11881567)

I sure hope the DVD will be available in japanese with english subtitles.

I'm not a big anime nut, but I just get an awkward feeling when I watch anime in english.

Re:Will the DVD be in Japanese? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11882126)

Mega dildos Tibor. Just where does the compulsion to dub, and with big stars yet, come from? The voice actors in Japan are as good or better than the actors here, and they have the benefit of working with the original director in his native language.

Too bad Americans are too fucking stupid to read subtitles... and too fucking brain-dead to realise that a pouffy english accent doesn't make you suave and smart.

Box office scores... (3, Interesting)

zalas (682627) | more than 9 years ago | (#11881569)

Anime films without Pokémon in their titles haven't fared well at the US Box office

It looks more like the problem is getting theaters to take the risk of showing it. If more theaters adopted these movies, they might fare better, and the difference wouldn't be as large. For example, if you divide the grossing number by the number of theaters that it was shown in, the difference isn't that significant anymore. Maybe it's just a chicken and the egg thing...

Re:Box office scores... (1)

Stroman Rebar (567206) | more than 9 years ago | (#11881689)

Here in St. Louis, "Ghost in the Shell II" was running in on one screen for one week, and that was almost two months after the initial release to U.S. theatres.

I can't imagine why it didn't do very well at the Box Office.

/sarcasm off.

If you work at a movie house that shows midnight movies or the occasional Sunday afternoon "Arthouse" show, convince your boss that this sort of thing is the way to go. Then promote it. Otherwise, the grosses will stay infinitesimal, even if the DVD sells well .

Re:Box office scores... (3, Informative)

UWC (664779) | more than 9 years ago | (#11881992)

I was surprised that Nashville's only real arthouse type theater had GitS2 on its US opening week, on the larger of the two screens at said theater. The same theater also had Tokyo Godfathers, but that was significantly after the US premiere. I'm hoping the Otomo name will be enough to get Steamboy at least to that theater, maybe a bigger one or two, and hopefully soon. The Cowboy Bebop movie was at a particular Regal Cinemas theater that tends to get the slightly better known little-known movies for a week, but that was only like the week before it came out on DVD.

All that said, the only anime I've seen playing on more than one screen in middle Tennessee was Spirited Away, and that was after all the Oscar rumblings; it was only at that Regal theater previously. Spirited Away is also the only one I've seen play for more than one week around here.

Oh, hey, that arthouse theater will be showing Appleseed for a week starting Friday! Whee! And Sky Blue for a couple of days in April... though Sky Blue is Korean. No mention of Steamboy on their site (http://www.belcourt.org/ [belcourt.org]). I guess I can hope that's because it will be at the Regal...

Re:Box office scores... (1)

UWC (664779) | more than 9 years ago | (#11882160)

I should also note that the anime I've seen at the Belcourt has been subtitled with Japanese audio, while the ones I've seen at Regal have been good quality English dubs. I'm not sure if that's the determining factor for which theater it gets to (are there English dubs of GitS2 and Tokyo Godfathers?) or if it's just the theater manager's choice.

Numbers from Box Office Scores... (1)

zalas (682627) | more than 9 years ago | (#11881979)

Here's the calculated numbers in case anyone's too lazy... Pokemon: The First Movie, 28178 Pokemon: The Movie 2000, 15901 Pokemon 3: The Movie, 6375 Pokemon 4Ever, 6938 Pokemon Heroes, 3732 Spirited Away, 14084 Princess Mononoke, 18413 Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence, 18970 Cowboy Bebop, 34484 Metropolis, 45183 Basically, this compares Pokemon with the top 5 ranking non-kids anime movies for their gross per theater counts. I think the tail end of the data (Cowboy Bebop and Metropolis) start getting inaccurate, because the number of theaters playing is starting to drop too much, so you'll have people travelling long distances to watch it.

Sneak Peek Dvd (1)

astrokid (779104) | more than 9 years ago | (#11881570)

There are preview dvds for Steamboy at Suncoast, Media Play and Sam Goody. The catch is that you have to purchase an anime title to recieve the preview dvd.

I believe it runs about 26 mins or so. I was interested in picking it up but can't bring myself to paying their outragous prices.

link: SteamBoy Preview DVD [suncoast.com]

screener (1)

kagirinai (866101) | more than 9 years ago | (#11881576)

Ah well I downloaded the screener yesterday from streamload. I will watch it in about an hour, but my friend that sent it said it was awesome.

Box Office Performance (5, Insightful)

PhiznTRG (261350) | more than 9 years ago | (#11881624)

The problem is not necessarily public acceptance but studio marketing. Looking at the linked box office data it is pretty obvious that movies released to very few theatres (e.g. "Cowboy Bebop") don't do as well as movies heavily marketed and released to thousands of theatres. (On "Tokyo Godfathers" - that isn't the type of movie that the general public would like anyway - crossdressing old men in cartoons are not kid-friendly...)

"Spirited Away", which did pretty well despite all the effort by Disney to not market the movie, shows that anime can be successful when done right. The fact that it took an Oscar to get the public to notice the movie is sad, when Buena Vista could have had a real hit on it's hands. There are more and more Miyazaki movies on DVD in places like Target now but the marketing is still minimal (though I have seen commercials for Naussica).

There is a disconnect between what the Adult Swim alpha geek will consider good anime and what will do well in theatres (see Pokemon). The influx of Japanese manga and anime is growing, though, I suspect that we will see more movies released in theatres once the studious catch on to the growing trend. Kids that under five now will not think that Anime is strange or foreign, which will directly impact public acceptance of anime as a legitimate movie choice.

Re:Box Office Performance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11881821)

I would say that you're right, mostly.

But it's not even marketing to the audiance that is the problem. And maybe I'm biased because I live in Seattle. But it's about making the movies available to the consumer and convincing theater owners to devote valuable space to something that they just don't get. I don't want to have a giant parking hassle to pay more to see a movie on a poorly maintained screen. I will, I have, but I would MUCH rather just drive a few miles to the ample parking of the local, clean, megaplex. That was one of the things that contributed to my seeing Princess Mononoke three times. Convenience.

The audiance already knows what they want to see, and if they don't good word of mouth for an available movie will inform them.

Re:Box Office Performance (3, Insightful)

hashbrownie (313486) | more than 9 years ago | (#11882079)

Looking at the linked box office data it is pretty obvious that movies released to very few theatres (e.g. "Cowboy Bebop") don't do as well as movies heavily marketed and released to thousands of theatres.

The same could be said for most products. For instance, cookies sold in very few stores don't do as well as cookies sold in many stores.

Trust me, there isn't a conspiracy here. If Buena Vista thought that investing $10 million more in marketing would have assured $20 million more in box office receipts, they would have done it.

"Spirited Away", which did pretty well despite all the effort by Disney to not market the movie, shows that anime can be successful when done right. The fact that it took an Oscar to get the public to notice the movie is sad ...

Sorry to burst your bubble, but the Academy Awards aren't a pure meritocracy. Studios spend lots of money on "For Your Consideration" ads touting their pics for Oscars. Did you ever consider that Buena Vista spent its marketing budget on winning an Oscar for Spirited Away instead of on highway billboards? It's a formula that's worked for indie pics in the past, and it worked in this case as well.

I know it's frustrating that anime is slow to catch on here, but there is no conspiracy. Michael Eisner would sell his grandmother to add 1% to Disney's profits.

Re:Box Office Performance (2, Interesting)

PhiznTRG (261350) | more than 9 years ago | (#11882342)

I agree, partly, but there really is more behind it then Disney (or BV) didn't think the movie would do well enough to warrant marketing it more. Part of the problem is an aversion to non-Disney material and another is past experience (Princess Mononoke - a more adult film and something Disney doesn't have experience with) not being good for Disney.

The Oscar was based mainly on the merit of the film, and fame of Miyazaki, and not any real push by Disney. Part of the reason that Disney relented to release the film in the US was that it won 1st place at the Berlin Film Festival in early 2002.

Disney did not have merchandise rights for Studio Ghibli films - just distribution rights. If you were a Disney exec and had to decide whether to push "Spirited Away" or try to get people to buy more "Lilo & Stich" toys, which would you do? This isn't a a conspiracy per se, but it does help support that a lack of marketing hurt the film's commercial success and that it was Disney's choice.

It's going to have a tough time, because... (4, Interesting)

NitroWolf (72977) | more than 9 years ago | (#11881653)

It's going to have a tough time with a name like "Steamboy."

Akira is cryptic enough that American audiences wouldn't have a problem with it. But "Steamboy" is going to be a major problem with US audiences. The title, frankly, sounds pretty fruity. Couple that with the fact that most people will initially dismiss it as a "cartoon," and you've got a recipe for failure.

The whole concept of naming things in Asian culture versus American culture is really at odds, and things that sound ok or even good in Asian languages sound absolutely hideous, sexual/pornographic (LG/Lucky Gold anyone?), or just plain silly.

Porco Rosso sounds like a kids show.

Princess Mononoke is average, nothing particularly detracting about it, but nothing to make you think either.

My neighbor Totoro / Totoro next door sound like a black and white haughty French film that's only been seen by 7 people in the world outside of Cannes.

Naussica of the Valley of the Winds - really long title that doesn't flow exactly right (too many "of"'s in there).

Ghost in the Shell - this one had potential if marketed right, but it sounds like a horror movie, and just plain wasn't promoted properly.

Perfect Blue - Sounds like the name of a good pr0n movie.

Wings of Honneamise - This sounds like flying Hollendaise sauce. Really sounds food related. The life story of Julia Childs or something, perhaps!

I know I'm missing some, those are the ones I've seen/can think of off the top of my head, and in just about every case, the name just doesn't seem to be something the average American is going to want to see. Steamboy is not going to be an exception. No matter how good the movie is, the name is going to be a HUGE turn off to people.

The studios need to have a message board where people can submit English names for these shows that are appealing to the target audience... and that audience votes on the best name. This would save a lot of marketing dollars, and also, I think, provide the title with the best possible name for the money as it were.

Eh...

Just my 2c worth

Re:It's going to have a tough time, because... (2)

angedinoir (699322) | more than 9 years ago | (#11881957)

Clearly you're the authority when it comes to determining pornographic names for movies. Good Job, keep it up.

Re:It's going to have a tough time, because... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11882072)

You're talking out of your ass. US movies seem to do just fine with names like "Thunderpants"...

Re:It's going to have a tough time, because... (1)

cheese_wallet (88279) | more than 9 years ago | (#11882117)

what is the deal with naming superheroes something-boy. Or the japanese fixation with something-boy in general.

It's got to be hard to feel like a kick-ass superhero when you have 'boy' in your name. Oh No! It's AtomicWussyPants, run away!

Re:It's going to have a tough time, because... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11882233)

well then, fuck the avarage american.

Re:It's going to have a tough time, because... (2, Informative)

seffala (134325) | more than 9 years ago | (#11882260)

The canonical example, of course, is Nissan trying to name the Z series "Fairlady" after the play. Someone in the states had the wit to pry off the Fairlady marques and re-label it after the internal part number: 240Z.

Re:It's going to have a tough time, because... (1)

bar-agent (698856) | more than 9 years ago | (#11882361)

None of these are names are as bad as "Kiddy Grade."

You all know what that sounds like, but it's a perfectly normal superpower-police-conspiracy-in-space anime series. Really!

Re:It's going to have a tough time, because... (2, Insightful)

ajs (35943) | more than 9 years ago | (#11882410)

[Examples of movies that translate poorly to English, as a reason that they'll "have a hard time" in the US]

Porco Rosso [...] Princess Mononoke [...] My neighbor Totoro / Totoro [...] Naussica of the Valley of the Winds [...] Ghost in the Shell [...] Perfect Blue [...] Wings of Honneamise


Ok, so let's look at the movies that we Americans DO like for examples of those excellent title ideas, shall we?

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone -- Top grossing movie in the US, 2001. WAY too long, name sounds like someone who should be living on the street. Harkens back to all those bad 70s movies that tried to bring european legends to the big screen. Yuck!

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring -- Second highest grossing movie of 2001 in the US. Again, WAY too long. Sounds religious. "Fellowship of the Ring" sounds like it should be the title of a gay porn movie.

Shrek -- Third highest grossing movie in the US of 2001. I make noises like this when I sneeze. WHAT THE UNDEAD MOTHER OF STARBURST FRUIT-CHEWS WERE THEY THINKING?!

Monsters, Inc. -- Fourth highest grossing movie in the US of 2001. Here we combine the child-unsafe hint ("Monsters", thus excluding many of your target audience by parent decree) with the mundane horror of American corporate life ("Inc."). Clearly either a) someone was on crack or b) this was translated from the Hindi.

Rush Hour 2 -- Fifth highest grossing movie in the US of 2001. This is a sequel, so you can't account for naming, but still... a movie about the worst part of everyone's day?! And they TOLD YOU THAT in the title?! Again. Gotta be the crack.

Go ahead. Pick a year. You can do this with ANY set of movies.

Japanese movies will continue to do well in the US, with the only barrier being how well they are promoted (of course, the bad Japanese movies won't do any better in the US than they do in Japan... for the most part).

Re:It's going to have a tough time, because... (1)

mbourgon (186257) | more than 9 years ago | (#11882414)

Couple that with the fact that most people will initially dismiss it as a "cartoon," and you've got a recipe for failure.

Yeah, and I don't see why - Disney's made an entire empire on "cartoons". Yes, Mononoke is an adult film. But why not go after the Disney crowd on some of these? Lots of kids movies are smart enough that the adults enjoy it, buy it, etc. Why not go after it?

Appleseed 'didn't do well'? (1)

He Who Has No Name (768306) | more than 9 years ago | (#11881658)

I thought it was still in theaters in Japan, and hadn't even gotten here yet. Of course it bombed if the only thing people have to watch is the awful subtitle bootleg that's over here right now. 'Bioriod' my ass...

Re:Appleseed 'didn't do well'? (1)

UWC (664779) | more than 9 years ago | (#11882077)

It's playing on an arthouse screen in Nashville for a week starting on Friday. Not sure when the official US release of Appleseed was/is. The same theater had Ghost in the Shell 2 on its opening weekend, so maybe there's just some Masamune fanaticism going on there.

Awesome Post... (1)

spankey51 (804888) | more than 9 years ago | (#11881668)

I'd just like to say that Echocharlie has posted a damn good story here... good job, great attention to detail with the html tags.
Could it be that we are finally recovering from the endless plague of duped stories as of late?!
Hope that's not too off topic...

Terrible news (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11881671)

Troll legend klerck has killed himself. http://www.livejournal.com/~klerck/

English Dubs (4, Insightful)

Xetrov (267777) | more than 9 years ago | (#11881692)

I'll tell you why noone wants to watch English dubbed anime -- because it is crap.

Surely I'm not the only person who has noticed how dull and lifeless the voice actors usually are in English dubs. It seems they try to time their words to fit the mouth movements of the characters, making the speech sound very unnatural. They also have no emotion.
It could be that the English actors dont care, maybe it is "just a cartoon" to them.

I watch a lot of anime. Always in Japanese with English subs. Which brings me to the next point - why do foreign movies have to be dubbed? Few things annoy me more than people who will not watch a movie simply because they "have to read" it.

Re:English Dubs (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11881935)

See Cowboy Bebop, where an English VA beats Megumi all over.

See Fruits Basket, an anime so perfectly cast I have YET to meet a fan of the show that thought badly of ANY many char english VA.

See Tenchi, another legendary cast...many of whom are old school Disney VA's.

There exhist many good VA's some of them are better than others, some of them are REALLY tallented...some of the SUCK ASS and were HORRIBLE mistakes.

But truthfully alot of what people prefer have nothing to do with quaility and EVERYTHING to do with preconcieved notions based on which ever language they saw first of a show they like.

BTW the anime club at our university REGULARLY votes to watch dub over sub...we usually show choice clips from the main chars on both. This semester when 3/1 three dubs voted, one sub voted.

Re:English Dubs (1)

Cadallin (863437) | more than 9 years ago | (#11882416)

What are you talking about? Tenchi has always had HORRIBLE dubbing. It's like someone is raping my ears. Then again the same applies to Disney movies.

Admittedly, the VA for Cowboy Bebop were extraordinarily acceptable.

There are some good dubs (1)

rgmoore (133276) | more than 9 years ago | (#11882037)

I wouldn't go so far as to say that all dubs are crap. I thought that the dub for Evangelion was perfectly watchable- Spike Spencer, who I haven't liked much in other roles did an excellent job as Shinji, for instance- and much of the work from Bang Zoom! seems to be first rate. I still prefer to watch the subs, but it's unfair to tar all dubs with the same brush.

Re:English Dubs (1)

klegan (823967) | more than 9 years ago | (#11882217)

Until recently I would have agreed completely with you about the dubbing quality. My friend and I used to hate to have to wait for the subtitled VHS to come out since the dubbed versions always seem to come out first. We refused to watch the dubbed one (this is before DVD's were around which have both dubbed and subtitled versions). However the dubs seem to be getting better (Inuyasha on Adult Swim being a good example. I can't stand the Japanese voice actors when I watch them on the DVD's, especially the one they have for Shippo). I think that the various companies either started hiring decent voice actors or the actors started wising up that not just kids were watching this stuff. Not really sure but the quality of dubbing today is light years better than a decade ago. It's still pick and choose but it's not so universially bad as before.

I would have also agreed with you about people not watching a movie because they have to "read" it. That was until I got married. My wife is not a native english speaker but she loves anime's. However she's not able to keep up with the subtitles so it's an act of fustration for her. With dubbed versions she can follow along.

Re:English Dubs (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11882314)

Surely I'm not the only person who has noticed how dull and lifeless the voice actors usually are in English dubs.

I can't discern any but the most extreme swings of emotion in the Japanese voice acting, so what difference does it make? Perhaps if I understood the language I would be able to hear subtle changes in emotion. If the animation is good, I can sometimes look at characters' faces to gauge their emotions, but then I miss a line of dialog in the subtitles. Perhaps haughty otakus like yourself shouldn't just assume that your way is the best way for everyone.

Few things annoy me more than people who will not watch a movie simply because they "have to read" it.

For what it's worth, I find people who whine about dubbed anime pretty annoying, too. Every anime I've ever seen on DVD has both Japanese and English audio tracks at least, and only the Japanese one is ever encoded in anything better than stereo. What do you really have to complain about? I could understand if people who generally prefer dubs, like myself, were annoyed by poorly written or acted English dubs, like I sometimes am, but what the heck do people who prefer subtitles anyway have to complain about? (Obviously I'm ignoring the specific case of dubbed theatrical releases so I can indulge in a more general rant, and I apologize to the parent poster, who simply struck a nerve and probably doesn't deserve to be flamed.)

Re:English Dubs (5, Insightful)

natrius (642724) | more than 9 years ago | (#11882345)

Few things annoy me more than people who will not watch a movie simply because they "have to read" it.

People watch movies to be entertained. If they don't want to read subtitles, that's their deal. It's their free time.

Few things annoy me more than self-righteous people.

Oh Joy! (0, Flamebait)

goofyspouse (817551) | more than 9 years ago | (#11881706)

Another film full of doe-eyed characters with exclamation point hovering over their heads to express alarm and exaggerated sweat droplets popping out everywhere to show fear? Pass.

only pokemon anime titles fared well? (1)

krunk4ever (856261) | more than 9 years ago | (#11881803)

Anime films without Pokémon in their titles haven't fared well at the US Box office (see Appleseed, Tokyo Godfathers, Ghost in the Shell 2, et al.).

How bout the works of Hayao Miyazaki such as Spirited Away [nausicaa.net], Princess Mononoke [nausicaa.net], etc [nausicaa.net].

I just don't believe it's only pokemon animes that did well in USA.

Ghost in the Shell 2 (1)

MrLint (519792) | more than 9 years ago | (#11881805)

Ghost 2 was amazing, particularly the animation. However there were several things that made its first viewing hard.

1) There was a lot of dialog, so reading all the subtitles distracted from much of the visuals.

2) There were some things going on, plot wise that were hard to follow without some background of the first movie/series.

I enjoyed it and i went and bought both movies on DVD, but thing is, much of the plot was based on Batu, and what happened to the major. Much of the meta-plot is based on what is a ghost, and what does it mean to be 'human'. Both of these are explored in the tv series and the first movie. Very deep topics are being touched on, and i dont think someone could get the full feel of it in just one sitting. Which is of course why i got the dvds.

Re:Ghost in the Shell 2 (1)

kagirinai (866101) | more than 9 years ago | (#11881961)

ahh thats why i like the fan sub version i had. the html tags didnt work so i edited it but the guy that did the fan subb explained all quotes and other back orund info needed

Dub? What dub? (1)

Chooche (214143) | more than 9 years ago | (#11881843)

If you live in Southern California go see it in NuArt theater in Santa Monica. They are showing it on big screen in original japanese dialog with English sub.

Otomo has indeed directed since Akira. (1)

phaln (579585) | more than 9 years ago | (#11881906)

From IMDB's site which was linked above:

Memories (1995) (segment 3 "Cannon Fodder")

Highly recommended by just about everyone I know, and proclaimed one of the best of all-time.

The real question to me is.... (2, Interesting)

Kunta Kinte (323399) | more than 9 years ago | (#11881918)

Why do they do so well in Japan??

Am I the only one around here that believes a lot of those 'great' anime films are terribely shallow? Is there 'intelligent' anime out there?

Miyasaki's movies are great, I've seen just about every one released in the US. But besides one or two over movies and series ( eg. Metropolis, Cowboy Bebop ), Anime movies quite often suffer from...

Flat Characters - Eg. Isolated loner teenager

Standard Plots - Eg. Isolated loner teenager becomes empowered.

Bad Art - Eg. Static screens that hold for seconds as dialog proceeds.

Bad titilation - Eg. Half naked girls that look 15 but have supermodel bodies.

Etc, Etc.

I continue to search through those movies, hoping to find gems ( I watch a lot of film ). But not holding my breath.

Re:The real question to me is.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11882112)

Anime movies quite often suffer from...
Flat Characters - Eg. Isolated loner teenager
Standard Plots - Eg. Isolated loner teenager becomes empowered.


Okay, so you're conveniently ignoring the fact that those two pretty much sum up half of Hollywood's output too. (Can you say "Spiderman"?)

Bad Art - Eg. Static screens that hold for seconds as dialog proceeds.

Common in TV series. Not so common in movies.

Bad titilation - Eg. Half naked girls that look 15 but have supermodel bodies.

Again, I'm having trouble thinking of examples from movies. There's plenty of that sort of thing in the average throwaway TV series aimed at undiscriminating teenage boys (Evangelion, etc.), but movies?

Re:The real question to me is.... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11882141)

Look at who is touting these great anime films: Cmdr Taco. QED.

Re:The real question to me is.... (1)

elrick_the_brave (160509) | more than 9 years ago | (#11882156)

You forgot Battle Through Proxy - Eg. No one ever fights, but their object/creation/pet creature fights for them while they spew protracted dialog.

Re:The real question to me is.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11882350)

Why do so many Drama's/Reality Shows/Sit Com's do so well in the US? They suffer from many of the same problems you list above (Flat characters, Standard plots, etc). Yet they do well.

Anime in Japan is standard programming. The nights are filled with it, not just a few shows. So like anything else there's alot of Bad with the Good. Overall I think anime has a better "hit" ratio that what passes for entertainment on US TV (the networs especially). And since it's mainstream over there the Anime movies of course do well also. It's an accepted art form and not seen as "just for kids" like the perception is here in the US (which irkes me to no end. I keep threating to show Urotsukidoji to anyone who says this to me and THEN see what they think ;)

stop bringing over garbage (0, Flamebait)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 9 years ago | (#11881929)

Anime films without Pokémon in their titles haven't fared well at the US Box office (see Appleseed, Tokyo Godfathers, Ghost in the Shell 2, et al.).

With good reason. Before you knee-jerk mod me 'troll' for saying what is bound to be unpopular, take a look at my history and read through this first. I've watched 2 out of the 3 films cited, and they were pretty bad.

Appleseed's "cutting edge CG" turned out to be extremely poorly textured 3D characters with unreaslistic motion. Final Fantasy: Spirits Within was so much better in terms of visuals than Appleseed, it's pathetic (I won't get into story with FF:SW). Seriously- games these days have better graphics.

Ghost in the Shell 2 was another disappointment. I can't put my finger on it...it just never lived up to the hype, and the music was even worse than GITS:1...more of the screechy children. The Major was also a big part of why people watched GITS, and she had little role. Then again, the last few eps of GITS:SAC TV have been pretty bad too.

If the Japanese expect Anime movies to be successful, they need to ship over the very best- and with the exception of Spirited Away, they've shipped over nothing but garbage...and that's more a symptom, IMHO, of an industry focusing on mass-produced crap like One Piece, DBZ, Gundam, Inuyasha, and all the other 100+ episode shows.

Re:stop bringing over garbage (2, Informative)

potatoBBQ (855766) | more than 9 years ago | (#11882239)

You make it sound like Japanese companies control what anime we see here... Japanese companies aren't responsible for "shipping over" anime. U.S. companies like Columbia TriStar, Disney, etc. pick up the rights to distribute whatever anime they feel like showing here.

Katsuhiro Otomo (1)

Chemical (49694) | more than 9 years ago | (#11882008)

From the headline:
The movie features the notable return of Katsuhiro Otomo, who hasn't directed an animated film since Akira...

Not entirely true. Otomo directed a segment of the rather excellent compilation Memories (1995). I'm not sure if that received a theatrical release, but it does have an MPAA rating indicating it did.

Otomo also was involved with Rojin Z (1991) and Metropolis (2001). So he hasn't totally been out of the game the last 17 years.

Attempt to explain the poor box office performance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11882032)

Everyone has already seen the fansubbed version many months before the cinema screens the real release.

Adequate release? (1)

BlackFoliage (210832) | more than 9 years ago | (#11882300)

"Hopefully with an adequate number of theaters carrying the film, Katsuhiro Otomo's latest opus will gain the exposure it deserves."

Doubtful. The local theatre here has it for only a week, which means that only people who seek this stuff out will get a chance to see it. Word of mouth needs longer than a week to have any kind of chance. Plus, it's at a small art house theatre. These releases seem like more of a preview for the eventual DVD release than anything else.

Australia and Steamboy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11882435)

I can't believe that we actually got this movie earlier than most of the world. I watched this at my university's theatre in about January. We had the japanese dialog version though.

Fantastic film though, very beautiful.
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