Monday, May 9, 2011

What's up with the hate on Buddha?

Have had some exciting new developments with real work recently, and on top of that keeping me busy, I've got some serious problems with the computer that I keep all my cool stuff on. Bummer. So things have been slow here, but I'll carry on as best as I can.

A while back I put a copy of the first trailer to the upcoming Buddha movie, based on the Osamu Tezuka manga, on my YouTube account. Over the past couple of weeks, I've gotten a few comments from very angry people saying that this movie is a disgrace to Tezuka and that the art looks nothing like his style. They seem convinced that the movie is terrible and that these changes were made to intentionally make it more generic and appealing to "shallow American fans".

To this I say... WHAT?

Yeah, I don't see it. We've hardly seen much of the movie yet and I see several shots in this trailer that definitely have Tezuka's touches.

Come on, look at that. The bright shiny eyes. The elegant swoop of the nose. This totally looks like a Tezuka shot!

And even if it didn't, so what? Osamu Dezaki did not attempt to replicate Tezuka's style with the Black Jack OVA series he directed. Was that a problem for anyone? Of course not. Besides that, I am pretty sure, for very painfully obvious reasons, that any decisions on the art direction of this project are not made with the so-called "shallow American fans" in mind. Since, you know, this is a movie about Buddha.

The works of Osamu Tezuka are legendary and deserve respect, but what people need to realize is that if we were to hold it up on a pedestal, never to change, reinterpret, or revisit it in any way, than these works are simply going to fade into obscurity. Tezuka did not want for his work to become solely the realm of academic study, he wanted real people and average fans from the mass audience to continue to enjoy it for years. He was constantly reinterpreting and revising his own work, and so I seriously doubt he'd have a problem with this. To say that he'd be "spinning in his grave" over a trailer like this is, quite frankly, incredibly ignorant. If you respect Osamu Tezuka, then you should at least know something about who he was!

Some people complained about the Astro Boy movie, saying that it was changed from the original story, that the character didn't look like the original style, that it was too "Americanized", and other such nonsense. Not only do none of those arguments hold up, but they entirely miss an important point. It's because of that movie that many more people know about Astro Boy. Isn't that a good thing? And now the same irrational complaining is happening again here with Buddha, despite the fact that Buddha, unlike the Astro movie, is actually being produced by Japanese companies.

Go figure, huh? Some people are never going to be satisfied. And to think, we haven't even seen the whole movie yet.

So what do you think? Please share your thoughts in the comments section!


Anonymous said...

I agree with you. Those people are being silly. Reinterpretation is a good thing. Even if the movie ends up being horrible, the manga will still be there in all it's glory. Besides, Tezuka himself revisited and made changes to his old works all the time. His artstyle didn't stay the same during the years either.

Anonymous said...

I am glad when anything brings more attention to Tezuka's works. Nothing I've read about him leads me to think he would feel any different.

Anonymous said...

I've seen the movie. It's pretty bad. Not as bad as the MW adaptation, god knows... Save your 1800 yen and rent some movies instead.

Ninjatron said...

Too many Anons! You guys should have names. Would make my life easier so I could know who I was talking to.

Buddha doesn't come out until May 28th, so unless we're talking about special credentials to get into a pre-screening or something, I seriously doubt anyone has seen it.


Torgo25 said...

I think it's funny that people are complaining about the character designs not resembling Tezuka's art style when I can remember one of the main criticisms of Osamu Tezuka's Metropolis being that the character designs were too cartoony.

Anonymous said...

I haven't really been all that interested in Buddha (just not my thing kind of thing) however from what I've seen I think the artstyle is very nice.

Reguardless if it's Tezuka's style or not (I can't tell I didn't read the manga T.T) it looks beautiful.

As for the Astro Boy movie, I'm one of those people who wouldn't be here if it weren't for that film ^_^

Anonymous said...

I understand what you mean, but I too, agree with all those angry folks out there.

And here's the reason :

I had great hopes about this animation, because as you said anything related to Tezuka, even if it is different from the original work, still, it pays homage to him.
and Ova was pretty fantastic!
But anyone who has read Buddha, know that it was so damn good that they want to see something from it into this film!
So, they are damn right to be angry!

fine, here's a name said...

Pre-screenings are easy to get to in Tokyo. They hand out tickets like tissue packs.

Sorry, it just wasn't good. There was too much to fit into too little time. They removed characters, plots, etc etc

Movie adaptations of epic books rarely work, and this was no exception.

Luckily, I didn't have to pay to see it, like I did with the awful MW adaptation, which removed EVERYTHING important. I recommend at least waiting for the rental.

Anonymous said...

I adored the Astro Boy movie. And everyone I know who's seen it either at the theater or on DVD have loved it too. I think it's tragic it failed at the box office, but the movie studio wasn't to blame. People just didn't know about it - the trailers were sparse and pretty bland. IMAGI did a great job adapting Astro for the 21st century. He had more character and heart in that movie than he ever did in any of his anime adaptations. Thanks for sticking up for the movie. Your site rocks.

Gojiguy said...

I'm all for keeping a series modern and fresh for a new audience. its been done to my favourite series- the gozdilla franchise- several times over 50 years.

But there are good ways and bad ways to do this. Like the 1998 Godzilla film, which WAS a disgrace to everything Godzilla.

While I do NOT like the Astro Boy movie, it was nowhere NEAR that bad. At least it kept somewhat true to Astro's look and character.

I think Buddha looks great. I only wish they did something like this for Astro.