- Member: jhfong
- Studio: Ingress Productions
- Title: Why Does It Always Rain On Oshii?
- Premiered: 2004-04-23
- Travis Why Does It Always Rain on Me
- Sakura-Con 2004, Sakura-Con 2004 (2004-04-23)
(Reprinted from http://www.evilnet.net/~jhfong/amv/rain/index.html:
This video was made under rather unfortunate circumstances. I captured all the footage I needed and then stopped working on it for over a month. I ended up doing all the editing work in the last week before the deadline for submitting the video to the Sakura-Con AMV contest. There were times when I considered just skipping the contest altogether, but to be brutally honest, the only thing that kept me going was the prospect of getting preferred seating as an entrant.
I wasn't expecting this video to win any awards; like all my AMVs, I made it because I had an idea that I wanted to get out of my head. I don't thnk I have an obligation to explain it, even though a lot of people in the audience seemed to find it hard to understand. The biggest problem with this video is that people probably aren't going to get the point I'm trying to make unless they've seen all the films directed by Mamoru Oshii that I'm referencing. Angel's Egg, in particular, is the linchpin that ties a lot of the imagery together, but most casual viewers aren't likely to be familiar with it since it was never commercially translated.
The purpose of this video is to give examples of Mamoru Oshii recycling imagery in different movies. I've tried either to juxtapose these examples next to each other, like the shots near the beginning of the Girl from Angel's Egg and Motoko from Ghost in the Shell floating toward their reflections, or apply them where the lyrics repeat themselves, like the basset hounds over the line "I get the strangest feeling you belong."
For the intro sequence, the rain in the background was created with a spriticle emitter rendered in Animation:Master. The sound of the rain comes from a sound effects CD I checked out from the library, and the footage of Oshii's face is from the interview included as a bonus feature in the Avalon DVD. The scanline effect is a simple Photoshop pattern (one black pixel over one white pixel), and the compositing, motion, colorization and glow were all done in After Effects, as was the composition for the Bible quotes over the song's instrumental opening. The timing didn't really come out the way I wanted, and I think they move a little too fast.
In the Avalon interview, Oshii mentioned that when he was young, he fantasized about what it would be like to live alone in a deserted, post-apocalyptic city. He first tried exploring this theme in Urusei Yatsura 2: Beautiful Dreamer, and then more fully in Angel's Egg. It seems to me that because Angel's Egg bombed at the box office, Oshii tried to use most of his subsequent movies to repackage its imagery to the audience in different ways. The similarities between Angel's Egg and Ghost in the Shell that I've illustrated in this video are particularly striking, like the reflections in the water and the Tree of Life and the fossils embedded in the stone walls. Even as recently as his live-action picture Avalon, he went out of his way to cast a Polish girl to play the Ghost, who looks exactly like a living embodiment of the Girl from Angel's Egg, as seen in the last shot of the video.
Most of the video is divided up into sections where I group together similarities between Oshii's movies. Deserted cityscapes. Birds, especially from the Patlabor films. Fish, centered around Angel's Egg's infamous coelecanth-hunting scene. Buses. Biblical allusions. Tanks, which he had a lot of fun filming for Avalon. Basset hounds like the one he has for a pet. If you don't take them in the context of Oshii's entire body of work, they're going to look pretty random, and this is a big disadvantage of this video. And then there's *rain*. There are scenes of rain in all of the movies in this video, except for Patlabor 2, which has a long scene of snow that I use for the "it's so cold" lyrics. So why does he do that? Why *does* it always rain on Oshii? Is he going for Freudian rebirth symbolism? Is he trying to emphasize the sense of loneliness and isolation that pervades his urban landscapes? Is he trying to indicate how hostile a world his characters inhabit? This video is an attempt to ask these questions, not answer them.
As of this writing, I haven't seen Innocence: Ghost in the Shell yet. I already know that a basset hound features prominently in it, and I'm willing to bet it has rain, too.