There’s been so very many Japanese Concept Cars through the years that have never made it into production. I think they are the coolest designs. Here are a few selcted videos from the fabulous and crazy, Science Fiction universe of Japanese concept cars. Since the 1950s, all Japanese car manufacturers have been testing and designing cars that, if you saw them on the road, you’d think that it was something out of a Hollywood movie! Some of these designs are out of this world and full of imagination!
I’ve searched the internet and found some short videos of a few of my favorites. So if you like Science Fiction, and you like cars! Then this is a short trip for you!
If you want to see more, I’ll try to find more next week and present them for you. If you just want to see still photos (not as fun as some of these videos, I think) then check out: Japanese Concept Cars (www.japanese-concept-cars.com/category/lexus-concept-cars/).
At Robot55 we make video productions for businesses and services and products, but we also pride ourselves on making videos for art and music. Our starting price is ¥70,000 and we are sure we can work out something that fits your budget. Oh, and we love making band videos too! Contact us! firstname.lastname@example.org
Just over a week ago, I posted an article that featured some very cool animations by a Stop-Motion animator named Adam Pesapane who is better known as simply, “Pes.” That article featured one animation in particular that is the shortest film ever nominated for an Oscar. It is called, “Fresh Guacamole.” It is a fantastically fun animation and you can watch it and a couple of others here: Need a Break? Watch These Three Fantastic Short Animations! (robot55.jp/blog/need-a-break-watch-these-three-fantastic-short-animations/)
That article was extremely popular (thanks!) so today I decided to give you some more by other well-known Stop Motion Animators. Of course, this isn’t a Saturday morning kids channel matinee, so these video productions are for adults as they are kind of bizarre and, maybe a tad bit scary, for kids… Especially kids who are used to something like Disney Cartoons.
First up is a guy named Dillon Markey. Dillon Markey is known for his work on The Mr. Men Show (2008), Robot Chicken (2005) and Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode III (2010). Dillon has also worked with many famous animators and even Pes, so I thought he’d be cool to kick us off.
I think if I were a little kid, Dillon’s animation might give me nightmares!
In the late seventies, I used to go to an Art Cinema in Los Angeles to watch movies with my friends. I remember, at that theater, was the first time I had ever witnessed a David Lynch movie. It was “Eraserhead.” Yeah. That was a freaky movie. I saw it several times
One time before “Eraserhead” played there was a short film entitled “Asparagus.” I’ve looked for that animation for years and haven’t ever found it, until today. Alas, this is not with the original soundtrack (which was much more moody and psychedelic) but this new soundtrack also works well for me. This is awesome. It is by a band called, “KR3” who used Suzan Pitt’s animation for their music. Here’s “KR3 Fractures and Sparks.” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z5q7M7dA24I)
Finally, these artists and their works are all very cool, but what collection would be complete without some sort of explanation or history? That brings us to the “grandfather” of all of this sort of animation who, without him, this stuff might not have ever happened. His name is Ray Harryhausen. You may not know the name, but if you were interested in 50s & 60s Science Fiction, then you definitely have seen his work.
Raymond Frederick “Ray” Harryhausen (June 29, 1920 – May 7, 2013) was an American visual effects creator, writer, and producer who created a form of stop-motion model animation known as “Dynamation.” His most memorable works include the animation on Mighty Joe Young (1949), with his mentor Willis H. O’Brien, which won the Academy Award for special effects; The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958), his first color film; and Jason and the Argonauts (1963), featuring a famous sword fight against seven skeleton warriors. His last film was Clash of the Titans (1981), after which he retired. Harryhausen moved to the United Kingdom and lived in London from 1960 until his death in 2013. During his life, his innovative style of special effects in films inspired numerous filmmakers including John Lasseter, Peter Jackson, and Tim Burton.
Ray Harryhausen was even friends with science fiction writer, Ray Bradbury! Wow!
Here is a compilation of some of Ray Harryhausen’s many works. If you are over 45 years old or so, I think you might like this drive down memory lane!
Recently, it seems that animations are all the rage (well, duh, this is Japan!) We at Robot55 are proud to announce that we are working with the fine folks at Ninja Slayer on bringing that exciting new animation to the world! Read about that here: Ninja Slayer Animation Begins April 16th at 11pm on Niconico (http://robot55.jp/blog/ninja-slayer-animation-begins-april-16th-at-11-pm-on-niconico/)
So, until next time! Enjoy the show! I’ll have some more great videos and animations here for your pleasure next week!
Last year, when I had a close call with death (please refer to: Near Death at the Hospital, Last Month! – Back in Humor, This Month!) I realized that I needed to start doing the things in my life that I have been dreaming about. So, I decided that I had to get my talented friends together and make a short feature film. I think there is a chance for us to build a Rock & Roll Cult movement that is famous around the world between now and the 2020 Olympics.
I want to be in the center of that movement. The movement involves Japanese culture, past and present, rock and roll music and animation.
To make things easier to grasp, I think it might be good to tell you, dear reader, the 4 key words (images) that I always want to keep in mind for all the films and projects we make: 1) 1950s Science Fiction, 2) Rock and Roll, 3) Horror/Ghost movies, 4) Tarantino.
I think if I can keep my mind, and my staff’s mind, on these images, then we will succeed in making the kinds of things that will be perfect to put 2015 ~ 2020 Tokyo into the minds of the fans of cult films and music… Because the Olympics and big money cash-ins amongst the politically well connected ARE NOT what we, nor Japanese people are about… At least I hope so.
Our story is about a struggling Rock and Roll musician who finds the tortured spirit of an old blues musician living in his studio. At night, when they are all alone, the two together make music that is unworldly in its brilliance, yet no one can hear it except the struggling rocker and the dead blues musician. It doesn’t have a happy ending… Or does it?
I wanted to make this movie on the level of quality of something like Quentin Tarrantino makes. Yes. Laugh now, if you wish; it is a ridiculous goal for us. Ridiculous or not, that is the heights we aim for.
To be the director of the movie, I asked Enrico Ciccu who has written and directed for some very fine cult movie productions in Italy. He has agreed to direct. Enrico is a difficult person to work with; but that’s the way I like it. Great artists are never easy people to deal with. Enrico wrote the screenplay and had a large hand in the making for this short film which was accepted at the Sapporo Film Festival: “Julie – Johnny Guitar.”
I think “Julie – Johnny Guitar” captures the essence of what we want to accomplish in the Rock & Roll Ghost Story: A Tarantino style full of cinematic allusions and pop culture references.
In any quality film, not only is the director a critical issue, but lighting is also something that makes or breaks the visuals – and therefore the suspension of disbelief – in a film. For the lighting of our movie, I recruited a guy who has been a good friend for nearly twenty years. He was my next door neighbor for ten years and he is now my lighting director. His name is Yuji Wada…
Oh, yeah, I guess I should also mention that Yuji Wada was the lighting director for many Sophie Coppola films, one of my favorites was the Hollywood smash hit, Lost in Translation starring Bill Murray.
The lighting in this scene is the feel of what I want. Yuji is the perfect guy for that. Need proof? Here, below, is a shot from our session on Friday, Jan. 23, 2015. This is EXACTLY what I wanted.
For our cameraman, I asked Ken Nishikawa who is a former BBC staff as well as director at TBS. Ken has worked on TV and film productions for just about every major TV station in Japan. He is a superb cameraman and brilliant artist. He also wrote the screenplay and is directing production for another Robot55 production entitled: Matsuchiyo – Life of a Geisha, which we will be going into serious production this spring. Here is the short trailer for that:
Finally, to put it all together, I needed actors who can actually perform and have a strong Rock and Roll image. Who better than one of Japan’s best rock and roll bands, “The Neatbeats”? Mr. Pan, lead singer of the Neatbeats, will play the part of our struggling musician. He is the hero, and failure, of our movie. He is the guy sitting on the right of the sofa in the photo above. The guy is just overflowing with Rock and Roll. He’s perfect!
Besides Mr. Pan, we also have several other famous Japanese rock stars acting in our movie. I am also in one scene acting as a guy who is drunk and almost dead from boredom. Here is that scene that was shot night before last on Jan. 26, 2015:
Robot55 movie shoot. On stage is the Privates. Table in front is Furukawa Taro and Tomomi Hiraiwa. Table behind (guy sleeping) is me, Mike Rogers (Brilliant acting, right?) Camera (far right) Enrico Ciccu (Director). Photo by Arai Osamu.
The editing for this film starts next week. As we progress, we will post updates. I may be acting dead in this photo, but I am going to die a happy man when this production is finished and it is world-quality and as good as anything Hollywood makes. It is one thing, a first of many, that all of us; Ken Nishikawa, Enrico Ciccu and me, have dreamt about all our lives.
Like the good doctor, said, “Don’t dream it. Be it.”
Photo from the set of “A Japanese Rock & Roll Ghost Story” Left to right: Mike Rogers (sitting in front), Enrico Enrico Wtmm Ciccu (standing), Ken Nishikawa (kneeling in middle), Mr. Pan (sitting on sofa laughing). (photo by Osamu Arai)
There is also a boom of English language videos and productions coming to Japan and Robot55 aims to be a key player in making viral videos for the foreign market that comes to Japan. Why not? We have people who live and work professionally in this market in TV and video production as well as guys who have made many commercials and smash hit (and cult) TV and radio shows.
I am confident that there is no other company in Japan who can touch us for that market; making viral videos in English for the foreigners coming to Japan for the Tokyo Olympics. There is a cult and cutlure boom coming to Japan in the next 5 years.