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Punch Pants

A Ghostbot blog.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Popping up in the weirdest places

Here's an image of Pop from Happy Tree Friends that I drew up last night. It's inspired by some of my good friends getting married this weekend. Congrats kids! Posted by Picasa

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Ottawa: Day 1

Ah, Ottawa... The first time I visited this city was in 2000 for the very same festival. Joe Paradise was nominated in the "new" internet category. Even though I didn't end up winning, I had a great time being immersed in an animation community that was outside of Hollywood. So when I found out "Mole in the City" was nominated this year, I had to try and attend again.

We took a redeye flight out of San Francisco on Wednesday which passed through Atlanta. When we boarded our small commuter jet to Ottawa, I noticed that sitting directly across from me in the aisle was someone who looked a lot like Ward Jenkins (of Ward-O-Matic and Drawn!). I only recognized him from pictures he's posted of himself on his blog. "Is your name, Ward?" "Yeaahhhh..." he tentatively replied. "I'm Roque from Ghostbot!" Before I left, I had exchanged a couple of emails with him so that we could try and meet up. Needless to say we were both shocked that we ended up sitting on the same plane right next to each other. We spent the next 2 or so hours introducing ourselves and talking about this weird blog culture.

When we arrived at the airport, Sonia and I were given the treat of being harrassed by Customs. I'm not sure if we fit the profile of terrorists, but it was definitely the worst experience I've ever had with Immigration. At one point the officer had our laptop turned on and was opening up random jpegs in Photoshop. Once he found out we were there for the festival, he asked if we were "selling violence". I thought that was such a bizarre question, but it was a good thing we weren't actually selling Happy Tree Friends merchandise...just competing with it.

Once we arrived downtown, I instantly felt the difference in culture between coasts. The city felt familiar with its calm, quaint, semi-Euro flavor (must be the architecture and French signs). Some parts reminded me of New England.

We dropped off our bags at the hotel and went to the Arts Court building (for all you RISD alumn, it reminds me a lot of the Waterman building) to register and get our passes. They had a certificate for each filmmaker who was nominated. True to the story of my life, my name was misspelled and I had to return the "Rogue Ballesteros" certificate and request a new one.

We grabbed a quick bite to eat on Elgin Street before heading back to the hotel for a catnap. After checking the schedule, I knew I only had enough bandwidth left to catch a screening of Empress Chung, a Korean film that was in the feature competition.

It's obvious that the director was influenced by American feature animation - more specifically films produced by Disney. Now what era of Disney he was drawing from was the big question. At first, comparisons to Mulan could be made because of the Asian style and setting of the film.

Yet as the film progressed, you could see references to older films like The Little Mermaid, Pinocchio, and Snow White, especially in the characterizations and story beats. I'm not sure if the story translated well to a predominantly Western audience either. There seemed to be cultural concepts that came across as awkward and silly to us, when I'm sure in Korea they might have been totally acceptable and understood. I do feel like they spent extra care in maintaining the appeal of the main character, Shim Chung, however she was crying for more than half of the movie.

Some of the secondary characters - Pengduk, Pengduk's mom, Minister Yierunee - had a unique Asian caricature look which was interesting to see, yet sometimes I felt like there wasn't one unifying art style.

All the animals seemed like they were from different planets (the naked-Smurf turtle freaked me out) and I was really weirded out by their voice casting (either they could speak like humans or they sounded like humans making cliched animal noises).

I fell asleep in the middle of the film but I didn't feel like I missed anything. One of my favorite moments was when the Emperor had posters put up inviting all the blind people to come eat at the castle. Somehow they all arrived ok so I guess the directions must have been top-notch...

Before and after each screening, they would show slides of the different upcoming events. I was lucky to have my camera out when they flashed the New Media Competition slide.

Monday, September 26, 2005


Just got back. Exhausted. Blog report on the way...

Saturday, September 17, 2005

A Revolution in the making?

Check out this link to a great article by It unveils the tech demo for the new Nintendo revolution controller. Instead of the standard buttons on a pad scheme, it is shaped like a remote control. Equipped with a sensor at the end, the new Revolution wireless controller can be used as a virtual bat, sword, fishing rod or racket. In a demonstration video, an elderly couple were pretending to conduct an orchestra, while a younger person appeared to play a musical instrument or fire a gun.

Upon first glance it seems rather simplistic and underwelming, but after watching the video, on, I can’t help but think it has the potential to change the face of gaming. I’ve always admired Nintendo’s need to innovate rather than follow the trends, even when they all don’t work out. Ultimately, this new controller and system will succeed or fail with the games that support it. I can see a lot of potential for first person shooters, driving games and party games with this controller.

I guess we’ll find out in 2006 if the Revolution is the next analog stick, or the next virtual boy. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Watch out! Naruto hits the states.

The next big thing…

At the San Diego Comic-con, did anyone wonder why all the anime gomers were wearing metal plated head bands? Naruto has just premiered on Cartoon Network, but to anime fans around the world, it’s already one of the biggest hits ever.

Anime News Network described the series:

“Naruto closely follows the life of a boy who is feared and detested by the villagers of the hidden leaf village of Konoha. The distrust of the boy has little to do with the boy himself, but it’s what’s inside him that causes anxiety. Long before Naruto came to be, a Kyuubi (demon fox) with great fury and power waged war taking many lives. The battle ensued for a long time until a man known as the Fourth Hokage, Yondaime, the strongest ninja in Konoha, fiercely fought the Kyuubi. The fight was soon won by Yondaime as he sealed the evil demon in a human body. Thus the boy, Naruto, was born. As Naruto grows he decides to become the strongest ninja in Konoha in an effort to show everyone that he is not as they perceive him to be, but is a human being worthy of love and admiration. But the road to becoming Hokage, the title for the strongest ninja in Konoha, is a long and arduous one. It is a path filled with betrayal, pain, and loss; but with hard work, Naruto may achieve Hokage.”

Simply described it’s like “Harry Potter meets Ninjas”. I really fell for this show right away. The main character Naruto is very likable, but what I found amazing is how rich the supporting cast is. Every character has his or her personal angst to deal with (usually in the middle of a battle that spans over 4 episodes). The cool action mixed with the over the top melodrama works wonderfully.

I love subs over dubs any day, but the English dub is definitely pretty decent. Some of the extreme comedy and drama comes off a little awkward in English, but the spirit of the show remains. Check it out! Posted by Picasa

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Sho Time

Maverix Studios heavy-hitter, local rockstar artist, and sweet-as-can-be Sho Murase has a high profile interview in the San Francisco Chronicle. It features her most recent work on the revamp of Nancy Drew from Papercutz. Check out her new blog and upcoming stunner ME::2 from Tokyopop. Way to go, Sho!

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Ottawa times two for Ghostbot!

It came as quite a treat to discover that one of our beloved Esurance spots got into Ottawa Film Festival! We always have a blast working with Wildbrain director Phil Robinson on Erin’s commercial adventures, but to be nominated for all our crazy work is icing on the cake! Special thanks to the crew who helped make it happen. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, September 01, 2005

24 hour addiction

Thanks to the brilliance of Netflix, I’ve had a steady stream of Fox’s 24. An action packed thriller about a day in the life of CTU (counter terrorist unit) rogue agent Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland). The catch of the show is that everything runs in real time so a whole season is just one 24 hour day.

I take extreme satisfaction watching Jack running around and basically opening a barrel full of whoop-ass on anyone standing in his way. For example, in the first hour of season 2, Jack shoots a criminal known for kiddie porn in cold blood and chops his head off to use as a bargaining tool to covertly get into a group of thugs, so he can get some leads to finding a nuclear bomb set to go off in LA within the day. I know work at Ghostbot can be stressful, but I usually spend my first hour of the work day looking through blogs and gomer news.

The real time element of the show adds this crazy tension to the already compelling plot. Now things get a little outlandish from time to time (there are cougars at one point!) but it’s some exciting TV and a real good show to binge on, especially since you can watch the first 3 seasons on Netflix or your nearest video store. Posted by Picasa
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