Posted by: Ji-L87 | November 7, 2008

Millennium Actress and a second look at Otaku no Video


Once again I’m attending an anime & manga-related course alongside of my usual studies, and like last time, we are shown a couple of classic/important movies.
This week we watched Otaku no Video and Millennium Actress and impressions are as follow:

Otaku no Video

I’ve already seen it once and I admit I was quite harsh, mostly because I wasn’t really aware of that the mockumentaries were, in fact, mockumentaries. But even now, after seeing it with a slightly different mindset, I still don’t really like it and I will try and see if I can explain why…(:

A person named Kahless commented like this last time:

“…Otaku no Video is more an anime for Otaku than it is an anime about otaku, because it is packed with references which probably most won’t even notice. It is loosely based on the beginnings of Gainax so it’s a bit of a auto-biographical work and a self parody and not really meant as a coherent story. Also the “Portrait of an Otaku” parts are meant to be a bit creepy while still retain a bit of recognition. Because they essentially are mockumentary, characters played by the animators, for the purpose of Self-depreciation. Yes Otaku no Video is definitely not for every one, but it’s a tittle which you will enjoy more with more knowledge and insight you have about the matter. So I highly recommend AnimeEigo’s release of Otaku no Video and reading their extensive line notes while watching”

In response to this, I looked up and downloaded AnimeEigo’s notes and became impressed with how many references that they managed to squeeze in but at the same time noticed that I even hadn’t heard of many of the shows parodied. And this is one of Otaku no Video’s weaknesses, in my eyes:

It isn’t really fun by itself.

It’s not that fun even with a paper that lists which shows being parodied…you need to have watched the other shows for it to become truly fun and most people (I presume, at least younger peeps like me) haven’t. Which leads me to it’s other weak point, it’s getting old. You can’t blame Otaku no Video for this, it’s bound to happen sometime for all shows but it gets worse in Otaku no Video’s case because not only is the show itself old, but also the shows it makes constant references to.

The third and (for me) final weakness is the mockumentaries. Even if I know they are not “real” and all that, I didn’t find me laughing or smiling really…just this “ewww” or “o_ô” feeling in the back of my head as I wait for the interview to end and the story to continue. And that’s it, they totally break the flow. Even if Otaku no Video “isn’t really meant to be a coherent story”, it becomes too much and since I don’t enjoy the interviews I just go “aagh, again already? D:” whenever the story segments end and another interview starts.

To sum it up, I can see and understand why it considered so important but at the same time I’m a much too new fan of the medium to enjoy it as is but I’m also not hardcore enough to dig out all the other shows to enjoy it more. And I don’t know, but I don’t think I’m the only one…

Millennium Actress

This is the first (and only) movie from Satoshi Kon that I’ve seen so far. I didn’t know what to expect, so I expected something like what I’ve seen of the Paprika trailer but thankfully, it turned out to be quite nice…although a little confusing sometimes…(especially in the beginning). I really did enjoy the presence of Genya and the cameraman and their actions during the different films/memories. They humored me as well as providing a link to the “now” during the movie flashbacks and trips down memory road…and maybe confused things as well, but I figure the less I think about it the better…? 😀
Visually it was very pleasant but I’m not sure what I think of the music…

But to reach some sort of conclusion, I think it was quite a beautiful movie although a happier ending would’ve made me like it more…but that’s just how I am (:

On a related note: Satoshi Kon will be here in Sweden, holding a lecture in “Filmhuset” (literary: the house of films/movies) tuesday, next week. I’m not sure I can go but I do think that’s pretty cool~! |o/



  1. Millennium Actress, I have yet to see it (I’m going to watch it probably today) but if you like Satoshi Kon’s works so far then you should give his other movie, Tokyo Godfathers, a try. I have to admit though the beginning is a little weird considering that the three main characters are absolutely homeless and together they are definitely an eccentric set of friends but the plot is great. It’s emotional, sad, and had many funny moments yet it’s easy to understand and sticks to the storyline very well. I wouldn’t give it a perfect 10 by any means but I would say it’s an 8.5 and worth giving it a go. The art is still nice too :3

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