Alright, kids. Last one for the night. Between this and Jarinko Chie (w/subs), you're plenty served for videos. I give you Momose's three Capsule videos, created in 2004 and 2005 at Ghibli's stepchild Studio Kajino. Each video follows an overarching storyline about a young fashionable woman of the future. She visits futuristic places, flies around in her own Jetson car, crashes a fashion show, engages in a car chase, becomes ensnared by a gaggle of robots (I've been itching to use that word all day), and finds true love. Not a bad way to spend a couple afternoons. Thank goodness the music's so good.
Portable Airport, Space Station No.9, and L.D.K. (Lounge Designers Killer) is the next generation of Japanese animation. Its visual style holds more closely to Yuasa's Mind Game than the old masters at Ghibli. Miyazaki, Takahata, even the newer filmmakers like Otomo and Oshii (Satoshi Kon may fit in with the new generation, but his roots are still clearly in Takahata's domain) represent the old guard, the postwar generation. They were the pioneers, the trailblazers, and now it falls into the hands of the next group of kids to take anime to the next level.
Or maybe I'm getting ahead of myself. Momose was born in 1953. You wouldn't think that by watching his anime films. His is the energy of a 25-year-old, the energy of those young punks who created Horus, Prince of the Sun.
Here's one thing that strikes me about Momose's Capsule videos - it demonstrates how fully animation is embedded in Japanese culture. The videos are young, hip, trendy, feminine - qualities you could never even think to find in the West. We're still stuck in some Eisenhower-era time warp. It's kind of like the way I felt when rave culture finally trickled its way down to Minnesota - a decade after the whole thing peaked everywhere else in the globe. There's nothing worse than being the last to show up at the party, only to see everyone's already left.
I don't know if the gender equality that's glamorized in modern anime like the Capsule videos, Dore Dore, Mind Game, Paprika and their peers testify to the youth culture as it really exists, or the ideal dream of the future. It's probably a mix of the two. But it still seems so much more grown up, so much more cool and exciting than what we have here. American culture is dominated by a hyper-macho aggression, at times veering dangerously into proto-fascism. We seem gripped by fear, dread, and the only outlets are torture and violence. Small wonder we're in the mess we find ourselves in.
Japan just seems to have its act together. They're your cooler older sister, the one who's moved on to makeup and cars and new music - the future. Theirs is the futuristic world we once dreamed of, before dreaming became outlawed and terror reigned. That's the vibe I get from Portable Airport, Space Station No. 9, and L.D.K. I'm curious to discover how Momose and Japan found their groove, and what I can do to get ours back. It's the 21st Century. When the hell do we get our Jetson cars?