Grave of the Fireflies

I’m the type of person that likes to get overwhelmed with movies. I enjoy it, especially if I cry once or twice… Personally I think it is one of the best things that can ever happen to a person in the curse of his life; to allowed a story to touch his heart in such a way, it’s changed forever. These are not JUST pretty words, it’s true, this is the way I truly feel.

Last month I did something that goes against my own set of rules for this Blog -not that I have to schematically follow these “rules” but it’s important to have a plan and to stick with it. Sometimes, however, you must give room to unpredictability- I talked about a movie I have never seen before (You should know, I only post movies I have seen more than once, that is, movies I particularly own and so on), Requiem For a Dream. I repeat; I will never see it, never… never, I’ll never see this movie, never… I’ll never see this movie, I’ll never see this movie… never, I’m telling you,  never… never… I’ll never see it, never. Okay! I got that out of my chest, great. The reason why I won’t see it is because, it’s juts too sad. It will haunt me for a month, and literally make me sad to the point where I will be so gloomy, it will affect not just me but others around me. I’m sure about this, it has happened before. And the movie I attribute this wishy-washy outburst of praise and hate is; Grave of the Fireflies (Hotaru No Haka).

Written and directed by Isao Takahata, Grave of the Fireflies was adapted from the semi-autobiographical novel by Akiyuki Nosaka. Set in World War II Japan, the story is a flashback narrated by Seita who is sitting on the floor of a train station, and follows the siblings as they struggle to survive after they become orphaned during the Kobe firebombing.

Seita and Setsuko (Seita’s little sister)  managed to survive the firebombing in their neighborhood, and travel to another city to live with an aunt. There, even though they have a roof to shelter themselves from cold and food, after a while, the aunt becomes a bully, complaining about how they don’t contribute with any money towards the food expenses nor do any labor around the house to help. She continues claiming they are not appreciative and that they have taken advantage of her welcoming them in her house. Seita decides to leave, and with Setsuko, together they go off to live in an abandoned shelter.

In the shelter Seita and Setsuko capture fireflies and use them as lantern at night, but later the fireflies die and Setusko is sadden. She cries as she buries them, wondering why they had to die, just like her mother. Here is where things start turning for the worse as Seita and Setsuko run out of supplies and while Seita is forced to acquire food by any means Setsuko stays at the shelter growing increasingly ill from malnutrition. After taking her to a doctor and not getting much help, Seita decides to use their last resource, the little bit of money their mother had left them. He withdraws all the money from the bank, and buys food, and a watermelon for his little sister. When Seita returns to the abandoned shelter, he finds a dying Setsuko, hallucinating. He cremates Setsuko with help of a farmer, and then leaves carrying some of his little sister’s ashes on a tint and a picture of his father who died in the war. The flashback ends and the story goes back to the boy we first see at the beginning of the movie; Seita, dying on the floor of a train station. Out of the tint comes his and Setsuko’s spirit, clean and well dressed; this is the last image we have of them.

I don’t want to get into the interpretation of the title nor the film in its entirety because I just can’t help but be sad… and get sadder. For a long time I thought it was a fictional story, but as it turns out, it is a semi-autobiography of the author and his little sister who died of malnutrition during 1945. The author wrote the story in a way to apologise to his sister, as he blames himself for her death, and also to come to terms with it. I find this to be one of the most beautiful gestures. Tonight I have managed to finally write about this movie, and express (even if a little suppressed) my feelings for it in a way other than crying.

The film received positive critique. It was even compared to Spielberg’s Schindler’s List. truthfully, this story is one of the most powerful stories I have come across. If you decide to watch it (mind you, the film is extraordinary) I suggest you stop by the store first and get yourself 10 boxes of tissue, and -forget the eye drops- a basin full of water. I find water to be very refreshing on my eyes after I have been crying for hours.

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The Kite Dreamer

This Saturday there will be an exhibit in Downtown Miami, Fl, for the kids in Peru that don’t have school supplies. The event is titled “Dream Givers” and its exactly what it is, whoever donates is giving a kid in Peru the opportunity to dream for a better future. Donations can be school supplies, money, or your art work for sale, if you are an artist.

For the past four five days I have been working on a piece for this exhibit. I have finished today, and I will go down to Downtown to donated. Its kind of hard to just donate, since it is my very first illustrated story. It is a short story, it only takes about four pages although I have done it in a big drawing paper so it is one piece. At the same time, however, it is awesome that I can donate this for a good thing, and get to exhibit, which it is also my very first time doing so.

I hope you like the piece, its titled; “The Kite Dreamer”

(The Kite Dreamer, ink pen, ink wash)

Amazing Art!

I found this amazing artist looking for reference material for my own art. I just wanted to share this with my readers.

His name is Matt Forsythe. He is an illustrator and comic book artist. I just love the media he works with, his art is really beautiful. I won’t say much since his blog has a lot of information on him and lots of his art. However I will share one of my favorite so far;

This is a sketch by Matt Forsythe, Metro-Kid

Matt Forsythe’s comics and illustrations

Transition

Today I will talk strictly about art. I will posts some of the stuff I have been working on for the past couple of days. I have never said this on any of my post -I guess I never felt the need to since there is nothing really worth stealing- but this time around I feel like I should at least mention that this here is my work and as unprofessional as it might seem, it is base for later improvement… point is, NO STEALING. You may download, use it as reference -heck I used photographs as reference- but absolutely no stealing. Credit is all mine -when it comes to the drawings, that is.

I have been working on the male character of my story for a while now. I fist drew a portrait of him -based on Korean actor So Ji-Sub- very realistic (you can check it out here) Then I went ahead and drew this -still, based on another picture of Ji-Sub- and the aim was to be as realistic as possible, however others may differ on that. Nevertheless, I am very pleased with the overall drawing and although it’s not finished yet -I need to work on the hands and the collar of the jacket- I think the attempt to be realistic was pretty successful. (I’m open for critic)

(All That Weight, Oz, graphite on Bristol)

The original idea of drawing Oz, was to be able -at some point- to draw him comic style (when I say comic I mean non-realistic. Most will say it is not comic, but manga since I drew him Japanese comic style, but it is comic overall). A few days after I did the two realistic drawings of Oz, I gathered the courage to draw comic style, however the results weren’t as pleasing as I was expecting. There were more unsuccessful tries, and finally a light of hope shined on me. I forgot about Oz for a little while and made a transition from realistic to non-realistic looking at a photograph of me and some friends from school. Of course, that there are many things I need to work on, like the eyes and some of the proportions are not right -particularly in the middle girl. However, none of these things mattered to me at that moment. I was completely, and utterly happy.

(rough sketch of me and friends comic style)

This was the open door that I was waiting for. I didn’t stopped there, so I went and started drawing Oz once again, this time I was successful.

(rough sketch of Oz; All That Weight. The one on the right was attempting to do an expression of frustration and anger, although it looks like he is surprised so we can’t really say it was all that successful, but oh… why does it feels like it was? Haha 🙂 )

(rough sketches again; Oz sad and then crying… tears are the biggest pain in the… you get my point)

It is amazing what can change within a few days of practicing. I never thought I would do comic style. Any other drawing (comic style) that I have posted before, has been a copy of someone’s art. Let me explain better (that didn’t sound right). It is always much more easy to draw from something that has already been created, like a photograph, or -in this case- an image of a comic, a manga character; Fujimoto from Ikigami is one example of what I’m talking about (you can check it out here) This drawing I did of Fujimoto, even when it required some time and patience, it was no real pain since the image had already been created by the manga-kan of the series, Mase Motoro. Nevertheless it was a challenge for different reasons. Now, if you were to use the photograph only as reference for something else, then you are creating something new, and it requires more work. Like in the case of the second drawing above, I did use a picture of me and my friends as reference but we don’t look nothing like the drawing, it was just for reference in composition and lightning.

This is what I expect when I push myself to do better. Although there will always be room for improvement, as we are constantly learning new skills and techniques. Nevertheless I am pleased with what have accomplished so far. I will end it here. I, my friends, am burned out… 😛

 

Just a note- Oz is always sad, yep! I call him “sad eyes”… so cute. 🙂

 

 

Kimi, Meguru Boku

I recently finished watching the Korean version of Itazura na Kiss. Despite what most people say about it, I thought it was lovely. The reason why I post about it? Because it’s from a manga first made into a drama, then an anime, then a drama once again… or is it the other way around? Okay as far as I know it was a manga by Kauro Tada, sadly the author died in 1999 and the manga wasn’t quite finished. Nevertheless it became so popular that a drama followed the manga, and then there was the anime in 2008. The theme song for the anime is one of my favorite songs right now, “Kimi, Meguru Boku”… and main reason for this post. 🙂 There, I have explain fully.

Details?; Itazura na Kiss is about a girl (Kotoko) who has a huge crush on the handsome-perfect-genius Naoki. One day she finally decides to confess her feelings by writing him a love letter, only to be rejected and made a fool -in public… Gosh! I hated him- by Naoki, he tells her he dislikes stupid girls. True, Kotoko is not the smartest girl around, but her luck -although a little twisted- compensates for that. A minor earthquake destroys her house, and while is rebuilt, she and her father have to live with her father’s best-friend who has two sons, the eldest happens to be Kotoko’s senior at school… yep! Insufferable Naoki. You can only imagine all sorts of  hilarious incidents start happening from there on.

While watching the latest version (the Korean drama Mischievous Kiss) I went back and re-watched the anime to refresh my memory. I had forgotten what lovely theme song it has. What can I say? I have been listening to the song almost everyday now. Yep!! I am way hooked on this one. And I thought “Kiri” was the only anime theme song that would obsess me… The song is by Motohiro Hata, and it was the first to reach the top 20 hit -form the artist, I mean.

I think this song opened his doors. It’s very refreshing and adorable, it makes you want to smile all the way.

Here is the song with video;

Lyrics in Romaji (couldn’t find it in English)

Kimi, Meguru Boku.

Deai to sayonara kaze no naka de hashagu haru no hi ni wa
PASTERU KARAA mo odori dasu yo sa monogatari ga hajimaru

Sugusama boku wa kimi no moto e tobidashite iku no sa
Matteite yo hanayagu machi o ima kakenukete iru

Itazura ni karamaru unmei bokura zutto sagashitetanda
soshite ima futari de aeta kitto guuzen nanka ja nai
Kono mama soba ni ite hoshii

Usubeni iro mai chiru kimi no hoo o somete ikutabi mo meguru
Kimi ga suki da yo tokimeku MERODI ga umare te kuru kara

Tawamure ni hana mo saku kisetsu ni bokura mada tsubomi no mama de
Dakedo ima shinjite iru no kimi o shin de mo hanasa nai
Fukiareru arashi ni mo make nai

Futari umareru sono mae kara
kou naru koto wa kimatte ita no

Itazura ni karamaru unmei bokura zutto sagashi te ta n da
Soshite ima futari de aeta kitto guuzen nanka ja nai

Itsu made mo soba ni ite hoshii