Wednesday, February 12, 2020

The Business Of GUNDAM

GUNDAM has an interesting place in Japanese pop culture.

It has a message of war is terrible for teenage boys, but is also a massive advertisement for BANDAI and their model kits. What is now called GUNPLA. The idea of these huge mobile suits is ridiculous, but also cool. All characters in it are humans, and there aren't any good guys and bad guys. The look of the mecha has also become an influential style.

I read years ago of  an Australian Industrial Designer working for a Japanese car manufacturer and in his interview talked about what a force GUNDAM style design was in Japan. Not always in a good way.

There are many GUNDAM Animation Series and many hundreds of GUNPLA kits and variations, but the one I took notice of over 20 years ago was TURN A GUNDAM. Purely because they had SYD MEAD design the main machines. I have several SYD MEAD BOOKS, but also a Japanese one purely on the designing of the mecha in TURN A GUNDAM from rough sketches to finals.

What I have surprised myself with is that, all these years later, I have started watching the TURN A GUNDAM animation series in the last few weeks, thanks to my son having it.

This series is the last one in the GUNDAM timeline. 1000s of years after all the other series. I really like the premise and setting of this, and what all the previous conflicts resulted in.

There are 50 episodes and I have seen 32 at the time of writing this.  The quality of the writing in each episode varies quite a bit, as does the animation.  I think maybe 4 episodes have been great, with most just marking time or progressing the story or character development to some degree. Teenage Angst gets brought to the fore every so often for the target market.  Mecha battle scenes are not as common as you may expect.  Not saying it is bad though. Not at all.


I know nothing about the development struggles of the series, but guess there must have been.

See Bandai now has it's own YouTube channel with free to watch YouTube only anime. This makes sense when you understand their purpose is to sell the kits and collectibles, so they may as well give away the Anime itself. Sure the statics they can collect are very useful.

Gundam is pretty big business.

I also read that the GUNDAM THUNDERBOLT Manga was really good and have bought the first 8 volumes. I have the Japanese language one, so getting through that will take me some time, but the language study is part of the reason for getting it.

There is also THUNDERBOLT Gaiten (Supplement). An additional story that has all color artwork, and the mecha panels use Photoshoped GUNPLA models. The appendix has a section on the kits used. It looks rather well done. An Interesting idea. It takes the selling Gandum kits to the Manga market in a very direct way too.

We can be contacted at Art & Technology

Monday, January 13, 2020

Solving NHK G Not Received on TV after move in Kyoto

Something that may be useful.

My sister-in-laws Panasonic TV stopped receiving NHK G channel.

Now there is much more to it than that. The TV was originally set up in a house with an outdoor antenna. One side on the street is in Kyoto, the other is in Osaka in a place midway between both cities.

We knocked down and rebuilt that house, so for 6+ months the TV was in a rented small apartment in Kyoto, also with an out-door antenna. A 5 minute car drive away.

The TV was then moved back to the rebuilt new house. This time the house doesn't have an outdoor antenna, but the TV signal is provided by the company also providing the internet service.
Japanese TVs have 2 Antenna inputs, one for the existing digital TV service and another for the BS (Broadcast Satellite ) input  and the new house needs an antenna splinter box to produce those signals from the one coax TV signal in the wall plate.

So we bought one of those (EDION for around ~1,500 yen) and then found we couldn't get NHK G on her TV. All the other channels were fine, and should could now see the BS channels she never had access to before. So she could still watch TV, except had to use the living room TV to watch the morning NHK G 15 minute drama at 8:00AM. Currently a series named SCARLET.

Now I expected it was a TV setting problem, but wasn't familiar enough with the channels to know, and couldn't find the Channel Scan menu item.

In Sydney Australia you had to rescan your Digital TV Channels as they were being added and changed all the time. Did it every few months otherwise that series you were watching in SD was now on a different HD channel.

Now we had 2 other TVs in the house that picked up NHK G just fine, and when I finally looked at the features on a cheap nobrand TV that could get NHK, I found that it was receiving NHK G Kyoto.
I could do the Channel Scan and Antenna Level options and all channels still worked. These menu items were in KATAKANA.

The TV that couldn't get NHK G, had that channel set to NHK G Osaka. Doing the Antenna Level setting showed that channel had 0 signal level.
So after spending more time with her TV, eventually found the Channel Scan option 3 menu items down, and only indirectly called "Channel Scan", and it wasn't in KATAKANA.  Doing that then added NHK G Kyoto to the list that had NHK G Osaka.

Assigning the remote controller 1 button to NHK G Kyoto instead of NHK Osaka fixed her problem, and the Antenna Level settings for all received channels was now all good.

So the internet providers selection of TV channels didn't match the original selection of channels for the area, and this stuff isn't the same as if you had an analogue antenna on the roof.  The provider may have this info on line. I haven't looked.

Now NHK E on her TV was always set to Osaka and that still works.

Being more familiar now with the Kanji used in her Panasonic TV menus helped me work out what wasn't set correctly.  I was involved in developing digital products with menu systems myself in the past, and you just cannot win what ever you do to try and make things really simple.  Panasonic hadn't considered someone like me with uneven Japanese reading skills as the technical person problem solving their TV.  I expect the TV manual would have helped a lot, but we don't have that any more.

The TV service provider could have provided both NHK G Osaka and NHK G Kyoto, and some simple info too on what the channels were, but their strategy was to charge you a reasonable fee, includes the antenna splitter,  to set up one TV in the house only. Then way more for the second and other TVs.  We currently have 3 and the one they set up wasn't my sisters. Guessing most people would have just payed the installers to set up all TVs.

Apparently NHK G in the different cities have slightly different localised news, with everything else being the same.  Makes sense.

We can be contacted at Art & Technology.






Monday, January 6, 2020

New Manga Project - Miyazaki Inspiration


Miyazaki's manga and movies are wonderful. Wonderfully Fantastical Machines , Creatures and Settings.
Tottoro is perfect in every way, but not something I would do. But Nausicaa however...

We shall see. Above are some comics for my inspiration.



Comic Illustrations and Sound and Visual Effects

This week I did a 5th anniversary design for stickers/ shirts for a mining equipment maintenance company and I originally put a sound effect in the background. The BA BA BA BA in the right image fragment here.


They wanted that removed, so the final design doesn't have it. The design also had the visual shake effect lines, and they were happy enough with that. 

I just wonder why.

It just confuses the design?

Maybe they should have just been in white outline text and not so visible?

Maybe.


To me the Sound Effects go hand in hand with Visual effects, like the above double spread from Five Star Stories Volume 1.  Those big machines and the storm are making lots of noise, and the sound effects are very big in the panel.

Blambot.com has fonts specifically for sound effects and comics really do need them. I have a few of them, and hand draw them without using a font too.

So I will try and use comic conventions when I think they are appropriate, but don't have any problem removing them if the client doesn't what them in the illustrations I do.  I probably wouldn't have been so obliging 20 years ago, but I have changed. Matured even. 

I have started to use emoji's in some designs too. If it seems appropriate. Such as this panel from a comic I put on webtoons.

It really works for me and is universally understood.  That can be an advantage depending on what your trying to express.

We are now in Kyoto Japan, but our website and email is as at has been for the last 10 years, Australian based, and will probably stay that way.

We can be contacted at Art & Technology.




Monday, December 9, 2019

Studio Open again for Cars Cartooned, Logos Designed and Illustrations undertaken.

We are open for business again, and as far as the customer is concerned, nothing has changed. Even though we have moved from Sydney Australia to Kyoto Japan.

We have the same Website, Email, Bank and PayPal accounts. We still communicate the same way, mostly be Email.

The only real change is our mobile number is not valid, but we have removed that from the website contact info anyway. I do have a land line phone but don't put that on the website any more.

I will need a new SIM card and that will result in a new mobile number, but really, Facebook Messenger, Line and Skype all work as well and that is all still running the same.






We can be contacted at ArtAndTechnology.